Michael Specter - Quotes

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All the food we eat - every grain of rice and kernel of corn - has been genetically modified. None of it was here before mankind learned to cultivate crops. The question isn't whether our food has been modified, but how. ---->>>

When people say they prefer organic food, what they often seem to mean is they don't want their food tainted with pesticides and their meat shot full of hormones or antibiotics. Many object to the way a few companies - Monsanto is the most famous of them - control so many of the seeds we grow.

When people say they prefer organic food, what they often seem to mean is they don't want their food tainted with pesticides and their meat shot full of hormones or antibiotics. Many object to the way a few companies - Monsanto is the most famous of them - control so many of the seeds we grow.

All the food we eat, whether Brussels sprouts or pork bellies, has been modified by mankind. Genetic engineering is only one particularly powerful way to do what we have been doing for eleven thousand years.

All the food we eat, whether Brussels sprouts or pork bellies, has been modified by mankind. Genetic engineering is only one particularly powerful way to do what we have been doing for eleven thousand years.

One morning every spring, for exactly two minutes, Israel comes to a stop. Pedestrians stand in place, drivers pull over to the side of the road, and nobody speaks, sings, eats, or drinks as the nation pays respect to the victims of the Nazi genocide. From the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea, the only sounds one hears are sirens. ---->>>

Some people will deny anything that displeases or scares them: unusual pain in their chests, unwanted lumps beneath their skin, or the fact that humans share ancestry with apes are a few examples. Another is climate change. ---->>>

Clearly, some of the reason people embrace alternatives and reject vaccines is that they are angry and mistrustful of government and of pharmaceutical conglomerates. More than that, we pay too much for health care, it's not good enough, and the system is too complex. We need alternatives.

Clearly, some of the reason people embrace alternatives and reject vaccines is that they are angry and mistrustful of government and of pharmaceutical conglomerates. More than that, we pay too much for health care, it's not good enough, and the system is too complex. We need alternatives.

There are people who could watch a hurricane like Sandy blow out of the Atlantic every other day and blame it on anything but human activity. They are like those who, having been diagnosed with diabetes, eat donuts for breakfast. There's not much to do about them. ---->>>

By themselves, genetically engineered crops will not end hunger or improve health or bolster the economies of struggling countries. They won't save the sight of millions or fortify their bones. But they will certainly help.

By themselves, genetically engineered crops will not end hunger or improve health or bolster the economies of struggling countries. They won't save the sight of millions or fortify their bones. But they will certainly help.

Humanity has nearly suffocated the globe with carbon dioxide, yet nuclear power plants that produce no such emissions are so mired in objections and obstruction that, despite renewed interest on every continent, it is unlikely another will be built in the United States. ---->>>

The history of agriculture is the history of humans breeding seeds and animals to produce traits we want in our crops and livestock. ---->>>

Someone told me that they didn't want to take a flu shot because they didn't want to put a foreign substance in their body. What do they think they do at dinner every night? ---->>>

I moved from Moscow to Rome with my family and two bicycles in 1998, and spent a lot of that year- and the next - obsessed, I am sorry to admit, with the bicycles. Italy, after all, was a place where thousands of middle-aged men felt perfectly comfortable spending many hours a week in brightly colored spandex.

I moved from Moscow to Rome with my family and two bicycles in 1998, and spent a lot of that year- and the next - obsessed, I am sorry to admit, with the bicycles. Italy, after all, was a place where thousands of middle-aged men felt perfectly comfortable spending many hours a week in brightly colored spandex.

Most reputable scientists agree that climate change is real and that the effects are likely to be bad. But nobody can say for sure exactly what 'bad' means. The safest and most equitable way out of this horrific mess is simple: cut fossil-fuel emissions. ---->>>

Many of the most eloquent people I have ever met work in lab coats every day. ---->>>

There has never been a verified scientific report that chelation therapy, a gluten-free diet, or anything else can cure autism.

There has never been a verified scientific report that chelation therapy, a gluten-free diet, or anything else can cure autism.

