Archives For July 2013

I abhor the exploitative practices of Monsanto and companies like it. But truth is more important than politics, and I am always going to speak out when I see false information being touted as “science” to further an agenda.

I wanted to make this clear because I seem be writing a lot about the misrepresentation of GMOs as being harmful to your health. This article (“GMO feed turns pig stomachs to mush”) is by Natural News, which is emphatically NOT a scientific publication. It’s a site with a definite bias, and implies that people who disagree (I guess that means me?) are “paid online trolls, on-the-take ‘scientists.’”*

Natural News is a complete goofball pseudoscience website, but could the study they cite (Carman et al. 2013: “A long-term toxicology study on pigs fed a combined genetically modified (GM) soy and GM maize diet.”) be the first legitimate evidence that GMOs are harmful to health?
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Cutting edge science

Jennifer Raff —  July 9, 2013 — 1 Comment

I’m attending my first Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution conference this week, and learning about some terrific research that my colleagues are doing. I just thought I’d share a few of the really neat things I’ve learned today.
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My friends are extraordinary people. The people I’m attracted to are very driven and highly intelligent (and perhaps more than a little neurotic). The majority of them are also passionate about exercise.

“Exercise” is maybe too mild a term for this group: they are athletes devoted to a sport (either professionally or as committed amateurs), or they are coaches who are as relentless about training themselves as they are their students. To a person, they freely admit that this activity is essential for their mental well-being.

Cognitive therapy. Photo taken by gymjones.com

My own cognitive therapy. Photo taken by gymjones.com

And while I believe that their lives are very stressful, they handle stress remarkably well. They seem to be very resilient when bad stuff happens to them. This is an anecdotal observation on my part, but it interested me enough to go read about the effects of exercise on the brain. Here’s what I found:
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Over the last few weeks, I’ve been in the midst of transitioning into my new position as a Research Fellow in the Anthropology Department at the University of Texas. As part of this process, I took a quick trip to Austin on Monday, and was happily surprised to find that a dear friend happened to be in town exactly when I was. He suggested that we go check out one of Austin’s most famous attractions: the Congress Avenue Bridge bats.
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