Dec 9, 2015

The Gathering

Of Scissors, Candy and Conversation


Bryn Oh - The Gathering - Title Shot



The rain was unrelenting as flickers of lightning illuminated an otherworldly figure of a petite, yet supernatural woman. As she fidgeted with her scissors and sized me up... it was apparent that the line of questioning elsewhere hadn’t been to her liking, and (as I recall) she has stabbed journalists for less in the past; Or she would have liked to if it weren’t for pesky laws which forbid it. Whether by careful planning or by judicial acquittal, she claimed innocence masterfully.


Running her delicate fingers over the scissors tucked into her pocket, I could see the intricacies of her mind turning over the consequences, shifting realities internally while weighing options.


When I had asked Bryn Oh for an interview, it had slipped my mind that she (of all people) could conjure at will the depths of imagination. So, too, she had transported me that night to a bare looking room cast in shadow and light to sit with her while trying my hand at this conversation.


Far below, willing participants in her Immersiva sim were exploring the latest installation, named simply “The Gathering”, fraught with danger and hidden treasure. For those willing to brave the onslaught of giant balls rolling to their doom, there was magic and intrigue to be discovered. I imagined that Bryn took a particular delight in watching the countless souls traverse up the valley, only to be rolled over and sent back for another try.


Flashes of electrified illumination cast shadows against the surface of soaked walls on occasion, briefly imprinting eerie doppelgangers of a horn-figured paradox. Outside, thunder crackled as if to mark the time, and Bryn coughed slightly while generously offering an unnerving smile. Her eyes piercing across the room, I rustled my notes hastily searching for where to begin.



“So before the winds changed and blew us off course in our prior conversation... you were about to tell me a story.” Barely looking up from the written words, I was keen to find any excuse not to be caught in her gaze.


Bryn raised an eyebrow and smirked, “I was?”. The outline of her fingers came to rest upon the handle of the scissors momentarily as I glanced up from the pages.


“If I recall... you were beginning to explain that the premise of The Gathering, as a whole, is an exploration about Avatar Identity.”, I stammered slightly under the pressure, though quickly regained my composure, “While not connected in a story, it has a shared theme?”


Bryn smiled softly, leaning back into the chair. Her hands now both in plain sight and animated as if to pull collected thoughts from the ether. “Oh... well that is a part of what I was interested in for this one, for all of them really. How to say...?”


A few moments passed in contemplative silence before the pale figure before me sprung back to life, the lightning flashing once again as if to pull her into the present reality.


“So when we go to a gallery we stand back from a painting and look at it in a fixed position while others stand around us in a physical space we share. We are are relatively close and generally from the same area.. the local city or country.” Leaning forward, she waved a hand gesturing toward the room and, as if obeying her whim, the projectors on the walls began to display scenes of art galleries to illustrate the premise.


“When we watch cinema we are not part of that experience either.” Pointing at the projections on the wall, Bryn continued,  “It tells us a story and we listen. It’s about someone else who did this or that. They might show us a street of houses and the camera takes us to one, and if we want to stop to look in a mailbox... well no, we can’t.”



Bryn Oh - The Gathering - December 06 2015png_002


One after the other, the visions upon the walls morphed as she continued speaking, her finger occasionally outstretched and pointing as she leaned forward. For a brief moment, there was silence again as the rain continued falling; The individual drops of water rolled relentlessly down the walls, each claiming innocence for contributing to the flood below.


Tapping a slender finger pointedly on the glass of a surreal octopus table, it’s tentacles underneath cascading in collusion to balance the surface above, she continued, “In this space...we arrive from all over the world. The person beside you isn’t really beside you. They may be on the other side of the world, yet you share the experience together.”


“Even if you don’t speak you still interact, and when you run from the balls cascading down the valley.. or stand in the rain room or look at the projectors, you are a part of the work as are they. So the artwork is not just what I’ve built but everything in it at that time.. including the avatars and how they were designed, etc.”


