Showing posts from March, 2014

A Proper Goodbye for Fred Phelps

There's a special place in hell for Fred Phelps, and a few extra slots for the loons that surround him.  At least that's what I always said.  For some reason I've always read about the exploits of Westboro Baptist Church  (, provoking my own visceral reactions about such misplaced emotion and energy that could be used for more churchy activities. The congregation is best known for its extreme views on homosexuality, other religions, and the picketing of major tragedies.  Whether it was the death of a soldier or a tornado through Joplin, Missouri, Phelps and clan showed up to note how the deaths were the acts of God and a message to those on earth.  They financed their events through funds gathered from lawsuits, and are quick to note when their civil rights were violated, successfully suing municipalities .   When someone is as bad as Phelps, should we celebrate his demise, or is it time to show love and tolerance-- qualities they don't kn

At the Master Gardener Spring Festival

For those of you that attended, thanks.  Please see the links below for some more information on points discussed! It was a beautiful Saturday to drive to Ocala and see the Marion County Master Gardener's garden show.  It was even sweeter because I was on the schedule to talk about GMO Technology:  Coming to a Garden Near You , a provocative title for sure. The Spring Festival was great, the audience was fun. Thanks for coming out.  You may have already read some of the grief the organizers received for having me come give a science talk. Chatter on their Facebook page concerned the organizers that there would be trouble brewing, such as violent protests and angry throngs.  They emailed me and let me know that there would be police present and they'd be checking the room. Of course, I sent a note back that it was completely unnecessary, that there's no problem and that such things didn't concern me.  They don't.  It does give you a sense of what happe

The "Support Seralini" Challenge!

The 2012 work by Seralini et al has  long been retracted , and months later friends and admirers of Prof Seralini still are screaming foul and injustice.  Now the anti-GMO, pro-Seralini interests are screaming "Censorship!", claiming that their hero has been the victim of a company's influence over a scholarly journal. However,  there's only one person controlling censorship  at this point-- Prof. Seralini himself! Here's the easy fix-- if the work is as good as he says it is-- then he should simply publish it elsewhere.  Today. Well, months ago.  It was retracted by one journal . It is now unpublished. If that journal and its editorial board had some ax to grind as his supporters contend, then Prof Seralini can push the work down the road to the next willing publisher! Easier than growing lumps on a Sprague-Dawley rat. Since retraction, Prof Seralini must be carefully considering which top-shelf journal he'll consider as a Plan B.  Groundbreaking

Roundup In Air and Rain? What the Report Really Says

This week websites across the whackosphere exploded with the the news. Wow, that seems pretty remarkable.  I wanted to get a copy of the actual research paper right away!  I wanted to learn more, but I could not access the paper at Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry .  So how did all of these websites and their scholarly journalists get the manuscript? I contacted one of the paper's authors, Dr. Paul Capel, and asked for a copy and he kindly sent one.  Apparently I was the first.  Seems like those coming to the conclusions of the websites above were acting true to form-- skimming an abstract and drawing a conclusion that best fits their desires. So I actually read the paper!   Want to know what it says?   In short-- the conclusions from the websites above are cherry-picked nonsense.   First, the paper's authors do this work because ag chemicals volatilize.  I never realized to what extent, but wind, rain and other factors stir up otherwise latent che