Whole Foods is like Vegas. You go there to feel good but you leave broke, disoriented, and with the newfound knowledge that you have a vaginal disease.
Unlike Vegas, Whole Foods’ clientele are all about mindfulness and compassion… until they get to the parking lot. Then it’s war. As I pull up this morning, I see a pregnant lady on the crosswalk holding a baby and groceries. This driver swerves around her and honks. As he speeds off I catch his bumper sticker, which says ‘NAMASTE’. Poor lady didn’t even hear him approaching because he was driving a Prius. He crept up on her like a panther.
As the great, sliding glass doors part I am immediately smacked in the face by a wall of cool, moist air that smells of strawberries and orchids. I leave behind the concrete jungle and enter a cornucopia of organic bliss; the land of hemp milk and honey. Seriously, think about Heaven and then think about Whole Foods; they’re basically the same.
The first thing I see is the great wall of kombucha — 42 different kinds of rotten tea. Fun fact: the word kombucha is Japanese for ‘I gizzed in your tea.’ Anyone who’s ever swallowed the glob of mucus at the end of the bottle knows exactly what I’m talking about. I believe this thing is called “The Mother,” which makes it that much creepier.
Next I see the gluten-free section filled with crackers and bread made from various wheat-substitutes such as cardboard and sawdust. I skip this aisle because I’m not rich enough to have dietary restrictions. Ever notice that you don’t meet poor people with special diet needs? A gluten intolerant house cleaner? A cab driver with Candida? Candida is what I call a rich, white person problem. You know you’ve really made it in this world when you get Candida. My personal theory is that Candida is something you get from too much hot yoga. All I’m saying is if I were a yeast, I would want to live in your yoga pants.
Next I approach the beauty aisle. There is a scary looking machine there that you put your face inside of and it tells you exactly how ugly you are.
“The potential danger from EM fields is making millions of human beings into test animals,” Ted Koppel solemnly intones in a 1990 Nightline report on electromagnetic fields from power lines. But two decades and hundreds of studies later, there has been no great cancer epidemic caused by power lines. Why did we get so scared in the first place?
The latest video from Retro Report, a series reexamining the breathless news coverage of yore, delves into the late 80s and 90s panic over electromagnetic fields. A small number of suggestive—but inconclusive—studies showed a possible link between the presence of power lines and cancer in children. With power lines threading through every neighborhood, parents naturally panicked.
Retro Report tracks down David Savitz, one of the first epidemiologists to find a link between power lines and childhood cancer. Savitz now disavows that link, dismissing those early studies as aberrations in what is now a huge body of literature that finds no risk from electromagnetic fields. This is just how science works— with contradictions and in fits and starts.
The evening news may no longer be yammering about power lines and cancer, but the same story is still playing out with GMOs and cell phone radiation. [Retro Report]
Later this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture may approve the Arctic Granny and Arctic Golden, the first genetically modified apples to hit the market. Although it will probably be another two years before the non-browning fruits appears in stores, at least one producer is already scrambling to label its apples GMO-free.
The looming apple campaign is just the latest salvo in the ongoing war over genetically modified organisms (GMOs)—one that’s grown increasingly contentious.
[ . . . ]
But the truth is, GMOs have been studied intensively, and they look a lot more prosaic than the hype contends.
[ . . . ]
So what, exactly, do consumers have to fear? To find out, Popular Science chose 10 of the most common claims about GMOs and interviewed nearly a dozen scientists. Their collective answer: not much at all.
Continue reading: the 10 Common GMO Claims Debunked
If you care about what is in your food, you have no greater sympathetic intellect than me.
But if you are an anti-science activist, you may not understand the distinction between what is in your food and what it simply is – and there we part company. A genetic modification (GMO) is your food, for example, it is no different than any other food from a health perspective. Cataloging the numerous ways agriculture has genetically engineered food for as long as food has been grown is outside the scope of this piece, but GMOs don’t bother me and that science shouldn’t bother you either. (1)
Pesticides do bother me, and you have a reason to be concerned about those. If you think you don’t need to wash organic food before you eat it, I think you need a sanity test. An organic pesticide is not superior to a synthetic one nor is eating animal feces on vegetables any smarter than eating man-made fertilizer.
