Antibiotics and Industrial Livestock Production: Not Just Superbugs

The FDA is finally issuing regulations and recommendations on use of antibiotics in livestock! They are unfortunately voluntary regulations but considering the FDA proposed doing this in 1977 but got shutdown by Congress, this is good news. It’s taken more than thirty years for the FDA to officially say that many uses of antibiotics in meat and dairy production are dangerous.

Is HFCS killing honeybees?

This morning, while browsing the social networks, I was linked to two different pages about a new study that is claimed to show that pesticide-laden high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in honeybees. One was a retweet from William Gibson linking to the Harvard press release. The other were some friends linking to a Mongobay story.

So that’s kind of worrying, right?

Keystone Jetty Dive

This past Sunday I went on a dive at Keystone Jetty on Whidbey Island. The dive was organized loosely by my instructor, Corey, from Seattle Scuba. I ended up diving with the instructor because I didn’t have a buddy going in — figuring out how you buddy up was probably the most stressful part for me. I just don’t know all the etiquette yet. Fortunately everyone is pretty cool about it.

Science and Journalism ... and Fear Mongering

Something that frequently causes me to have a nearly uncontrollable feeling of hopeless frustration is science reporting. Science reporting is frequently inaccurate, exaggerates (or misinterprets) conclusions, ignores caveats or the degree of certainty. This is normal in all journalism and science journalism is no different. But, fortunately and unfortunately a lot of reporting these days are actually more informal posts on websites (hosted by traditional news organizations or not). This type of reporting often feeds narratives about a particular story, which influences the tone and content of “traditional” (printed) stories on a topic. I don’t actually consider this a fundamentally bad development, but it does mean that if someone proposes a particularly scary interpretation of a scientific event (a new study or new product, etc.), a lot of the reporting becomes wildly inaccurate. This is particularly common in agriculture related science.