Some people deserve a patronising response

Some bunch of utterly childish anti-GM crops activists have taken it upon themselves to destroy (via) years of publicly funded research into a genetically modified wheat that can repel insect pests by emitting a repellent-smelling substance.

Their reason:

Matt Thomson, from Take the Flour Back, told The Independent yesterday that action against the Rothamsted site would go ahead as planned.

“The concerns that we have are not addressed in this letter,” he said. “The way that Rothamsted have publicised this trial has been patronising. This wheat contains genes that are not naturally occurring.”

Frankly, anyone who seriously thinks that going out and vandalising years worth of research into a staple food – research that will help us avoid crop failure and famine – because they didn’t like the publicity has no sense of proportion, no idea what they are talking about and no concept if the impact of their actions.

Sense About Science has a more measured response and petition you can sign and circulate.

Quote of the Day: Pass the pork scratchings

I think the defense, for all the incoherence of its arguments, will ultimately prevail — not because they are right, but because it’s just too damned inconvenient to be wrong. If you think too hard about this sort of thing, you’ll recognize the injustice; recognizing the injustice, you might feel obligated to do something about it. But that means making changes in the way you live; that means giving up things you’ve grown accustomed to. It means getting off the couch. Better not to think about it. Better to just look the other way.

Peter Watts on PETA’s ill-fated legal attempt, on behalf of five killer whales, to declare their incarceration to be in violation of anti-slavery laws. Go read the rest.


Today is Darwin Day

Darwin Day is an international celebration of science and humanity held on or around February 12, the day that Charles Darwin was born on in 1809. Specifically, it celebrates the discoveries and life of Charles Darwin — the man who first described biological evolution via natural selection with scientific rigor. More generally, Darwin Day expresses gratitude for the enormous benefits that scientific knowledge, acquired through human curiosity and ingenuity, has contributed to the advancement of humanity.

Quote of the day: Science

We also discovered that science is cool and fun because you get to do stuff that no one has ever done before.

– From the abstract of a paper on which demonstrates that buff-tailed bumblebees can learn to recognize nourishing flowers based on colors and patterns. This was published by a team of 8- to 10-year old researchers who are now the youngest scientists ever to have their work published in a peer-reviewed journal.

As reported by Wired Science.