“So when I look at this build, it’s kind of play. Other works are elaborate narratives which I write and plan out for months, but every so often I just want to play and experiment. That is more what this is.. a big sketch in a sketchbook which may give me ideas for other things.”


Sinking further into my chair, I continued to take notes. The cushions underneath me were exceedingly comfortable, and somehow despite the torrential downpour inside this room, we remained dry.


“When I built it...”, Bryn paused momentarily to softly close her eyes, “I imagined how it would be used by the avatars who came. But it was built with nobody here... so you really do have to try imagining [all of the possibilities in advance]. Now that the installation is live, filled with participants, I kind of cam around and look at what happens. I might see a few people rushing across the field avoiding the giant balls... and then along the walls people walking up every surface.. then the odd person flying a chair. The fun is seeing people do things I didn’t expect.”


It was in this moment when my interest was further piqued, and I took the opportunity to lead in further, “What sorts of things do you notice them doing which you didn't expect?”


“Well often just little visual things.”, setting a cup of tea onto the table she continued, “Like the other day I saw a giant dragon on its hind legs running like a maniac across the valley, which was hilarious. I don’t even think the guy who used it knew it could run. And then I saw another person walking up a tiny pole.. and they went up it like a corkscrew circling and circling until they got to the top. I saw people with the wall walkers on trying to walk through the house that builds itself. I hadn’t thought of that when building the installation.”



Bryn Oh - The Gathering_010



“That must have been... awkward to attempt.” I mused.


“Yeah, but they seemed to enjoy it...”, I could see the gleam in her eyes as she delivered a reply. It was the dynamics of the situation which interested her the most and it showed through Bryn’s enthusiasm.


“I wonder how the walker poseball would handle that? Walking up walls that haven’t even fallen into place yet.” I continued.


Bryn laughed, “It looked pretty crazy. It’s also interesting to see how many people get naked publically in the projector room, and who is modest. That comes back to identity and how we project onto our avatars. Anyway, to me it’s fascinating to just watch the whole thing... not sure if anyone else shares this interest, but I like to watch.”


Her laughter broke the tension, and so I joined in with my own quip to lighten the mood. “And here I thought you just were looking for an excuse to get everyone to take off their clothes. I can see it now, ‘Ok, for this next exhibit... everyone has to get naked... C'mon... off with it...’”, I joked.


“Well, the projections do work best with the nude body... or white clothes.”, Bryn leaned back into her chair again, a wry smile crossing her lips. “Did you get naked, Will?”



Bryn Oh - The Gathering_007


Without hesitation, I responded, “Nope.”


Bryn feigned surprise, “Oh? Why not?”


“Avatar identity of course. My avatar is a projection of my real life self in here and so it shares the same idiosyncrasies and quirks. My own sense of morality and modesty is imbued in my persona.”


Playing Devil’s advocate, Bryn leaned forward cunningly, “It’s just pixels...”


“In much the same way as your Bryn Oh avatar doesn't moonlight as a stripper in a night-club, I’d imagine there are two trains of thought for avatar identity.”


Bryn leaned back into her chair. Sitting crossed legged she feigned confusion for a moment as she rested her chin to her hands, “And how do you know she doesn’t?”


“If you did, God knows my pixel ass would be there in a heartbeat because it would be a once in a lifetime event.” I continued jesting.


“Well that what’s interesting. Many of us cherish our avatar... identify with it as an extension of self. It carries with it the same sort of behaviors, morality and social restrictions that we carry in real life.”, Bryn smiled again. She knew she was toying around as a devil’s advocate, but it helped for her to clarify the situation and get us thinking.


Shifting my notes, I found similarities in how the conversation was progressing and those which I’ve had before with others.


“There was a similar minded conversation between myself and Dr. Gilbert over at Loyola Marymount University a few years back. He heads the P.R.O.S.E. project; Psychological Research On Synthetic Environments.”, I continued.


Bryn piped in, “Oh, he liked virtual strippers too?”


I couldn’t help but smile, “Well there is a reasoning there but I'll get to it in a moment. He and I discussed that a lot of the time it comes down to two trains of thought for the virtual world participant.



