Friday, May 26, 2017

Theories That Became Facts

10 More Crazy Conspiracy Theories That Became Conspiracy Facts

Americans need to come to terms with the simple fact that they no longer live in a democratic society, and so taking action within a broken system in hopes that the next candidate will actually follow through with their promises, is futile and ultimately counter-productive. The dire need for this country, this planet, to wrestle away the driving force behind the current seat of power and set course for a viable and sustainable future can not be overstated, and is likely beginning to become starkly apparent to the average American.

A Shadowy Corporate Lobby Is Quietly Trying to Ban Protesting Across the U.S.

A Shadowy Corporate Lobby Is Quietly Trying to Ban Protesting Across the U.S.
Of the 26 bills examined, ten were authored or sponsored by at least one known ALEC-affiliated politician, often times more.
If ALEC is behind the recent wave of recent anti-protest bills, it wouldn’t be the first time the ‘non-profit’ organization has sponsored such legislation. In 2003, ALEC-crafted legislation for states that would have criminalized animal rights activists protesters as “eco-terrorists” — in conjunction with their push for the federal Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), which they had also drafted. AETA was passed in 2006.
While there is no indication that anti-protest legislation is on ALEC’s current agenda, it is worth noting that the kinds of protests being targeted are all in conflict with ALEC’s anti-worker and anti-environmental platform,” Yoder wrote, referencing ALEC’s 2016 agenda.

Monday, May 22, 2017

March for Science finally released thoroughly fact-checked crowd count | Grist

March for Science finally released thoroughly fact-checked crowd count | Grist

This story was originally published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

When protesters descended on Washington, D.C., last month for the March for Science, they carried signs that were straight to the point: “What do we want? Evidence-based science. When do we want it? After Peer Review.” And unlike the administration they were protesting, organizers were careful to apply scientific rigor to how they calculated the number of people who participated in the march.

As a result, it took organizers an unusually long time — three weeks — to come up with their estimate for how many people took part in the April 22 marches in Washington and 600 other cities worldwide. In a blog post published Monday, organizers approximated that nearly 1.1 million people had protested around the world, with the largest marches taking place in D.C. (100,000), San Francisco (50,000), Los Angeles (50,000), Chicago (60,000), and Boston (70,000).

Thursday, April 20, 2017

How Soil Microbes and Intracellular Communication Affect Health

How Soil Microbes and Intracellular Communication Affect Health

In 1976, glyphosate was introduced. This is the active ingredient in a vast majority of weed killers on the market today, including Roundup®. However, this chemical does not selectively kill weeds. Any plant sprayed with this chemical will die — which is why Monsanto and other pesticide producers came up with the idea of creating herbicide-resistant plants through genetic engineering.
"It's worthwhile noting why it kills plants," Bush says. "Glyphosate blocks an enzyme pathway … called the shikimate pathway. These enzymes are responsible for making some of the most important compounds in food [including] ringed carbon structures, such as tryptophan, that are the backbone of hormones.
If you take away tryptophan from the plant chain or the plant kingdom by killing this pathway in bacteria and plants, the plant cannot make these essential signaling molecules … It wipes out about four to six of the essential amino acids, which are the building blocks for all proteins in your body … There are only 26 amino acids. You take away four to six of those [and] you just lost a huge percentage of biology.
But that's just the beginning of the problem that we're talking about in nutrition. This is, I really believe, the answer to why we were feeding all these healthy foods to our patients [yet] not seeing health benefits: There's a family of compounds called alkaloids … [When you] remove the alkaloids from food, what you see is the disease burst we have going on across so many organ systems in our bodies.
There's a family of [alkaloids] that are anti-parasitic … [others] are antidiabetic … anticancer … antihypertensive … anti-mood disorder … antiasthma, anti-eczema type of compounds. You go through the list of alkaloids and [realize that if you add a] chemical to our food chain that wipes out the production of [alkaloids] …
we [lose] the medicinal quality of food that has existed for thousands of years … [By using glyphosate] we robbed the soil and the plant from the ability to make these essential medicinal [compounds]."
According to Monsanto, glyphosate cannot affect human health because humans do not have the shikimate pathway. However, human gut bacteria do, as do soil bacteria and plants. Moreover, the human body cannot make its own alkaloids and essential amino acids. You must get these compounds from plant foods that feed off bacteria in the soil.

