Amesh Adalja, M.D., discusses the history of vaccination with special attention to the heroic figures who developed this technology. Particular consideration is given to the chain of reasoning leading to the first vaccine, as well as how the germ theory of disease led to a plethora of vaccines that allowed humans to experience a rapid improvement in lifespan and quality of life.
Adalja is a board-certified physician in infectious disease, critical care medicine, emergency medicine and internal medicine, specializing in the intersection of national security with catastrophic health events. He publishes and lectures on bioterrorism, pandemic preparedness and emerging infectious diseases and appears as a guest on national radio and television programs. This talk was delivered on Wednesday, July 6, 2016, at Objectivist Summer Conference 2016 in Bellevue, Washington.
How can consciousness be addressed scientifically? The Tucson conference, founded in 1994 and celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2014, exemplifies the quest. What are the range of theories? Where do participants position themselves? Meet the founders, early visionaries, new scientists and thinkers. Progress is being made, but what does this really mean?
“The inescapable conclusion, after reading the report, is the G.E. crops are pretty much just crops. They are not the panacea that some proponents claim, nor the dreaded monsters that others claim.” — Wayne Parrott a professor of crop and soil sciences at the University of Georgia.
The report looks at the impacts GE crops have had since the 1980s. Its findings include:
Generally positive economic outcomes for farmers, but no indication GE crops changed the rate of increase in yields;
Decreased crop losses, insecticide use and greater insect biodiversity for insect-resistant Bt crops, but also instances of insects evolving resistance;
No decrease in plant biodiversity for herbicide tolerant crops, but a major problem with herbicide-resistant weeds due to heavy glyphosate use;
No evidence that foods from GE crops are less safe to eat than conventional food.
Looking to the future of GE crops, the report notes that new genetic technologies are blurring the line between conventional and GE crops, and that the U.S. regulatory system needs to assess crop varieties based on their individual characteristics, not the way they are produced.