Commentary to the International Monsanto Tribunal verdict

Daimonie (Facebook) blogs about science and scepticism. In October 2016, I wrote a post just before the International Monsanto Tribunal. Since then, I also started on my series regarding GMOs in general. But back in October 2016, I concluded:
As expected, the entire Fake Tribunal is a theatre. This is not a scientific conference, nor a court of law. It is quite literally a gathering of people that use pseudo-science to promote "natural" and "organic" alternatives to conventional and contemporary agriculture. Their most important part is in no way their data, their science, or the interests they represent; rather, it is their ability to form incomprehensive gish gallop combined with fear-mongering.
By doing so, they cast doubt on the credibility of science and technology. Worse, they negatively influence public opinion on contemporary agricultural technology that has the potential to greatly improve upon agricultural practises, in ways that benefit health…

Let's talk about GMOs, part two: What are we using them for?

Introduction In my first post, I discussed what DNA is and how it relates to phenotypical (outward) change through the central dogma of molecular biology. In the second post I discussed the techniques of genetic engineering, including the novel and prodigal technique called Crispr/Cas9.

We will now look at the current uses of the technology. I  do notwant to include research purposes in this overview, but in the next post because they are very relevant. We'll start with the most important current application, and move down from there towards areas that are not fully developed yet.
Medicine I think this is our most important current application. We've already covered Insulin when discussing the technique, but there are others. The general name they use for this application is biologics made by recombinant DNA technology. A more common name is bio-pharmaceutical, also known as biologic(al) medical product. In principle, bio-pharmaceutical refers to any pharmaceutical whose man…

Let's talk about GMOs, part one: What techniques are used?

In my previous blog post, I discussed what DNA is and how it relates to phenotypical change through to central dogma of molecular biology. In this post, we will discuss techniques currently in use.
The techniques I want to discuss are not only those that have been used in genetic engineering, such as those used commercially to engineer the Bt. crops. I also want to discuss those that are currently in use, particularly Crispr. The latter is a very recent technique that has revolutionised the way genetic engineering works.The goal is not to give an extensive review of techniques, but rather to give readers some insight into common techniques.
Producing Insulin Synthetic biology doesn't make nice stories. The amount of different tools (enzymes) used and their abbreviated names obfuscate the essence of any story.I want to discuss a few specific tools.

Let's first discuss the bacterium; E. coli. This bacterium can be found in the lower intestine of most warm-blooded o…

Let's talk about GMOs, series introduction.

Introduction Over the past two weeks, I have seen the responses to my blog post and the posts of others. I see a lot of confusion on the techniques, results, safety, ethics and current application of GMOs. However, I am well aware that I do not know everything. Let's look at various aspects of GMOs and learn together.
What I want to do is to look at the entire process of GMOs. In this post, we will focus on what the concept is. What is DNA? How does it work? Can we use that for agriculture and other things? In the next post, we will look at the techniques necessary to realise that concept. This will introduce a striking difference, as a revolution towards a new and fancy technique called CRISPR/Cas9 has just taken place. 
When we know how they are made, we can look at what we are currently using them for. Can we see how the technique has been applied currently? Of course, after looking at the past and present we will move on to the future. What can we use them for? What are ideas…

Rebuke: Climate Change in 12 minutes - The Skeptic's Case

Introduction Over on The Chronicle Flask's page, a climate change "skeptic" responded to a share of a guardian article on Trump's "crackdown of politicized science".
He shared a youtube movie, which is relatively short. I'll reply to it here. It's called Climate Change in 12 Minutes - The Skeptic's Case. It is authored by a Dr. David Evans, who is not unknown.
Rebuke The first claim is that they checked the climate models versus the latest data, and the climate models got all the major predictions wrong. Beyond the obvious request of a (peer-reviewed) citation, the claim opposes various papers. A few examples: doi:10.1038/nclimate3079: "climate sensitivity estimates have now been reconciled and are consistent with the modelled range".doi:10.1038/nclimate3066" Correcting for these biases and accounting for wider uncertainties in radiative forcing based on recent evidence, we infer an observation-based best estimate for TCR of 1.6…

On the International Monsanto Tribunal

Introduction In October 2016, the Monsanto Tribunal, to hold Monsanto accountable for human rights violations, crimes against humanity and ecocide, takes place in The Hague. That sounds scary and official, doesn't it?
The organic movement is organising a fake trial, set up deliberately so that people might take it seriously. For such weighty issues, it was announced early - more than a year before the event takes place. Even then, people got confused and needed to be explained that this was merely theatre
Their victims of course genuinely care for the future of humanity and the planet we inhabit. There is a rumour that the 'Modern Revolutionary' and 'Brilliant Scientist' Vandana Shiva is only asking for a first class flight and a 40 thousand speaking fee. A true bargain, and you can see how much she cares (source). The budget for the tribunal is 400 thousand euro (source) or 500 thousand euro (source), which makes you wonder what they want to use it for. Their b…