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Showing posts from February, 2015

New Heirlooms

Here you can get the seeds that represent the future of fruits and vegetables-- New Heirlooms.   These are Garden Gem and Garden Treasure tomatoes, new varieties produced by Dr. Harry Klee's lab at the University of Florida.  You can get seeds as a "thank you gift" in exchange for a small donation to his research program.   Garden Gem and Garden Treasure are two "new heirloom" varieties that were bred starting with consumer evaluation of huge numbers of heirloom varieties.  The best tasting were combined with a line that provides strong production traits. The result- A great-flavored tomato that performs well! CLICK HERE , and  donate $10 or more to tomato improvement at the University of Florida.  As a thank you gift you'll  receive 20 Garden Gem and 20 Garden Treasure seeds.  Put your shipping info in the space on the bottom. (Don't fill out "appeal code") Here's the Story: When you order a sandwich at Sub

This is What We Are Up Against

This Facebook post frames the problem we face as educators. So much of the public is clueless, paranoid, and knows nothing about basic biology. This is why folks like US-RTK must silence and intimidate scientists.  If anyone learns, they lose their power to influence them. 

More Funny Hats, Even More Slime

Manufacturing a Turning Point

When US-RTK filed the public records request on the #science14, they didn't realize they were creating a turning point in public perception. The public is sick and tired of those that waste limited public funds to abuse important transparency mechanisms, or even hacking, to silence or harass scientists.  The public sentiment sees this as slimy, expensive, and an undue attack on their public scientists, just like ClimateGate.  For instance, two days ago there was a post on's facebook page that claimed that I was "afraid" of the public records request and gave the impression that I was somehow refusing to cooperate.   I posted that I have always been 100% in compliance, and to their credit, they let my post stand.  Within a day, that post had 1000 "likes" and over 1000 supportive comments.  I have obtained screen caps of all of it from Philip Crews and others, and will immortalize that thread on this blog in the coming days. 

Rethinking Through Our Temptations

Since the public records request was filed against fourteen public scientists, its intent has become increasingly clearer.  It is nothing more than a hunt for words to smear a few visible public teachers and researchers that engage public dialog in animal and plant biotechnology. The effects are larger, scientists feel a violation of privacy, intimidation, and are less likely to reach out to lay audiences, which is what we should be doing most.  This is a malicious waste of public resources, and a hunt to harm those that said nothing outside the scientific consensus.  Baseless personal attacks still hurt, but the truth is out there. Let's resist the urge to put others through this legal invasion of privacy.  (Millions?) Over the last week I have heard calls to return the favor.  They came from those impacted by the US-RTK action and our supporters.   Yes, there are a few individuals with university ties that decry transgenic plant technology.  Some have suggeste

A Watershed

This is a blatant attack on science and reason. It is an attempt to muffle those who teach. Let's stand up together.  This could be the turning point. But YOU have to participate.  Fight back against the War on Science.  

True Intentions

All of my private emails are being turned over as per Gary Ruskin's request for public records via US-RTK as planned.  There was never any push back, no question of our compliance.  But this appeared across the internet today: Here GMO Inside characterizes me as a "Monsanto Activist" and makes the false statement that there is some sort of non-compliance.  This shows their true intent.  If we can't even trust these people when we are in full cooperation and compliance with the law and the request, how can we expect them to behave when over two years of private correspondence is turned over to them?  Frankly, I don't care.  Nothing was done wrong.  There was no crime committed, and my handful of interactions with anyone in the Big Ag world aren't too exciting. What this shows is that this is NOT about a Right to Know . This is about a Campaign to Destroy.  This is an activist desire to harm the reputation of a public scientis

Arctic Apple Deregulated - Predictions?

The "rubber stamp" of regulatory approval , that takes millions of dollars and more than a decade to get, has  been  finally bestowed upon the Arctic Apple, and the company that invented it, Okanagan Specialty Fruits. This apple varieties have their browning mechanisms deactivated using RNAi, a process that essentially eliminates the enzyme required for the browning process.  After years of testing and regulatory hoops, we can now enjoy them.  'Bout time! I've been hearing about the damn thing since the 90's. The Arctic Apple joins the ranks of one of the most tested foods of all time.  These apples don't brown when you cut them, making them an improvement for many applications.  I know I'll buy them because I like apple slices, and can have fresh ones, right from the apple rather than expensive pre-cut ones in bags with chemical treatments and modified atmospheres.  There is plenty of discussion online about how it works and why it is of benef

An Open Letter to US-RTK

To the right-wing talk show host, a scientist claiming evidence of human-induced climate change is simply running the talking points of George Soros and the anti-oil, liberal media. To the Young Earth Creationist, scientists speaking of evolution are simply reiterating the talking points of the atheist, Darwinist movement. To a Jenny McCarthy anti-vaccination disciple, discussion of immunology and communicable disease simply is the  talking points of Big Pharma. And it follows, that if you honestly answer questions  on agricultural biotechnology that is consistent with the peer-reviewed science, they are simply the talking points of the evil Big Ag.  I've been accused by US-RTK of using  corporate ag "talking points" and it appears to be the principle reason why my integrity is being impeached by US-RTK. I had to go to the dictionary to see how “talking points” is defined.  I figured that was a good place to start since I have been accused of using t

Ketchum and Me

The expressed motivation of the US-RTK blanket of requests for public information is to examine "the PR arm of the agrichemical business".   They targeted public, independent scientists that answered questions for a curious public on the website GMO Answers. is a website sponsored by industry.  I've never hid that, never downplayed that.  When I talk about the website in a public talk, I say, "This is a site sponsored by industry where you can find information from experts."   That's what it is. What's my relationship with GMO Answers?  How much am I paid?  What's in it for me?  Who's really pulling the strings?  This is what US-RTK wants to know.  Here are the answers. ***** I like because I can help people understand science,  and all of my answers are in one place. How I got connected with For 12 years I've answered questions on transgenic technology for concerned public audienc

Silencing Public Scientists

Last week I received a FOIA request that all of my emails bearing certain terms were going to be obtained and turned over to an activist group.  US-RTK, a San Francisco-based activist group, namely Gary Ruskin, wanted to know my ties to Big Ag and their PR arm.   The first thing I did was pick up a phone, call Gary Ruskin, and say, "What can I tell you?" We spoke for 10 minutes, he seems like a decent guy, but what's the deal with assuming that I'm guilty of something before even talking?   I'm not one to do things the hard way, the expensive way.  I'm glad to talk openly about anything.  Those closer to the situation tell me I'm naive, and that US-RTK wants nothing more than to see me removed from the discussion on ag biotech.  In their estimation,  US-RTK does not just want truth, they want words.  They want emails.  It is not about a scientists and what he or she does-- it is how they can make public records into something they are not.  Th

Everyone's a Critic

Over at The GMO Smoking Gun , linguistics Professor Emeritus Derek Bickerton has prepared a response to my criticism of Vani Hari's letter to grad students.  The original letter was a note Hari wrote telling the students studying food and science, that they know nothing about food and science.  I sprang to their defense, deconstructing Hari's scientifically-vacant response.  It was a quick job, a thrown-together effort over a sandwich.  However, the internet spread it quickly, ending up syndicated on Genetic Literacy Project as a "scathing" response to Hari.  Cool.  It got a zillion hits and was picked up in many places, which is nice.  It also raised the interest of Dr. Bickerton, who prepared his response to me, responding to Hari.  To his credit, he did notify me that he prepared a response, which is quite nice of him. He also seems like someone I'd love to have a coffee with and discuss his work.  He studied language on several interesting levels, like