That is where anti-science activists miss the mark. Caring about one thing we know is harmless while pretending something we know is harmful is not, if it carries an organic label, is a real mistake for their credibility. I care about food but putting a label on every food that has a GMO (yet exempting mutagenesis, which is all the rage in Europe now, precisely because it is genetic optimization, but not the legally vilified kind) and not putting a label on pesticide-laden organic food would be silly.(2)
Elsevier has announced that they are retracting the infamous Seralini study which claimed to show that GMO corn causes cancer in laboratory rats. The retraction comes one year after the paper was published, and seems to be a response to the avalanche of criticism the study has faced. This retraction is to the anti-GMO world what the retraction of the infamous Wakefield Lancet paper was to the anti-vaccine world.
The Seralini paper was published in November 2012 in Food and Chemical Toxicology. It was immediately embraced by anti-GMO activists, and continues to be often cited as evidence that GMO foods are unhealthy. It was also immediately skewered by skeptics and more objective scientists as a fatally flawed study.
The study looked at male and female rats of the Sprague-Dawley strain of rat – a strain with a known high baseline incidence of tumors. These rats were fed regular corn mixed with various percentages of GMO corn: zero (the control groups), 11, 22, and 33%. Another group was fed GMO corn plus glyphosate (Round-Up) in their water, and a third was given just glyphosate. The authors concluded:
The results of the study presented here clearly demonstrate that lower levels of complete agricultural glyphosate herbicide formulations, at concentrations well below officially set safety limits, induce severe hormone-dependent mammary, hepatic and kidney disturbances. Similarly, disruption of biosynthetic pathways that may result from overexpression of the EPSPS transgene in the GM NK603 maize can give rise to comparable pathologies that may be linked to abnormal or unbalanced phenolic acids metabolites, or related compounds. Other mutagenic and metabolic effects of the edible GMO cannot be excluded.
Sounds pretty scary. Now let’s look at the multiple criticisms:
The biggest criticism of the study is the combination of two features – the small sample size and lack of statistical analysis. The entire study is premised on comparing various dose groups with control groups that were not exposed to GMO or glyphosate. And yet, the authors provide no statistical analysis of this comparison. Given the small number of rats in each group, it is likely that this lack of statistical analysis is due to the fact that statistical significance could not be reached.
In other words – the results of the study are uninterpretable. In the retraction statement Elsevier wrote:
Ultimately, the results presented (while not incorrect) are inconclusive, and therefore do not reach the threshold of publication for Food and Chemical Toxicology.
The retraction reads like a long excuse for the editorial failure of the journal, and is disappointing. But at least they ultimately reached the correct conclusion – this paper should never have been published. It slipped through the cracks of peer review.
- Scientific Journal Retracts Anti-GMO Junk Science Study (illuminutti.com)
- The Seralini GMO Study – Retraction and Response to Critics (sciencebasedmedicine.org)
- Seralini GMO Study Retracted (theness.com)
- Study Linking Genetically Modified Corn to Rat Tumors Is Retracted (scientificamerican.com)
Throughout this year there were a lot of new conspiracy theories going around. Some of them were scary. Some of them were weird. And some of them were just bizarre, absurd, and dumb to the point where one would either have to laugh at them, or pull their hair out in frustration.
The following list are ten of what I feel are the strangest and most bizarre and/or absurd conspiracy theories of 2013:
10. Robert Sarvis was a Democratic plant to help Terry McAuliffe win the Virginia gubernatorial election.
(Author’s note: being that I am from Virginia, I just felt that I had to mention this one)
In the 2013 Virginia gubernatorial election there were a lot of accusations that went back and forth (some true, some not) but one of the biggest accusation didn’t come during the election, but afterwards. The accusation that I’m talking about is the one that claims that Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis was actually a shill or plant by the Democrats inorder to steal votes away from Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli and to help guarantee victory for Terry McAuliffe.
Now as plausible as this may sound, there are just two problems with this: First there is no guarantee that the people who voted for Sarvis would have voted for Cuccinelli, and second most of the polls before the election showed that McAuliffe had an over 50% lead, and thus a spoiler candidate would not have been needed inorder to win. Also, besides those facts and the fact that there is no actual evidence that Sarvis was a Democratic plant, it’s just as likely that Sarvis actually took away votes from McAuliffe as it is from Cuccinelli.
While conspiracy theories against GMO foods are nothing new, what is new is that the Anti-GMO movement now seems to be focusing their claims on one company: Monsanto.
From what I can tell from their claims Monsanto pretty much controls the FDA, the farming industry, the food industry, Obama, the media, the U.S. Supreme Court, law enforcement, any blog that debunks the anti-GMO movement’s claims, all the science organizations, and that Monsanto is responsible for every atrocity committed in the world since World War Two.
