Showing posts from February, 2014

Independent GMO Research Challenge!

Blocked from Science?   One of the reasons I've survived as an academic scientist has been a tenacious drive to get things done.  I'm not brilliant like my colleagues, but I work really hard and don't take 'no' for an answer.  If there's a problem to solve, a hypothesis to test-- we figure out a way to do it. That's why it makes me crazy when people claim that they can't do experiments on GM foods.  They claim independent researchers have been blocked from doing work in this area.  Activists will have you believe that somehow their hands are tied and they are stopped from doing the work.  I just don't understand.  Want independent research?  Do it.  Don't whine about not being able to do it. If you are afraid to do it, or afraid to publish results, send them to me.  I'll publish them for you and we'll split the Nobel Prize!  But Isn't It Everywhere? Anti-GMO folks will tell you two things for sure.  First, that G

Proudly Proclaiming Scientific Ignorance

When I saw this advertisement for a t-shirt to wear in May's March Against Monsanto, I could not believe my eyes.  Here was a shirt being sold to those opposed to transgenic (GMO) technologies that basically says that the wearer has no idea about what they are so upset about.  In a way, sad, but in a way pure rhetorical gold.   I can't make this stuff up.    Proudly proclaim that you know nothing about technology you are rallying against!  A t-shirt that brazenly screams that the wearer is ignorant about biotechnology. So what's wrong with this picture?  Let's start at the bottom and work our way up! 1.  Tomato.  There are no commercial GMO tomatoes. Oops. 2.  Syringe.  That's not how trangenics are made, and it is simply an iconic scare tactic of the anti-GM movement.  Again, proudly shows complete ignorance of the process.  3.  Nobody is a science experiment from GM, any more than they are from eating anything else.  Again, a bold statement tha

GMOs and Leukemia, Debunkulated

Over the last several months there have been many people claiming this link between transgenic crops and Leukemia.  Let's think about this conclusion and the research it is based on.  The conclusion that Bt is related to leukemia, or any human disorder, is just not shown in those data.  ( excerpted from my answer on ) What do you think would happen if a 200lb human being was force fed, with a tube down the throat into the stomach, pure bacterial spores equivalent to half a roll of nickels, and then tested for effects 24h later?   My guess is that you’d see a screaming immune response, massive response from gut flora, and probably some effects on physiology that would be reflected in the blood.  Agreed? If you agree, then the results of this hypothetical “experiment” are the same as those performed on mice in the Mezzomo study. In short, the work by Mezzomo et al., (J. Hematology and Thromboembolic Disease) takes Bt spore crystals (dried down Bacillis

Talking to the Masses, Good Times.

Last night I got to speak the Organic and Sustainable Agriculture Club at UF, and it was quite nice.  There were lots of good questions and we had a good time.  Some people got up and left after 15 minutes, but those folks have made up their minds already.  Still, it was a great forum to talk about the even-handed science behind GM crops. I'm also speaking to the Master Gardeners Spring Festival in Marion County Florida on March 8th. My talk is titled, "GMO Technology:  Foundation of Future Gardening", perhaps an edgy title, as it provoked a rather pointy response. As usual, it made its way to the upper echelons of our university. Nothing like taking time on a Saturday to venture into the county and talk science.  Glad to do it, but it looks like someone is not too happy about it!     Sadly, when I get to "terminator seeds" I tune out, because obviously this person has so firmly bought into the misinformation that they are probably pretty far go


The following is a list of actual names.  Can you label them as NPR correspondents or NHL goalies? Answers below! 

The Common Disease Spectrum of Crazy

In order to wage an effective war against science and reason, it is important to convince as many people as possible that science and reason are killing them.  This task is difficult because most people realize that science and reason have greatly enhanced life quality and expectancy.  The trick is to misdirect the credulous from the daily examples where science works, and then manufacture risk, connecting an activist target to a familiar disease du jour .  Whether you are trying to sell a book on GMOs, get more invites for your anti-glyphosate rants, sell a t-shirt on your chemtrails site, be the president of your hackey-sack club, or convince local moms to stop protecting their children with immunization, there has to be a looming threat of a physical illness connected to your deadly agent of interest.  Below are cut-n-pastes from various websites or documentaries.  They note the rise in diseases associated with ____________ .  Note that they all are relatively similar lis