1. Avatar as entirely generated persona. It's just pixels.

There's not attachment or solid identity... no emotional connection to the avatar. In that case, a lot of those avatars as "persona" become expendable.


2. Avatar as extension of persona.

You get an attachment and personal empathetic investment in your avatar.”



“Yes, I think in Second Life many are like that.” Bryn replied. “But let me ask you: If they take off their clothes in public in the projector room... are they more immersive or less?”


It took me a few moments to really mull this question over. It’s a complex and layered situation to really take in... quite a profound rebuttal from the pixelated spectre sitting across from me.


“I believe neither.”


“Maybe it just comes down to their personality type?” Bryn continued.


“I believe it says more about their perspective on the representation of self in a virtual world than it does about how immersed they are. Either way, you are immersed... but in what direction of perspective scale defines what is different.”, I elaborated further. “Whether we are immersed or not wasn’t necessarily the question”, I continued. “The manner in which you approach your avatar identity only defines how the experience is translated to your particular situation. Each is just as immersive in it’s own way.”


Bryn took a few moments to really let what I had said sink in. As the dust settled in her mind, it became apparent that the purpose of such a question was merely to explore an outside perspective. “Hmm, that’s interesting. I was curious in a way...”


“I put out a note saying to take off their clothes... so they are given permission. She paused mid-sentence, “I can’t seem to frame best to explain?”


“You set up a Bryn Oh nudist colony?”, I laughed.


The lighting in the room cast an ethereal hue on Bryn’s smile as she continued, “For some, they might never do that... but they might long to. But with permission and encouragement they can bypass their identity as modest and do something they want to...”, she paused momentarily, the look of subtle disappointment crossing her face. “Yeah, I didn’t explain that well...”


Nodding in encouragement, I offered my own insight.


“I understand. It's sort of like...”


A few moments passed as I paused to collect my thoughts.


“Yoko Ono did that once to Conan O'Brien. It was many years ago, so my recollection may be a bit foggy, but he had her on the show one night and asked if she had anything interesting to show off... a project or whatever. So she had this very large silk bag which she said was big enough for two people. And asked him to get inside it with her. It was an exercise of trust, as she put it, and one of the performance pieces she would do.”




Bryn laughed out loud. The relative absurdity of the situation coupled with the inevitability for what was about to happen in the story began to take shape in her mind.


“Of course, he did... but was like ‘I don't know why I got into show business...’. So they both get in this giant silk bag and they are both kneeling in it together. You can't see them, but you can see the shape of them in the bag together.  Conan goes ‘ok, now what? and Yoko says something like ‘Now we take off our clothes’.”


It’s at this point, Bryn is genuinely amused at the situation unfolding. Leaning onto her hands in a cross-legged fashion, she listens intently.


“So Yoko just starts stripping inside the bag, and tossing clothes out of the hole onto the stage. Each time, asking Conan to do the same. The entire premise, according to her, was what he would be comfortable doing while inside that bag with her.”


“Oh, that’s great!” Bryn exclaimed.


“Throughout the process, Yoko Ono and Conan are stopping to negotiate what he’ll take off next, and while he puts on a great show with bravado, you know full well he’s really nervous whispering with Yoko about what he’s going to take off - So it turned into this negotiation of what Conan would take off in the bag each step of the way.”


Laughing, Bryn questioned, “Did he?”


“I think Yoko got him down to his pants when he stopped and they left the bag.” I replied.


“I really like that idea...”, Bryn mused.


“So your projector situation... and premise.. reminded me of that.”


Reaching for her tea, Bryn sat back again in the chair and stretched out her legs playfully. “To release inhibitions when there is permission, and "art" is a great excuse. To term it art...”



Bryn Oh - The Gathering_008



“See... now I'm just imagining you running around buck ass naked and throwing an orgy - ‘It's not obscene... it's ART... now moan harder, ladies!’” I offered. The thought of being able to get away with pretty much anything so long as you called it “Art” was compelling, and often rang true.


