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De Omnibus Dubitandum - Lux Veritas

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Cartoon of the Week!

This cartoon was posted on Twitter from someone from the pest control industry.  This cartoon is Profound and Provocative on so many levels, just my cup of tea.  The only thing I don't like about this post is - I didn't do it first!!!! 
 
 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Perry’s testimony undercut by reported budget outline

Energy Secretary Nominee Rick Perry tried to soften his Climate Change and renewable energy stances during his confirmation hearing. However, a leaked budget outline from the Trump transition team belied that conciliatory tone.

 

The confirmation hearing for Rick Perry, president-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Energy, might best be summed up with an exchange he had with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin........Under questioning from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Perry said he now believes Climate Change is equal parts natural and human-made........[however]......
At the DOE, it would roll back funding for nuclear physics and advanced scientific computing research to 2008 levels, eliminate the Office of Electricity, eliminate the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and scrap the Office of Fossil Energy, which focuses on technologies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Surprisingly, no one appeared to have told Perry of the proposed cuts.........under Perry’s leadership, Texas became one of the country’s leading wind-producing states.....To Read More....

A Look At Probiotics And Prebiotics

By Michael D. Shaw @ HealthNewsDigest.com
 
The term “probiotics” refers to certain microorganisms (bacteria or yeast), ingested for therapeutic benefits—especially for gastrointestinal problems. Typical probiotics include strains of Lactobacillus and Strepococcus, which produce lactic acid via carbohydrate fermentation. These species are a natural part of the human microbiome, and have been used for hundreds of years in cheese and yogurt production.

Additional probiotics include strains of Bifidobacterium and the yeast Saccharomyces boulardii. While these microbes are available in foods, it has become more common to supplement the diet with commercial over-the-counter preparations. Credit 1908 Nobel Laureate Élie Metchnikoff with promoting the idea—against considerable opposition—that ingestion of such microflora would be beneficial to both digestion and immune function. Indeed, 70 to 80 percent of our immune response occurs in the gut.

Marek Gawrysz, MD speaks of the brain-gut-immune system connection, noting that “There are as many neurons (nerve cells) in the gut as there are in the spinal cord. 95% of the body’s serotonin is made in the bowel and we know that there is a brain in the bowel. These systems remain in constant communication to determine our identity and our response. Stress, envy, or anxiety can produce irritable bowel syndrome, GERD, indigestion, fibromyalgia, muscle aches and pains, or even depression.”

As it happens, there are more than 1000 bacterial species living in your colon, with total numbers of bacteria in the tens of billions—easily dwarfing the number of human cells in your body.

How about prebiotics? These are certain plant fibers that specifically nourish the good bacteria—a kind of “fertilizer,” as it were. Thus, the ratio of good to bad bacteria will increase, affording many health benefits, and that includes mental health. An excellent property of prebiotics is that—unlike probiotics—they are not destroyed in the body.

According to a 2015 study published in Psychopharmacology, entitled “Prebiotic intake reduces the waking cortisol response and alters emotional bias in healthy volunteers,” salivary cortisol [stress hormone] did not differ significantly between groups at baseline but was significantly lower following B-GOS (a prebiotic) compared with placebo.

Earlier research cited in the above study indicates that the ingestion of probiotics modulates the processing of information that is strongly linked to anxiety and depression, and influences the neuroendocrine stress response. With stress implicated in many diseases, yet another health-improving aspect of probiotics and prebiotics emerges. For optimum results, you should supplement both.

Which brings us to Miracle Biotics—a balanced blend of probiotics and prebiotics in digestive resistant capsule form. Matt Konig, COO of affiliated company Altare Publishing weighs in:
Replenishing the healthy bacteria that give us energy, mental alertness and clarity, and potential weight loss, among other things, are essential to personal health and wellness. Miracle Biotics is the result of this effort to achieve those goals, as it contains powerful pre- and probiotics. The product of extensive research and development, Miracle Biotics is a natural means of giving people the very things they need—the very things our bodies require.”

For far too long, the colon was the “Rodney Dangerfield” of the body, and just got no respect. However, with the 21st century has come the realization that the colon and its bacteria are vitally important to our health. Our good gut bacteria, as one eminent GI doc puts it, “strengthen the bowel wall, improve mineral absorption, and aid in the regulation of hormone production, which has a range of essential benefits.”

He concludes, “Probiotics and prebiotics act synergistically for gut health.

How to win without science: argumentum ad hominem

on

The “argumentum ad hominem” is a method to address an argument by attacking one’s adversary’s character. It used to be a fallacy – now it seems to be how anti-industry environmental activists score points when their science, evidence and data is worth very little, or as is often the case, when the activists do not understand the science (but understand the consequences).

58741092Over the last few days, environmental NGOs and anti-industry anarchists on both sides of the Atlantic have been busily refuting scientific findings by showing how some researchers involved have, or many years ago, had ties to industry. Somehow these intellectual neophytes feel that when the evil wand of industry touches a scientist, he or she becomes incapable of a clear scientific observation. The antis surround themselves with others who think the same, retweet them, join in their character assassinations, but as far as I can see, have never actually met any industry scientists.

We don’t want your facts or evidence!.........Where is the science in any of this? That is the point – there is none. Argumentum ad hominem is the tool you use when you have no science on your side.......Burn them at the stake......I learned a lot about how these malcontents attack the person with their pitchforks, taunts and bile.........If we all run and hide, where will the science be?.........To Read More......

Friday, January 27, 2017



All Natural

Natural and Artificial Flavors: What's the Difference? - The American Council on Science and Health, since 1978 America's premiere pro-science consumer advocacy non-profit, is pleased to announce our new book, "Natural and Artificial Flavors: What's the Difference?", in order to combat growing confusion about health issues related to food.......

How Do You Make Joe Mercola Look Smart? - Answer: It's not easy. But it is possible. You just have to know where to look.  For example, the Cleveland Clinic might be a good place to start your search.......

Colony Collapse Disorder

How conflicts of interest, NGO activism undermine European bee health oversight - The European Union’s ban of three neonicotinoid insecticides (aimed at saving honeybees) was developed as a logical consequence of the European Food Safety Authority’s draft bee guidance document. This document, which introduced new guidelines for what could be considered as acceptable bee research field trial, set standards that, in my opinion, were so high that none of the existing bee field research could be accepted into the risk assessment process nor would any future trials ever meet the standards. In an exchange between myself and EFSA, it appears to me that the EU Authority was deceived into accepting the 2013 document under the following assumptions:......

