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Showing posts from June, 2018

Golden Rice, Misplaced Activism, and Who Do You Trust?

This blog raises an important question about who you choose to trust, and how easily they sway your opinions. When you read scientific information on the web, do you believe only what confirms your biases, or do you think critically about the information?  Are people manipulating you?

First, I love the idea of Golden Rice.  In many parts of the world food staples contain little Vitamin A, so those consuming rice, potato, wheat, maize, cassava, and banana are not receiving adequate nutrition.  It is essential for vision and optimal health. The result is a scourge of Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) causes blindness and disease throughout the Developing World. 

Golden Rice has been genetically engineered with two genes to produce beta-carotene, the nutrient in carrots and leafy green vegetables that is converted to vitamin A in the body. 

Golden Rice is not without its issues. The levels were low in the first generation products and not necessarily in culturally-acceptable forms of rice.  Not ev…

Talking Biotech #139 -- Recognizing Dr. Rosalind Franklin

This is an extremely important story. Dr. Rosalind Franklin was a brilliant x-ray crystalographer that was the first to figure out the structure of DNA. Her data were shared with Watson and Crick without her knowledge. They won a Nobel Prize, she is barely a footnote. Can we please fix that? Listen to this week's podcast and share her story.

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FOIAs from Flying Yoga Dude

Were you ever the last to arrive at a friendly get together just to find the quacamole gone and all of those good little toast bits picked out of the Chex Mix? 

That must be how Jeffery Smith and the Broom Closet for Responsible Technology must feel now.  All of the cranks and charlatans had the opportunity to parse my private emails at taxpayer expense, and dammit, he was busy doing something else. Maybe getting the taste of his foot out of his mouth after Food Evolution.  
Long after tens of thousands of emails have gone out to Food Babes, activists, and dozens of others (at probably a half-million dollars in taxpayer expense-- and zero evidence of impropriety or ethical lapses), I FINALLY got the request from Jeffrey Smith's goons over at the Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT).  
Ironically, this institute for responsible technology has irresponsibly pushed false information about technology for ages, profiting all the way. When you review Smith's statements and predic…

Your Ancient Past, Weaponized

Back before there was Drunk History, back before The Man Show, there was media circulating that targeted the shaky hand that held the urine-soaked wallet.  

My friend from high school, Herb Rosen, took his experience of bartending in Chicago's dives and opened his own place-- Liars Club over on Fullerton Ave in Chicago.  It was (is) a crusty place in a (then) no-name neighborhood that had a KISS pinball machine and $1.00 drafts of PBR.  It is still there, still a dump, but the best place in Chicago for a cheap beer and Misfits or Decendents on the jukebox. It was where an entrepreneurial effort of catering reading material for late-night misfits would gain some traction...   

Self Publishing Roots

During high school in the 80's my friends and I were basement publishers.  We printed media called "fanzines" -- photocopied reviews of bands, music and other sundries.  It was a place for creative energy and clever writing before the internet gave us an instant, worldwide ven…

Talking Biotech 136 - Food Labels

This week's podcast--  Are food labels adding clarity or confusion?  Focus groups show that consumer sentiment toward food labels is changing.  Colleen Parr-Dekker is the Director of Communications at Elanco.  They have performed extensive focus group analysis and consumer surveys to understand how consumers feel about labels and food.  The excess of abstract information and claims has left most consumers unsure what labels even mean.  Consumers are clueless about terms like “antibiotic free” or “free range”, while companies use these tactics as marketing angles to differentiate their products.  Surveys show that terms like “natural” or “organic” are losing influence.  The results are surprising!