Episode Archives

Episode 4 – The Buzz About Bees

The conventional wisdom says that a number of factors are responsible for bee colonies collapsing, from viruses, to climate change, to multiple pesticide exposures. But a study by Harvard professor Chensheng (Alex) Lu and two beekeepers shed light on the primary role in sudden bee losses from a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids. In episode 4 we hear from Professor Lu on his study and why he thinks the pesticide industry and our government are engaged in a disinformation campaign to cloud the issues around these deadly insecticides.

Steve Ellis and his bees.

Steve Ellis and his bees.

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We also hear from Peter Jenkins of the Center for Food Safety on the lawsuit the group filed this year against EPA to force the agency to withdraw approval of the most widely used neonicotinoids, and from beekeeper Steve Ellis, who is a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit.

A wonderful Boston Globe story describes how Professor Lu joined beekeepers Dick Callahan and Ken Warchol to conduct their neonicotinoids study (you can see a video of Ken leading a beekeeping class, notice Ken is the only one not wearing protective gear!). Also see the video beekeeper Steve Ellis took showing bees dying in the willow trees near a farm that was applying neonicotinoids.

Music on the show includes Flight of the Bumblebees and Benny Carter, Honeysuckle Rose.

Episode 3 – When Corporations Attack

TyroneIf you’re an activist for human rights, environmental health, or other progressive action, the NSA may not be the only ones watching you. Corporations under scrutiny for their harmful operations are fighting back, often with underhanded, deceitful, and even threatening intimidation campaigns. We talk to Tyrone Hayes and Eveline Lubbers about what happens, when corporations attack!

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Eveline Lubbers has documented corporate attacks and outlined the history and strategies of anti-activist campaigns in her recent book, Secret Manoeuvres in the Dark.  The London Sunday Times said of Secret Manoeuvres,

In the recent frenzy over media phone hacking, the shadow warriors of corporate espionage have escaped scrutiny, until now. Eveline Lubbers’ book shines a timely and sharp light on the dark arts of serving and retired cops, spooks and squaddies who are spying, bugging and lying for big business with impunity.

Also see TobaccoTactics for background on Big Tobacco’s disinformation campaigns. The Center for Media and Democracy Studies has also created the SourceWatch website, a great resource for research on corporate front-groups and the corporate public relations industry.

Tyrone Hayes is a Professor at UC Berkeley and a national expert on pesticides, in particular the herbicide atrazine, which he has studies for more than 10 years. When his studies showed atrazine could alter hormones in frogs, the chemical’s producer Syngenta went on the attack. Read the latest on Syngenta’s campaign in the report co-published by 100 Reporters and Environmental Health News. Also check out more on atrazine at Dr. Hayes’ website, atrazinelovers.com.

Episode 2 – BioBeware

We hear from Jim Thomas on the story of how the birth of modern synthetic chemistry began with the color purple and what this means for dealing with the risky new technology of synthetic biology. Also, Becky McClain, the first biological lab scientist to be injured on the job by a genetically engineered (GMO) virus on her lawsuit against the world’s biggest drug company, and Edward Hammond on the failed oversight of bio-research labs.

Empress Eugenie in her mauve dress

Empress Eugenie in her mauve dress

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You can see Jim Thomas’ 2008 talk on synthetic biology and the history of synthetic chemistry, his part of a debate sponsored by the Long Now Foundation. Check out the ETC Group for much more on synthetic biology and other risky technologies (including Jim’s recent debate about a synthetic anti-malaria drug, artemisinin and a “Kickstopper” campaign to put a stop to some very reckless GMO shenanigans).

Becky McClain’s victory against Pfizer was featured in the New York Times and many media outlets. An appeals court upheld a $2.3 million jury award to her in December 2012. For more background on her story, see interviews with Becky from the Council for Responsible Genetics and Workers Comp Hub. Also see the talk Becky gave on accepting the 2010 Joe A. Callaway Award for Civic Courage.

You can find more on Edward Hammond’s research on IBCs and get more information at Prickly Research (including more on the gay bomb, GMO smallpox, and how Edward got kicked out of a UN chemical weapons treaty meeting) .  Edward’s work on lab safety was also profiled in Science magazine. You can also see the video of Nobel-prize winner Richard Roberts questioning Robert Webster at the May 2012 National Academy of Sciences meeting. Also see a recent article in Nature highlighting the safety and ethical issues around creating more infectious organisms in the lab.

Be sure to read Simon Garfield’s book, Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color that Changed the World. It’s fascinating!

Episode 1 – Dads Dearest

It’s almost Father’s Day! We speak to three Bay Area progressive activists about fatherhood and activism. Hear Ludovic Blain, Innosanto Nagara, and Michael Green, and learn why PJ talks so much!


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