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Chagrin Documentary Film Festival Announces Selected Films for 6th...

PR Web - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 09:18

The Chagrin Documentary Film Festival to Screen 66 Documentaries, Representing 28 Countries, Oct. 7-11 at venues all around the century village of Chagrin Falls, Ohio.Festival tickets go on sale Sept....

(PRWeb August 21, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/08/prweb12913730.htm

Categories: Environment

Colonnade Hotel Installs State-of-the Art PathoSans Cleaning And...

PR Web - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 09:18

Colonnade Hotel installs next generation water cleansing, purification, and sanitizing system by PathoSans. Fitz-Mont Environmental Solutions installs "e-water" system.

(PRWeb August 21, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/08/prweb12911566.htm

Categories: Environment

This surfer is committed to saving sharks — even though he lost his leg to one of them

Grist.org - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 09:08

On an early October morning in 1997, on the west side of the island of Kauai, 18-year-old Mike Coots got in the water with his bodyboard, as he had done hundreds of times before, and started to paddle out. He and his friends went about 300 feet from the shore until they reached the surf break, in water that was 30 to 40 feet deep. They were quickly rewarded by a set of good waves, each about four feet high. Everyone in the group caught one right away. Except for Coots.

It was just Coots and one other surfer still waiting when the last wave of the set came in. “I remember looking at him and we looked at each other wondering who’s going to catch the wave,” Coots recounts. “[A]nd I got on my board and started paddling.” And then, without warning, a tiger shark emerged from the depths and latched on to his leg.

The animal thrashed back and forth with his leg in its mouth. It finally let go when he punched it in the nose. Coots got on his board and began to paddle like mad back to the shore. When he felt his leg spasm, he feared the shark had taken hold of him again; it wasn’t until he looked back that he realized his leg was, in fact, gone. In its place, a raw laceration spurted out blood with every pump of his heart.

* * * * * * *

We’ve had plenty of reasons to get scared about sharks. From the recent “summer of the shark” attacks in North Carolina to Discovery Channel’s Shark Week to this nightmare, close encounters with the infamous marine predators seem to be cropping up left and right lately.

In the midst of the media mania, scientists continue to try to reassure the public that the odds of being a shark attack victim are in fact incredibly small. You are orders of magnitude more likely to suffer a drowning incident, get killed on your bicycle, or meet your end in a collapsing sand hole than in the jaws of a shark.

Yet sharks continue to be one of our favorite things to feel horrified by. Those furtive fins gliding above the water! Those huge, lithe, cartilaginous bodies! And let’s not forget — though how could we? — those rows upon rows of teeth.

Before his attack, however, Coots spent little time thinking about sharks. “I never really had any fear of them, even though I’ve been around them my whole life,” he tells me. “It was just a thing that’s in the ocean that you’ve got to respect and be careful of, but all in all they just do their own thing.”

But after the incident, Coots did fall into to a certain shark obsession — though not the way you might expect. The Hawaii-based surfer and photographer turned his experience into a call to action. Except that, rather than fixate on the harm sharks present to us, Coots is more concerned with what we’re doing to them.

* * * * * * *

Talking to Coots, now 35, is like taking in a breath of Hawaii — a place that’s hard to talk about without getting at least a little cheesy. He conveys his usual greeting, Aloha, with an unironic chilled-out warmth that infuses everything he does. Even when recounting something as traumatic as losing a limb, Coots maintains a levelheaded outlook, an understanding that sometimes things just happen.

This lesson is reinforced when you live your life out in the natural world. Before he was attacked, “I had spent my whole life in the ocean,” Coots says. He got in the waves every single day, harboring dreams of becoming a pro-bodyboarder: “At that time of my life, bodyboarding was all I knew,” he says.

In the aftermath of the attack, he says the hardest thing to cope with wasn’t the pain or even coming to terms with the fact that he was now missing a leg — it was not being able to get back in the water until the risk of infection had passed.

