A Facebook friend posted a link this morning to an ACLU website broadcasting a New York Federal court ruling that corporations can’t patent a gene that switches off cancer cells. The ACLU reporter writes: “Patents on genes associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer are invalid, ruled a New York federal court today. The precedent-setting ruling marks the first time a court has found patents on genes unlawful and calls into question the validity of patents now held on approximately 2,000 human genes.”
Clearly there is big money to be made in such treatments, but in this case the scales came down on in favor of ordinary people, this time women, rather than letting this instance of gene patenting become the latest license to print money for big pharma. I can’t help but wonder if this will have any impact on little farmers and the deplorable practice of GMO-altered seed patenting.
One of the many startling things revealed by NASA’s photos of earth is the
many areas where darkness prevails, every night, all year. Rain forests and
deserts are understandably dark, as are the oceans and other “uninhabited”
regions. But seeing that North Korea, a politically be-knighted but
nevertheless “developed” country, is nearly uniformly blacked out throws our
token Earth Hour in sharp perspective. How spoiled we are, soothing
ourselves with too much food, illuminating things that are best left in the
dark, consuming durables and tech toys with each new iteration. And thinking
that 1 hour once a year will make a difference. And yet: if that one hour
inspires 100 people to routinely switch off the lights in empty rooms, or power down tech
gadgets that aren’t being used, or donate food to a food bank instead of to
their own expanding waistlines…and they in turn encourage another 100, it will have made a difference.
Yesterday evening, arriving home from work full of the joys of spring, I grabbed up a monkey wrench, my fork and spade and started on the garden! The wrench was to loosen the bolts to begin demolishing the loathsome chain link fence. Which, I thought, would be a breeze. The bolts wouldn’t budge, and I skinned my knuckles in the fight.
The need to satisfy my gardening joneses was undiminished and to determine just how big a job it would be to get that darn fence down, I made exploratory digs around the posts. The central ones had rusted through so aren’t anchored to the subterranean concrete lumps, but the corner posts are, it would seem, there to stay. Undaunted, I moved to the border along the east-facing brick wall intending to prepare the bed for growing something, anything…and that’s when my knee gave out.
This morning, Louie the Lazy discovered my excavations. “Wow,” (imagine little doggy thought balloons). “Let’s see if I can make this muddy hole bigger!” It was drizzling, and if you’ve ever seen a Cavalier’s paws you will know that they are four furry mops that cake ever-so-easily with crud. Which transfers nicely to carpeted surfaces and upholstery.
So, my life lesson for today is: plan a measured attack on any project, but do warm-up exercises first.
I can’t decide between wooden retaining walls or brick/stone retaining walls for my new kitchen garden raised beds. Really, all I want to do is discourage our dog, Louie, from jumping up — but he’s a lazy little cavalier so the walls don’t have to be too high. Must look back at the amazing photos Organic Gardening’s fans posted on our Facebook page.
Look and learn is my motto. Here’s the garden site: I look at that blank slate and my mind’s eye sees nothing but potential for a productive, energizing space. And I learn that perhaps I have not acquired as much a patience over the years of gardening as I thought I had. The sap is rising in the trees, and in my gardening heart.
The first thing I have to do is lose that chain link fence. Watch this space. I am.