Agribiz and the Third World, Goats Working for the U.S. Forest Service, Alternative Sanitation Systems and More

Learn about solar energy, Mt. Everest, Xylitol and other short news bits.

| January/February 1977

  • Goat
    You'll learn why the U.S. Forest Service employed goats and many more interesting facts in this collection of tidbits.

  • Goat

THE UGLY AMERICANS. Del Monte, Campbell's, Carnation, United Brands, Castle & Cooke, and other based agribiz giants are "warring with the landless peasants of the Third World," according to the Pacific News Service. The PNS reports that the monster corporations are expanding their $30 billion investment in overseas operations, forcing hundreds of thousands of peasants off the land ... and then hiring the displaced people back as field hands and farm workers at artificially low wages. Guatemala, Honduras, the Philippines and Mexico are specifically named as countries in which this activity which includes intimidation, political payoff and "bulldozing people right off the land" — is now taking place.

THE SUN is as big as a million earths, the gas at its center is 8 times denser than gold, and this "average star" gives off energy equivalent to a million million megaton atom bombs every second. And that's just a few of the facts attractively presented in the Hall of the Sun, at the American Museum-Hayden Planetarium.

IT COSTS $100 AN ACRE when men with hand tools clear firebreaks through California's Cleveland National Forest, $30 per acre when heavy machinery and herbicides are used ... but nothing when goats are allowed to eat their way through the offending mountain mahogany and other undergrowth. The U.S. Forest Service now has 1,200 of the animals handling the job.

LAETRILE, WHICH SOME PEOPLE CLAIM CAN CURE CANCER, has long been outlawed in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration. As of June 21, 1976, however, the ban on the controversial B-17 treatment was lifted in at least one state — Alaska — with the passage of H.B. 881. Alaskan Governor Jay S. Hammond, who was under heavy pressure from the medical establishment to veto the bill, allowed it to become law without his signature. It remains to be seen, however, whether or not Laetrile is ever sold legally in the Last Frontier State: The substance still must be approved by the Alaska Medical Board.

THE OFFICE OF APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY, is conducting a six-month study of "alternative rural sanitation systems." If you have any experience with dry toilets, gray-water recycling, or other such systems, the folks at OAT would like to hear from you.

WIN A LITTLE, LOSE A LOT: Cornell biologists have discovered that 2,4D — commonly applied to fields of corn as a weed killer — actually makes that corn more appetizing to aphids, corn borers, and southern corn leaf blight germs. The increased pest damage may well more than offset the benefits of 2,4-D weed control.

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