Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Musings: Pure Money

Flying over the mainland, I'm struck by the linear quality of our creations — highways, house lots, farm fields, blocky buildings — compared to the organic shapes of mountains, rivers, lakes, clouds. 

How is that we've departed so sharply from the model set by nature? It seems we've disconnected at the most basic level.


Still, it's fun to fly over a continent, because there's so much to see down below.


I traveled through three time zones and four airports yesterday enroute to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where I'll be spending the rest of the week listening to lectures by top scientists and interviewing some of them.


This morning I met Dr. Kevin Folta, chairman of the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida. He'd had an unpleasant weekend, having been featured in a front-page, top-of-the-fold, Sunday New York Times article headlined “Food Industry Enlisted Academics in G.M.O. Lobbying War, Emails Show.”

In its typical hypocritical fashion, the anti-GMO crowd was quick to seize on the report that Monsanto had given Folta a $25,000 grant for his science education outreach program. Using social media, they generated numerous unflattering memes challenging Folta's credibility, including an image of him with Pinocchio's nose.

But they totally ignored the article's report on Charles M. Benbrook, who until recently held a post at Washington State University. As The Times reported:

The organic foods industry funded his research there and paid for his trips to Washington, where he helped lobby for labels on foods with genetically modified ingredients.

Mmm, isn't having your research fully funded, and engaging in active political lobbying, a bit more damning than receiving an unrestricted — as in no strings attached — grant for science education?

But in any case, does getting money from a corporation necessarily mean you no longer can think or act independently? Shouldn't we consider the work product, and not just the funding source? Look at NPR and PBS. Both are respected news sources, yet they take money from a wide range of corporate sponsors, including the Koch Brothers.

The NYT article and ensuing fallout raises the question of who should be funding educational outreach, scientific research and the development of research into usable technology. If one believes that any corporate involvement leaves a taint, that pretty much leaves the taxpayers to foot the entire bill. And as we've already seen across the nation, taxpayers aren't keen on paying any more.

Which brings us to this question: Is there any truly pure money?

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pure money?
As we learned from Der Fuhrer "I was only following orders".
Where a person's integrity begins or ends is the balance.
“I hope that real love and truth are stronger in the end than any evil or misfortune in the world.”
― Charles Dickens
Good and evil. In today's world, our leaders ignore laws, lie and humiliate all honor and truth for money.
Virtue and the quest for a good life and leaving this world in better shape than we were born into seems to be a joke.
Morals, Good and evil have turned into a bunch of horseshit.
On a good note, whether a person likes Mayor Carvalho or not..he is the hardest working Mayor in history. He attends all functions, is attentive to many whiners and somehow maintains a good outlook. He is a good man.
And Joan, whatever you bring out with your fine writing is a good thing. You stir thought and bring a fine texture to the GMO/herbicide debate.
I wish Da Hoos would back off a little and listen and learn. He and others on the Council seem to have forgotten their duty. Shucks another word "duty".

I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy. - Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Pure money? Maybe. Pure people? Definitely.

Anonymous said...

"How is that we've departed so sharply from the model set by nature? It seems we've disconnected at the most basic level."

I think it is just that square buildings constructed at right angles are stronger and easier to build than ones with funny shapes. We could make the buildings to look like lakes or like nature's fibanchi shells but they would be way too expensive to build. And putting cow genes into pigs for enhanced milk production at factory farms is departing us from nature more than making square buildings, IMHO.

I am OK with plant GMO (but I would like labels - although I realize that industry will never let that happen) but I don't see ever supporting transgenic GMO with animals. THE GMO scientists tell us its safe - funded by GMO companies, and the anti-GMO activists tell me its unsafe, funded by anti-GMO activists. And the climate change proponents and the climate change deniers all loudly claiming exclusive rights to their truth - and they people on either side of either debate call me an idiot when I think the other one might be right...I just end up hating the debate itself.

For me I just can't believe any of them, and just try to be nice to my family and co-workers every day and make enough money to eat mostly organic, just in case.

They will still be arguing about GMO long after I am dead. The only difference will be Monsanto's share price.

"I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy."
Loved this quote. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I'd like the GE scientists to design bacon withers so it can walk me home from the grocery, self fr,y then walk into my mouth.

Anonymous said...

The difference between the climate change - global warming and gmo debates is that we are seeing the tangible effects of climate change. Locally, no trades and reversed wet seasons, internationally, disappearing islands, melting glaciers, hotter and longer summers, increasingly acidic oceans and on and on. I thought I'd be dead and it would be the next generation's problem, but here we are. Toast.

Ed Coll said...

Joan said, ".... raises the question of who should be funding educational outreach, scientific research and the development of research into usable technology. If one believes that any corporate involvement leaves a taint, that pretty much leaves the taxpayers to foot the entire bill. And as we've already seen across the nation, taxpayers aren't keen on paying any more."

It leaves more than a taint. It leaves a stain and a big laundry bill as well. Consider this:

If the taxpayer foots the bill the results would enter the public domain and the public or anyone could use the results without further compensation. When corporations fund academic research the results are typically proprietary and do not enter into the public domain, but are owned by the corporations and sold back to the public at a profit.

Which method is the best bargain for the taxpayer and in the public's best interest?

One need but look at the Internet for the answer. Beginning in the 1970s the Internets protocols were developed by the U.S. Government (Advanced Research Project Agency, U.S. Dept of Defense, National Science Foundation) and U.S. public educational institutions including the University of California, University of Hawaii, and the University of Utah, among others. These non-proprietary protocols that make the Internet possible were funded entirely by the U.S. taxpayers.

I would call that the bargain of the century.

