1. I was on a podcast with Julie Gunlock of the Independent Women's Forum to talk about Rachel Carson and her book "Silent Spring", which argued that manmade chemicals affect the health and safety of humans.
I never thought much of the book, she was commissioned to write it because she already had a bestseller and the co-author they got to work with her quit in a huff over her unwillingness to do serious scholarship. To modern science readers it's laughable. But 60 years later it's still both Bible and roadmap for the environmental movement. Getting a product banned politically despite science studies showing its safety is a breathtaking achievement for activism, and we have seen its continuing legacy in recent movements like denying permits for both Yucca mountain and Keystone XL despite the government's own scientists showing it's safe.
You can listen to our discussion here.
2. You'd think that budget-strapped school districts would have more things on their plate than worrying about how much organic food students are eating. Yet in Albany, New York, things must be a lot different than where the rest of us live, because that is exactly what they are frantic about. The local PTA is on a campaign against traditional agriculture and want school lunches to be organic.
Yes, they think organic food leads to good grades. Or GMOs will lead to bad ones. It's hard to know what they are really getting at, and that is why Dr. Julianna LeMieux, scientist, mom and PTA member, set them straight in the Buffalo News:
I encourage the NYS-PTA to shift its energies toward the more important challenges that face public schools today. Because if eating genetically modified food is your biggest problem, that’s a problem that this PTA member would really like to have – because it is not a problem at all.
3. Dr. Alex Berezow was at the University of Texas South Texas for Emerging Infectious Diseases to talk about fake news. Did he "Remember The Alamo" while he was in San Antonio? You betcha.
4. Dr. Berezow was also on the CBC in Canada talking about the planned science march against President Trump, which will be held on Earth Day, April 22, a date originally chosen by environmentalists to herald the 100th birthday of Vladimir Lenin. Berezow hopes despite all those factors that the march won't be partisan. Or at least be one-sided partisan. And that they will care about all science issues, and stop ignoring the science that is denied by the side of the aisle the organizers are on. You can listen here or read the transcript here.
5. Finally, if you are at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in Boston, say hello to Dr. Julianna LeMieux. AAAS has a legacy of partisan posturing, but she'll be focusing on science instead of politics. Since it was held after Valentine's Day this year, there shouldn't be a lot of social science rubbish about 'the science of kissing' and whatever we get when it's held during.
Here she is with "Lab Girl" author Hope Jahren.