To add to his frustration, he was attacked at the very start of the surf season, after which the waves kept getting better and better. “I’d hear stories from my friends of how good the surf was … that’s what was hardest.”

But while he was recovering, he found a new hobby that could keep him close to the water. “I started shooting photos of my friends while they were surfing,” he says. “And it sort of transitioned into this love affair … if the shark attack hadn’t happened, I probably wouldn’t be a photographer right now.”

Once the staples that held his wound together were taken out — only a month after the shark bit off his leg — Coots crutched down to the shore just a couple hundred yards away from where he was attacked and got back in the ocean. “If you live your life in fear, I think you’d be pretty bored here in Hawaii,” says Coots. “All we’ve got is water all around us.”

* * * * * * *

Coots didn’t really turn his attention back to sharks until about a decade after his attack, when he got a phone call from one of the very few other people who could relate to what he had gone through. Debbie Salamone is a fellow shark-attack survivor who now works for the Pew Environment Group, at the head of a group called — very accurately — Shark Attack Survivors for Shark Conservation. Salamone had been tracking down other shark survivors, which, thanks to our obsession with the bloody encounters, turns out not to be much harder than a Google search.

As they talked, Salamone introduced Coots to the impacts we humans are having on sharks. She told him that shark populations are at an all time low, that people kill an estimated 100 million sharks every year, that an estimated 25 percent of shark species are threatened with extinction. Coots learned about the biggest threat to them: shark finning, a practice in which a shark’s dorsal fin is cut off and the animal is thrown back into the sea, where it either bleeds to death or, unable to swim, drowns. The fin is usually sold in Asian markets to make shark fin soup; demand for the delicacy is responsible for about 70 million dead sharks each year.

He also learned that millions of sharks are unintentionally killed every year, tangled in nets or hooked on longline as bycatch. Like us, sharks take years to reach reproductive age and, once they do, give birth to relatively few pups, so such population losses can be devastating.

“I was just baffled,” Coots says. He began to stay up late into the night surfing the web to read research papers, track shark movements, and listen to speeches by shark scientists. “The more you learn, the more you want to learn,” Coots says. “I was appalled by what’s going on in our seas.”

* * * * * * *

Salamone didn’t have a hard time getting other survivors to join her cause. People were “jumping at the opportunity to do something good,” she tells me. “I think that’s part of the emotional healing for a lot of people. You don’t want all the suffering to be for nothing. You want something good to come out of it.”

When Salamone was recovering from her own shark attack (a bite in the Achilles tendon, probably from a black tip or spinner shark in Florida) she had a hard time appreciating the enthusiasm for sharks she saw in others. “But I always loved the ocean — and whatever it took to help save and conserve the ocean is something that interested me,” she says. “In order to love the ocean you have to embrace everything in the ocean — even its darkest side.”

“I think learning about sharks has helped me forgive them,” Salamone recalls. “So I said, ‘Wow, here I am, a shark attack survivor. Who better to speak up for the sharks?’”

In 2009, the advocacy group of fourteen survivors met at the U.S. Capitol. It was likely the first sizable gathering of shark attack survivors ever. “We had this incredible bond, all of us,” Salamone recalls. “We exchanged all these horror stories of loss of blood and time in a hospital and rehab. But we not only shared these traumatic experiences, but this newfound passion that we could all pull together and make something positive out of things that had happened that were really bad.”

They lobbied for the Shark Conservation Act, which would close loopholes in the nation’s shark finning ban. At the time, it was illegal to carry bodiless shark fins in U.S. waters (though it was not illegal to carry whole sharks), but the law only applied to boats with fishing gear. That meant that non-fishing boats could collect fins that were illegally cut off from sharks on other boats, and legally bring them back to port. When President Obama signed the Shark Conservation Act into effect in 2011, it was a big win for the shark conservation group.

