Sunday, March 29, 2015

"I Drank Weed Killer"

Kevin M. Folta, "a scientist in a scientifically illiterate nation," writes:
This week controversy ignited when Patrick Moore, a prominent advocate for Golden Rice, was interviewed on the French TV channel Canal+.  He correctly claimed that glyphosate was safe enough to drink and not likely causing alleged cancer outbreaks in Argentina.  When the host offered him a glass of Roundup herbicide he did not drink it and walked off the set.

Of course, twitter and other opinion outlets of the world's pseudoexperts exploded with the fact that Moore was forced to eat his words rather than drink weed killer.  

And then the Big M felt compelled to remind everyone that weed killer is not a beverage and that Moore is not representing the company. 

Over the years I've done the demo, not hammering a glass of the stuff, but mixing a tablespoon of the working solution into diet Mountain Dew.  No big deal.

Of course when you do a stunt like this everyone goes completely unhinged, screaming that a scientist endorses drinking weed killer. As usual, it is not about thinking-- it is about harming a scientist's credibility. My demo is not about drinking weed killer-- it is about demonstrating empirically-derived biological thresholds, physiological fates of well-characterized chemicals, and understanding a herbicide's mechanisms of action.

But that's nuance and science, so don't expect them to understand that. 

So for the record, don't drink weed killer.  There is absolutely no evidence that glyphosate is going to kill you or even make you sick in working concentrations.  However, the formulation used on plants contains surfactants, detergent-like compounds that help the chemical penetrate a leaf.  

Anyone who has ever consumed soap (long story) knows that it gives you a royal case of crazy colon, and that would likely be the effect of drinking a full glass of the commercial herbicide preparation. 

Moore might have been planning a long flight or a marathon run, places where a case of the urgent flaming schmootzies would be most unwelcome. 

My official words- don't drink weed killers or any ag chemicals. Instead, take the time to learn how to use them safely, and always do so within the labeling guidance. 

Repeal, Don’t Reform the IMF!

By Ron Paul

A responsible financial institution would not extend a new loan of between 17 and 40 billion dollars to a borrower already struggling to pay back an existing multi-billion dollar loan. Yet that is just what the International Monetary Fund (IMF) did last month when it extended a new loan to the government of Ukraine. This new loan may not make much economic sense, but propping up the existing Ukrainian government serves the foreign policy agenda of the US government.

Since the IMF receives most of its funding from the United States, it is hardly surprising that it would tailor its actions to advance the US government’s foreign policy goals. The IMF also has a history of using the funds provided to it by the American taxpayer to prop up dictatorial regimes and support unsound economic policies.

Some may claim the IMF does promote free markets by requiring that countries receiving IMF loans implement some positive economic reforms, such as reducing government spending.

Fact Checking March Against Monsanto Protesters #1

Brazil: Victim of Vulgar Keynesianism

By Anthony P. Mueller

All Keynesian roads lead to stagflation. That was the case in Europe and in the United States in the 1970s when both stagnation and inflation hit the economies at the same time. Currently, this is the case in Brazil.

Since coming into power in 2003, the Brazilian labor government has religiously implemented the economic policy doctrine of growth by spending. Now, the country has fallen into stagnation with a recession looming while inflation is on the rise. All economic indicators flash red lights: from economic growth to inflation and the exchange rate, from productivity to investment and industrial production.

The US is Experiencing One of its Best Job Gain Streaks in 20 Years

The Fed manipulated boom if in full gear.

March job numbers are likely to show the 13th straight month of job gains of over 200,000, matching a run in 1994-95.

In the post-war period only the runs of 14 months in 1976-77 and 15 in 1983-84 have been higher.

The Ruble is Bouncing Back

An AFP report tries to guess what is behind it:
[A]n unexpected recent rebound by the ruble has partially reversed months of pain for the nosediving national currency and fired hope among harried officials in Moscow that there might be a light at the end of the tunnel. 
Few analysts were betting on a bounce after the ruble lost over 40 percent of its value in 2014 and carried on the slump into this year. 
But a drop in fighting in east Ukraine and the steadying of oil prices seems to have combined with the tax payment season and a Kremlin drive to get money repatriated to fire an unlikely recovery. 
Guys, it was mostly Elvira.


How to Put Together a Standard But Useless Television Report on the Economy

Minimum Wage Increase Causes Cuts in Hours, Jobs, and Services in South Dakota?

Even the South Dakota government university sector, which doesn't necessarily react to free market price signals, is adjusting with cuts, cuts and cuts, as a result of a minimum wage hike.

(ht Mark Perry)

The AirWheel X8: An EPJ Scoop

Kevin Killinger emails:

Hi Robert,

Scoop everyone on this, because almost nobody in North America has ever heard of this.

It is a good example of the division of labor.  An American invented it.  The Chinese produce it.  Japan makes the battery for it.

It is called a Self-Balancing Unicycle.  The brand I ride is AirWheel, but there are many other brands now competing.

It is unheard-of in North America.  Though it is cool.  I don’t see why it will not catch on - I think it will.  Go on YouTube and search for AirWheel, or RockWheel, or SoloWheel, or FireWheel.  You may be able to introduce this thing, a testament to the division of labor if there ever was one.  Innovation, too.

I’m telling you, very few in North America have ever heard of this thing.  And it is cool.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

"Unusual amount of cheating suspected at Stanford University"

"An unusually high number of students at Stanford University are suspected of cheating during the most recent term, putting faculty members and administrators of the prestigious institution on alert," says AP

University Provost John Etchemendy sent a letter to faculty members highlighting what he called "troubling allegations" that stem from "a smattering of concerns from a number of winter courses," the San Jose Mercury News

University spokeswoman Lisa Lapin declined to discuss details with SJMN, such as the course or grade level of the students, but she said such concerns are routine. She says that in the 2013-2014 academic year, 83 students violated the honor code.

In the most recent term, SJMN reported that one instructor believes that 20 percent of students in a large introductory course may have cheated.

Coming Soon Near You: Willie Nelson Weed

Here is a perfect example of how free and open markets function with less violence and overall danger, and better quality, compared to black markets that must deal with the threat of government punishment.

Market Watch reports:
Willie Nelson, the country singer-songwriter (and well-known consumer of cannabis), has revealed plans to launch a branded chain of marijuana dispensaries and related products, including signature strains of pot. Dubbed “Willie’s Reserve,” the brand is expected to start formulating plans in the next year. Nelson spokesman Michael Bowman told The Daily Beast that the operation is going to “be something that’s reflective of (Nelson’s) passion” for cannabis.

At a time when legalized marijuana is already a $2.2 billion business, Nelson is far from the first celebrity to eye the branded cannabis model. Last year, the family of reggae legend Bob Marley announced plans to create a line of pot products, including “heirloom Jamaican cannabis.”

Plus, with more than 20 states now having legalized marijuana for recreational or medical use, cannabis chains are starting to emerge. In Colorado, for example, a chain called Native Roots has locations in more than a half-dozen cities, with additional ones coming soon.


Six Countries Hold Half the World’s Population

SOLVED The Problem of 'The Oversupply of Economic Wisdom'

(ht Mark Perry)