In all our great fiction we find elements of truth, stories may be incredible and beyond believable but what makes them great is that they hold a mirror up and make us look. “Godzilla” a city destroying monster awoken by the testing of an atomic bomb, very clearly and purposefully represented fears of a nuclear holocaust. “Teen Wolf” on the other hand can be (quite convincingly) argued to be unintentional parable for 1980s white Americas fears of black people.

Our ancient ancestors were no different, they told stories and intentionally and unintentionally their hopes, fears, reality and  the zeitgeist of the time would have found its way into them. So I ask this question

Is The Biblical Genesis an allegory for the Agricultural Revolution?

Well, maybe…

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IARCLogo

In May 2015 anti-GMO lobbyist and ignorance profiters were handed down some glorious news. The World Health Organisation (WHO) had just declared the Glyphosate was probably carcinogenic. Finally validation that GMO’s are evil and monsanto is trying to rape mother earth for every last cent. I read this with some surprise as I was under the impression that there had been numerous safety reports etc… showing the glyphosate (the key ingredient in roundup) was relatively safe. A body within the WHO called the International agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) was the devision responsible for this new claim. Aside from sounding like something James Bond would be sent to destroy or otherwise compromise IARC stated aim is ‘to promote international collaboration in cancer research.’ I feel I should state that I actually have a lot of respect for the WHO. I am an avid supporter of their vaccination work and principles of education in helping improve human health, it is with this in mind that I write this. What I am about to say I do not do lightly, the level of scholarship depicted in the IARC report is on par with Andrew Wakefiled of MMR/Autism fame.

In 2015 they released a short communication of their upcoming full monograph’s on the likely cancer causing properties of 4 separate pesticides. Tetrachlorvinphos, Parathion, Malathion, Diazinon, and Glyphosate (1). In this short press release communication the authors laid out several damming conclusions regarding the safety of Glyphosate. They stated that there was sufficient evidence in animals that it was carcinogenic and limited but potentially positive evidence of carcinogenicity in humans. Reportedly linked to Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). I first read this shortly after it came out and was immediately annoyed by the lack of citations for almost all of the claims. A total of 6 citations were given for numerous claims over the two paragraphs. 3 of these citations were for a single claim. This set my researcher senses tingling… why didn’t they cite the primary literature? One key citation they had included was a 2006 report conducted early by the WHO in 2006 (2). This was easy enough to track down and within moments I had my jaw on the floor! However instead of writing this then, I held back. I had to wait until the full monograph was released otherwise I could jump the gun and find the reported did contain some evidence that was released after this earlier report. But now the full monograph (3) is out in the public and I am still shocked.

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I used to do bits and pieces of stand up comedy.  I was pretty good when given the right audience but decided not to pursue it as I didn’t have the ‘stuff’ required to deal with ‘regular kickings’ that every comedian has to deal with. One performance has always stuck with me though; I was at an open-mic night in Sydney and asked the room to put their hand up if they spent $50 or more on gambling and after some coaxing…

“1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8, 8 hands, 8 people spent more than $50 a month gambling.  “You are the people that make the Casinos the majority of their profit.” a small laugh followed, “No really, people spending $50-$150 a month make up about 80% of Australian profit” I give a double thumbs up “Fun Fact” that too received a chuckle. “Again, just out of curiosity how many of you would say that over all, you are either up money or have broken even?” Hands would be raised “1,2,3,4,5,6,7” I paused for dramatic effect “and 8” I paused again, this time with a faux perplexed look on my face, another small laugh broke out in the crowd. “See the people that laughed there, those are the people with a basic understanding of arithmetic” another slightly larger laugh would follow. I tried the joke a couple of times but it never quite landed. I like to tell myself that this was because my audience was not smart enough but it probably has more to do with the fact that I’m not nearly as funny as I like to think I am.  (more…)

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Alexander Pope

I was 16 when the towers came down. I had just come home from school and sat myself in front on the TV. Sky 1 was showing some Indiana Jones knock off when a breaking news banner scrolled across the screen. By the time I had turned to the news, both buildings had already collapsed onto themselves and the footage was being replayed endlessly. The video of the second plane hitting was being shown in a continuous loop, an already burning North Tower shown as moments later another plane would disappear into the South Tower. The next days I sat and watched the footage over and over again, the building imploding, a hole in the pentagon, a man with a brief case, his face reddened and handkerchief pushed to his mouth as a makeshift gas mask, a hole of burnt and blackened grass where a plane had found its way to the ground. New words names and places would enter my vocabulary Al-Qaeda, Bin Laden, Afghanistan. Days and weeks would pass and more footage would be added to the loop, Bin Ladan with an AK-47, rescue teams at ground Zero. But at some point, during the days or weeks after, sat there, watching the building come down for the thousands time, I thought to myself, “That looks like one of those controlled explosions”.
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