The group is still working to advocate for sustainable shark fishing, marine sanctuaries in which commercial shark fishing is banned, and a more positive, less fearful attitude towards sharks around the world.

* * * * * * *

Losing a leg is, obviously, life-changing. But Coots seems to take the fact that a shark inflicted the injury in measured stride. “It’s kind of cool in a way that I lost my leg to a shark,” Coots said in an interview with GrindTV. “It wasn’t like a drunk-driver car accident or something. You go into the ocean, things happen. It’s a good story to tell, and I’m able to use it to make a difference now in the ocean environment.”

Three years after he was attacked, Coots and a friend were hanging out when they hatched a wild, spur-of-the-moment plan. They picked up some pig meat from another friend who hunts them (apparently, wild pigs are everywhere in Hawaii). They loaded up a Jet Ski, Coots grabbed his camera, and they headed two miles into the open ocean. After throwing the meat overboard, they sat back and sipped coffee while they waited.

About 45 minutes later, they had successfully lured in a tiger shark: Coots’ first encounter with a shark since the one that took his leg. “It was just us in the middle of the ocean on Jet Ski, watching this huge tiger shark feast,” Coots remembers. As he photographed the animal, “I was just totally in awe about how beautiful this creature was. The way the light played off his back, the way it swam around,” he trailed off.

“It’s still, to this day, one of the coolest things that I have ever seen.”


Filed under: Living, Science
Categories: Environment

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership Releases Results From a...

PR Web - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 06:17

The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership retained Destination Analysts, a San Francisco, California based tourism research and marketing company, to conduct brand research for The Journey...

(PRWeb August 20, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/08/prweb12899873.htm

Categories: Environment

Natalie Wade’s New Book Urges Children to Never Give Up

PR Web - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 06:17

‘Lily’s Flower Igloo’ teaches children importance of persistence

(PRWeb August 20, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/NatalieWade/LilysFlowerIgloo/prweb12917246.htm

Categories: Environment

Path to authentic living awaits readers in Micheline Nader’s new guide

PR Web - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 06:17

‘The Dolphin’s Dance’ teaches conscious awareness practices to transform negative thought patterns

(PRWeb August 20, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/MichelineNader/TheDolphinsDance/prweb12915055.htm

Categories: Environment

Author Steve Scott Shares Tragic Loss in ‘Black Witch’

PR Web - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 06:17

New book depicts author facing tragedy of losing sole biological child

(PRWeb August 20, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/SteveScott/BlackWitch/prweb12917273.htm

Categories: Environment

Mass. Governor, Congressional Delegation to Obama Administration: Fund...

PR Web - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 00:17

The Governor of Massachusetts and the state's Congressional delegation are calling upon the Obama Administration to reverse current policy and continue to fund at-sea monitoring for the Northeast...

(PRWeb August 20, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/bakercongress/atseamonitoring/prweb12916821.htm

Categories: Environment

Article on Recent Electrical Vault Fires Highlights the Importance of...

PR Web - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 00:17

Commenting on the recent article, Mr. Saadian points out that, while the city responded relatively quickly after the first vault explosions occurred, it is crucial that managers of buildings and...

(PRWeb August 20, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/FireProtectionGroup/RedTape/prweb12902296.htm

Categories: Environment

Hate to be a broken record, but we’re on track for the hottest year on record

Grist.org - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 22:32

If you’re a betting person, it would be close to a sure bet to go all-in on 2015 taking the title of warmest year on record.

“I would say [we’re] 99 percent certain that it’s going to be the warmest year on record,” Jessica Blunden, a climate scientist with ERT, Inc., at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said during a press teleconference on Thursday.

How temperatures around the world ranked for the period of January through July 2015. Click to embiggen.

According to the global temperature data compiled separately by NASA, NOAA, and the Japan Meteorological Agency, this July was the warmest July on record going back more than a century. It follows three other warmest months this year, with the remaining months ranking among the top four hottest, meaning that 2015 is the warmest year-to-date.

