My SkepticInk Blog

All, my new blog is up and running.  Here is the direct link: http://skepticink.com/smilodonsretreat/

Please stop by and say hi.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Chocolate Banana Bread

Chocolate Banana Bread

1 ¾ cups all purpose flour

¼ cup cocoa

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup chocolate chips

2 eggs

½ cup butter, melted

½ teaspoon vanilla

3 very ripe bananas, smashed

½ cup nuts, chopped (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Spray or grease a loaf pan
  3. Combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
  4. Mix very well
  5. In another bowl, combine the mashed bananas, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla
  6. Fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture until the batter is thick
  7. Fold in nuts and chocolate pieces
  8. Pour batter into the loaf pan
  9. Bake about 50-65 minutes (the center should rise and a toothpick should come out clean)
  10. Remove from the loaf pan and cool

Image

This is some seriously good bread. This is called a ‘quick bread’ in that you don’t have to let it rise, beat it down, and let it rise again. The baking powder and soda react chemically to create carbon dioxide gas, instead of live yeast creating the gas. Quick breads tend to be denser than risen breads, but are still very tasty.

You can do a lot with this too. For a bakery style top, put some course sugar (brown sugar or even sugar crystals) on top. Instead of chocolate chips, I use small dark chocolate candies and chop them into one eighths. Just roughly, no need to be super exact.

You also need to think about if you like chunks of banana or just the taste. I just roughly mash my bananas with a fork. One pass and they are mostly mashed, but I like chunks. You can mash them until smooth. A fork on a plastic cutting board works perfectly for this.

Beware when checking for doneness. The If you insert a toothpick or cake tester and you hit a piece of chocolate (and you will), that will smear chocolate all over your tester. You are looking for batter, not chocolate. If there is any batter, then continue baking. The top should be firm and the openings should by mostly dry, not squishy.

Posted in Culture, Recipe | Tagged , ,

Cassandra’s Tears: Time for a Change

All,

First, thank you all for staying with my blog for this long.  New Year’s Eve two years ago, I made a resolution to write a finish a book.  I started it and I was doing very well.  I was writing between 400 and 2,000 words a day on it.  When I got to about 30,000 words, I realized it just wasn’t working for me.  I started almost completely over and did another 30k-35k words.

I had a pretty good main character, but no real plot.  That’s been my problem, I love to write, but I’m crummy at making plots.  I think too fast.  I can’t get the words down fast enough to keep up with the images in my head.

So, I turned back to blogging and started Cassandra’s Tears.  For most of that year, I averaged a post every 2 days.  I’ve been keeping pretty much on that level for this year as well.

That work has paid off.  I have been asked to join a blog network.  This is new territory, but familiar.  I’m looking forward to it.

My blog will be called Smilodon’s Retreat.

It hasn’t been activated yet.  I’ll put up a direct link when it’s ready (hopefully this week).

The blog network Skeptic Ink Network.

I don’t know how much Cassandra’s Tears will continue.  If I can do everything that I do here, then I will completely move.

There’s lots of good blogs there, with several prominent authors.  Take a look around and I hope everyone decides to follow me over.

See ya

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

How to Report a GM-Feed Study

Turns out Seralini’s paper isn’t the first long-term study of GM-feed on rats.  Another one was done and published in 2008.  Unfortunately, it’s in Japanese.  Here’s the abstract and data report.

Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Environment, GM-Food, Science, Skepticism, Society | Tagged , | 3 Comments

OpenEarth Anti-GM Paper

I really didn’t mean to get into the GM controversy.  I like the evolution controversy.  It’s fun.  The science is settled.

The issue of genetically modified food and organisms isn’t quite as settled.  And there’s a huge movement, based on belief, about it.

Here’s the deal.  I stand for science.  To date, in all of human history, the scientific method is the ONLY method that exists for gaining and verifying knowledge.  I don’t care whether GM-foods are safe or not.  If the science says they are safe, then I’m happy with that.  If the science says they are not safe, then I’m happy with that too.

I don’t have a horse in this race.  But I do insist that people using science to support their ideas use valid science.

I had this article posted for me today. Continue reading

Posted in Biology, Culture, Debate, Environment, GM-Food, Science, Society | Tagged , | 1 Comment

GM Corn Long Term Study – Again

I’ve had some requests for additional commentary on one of the major issues with this long term genetically modified food study.

