What did you do last week?

In my case, there was a the usual – I ordered DNA primers, sequenced some DNA, went through that sequence and assembled it into my model… I cooked some dinner, slept some. But last week was punctuated with something a little different.

Monday morning, the first new episode of my old radio show The Inoculated Mind Radio and Mindcast, aired on the local Madison student station, WSUM.  The show was pre-recorded the week before, because I was not going to be in Madison to do it live.

The same day, I was visiting the San Francisco Bay Area with Anastasia, zooming around the City, meeting up with PZ Myers, and oh yeah – having dinner with Michael Pollan at Chez Panisse! My review is up, as well as Anastasia’s.

As for the show, I used to host the Mindcast here on this blog, however, I have built a completely new site called Inoculated Media dedicated to hosting the show. Continue reading What did you do last week?

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And the winner is…

Previously, I asked my readers to come on over to Biofortified, my new home for all things transgenic, and vote for it in the Ashoka Changemakers GMO Risk or Rescue contest. Due to a large amount of support from the science blogging community, we gathered over 800 votes, winning the contest by more than a 2 to 1 margin! Read more about it here. Now I’m enjoying a nice reward of oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips, early-season candy canes, and writing a paper due tomorrow. No rest for the weary!

Please vote for us!

I have a special request to ask of you, dear readers, that will take only a couple minutes of your time but will totally make my day. My Biofortified group blog I started last year with Anastasia Bodnar, Pam Ronald, David Tribe, etc, has been entered into an online contest hosted by Ashoka Changemakers. If we win, we get a $1,500 grant to help run the site, and a conversation with Michael Pollan. (I’ve been trying to get an interview with him for the Mindcast for 3 years!)

We’re at 23 votes right now, the top entry is currently at 34 (and hasn’t budged much in the last month), but a new entry might be a challenge because it comes from an organization of sixty or more people by itself. So I could really use your votes!

The contest website is a little counter-intuitive and people have gotten lost in it, but thankfully our blog mascot Frank N. Foode wrote a detailed step-by-step post on how to do it.

And for those who are worried about giving out your email address and getting more junk mail in your inbox, if you check a box on the registration form you will not have any problems. The voting ends in one week, so there’s not much time left. If you know of anyone who might be willing to pitch in and help, please spread the word! If you blog, please do! You’ll be in my list of people to thank publicly for helping us to make a bigger and better online forum for talking about genetic engineering in agriculture.

One thing to keep in mind is that voting for Biofortified is not a vote for genetic engineering – it is a vote for dialogue in a forum built to handle this important discussion. None of the other contending entries are about dialogue but are instead about trying to eliminate or stigmatize the technology. Our entry – our site – is about bringing science and scientists and the public together to get people talking and learning in both directions. If you think this is a good idea, please go on over and vote. 🙂

Thanks for your time, and hope that mechanistic causality works in our favor!

Michael Pollan in Madison

The Big Event that everyone has been waiting for is here: Michael Pollan is going to be in Madison, Wisconsin, speaking about food and diet and word has it he will be bringing his rose-colored glasses!

There are several events where Pollan will be the big cheese:

Thursday at 7 pm at the Kohl Center, he will be giving a talk to what will likely be a packed auditorium. His talk is called The Omnivore’s Solution. I’ve been dying to find out what Omnivores can be dissolved in.

His talk is part of a campus-wide project called Go Big Read. I know, the name is lame. But they put thousands of copies of Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food, in the hands of students in many disciplines. From sociology to nutrition and political science, the idea is to get students in many different fields talking about the same thing from different angles.

There is a blog on the Go Big Read site, and they were taking question submissions for Pollan, a handful of which will be selected. I submitted a question, along with Ariela. Continue reading Michael Pollan in Madison

Finito! Sort of…

Right now, the moment this post has become available on the blog, I will be sound asleep. After 26 straight days of getting up early to make controlled pollinations with corn plants, I, along with a dozen and a half of my fellow field crewmates, are enjoying our first weekend day off. This field season has not been too bad, though, perhaps the most enjoyable of the three that I have experienced.

Could I be getting used to this whole plant breeder thing? Am I finally able to get to sleep at a reasonable time with regularity so that I’m not tired and groggy all day? Or am I instead sticking to a rigorous schedule of washing my long-legged and sleeved field clothes and applying sunscreen religiously every day while also wearing a wide-brimmed hat to keep from toasting my outer layer of cells with UV radiation? The answer to all these questions is Continue reading Finito! Sort of…

Going to the 2009 BIO Convention

Today, I find myself in Atlanta Georgia. I am attending the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s 2009 International Convention, representing the Biofortified blog, and I am also the Council for Biotechnology Information’s guest blogger. You can read about what I’ll be doing here at Biofortified, but first, how did I get here?

A few months ago, the Council for Biotechnology Information contacted me and invited me to be their guest blogger for the convention. They created a news blog to report on the agriculture-related talks and panels, and offered to cover my expenses to help them report on the conference.

I’ve never been to the BIO conventions, which host presentations on more than just ag biotech issues. It would also give me the chance to promote Biofortified, get exposed to the biotech zeitgeist, and meet some interesting people. I also saw a public benefit – I could help people learn about the things going on at this conference as I learn about them. So what’s the catch? Continue reading Going to the 2009 BIO Convention

So much science

I’m back in Madison from the 51st Maize Genetics Conference, which was full of wholesome scientific goodness. It was also a great opportunity to finally meet Anastasia Bodnar from Genetic Maize, and discuss everything about communicating plant genetics, from common arguments to the cool nitty gritty scientific details that make this topic something really fun to learn about by itself. Anastasia is great and it was a delight to spend the conference with her – here’s to a long and productive future of cooperative blogging!

We also met another blogger at the conference, James Schnable from James and the Giant Corn. Here are the three of us hanging out near the posters.

Hey who’s that little guy with us? And what cool stuff did we learn and talk about at the meeting? What video interviews, audio conversations, and pictures did we bring back? Keep an eye on Biofortified for details.