Category Archives: Haabaa

Haabaa related blog


Ecologists are rather not good thinking about biotechnologists. Mostly because the only thing they connect this profession is GM crops which they do not trust. However not many knows that biotechnological applications are giving today world lots of new options of protecting and saving the environment. How can it be?

I will be preparing a bigger article about it in our HaaBaa Infopool and I just wanted to introduce the subject in few words.
So what possibilities give biotech tools to help us saving the planet? Firstly, a very popular topic of scientific researches from few years which can be found under one term: bioremediation. In simple words this is the usage of mostly plants and microorganisms to clean polluted places, especially ground. It was discovered that some species of microorganisms can degrade toxic substances (xenobiotics) which are found after having used pesticides or coming from industrial sources. Or that some plants can suck out a lot of heavy metals (i.e. Hg, Cd, Pb) from the ground. The benefit is obvious, we get rid of toxic substances and metals from the ground preventing it from getting to water we drink or food we eat. But what is the biotech role in all this? The problem is that those nice microorganisms or plants are not efficient enough to be used where are needed. So biotech methods help to enhance the features that help microorganisms to survive the toxins and destroy them or plants to suck in more heavy metals. From many species being examinated I can name poplar, elm and barley.

Another large field of possibilities opens at the term bioindicators. There is lots of natural lichens that are very sensitive to air pollution and this way help to monitor it. Lots of other organisms are used to test water. The problem is that this is not a method which can provide us with the exact measurements of pollution levels. We need something which would allow us to quantify it. And there are some bacteria use already to do that. A small “friend” called Vibrio fischeri (a cousin of dangerous Vibrio cholerae causing deadly illness) is able to sense small amounts of cadmium (Cd) and according to it’s level it produces light! This is thanks to an enism luciferine (from latin –lux, lucis – light). And it is even possible to tell exactly the cadmium level according to the light measurements. The only inconvenience is that those little thongs do not survive if the Cd level is to high. So it is a job of biotechnologist to make those bacteria more resistant to high levels of pollution and then we will have a very good indicator-pollution meter.

This is it for now. I will try to put more info together and add an article on our InfoPool soon.


“Scary” GMOs…


It’s not a new topic to discuss but it is a remaining… no, not a problem, rather a topic to clarify. Answer to yourself to these questions:

  • 1. Do you eat DNA at your breakfast?
  • 2. Can scientist make a transgenic water?
  • 3. What does GMO mean?
  • 4. Does GM adjective apply only to food products?
  • 5. Where can you find GMO? Name two “things”?
  • Was it easy? I know that if I weren’t close to biotechnology or biology at all I would hesitate or simply didn’t know the answers to the above questions.

    The problem in my opinion isn’t that people aren’t smart enough but that people are not educated enough. This I think is a fault of several factors. Firstly, science is being shown in too complicated way to the people which often discourages them from gaining more information. If we don’t know something it is natural that we are suspicious and afraid of it.

    Moreover public discussion about GMOs has involved ecologists, huge companies and politicians to engage in more a fight then a talk. Because there are big money behind it, because it is something which can help in your campaign, because there are some unanswered questions etc. This brings a huge mess and makes it almost impossible to find any objective information. So forth we stay un-enlightened and afraid 🙁

    I don’t want to tell everything about GMO as this is impossible and any attempt would make this post gigantic. If you are interested to read more please see an article on our InfoPool.

    What I think people usually miss discussing GMOs and is worth to say is that, agree, we are not sure certain of the very long term effect of eating GM food, but we already know what is the effect of pesticides and herbicides used to protect natural plants, whereas not needed for GM crops. Pesticides and herbicides stay in ground and are turned to xenobiotics, a chemical substances that are not degradable in environment but stay there and go into plants, animals and finally to us. And we know what they do. Cancer is least to say…

    I almost forgot about my questions…
    1. YES, DNA is present in all living organisms, including fruits, vegetables, crops, coffee grains, meat etc. Moreover we need to eat it as after we digest it we use it’s particles to build our own DNA.
    2. NO, water is dead ;), H2O plus some minerals mixed in it to make the water we drink from bottles or tap.
    3. It’s an abbreviation of Genetically Modified Organisms.
    4. NO, for example huge world’s plantations of cotton are also transgenic, so technically a T-shirt made of it is also a GM product.
    5. Currently, most of world soya crops are transgenic so forth you can be 90% positive that anything with soya you buy is GM; a large variety of food additions comes from GM plants, i.e. sucrose which is added to sorts of candies like bars which comes from plants modified to produce more sucrose of better quality; mentioned imported T-shirts etc.

    Anyway, I encourage you to gather information and wider your knowledge and make your decisions on your own and not as a result of what someone scaring you or blinding you with science. BTW – my intention was not to do the last mentioned thing so if you have any questions I encourage you to contact me so that I can answer all your doubts or questions 🙂


    Park Chan-wook – a short story

    Park Chan-wook, South Korean director is now coming with new film, will it be another masterpiece like “Oldboy”?

    “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance” is to be the last part of Park Chan-wook’s trilogy. First, there was “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance” (2002). The second part was “Oldboy” (2003). All films are different stories, having nothing more in common then the main subject, which is vengance. I have only seen “Oldboy” so far and it was outstanding! Even Quentin Tarantino, whom I personaly admire for his films, said about “Oldboy”: It’s more tarantino movie then everything I’ve done so far”.

    Park Chan-wook was born on the 23rd of September 1963 in Seul, South Korea. He and Kim Ki-duk are the most recognised directors from korean new wave. He finished philosophical studies at Sogan Catolic University(!) which I would never guess after seeing his film. During his studies together with friends they created film club. They used the opportunity of relaxation of the law in the country (which was under military dictatorial regimes at that time) and got a lot of films from the US and Japan. They watched and discussed a lot. After studies Park Chan-wook has worked as a film critic(!). Another suprising point for me in his life. In 1988 he managed to learn the director’s workshop being a director’s asisstent in two korean productions. After 4 years he started to make his own movies. However the first successful one was “Joint Security Area” in 2000, which was very popular in South Korea. After “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance” his name started being recognised around the globe.

    Well, I can’t wait to see “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance” and whatever he makes after 🙂

    Park Chan-wook – Filmography:

  • 1992 – The Moon Is The Sun’s Dream
  • 1997 – Trio
  • 1999 – Judgement
  • 2000 – Joint Security Area
  • 2002 – Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
  • 2003 – Never Ending Peace And Love, a part of If You Were Me
  • 2003 – Oldboy
  • 2004 – Cut, a part of Three… Extremes
  • 2005 – Sympathy for Lady Vengeance