Documentary Sheds Light on Toxic Household Products

Documentary Sheds Light on Toxic Household Products

You may be surprised to know that legislation put in place in the U.S. in 1976 — a measure called the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) — has perhaps done more harm than good in terms of regulating the chemicals used in products that you use daily.
Notably, TSCA grandfathered in some 80,000 chemicals that are ready available and can be easily incorporated into all kinds of consumer products manufactured and sold in the U.S.
As such, these chemicals bypass safety testing and remain free of federal government regulation and oversight. Stacy Malkan, co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics comments:4
"The chemical industry has gotten away with producing billions of tons of chemicals without doing safety studies, putting them out into the environment … and into products that are … in our homes. Basically we are living in a 'toxic soup,' and it's a giant experiment on human health."
It may surprise you to learn that U.S. regulatory agencies such as the Consumer Products Safety Commission, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Food and Drug Administration have limited authority to regulate manufacturers who add toxic ingredients to their products.
"I think that most people's perception is that somewhere, someone is testing all the products," says Whelan.5 But, they're not.
This lack of oversight allows manufacturers of baby-care, household and personal-care products — with the support of powerful and well-funded trade associations — to add thousands of toxic chemicals to products you use every day

Coca-Cola Caught Undermining Public Health Initiatives

Coca-Cola Caught Undermining Public Health Initiatives

The British Channel 4 documentary, "Secret of Coca-Cola," featured above, reveals how Coca-Cola Co. is fighting the implementation of health and environmental policies that might impact the company's bottom line.
Leaked internal documents and emails — which have become known as "The Coke Files" — shows the soda industry is in fact working against public health in a very coordinated and comprehensive fashion, using well-known tobacco-industry tactics such as:
Message coordination and influencing media. As an example of how Coca-Cola deals with journalists who fail to follow corporate talking points, in a May 2016 email, Amanda Rosseter, the global group director of strategic communications at the Coca-Cola Co., wrote:10
"A reporter for Wired reached out to our media line late last night with a series of questions and an immediate deadline … The story, however, posted early this morning without waiting for our input.
The story … focuses on sugar, stevia and the Company's attempts to offer options to consumers with a pessimistic tone … We will be reaching out to this reporter to better understand her decision not to include our perspective, and to build her brain around our strategy."
Developing close ties with influential scientists and experts who then speak on the company's behalf while presenting themselves as "independent" experts.
As just one example, two years ago, Coca-Cola Company was outed for secretly funding and supporting the Global Energy Balance Network, a nonprofit front group that promoted exercise as the solution to obesity while significantly downplaying the role of diet and sugary beverages in the weight loss equation.11
Debunking and manipulating science. Research has revealed simply funding a study will significantly influence the results.
As just one example, an investigation by Marion Nestle, Ph.D. and professor of nutrition, food studies and public health, found that out of 168 studies funded by the food industry, 156 of them favored the sponsor.12
Astroturfing — The effort on the part of special interests to surreptitiously sway public opinion and make it appear as though it's a grassroots effort for or against a particular agenda, when in reality such a groundswell of public opinion might not exist.
Lobbying at every level of government.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Complexity storytelling

Emergence: Complexity and Organization

The science of complexity within the art of communication

The art of communication and the science of complexity are intriguing areas of thought and practice that can be examined through storytelling. In an increasingly complex world with many voices, a deeper understanding of complexity communication provides opportunities for researchers and practitioners. This paper discussion centers on Complexity Communication, and the Complex Responsive Processes within the storytelling environment.