Amanda

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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  1. Profile photo of bcmystery
    November 8, 2012 at 9:25 am —

    Yesterday morning as I stood in line for a coffee, I heard a guy behind me say, “Lady voters and abortionists have destroyed America.” I turned around and laughed at the guy. His face got red and he told me I better start praying for forgiveness right now if I didn’t want to end up in hell.” I laughed again and got my coffee.

    Another moment like those described in the SPLC post. In a big picture sense, it’s scary, but in the moment it felt good to laugh at the guy.

    • Profile photo of Grand Lunar
      November 8, 2012 at 10:15 pm —

      Reminds me of how my conservative relatives I live with complain.

      They don’t blame women or abortionists, though.
      They simply took “2016: Obama’s America” seriously.

      Have to put up with everything from “Things are going to go to shit” (for that reason, my uncle tries to stock up on food like doomsday is coming) to “We’re going to see two carriers sunk in a war”.

      I just don’t get it.

  2. Profile photo of Zhankfor
    November 8, 2012 at 9:37 am —

    Maybe I’m overly sensitive to the issue, but I gotta say, when I hear the Unskewed Polls guy call Nate Silver “a man of very small stature, a thin and effeminate man with a soft-sounding voice,” what I really hear is “Woody Allen-style wimpy, neurotic Jew.”

  3. Profile photo of theia
    November 8, 2012 at 9:53 am —

    Regarding GMOs. Everything has been modified, heck my Grandfather did his own genetic modifying on his farm back in Saskatchewan. GMOs dodn’t worry me it’s Monsanto that worries me. I’m not sure I even want to be talked out of my distrust of them and what the could get away with doing. I’m for labelling of Monsanto products. Would there be anything left for me to buy if I boycot them?

    Nate Silver is made of awesome!

  4. Profile photo of donboc
    November 8, 2012 at 10:23 am —

    I don’t understand the excitement over prop 37 failing. I’m a scientist. I didn’t cheer. This isn’t because I think that GMO are scary scary unnatural things. I’m not a food safety expert, but I’m willing to stipulate for the sake of argument that most or all GMO are as safe as non-GM food. I still don’t see any argument against labeling GM food as such. “But people won’t buy it then.” So? If people would prefer not to buy GM food, why not let them have that information? If people would prefer not to buy Japanese cars, despite no evidence that Japanese cars are harmful, they’re free to do so. There are all kinds of consumer decisions that people make for reasons other than safety. Is every item on the ingredients and nutrition list of a food product listed there because there’s evidence that it’s harmful? Of course not.

    I don’t see how support for Prop 37 gets conflated with support for unscientific hippies and fuzzy thinking. What’s fuzzy about thinking that there’s nothing wrong with telling people their food has been genetically modified, if indeed it has been?

    • Profile photo of Zhankfor
      November 8, 2012 at 10:25 am —

      This is why, were I able to vote in California, I’d have abstained. Personally, I’m fine with labeling GMOs (although I’m finer with labels that are actually meaningful) – I’m not fine with the horseshit science and naturalistic crap that was being trotted out as reasons for it.

    • Profile photo of pascale68
      November 8, 2012 at 12:35 pm —

      There are some another issues. (And yes, I am a California voter that voted No on 37.) This proposition was written by the same lawyer who wrote Proposition 65, which requires businesses to place a warning on the premises if there are chemicals that might cancer or birth defects on-site. After the proposition was passed, if a business did not have this warning, he would sue, asking them to prove they did not need to post the warning. This resulted in pretty much all businesses displaying this sign, even if they did not have such chemicals on-site. Since this sign is everywhere, it does absolutely nothing as far as informing the public.

      I would imagine the same thing would have happened if proposition 37 passed. In fact, there was a line in this proposition saying that any food with an organic label was exempt from complying with this law. This was probably because organic food manufacturers helped fund the proposition and they wanted to make sure they did not have to deal with the consequences.

      Never mind that the bulk of the money for Proposition 37 came from Joe Mercola. That alone made me want to vote against it.

      In general, the California proposition system is terrible. They have these propositions that sound so good on the surface (how could you *not* vote for labeling?) Most people don’t bother to learn what they actually entail. And how can you, with so many freaking props on the ballot???

    • Profile photo of freemage
      November 8, 2012 at 6:27 pm —

      Okay, you know how, when experiments are done where they remove indicators (like names and addresses) from resumes that might hint at race and gender, suddenly hiring becomes a lot more color- and gender-blind, and you end up with more diverse hiring practices?

