Corruption in Science News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on corruption in science
More than five trillion pieces of plastic, collectively weighing nearly 269,000 tonnes, are floating in the world’s oceans, causing damage throughout the food chain, new research has found. Data collected by scientists from the US, France, Chile, Australia and New Zealand suggests a minimum of 5.25tn plastic particles in the oceans, most of them “micro plastics” measuring less than 5mm. The volume of plastic pieces, largely deriving from products such as food and drink packaging and clothing, was calculated from data taken from 24 expeditions over a six-year period to 2013. The research, published in the journal PLOS One, is the first study to look at plastics of all sizes in the world’s oceans. “We saw turtles that ate plastic bags and fish that ingested fishing lines,” said Julia Reisser, a researcher based at the University of Western Australia. “But there are also chemical impacts. When plastic gets into the water it acts like a magnet for oily pollutants. It’s hard to visualise the sheer amount, but the weight of it is more than the entire biomass of humans." The research, the first of its kind to pull together data on floating plastic from around the world, will be used to chart future trends in the amount of debris in the oceans. But researchers predict the volume will increase due to rising production of throwaway plastic, with only 5% of the world’s plastic currently recycled.
Note: Ocean acidification was number one on 2014's top 25 stories subjected to press censorship.
We have come to think that if something is "in our genes", it is our inevitable destiny. However, this is a gross oversimplification. We have each inherited a particular set of genes, but the outcome of that inheritance is not fixed. Our environment, diet and circumstance flood our bodies with molecules that switch the genes on or off. The result can make a huge difference to our destiny – and that of our descendants. One example of these "epigenetic" changes occurs when a bundle of carbon and hydrogen atoms known as a methyl group attaches itself to the DNA and changes the way its instructions are carried out. Methyl groups often come from what we eat. Lack of food seems to have an epigenetic effect, too. A study of Dutch women starved by the Nazis during the second world war ... found elevated levels of schizophrenia, breast cancer and heart disease. The data suggest that the alterations to which genes are turned on or off survive at least two generations: the one that suffered in the womb during the famine, and their children. They may go much further. A 2011 study published by researchers at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, demonstrated epigenetic mutations that lasted for at least 30 generations in plants. What you eat, what your mother ate, the age when your grandfather started smoking, the amount of pollution in your neighbourhood – these factors have all been linked to epigenetic changes that get passed down through the generations. Armed with this new insight, we can take far more control of our health – and the health of future generations.
Note: For a truly engaging and revolutionary book on this topic, read The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton, a top researcher in the field of cell biology. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.
1. Lifestyle can change genes. We have each inherited a particular set of genes, but the outcome of that inheritance is not fixed. Our environment, diet and circumstance flood our bodies with molecules that switch the genes on or off. The result can make a huge difference. What you eat, what your mother ate, the age when your grandfather started smoking, the amount of pollution in your neighbourhood – these factors have all been linked to epigenetic changes that get passed down through the generations. 2. The mind can affect the body. What used to be dismissed by science as superstition or old wives' tales ... has a palpable effect on our bodies. 3. Quantum effects exist in biology. Plants, for instance, use quantum theory to harvest energy from the sun [by] using "superposition". This trick effectively searches all possible [solar energy delivery] paths [through the organism] simultaneously, and finds the quickest and thus most energy-efficient route. That means the energy reaches the plant's storage centre before it dissipates. There are also hints that smell is a quantum sense. The fact that these things happen in the warm, wet world of biological material suggests that we are missing a trick. 4. The universe is a computer (and we are the programmers). The universe ... behaves exactly like a computer [and] we, by our conscious and unconscious actions, are playing the role of that computer's programmers. 5. Human beings are nothing special. Researchers know of only a handful of genes unique to humans; it's thought that, when the count is finished and the numbers are totted up, fewer than 20 of our 20,000 genes will be exclusively human.
Note: Read the complete article for more on these and other interesting scientific breakthroughs. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles that push the boundaries of our understanding of reality.
