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Lecture to Oxford Farming Conference, 3 January 2013

Lecture to Oxford Farming Conference, 3 January 2013
[Comments are now closed - it was getting impossible to manage them given the volume.] Chinese translation… Italian translation… German translation… Spanish translation… French translation… Vietnamese translation (shortened)… Italian version (also shortened) Thai version and Slovak version. NEW – Portuguese translation. 07 Mark Lynas from Oxford Farming Conference on Vimeo. I want to start with some apologies. For the record, here and upfront, I apologise for having spent several years ripping up GM crops. As an environmentalist, and someone who believes that everyone in this world has a right to a healthy and nutritious diet of their choosing, I could not have chosen a more counter-productive path. So I guess you’ll be wondering – what happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it? When I first heard about Monsanto’s GM soya I knew exactly what I thought. This was also explicitly an anti-science movement. So I did some reading. Related:  Nutrition & HealthenvironmentEnvironmentalism

OGM, gaz de schiste...La démocratie des crédules - Du fil à retordre Les Français ont soif de connaissance : c’est l’enseignement d’une étude réalisée par TNS Sofres pour les Presses universitaires de France. Pour 95 % d’entre eux, « acquérir un bon niveau de savoir s’avère primordial », juste derrière la vie de famille et la sécurité financière (95 %), mais avant l’obtention d’un emploi intéressant (93 %). Que recoupe précisément ce savoir ? L’information au sens large diffusée sur l’ensemble des médias, dont le volume aurait été multiplié par huit au cours des cinq dernières années ? L’étude s’avère assez floue sur ce point. Et pourtant, dans nos sociétés démocratiques, l’avis des hommes et des femmes de sciences est de plus en plus assimilé à une opinion comme une autre. « La démonstration est parfois placée sur le même plan que le ressenti », nous confiait récemment la philosophe Monique Canto-Sperber, directrice de Paris Sciences et Lettres.

Critical EPA report highlighting chemical dangers to kids is sidetracked Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images A playground at the Carson-Gore Academy of Environmental Sciences in Los Angeles. The $75.5-million elementary school, which was named after former Vice President Al Gore and pioneering environmentalist Rachel Carson, was built atop an environmentally contaminated piece of real estate. Construction crews replaced the toxic soil, which was poisoned by more than a dozen underground storage tanks, with clean fill. By Sheila Kaplan, Investigative Reporting Workshop A landmark Environmental Protection Agency report concluding that children exposed to toxic substances can develop learning disabilities, asthma and other health problems has been sidetracked indefinitely amid fierce opposition from the chemical industry. America’s Children and the Environment, Third Edition, is a sobering analysis of the way in which pollutants build up in children’s developing bodies and the damage they can inflict. “Why is it taking so long? More from Open Channel:

China's Toxic Sky - In Focus Since the beginning of this year, the levels of air pollution in Beijing have been dangerously high, with thick clouds of smog chasing people indoors, disrupting air travel, and affecting the health of millions. The past two weeks have been especially bad -- at one point the pollution level measured 40 times recommended safety levels. Authorities are taking short-term measures to combat the current crisis, shutting down some factories and limiting government auto usage. Use j/k keys or ←/→ to navigate Choose: Rooftops of Beijing's Forbidden City, obscured by thick smog, in Beijing, China, on January 16, 2013. (1 of 4) The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite acquired this pair of images of northeastern China on January 14 (smoggy) and January 3 (clear), 2013. - javascript required ] (NASA, Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE MODIS Rapid Response) Heavy smog hangs over a road in Qingdao, east China's Shandong province on January 29, 2013.

‘Chasing Ice’ changed this climate-denying Bill O’Reilly listener into a believer Whenever you feel discouraged about working to fix global warming and convince people that it’s a real problem, watch this video: In the documentary Chasing Ice, filmmaker James Balog shot photos of glaciers in Iceland, Greenland, and Alaska at 30-minute intervals for months and months. As Grist has reported: The resulting time-lapse movie can condense months and years into a few mesmerizing moments. So horrible and so scary that it can erase even the teachings of Bill O’Reilly.

Mark Lynas, environmentalist who opposed GMOs, admits he was wrong. Photo by NIGEL TREBLIN/AFP/Getty Images If you fear genetically modified food, you may have Mark Lynas to thank. By his own reckoning, British environmentalist helped spur the anti-GMO movement in the mid-‘90s, arguing as recently at 2008 that big corporations’ selfish greed would threaten the health of both people and the Earth. Torie Bosch is the editor of Future Tense, a project of Slate, the New America Foundation, and Arizona State that looks at the implications of new technologies. But Lynas has changed his mind—and he’s not being quiet about it. I want to start with some apologies. As an environmentalist, and someone who believes that everyone in this world has a right to a healthy and nutritious diet of their choosing, I could not have chosen a more counter-productive path. So I guess you’ll be wondering—what happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it? I can’t think of another environmentalist.