      Same principle here. Labeling is only good if the content on the label is useful, accurate and informative. A blanket “GMO” only serves to be horribly inaccurate in the information it gives, precisely because it feeds into biases that aren’t based in fact. I’d support a comprehensive labeling bill (and,like the author of the linked article, I’d love to see a proper investigation of Montesano’s business practices). The GMO label, though, is more akin to requiring all doctors to tell vaccination recipients that the vaccine is “made from virus corpses”.

      • Profile photo of donboc
        November 8, 2012 at 9:11 pm —

        Huh? So what if people choose not to buy GMO even though (say, for the sake of argument) there are no adverse health consequences to GMO? If people choose not to buy GMO because of an irrational (say) fear that GMO are unhealthful, why is that in any way bad?

    • Profile photo of violets
      November 8, 2012 at 9:16 pm —

      As others have commented there were several problems with Prop. 37. I don’t actually care too much if food is labeled, but while this was a kick in the pants to Monsanto, it was also a power grab by the large organic certified producers to further solidify their position in the food industry. There were provisions that exempted organic certified producers from the law and also other provisions regarding labeling of processed food (and that means any kind of processing, such as grinding flour or pressing oil) that really didn’t have anything to do with GMO at all. There are also provisions that allow exactly the type of lawsuits a previous commenter referred to. I am a big supporter of smaller family farms and mom and pop food producers. Most of them already face difficulties due to the prohibitive organic certification process. This would introduce even more obstacles for them, since as was pointed out, they would probably all have to go ahead and use the label or face lawsuits to prove they don’t have to label.

  5. Profile photo of dr. dr. professor
    November 8, 2012 at 10:55 am —

    The republican party since the major switch in the 60s has effectively been the political arm of the conservative white hegemony that has been governing the US since it was founded.

    This hegemony has made every civil rights battle a needlesly hard fight, and continues to pine for the olden days where they held undisputed power. Now that the demographics are changing in the United States, they are losing that power faster than ever and to stay a dominant party they’re going to have to do some soul searching on their racism, sexism, homophobia, and general bigotry.

    I mean seriously, I’m a minority and I don’t get why they think that we as minorities want to vote for a party where half the people in it think we’re useless second class citizens. (Seriously, can’t count how many conservative people I know have dissed my heritage).

    So republican party, you lost the election, DEAL WITH IT. And I mean seriously, deal with it, you have some major fucking bigotry problems and the changing demographics of the United States will tell you to fuck off until you eliminate that shit.

  6. Profile photo of dr. dr. professor
    November 8, 2012 at 10:55 am —

    The republican party since the major switch in the 60s has effectively been the political arm of the conservative white hegemony that has been governing the US since it was founded.

    This hegemony has made every civil rights battle a needlesly hard fight, and continues to pine for the olden days where they held undisputed power. Now that the demographics are changing in the United States, they are losing that power faster than ever and to stay a dominant party they’re going to have to do some soul searching on their racism, sexism, homophobia, and general bigotry.

    I mean seriously, I’m a minority and I don’t get why they think that we as minorities want to vote for a party where half the people in it think we’re useless second class citizens. (Seriously, can’t count how many conservative people I know have dissed my heritage).

    So republican party, you lost the election, DEAL WITH IT. And I mean seriously, deal with it, you have some major fucking bigotry problems and the changing demographics of the United States will tell you to fuck off until you eliminate that shit.

    • Profile photo of Grand Lunar
      November 8, 2012 at 10:11 pm —

      “This hegemony has made every civil rights battle a needlesly hard fight, and continues to pine for the olden days where they held undisputed power”

      That says it best, IMO.

      I also can’t get what would so incline members of said party to make the lame brain comments about rape, and how any woman would continue to side with them.

      I wonder if they’ll change by learning from the election or continue on their path to self-destruction.

      • Profile photo of dr. dr. professor
        November 9, 2012 at 1:58 pm —

        //Continue on their path to self-destruction.//

        My limited knowledge of game theory tells me that they’ll WANT to continue on this path as it’s the policy many of their leaders really want, but try to package it in a clever way.

        So my prediction is that they’re going to try this first and we will have to be see whether that will be enough to get them back into a power position or whether they really will need to change their jacked up social policy to get any sort of minority vote or a majority of women.