One brief message at a time, Lancet editor Richard Horton is tweeting his dark view of the contemporary medical establishment. If you have any interest at all in peeking behind the curtain to see what really goes on behind the scenes of top medical organizations then you need to follow Richard Horton’s Twitter feed. In sudden bursts of candor, humor, and cynicism, Horton has been tweeting thoughts that don’t often see the light of day. Here’s his unvarnished opinion of the World Health Organization, for instance: "WHO is no longer a science-based organisation. WHO believes that scientists within the agency should be anonymous bureaucrats." The thread of tweets that prompted this post [is] about an ongoing editorial battle with authors and another highly respected journal. The significance of these remarks is considerable. As Horton remarks at the end, the episode appears to lend evidence to the manipulation of journals by industry: "The mother of all authorship disputes has broken out. When papers get salami sliced and divided between NEJM and us, it gets complicated. And sometimes nasty. And today, even threatening. From Principal Investigator: “Approval [of the drug in question] has already occurred in the US, yet private insurers are slow to place it on their formulary. A major publication is typically how this occurs in the US, and it is important to be in a journal typically recognised by US-based companies. This publication is critical to (company A's) ability to “market” their product. Lancet ... will aid (company Y) quite nicely.”
Note: The Lancet is considered by many to be the most prestigious medical journal in the world. If the editor-in-chief of the Lancet readily admits to for-profit collusion between medical journals, insurers and big pharma, who can we trust for accurate health information? To learn more, read a powerfully revealing essay by former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine Marcia Angell on how the drug companies blatantly manipulate science for profit.
A well-known psychologist in the Netherlands whose work has been published widely in professional journals falsified data and made up entire experiments, an investigating committee has found. Experts say the case exposes deep flaws in the way science is done in a field, psychology, that has only recently earned a fragile respectability. The psychologist, Diederik Stapel, of Tilburg University, committed academic fraud in “several dozen” published papers, many accepted in respected journals and reported in the news media, according to a report released ... by the three Dutch institutions where he has worked. The journal Science, which published one of Dr. Stapel’s papers in April, posted an “editorial expression of concern” about the research online. The scandal, involving about a decade of work, is the latest in a string of embarrassments in a field that critics and statisticians say badly needs to overhaul how it treats research results. In recent years, psychologists have reported a raft of findings on race biases, brain imaging and even extrasensory perception that have not stood up to scrutiny. Outright fraud may be rare, these experts say, but they contend that Dr. Stapel took advantage of a system that allows researchers to operate in near secrecy and massage data to find what they want to find, without much fear of being challenged.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on corruption in scientific research and publication, click here.
Guatemala has tracked down five survivors from a shocking US government research project on sexually transmitted diseases that killed scores of its people. On [August 29], a presidential panel disclosed new details of the medical experiments done in Guatemala in the 1940s, including a decision to re-infect a dying woman in a syphilis study. The Guatemala experiments are already considered one of the darker episodes of medical research in U.S. history, but panel members say the new information indicates that the researchers were unusually unethical, even when placed into the historical context of a different era. "The researchers put their own medical advancement first and human decency a far second," said Anita Allen, a member of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. From 1946-48, the U.S. Public Health Service and the Pan American Sanitary Bureau worked with several Guatemalan government agencies to do medical research - paid for by the U.S. government - that involved deliberately exposing people to sexually transmitted diseases. The researchers apparently were trying to see if penicillin, then relatively new, could prevent infections in the 1,300 people exposed to syphilis, gonorrhea or chancroid. Those infected included soldiers, prostitutes, prisoners and mental patients with syphilis. The commission revealed ... that only about 700 of those infected received some sort of treatment. Also, 83 people died.
Note: For a long list of verifiable information on experiments where human were used a guinea pigs, click here.
