The Right to Read

by Richard Stallman 

This article appeared in the February 1997 issue of Communications of the ACM (Volume 40, Number 2).

From The Road To Tycho, a collection of articles about the antecedents of the Lunarian Revolution, published in Luna City in 2096.

For Dan Halbert, the road to Tycho began in college—when Lissa Lenz asked to borrow his computer. Hers had broken down, and unless she could borrow another, she would fail her midterm project. There was no one she dared ask, except Dan.
This put Dan in a dilemma. He had to help her—but if he lent her his computer, she might read his books. Aside from the fact that you could go to prison for many years for letting someone else read your books, the very idea shocked him at first. Like everyone, he had been taught since elementary school that sharing books was nasty and wrong—something that only pirates would do.
And there wasn’t much chance that the SPA—the Software Protection Authority—would fail to catch him. In his software class, Dan had learned that each book had a copyright monitor that reported when and where it was read, and by whom, to Central Licensing. (They used this information to catch reading pirates, but also to sell personal interest profiles to retailers.) The next time his computer was networked, Central Licensing would find out. He, as computer owner, would receive the harshest punishment—for not taking pains to prevent the crime.
Of course, Lissa did not necessarily intend to read his books. She might want the computer only to write her midterm. But Dan knew she came from a middle-class family and could hardly afford the tuition, let alone her reading fees. Reading his books might be the only way she could graduate. He understood this situation; he himself had had to borrow to pay for all the research papers he read. (Ten percent of those fees went to the researchers who wrote the papers; since Dan aimed for an academic career, he could hope that his own research papers, if frequently referenced, would bring in enough to repay this loan.)
Later on, Dan would learn there was a time when anyone could go to the library and read journal articles, and even books, without having to pay. There were independent scholars who read thousands of pages without government library grants. But in the 1990s, both commercial and nonprofit journal publishers had begun charging fees for access. By 2047, libraries offering free public access to scholarly literature were a dim memory.
There were ways, of course, to get around the SPA and Central Licensing. They were themselves illegal. Dan had had a classmate in software, Frank Martucci, who had obtained an illicit debugging tool, and used it to skip over the copyright monitor code when reading books. But he had told too many friends about it, and one of them turned him in to the SPA for a reward (students deep in debt were easily tempted into betrayal). In 2047, Frank was in prison, not for pirate reading, but for possessing a debugger.
Dan would later learn that there was a time when anyone could have debugging tools. There were even free debugging tools available on CD or downloadable over the net. But ordinary users started using them to bypass copyright monitors, and eventually a judge ruled that this had become their principal use in actual practice. This meant they were illegal; the debuggers’ developers were sent to prison.
Programmers still needed debugging tools, of course, but debugger vendors in 2047 distributed numbered copies only, and only to officially licensed and bonded programmers. The debugger Dan used in software class was kept behind a special firewall so that it could be used only for class exercises.
It was also possible to bypass the copyright monitors by installing a modified system kernel. Dan would eventually find out about the free kernels, even entire free operating systems, that had existed around the turn of the century. But not only were they illegal, like debuggers—you could not install one if you had one, without knowing your computer’s root password. And neither the FBI nor Microsoft Support would tell you that.
Dan concluded that he couldn’t simply lend Lissa his computer. But he couldn’t refuse to help her, because he loved her. Every chance to speak with her filled him with delight. And that she chose him to ask for help, that could mean she loved him too.
Dan resolved the dilemma by doing something even more unthinkable—he lent her the computer, and told her his password. This way, if Lissa read his books, Central Licensing would think he was reading them. It was still a crime, but the SPA would not automatically find out about it. They would only find out if Lissa reported him.
Of course, if the school ever found out that he had given Lissa his own password, it would be curtains for both of them as students, regardless of what she had used it for. School policy was that any interference with their means of monitoring students’ computer use was grounds for disciplinary action. It didn’t matter whether you did anything harmful—the offense was making it hard for the administrators to check on you. They assumed this meant you were doing something else forbidden, and they did not need to know what it was.
Students were not usually expelled for this—not directly. Instead they were banned from the school computer systems, and would inevitably fail all their classes.
Later, Dan would learn that this kind of university policy started only in the 1980s, when university students in large numbers began using computers. Previously, universities maintained a different approach to student discipline; they punished activities that were harmful, not those that merely raised suspicion.
Lissa did not report Dan to the SPA. His decision to help her led to their marriage, and also led them to question what they had been taught about piracy as children. The couple began reading about the history of copyright, about the Soviet Union and its restrictions on copying, and even the original United States Constitution. They moved to Luna, where they found others who had likewise gravitated away from the long arm of the SPA. When the Tycho Uprising began in 2062, the universal right to read soon became one of its central aims.

Author’s Note

[This note has been updated several times since the first publication of the story.]
The right to read is a battle being fought today. Although it may take 50 years for our present way of life to fade into obscurity, most of the specific laws and practices described above have already been proposed; many have been enacted into law in the US and elsewhere. In the US, the 1998 Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) established the legal basis to restrict the reading and lending of computerized books (and other works as well). The European Union imposed similar restrictions in a 2001 copyright directive. In France, under the DADVSI law adopted in 2006, mere possession of a copy of DeCSS, the free program to decrypt video on a DVD, is a crime.
In 2001, Disney-funded Senator Hollings proposed a bill called the SSSCA that would require every new computer to have mandatory copy-restriction facilities that the user cannot bypass. Following the Clipper chip and similar US government key-escrow proposals, this shows a long-term trend: computer systems are increasingly set up to give absentees with clout control over the people actually using the computer system. The SSSCA was later renamed to the unpronounceable CBDTPA, which was glossed as the “Consume But Don’t Try Programming Act”.
The Republicans took control of the US senate shortly thereafter. They are less tied to Hollywood than the Democrats, so they did not press these proposals. Now that the Democrats are back in control, the danger is once again higher.
In 2001 the US began attempting to use the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) treaty to impose the same rules on all the countries in the Western Hemisphere. The FTAA is one of the so-called free trade treaties, which are actually designed to give business increased power over democratic governments; imposing laws like the DMCA is typical of this spirit. The FTAA was effectively killed by Lula, President of Brazil, who rejected the DMCA requirement and others.
Since then, the US has imposed similar requirements on countries such as Australia and Mexico through bilateral “free trade” agreements, and on countries such as Costa Rica through another treaty, CAFTA. Ecuador’s President Correa refused to sign a “free trade” agreement with the US, but I’ve heard Ecuador had adopted something like the DMCA in 2003.
One of the ideas in the story was not proposed in reality until 2002. This is the idea that the FBI and Microsoft will keep the root passwords for your personal computers, and not let you have them.
The proponents of this scheme have given it names such as “trusted computing” and “Palladium”. We call it “treacherous computing” because the effect is to make your computer obey companies even to the extent of disobeying and defying you. This was implemented in 2007 as part of Windows Vista; we expect Apple to do something similar. In this scheme, it is the manufacturer that keeps the secret code, but the FBI would have little trouble getting it.
What Microsoft keeps is not exactly a password in the traditional sense; no person ever types it on a terminal. Rather, it is a signature and encryption key that corresponds to a second key stored in your computer. This enables Microsoft, and potentially any web sites that cooperate with Microsoft, the ultimate control over what the user can do on his own computer.
Vista also gives Microsoft additional powers; for instance, Microsoft can forcibly install upgrades, and it can order all machines running Vista to refuse to run a certain device driver. The main purpose of Vista’s many restrictions is to impose DRM (Digital Restrictions Management) that users can’t overcome. The threat of DRM is why we have established the Defective by Design campaign.
When this story was first written, the SPA was threatening small Internet service providers, demanding they permit the SPA to monitor all users. Most ISPs surrendered when threatened, because they cannot afford to fight back in court. One ISP, Community ConneXion in Oakland, California, refused the demand and was actually sued. The SPA later dropped the suit, but obtained the DMCA, which gave them the power they sought.
The SPA, which actually stands for Software Publishers Association, has been replaced in its police-like role by the Business Software Alliance. The BSA is not, today, an official police force; unofficially, it acts like one. Using methods reminiscent of the erstwhile Soviet Union, it invites people to inform on their coworkers and friends. A BSA terror campaign in Argentina in 2001 made slightly veiled threats that people sharing software would be raped.
The university security policies described above are not imaginary. For example, a computer at one Chicago-area university displayed this message upon login:

This system is for the use of authorized users only. Individuals using this computer system without authority or in the excess of their authority are subject to having all their activities on this system monitored and recorded by system personnel. In the course of monitoring individuals improperly using this system or in the course of system maintenance, the activities of authorized user may also be monitored. Anyone using this system expressly consents to such monitoring and is advised that if such monitoring reveals possible evidence of illegal activity or violation of University regulations system personnel may provide the evidence of such monitoring to University authorities and/or law enforcement officials.

This is an interesting approach to the Fourth Amendment: pressure most everyone to agree, in advance, to waive their rights under it.

Bad News

The battle for the right to read is already in progress, The enemy is organized, while we are not, so it is going against us. Here are articles about bad things that have happened since the original publication of this article.

If we want to stop the bad news and create some good news, we need to organize and fight. The FSF’s Defective by Design campaign has made a start — subscribe to the campaign’s mailing list to lend a hand. And join the FSF to help fund our work.

References


This essay is published in Free Software, Free Society: The Selected Essays of Richard M. Stallman.

by Richard Stallman 

This article appeared in the February 1997 issue of Communications of the ACM (Volume 40, Number 2).

From The Road To Tycho, a collection of articles about the antecedents of the Lunarian Revolution, published in Luna City in 2096.