According to many in the anti-GMO movement Monsanto does all of this inorder to sell you a product that (insert the anti-GMO claim of your choice).
8. The Boston Marathon bombing was a false flag attack.
On April 15 one of the worst terrorist attacks in the U.S. since the 9/11 attacks occurred at one of the largest sporting events in the U.S., the Boston Marathon. Three people were killed, and 264 people were injured, many of who also lost limbs, or were otherwise permanently maimed in some way. Also, like clock work, conspiracy theories about the bombing started to be posted all over the internet within minutes of the attack.
The most common of the claims were that it was a false flag attack, and then later de-evolved into stranger conspiracy theories in that both the suspects, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, were under some kind of government mind control, right on down to the most absurd claim of there being no attack at all and that the whole thing was staged and that no one was actually hurt or killed.
Besides the fact that all of these claims were absurd on face value alone and were quickly debunked, they were also very disrespectful and just plain disgusting.
Over the summer actress Amanda Bynes began engaging in behavior that ranged from bizarre to down right dangerous. This behavior of her’s eventually lead to her being involuntarily committed into psychiatric care.
Now to most people this looks like a simple enough case of a young woman whom is mentally ill and whom’s mental illness has caused her to act out in bizarre and dangerous ways. To a conspiracy theorist on the other hand it’s a clear case of Illuminati mind control.
The main theory that is going around is that Amanda was being groomed by the Illuminati as part of a youth indoctrination program, and that she had decided to break away from them. When Amanda did allegedly break away from them one of two things happen: Either that the indoctrination was so intense that she could not function on her own and her mind snapped, or she was driven insane via remote mind control.
While this explanation kind of makes sense in a weird way, the one theory behind her behavior that makes even more sense is that she is either schizophrenic or bi-polar. Combined with her age, and her escalating erratic behavior over the past few years, this makes a lot more sense than a couple of conspiracy theories that range from being far fetched to pretty much impossible.
6. The Xbox One can see you naked.
When the Xbox One and all of it’s feature were announced there were many concerns (some legit, some not) but one of the biggest concerns that in itself became a conspiracy theory is that the new gaming counsel (through it’s inbuilt motion sensing Kinect system) can see you naked, even with your clothes on. The reason behind this claim is due to a photo of a test subject seen through the view of the Kinect that allegedly shows his ding-dong, despite the fact that he is wearing clothes.
As it turns out that wasn’t the man’s private parts, but was actually a fold in his pants that people mistook for his you-know-what. Although it should be noted that the Xbox One can see you naked… if you’re actually playing a video game infront of it while naked (and if that’s your thing then have fun playing with it… the Xbox One I mean).
- Eleven Dumb Conspiracy Theories (illuminutti.com)
- 5 Things I’ve noticed about… Conspiracy Theorists on Youtube (illuminutti.com)
- When Noam Chomsky says that’s an idiotic idea, he’s probably right (illuminutti.com)
- Why I Love GMOs (thelibertarianrepublic.com)
- The Only Study to Link GMO Foods to Cancer Retracted (depletedcranium.com)
Want to completely torque the Anti-GMO people in your life? Send them the following article. Then grab some popcorn and enjoy the show.
Mason I. Bilderberg (MIB)
Scientific Journal Retracts Anti-GMO Junk Science Study
A study last year by the French anti-GMO campaigner who sometimes masquerades as a scientist, Gilles-Eric Séralini, has been retracted by the journal in which it was published. Seralini claimed that rats that he fed a diet of GMO corn developed mammary tumors and liver disease. The study was widely hailed by anti-GMO activists and soundly denounced by actual scientists.
In my article, “The Top 5 Lies About Biotech Crops,” I reported:
One widely publicized specious study (also cited by the IRT) was done by the French researcher Gilles-Eric Seralini and his colleagues. They reported that rats fed pesticide resistant corn died of mammary tumors and liver diseases. Seralini is the president of the scientific council of the Committee for Research and Independent Information on Genetic Engineering, which describes itself as an “independent non-profit organization of scientific counter-expertise to study GMOs, pesticides and impacts of pollutants on health and environment, and to develop non polluting alternatives.” The Committee clearly knows in advance what its researchers will find with regard to the health risks of biotech crops. But when truly independent groups, such as the European Society of Toxicologic Pathology and theFrench Society of Toxicologic Pathology, reviewed Seralini’s study, they found it essentially to be meretricious rubbish. Six French academies of science issued a statement declaring that the journal should never have published such a low-quality study and excoriating Seralini for orchestrating a media campaign in advance of publication. The European Food Safety Agency’s review of the Seralini study “found to be inadequately designed, analysed and reported.” Sadly, such junk science has real-world consequences, since Seralini’s article was apparently cited when Kenya made the decision to ban the importation of foods made with biotech crops.
