Tag Archives: patents

Packaging

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Has anyone considered the carbon footprint (and excessive waste) of all this single use packaging?  Whatever that fluorescent light bulb saves in end-of-line energy use is used up front in excessive packaging.  Why has Congress outlawed incandescent light bulbs?  Because if people had a choice, they would buy them.  Deprived of choice, people are forced to buy the patented technology or go back to using candles.

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Here’s How 060616: Ode to Demeter

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Corn, Cochran, GA.  Supposedly, 80% of corn sold in the United States is already genetically modified. It’s too late to label GM products.

Ode to Demeter, Goddess of the Corn
daughter of Cronos and Rhea

Microsoft is on the KO! Economic Hit List this week because I just spent $70 to get Windows 7 reinstalled.  This is because Microsoft is busy providing “free” downloads of Windows 10, which my computer doesn’t have enough memory to handle.  Yes I missed the chance to refuse Windows 10, supposedly, but I was in the middle of composing an e-mail on line when Microsoft butted in and commandeered my computer for at least the next 24 hours.  After 48 hours, I called my computer tech for help.  She said this is happening to everyone.  She’s making a lot of money at her hourly rate to uninstall this free gift from one of the richest corporations in the world.  Beware Windows 10 offers unless you know what you’re doing.  And sell Microsoft stock, if you have it.

If that isn’t a good enough reason to sell Microsoft stock, here’s another:

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is big into finding a patented vaccine for malaria.  Oprah Winfrey is also involved, probably not realizing what she’s lending her name to.  My guess is Oprah is being used to front for the perpetrators.

Who are the perpetrators?  Any number of ever-shifting pharmaceutical shells.  Trying to keep up with Pharma’s rolling dice is like trying to walk over a room full of billiard balls.

This is how it works.  Bayer has recently offered to buy Monsanto for $62 billion in cash, but Bayer apparently would have to borrow money to supply the cash. Bayer is also a prime mover into genetically modified (mutated) food products, such as soy, corn, and potatoes, among others, products which are fed to livestock as well as humans. Meanwhile, Pfizer is offering to move its international headquarters to Ireland, but the US doesn’t want to let go of Pfizer’s patents.

But Novartis is the most noteworthy player for the anti-malarial/Gates swindle.

There’s an international unsettled question of patents, if you’re an international corporation.  Is any government really obligated to honor another government’s patents?  Since I don’t believe in them (patents or governments), I might choose to live in a country where everything is generic, like artemisia in Africa.  If a country like Cuba, for instance, were to refuse to honor Monsanto’s patents, would that save Cuban agriculture from GMO products?  Same with Dow/Dupont and their plastics and insecticides?  I want to get to Cuba before the litter takes over.

Back to mosquitoes and malaria.  Artemisia is a naturally occurring anti-malarial plant that grows in complement with the malarial parasite in Africa, among other places.  It has been used for generations as a natural antidote to malaria.

Enter Novartis, the drug company, and the Gates foundation, and other advocates of patented, processed, and artificially enhanced traditional remedies.  They buy up or wrest control of huge tracts of formerly food-producing or forested land.  They clear it and plant mono-culture fields of artemisia.  Mono-agriculture is one of the most economically unsound, disease-promoting, and earth-depleting agricultural practices we have going, but you won’t hear this from Big Ag.

Anyway, this dinasour-like take-over of previously sustainable agriculture (for the local population, anyway) is no longer available to natives.  Instead, they are rewarded with local wells gone dry or contaminated by industrial pollutants (as both Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola have done in India*).  Instead of providing locally for extended family and villages, the corporations “create jobs” for those who “live below the poverty line,” partly because they grew or found their own food, and didn’t need so much money.  Now, they are on the tax rolls working for the corporations, at bare sustenance wages, so that shareholders on Wall Street can reap enormous unearned profits.

So this is how the US raises the poverty level worldwide, including at home.

But that’s not all.  It gets worse from here.

The next step is to produce a prototype vaccine using artemisia as a base, but the FDA approval process takes years in the US.  Besides, we’ve eliminated malaria and yellow fever (for the moment) by installing good public works and sanitation programs, like draining mosquito habitats (but not poisoning).  In the 18th and 19th centuries, annual outbreaks of seasonal malaria and yellow fever drove people like Alexander Hamilton and plantation owners from cities to farms in summer to escape the recurrences of deadly disease.

Thank Walter Reed and William Gorgas (at the turn of the 20th century) for the scientific discovery of mosquitoes as vectors and of habitat drainage for public health.  Reed was head of the original Army Corps of Engineers Panama Canal digging crew but died in 1901.  His assistant, William Gorgas, assumed the task of draining low swampy land to curb the mosquitoes.

They didn’t have industrial pollution, highway runoff, carcinogens, plastic, litter, junk mail, sewage waste, agricultural chemicals, household poisons, and radioactive isotopes to deal with then, and few patented drugs, so they had to rely on brains and brawn working together to survive.