For a moment or two, Bryn paused in reflection as if grasping at an association floating through the air, “There have been some people... art crowd bloggers... asking if the gathering is ‘Art’...”, she trailed off.


“Is the Gathering... Art? That's a good question.”, I began. “But maybe it can be answered by asking other questions. ‘Did it make you feel something? Did the experience invoke emotion or contemplative reflection?’”


Bryn nodded gently, “I believe the term ‘art’ has lost all its meaning really...”


“I think.. a lot of the time.. art is simply what makes you feel.”, I offered.


“Well, some want to see something that looks like "real life" art. That’s then how they will know it is art.” she continued.


Shrugging and taking a sip of my juice, I replied, “That's a very limited scope for art then. In the virtual world you can do so much more... without the constraints of real life.”


“Yes, and the virtual space need not follow those rules.”, Bryn added.


“Your self-building house just isn't possible in real life. It's kinetic art and it is magnificent. It plays on the very reliance of the dynamic personal experience to work. I believe that art in a virtual sense... can be far more empowering and fantastic than traditional space. But maybe it has to be... to make up for the loss of tangibility? Virtual worlds cater to an emotional type of tangibility. The experience is all psychosomatic, but it's just the same as powerful in many respects (if not more).”



Bryn Oh - The Gathering_023



“Yes, and there are many types of art here too... For me, I am interested in the immersive abilities of the medium. What I kind of like about virtual spaces, is that people come here and fall in love with other minds. How to explain...”


Tapping her fingers on the table, the glass echoed throughout the room. It was plain to see that Bryn was really struggling to put this into perspective.


“In real life...”, she began, “We go out on a Friday, hoping to meet someone. We go to a club...It’s dark so we can’t see others very well. It’s loud with music so we can’t talk to others we meet. We drink, smoke pot or whatever so we are not quite ourselves and this is where we try to find people to share ourselves with. But in a virtual space we don’t see each other or know even what gender we speak to... we just talk and listen. It’s poetic, really...”


“Well... I've long since given up fighting pronouns with you... I just chose female for the sake of sanity in addressing and writing about you.”, I smirked.


Without missing a beat, Bryn replied, “I am pretty sure you are a muffin...”


It was at this moment that I noticed very keenly how Bryn had begun fidgeting with her scissors again.


Suffice it to say, the conversation went off the record and the issue of avatar identity took a personal turn for a few minutes. 


Changing the subject quickly, and saving my own skin from a fateful visit from the scissors, the conversation (however ironically) pivoted to that of the Scissor Moth.


“Where was the inspirational spark for the Scissor Moth chapel, and the moths in general for this?”



Bryn Oh - The Gathering_002



With a gleeful grin, Bryn’s hand glided gently from her scissors and back within eyesight as she began to expound upon the details of a topic which she so loved.


“Well, to start I love moths. They fly like they are broken and that appeals to me. So the story is essentially, and this is just how I envisioned it as I built it, but I imagined a town where suddenly these giant balls started to appear and smash everything along the valley. The side streets survive and people continue. The balls become a part of their life, and then over time they begin to worship them. If you checked, you would find each ball has the name of an angel. Across the way is a chapel with the Scissor Moth...”


“I believe I was too busy running from them for my life, like everyone else...”


“Yes, wise not to stop..” Bryn smiled.


Eager not to allow the conversation to idle, lest her wandering hand return to the comfort of her scissors, I continued forward. “Ok, Scissor Moth... This intrigues me. How does that work itself into the the overall thinking?”


“If you click the moth priest, there is a machinima inside called Scissors which is related to the theme...”





“I must have originally missed the video link while taking pictures. I did find quite a lot, however, even what seemed like... a giant fossilized prehistoric moth skeleton on the top. At that point, with all of the moths, I just assumed it was a prehistoric mega moth skeleton.”, I gently chuckled.


“I did also see the tiny Juniper toy ... and as a kitten I was all like ‘Yay! A tineh Imogen play set!’ But I was adulting that night, so I resumed the photoshoot.”