U.S. government researchers who purposely infected unwitting subjects with sexually transmitted diseases in Guatemala in the 1940s had obtained consent a few years earlier before conducting similar experiments in Indiana, investigators reported [August 29]. The stark contrast between how the U.S. Public Health Service scientists experimented with Americans and Guatemalans clearly shows that researchers knew their conduct was unethical, according to members of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. “These researchers knew these were unethical experiments, and they conducted them anyway,” said Raju Kucherlapati of Harvard Medical School, a commission member. At least 5,500 prisoners, mental patients, soldiers and children were drafted into the experiments, including at least 1,300 who were exposed to the sexually transmitted diseases syphilis, gonorrhea and chancroid, the commission reported. “This is a dark chapter in our history. It is important to shine the light of day on it. We owe it to the people of Guatemala who were experimented on, and we owe it to ourselves to recognize what a dark chapter it was,” said Amy Gutmann of the University of Pennsylvania, the commission’s chairwoman.
Note: For a long list of verifiable information on experiments where human were used a guinea pigs, click here.
Scientists are in danger of turning animals into monsters unless an ethical watchdog is appointed to prevent Frankenstein-like experiments, the Academy of Medical Sciences has warned. A new report into experiments which transplant human cells into animals for medical purposes said scientists may not be far from giving apes the ability to think and talk like humans. Concerns about the creation of talking apes should be taken seriously along with "what one might call the 'Frankenstein fear' that the medical research which creates 'humanised' animals is going to generate monsters", it was claimed. A regulatory body is needed to closely monitor any experiments that risk creating animals with human-like consciousness, spawning hybrid human-animal embryos, or giving animals any appearance or behavioural traits that too closely resemble humans, the report said. Scientists would, for example, be prevented from replacing a large number of an ape's brain [cells] with human cells – as has already been done in simpler animals like mice – until much more is known about the potential results.
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A bizarre spate of television presenters dissolving into on-air gibberish has sparked claims that the U.S. military could be to blame. In four high-profile cases, the latest involving fast-talking Judge Judy, the presenters have started off speaking properly but have then descended into undecipherable nonsense - looking confused and unstable. The frequency of the 'attacks' - and the fact that recorded examples of the mental meltdowns have been popular on websites - has led to conspiracy theorists pointing the finger at shadowy government experiments. A popular theory being circulated online blames the U.S. Military’s supposed research into using microwaves as a mind control weapon. America has never admitted conducting such research but proponents say the effects - produced by microwave signals stimulating the brain with fake images and voices - exactly mimic those displayed in the recent on-air breakdowns. Serene Branson's garbled Grammys report became an internet sensation, while WISCTV's Sarah Carlson suffered a similar meltdown in January. Judith Sheindlin, the fast-talking judge on Judge Judy, was taken to hospital ... after she began speaking a nonsensical string of words during a live recording of her courtroom TV show.
Note: We don't normally use the UK's Daily Mail as a reliable source, but as the video included in this article clearly demonstrate something highly unusual, we've included it here. Another video of this highly strange phemomenon is available here. There is a possibility that some kind of HAARP technologies may be used in doing this. For more, click here. For reliable, verifiable information on secret government mind control programs, see the powerful two-page summary available here.
Few ecological disasters have been as confounding as the massive and devastating die-off of the world's honeybees. The phenomenon of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) -- in which disoriented honeybees die far from their hives -- has kept scientists, beekeepers, and regulators desperately seeking the cause. The long list of possible suspects has included pests, viruses, fungi, and also pesticides, particularly so-called neonicotinoids, a class of neurotoxins that kills insects by attacking their nervous systems. For years, their leading manufacturer, Bayer Crop Science, a subsidiary of the German pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG (BAYRY), has tangled with regulators and fended off lawsuits from angry beekeepers who allege that the pesticides have disoriented and ultimately killed their bees. A cheer must have gone up at Bayer on Thursday when a front-page New York Times article, under the headline "Scientists and Soldiers Solve a Bee Mystery," described how a newly released study pinpoints a different cause for the die-off: "a fungus tag-teaming with a virus." The Bayer pesticides, however, go unmentioned. What the Times article did not explore -- nor did the study disclose -- was the relationship between the study's lead author, Montana bee researcher Dr. Jerry Bromenshenk, and Bayer Crop Science. In recent years Bromenshenk has received a significant research grant from Bayer to study bee pollination.