First of all, the study claims that GM food and Roundup ™ cause cancer and kill rats.  That’s wrong.  They cannot make this claim.

Second, the problems with this study do not mean that GM food and Roundup ™ is 100% safe.

The study is so poorly designed and analyzed that no claims can be made about this study.  Anyone, and I mean anyone, who makes a claim using this study, doesn’t have a clue about how science works.

Let’s go through a simulated question and answer period.  I like to think that I would have used this if I had been given a review copy of the paper.

Me: “So, the male rats eating 33% GM corn sprayed with pesticide all died.  All ten of them.”

Seralini: “Yes.”

Me: “But the control rats, who didn’t get any GM feed or pesticide treatment died of the same causes at 70% or 7 of the ten rats?”

Seralini: “Yes.”

Me: “So what killed the control rats?”

Seralini: “That’s not in our report.”

Me: “But what was it?”

Seralini: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Then how do you know that whatever killed the control rats didn’t also kill the experimental rats?”

And that’s the entire issue right there.  If every single control rat had survived with zero tumors, then one might be able to make the claim that there was a link between the cancers and the GM feed/pesticide.

But that’s not what happened.  In fact, in the male rats, out of 9 experimental groups, the control groups had MORE deaths than 8 of them.

Something was killing the rats, but there can be no link drawn between the GM corn and the deaths.  Because we don’t know what killed the control rats, so we (and I mean no one) can say that the deaths in the experimental groups was not caused by the same thing that killed the control rats.  We simply don’t know.

If Seralini had bothered to do a statistical analysis of his work, then he would have seen that instantly.  Honestly, myself and a bunch of other scientists are shocked that this paper was cleared for publication.  I think (and this happened to Seralini before) that is was cleared to prevent claims of ‘suppressing’ anti-GM experiments.  Which is just conspiracy theory writ large.

People have all kinds of idiotic ideas about what scientists are like.  Unfortunately, they spend to much time reading Spiderman and not enough time watching NOVA.

It was probably hoped that everyone would see that there can be no links and the claims made by Seralini are ridiculous.  But Seralini prevented that and had a press conference.   Of course, public opinion is not how science is done.  Unfortunately, morons who don’t understand that humans have been genetically modifying crops and food animals for centuries are trying to destroy the very group that is most likely to support them… if the evidence is there.

Here are some links to papers that show the other side.

Sub cronic feeding study in the same breed of rats: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691512004668

“These results demonstrated that the GM soybean 3Ø5423 × 40-3-2 is as safe as non-GM soybeans.”

———————-

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691512004231

“No detectable Cry1Ac-M protein was found in the serum of rats after feeding diets containing GM maize for 3 months. The results demonstrated that BT-38 maize is as safe as conventional non-GM maize.”

————————

There was a similar study to the last one done in pigs. In that one, no trans genes were found in tissues or serum of the pigs. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0036141

“There was no evidence of cry1Ab gene or Bt toxin translocation to organs or blood following long-term feeding.”

In other words, the common myth that transgenes appear in the tissue of food animals is just that… a myth.

Posted in Biology, Culture, Environment, Science, Skepticism, Society | Tagged ,

Personal and Private Are Meaningless Now

Another in my “this just came up and inspired me” series.  Should we be concerned with our personal and private lives being mixed in with our public lives?

Thought 1

Why are we different people publicly and privately?  I guess this comes from the old saying “Who you are is what you do when no one is watching.”  Think about celebrities and politicians, they have very little private life and for the most part, no one cares.  Politicians lie, cheat, commit illegal acts all the time, it’s made totally public and no one cares.  Of course, I think that says more about their personal power than anything about normal people.

Everyone has secrets.  But it’s not a secret if anyone else knows.  It’s easy to keep a secret if two people know… and one of them is dead.  But since the person who knows your secret is probably your best friend and/or spouse, then it’s not considered within the realm of friendship to kill them.  And they will blab to someone… probably.

I try not to, but if you tell me something, be aware that my wife will probably know sooner or later.  But if you ask me to keep a secret, I do my best.