Bryn Oh - The Gathering_003


“Yep, that was by the hidey hole.”, she nodded.


“I see Milkdrop made an appearance in this installation as well... walking a giant moth.”


“Yes he did. I am still slowly flushing out his character, putting in various spots and kind of feeling out his personality I guess.”, The pale figure shifted her position on the couch.



Bryn Oh - The Gathering_004



“I find it curious - at least from my personal perspective. I mean with...”, I trailed off.


It’s then that I noticed Bryn fondling her scissors again lovingly. Casually snipping away at the air at some unseen fabric and humming a soft tune, swaying back and forth with her eyes closed before snapping her gaze into my eyes intently.


“I’m sorry, Will... you were saying?”, her lips curling in an evil little smile.


“Nothing... not a damned thing. You know me... I'm always spotting details and making connections...”, I laugh nervously as Bryn laid the scissors squarely on the table with a hollow clink where I could see them. A subtle reminder not to venture too far for the public.


“I came up with the name for the character on a whim. Just sounds nice... a little drop of milk.”, Bryn smiled broadly as she gazed first to the scissors, and then to me. She had made her point crystal clear.


“M..M..Milkdrop...isn't that... some sort of drink? Korean or something?”, I stammered.


“Oh, no... but actually... someone told me it is a candy... an old one. Kind of like a Milkdud.”


“See that ... makes sense, and also makes me want to find that candy. Of course I had the same problem with Petri Wine. After listening to Sherlock Holmes on radio shows in the 1930s... and so forth... their sponsor was Petri Wine. I ended up eventually going ‘Ok, I feel like I need to try some of this wine now’”


Bryn tilted her head slightly to the side before a look of understanding crossed her face, and in a moment... she was pulling the top off of an antique candy dish set on the table. I hadn’t noticed it before, but then maybe I had been preoccupied with the scissors and the petite woman sitting across from me to have... or more likely it seems that, (like everything else), Bryn had taken it upon herself to materialize what she desired.


“Care for a Milkdrop candy, Will?” Bryn smiled. “I’d hate to be a terrible host...”


“Oh, that’s quite alright. You’ve been nothing but gracious, Bryn... I couldn’t possib-”


“I’d hate....”, Bryn began as she deliberately eyed the scissors, “to be a terrible host. I’d feel quite badly if I were, and you wouldn’t want that... right? Now hold out your hand.”


I shook my head slowly and held out my hand as Bryn requested, in which she placed a single Milkdrop candy. It was when I placed it in my mouth that the candy dish disappeared and Bryn smiled warmly before continuing.


“People won’t let you play... There is pressure to always create a new work that is bigger and better than the last one. From Rabbicorn, Standby, Anna’s Many Murders, Virginia Alone, Imogen and the Pigeons, Singularity of Kumiko, Obedience, Lobby Cam and so on. The Gathering is kind of playing, learning and experimenting.”



Bryn Oh - The Gathering_026



“There's always a pressure though in a public light. They expect you to constantly be doing bigger and better things... one-upping your last thing.”


Bryn nodded in agreement, “Yes, which is not so easy.”


“It gets tiring trying to keep up appearances...”, I added.


“Well the sensible ones understand, I find. They understand the process.” Bryn settled back into her seat before smiling warmly and patting the cushion next to her on the couch. “Why don’t you come over here for a bit? It’ll be easier that way.”


Slowly, but surely, I rose to my feet and shuffled around the octopus tentacles to the couch before finally settling in next to her.


“Please, continue...”, she smiled.


“I mean.. for me.... I couldn't even fathom how to outdo stuff I've done. I think that's why I sorta fell back into the obscurity and enjoyed it. There's only so much I could do... and the constant spotlight and expectation was too much.”, the tentacles on the table continued shifting the weight of the glass surface elegantly from one to the other before us.


Bryn leaned a little closer, her gaze carving my mind to pieces, “Yes, I can imagine...”


“At one point I was like... juggling constant interviews, Metaverse TV once a week, making all sorts of appearances, talking with students... trying to write the blog consistently and so forth. It got to be totally overwhelming.”