Energy

Trump Ends Obama Block On Keystone XL And Dakota Access Pipelines - ‘Green Champion’ China Is Building Europe’s New Coal Power Plants
Report: Germany’s Green Energy Policy ‘A Disaster In The Making’ - 100 Billion For Nothing: German CO2 Emissions Keep Rising

Endangered Species Act

Preserve the habitat of imaginary woodpecker? - Unlike birds, scams never go extinct. JunkScience exposed this one from the Nature Conservancy 11 years ago.   As JunkScience.com exposed in February 2006, alleged sightings of the Ivory-billed woodpecker are just a trick to keep land from being developed.   The media release and my 2006 FOXNews.com column are below.......

EPA

EPA Employees ‘Coming to Work in Tears’ Because of Trump Win: The Mood Remains Dark - Environmental Protection Agency employees have not accepted Donald Trump’s victory and are still “coming to work in tears” more than two months after the election......

Replacing the Environmental Protection Agency - The national EPA must be systematically dismantled and replaced by a Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental protection agencies......

Fear Mongering

Cancer fear-mongering has got to stop Stories like the Nutella scare are an embarrassment to journalism and a dereliction of duty. Imagine what a typical American might do for breakfast: Fry a few slices of bacon, slather Nutella on a piece of toast, and pour a hot cup of coffee while checking e-mail on a smartphone. If we are to believe everything we read in the news, then that rather common daily ritual could cause you to die from cancer.....

Health

Stopping a bloodthirsty killer - This HND piece focuses on the world's most dangerous animal (to humans). And that, of course, is the lowly mosquito, responsible for the deaths of more than 1 million people every year.  We go on to explain that this little fly is really a vector for the actual pathogens, and then go on to discuss the history of orgnaize3d efforts in mosquito abasement. As one of my friends—who lives in a mosquito-infested area of metro NYC—noted, "All but the most lunatic Greenies are on board with killing these miserable creatures."  Since we have already covered the tragedy of banning DDT, and what it did to Africa, that sordid aspect of this story wasn't included."  .......

Natural and Artificial Flavors: What's the Difference?

By Ana-Marija Dolaskie — January 18, 2017

The American Council on Science and Health, since 1978 America's premiere pro-science consumer advocacy non-profit, is pleased to announce our new book, "Natural and Artificial Flavors: What's the Difference?", in order to combat growing confusion about health issues related to food.

During the last decade, it has become increasingly fashionable to tout "natural" on product labels. It isn't just fringe companies that prey on the chemophobia evident among less-informed members of the public, larger brands have also been exploiting consumers in this fashion.

Yet the distinction between artificial and natural flavors is entirely manufactured. Aside from subjective taste differences, the only way to know the difference is the lack of additional chemicals natural flavors have.

"The Council has always been about separating health scares from health threats, and the natural color and flavor craze is very much a health scare," says Dr. Josh Bloom, Senior Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the American Council on Science and Health and author of the peer-reviewed book. "There may be some differences in taste between a natural and artificial flavor, but that's because an artificial flavor is precise; a grape from a plant, for example, has a lot of variation in taste due to lots and lots of chemicals that make up its total flavor.".....To Read More...

Trump Ends Obama Block On Keystone XL And Dakota Access Pipelines

‘Green Champion’ China Is Building Europe’s New Coal Power Plants
 



President Donald Trump has quickly moved to reverse another of Barack Obama’s signature policies, backing two multibillion-dollar oil pipeline projects that became test cases for Washington’s commitment to addressing climate change. Mr Trump said the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines would help to meet his campaign promise of producing new blue-collar jobs at home, insisting that any portions built in the US would have to use domestically produced steel. “We will build our own pipes, like we used to in the old days,” the president said in the Oval Office as he signed presidential memoranda to advance construction on both projects. --Financial Times, 25 January 2017
 
A Chinese company began work on Monday on a $715 million (£573 million) expansion of a Serbian coal mine and a new power plant, part of a wave of investment in new coal-fired plants in the Balkans that is at odds with EU policy of reducing coal use. China Machinery and Engineering Corp's project to expand Kostolac, Serbia's second biggest coal mine, and build a new 350 megawatt (MW) unit at a nearby power plant is the first new electricity capacity built in Serbia in nearly 30 years. --Maja Zuvela, Reuters, 23 January 2017

 
 
 
Planned coal power plants in south-eastern Europe; source Bankwatch
 
We’ve long thought the debates over both pipelines were pretty silly, particularly the arguments about safety and CO2 emissions. Pipelines are much less prone to spills than shipment by rail and truck, which are the alternatives. Meanwhile, the argument that the pipelines increase CO2 emissions ignore that the oil will be pumped regardless of whether it gets shipped by pipeline to the U.S. or by some other method or to some other destination. But the bottom line is that Keystone XL and DAPL never had much relationship with environmental health and safety. So while this is a big embarrassment for greens, it’s not actually that big of a deal for the climate they claim to care so much about protecting. --The American Interest, 24 January 2017
 
Air pollution in London passed levels in Beijing this week, figures have shown, with popular wood burning stoves blamed for exacerbating the problem. On Monday London mayor Sadiq Khan issued the highest air pollution alert in London for the first time, and said on Tuesday that the capital’s ‘filthy air’ is now a ‘health crisis.’ Although nitrogen dioxide levels in London rose higher than China in 2014, it is believed to be the first time particulate readings have exceeded those in the far east.  Temperatures have fallen below zero overnight over the last few days, meaning householders are burning more fuel to keep warm. --Sarah Knapton, The Daily Telegraph, 25 January 2017
 
In response to the London smog alert, the Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF) is calling on the UK government to abolish all support for diesel engines and wood-burners which are posing a growing threat to the health of urban populations. Unusually high amount of domestic wood burning, some of which are subsidised under the Renewable Heat Incentive, has been partly blamed for the latest smog alarm, according to the GWPF. Wood-burning has been advocated and incentives by the Government as a policy to decarbonise the residential sector and has been increasing rapidly in recent years, largely due to a combination of green subsidies and climate campaigning. As a result, there has been a deterioration of air quality in many cities which has contributed to the current smog hazard in London, the environmental group claims. --BioEnergy Insight, 25 January 2017
 
For all these reasons, resistance to the Energiewende has already been surfacing in Germany, although not in the federal parliament, nor in the government. Across the country, no fewer than 800 citizens’ initiatives have been filed against further expansion of wind energy facilities. This movement is well organised, well informed, capable of handling conflict and, in due course, taking on the Bundestag. As they have begun to grasp the fundamental problem of the volatility of wind and solar energy, the mood of the citizens has ceased to be complacent. The urban elites’ dreams of sustainable power production by wind and biogas have been realised at the cost of the loss of the homeland of the rural population. -- Professor Fritz Vahrenholt, Global Warming Policy Foundation, January 2017

How Do You Make Joe Mercola Look Smart?

