1. Glyphosate shown to disrupt microbiome ‘at safe levels’, study claims
I’ve been aware of this one for a while and would like to investigate it further. Some say it is bigger than asbestos by far, with glyphosatye found in beers imbibed at the Munich beer festival. Meanwhile a new study has found that glyphosate disrupts the biome at ‘safe’ levels of application.
The study found disrupting effects on sexual development, genes and beneficial gut bacteria in rats.
- “Disruption of the microbiome has been associated with a number of negative health outcomes, such as obsesity, diabetes and immunological problems.”
In 2015 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a WHO agency, judged glyphosate to be a “probable human carcinogen”.
- However, US and European regulators subsequently deemed it acceptable for use, a move campaigners condemned because of regulators’ use of secret industry papers identical to application from pesticide maker [that is, the EU’s food safety watchdog report included pages lifted from the Monsanto submission] and experts with alleged ties to Monsanto.
Monsanto, recently merged with Bayer, has been verballing the research institute, the Ramazzini Institute, saying it is an activist organisation with an (unspecified) agenda. However, Ramazzini worked with Bologna University, the Italian National Health Institute, George Washington State University and the Icahn School of Medicine.
Of course, we need a longer study while we continue to use the stuff hither and yon.
2. The Taj Mahal is losing its shine
The Taj Mahal is turning brown and green, and the Uttar Pradesh state government doesn’t seem to care, according to the Supreme Court, which has instructed the government to get foreign expertise to fix it.
Problem is, it was built by a Muslim and incorporates and expands on design traditions of Persian and earlier Mughal architecture. One BJP politician said last year that it was built by traitors and was a “blot on Indian culture”. That was after it was left out of a government tourism booklet by a government run by a Hindu hardliner.
One problem is the nearby Yamuna River – thought to be India’s most polluted – that attracts insects which excrete waste onto the monument’s walls. There are also a large number of factories in the area, which the court has ordered shut down at times.
Currently workers use fuller’s earth – a mud paste that absorbs dirt, grease and animal excrement – to remove the discolouration, but it is not entirely effective, and the monument doesn’t look good with scaffolding around it.
There’s more at the BBC.
3. Fly plague in the Simpson Desert
Andrew Harper from the Outback Camel Company, travelling through the western Simpson Desert, reckons he’s never seen the flies this bad in his 22 years traversing the outback.
Apparently flies don’t bother camels, which may be just as well. Three out of four flies are female. They need protein to reproduce. The males are looking for moisture. Maybe there is a way of making a meal of them – they seem to be available in significant quantity.
Thanks to John Davidson for the link.
4. Economic management vs fairness
That’s how Peter Lewis, who runs the Essential Report sees the election shaping up. He says
- Somewhere between the Australian’s triumphalist interpretation of Newspoll’s static two-party preferred result laced with a personal approval boost to the prime minister and Fairfax’s skittish Ipsos-fuelled Coalition rebuff probably lies the current state of play.
Newspoll showed Labor steady at 51-49 ahead in TPP terns, but a noticeable tick upwards in Malcolm Turnbull’s approval ratings. He’s now 39-50 satisfied-dissatisfied, rather than 36-53, whereas Shorten is 33-55, down a point.
In terms of better PM, Shorten looked like closing on Turnbull, but now he’s 46-32 rather than 38-35.
I didn’t make too much of the other questions asked except that the LNP is clearly seen as the better economic manager, which seems to be baked into the Australian psyche.
In the Fairfax-Ipsos poll Labor’s lead blew out to 54-46, which stretches belief. 57% thought the extra funds should be used for paying off government debt, with 39% favouring tax cuts.
Essential came in at 52-48 for Labor, closing from 53-47.
Fairfax-Ipsos and Newspoll essentially found that the Budget was favoured most by people who benefit most, who need it least and are least likely to vote for Labor. We didn’t need polls to tell us that.
Perhaps the most interesting poll was on Budget Impacts at Essential:
The tax cut, miserable though it was, and the promise of more to come, keeps the LNP government in the game of economic management where they have a natural advantage.
Tonight I hope to take a look in more detail at Chris Bowen’s Budget reply speech at the National Press Club.