For Dan Halbert, the road to Tycho began in college—when Lissa Lenz asked to borrow his computer. Hers had broken down, and unless she could borrow another, she would fail her midterm project. There was no one she dared ask, except Dan.
This put Dan in a dilemma. He had to help her—but if he lent her his computer, she might read his books. Aside from the fact that you could go to prison for many years for letting someone else read your books, the very idea shocked him at first. Like everyone, he had been taught since elementary school that sharing books was nasty and wrong—something that only pirates would do.
And there wasn’t much chance that the SPA—the Software Protection Authority—would fail to catch him. In his software class, Dan had learned that each book had a copyright monitor that reported when and where it was read, and by whom, to Central Licensing. (They used this information to catch reading pirates, but also to sell personal interest profiles to retailers.) The next time his computer was networked, Central Licensing would find out. He, as computer owner, would receive the harshest punishment—for not taking pains to prevent the crime.
Of course, Lissa did not necessarily intend to read his books. She might want the computer only to write her midterm. But Dan knew she came from a middle-class family and could hardly afford the tuition, let alone her reading fees. Reading his books might be the only way she could graduate. He understood this situation; he himself had had to borrow to pay for all the research papers he read. (Ten percent of those fees went to the researchers who wrote the papers; since Dan aimed for an academic career, he could hope that his own research papers, if frequently referenced, would bring in enough to repay this loan.)
Later on, Dan would learn there was a time when anyone could go to the library and read journal articles, and even books, without having to pay. There were independent scholars who read thousands of pages without government library grants. But in the 1990s, both commercial and nonprofit journal publishers had begun charging fees for access. By 2047, libraries offering free public access to scholarly literature were a dim memory.
There were ways, of course, to get around the SPA and Central Licensing. They were themselves illegal. Dan had had a classmate in software, Frank Martucci, who had obtained an illicit debugging tool, and used it to skip over the copyright monitor code when reading books. But he had told too many friends about it, and one of them turned him in to the SPA for a reward (students deep in debt were easily tempted into betrayal). In 2047, Frank was in prison, not for pirate reading, but for possessing a debugger.
Dan would later learn that there was a time when anyone could have debugging tools. There were even free debugging tools available on CD or downloadable over the net. But ordinary users started using them to bypass copyright monitors, and eventually a judge ruled that this had become their principal use in actual practice. This meant they were illegal; the debuggers’ developers were sent to prison.
Programmers still needed debugging tools, of course, but debugger vendors in 2047 distributed numbered copies only, and only to officially licensed and bonded programmers. The debugger Dan used in software class was kept behind a special firewall so that it could be used only for class exercises.
It was also possible to bypass the copyright monitors by installing a modified system kernel. Dan would eventually find out about the free kernels, even entire free operating systems, that had existed around the turn of the century. But not only were they illegal, like debuggers—you could not install one if you had one, without knowing your computer’s root password. And neither the FBI nor Microsoft Support would tell you that.
Dan concluded that he couldn’t simply lend Lissa his computer. But he couldn’t refuse to help her, because he loved her. Every chance to speak with her filled him with delight. And that she chose him to ask for help, that could mean she loved him too.
Dan resolved the dilemma by doing something even more unthinkable—he lent her the computer, and told her his password. This way, if Lissa read his books, Central Licensing would think he was reading them. It was still a crime, but the SPA would not automatically find out about it. They would only find out if Lissa reported him.
Of course, if the school ever found out that he had given Lissa his own password, it would be curtains for both of them as students, regardless of what she had used it for. School policy was that any interference with their means of monitoring students’ computer use was grounds for disciplinary action. It didn’t matter whether you did anything harmful—the offense was making it hard for the administrators to check on you. They assumed this meant you were doing something else forbidden, and they did not need to know what it was.
Students were not usually expelled for this—not directly. Instead they were banned from the school computer systems, and would inevitably fail all their classes.
Later, Dan would learn that this kind of university policy started only in the 1980s, when university students in large numbers began using computers. Previously, universities maintained a different approach to student discipline; they punished activities that were harmful, not those that merely raised suspicion.
Lissa did not report Dan to the SPA. His decision to help her led to their marriage, and also led them to question what they had been taught about piracy as children. The couple began reading about the history of copyright, about the Soviet Union and its restrictions on copying, and even the original United States Constitution. They moved to Luna, where they found others who had likewise gravitated away from the long arm of the SPA. When the Tycho Uprising began in 2062, the universal right to read soon became one of its central aims.

Author’s Note

[This note has been updated several times since the first publication of the story.]
The right to read is a battle being fought today. Although it may take 50 years for our present way of life to fade into obscurity, most of the specific laws and practices described above have already been proposed; many have been enacted into law in the US and elsewhere. In the US, the 1998 Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) established the legal basis to restrict the reading and lending of computerized books (and other works as well). The European Union imposed similar restrictions in a 2001 copyright directive. In France, under the DADVSI law adopted in 2006, mere possession of a copy of DeCSS, the free program to decrypt video on a DVD, is a crime.
In 2001, Disney-funded Senator Hollings proposed a bill called the SSSCA that would require every new computer to have mandatory copy-restriction facilities that the user cannot bypass. Following the Clipper chip and similar US government key-escrow proposals, this shows a long-term trend: computer systems are increasingly set up to give absentees with clout control over the people actually using the computer system. The SSSCA was later renamed to the unpronounceable CBDTPA, which was glossed as the “Consume But Don’t Try Programming Act”.
The Republicans took control of the US senate shortly thereafter. They are less tied to Hollywood than the Democrats, so they did not press these proposals. Now that the Democrats are back in control, the danger is once again higher.
In 2001 the US began attempting to use the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) treaty to impose the same rules on all the countries in the Western Hemisphere. The FTAA is one of the so-called free trade treaties, which are actually designed to give business increased power over democratic governments; imposing laws like the DMCA is typical of this spirit. The FTAA was effectively killed by Lula, President of Brazil, who rejected the DMCA requirement and others.
Since then, the US has imposed similar requirements on countries such as Australia and Mexico through bilateral “free trade” agreements, and on countries such as Costa Rica through another treaty, CAFTA. Ecuador’s President Correa refused to sign a “free trade” agreement with the US, but I’ve heard Ecuador had adopted something like the DMCA in 2003.
One of the ideas in the story was not proposed in reality until 2002. This is the idea that the FBI and Microsoft will keep the root passwords for your personal computers, and not let you have them.
The proponents of this scheme have given it names such as “trusted computing” and “Palladium”. We call it “treacherous computing” because the effect is to make your computer obey companies even to the extent of disobeying and defying you. This was implemented in 2007 as part of Windows Vista; we expect Apple to do something similar. In this scheme, it is the manufacturer that keeps the secret code, but the FBI would have little trouble getting it.
What Microsoft keeps is not exactly a password in the traditional sense; no person ever types it on a terminal. Rather, it is a signature and encryption key that corresponds to a second key stored in your computer. This enables Microsoft, and potentially any web sites that cooperate with Microsoft, the ultimate control over what the user can do on his own computer.
Vista also gives Microsoft additional powers; for instance, Microsoft can forcibly install upgrades, and it can order all machines running Vista to refuse to run a certain device driver. The main purpose of Vista’s many restrictions is to impose DRM (Digital Restrictions Management) that users can’t overcome. The threat of DRM is why we have established the Defective by Design campaign.
When this story was first written, the SPA was threatening small Internet service providers, demanding they permit the SPA to monitor all users. Most ISPs surrendered when threatened, because they cannot afford to fight back in court. One ISP, Community ConneXion in Oakland, California, refused the demand and was actually sued. The SPA later dropped the suit, but obtained the DMCA, which gave them the power they sought.
The SPA, which actually stands for Software Publishers Association, has been replaced in its police-like role by the Business Software Alliance. The BSA is not, today, an official police force; unofficially, it acts like one. Using methods reminiscent of the erstwhile Soviet Union, it invites people to inform on their coworkers and friends. A BSA terror campaign in Argentina in 2001 made slightly veiled threats that people sharing software would be raped.
The university security policies described above are not imaginary. For example, a computer at one Chicago-area university displayed this message upon login:

This system is for the use of authorized users only. Individuals using this computer system without authority or in the excess of their authority are subject to having all their activities on this system monitored and recorded by system personnel. In the course of monitoring individuals improperly using this system or in the course of system maintenance, the activities of authorized user may also be monitored. Anyone using this system expressly consents to such monitoring and is advised that if such monitoring reveals possible evidence of illegal activity or violation of University regulations system personnel may provide the evidence of such monitoring to University authorities and/or law enforcement officials.

This is an interesting approach to the Fourth Amendment: pressure most everyone to agree, in advance, to waive their rights under it.

Bad News

The battle for the right to read is already in progress, The enemy is organized, while we are not, so it is going against us. Here are articles about bad things that have happened since the original publication of this article.

If we want to stop the bad news and create some good news, we need to organize and fight. The FSF’s Defective by Design campaign has made a start — subscribe to the campaign’s mailing list to lend a hand. And join the FSF to help fund our work.

References


This essay is published in Free Software, Free Society: The Selected Essays of Richard M. Stallman.

Bartholomew’s messages

This year’s reports of record melting of the earth’s ice sheets and extreme droughts have given a new urgency to Bartholomew’s messages about the degrading natural world. While economists and politicians prescribe more growth and consumption to overcome economic crises, the patriarch insists that the real crisis is cultural and spiritual, and can be overcome only by moving away from rampant materialism.

All human beings, he has said, should draw a distinction “between what we want and what we need.”

In September, he published a strongly worded encyclical calling on all Orthodox Christians to repent “for our sinfulness” in not doing enough to protect the planet. Biodiversity, “the work of divine wisdom,” was not granted to humanity to abuse it, he wrote; human dominion over the earth does not mean the right to greedily acquire and destroy its resources. He singled out “the powerful of this world,” saying they need a new mind-set to stop destroying the planet for profit or short-term interest.

Other religious leaders, including Pope Benedict XVI, the Dalai Lama and the archbishop of Canterbury, have also called for responsible stewardship of the environment. But Bartholomew has gone further than most; some theologians call his stance revolutionary.
“Traditionally in Christianity, sin was what you did to other humans,” said Kallistos Ware, a prominent Orthodox theologian based in Britain, “but Bartholomew insisted that what you do to the animals, the air, the water, the land can be sinful, not just folly, and that was quite a change.”
Aides say that Bartholomew’s embrace of environmental issues is part of his agenda to modernize a deeply conservative church that can seem distant and insular, with its focus on long Byzantine rituals and mysticism. Speaking in defense of nature as a creation of God fits church teachings, and perhaps just as crucial, his aides say, it can also transcend the rivalries and nationalist rifts of the Eastern Orthodox Church. As a federation of 15 independent national churches, it lacks the central authority of, say, the Vatican.
Still, Bartholomew’s seat, established 1,700 years ago, holds primacy among the world’s 300 million Orthodox Christians. As “first among equals” in the church, he acts as convener and can set the agenda for discussion.
Not all church prelates are inspired by his efforts to enlighten the faithful on the environment. “The patriarch is going against the current in much of Orthodoxy,” said the Rev. John Chryssavgis, an archdeacon of the church and adviser on environmental issues. “He has to preach and promote this constantly.”
Aboard a ferry steaming toward Istanbul, Father Chryssavgis pointed out a sprawling church-owned building perched atop of the island of Buyukada. A former orphanage, it was seized by the Turkish government but returned to the church recently. Now empty and in disrepair, it will become an interfaith study center for the environment if Bartholomew has his way.
“He wants a permanent institution,” Father Chryssavgis said. “When he passes on, there may not be the same concern for the environment.”
The impact of the patriarch’s many sermons and conferences is difficult to gauge. There has been wide interest in a new book, “Greening the Orthodox Parish,” said Frederick Krueger, its American editor. Subtitled “A Handbook for Christian Ecological Practice” and with a preface by Bartholomew, it covers theology, special liturgies and prayers as well as science papers and practical advice.
Numerous Orthodox monasteries and churches in Eastern Europe and the United States have switched to solar energy in recent years.
Among them is the Chrysopegi monastery on the Greek island of Crete, where the nuns use the environmental texts of the patriarch and other theologians in their teachings.
“More and more young people are coming to our courses,” Mother Theocheni, the abbess of the monastery, said at the conference at Halki, near Istanbul. “They come to find meaning. Many seem to find inspiration in ecology. It’s been growing fast for the last 10 years.”
This year’s reports of record melting of the earth’s ice sheets and extreme droughts have given a new urgency to Bartholomew’s messages about the degrading natural world. While economists and politicians prescribe more growth and consumption to overcome economic crises, the patriarch insists that the real crisis is cultural and spiritual, and can be overcome only by moving away from rampant materialism.

All human beings, he has said, should draw a distinction “between what we want and what we need.”

In September, he published a strongly worded encyclical calling on all Orthodox Christians to repent “for our sinfulness” in not doing enough to protect the planet. Biodiversity, “the work of divine wisdom,” was not granted to humanity to abuse it, he wrote; human dominion over the earth does not mean the right to greedily acquire and destroy its resources. He singled out “the powerful of this world,” saying they need a new mind-set to stop destroying the planet for profit or short-term interest.

Other religious leaders, including Pope Benedict XVI, the Dalai Lama and the archbishop of Canterbury, have also called for responsible stewardship of the environment. But Bartholomew has gone further than most; some theologians call his stance revolutionary.
“Traditionally in Christianity, sin was what you did to other humans,” said Kallistos Ware, a prominent Orthodox theologian based in Britain, “but Bartholomew insisted that what you do to the animals, the air, the water, the land can be sinful, not just folly, and that was quite a change.”
Aides say that Bartholomew’s embrace of environmental issues is part of his agenda to modernize a deeply conservative church that can seem distant and insular, with its focus on long Byzantine rituals and mysticism. Speaking in defense of nature as a creation of God fits church teachings, and perhaps just as crucial, his aides say, it can also transcend the rivalries and nationalist rifts of the Eastern Orthodox Church. As a federation of 15 independent national churches, it lacks the central authority of, say, the Vatican.
Still, Bartholomew’s seat, established 1,700 years ago, holds primacy among the world’s 300 million Orthodox Christians. As “first among equals” in the church, he acts as convener and can set the agenda for discussion.
Not all church prelates are inspired by his efforts to enlighten the faithful on the environment. “The patriarch is going against the current in much of Orthodoxy,” said the Rev. John Chryssavgis, an archdeacon of the church and adviser on environmental issues. “He has to preach and promote this constantly.”
Aboard a ferry steaming toward Istanbul, Father Chryssavgis pointed out a sprawling church-owned building perched atop of the island of Buyukada. A former orphanage, it was seized by the Turkish government but returned to the church recently. Now empty and in disrepair, it will become an interfaith study center for the environment if Bartholomew has his way.
“He wants a permanent institution,” Father Chryssavgis said. “When he passes on, there may not be the same concern for the environment.”
The impact of the patriarch’s many sermons and conferences is difficult to gauge. There has been wide interest in a new book, “Greening the Orthodox Parish,” said Frederick Krueger, its American editor. Subtitled “A Handbook for Christian Ecological Practice” and with a preface by Bartholomew, it covers theology, special liturgies and prayers as well as science papers and practical advice.
Numerous Orthodox monasteries and churches in Eastern Europe and the United States have switched to solar energy in recent years.
Among them is the Chrysopegi monastery on the Greek island of Crete, where the nuns use the environmental texts of the patriarch and other theologians in their teachings.
“More and more young people are coming to our courses,” Mother Theocheni, the abbess of the monastery, said at the conference at Halki, near Istanbul. “They come to find meaning. Many seem to find inspiration in ecology. It’s been growing fast for the last 10 years.”

patents on human genes

Percentage of genes that are patented in the U.S.: 18.5%

After Myriad obtained its patents, it sent letters ordering other labs to
stop testing. A survey of U.S. laboratory directors showed:

  • 25% stopped performing a genetic test that they had been offering as a result of gene patent or license-holders exercising their intellectual property rights.
  • More than 50% had decided not to develop or perform a genetic test for clinical or research purposes because of a patent.
  • More than 90% thought patents had negative effects on the development of genetic tests and increased the cost of testing.

January 18, 2012

On May 12, 2009, the ACLU and the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) filed a lawsuit charging that patents on two human genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer are unconstitutional and invalid. The suit charges that the patents stifle diagnostic testing and research that could lead to cures and that they limit women’s options regarding their medical care.

The lawsuit, Association for Molecular Pathology, et al. v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, et al., was filed on behalf of researchers, genetic counselors, women patients, cancer survivors, breast cancer and women’s health groups, and scientific associations representing 150,000 geneticists, pathologists, and laboratory professionals. The lawsuit was filed against the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, as well as Myriad Genetics and the University of Utah Research Foundation, which hold the patents on the genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2. The lawsuit charges that patents on human genes violate the First Amendment and patent law because genes are “products of nature” and therefore can’t be patented.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has granted thousands of patents on human genes – in fact, about 20 percent of our genes are patented. A gene patent holder has the right to prevent anyone from studying, testing or even looking at a gene. As a result, scientific research and genetic testing has been delayed, limited or even shut down due to concerns about gene patents.

On March 29, 2010 a New York federal court ruled that the patents on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are invalid. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit heard Myriad’s appeal of that ruling in April 2011.

In July 2011, the appeals court ruled that companies can obtain patents on the genes but cannot patent methods to compare those gene sequences.

Percentage of genes that are patented in the U.S.: 18.5%

After Myriad obtained its patents, it sent letters ordering other labs to
stop testing. A survey of U.S. laboratory directors showed:

  • 25% stopped performing a genetic test that they had been offering as a result of gene patent or license-holders exercising their intellectual property rights.
  • More than 50% had decided not to develop or perform a genetic test for clinical or research purposes because of a patent.
  • More than 90% thought patents had negative effects on the development of genetic tests and increased the cost of testing.

January 18, 2012

On May 12, 2009, the ACLU and the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) filed a lawsuit charging that patents on two human genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer are unconstitutional and invalid. The suit charges that the patents stifle diagnostic testing and research that could lead to cures and that they limit women’s options regarding their medical care.

The lawsuit, Association for Molecular Pathology, et al. v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, et al., was filed on behalf of researchers, genetic counselors, women patients, cancer survivors, breast cancer and women’s health groups, and scientific associations representing 150,000 geneticists, pathologists, and laboratory professionals. The lawsuit was filed against the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, as well as Myriad Genetics and the University of Utah Research Foundation, which hold the patents on the genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2. The lawsuit charges that patents on human genes violate the First Amendment and patent law because genes are “products of nature” and therefore can’t be patented.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has granted thousands of patents on human genes – in fact, about 20 percent of our genes are patented. A gene patent holder has the right to prevent anyone from studying, testing or even looking at a gene. As a result, scientific research and genetic testing has been delayed, limited or even shut down due to concerns about gene patents.

On March 29, 2010 a New York federal court ruled that the patents on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are invalid. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit heard Myriad’s appeal of that ruling in April 2011.

In July 2011, the appeals court ruled that companies can obtain patents on the genes but cannot patent methods to compare those gene sequences.

la ATF proporciona armas a cartel de Sinaloa

http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/primera/37372.html

WASHINGTON.— “Armamos al cártel de Sinaloa. Es repugnante”, fueron las palabras de Carlos Canino, actual jefe en México de la Oficina para el Control del Alcohol, Tabaco y Armas de Fuego (ATF, en inglés), que contiene un nuevo testimonio que reveló el Congreso de Estados Unidos sobre el caso Rápido y furioso.

El Comité de Supervisión Gubernamental hizo público el reporte con más declaraciones y acusaciones sobre el tráfico vigilado por la ATF que permitió la entrada de manera ilegal de miles de armas que terminaron en manos de los cárteles de la droga en México.

Esta información se dio a conocer el día en que los principales mandos de la Oficina para el Control del Alcohol, Tabaco y Armas de Fuego activos en territorio mexicano comparecieron ante legisladores con el objetivo de llegar al fondo caso por medio de los testimonios de los oficiales que pudieron presenciar el flujo de armas desde Estados Unidos hasta México.

En palabras de Canino, la operación Rápido y furioso fue una “tormenta perfecta de idiotez”. Y continúa: “Brian Terry (el agente de la Patrulla Fronteriza asesinado) no será el último. Probablemente hay cientos de Brian Terry en México”.

Además de haber llegado a las manos del cártel de Sinaloa que lidera Joaquín Guzmán, como lo señaló el jefe en funciones de la ATF en México, documentos obtenidos por los investigadores del Congreso de EU prueban que armas vendidas a la vista de la Agencia como parte del fallido operativo fueron usadas por al menos tres organizaciones: la de Sinaloa, la de Teodoro García Simental, y por La Familia Michoacana.

El comité intenta así probar que la ATF, encargada de prevenir que las armas lleguen a las manos del crimen organizado, consiguió facilitar que los cárteles de la droga en México se hicieran de verdaderos arsenales.

Las nuevas pruebas de los congresistas contra el caso son como leña al fuego en el escándalo que desató Rápido y furioso y que alcanzó a varias agencias encargadas de la procuración de justicia en Estados Unidos en incluso al propio Departamento de Justicia, a cargo del fiscal general Eric Holder.

Los funcionarios que comparecieron ante el los legisladores fueron: William McMahon, asistente del director para Operación de Campo en Phoenix y México; William Newell, ex agente especial a cargo de la División de Campo de la ATF en Phoenix; Carlos Canino, adjunto a cargo de la Oficina de la ATF en funciones en México; Jose Wall, agente senior en Tijuana; Lorren Leadmon, especialista en inteligencia de la ATF; y Darren Gil, ex jefe de la Oficina de la ATF en la embajada de Estados Unidos en México.

La huella de las armas

En el informe del Comité de Supervisión Gubernamental denominado Operación Rápido y furioso del Departamento de Justicia: alimentando la violencia de los cárteles se documentan casos en los que aparecieron armas que entraron a México por el operativo.

Revela que el primer gran decomiso de armas vendidas a traficantes bajo la vigilancia de la ATF ocurrió el 20 de noviembre de 2009 en Naco, Sonora, donde las 42 armas aseguradas, incluidas 41 AK-47 y un rifle calibre .50, fueron rastreadas hasta sospechosos que investigaba la agencia. Algunas de éstas llegaron a las manos de cárteles de un día para otro luego de ser compradas.

Casi tres semanas después del decomiso en Naco, un aseguramiento aún mayor en Mexicali, Baja California, incluyó 41 rifles de asalto AK-47, un AR-15 y un FN calibre 5.7, además de casi media tonelada de cocaína, 60 kilos de metanfetaminas, 392 cartuchos y 2 millones de dólares en efectivo.

Otro decomiso más ocurrió en enero de 2010 en El Paso, Texas, donde se recuperaron 40 rifles cuyo origen fue rastreado hasta el fallido operativo.

Después de conocer esto, la ATF permitió que las compras y el tráfico por parte de los sospechosos vigilados continuara por más de un año, hasta diciembre de 2010, cuando el agente de la Patrulla Fronteriza Brian Terry fue asesinado y dos rifles de asalto parte de la operación Rápido y furioso fueron encontrados en la escena del crimen.

El texto también revela que investigadores del comité viajaron a México el 25 de junio de 2011 para inspeccionar visualmente un helicóptero de la Policía Federal dañado con un Barret calibre .50 que penetró el cristal “a prueba de balas de la aeronave y que también tuvo su origen en el operativo”.

Carlos Canino señaló: “En mi opinión, estos 34 rifles calibre .50 en las manos de uno de los cárteles va a cambiar los resultados de la batalla (entre fuerzas federales y criminales)”.

Los implicados

En el extenso informe elaborado por los republicanos Darrell Issa y Charles E. Grassley, que desde hace meses intentan deslindar responsabilidades sobre el caso, por primera vez se nombra a algunos funcionarios del Departamento de Justicia que estuvieron al tanto de Rápido y furioso.

Hasta el momento ningún funcionario de la dependencia a cargo del fiscal general Eric Holder ha aceptado públicamente tener participación o haber conocido el operativo. Sin embargo, el informe de comité revela que el 5 de marzo de 2010 analistas de la ATF dijeron a mandos del Departamento de Justicia que el número de armas compradas por los traficantes había rebasado la cifra de mil.

Uno de los presentes era Joe Cooley, que había sido enviado directamente por Lanny Breuer, asistente de Holder y jefe de la División Criminal de la dependencia. Cuando Cooley supo que más de mil armas de la operación estaban ya en manos de criminales, se limitó a decir “es una práctica aceptable”, según narra el documento.

Un documento previo hecho público por el mismo comité señaló a Lanny Breuer como la persona que a nombre de Eric Holder dio su permiso para intervenir las conversaciones telefónicas de un presunto traficante de armas vigilado bajo Rápido y furioso.

Ayer, la guerra soterrada que se libra en el Departamento de Justicia para esclarecer las responsabilidades por el fallido operativo estalló en medio de una audiencia en la que tres de los agentes de la ATF asignados en México se negaron a respaldar las versiones ofrecidas el ex jefe de esa agencia federal en Phoenix, William Newell, quien aseguró que tanto las autoridades de México como los agentes destacados en ese país estaban al tanto de ese operativo desde noviembre del 2009.

“Quiero dejar esto perfectamente claro ante el pueblo estadounidense y el gobierno de México. Nunca supimos que agentes de la ATF estaban siguiendo a un traficante de armas sospechoso y conocido con un cargamento de 700 armas”, dijo Carlos Canino, al poner así su palabra contra la de William Newell, quien insistió en su versión de que el objetivo de Rápido y furioso no era permitir el trasiego ilegal de armas a México, sino el desmantelamiento de la red de armamento que iba a parar a los cárteles de la droga.

“Estoy enfurecido”, dijo Canino, al señalar que como resultado de la investigación se ha descubierto que un arsenal de más de 2 mil armas de grueso calibre, suficientes para armar a un regimiento, podrían haber ido a parar a manos del cártel de Sinaloa. Canino ha sido el más beligerante de los agentes de ATF a la hora de refutar el testimonio ofrecido por William Newell

“Estoy avergonzado. Y conozco agentes, tipos a los que considero héroes y amigos, que me han dicho desde que (este escándalo) estalló que estaban avergonzados de portar una placa de ATF. He llorado por ello, literalmente, y no me avergüenza reconocerlo”, añadió Canino.

En su testimonio, Newell, insistió en que desde diciembre de 2010 y enero de 2011 invitó a los agregados de ATF en México y a funcionarios de la Procuraduría General de la República (PGR) para informarles del operativo.

Estos señalamientos han sido desmentidos en México por la PGR.

Ayer, Newell se enfrentó al desmentido de sus colegas y a la molestia e indignación de congresistas que han amenazado con acusarle de perjurio, por no aportar toda la información solicitada.

http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/primera/37372.html

WASHINGTON.— “Armamos al cártel de Sinaloa. Es repugnante”, fueron las palabras de Carlos Canino, actual jefe en México de la Oficina para el Control del Alcohol, Tabaco y Armas de Fuego (ATF, en inglés), que contiene un nuevo testimonio que reveló el Congreso de Estados Unidos sobre el caso Rápido y furioso.

El Comité de Supervisión Gubernamental hizo público el reporte con más declaraciones y acusaciones sobre el tráfico vigilado por la ATF que permitió la entrada de manera ilegal de miles de armas que terminaron en manos de los cárteles de la droga en México.

Esta información se dio a conocer el día en que los principales mandos de la Oficina para el Control del Alcohol, Tabaco y Armas de Fuego activos en territorio mexicano comparecieron ante legisladores con el objetivo de llegar al fondo caso por medio de los testimonios de los oficiales que pudieron presenciar el flujo de armas desde Estados Unidos hasta México.

En palabras de Canino, la operación Rápido y furioso fue una “tormenta perfecta de idiotez”. Y continúa: “Brian Terry (el agente de la Patrulla Fronteriza asesinado) no será el último. Probablemente hay cientos de Brian Terry en México”.

Además de haber llegado a las manos del cártel de Sinaloa que lidera Joaquín Guzmán, como lo señaló el jefe en funciones de la ATF en México, documentos obtenidos por los investigadores del Congreso de EU prueban que armas vendidas a la vista de la Agencia como parte del fallido operativo fueron usadas por al menos tres organizaciones: la de Sinaloa, la de Teodoro García Simental, y por La Familia Michoacana.

El comité intenta así probar que la ATF, encargada de prevenir que las armas lleguen a las manos del crimen organizado, consiguió facilitar que los cárteles de la droga en México se hicieran de verdaderos arsenales.

Las nuevas pruebas de los congresistas contra el caso son como leña al fuego en el escándalo que desató Rápido y furioso y que alcanzó a varias agencias encargadas de la procuración de justicia en Estados Unidos en incluso al propio Departamento de Justicia, a cargo del fiscal general Eric Holder.

Los funcionarios que comparecieron ante el los legisladores fueron: William McMahon, asistente del director para Operación de Campo en Phoenix y México; William Newell, ex agente especial a cargo de la División de Campo de la ATF en Phoenix; Carlos Canino, adjunto a cargo de la Oficina de la ATF en funciones en México; Jose Wall, agente senior en Tijuana; Lorren Leadmon, especialista en inteligencia de la ATF; y Darren Gil, ex jefe de la Oficina de la ATF en la embajada de Estados Unidos en México.

La huella de las armas

En el informe del Comité de Supervisión Gubernamental denominado Operación Rápido y furioso del Departamento de Justicia: alimentando la violencia de los cárteles se documentan casos en los que aparecieron armas que entraron a México por el operativo.

Revela que el primer gran decomiso de armas vendidas a traficantes bajo la vigilancia de la ATF ocurrió el 20 de noviembre de 2009 en Naco, Sonora, donde las 42 armas aseguradas, incluidas 41 AK-47 y un rifle calibre .50, fueron rastreadas hasta sospechosos que investigaba la agencia. Algunas de éstas llegaron a las manos de cárteles de un día para otro luego de ser compradas.

Casi tres semanas después del decomiso en Naco, un aseguramiento aún mayor en Mexicali, Baja California, incluyó 41 rifles de asalto AK-47, un AR-15 y un FN calibre 5.7, además de casi media tonelada de cocaína, 60 kilos de metanfetaminas, 392 cartuchos y 2 millones de dólares en efectivo.

Otro decomiso más ocurrió en enero de 2010 en El Paso, Texas, donde se recuperaron 40 rifles cuyo origen fue rastreado hasta el fallido operativo.

Después de conocer esto, la ATF permitió que las compras y el tráfico por parte de los sospechosos vigilados continuara por más de un año, hasta diciembre de 2010, cuando el agente de la Patrulla Fronteriza Brian Terry fue asesinado y dos rifles de asalto parte de la operación Rápido y furioso fueron encontrados en la escena del crimen.

El texto también revela que investigadores del comité viajaron a México el 25 de junio de 2011 para inspeccionar visualmente un helicóptero de la Policía Federal dañado con un Barret calibre .50 que penetró el cristal “a prueba de balas de la aeronave y que también tuvo su origen en el operativo”.

Carlos Canino señaló: “En mi opinión, estos 34 rifles calibre .50 en las manos de uno de los cárteles va a cambiar los resultados de la batalla (entre fuerzas federales y criminales)”.

Los implicados

En el extenso informe elaborado por los republicanos Darrell Issa y Charles E. Grassley, que desde hace meses intentan deslindar responsabilidades sobre el caso, por primera vez se nombra a algunos funcionarios del Departamento de Justicia que estuvieron al tanto de Rápido y furioso.

Hasta el momento ningún funcionario de la dependencia a cargo del fiscal general Eric Holder ha aceptado públicamente tener participación o haber conocido el operativo. Sin embargo, el informe de comité revela que el 5 de marzo de 2010 analistas de la ATF dijeron a mandos del Departamento de Justicia que el número de armas compradas por los traficantes había rebasado la cifra de mil.

Uno de los presentes era Joe Cooley, que había sido enviado directamente por Lanny Breuer, asistente de Holder y jefe de la División Criminal de la dependencia. Cuando Cooley supo que más de mil armas de la operación estaban ya en manos de criminales, se limitó a decir “es una práctica aceptable”, según narra el documento.

Un documento previo hecho público por el mismo comité señaló a Lanny Breuer como la persona que a nombre de Eric Holder dio su permiso para intervenir las conversaciones telefónicas de un presunto traficante de armas vigilado bajo Rápido y furioso.

