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Links With Your Coffee Tuesday

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Most scientists, on achieving high office, keep their public remarks to the bland and reassuring. Last week Nina Fedoroff, the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), broke ranks in a spectacular manner.

She confessed that she was now "scared to death" by the anti-science movement that was spreading, uncontrolled, across the US and the rest of the western world.

"We are sliding back into a dark era," she said. "And there seems little we can do about it. I am profoundly depressed at just how difficult it has become merely to get a realistic conversation started on issues such as climate change or genetically modified organisms."



The corporations that spend money against science is not a surprise, but it should be. They benefit from so much science has done, but then again, true concern about global warming would take away their ability to pollute the environment in the name of profits. Both the Koch Bros. and Exxon are in big with ALEC, which takes on these issues through state legislatures (more information coming your way soon).

As for the golden beam, creative visualization has been used for years now. Athletes do it all the time. Thinking through your activity gives you the chance to do it error free. This drill is helpful; I can tell you from musical experience. Hell, if it helps people eat better, so much the better.

Re: corporations paying for climate science denial propaganda

To paraphrase Lenin, the capitalists will sell the rope on which their grandchildren will hang.

The corporate-influence sword cuts both ways, it seems. If corporations aren't using their influence to deny science outright, they are using their influence to portray certain concerns as anti-science.

One such example is Syngenta-sponsored John Entine's vigorous defense of carcinogens like Atrazine.

Entine turned up in the Center for Media and Democracy's investigation because last year he authored a book, published and promoted by the American Council on Science and Health, called Scared to Death: How Chemophobia Threatens Public Health. "In response to the growing level of chemophobia—the irrational fear of chemicals—among the American public, ACSH compiled this resource book and position to educate legislators, industry, media, consumers and parents on the actual risks of chemical exposure and use in everyday products," a press release for the book states. The book mounts a brief (nearly 30 of its 120 pages are bibliography) yet vigorous defense of industrial and agricultural chemical use, backed up by two case studies, one of which is on atrazine. Syngenta has funded the American Council on Science and Health, CMD found. An email dated August 28, 2009 (PDF) from ACSH's executive director to his "Syngenta friends" refers to the "general operating support Syngenta has been so generously providing over the years, which we request to continue at current or increased levels." It adds: "Such general operating support is the lifeblood of a small non-profit like ours, and is both deeply appreciated and much needed." The letter doesn't specify the level at which the company has supported ACSH. The organization, according to CMD, has annual revenues of more than $2 million a year; its president, the high-profile pro-agrichemical polemicist Elizabeth Whelan, draws a salary of $350,000.

So if they're not flat out denying science, corporations are portraying science-based health and environmental concerns as anti-science, which is another method of sending us back into the Dark Ages.


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