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« Reign of madness | Main | More eco-destruction by greens »
Thursday
Oct102013

Ivo Vegter on green misinformation

Simply fantastic

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Reader Comments (74)

Brilliant - pass it on.

Oct 10, 2013 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterson of mulder

Now the entire politician class should be sat down and made to watch that talk...

Oct 10, 2013 at 2:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterLiT

Superb.

He didn't, I think, use the s-word, but he has given me another take on 'sustainable development' and that is 'excessive risk aversion'.

Oct 10, 2013 at 2:56 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Awesome - Now this should be shown in schools

But will not be officially

Thank goodness for modern technology that can spread this like wildfire!

I have posted the link on a couple of Forums already.

Just waiting for the Alarmists to stop spluttering so I can have a chuckle at their response!!

Oct 10, 2013 at 3:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterDoug UK

In a world where children are suspended for pointing a finger and saying "bang" and where an ad for chewing gum implies that it will change your life and make you happy, why is it imagined that environmental activists are not exaggerating? Who wrapped them in a cloak of saintliness?

Oct 10, 2013 at 3:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterCraig Loehle

Fantastic indeed

Oct 10, 2013 at 3:38 PM | Unregistered Commenterpeter h

Absolutely spot on.

Oct 10, 2013 at 3:38 PM | Unregistered Commentersunderlandsteve

A witty statement of case, but undermined by fatuous staging. Creating long pauses for canned laugher, for your own jokes, in an empty theatre, with a crypto set, static lighting, a fictive audience, and a camera operated by your mate, is pretentious and unpersuasive. Perhaps he could do it again in a more humanoid fashion? Sorry to unlike, but doesn't cut the mustard in its current format, and I fear will be too easily dismissed.

Oct 10, 2013 at 3:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterSH

Cracking presentation!

Now, could someone please tell me how I forward it (again)?

Oct 10, 2013 at 4:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Re: SH

> A witty statement of case, but undermined by fatuous staging. Creating long pauses for canned laugher, for your own jokes, in an empty theatre,

It was filmed at a TEDx conference in Cape Town on 20th July. Here is the list of speakers and you can see Ivo Vegter amongst them.

Oct 10, 2013 at 4:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

So very true ... Both the details and in general!

The only amazing things is why this should be such a suprise to so many gown up and (reasonably) intelligent and educated people.

Most of them have no problems whatsoever realising that an ad for an aftershave or perfume, and what it will do for your success within your general tribe, is a scam and an appeal to your emotions and insecurities.

Oct 10, 2013 at 5:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonas N

Very refreshing.

Oct 10, 2013 at 5:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterRB

SH ; "Creating long pauses for canned laugher (sic)..."

Sorry, must disagree with you. I recognise the body language from my own public speaking attempts. He is not a slick, trained speaker and pauses to remember his script and gather his thoughts. The clipped delivery is due to nervousness.
He is, by trade, a writer, not an actor or politician.

I thought it was very good and enjoyed it.

Oct 10, 2013 at 5:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterNic

I think he has chosen a poor example with the MSG.

When I used to eat at MSG-adding-Chinese-restaurants, usually in the evening, I wouldn't sleep much at all that night. On occasion I didn't sleep at all. OMG! Those nights we sooooo long! And the next day or two was awful, trying to return to the Here and Now!

Yet with the other foods he mentioned, they don't affect me. Perhaps MSG-adding-Chinese-restaurants put something else in as well.

I didn't always feel that bad with MSG. It was just that everyone else invariably found me intolerable (more than usual) for a couple of days!

It's a pity that he chose an example that has caused so much personal anguish and lack of ease as, armed with these 'facts', people in authority often dismiss any such symptoms as fantasy or being made up, ironically, without question!

Sorry, for me, it spoiled the rest of the clip. To me it's stating something that isn't true and it's just a cheap laugh, at some else's expense!

Luckily, we have a good Chinese restaurant in the our village, so I rarely need to risk it elsewhere.

Oct 10, 2013 at 5:27 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Clearly a shill for Big Oil, or perhaps Big #3 with rice.

Oct 10, 2013 at 5:40 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

This will be despatched to all my friends and family. People may not agree
with all the content but, the message within the presentation is that we
should all be much more sceptical than many of us are, about (almost)
everything. If this presentation promulgates the concept of scepticism,
then in my opinion, it will achieve much.
The format is in my opinion, pretty damn good.

