Marching against Monsanto, Vancouver BC by Rosalee Yagihara via Flickr

The Redskins suck and so do GMOs

I grew up in the Washington, D.C. area watching Redskins football with my family. I haven’t seen a Redskins game since I moved away from the area in the early 2000’s, and now I couldn’t name more than 1 player currently on the team. But I have a strong opinion about them: I think they suck. They are terrible and their incompetent owner has destroyed the team. Why do I have a strong opinion on something that I know almost nothing about? I read about it on the internet.

by Chris Devers via Flickr.

Moving past our assumptions

If you could improve one thing in discussions between people with differing views, what would it be? I would encourage people (myself included!) to stop making assumptions about each other. The thoughts here have been swirling in my mind for years, and it’s finally time to try to collect my ideas. I’m inspired to action after the recent Public Interfaces of Life Sciences event at the National Academy of Sciences, When Science and Citizens Connect: Public Engagement on Genetically Modified Organisms. The sessions helped me to somewhat solidify my thoughts, and if you were present or if you watched online and followed #NASinterface, much of this will be familiar.

Jethro_Tull_(agriculturist)

Feeling Detached from Food Production? Blame Jethro Tull

Many consumers today feel out of touch with how their food is produced and are disturbed by a lot of what they hear about it through their social networks or other sources of information. If it is necessary to assign fault for this phenomenon, I think we could blame Jethro Tull. Jethro Tull!? No, I don’t mean the 70s rock band led by flautist Ian Anderson and guitarist Martin Barre, I mean the early 18th century agronomist and inventor named Jethro Tull  (the two Jethros did; however, have similar hair styles).

Journal club

Exciting news came across my Twitter feed today: PubMed Commons is launching a journal club feature. What’s a journal club? As described by the PubMed Commons Team: Around the world, the journal club is a cornerstone engagement with the scholarly literature. Whether in face-to-face meetings or on social media platforms, researchers, physicians, and trainees gather to debate and converse about publications. Participants share their views on methods and interpretations of results. They discuss how publications fit into a broader context or might inform their own research or practice. In short, the journal club can represent a major intellectual investment – and a long-standing form of post-publication evaluation. The drawback to journal clubs is that the information rarely gets out to a broader audience. We do some analysis of individual papers here on the Biofortified Blog, and many other blogs do as well, but the discussion doesn’t get tied back to

A stale, misleading, text worth only about 2 pounds of recycled paper.

“The GMO Deception” is, in fact, deceptive

Recycling can be a very good practice. Re-using components of electronics, waste paper, and food scraps that would otherwise head to the waste stream can be a great idea. However, sometimes re-use doesn’t bring any value. Recycling bad claims and ideas about GMOs helps no one. Unfortunately, The GMO Deception is a prime example of worthless recycling. I found out about this text from Marion Nestle’s blog. She promoted this book in a post and by blurbing for it: This week’s reading: The GMO Deception. It didn’t take me long to find more details about it at the publisher’s site, because I had already been over there that same week. Skyhorse Publishing had just published RFK Jr’s new book on thimerosal and vaccines. And I learned that they had also published Andrew Wakefield’s “Callous Disregard”. This did not bode well for my confidence in scientific rigor, of course. Unwilling to