Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Eat my words

Greetings!  If you're reading this, it's not because I publicized this post on social media.  Instead, you're almost certainly reading this because I, or someone like-minded, has sent you this link.

Why?  Because you likely just espoused some "Anti-GMO" position that I thought was wrong enough to warrant a response, but just don't have the time for a Twitter War, or a social media conversation.

I let a LOT of stuff go by on social media.  Devout Theism (I don't begrudge it at all, unless you want schoolchildren taught that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, and that Jesus rode a dinosaur on Noah's Ark, or whatever).  Gun Control (I'm for it, but I recognize at least some of the arguments against it, and also want a focus on mental health).  Even the Designated Hitter (blech).

I also don't fight over High Fructose Corn Syrup ("HFC"). It's not the same as GMO.

But -- some of the stuff I've seen, where people espouse Anti-GMO crap, along with Anti-Vaccination nonsense, is too much to let go.  So this entry is here to tell you, an Anti-GMO "advocate" why you're wrong.  I supect this blog entry will add links as more pro-science authors shoot down the crap floated by people.

I COULD just point out that the American Academy for the Advancement of Science has shot down this nonsense recently, but I'm also going to put out my objections to your Anti-GMO stuff in 3 easy points:

I.  Norman Borlaug

First and foremost, any discussion of GMO must begin with the man who have saved over a BILLION lives, Norman Borlaug.  This man invented a way to make minature wheat, so entire countries could feed themselves.  He's saved lives.  Mexican lives in this hemisphere, and Indian/African lives on our other hemisphere.

Months ago, some anti-GMO person said to me, paraphrased, "I'm talking about AMERICAN lives" in the course of telling me why GMO was bad. 

What.  The.  Fuck.

So because anti-GMO is grounded in the biggest of #FirstWorldProblems, we just let people die?  Of starvation?  "Sorry, Mobalage Singh Rodriguez, you could live a life free of hunger, but US schoolkids wearing Gap clothing are getting a little rotund in the middle"

That's about as offensive an argument against GMO as I could have ever fathomed.  And someone made it to me.  Either GMO is safe (it is, and I'll get to why), in which case the WORLD deserves it, or it's not, in which case we don't give it to 3rd world countries, like they're lab rats or something.

Norman Borlaug crystalizes the #FirstWorldProblems attitude of many Anti-GMO people:

"Some of the environmental lobbyists of the western nations are the salt of the earth, but many of them are elitists. They have never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for fifty years, they would be crying out for tractors, and fertilizer, and irrigation canals, and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things."

Norman Borlaug has actually used GMO to save more lives than Superman in any of his comics.  Without a cape.  Instead, he used the Scientific Method.

II.  Mark Lynas

Mark Lynas was a profound Anti-GMO advocate.  He has since changed his position, and outright apologized for his behavior, as well as the damage he's caused.  He did so with class, which you can see/read for yourself here.

The Scientific Method is about getting to a result, and NOT trying to put English on the result you want.  If GMO is ever shown to be harmful, or Homeopathy to be anything other than WATER, or Ghosts to be real, I'll be right there, carving "fancy that" on the side of my . . . self.

But most Anti-GMO activists won't care what Lynas has to say.  They can simply say, "He was paid off," without considering his points, because, after all, it's easier than admitting you were, you know, agenda-driven and not concerned about the actual truth.

By definition, "Alternative Medicine" has not been proven to work, or has been proven not to work.

You know what they call "Alternative Medicine" that works?  Medicine.

III. Hey Liberals -- you're not helping

By most accounts, we see the most egregious attacks on Scientific thought coming from conservatives.  After all, even "Conservapedia" has plenty of Dinosaurs-on-Noah's-Ark-level of crazy, but we almost EXPECT that of them.  There are plenty of them, and we're used to it.  But, as Michael Shermer has pointed out, the Left is guilty of it too.

Chris Mooney, in my view, correctly points out that it's not equal.  But, to be sure, Liberals do it too.  And every time a Liberal turns his/her back on sound science (usually because of latent crunchiness), you just feed into the (incorrect) notion that Science Denial is equal, which makes people shrug their shoulders and think it balances out.

That doesn't help!  But I'm not coming at this as a Liberal.  I'm just pointing out the hypocrisy.

