Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Cosmic Plumber Nixed from Biohacking Conference

Agricultural Alchemist and Cosmic Plumber Nixed from Scientific Conference 

Kudos to the science fans that raised awareness of David Avocado Wolfe being invited to address a scientific conference.  The Biohacker Conference in Helsinki removed him from the proceedings after a substantial outcry by science enthusiasts in social media.  Wow!  Special shout out to @Sarah_Zhr and Sebastian Cocioba for bringing this to my attention!

This is an example of the need for continued surveillance. Charlatans are invited to scientific events either by accident or because they create their own sections of the conference and organizers don't notice. 

Keep paying attention to the lineups of such events. Keep in mind that they never invite scientists to pseudoscience events, so we should never invite pseudoscientists to a scientific event!

Nice work, science community. 

More about what happened here

Saturday, September 2, 2017

TB98- Cats! Domestication and Radiation

Domestic cats evolved from wild cats that found utility in human association.  They would benefit from protecting stored human food from rodents, and humans benefited from their grain stores remaining unmolested.  This week's podcast speaks with Prof. Eva-Maria Geigl from the Jaques Monod Institute and the University of Paris Diderot.  She is part of a team that has examined the DNA isolated from the mummified remains of cats, and draws important conclusions about their evolution and history.   

Friday, September 1, 2017

Triscuit - That's One Insulting Commercial

I actually did a spit take last night, snirked a perfectly good vodka tonic out my nose.

It was induced by a Triscuit commercial

The new Triscuit commercial extols that it is now "non-genetically modified"-- which it never was, as there is no GM wheat

It is the familiar deceptive advertising that caters to fear to make a buck, and shame on Triscuit and Nabisco for doing that.  Yes, they'll sell a few more crackers to science-fearing conspiradorks, but they also propagate fear of food, vilify farmers and pass higher prices onto the poor. 

The commercial ends with the actress saying, "I'm not genetically modified."  Someone better notify the vegetative propagule she budded off of.  She probably is a genetic amalgam, a hybrid of mom and dad, two genomes slammed together in unprecedented ways. That's a pretty radical genetic modification! 

But this is not about science, this is about fear mongering to sell a product.  There is no GE wheat, and if there was, it would be just fine. 

Quite a 'Scuit Storm Over on Facebook
>90% of comments decry this marketing foible, and are pro-science, pro-farmer, and standing up against Fake Transparency and manufactured risk. 

But luckily, this insulting commercial managed to wake up a science enthusiast community.  The Triscuit Facebook page is shining with defenders of science, people making it known that they will not buy the product because of their deceptive marketing strategy.

And people are answering questions and countering claims, standing up for science with class!  (with some exceptions)

I'm not sure who Triscuit is trying to court with such proclamations. They are Nabisco, a big company with many tentacles in places the food phobic won't tread.  And the products still may be made with glyphosate as a harvest aid.

And the hard-core organic buyers aren't going to buy it either, so Triscuit is really putting their burlappy little crackers into a bad place.

I really liked the rosemary ones and the black pepper ones too.  However, as someone that votes with his dollars, I'll opt for those brands that market honestly, and don't play off of people's fear of science to sell a product.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

TB97 Environmental and Economic Effects of Biotech Crops

The Brookes and Barfoot report is a dense, annual study of biotech crops impacts. Dr. Brookes summarizes the 2017 report on this week's podcast. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Scientist Harassed. Hear Her Story.

This week’s podcast is a discussion with Dr. Christine Lattin, a postdoctoral researcher in the Radiology and Biomedical Imaging Center at Yale University. Dr. Lattin examines stress responses in house sparrows using live imaging so that birds can be studied over and over through time.

However, Dr. Lattin has become a target of activists that have engaged malicious, personal attacks against her and her research.  The harassment has intensified into very personal acts of defamation and intimidation for this early career scientist.  We discuss the extreme measures she takes to ethically conduct her research and how her own personal reconciliation of how animals are important to research.  We then discuss what it is like to be the subject of an activist defamation campaign and personal attacks, and how to not just survive it- how to turn it into something positive.

The discussion is powerful and emotional, and hopefully will stir further awareness of how scientists are attacked because of their research.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Wrecking the Twitter Experience

Twitter can be a great tool for rapid review and dissemination of thoughts, criticism, and media.  However, about six months ago Twitter revised the program so that the @usernames did not count against the 140 character limit.  At that point a culture of strategic, well worded posts between a few users changed. 

Twitter went from useful to intolerable. 

Now there are threads with 40 users involved, sparring endlessly about issues like GMO, vaccines and climate. These are now good science allies arguing endlessly with people known to be disruptive agitators with no interest in actual science. 

Please stop entertaining them. 

I've blocked the trolls, so now I sit and watch well-intentioned people that have the science right pop up on the thread one after another, arguing with trolls.  I see one side of the argument, but that's all I see.  Hundreds of posts, one after the other. 

Now I'm missing valuable messages that I want to see, because I'm watching one side of a conversation that should not be happening.  I'm glad to share a thought with someone trolling, especially if they are new. I don't want to make the mistake of blocking someone with honest questions.

But to continually go back and forth with @peterdoodes, @GOPJesus, @H_O_G_, @Olivefarmer, @normonics, @JCal1969, @glyphosate9570, @Organics4Free, @beachvetlbc, @JodiKoberinski, @alafiagrandma, etc 

What are you thinking? 

I know some of these folks personally and you'll never change their minds in 140 characters.  Don't waste your time.  Others are there just because they love to agitate.  Don't play into it. 

And the Twitter tool of "mute conversation" does not work well. 

If we all blocked the same group of trolls, we could focus on providing information that wish to learn, wish to understand, and want to know the science.  Let them scream in their own echo chamber.  Some engagement is fine, but stop after 10 back-n-forths! 

If it keeps going I have to block/mute the people I appreciate, just so I can revive the functionality of the twitter feed. 

Please stop entertaining the anti-science crowd. 

Focus on the teachable. 

Focus on people that want to learn.

Don't waste your time on true believers.

They didn't formulate their opinions on evidence, so evidence will not change their minds. 

Have a Nice Day!