References to climate change censored from environmental report.
Same reactor designs, same vulnerabilities. Namely, when the power goes out, and then your backup power, what then? All these designs rosily assume the power will be restored in a matter of hours. Thanks, General Electric!
Plus it’s always been unclear to me why I have to create deadly poison for a hundred thousand years so I can use my laptop. Sign me up for rolling brownouts already.
Union of Concerned Scientists offer a delightful tool for anyone interested in scientific corruption- Behold the Timeline of Abuses of Science!
The whalers have all but admitted defeat. Congratulations all around!
FAJ official Tatsuya Nakaoku blamed the suspension on harrassment by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which has made life progressively more difficult for the whaling fleet each year by sending faster and better-equipped boats.
This season, it has regularly managed to park across the back of the Nisshin Maru factory ship, making it impossible to winch whales on board.
Mr Nakaoku said it was a question of Sea Shepherd boats endangering safety.
So has Sea Shepherd won? It has pursued its campaign not only in face of physical opposition from the whaling fleet, but also objections from some anti-whaling observers who believe the annual confrontations handed the FAJ an opportunity to garner support by painting an image of anti-whaling activists as anti-Japanese and akin to terrorists.
The whiners at Greenpeace have been saying this for years while Sea Shepherd was out there saving whales. But I must grudgingly admit Greenpeace has done a little. Still, this victory belongs to the Sea Shepherd and everybody knows it.
What one always hears is that salt = necessary for life, but from the far corners of the natural foods/health nut world comes a contrary minority view: not just that too much salt will give you high blood pressure, but that ZOMG SALT IS TEH TOXXXIC!!
Salt eating is an addiction begun prenatally and shortly after birth as the parents force salt into the baby to the extreme repulsion and disgust of the child. After a few weeks of forced eating the baby’s body becomes so weakened that it forms a craving and addiction. This continues throughout its life.
I think of them as the “Eek! Salt!” crowd.
They will be irritated to learn of this paper, “Can Dietary Sodium Intake Be Modified By Public Policy?”
The complexity and sophistication of the central control of sodium appetite offers compelling support for the proposition that vertebrates evolved a mechanism to assure that their physiologic needs for sodium are defended when dietary access to it is limited or when excessive amounts of sodium are lost under conditions of stress …
In other words, people want their goddamned salt, and they will never eat below a certain threshold, resisting all health guidelines and governmental efforts.
It does appear however, that a couple of this paper’s authors have worked for the Salt Institute in the past … And here’s an “Eek! Salt!” person slamming the Salt Institute:
So would most Americans be better off if they consumed a lot less salt as most public health organizations suggests? Not if you believe the Salt Institute.
The Salt Institute has long maintained that “Healthy persons with normal blood pressure have no problems with sodium or salt intake” . If you listen to the Salt Institute it is easy to come away with the impression that only about 1/3 to 1/2 of those who already have hypertension (HTN) need cut back on dietary salt because they are “salt sensitive”. They argue that since 75% of the U.S. population does not have HTN (currently defined as a blood pressure (BP) of more than 140/90 mmHg) only a small minority of Americans should be concerned about their salt intake. Of course, largely those who profit directly or indirectly from the use of excessive dietary salt fund the Salt Institute.
Is the Salt Institute a reliable source of information about salt? The now defunct Tobacco Institute was hardly a credible source for the health problems caused by cigarette smoking because they had an obvious conflict of interests. Over time even the news media (which seems wedded to the notion that there are two sides to every issue) came to dismiss the veracity of claims coming from the Tobacco Institute and this is what eventually doomed that institution. However, the Salt Institute�s press releases and pronouncements about the safety of dietary salt or even the dangers of too little salt often escape much critical commentary in the news media. At best, the news media will present the Salt Institute�s position as if it warrants as much credibility as that of scientific researchers. Given the economic incentives of those that support and speak on behalf of the Salt Institute it would be wise to take everything they say with a grain of salt.
Not sure what to believe now.
Obama admin to Arch Coal: Don’t want to clean up your act? We’ll just take this Bush-era permit back then.
The EPA noted in its ruling that it has worked with companies to design mining operations that adequately protect our nation’s water, but that Arch Coal has refused to make any changes to its operations.
