Friday, January 18, 2008

Musings: Clones and Squealers

A shower moved through quickly before I awoke, and the sky was dark mauka when Koko and I set out walking. As we returned, a light rain began falling, and I was admiring the way the moisture-laden air was infused with a peachy-gold light, when it began coming down harder.

Fortunately, just then my neighbor Andy happened by, with an umbrella, and he offered shelter and a bit of conversation until the rain gave way to a thick, vibrant rainbow.

We talked about dogs and the Superferry, as we often do, and I ratted out his dog Momi for chasing my car the other day. She gave me a narrow-eyed look that made it clear what she thinks of squealers.

Btw, I read in The Garden Island today that a guy squealed on himself for sending a threatening email to the developer who plans to cut down Koloa’s monkeypod trees. Apparently it’s OK to have a generic “Die Developers Die” bumper sticker on your car, but if you target one developer in particular, you’re in trouble.

Andy said he wasn’t convinced of military plans for the Superferry after reading my “Lifting the Veil” series, but thought I made some plausible arguments that got people thinking.

That was my goal, as I know he and I aren’t the only ones wondering how the boat is going to make money, especially when it keeps canceling service to Maui because high surf is wreaking havoc with the barge, as happened the past two days.

As Andy and I agreed, such problems would have been revealed during an EIS, along with the company’s business plan, but as it is, so much remains hidden about the operation that it’s bound to raise suspicions.

Got a copy of the Superferry Oversight Task Force meeting minutes from December —the first time the panel met — and several members said they thought efforts should be made to involve the public more thoroughly in the process and keep us all apprised of the proceedings. Although DOT’s Mike Formby agreed, the January meeting came and went without any movement in that direction.

However, it seems there was a bit of movement toward reform at the KKCR board meeting the other day. Station manager Gwen Palagi announced the staff is going to seek grants to acquire remote-broadcasting equipment and pursue a remote broadcasting relationship with Storybook Theatre in Hanapepe. This will allow people to do programs without having to come into the Princeville station. She also plans to create a human resources task force to review its volunteer policies, engage in more comprehensive community outreach, issue a “report to the listeners” on station business monthly, and initiate a mediation process regarding the suspended programmers.

Those are all positive steps in the right direction, and a hat tip to Katy Rose for the report. Board member Marj Dente called in on a talk show yesterday and said about 60 people came to the meeting — four times the number that has ever shown up before — and most of the 16 who spoke expressed support for the station, but also concerns.

I was surprised to hear Marj say KKCR has just 700 to 800 members, which is defined by those who give money to the station, myself among them. While that’s fairly good for one organization on Kauai, it’s still a fraction of the island’s population, and my bet is most of the members have North Shore zip codes, myself not among them.

Overall, I think the recent unrest has been a good wake up call for the station, because I often pick up this dreamy tone of unreality over the air when programmers wax on about how KKCR is this big ohana that represents the entire island. With 700 or 800 members, it obviously doesn’t.

While we're on the topic of unreality, although this is more nightmarish than dreamy, the FDA recently announced that cloned meat and dairy products can be sold to consumers, but advised the industry to wait a bit so folks can get used to the creepy idea.

This is just another example of the disgusting lengths we’ve gone to in factory farming. Now more than ever, animals are viewed simply as meat when you can clone a cow from a juicy tenderloin.

If that doesn’t bother you, consider this: Free Speech Radio News reported yesterday that slaughterhouse workers in Indian and Minnesota have come down with a “mysterious neurological illness. The affected workers in both plants had the same job function: to blast brain tissue out of hog heads using compressed air.”

Sounds like a good time to become a vegetarian, or at least go organic and eat Kauai’s free-range beef.

3 comments:

Karen Chun said...

It seems like DOT just keeps repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

I wrote about my 2005 meeting with DOT in which the Kahului Harbor Pilots told them that putting anything on the end of Pier 2 (like a superferry barge!) would be problematical because of the surge.

Did DOT listen? No. And now we're paying over $2000/day to have tugboats hold the Superferry against the barge.