By Josh Bloom — January 10, 2017 @ The American Council on Science and Health

Answer: It's not easy. But it is possible. You just have to know where to look.  For example, the Cleveland Clinic might be a good place to start your search.



Or, if you have a strong stomach, there's always Dr. Oz. (Extra benefit! If a couple of you decide to watch, I'm sure he would appreciate his audience doubling.)


But, we have a new contender, and a damn fine one at that—a website called Alternative Daily.

Whoever started up this site bought a one-way ticket on the Crazyville Express. And it doesn't take long to notice. Here's the first article I ran into:  Who would have possibly imagined that a sock full of salt would cure an earache? Well, these jokers do, and it is described in exquisite detail in "Beat Ear Pain With This Strange Salt Sock Remedy."

The insane looking graphics at the top of the article should immediately tip you off.

Yeah- This is gonna work. Source: http://www.thealternativedaily.com/salt-sock-remedy-for-ear-pain/

OK, if your ear is that color skip the salt. All you really need is the socks, which you will put on your feet and walk to the Emergency Room. Except, they will most likely have no idea what to do, because aside from maybe the bar scene from Star Wars, and the critter below, ears aren't that color.

A Tasmanian Devil. No Sea Salt Sock Required. Photo: Wallpapers
The site's recipe for how to make the sock is nothing if not descriptive:

1. "Gather the sock and the sea salt." (Warning: Don't try this with non-sea salt. Your spleen will fall out.)

2. "Measure the 1 1/2 cups of sea salt into a measuring sup." (Every kitchen should have one of these. Measuring cups just don't do the job. And I can't help but wonder what would happen if you used 1 3/4 sups)

3. Pour salt into the toe of the sock. (No instructions are given for this. You are on your own.)

4. Tie a double knot on the top of the sock. (What kind of knot? Bowline? Half-hitch? Square? How about a little guidance here?)

At this point, it looks like this:

Alternate Daily's high tech medical device

5. "Heat the sock in a clean skillet over medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes. Pick it up, shake it and flip it over every few minutes to heat evenly. Heat until very warm. Make sure to check how hot it is on your own skin — especially before using it on a child. You don’t want it to burn but it needs to be warm enough to get relief from the pain." (And I thought my cooking sucked)

6. Place the sock over your ear and behind your jaw bone. Leave for a few minutes until the pain is gone. (This must be a typo. Clearly "minutes" should read "decades," or however long it takes you to die, at which point the pain will be gone)

The site isn't really all that amusing. It's standard quackery, and then some. And it could be dangerous to follow their advice.

You can detox your liver with Chilean boldo tea. Of course, your liver does not need any cleansing, since it is perfectly designed to do this on its own. Any time you hear word "cleansing," turn around and run. Then when you get there, keep going. This ridiculous fad is medically nonsensical, and harmful. The most popular organ to cleanse is the colon. Bad idea. Not only do colon cleanses have no medical benefit, but they are dangerous; people have died from this procedure.
Alternative Daily also claims that this tea can treat:
  • Indigestion 
  • Inflammation
  • Infection (1)
  • Joint pain
  • Immune system issues
  • And it can make you pee: "Adequate frequency of urination can help to regulate blood pressure, enhance appetite, aid digestion and prevent the formation of gases in the gastrointestinal tract." Ugh.
That tea must be some badass stuff. How can you top that? Well, maybe you can—with copper bracelets.  Copper bracelets??? Didn't those go out with disco?  Apparently not:  "[promotes] better digestion, aids in weight loss, speeds healing and slows the process of aging. It also maintains cardiovascular health and lowers blood pressure, kills bacteria and even fights cancer." (more ugh)

There is also a feature about whether drinking your own urine is a good idea. I did not have the stomach to check this out, but I can safely say that it's a better idea than drinking someone else's urine.

These guys should really put a sock in it.

Cancer fear-mongering has got to stop

Alex Berezow Jan. 24, 2017 

Stories like the Nutella scare are an embarrassment to journalism and a dereliction of duty. Imagine what a typical American might do for breakfast: Fry a few slices of bacon, slather Nutella on a piece of toast, and pour a hot cup of coffee while checking e-mail on a smartphone. If we are to believe everything we read in the news, then that rather common daily ritual could cause you to die from cancer.

Nutella, a chocolate hazelnut spread, was the latest victim in the ceaseless fear-mongering over food.

Outrageous headlines went viral on the Internet. The Daily Mail breathlessly shouted, “Could Nutella give you CANCER?” while Quartz wrote, “Stores Are Pulling Nutella After Report Links It To Cancer” — later corrected because initial reports by the BBC and other outlets were wrong.

These stories give “fake news” a bad name. They are an embarrassment to journalism and a dereliction of duty. Once again, the media simply copied and pasted what other outlets reported, and few if any major news organizations did their jobs properly by reading the original scientific report.....To Read More..... 

Preserve the habitat of imaginary woodpecker?

By Steve Milloy

Unlike birds, scams never go extinct. JunkScience exposed this one from the Nature Conservancy 11 years ago.   As JunkScience.com exposed in February 2006, alleged sightings of the Ivory-billed woodpecker are just a trick to keep land from being developed.   The media release and my 2006 FOXNews.com column are below.

###
Researcher calls for conservation of ivory-billed woodpecker’s habitat Footage of what appears to be the elusive ivory-billed woodpecker calls conservation rules into question

ELSEVIER

The Ivory-billed Woodpecker’s habitat should be protected despite the lack of definitive evidence of this species’ existence, according to a new study published in Heliyon. Currently, bird conservation efforts rely on indisputable photographic evidence, which according to the new study could take many years to obtain, by which time it may be too late.

The Ivory-billed Woodpecker is an iconic species that is symbolic of the wilderness of North America. Threatened by habitat destruction and other factors, it has been declared extinct only to be rediscovered several times. In the absence of indisputable evidence, the discourse on the bird’s existence has been dominated by opinion. After ten sightings during an eight-year search, Dr. Michael Collins of the Naval Research Laboratory in the US believes the Ivory-billed Woodpecker is alive – but the bird needs our conservation efforts now, regardless of the proof, if it is to survive.