I have covered wars, before the epidemic began and since. They are all ugly and painful and unjust, but for me, nothing has matched the dread I felt while walking through the Castro, the Village, or Dupont Circle at the height of the AIDS epidemic. ---->>>

If there is anything more frightening than the threat of global nuclear war, it is the certainty that humans not only stand on the verge of producing new life forms but may soon be able to tinker with them as if they were vintage convertibles or bonsai trees. ---->>>

It doesn't seem to matter how often vaccines are proved safe or supplements are shown to offer nothing of value. When people don't like facts, they ignore them. ---->>>

Many climate scientists say their biggest fear is that warming could melt the Arctic permafrost - which stretches for thousands of miles across Alaska, Canada, and Siberia. ---->>>

The most blatant forms of denialism are rarely malevolent; they combine decency, a fear of change, and the misguided desire to do good - for our health, our families, and the world. That is why so many physicians dismiss the idea that a patient's race can, and often should, be used as a tool for better diagnoses and treatment. ---->>>

The passengers in our microbiome contain at least four million genes, and they work constantly on our behalf: they manufacture vitamins and patrol our guts to prevent infections; they help to form and bolster our immune systems, and digest food. ---->>>

'Meat' is a vague term and can be used to refer to many parts of an animal, including internal organs and skin. For the most part, the meat we eat consists of muscle tissue taken from farm animals, whether it's a sirloin steak, which is cut from the rear of a cow, or a pork chop, taken from flesh near the spine of a pig. ---->>>

We inherit every one of our genes, but we leave the womb without a single microbe. As we pass through our mother's birth canal, we begin to attract entire colonies of bacteria. By the time a child can crawl, he has been blanketed by an enormous, unseen cloud of microorganisms - a hundred trillion or more. ---->>>

Although it may seem callous to say so, millions of Americans are lucky that Magic Johnson was infected with H.I.V. There is no way of calculating how many lives he has saved. No advertising agency could have invented a better, or more effective, role model. ---->>>

Denialist arguments are often bolstered by accurate information taken wildly out of context, wielded selectively, and supported by fake experts who often don't seem fake at all. ---->>>

Even a two-degree climb in average global temperatures could cause crop failures in parts of the world that can least afford to lose the nourishment. The size of deserts would increase, along with the frequency and intensity of wildfires. ---->>>

It is a remarkable fact that smallpox, a scourge for thousands of years, has now vanished from the earth, except for two tiny vials, one locked in a highly secure facility at the Centers for Disease Control, in Atlanta, and another stored in a similarly secure vault in Siberia. ---->>>

Throughout the United States, at the dawn of the Progressive era, dozens of laws and regulations were established to empower police officers, public-health officials, and even the armed forces to vaccinate at will, and, if necessary, at gunpoint. ---->>>

To suggest that organic vegetables, which cost far more than conventional produce, can feed billions of people in parts of the world without roads or proper irrigation may be a fantasy based on the finest intentions. But it is a cruel fantasy nonetheless. ---->>>

We're lying ourselves into believing things are untrue, like organic food will solve all our problems, or vitamins will make us healthy, or we don't need to vaccinate our children.

We're lying ourselves into believing things are untrue, like organic food will solve all our problems, or vitamins will make us healthy, or we don't need to vaccinate our children.

Daily vitamins are of no value. ---->>>

Industrial agriculture freed many people to pursue lives their parents and grandparents could never have. It made America modern. ---->>>

It is not possible to assert publicly that Monsanto is anything other than venal without being accused of being a sellout, a fraud, or worse. ---->>>

Universal vaccination may well be the greatest success story in medical history.

Universal vaccination may well be the greatest success story in medical history.

Any group that intends to sell laboratory meat will need to build bioreactors - factories that can grow cells under pristine conditions. Bioreactors aren't new; beer and yeast are made using similar methods. ---->>>

Deliberately modifying the earth's atmosphere would be a desperate gamble with significant risks. Yet the more likely climate change is to cause devastation, the more attractive even the most perilous attempts to mitigate those changes will become. ---->>>

For decades, Barbara Walters has been described as a broadcast pioneer - and with good reason. In 1974, Walters became the first female host of the 'Today' show. In 1976, she became the first woman to serve as a network-news anchor. In 1984, she moderated the first presidential debate between Walter Mondale and Ronald Reagan. ---->>>

If people want to believe that our ancestors were riding around on dinosaurs or that the protracted, increasing, and devastating warming of the Earth is just nature doing its thing - I guess I feel I have more useful battles to fight. ---->>>

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established highly specific criteria for the diagnosis of Lyme disease: an acknowledged tick bite, the appearance of a bull's-eye rash, and, for those who don't live in a region where Lyme is common, laboratory evidence of infection. ---->>>

Newspapers and magazines have been valuable to us precisely because they apply filters to information, otherwise known as editing, and often the Internet seems valuable for exactly the opposite reason: You can get your news without a filter. ---->>>

The best way to deal with climate change has been obvious for years: cut greenhouse-gas emissions severely. We haven't done that. In 2010, for example, carbon emissions rose by six per cent - the largest such increase on record. ---->>>

There is a major problem with reliance on placebos, like most vitamins and antioxidants. Everyone gets upset about Big Science, Big Pharma, but they love Big Placebo. ---->>>

