Monday, 1 October 2018

What I've Been Reading, September 2018

Links

Miscellaneous

Collapse

Peak Oil

Climate Change

Economic Contraction

Emergency Preparation

Agriculture and Food

Genetic Engineering

Lacking an Owner's Manual

The human body/mind/spirit doesn't come with an owner's manual, and we continually struggle to figure out how best to operate them.

Refugees and Migration

Puerto Rico

Poverty, Homelessness, Minimum Wage, UBI

Books

Fiction

I re-read Kim Stanley Robinson's "Science in the Capital" trilogy this month.

Non-Fiction

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Consumers Union knows this anti GMO activist is a “loon”, but keeps helping her, by Stephan Neidenbach, Medium


Neidenbach is a shill & you're a fucking dupe.


Stephan Neidenbach is employed as a teacher and tweets, writes and comments on articles about GMO technology, glyphosate, and Monsanto. Neidenbach tweets as @welovegv and is known for regularly harassing NYU professor Nassim Taleb.[1] Neidenbach claims to have no ties to industry but contributes to the corporate front group Genetic Literacy Project. Neidenbach is often promoted on the website of the American Council on Science and Health.[2]

Bloomberg and The Progressive have reported that Monsanto has a social media strategy called “Let Nothing Go”—a program in which individuals who appear to have no connection to the industry rapidly respond to negative social media posts regarding Monsanto, GMOs, and agrichemicals. Part of this strategy includes funneling money to the Genetic Literacy Project.[3][4]In a report that examined corporate attacks on science, Congress found that to discredit the World Health Organization (WHO), Monsanto "turned to industry trade groups, such as CropLife and industry front groups, such as Genetic Literacy Project and Academics Review as platforms of support for industry spokespersons."[5]

In 2015, NYU professor Nassim Taleb wrote a paper about the possible dangers of GMO technology, and a campaign was launched to have him removed from the faculty.[6] During this same time, Neidenbach began posting pictures that compared Taleb to Adolf Hitler. Neidenbach later tweeted, "We have some computer people Ketchum hired to help us out."[7] Ketchum is an international PR company that runs the social media program GMO Answers.


https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Stephan_Neidenbach

Sylvia Leigh said...

A really interesting line-up of articles . . . thanks!

Irv Mills said...

@ Sylvia Leigh
Thanks for the kind words!

Irv Mills said...

@ Anonymus
Being called a shill or a dupe by the likes of you is a badge of honour.
You're naivete is appalling--the organic farming/food business is a multi-billion dollar a year affair, and it relies on fear to get people to buy its products. It spends huge amounts of money convincing people like you that industrial food is not safe.
Of course you say the same thing about conventional agriculture.
But following the money in cases like this leads nowhere. What you need to do is follow the evidence and have a look at the scientific consensus, which is quite clear that on this issue--the food produced by conventional agriculture using GMOs and pesticides is just as safe as the food produced by organic agriculture.
Sadly, neither form of agriculture is even remotely sustainable, being dependent on energy from fossil fuels.

Don Hayward said...

Irv, I enjoyed our get together and of course, learned more. Hopefully, they can be more frequent.
Thank you for lending me the printout of Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy.
Aside from the paper which, as you know, supports a lot of the themes in my first novel, I find the personal conundrum of Jem Bendell an enlightening layer to the work. It in effect supports my cynicism that most intellectual work in academia is distorted by confirmation bias, especially the biases of the patrons and administrators of universities and other intellectual institutions. "Think tanks" being the most outlandish where intellectual work is prostituted to the founding biases of whatever entity funds the tank. Jem is probably going down the road that MacPherson was on, but I hope he avoids MacPhearson's religious zealotry.
I'm going to share the link to the PDF of the article, but if you don't want that on here, please delete it. I think people, like my friend Craig, if he's following this, might find it interesting. I am working on the first book of the After the last Day trilogy version and am modifying it to include more emphasis on climate change as a spark or driver of the economic collapse.
Chat soon,
Don
http://www.lifeworth.com/deepadaptation.pdf

Allen Thoma said...