“Refused to make any changes”? Why does Arch Coal hate clean drinking water?
New sheriff in town.
It’s not the amount of radiation, necessarily. It’s the pulsed nature of the signal.
So next time someone tells you it’s the amount of radiation, you can tell them to suck it.
Bee study author FAILS to disclose chemical company link - we call such people assholes.
The lead researcher on a study linking colony collapse disorder (CCD) to a combination of a virus and fungus, with no mention of the possible role of pesticides -including previously implicated neonicotinoid insecticides, failed to disclose his relationship with Bayer Crop Science, according to the magazine Fortune. Bayer is the manufacturer of imidicloprid, a popular and controversial neonicotinoid and has been fighting regulators around the world to keep its product on the market. The same article also reports that the researcher, Jerry Bromenshenk, PhD, operates a company, Bee Alert Technology, that stands to profit if a disease, rather than a pesticide, causes CCD.
A couple/few months ago, I called Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office and said she should be more like Al Franken. By that I meant, among other things, do more visible pushback against the right, and freaking tear it up a little. The nice man I spoke to there assured me it was all about the fact that Sen. Franken was in fact a celebrity before joining the Senate, and that Sen. Klobuchar was working on other important, but less sexy, stuff. That was all good with me; I just wanted to apply a little pressure in that direction, because I think it’s valuable. Well she finally delivered, and went on a fatal rampage against some GOP idiot in the Kagan hearings who was on about how we were “more free” in 1980 or some shit. Thank you, Senator Klobuchar, for sticking it to that weasel.
Oh man this is a good one.
Obama has also called in some of the many scientists on the federal payroll, led by Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist. Chu at one point pushed the unusual idea of using gamma rays to peer into the blowout preventer to determine if its valves were closed, a technique he experimented with in graduate school while studying radioactive decay.
The suggestion at first elicited snickering and “Incredible Hulk” jokes. Then they tried it, and it worked. “They weren’t hot on his ideas,” a senior White House official said of BP’s initial reaction to Chu’s suggestions. “Now they are.”
That’s going to be a great scene in the movie.
Whether (strong growth in the organic sector is) a good or a bad thing depends on whether you think the environmental benefits of organic farming outweigh the long-term downsides of defining good farming not with science, but with what feels natural.
Hey asshole - there is a science of organic farming, and a science of anti-gmo sentiment. You might want to get your head out of your ass before making love to your own strawman. Here’s where to start:
You want to side with the soil chemists over the soil biologists that’s fine with me, but don’t go saying this is all about feeling natural. This is a science vs. science story, and as usual, idiots like you are labeling the opposing side unscientific while supporting your own POV with logical fallacies. Real scientific of you. I guess being an asshat just feels natural to you.
…here’s a bullet-point summary of my findings:
- If anything, President Barack Obama appears to be warmly in favor of genetic engineering, although there is some wiggle room with his campaign statements.
- President Obama’s picks for Ag Secretary, campaign advisers, and other cabinet positions further suggest that he is positively disposed to GE crops. Given his emphasis on plant-based biofuels, he may also see it as a means to achieve his domestic renewable fuel goals.
- Obama did not make a written campaign statement promising to require mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods.
did not respondto mailingsfrom The Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods, nor did his presidential campaign contact them.
- Obama’s declared agenda, now housed at the White House website, indicates that these labels are not on his agenda.
- The claim that he will “fast track” GE food labeling appears to be an invention or the result of miscommunication.
- President Obama only once expressed a desire for GE food labeling, but has not made a campaign promise or pledge that he will “require mandatory labeling” for GE food.
There is no evidence that Barack Obama ever made a statement strong enough to be considered as a campaign promise to label GE foods.
Don’t get me wrong - I love me some Obama. He knows what science is and everything. So that’s great and I can work with that. But this unwelcome news about the US trying to squash GMO labeling worldwide is the kind of stuff that’s worth fighting about.
Contact the White House here. (Phoning is always more effective than email; scroll down for phone number.)
And in case you aren’t sure why GMOs are bad, our epic smackdown of hapless pro-GMO science writer Michael Le Page is here.
