TRC 217: Social Media and Isolation + Monsanto + Castoreum

In an episode released the same week as The Reality Check’s one millionth download, the gang does not disappoint with three thought provoking segments. Elan D. leads things off with a look into whether social media has lead to increased social isolation. Adam G. follows with an exploration into some claims made against the biotech megacorporation Monstanto. Pat R. closes out the show with the myth of the week; is there a food additive made of bizarre animal products in much of what we eat called Castoreum? Also, one of the hosts takes a turn doing vocals for the opening skeptical parody.

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Show Notes

Social Media and Social Isolation:

The Atlantic – Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?

AARP Study on Loneliness

Pew – Social Isolation and New Technology

USA Today – Social Media doesn’t mean Social Isolation

Rutgers – Social Network Sites Foster Close and Diverse Connections


Genetic use restriction technology – Wikipedia

GMO corn causes cancer-Myth vs. Science – Skeptical Raptor’s Blog

Hybrid seed – Wikipedia

Monsanto – Farmer Suicides in India – Is There a Connection with Bt Cotton?

Monsanto – Wikipedia


Petition to the FDA

Dairy Farmers of Washington – Just Plain Wrong

Jamie Oliver on Letterman

The Vegetarian Resource Group

FDA – Food Additives Status List

Merriam-Webster: Castoreum



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4 Responses to TRC 217: Social Media and Isolation + Monsanto + Castoreum

  1. Jo says:

    It seems there is GMO contamination. I’ve read the case quickly, but they are not fighting if it did contaminated or not (which Monsanto would have argued if it wasn’t the case) no one were saying it was dangerous, it was over technicality over Biological certified food…..

    Hoffman v Monsanto 2005
    26. Since its introduction into the environment of Western Canada, GM canola has widely proliferated and has been found growing on land on which it was never intended to be grown. The contamination has reached a level such that very few, if any, pedigreed seed growers in Saskatchewan will warrant their canola seed to be GMO-free and few, if any, grain farmers in Saskatchewan could warrant their canola crop, even if planted with GMO-free seeds, to be free of GMO contamination.
    27. As a result of widespread contamination by GM canola few, if any, certified organic grain farmers are now growing canola. The crop, as an important tool in the crop rotations of organic farmers, and as an organic grain commodity, has been lost to certified organic farmers in Saskatchewan.

  2. Jo says:

    So they are afraid of long-term consequences, especially about herbicide resistance…

  3. Hiromi says:

    It’s not my broccoli, ya know.I unandstred your position on Monsanto, I just want to point out that when you use the company reputation as a shortcut for forming an opinion, you may end up forming an opinion that is not grounded in science, but in [food] politics.With regard to irony, Home Depot sells both paints and paint thinner, and weapon manufacturers for police and military do just that produce armor and armor-piercing rounds. Yeah it’s kind of funny to make both but somehow I find it much more amusing that you think the broccoli in the store is the way nature made it. (And in all likelihood, the seeds of which may be sold by Monsanto, Syngenta, etc, so you really aren’t avoiding what you think you are!) The broccoli compounds in question also protect against the carcinogenic compounds produced by our [natural] food itself, which I explain in the post, which we are exposed to at levels that are magnitudes greater than pesticide residues on food or in drinking water.Finally, I would like to point out that while discussing the merits of the arguments and potential ironies involved, you are making this about whether or not you would want to eat it. That’s totally fine that you wouldn’t want to buy it, and I have not advocated that people eat it either. I just want to highlight that I’m talking about a scientific issue, and you are talking about a personal issue.I choose not to confuse my political and scientific opinions. That’s how I roll.

  4. Pingback: The Fear Babe, Part 6: Castoreum | Skeptical Vegan

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