Personally, I identify as Centrist, because I'm progressive socially, moderate economically, and likely more conservative on foreign policy.  But I see plenty of my Liberal friends pat themselves on the back for being so much more "enlightened" on political topics than those goofy conservatives, but then move on to talk about "Frankenfood" or why they won't vaccinate their children.

If you find that you're lining up with the likes of Jenny McCarthy, Alex Jones, and Charlie Sheen, and the people on the other side of the line are actual, you know, THINKERS, you might want to re-think your positions.  If you're brave enough.



First update!

Today a saw someone refer to a story on "Natural News," a website that peddles nothing "natural," or "newsworthy."

A funny writeup about it (complete with ACTUAL citations to concrete evidence!) is right here.  It's amazing how off the rails it is.

But it's also sad.  It has been ranked as the #1 most anti-science website on the internet.  THAT takes some doing.

If your answer to all of this is, "Well, they're in on it!  They're part of the conspiracy!"  Then you're likely too far gone (and, I suspect REALLY not used to having someone disagree with you).  I'm not afraid to be proven wrong.  I welcome it.  But if your answer to everything is more of the same bullshit, you're just not a critical thinking.  You're actually prey.

Just Google the picture of Joesph Mercola's mansion.  Yeah, but the doctors who are still in debt from Med school are all in this for the money.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Blossoming Tension

I love the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler.  It's easily one of my favorite races.  Over the years, it's served as a gauge for my health.  I last ran it in 2009, as I was in nearly year-long training for running the Goofy Challenge (or the Dopey Challenge) at Disney. In 2009, I ran it in about 86 minutes + change, or about an 8:40 pace.  I went on to narrowly miss breaking a 4-hour marathon in Richmond, which I took comfort in, thinking, "Hey, I ran in the after-winds of a hurricane, and I just did Dopey.  I'll be back!"


In 2010, I flirted with Tri training.  I forgot, however, a few points:

1.  I only owned a 15-year-old mountain bike
2.  I wasn't much for biking fast, because I was sure I'd fall off a cliff (even if in the Sahara --- I had an Italian mother growing up)
3.  I really wasn't the best swimmer.

Off to do tris!

So, while BARELY training in two new sports, I was losing tons of running mileage, and also experiencing nagging knee pain.  I'd try to make up for lost running time by CRANKING when I ran, which aggravated the knee more.

Fast-forward to Halloween 2010, and I ran the MCM on one working knee, because I'd already signed up for the race, and the MCM Mock turtlenecks were black that year. 

Yes, I'm an idiot.

Anyway, January 2011 comes along, and by this point, I can't walk without a limp.

Goodbye, 2011.  Hello, nothing but physical therapy.  Oh, and hello EATING EVERYTHING BECAUSE FEELINGS.  And, as a public service, when you hit 40, your metabolism really does slow down.  A lot.  So recoving from (this is true) visits to "Steak and Shake's Happy Hour" (they really do have one) set me WAY back.  You can't just run 40 miles one week and be back in shape again.

I've spent much of 2012 easing into running again, and doing some biking on a used tri-bike I bought.  I promised myself I'd hold off on racing until the Cherry Blossom, when I would have almost a full year of gently-amped-up running under my belt. Things were going well.  I'd lost almost all the weight I'd gained from 2011, and was almost liking myself again.

Returning from Maui, I found myself running faster.  I was actually thinking I could finish Cherry Blossom faster than my 2009 PR, which was particularly important.  Why?

The McMillan Pace Calculator suggested I should have run 2009 Richmond in about 4:01 or so.  If I could put myself in a position to finish the 2012 Cherry Blossom just a TEENSY bit faster than my old PR, the calculator was predicting a sub-4 finish.

Now, I realize it's not an oracle.  Not by any means.  But, it tells me that, after losing the person I was for almost two years, I might be back.

Which brings me to now.

I have something -- I don't know what -- going on in my left ankle.  Pain.  Kinda behind the ankle, so almost classic Achilles tendonitis.  Having learned from past mistakes, I've rested it this week.  But I feel the weight creeping back.  Still making better health choices, but also it's not healing fast at all.  Which is making me plenty tense.  I can FEEL my cardio-fitness level falling.

I'm so close.  And now here's the classic runner's, "two steps forward, one step back" thing.

Pardon me while I wallow.  And ice.  But I will NOT eat my feelings.  Because THAT kind of blossoming would NOT be good for me.  Not anymore.

Nothing tastes as good as a PR feels . . .

. . . I just hope I get to find that out in three weeks.