Oct 10, 2013 at 5:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

Re: Robert Christopher

> It's a pity that he chose an example that has caused so much personal anguish and lack of ease as, armed with these 'facts', people in authority often dismiss any such symptoms as fantasy or being made up, ironically, without question!

Review of Alleged Reaction to Monosodium Glutamate and Outcome of a Multicenter Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study

SUMMARY
The weight of the evidence supports the designation of MSG as a generally safe food flavoring agent. Neither epidemiologic surveys nor challenge studies provide evidence that ingestion of MSG is associated with adverse reactions in the population at large. In subjects who report adverse reactions to MSG, rigorous DBPC challenge studies indicate that large doses of MSG given without food may elicit more symptoms than a placebo in individuals who believe that they react adversely to MSG. However, neither persistent nor serious effects from MSG ingestion were observed, and the frequency of the responses was low. More importantly, the responses reported were inconsistent and were not reproducible. The responses were not observed when MSG was given with food.

Oct 10, 2013 at 5:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Ab. So. Lutely BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!!

Oct 10, 2013 at 6:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand

Cracking presentation!

Now, could someone please tell me how I forward it (again)?

Oct 10, 2013 at 4:12 PM | Radical Rodent

For thise wanting to pass it on:
http://youtu.be/4zJn4gxCx3c

Oct 10, 2013 at 6:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand

Without wishing to add to the MSG conspiracy, I too find that Chinese food, especially latish in the evening, results in poor and interrupted sleep with a slightly racing pulse feeling. I have always put it down to MSG....maybe it's something else.

Oct 10, 2013 at 6:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterstun

Wow.

Great guy He gets out of his bath to go to the toilet.

Oct 10, 2013 at 7:11 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Don't think there are too many surprises here for long time readers of the blog.

The MSG/Salt comparison has been a long time coming. I would guess that everyone reading this adds Monosodium Chlorate (NaCl) to their food daily but somehow Monosodium Glutamate is different and bad and has to be banned.

Watch any cookery show and the main criticism from the "Master Chef" is that the food needs more seasoning by way of salt and pepper. It makes no sense that food needs more NaCl to be edible but one touch of MSG and it's bad for you.

Oct 10, 2013 at 7:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterredc

I liked the presentation, which for the most part is accurate. I would point out, though, that the coal deaths/mwh are driven primarily by Chinese death rates, which are two orders of magnitude higher than in the USA, where they approach the miniscule rates seen for other forms of power generation. I don't know about South Africa.

Oct 10, 2013 at 7:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterPierre Charles

Just off for a Chinese meal.
I'm with redc - I put the syndrome down to plain old sodium chloride myself, as I quite often wake up gasping for a drink of water.

Oct 10, 2013 at 7:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

Pierre Charles, a surprising number of deaths on the job in the USA are because of traffic fatalities as workers travel around from jobsite to jobsite.

Of the 652 fatalities in the Natural resources and mining sector, 296 were traffic accidents.

Coal Mining in the USA only had 20 deaths in 2012 and 8 were traffic accidents.

http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cftb0268.pdf

Oct 10, 2013 at 7:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

SH, you should re-like it and do so more watching of other TED talks. They are always professionally videos and presented. The presenters might be amatuer which shows with Ivo, but their content is always worth listening to.

To those who still link MSG to chinese food. They don't use excessive amounts compared to other take away foods such an Indian. What people are reacting to is more likely the excessive amounts of food than what the content is.

Oct 10, 2013 at 8:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterSadButMadLad

Re: stun

> I too find that Chinese food, especially latish in the evening, results in poor and interrupted sleep with a slightly racing pulse feeling. I have always put it down to MSG....maybe it's something else.

From the paper I pointed to (CRS = Chinese Restaurant Syndrome):

The symptoms of CRS were suggested to be similar to those of histamine intoxication. When the histamine content of ingredients used in Chinese cooking was measured, it was found that some Chinese meals could contain levels of histamine close to the toxic threshold established by the FDA for histamine in foods, leading the authors to propose that CRS may be caused by histamine (Chin et al. 1989).

Oct 10, 2013 at 8:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

TerryS, thanks for that. I'll take a #3, a #67, some prawn crackers and a Piritine please. Should confuse the local takeaway!

