Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Alarm Dance - Love It!



via WMMNA

Daniel Eatock spent two months in 2007 living and working in Vilnius (Lithuania). He noticed that car alarms were constantly interrupting the peace. The alarms were so sensitive that even a whisper would set them off. One day, out of sheer frustration, Eatock left his desk, found the car whose alarm had been interrupting his peace every five minutes, and waited patiently for the siren to switch on. When the siren sounded, he started dancing like a madman. He made videos of several of his car alarm dances, never touching the car, only dancing to the sound pollutants.

Seen at Nowhere, Now / Here, an exhibition that revisits the definition and perception of design.

Nowhere/Now/Here runs until Mon, April 20 , 2009 at LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial in Gijon, Spain.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Gone Surf'n



Happy Holidays! See you on the other side.

xoxo,
FS

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Finding Joy at MOCA



FINDING JOY
THURSDAY, DEC 4, 2008 7–10pm
MOCA Grand Avenue
Sculpture Plaza

Intrigued by the military term “finding joy” (referring to the successful establishment of radio contact on the battlefield), Finishing School leads a workshop in which participants build small DIY radios that will be used to detect prerecorded transmissions located throughout the museum. To generate audio content prior to the event, Finishing School will interview members of the MOCA community about what brings them joy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Hoff Foundation Announces Grant Program Recipients for the 3rd Quarter



THANK YOU HOFF FOUNDATION!!!!!!!!!!!!

October 21, 2008: Huntington Beach, CA – The Hoff Foundation announced today that it will award quarterly grants totaling $3,000 to the following Artists and Arts Organizations based in Orange County and Long Beach.


Finishing School: $1,000 for material support for upcoming and current projects.

Naida Osline: $1,000 for equipment support

Huntington beach Art Center: $1,000 for exhibition support.


The Hoff Foundation is a private arts foundation formed in 2008 with a commitment to and passion for the arts. So far in 2008 the Hoff Foundation has awarded $12,000 to individual artists and arts organizations. More information about The Hoff Foundation and how the grants are awarded can be obtained at their website located at www.thehofffoundation.org.

For more information please visit www.thehofffoundation.org or call 714-767-5861

Monday, October 20, 2008

Saturday, October 4, 2008

EOK Crew



image via POMONA'S ART COLONISTS

Thank You

FS Secret Service (Click to see entire image)

FS wants thank (Left to Right) Nathan, Jose, Kyle, Robert, Luis, Andie (behind Luis), Thuan, Therese, Lauren, Brad, and Terri (already fighting crime downstairs). You guys are the best security crew and hackers and teacher could wish for....Ed

Friday, October 3, 2008

EOK at MOCA

video via The Art Enthusiast



text via Coagula

The artist collective “Finishing School” has taken up a residency at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (L.A. MOCA). What that means is that MOCA is too ossified and insular to know what the fuck is going on and finally realize that simply asking Paul McCarthy and Chris Burden for new ways to stroke Paul Schimmel’s ego by adding their friends, lovers and former students to the permanent collection isn’t getting the museum anywhere. If the piece of rat shit that is the Martin Kippenberger retrospective currently on view at their Grand Avenue building is any indicator, old curator Anne Goldstein is even more out of touch with anything that has a pulse in regards to art.

So to happily mix metaphors, the new blood is a breath of fresh air at the cathedral of those old farts. Finishing School’s first project was entitled EXECUTIVE ORDER. The piece was to stage a participatory event outside in MOCA’s sculpture plaza. They set up a karaoke machine with familiar songs (Like a Virgin, I Will Survive) and had people sign up to sing on stage, where behind them was projected images of George W. Bush. The participants were then to sing along to the familiar tunes, but the “lyrics” were word-for-word Executive Orders of the Bush Administration. From topics as diverse as terrorism to Trout preservation, the participants tried to articulate the bureaucratic machinations of power in familiar melodies, to absolutely comical, pointed results. The members of the Finishing School Collective were dressed as referees and happily judged the efforts by the participating gallery-goers.

Art is charged to engage the public, the world is begging for meaningful political art that does not pander, preach or submit to illustrate the whims of a manipulative force. Art that is not fun is inevitably going to be ignored. Finishing School has solved so many problems embedded in contemporary art with one great night out on the town. It was absolutely shocking that MOCA would have such an event, vitality and current-ness being the last thing on the aging pink whale’s mind. ON a night with the political debates and a Dodger playoff game, a huge crowd turned out to enjoy art that involved, critiqued, satirized and hit home. It seemed so simple, but it took 22 years of boring MOCA shows to arrive at the point where the light bulb finally went off over someone’s head that nobody was buying the bullshit printed on the stupid wall labels rationalizing the egomania and insider status of assholes like Kippenberger as worthy of examination by the art audience.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

MOCA - Engagement Party - Oct. 2, 7-10pm




Finishing School has been invited by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA) to be the inaugural participant in Engagement Party.

Engagement Party is a dynamic new initiative developed to engage innovative Los Angeles-based artist collectives. Over a three-year period beginning in October 2008, selected groups will participate in three-month residencies during which they will present a public program at MOCA Grand Avenue on the first Thursday of each month from 7 to 10pm. The goal of Engagement Party is to involve new artists and new audiences while reiterating MOCA's commitment to imaginative critical analyses of contemporary art in Los Angeles. Made possible by a major Artistic Innovation Fund grant from The James Irvine Foundation, MOCA's Engagement Party will host 12 artist collectives over the next three years.



For the first event, Finishing School will be presenting Executive Order Karaoke. Featuring special guest host Tammy Tomahawk, Executive Order Karaoke is a public action in which participants are invited to sing their favorite mixes of George W. Bush's executive orders to popular music. The evening will be filled with special guests, games, and prizes.

Executive Order Karaoke will happen on Thursday, October 2, 7-10pm at MOCA Grand Avenue, Sculpture Plaza

We hope to see you all there.