In any case, since we’ve cured these diseases in the US by sane, low-cost, public health measures, the asset plunders and money churners now want to profit from the diseases we’ve eliminated by doing the opposite of what worked.

This is why GoverCorp is imploding.  It is suicidal, homicidal, psychotic, and out of emotional control.  In Savannah and nationwide, it is breeding mosquitoes by the bucketful with its mono-agriculture, poisoning the entire region with with exhaust fumes, machine noise, pesticides, herbicides, rodentocides, chemical fertilizers, industrial waste, depleting and contaminating groundwater, and poisoning or drying up local wells as fast as it can get away with it.  It is replacing tried and true farming techniques, cultural wisdom, heritage, tradition, and land with cheap American hype and the devastation it causes.

And you, Josie Taxpayer are paying for this through your taxes, purchases, and Wall Street investments. I say “Josie Taxpayer” instead the more urbane “Joe,” because women have more chromosomes than men.  This gives them more genes to work with, and a sixth sense, Common Sense.

So, if you want value for your US tax money, start selling international corporation stock.  Your dividends come on the backs of the world’s most disenfranchised people and the eco-rapists at home.  Can you really rest easy with your retirement portfolio, knowing this, when there are so many more rewarding investments closer to home?

The story about patented malaria vaccines continues, because we still have FDA trials to go through, but we need a “cohort” of test subjects.  Unfortunately, the US has eradicated malaria here, as previously noted, so we need to go to a malaria-infested third world country to find our study “cohort.”  We accomplish miracles with very little money by “gifting” that country’s leadership—as we did in Ecuador a few years back—with vaccines and supplies for vaccinating everyone in the infected area.  Volunteer doctors and medical staff help; needles and other tools are supplied.  This is timed with a huge marketing campaign concocted by Madison Avenue and Wall Street, stocks go up, and dividends prosper.

This GoverCorp plot is given full court press by the media.  For instance, a New York Times column by Thomas L. Friedman (of The World is Flat mentality), on April 20, 2007:  Friedman applauds Bill Gates’ and Novartis’ invasion of Africa.  According to Friedman, we “need to channel [Africa’s] wild, unregulated, informal, individual brand of capitalism” into “formal companies.”  We learn Africa “needs capitalists” like Bill Gates.  It also needs Novartis, which through Advanced Bio-Extracts (ABE) and its head Patrick Henfrey, is paying farmers to grow a “green leafy plant ‘artemisia,’ often called ‘sweet wormwood’ and transform it into a pharmaceutical grade artemisinin–a botanical extract that is the key ingredient in the new generation of low-cost effective malaria treatments.”  We also find Mr. Henley has “contracted with 7000 farmers, most with small farms to grow Artemisia in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.  The crop gives farmers four times the financial yield of corn.”

Yes, but it doesn’t feed them, I claim, and when food becomes more expensive than the money can buy, farmers are left worse off than before.  Also, subsequent reports point to growing resistance of the Plasmodium (malaria) parasite to the manufactured drugs.

For world healing to begin, it’s crucial that Americans recognize the hypocrisy of the system we’ve created.  This first essay in the “Here’s How” series hopes to show more than tell how America’s pompous claims to greatness look more and more delusional on the world stage.

*”Killa-Cola,” by Keith Hyams,  the ecologist, April, 2004.

“We don’t intend to honor patents”

In my wildest dreams, I envision Fidel and Raul Castro refusing to honor foreign patents.  Think of it:  dream dirt, fertilized by oxen and horses since the USSR collapsed in 1991.  Cuba lost its oil source and its sugar market at the same time.  Cubans almost starved, so Fidel invested in the improvements necessary to life:  food and health care.  As a result, he has grown generations of healthy, self-sufficient individuals.

Because of ongoing US spitefulness, in the form of trade embargos, torturing operations, and general scapegoating, Cubans have been forced to remain stuck in time, before tools were made of plastic, before bulldozers and pavement planted thermals in over-heated cities.

Much to United States’ embarrassment, the Castro team has proved that Cuba can survive and prosper without US help.

Hahaha.  Well, if Cuba refused to honor foreign patents, Monsanto and Dow/Dupont’s stockholders would poop in their pants.  Patents are hot commodities, a bloodfest for lawyers, who win either way the FDA blows.  I’ve read that up to 80% of America’s corn is already mutated, so the time for labeling is long past.  Just assume it’s patented food until otherwise proven.

Cuba could then thumb its nose at the FDA, whose nose is up its ass.  (I know this because FDA recommendations stink.  I’m horrified at the succession of FDA-launched food scares, intentional panic-creation with too little or misleading information.)

Beware the patent industry, is all I gotta say to the Castros’ Communal Capitalists, who believe the product is its own patent.  Let the lawyers and government do the paperwork on their own time.

Also, don’t let them trap you into debt.  Eminent domain all foreign assets, including Guantanamo Bay, and especially assets held by corporations like Pfizer, Walmart, and McDonalds.  Use the reclaimed land to pay off any debt, then party with unpatented drugs, and drink to everyone’s health and wealth.

