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  •                                  NETFUTURE
    
                        Technology and Human Responsibility
    
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    Issue #82      A Publication of The Nature Institute       January 5, 1999
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                Editor:  Stephen L. Talbott (stevet@netfuture.org)
    
                         On the Web: http://netfuture.org
         You may redistribute this newsletter for noncommercial purposes.
    
    
    CONTENTS
    --------
    
    Quotes and Provocations
       Aggressive Agriculture
       Milk That's Good for Tumors
    
    Can Open Standards Suffocate Us? (Stephen L. Talbott)
       Some unsystematic notes on standardization
    
    About this newsletter
    
    
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                             QUOTES AND PROVOCATIONS
    
    
    Aggressive Agriculture
    ----------------------
    
    Vandana Shiva of the Research Centre for Science and Ecology in India is
    struck by the "war mentality underlying military-industrial agriculture".
    Here, for example, are some of the herbicides produced by Monsanto and
    American Home Products:  "Roundup", "Machete", "Lasso", "Pentagon",
    "Prowl", "Scepter", "Squadron", "Cadre", "Lightning", "Assert", "Avenge".
    
    It is an inescapable fact that we think as we speak, and this is not
    exactly the language of stewardship and sustainability.
    
    (Vandana Shiva's remarks occur in The Ecologist, Sep./Oct., 1998.)
    
    
    Milk That's Good for Tumors
    ---------------------------
    
    Have you drunk your milk today?  If so, it likely came from cows injected
    with rBGH, a genetically diddled version of bovine growth hormone.  Among
    many other changes resulting from the hormone injection, it is undisputed
    that the milk contains elevated levels of the naturally occurring hormone,
    insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1).  The IGF-1 in the milk of injected
    cows is up to ten times more potent than in normal cows, and its
    concentration in the milk is also up to ten times greater.
    
    Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., a professor of environmental medicine at the
    University of Illinois School of Public Health, cites recent findings on
    the effects of heightened levels of IGF-1 in humans.  For example,
    
       As reported in a January 23, 1998 article in Science, men with
       high blood-levels of ... IGF-1 are over four times more likely to
       develop full-blown prostate cancer than are men with lower levels.  The
       report emphasized that high IGF-1 blood-levels are the strongest known
       risk factor for prostate cancer, even exceeding that for a family
       history of the disease, and that reducing IGF-1 levels is likely to
       prevent this cancer.  It was further noted that IGF-1 markedly
       stimulates the division and proliferation of normal and cancerous
       prostate cells and that it blocks the programmed self-destruction of
       cancer cells, thus enhancing the growth and invasiveness of latent
       prostate cancer.
    
    Then there's a May 7 article in The Lancet:
    
       Women with a relatively small increase in blood-levels of [IGF-1] are
       up to seven times more likely to develop premenopausal breast cancer
       t