UVa.’s One-Year Wonder

Wow. When will Google hire him?

Link: U-Va.’s One-Year Wonder – washingtonpost.com

David Banh, an 18-year-old from Annandale, just graduated from the University of Virginia in one year. With a double major.

His college education, almost entirely covered by a patchwork of scholarships, cost him about $200. And he sold back textbooks for more than that. Now he’s starting graduate study at U-Va. with a research grant.

He was helped by the fact that U-Va., as a public school, costs a lot less than most private colleges. And that the university accepted many of his Advanced Placement credits from high school; many of the most selective private schools wouldn’t. As it was, he doubled up on course credits and took more physics over the summer to finish his second major.

Still, "I’ve never seen anything like that before," said Donald Ramirez, professor and associate chairman of mathematics at U-Va.

"He’s one of a kind," said Vicki Doff, his counselor at the competitive magnet Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County. "Absolutely amazing kid academically, incredibly persistent, bright, focused and determined. His academic record was second to none. I’ve been here over 20 years, and I’ve never had a student take the course load he did in his years here."

She used to worry he was doing too much. "And he usually proved me wrong."

Banh was born and grew up in Fairfax, the eldest son of parents who came to the United States from Vietnam in the 1980s.

via Steve Pavlina

Monsanto Files Patent for the Pig

When greed overrides common sense, life gets strange. Thanks to Chris Gupta for uncovering unearthing this mutation of law and science.

Link: "The Earth is flat, pigs were invented by Monsanto, and genetically modified organisms are safe. Right." – Share The Wealth.

Monsanto Corporation is out to own the world’s food supply, the dangers of genetic engineering and reduced biodiversity notwithstanding, as they pig-headedly set about hog-tying farmers with their monopoly plans. We’ve discovered chilling new evidence of this in recent patents that seek to establish ownership rights over pigs and their offspring. In the crop department, Monsanto is well on their way to dictating what consumers will eat, what farmers will grow, and how much Monsanto will get paid for seeds. In some cases those seeds are designed not to reproduce sowable offspring. In others, a flock of lawyers stand ready to swoop down on farmers who illegally, or even unknowingly, end up with Monsanto’s private property growing in their fields.

One way or another, Monsanto wants to make sure no food is grown that they don’t own — and the record shows they don’t care if it’s safe for the environment or not. Monsanto has aggressively set out to bulldoze environmental concerns about its genetically engineered (GE) seeds at every regulatory level. So why stop in the field? Not content to own the pesticide and the herbicide and the crop, they’ve made a move on the barnyard by filing two patents which would make the corporate giant the sole owner of that famous Monsanto invention: the pig.

The Monsanto Pig (Patent pending) . . . The patent applications were published in February 2005 at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva. A Greenpeace researcher who monitors patent applications, Christoph Then, uncovered the fact that Monsanto is seeking patents not only on methods of breeding, but on actual breeding herds of pigs as well as the offspring that result. "If these patents are granted, Monsanto can legally prevent breeders and farmers from breeding pigs whose characteristics are described in the patent claims, or force them to pay royalties," says Then. "It’s a first step toward the same kind of corporate control of an animal line that Monsanto is aggressively pursuing with various grain and vegetable lines."

There are more than 160 countries and territories mentioned where the patent is sought including Europe, the Russian Federation, Asia (India, China, Philippines) America (USA, Brazil, Mexico), Australia and New Zealand. WIPO itself can only receive applications, not grant patents. The applications are forwarded to regional patent offices.

The patents are based on simple procedures, but are incredibly broad in their claims. In one application (WO 2005/015989 to be precise) Monsanto is describing very general methods of crossbreeding and selection, using artificial insemination and other breeding methods which are already in use. The main "invention" is nothing more than a particular combination of these elements designed to speed up the breeding cycle for selected traits, in order to make the animals more commercially profitable.

More posts about Monsanto:

Are you eating Monsanto’s genetically modified crops?

Monsanto’s Government Ties

Monsanto Backs Off Bio-Wheat

Shining a Light on Agribusiness and It’s Poster Child Monsanto

Another (Cat)Fish Tale

Catfishwithball1

Source: Wichita Kansas Eagle (no link found)

A resident in the area saw a ball bouncing around kind of strange in a nearby pond and went to investigate. It turned out to be a flathead catfish who had obviously tried to swallow a child’s basketball which became stuck in its mouth!

The fish was totally exhausted from trying to dive, but unable to because the ball would always bring him back up to the surface. The resident tried numerous times to get the ball out, but was unsuccessful. He finally cut the ball in order to deflate it and release the hungry catfish.

Kind people.

Thanks to Roy

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