“What kind of tea do you drink, Will?”, Bryn offered as she began pouring.


“Well, I’m not really a big tea drin-”


“Have some tea...” she smiled, graciously handing me the cup.


Taking a sip of my tea, I continued, “Sometimes you need a break to let your mind rest. Just be normal for a while and not trying to beat expectations. Time to putz around with what things interest you... and not because it is part of some bigger master plan.”


The lights in the room made their way around again, casting our shadow against the soaked walls as Bryn continued to smile. Nodding in agreement, she added, “Oh, I mainly do that... just experiment whenever I can.”


“That's why I play around with the arcade machines and stuff now. It's interesting from an intellectual standpoint... to learn about them... but it's not a part of anything officially... just me enjoying an intellectual curiosity and learning.”, I added.


“Yes, almost relaxing...” Bryn once again closed her eyes and leaning back into the cushions, took a sip from her tea with a smile.


“So tell me about the sketches. Being a sort of independent thought process... that seemed to kick start it all. I remember when you were starting with it... and you wanted to show me the sketches, get my opinion. Was it just a sort of ... musing at the time... a little short story?”   


The party part one a “Well those began when I was commissioned to create pen and ink drawings for a coffee table book. They liked my paintings but wanted pen and ink. So I was like.. ‘Yeah, I can do that’, not really ever having done it before. It’s quite different from conte, pencil or charcoal etc. So I began researching master pen and ink people. George Cruikshank, John Tenniel, even drawings by Van Gogh, and discovered illustrations from Edward Gorey.”


“By researching, you mean ‘Finding them and absorbing their talent’?”, I smirked.


Bryn laughed, “You make me sound  like a creature from space. A 1950's horror movie.”


“If I'm gonna imagine you as a mystical pandimensional artist... might as well give you magical abilities while I’m at it...”, I chuckled.



Bryn Oh - The Gathering_012 


“Well I just really studied how they created space. So with pen and ink.. well traditional pen and ink... you buy nibs.. which are metal ends you stick in holders. You dip them into an ink jar and get a bit.. then take it to the paper and draw until that little blob runs out... and you dip and so on back and forth for hours. Then after two hours, a big blob of ink falls on your drawing and you swear and throw it away, then start again. For me it came from being ink greedy... I wanted to draw longer so I would try to load up the nib with a big blob of ink. Comes back to haunt you eventually...”, Bryn laughed.


“Is it wrong that I'm sitting here imagining you pouring over a page for hours and suddenly screaming ‘DAMN IT!’?”


“That’s not far off. Perhaps more foul language than that, though...”, she laughed.


“Birds flying off in the distance as your cursing echoes through the alleyways?”


“Yeah, it’s super annoying. So those drawings were studies, learning how to do it. And the poems were influenced by Edward Gorey as I was studying his work too. So then I did the coffee table book but had these studies that really came out well and didn’t know what to do with them... So I thought I would bring them into Second Life and make them into 3d scenes that felt like crosshatch drawings. It’s essentially just a little whimsical story that reflects how I feel when I am at my art openings...I am the bird creature.”, Bryn laughed softly, a smile caressing her pale face in the lighting.



The party part two The-party-part-three The party part four The-party-part-five The party part six The-party-part-seven



“Poking the ham? That's really interesting actually...”


“Yep .. they spoke of religion and politics quite heatedly.. while Bryn Oh poked the ham repeatedly.”


“I won’t even make a lewd joke out of that one... you walked into it. But that raises an important premise. One would think that you are not invisible in your own installations...Or that people try to ignore you? Maybe they do.... I do notice that. For all the people who show up in here... Few really strike up conversation with you or approach.”


“Yes, not often. But it’s more than people posture...”, Bryn replied.


“Strangely enough, I can sympathize. I've actually had that quite often in real life too and people... well they have this internalized notion about you. You're on a pedestal of sorts and unapproachable to them and even when you make it a point to show them otherwise... they can't see past it. It's always been a fascination to me to see that. Persona and circumstance overshadows the reality of you as a person, I believe.”