Become a fan of Finishing School on Facebook

Monday, September 22, 2008

Soundwalk 2008



We presented PIO: stand /deliver at Soundwalk 2008 in Long Beach, CA. Fun was had by all, especially Zach and Kit, who performed stand / deliver for Huell Howser.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Conflux 2008


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

We presented "Open House" at this year's Conflux festival. Things went very well. The afternoon was filled with great conversations and domestic exploration. Matt and Todd were the perfect hosts. Their home is amazing. Their city is unlike anywhere else on the planet. The streets are truly alive. We are very grateful for Todd and Matt opening their home to the city.

via Conflux's Web site

Conflux is the annual New York festival for contemporary psychogeography, the investigation of everyday urban life through emerging artistic, technological and social practice. At Conflux, visual and sound artists, writers, urban adventurers and the public gather for four days to explore their urban environment.

People from a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures come together at the festival to re-imagine the city as a playground, a space for positive change and an opportunity for civic engagement. The Village Voice describes Conflux as a “network of maverick artists and unorthodox urban investigators… making fresh, if underground, contributions to pedestrian life in New York City, and upping the ante on today’s fight for the soul of high-density metropolises.”

From architects to skateboarders, Conflux participants have an enthusiasm for the city that’s contagious. Over the course of the long weekend the sidewalks are literally transformed into a mobile laboratory for creative action. With tools ranging from traditional paper maps to high-tech mobile devices, artists present walking tours, public installations and interactive performance, as well as bike and subway expeditions, workshops, a lecture series, a film program and live music performances at night.

Since 2003, when we had 30 mostly local artists and a small audience, the festival has grown to include over 100 artists from across the US, as well as Australia, Canada, Japan and many European countries. As our annual call for artists becomes more and more competitive and we receive hundreds of entries, the quality of projects increases and we are now proud to present what we feel is the most innovative work being produced in the field of public-space arts.

Conflux is produced by Glowlab, a Brooklyn-based organization supporting emerging art and technology inspired by the everyday life of cities. Glowlab operates as a nomadic initiative, collaborating and consulting with host galleries, arts groups and individual artists around the world. We’ve worked with arts organizations including Eyebeam, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the Van Alen Institute and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, as well as local universities such as New York University, Hunter College and Parsons. Conflux has been reviewed in publications including the New York Times, the Village Voice Flash Art and Art Review Magazine and covered on numerous arts blogs and cultural websites such as Flavorpill, Nylon, Rhizome and Gothamist.

Conflux is attended by people of differing backgrounds who share a common desire to understand, explore, and ultimately heighten their enjoyment of the urban environment while learning how to sustain and improve it. Conflux visitors are introduced to the ways cutting-edge artists utilize performance, visual art and music to address topics including the environment, sustainable development, the increased presence of technology in cities, emerging trends in social/local networking and ways we can humanize the urban experience by encouraging dialogue amongst communities.

As a fiscally-sponsored project of Fractured Atlas and the Brooklyn Arts Council, Conflux has received support from the New York State Council on the Arts, Artists Space, the Puffin Foundation and the Independence Community Foundation.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

wankstazz 2007



our sources tell us that the "wankstazz" are an underground bike gang terrorizing the streets of los angeles.

via thejamesboulton.com/

Be Agua Amigos

We may like this...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Tyra vs Oprah's fans

watch them both at the same time!



FS is going to MOCA



MOCA is starting a new Artist in Residence program called Engagement Party and we have been selected to be the first residency!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We will be announcing specific programming info asap

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Little Pharma - Physic Garden




Sorry for the long absence. We have been swamped with a lot of really fantastic projects. We will be presenting Little Pharma - Physic Garden at Fringe Exhibitions in the Fall. The installation will open on October 11. Please mark your calendars. Here is the press-release that we wrote for it:

The Little Pharma Physic Garden is a participatory installation that promotes education, community involvement, natural beauty, relaxation and renewal.

Our garden model is based on several specific European gardens established by monks in the 16th and 17th centuries. Their calling was to encourage and empower the public to be directly involved in their own health and well-being and to promote the study of herbal medicine, known then as the "physic" or healing arts. The monks involved the public in community gardening and demonstrated the many uses of plants and the tradition of the plant world as the most common medicine source. These gardens also provided a place of natural rest, meditation, and spiritual renewal for many weary urban dwellers.

The Little Pharma Physic Garden includes a research library, seed bank, a publicly maintained herbal medicine garden, meditation vistas, and a workshop area. Additionally, the public is encouraged to participate in several events hosted by Finishing School and collaborators throughout the run of the exhibition. There will be an herbal medicine course, meditation events, and a gardening workshop as well as a pharma-themed costume workshop and bicycle tour. Details for the events, TBA.


Addtionally, portions of the Physic Garden are currently on display at Cypress College. Click here for more details.

Addtionally, portions of the Physic Garden are currently on display at Cypress College. Click here for more details.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Room 641A: NSA Spying Cartoon



EFF designer Hugh D'Andrade creates a fanciful mural-sized political cartoon depicting how the NSA's illegal spying program operates inside AT&T's San Francisco facility.

via boingboing

Why America is Fucked

Thank you Pete (who just moved up to Chicago, good luck Chicago, hook or crook has arrived) via James who found it on Fecal Face? Anyway, enjoy.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008

Slow Food / Good Food



Kim Severson, one of our favorites at the NY Times, wrote a great article (Slow Food Savors Its Big Moment) last week on the slow food movement. Read it here...slowly of course

One Minute Film & Video Festival Aarau



We just received word that IED: Dick Cheney vs. George Bush (2008) will be screened in the One Minute Film & Video Festival Aarau. If you are in Switzerland Aug 22-24, stop in and catch our video.

IED: Dick Cheney vs. George Bush (2008) is a video collage of found web data that attempts to render some of the realities of the Bush Administration.

One Minute Film & Video Festival Aarau
Postfach 2761
CH-5000 Aarau
Switzerland
www.oneminute.ch

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Breaking News: Historic Win for Net Neutrality!



http://SavetheInternet.com

August 1, 2008 -- WASHINGTON -- Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to punish Comcast, the nation's largest cable company, for blocking users' access to the open Internet. In a landmark decision, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein approved an "enforcement order" that would require Comcast to stop blocking and publicly disclose its methods for interfering with Internet traffic.

Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press, issued the following statement:

"The FCC's bipartisan decision to punish Comcast is a major victory. Defying every ounce of conventional wisdom in Washington, everyday people have taken on a major corporation and won an historic precedent for an open Internet."