With an El Niño that could rank among the strongest on record expected to last through the rest of the year, the odds are good that 2015 will surpass 2014 atop the charts.

“We are now fairly certain that 2015 will be the warmest year on record for the globe,” Jake Crouch, a NOAA climatologist, said during the press teleconference.

In data released Thursday, NOAA measured July at 1.46 degrees F above the 20th century July average. Because July is also climatologically the warmest month of any year, this was also the warmest month the globe has seen since 1880, topping the previous record-holder, July 1998, by 0.14 degrees F. For the year-to-date, 2015 is 1.53 degrees F above the 20th century average, and 0.16 degrees F ahead of 2010, which had the previous warmest January through July.

El Niño has helped to boost temperatures this year, as it leads to warmer ocean waters in the tropical Pacific, as well as warmer surface temperatures in many other spots around the globe, including much of the northern half of the U.S. The El Niño has continued to build in strength of late and forecasters expect it to peak in the late fall or early winter, making it unlikely that the remaining months of 2015 will be cool enough to fall below 2014 in the rankings.

But El Niño isn’t the only thing driving up global temperatures. The continual warming of the planet’s atmosphere as heat-trapping greenhouse gases accumulate is also a factor. Since the beginning of the 20th century, Earth’s average temperature has risen by 1.6 degrees F, effectively loading the dice toward more record years today and moving forward.

How much sea surface temperatures departed from the 1981-2010 average during the week of Aug. 10, 2015. Click to embiggen.NOAA

After 2014 was declared the warmest year on record, a Climate Central analysis showed that 13 of the 15 warmest years in the books have occurred since 2000 and that the odds of that happening randomly without the boost of global warming were 1 in 27 million.

Even during recent years when a La Niña (the cold water counterpart to El Niño) has been in place, the year turned out warmer than El Niño years of earlier decades.

Global carbon dioxide levels have risen from a preindustrial level of about 280 parts per million to nearly 400 ppm today. In recent years, CO2 levels — the primary greenhouse gas — have spent longer and longer above the 400 ppm benchmark. They stayed above this point for about six months this year, twice the three months of last year. It is expected that within a few years, they will be permanently above 400 ppm.

The continued rise of CO2 levels will raise the planet’s temperature by another 3 degrees F to 9 degrees F by the end of this century depending on when and if greenhouse gas emissions are curbed, scientists have calculated.

That means that some, future years are likely to continue to set records, even if there will still be year to year variations.


Filed under: Article, Climate & Energy
Categories: Environment

Which method of raising cows is the most climate-friendly?

Grist.org - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 22:21

Many people assume grass-fed beef is better for the environment. Instead of feeding cattle industrial monocultured corn gravel, you let them eat what grows naturally in a pasture. And that diet of grass and sunshine makes them happier and healthier. Climatically speaking, though, it’s a more complicated story. Because of all the time they spend chewing grass and leaking methane, grass-fed cows are probably just as bad in terms of greenhouse gas emissions as their grain-fed cownterparts.

A team of researchers from the University of Oxford and Bard College decided to try to get to the bottom of the issue. By tracking down some good data and modeling the global warming potential of five different methods of raising cattle, the researchers were able to get us one step closer to understanding the global bovine emissions hoofprint. The judgment? If you do it right, grass-fed beef can be substantially more climate friendly than feedlot beef. But if you have to bulldoze a forest to make room for a pasture or need to use a lot of synthetic fertilizer, the climate benefits are totally wiped out.

And no system is so good that we should allow beef consumption to keep on rising to the extent that it is. As the authors write, “Even the best pastured system analyzed has enough climate impact to justify efforts to limit future growth of beef production, which in any event would be necessary if climate and other ecological concerns were met by a transition to primarily pasture-based systems.”