Don't worry the corporations are also profiting nicely from these taxpayer funded non-proprietary protocols. I seriously doubt the rapid growth of the internet would have occurred if a few corporations, instead of the public, owned these protocols and for certain using the Internet would be more expensive.

If the biotech corporations would like to be good neighbors and unite with citizens to fund public educational institutional research and then make the results non-propriety I urge them to do so posthaste.

Anonymous said...

6:09 why is it that some people always insist that the "End is near" ?

Anonymous said...

@ 9:45. People who say scientists are being bought off by funding sources are people who can be bought off themselves. It's part of their own value system they project on others.

Anonymous said...

‘Why Most Published Research Findings Are False' by Prof. John P Ionnadis.
Abstract follows:

‘There is increasing concern that most current published research findings are false. The probability that a research claim is true may depend on study power and bias, the number of other studies on the same question, and, importantly, the ratio of true to no relationships among the relationships probed in each scientific field. In this framework, a research finding is less likely to be true when the studies conducted in a field are smaller; when effect sizes are smaller; when there is a greater number and lesser preselection of tested relationships; where there is greater flexibility in designs, definitions, outcomes, and analytical modes; when there is greater financial and other interest and prejudice; and when more teams are involved in a scientific field in chase of statistical significance. Simulations show that for most study designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true. Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias (1).’
--------
1: http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124

Anonymous said...

Tax dollars are no less tainted. A great deal of government grants is used to further political agendas.,to get more money, confirm the goal of the grant. Simple.,

Anonymous said...

@9:45 p.m. after collecting data off the internet. It is the intent of a lot of entrepreneurs to use this information to make money in some form or fashion. When these entreprenuers gets big enough, they also become "corporate" that's the way of the world. And eventually these entreprenuers start doing their own "business transactions" (another word used to say lobbing / back door deals). All you quoted was a individual starting a business off of someones information before they could become a big "corporation" it's all a matter of time when you deal with the entreprenueral success.

"If the biotech corporations would like to be good neighbors and unite with citizens to fund public educational institutional research and then make the results non-propriety I urge them to do so posthaste." You have every right to do so as an individual such as yourself and help out this community. I see these biotech corporations doing a whole lot more than you and I.

Plus, once the biotech corporations fund this public educational institutional research and make the findings public for all. I think the $25K had no strings attached. Wouldn't this money fit your comments?

This is just my opinion. it may or may not verbally fit your likings. but the actions does fit the intent of the pursuit of entreprenueral endeavors.

Have a great hump day all!

Anonymous said...

Not TRUE. The Kauai syndicate pig mafia have paid many slaves to set me up and try and hurt, harm, kill and spread defamation on me.

These people collected money, house payments, county and state jobs, trips to Las Vegas, judicial favors, and much more.

There is factual evidence of this and I wouldn't take a cent to set someone up and or spread defamation.

These people were manipulated in believing that they were doing the right thing working for people who swore oaths to protect and defend the Kauai Mafia.

Anonymous said...

3:08 a.m. world's getting hotter and who knows what the future holds? The changes that we have experienced - dying trades, drought in the winter, torrential rain in the summer - may not be the end of the world but it is a much different climate. And you don't need to be a scientist to observe the changes. I'm hoping that the trades and the accompanying rains return to "normal" but the trends don't look promising. And that ain't good for farmers, hoteliers, teachers and students (front page of today's garden island), or anyone else.

Anonymous said...

@8:18 am, It would not be a normal day on Kauai without your daily dose of schizophrenia.

Anonymous said...

There must be a way to turn Ocean water to drinkable water. With "global warming" and the rising ocean, this could be a good solution to the drought problems. If the scientist can make a pig give more milk to her piglets, changing salt water to drinking water would be a whiz. Oooo forgot, no pure money to be made there.

Anonymous said...

Yeah just like your grandma barking at the moon.

Anonymous said...

Or your wetback drug cartels bringing ICE to Kauai.

Anonymous said...

@5:45 Of COURSE scientists are being bought off by funding sources. Every day. My oldest brother worked as he chief environmental officer for the Port Of Tampa, Florida, protecting the public interest. He was hired away by a major international engineering firm and spent his well-paid career defending each and every construction project his firm want to fast-track to approval. Did he find diffent results depending on whom he was serving? Of course. Do I blame him for being "bought off"? Well, I understand why he did it. Money talks.

Anonymous said...

@11:24 Seawater desalination is real and happening in the middle east and California. It is done as collaborative projects between public and private industry. It has its own challenges and environmental effects but is becoming popular to combat drought. You can google "Ashkelon desalination"

Anonymous said...

Pure money is the 300K Tim Bynum got from the taxpayers.
Pure and simple. Pure greed and pure politics. Rent out an illegal room, get a cheap ricecooker, piss off a couple of the wrong tidas, make a backroom deal with Jay Furfaro, sue and receive.
Take the 300K pure money, gather a few other Fistee Rimshots and bid on the MarryWanna Scam Dope Clinic. Big Boy Bynum's Pure Money and Tantrum Twisted Organic Thai Stick Shoppe coming soon to a school near you.

Anonymous said...

"If the biotech corporations would like to be good neighbors and unite with citizens to fund public educational institutional research and then make the results non-propriety [sic] I urge them to do so posthaste."
-Ed Coll

And yet, Ed would be there to tut-tut about corporate money tainting academia. He also fails to grasp that the proprietary information becomes public. Even patents eventually expire.

Anonymous said...

Ooooooh! Organic Thai stick. With organic hash oil spread on organic rolling paper! Ah, the foggy memories! And it stoned me to my soul.