Oct 10, 2013 at 8:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterstun

Re: TerryS

MSG and artificial sweeteners destroy neurons in the brain's hypothalamus and distort the leptin count (=information from the body fat stores). Now this is a fact and is objectively harmful for a person's health - and yet I am sure there must be hundreds of studies claiming the contrary.

I have been following both the climate and health discussions for many years and I can tell you that the level of corruption in the medical and food industry is perfectly comparable with the climate science.

http://www.jackkruse.com/msg-your-gut-and-your-brain-post-trauma/

Oct 10, 2013 at 9:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterPasi

Very enjoyable talk, IMO. Many thanks for posting this.

But, as a journalist, I tend to be sceptical of such high-flown emotive rhetoric, right - if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is, and if something sounds too scary for words, I also investigate. And invariably, I find that my scepticism is well-founded. So I looked into it...

That sounds like investigative journalism in days gone by!

Oct 10, 2013 at 10:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

TerryS on Oct 10, 2013 at 5:56 PM
"The weight of the evidence supports the designation of MSG as a generally safe food flavoring agent"

So the scientists say its 'safe', but that does not mean it doesn't produce adverse reactions in some people!

I expect there isn't a machine with a numerical readout that will detect adverse reactions, so the symptoms are just the suffers' fantasies!. A similar situation to the Global Warming 'deniers'?

On another point, in an article, dated October 10, 2013:

Japanese doctors ordered to cover up mass radiation sickness across population
"A substantial number of Japanese have suddenly begun suffering nosebleeds that some reports indicate are likely tied to radiation poisoning from the damaged nuclear plants at Fukushima."
http://www.naturalnews.com/042426_medical_cover-up_radiation_sickness_Fukushima.html

Facebook reference:
http://www.facebook.com/notes/takahiro-katsumi/support-needed-over-3000-ppl-mostly-of-age-under-30-are-suffering-from-recurring/546917682028647

As its not part of a double blind test study, I expect it won't be investigated!

Oct 10, 2013 at 10:20 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Robert Christopher

I thought TerryS showed that it could produce adverse reactions in some people! I have had some friends who say they are allergic to MSG and, when they describe their symptoms, it seems like anaphylaxis to me....and I am glad that the study confirms that this can happen. Now I suffer from eczema and have never reacted to MSG, as far as I can tell. I am happy to conclude that some people can react badly to MSG. That does not imply that it is a virulent poison. I know people who react to mushrooms, prawns, onions. That does not imply that these are not generally safe foods. get a grip, man.

Oct 10, 2013 at 11:22 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Thanks to those pointing out it was a TEDx production. I don't see how this impinges my criticisms of a pretentious performance (literally, pretending to be what it is not), with the various technical shortcomings I listed which are self-evident.

Imagine how some eco PR would prep it - some unqualified freak pretending to be a stand-up comedian in an empty theatre. Eccentric, self-indulgent.

On the other hand I will get my son to watch it and see what he thinks. He is the perfect barometer of an unreliable age. Who knows? he may like it all over the place. Not that his cohort is exactly obsessed by this stuff.

Oct 10, 2013 at 11:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterSH

Rather off-topic, but has anyone seen the weather on the BBC after the news, with its reference to the developing heat-wave in Australia? Now, why would they suddenly be so interested in antipodean weather that they have to share it with us?

Oct 10, 2013 at 11:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Oct 10, 2013 at 11:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent Heatwave in Australia?
...............................
There was no heat wave of any consequence.
Here are some actual temperatures compared with past records for Octobers. h/t Chris Gilham, Ian Hill.

Bourke today - 40.2C (When no anomalous bird kills were reported to my knowledge -GHS).
Record October day 43.3C in 1898 (When massive bird kills were reported).

Broken Hill Airport today - 38.1C
Record October day 39.7C in 1988

Dubbo today - 34C
Record October day 40.6C in 1988

Moree today - 34.1C
Record October day 39.9C in 1965

Canberra today 28.5C
Record October day 32.7C in 1946

Bathurst Airport today 29.7C
Record October day 34.1C in 1988

Sydney Airport today 37.8C
Record October day 39.1C in 2004

Armidale Airport today 25.5C
Record October day 32.4C in 1988
............................
Back to the thread, a refreshingly good talk by Ivo Vegter. How interesting is the increase of such videos, questioning the status quo as sceptics should. Hard to call this Ivo Vegter-bull.