The birds live in vast swamp forests in North America – Florida and Louisiana, in particular – which are difficult and dangerous to access: with alligators, wild boars and venomous snakes, along with the risk of being accidentally shot in areas that are heavily hunted, most bird watchers will never visit the Ivory-billed Woodpecker’s habitat. What’s more, the thick vegetation means it is only possible to see for a few meters – a challenge for searching areas of more than 100 square kilometers.

Ivory-billed Woodpeckers are highly elusive and wary of human contact, hiding away and keeping quiet at the first sign of threat. Using these behavioral and habitat factors, Dr. Collins has been able to approximately quantify the elusiveness of this bird, concluding that it would take significantly longer to photograph the Ivory-billed Woodpecker than similarly rare North American birds.

The analysis suggests we need to take a more pragmatic approach to documenting this species while it may still be possible to save it from extinction. In the past, sightings have led to intensive efforts to obtain a photo. But as well as being expensive, inefficient and ineffective, this approach could interfere with the birds’ nesting attempts.

“There is no logical reason to require a particular form of evidence,” said Dr. Collins. “When faced with an exceptional case, scientists often develop alternative approaches and make progress using different types of data.”

In the paper, Dr. Collins presents three videos – one of more than 20 minutes – that show birds he believes to be the Ivory-billed Woodpecker as they have many characteristics consistent with the bird but no other species living north of Mexico. The bird’s remarkable swooping flights, rapid wingbeats, and an audible double-knock are captured on film, consistent with reports from the 1940s and earlier. He observed the Ivory-billed Woodpecker ten times in 1500 hours of searching between November 2005 and June 2013. “Having observed these birds is one of the two most deeply meaningful experiences of my life. When I was 11 years old, I stood in my front yard in Tampa, Florida, and watched Apollo 11 blasting off into space on the way to the first manned landing on the Moon. I feel very privileged to have been a direct eyewitness to a symbol of the vanishing wilderness of our world as well as one of the great achievements of mankind. My hope is that we will continue making progress and doing great things while at the same time preserving our natural world.”

###

Woodpecker Racket?

By Steven Milloy FOXNews.com, February 02, 2006

Last year’s reported sighting in eastern Arkansas of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker, long thought to be extinct, raised the hopes of bird-watchers everywhere.

But now a prominent bird expert has cast serious doubt on the report, characterizing it as “faith-based” ornithology and “a disservice to science.”

Writing in the ornithology journal The Auk (January 2006), Florida Gulf Coast University ornithologist Jerome A. Jackson criticized the “evidence” put forth to support the conclusion that the Woodpecker wasn’t extinct after all — including a four-second video of an alleged sighting which garnered widespread media attention; several other anecdotal sightings; and acoustic signals purported to be vocalization and raps from the Woodpecker.

News of the alleged Woodpecker sighting caught on video was first released in late-April 2005 in ScienceExpress, an online component of Science magazine. The full report subsequently appeared in the June 3 issue of Science.

“While the world rejoiced, my elation turned to disbelief,” wrote Jackson. “I had seen the ‘confirming’ video in the news releases and recognized its poor quality, but I had believed [anyway],” he continued.

“Then I saw [a still image] and seriously doubted that this evidence was confirmation of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Even a cursory comparison of this figure with [photographs and illustrations of real Ivory-billed Woodpeckers] shows that the white on the wing of the bird… is too extensive to be that of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker,” Jackson wrote.

Jackson dismissed the other unverified sightings with, “I do not question the sincerity, integrity or passion of these observers [but] we simply cannot know what they saw.” The researchers who claimed to video the Ivory-billed Woodpecker later admitted that the acoustic information “while interesting, does not reach the level we require for proof.”

Jackson went on to conclude that, “My opinion is that the bird in the is a normal Pileated Woodpecker… Others have independently come to the same conclusion, and publication of independent analyses may be forthcoming.”

Jackson isn’t some inveterate or knee-jerk skeptic with respect to the possibility of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker’s existence. In fact, in 1986 when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service convened a panel to “officially” declare the Woodpecker extinct, Jackson argued that “it was unreasonable to declare the species extinct without making a serious effort to find it.”

Only time will tell whether the Ivory-billed Woodpecker is, in fact, extinct, but one thing is certain — the fanfare announcing these now-suspect sightings was way overblown. And it’s worth noting that the beneficiaries of all this hoopla were also the ones behind it.

The search to “find” the Ivory-billed Woodpecker was organized, supported and launched by the Nature Conservancy. The subsequent “find” was announced and widely publicized by the Nature Conservancy. Now, according to Jackson’s article, it seems the Nature Conservancy also stands to benefit substantially from its own “discovery,” possibly to the tune of $10.2 million federal dollars and hundreds of thousands of acres in Arkansas.

To Jackson’s dismay, this money, which had originally been designated for other ongoing endangered species projects, has now been diverted into a “recovery” effort for the apparently-still-extinct Ivory-billed Woodpecker — involving none other than the Nature Conservancy, a private “nonprofit” group that uses land acquisition to advance its self-proclaimed “conservation” agenda.

But a series of Washington Post articles in May 2003 exposed the Nature Conservancy, the world’s richest environmental group with $3 billion in assets, as more than just a “land bank.” In the past it has also acted as a broker of too-sweet-to-be-true land and business deals for wealthy insiders and corporate supporters, often at taxpayer expense.

In one scheme reported by the Post, “…the Conservancy bought raw land, attached development restrictions and then resold the land to state trustees and other supporters at greatly reduced prices. Buyers then voluntarily gave the Conservancy charitable contributions roughly equivalent to the discounts, sums that were written off from the buyers’ federal income taxes. The deals generally allowed the buyers to build homes on the land.”

What’s all this got to do with the Ivory-billed Woodpecker?

The Nature Conservancy says on its web site that it “has helped protect more than 120,000 acres of [eastern Arkansas forests], and is now aiming to conserve and restore an additional 200,000 acres of forest – vital habitat for the ivory-billed woodpecker…”

Given that the land acquisition is made possible with taxpayer dollars and tax breaks — for who knows what ultimate purposes – you can almost hear the Nature Conservancy laughing like that other fictional woodpecker, Woody Woodpecker, all the way to the bank.