Learn more and take action at
http:SavetheInternet.com

Little Pharma - DEA agents raid Culver City medical marijuana dispensary

The Los Angeles Times Reported this yesterday (Aug 1, 2008):

DEA agents raid Culver City medical marijuana dispensary
The action comes on the same day an appellate court in San Diego rules that federal law does not preempt California's medical pot law.




(Photo:Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Employee Brian V. Birbiglia, 35, is questioned by DEA agents after Organica Collective, a medical marijuana dispensary, was raided. Birbiglia sat handcuffed next to DEA agents on a tattered couch outside the dispensary for more than four hours during the raid.


Federal agents raided a Culver City medical marijuana dispensary where they spent more than four hours this afternoon, serving a search warrant that resulted in no arrests but left the shop in disarray.

Drug Enforcement Administration agents arrived about noon at Organica Collective in the 13400 block of Washington Boulevard, said Sarah Pullen, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles office of the agency.

"Marijuana remains a controlled substance, and it is illegal under federal law to possess, dispense or cultivate marijuana in any form," Pullen said of the purpose of the raid.

The federal operation came on the same day an appellate court in San Diego ruled that federal law does not preempt the state's law allowing the use of medical marijuana -- a ruling touted by supporters of California's medical marijuana law as a significant win.

At the dispensary agents left behind trash, counters strewn with open and empty glass jars, piles of receipts thrown on the ground, upturned couch cushions, bits of marijuana on the edges of counters and an ATM with its doors torn open and emptied.

In the residents' rooms a safe was cut open, dresser drawers pulled open, and rumpled clothes and knickknacks thrown on the ground. An outdoor vegetable garden had plants uprooted, along with marijuana plants removed by the agents.

Brian V. Birbiglia, 35, sat handcuffed next to DEA agents on a tattered couch outside the dispensary for more than four hours during the raid. Next to the couch sat a box marked "DEA evidence," about a dozen black trash bags and two Trader Joe's paper bags. Some agents wore protective chest gear, black sunglasses and guns in leg holsters.

After the raid was over and he was released, Birbiglia was visibly enraged. An employee and friend of the dispensary's owner, Jeff Joseph, Birbiglia said he is a disabled former Marine who has a prescription to smoke marijuana for a foot injury.

"We follow the law," he yelled, his face red and his eyes teary. "We might as well have just got robbed by a bunch of thugs downtown."

Birbiglia found a remaining bud of marijuana that agents had missed, and he popped it into a pipe to smoke.

"They forgot this, and I'm going to smoke it," he said.

Los Angeles Councilman Bill Rosendahl was called to the scene by the owner and arrived several hours after the raid began. Rosendahl, standing outside the gate to the store's parking lot, said he was frustrated that there was nothing he could do to intervene. The dispensary straddles the boundary between Los Angeles and Culver City, Rosendahl said. Culver City police assisted federal agents at the scene.

"This is an action with the federal government, which is sad," Rosendahl said, "because these laws need to be revisited in Washington, especially the medical marijuana law. We're incarcerating people by the tens of thousands, we're destroying peoples' lives, and people who have a medical marijuana legitimacy are caught in the middle. It's a problem we need to resolve. This conflict is totally unacceptable."

Clyde Carey, 50, of Marina del Rey was at the store Friday visiting a friend when agents burst in through the locked front door, he said.

"We heard some noise outside, and then the door literally burst in, and the DEA came in in full combat gear, told everybody to get on the floor and put their hands behind their heads," Carey said. "It was like, literally, an episode of "24," when they bust in on a terrorist cell."

Carey, who said he has multiple sclerosis and has been a dispensary customer since February, stood across the street near a Starbucks with about half a dozen people who had witnessed the raid, watching agents walk in and out.

He said DEA agents searched and cuffed the roughly 25 people inside the building, which also includes four upstairs rooms. Then agents started searching the premises, removing computers, medicine and money, and using a steel cylinder battering ram to get into the upstairs bedrooms, Carey said.

Joseph, the owner, said he was at the bank when an employee called to warn him of the raid.

"I'm a fugitive at the moment," he said. Joseph said he had been speaking with his attorney but would not comment on the amount of marijuana lost. "It's going to be very expensive," he said, adding that he had "paid my taxes, every quarter since last year; I've paid my taxes."

The search warrant signed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Victor B. Kenton authorized the seizure of "controlled substances, including marijuana; derivatives thereof, and edible products containing marijuana . . . receipts, notes, ledgers, records . . . reflecting the proceeds of those activities . . . electronic equipment . . . photographs, negatives, videotapes, films, addresses and/or telephone books . . . records, documents, programs, applications. . . ."

On a Web forum for medical marijuana users, news of the raid was posted shortly after 1 p.m. with a call for protesters to "please go down with signs and friends to show your support!"

The dispensary’s MySpace page says it offers "the best of Los Angeles' medical cannabis, as well as several different types of clones. New patients receive a free gift with their first purchase! We are open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, with free secure parking and friendly vibes!"

In addition, the section titled "Who I'd like to meet" solicits people without a "medical recommendation card" for marijuana.

"Suffer from migraines, cancer, glaucoma, depression, arthritis, nausea, anorexia, AIDS, insomnia, chronic pain or any other disorders?" the website says. "Medicinal marijuana might be for you! Come meet with our doctor and see if you qualify."

tami.abdollah@latimes.com

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Little Pharma - Sleep Apnea


image via apnea.com

Some of us in FS have been told that we snore...we won't name names. I will out myself, I, Ed, snore. After several years of prodding, I went in for a sleep study (We will write about that later). The results: I have moderate Sleep Apnea. The most startling part for me was to discover that I don't get to sleep in REM. Which would explain why I can't remember my dreams.

We will explore Sleep apnea on our Little Pharma Blog, what it is, why it needs to be addressed, and compare some of the traditional and alternative remedies, using Ed as the Guinea pig. Stay Tuned!

quote below via wikipedia

"Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. Each episode, called an apnea (Greek: άπνοια (ápnoia), from α- (a-), privative, πνέειν (pnéein), to breathe), lasts long enough so that one or more breaths are missed, and such episodes occur repeatedly throughout sleep. The standard definition of any apneic event includes a minimum 10 second interval between breaths, with either a neurological arousal (a 3-second or greater shift in EEG frequency, measured at C3, C4, O1, or O2), a blood oxygen desaturation of 3-4% or greater, or both arousal and desaturation. Sleep apnea is diagnosed with an overnight sleep test called a polysomnogram.