Note: Read the full, revealing article to learn how money often corrupts science. For lots more from reliable sources on corporate corruption, click here.
Research universities that accept millions of dollars from oil companies have failed to shield themselves from corporate influence, according to a new study that faults UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Stanford and seven others. Such cozy relationships give energy companies too much control in deciding what research to fund and what faculty should study, says the report from the Center for American Progress, "Big Oil Goes to College". The contracts ... give more control to companies that foot the bill than to researchers, argues the report's author, Jennifer Washburn. "We want to see university research translate into commercial technology, but we don't want the research itself to be directed by individual corporations," she told The Chronicle. "They shouldn't turn California's flagship universities into the research arm of a private corporation." The report found that industry control over research is "poorly defined" in UC Davis' long-term contract with Chevron Technology Ventures. It says industry shares control with faculty at UC Berkeley, and control is fully corporate at Stanford. The report also says none of the three California contracts "requires peer review when selecting faculty research projects."
Note: For lots more from major media sources on corporate corruption, click here.
Youďż˝re not likely to hear about this from your doctor, but fake medical treatment can work amazingly well. For a range of ailments, from pain and nausea to depression and Parkinsonďż˝s disease, placebos--whether sugar pills, saline injections, or sham surgery--have often produced results that rival those of standard therapies. As evidence of the effectďż˝s power mounts, members of the medical community are increasingly asking an intriguing question: if the placebo effect can help patients, shouldnďż˝t we start putting it to work? In certain ways, placebos are ideal drugs: they typically have no side effects and are essentially free. And in recent years, research has confirmed that they can bring about genuine improvements in a number of conditions. An active conversation is now under way in leading medical journals, as bioethicists and researchers explore how to give people the real benefits of pretend treatment. But any attempt to harness the placebo effect immediately runs into thorny ethical and practical dilemmas. To present a dummy pill as real medicine would be, by most standards, to lie. To prescribe one openly, however, would risk undermining the effect. And even if these issues were resolved, the whole idea still might sound a little shady--offering bogus pills or procedures could seem, from the patientďż˝s perspective, hard to distinguish from skimping on care.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on important health issues, click here.
"The Game of Death" has all the trappings of a traditional television quiz show, with a roaring crowd and a glamorous and well-known hostess urging the players on under gaudy studio lights. But the contestants did not know they were taking part in an experiment to find out whether television could push them to outrageous lengths, and which has prompted comparisons with the atrocities of Nazi Germany. "We were amazed to find that 81 percent of the participants obeyed" the sadistic orders of the television presenter, said Christophe Nick, the maker of the documentary for the state-owned France 2 channel. "They are not equipped to disobey," he added. The game: posing questions to another "player" and punishing him with up to 460 volts of electricity when he gets them wrong -- even until his cries of "Let me go!" fall silent and he appears to have died. Not knowing that the screaming victim is really an actor, the apparently reluctant contestants yield to the orders of the presenter and chants of "Punishment!" from a studio audience who also believed the game was real. Nick said 80 percent of the contestants went all the way, zapping the victim with the maximum 460 volts until he appeared to die. Out of 80 players, just 16 walked out. "When it decides to abuse its power, television can do anything to anybody," said Nick. "It has an absolutely terrifying power."
Note: For more on this powerful and disturbing phenomenon, click here.
A healthcare firm is seeking to silence a Danish academic from expressing doubts about one of its products by using England’s draconian libel laws. Two years ago in a conference room in the Randolph hotel in Oxford, Henrik Thomsen ... one of Europe’s leading radiologists, revealed how patients treated at his hospital had subsequently contracted a rare and potentially fatal disease. Thomsen and other doctors at his Copenhagen University hospital were baffled as to why 20 kidney patients who had been given routine scans were afflicted by a disorder — nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) — in which the skin gradually swells, thickens and tightens. Some sufferers were confined to wheelchairs. At least one died. There was no known cure. It was confirmed that all those who had fallen ill with NSF had been given the same drug in advance of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. Omniscan was used to enhance the images produced by the scan. The product was sold around the world and was manufactured by GE Healthcare, a subsidiary of General Electric, one of the world’s largest corporations. Thomsen ... now refuses to speak anywhere in England on the possible risks of Omniscan. The reason is that he faces another kind of storm: GE Healthcare is suing him in the High Court for libel. GE has already racked up costs of more than Ł380,000 pursuing the respected academic. Thomsen will have to pay the firm’s costs if he loses the case.