The researchers compared grain- and grass-fed Midwestern cattle to Brazilian pasture operations, the average Swedish case, and a boutique cattle ranch in southern Sweden. The chart below summarizes some of the authors’ results. Note that the climatic effects of the different production methods are actually expressed in terms of temperature increases — something rare in the life cycle analysis field. In the “BAU+stabilized” condition, the authors model the warming effects of business as usual, which ends with “a population of 10 billion consuming at a per capita rate of 25 kg per year,” or roughly equal to U.S. beef consumption rates today. In the “BAU+sustainable” case, they assume an optimistic cut to 75 percent of current global beef consumption. The clear winner? The boutique Swedish ranch.

Net warming due to beef production under two different “business-as-usual” scenarios.R. T. Pierrehumbert and G. Eshel

Of course, it’s tricky to capture all the inputs here. As the authors point out, “The ‘Brazil pastured’ case represents an estimate of the emission profile of a truly pastured operation under the hypothetical circumstance that the pasture is managed so as to allow sustained production without degradation of pastureland, and that none of the pasture was created by deforestation. Neither of these hypotheticals apply to actual Brazilian beef production.” Oh well. Science is hard.

Still, a world filled with Swedish ranches could make for a more sustainable future. The lessons? Maximize land use efficiency in terms of area per beef unit, forgo the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, and permit a younger slaughter age. (A cow can’t emit methane if it’s dead.) And so it is with beef as it is with most things in life: the Swedes do it better.


Filed under: Climate & Energy, Food
Categories: Environment

Alterra’s Royce Doubles Down on Fight Against Malaria; Raises $105,359

PR Web - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 21:17

The battle against Malaria is a world wide epidemic and Alterra Pest Control is jumping in to support the fight.

(PRWeb August 20, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/08/prweb12906979.htm

Categories: Environment

New On-Demand SAE International Presentation Explores Using...

PR Web - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 21:17

SAE International offers a free, on-demand presentation discusses ways to scale hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) test efficiently, including having a desktop-based HIL system that can sit at any engineer’s...

(PRWeb August 20, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/08/prweb12915492.htm

Categories: Environment

Inmar Invites Community to Join Its Third Annual 5K Run/Walk

PR Web - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 21:17

Proceeds will benefit the American Heart Association

(PRWeb August 20, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/08/prweb12916050.htm

Categories: Environment

Neil Kelly Company Hires Marketing and Branding Expert Don Scharff

PR Web - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 21:17

Marketing leader finds new "home" with the largest residential design-build remodeling firm in the Northwest

(PRWeb August 20, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/08/prweb12916158.htm

Categories: Environment

This company has 400 people hyped to build Elon Musk’s hyperloop

Grist.org - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 20:33

It’s unclear whether Elon Musk is a comic book character come to life, or whether we’re all just comic book characters living in his world on the floor of some middle schooler’s bedroom. Either way, Musk is probably watching from a secret lair right about now, doing some serious Mr. Burns-style finger-tenting and muttering “Eeexcellent” — until an assistant pops in to feed him his latest experiment in food replacement technology.

Earlier today, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), the startup that’s trying to build Musk’s proposed Hyperloop — a super fast and super sci-fi-ish people launcher that could (in theory) get commuters from L.A. to San Francisco in 30 minutes — announced three new partnerships with an engineering design firm, a Swiss technology company, and an architecture firm. (Note: The Hyperloop is not to be confused with Musk’s other big ideas: saving the planet with solar power and colonizing Mars.)

HTT CEO Dirk Ahlborn also announced that it now has 400 “team members” from places like NASA, Boeing, Tesla, and SpaceX, who have made minimum weekly commitments to the project in exchange for stock options. The company is planning to break ground on a five-mile test track in California’s Central Valley in May of next year.