But our secrets, whatever they are, are secret for a reason. There are some good reasons.  There are some bad reasons.  But they are reasons for keeping a secret.  If you’re a homosexual and live in Alabama or Louisiana, then there’s a good reason to keep your sexual preferences a secret.  People have been known to be killed for that.  On the other hand, if your big secret is that you really hate football (again, except in Louisiana or Alabama), then no one is going to kill you.  They might think you’re weird, but probably not as weird as uncle Hank.

Yes, there are certain secrets that we all keep.  But if they are that secret, then they shouldn’t see the light of day anyway.  Certainly, sure as hell, not be blabbed about on the internet.

Thought 2

What ever you say or do will get out.  If you publicly say or do something, then it will get out.  It’s OK to have a drink at the office party.  It’s not so OK to get roaring drunk and do a strip tease on the copy machine.  Anything that potentially happens in public WILL be posted to the internet.

Will this stuff that happened at a bar, when you were 19 have an impact on your current life as a respectable 38-year-old company manager?  It SHOULDN’T.

But you have to realize that 90% of the population of this country still has the mental maturity of a 6th grader.  The simple fact that The Simpsons went 17 odd seasons is sufficient evidence.  These are people who laugh at fart jokes.  These are people who think a film should be so chaotic as to render linear thought impossible.

And these are the people who spend thousands of hours searching for people they know on the internet to make fun of.  It is sad, but true.

So, yes, everything that is public or becomes public about you has the potential to impact your life… even though it shouldn’t.

Here’s another demographic that, unfortunately, controls a vast chunk of this country.  The fundamentalist Christian.  Even the calmest and friendly of these types will sneer when the picture of the butterfly on your ass gets posted to the internet.  Did you forget the time you went to a Halloween party with your girlfriend as a dominatrix and you as her toy?  These people will NEVER forget that and that single image of you is all they will ever see… which really implies that they need to get out more, but I digress.

Thought 3

The internet is vast.  According to Cisco Systems, something like 10 million minutes of video will be streaming on the internet every second by 2015.  In other words, if you captured and played every bit (get it? bit?  nevermind) of video data in over one second, it would take you 190 years to watch it all.

That should give you a little piece of mind.  Honestly, unless you are a politician, a celebrity, or just stunningly hot, then 99.9999% of the population will ignore you because you are SO boring.  No one else cares, except a few friends and family…

Of course, those are the ones you really don’t want finding out about your secret obsession with vegetable peelers.

On the other hand, all bets are off if you do something so mind bogglingly nuts that you become an internet sensation.  It’s like Americas Funniest Home Videos, except it gets shared and networked and blogged about until you fifteen minutes of fame are up.  Then you go back to being nobody.  Except of course to those few coworkers who look at you with naked lust or like they are going to buy you a nice white jacket with sleeves in the back.

Thought 4

It doesn’t matter what you do.  With the possible exception of living in a third-world country or never leaving your home again… you have to go out.  The sheer ubiquity of cell phone cameras, web cams, security monitors, etc means that there is probably thousands of minutes of you on video in places you never thought about.

The security guy in the super-market has video of you scratching your ass on aisle 9.  But except for a giggle (he’s seen it a million times), he’s too busy watching the blond in the miniskirt bend over to get the beer (he’s saved that one to his private file).

This is a combination of all the above.  Things you think are private (or at least pseudo-private) are not.  You are all over everywhere.  The sheer number of cameras means that no one will probably ever notice when you tripped on the penny in the parking lot.  And even if they did see it… they don’t care.

However, all that being said, there are still things that shouldn’t be discussed.  If you are at an after hours office party, then the managers, VPs, etc, should EXPECT people to let their hair down a little.  They were the ones who came up with the cash bar at the office party, they bloody well need to understand that people are going to use it.

What matters is the work.  Is the job done?  On time?  Correctly?  Then what the hell else matters?  Who cares if the guy doing the work is a closet creationist?  Now, if he’s harassing the other employees, that’s a totally different animal.

People are paid, in their jobs, for accomplishing a task.  Provided that they meet the requirements of the company and do the job, then what difference does anything else make?  None.

Except that there are a bunch of immature people and fundamentalists and ‘I’m better than you’ type of people all over the place.  From your kids school all the way to the White House.  Those personal things do matter to them because they think it matters to you.  And they can control you more effectively that way.

