This comment has been submitted to the petition for the approval of the chestnut in the APHIS system. But it might take a couple of days for approval, and the comments close this coming Monday, October 19 2020. If you care about this project, comment by then. It does not need to be a lengthy comment, but this is a project I’ve followed for years and wanted to capture many features of it. More guidance on comments from the chestnut researchers here.

Post your comments to the federal system here:

I write to support the granting of the petition…

Even an “investigative journalist” can’t tell truth from fiction at the site. How can the general public?

Attacks on scientists and doctors are nothing new, and scientists who participate in social media on heated issues like climate, women’s health, vaccines, and GMOs must don asbestos pantsuits and lab coats to do so. That said, most of the ones I know fall into the category of “Truth Warriors” recently described at AAAS meeting and still want to participate in the fray to support science-based policy:

Believes it is ethical to be informed and supports using scientific research for public decision-making.

Some seasonal snark from Team Science to help you usher in the new year

By A. S. Hill

The Impossible Success of the Impossible Burger

One of the biggest stories of 2019 has been the runaway success of the Impossible Burger. From being a niche product last year… now it’s everywhere. That should be fantastic news: meatless meat is far better for the environment than beef, to say nothing about animal welfare. So who could possibly object? The foodies, of course! Because it’s not, er, ‘natural’ or something, according to the CEO of Whole Foods (a.k.a. Whole Paycheck) and various…

Massachusetts politicians are being inundated by misinformers; we need to add voices of support for vaccination requirements

When I attended the recent Climate Strike — the one students organized after Greta Thunberg pulled them to action — I was handed a flyer by someone and put it in my pocket. Later, I realized that it was from an anti-vaxxer at this rally, a potentially virulent parent who was a danger to the kids assembled on Boston City Hall Plaza. Then I sterilized my hands.

It was ironic: among all these earnest kids who were demanding that that politicians “Listen…

And how a reporter gave a woman scientist’s information to her top abuser

In a small corner of the internet, some scientists and science writers are taking on a topic that gets little attention from the wider public. Despite the fact that food biotechnology plays a crucial part in the adapting to a future climate framework, scientists and writers who buck the narratives preferred by the organic industry and their anti-vaxxer funded hit squads find themselves getting threatening mail, social media abuse, and in some cases extended conspiracy theories crafted and published, in an attempt to damage their reputations and…

Misrepresented and misunderstood. Like a lot of issues it covers, really.

Reddit is a swamp, I’ve noted a number of times. But there are some islands in the swamp where you can find small nuggets of quality information. In a discussion of an article encouraging people to reduce their breeding to save the environment, I was joking about the fact that I’d seen an earlier scientific article suggesting that if we were to create GMO smaller humans, we’d save a lot of resources. Another commenter pointed me to the film Downsizing, which I had not heard of. I chuckled, nearly…

The appeal of simpler times, as imagined by wealthy white guys

Although my primary educational training is in biological science, I’ve always loved history. To help put myself through college, I worked as a National Park Ranger in the city where I grew up, Lowell Massachusetts. Lowell is a historical park that provides a look at a remarkable transition in American history: industrialization. Based on the area’s convenient and renewable water power which could be harnessed to run looms and thread spinners, a bunch of wealthy white guys used industrial espionage to steal plans from British cotton mills. …

Activists spend all day peddling nonsense. If they spent that kind of time on constructive issues…sigh.

This morning’s local radio station offered me an upcoming program called “Battling Misinformation And ‘Bad Advice’ About Science And Your Health” and they said that a doctor was going to be on to talk about it. I was intrigued, but wary. This same program once used a link to Mike Adams’ site as “evidence” on a topic.

OnPointRadio once used uber-crank Mike Adams’ conspiracy and misinformation site as a “reading list” item. I got it corrected, but it was there for a while before I saw it.

Paid campaigners are spending all day trying to get their messages out. Sometimes they succeed by getting items published in legitimate outlets, giving oxygen to their conspiracy…

A handy Somerville City guide to local events, meetings, programs and more

Sample ResiStat newsletter from May 2018

Festival season has begun again in Somerville. There are so many things happening once we all dig out from the snow, it’s often hard to keep track. One way for residents to stay informed about upcoming city events is with the weekly Resistat eNewsletter.

On an unassuming page on the city’s website, you can sign up for this handy resource: You can get phone or text alerts about key city issues from this page such as construction notices or snow emergencies. …

A trip to Bangladesh with your friends might be a great idea, but that won’t be possible for everyone. But you can certainly sit with them and watch this film about how a pair of Dutch urbanites examine the issues surrounding GMOs.

The film is free to watch on Vimeo, and will take just an hour of your time.

The tale begins with an exploration of the objections that many well-fed Westerners have about genetically engineered foods. About how unnatural it is to mess with the genes in plants — and Hidde Boersma asks his friend if he’s ever…


Mary Mangan PhD is a genomics scientist, with credentials in microbiology, immunology, plant cell biology, and and molecular biology.

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