This other guy, Frank Nikols, wrote an article in 1997 for Corporate University Review (pp.54-59) called “Don’t Redesign Your Company’s Performance Appraisal System, Scrap it.” Here’s his follow-up paper “Now What? What to do after you scrap the performance appraisal system” (pdf file).
I guess this heretical idea has been around a while. There’s a footnote in the Nikols’ pdf file for a “classic” article from the Harvard Business Review, Douglas Macgregor’s “An Uneasy Look at Performance Appraisals”, from 1957.
Here’s a fun bit from from Culver’s cheeky website:
I’ll never forget Oct 20th, 2008. That’s when the Wall Street Journal printed my exposé of performance reviews. It was a high-visibility article – and the response was electric. The article was the top-viewed piece on the Journal’s online site for days, produced a thousand letters to the editor, a heated debate on the site (with plenty of name-calling), was referenced on more than another hundred websites, generated scores of requests to reprint the article in its entirety and provoked a large number of requests for radio and TV interviews. View it for yourself. Overnight I became a rock star.
I also couldn’t have designed a better experiment to gauge how people feel about performance reviews. It was as if I had enlisted a giant focus group on a topic that everyone feels strongly about and few see much to gain by speaking up. More than 80 percent were supportive – and many of them reacted as if the article had been therapeutic, giving voice to the anger and fear they had long felt.
I sympathize. It was a wow moment for me.
…Here’s another book in the same vein…”Abolishing Performance Appraisals” by Tom Coens and Mary Jenkins, 2000.
…and some Stanford professor saying the same thing. Here’s a successful model:
To Deming’s point, there is one organization I work with — a high tech firm with about 250 employees — that eliminated formal reviews except when people are being considered for a promotion or when they are having serious performance problems and are placed “on plan” (i.e., where the choice is either shape up or be fired). They have about ten different levels in the organization, and everyone at the same level gets the same pay and same sized bonus. And they have been emphasizing more frequent and lower stakes feedback instead.
A Non Euclidean Rumination On Subliminal Rationalists and Recalling Robert Anton Wilson
“Belief is the death of intelligence. As soon as one believes a doctrine of any sort, or assumes certitude, one stops thinking about that aspect of existence.”
-Robert Anton Wilson
“Positivists decline to acknowledge any a priori knowledge. They wish to reduce everything to sense perceptions. Generally they contradict themselves in that they deny introspection as experience. … They use too narrow a notion of experience and introduce an arbitrary bound on what experience is”
Kudos to The Anomalist.
India rejects genetically modified crop. I especially like this paragraph about it from Beyond Pesticides:
Advocates of genetically engineered crops have argued that they are the only way to meet the world’s growing demand for food, and that they reduce the need for pesticides, while increasing yields. Studies have shown these claims to be false. The widespread adoption of GE crops in the United States has actually increased pesticide use but failed to increase yield. Recent studies have also linked GMO consumption to organ failure.
Those are the facts. God forbid the press - and the scientific press - should be so objective.
Too good a fate for these lads.
Three crew members of a Japanese whaling vessel suffered face and eye injuries from acid fired by anti-whaling protesters during their latest clash in the Antarctic Ocean, their Japanese employers said Friday.
The Sea Shepherd protesters said they shot butyric acid, produced from stinking rancid butter, which they often aim at the whalers to try to disrupt the annual Japanese hunt. The activists maintain that butyric acid is nontoxic.
The injuries Thursday were the first to Japanese whalers this year during confrontations with Sea Shepherd, although there have been two ship collisions that each side blamed on the other.
Japanese Fisheries Minister Hirotaka Akamatsu lashed out at the activists on Friday, telling reporters: “I am full of rage. I could not believe they did such a thing.”
Glenn Inwood, spokesman for Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research, which sponsors the hunt, said the injuries were not serious, but he cautioned that butyric acid can cause temporary blindness.
And harpoons can cause permanent deathness.
It is the Day of the Triffids - not the genetically modified plants themselves as alluded to in John Wyndham’s novel - but “super weeds that can’t be killed” , created by the planting of genetically modified HT crops, as seen on ABC TV news.
