Cool Links

Photos of the 55th Annual Butter Sculpture have been spread far and wide thanks to the New York State Fair.

It's a train, which is on brand with the theme of how dairy helps brains, bones and bodies work together grow. It's an important message; thanks to bizarre fads and activist campaigns, kids probably don't get enough food-based calcium and Vitamin D. New York, like California and a dozen other states, instead prefer pills and supplements because they think 'food is medicine' - unless it is yogurt.

The conductor of the train is, unsurprisingly, a cow.

State Fair attendees won't get to eat it, though. After the event it will be recycled.

In 1994, President Bill Clinton listened to his constituents who said Big Pharma was a corporate conspiracy and instructed the FDA to waive away any real control of the alternative-to-medicine industry. Unless they will kill someone, as long as the $35 billion industry writes a tiny disclaimer noting that there is no scientific basis for their claims and that therefore FDA doesn't agree with any nonsense on the label, they could be set free on a gullible public.

Dr. Mark Hyman, one of the Four Horsemen of the Alternative, was pleased that his future "patient" did all that for those who think powder made from endangered species has magical properties. It's Big Business now.
Do you think particles so small you need an electron microscope to view them can cause dementia? Then my guess you are a trial lawyer looking for something new to sue about, a greedy person hoping to leverage a family member's illness to get rich, or an epidemiologist trying to get an expert witness contract.
Greenpeace is a horrible organization. I used to wonder how anyone could support them, but even the KKK has 3,000 members so awful people can do awful things and rationalize why they are saving us all.

Greenpeace doesn't wear funny white hats and burn crosses, but they sure hate minorities. They hate them so much they claim brown and black people are too stupid to farm using science. Greenpeace is steadfastly opposed to all genetic engineering that could make locally grown, affordable food available to countries that are not rich - unless it is a corporate donor to Greenpeace. Like the organic food companies who use lobbyists, trade groups, and marketing reps to create an 'organic' standard that exempts anything about their products from scrutiny.
Racism has been technically banned in California higher education since 1996 but schools have routinely gone around it with a wink from a majority party that never followers voter mandates they happen not to like.
Instead of using race for admissions - but only preferred minorities determined by secret sauce, which is why racism in admissions went to the Supreme Court multiple times - they declare they're doing enrollment based on needs of the state work force. And the background of applicants, except for race.

Little surprise that ends being the same racist policy that got it banned by voters, who went around the legislature to do it. Asian heritage kids without American last names are still penalized by California.
In 950 AD, the first beekeeping document was created. An Irish monk noted their hives had mysteriously died off.

Flemming G (1871) Animal plagues: Their history, nature and prevention. London: Chapman and Hall.

Bees have been recording dying off en masse ever since. Just like they died before. What was the cause before pesticides existed? The same cause as kills bees today, except lacking $3 billion in revenue and allies in corporate journalism; parasites. 
If you have ever visited the Terracotta Army in China, you know they are guarding an old emperor. That emperor was Qin Shi Huang, from 2,200 years ago.

The tomb has not been opened. The Chinese are superstitious, they believe in acupuncture and that grinding up the bones of endangered animals gives them superpowers, but apparently even some western archaeologists believe in magic. They are worried about crossbow and mercury traps.

You know, like "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Fiction.

No bow on earth is working after 20 years much less 2,000 and detected mercury near the tomb is probably because he drank it after listening to Chinese shamen who still sell woo today.
California is having a mild summer but some regions are having their hottest season in 10 years. Scientists who used to note that weather is not climate have now retired and their Gen X and Millennial replacements know that citations aren't the road to new grants, media coverage is, so a whole lot of them will try to say any incremental finding has 'implications' for climate change or social justice.

The uncomfortable truth is that we don't know a lot of about climate, and denying the impact of the sun is weird. The good news is that modeling by academics is much better than it was 20 and certainly 25 years ago, when Frankenstein hockey sticks and hiding the decline were problematic.
The dirty secret of university admissions in the Affirmative Action era is that it was only affirmative if you matched the preference of the committee creating the secret sauce for admissions. In 2012's "Science Left Behind", written with Dr. Alex Berezow, we noted that Asian students with American last names were told to put Caucasian on the admissions box.

It was so well-known among Asians that being an Asian minority incurred a huge admissions penalty in universities that touted affirmative action that families told young people to deny their heritage. Even white kids had a better chance of getting than Asians.
It is common for internet influencers to secretly be lying about their behavior but 'fruit only diet' guru Zhanna Samsonova was actually practicing what she preached. And it killed her at age 39.