Wired spoke with Carl Brockmeyer, the head of business development at Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum, one of HTT’s new partners, about the collaboration:

Oerlikon has put a half dozen employees on the project. They’re simulating how much energy it would take to clear the Hyperloop tube to near zero pressure, and what it would cost. Brockmeyer declined to give exact figures, but says “you will be surprised” by how little energy is required. In fact, he says the energy could be generated by the solar panels and wind turbines Ahlborn plans to erect in Quay Valley. All that aside, there’s another reason Oerlikon signed on.

“I thought, ‘Traveling in a vacuum tube? This is something we should be involved in,’” Brockmeyer says.

Aecom, the engineering design firm that HTT is teaming up with, helped build the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and is currently working on London’s 62-mile Crossrail tunnel. Aecom’s vice president of new ventures told Wired that he thinks HTTs plans are “very realistic.”

Presumably, all 400 people working on the project think the hyperloop is at least somewhat realistic (although we’re still waiting for proof). That is, unless this is all just a coverup for what Musk really wants to build in California’s Central Valley. DUN DUN DUUUUN! Stay tuned for the next issue of … what? If we were all living in a comic book, what would it be called?


Filed under: Article, Business & Technology, Science
Categories: Environment

Costa Rica’s green plans: Sustainable coffee, bikes, and clean energy

Grist.org - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 20:01

Costa Rica has set an ambitious goal for itself: To be entirely carbon neutral by 2021. But it’s really not that crazy — just this summer, the entire country was powered entirely on renewable energy sources for 94 straight days. For perspective, your summer goals included finishing two whole books and losing that “hibernation Chipotle” weight — and how are you doing with those?

Watch Fusion’s video above to learn how Costa Rica is actively rejecting the idea that a developing country has to massacre all of its natural resources to compete in the global economy. If you’re into bikes, wind power, and sustainably grown coffee, you’re definitely going to like the looks of a carbon-neutral economy.


Filed under: Business & Technology, Climate & Energy, Food, Living
Categories: Environment

Paranoid Republicans think EPA contaminated river on purpose

Grist.org - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 18:56

Today in Utah news, two state lawmakers accused the EPA — yes, the agency tasked with protecting the environment — of purposefully releasing 3 million gallons of toxic wastewater into the Animas River.

Utah’s Sen. Margaret Dayton (R) and Rep. Mike Noel (R) have no evidence for their claim — it’s more of a feeling, really — but the two have asked the state Attorney General Sean Reyes to investigate anyway.

“When you went to visit, were you able to discern whether or not there’s any truth to the fact that this was an accident on purpose so they could qualify for Superfund money or if this really was an accident accident?” Dayton asked Attorney General Reyes at a meeting Tuesday.

While it is true that EPA workers released the polluted water into the river while monitoring an old mining site that had been left contaminated decades before, it was pretty obviously just a fuck-up, not a scheme to get the area designated as a Superfund site, as the paranoid lawmakers suggest.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

Reyes said he would inquire into the matter when he visits with EPA officials at the mine Wednesday to assess the spill site, but a Salt Lake City environmentalist blasted Dayton and Noel’s claim as “ridiculous, unprofessional, paranoid nonsense.”

Zach Frankel, executive director of the Utah Rivers Council, noted that environmental activists agree EPA holds a lot of blame — for causing the release and for its slow response to it — but he believes Noel’s suspicion is misplaced.

“To deliberately cause this would not only violate the Clean Water Act, there would be a whole set of criminal charges that could be filed,” Frankel said in an interview.

He challenged the lawmakers to channel some of their outrage toward oil companies that contaminate Utah rivers.

“A year ago when an oil company polluted the Green River there were so many state interests willing to look the other way, but when EPA does it, suddenly it’s a conspiracy,” Frankel said.

In response, Sen. Dayton wrapped her head in tin foil around and blamed the EPA for 9/11 — which she is pretty sure was an accident on purpose and not an accident accident.