A final note on this saga concerns the reported sightings that were rushed to publication by the journal Science — the same journal that rushed to publication last year’s faked South Korean stem cell studies, and a faked 1997 Tulane University study on environmental chemicals.

While there’s no evidence that the Ivory-billed Woodpecker study was faked, Jackson’s characterization of the report as wishful-thinking certainly doesn’t say much for Science’s peer review process — intended as a safeguard against the publication of unsubstantiated scientific claims and junk science.

Science has enjoyed the reputation of a preeminent journal. But over the last decade, it seems to have developed the print-first-ask-questions-later tendencies usually associated with tabloid publications.

It would be terrific if the Ivory-billed Woodpecker weren’t extinct — but we’ll need better evidence than just four seconds of blurry video hawked by special interests.

Steven Milloy publishes JunkScience.com and CSRwatch.com, and is an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Report: Germany’s Green Energy Policy ‘A Disaster In The Making’

100 Billion For Nothing:
German CO2 Emissions Keep Rising
 
Brought to you by Benny Peiser's Global Warming Policy Forum
 
Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 10.09.37 AM.png
 
 
Germany’s green energy policies will likely lead to disaster, according a major environmentalist in the country. Germany estimates that it will spend over $1.1 trillion on its “Energiewende” plan to boost green energy production and fight global warming. But the plan hasn’t achieved the government’s goal of significantly reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. “Policymakers might try to continue on their current course towards economic disaster,” Dr. Fritz Vahrenholt, chairman of the German Wildlife Foundation, wrote in a report published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation. “A serious move away from the Energiewende would amount to an admission of a strategic blunder, with unforeseeable consequences for the current political establishment.” --Andrew Follett, The Daily Caller, 25 January 2017
 
German emissions increased in 2016 for a second year in a row as a result of the country closing one of its nuclear plants and replacing it with coal and natural gas, a new Environmental Progress analysis finds. German emissions would have declined had it not closed a nuclear plant and replaced it with coal and natural gas. Not only did new solar and wind not make up for the lost nuclear, the percentage of time during 2016 that solar and wind produced electricity declined dramatically. --Environmental Progress, 13 January 2017
 
At a mid-January meeting in parliament buildings in London, Professor Fritz Vahrenholt provided a very detailed monologue on the motivations behind Germany’s energy transition, and why he feels it’s misguided and potentially disastrous. Had the lecture been delivered by somebody from the coal power sector, they might have been written off as a ‘climate denier’, but given Vahrenholt’s background and pedigree as a backer of renewable energy, he is not so easily dismissed and his position must cause some unease for those so adamant that climate change is  manmade. --Diarmaid Williams, Power International, 25 January 2016 
 
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall have been happily married for more than a decade, with signs of friction hardly ever surfacing in public. However, they may not see entirely eye to eye on global warming, one of the issues closest to the prince’s heart, if comments the duchess made yesterday are anything to go by. At a reception for British winegrowers, she suggested that climate change may not be an entirely bad thing. The duchess was addressing a reception at Clarence House marking the 50th anniversary of the UK Vineyards Association (UKVA). Praising the vision of the those who began producing wine half a century ago, she said: “We don’t exactly have the climate, or we didn’t then. I expect with global warming it’s going to get better and better and we are going to get better and better wine.” This, clearly, was a state of affairs that met with her approval. --Valentine Low, The Times, 26 January 2017 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

EPA Employees ‘Coming to Work in Tears’ Because of Trump Win: The Mood Remains Dark

By    

Environmental Protection Agency employees have not accepted Donald Trump’s victory and are still “coming to work in tears” more than two months after the election.

“At EPA headquarters, the mood remains dark,” ProPublica reported Wednesday. “A longtime career communications employee said in a phone interview Tuesday that more than a few friends were ‘coming to work in tears’ each morning as they grappled with balancing the practical need to keep their jobs with their concerns for the issues they work on.”

Trump’s victory has been tough for bureaucrats. The State Department held stress workshops after the election so they would not “become paralyzed by fear.” EPA employees were caught crying before, just after the election, as were White House aides. Energy Department employees were granted counseling. Sobbing staffers greeted Hillary Clinton on Capitol Hill a month after her loss..........Read more

My Take - Ooodie boodie boo - poor little muff muffs.  So the hard nose bullies at EPA who've been abusing Americans and defecating on the Constitution for decades are finding out - they don't really have any power that can't be stripped from them after all.  And best yet - we can see they're just like all the pontificating, pampered, pestilent, pouting snowflakes in America's universities - cry babies.....and I couldn't be happier.  Please remember - the Soviet Union collapsed over night - and they were a whole lot bigger and a whole lot more powerful than the EPA. 

Replacing the Environmental Protection Agency

By Jay Lehr July 15, 2014 Download the PDF

The national EPA must be systematically dismantled and replaced by a Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental protection agencies.
The national EPA must be systematically dismantled and replaced by a Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental protection agencies. Those agencies in nearly all cases long ago took over primary responsibility for the implementation of environmental laws passed by Congress (or simply handed down by EPA as fiat rulings without congressional vote or oversight).
In 1968, when I was serving as the head of a groundwater professional society, it became obvious to me and a handful of others that the United States did not have any serious focus on potential problems with the quality of its air, drinking water, and surface water, and that the nation suffered from waste disposal problems and contamination from mining and agriculture. I held the nation's first Ph.D. in groundwater hydrology, which gave me insight to understand the problems. I was asked by the director of the Bureau of Water Hygiene in the U.S. Department of Health to serve on a panel to study the potential to expand the bureau's oversight into a full environmental protection organization.
Collectively, we spoke before dozens of congressional committees in both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, drawing attention to mounting environmental pollution problems. We called for the establishment of a national Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and in 1971 we succeeded.

I was appointed to a variety of the new agency's advisory councils and over the next 10 years I helped write a significant number of legislative bills that were to make up a true safety net for our environment. They included the Water Pollution Control Act (later renamed the Clean Water Act), Safe Drinking Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (which, surprisingly, covered deep mines as well), Clean Air Act, Federal Insecticide, Rodenticide, and Fungicide Act, and Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (which we now know as Superfund).

These acts worked well in protecting the environment and the health of our citizens, with the exception of Superfund, which proved to be too overreaching and wreaked havoc with U.S. business as companies operating within the law were fined countless dollars and required to pay huge sums after the fact for clean-up of waste disposal that had been within the law at the time of the activity.