The journal Food and Chemical Toxicity has now retracted Seralini’s article, noting:
Unequivocally, the Editor-in-Chief found no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data. However, there is a legitimate cause for concern regarding both the number of animals in each study group and the particular strain selected. The low number of animals had been identified as a cause for concern during the initial review process, but the peer-review decision ultimately weighed that the work still had merit despite this limitation. A more in-depth look at the raw data revealed that no definitive conclusions can be reached with this small sample size regarding the role of either NK603 or glyphosate in regards to overall mortality or tumor incidence. Given the known high incidence of tumors in the Sprague-Dawley rat, normal variability cannot be excluded as the cause of the higher mortality and incidence observed in the treated groups.
Discussion is important in science, but this publication stirred vigorous criticism by several scientists around the world. It has risen up great attention by the media that had no chance of getting an external expert opinion due to unusual non-disclosure clauses. The initial unbalanced media coverage is causing damage to an important tool for global food security. It is also important to avoid unnecessary distress and pain of the animals (e.g. Directive 2010/63/EU), the experiment should not go beyond the point required to meet the scientific objectives. I urge you to take adequate measures to keep the high standard quality of publications that come to your journal. This paper as it is now, presents poor quality science and dubious ethics.
It’s good that the journal has gotten around to retracting the study, but unfortunately it will become just another cause celebre among conspircy minded anti-biotech activists.
- Scientific Journal Retracts Anti-GMO Junk Science Study (reason.com)
- Journal retracts anti-GMO study (americanthinker.com)
- Scientific Journal Retracts Anti-GMO Junk Science Study (ivoter.com)
- Controversial French Study on GMOs and Glyphosate Retracted by Publication (organicauthority.com)
- Notorious Séralini GMO Cancer Rat Study Retracted, Ugly Legal Battle Looms (aconservativeedge.wordpress.com)
- Widely discredited study that fuelled fear of genetically modified ‘Frankenfoods’ finally retracted (news.nationalpost.com)
Pesticides, fungicides, larvicides, and a myriad of other poisons are used generously on crops, sprayed onto our food, and leach into our soil, within today’s current factory farming methods. With the risks accompanied with consuming current genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and chemically saturated garbage, the consumers are constantly looking for healthier options.
Many are gravitating toward local vendors and farmers markets, preferring antibiotic-free, organic, and free-range food items. However, the label “organic” is not synonymous with pesticide-free, and organic food can and has been found to contain pesticides.
A United States Department of Agriculture [USDA] report surprisingly exposed that samples of organic lettuce had contained pesticide residue. The common residues which were found were known as spinosad and azadirachtin A/B. The USDA happens to deem these particular pesticides suitable for organic agriculture. It is also important to note that land which was treated with non-permitted poisons in the past, but is no longer being sprayed with these poisons, can also qualify as organic. It is safe to assume that just because an item is labeled “organic”, doesn’t mean it’s entirely healthy to eat.
Pesticides authorized for organic farming need to be derived from natural sources, rather than having been synthetically manufactured. Also, the land chosen for the organic crop growing cannot have been treated with any synthetic materials for at least the past three years. One study by the University of Guelph, found that some organic pesticides have a higher environmental impact than conventional pesticides because the organic ones are used in larger doses.
“The consumer demand for organic products is increasing partly because of a concern for the environment,… But it’s too simplistic to say that because it’s organic it’s better for the environment. Organic growers are permitted to use pesticides that are of natural origin, and in some cases, these organic pesticides can have higher environmental impacts than synthetic pesticides, often because they have to be used in large doses.” – professor Rebecca Hallett
Other potent natural extracts which have additionally been approved for use as pesticides in organic farming, include pyrethrin (derived from chrysanthemums) and azadirachtin, which were also detected on some samples of organic lettuce. All three of these substances are considered to be slightly toxic by the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA].
- The Truth About Produce, Pesticides, And The Dirty Dozen (charlotte.cbslocal.com)