If you are scared to talk at work about how rough the work is, then no one is going to fix it.  Of course, the bosses may want it that way, or the company may be in rough shape.

If you are scared to stand up to politicians who are trying to take away your rights, then they do control you.  They can make new laws to do whatever they want and you won’t do a thing about it.

Everyone has a personal life, but the boundary between personal/private and public are blurring radically right now.  Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Myspace, and all the other social networking sites are both a boon and a curse.  I just about only talk to my best friend in the whole universe on Facebook.  But I have managers on my Facebook and I’ve flatly refused some of my family on Facebook.

Do I have to be careful?  I’m pretty careful anyway.  Plus, by now, with all the political posting, most everyone has muted my feed anyway, so I’m just another faceless mass on their friend list.

Posted in Culture, Skepticism, Society, Technology | Tagged , , ,

Taxes vs. Standard of Living

This is another “I read this and started thinking about it” post.  So some guy on the internet stated that Obama wanted to raise taxes to 100%.  Hmmm… first, that sounds more like what the Republicans want (are actively trying) to do to the middle class.  Second, would that be so bad?

Where I’m from (SE Texas), the government is 6 of the top ten employers.  We’re talking county, schools, universities, prisons, etc here.  So more taxes mean more government JOBS (not welfare) and more government SPENDING on things that generate jobs, like highway construction and research and the billions of things that the government buys and does.  Now, the government shouldn’t be a jobs program, but if there’s nothing else (like in SE Texas)…

Anyway, yes, I’m half joking, a 100% tax rate isn’t quite what I mean.  But here’s an interesting blog post about a 90% top tax rate (which, BTW, this country has done).

But what I was thinking about is really standard of living.  I know that some European countries have very high taxes and some of them have the highest standards of living in the world.  So I thought I would put together a little information about standard of living and tax rates.

First, a disclaimer.  Tax rates are not easy to even estimate.  Every country seems to have variable rates depending on variable factors and many (like the US) seem to have effective tax rates that are much lower than the actual tax rate.  I make no claims as to any meaning behind this… it’s just… interesting.  (And remember my correlation versus causation talk yesterday?)

So, the nation with the highest standard of living in the world is…

Norway!  Yes, Norway, where the sun doesn’t shine and the snow is there to stay.  It’s tax rate? Corporate is 28%, Individual ranges from 0-47.8%, Payroll tax ranges from 0-14% and there’s a 25% sales tax on everything except food (14%) and transportation (8%).  That’s a fair bit of taxes.  Let’s compare with the US.

The United States of America is 4th on the list of countries with the highest standard of living.  Corporate taxes range from 0-39%, Individual from 0-35%, Payroll from 2.9-17.3%, and sales taxes from 0-10.25%.

That’s not a terrible comparison.

Let’s look at number 10 on the list of highest standard of living (as I write this, I don’t know what #10 is.)  Interesting, it’s Sweden.  Sweden has a Corporate rate of 26.3%, individual rate of 0-57%, payroll of 31.42% (woah!), and sales taxes of either 25%, 12%, or 6%.

Hmmm… This is an interesting exercise, but I don’t think we can draw much from it.  Nevermind.  Sometimes researching things doesn’t help and sometimes experiments show your ideas are wrong.
Here’s the links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_tax_rates

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Human_Development_Index

Posted in Culture, Government, Skepticism, Society | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Research on Round-up Tolerant GM Maize

As promised, I contacted the lead author of the paper and got a copy of it.

Honestly, after reading the abstract, I could see that this might be a good paper.  After reviewing the graphs (here), I had some concerns.  After reading the paper I have some major concerns.

First, I want to talk a bit about the authors.  This isn’t an ad hominem attack.  If you are talking to a car salesman about which car is best and he describes the virtues of a particular car, oh and by the way I have one for sale here… perhaps you should consider the source.

Now, the lead author, Gilles-Eric Séralini, is also the author of a couple of books.  One of which is title “Genetically Incorrect” and another is “We Can Clean Up”.  These are books talking about how genetic manipulation of organisms is wrong (ironic considering the lab rats he used for this research, but more on that in a bit) and are part of the organic food revolution in France.  Do you honestly think he’s unbiased?

