Code for life

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

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

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

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

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

Sticky thoughts on where research can most effectively influence policy

Grant Jacobs Aug 30, 2018

New Zealand’s Chief Science Advisor (CSA), Professor Juliet Gerrard, has been asking where research can most effectively influence policy – one post-it note at a time, (Posted 21st August ~10:45pm, NZST; click on image to open tweet.) The comments after this piece are open for readers to offer their thoughts on where science should best influence policy. Please do! … Read More

Food Evolution – screening at Queenstown August 31st

Grant Jacobs Aug 27, 2018

Food Evolution, the movie, is screening at Queenstown at the end of the month. If you’re in the area, check it out. It’s free: you just have to register at EventBrite. The screening and panel discussion is in the Clancy’s Meeting Room, Level 5, Rydges Lakeland Resort, from 7pm on Fri. 31 August. The film is narrated by well-known science communicator … Read More

Newspaper warns of human-induced climate change in 1912

Grant Jacobs Aug 17, 2018

We’ve had more than 100 years of warnings of human-induced climate change now. It’s nearer 200 years, really. Before records were taken they would be extrapolations rather than observations. Extrapolations are harder for those outside of science to trust, but extrapolations are part of what science does. Looking to where things might go is useful. This pithy, insightful newspaper article … Read More

USA Court ruling on glyphosate— the role of IARC and Eugenie Sage’s call

Grant Jacobs Aug 13, 2018

A lot has been said about a recent court case ruling about Monsanto’s Roundup. Let’s look just at the role of IARC and Eugenie Sage’s call for the New Zealand Environment Protection Agency (NZ EPA) review their stance on Roundup. The role IARC seems to be very little understood. Many media reports (worldwide) on this court case offer a throw-away … Read More