Twinning Intelligence

We have entered the age of "pretty smart" machines.  There have been some showpieces in the form of Jeopardy's Watson and recently the game playing AlphaGo and AlphaZero machines that far and way bested the best human players at their game.  Notably, unlike previous game playing machines, AlphaZero was never programmed on how to play [...]

States Must Adopt EU Pesticide Regulations to Stop Insect Extinction

The world is in the midst of an insect extinction crisis.  We've all heard about the plight of bees, but the plight of all insect fauna is much less widely appreciated.  The figure below is from a report in Science  a few years ago showing the precipitous decline in insects worldwide.[1] What beekeepers and naturalists [...]

Metamodern Meditation

I only recently ran into metamodernism, the new kid on the block ready to sweep postmodernism into the dust bin of intellectual movements.  This isn't my usual bailiwick, so it took me by surprise that I was pulled into this obscure corner of cultural criticism.   What's brought me here is the paucity of reasonable discussion these [...]

Threshold mechanisms in acetylcholine pathway insecticides and environmental safety

Overview Previously we looked at some of the basic principles of nervous system function and how chemicals from several pesticide classes disrupt normal function.  This time we will look in detail about what we can expect for a dose-response characterization of acetylcholine pathway insecticides based upon their mode of action and properties of the nervous system. [...]

EPA’s Proposed Imidacloprid Exposure Limitations are Not Strong Enough

Our comment letter to EPA follows below.   OPP Docket Environmental Protection Agency Docket Center (EPA/DC), (28221T) 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Washington, DC 20460-0001   Re: Pollinator Ecological Risk Assessments: Imidacloprid Registration Review EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0844   To whom it may concern, We would like to offer some comments on the regulatory endpoints that are proposed in [...]

The Mechanisms of Neuro-toxic Pesticides

Agricultural pesticides have become part of the chemical landscape that we all  live in.  To be able to make intelligent decision about the use and regulation of these chemicals, it's important to understand how they work.  Almost all modern pesticides are chemicals that interfere in some way with the nervous system. The characteristics of the [...]