Cool Links

Are you more likely to buy salt if the label on it notes it is "Free of Nuclear Waste"? 

Don't deny it if you are one of the people who buys any of the 65,000 products that Non-GMO Project has sold stickers for, like salt. Not only can't GMOs be harmful, only a handful of foods are even made using that process, and yet it adorns tens of thousands of labels.

But awareness and truth are not their goals.

Like a "free of nuclear waste" sticker, Non-GMO Project wants you to think the food sold by their non-clients is harmful using the "nocebo" tactic - they want to convince the public the lack of something makes you healthier. Like nuclear waste, or unicorns, or GMOs, or ghosts. 
On his website Kevin Klatt, Ph.D., R.D., notes that a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial is the gold standard for research, but when it comes to food it's not so simple. There is no true placebo when a sugar pill has calories.
Guidelines for increased vegetable consumption asa way to improve to improve outcomes for prostate cancer survivors are based on expert opinion, inference, and statistical correlation, but a recent randomized clinical trial that included 478 patients found no difference in prostate cancer progression over two years among men with early-stage disease.
Once upon a time, if you were going to find a pocket of concern about vaccines and autism in America, you had to find a relatively small radius around a Whole Foods store. Rich, white people, who bought organic food and lots of supplements were going to over-represent when it came to denial of vaccines.
Breast milk has become popular due to both well-meaning (statistical correlation to everything from higher income to higher IQ) and mommy-shaming (if you use formula, you are a bad parent) groups that it may actually be putting more kids at risk.

If you simply can't express enough milk, or don't want the hassle, you may be tempted to buy breast milk online. Obviously the hope is you get a reputable source but if you do run into problems, Aoife Finnerty, adjunct at the University College Cork, outlines the legal situation.
Though today we associate Amazonian with the basin in South America, to the Greeks they were Scythians - from southern Siberia - and those Amazon women were feared warriors.

For the first time, remains of these ancient Siberian soldiers have been found in the same tomb. This is the 11th find at the Cemetery Devitsa site, and they seem to have been garrison troops at the camp while others were off fighting. And they fought a lot, they dominated the Pontic steppe for 400 years, until the Macedonians began to push them back and then Mithridates of Persia finished the job.
A recent article in NPR applauds Anaheim for using goats to keep grasses mowed. While there is nothing really wrong with that as fire prevention, any more than it's wrong for Michael Pollan to cultivate his garden in Berkeley while preaching about organic food, it is very much the kind of gimmick only wealthy elites engage in, because it sounds "natural" - which also sounds like Michael Pollan. 
For those of you shocked that Netflix would run a show by a merchant of woo like Gwyneth Paltrow and her Goop company, don't be. Science media knows they've hated science forever.
In 2019, 23-year-old Emily Goss was a like a lot of people. She believed in supplements because they are a $35 billion industry exempt from FDA oversight since 1994, when President Clinton signed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act for his constituents, because, let's face it, they believe in alternatives to medicine and science a lot more than that other political party.
San Diego foodtech startup BlueNalu recently did a demonstration of their yellowtail, made entirely from cells in a lab, prepared in lots of ways, from tacos to bisque, San Diego Union-Tribune noted

The head of the company rightly notes they are not "lab made" any more than Oreos or Heinz ketchup was. Everything not picked from a plant began with experimentation and in the 20th century that meant in a lab. Their process is no different than the cell cultures used for Greek yogurt.
Wealthy elites used to just want to have alternatives to vaccines and conventional food and natural gas. Some took it even farther and got their kids diagnosed with autism to avoid lines to Disney World but those were outliers.

More worrisome is the new fad for rich people; HGH treatments to make their kids taller. 

As Ross Pomeroy notes for Real Clear Science, kids with growth hormone deficiency have been getting HGH since 1985 and since 2003, children with "Idiopathic Short Stature" (ISS) -no clear cause - have gotten it too.
He Jiankui, who used CRISPR technology on embryos that led to two births last year, and colleagues Zhang Renli and Qin Jinzhou have been given prison sentences and fines in the kind of trial that communist dictatorships are known for. Clearly if they had pleaded anything but non guilty the verdict would have been the same but the sentences far worse.
Numerous human studies of dietary cholesterol target recommendations and cardiovascular disease have found no association, but the American Heart Association had been stuck in the past, when lots of confounders related to heart health allowed dietary cholesterol to be targeted using questionable statistical methodologies.

Though some studies associate intakes of cholesterol that exceed current average levels with elevated total or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations, it could be spurious correlation.
By having a modest diet - American Heart Association is now promoting specifics like the Mediterranean and DASH diets - the same reduction in cholesterol happens anyway. 
If you work at the higher levels of the kind of environmental groups that weaponize fear and doubt about science to raise money, like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, evidence-based decision-making is a big lump of coal in your stocking.
I am not going to alarm you by stating plainly that the New York Times is the go-to source for wealthy elites who are often out-of-touch with the real world but sometimes they are so tone-deaf that it makes the veins in your neck stick out.

Case in point is this article correlating opera attendance to better health outcomes. It was so bas I scoured the BMJ paper to see if it was part of their annual Christmas spoof pices and they got duped, the way we assumed Atlantic was duped when writing about how sexist scientists are, because "men are more likely than women to deem their own work new and profound."
Timothy Litzenburg, lawyer on a team that helped convince a jury to ignore science and give a $289-million judgment against Monsanto over the weedkiller glyphosate, has been arrested for the attempted extortion of $200 million from Nouryon, another company involved in production of the same weedkiller.
Center for Food Safety, an organic industry-funded activist group, tried to stop the Impossible Burger from being "approved" by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the grounds that it is, you know, based on science.

That it is a plant, and therefore uses no meat, and therefore is more ethical and means less emissions than ranching, according to proponents, did not matter, because the organic food industry can't grow if science does; they truly fund deniers for hire to block out things like genetic engineering.

But not all genetic engineering. They are fine with mutagenesis, plant strains created using chemical and radiation baths, they are even happy those are certified organic - only with 80 synthetic exemptions that can still carry the organic label.
Ryan Patrick O'Leary, 30, and Sheila O'Leary, 35, only fed their kids raw fruit and vegetables and their 18-month-old son starved to death. According to the police report, the child weighed only 17 pounds, what a healthy seven-month-old would weigh but was starvation for a child nearly two years of age. The child was born in their home and had never seen a doctor. 

A Lee County Grand Jury has indicted the couple, charging them with first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter, child abuse, and two counts of child neglect. It was simple torture, according to authorities.
NASA has spent $7 billion on a program to launch humans from the U.S. and end reliance on Russians to get to the International Space Station, but an important test for Boeing hit a snag.

The Starliner is hoping to compete with SpaceX, which already had a successful docking earlier this year.

NASA wants to outsource more of this kind of thing but the program is two years behind schedule, which along with chronics overruns and delays on programs like the James Webb Space Telescope has led to renewed concerns that NASA is no longer equipped to do big programs and should stick to smaller experiments like cute robots on Mars, while outsourcing advanced technology to contractors, the way they did in the 1960s.
Lacking any corporate overlord with highly paid attorneys, environmental groups have been able to keep Golden Rice - genetically engineered to produce more beta carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A, necessary for healthy living - from being approved in countries where malnourished kids are common.

No longer. Philippines has shucked off Western neo-colonialists and their White Savior rhetoric about protecting poor people from science and approved Golden Rice.