Clinically significant levels of sleep apnea are defined as five or more episodes per hour of any type of apnea (from the polysomnogram). There are three distinct forms of sleep apnea: central, obstructive, and complex (i.e., a combination of central and obstructive) constituting 0.4%, 84% and 15% of cases respectively.[1] Breathing is interrupted by the lack of respiratory effort in central sleep apnea; in obstructive sleep apnea, breathing is interrupted by a physical block to airflow despite respiratory effort. In complex (or "mixed") sleep apnea, there is a transition from central to obstructive features during the events themselves.

Regardless of type, the individual with sleep apnea is rarely aware of having difficulty breathing, even upon awakening. Sleep apnea is recognized as a problem by others witnessing the individual during episodes or is suspected because of its effects on the body (sequelae). Symptoms may be present for years (or even decades) without identification, during which time the sufferer may become conditioned to the daytime sleepiness and fatigue associated with significant levels of sleep disturbance."

Monday, July 28, 2008

Bio-Tag: Killer Cribs


Use organic!

"56% of all infant carriers, 44% of all car seats, 40% of all strollers and 19% of all portable cribs were found to have high levels of halogenated fire retardants." FOE

The data just keeps coming in...The good folks of Friends of the Earth wrote a great report here.

California Uses More Gas Than China!



image via ABC

Check this article out on the Wired Blog! We use more gas in CA than China does as an entire nation! We are currently gearing-up for a gas action to be deployed on Labor Day. Stay tuned.

PIO: pass / detect, Documentation Video



Here is some documentation video of our pass / detect performance at Emergence on Governors Island in NYC. We modified the original PIO concept by adding the "active" guard. This performance was in collaboration with the Triangle Project (Denemark, New York, Istanbul).

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Gone Gallery



Check out the Gone Gallery, a flickr set by David Silver. While you're at it, check Fail also. Old sites never fail.

Come biking with us on Friday nights...



via dershegoes2nite

Friday, July 25, 2008

Todd's Gear Wall

via susan joyce


Image from Scott Beale @ srl.org

go to www.srl.org for photo of todd's gear wall, scroll down to see video of dave calkins cranking gears. over $40 thousand was raised on sunday. todd is going home soon, he is getting better each and every day.

Bio-Tag: Lead - Part 2, Toxic Toys



There are so many stories like this one. If you are interested in home testing, check the consumer report for kit ranking.

"What have I learned from my ordeal?" - Steve Kurtz

"What have I learned from my ordeal? I’ve learned that with tens of thousands of supporters, with hundreds of thousands of dollars, with one of the best legal teams in the US, with a crack media team, with a group of experienced fundraisers, with four years of one’s life, and with total innocence, sometimes one can slice off a piece of American justice. Which in the end means: The overwhelming majority of people ain’t gettin’ justice, and we have to keep fighting until they do."

Steve Kurtz





Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bio-Tag: Bisphenol A



"Experts fear "Bisphenol A," a chemical in everyday plastics, could harm people."

quote via youtube

Shock & Awe



"Gifts must affect the receiver to the point of shock. "
Walter Benjamin

What's the gift GW?

Bio-Tag: Benzene



We'll take lawyers over Benzene any day.

"Benzene is a known carcinogen linked to AML, MDS, Leukemia and other forms of cancer. Working with petroleum products and solvents can lead to exposure both from fumes and absorption through the skin."

SoundWalk2008



We will be participating in SoundWalk 2008 this year. More to come...

F L O O D
Presents
SoundWalk2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 21, 2008
MEDIA CONTACTS:

Kamran Assadi (562) 858-9846
Marco Schindelmann (562) 413-5868
Shea M Gauer (562) 277-4746
Frauke Von Der Horst (562) 437-1550
Shelley RuggThorp (562) 235-1846

ARTISTS CONTACT: Marco Schindelmann (562) 413-5868
Visit www.soundwalk.org to learn more about SoundWalk2008
Email: soundwalk2008@yahoo.com
LONG BEACH, CA- On September 20 th 2008, the Long Beach artist group, FLOOD, will present SoundWalk2008, the fifth annual SoundWalk event that will feature returning participants as well as new artists from the Southland and the international scene. The evening operates under the concept of a one-night aural/visual experience as provided by sound installations located in various indoor and outdoor spaces situated throughout the East Village Arts District in Downtown Long Beach. The artwork combines, in multiple ways, a wide range of visual and audio components. There will be sculptures, environments, installations, and performances. It is the variety of work that makes the event memorable for all who visit. Furthermore, performances will be scheduled during the course of the evening for sound artists with timed performances.

In collaboration with SoundWalk 2008, Long Beach Museum of Art is hosting several works by sound artist Gary Raymond during the month of September, for more information please contact LBMA at (562) 439-2119.
..
WHAT: Sound Art Event "SoundWalk 2008", a one-night event of sound installations by over 50 local and international sound artists.

WHERE: Throughout the area encompassed by Broadway, Atlantic Avenue, Ocean Boulevard, and Elm Street in the East Village Arts District of Downtown Long Beach. The art is exhibited in a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces.

WHEN: Saturday, September 20th, 2008 from 5 - 10 pm

ADMISSION: Free
PARKING: Metered parking is available on the street; additional parking is also available in the parking lot at the NE corner of Broadway and Elm Ave.

SoundWalk2008

Celebrating its fifth year, SoundWalk is an annual art event produced by the Long Beach artist group, FLOOD. The inaugural program, with 30 participating artists, was enthusiastically received by artists and auditors alike with close to a thousand people in attendance. Many visitors had no prior encounter with sound art, and their responses to the event were overwhelmingly positive.

This year, we again offer another environmental experience with new and returning artists participating in the alteration of a familiar urban space. Outdoor sound installations add a layer to and perform in concert with the sounds of the city, thus altering and intermingling with the ambient environment(s) of their locations. Unlikely juxtapositions of the ordinary and the extraordinary present themselves through chance encounters with the attending public. Galleries and stores within the Arts District will accommodate a variety of indoor installations in uncommon intersections of art and commerce. The evening of sound installations will not only offer exciting moments of transformed perception, but will provide a chance to rethink our sensory engagement with the spaces in which we function. Site maps will be available on the night of the event, posting the locations of the more than 60 artists exhibiting in a variety of venues.

