Showing posts from March, 2017

Journalist Mouthpieces (Victims) of USRTK

It has been well established that the activist group US-RTK advances it agenda by using public records requests to obtain emails from public academic scientists at great taxpayer expense.  They then selectively pass stories along to willing (lazy) journalists that see an easy story and a quick paycheck if they publish the story that US-RTK wants told.  We've seen it several times already.  Thacker and Seife wrote a story about me that was false and retracted.   The New York Times and Eric Lipton wrote a damaging, libelous piece about me that time has shown holds minimal truth. Other stories are written by people on the USRTK payroll, posing as unbiased reporters. All of these stories started with USRTK passing along the emails to journalists. Journalists failed to do their own homework, instead, ironically doing the bidding of a well-financed activist group. Some did the homework but decided to perpetuate falsehoods.  Still others saw through the attack and would not comply wi

Corn Kernels and Cancer Cells

This story summarizes recent work in my department by my friend and colleague, Dr. Mark Settles. Full story at The Conversation .  Driving down a country highway in the Midwest can seem an endless ribbon flanked by green walls of corn, neatly planted in stately rows. But who would guess that a plant that feeds a planet might hold clues that could help us better understand, or perhaps cure, insidious human diseases? Recent research  from Dr. Mark Settles at the University of Florida describes a deep evolutionary link between the processes that govern cell identity in a kernel of corn and those that turn a blood stem cell into a cancerous threat to human life. Over my three decades as an academic researcher, I’ve been constantly amazed at how discoveries about fundamental cellular processes in plants parallel, or sometimes precede, discoveries in animals. While we share remarkably similar genetic blueprints, plants and animals are obviously quite different. Learning how two ve

Anti-Ag U.N. Report Written by Attorneys Argues for Big Ag

(This is long, but don't miss the punch line) I was speaking with a reporter and she asked me about the February-March 2017 "pesticide and GMO report" from the United Nations. She told me that it basically said that pesticides are killing mountains of people and that GE crops were a problem.  I think she was reading from a website that took this angle.  I had no idea, but I asked her to send me the report and I'd provide a synthesis. She kindly did that. The report is actually by the U.N. Human Rights Council, a special report on the "right to food".  That's a good thing-- right?  U.N. Experts (all two of them, both attorneys with no evidence of scientific or agricultural training) present their opinions, yet it is reported as a United Nations Report.  Actually it is a thinly-veiled promotion of agroecological methods to produce all food, trashing conventional agriculture as "industrial farming".  It does so by focusing on the

SPECIAL ISSUE: Fighting the Yellow Dragon- The War to Save Florida Citrus

The website Science 2.0 will host a special series of articles written by faculty from my department on the subject of Citrus Greening Disease. This disease, also known as Huanglongbing or HLB, is an insidious infection of the tree's vascular system, leading to death within years. This disease is in 90% of Florida's groves.  You can access my pilot article here , and please follow the rest of the series.  Most of all, share the stories with others. Awareness is an important step towards a solution. 

Fake News-- Before It Was a Thing

Yesterday I was reading my Twitter feed and discovered that the story contrived by Alison Vuchnich at Global News Canada in December of 2015 was surfacing again.  Lately there is an uptick in anti-Folta chatter.  Back before fake news was a thing, anti-GMO activists were creating false drama with the interest of harming me and my 30-year career as a public scientist, and at the very least destroying my credibility.  The story by Vuchnich was reasonably even handed in content, but the entire premise was, well, bullshit.  The story was titled "Documents Reveal Canadian Teenager a Target of GMO Lobby" and claimed that I was a centerpiece in harassing Rachel Parent, a young woman that is quite vocal around issues in food and farming.  Unfortunately, she has ideas that are not consistent with science.  Others have accused her as having motivated reasoning because her family owns a natural food monstrosity that benefits from denigrating conventional ag. However, I sim