“That’s very possible...”



The hours wiled away through the evening as Bryn and I continued our discussion, talking about things like we normally would. Occasionally poking fun at each other, or just musing about different things going on in life. The one thing I can say for certain about Bryn Oh is that – while we can project the sort of person she is onto her avatar... we can produce an internalized ideal of who this person is, we often forget that behind the avatar is just a person...


Nothing mystical or magical about Bryn... but there is a bit of humbleness, a reluctance to brag, and overall... I get the impression she is a very kind person who enjoys humor (sometimes dark and twisted). There is a certain level of brilliance involved, a creative genius at odds internally with ideas and implementations.


So I’ll leave you, my dear reader, with a final thought:



Fame is millions of people having the wrong idea about who you are. Sometimes people forget... you’re only human.


Jul 23, 2015

Escaping Alcatraz

How to avoid the Friend Zone


Ah yes, it’s been awhile since I’ve written anything in the blog and i do apologize. for those who are still kicking around as my readers, I’d like to say that the technology field hasn’t really been exciting enough to me that I’d want to really weigh in on it as of late.




Of course, there is the obligatory posts about the new and improved Second Life called Sansar (I think i got that right?) but I’m not as excited as I should be about it. Maybe I’ve reached a maximum hype allotment for all of this and am saturated?


I could write something about HoloLens, but again I’m not very excited for it. It’s a good step forward but definitely underutilized comparative to what it could actually be. As far as existing Second Life stories, well... over the years I’ve seen the typical use cases so much that none of it really piques my interest. This goes back well before Second Life existed as the same use cases have emerged elsewhere of the years.


So I think I’m really waiting for something to once again get me excited about the industry.



Doing Hard Time


Instead of a technology post, I’d like to focus on a conversation I’ve had multiple times about something that we can all likely sympathize with: The dreaded friend zone.


What can I say about this state of being other than what it is?


The friend zone, as opposed to actually just being friends, is a sort of limbo that guys end up in between friend and boyfriend. It’s where the guy is definitely interested in a woman but the woman sees the generosity and affection/attention as an endless supply without any of the commitment to a relationship.


How does this happen?


Well, I’d like to say that from observation and personal account, it occurs when you are being too nice and accommodating. You end up being all the things she wishes she had in a boyfriend without actually being her boyfriend.


You’re the one she comes to at two in the morning when her boyfriend ditches her at the club. You’re the guy she comes to when she needs something. When she goes out, and brings you along, you end up playing surrogate boyfriend in his absence but always introduced as “just a friend”.


You know this is happening when other people assume you’re a couple and she has to correct them.


The hallmarks of a friend zone situation are actually easy to spot. You take one woman that continuously finds herself in bad relationships, and add a “friend” who treats her like gold. Essentially, she can count on you to make her the center of the universe and spoil her rotten.


Now, the most common thing you’ll hear in that situation whenever asked why she doesn’t consider her “friend” as a potential to date is something along the lines of “Oh, I wouldn’t want to ruin our great friendship!”


Well, of course not.


Being in the friend zone is vastly different than just being friends. It is a one sided situation where the guy is showering her with attention and favors to an almost absurd level. Trying his best to prove he is worthy of her attention and affection, all for naught. All she has to do is show up and there isn’t any reciprocation.


Effectively, the guy is being used.


The typical phrase a guy hears in that situation is something like “Why is it so hard to find a great guy like you?”


Which can be translated to:


I want to date a guy that is just like you but isn’t you. Because I’m at the receiving end of all these favors and attention without any commitment, why would I want to get rid of that dynamic? You’re like the perfect boyfriend without my having to reciprocate anything!



We can ask ourselves how this ends up happening to us, and the answer is simpler than you might expect. You’re simply putting up with her manipulation and bullshit. You are simply being too accommodating and nice, too predictable.


The reward for her behavior (punishment) is a string of guys that aren’t you, and usually end up treating her like shit. Which is why she’s constantly crying on your shoulder about how she just wants a nice guy that’ll appreciate her... but not you.