Oct 11, 2013 at 1:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

"A substantial number of Japanese have suddenly begun suffering nosebleeds that some reports indicate are likely tied to radiation poisoning from the damaged nuclear plants at Fukushima."
http://www.naturalnews.com/042426_medical_cover-up_radiation_sickness_Fukushima.html

Remember when all those people were getting sick from the radiation from cell phone towers?

I'm sure the nosebleeds are tied to Fukushima. But it will be psychosomatic, not caused by radiation. Worry will do that to some people, and the worry is not helped by people exaggerating the doseages involved.

People were accused of "covering up" the dangers of cell phone towers too. They weren't "covering up" anything, they were combating nonsense.

Oct 11, 2013 at 3:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterMooloo

Most enjoyable. BTW, tomatoes also contain quite a bit of MSG, which is probably why they are so tasty compared to many other fruits (I'm talking proper toms here, not the flavourless, leather skinned ones in supermarkets).

And, while it may be that some people have adverse reactions to MSG, that hardly makes it a public health hazard. People have adverse reactions to all kinds of foods on an individual basis. So, if they are sensible, they don't eat them. It's no big deal.

Oct 11, 2013 at 4:52 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

I don't think he can win on the Fukushima catastrophe. Did he Chernobyl was okay too?

Oct 11, 2013 at 5:39 AM | Unregistered Commenterhellsbells

I think it is important to note that he made his remarks concerning MSG qualified by the statement that this was 'for those not allergic to it'. No only does the dose make the poison, but so too do the characteristics of the exposed subject.

His coal mortality figures ARE probably skewed by Chinese mining deaths (mortality is 100x the US or Australia on a per tonne basis in the 'workers' paradise'), but they are also partly reflective of the well-established excess mortality from radionuclides like radon that are emitted during combustion. These can be minimised with good control features like bag filters, but his point is really that we accept these risks.

'I don't think he can win on the Fukushima catastrophe. Did he Chernobyl was okay too?' He is correct on Fukashima - the exposures were in fact quite low (and lower than you might think with Chernobyl).

I have a nice chart that someone in the nuclear industry put together that puts both these exposures in perspective - comparative to the other exposures to which we are routinely exposed (starting with sleeping next to someone - yes, people ARE radioactive!). I use this to teach my students risk assessment — nowhere near as effectively and wittily as this guy. (Most of his fact check out - bananas and potassium are on the chart).

I have tried unsuccessfully to embed the chart here, but failed. I will e-mail it to Andrew and see if he can't share it with you all.

[BH adds: see here]

Oct 11, 2013 at 7:05 AM | Unregistered Commenteraynsleykellow

The alarmist reaction to Fukushima was telling. Virtually ignoring the natural disaster which killed thousands (because it couldn't sensibly be attributed to Climate Change) they use it as a platform to attack one of their pet hates, Nuclear power, despite the fact that a relative handful of people may have been affected.
Their argument seems to be that we can't have nuclear power because in the event of a nuclear power station being at the epicentre of an immense natural disaster, there might be a radiation leak which will have an insignificant effect on the casualty rate.
Any difference is probably swamped by the injuries and deaths which will result from building and maintaining large wind turbines which is inherently risky, without considering the loss of general life expectancy related to unreliable electricity supplies.

Oct 11, 2013 at 8:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterNW

hellsbells
Simply saying that Vegter "can't win" on Fukujima is akin to saying that the eco-activists can have it all their own way and there's nothing we can do stop them. Which does sometimes feel like being the case.
Setting aside the perhaps justifiable criticism that this was not a clever place to build a nuclear power station given the possible tsunami risk (and ain't 20/20 hindsight a wonderful thing?) it is patently dishonest to use this incident as an argument for opposing nuclear power everywhere, which is what the Greens are doing successfully in France and Germany.
To include Chernobyl in the same sentence simply ramps up the dishonesty.
We are never going to get any sanity in the energy debate if the first thing we do is concede the eco-activist position especially when it is a dishonest one — as it usually is.

Oct 11, 2013 at 8:58 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Re: Pasi

> MSG and artificial sweeteners destroy neurons in the brain's hypothalamus and distort the leptin count ... Now this is a fact

Please provide references that MSG (which isn't an artificial sweetener) does this.

Re: Robert Christopher

> So the scientists say its 'safe', but that does not mean it doesn't produce adverse reactions in some people!