One other point.  Séralini has been censured before for incorrect analysis of data and incorrect procedures.

Another author, Joël Spiroux de Vendômois, is a homeopath.  I’m sorry, but the fundamental principles of homeopathy (like cure like, dilution, rejection of the germ theory of disease) are all wrong.  I’ve talked briefly about this before and I’ll happily go into it again if anyone wants me to.  But the principles of homeopathy aren’t even wrong, they are impossible.

So, there’s two of the authors of this paper.  One seems to be committed to defeating genetic manipulation of organisms and the other (despite being a doctor) doesn’t believe that science works.  Now, would you buy a car from these two salesmen.

Again, this isn’t an ad hominem attack.  These people freely admit that they think these things, but they don’t state so in their paper under  the “conflict of interests” section.  That’s not to say that these people can’t do good science.  We should examine the science… so let’s do that.

My first major concern about the whole experiment was the sample size.  They are reporting in the graphic on page 4 that 10 males of the group that was fed Roundup sprayed GM maize died.  Ten animals.  That sounds bad.  Then we learn that there were only 10 animals in that group.  Holy crap, that’s a 100% death rate for those animals.

Now look at the control group.  All animals were fed non-GM maize with no pesticides.  Seven out of 10 died.  Holy crap!  That’s a 70% death rate.

Wait… what?

First let’s look at the actual groups of animals in this study.

  • 10 male rats fed normal diet
  • 10 male rats fed 11% GM Maize, not sprayed with round-up
  • 10 male rats fed 22% GM Maize, not sprayed with round-up
  • 10 male rats fed 33% GM Maize, not sprayed with round-up
  • 10 male rats fed 11% GM Maize, sprayed with round-up
  • 10 male rats fed 22% GM Maize, sprayed with round-up
  • 10 male rats fed 33% GM Maize, sprayed with round-up
  • 10 male rats fed normal diet, but their water had environmental levels of round-up in the water
  • 10 male rats fed normal diet, but their water had half agricultural levels of round-up in the water
  • 10 male rats fed normal diet, but their water had agricultural levels of round-up in the water

The females had similar groupings.  So, there were 100 male rats and 100 female rats divided into 10 groupings.  Then the control group of 10 was compared to each experimental group of 10.

That’s a major flaw in the study.  Most people won’t recognize it because it’s very subtle, but there is a huge statistical problem here.  The potential for cherry-picking is super strong here.  That’s not to say it happened, but then, the complete results of every animal are not published here.

There are simply too many variables.  A proper study would have been 50 male rats as a single test group and 50 male rats as a control group.  The test should also be done using a couple of different breeds (again, more on why that’s a concern in a minute).

Let’s talk for a minute about correlation and causation.

Correlation is the concept that two variables are moving at the same time.  Causation is the concept that one of the variables is moving because of the other one.  An example will serve.  We note that over the last 100 years, the global temperature of the Earth has increased.  We also note that over the same time period, that the number of pirates decreased.  Those two numbers are correlated.  Does anyone think that the lack of pirates is causing global warming (causation)?
Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Scientists use statistical measures to analyze data and determine if two variables are correlated.  There’s no (that is zero) statistical analysis in this paper.  Saying that 70% of a group died is not a statistical analysis.  In fact, one statistician is going to us this paper as an example of how NOT to do studies like this.

Now, let’s look at the causation.  Did the GM, non-sprayed maize group have tumors and death?  Did the GM, sprayed maize group have tumors and death?  Did the normal feed, drinking water with pesticide group have  tumors and death?

The answer is yes to every single one of those.  But note that I left one group out.  The control.

Did the control group have tumors and death.

That’s also a yes.  In fact, if you look at the charts, out of 6 comparisons with the control group, two of the control groups had more tumors and death than the experimental groups.  That is 33% of the tests did not show anything about what the press releases say.

Statistically speaking, it’s impossible to say that there’s even any correlation between the tested chemicals and crops and the tumors and deaths.  Why do I say that?  Because in every single category, the rats fed the most amount of GM Maize, sprayed GM maize, and pesticide laden water had a higher survival rate than the other two test groups.