Liberal Activists Take Over EPA

Beginning around 1981, liberal activist groups recognized EPA could be used to advance their political agenda by regulating virtually all human activities regardless of their impact on the environment. Politicians recognized they could win votes by posing as protectors of the public health and wildlife. Industries saw a way to use regulations to handicap competitors or help themselves to public subsidies. Since that time, not a single environmental law or regulation has been passed that benefitted either the environment or society.

The takeover of EPA and all of its activities by liberal activists was slow and methodical over the past 30 years. Today, EPA is all but a wholly owned subsidiary of liberal activist groups. Its rules account for about half of the nearly $2 trillion a year cost of complying with all national regulations in the U.S.<1> President Barack Obama is using it to circumvent Congress to impose regulations on the energy sector that will cause prices to "skyrocket." It is a rogue agency, the topic of books with titles like Regulators Gone Wild<2> and Out of Bounds, Out of Control.<3>

For more than 20 years, I have worked to expose this story to the public, beginning with my 1991 book Rational Readings on Environmental Concerns<4>, on which 50 environmental scientists collaborated to describe the manner in which their own fields had been hijacked and distorted to allow fear-mongering of an unconscionable nature. Other authors have discovered and have been working to expose this as well. Besides the three already cited, see:
Ron Arnold, Freezing in the Dark: Money, Power, Politics and the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy, 2007.
Wilfred Beckerman, Through Green-Colored Glasses: Environmentalism Reconsidered, 1996.
Larry Bell, Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax, 2011.
James T. Bennett and Thomas J. DiLorenzo, Cancer Scam: Diversion of Federal Cancer Funds to Politics, 1998.
Alex B. Berezow and Hank Campbell, Science Left Behind: Feel-Good Fallacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific Left, 2012.
Rupert Darwall, The Age of Global Warming: A History, 2013.
Jeff Gillman and Eric Heberlig, How the Government Got In Your Backyard, 2011.
Indur M. Goklany, The Precautionary Principle: A Critical Appraisal of Environmental Risk Assessment, 2001.
Geoffrey C. Kabat, Hyping Health Risks: Environmental Hazards in Daily Life and the Science of Epidemiology, 2008.
Wallace Kaufman, No Turning Back: Dismantling the Fantasies of Environmental Thinking, 1994.
Aynsley Kellow, Science and Public Policy: The Virtuous Corruption of Virtual Environmental Science, 2007.
S. Robert Lichter and Stanley Rothman, Environmental Cancer A Political Disease? 1999.
Christopher Manes, Green Rage: Radical Environmentalism and the Unmaking of Civilization, 1990.
A.W. Montford, The Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the Corruption of Science, 2010.
Daniel T. Oliver, Animal Rights: The Inhumane Crusade, 1999.
James M. Sheehan, Global Greens: Inside the International Environmental Establishment, 1998.
Julian Simon, Hoodwinking the Nation, 1999.
It is possible, one supposes, that some of these authors (and I could list many more books like these) are mistaken, that the environmental movement hasn't abandoned science and isn't now just a tool of the far left for imposing its anti-human, anti-energy, and anti-capitalism agenda on America. But all of them? I don't think so. You can go back and check the historical record yourself: the names, dates, and important episodes of the left's take-over of the environmental movement, and then of EPA, are reported similarly in many of these books.

Replace, Don't Try to Fix, EPA

It is tempting to imagine EPA can be "fixed," that its abuse of power and pursuit of political agendas without regard to their effect on the environment could be stopped if only the right people were appointed to run it, or perhaps if Congress passed laws requiring better science or more cost-benefit analysis. This is wrong. As Fred L. Smith, Jr., wrote back in 1992,
[T]he serious failures of environmental regulation ... do not occur randomly or, for that matter, as a result of bad management (although this may occasionally be the case). Rather, they stem from deep-rooted institutional and political incentives that systematically bias the EPA's decisions. Better science and risk assessment procedures, public participation, and civic education, in and of themselves, do little to counteract these biases, and may exacerbate them.<5>
Incremental reform of EPA is simply not an option. As James V. DeLong wrote in 2002,
It should surprise no one that 25 years of talk about regulatory reform has achieved little. The vague language of the federal environmental statutes and the corresponding massive delegation of authority to EPA to make law, enforce law, and adjudicate violations concentrate tremendous power in the hands of the agency, breeding insensitivity, zealotry, and abuse. Experience has shown that regulatory agencies will tend to expand until checked, and the potential for regulatory expansion at the EPA, unbounded as it is by congressional language, is vast.<6>
For these reasons, I have come to believe the national EPA must be systematically dismantled and replaced by a Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental protection agencies. Those agencies in nearly all cases long ago took over primary responsibility for the implementation of environmental laws passed by Congress (or simply handed down by EPA as fiat rulings without congressional vote or oversight).

When national EPA was established in 1971, the federal government had no choice but to oversee implementation of the initial seven safety net laws. Soon thereafter, however, every state established an independent agency that filed for and was granted primary control of the implementation of the existing laws. With only rare exceptions, the states are now fully in control of the regulatory program.
States have a comparative advantage over the national government in responding to environmental problems because of the major role they play in the "construction and protection of urban infrastructure, regulation of land use, enforcement of building codes, and, certainly not least, natural disaster response."<7> The federalist system adopted when EPA was created recognized this reality and still looks pretty good on paper, but state agencies are continually harassed to ensure no one evades the heavy hand of hundreds of new regulations passed over the past three decades.

The initial laws I helped write have become increasingly more draconian, yet they have not benefitted our environment or the health of our citizens. Instead, they suppress our economy and the right of our citizens to make an honest living. It seems to me, and to others, that this is actually the intention of those in EPA and in Congress who want to see government power expanded without regard to whether it is needed to protect the environment or public health.

With 30 years of experience, these 50 state environmental agencies are ready to take over management of the nation's environment. Only the EPA research laboratories should be left in place at the national level to answer additional scientific questions, and even these laboratories must be substantially reorganized, freed from the grip of insiders who use them to justify new regulations rather than genuinely study the science.<8> Increasingly, the federal laboratories should be exposed to competition from state-funded research efforts to keep them honest.

Eighty percent of what is now national EPA's budget could be eliminated, and the remaining 20 percent could be used to run the research labs and administer the Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental agencies. A relatively small administrative structure would be needed to allow the states to refine existing environmental laws in a manner more suitable to the primary requirement of protecting our environment without thwarting national progress in industry and the development of our natural resources and energy supplies.