This event is free to the public and is being sponsored in part by the Downtown Long Beach Associates (DLBA), The Arts Council for Long Beach, The East Village Association (EVA), Koo’s, and The City of Long Beach. A DVD catalog/soundtrack of this years event will be available for sale at "Momentum" on October 5, 2008 during the “University by the Sea“ event. More information about FLOOD and the participating artists is available upon request.

About FLOOD

The artist group, FLOOD has been working on installation projects for the last six years. FLOOD is interested in testing the limits of artistic expression through collaboration and experimentation within a variety of artistic genres. Current members of FLOOD are Kamran Assadi, Frauke von der Horst, Shelley RuggThorp, Shea M Gauer, Scott A Peterson, and Marco Schindelmann.

SoundWalk2008 Participants:

Aaron Drake / Adam Fong / Amy Ling Huynh / Andrew Johnson / Bekkah Walker / Betsy Lohrer Hall / Braden Diotte / c.t. Anderson / Carlin Wing / Clay Chaplin / D. Jean Hester / David P. Earle / Divine Brick Research / Double Blind / Eric Lindley, Dave Mickey, He Yin, Dan Rae Wilson & Carlo Vogele / Eric Strauss / Finishing School / FLOOD / Francene Kaplan / G. Douglas Barrett / Gintas K / Hans Tammen / inLimen / j.frede / James Orsher / Jeff Foye and Gordon Winiemko / Joe Cantrell / Joe Newlin / Joe Tepperman / John Kannenberg / John P. Hastings / Julia Holter / Karen Crews & Carl Off / Madelyn Byrne, Randy Hoffman & Ellen Weller / Mark Trayle / Megan Madzoeff / Metal Rouge / MLuM / N_DREW (aka Andrew Bucksbarg) / Object Control / Ori Barel/OTONOMIYAKI / Phil Curtis / phog masheeen / Robert Martin & John M. Kennedy / Robot Repair Projects / Sander Roscoe Wolff & Matthew O'Donnell / S.S. “SEATBELT” McLean / Small Drone Orchestra / smgsap / Steve Craig / Stuart Sperling / SUBLAMP / Super Minerals / The Hop-Frog Kollectiv & Friends / The Carolyn Duo/ Vincent Olivieri

Buns and Guns!



Yum. Thanks Adam!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bio-Tag: Greenhouse Gases



image via epa

NPR: EPA Won't Regulate Greenhouse Gases

"All Things Considered, July 11, 2008 · The Environmental Protection Agency in a report Friday says it won't regulate greenhouse gases. The authors of the report could not agree on the effects of greenhouse gases on health. Any new regulation will have to wait for the next administration." Listen here.

Oh wait, there is more...

NPR: Did The White House Manipulate Climate Documents?

"Day to Day, July 8, 2008 · A former EPA official claims the White House pushed for major deletions in congressional testimony about the health consequences of climate change. Madeleine Brand talks with NPR's John Nielsen about the claims and the alleged attempt to avoid regulating greenhouse gases." Listen here.

Finally...

via commondreams.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 17, 2008
3:12 PM


CONTACT: Government Accountability Project
Rick Piltz, Climate Science Watch Director
director@climatesciencewatch.org
Dylan Blaylock, Communications Director
202.408.0034 ext. 137, 202.236.3733 cell
dylanb@whistleblower.org

EPA Quietly Releases Climate Change Health Effects Report

WASHINGTON - July 17 - Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a major study by the US Climate Change Science Program synthesizing current scientific knowledge of climate change-induced threats to human health. This information should be critical to the EPA’s previous “endangerment finding” for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. However, the EPA Office of Air and Radiation, the branch assigned rulemaking responsibility, evidently did not rely on and did not cite the CCSP report.

Stalled for release since spring (the final draft of the report was ready in April), the report released today is one of several that are transmitted to Congress and the President under a requirement of the Global Change Research Act. The report, Analyses of the Effects of Global Change on Human Health and Welfare and Human Systems, is an interagency effort led by EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

“There is an apparent disconnect between the Climate Change Science Program’s purported ‘decision support’ assessment of climate change and human health released today, on the one hand, and EPA’s greenhouse gas regulatory analysis, on the other,” said Rick Piltz, Director of Climate Science Watch, a program of the Government Accountability Project. “I believe the White House and EPA would prefer that the report released today not receive significant public and congressional attention.”

A draft version of the endangerment finding – “Draft Technical Support Document: Endangerment Analysis for Greenhouse Gas Emissions under the Clean Air Act” [http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/anpr.html ] – assessing threats to public health and welfare of greenhouse gases was finally released by the EPA last week, after the finding was withheld from Congress and the public by the White House for seven months.

The EPA was required by law to prepare a public health and welfare endangerment finding for carbon dioxide after the Supreme Court in Massachusetts vs. EPA ruled last year that the EPA has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. The purpose of the endangerment finding is to guide the EPA’s decision about whether and how to curtail greenhouse gas emissions through a variety of mechanisms available under the Clean Air Act.

Last week, EPA Administrator Steve Johnson essentially snubbed the Supreme Court, Congress, and the public by dismissing the Clean Air Act as a tool ill-suited for achieving greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and opened a comment period that will end after the November election.

“The EPA is trying to release today’s major findings on the public health threats associated with climate change with little effort to attract public attention – as they did with another recent assessment report on climate change impacts on federal lands,” Piltz said.

EPA whistleblower Jason Burnett recently identified Vice President Cheney as the culprit behind the heavy-handed censorship last year of CDC Director Julie Gerberding’s congressional testimony that was to describe a host of climate change-induced threats to public health. Stated Piltz, “An active ‘global warming disinformation campaign’ operates at the top levels of government, and has now progressed from attempts to deny the science to active meddling intended to dismiss, downplay, and disguise the harmful, negative impacts of climate change.”

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing next week to investigate the questionable activities behind the EPA's actions. Committee Chair Barbara Boxer recently observed, "These two things - the CDC censorship and the stonewall on the endangerment finding – are obviously related."

