A word cloud of the current signatories!

Have you signed the #Science14 letter yet?

Two weeks ago, I announced that the Cornell Alliance for Science and Biology Fortified co-sponsored an open letter to the professors and academic scientists who were targeted by the US Right to Know (USRTK) organization, seeking to read over two years of their correspondence. Our goal is to reach 1,400 signatures – 100 for every scientist who has been targeted with a FoIA. And we are less than 100 signatures away from that goal! Have you taken the time to sign it yet? We need your voice.

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Stand with the #Science14

Biology Fortified is pleased to co-sponsor this important open letter with the Cornell Alliance for Science. I encourage academic scientists and anyone who values academic freedom to stand with the fourteen academic scientists and professors who have been targeted to turn over their correspondence. Stop the next Climategate: Stand with public sector scientists and show them your support against agenda-driven bullying It’s a tactic pulled straight from the climate change deniers’ playbook — and now an anti-science, agenda-driven organization is using it to bully another group of scientists. In early February, 14 senior scientists at four U.S. universities received requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) to turn over three years worth of e-mail correspondence with a handful of agricultural companies, trade groups, and PR firms. All of these scientists have proactively engaged with the public to raise scientific awareness about agricultural innovation and contributed to the scientific consensus

ag letter excerpt

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

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What Shiva can Teach us about Science Communication

We can learn a lot about people from not just what they say, but how they choose to say it.  Communication scholars claim that something like 75% of meaning comes from non-verbal cues. Non-verbal cues are not just gestures, they come from our rate, volume, proximity and our willingness to absorb feedback.  Many suggest that the non-verbals communicate true intention, and that these signals may not always match the words. When we critically evaluate the non-verbal performance of Dr.Vandana Shiva on China’s CCTV, (beginning at 23:00 min) we learn a lot about the person. This video is a MUST WATCH.  Portrayed by her supporters as a kind-hearted and gentle defender of the downtrodden and the environment, we see her true colors. It is not just her words, but the way she chooses to say them. We can analyze her communication style and rhetoric and draw some important conclusions.

arctic apple vs regular crop

A Misplaced Concern about an Apple

As a consumer and as an agricultural scientist, I’m looking forward to the introduction of the Arctic® apple. It is possibly nearing approval by regulators in the US and Canada which could mean that supplies might finally be available in a few more years.  These apples could give consumers the possibility of buying apples that maintain their flavor, appearance and vitamin content after cutting, and which can also be used to make beautiful dried apple slices without the need for sulfites (something that can be a problem for some people).  This is an excellent example of how plant biotechnology can provide direct consumer benefits. The Arctic® apple “works” through a mechanism called “RNAi.” That is a way to “turn off” a gene – in this case the genes for the enzymes that cause apples to brown when cut.  RNAi is a common, natural means of genetic regulation in plants, animals,