She had survived COVID-19, she claimed, thanks to 'dry fasting'- though obviously billions of people survived it on a normal diet, and refused to seek medical treatment while everyone who saw her worried she was dying from malnutrition.

Zhanna Samsonova claims people would tell her they couldn't believe she was approaching 40. Maybe she misunderstood and they thought she was approaching 80.
Harvard Humanities Academic Francesca Gino has filed a defamation lawsuit against her employer, Harvard University, and three bloggers on the site Data Colada.

Humanities academics and social scientists love to wrap themselves in the flag of culture and claim it is sexism if, for example, no evidence shows that standing with arms extended for two minutes will cause a woman to “embody power and instantly become more powerful.” The people who debunked the methodology were overwhelmingly men while social psychology itself is overwhelmingly women.
When the SpaceX Starship self-destruct system exploded it over the Gulf of Mexico in April, it's easy to imagine that Center for Biological Diversity and other predatory law groups were giddy - they had a new reason to sue someone and collect a settlement check.

That time has finally arrived, they can start counting yacht payments.

Because environmental groups have mastered 'sue and settle' agreements with prearranged outcomes, and with the Biden administration in a panic about losing the election in 2024, environmental groups know government agencies won't be allowed to alienate anyone in the tribe.
If your child is allergic to milk, flavored plant juice alternatives like rice and soy, when fortified, can fill in some gaps, but outside necessity, they are not nutritionally equal to dairy, no matter what marketing departments claim.

Once upon a time, the US government protected consumers with Standards of Identity, they sued a cheese company for putting how much milk was in a slice of its cheese because of even the inference it had as much calcium as milk. 

No more. Squeeze any plant and add some vanilla flavor and you can call it milk and Washington, DC does not think that is deceptive.
Predatory lawyers love trials by jury because they are almost certain to win. It won't help their clients much. There are some instances where they do get some money. The so-called "Erin Brockovich case" led to a settlement even though the company could easily show that the water was not harmful. Yet nearly three decades later the people who say their stories won the case lament they didn't receive much.

Meanwhile, one of the attorneys from the winning side is in jail for fraud. 
The US FDA has approved Opill (norgestrel) for oral contraception as an OTC product, the first daily oral contraceptive approved for use without a prescription. That means as soon as the company can get it in drug stores, convenience stores, grocery stores, and online, they will.

According to surveys, half of pregnancies each year are unwanted, but in the modern health care system it can be difficult to get an appointment for a prescription, so this will make contraception readily available without waiting months. 

Norgestrel is well-established, it has been available for prescription use since 1973, so the company just had to show consumers would use it without as doctor telling them what was on the label. 
A new paper suggests that Spotify is creating a de facto slave labor market, e.g. how England had residents of cities like Manchester working for basically nothing in the early 1800s so they could ban actual slavery.
Environmental Working Group's annual organic food public relations piece, its 'Dirty Dozen' list, is out, and blueberries are the new target for their clients.

EWG produces the Dirty Dozen list by looking at USDA data on pesticides and suggesting detection of a pesticide will give you cancer.

Forget their non-existent command of science, this annual fraud is egregious because they don't list the pesticides used by their clients. Organic pesticides, which can be up to 600 percent higher than conventional, are not included. If they were, the entire Dirty Dozen list would be organic produce.
If are in the humanities and want to win a case of wine in the future, bet against someone in the information theory space. Neither of you can ever really be correct but the one with at least the pretense of the scientific method will have to admit they have fallen prey to someone like a post-modernist, who can never be wrong. On anything. Ever. Because truth is just a cultural reflex and can't be grounded epidemiologically.

That is what happened to Christof Koch, PhD, when he was young enough to believe he was in a science field and that the Truth Is Out There. Some 25 years he argued in a debate with David Chalmers that by 2023 the 'mechanism' in neurons that produce consciousness would be found.
In 2012's "Science Left Behind", I noted a claim by a politician opposed to natural gas - after environmentalists had previously lobbied for it (see also: ethanol, hydroelectric) - who stated that extracting it was causing earth to deflate.

It wasn't the craziest thing in the book, that more soldiers on Guam would cause the island to flip over or that organic food used no pesticides would also have to be in the running, but people who believe it are going to believe it, just like media outlets touting a claim that we are pumping so much groundwater that we are moving the planet off its axis.
Do you know someone who once got their child an autism diagnosis, mostly so they could do things like skip the line at Disney World? How about a medical exemption so they could go to school without an MMR vaccine?

If so, you probably live in a place like California or New York City. Rich people often stay rich by exploiting loopholes so they don't have to spend money. They are even happy to lose weight as long as the rest of us pay higher health insurance premiums - much the way they have gotten poor people to pay for their solar power subsidies.