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Gene-altered Foods

March 24th, 2005  · stk

Survery shows Americans are clueless about the genetically modified (GM) foods they eat. (Some would argue that I should have ended that sentence after the fifth word, but that's just mean.)

Answer these questions: (hover over sentence for the correct answer)

  • Can animal genes be inserted into plants?
  • Would tomatoes, modified with catfish genes, taste fishy?
  • Have you eaten a genetically-modified food?

A recent survey has revealed that consumers know little about GM food, even though they've been eating them (unlabeled) for almost 10 years. Roughly 75% of U.S. processed foods (boxed cereals, frozen dinners, cooking oils & more) contain GM ingredients. Most everythign with a corn or soy ingredient has a GM component.

GM foods first hit store shelves in 1994 (Flavr tomato). It wasn't a success and was pulled in 1997, ironically, because of its disappointing flavor. But by 1995, millions of acres of GM corn and soybeans had been planted and processed foods that contained these products were being distributed.

Nearly all GM enhancements are designed to boost yields and resist disease.

Companies developing GM foods voluntarily send data to the FDA, but no official approval is necessary before these products are sold to the public.

Read more in this MSNBC news article

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Updated: 1-Jun-2005
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Filed in:Noteworthy

RFID Security Breeched

February 18th, 2005  · stk

As if we didn't have enough to worry about with identity theft, stolen credit cards, bad checks, second-hand smoke and an improper diet. Add something else to the list.

If you're one of the 150 million that have RFID (or "Radio Frequency ID") as an anti-theft deterrent ... or one of the 6 million with an RFID key fob used to wirelessly pay for gasoline ... then you should know that RFID encryption technology has been hacked.

Some grad students at John Hopkins University in Maryland, discovered that RFID can be thwarted using easily accessible, low-cost technology. With an inexpensive electronic device (<$200 US), criminals could wirelessly 'probe' your RFID car key or gas payment tag, in close proximity, then use the information to determine the unique cryptographic key. Knowing the encryption key, the thieves could circumvent the auto theft prevention system on your late model car or charge their own gas purchases to your account.

More details are contained in the John Hopkins news release.

It is Worth Noting: Credit card numbers are NOT stored in gasoline RFID fobs. Also, keyless remote controls that lock and unlock car doors do not use RFID technology. No reports of such RFID theft have been noted - to date.

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Updated: 1-Jun-2005
Web View Count: 6459 viewsLast Web Update: 1-Jun-2005