If left untreated, Lyme disease can be crippling, yet it is a difficult illness to contract: a tick needs to attach itself to your body for at least twenty-four hours. Even then, two weeks worth of commonly prescribed antibiotics will kill the bacterium. ---->>>

Much of modern molecular biology and microbiology has been based on the effort to decipher the basic code of life, which is made up of four nucleotides: adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine. ---->>>

The numbers matter: underreporting of Lyme disease obscures the true burden of the illnesses, on individuals as well as on health-care systems. It also makes it harder to convince Congress to fund research. ---->>>

There are many theories about the best way to remove excess carbon from the atmosphere - some are ludicrous, others are at least worth study. The most commonly discussed plan is to lace the sky with reflective chemicals. ---->>>

Until the Nineteen-Eighties, when Deng Xiaoping designated the area as China's first special economic zone, Shenzhen had been a tiny fishing village. Suddenly, eleven million people appeared, seemingly out of nowhere; factories sprang up, often housed in hastily constructed tower blocks. ---->>>

We are inhabited by as many as ten thousand bacterial species; these cells outnumber those which we consider our own by ten to one, and weigh, all told, about three pounds - the same as our brain. ---->>>

We're all in denial from time to time. We all see things that are too painful to really deal with. But this has consequences, and the consequences of not vaccinating your children are not only just that those children are exposed to illnesses; it's that everyone else they go to school with and they hang around with are, too. ---->>>

When most members of a community are vaccinated, they protect those who are not by eliminating the viral reservoirs in the population. The effect is known as 'herd immunity.' ---->>>

Why do people refuse to vaccinate their children against measles or whooping cough? In many cases, because they have never seen measles and have no idea what it might do. ---->>>

Antioxidants are completely useless. ---->>>

I started to write about science and medicine at the 'Washington Post,' in the early days of the AIDS epidemic. ---->>>

Nobody celebrates when they avoid an illness they never expected to get. ---->>>

Consumers deserve the right to know what's in their food - and obviously, most people want that choice. It's hard to see how more knowledge about the products we eat every day can hurt us. ---->>>

The Maldives, a string of islands off the coast of India whose highest point above sea level is eight feet, may be the first nation to drown. In Alaska, entire towns have begun to shift in the loosening permafrost. ---->>>

With a hundred and seventy-eight machines to sequence the precise order of the billions of chemicals within a molecule of DNA, B.G.I. produces at least a quarter of the world's genomic data - more than Harvard University, the National Institutes of Health, or any other scientific institution. ---->>>

If caught early, Lyme is easily treated with antibiotics. But activists, and many researchers, have long contended that tens of thousands of people remain unaware that they have been infected - sometimes for years, during which the bacterium can spread to the heart, nervous system, and brain. ---->>>

Just because you read a report in the 'New York Times,' the 'Economist,' or, yes, 'The New Yorker' doesn't make it true. But we do know that a few people have evaluated that story with what strikes me as fairly objective standards of reason. ---->>>

Lyme disease is the most commonly reported tick-borne illness in the United States, and the incidence is growing rapidly. In 2009, the C.D.C. reported thirty-eight thousand cases, three times more than in 1991. Most researchers agree that the true number of infections is five to ten times higher. ---->>>

Meat supplies a variety of nutrients - among them iron, zinc, and Vitamin B12 - that are not readily found in plants. We can survive without it; millions of vegetarians choose to do so, and billions of others have that choice imposed upon them by poverty. ---->>>

Most people prepare for travels by reading about their destination; it always seemed an odd approach to me. I find it much easier and more pleasant to focus with the sights and smells of a place rattling around in my mind. ---->>>

'Natural' is a word that has become unmoored by its meanings. If you go into a vitamin shop, things are natural, and people look at that, and they think it's good. It's no different than any other thing you swallow. ---->>>

Newspapers and magazines are vanishing. But science writers are not. In fact, they are becoming so adept and varied that I hardly have time to read 'Gawker' anymore. ---->>>

Now, as the world's scientists focus with increasing intensity on transforming the genetic codes of every living creature into information that can be used to treat and ultimately prevent disease, Shenzhen is home to a different kind of factory: B.G.I., formerly called Beijing Genomics Institute, the world's largest genetic-research center. ---->>>

Biography

Nationality: American
Born: 06-21, 2015
Birthplace:
Die:
Occupation: Journalist
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Michael Specter (born 1955) is an American journalist who has been a staff writer, focusing on science and technology, and global public health at The New Yorker since September 1998. He has also written for The Washington Post and The New York Times.(wikipedia)