So the 2030 Kahlui Harbor Master Plan Draft EIS comes out and they talk about lengthening Pier 2. Now at that same meeting the pilots said the Kahului Harbor Turning Basin is already too tight and that building out from pier 2 will make it very dangerous for them.

And even worse, they've reserected Pier 5 on the west breakwater for the Superferry and cruise ships. But now they've added a breakwater along the edge of the turning basin to shelter it from the swell (that is currently one of our best surf breaks...to be destroyed)

Do these people even LOOK at the harbor when they come up with these plans? I've watched for over 10 years as tugs maneuver to dock ships. Yeah, the deep draft ships don't leave the turning basin but the tugs do! They use the space that DOT wants to fill in with a rock breakwater to postition for pushing the vessels away from crashing into the wall!

Oh, and just as an aside, they'll be spending a third of a billion dollars to build these 2 piers for the Superferry and cruise ships (who are both on the verge of going under financially) and as far as I can see the cruise ship dock is not usable for ordinary freighters due to the U turn and restricted turning radius necessary to enter the dock.

And oh yeah. They're going to build a breakwater sticking out of the east mouth of the harbor to "reduce the surge". But the Army Corps of Engineers already did a study saying that wouldn't help.

Yet more examples of DOT's ineptitude.

Bottom line: Maui loses one of its best surf spots accessible to our lower income youth in Kahului and we also lose the outrigger paddling race course.

Yeah, I know the Governor SAID they'd keep the race course. But in another denial of reality, they're filling in one end of it for dock space and turning the other end into an expanded turning basin for pier 5 which means we can't set flags there.

If you are on Maui, please attend the public DOT meeting this Wednesday (Jan 23) at 6pm and voice your opposition. Harbor users get a presentation starting at 3:30pm. If you surf, paddle, fish or boat, you're a user...even if DOT doesn't think you are!

Anonymous said...

bit off the mark

the guy didn't squeal on himself. he signed the threatening letter so there was no doubt who sent it.

he just turned himself in when he was informed he was wanted.

Protest is fine. Threats are un cool.

Hale Mawae said...

The whole idea of cloned beef being packaged and sold to the highest bidders and consumers of our fast food nation makes me want to find the nearest toilet as quickly as possible and vomit.

I used to be quite enthralled with topics like genetic engineering and cloning when I first read about it in Michael Crichton sci-fi suspense novels when I was in the 8th grade. It seemed to be a real hot topic at the time especially since I wanted to expand my knowledge on how real it could be for a rabid pack of velociraptor's to tear after me on one of my long bus stop walks home from school.

It was pure intrigue.

So I searched through news articles and sure enough the Scottish were more eager than ever to reproduce more sheep. Cloned sheep. Hence the birth of Dolly. Baa-aa-aa-ah!

Again pure intrigue.

It was like I was watching the pages of a Jurassic Park Pre-quel to show how all this mess got started as I am chased down the street by a hungry, man-eating, pack of veloci-sheep. Sci-fi reality!

It wasn't dinosaurs, but sheep was at least a step in that direction.

Intrigue turns into sheer horror.

I have a velociraptor-lump kind of feeling in my throat about Dolly. Dolly who got dropped into a multi-million dollar media frenzy that craved the genetic attention it deserved. The rest of the world all standing around, giving Dolly a round of applause.

Clapping our hands of God as she began to rapidly age because of genetic mutations of her major internal organs including her lungs and skeletal structure.

Lung failure that progressed at an advanced rate that could not be helped or stopped by the Doctors who brought her into this world.

Still clapping?

Articles surged through the papers, "Dolly is Dying." It seemed by then that no one in the media really cared anymore. No one was talking about Dolly. It was just cloned sheep.

It didn't matter that Dolly was only 4 years old and beginning to die with symptoms of the age of a 13 year old sheep. She had made her tribute to science's advancement in cloning.

Dolly the first mammal clone brought into this world by the hands of God. A Human giving birth to a sheep. Given life by the hand of man.