This is extremely significant.  It means that something weird is going on.  The authors ‘conclusions’ about a threshold amount of pesticide or mitigating affects of the pesticide on the chemical pathways don’t hold up under this weird condition that the fewest deaths in three case and second fewest deaths in three cases were in the rats fed the most chemicals.

That’s roughly equivalent of saying that you have a better chance of survival if you get shot twice instead of shot once.

Now, I promised a comment on the rats.  The strain used in this experiment were all genetically engineered (by selection)* to be lab rats. These are highly inbred animals.  The particular strain used in this test were virgin albino Sprague-Dawley rats at 5 weeks of age.

Here’s a very interesting report on the fact that 81% of Sprague-Dawley rats end up with multiple tumors after two years (which is the length of time of the study).

Finally, a comment on the nature of the methods.  One method routinely employed in science is called the ‘blind’ or ‘double blind’ study.  These two processes are used to ensure that there is no bias in experiments.  To do a blind study, the person actually making the measurements is not told whether the subject is in the experimental group or in the control group.  Why? Because of personal bias.

If one is not told which group is test and which group is experiment, then bias, even unconscious bias is impossible.  In this case, a researcher might decide that one tumor is different because it’s in a test animal (especially considering the background of the lead researcher).

Now, to my conclusion.

Does this paper show that round-up and GM Maize are toxic?
No.

Do the points in this blog article mean that round-up and GM maize are safe?
No.

What it means is the state of round-up and GM maize is not changed by this poor study and we need to stick with previous studies that used the proper methodology and the proper analysis.

This could have been a very valuable, useful study.  But it just isn’t.

Now, I’m very curious if the people who are pushing this study will also push the three studies I mentioned here that show GM crops are safe.

________________________

* Keep in mind that maize is a genetically engineered product to (via artificial selection), it doesn’t exist in the wild.

Posted in Biology, Culture, Environment, Medicine, Science, Skepticism, Society | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Anti-GM Food Proponents and Research

Here’s a video that a friend of mine linked to on youtube.

It’s short, less than 3 minutes.  And more interestingly comments are disabled.
There’s probably a very good reason that comments are disabled…

Because the statements made in the video are lies.
They just don’t think you’ll check.

Here’s the September release of the journal mentioned in the video: Food and Chemical Toxicology

There are three articles that I could find that MIGHT be related to the video.  It’s hard to tell because no article mentions anything about Round-up(tm). But let’s look at the 3 relevant articles and see if we can piece together something.

The first one is: A 90-day subchronic feeding study of genetically modified maize expressing Cry1Ac-M protein in Sprague–Dawley rats

I jumped on this one because it’s the only one that mentions a timed study, but 90 days isn’t a “long term” study.  At least I wouldn’t consider it so.  Maybe some researchers who routinely work with lab rats can let me know if 90 days constitutes a long-term study.  Regardless, let’s look at some bullet points from the abstract.

  • The subchronicstudy of BT-38 maize with cry1Ac-M gene was conducted.
  • No adverse effect was observed in the rats consumed GM maize.
  • No residual Cry1Ac-M protein was detected in the serum of rats consuming GM maize.
  • BT-38 maize is as safe as conventional non-GM maize.

Hmmm… must not be the right article then, because this article (in a 90-day study) shows that GM maize is just as safe as non-GM maize.

Let’s try the next one: Subchronic feeding study of stacked trait genetically-modified soybean (3Ø5423 × 40-3-2) in Sprague–Dawley rats

This is another 90-day research run, but it’s about soybeans.  The rats were fed 7.5%, 15%, or 30% GM soybeans or non-GM soybeans.  Now, think about that a second.  Some of the experimental rats were given 30% of their diet as GM-soybeans.  That’s like eating an entire big mac made of nothing but soybeans a day, every day, for 3 months.  Surely, this has some interesting results.

  • No adverse effect was observed in the rats consumed stacked GM soybean.
  • Stacked GM soybean 3Ø5423 × 40-3-2 is as safe as conventional non-GM soybean.

Oh… umm… OK.  There’s one more article to look at.  Otherwise, I’m stumped to find what this clown is talking about.