Irv, Thanks for the link to Jem Bendell. Also of interest would be Paul Beckwith (https://paulbeckwith.net/). I found him through a link in Bendell's deep adaptation article and his videos are entertaining if not profoundly depressing. Although I sometimes disagree with you and think we will collapse rapidly (ala a Blue Ocean Event), only time will tell. Thanks again for all the insights and links you provide.
Al

Irv Mills said...

@ Don Hayward
I too enjoyed our discussion the other day. I'll try to make it down to Goderich later in October, after my next blog post comes out, so I can get your feedback face to face.
No problem with the link in your comment--the more people that read "Deep Adaptation" the better as far as I am concerned.
The impression I have of Bendell is that he is perhaps an exception to the rule as far as academics go, and not well received among his colleagues because he sees collapse as inevitable.
But what I liked best was the "Three R's" that he lays out: Resilience, Renunciation, and Restoration. To me the need for resilience is obvious. Renunciation of high levels of consumption and other unsustainable aspects of our modern world is going to be critical to survival. But likely only embraced when it is absolutely forced on us by collapse. Likewise with the restoration of some of the older, lower energy ways of living.
But even after we start to acknowledge the need for renunciation and restoration, the hard part is going to be deciding which things to give up and which to bring back. There will be a lot of disagreement and that will slow down the process.

Irv Mills said...

@ Allen Thomas
Thanks for pointing me to Beckwith's website, looks interesting.
And thanks for your kind words. There is surely lots of room for disagreement here. Dissensus (the opposite of consensus) is going to be important as we move forward--we need to try many different approaches to the challenges we are facing, so that we can see what works by trial and error.

Jim and Linda Kelley said...

I am a regular reader and appreciate the annotated references. The uncritical support of roundup etc seems to be misplaced. Take a step back. Look at the larger picture. It will be 2-3 decades before we know the actual effects of the total system. You don't know because nobody knows as yet. There is the micro ecology of the soil and the effects on the gut biome,too complex to evaluate as yet. It is absolutely clear that Monsanto is a massive hierarchical autocratic organization with ties to multiple governments. That equals fascist to at least the Italian definition. So starting with an inherently evil organization, we are to trust their products when they interfere with careful studies? The intellectual property aspects of this are disturbing.

Now if it is just a way to soften inevitable collapse, that's understandable, although a little depressing.

Irv Mills said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Irv Mills said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Irv Mills said...

The last two deleted comments were my own, which I deleted in order to remove typos. Here's what I was trying to say:

@ Jim and Linda Kelley
You may have noticed the tagline for this blog is "a reality based approach to life in the age of scarcity". This is meant to imply an approach based on critical thinking, avoidance of biases and fallacies and acceptance of the scientific consensus. If I had thought of it at the time, I might have used the phrase, "Crunchy Without the Woo."
I started this blog in reaction to a run in I had with some crunchy (counterculture) people who where very firmly attached to their "woo". By which I mean beliefs based on ideology, not on evidence. At the time I still agreed with you on badness of GMOs, pesticides, etc. and the wonderfulness of organic farming. Since then I have become more acquainted with the actual facts on those subjects, and my opinions have changed.
So, my support of "Roundup, etc." is far from uncritical. Roundup has been in use since 1973 (45 years). If the best you can do is suggest we wait another 2 or 3 decades to see its negative effects, you aren't going to succeed in changing my mind. Similarly with demonizing Monsanto. I am no fan of corporations, but Monsanto is far from the worst of them.
As I said in another comment recently (but it bears repeating):
"Your naivete is appalling--the organic farming/food business is a multi-billion dollar a year affair, and it relies on fear to get people to buy its products. It spends huge amounts of money convincing people like you that industrial food is not safe.
Of course you can say the same thing about conventional agriculture.
But following the money in cases like this leads nowhere, since there is lots of money coming form both sides. What you need to do is follow the evidence and have a look at the scientific consensus, which is quite clear that on this issue--the food produced by conventional agriculture using GMOs and pesticides is just as safe as the food produced by organic agriculture.
Sadly, neither form of agriculture is even remotely sustainable, both being dependent on energy from fossil fuels."