Note: For lots more on corporate corruption from reliable sources, click here.
In the United Kingdom ... the country’s top drug adviser was recently fired for publicly criticizing his own government’s drug laws. The adviser, Dr. David Nutt, said in a lecture that alcohol is more hazardous than many outlawed substances, and that the United Kingdom might be making a mistake in throwing marijuana smokers in jail. His comments weren’t the idle musings of a reality-insulated professor in a policy job. They were based on ... a scientifically compiled ranking of drugs, assembled by specialists in chemistry, health, and enforcement, published in a prestigious medical journal two years earlier. The list, printed as a chart with the unassuming title “Mean Harm Scores for 20 Substances,” ranked a set of common drugs, both legal and illegal, in order of their harmfulness - how addictive they were, how physically damaging, and how much they threatened society. Overall, alcohol is far worse than many illegal drugs. So is tobacco. Smoking pot is less harmful than drinking, and LSD is less damaging yet. Nutt says he didn’t see himself as promoting drug use or trying to subvert the government. He was pressing the point that a government policy, especially a health-related one like a drug law, should be grounded in factual information.
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Scientists in Israel have demonstrated that it is possible to fabricate DNA evidence, undermining the credibility of what has been considered the gold standard of proof in criminal cases. The scientists fabricated blood and saliva samples containing DNA from a person other than the donor of the blood and saliva. They also showed that if they had access to a DNA profile in a database, they could construct a sample of DNA to match that profile without obtaining any tissue from that person. “You can just engineer a crime scene,” said Dan Frumkin, lead author of the paper, which has been published online by the journal Forensic Science International: Genetics. “Any biology undergraduate could perform this.” Dr. Frumkin is a founder of Nucleix, a company based in Tel Aviv that has developed a test to distinguish real DNA samples from fake ones that it hopes to sell to forensics laboratories. The planting of fabricated DNA evidence at a crime scene is only one implication of the findings. A potential invasion of personal privacy is another. Using some of the same techniques, it may be possible to scavenge anyone’s DNA from a discarded drinking cup or cigarette butt and turn it into a saliva sample that could be submitted to a genetic testing company that measures ancestry or the risk of getting various diseases. Tania Simoncelli, science adviser to the American Civil Liberties Union, said the findings were worrisome. “DNA is a lot easier to plant at a crime scene than fingerprints,” she said. “We’re creating a criminal justice system that is increasingly relying on this technology.”
Note: For lots more on government threats to civil liberties, click here.
If recent scientific research on happiness -- and there has been quite a bit -- has proved anything, it's that happiness is not a goal. It's a process. Although our tendency to be happy or not is partly inborn, it's also partly within our control. And, perhaps more surprising, happiness brings success, not the other way around. Though many people think happiness is elusive, scientists have actually pinned it down and know how to get it. Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at UC Riverside and author of The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want… led controlled studies to determine what behaviors positively affect happiness, and has come up with at least 12 strategies that measurably increase levels. For instance, one strategy she's tested is the practice of gratitude. In her gratitude study, she had a group of 57 subjects express gratitude once a week in a journal. A second group of 58 expressed gratitude in a journal three times a week. And a control group of 32 did nothing. At the end of six weeks, she retested all three groups and found a significant increase in happiness in the first one. She and other researchers also recommend practicing forgiveness, savoring positive moments and becoming more involved in your church, synagogue or religious organization. "Not every strategy fits everyone," she says. "People need to try a few to find which ones work." Although Lyubomirsky likes to let people define happiness for themselves, clinically, she describes it as "a combination of frequent positive emotions, plus the sense that your life is good."
