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.
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.
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).
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