Five-Year Phase-Out

National EPA could be phased out over five years, with a one-year preparation period followed by a four-year program in which 25 percent of the agency's activities would be passed to the Committee of the Whole each year. The Committee of the Whole would be made up of representatives from each state from each significant area of concern. The committee would be divided into subcommittees, reflecting how EPA is set up, though many programs and offices within EPA may be eliminated at the will of the states. For instance, offices whose primary purpose is oversight of the state agencies no longer would be necessary.

The Committee of the Whole would determine which regulations are actually mandated in law by Congress and which were established by EPA without congressional approval. Rules written clearly into legislation would be recommended for continuance or would be included in a request that Congress consider ending them because the Committee of the Whole deems them unnecessary in their current form. Regulations not supported by writings within legislation would be considered by the applicable subcommittees and the whole committee for alteration or repeal by a two-thirds vote of the Committee of the Whole.

Until the Committee of the Whole acted on each individual regulation, all regulations would remain in force. Many regulations would give states latitude to act, and others would be required of all states by a two-thirds vote of the Committee of the Whole. Each state would be funded sufficiently to increase its staff to include people whose primary jobs would be to serve on subcommittees of the Committee of the Whole overseeing the issues previously overseen by the current EPA.

This phase-out of national EPA could be done in an orderly manner within five years. Oversight of the existing EPA research labs eventually would be ceded to a subcommittee of the whole.

Organizing the Committee

When one considers how national EPA was established, along with the growth of the state agencies, this plan is actually a logical endpoint that could have begun 30 years ago. The specific details of the five-year transfer from the Washington, DC-based EPA and its 10 regional offices would be carried out as follows.

The federal budget for environmental protection would be reduced from $8.2 billion to $2 billion. Staffing would be reduced from more than 15,000 to 300, and those 300 would serve in the new national EPA headquarters to be located centrally in Topeka, Kansas, to allow the closest contact with the individual states and reduce travel costs from the states to the central headquarters of the Committee of the Whole. The 300 individuals working there would consist of six delegate-employees from each of the 50 states. The personnel currently working at EPA's more-than-two-dozen research centers would remain in place until the Committee of the Whole chooses to make changes.
National EPA is currently divided into the following 14 offices:
Office of the Administrator
American Indian Environmental Office
Office of International and Tribal Affairs
Office of Policy
Office of Administration and Resources Management
Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
Office of Air and Radiation
Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response
Office of Water
Office of the Chief Financial Officer
Office of General Counsel
Office of Environmental Information
Office of Research and Development
In the first year of transition, all national EPA employees would be informed of the five-year transition period, allowing them ample time to seek other employment opportunities. Additionally, during year one the two offices relating to Indian issues American Indian Environmental Office and Office of International and Tribal Affairs would be transferred to the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, which should welcome this responsibility along with about half of the monies budgeted for them at EPA. During the first year, all 300 employees relocating from the 50 states (six each) would begin work in the new Topeka, Kansas, offices established early in year one.

A chairman of the Committee of the Whole would be elected by the 300 delegate- employees to a three-year term early in the transition. The delegate-employees would be assigned to subcommittees corresponding to the offices that currently exist in Washington, DC.

During year two, all activities of the Offices of Policy, Administration and Resources Management, and Enforcement and Compliance Assurance would be transferred to Topeka from Washington, DC and the regional offices.

In year three, all activities of the Offices of Air and Radiation and Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention would be transferred to Topeka. In year four, the responsibilities of the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response and Office of Water would move to Topeka. In the final year, the Offices of the Chief Financial Officer, General Counsel, Environmental Information, and the Office of the Administrator would have their responsibilities moved to Topeka.

During each year of transition, members of the Topeka staff would be assigned for periods of time to the Washington, DC offices and the regional offices to study the activities of the existing units. It is quite likely that as the office responsibilities are transferred to Topeka, the Committee of the Whole will choose to eliminate some of them entirely.

If some DC offices experience an early excessive attrition of employees relocating before the phase-out of their offices, an earlier transfer of responsibility to Topeka may be required.

As monies are freed up in the transition from 15,000 federal employees to 300, each state would be allocated $20 million to enhance its new independent responsibilities and replace the six employees transferred to Topeka. In addition to that use of $1 billion (50 x $20 million), it is anticipated the management of the Topeka offices and the continuation of the research and development program at the national level would require a second billion dollars, allowing the permanent reduction of an $8.2 billion annual federal outlay for environmental protection to a total of $2 billion.

Rescuing Federalism, Saving the Environment

Not only would this transition save large sums of money, but the efficiency and quality of environmental protection would be enhanced by placing power and responsibility in the hands of the individual states. It is, after all, well-known that government close to the location of the governed is best for all.<9> Most states will enthusiastically embrace this plan, as their opposition to EPA's "regulatory train wreck" grows<10> and since it gives them the autonomy and authority they were promised when EPA was first created and the funding to carry it out.

The Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental agencies would meet the needs of the nation more effectively and more efficiently than the national EPA. Fifty state environmental protection agencies with more than 30 years of experience have the talent to do the job without the oversight of 15,000 federal employees. They are less vulnerable to lobbying and intimidation by national politicians, activists, and special-interest groups than are their counterparts in Washington, DC. Being located in Topeka, Kansas, they will be far away from the beltway culture that corrupts public servants who come to the nation's capital with even the best of intentions.

It made sense for there to be a single national agency given authority to enforce the nation's new environmental protection laws in the first decade of the 1970s. But by the end of that decade, the lion's share of benefits from that noble experiment were already achieved and the states could have been, and should have been, allowed to play their intended role in implementing the new programs. Authority should have remained in the hands of the states, where innovation would be rewarded and accountability to local voters and taxpayers was more likely to be preserved. But as is the nature of all bureaucracies, national EPA grew vastly larger than any of its founders and architects intended. It was coopted by various interest groups, and today it stands in the way of environmental protection and is a threat to individual liberty and commerce.

It's time for the national EPA to go. The path forward is now clear and simple: A five-year transition from a federal government bureaucracy to a Committee of the Whole composed of the 50 state environmental protection agencies.

To those who say this would fail to adequately protect the public's health or the environment, I urge you to reflect on the poor job currently being done by EPA, and then to meet some of the men and women staffing state EPA offices and see for yourself the sophistication, commitment, and resources they have to do the job. You will not remain doubters for long. And to those who like this plan but think it is utopian or impossible, I can tell you as someone who was there at the beginning of EPA, who helped write the laws and advised its founders, that this can be done quickly and efficiently.
All that is missing is the political will.