"Dolly had been euthanised because of a progressive lung disease and crippling arthritis. A Finn Dorset such as Dolly would have had a life expectancy of around 12 - 15 years, but Dolly lived to be only 6 years of age." (www.wikipedia.com)

Scientists then moved on to cloning mice, goats, and even the first ever cloned monkey, Tetra, back in the birthplace of mammal cloning, Scotland.

Tetra who was brought into this world by the Scottish scientists new method that didn't involve neutral transfer. Neutral transfer being the process for which Dolly had been created. From inserting a cell from an existing animal into the embryo of another to recreate a carbon copy of that already existing life.

Tetra on the other hand had been a completely different process which involved embryo splitting.

"Embryo splitting basically duplicates in the lab what the body does naturally in creating identical twins, triplets and quadruplets. For that reason, there's fear the technology may be rushed in to answer problems of human infertility and open the door to the possibility of human clones."(CBS.com)

Tetra and her twin sister Artet sit in a monkey cage somewhere being injected with study vaccinations and test viruses. Tetra should be seven years old and counting, but how do we really know when Tetra the monkey has already suffered the same fate as Dolly?

Pure intrigue.

Nobody's paying attention and everyone's forgot.

But why clone monkey's?

Well here's an interesting thought:

"Currently, most medical therapies are first tested in mice, but monkeys are much closer to human biology and would be more reliable in developing daring new techniques such as gene therapy or growing new organs using stem cells, Schatten said."(CNN.com)

Maybe Tetra 1 ended up on the display table with pins and needles after suffering through years of being infected, injected, cured, and infected again before finally moving on to Tetra-R45TYFX2.

A Super Tetra, with psychic power, mind manipulating capabilities created for the sole purpose to tell humans the secret to save life.

A mad scientist in a plastic suit sealed in a safe room using robotic arms behind a room surrounded by 20 layers of reinforced, unbreakable glass. Tetra 1 strapped to a metal table in a room with filtered oxygen. Robotic arms performing microscopic surgery as the scientist breathes through a tube and a computer recites the probability for success, failure, and the potential for human exposure to the virus.

Tetra 1 going through the first stage of a series of cerebral injections of cancerous tumor cells, and other viruses created for the sole purpose of clinical medical research for a cure.

The robotic hands stitch up Tetra 1's skull and it sets her down in a cage that carries her off on the conveyer belt to the room where the rest of the Tetra's are.

Who's to say? I'm sure the geneticists have plenty Tetra's up their plastic bio-suit sleeves. There are rooms stock full of a whole army of screeching, angry, virus infected Tetras, all waiting to bounce from their cages and look for the nearest needle and syringe to cure themselves before planning their illusive escape.

I imagine a scenario where the monkey's experience is very similar to what humans have gone through in films like Logan's Run, Soylent Green or for the youngin's out there who've seen The Island.

Sci-fi Movies, where human clones run free and try to kill off their better halves. The original copies. So they can liberate themselves from their cloned existence.

"Futuristic" scenarios where people become so expendable that we put them through a grinder for food tablets, or manufacture them for some vain purpose to extract and replace cloned internal organs with theirs when their own start to go bad.

If scientists had a big enough success rate with their manufactured viruses and cloning procedures for monkeys then maybe we get to move on to expanding the edge of the next chapter of fiction vs. reality.

Maybe we get to take the next step and do it to ourselves.

Are we ready to look our clone in the eyes and ask them for their internal organs? Will we promise to replace theirs from another clone that neither of you know?

Because in all honesty you like your original clone. It was the second copy that bothered you a little, so let's go for it instead. Besides, two's a party; three's a crowd. Twins for life, never knew a third existed to begin with. It had no name, only a stick with a barcode and numbers, attached to a plastic bag in an ice chest marked for renewed life.

When our goal is to manufacture life for consumption, whether its for food or for extended human life, we begin to gnaw on our own shoulder. We become scientifically dependent to be cannibals of life. Eating away at our own carbon copy creations, driven by our own need for mass consumption of that same life.

Hale Mawae
Eo Lono!
(http://bebo.com/hmawae2004)