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Showing posts from September, 2016

A Letter to Cornell: Please Stop Sciencing.

A letter arrived on Cornell University Dean Kathryn Boor's desk this week. The same letter was sent to the Board of Trustees. Sixty-seven people from New York State's organic farming community requested that the dean give the Cornell Alliance for Science the boot from the campus.  They feel that such efforts have "no place at a Land Grant institution." Alliance for Silence?  I'm familiar with the Alliance for Science and have even participated in their training sessions and discussions.  I'm know what it is, what it isn't.  It is stunning to me that people would complain to university administration that the exchange of scholarly ideas regarding agricultural technology would be objectionable.  Well, maybe not so stunning.  The headlines at Sustainable Pulse present the argument against Alliance for Science. It is, "We don't like that the evidence fails to support our beliefs, so we want you to stop talking about it." In sho

New York State PTA Resolutions Earn an “F” in Science

The New York State Parent-Teachers Association (NYS PTA) has presented its proposed resolutions for the 2016  school year. Leafing through them I find comfort in Retention #4 on page 2 that clearly states that textbooks and instructional materials will be up-to-date, factual and unbiased. Such strong affirmations guaranteeing adherence to teaching based on our best methods and evidence is a credit to the NYS-PTA. But on page 13, New Resolution #1 breaks the pledge of up-to-date, factual and unbiased. The resolution being considered makes several claims about “Genetically modified organisms (GMOS) and genetically engineered (GE) foods”. They cite a “link” between such products and “negative health consequences”, that their standards ban “unhealthy products”, and claim that there is insufficient evidence that such food products are safe for human consumption. This new resolution asks for state legislation to ban products from genetically engineered plants (actually they say “GMOS an

A Joy of Teaching

One of the sad ironies of modern education is that the more expert you become in your field, the harder you have to work to be able to get in front of a classroom. It comes as no surprise.  Our primary role (mine is 80%) is research, leaving only 20% for teaching, and that is mostly satisfied by direct supervision of graduate students.  I'm also a full-time administrator, so that takes the rest of my time.  I get to do a lot of guest lectures and teach about 25% of a graduate course in the area of sensory biology and biochemical signal transduction.  This semester I had a problem.  A scientist on the faculty here was serving in Washington with NSF.  He taught undergraduate molecular biology, a key course for many students.   There is no possible way that I should have taken on teaching an undergraduate course. But wow, I'm so glad I did.  While I should never have done it, I jumped at the chance to teach his course, and ended up teaching the first third of i

One Year After, the Beating Continues

One year ago the New York Times published a front-page article dedicated to my defamation.  In a sensationalist move, a well-known reporter took a batch of my personal emails acquired by Freedom of Information Act (that I surrendered without resistance) and created a story that was designed to destroy my career and bring me personal harm. The emails were originally obtained and distributed by an activist group well funded by corporations with the intent of silencing me, a scientist that simply discusses science.  A year later the story appears again on Alternet, and author Lorraine Chow perpetuates the cherry-picked lies, the distortion and defamation started by USRTK and New York Times'  Eric Lipton a year ago.  This is under the "investigations" section, which turns out means cut-and-paste from another website.  Without any evidence other than the distorted words of trash journalism, Chow continues defamation of my efforts to simply educate scientists and ag p

A Giant Leaves Us

Dr. Roger Tsien has died, a giant in biology. This Nobel laureate pioneered the use of fluorescent molecules so that we could see inside cells, and better interpret the harmony between biology's building blocks. His innovations forever changed our ability to translate the unseeable into visible depictions we could analyze and celebrate.