Is Monsanto being sucked into a black hole while Monarchs flutter out of a white hole?


I remember walking down a sleepy street in my home town of Twin Falls, Idaho sometime back in the early ’70s. I had just heard about the concept of “black holes.” At that moment, this revelation struck, like lightning: “If there are black holes, there must be white holes.” I.e., if energy is going out, then energy is flowing in.

Lots and lots of monarchs around here this summer. And not just here. Hmmm. Transformation?

Monarch Butterfly Population Rejuvenated After Last Year’s Record Low

Just speculating, of course. But given that Roundup and GMO kill monarch butterflies, and that there are so many many stories where Monsanto is being thwarted in its ongoing bid for control of the world’s food, I do wonder if we really can view this whole scene as black hole/white hole balancing. One sign of divine intelligence at work?

I googled “Monsanto’s demise” and came up with these, just for starters:

Oh wow, and this, from just two days ago:

France and Russia Ban GMOs



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0 Responses to Is Monsanto being sucked into a black hole while Monarchs flutter out of a white hole?

  1. Eliza Ayres says:

    Yes! Hooray for birds, butterflies and bees!

  2. I’d like to dig into the issues around the monarch butterfly a little deeper, and may take a couple comments to do it (rather than one giant one).

    But first, there’s another reason why the monarch butterfly is in the news this week.

    Last year, Sean Schneider and James Thomas from the University of Washington found evidence of bracovirus genes in the genomes of the silk moth and the monarch butterfly. The duo described the wasps as “accidental genetic engineers,” implanting the genomes of their caterpillar victims with their own (viral) DNA. In other words, one insect was genetically modifying another with viral genes, via a sting.

    “What’s kind of funny is that such a species as iconic as the monarch has been genetically modified by the parasitic wasp virus and can thus be considered as a natural GMO,” says Drezen, in an email.

    Ironically, the monarch butterfly is the primary symbol on the Non-GMO Project seal. A naturally transgenic organism is used to symbolize the purity of foods that are free of transgenic organisms!

  3. This piece is essential reading to get the complexity of “the” monarch:

    The conventional wisdom — that the monarch is in serious trouble — is based on a pronounced decline in the number of animals censused in the Mexican overwintering grounds. This has been attributed to a decline in milkweed, a necessary resource as the sole larval host plant of the species. The milkweed decline, in turn, has been attributed to promiscuous use of herbicides in primarily Midwestern agriculture, stimulated by the availability of genetically engineered herbicide-resistant (“Roundup-ready”) crops. The Midwest, specifically the Corn Belt, is by far the largest contributor to monarch populations, so the story holds together well. Except … a set of seven papers just published this summer appears to show that the decline in numbers of monarchs overwintering in Mexico is not reflected in the numbers of adults censused in summer in their Midwestern and Northeastern breeding ranges! There can be several explanations for the discrepancy, ranging from flaws in the censusing procedures, to hypothetically increased reproductive success in the north that compensates for the declining numbers over winter, to the possibility that a smaller percentage of the Eastern Monarch population is going to Mexico for the winter.

    At least some of the reduced colony size in Mexico in recent years is directly attributable to extreme weather events:

    Anecdotal accounts on the internet have suggested variable butterfly mortality, from 0% to 80% in different colonies. We have not made direct measures of butterfly mortality in this storm, but our weather records, combined with empirical data from Anderson and Brower (1996), Brower et al. (2004, 2009) and Fink et al. (in prep.) give insight into the interplay between local microclimate and butterfly survival. It is clear that butterflies suffered less than the local citizens …but only by a hair’s breadth.

    As is typical of the region’s dry season weather pattern, from 17 to 30 January 2010 no rain fell in the area. Light rain began at about 11 pm on 31 January and fell steadily from 6 am to 11 pm on 1 February, accumulating 3.9 cm (1.5 inches)*. Rain began again at 7 pm on 2 February and was continuous and heavy until midnight on 4-5 February. The total precipitation on 4-5 February was 32.0 cm (12.6 inches); the entire storm produced 36.0 cm (14.2 inches).

    We know that this heavy storm must have soaked the butterflies. We also know that in January 2002, a combination of heavy precipitation followed by an early morning temperature plunge resulted in 80% mortality of monarch butterflies (Brower et al. 2004). Butterfly survival and mortality depend not on low temperature and not on precipitation, but on the interaction of the two, because wet butterflies have significantly less freeze resistance than do dry butterflies.

    If I believed Monsanto’s demise meant the monarch’s rise, I would cheer. I do not. I suspect the greatest threat to monarch health is development and climate change (via an increase of unusual weather events in large colonies in Mexico). A false assurance that we have found and corrected the problem has hazards and should not be underestimated.

  4. Kieron says:

    Interesting you mention all this… last night while watching TV (not a habit I want to get into) there was an ad by Monsanto, called “Food Is Love.” The ad is being spoofed here on YouTube by a smart dude offering commentary on what Monsanto really is about:

    Then this evening, there was a show on Walt Disney’s legacy, and featuring the creation of the very first Disneyworld, in Anaheim, California, in the 1950’s. There were several areas within Disneyworld, called Fantasyland, and Adventureland, and another called Tomorrowland. And everything in Tomorrowland was made of plastic, to showcase the “achievements of man.” And guess what the name of the sponsor was? You guessed it: Monsanto. I was floored, and shouldn’t have been. It’s been planned for decades, after all.

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