Thursday, January 19, 2006


Loading. . . .

So by now, if you haven't noticed, I've done some major renovations to Ag Moment. I am now hosting the blog using a Yahoo Small Business webhosting account. I did this so I could use Wordpress to build my blog (wordpress has alot of features that doesn't) I'm beginning to wonder, though, if I didn't make a huge mistake.

So far, building and editing my blog has been a nightmare. When I go to write a new post or do anything to edit my site, it takes forever. For instance, when I want to write a post, I click on the "write a new post" link (sorry if you are not familiar with wordpress, just bear with me), it takes a couple of minutes for the posting page to come up. After I finish writing my post and click save or publish, once again, it takes forever for the page to save, sometimes to the point that my browser times out. On average, it will take me about five minutes just to get one post up. On rare occasions, I can edit and post just fine, so it is not a constant problem. When this is occurring, I can surf other websites just fine so it is not my connection. This has not just been a one day problem. Actually, it has been like this since I started using their service about a week and a half ago.

I called up Yahoo's small business web hosting customer service and asked them WTF. They said my site was loading fine on their computers, it may be that my ISP is the problem (other pages were loading faster becuase they were cached by the ISP). Whatever. I have tried from several different ISPs (ameritech, a merit connection via MSU, comcast) and it is the same every time. This has to be a problem on the Yahoo webhosting end. The problem is, it is too hard to find someone that can get me information. I think I know what I'm doing, and I haven't messed with any of the wordpress code installed on my site so I don't think I've messed up my Wordpress code. I have installed five or so different blogs on my account and each one does the same thing. Am I making any sense to anyone out there. If by any chance you have come across this same problem and stumbled upon my blog, please leave me a comment. If anyone else has any suggestions (besides moving to another host), please drop me a line.
In addition, when I went to first create an RSS feed for my new site, I ran into troubles. After a little digging in the Wordpress forums, I found out that I had to manually remove four blank lines at the end of the "ysbcwhmast.php" file in the plugins folder. Creating an RSS feed is a pretty common thing, I would have thought that this bug would have been worked out.
Alright, I've vented, now back to posting, maybe.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006


PMPs are a movin' on up . . .

The recent expansion of Ag Moment is going to mean a few changes for this site too. Thanks to all my visitors who have visited looking for news on plant-made pharmaceuticals. From now on, all my plant-made pharmaceutcial news can be found at I'll be moving some of my older material from this site over when I get the chance. Hey, now you don't have to wade through all my thoughts on new cell phones and dumpsters to find news on things like the Large Scale Biology Bankruptcy. For those of you who have enjoyed my quips on subjects other than PMPs, well, more is to come. I'm also going to focus on a more wider range of scientific subjects here. So I encourage you to kick the tires on the new site, and don't forget to keep visiting this site. Don't worry if you don't see much yet, more is to come.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


A new Ag Moment

My other blog, Ag Moment, has been growing pretty rapidly in visitor counts lately even though I haven't been promoting it too much. Because of this, I decided to put a little more effort into it. The result, a brand new, expanded, Ag Moment. I have also switched hosts from to Yahoo Small Business and have a new web address - I have also switched to using Wordpress. I will also be promoting the blog more as it expands. Plans also call for sub-blogs related to specific topics within the Ag industry, all I need is a little time to get them up. Take a look and tell me what you think.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Goin' back in time

Due to circumstances that were within my control but I choose not to control (i.e. I didn't back up when I should have) I lost my current blog template. However, I was able to find a cached version of it using Google Desktop. Thank you Google! The template I was able to find was about two months old so I lost a few links. I think I can find a better backup to work from but its late and I'm working on something else. If I lost a link to your page, I'll try to get it back soon. 1/11/06 Update - Looks like I have the template fixed, but some of my posts are messed up. I'm kind of concentrating on something else right now, and I will get those posts fixed when I can.


Ventria could still relocate to Missouri, maybe, possibly, kindasorta. . .

File this one under Missouri realllllllllly wants another plant biotech company: From - Ventria drops plans for Northwest Missouri State
Ventria Bioscience, a California company in the cutting-edge field of producing pharmaceuticals in plants, has scrapped plans to relocate to Northwest Missouri State University. But it is considering other options in the state, officials said Thursday. "St. Louis is on the table. We're wide open at this point," said Mike Mills, deputy director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development. "We intend to give Ventria many options in Missouri, as far as locations as well as facilities - and they will make the decision as to what corporate operations they want to bring to Missouri."
Sigma Aldrich is mentioned as a potential partner in this story. Sigma seems to be actively getting into the PMP area with announced partnerships with LSBC (now defunct) and Chlorogen. The Sigma angle seems to be a likely story, we'll see what happens.


Fighting Bird-Flu with plants

From via - Dow AgroSciences researches bird flu
Indianapolis-based Dow AgroSciences announced today that it will collaborate with an Australian university to develop a plant-made production systems for a bird flu vaccine. A grant from the Australian Research Council will support collaboration between the University of Melbourne and Dow AgroSciences Australia Inc. as well as researchers at the Macfarlane Burnet Institute and Monash University.
Looks like Dow Agrisciences is starting to use some of that technology they have been researching and acquiring.