The report released by EPA today, Analyses of the Effects of Global Change on Human Health and Welfare and Human Systems, can be accessed at the following URL:

http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/cfm/recordisplay.cfm?deid=197244


The Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, GAP’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, GAP is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bio-Tag: Sunscreens



Are sunscreens bad for you? I ponder that everytime I lather up. We are told that the UV rays have become more intense over the years and need to screen it with hats, clothing and the dreaded chemical-infused goopy white liquid. We are damned if we do and damned if we don't. Scientific America posted an article a short while back. We will look for more and post them. Here is the link.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Bio-Tag: e-waste



"E-waste is routinely exported by developed countries to developing ones, often in violation of the international law. This practice is legal because the US has not ratified the Basel Convention." via Greenpeace




"Recycling old electronics keeps toxic components from contaminating the environment. Recycled improperly, however, they could end up polluting not only your area but also other countries." via PC World




"A container of electronic waste (e-waste) from Port of Oakland in the US was intercepted in Hong Kong by Greenpeace activists. After months of research, we determined that the container was destined for Sanshui district in mainland China meaning that - under Chinese law - the import was illegal. Activists boarded the YM Success, pitched a tent on top of the containers and prevented the illegal e-waste from being offloaded." via Greenpeace

Friday, July 18, 2008

Conflux 2008 - Sept. 11-14, 2008



Just heard, we will be presenting Open House at Conflux this year! Details to follow.

From the Conflux Site:

"Conflux is the annual New York festival for contemporary psychogeography, the investigation of everyday urban life through emerging artistic, technological and social practice. At Conflux, visual and sound artists, writers, urban adventurers and the public gather for four days to explore their urban environment.

People from a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures come together at the festival to re-imagine the city as a playground, a space for positive change and an opportunity for civic engagement. The Village Voice describes Conflux as a "network of maverick artists and unorthodox urban investigators… making fresh, if underground, contributions to pedestrian life in New York City, and upping the ante on today’s fight for the soul of high-density metropolises."

From architects to skateboarders, Conflux participants have an enthusiasm for the city that's contagious. Over the course of the long weekend the sidewalks are literally transformed into a mobile laboratory for creative action. With tools ranging from traditional paper maps to high-tech mobile devices, artists present walking tours, public installations and interactive performance, as well as bike and subway expeditions, workshops, a lecture series, a film program and live music performances at night.

Since 2003, when we had 30 mostly local artists and a small audience, the festival has grown to include over 100 artists from across the US, as well as Australia, Canada, Japan and many European countries. As our annual call for artists becomes more and more competitive and we receive hundreds of entries, the quality of projects increases and we are now proud to present what we feel is the most innovative work being produced in the field of public-space arts.

Conflux is produced by Glowlab, a Brooklyn-based organization supporting emerging art and technology inspired by the everyday life of cities. Glowlab operates as a nomadic initiative, collaborating and consulting with host galleries, arts groups and individual artists around the world. We've worked with arts organizations including Eyebeam, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the Van Alen Institute and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, as well as local universities such as New York University, Hunter College and Parsons. Conflux has been reviewed in publications including the New York Times, the Village Voice Flash Art and Art Review Magazine and covered on numerous arts blogs and cultural websites such as Flavorpill, Nylon, Rhizome and Gothamist.

Conflux is attended by people of differing backgrounds who share a common desire to understand, explore, and ultimately heighten their enjoyment of the urban environment while learning how to sustain and improve it. Conflux visitors are introduced to the ways cutting-edge artists utilize performance, visual art and music to address topics including the environment, sustainable development, the increased presence of technology in cities, emerging trends in social/local networking and ways we can humanize the urban experience by encouraging dialogue amongst communities.

As a fiscally-sponsored project of the Brooklyn Arts Council, Conflux has received support from the New York State Council on the Arts, Artists Space, the Puffin Foundation and the Independence Community Foundation."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bio-Tag Short-list for NL



Here is the Bio-Tag short list for the NL installment. The following data comes from the Greenpeace.nl's website, translated with Google. We need to now verify this list.

"Dutch companies contribute to that chemical pollution. It makes Broomchemie in Terneuzen brominated flame retardants, produces PFW Chemicals (Barneveld) and synthetic muskverbindingen makes Exxon phthalates in the Rijnmond....

[Here is their broader list]

1. In many of our electronic household appliances are brominated flame retardants, which prevent the products quickly and ignites uitbranden.

2. In vinyl, electricity cables and cosmetics are phthalates (plasticizers). These are among others used to make soft PVC.

3. The most commonly used organotin in consumer products are in products such as PVC pipes, panels, wall coverings, linoleum and toys.

4. Synthetic Muskverbindingen be used for cosmetics and cleaning products in their odours.

5. Alkylphenols are in plastics, industrial cleaning agents and pesticides. But also in cosmetics, shampoos and grooming products.

6. Perfluorverbindingen sit in anti-aanbakpannen (Teflon) and water repellent coatings for carpets, textiles, leather, paper and cardboard.

7. Bisphenol-A is in CDs, reusable bottles (as waterkoelers and babyflessen), mobile phones, safety glass, windshields for motors, medical devices and roof elements.

8. Antimoonverbindingen are widely used for fireproofing their properties. They are in electronics, children's clothing, toys and upholstery of car seats.

9. Beryllium is a lot of electronics, both in consumer and industrial applications (space and aeronautics, defense industry).

10. PVC is widely used in building materials such as cables, window frames, doors, walls, wainscoting, water and afvalwaterpijpen. In house is often in the PVC flooring, wall coverings, window blinds and shower curtains. PVC is widely used in consumer products such as computers, TVs, credit cards, imitatieleer, plates, furniture and toys."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Todd Blair Benefit




Via Susan Joyce of Fringe Exhibitions:

heres an image of the gear for todds wall benefit at rythmix in alameda. this sunday is the assembly of the 25 gear wall, a tribute and fundraiser for todd. for more info go to www.toddnow.org special thanks to mark pauline for gear fabrication, dorsey dunn for design, and casey hanrahan for anodizing and laser etching.

if you are in chinatown this weekend be sure to stop by fringe for the MVM Disembody red carpet reception and film premier on saturday nite. gallery open everyday next week for 3 screenings a day. check out the gallery website media project for daily video footage and other info. thanks for your support! have a great summer, sj

Bio-Tag goes to the NL




We are absolutely stunned with our ass-backward policies and attitude here in the U.S. toward toxins. It is scary. Hence, the motivation for this project. The average person in the U.S. doesn't seem to be aware of the toxic landscape all around us, let alone care when they are confronted with the data.

