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the human cost of the farm bill blame-game

It’s really easy to play the blame game: Simply put, Washington, D.C. is currently maximizing its unideal partisan tendencies and getting nothing done. We can blame the left, we can blame the right (some more than others), but in reality, something — anything — just needs to happen. Continue reading

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the real world food prize

In his recent New York Times column on the World Food Prize, Mark Bittman — “prominent” foodie writer — voiced his concern over the monopolization of the World Food Prize by “big-ag.” I read this on my phone while laying in bed this morning, and became outraged: What gives Mark Bittman ANY authority or qualifications to make the claims he did and discredit these honorable scientists who deserve every ounce of the credit? Why has society allowed this opinionated, often arrogant and elitist-toned writer the credibility he has in this space? I understand it is an opinion column, by nature, Continue reading

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science communication: whose job is it?

“These are the general public. They are sincere, intelligent people who just don’t know the lingo,” actor Alan Alda told a sold-out auditorium of scientists at his recent lecture at Cornell University I had a chance to report on.  They’re also the funders, and the people you go to in Congress to get money from for your project.”

As a student interested in science communication and policy, this really hit home: the “general public” is not dumb; our representatives in government — the ones who lobby for funding for our research — are not [typically] dumb. Continue reading

engineering proposition 37

In 1911, California became the 10th state to establish a ballot initiative political structure, under the pressure of progressive Republican Governor Hiram Johnson. Though amended since, this unique system has given Californians the opportunity to launch political agendas, predominantly surrounding morality and civil rights, which other states may not have the capacity or legal incentive to pursue. One example is Proposition 37, which placed the issue of labeling of genetically engineered foods, consumer rights, and transparency in the food system into the limelight in 2012. In this attached paper, Continue reading