        What I’d love to see actually is a party that is economically liberal and socially liberal at the same time. I’d love for my taxes to be reduced and the financial regulations on my business freed up, and a lot of republicans would like to do this, but voting with them currently means validating racism, sexism, and homophobia and that’s far too high a price to pay.

  7. Profile photo of Luna
    November 8, 2012 at 11:20 am —

    Also a scientist here who wasn’t happy. I don’t know who these authors think they are to speak for every scientist. There are unanswered questions about allergies and GMOs still.

    • Profile photo of quarksparrow
      November 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm —

      Are there, Luna? And even if there are people who do suffer allergic reactions from certain GMO foods, a blanket label isn’t going to help them. They’d need specific information about how the food was modified. You can’t be allergic to ‘GMO’ any more than you can be allergic to ‘organic’.

      • Profile photo of Luna
        November 8, 2012 at 11:08 pm —

        @Quarksparrow so by your logic, foods that have been made in an environment which might have been exposed to peanuts don’t need to be labelled, because there’s no guarantee someone with a peanut allergy will have a reaction to it.

        Please, grow up.

        • Profile photo of Bjornar
          November 9, 2012 at 8:18 am —

          No, the logic is more like it’d be next to useless for someone with a peanut allergy if nearly all food was labled “May contain allergens”.

          • Profile photo of Buzz Parsec
            November 9, 2012 at 10:07 am

            Especially if the warning is non-specific about the type of allergen. GMO is not a specific type of allergen.

          • Profile photo of Luna
            November 9, 2012 at 11:30 am

            No, Bjonar, because The science of peanut allergies is well established in comparison to that of GMOs. While new genetic combinations are being tried out, new questions may arise. One that is up in the air is allergies arising from new foreign proteins. Until that question is resolved, people have the right to know.

  8. Profile photo of criticaldragon1177
    November 8, 2012 at 11:23 am —

    Amanda

    I’m really glad Prop 37 didn’t pass. I don’t want to have to pay more for my groceries due to someone’s baseless fears and the country has enough to worry about.

    • Profile photo of donboc
      November 8, 2012 at 1:28 pm —

      Quantitatively, what would be the difference in price?

  9. Profile photo of Anne S
    November 8, 2012 at 4:27 pm —

    I’ve been planning a post about biodynamic farming since January. I was even going to a biodynamic winery and try to talk to someone about it, but then I got a job and had to cancel Guess I should get on that, ‘cos there’s some pretty crazy stuff involved.

  10. Profile photo of Jack99
    November 8, 2012 at 7:16 pm —

    “If Prop 37 was really about informed decisions, it would have sought accurate labeling of different types of GMOs so consumers can choose to avoid those that they disapprove of or are worried about. Instead, anti-GMO activists put forward a sloppily written mandate in a attempt to discredit all genetic engineering as a single entity.”

    I couldn’t agree more. Case by case, in my view.

    Still, good job California! You have just volunteered as beta testers for Monsanto on behalf of the whole world! We thank you.

    • Profile photo of donboc
      November 8, 2012 at 9:13 pm —

      I certainly won’t argue that Prop 37 was an ideal bill. But it could have been improved in coming years.

      This was a case where people could vote for “know more stuff” or “know less stuff,” and they chose to vote for “know less stuff.” It’s a head-scratcher for me.

      • Profile photo of pascale68
        November 8, 2012 at 10:46 pm —

        A couple of comments.

        – “But it could have been improved in coming years.”

        It is highly unlikely this would happen. Once a proposition has passed, only another proposition could modify it. (The lawmakers could do nothing.) Proposition 65, which is the useless labeling prop I wrote of earlier, was passed in 1986. Everyone agrees it is useless, but nobody has the motivation to change it. At this point you see the signs everywhere so businesses are not hurt by them.

        – “This was a case where people could vote for “know more stuff” or “know less stuff,” and they chose to vote for “know less stuff.””

        Again, per the results of Proposition 65, I question that people would know more with Proposition 37.

        I can totally see how, on the surface, this looks like a no-brainer, but I cannot emphasize enough how ridiculous the CA proposition system is.

  11. Profile photo of Jack99
    November 8, 2012 at 11:27 pm —

    Also, honey badger for Skepchick mascot!

    That ol’ honey badger, doesn’t give a shit.

    Even after a cobra bite, just bites the head off, has a rest and carries right on. Cool!

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