Monday, January 09, 2006


More on the LSBC shutdown

The New York Times recently published a piece on LSBC concerning their closing and the general funk the PMP industry is currently in. Fellow bloggers Matt Mullen and Lene Johansen had some pretty interesting comments regarding the piece and LSBC's demise. They are definitely worth the read.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Two week review of my T-Moblie RAZR

So after two weeks using my new phone and calling plan, I thought I'd give an update just in case there are anymore biochemists out there who are looking for a prepaid cell-phone service. So lets begin: RAZR phone: Battery life - decent, I can get 3 or 4 days without a recharge. The camera drains the battery life quickly. Coverage - I don't know if this is the phones fault or the fault of T-Mobile but I have found that may signal reception has been poor to fair at best. I had much better coverage with Cingular. Coverage has been fair in town and around the campus, also it was acceptable along the interstates I used to travel home for Christmas. It seems that once you hit the edge of town, your reception is gone. T-Mobile service: When I changed plans, I wanted to keep my old number. No problem they said, it will take about 24 hours. If not, call this number. Of course, Cingular wanted more information before they would release my number to T-Mobile, so I had to call the number provided to see why the switchover hadn't taken place. After waiting on the line for 45, yes 45 minutes, I finally got to talk to a human. I provided the info needed and in a few hours I had my old number again. Thank goodness I wasn't using my cell phone to make that call. I guess that's one way T-Mobile can make a buck on their prepay service. My plan does not include internet access on the phone but I can get T-Mobile's T-Zones, which includes stories from CNN, ABC, ESPN, etc. If this was the only way to get your news, you would be in trouble but if you have time to kill, this is a good way to kill it. My biggest peeve is that Google SMS (if you don't know what Google SMS is I suggest you check it out, it is really nifty) is blocked. The only reason I can see for this is that T-Zones has a 411 service that charges $1.25 per use. From what I understand, you can get a lot more information from Google SMS than T-Zone's 411. I am really dissapointed that they have blocked this service. All-in-all, being a prepay customer anywhere is like being a second-class citizen. I think the cell phone companies think the only way they can retain customers and make money is by locking them in a contract. Oh well, for the price, T-Mobile is acceptable for now.


USDA needs to improve GE crop oversight

According to the Office of Inspector General for the USDA, the deparment needs to improve its regulation of genetically engineered crops. Auditors found that biotechnology regulators did not always notice violations of their own rules, did not inspect planting sites when they should have and did not assure that the genetically engineered crops were destroyed when the field trial was done. Articles in the New York Times and UPI give some details to the story. What does this mean, how should I feel about this story? Well I'll tell you how you should feel - just kidding but here is my opinion: It looks like the USDA has some room to improve in their oversight of genetically engineered crops. Has a lack of oversight caused genetic pollution in the environment? No. Genetically engineered crops have been released in the environment for over 15 years and I have not seen evidence of long term genetic pollution due to these releases. Yes, in the Prodigene case, there was contamination of the following year's soybean crop due to volunteer corn, but this contamination was found and remedied. However, I know of no documented cases that provide reproducible evidence that a transgene has escaped into the wild. If I'm wrong, please let me know. I think the companies out there working with GMOs realize the potential public backlash that could be felt if they allow a transgene to escape into the wild and are very competent in regulating themselves.

Monday, January 02, 2006


I'm back from a long holiday

Well, I decided to take an extended holiday this year but its back to the grindstone. Of course, the nephew inoculated me with the latest strain of funk that he was carrying. I think he should be receiving a NyQuil endorsement or something. All-in-all, it was a good trip back to Kentucky. I did get some time to do a little light reading. This time it was "The Thread That Runs So True" by Jesse Stuart.
This book is a great read. Jesse Stuart grew up in the mountains of eastern Kentucky and writes about his experiences as a teacher and administrator of several schools in the area (He gains respect at his first school he taught at by beating-up a 17 year- old-plus first-grader). The educational system in Kentucky during Stuart's time was terrible, unfortunately, 80 some odd years has not changed anything. The book also paints a pretty good picture of Kentucky politics during that time. Once again, not much has changed. If you get a chance, take a few hours to read this one. Also to be filed in the slack-off category. I helped a friend and fellow graduate student set up his own blog "Enough Chicken Soup", which by his own explanation is "A year inside the head of an agriculture student in Michigan. Humorous and very random contemplation regarding random observations." File this one under "Man I live in the Bible Belt". Somehow, this sign just doesn't seem right. This is a sign on a trash toter at my parents house. Yes, the first line says "Jesus Changes Things" (a quote from Second Corinthians in the Bible), followed by "Why Pay More?" Many of the residents of Sorgho use Dumpster Dan Sanitation. Apparently, Dumpster Dan is cheap and does a pretty good job.


Ventria's move to Missouri is off

First off welcome back from the holidays, but more on that later. It appears I jumped the gun a little when I posted that a scaled-down deal between Ventria and Northwest Missouri State had been reached. According to AP reports, Ventria has pulled out of their move to NW Missouri State. According to the report, Ventria's demand for product had grown so fast, that the production needs had outgrown what was being offered by the Missouri center. Let's see, I think I know of a building that is available that may fit their needs. Of course, that is pure speculation on my part. In related news - Ventria applied for release permits on 12/2/05 to for rice to be grown in Missouri and North Carolina. The Ventria move to Missouri has been a roller coaster so far, somehow, I don't think it is over. Watch here for more details.

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