Re: the recent post on Paul Stamets patent for a “universal biopesticide”

Mushroom-spore-printingThis particular post has and is still receiving an enormous amount of attention, in fact it bumped up the stats for this blog to over 800/hour for the past few days. (Normal used to be between 30-60/hour).

And there have been lots of astute comments and questions. Please see the original post for them. At one point I suggested that someone might contact the original author for the pieces that seemed to be missing. Mike Lewinski has done that, supplying the patent number, the original source of the “disruptive” quote, and a context which limits the word “universal” and provokes more pondering.

Thank you so much, Mike Lewinski!

I include that thread here.
Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 11.20.12 AM


Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 11.13.48 AMNot sure why the text size diminished. Sorry! In any case, as I was preparing to post this I see yet more context, this time with lots of reference materials, once again provided by Mike on the original post. If interested, please go there and check them all out! Thanks again, Mike.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Re: the recent post on Paul Stamets patent for a “universal biopesticide”

  1. Cheers! I appreciate your due diligence.

    Also I think I know why you’re getting so many hits on that post, and it might be self-perpetuating for a while now. I first noticed it on a Facebook page here:

    I know enough people in that community to guess it had likely originated or been reposted to a large group of GMO advocates here:

    So, skeptics have found you and you’ll probably continue to get some hostile comments as a result.

    (I’m a skeptic and former anti-GMO activist but don’t support the antagonistic approach some of my fellow skeptics have)

    • Aha! That makes sense. Thanks. Would be interested to know about your conversion to non-anti-GMO. Have you written something on this for public view?

      • Yes, here:

        That was almost two years ago, and I am still a work in progress. I do have some criticisms of how biotechnology is deployed, but they’re different than they used to be.

        The very high cost is prohibitive to wider adoption. It means the interests of the wealthy have to come first. Generally the seed company interests have to align with farmers interests, who in turn have to align with commodity buyers and food manufacturers. The biggest misalignment is at the consumer end, where manufacturers have learned to maximize profits by creating demand with added sugar and salt. Consumers could choose healthier and stop buying processed foods and the market would have to respond and the whole food chain would re-adjust.

        On the other side, the high costs of biotech development are in part due to regulatory compliance and due diligence in producing a truly safe product. I’m not sure I want to see genetic engineering fully democratized in the sense that anyone could do it and bypass that review process. I know government has a hard time staying ahead of technology with regulation and so the cost of entry isn’t altogether a bad thing.

        Anyway, my wife and I both know a little about permaculture and we produce some of our own food here in the middle of Maine with garden, orchard and other perennials. We’re far from self-sufficient after a year now, but probably wouldn’t starve or freeze if it was all we had. I’m not sure that it makes sense, for the good of wilderness, to try this kind of direct economy worldwide for all 7 billion of us. I think cities are a necessary evil (but vertical farming might offer a way to produce more food right in cities with a number of benefits).

  2. I urge anyone with positive leanings toward GMOs – (and others!) and a bent toward honesty and science – to spend some time at the “Unintended Effects of Genetic Manipulation” project of The Nature Institute (, providing on-going reports out of many years of continuing research.

    They track *all* (within constraints of a real organization with budget and personnel limits) the literature of GMO testing. Companies – and the media, including the scientific media – typically report only those test results that support the business/design model of a particular organism; in fact, there are far more “unintended” results; these go unreported. One is left then “believing” in the abstraction – that “happens” to fit the business model – but Nature has to deal with the whole.

    It is simply not possible to come to an actual judgment of the efficacy of such organisms without taking into account these under-reported aspects (I started to write “unreported”, and such is actually the experience of anyone who hasn’t spent the enormous time and energy of the diligent researchers at NI). In addition, the very latest understandings of the the relations between genetic material and the whole organism are astonishing, and are not a good fit with the propositions of the business model. These relationships are another aspect of the work at NI.

    Two related books by these folks are “Genetics and the Manipulation of Life: The Forgotten Factor of Context” and “Beyond Biotechnology: The Barren Promise of Genetic Engineering”

    I heartily recommend a subscription (free!) to their journal “In Context.”

    — Christian Sweningsen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *