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Showing posts from June, 2016

The Door is Cracked Open, Jump Through Greenpeace!

This morning I was fortunate to have breakfast with Mark Lynas in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  He discussed his idea for a blog, based on the idea that 107 Nobel Laureates have asked Greenpeace to change their position on Golden Rice. He prepared a nice piece with a quick turnaround. It's here!

Go read that now if you haven't.  I'll wait. 

I could never put that so eloquently.  So instead, I'll focus on the idea that changing one's mind is not a bad thing, and maybe Greepeace should do that.  While politicians scream of "flip-flopping" and "waffling", in reality changing one's mind is an act of courage. It comes after a time evidence re-evaluation.  It is a sign of growth, a sign of personal improvement.  


Head toward the light!!
Greenpeace is in a difficult spot.  They do some things well and have a solid brand to inspire change.  However, they are not taken seriously because of their denial of fundamental science, and their trashing of scientis…

Office Broken Into

Sometime early Sunday morning my office suite was broken into.  My office has two areas, my assistant's area, and then my office.  The two are connected by locking doors, and there are two keys to the offices, mine and my assistant's. Nobody has access to these areas because they contain sensitive personnel records and other student information.

My assistant came in at 7:30 on Monday morning to find coffee spilled everywhere, files a mess, and all of the drawers gone through. Someone was at the computer and records show an "unknown device" was hooked to her computer at 1AM on Sunday.  We do not know what was up- or downloaded.

We see how they broke in.  It was a rather simple move that probably took place during business hours.  They basically rigged the locking mechanism so that it would be easy to enter after hours. 

My office is an adjacent room, and there's no evidence yet that it was entered.  We're still examining the contents and computers.  It is not cle…

Office Broken Into

Sometime early Sunday morning my office suite was broken into.  My office has two areas, my assistant's area, and then my office.  The two are connected by locking doors, and there are two keys to the offices, mine and my assistant's. Nobody has access to these areas because they contain sensitive personnel records and other student information.

My assistant came in at 7:30 on Monday morning to find coffee spilled everywhere, files a mess, and all of the drawers gone through. Someone was at the computer and records show an "unknown device" was hooked to her computer at 1AM on Sunday.  We do not know what was up- or downloaded.

We see how they broke in.  It was a rather simple move that probably took place during business hours.  They basically rigged the locking mechanism so that it would be easy to enter after hours. 

My office is an adjacent room, and there's no evidence yet that it was entered.  We're still examining the contents and computers.  It is not cle…

Talking Biotech #41- Innovative Breeding to Save Citrus

This week's Talking Biotech Podcast interviews Dr. Jude Grosser.   If there ever was a wizard of science, Dr. Grosser might just be it.  For 30 years he's used the most cutting-edge techniques in an attempt to improve citrus trees, not an easy feat.  Trees grow slowly, and genetic changes are difficult.  Dr. Grosser uses non-"GMO" methods as well as genetic engineering to produce new trees that just may save the industry from citrus disease. 

Tayler Gray as a Symptom of the "Selfies"

In a news cycle starved for any hint of controversy, an Allentown, PA's high-school student's tacky and disrespectful middle finger to her peers grabbed headlines. Tayler Gray, graduating senior, has been lauded by the media and thousands of social media supporters for her courageous act-- to receive her diploma and then walk right out of the auditorium.


"I got mine, so long suckas"
The sad news about such widespread attention is that her 15 seconds of fame will inevitably lead to an unsatisfying lifetime of hardship. 
When we can witness such cold narcissism in action, it tells us a lot about the person, her parents, and the values she holds.  Apparently she is an aspiring ultrasound technician.  I would not let her perform any medical procedure on me. The last thing I need as a patient is a procedure conducted by someone that believes she's more important than the rest of us.
If I was the principal, I'd ask for the diploma back until she apologized to her class…

FitBit or TwitBit? Bad Science that Hurts Family Farmers

I'm always sensitive to which food and fitness companies abandon science and peddle woo.  I'm sad to say that FitBit has a blog post that promotes the Environmental Working Groups "Dirty Dozen".  The "Dirty Dozen" is this activist group's annual attack on specific fruit and vegetable industries, perpetrated to scare people into organic produce. 

FitBit nutrition editor Becky Duffett completely drops the ball on this one and makes an indictment of an industry based on a fancy activist website, and ignores simple facts.  Instead of consulting scientists and farmers that work with strawberry and know the facts, she takes an activist group's word that conventional strawberries are toxic nuggets of death and should never be eaten. 


FitBit falls for the "Dirty Dozen" ruse without any critical analysis, making statements that harm American specialty crop farmers. 

The author reiterates the EWG claim that, "98 percent (of strawberries) had detec…

Please Support The Haiti Young Leaders Conference

Hi Everybody,

My student, Kiona is a senior in the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida.  She is deeply committed to science and does beautiful work in the lab.

But what makes her extra special is her commitment to sharing science, and even more, her commitment to becoming a leader in global food security and her interests in leadership development in young people worldwide. 

Kiona will be taking part in the Haiti Young Leaders Conference in a few weeks, and her team is currently running a fundraiser to help defray costs. She explains more about it here: 




  Again, the link is here.
I adore having the opportunity to work with students like Kiona.  One of the reasons is that I actually learn as much as I teach.  She reminds me that there is always time to reach out and share our time and talents with others, and that that simple investment can change the world.

Think about helping her team with a donation.  Even a few bucks here can make a big difference in their mi…