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Hank CampbellRSS Feed of this column.

I'm the founder of Science 2.0®.

A wise man once said Darwin had the greatest idea anyone ever had. Others may prefer Newton or Archimedes. Probably no one ever said the WWW or Science... Read More »

Food is interesting to me. It's essential, of course, but it's also a lot of cutting-edge science that people don't see. It's hard to imagine now that when I was a kid, Prof. Paul Ehrlich (and then later our current science czar, Dr. John holdren) were projecting that we would be having worldwide riots and mass starvation by now.

Instead, while I was living on a small subsistence farm, American agricultural science ignored that apocalyptic memo, and they began producing far more food on far less land.
Genetically modified foods are so common that it seems a little strange to put a label on, basically, everything. But some states are trying.

Vermont just did. The governor says he is signing it. 

And it's a weird law, even from a policy point of view. From a legal point of view, the FDA is not going to be happy about yet another unscientific piecemeal approach to arbitrary food labels. Then there is the business aspect. How long before a lawsuit comes up because so many products are exempt from this new law that is supposedly about food transparency? 
I can be lazy. I was famous for it as a child. I didn't bother to walk, I didn't bother to talk. When I got older, if I had to do a chore, I found a way to be a screw-up and break something. I had unlimited time for D&D and art and sports, though, and I did well enough in school to get a scholarship to college. Because those things weren't work.

If only I had Alicia Silverstone as a mom, who knows how much more brain power I could have devoted to higher pursuits? Because Silverstone has figured out how to optimize everything
In American politics there is a comfortable détente about which science craziness to allow under the big tents - Republicans are okay if their members won't accept evidence of climate science or evolution while Democrats are fine if their voters don't accept the science behind food, energy and medicine. 
In the latest episode of Cosmos we got some history regarding how science has tried to converge on the age of the Earth. With that, we also got another jab at religion. Why use yet another religious contrast from hundreds of years ago to show the awesome power of science now? Is there so little actual imagination in their Ship Of The Imagination?(1)

Just like with the age of the Earth, it's hard to know for sure, we only know there is a range of choices and can narrow it down as we get more data.
If some drug-addled sociopath shoots up a movie theater or an elementary school, there is lots of speculation about the cause. In frustration and helplessness, people search for a magic bullet - things they can ban - to keep it from ever happening again.

In European countries, at least the ones where guns are banned, and in some parts of America, guns are that magic bullet.

Actual statistics don't bear out that guns are the safety issue. Scotland, England and Wales lead the civilized world in violent crime, they just have fewer murders using guns, and people are unable to protect themselves so fewer criminals get shot. Guns are banned in Italy but it would be laughable to say there is no gun violence there.