We are slated to take our Bio-Tag project to the Netherlands this coming August for an exhibition called De Zone. The challenge for us is the EU is light years ahead of the U.S. in ridding toxins from the region. Here is a quick read that explains a new law in the EU.

Let us quote:

"The new laws in the European Union require companies to demonstrate that a chemical is safe before it enters commerce -- the opposite of policies in the United States, where regulators must prove that a chemical is harmful before it can be restricted or removed from the market. Manufacturers say that complying with the European laws will add billions to their costs, possibly driving up prices of some products. "

Stay tuned.

Bio-Tag: Dioxin - "The Darth Vader of chemicals"



Dioxin, Duplicity & Dupont - Sierra Club Chronicles

"The DuPont plant in DeLisle, Mississippi has been releasing large amounts of dioxin and heavy metals for nearly 20 years. This film explores health problems being experienced by residents and former workers, and evidence that oysters in the area exported for sale around the U.S. have been contaminated by DuPont's poisonous discharges. About 2,000 people have filed lawsuits against DuPont alleging pollution from this facility has harmed their health."

The following was sourced from the Dioxin Homepage:

What is dioxin?

Dioxins and furans are some of the most toxic chemicals known to science. A draft report released for public comment in September 1994 by the US Environmental Protection Agency clearly describes dioxin as a serious public health threat. The public health impact of dioxin may rival the impact that DDT had on public health in the 1960's. According to the EPA report, not only does there appear to be no "safe" level of exposure to dioxin, but levels of dioxin and dioxin-like chemicals have been found in the general US population that are "at or near levels associated with adverse health effects." .

Dioxin is a general term that describes a group of hundreds of chemicals that are highly persistent in the environment. The most toxic compound is 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin or TCDD. The toxicity of other dioxins and chemicals like PCBs that act like dioxin are measured in relation to TCDD. Dioxin is formed as an unintentional by-product of many industrial processes involving chlorine such as waste incineration, chemical and pesticide manufacturing and pulp and paper bleaching. Dioxin was the primary toxic component of Agent Orange, was found at Love Canal in Niagara Falls, NY and was the basis for evacuations at Times Beach, MO and Seveso, Italy.

Dioxin is formed by burning chlorine-based chemical compounds with hydrocarbons. The major source of dioxin in the environment comes from waste-burning incinerators of various sorts and also from backyard burn-barrels. Dioxin pollution is also affiliated with paper mills which use chlorine bleaching in their process and with the production of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) plastics and with the production of certain chlorinated chemicals (like many pesticides).

Does dioxin cause cancer?


Yes. The EPA report confirmed that dioxin is a cancer hazard to people. In 1997, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) -- part of the World Health Organization -- published their research into dioxins and furans and announced on February 14, 1997, that the most potent dioxin, 2,3,7,8-TCDD, is a now considered a Group 1 carcinogen, meaning a "known human carcinogen."

Also, in January 2001, the U.S. National Toxicology Program upgraded 2,3,7,8-TCDD from "Reasonably Anticipated to be a Human Carcinogen" to "Known to be a Human Carcinogen." See their reports on dioxins and furans from their most recent 11th Report on Carcinogens. Finally, a 2003 re-analysis of the cancer risk from dioxin reaffirmed that there is no known "safe dose" or "threshold" below which dioxin will not cause cancer.

A July 2002 study shows dioxin to be related to increased incidence of breast cancer.

What other health problems are linked to dioxin exposure?


In addition to cancer, exposure to dioxin can also cause severe reproductive and developmental problems (at levels 100 times lower than those associated with its cancer causing effects). Dioxin is well-known for its ability to damage the immune system and interfere with hormonal systems.

Dioxin exposure has been linked to birth defects, inability to maintain pregnancy, decreased fertility, reduced sperm counts, endometriosis, diabetes, learning disabilities, immune system suppression, lung problems, skin disorders, lowered testosterone levels and much more. For an detailed list of health problems related to dioxin, read the People's Report on Dioxin.

How are we exposed to dioxin?

The major sources of dioxin are in our diet. Since dioxin is fat-soluble, it bioaccumulates, climbing up the food chain. A North American eating a typical North American diet will receive 93% of their dioxin exposure from meat and dairy products (23% is from milk and dairy alone; the other large sources of exposure are beef, fish, pork, poultry and eggs). In fish, these toxins bioaccumulate up the food chain so that dioxin levels in fish are 100,000 times that of the surrounding environment. The best way to avoid dioxin exposure is to reduce or eliminate your consumption of meat and dairy products by adopting a vegan diet. According to a May 2001 study of dioxin in foods, "The category with the lowest [dioxin] level was a simulated vegan diet, with 0.09 ppt.... Blood dioxin levels in pure vegans have also been found to be very low in comparison with the general population, indicating a lower contribution of these foods to human dioxin body burden."

In EPA's dioxin report, they refer to dioxin as hydrophobic (water-fearing) and lipophilic (fat-loving). This means that dioxin, when it settles on water bodies, will rapidly accumulate in fish rather than remain in the water. The same goes for other wildlife. Dioxin works its way to the top of the food chain.

Men have no ways to get rid of dioxin other than letting it break down according to its chemical half-lives. Women, on the other hand, have two ways which it can exit their bodies:

It crosses the placenta... into the growing infant; It is present in the fatty breast milk, which is also a route of exposure which doses the infant, making breast-feeding for non-vegan/vegetarian mothers quite hazardous. If you're eating the typical North American diet, this is where you are getting your dioxin from:



Chart from EPA Dioxin Reassessment Summary 4/94 - Vol. 1, p. 37
(Figure II-5. Background TEQ exposures for North America by pathway)

[A TEQ is a dioxin Toxic EQuivalent, calculated by looking at all toxic dioxins and furans and measuring them in terms of the most toxic form of dioxin, 2,3,7,8-TCDD. This means that some dioxins/furans might only count as half a TEQ if it's half as toxic as 2,3,7,8-TCDD.]