 

 


Filed under: Article, Politics
Categories: Environment

Yet another land mine for GMO Golden Rice

Grist.org - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 18:20

Good God, what a mess: That’s what I kept thinking as, face in palm, I read the latest updates on an evolving controversy over Golden Rice. I was alerted to it by a recent piece in the Boston Globe, but Retraction Watch had the story first. Here’s their summary:

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is retracting a paper that showed genetically engineered rice serves as an effective vitamin A supplement after a Massachusetts judge denied the first author’s motion for an injunction against the publisher.

The journal announced plans to retract the paper last year following allegations that the paper contained ethical mis-steps, such as not getting informed consent from the parents of children eating the rice, and faking ethics approval documents.

Last July, first author Guangwen Tang at Tufts University filed a complaint and motion for preliminary injunction against the journal’s publisher, the American Society for Nutrition, to stop the retraction.

According to the ASN, on July 17, a Massachusetts Superior Court “cleared the way” for the publisher to retract the paper. So they have, as of July 29.

Basically, the study gave some kids Golden Rice, some kids vitamin A supplements, and some kids spinach. The study found that Golden Rice worked as well as the vitamins, and the spinach wasn’t as good. And those findings seem to be valid, despite the retraction. Here’s what Tufts University told Retraction Watch:

The journal indicated that its retraction was based on the fact that the authors were unable to provide sufficient evidence that the study had been reviewed and approved by a local ethics committee in China and that parents and children involved in the study had been provided the full informed consent form as well as eligibility issues identified in regard to two subjects in the study. No questions were raised about the integrity of the study data, accuracy of the research results or safety of the research subjects.

Tang isn’t talking, but here’s what I bet happened: She thought she was testing the ability of a totally safe rice to deliver vitamin A, and so she only sought consent for that. I can imagine that many scientists might not even think to mention, or get consent, for the fact that this rice happens to be genetically modified, because to many scientists genetic modification is a non-issue — no more important than the color of the hat the farmer wore when cultivating. But it turned out, it was an issue for people, and that’s important, whether it’s a scientifically valid safety issue or not.

Consider the issue through the lens of a different hypothetical case: Let’s say I’m doing a clinical trial on a drug in gelatin capsules. I’m just testing the drug, and the gel-caps may be perfectly safe from my perspective. But if I’m working with any strict vegetarians, I better be damn sure to tell them that the drugs are delivered in a capsule made from animal products. People’s values matter. And when it comes to GMOs, I bump into a lot of scientists that have a hard time accepting that: They are empiricists — they are interested in facts, not values!

Values can be disgusting and hateful, and I’m not saying anyone should kowtow to cultural ideals they consider wrong. I’m just saying that failing to consider people’s values, no matter how groundless you think they are, is a recipe for failure. If you want someone’s cooperation — so that they might participate in your study, or get a flu shot, or start fighting climate change — you have to understand their values. You can try to convince them they are wrong, but you can’t expect them to simply agree that science has closed off the debate, and start helping you.

Scientists are usually best at doing science, and not always the best at doing diplomacy or cross-cultural communication. We need scientists to inform the decisions we make about handling new technologies, but it can be hard to hear the scientists whose findings don’t fit with our values. Our ability to communicate lags behind our ability to discover.

At this point, after 30 years of vitriolic debate over genetic engineering, it seems to me that many of the most empathetic scientists, the people who can understand and speak to the values of their opposition, have retired to the sidelines. The people who keep up the struggle often have great conviction, and little interest in seeing the world with the eyes of their adversaries. Stories like this only speed the vicious cycle.


Filed under: Article, Business & Technology, Food, Science
Categories: Environment

ASF Calling on Fisheries and Oceans Canada to Take Immediate Action to...

PR Web - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 18:16

An ongoing fishway construction project in Newfoundland and Labrador, overseen by DFO, is preventing hundreds of wild Atlantic salmon from moving upriver, leaving them unable to spawn.

(PRWeb August 20, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/08/prweb12915393.htm

Categories: Environment

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