Aminotriazole attenuated carbon tetrachloride-induced oxidative liver injury in mice

Ah ha!  Liver damage in mice.  That’s got to be it… except there’s absolutely zero mention of GM crops.  Also, one might be interested in knowing that Aminotriazole is NOT Round-up(tm).  In fact, if you look at the Wikipedia article, Aminotriazole is NOT used on FOOD crops because it is a known carcinogen.  Yes, science already knew it was unsafe.  But there is an interesting side note to this article.  Let’s look at the abstract.

Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) has been used extensively to study xenobiotic-induced oxidative liver injury. Catalase (CAT) is a major antioxidant enzyme while aminotriazole (ATZ) is commonly used as a CAT inhibitor. In the present study, the effects of ATZ on CCl4-induced liver injury were investigated. Our experimental data showed that pretreatment with ATZ significantly decreased CCl4-induced elevation of serum aspartate transaminase (AST) and alanine transaminase (ALT) and improved hepatic histopathological abnormality. ATZ dose-dependently inhibited the activity of CAT, but it reduced the content of H2O2 and the levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) in liver tissues. ATZ decreased plasma level of pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α and IL-6) and reduced hepatic levels of myeloperoxidase (MPO). In addition, posttreatment with ATZ also decreased the level of ALT and AST. These data indicated that ATZ effectively alleviated CCl4-induced oxidative liver damage. These findings suggested that ATZ might have potential value in preventing oxidative liver injury.

my emphasis

So, the ATZ (that’s Aminotriazole) can actually REDUCE liver damage due to other compounds.

Well, that’s definitely not the right article.  So someone, anyone, please tell me what this guy is talking about.  Unless, he’s looking at a completely different journal, then he’s either an idiot who didn’t do any research or he’s lying.  I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and just say idiot.

 

Updated: Well someone actually found the article.  No wonder I couldn’t find it.  In spite of what was said in the video, the article has not been published yet.  But here it is: Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize.

I’m slightly suspicious of the conclusions.  Here’s why:

Full-size image (76 K)

Fig. 1. Mortality of rats fed GMO treated or not with Roundup, and effects of Roundup alone. Rats were fed with NK603 GM maize (with or without application of Roundup) at three different doses (11, 22, 33% in their diet: thin, medium and bold lines, respectively) compared to the substantially equivalent closest isogenic non-GM maize (control, dotted line). Roundup was administrated in drinking water at 3 increasing doses, same symbols (environmental (A), MRL in agricultural GMOs (B) and half of minimal agricultural levels (C), see Section 2). Lifespan during the experiment for the control group is represented by the vertical bar ± SEM (grey area). In bar histograms, the causes of mortality before the grey area are detailed in comparison to the controls (0). In black are represented the necessary euthanasia because of suffering in accordance with ethical rules (tumors over 25% body weight, more than 25% weight loss, hemorrhagic bleeding, etc.); and in hatched areas, spontaneous mortality.

OK, the line graphs show the mortality in the various groups when the rats were fed 11% Roundup Maize (thin lines), 22% (medium lines), and 33% (thick lines).  The dotted lines are the controls.  For males, the dotted lines are the same as or higher than the Roundup Maize.  For females, the dotted lines seem to be much lower.

One thing bothers me though.  Look at the y-axis.  These are the number of rates per group. Now, I don’t know how many rats per group we’re talking about here, but the difference in females being fed Roundup Maize vs the control varies from 5 to 3 animals.  Not percent, but 3, 4, or 5 animals.  That’s a little odd.

It actually gets better for the Maize that’s actually been sprayed with Roundup, the range becomes 2 to 5.  Curiously, the rats with only the 11% Round up Maize diet fared the worst in both groups.

Finally, in the Roundup only test, the difference is only 3 animals.  In that test, the researchers just poured Roundup into the rat’s drinking water.

The tiny little bar graphs compare the cause of death (hatched lines died naturally, dark bars had to be put down due to ethics laws).  For males, there is almost no significance to the deaths.

Again, females show a much worse response.  But isn’t it interesting that the 33% all did better than the 11% and 22%?

I agree that there seems to be some kind of interaction with the female system in some way, but I want to know how many animals were actually used in these groups.  Maybe I’ll write the authors and see what they have to say.  Stay tuned.

I still maintain that the authors of that video are idiots.  Without giving references, then no one can see what they are talking about.

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