Showing posts from January, 2014

Fukushima Radioactivity Making Waves

Over the last few weeks I've read alarmist posts about radiation in the water in California and how fish are all contaminated with radioactive compounds from Fukushima.  To recap, the massive earthquake off the cost of Fukushima, Japan on March 11, 2011 caused a massive tsunami and strong tremors that damaged the Fukushima nuclear plant.  It stands as an emergency situation, and radioactivity broke containment. But in usual form the anti-nuclear environmentalists seized the opportunity to claim that the whole world is now in jeopardy due to the radioactive emissions from the nuclear plant. The Center for Ocean Studies claims that the graphic shows the range of radioactive waste emanating from Japan after the accident.  Not so fast...    I've seen this colorful map a few times, claiming to be the distribution of radiation from Fukushima.  Several things pop to mind.  First, if you took the raw materials out of Fukushima and dumped them off of the Japanese shore, the

Mother Nature, "An Evil Bitch"

 I enjoyed an online discussion today and had to share.  Someone must have tinkled in my corn flakes this morning.

Massive Data Do Not Support Huber's Claims

Dr. Don Huber is traveling North America warning audiences of a mysterious organism that causes diseases in plants, humans and livestock.  He talks to famers and concerned food-oriented audiences.  He does NOT present to scientific conferences, as scientists and their professional organizations do not recognize his claims, and confront him with questions that cannot be answered without invoking hand-waving explanations and elaborate conspiracies. I have a problem with anyone manipulating the gullible for personal or political gain, especially when they use fear to motivate action.  After seeing Huber scare the pants off an audience in Gainesville, FL, I have taken up the mantle of holding him accountable for his bad science and manipulating people for his twisted motivations. Today it occurred to me how we know, conclusively,  that there is no mystery organism.  No doubt. Evidence of absence in this case is tantamount to absence of evidence.  It is just that massive. 

These Ideas are the Thoughts of Folta and May Not Represent...

Illumination is here to help you separate the science from the junk. The blog Illumination was originally prepared to present my personal thoughts of science and its interface with society.  Carl Sagan said it best; we live in a world filled with science and technology, where nobody knows anything about science and technology.  We live in a world filled with charlatans and scam artists, malevolent activists and dangerous pseudoscientists.  There is a place for scientists to help buffer the public, especially those most vulnerable, from these harmful forces. I’m a scientist and I love to read, learn and then share science.  It is what I do. Full time. I don’t have a family, I don’t have hobbies and have yet to hit a mid-life crisis.  The world is filled with fascination and I’m so fortunate to contribute to it. I like to use the current topics of public scientific discussion to teach about logical fallacy, critical thinking, evaluation of science, and skepticism in gen

A Question from a Hofstra Debater

I'm glad to report that I received a kind and inquisitive email from one of the anti-GM debaters from the Hofstra event.   Bhavani Jaroff is a food activist, chef and radio host.  I was glad to meet her as we certainly align on the vast majority of food-related issues.  She argued on the side promoting increased GM regulation and her presentation was fear-laden activist talking points without firm understanding of the science. Recently I reached out, offering to explain the science behind her supporting evidence.  She declined the offer and suggested that she'd stay with Jeffrey Smith and Vandana Shiva as sources of scientific information in this area. Of course, that made all of my hair stand on end.  Neither Smith nor Shiva will ever offer to hold your hand and navigate a scientific paper in biotech.  Because neither of them can. Bhavani Jaroff gets huge cred for at least asking questions about biotech. However, times may be a-changin'.  I was delighted t