American Council on Science and Health is an advocacy group consisting of hundreds of scientists, doctors and policy experts devoted to science outreach. They've been around since the 1970s, when the core of their original group, including Nobel Laureate Norman Borlaug, the "father of the Green Revolution", wondered why there were no science groups that offset the wonks promoting fear and doubt about researchers.

Since then, they have gone where the data takes them. Co-founder Dr. Elizabeth Whelan has been attacked by both food fetishists and Big Tobacco for promoting inconvenient truths about science. Bipartisan disdain means they are probably right where they need to be.

Our own Dr. Josh Bloom works there, which is probably the only reason they know anything about me but he is irrelevant from this point until the end of the article because they said nice things about me and that is what I want to talk about.

Anyone can tell you, writing snark is easy. There is a reason litigation-based groups like The Center for Food Safety can just hire people off the street and have them write EXTREME a bunch of times about biology and get a lot of facts wrong and no one in the Food Temperance movement minds - the actual science is too hard and takes too long.

Yet sometimes there is a serious story to be told and yesterday I started telling it, about atrazine. It's not even the most popular herbicide out there, that honor goes to Monsanto, but it has been the subject of an increasingly bizarre public relations campaign and other people have tried to tell the story, and done it much better than I can, but I felt like they were all telling the story about the story and not the story about the science. And for good reason; the science is hard - and kind of boring, because there is nothing happening that isn't supposed to be happening. No sex-changing frogs, no water taps on fire, nothing at all that will get me on NPR.

Atrazine And The Forever War On Science

I expected an article like that to just disappear, because there is no conspiracy tale about Obama or a way to reference The Simpsons, and maybe it will go nowhere compared to writing about gluten-free diets or Whole Foods, but it's nice that serious people have read it and sent me emails about it. And ACSH even included it in their briefing today.

Dr. Gil Ross has been saving lives since I was kid so when he says "Everyone with an interest in science writing and how ‘journalism’ can be corrupted to suit short-term goals should read this excellent work" that has real meaning.

The praise for my work is already rolling in.

Some sample emails:

"Hey, she is eastern European" 


"I wish women in their 20s would say nice things about me but they just reach for pepper spray when I talk to them"

Well, okay, the praise may not necessarily be about my article but my article is praise adjacent, so I will take it.

Thanks, ACSH!

If you have never checked them out, take a look. Maybe throw them some money if you care about science media that isn't just Scare Journalism or Miracle Vegetables of the Week.