The scene is set at harvest time in Arkansas October 2009. Grim-faced farmers and scientists speak from fields infested with giant pigweed plants that can withstand as much glyphosate herbicide as you can afford to douse on them. One farmer spent US$0.5 million in three months trying to clear the monster weeds in vain; they stop combine harvesters and break hand tools. Already, an estimated one million acres of soybean and cotton crops in Arkansas have become infested.
The palmer amaranth or palmer pigweed is the most dreaded weed. It can grow 7-8 feet tall, withstand withering heat and prolonged droughts, produce thousands of seeds and has a root system that drains nutrients away from crops. If left unchecked, it would take over a field in a year.
Meanwhile in North Carolina Perquimans County, farmer and extension worker Paul Smith has just found the offending weed in his field , and he too, will have to hire a migrant crew to remove the weed by hand.
The resistant weed is expected to move into neighbouring counties. It has already developed resistance to at least three other types of herbicides.
Herbicide-resistance in weeds is nothing new. Ten weed species in North Carolina and 189 weed species nationally have developed resistance to some herbicide.
Amazing that a technology designed to eliminate hand-weeding and mechanical cultivation will bring about the triumphant return of: hand-weeding and mechanical cultivation.
Despite ractopamine’s dangers and the falsified approval documents, the FDA approved ractopamine the following year for cattle–and last year for turkeys.
It’s about fucking time. $30 million to study potential health effects beats a poke in the eye:
…the drug agency asked an independent panel of scientific advisers to review its draft report, and the panel gave it a scathing review. It accused the F.D.A. of ignoring important evidence and giving consumers a false sense of security about the chemical. The drug agency promised to reconsider BPA, and the announcement on Friday fulfilled that pledge.
Amazing the effect an independent scientific panel can have. Now if they could only start listening to independent scientists about genetically modified food…
Let’s see. We love the Center for Science in the Public Interest (or CSPI) for their Integrity in Science Database, where you can cross-reference scientists and universities with their corporate cash. It’s one of the best resources on the web for Gonzo Scientists concerned about corporate bias in science and that’s why we link to it in our sidebar under “Critical Thinking”.
But CSPI ain’t perfect. For instance they are still bashing coconut oil for being heart-stopping “artery-clogging” saturated fat, even while a consensus appears to be building that coconut oil has been the vicitm of a US industry-led smear campaign, and is actually crazy healthy.
CSPI also sucks when it comes to genetic engineering of food - while not embracing GE food full-heartedly, they provide an awful lot of cover for this out-of-control industry, in their zeal to be “balanced”. For instance, in their Biotechnology FAQ page, they spout this excrement about the safety of GE food:
GE food companies and others have conducted a number of tests to determine food safety and that testing has not uncovered any evidence of harm. Those tests have included short-term high-dose animal feeding studies of the GE protein, determining whether and how quickly the GE protein is broken down in the stomach (which prevents exposure to the rest of the body), and testing the levels of a number of naturally occurring plant components to make sure they have not been changed in the GE crop. While some of the tests have not always used the best available methods, together the results indicate that current GE crops are safe.
That is demonstrably total crap, and if that’s their idea of the public interest, they can keep it - not a word in there about the health hazards continually popping up in independent research. Why would the Center for Science in the Public Interest throw these independent researchers an anchor? There’s also this entirely outdated, sanitized version of the GE contamination of Mexican landrace corn:
Further tests are being conducted to determine whether the original results about the presence of GE genes in Mexican corn are correct.
The results have been in for a while now: they found ‘em! supporting the original study! - but not a peep from CSPI, who act like the GE controversy somehow can’t be decided one way or the other. Choose a side already - the truly scientific side is against GE.
Verdict: good watchdogs, but could be great, if they can stop being overly influenced by industry.
…that trick you into feeling full:
Their analysis found that aroma release during chewing does contribute to the feeling of fullness and possibly to consumers’ decisions to stop eating. The report cites several possible applications, including developing foods that release more aroma during chewing or developing aromas that have a more powerful effect in triggering feelings of fullness.
I’m sure food companies will really embrace this emerging food technology that, if properly working, makes people consume less product. Could work for a specialty diet line of food products I suppose - but here at Gonzo Science we really don’t think the best scientific approach is to assume there’s something wrong with food that needs to be fixed. There’s plenty of good food around, people just have to eat it.