Communiquer la science, mais comment? (Agence Science-Presse) Les scientifiques ont beau avoir la réputation de ne pas être souvent de bons vulgarisateurs, n’empêche que plusieurs s’emploient activement à changer la donne, à pousser leurs pairs à s’approprier les nouveaux outils, et à modifier le rapport entre le citoyen et la science. Cliquer sur la photo pour agrandir À notre émission cette semaine, trois regards en provenance du congrès annuel de l’AAAS, l’Association américaine pour l’avancement des sciences, qui avait lieu du 14 au 18 février à Boston. Un congrès où il a été beaucoup question de communication, communication vers le grand public, ou vers les décideurs politiques. Et ce, en particulier à l’heure d’Internet, où les uns expérimentent et proposent en modèles ceux qui ont déjà défriché le terrain, dans la blogosphère, sur Twitter ou ailleurs. Mais il y a des bémols aux médias sociaux: autant ils démocratisent, autant ils polarisent. Nos invités à Boston :

Humans Carry More Bacterial Cells than Human Ones We compulsively wash our hands, spray our countertops and grimace when someone sneezes near us—in fact, we do everything we can to avoid unnecessary encounters with the germ world. But the truth is we are practically walking petri dishes, rife with bacterial colonies from our skin to the deepest recesses of our guts. All the bacteria living inside you would fill a half-gallon jug; there are 10 times more bacterial cells in your body than human cells, according to Carolyn Bohach, a microbiologist at the University of Idaho (U.I.), along with other estimates from scientific studies. The infestation begins at birth: Babies ingest mouthfuls of bacteria during birthing and pick up plenty more from their mother's skin and milk—during breast-feeding, the mammary glands become colonized with bacteria. Starting in the mouth, nose or other orifices, these microbes travel through the esophagus, stomach and / or intestines—locations where most of them set up camp.

The Greening of the Arctic you're gonna get a lot of methane release as all the dead organic matter in that thawing permafrost rots, and methane's the really dangerous greenhouse gas. I believe it's bad, because an over abundance of CO2 makes temperatures excessively high. It's not the vegetation, but the methane trapped within the melting ice and soil. Furthermore, the melting ice reflects the suns rays, and therefore heat. Less reflection means more heat, more heat means more melting, less ice means less reflection... I do not believe the ratio of greenhouse gases produced is equal to CO2 consumed by vegetation. I'm probably getting mixed up with my information, but I think I have the general idea down. The abstract of the study states that the possible outcomes of the shift are not well understood, but merit continued monitoring. People are basically conservatives. Dumping gigatonnes of garbage into the air is a bad thing.

Global Warming 101 What is global warming? Think of a blanket, covering the Earth. When CO 2 and other heat-trapping emissions are released into the air, they act like a blanket, holding heat in our atmosphere and warming the planet. Overloading our atmosphere with carbon has far-reaching effects for people all around the world—more extreme storms, more severe droughts, deadly heat waves, rising sea levels, and more acidic oceans, which can affect the very base of the food chain. What causes global warming? The primary cause of global warming is human activity, most significantly the burning of fossil fuels to drive cars, generate electricity, and operate our homes and businesses. Tropical deforestation , also by human hands, is another major contributor. Who can reduce global warming? To address global warming, we need to significantly reduce the amount of heat-trapping emissions. But we can also help by calling for government and corporate decision makers to reduce the threat of global warming by:

Farmer's Fight With Monsanto Reaches The Supreme Court : The Salt hide captionVernon Hugh Bowman lives outside the small town of Sandborn, Ind. Dan Charles/NPR This week, the Supreme Court will take up a classic David-and-Goliath case. On one side, there's a 75-year-old farmer in Indiana named Vernon Hugh Bowman; on the other, the agribusiness giant Monsanto. The farmer is fighting the long reach of Monsanto's patents on seeds — but he's up against more than just Monsanto. Bowman also is battling a historic shift that's transformed the nation's seed business over the past 20 years. Despite all that, Bowman seems remarkably cheerful about his situation. Bowman is leaning back in an easy chair, where he says he also sleeps at night. Out back, there's an array of old farm equipment collected during decades of growing corn and soybeans. Bowman is wearing a Monsanto hat. "It made things so much simpler and better. hide captionBowman bought ordinary soybeans from this small grain elevator and used them for seed. Those late-season soybeans are risky.

Des erreurs fécondes Regards sur la science par Georges Jobert - SPS n°302, octobre 2012 C’est le sujet apparemment paradoxal que traitent D. Le premier, en mécanique quantique, est celui d’un schéma conçu par N. Le second exemple de nos auteurs porte sur les recherches menées en 1943 par M. Comment soutenir des recherches audacieuses, éventuellement fondées sur des erreurs, mais qui peuvent conduire à des avancées inattendues ? 1 Dans certaines conditions, on ne peut décrire séparément l’état quantique de deux objets, même s’ils sont spatialement séparés. 2 Il s’agit en fait de méthodes permettant de donner à deux communicants accès à une même clé de chiffrement en assurant la sécurité de la transmission.

The Body Ecology Guide to the Ten Healthiest Greens Crammed with vital nutrients for every body, greens just might be the healthiest food our planet has to offer! Popeye wasn't just a man with muscles. He was a man with brains, too. He knew the power of leafy greens could get him out of a jam in a flash. (Okay, he was just a cartoon character... but you get the idea!) Going Green - A Whole New Meaning Leafy green vegetables rule the roost in the vegetable kingdom. The Power of Green Just check in with a bowl of greens and you'll find they are brimming with vital nutrients that provide a variety of health, growth and fertility benefits. Your Liver's Favorite Color is Green Livers love greens because they're amazing detoxifiers. A Lean, Mean, Green Machine Just to give you an idea of how important they are to include in our diets at every meal, this is a sample of what you can expect with every bite of green goodness: Fiber - A leader in blood sugar regulation, blood cholesterol regulation and bowel function.Protein - Perfect for vegetarians!

Bizarre GMO wheat mystery in Oregon Seeds are usually only guaranteed for one year; after that, the percentage of those that won't germinate tends to climb. Tends to. Scientists have successfully germinated seeds from medieval trash dumps, from plants covered over in the last ice age, and from every other source you'd think were too old. Heck, I overplanted pumpkins this year, thinking that my fairly old seeds would have a high failure rate. Instead, nearly all of the seeds I planted took, and now I can't walk through half my garden without playing Twister. So I'd say that it's not at all improbable that these seeds are fourteen years old, accidentally mixed in, and mostly viable. Seeds last for thousands of years if they are kept from rotting situations !