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A new paper which claims that cows fed "organic" grass provide nutritionally superior milk is sure to set off cheers among the organic customer base who have long wanted to believe that buying organic was not just a process choice, but a health one. There is just one problem. The research was funded by industry, the Organic Valley brand, the very thing organic consumers say is wrong with Industrial Farming. Multiple co-authors disclosed their financial conflicts of interest due to being affiliated with the company, and one co-author, Dr. Chuck Benbrook, is an agricultural economist who was unceremoniously kicked out of the school where he was a glorified adjunct once his organic industry funding...

Anyone active on social media is aware that there is a great deal of passionate but ill-founded opposition to vaccination, including the new COVID-19 vaccines. How could that be? Physicians and the public health establishment are constantly promoting vaccination, especially as we try to stem the tide of the coronavirus pandemic.

It turns out that the anti-vaccine sentiment is the product of what can only be described as an industry whose principal protagonists are an organized group of professional propagandists. As ...

1. None of you are naive, so it won't surprise you to learn that in Manhattan, there is a definitive political skew, which bleeds over into what science they accept. And in academia there is a skew so overt it can only be discrimination. And in journalism there is a political skew so overt it's both of the aforementioned.

So it won't surprised you to learn that Dan Fagin (email dan.fagin@nyu.edu), Charles Seife (email charles.seife@nyu.edu), and other "professors" in the NYU Journalism group, are defending the vaccine and agriculture deniers at Organic Consumers Association and their puppet sites. It also won't surprise you to learn that the...

1. We actually had to debate if the pizza or the the box causes obesity at the International Association for Food Protection meeting in Tampa, Florida and no one was better equipped to handle the pizza side than our Senior Fellow in Nutrition, Dr. Ruth Kava.

It's not as ridiculous as it sounds, this is part of the clever kind of thought experiment IAFP does at their meetings, and there are a lot of people who think the chemicals in the box are achieving some sort of magical effect in biology or toxicology.

In the wide, weird world of weak...

1. On Science 2.0 I discussed the bizarre connection between sue-and-settle environmental litigator Steven Tillery and a federal judge involved in netting him tens of millions of dollars.

None of us are Pollyanna about the real world and lawyers and judges and settlements, but this is so skeevy and weird I can't see how they rationalized it without showering afterward.

2. Our work on bungee jumping (yes, it can be...

1. Washington Times used our work debunking claims about phthalates in macaroni and cheese to show how New York Senator Chuck Schumer is going to chase any environmental fad - especially if it makes science and technology look bad. It appeals to his base. The "analysis" was hand-picked by a group co-founded by a guy who thinks food is "spiritual". 

That checked off all the boxes for New York Times editors so they dutifully doted on it without any skepticism, which is another reason Schumer called for Congressional action; they share the same base and that base is opposed to science. Unless science claims we're...

One of the problems with science communication is that we are always a day or two behind the mass media. The general pattern is this:

  1. Bad research is published or a crazy person makes a crazy claim.
  2. The mass media gets a hold of it, and broadcasts it all over the world.
  3. Sane people are alerted to this nonsense, who then have to craft an evidence-based response. That takes a substantial amount of time and effort and, as a result, a lie circles the globe before the truth gets its shoes on.

A preemptive solution is ideal. Science communicators should hunt down kooky conspiracies, then take them behind the barn and shoot them before they have the opportunity to gain a substantial following. But here's the catch: How does one identify which...

1. Just a week after we taunted anti-science activists for collaborating with Russian propaganda outlets to undermine US agriculture supremacy - those capitalist pigs will pay for their crimes against sugar beets now, eh, comrades? - we were at it again, which means Russia Today and Sputnik will be hammering away at their political sympathizers in the organic food and solar power industry to hack our Wikipedia page and send out Tweets noting that 35 years ago we got a small grant from Chevron, or whatever they are doing to try and undermine science this week.

Like a batboy living in a cave, it used to be the...

At first glance, Russian trolls and the activist group Organic Consumers Association seem to have no connection whatsoever. But appearances can be deceiving.

Far from just meddling in American democracy, Russian trolls are meddling wherever and whenever they can to cause societal strife. Radio Free Europe reports that Russian trolls may have contributed to the massive measles outbreak in Europe in 2018, which sickened 82,000 people and killed 72, by spreading anti-vaccine propaganda.

This is consistent with stories that were reported a few months earlier, which concluded that...

1. Organic Consumers Association, and the groups it funds, like US Right To Know and the lawyer-run partisan attack site Sourcewatch, may be in a lot of trouble. Shortly after being revealed as the financial source for promoting anti-vaccine sentiment, they have now been shown to be working in collusion with the propaganda arm of the Kremlin.

Their goals are certainly in line. OCA would like to justify the millions it gets from its clients and increase market share for them without succeeding...