Skip to main content

Folta News, Standing By for Fallout

I have not been writing much because I've been traveling and writing more than usual, and then also fired up a new podcast. The last two weeks have been truly difference makers. However, when you make a difference, you have to start looking over your shoulder.

1.  Biotech Literacy Project Bootcamp 2 - Davis, CA.

This was a closed, invite-only meeting that allowed scientists, journalists and others to meet and discuss how we can be better communicators with the public. Again, I learned a lot, and I'm amazed at how much we are learning about talking to non-scientists about science. 

2.  Podcast with Joe Rogan

Going in I was not sure how this would break, but Joe and I had a nice conversation that really frames how this discussion needs to go.  It needs to depart from the tired, baseless discussions of Indian suicides and terminator genes, and focus on traits and innovations that can't be used.  These have a daily body count. 

I received literally hundreds (I copied every one) of emails, tweets and facebook messages stating that the podcast flipped perceptions by 180 degrees. I received about 20 angry ones.  That is an unprecedented ratio-- just about inverted. 



3.  Podcast with Cara Santa Maria

                                     

Cara and I tied up some loose ends and it was fun. Again, lots of great notes and plenty of positive feedback from social media.  Many notes about how it changed someone's thinking. 




4.  New podcast launched

A new podcast discussing biotechnology in a scientific and even-handed way was posted today.  I posted Talking Biotech (www.talkingbiotechpodcast.com) where I'll have weekly conversations with guests and answer public questions from Twitter. 

BEWARE.

One week of solid gains and good traction was quite fulfilling, as it shows that we are learning how to speak to public audiences. 

However, today the number of angry, evil, and even harassing communications is stepping up.  

Watch for a fresh round of discrediting smear.  I can smell it brewing. 



Popular posts from this blog

Scientific American Destroys Public Trust in Science

This is a sad epitaph, parting words to an old friend that is now gone, leaving in a puff of bitter betrayal. 
When I was a kid it was common for my mom to buy me a magazine if I was sick and home from school.  I didn't want MAD Magazine or comic books.  I preferred Scientific American
The once stalwart publication held a unique spot at the science-public interface, bringing us interesting and diverse stories of scientific interest, long before the internet made such content instantly accessible.  It was our trusted pipeline to the new edges of scientific discovery, from the mantle of the earth to the reaches of space, and every critter in between.
But like so much of our trusted traditional science media, Scientific American has traded its credibility for the glitz of post-truth non-scientific beliefs and the profits of clickbait.The problem is that when a trusted source publishes false information (or worse, when it hijacked by activists) it destroys trust in science, trust in s…

Chipotle's Ag-vertising to Fix their Anti-Ag Image

After years of anti-farmer rhetoric, disgusting anti-agriculture videos, and trashing farmer seed choice, Chipotle now seems to have found a love for the American farmer that is as warm and inviting as the gooey core of a steak burrito.  Their new "Cultivate the Future of Farming" campaign raises awareness of the hardship being experienced in agriculture, and then offers their thoughts and some seed grants in order to reverse it. 

But are they solving a problem that they were instrumental in creating? 

The crisis in agriculture is real, with farmers suffering from low prices, astronomical costs, and strangling regulation.  Farmer suicides are a barometer of the crisis.  Farms, from commodity crops to dairies, are going out of business daily. It is good to see a company raising awareness. 


From Chipotle's website- The "challenge is real" and "It's a hard living"-- and companies like Chipotle were central in creating those problems. 

However, Chipotle&#…

Mangling Reality and Targeting Scientists

Welcome to 2019, and one thing that remains constant is that scientists engaging the public will continue to be targeted for harassment and attempted reputation harm.  

The good news is that it is not working as well as it used to.  People are disgusted by their tactics, and only a handful of true-believers acknowledge their sites as credible. 

But for those on the fence I thought it might be nice to post how a website like SourceWatch uses a Wikipedia-mimic interface to spread false and/or misleading information about public scientists. 

Don't get me wrong, this is not crying victim.  I'm actually is screaming empowerment.  I spent the time to correct the record, something anyone can check.  Please look into their allegations and mine, and see who has it right. 

This is published by the Center for Media and Democracy.  Sadly, such pages actually threaten democracy by providing a forum for false information that makes evidence-based decisions in policy issues more challenging.  It…