The Bush Administration has run a systematic campaign to play down the dangers of climate change, demanding hundreds of politically motivated changes to scientific reports and muzzling a pre-eminent expert on global warming, the US Congress has been told. The testimony ... painted the Administration as determined to maintain its line on climate change even when it clashed with the findings of scientific experts. The Administration has moved to exercise control over environmental agencies by installing political appointees including a former oil industry lobbyist, Philip Cooney, as chief of staff of the Council on Environmental Quality. In 2003 Mr Cooney and other senior appointed officials made at least 181 changes to a strategic plan on climate change to play down the scientific consensus on global warming. They made a further 113 alterations to minimise the human role in climate change. "These changes must be made," a note in Mr Cooney's handwriting says. Under heated questioning, Mr Cooney admitted the changes were all intended to cast doubt on the impact of global warming. Control from the White House became the norm, [NASA's Dr. James] Hansen told the committee. "Scientific press releases were going to the White House for editing," he said. "It's very unfortunate that we developed this politicisation of science. The public relations office should be staffed by expert appointees - otherwise they become offices of propaganda." Hansen was also restrained from giving press interviews by a junior political appointee, George Deutsch. Mr Deutsch left NASA early last year after it emerged he had falsified his CV.
Japan has again been forced to confront its wartime conduct after a former doctor in the country's imperial navy admitted he had conducted experiments on Filipino prisoners during the second world war. Akira Makino, 84, said in an interview with the Kyodo news agency that he had performed surgery and amputations on dozens of prisoners of war before they were executed in the Philippines. Mr Makino is one of several former Japanese soldiers who decided to reveal the truth about their country's use of human guinea pigs before they die. Unit 731, the imperial Japanese army's notorious germ warfare unit, killed thousands of Chinese civilians and Allied PoWs at its sprawling complex in Harbin, northern China. The victims ... were injected with typhus, cholera and other diseases. They died during the experiments or were executed to prevent them from talking about their experiences. As the end of the war approached, the unit destroyed evidence of their activities. The extent of their activities only came to light following testimony from repentant former doctors, soldiers and nurses. US authorities secretly granted unit officials immunity from prosecution in return for access to years of research into biological weapons. Several former Unit 731 officials went on to enjoy prominent careers in medicine, academia and business. Mr Makino ... said he remained haunted by memories of the experiments. "We should not repeat that misery again," he said. "I want to tell the truth about the war."
Note: Explore a list depicting the rampant use of humans as guinea pigs in government, military, and medical experiments over the last century.
Academics and the media have failed dismally to ask the crucial question of scientists' claims: who is paying you? In the 1990s, [Arise] was one of the world's most influential public-health groups. It described itself as "a worldwide association of eminent scientists who act as independent commentators". Its purpose ... was to show how "everyday pleasures, such as eating chocolate, smoking, drinking tea, coffee and alcohol, contribute to the quality of life". "Scientific studies show that enjoying the simple pleasures in life, without feeling guilty, can reduce stress and increase resistance to disease". Between September 1993 and March 1994 ... [Arise] generated 195 newspaper articles and radio and television interviews, in places such as the Wall Street Journal, the International Herald Tribune, the Independent, the Evening Standard, El País, La Repubblica, Rai and the BBC. In 1998 [tobacco] firms were obliged to place their internal documents in a public archive. Among them ... is a memo from ... Philip Morris - the world's largest tobacco company. The title is "Arise 1994-95 Activities and Funding". This showed that in the previous financial year Arise had received $373,400: ... over 99% - from Philip Morris, British American Tobacco, RJ Reynolds and Rothmans. The memo suggests Arise was run not by eminent scientists but by eminent tobacco companies. How much more science is being published in academic journals with undeclared interests like these? How many more media campaigns ... have been secretly funded and steered by corporations?
Note: If you want to understand how corporate interests secretly manipulate both scientific results and public perception, this excellent article is well worth reading.
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