Ayer, la guerra soterrada que se libra en el Departamento de Justicia para esclarecer las responsabilidades por el fallido operativo estalló en medio de una audiencia en la que tres de los agentes de la ATF asignados en México se negaron a respaldar las versiones ofrecidas el ex jefe de esa agencia federal en Phoenix, William Newell, quien aseguró que tanto las autoridades de México como los agentes destacados en ese país estaban al tanto de ese operativo desde noviembre del 2009.

“Quiero dejar esto perfectamente claro ante el pueblo estadounidense y el gobierno de México. Nunca supimos que agentes de la ATF estaban siguiendo a un traficante de armas sospechoso y conocido con un cargamento de 700 armas”, dijo Carlos Canino, al poner así su palabra contra la de William Newell, quien insistió en su versión de que el objetivo de Rápido y furioso no era permitir el trasiego ilegal de armas a México, sino el desmantelamiento de la red de armamento que iba a parar a los cárteles de la droga.

“Estoy enfurecido”, dijo Canino, al señalar que como resultado de la investigación se ha descubierto que un arsenal de más de 2 mil armas de grueso calibre, suficientes para armar a un regimiento, podrían haber ido a parar a manos del cártel de Sinaloa. Canino ha sido el más beligerante de los agentes de ATF a la hora de refutar el testimonio ofrecido por William Newell

“Estoy avergonzado. Y conozco agentes, tipos a los que considero héroes y amigos, que me han dicho desde que (este escándalo) estalló que estaban avergonzados de portar una placa de ATF. He llorado por ello, literalmente, y no me avergüenza reconocerlo”, añadió Canino.

En su testimonio, Newell, insistió en que desde diciembre de 2010 y enero de 2011 invitó a los agregados de ATF en México y a funcionarios de la Procuraduría General de la República (PGR) para informarles del operativo.

Estos señalamientos han sido desmentidos en México por la PGR.

Ayer, Newell se enfrentó al desmentido de sus colegas y a la molestia e indignación de congresistas que han amenazado con acusarle de perjurio, por no aportar toda la información solicitada.

arugula

Eruca sativa (syn. E. vesicaria subsp. sativa (Miller) Thell., Brassica eruca L.), is an edible annual plant, commonly known as salad rocketroquette,rucolarugulacolewort; or, in the United States, where it is very popular, arugula. Salad rocket (arugula) is sometimes conflated with Diplotaxis tenuifolia, the perennial wall rocket, another plant of the Brassicales family, which in the past was used in the same manner. Salad rocket is a species of Eruca native to the Mediterranean region, from Morocco and Portugal in the west to Lebanon and Turkey in the east.[1][2] Eruca sativa differs from E. vesicaria in having early deciduous sepals.[3] Some botanists consider it a subspecies of Eruca vesicariaE. vesicaria subsp. sativa.[3] Still others do not differentiate between the two.[4] The Latin adjective sativa in the plant’s binomial is derived from satum, the supine of the verb sero,[5] meaning “to sow”, indicating that the seeds of the plant were sown in gardens.


Salad rocket grows 20–100 centimetres (8–39 in) in height. The leaves are deeply pinnately lobed with four to ten small lateral lobes and a large terminal lobe. The flowers are 2–4 cm (0.8–1.6 in) in diameter, arranged in a corymb in typicalBrassicaceae fashion; with creamy white petals veined with purple, and with yellow stamens; the sepals are shed soon after the flower opens. The fruit is a siliqua (pod) 12–35 millimetres (0.5–1.4 in) long with an apical beak, and containing several seeds (which are edible). The species has a chromosome number of 2n = 22.[2][3][6]
Vernacular names include salad rocket,[7] garden rocket,[3] or simply rocket (British, Australian, Canadian, South African and New Zealand English),[2] eruca,[2] and arugula (American English). All names ultimately derive from the Latin word eruca, a name for an unspecified plant in the family Brassicaceae, probably a type of cabbage.
Salad rocket has a rich, peppery taste and an exceptionally pungent flavor for a leafy green. It is frequently used in salads, often mixed with other greens in a mesclun. It is also used raw withpasta or meats in northern Italy and in western Slovenia (especially in the Slovenian Istria). In Italy, raw rocket is often added to pizzas just before the baking period ends or immediately afterwards, so that it will not wilt in the heat. It is also used cooked in Puglia, in Southern Italy, to make the pasta dish cavatiéddi, “in which large amounts of coarsely chopped rocket are added to pasta seasoned with a homemade reduced tomato sauce and pecorino“,[18] as well as in “many unpretentious recipes in which it is added, chopped, to sauces and cooked dishes” or in a sauce (made by frying it in olive oil and garlic) used a condiment for cold meats and fish.[18] In the Slovenian Littoral, it is often combined with boiled potatoes,[19] used in a soup,[20] or served with the cheese burek, especially in the town of Koper.
A sweet, peppery digestive alcohol called rucolino is made from arugula on the island of Ischia in the Gulf of Naples. This liqueur is a local specialty enjoyed in small quantities following a meal in the same way as a limoncello or grappa.
In Brazil, where its use is widespread, arugula is eaten raw in salads. A popular combination is arugula mixed with mozzarella cheese (normally made out of buffalo milk) and sun-dried tomatoes.
In Egypt the plant is commonly eaten with ful medames for breakfast, and regularly accompanies local seafood dishes.
In West Asia and Northern India, arugula seeds are pressed to make taramira oil, used in pickling and (after aging to remove acridity) as a salad or cooking oil.[21] The seed cake is also used as animal feed.[22]

Eruca sativa (syn. E. vesicaria subsp. sativa (Miller) Thell., Brassica eruca L.), is an edible annual plant, commonly known as salad rocketroquette,rucolarugulacolewort; or, in the United States, where it is very popular, arugula. Salad rocket (arugula) is sometimes conflated with Diplotaxis tenuifolia, the perennial wall rocket, another plant of the Brassicales family, which in the past was used in the same manner. Salad rocket is a species of Eruca native to the Mediterranean region, from Morocco and Portugal in the west to Lebanon and Turkey in the east.[1][2] Eruca sativa differs from E. vesicaria in having early deciduous sepals.[3] Some botanists consider it a subspecies of Eruca vesicariaE. vesicaria subsp. sativa.[3] Still others do not differentiate between the two.[4] The Latin adjective sativa in the plant’s binomial is derived from satum, the supine of the verb sero,[5] meaning “to sow”, indicating that the seeds of the plant were sown in gardens.


Salad rocket grows 20–100 centimetres (8–39 in) in height. The leaves are deeply pinnately lobed with four to ten small lateral lobes and a large terminal lobe. The flowers are 2–4 cm (0.8–1.6 in) in diameter, arranged in a corymb in typicalBrassicaceae fashion; with creamy white petals veined with purple, and with yellow stamens; the sepals are shed soon after the flower opens. The fruit is a siliqua (pod) 12–35 millimetres (0.5–1.4 in) long with an apical beak, and containing several seeds (which are edible). The species has a chromosome number of 2n = 22.[2][3][6]
Vernacular names include salad rocket,[7] garden rocket,[3] or simply rocket (British, Australian, Canadian, South African and New Zealand English),[2] eruca,[2] and arugula (American English). All names ultimately derive from the Latin word eruca, a name for an unspecified plant in the family Brassicaceae, probably a type of cabbage.
Salad rocket has a rich, peppery taste and an exceptionally pungent flavor for a leafy green. It is frequently used in salads, often mixed with other greens in a mesclun. It is also used raw withpasta or meats in northern Italy and in western Slovenia (especially in the Slovenian Istria). In Italy, raw rocket is often added to pizzas just before the baking period ends or immediately afterwards, so that it will not wilt in the heat. It is also used cooked in Puglia, in Southern Italy, to make the pasta dish cavatiéddi, “in which large amounts of coarsely chopped rocket are added to pasta seasoned with a homemade reduced tomato sauce and pecorino“,[18] as well as in “many unpretentious recipes in which it is added, chopped, to sauces and cooked dishes” or in a sauce (made by frying it in olive oil and garlic) used a condiment for cold meats and fish.[18] In the Slovenian Littoral, it is often combined with boiled potatoes,[19] used in a soup,[20] or served with the cheese burek, especially in the town of Koper.
A sweet, peppery digestive alcohol called rucolino is made from arugula on the island of Ischia in the Gulf of Naples. This liqueur is a local specialty enjoyed in small quantities following a meal in the same way as a limoncello or grappa.
In Brazil, where its use is widespread, arugula is eaten raw in salads. A popular combination is arugula mixed with mozzarella cheese (normally made out of buffalo milk) and sun-dried tomatoes.
In Egypt the plant is commonly eaten with ful medames for breakfast, and regularly accompanies local seafood dishes.
In West Asia and Northern India, arugula seeds are pressed to make taramira oil, used in pickling and (after aging to remove acridity) as a salad or cooking oil.[21] The seed cake is also used as animal feed.[22]

concerns of the working and middle classes

This year has witnessed a global wave of social and political turmoil and instability, with masses of people pouring into the real and virtual streets: the Arab Spring; riots in London; Israel’s middle-class protests against high housing prices and an inflationary squeeze on living standards; protesting Chilean students; the destruction in Germany of the expensive cars of “fat cats”; India’s movement against corruption; mounting unhappiness with corruption and inequality in China; and now the “Occupy Wall Street” movement in New York and across the United States.

While these protests have no unified theme, they express in different ways the serious concerns of the world’s working and middle classes about their prospects in the face of the growing concentration of power among economic, financial, and political elites. The causes of their concern are clear enough: high unemployment and underemployment in advanced and emerging economies; inadequate skills and education for young people and workers to compete in a globalised world; resentment against corruption, including legalised forms like lobbying; and a sharp rise in income and wealth inequality in advanced and fast-growing emerging-market economies.

Of course, the malaise that so many people feel cannot be reduced to one factor. For example, the rise in inequality has many causes: the addition of 2.3 billion Chinese and Indians to the global labour force, which is reducing the jobs and wages of unskilled blue-collar and off-shorable white-collar workers in advanced economies; skill-biased technological change; winner-take-all effects; early emergence of income and wealth disparities in rapidly growing, previously low-income economies; and less progressive taxation.

The increase in private- and public-sector leverage and the related asset and credit bubbles are partly the result of inequality. Mediocre income growth for everyone but the rich in the last few decades opened a gap between incomes and spending aspirations. In Anglo-Saxon countries, the response was to democratise credit – via financial liberalisation – thereby fuelling a rise in private debt as households borrowed to make up the difference. In Europe, the gap was filled by public services – free education, health care, etc. – that were not fully financed by taxes, fuelling public deficits and debt. In both cases, debt levels eventually became unsustainable.

Firms in advanced economies are now cutting jobs, owing to inadequate final demand, which has led to excess capacity, and to uncertainty about future demand. But cutting jobs weakens final demand further, because it reduces labour income and increases inequality. Because a firm’s labour costs are someone else’s labour income and demand, what is individually rational for one firm is destructive in the aggregate.

The result is that free markets don’t generate enough final demand. In the US, for example, slashing labour costs has sharply reduced the share of labour income in GDP. With credit exhausted, the effects on aggregate demand of decades of redistribution of income and wealth – from labour to capital, from wages to profits, from poor to rich, and from households to corporate firms – have become severe, owing to the lower marginal propensity of firms/capital owners/rich households to spend.

The problem is not new. Karl Marx oversold socialism, but he was right in claiming that globalisation, unfettered financial capitalism, and redistribution of income and wealth from labour to capital could lead capitalism to self-destruct. As he argued, unregulated capitalism can lead to regular bouts of over-capacity, under-consumption, and the recurrence of destructive financial crises, fuelled by credit bubbles and asset-price booms and busts.

Even before the Great Depression, Europe’s enlightened “bourgeois” classes recognised that, to avoid revolution, workers’ rights needed to be protected, wage and labour conditions improved, and a welfare state created to redistribute wealth and finance public goods – education, health care, and a social safety net. The push towards a modern welfare state accelerated after the Great Depression, when the state took on the responsibility for macroeconomic stabilisation – a role that required the maintenance of a large middle class by widening the provision of public goods through progressive taxation of incomes and wealth and fostering economic opportunity for all.

Thus, the rise of the social-welfare state was a response (often of market-oriented liberal democracies) to the threat of popular revolutions, socialism, and communism as the frequency and severity of economic and financial crises increased. Three decades of relative social and economic stability then ensued, from the late 1940’s until the mid-1970’s, a period when inequality fell sharply and median incomes grew rapidly.

Some of the lessons about the need for prudential regulation of the financial system were lost in the Reagan-Thatcher era, when the appetite for massive deregulation was created in part by the flaws in Europe’s social-welfare model. Those flaws were reflected in yawning fiscal deficits, regulatory overkill, and a lack of economic dynamism that led to sclerotic growth then and the eurozone’s sovereign-debt crisis now.

But the laissez-faire Anglo-Saxon model has also now failed miserably. To stabilise market-oriented economies requires a return to the right balance between markets and provision of public goods. That means moving away from both the Anglo-Saxon model of unregulated markets and the continental European model of deficit-driven welfare states. Even an alternative “Asian” growth model – if there really is one – has not prevented a rise in inequality in China, India, and elsewhere.

Any economic model that does not properly address inequality will eventually face a crisis of legitimacy. Unless the relative economic roles of the market and the state are rebalanced, the protests of 2011 will become more severe, with social and political instability eventually harming long-term economic growth and welfare.

Nouriel Roubini is Chairman of Roubini Global Economics, Professor of Economics at the Stern School of Business, New York University, and co-author of the book Crisis Economics.

Occupy Wall Street

This year has witnessed a global wave of social and political turmoil and instability, with masses of people pouring into the real and virtual streets: the Arab Spring; riots in London; Israel’s middle-class protests against high housing prices and an inflationary squeeze on living standards; protesting Chilean students; the destruction in Germany of the expensive cars of “fat cats”; India’s movement against corruption; mounting unhappiness with corruption and inequality in China; and now the “Occupy Wall Street” movement in New York and across the United States.

While these protests have no unified theme, they express in different ways the serious concerns of the world’s working and middle classes about their prospects in the face of the growing concentration of power among economic, financial, and political elites. The causes of their concern are clear enough: high unemployment and underemployment in advanced and emerging economies; inadequate skills and education for young people and workers to compete in a globalised world; resentment against corruption, including legalised forms like lobbying; and a sharp rise in income and wealth inequality in advanced and fast-growing emerging-market economies.

Of course, the malaise that so many people feel cannot be reduced to one factor. For example, the rise in inequality has many causes: the addition of 2.3 billion Chinese and Indians to the global labour force, which is reducing the jobs and wages of unskilled blue-collar and off-shorable white-collar workers in advanced economies; skill-biased technological change; winner-take-all effects; early emergence of income and wealth disparities in rapidly growing, previously low-income economies; and less progressive taxation.

The increase in private- and public-sector leverage and the related asset and credit bubbles are partly the result of inequality. Mediocre income growth for everyone but the rich in the last few decades opened a gap between incomes and spending aspirations. In Anglo-Saxon countries, the response was to democratise credit – via financial liberalisation – thereby fuelling a rise in private debt as households borrowed to make up the difference. In Europe, the gap was filled by public services – free education, health care, etc. – that were not fully financed by taxes, fuelling public deficits and debt. In both cases, debt levels eventually became unsustainable.

Firms in advanced economies are now cutting jobs, owing to inadequate final demand, which has led to excess capacity, and to uncertainty about future demand. But cutting jobs weakens final demand further, because it reduces labour income and increases inequality. Because a firm’s labour costs are someone else’s labour income and demand, what is individually rational for one firm is destructive in the aggregate.

The result is that free markets don’t generate enough final demand. In the US, for example, slashing labour costs has sharply reduced the share of labour income in GDP. With credit exhausted, the effects on aggregate demand of decades of redistribution of income and wealth – from labour to capital, from wages to profits, from poor to rich, and from households to corporate firms – have become severe, owing to the lower marginal propensity of firms/capital owners/rich households to spend.

The problem is not new. Karl Marx oversold socialism, but he was right in claiming that globalisation, unfettered financial capitalism, and redistribution of income and wealth from labour to capital could lead capitalism to self-destruct. As he argued, unregulated capitalism can lead to regular bouts of over-capacity, under-consumption, and the recurrence of destructive financial crises, fuelled by credit bubbles and asset-price booms and busts.

Even before the Great Depression, Europe’s enlightened “bourgeois” classes recognised that, to avoid revolution, workers’ rights needed to be protected, wage and labour conditions improved, and a welfare state created to redistribute wealth and finance public goods – education, health care, and a social safety net. The push towards a modern welfare state accelerated after the Great Depression, when the state took on the responsibility for macroeconomic stabilisation – a role that required the maintenance of a large middle class by widening the provision of public goods through progressive taxation of incomes and wealth and fostering economic opportunity for all.

Thus, the rise of the social-welfare state was a response (often of market-oriented liberal democracies) to the threat of popular revolutions, socialism, and communism as the frequency and severity of economic and financial crises increased. Three decades of relative social and economic stability then ensued, from the late 1940’s until the mid-1970’s, a period when inequality fell sharply and median incomes grew rapidly.

Some of the lessons about the need for prudential regulation of the financial system were lost in the Reagan-Thatcher era, when the appetite for massive deregulation was created in part by the flaws in Europe’s social-welfare model. Those flaws were reflected in yawning fiscal deficits, regulatory overkill, and a lack of economic dynamism that led to sclerotic growth then and the eurozone’s sovereign-debt crisis now.

But the laissez-faire Anglo-Saxon model has also now failed miserably. To stabilise market-oriented economies requires a return to the right balance between markets and provision of public goods. That means moving away from both the Anglo-Saxon model of unregulated markets and the continental European model of deficit-driven welfare states. Even an alternative “Asian” growth model – if there really is one – has not prevented a rise in inequality in China, India, and elsewhere.

Any economic model that does not properly address inequality will eventually face a crisis of legitimacy. Unless the relative economic roles of the market and the state are rebalanced, the protests of 2011 will become more severe, with social and political instability eventually harming long-term economic growth and welfare.

Nouriel Roubini is Chairman of Roubini Global Economics, Professor of Economics at the Stern School of Business, New York University, and co-author of the book Crisis Economics.

Occupy Wall Street

Televisa was the victim of an illegal operation

Mexico’s Narco Televisa Scandal

The Impunity of the Elite

(extracts)

“It has become known as the case of the fake journalists, read the lead in a recent wire report about the case distributed to American newspapers.

Thousands of posts on Twitter discuss what happened to 18 Mexicans busted in Nicaragua driving a half-dozen satellite TV vans from Televisa.

They are at #Narco-Televisa. On the other hand, at #fake journalists, there is just one. It reads: “I love #fake journalists… You don’t know how to write and wouldn’t know a real story if it bit you in the ass.”

Televisa and Pena Nieto together were also enmeshed in a scandal together. The Guardian published documents showing Televisa committing dirty tricks against other candidates to help Pena Nieto win the Mexico presidency, and—in a blatant pay for play scheme which listed fees for various services on offer—raising Peña Nieto’s national profile while he was governor of the state of Mexico.

And Wikileaks released cables from the American Embassy in Mexico recently illustrating US concerns that the Mexican presidential election frontrunner had been paying for favorable TV coverage.

So why is a US reporter stationed in Mexico City, where all this is well-known, calling it—while providing no evidence to back the claim—the “fake journalists” scandal?

On August 20, border guards in Nicaragua detain 18 Mexicans—17 men and one woman. They are all wearing Televisa t-shirts, and they are traveling in six satellite TV vans emblazoned with the Televisa logo. They carry press credentials from the network.

Customs officials received a tip from a Nicaraguan official who spent the previous evening in Tegucigalpa Honduras in the same hotel as the Mexicans. He became suspicious after hearing loose talk.

The leader of the group, 39-year-old Raquel Alatorre Correa, will be described in newspapers in Mexico City as a “brunette with voluptuous breasts, a wasp waist and an arrogant attitude.”

She is adorned with a Cartier watch, a Bvlgari Italian ring, a triangle-shaped diamond ring, several gold chains, an IPod, a Blackberry, and a two-way radio.

She is, in short, heavily-accessorized. And so is her mansion in Merida.

Later, when authorities in Mexico raid her homes and ranches (she has 12) in the Yucatan, they find her main residence has an electrified fence, two gates, security cameras, and special outdoor lighting.

She tells border officials—who find her high-handed and petulant—that she and her fellow journalists are in Nicaragua to do a story. When asked exactly where in Nicaragua they are headed, she says “I won’t tell you.”

A search of the satellite-TV vans is a foregone conclusion. What turns up is a surprise:

$9.2 million in cash, stuffed into built-in hidden compartments, as well as traces of cocaine. Prosecutors charge the group with money laundering, drug trafficking and organized crime.

Questioned about the arrest of one of their TV crews, Televisa emphatically and categorically denies any link to either the Mexican suspects or the six satellite TV vans.

For good measure, and perhaps to show the earnestness of their intentions, the giant network threatens to sue the 18 incarcerated Mexicans—who are already looking at doing 30 years in a squalid Nicaraguan prison—for appropriating the company’s good name.

Next Mexico’s Attorney General Marisela Morales steps into the fray, to say the suspects have falsely used Televisa’s name as a cover for criminal pursuits.

“Using the prestige or name of persons or companies without their knowledge,” she explains breezily, “is part of the way in which criminal organizations operate in Mexico and other countries.”

Despite her assurances, there is a problem: In Mexico City, journalists discover all six vans are registered to Televisa.

Her office is later forced to admit, to much derision, that her remarks weren’t based on the results of an independent investigation, but on assurances from Televisa.

In the columns of unfriendly journalists, reporter Carmen Aristegui stands accused of being a “manipulative freak” who is “sickly obsessed.” She has a “communication strategy Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels would have loved.”

She is said to share (with Proceso magazine) a “fixation.” To suffer from a “Fatal Obsession.”  To engage in “pure unsubstantiated sensationalism,” and to “repeat a lie a certain number of times hoping it will become the truth.”

Her reporting on the “Cocaine Caravan” scandal is “an incredible waste of resources, both financial and human.”

“Yet Aristegui persists in disguising her obsession with famous phrases like ‘the public interest’ and ‘questions that deserve answers.’”

Cooler heads observe that Carmen Aristegui has won Mexico’s National Journalism Award on four occasions, as well as the Cabot Prize from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
In a recent radio interview, she says, plaintively and poignantly, “I want to live!”

Nicaraguan authorities seem underwhelmed with the response to requests for information they have received from both Televisa and Mexican law enforcement.  “The claim that Televisa was the victim of an illegal operation,” says the Attorney General of Nicaragua, “must be supported by evidence.”

The prosecutor in the case pointedly states that he has not yet been satisfied that Televisa is not involved.
According to prosecutors, the narcos, or the narco-journalists, from Televisa have been running, for the past five years, a drug trafficking and money laundering pipeline running the length of Central America.

As weeks pass, there are a series of revelations. The six vans, it turns out, were registered to Televisa.
Televisa’s response was to insist that motor vehicle personnel had been bribed. Notorized documents make this seem unlikely. Then, too, there are letters on Televisa letterhead signed by the vice president of the news division, asking border officials to expedite the vans entrance into their country.

Mexico’s Narco Televisa Scandal

The Impunity of the Elite

(extracts)

“It has become known as the case of the fake journalists, read the lead in a recent wire report about the case distributed to American newspapers.

Thousands of posts on Twitter discuss what happened to 18 Mexicans busted in Nicaragua driving a half-dozen satellite TV vans from Televisa.

They are at #Narco-Televisa. On the other hand, at #fake journalists, there is just one. It reads: “I love #fake journalists… You don’t know how to write and wouldn’t know a real story if it bit you in the ass.”

Televisa and Pena Nieto together were also enmeshed in a scandal together. The Guardian published documents showing Televisa committing dirty tricks against other candidates to help Pena Nieto win the Mexico presidency, and—in a blatant pay for play scheme which listed fees for various services on offer—raising Peña Nieto’s national profile while he was governor of the state of Mexico.

And Wikileaks released cables from the American Embassy in Mexico recently illustrating US concerns that the Mexican presidential election frontrunner had been paying for favorable TV coverage.

So why is a US reporter stationed in Mexico City, where all this is well-known, calling it—while providing no evidence to back the claim—the “fake journalists” scandal?

On August 20, border guards in Nicaragua detain 18 Mexicans—17 men and one woman. They are all wearing Televisa t-shirts, and they are traveling in six satellite TV vans emblazoned with the Televisa logo. They carry press credentials from the network.

Customs officials received a tip from a Nicaraguan official who spent the previous evening in Tegucigalpa Honduras in the same hotel as the Mexicans. He became suspicious after hearing loose talk.

The leader of the group, 39-year-old Raquel Alatorre Correa, will be described in newspapers in Mexico City as a “brunette with voluptuous breasts, a wasp waist and an arrogant attitude.”

She is adorned with a Cartier watch, a Bvlgari Italian ring, a triangle-shaped diamond ring, several gold chains, an IPod, a Blackberry, and a two-way radio.

She is, in short, heavily-accessorized. And so is her mansion in Merida.

Later, when authorities in Mexico raid her homes and ranches (she has 12) in the Yucatan, they find her main residence has an electrified fence, two gates, security cameras, and special outdoor lighting.

She tells border officials—who find her high-handed and petulant—that she and her fellow journalists are in Nicaragua to do a story. When asked exactly where in Nicaragua they are headed, she says “I won’t tell you.”

A search of the satellite-TV vans is a foregone conclusion. What turns up is a surprise:

$9.2 million in cash, stuffed into built-in hidden compartments, as well as traces of cocaine. Prosecutors charge the group with money laundering, drug trafficking and organized crime.

Questioned about the arrest of one of their TV crews, Televisa emphatically and categorically denies any link to either the Mexican suspects or the six satellite TV vans.

For good measure, and perhaps to show the earnestness of their intentions, the giant network threatens to sue the 18 incarcerated Mexicans—who are already looking at doing 30 years in a squalid Nicaraguan prison—for appropriating the company’s good name.

Next Mexico’s Attorney General Marisela Morales steps into the fray, to say the suspects have falsely used Televisa’s name as a cover for criminal pursuits.

“Using the prestige or name of persons or companies without their knowledge,” she explains breezily, “is part of the way in which criminal organizations operate in Mexico and other countries.”

Despite her assurances, there is a problem: In Mexico City, journalists discover all six vans are registered to Televisa.

Her office is later forced to admit, to much derision, that her remarks weren’t based on the results of an independent investigation, but on assurances from Televisa.

In the columns of unfriendly journalists, reporter Carmen Aristegui stands accused of being a “manipulative freak” who is “sickly obsessed.” She has a “communication strategy Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels would have loved.”

She is said to share (with Proceso magazine) a “fixation.” To suffer from a “Fatal Obsession.”  To engage in “pure unsubstantiated sensationalism,” and to “repeat a lie a certain number of times hoping it will become the truth.”

Her reporting on the “Cocaine Caravan” scandal is “an incredible waste of resources, both financial and human.”

“Yet Aristegui persists in disguising her obsession with famous phrases like ‘the public interest’ and ‘questions that deserve answers.’”

Cooler heads observe that Carmen Aristegui has won Mexico’s National Journalism Award on four occasions, as well as the Cabot Prize from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
In a recent radio interview, she says, plaintively and poignantly, “I want to live!”

Nicaraguan authorities seem underwhelmed with the response to requests for information they have received from both Televisa and Mexican law enforcement.  “The claim that Televisa was the victim of an illegal operation,” says the Attorney General of Nicaragua, “must be supported by evidence.”

The prosecutor in the case pointedly states that he has not yet been satisfied that Televisa is not involved.
According to prosecutors, the narcos, or the narco-journalists, from Televisa have been running, for the past five years, a drug trafficking and money laundering pipeline running the length of Central America.

As weeks pass, there are a series of revelations. The six vans, it turns out, were registered to Televisa.
Televisa’s response was to insist that motor vehicle personnel had been bribed. Notorized documents make this seem unlikely. Then, too, there are letters on Televisa letterhead signed by the vice president of the news division, asking border officials to expedite the vans entrance into their country.

Revenge is a dish best served warm out of the oven

Urban legend

FWD: Free Neiman-Marcus Cookie Recipe
This is a true story… Please forward it to everyone that you can…. You will have to read it to believe it….

My daughter and I had just finished a salad at Neiman-Marcus Cafe in Dallas & d…

Urban legend

FWD: Free Neiman-Marcus Cookie Recipe
This is a true story… Please forward it to everyone that you can…. You will have to read it to believe it….

My daughter and I had just finished a salad at Neiman-Marcus Cafe in Dallas & decided to have a small dessert. Because both of us are such cookie lovers, we decided to try the “Neiman-Marcus Cookie”. It was so excellent that I asked if they would give me the recipe and the waitress said with a small frown “I’m afraid not.” Well” I said, “would you let me buy the recipe?”

With a cute smile, she said YES”. I asked how much and she responded, “Only two fifty, it’s a great deal!” I said with approval, “just add it to my tab”.. Thirty days later, I received my VISA statement from Neiman-Marcus and it was $285.00. I looked again and remembered I had only spent $9.95 for two salads and about $20.00 for a scarf. As I glanced at the bottom of the statement, it said, “Cookie Recipe – $250.00”. That’s outrageous!!!

I called Neiman’s Accounting Dept. and told them that the waitress said it was “two-fifty,” which clearly does not mean “two hundred and fifty dollars” by any POSSIBLE interpretation of the phrase. Neiman-Marcus refused to budge.. They would not refund my money, because according to them, “What the waitress told you is not our problem. You have already seen the recipe – we absolutely will not refund your money at this point.” I explained to her the criminal statutes which govern fraud in Texas. I threatened to refer them to the Better Business Bureau and the State’s Attorney General for engaging in fraud. I was basically told, “Do what you want, we dont give a damn, and we’re not refunding your money.” I waited a moment, thinking of how I could get even,or even try to get any of my money back. I just said, “Okay, you folks got my $250.00, and now I’m going to have $250.00 worth of fun.”

I told her that I was going to see to it that every cookie lover in the United States with an e-mail account has a $250.00 cookie recipe from Neiman-Marcus… for free..She replied, “I wish you wouldn’t do this” I said, “Well you should have thought of that before you ripped me off”, and slammed down the phone on her.. So, here it is!!! Please, please, please pass it on to everyone you can possibly think of. I paid $250.00 dollars for this… I don’t want Neiman-Marcus to ever get another penny off of this recipe….

(Recipe may be halved):
2 cups butter
4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups brown sugar
5 cups blended oatmeal (measure oatmeal and blend in blender to a fine powder)
24 oz. chocolate chips
1 tsp. salt
1 8 oz. Hershey bar (grated)
4 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder
3 cups chopped nuts (your choice)
2 tsp. vanilla

Cream the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla; mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda. Add chocolate chips, Hershey bar and nuts. Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet..Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 112 cookies.. Have Fun!!!

This is not a joke – this is a true story… Ride free citizens!!!! This isn’t some stupid chain letter either.. pass it on.. if you don’t, you won’t die or get dumped.. you’ll just do the world an injustice…

Thanx…

Most Internet users are probably familiar with “The $250 Cookie Recipe” and most recently associated with the Neiman Marcus company, though it was the bane of cookie diva Mrs. Fields during the 1980s.

It isn’t actually true. It’s a classic urban legend, a variant of a popular tale folklorists have traced as far back as 1948, when the ridiculously expensive recipe yielded a red velvet fudge cake supposedly served at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel (asking price for that recipe at the time: $25).

As for the recipe itself by most accounts it yields damn good ones (and plenty of them). No one knows whose kitchen it came from. Neiman Marcus chefs did create a chocolate chip cookie recipe after the fact, however, which the company now distributes free of charge as an antidote.

A History of the Table Fork

Dennis Sherman/Master Robyyan n’Tor d’Elandris

Many people in the SCA think of the table fork as either “out
of period” or “very late period.” Often people insist that the
only period forks have two tines. Actually, table forks were
known and us…

Dennis Sherman/Master Robyyan n’Tor d’Elandris


Many people in the SCA think of the table fork as either “out
of period” or “very late period.” Often people insist that the
only period forks have two tines. Actually, table forks were
known and used before the year 1000 in the middle east [Boger,
Giblin]. Forks made before 1600 with as many as five tines still
exist today. What is the real history of the table fork? Let us
see.
The fork came to Europe through Italy’s nobility in the
eleventh century. Throughout the next five hundred years, the
table fork spread throughout Europe, and into the lesser social
classes. By 1600, the fork was known in England, although rare
and viewed as an Italian affectation, while in Italy even the
merchant classes were using forks regularly.
We can deduce that forks were not common by looking at
various inventories and wills from the Middle Ages. The few
forks listed were made of precious materials, and presumably kept
primarily for dazzle and ostentation. They may also have been
used as investment pieces for the value of the materials used
[Bailey]. Some specific examples include:

  • The Will of John Baret of Bury St. Edmunds, 1463: “Itm J.
    yeve and beqwethe to Davn John Kertelynge my silvir forke
    for grene gyngor”[Bailey]

  • The Jewelhouse inventory of Henry VIII: “Item one spone
    wt suckett fork at the end of silver and gilt”[Bailey]

  • Inventory of property left by Henry VII: “Item, one Case
    wherein are xxi knives and a fork, the hafts being
    crystal and chalcedony, the ends garnished with gold”
    [Hayward]

  • “Item, one Case of knives furnished with divers knives
    and one fork, whereof two be great hafts of silver
    parcel-gilt, the case covered with crimson velvet”
    [Hayward].

Forks also appear in an inventory of silverware in Florence,
taken in 1361 [Giblin], in inventories of Charles V and Charles
VI of France [Bailey], and in Italian cookbooks of the late
1400’s [Giblin]. All these references do not mean that forks
were common – the fork was known only to the very uppermost
classes, and seldom used even among them.
A Byzantine princess introduced the table fork to Europe in
the eleventh century. The story varies slightly depending on the
source, but the essence is that a nobleman, probably Domenico
Selvo (or Silvio), heir to the Doge of Venice, married a princess
from Byzantium. This Byzantine princess brought a case of two-
tined table forks to Venice as part of her luggage. Forks seem
to have been novelties in Byzantium, but not unknown. Many
examples can be found in Byzantine art, according to Boger and
Henisch.
The princess outraged the populace and the clergy by refusing
to eat with her hands:

“Instead of eating with her fingers like other people,
the princess cuts up her food into small pieces and eats
them by means of little golden forks with two
prongs.”[Giblin]

“God in his wisdom has provided man with natural forks –
his fingers. Therefore it is an insult to Him to
substitute artificial metallic forks for them when
eating.”[Giblin]

The princess apparently died before very long, of some
wasting disease, prompting Peter Damian, Cardinal Bishop of Ostia
to write,

“Of the Venetian Doge’s wife, whose body, after her
excessive delicacy, entirely rotted away”[Henisch]

Other evidence of the fork coming to Europe from the east is
given in a letter by a Franciscan monk to Louis IX of France. He
discusses the eating habits of the Tartars in the middle of the
thirteenth century:

“With the point of a knife or a fork especially made for
this purpose – like those with which we are accustomed to
eat pears or apples cooked in wine – they offer to each
of those standing around one or two mouthfuls.”[Henisch]

This fragment of a letter and listings in inventories and
wills link the fork with fruits and sweetmeats. We also see the
fork was used to eat dishes that included a sticky sauce or that
might stain the fingers [Boger, Bailey]. At one time, this
practice was primarily that of courtesans, prompting the Church
to ban the fork as an immoral influence [Gruber].
The fork would be used to spear a piece of food, lift it from
the plate or serving bowl, and shake any excess sauce from it.
Then one would pluck the food from the fork using the tips of the
fingers and place the morsel in the mouth. The early forks were
small, with short straight tines, and therefore probably used
only for spearing and holding food, rather than scooping. The
curve with which we are familiar in the modern fork was
introduced in France in the seventeenth century [Boger.]
Forks were known and used in Spain, at least by the upper
classes, by the time of the Armada. A large assortment was
recovered from the wreck of La Girona, which sank off the coast
of Ireland in 1588. La Girona carried Don Alonso de Leiva and
his retinue, who apparently traveled well equipped. Don Alonso
is known to have entertained the Duke of Medina Sidonia before
the Armada sailed, “in grand style, with musical accompaniment,
at his table sumptuously set with silver plate and cutlery and
gold-plated candelabra [Flanagan].” This cutlery included a
large number of forks, with anywhere from two to five tines.
These tines are all straight, as opposed to curved, although the
five tined variety appears to be slightly splayed at the points.
The many pieces recovered are fragmentary – either tines or
handles, but few pieces still joined. The handles include a
simple baluster stem with a terminal in the form of a hoof, to
elegant handles with terminals in the form of serpents or of
human torsos, among others. One wonders what was the purpose of
so many different styles of fork.
Thomas Coryat of Odcombe, near Yeovil, in a book titled
“Coryat’s Curdities Hastily gobbled up in Five Months Travels in
France, Savoy, Italy, &c.,” published in London, 1611, claims to
be one of the first Englishmen to use a fork. We see from his
writing that while forks were almost unknown in England, they
were common in Italy and not unusual in other parts of Europe.

I observed a custome in all those Italian Cities and
Townes through which I passed, that is not used in any
other country that I saw in my travels, neither do I
thinke that any other nation of Christendome doth use it,
but only Italy. The Italian, and also most strangers
that are commorant in Italy, doe alwaies, at their meales
use a little forke when they cut the meate; for while
with their knife, which they hold in one hand, they cut
the meate out of the dish, they fasten their forke which
they hold in their other hande, upon the same dish, so
that whatsoever he be that sitteth in the company of any
others at meate, should unadvisedly touch the dish of
meate with his fingers, from which all at the table doe
cut he will give occasion of offence unto the company as
having transgressed the lawes of good manners, insomuch
for his error he shall be at least browbeaten, if not
reprehended in words. This forme of feeding I understand
is generally used in all places of Italy, their forks
being for the most part made of yron or steele, and some
of silver, but those are used only by gentlemen. The
reason of this their curiosity, is because the Italian
cannot by any means endure to have his dish touched with
fingers, seeing all men’s fingers are not alike cleane.
Hereupon I myselfe thought good to imitate the Italian
fashion by this forked cutting of meate, not only while I
was in Italy, but also in Germany, and oftentimes in
England, since I came home, being once quipped for that
frequent using of my forke by a certain learned gentleman
a familiar friend of mine, one Mr. Lawrence Whittaker,
who in his merry humour, doubted not to call me at table
Furcifer, only for using a forke at feeding but for no
other cause.

The humor is, according to Bailey, in the use of “Furcifer”
as a pun, meaning fork-bearer, and also gallows-bird.
Ben Jonson also used forks as the basis of humor in two of
his plays. In “Volpone” (1606), Sir Politick Would-be instructs
Peregrine most humorously on correct behavior while in Italy,
including “Then must you learn the use and handling of your
silver fork at meals.” [Act IV Scene I]. And in “The Devil is an
Ass” (1616):

MEERCROFT, the projector. Upon my project of the
forks . . .
SLEDGE. Forks! What be they?
MEERCROFT. The laudable use of forks, brought into
custom here as they are in Italy to the sparing of
napkins . . .

In a slightly more serious vein, Henisch quotes a letter by
one Montaigne, of the late sixteenth century, as follows:

I could dine without a tablecloth, but to dine in the
German fashion, without a clean napkin, I should find
very uncomfortable. I soil them more than the Germans or
Italians, as I make very little use of either spoon or
fork.

The earliest fork known to have been made in England is now
in the Victoria and Albert Museum. It bears the crests of John
Manners, 8th Earl of Rutland and his wife Frances, daughter of
Edward Lord Montagu of Boughton [Bailey]. It is two-tined and
squarish, made of silver, and bears the London hallmark for 1632-3 [Hayward].
In other parts of Europe, it became customary to make knives
and forks in sets. Better quality knives of the sixteenth
century came in sets of a dozen or more contained in a leather
case, and included a fork to be used for serving [Hayward]. This
case or “stocke” is what the inventories of Henry VIII refer to.
Only very wealthy households would provide knives for guests. It
was much more common for people to carry their own cutlery with
them [Hayward, Bailey]. Even the inns were not equipped with
tableware, expecting the traveller to provide their own [Bailey].
As forks became more common, sets of knife and fork, often with a
sheath or case for the pair, came into use. Some travelers had a
collapsible or folding set of knife, fork, and spoon [Giblin],
much like today’s camping tableware.
So, there are a variety of table forks available for use in
the period of the SCA. The persona most likely to use a fork
would be a rich, late period Italian, while the least likely
would be an early period Englishman (or Saxon, or Briton). A
poor persona would be very unlikely to use a fork at any time in
the SCA period. The richer, later period, and closer to Italy a
western European is, the more likely they are to use a fork at
table.

Sources

Bailey, C.T.P. Knives and Forks. London: The Medici Society,
1927.

Boger, Ann. Consuming Passions: The Art of Food and Drink.
Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art, 1983.
Flanagan, Laurence. Ireland’s Armada Legacy. Dublin: Gill and
Macmillan, 1988.
Giblin, James Cross. From Hand to Mouth. New York: Thomas Y.
Crowell, 1987.
Gruber, Alain. Silverware. New York: Rizzoli International
Publications, Inc., 1982.
Harrison, Molly. The Kitchen in History. New York: Charles
Scribner’s Sons, 1972.
Hayward, J.F. English Cutlery, sixteenth to eighteenth century.
London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1956.
Henisch, Bridget Ann. Fast and Feast, Food in Medieval Society.
University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University
Press, 1976.
Millikin, William M. “Early Christian Fork and Spoon”, The Bulletin of
the Cleveland Museum of Art, 44(Oct. 1957), 185+.


Webbed by Wolfgang Rotkopf
<rodmur@ecst.csuchico.edu>