Thursday, August 25, 2016

This is an Actual Thing?

I could make that a label since I'm unaware of so much. I believe that being aware of so many things that you are unaware of is part of the means of preventing denialism. Note that I'm making no jokes about rivers in Egypt.

In the psychology of human behavior, denialism is a person's choice to deny reality, as a way to avoid a psychologically uncomfortable truth.  Denialism is an essentially irrational action that withholds the validation of an historical experience or event, by the person refusing to accept an empirically verifiable reality.  In the sciences, denialism is the rejection of basic facts and concepts that are undisputed, well-supported parts of the scientific consensus on a subject, in favor of radical and controversial ideas.  The terms Holocaust denialism and AIDS denialism describe the denial of the facts and the reality of the subject matters,  and the term climate change denialist is applied to people who argue against the scientific consensus that the global warming of planet Earth is a real and occurring event primarily caused by human activity. The forms of denialism present the common feature of the person rejecting overwhelming evidence and the generation of political controversy with attempts to deny the existence of consensus. The motivations and causes of denialism include religion and self-interest (economic, political, financial) and defence mechanisms meant to protect the psyche of the denialist against mentally disturbing facts and ideas.

Ooh look, they have GMOs, too.

There is a scientific consensus  that currently available food derived from GM crops poses no greater risk to human health than conventional food,  but that each GM food needs to be tested on a case-by-case basis before introduction.  Nonetheless, members of the public are much less likely than scientists to perceive GM foods as safe.  The legal and regulatory status of GM foods varies by country, with some nations banning or restricting them, and others permitting them with widely differing degrees of regulation.

However, opponents have objected to GM foods on grounds including safety. Psychological analyses indicate that over 70% of GM food opponents in the US are "absolute" in their opposition, experience disgust at the thought of eating GM foods, and are "evidence insensitive".

With lots of good links there to support the idea that GMOs are safe. Bah, what do scientists know. 

Anything To Help Out Charles Pierce

You go, Charles!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

May the End of Fox Be Near

I've been hoping the implosion of the Republican Party led by Donald Trump would take Fox News as well. Maybe combined with the sexual harassment it will signal the end.

Tantaros claims in the 37-page lawsuit that Brown “made a number of sexually inappropriate comments to Tantaros on set” during an appearance on “Outnumbered,” a program she hosted.

Tantaros claims that the former senator said she “would be fun to go to a nightclub with,” and “snuck up behind” her while she was buying lunch and “put his hands on her lower waist.” 

Oh, Senator Brown. No, not Bill O'Reilly, too.

In particular, she names Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, and several on-air contributors as having allegedly harassed her; and she accuses top executives including Ailes’s successor, Bill Shine, and chief flack Irena Briganti of trying to intimidate her from complaining further.

Anything about falafel?

Matt Trolling the St. Lawrence County Dems

They made the mistake of supporting the Democratic candidate in our district. Matt showed to make a pitch to Bernie supporters, I guess. Here's what he said on his facebook page some time back.

 I have a feeling he's saving himself solely for national media, Joanne.

During my congressional campaign, we reached out to Bernie and were completely ignored.

Ralph Nader has told me that Bernie doesn't ever respond to any of his letters. Nor does his staff.

You could reach out to Bernie's people on my behalf but he's being pretty clear, by running as a Democrat, that he is choosing to not be part of a movement forward.

I certainly wish that, at least, he'd write an essay explaining what he's trying to build by running with a corporatist war party.

Bernie doesn't have the love for the Greens!

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Price of Voting to Defund Planned Parenthood

This is it, Congresswoman Stefanik.

In the wake of the report, reproductive health advocates are blaming the increase on Republican-led budget cuts that decimated the ranks of Texas’s reproductive healthcare clinics. In 2011, just as the spike began, the Texas state legislature cut $73.6m from the state’s family planning budget of $111.5m. The two-thirds cut forced more than 80 family planning clinics to shut down across the state. Theremaining clinics managed to provide services – such as low-cost or free birth control, cancer screenings and well-woman exams – to only half as many women as before.

At the same time, Texas eliminated all Planned Parenthood clinics – whether or not they provided abortion services – from the state program that provides poor women with preventive healthcare. Previously, Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas offered cancer screenings and contraception to more than 130,000 women.

Trump Versus Green Throwdown

It's occurred to me, and likely others (if not, FIRST!), that there is an equivalence between Donald Trump and the Greens. I've been comparing The Donald and The Matt for some time. They are both captivated by conspiracy theories. They both employ the ad hominem attack as their primal means of debate. They're both raging narcissists. The crazy is strong in both of them.
I had thought that Jill Stein, though I wasn't apt to vote for her, was at least sane (for a Green anyway). Not so, as I previously posted. Something that escaped me until recently was the whole anti-science, neo-Luddite platform inherent in the Green Party. Stein recently revealing herself as an anti-vaxer and the weird beliefs about wi-fi is part of it. There's also the evil of GMO's. They're manufactured by corporations, and corporations are evil through and through, so GMO's must be evil. As a left-winger, I know I'm expected to have a knee-jerk opposition to them. It's like being a right-winger and being expected to automatically deny climate change. God knows I'm not a scientist, but my belief is that there may be some good in GMO's. I do know there are a lot of hungry people in the world.

Some emerging genetic engineering technologies have the potential to create novel plant varieties that are hard to distinguish genetically from plants produced through conventional breeding or processes that occur in nature. A plant variety that is conventionally bred to be resistant to a herbicide and one that is genetically engineered to be resistant to the same herbicide can be expected to have similar associated benefits and risks.

Damn you, Mendel!
There's a quip that Green stands for Getting Republicans Elected Every November. Not sure that's fair and I don't want to stand in the way of anyone running for office. I actually want to express my appreciation for them, to some extent. Groups on the right and left have always had the crazy aunts in the basement. The Green Party provides an outlet for that lunacy on the left. It allows us to keep that basement door locked so they can enjoy their own party and play their own games. The Republican Party is missing that locked door. That allowed crazy Aunt Donald to come up the stairs and piss in the punch bowl. The Right is going to need to figure out a way to siphon off the crazy cluster and isolate them at their own little kiddie's table after this election. Good luck to them on that. The punch bowl still has piss in it, though.

Along these lines is a great piece I saw at NCPR. This is a list of 20 important questions presidential candidates should have to address to be taken seriously.

I am hopeful that these questions get their airtime in the campaign. That was the point of formulating them. If nothing else, however, they remind us of just how broadly and deeply these sci-tech issues appear in our daily lives.

I've been reading John Grant recently. He writes a lot about debunking. Most of my letters to the editor are debunking stupidity. Don't tolerate ignorance. Call it out.