But since we already know - without research - that GMOs are harmless, this new research showing health risks is de facto poorly designed! Right, New Scientist magazine? God those guys are scientific!!
In addition to having to overcome the sickening biotech-boosterism of much of the science world and the scientific press (cough cough New Scientist cough cough), it is also an uphill battle for researchers to obtain sufficient data to do science - observe, from the research:
In order to scientifically address this issue, it is necessary to have access to toxicological tests, preferably on mammals, performed over the longest time-scales involving detailed blood and organ system analyses. Furthermore, these tests should, if possible, be in accordance with OECD guidelines. Unfortunately, this has been a challenge since usually these are regulatory tests performed confidentially by industry prior to commercialization of their GM crops, pesticides, drugs or chemicals. As a result, it is more instructive to investigate the available data that allows comparisons of several GMOs consumptions on health effects. … The raw data have been obtained by European governments and made publically available for scrutiny and counter-evaluation. … The raw biochemical data, necessary to allow a statistical re-evaluation, should be made publically available according to European Union Directive CE/2001/18 but unfortunately this is not always the case in practice. On this occasion, the data we required for this analysis were obtained either through court actions (lost by Monsanto) to obtain the MON 863 feeding study material (June 2005), or by courtesy of governments or Greenpeace lawyers.
Oh and about those health risks?
These are the longest in vivo tests performed with mammals consuming these GMOs. … in the three GM maize varieties that formed the basis of this investigation, new side effects linked to the consumption of these cereals were revealed, which were sex- and often dose-dependent. Effects were mostly concentrated in kidney and liver function, the two major diet detoxification organs, but in detail differed with each GM type. In addition, some effects on heart, adrenal, spleen and blood cells were also frequently noted. As there normally exists sex differences in liver and kidney metabolism, the highly statistically significant disturbances in the function of these organs, seen between male and female rats, cannot be dismissed as biologically insignificant as has been proposed by others . We therefore conclude that our data strongly suggests that these GM maize varieties induce a state of hepatorenal toxicity. This can be due to the new pesticides (herbicide or insecticide) present specifically in each type of GM maize, although unintended metabolic effects due to the mutagenic properties of the GM transformation process cannot be excluded .
But New Scientist said there was no rational basis for distinguishing GM from non-GM!!
(hat tip to Organic Consumers Association)
via the Organic Consumers Association:
Next stop: your genome. Just remember, we have to destabilize the environment to save it!
Paraphrasing there. Best bit:
$2 million US dollar verdict against Bayer confirms company’s liability for an uncontrollable technology
….This verdict confirms that the responsibility for the consequences of GE (genetic engineering) contamination rests with the company that releases GE crops.
Sweet Georgia sunshine!!
This is over an hour long but worth it - recommended. Smith is the guy that New Scientist writer Michael Le Page referred to, in a comments section on this very blog, when he wrote:
“The actual examples all seem pretty dubious, to say the least, but let’s assume they are true for the sake of argument. If so, there is clearly a failure of the testing and regulatory system supposed to make sure GM food is safe - but this is not an argument against GM crops per se. You don’t ban all medical drugs because some turn out to be harmful, any more than you would ban all conventional crops because some turn out to be harmful (look up the lenape potato).
“As for the idea that GM is inherently dangerous, genetic studies have revealed that the genomes of all species are constantly being ‘genetically engineered’. Hundreds of mutations can occur in each new individual, jumping genes (transposons) can cause havoc, viruses insert foreign DNA all over the place, etc, etc. If you think these processes pose a risk to food safety then all crops need better safety testing, not just GM crops.”
Smith destroys Le Page’s arguments in this video.
Of course we’ve also done so ourselves.
We saw all of these GMO-related articles today at the Organic Consumers Association in which:
-a scientist states his objections to GMOs. I guess this guy doesn’t know New Scientist magazine says it’s irrational to draw a distinction.
-a scientist wrote a career-destroying paper critical of GMOs. Solution: publish no more critical papers, because anything other than boosterism is irrational
-a scientist says a corporation suppressed inconvenient data showing environmental harm from their GMO corn, and so it got approved for planting. Good thing New Scientist already knows it’s safe.