[Chart from May 2001 study by Arnold Schecter et. al., Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A, 63:1–18]

Note: freshwater fish were farm-raised on a diet of meat, which is why they show the highest dioxin levels in this study.

Bio-Tag: Phthalates / Anderson Cooper gets tested for PBDE Phalates Polychlorinate



Learn about Body Burden Testing here.

And here is the counter position:



Dr. Harry Fisch, an MD and director of Columbia University's Male Reproductive Center, tells questioners that there is no reason to support a bill to ban some phthalates from toys. The evidence is not there, he says. There are "tons of studies" on the phthalate used in toys, but nothing to suggest it should be banned. For more info check http://www.vinyltoys.com

Activity: No Free Lunch

We will be posting DIY activities as we find them. We are cross posting this on Little Pharma. Enjoy:



"Spend some time exploring the website of No Free Lunch (http://www.nofreelunch.org). Then interview your doctor about the organization: Has he or she heard of it? Do they know what its goals are? What do they think about its mission? Have they signed the pledge? If not, why not? Would they in the future? Make some calls to other doctor’s offices and try to find out how many have heard of the organization and/or signed the pledge. Post your findings here in the comments section."

assignment via Big Bucks, Big Pharma: Marketing Disease and Pushing Drugs Study Guide Written by Bill Yousman

Interview - The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products


Interview with investigative journalist Mark Schapiro author of "Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What's at Stake for American Power"

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bio-Tag: Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)





The following text was sourced from here.

Genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) are a broad group of plants, animals, and bacteria that are engineered for a wide variety of applications ranging from agricultural production to scientific research. The types of potential hazards posed by GMO’s vary according to the type of organism being modified and its intended application. Most of the concern surrounding GMO’s relates to their potential for negative effects on the environment and human health. Because GMO’s that could directly effect human health are primarily products that can enter the human food supply, this website focuses on genetically modified food. To date, the only types of products that have been approved for human consumption in the U.S. are genetically modified plants (FDA website).
All genetically modified foods that have been approved are considered by the government to be as safe as their traditional counterparts and are generally unregulated (FDA website). However, there are several types of potential health effects that could result from the insertion of a novel gene into an organism. Health effects of primary concern to safety assessors are production of new allergens, increased toxicity, decreased nutrition, and antibiotic resistance (Bernstein et al., 2003).

Food Allergy
Food Allergy affects approximately 5% of children and 2% of adults in the U.S. and is a significant public health threat (Bakshi, 2003). Allergic reactions in humans occur when a normally harmless protein enters the body and stimulates an immune response (Bernstein et al., 2003). If the novel protein in a GM food comes from a source that is know to cause allergies in humans or a source that has never been consumed as human food, the concern that the protein could elicit an immune response in humans increases. Although no allergic reactions to GM food by consumers have been confirmed, in vitro evidence suggesting that some GM products could cause an allergic reaction has motivated biotechnology companies to discontinue their development (Bakshi, 2003).

Increased Toxicity
Most plants produce substances that are toxic to humans. Most of the plants that humans consume produce toxins at levels low enough that they do not produce any adverse health effects. There is concern that inserting an exotic gene into a plant could cause it to produce toxins at higher levels that could be dangerous to humans. This could happen through the process of inserting the gene into the plant. If other genes in the plant become damaged during the insertion process it could cause the plant to alter its production of toxins. Alternatively, the new gene could interfere with a metabolic pathway causing a stressed plant to produce more toxins in response. Although these effects have not been observed in GM plants, they have been observed through conventional breeding methods creating a safety concern for GM plants. For example, potatoes conventionally bred for increased diseased resistance have produced higher levels of glycoalkaloids (GEO-PIE website).

Decreased Nutritional Value
A genetically modified plant could theoretically have lower nutritional quality than its traditional counterpart by making nutrients unavailable or indigestible to humans. For example, phytate is a compound common in seeds and grains that binds with minerals and makes them unavailable to humans. An inserted gene could cause a plant to produce higher levels of phytate decreasing the mineral nutritional value of the plant (GEO-PIE). Another example comes from a study showing that a strain of genetically modified soybean produced lower levels of phytoestrogen compounds, believed to protect against heart disease and cancer, than traditional soybeans (Bakshi, 2003).

Antibiotic resistance
In recent years health professionals have become alarmed by the increasing number of bacterial strains that are showing resistance to antibiotics. Bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics by creating antibiotic resistance genes through natural mutation. Biotechnologists use antibiotic resistance genes as selectable markers when inserting new genes into plants. In the early stages of the process scientists do not know if the target plant will incorporate the new gene into its genome. By attaching the desired gene to an antibiotic resistance gene the new GM plant can be tested by growing it in a solution containing the corresponding antibiotic. If the plant survives scientists know that it has taken up the antibiotic resistance gene along with the desired gene. There is concern that bacteria living in the guts of humans and animals could pick up an antibiotic resistance gene from a GM plant before the DNA becomes completely digested (GEO-PIE website).
It is not clear what sort of risk the possibility of conferring antibiotic resistance to bacteria presents. No one has ever observed bacteria incorporating new DNA from the digestive system under controlled laboratory conditions. The two types of antibiotic resistance genes used by biotechnologists are ones that already exist in bacteria in nature so the process would not introduce new antibiotic resistance to bacteria. Never the less it is a concern and the FDA is encouraging biotechnologists to phase out the practice of using antibiotic resistance genes (GEO-PIE website).

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Bio-Tag raises awareness of dangerous toxins present in the physical environment through the deployment of searchable word “markers” made from natural materials. Hopefully, these typographic deployments will solicit a curiosity that will draw people into personal research and action. The motivation for these actions is to address the lack of public knowledge and the hopeful elimination of toxins that are present in food, the body, the home, and the environment. The scope of the project includes these toxin categories: Agricultural Toxins, Air Pollutants, Biological Contaminants, Carcinogens, Chemicals, Extremely Hazardous Substances, Microorganisms, Multimedia Pollutants, Ozone, Radiation, Soil Contaminants, Toxic Substances, and Water Pollutants. This is an ongoing project. www.finishing-school.net/biotag.html