Code for life

Making a list of books to share? Link to review or author sites, not that company

Grant Jacobs Dec 08, 2018

It’s that time of year that people share lists of books that others might like to read. Often book lists offer a link to where a reader might get the book. Please don’t link to companies. Link to review or author sites. If you’re like me, you love to see new reading ideas. Even if they make your wallet wince… … Read More

Neti pots to brain infections

Grant Jacobs Dec 08, 2018

A few years ago I posted this startling picture. I’ll admit using neti pots looked pretty potty to me then. It still does. I thought it looked like the sort of thing someone would do for a party trick. Y’know: eww, look at the water come out my other nostril. A quick look around the internet revealed it has … Read More

Genome-edited babies – what’s the worry? (#1)

Grant Jacobs Dec 03, 2018

He Jiankui’s[1] experiment has brought the world’s first deliberately gene-edited babies into the world, twins nicknamed Nana and Lulu. He edited the DNA of their embryos, hoping to make them resistant to infection by HIV. I see a lot of people writing comments like, “Genome-edited babies – what’s the worry? We’re going to start it sometime. We can start here.” … Read More

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Human gene-edited babies: hold the horses

Grant Jacobs Nov 28, 2018

Time moves on; this story has too. Readers might like to try my more recent piece, Genome-edited babies – what’s the worry?, which covers the biological aspects of what was done. For those following the news that a Hong Kong-based researcher claims to have brought to term human gene-edited babies: hold the horses. I’ve been trying to put a story on … Read More

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Glyphosate and TIME magazine: writer employed by advocacy group a dubious choice

Grant Jacobs Nov 24, 2018

TIME magazine has a story on DeWayne ‘Lee’ Johnston who took Monsanto to court claiming RoundUp caused his non-Hodgkin lymphoma.[1] The story has obvious appeal, but is crying out for balance and it’s provenance is, to be kind, awkward. I’d love to read his account of his experiences since the trial — but from a source I … Read More

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The origin of a false claim: projecting demons

Grant Jacobs Oct 24, 2018

Seeing the origin of a false claim from its very beginning gives insight into where they come from. Contentious topics have many claims online, many completely untrue. Knowing how false claims arise might help us resolve them. It’s also a reminder if you see a claim, especially an emotive one, it pays to check first. Here’s one from people projecting … Read More

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NZ EPA is to review 40 chemicals, not glyphosate

Grant Jacobs Oct 18, 2018

The NZ EPA is to review 40 chemicals it has selected as of highest concern. This list doesn’t include glyphosate. We all like to know what we’re up against when using chemicals, so that we can avoid unnecessary risk. That’s one of the aims of the EPA:[1] to offer rulings and information to help us. I’m interested in genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) … Read More

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Glyphosate is to go back to trial

Grant Jacobs Oct 13, 2018

Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos[1] has written a Tentative Ruling that glyphosate is to go back to trial. I’m not a lawyer, but her ruling looks pretty damning. Let’s have a look at what it says. What’s a Tentative Ruling? Tentative rulings are preliminary indications of rulings ahead of the final ruling. (Lawyers indicate these tentative rulings rarely differ substantially … Read More

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A foil to the populist scourge: towards a Science Commission for New Zealand?

Grant Jacobs Sep 24, 2018

While writing about the demise of Jacqueline Rowarth’s role as head of the New Zealand Environment Protection Agency (NZ EPA), Peter Griffin (former head of the Science Media Centre) also covers progress towards a NZ Science Commission. His piece provides an useful opportunity to revisit this initiative, raised during the election, and how it seems to be going sideways since. Read More

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