Notes

Download the booklet format of this Policy Brief here.

http://www.cato-unbound.org/2013/08/12/patrick-j-michaels/state-funded-science-its-worse-you-think.

http://www.alec.org/initiatives/epas-regulatory-train-wreck/. ALEC has produced three reports so far as part of this initiative: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Assault on State Sovereignty (2013), Economy Derailed: State-by-State Impacts of the EPA Regulatory Train Wreck (2012), and EPA's Regulatory Train Wreck: Strategies for State Legislators (2011). All are available on the ALEC website.

Stopping a bloodthirsty killer

By Michael D. Shaw November 28, 2016 @ HealthNewsDigest.com
This HND piece focuses on the world's most dangerous animal (to humans). And that, of course, is the lowly mosquito, responsible for the deaths of more than 1 million people every year.  We go on to explain that this little fly is really a vector for the actual pathogens, and then go on to discuss the history of orgnaize3d efforts in mosquito abasement. As one of my friends—who lives in a mosquito-infested area of metro NYC—noted, "All but the most lunatic Greenies are on board with killing these miserable creatures."  Since we have already covered the tragedy of banning DDT, and what it did to Africa, that sordid aspect of this story wasn't included."  Mike Shaw
If it takes two or more victims for the perp to be considered a “serial killer,” what name would you give an animal responsible for the deaths of more than 1 million people every year? The short answer would be “mosquito.” The longer answer would be that these tiny flies (order Diptera; family Culicidae) themselves don’t do the killing. They are merely vectors for such baddies as…
  • Malaria—Caused by Plasmodium, transmitted via Anopheles
  • Yellow Fever—Caused by Flavivirus, transmitted via Aedes and Haemagogus
  • Zika Fever—Caused by Flavivirus, transmitted via Aedes
  • Filariasis—Caused by nematodes of the superfamily Filarioidea, transmitted via Culex
  • Dengue—Caused by four Flavivirus serotypes, transmitted via Aedes
  • West Nile Encephalitis—Caused by Flavivirus, primarily infecting birds, and transmitted via Culex
Fortunately, there have been organized efforts to combat mosquitoes since the early 1900s. Indeed, in the aftermath of the 1905 Yellow Fever outbreaks in New Orleans and Pensacola, FL, it was conclusively demonstrated that mosquito control could eliminate this disease. Other milestones in American mosquito control include:
  • 1912—New Jersey becomes the first state to authorize mosquito abatement districts
  • 1922—Large outbreak of dengue along Gulf Coast leads to Florida creating mosquito control districts
  • 1935—American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) founded
  • 1990—Saint Louis encephalitis virus outbreak in Florida (226 human cases, 11 deaths)
  • 2000—West Nile Virus reported in 12 states
  • 2001—West Nile Virus reported in 27 states
AMCA Technical Advisor Joseph M. Conlon offered a few practical tips last summer during Mosquito Control Awareness Week…

Over the last few years, the U.S. has had increased cases of mosquito-borne illnesses such as the West Nile Virus. Furthermore, other exotic diseases such as Zika Virus, dengue fever, and Chikungunya threaten our shores. To ensure the safety of family, friends, and pets, it’s extremely important to make sure you’re taking the proper steps: first, reducing mosquito breeding through water management and source reduction, and second, reducing adult mosquito populations.”
Eliminating standing water is probably the most important thing to remember when preventing or controlling mosquito problems. Remember to irrigate lawns and gardens carefully to prevent water from standing for several days,” added Conlon.

AMCA reminds us of the THREE D’s of mosquito prevention: Drain, Dress, and Defend: Empty out water containers at least once per week; Wear long sleeves, long pants, and light-colored, loose-fitting clothing; Properly apply an approved repellent.

While most people think of California as a relatively arid location, the state is by no means free of mosquitoes, and its activities in this connection date back to the beginning of the 20th century. Early efforts in the state operated via subscription and donation. It was in 1915 that Governor (and later long-term US senator) Hiram Johnson signed the Mosquito Abatement Act, which provided for the formation, organization, and financing of mosquito abatement districts.

At present, the Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California comprises 64 member agencies, set up in five regions. Let’s take a brief look at one of those member agencies—the Compton Creek Mosquito Abatement District (Compton, CA).

Compton Creek’s founding dates way back to 1927, related to a devastating flood. Among its many outreach efforts, the agency offers a free program for students in 7th grade Life-Sciences classes. As you might expect, it focuses on mosquitoes—detailing anatomy, life cycle, habitat, food sources, disease transmission, and the role that students can play in helping to protect their communities from mosquito-borne diseases. In addition, its active Twitter feed keeps those in its district up-to-date.

I’ll give the last word to Micah Ali, President of the Compton Creek Mosquito Abatement District:

We are at the forefront of educating citizens, schools, individuals, and families about ways to guard against the risk of mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile Virus and Zika, among other public health emergencies. Our work throughout the City of Compton and the County of Los Angeles is a model other cities and states should adopt, because we have an established record of—we have a proactive reputation for—saving lives through a combination of intelligence, planning, coordination, and action.”

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

How conflicts of interest, NGO activism undermine European bee health oversight

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The European Union’s ban of three neonicotinoid insecticides (aimed at saving honeybees) was developed as a logical consequence of the European Food Safety Authority’s draft bee guidance document. This document, which introduced new guidelines for what could be considered as acceptable bee research field trial, set standards that, in my opinion, were so high that none of the existing bee field research could be accepted into the risk assessment process nor would any future trials ever meet the standards. In an exchange between myself and EFSA, it appears to me that the EU Authority was deceived into accepting the 2013 document under the following assumptions:
  • That there were no conflicts of interest by any of the members of the EFSA Working Group on Bee Risk Assessment.
  • That the report was produced internally by EFSA staff.
  • That the report will someday be accepted by the European Council as a legitimate document.
EFSA has become a victim of an activist intervention to skew the risk assessment process in favor of certain NGO anti-pesticide campaign objectives. This has become a clear strategy in the Activist Playbook — to plant environmental NGO-associated scientists on government panels or working groups to influence the risk assessment process. Such was the case when the Environmental Defense Fund’s activist scientist, Christopher Portier moved into the heart of the IARC glyphosate monograph. The EFSA working group on bee risk assessment had, at one time, three activists pushing unworkable guidelines for bee-related pesticide assessments.......To Read More......