Many foods produce adverse affects in some people - nuts, dairy products, cereal grains etc but that does not make them unsafe for human use. Should we restrict the use wheat in food because some people have a gluten intolerance? Should we advise the populace to avoid using dairy products because of lactose intolerance?

> A substantial number of Japanese have suddenly begun suffering nosebleeds ... facebook reference

Are you seriously trying to tell us that over 3000 people in Japan are suffering from aplastic anaemia due to radiation poisoning? I assume that these people are also suffering from haemorrhagic bruising, tooth and hair loss, palpitations etc which are all systems you would expect if somebody was exposed to enough radiation to cause the aplastic anaemia that causes the nosebleeds.

Oct 11, 2013 at 9:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Excellent talk, quite surprised to see the topic given space under the TED banner even if it is the junior version. Also quite surprised to hear an audience being quite so appreciative and receptive. Is there a prevalence of environmental scepticism in South Africa?

Oct 11, 2013 at 9:05 AM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Absolutely brilliant
So know I have to give up my five a day :-)

Oct 11, 2013 at 9:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

Re: aynsleykellow

The radiation chart was compiled by Randall Munroe who does the xkcd comics strips. The blog post introducing the chart is here

Oct 11, 2013 at 9:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Perhaps the Australian media - or just the BBC - is gearing up for a "Stroppy Spring" after the famous "Angry Summer" ?

Oct 11, 2013 at 9:21 AM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

Mobile phone mast mania hasn't disappeared, by the way. Usually directed at big visible ones rather than the thousands concealed in buildings etc. I was surprised on a recent visit to be asked to support a campaign against a mobile phone mast in a hill suburb of Perth, Western Australia ( a suburb where reception can be very poor) . My suggestion that more people would suffer through not being able to make emergency calls than from a mobile phone mast was met with that "we have an alien in our midst" look and the topic was closed.

Oct 11, 2013 at 9:31 AM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

Thanks TerryS for the source - I couldn't find. And thanks, Bish, for posting it.

I happened to be in in the US when the disaster struck, and the CNN coverage was truly appalling - some reporter with the name of Soledad O'Brien (I kid you not!) and their specialist science or medical reporter comparing it to Bhopal (like a leak of methylisocyanate is just like radiation). Note that air travel carries quite appreciable exposures, which is an occupational hazard for flight crew because of the frequency of exposure.

There is an interesting comparison between US approaches to regulating chemical and radiation risks. The nuclear regulators knew there was an unavoidable background level of radiation, so assessed other exposures as additional to this. The chemical folk assumed there was no background level of exposure, and treated any exposure as carrying substantial avoidable risk, with 'no safe dose.' Along came Bruce Ames, who showed that something like 97% of our exposure comes from chemicals IN plants, often that they produced as a defence against pests, rather than ON plants from spraying. And now we know that many chemicals exhibit hormesis (small doses lead to reductions in effects like cancer), so the linear dose-response curves assumed by regulators actually led to a very expensive quest for levels of purity that were both unattainable and futile.

Oct 11, 2013 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered Commenteraynsleykellow

Thanks TerryS for the source - I couldn't find. And thanks, Bish, for posting it.

I happened to be in in the US when the disaster struck, and the CNN coverage was truly appalling - some reporter with the name of Soledad O'Brien (I kid you not!) and their specialist science or medical reporter comparing it to Bhopal (like a leak of methylisocyanate is just like radiation). Note that air travel carries quite appreciable exposures, which is an occupational hazard for flight crew because of the frequency of exposure.

There is an interesting comparison between US approaches to regulating chemical and radiation risks. The nuclear regulators knew there was an unavoidable background level of radiation, so assessed other exposures as additional to this. The chemical folk assumed there was no background level of exposure, and treated any exposure as carrying substantial avoidable risk, with 'no safe dose.' Along came Bruce Ames, who showed that something like 97% of our exposure comes from chemicals IN plants, often that they produced as a defence against pests, rather than ON plants from spraying. And now we know that many chemicals exhibit hormesis (small doses lead to reductions in effects like cancer), so the linear dose-response curves assumed by regulators actually led to a very expensive quest for levels of purity that were both unattainable and futile.

Oct 11, 2013 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered Commenteraynsleykellow

I would rather have a slightly nervous, but honest and critical, presenter like Ivo who is telling the truth than some slick liar like [Insert name of any dogmatic activist] any day.

Oct 11, 2013 at 11:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

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