The more I think of it, the better it sounds.  As America drowns in its environmental toxins, it continues to churn out more of them, with no thought of tomorrow.  I think about the growing cesspool of “unintended consequences” now.  I also hate seeing deformed birds, strangled porpoises, and sickly babies that “progress” (downhill fast) is bleeding us to pay for.  Cuba is relatively plastic and packaging free, I hope, at least so far.  Let’s hope they can keep it that way.

Cuba:  A New History, by British journalist Richard Gott, was published in 2004.  I reviewed it on this blog 10/22/15.

In 2005, Harpers‘ published “The Cuba Diet: What will you be eating when the revolution comes?”, by Bill McKibben, April, 2005.  The following month, the ecologist came out with  “Cuba: Health Without Wealth,”  by Brendon Sainsbury, June, 2005.

 

Making Waste

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April, 2016

It occurred to me yesterday that money hoarding and information hoarding go together.  Information hoarding is most obvious in the patent industry.  This translates into mass confusion at the grassroots level, where multiple companies compete on the same turf for “market share.”

faucetplastic0316My new bathroom faucet provides the most recent example of this dysfunctionality.  Home Depot supplies only one brand of faucet, and the bottom of the line (read “simplest”) faucet only comes in one color, an off-color, “polished nickel,” so doesn’t match my formerly standard chrome.  In the 20 years since I bought the old faucet, the metal to plastic ratio has declined maybe 50%.  The drain pipe, pivot nut, and strap are now plastic.  I only needed the new faucet because the plastic gears inside both handles on the old one broke.

Plastic gears, plastic joints, and plastic moving parts have replaced metal in an across-the-board move that creates enormous waste and is dangerous, to boot.  I’m thinking of the aluminum lawn chair that snapped without warning because of the plastic joints.  Plastic, unlike metal or wood, is unfixable, so the entire product must be discarded.

Back to the faucet:  I considered substituting the old metal drain pipe for the new plastic one, but found that male and female ends had been reversed.

Why?  I have to wonder if patents have replaced standardized parts in our universalized conveniences.

Who benefits from this subtle downgrading of standard household equipment?  Certainly not the homeowner, who has not only the expense but the inconvenience of replacing equipment that should have lasted much longer.  Faucets installed all over town in the early 1900s are still functional.   While somewhat corroded and rusty on the outside, they still work as well as ever.

This isolated example would be a minor problem, except that every new replacement product I buy is worse than the old one.  Why did I even have to buy a new one?

“We can’t get parts,” is the standard answer.  When I suggest that digital controls on everything from my propane gas stove, dryer, and tankless water heater, to microwave–and even coffee percolator–add unnecessary levels of complexity and increase electrical and repair costs, people look at me as though I’m the crazy one.

stovefrigidairedig0416Why, in an age when we claim to want to reduce energy waste, are we being maneuvered into untenable situations like this?  My desire to free myself from the grid and Southern Company’s monopoly is blocked at every turn by corporate desperation to keep me hooked into a system that bleeds individuals like me dry.

And they wonder why the economy is imploding?

*The Waste Makers, by Vance Packard, (1963) which I read in the 1970s, made a profound and enduring impression.  I skimmed through it while writing this blog and see that Packard’s observations are even more apparent today.  It should be required reading in every high school.

**Total cost of replacing the Frigidaire stove’s digital control panel was $115. (The replacement part was $82).

 

Bicycles and Public Domain Technology

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Courtesy of Libby Belle
an alter ego of katharineotto.wordpress.com
January, 2016

Ride free as the breeze,
If you please,
Escape noise, fumes,
Death and taxes,

Proving scientist Ben Franklin wrong.
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Ben didn’t believe in patents,
But Tom Edison did,
And look where it got him.

Incandescent light bulbs,
Where did they go?
Outlawed by Congress,
Awhile ago.

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What does Tom think of that?
His best idea, going flat?
Mad as hell, and that’s that.
He wants revenge so tips his hat
To his mentor Ben, the diplomat.

Tom and Ben plot a course
For the power of the horse.
Abandon patents, they decide.
Make the product, then let it ride.
If folks like it, they’ll copy you,
But you’ll have the first, so
they can’t sue.

GE Corporate trembles and quakes,
“What?! No patents? These are high stakes.”

Libby Belle shakes a feather.

“A lass and a lack, we’ve changed the weather.
The sun has come out, while you were in boxes.
The sky has cleared,artfolkbiketurt0715
The grid disappeared.

Direct current from sun to you,
This is all you need to do
Tom has shared his tale of woe,
Says DC is about to show.
Let the sun be your source,

And Wall Street turns to Trojan Horse.”

Photos, top to bottom:  1.  Tybee Island Fish Camp, Tybee Island, GA.  This restaurant’s entire railing is a bike rack.  Tybee is great for biking.  2.  Bike rack at Brighter Day Natural Foods Market, Savannah, GA.  3.  The city of Savannah’s version of bicycle parking.  4.  Folk art at Gallery By the Sea, Tybee Island, GA.