From my best guess, women don’t like predictable guys. This is more of an observation from personal experience. If you’re too available and always eager to be there for her, you’re boring and they look elsewhere. Did you ever notice how you end up getting passed up time and again for the guy that ignores her and acts like she needs to prove herself to him?


Yeah... and you’re sitting there doing the exact opposite.


The best way to escape friend zone Alcatraz is simply to harden up and start being an asshole. Is she texting you at 2 in the morning with some sob story? Ignore it. Are you carrying her bags at the mall? make her carry her own bags. Buying her drinks? She can buy her own.


If she wanted a guy to do that for her she should have brought her boyfriend. Are you doing all the things that a decent boyfriend would do but isn’t?


Then stop doing it.


That doesn’t mean you have to be a complete asshole all the time. You really shouldn’t. You’re not a fucks vending machine, so tell her giving a fuck is out of order.


What it does mean is that you should find yourself having other things to do than make her the center of the universe. If she calls out of the blue and expects you to be there for her all the time, simply tell her you have other plans and maybe another time. Start dictating your own schedule instead of trying to work it around hers all the time.


Don’t answer every random text she sends, don’t pick up the phone all the time when she calls. You have a life and it doesn’t revolve around her. Make that completely clear.


There is a difference between being her friend and being her surrogate boyfriend.


I think that’s where most people blur the line. Whenever I point out that I don’t put up with attention whores who friend zone me, they immediately say I’m being a bad friend and an asshole.


Which isn’t true, because I’m drawing a line between friend and friend zone. The line between being a friend and being used.


From personal experience, I’ve seen this happen in my own life. My mother, for instance, has been in a few bad marriages and through countless shitty boyfriends throughout her life. She asked me why she can’t find a decent guy that treats her good and appreciates her... and I pointed to her “friend” Jake.


He’s been there for her since they were in high school (which is a very long time) and to this day is a wonderful, caring guy who is the nicest man you’ll ever meet.


I asked her why not him?


Oh, we’re just friends... I wouldn’t want to risk ruining our friendship!”


To which I told her that the reason she has such shit luck with guys is because she put the one guy she actually wanted into the friend zone and never considered dating him. It’s a textbook case if I ever saw one.


Friend zone means all the benefits of a boyfriend without any reciprocation or commitment on her end. In essence, you’ll endlessly do for her and she’ll just show up and thank you for it.


Is it all about getting laid?


Well, for most guys I suppose it might be. But to be honest, you’d have a better chance if you didn’t act nice, accommodating, sweet, caring, etc.


In reality, the dynamic should be reciprocated. If we ultimately exclude sex from the equation, and just keep it clean for a relationship dynamic, you still find yourself in a very one sided situation where she is using you.



Ultimately, being in the friend zone depends entirely on you and how long you are willing to continue being used.


Now, that doesn’t mean you’re going to have a shot at actually dating her. It very well may be that she had no intention of giving you a shot at all, and if that’s the case, then why bother being used to no end when she’s just holding a carrot on a stick you’ll never get?



Planning Your Escape


This is actually pretty simple and can be narrowed down to a few bullet points. Knowing how people (in general) work in their head goes a long way to getting a situation under control.



  • Don’t let her treat you like her boyfriend



If you want a girl to day dream about you, do not let yourself be treated like her boyfriend. It may stink to put yourself into this kind of situation especially if you know deep inside that you really like her. But if you want to capture her attention and let her feel the incompleteness due to your absence, stop hanging out with her or calling her. The thought of winning your friend’s heart by staying by her side at all times does not really work. The more you are acting as a boyfriend, the more she will treat you like an older brother. So do not let your friend treat you as if you are her boyfriend unless you already are.





  • Show her that you are wanted




Jealousy can be a powerful thing, and makes a woman think twice. If she really has any feelings for you, this is the fastest way to find out. The moment she realizes that she cannot have you at her beck and call, and she has to compete for the attention, you’ll find out a lot of the time she’ll start competing for you. It’s the old adage of being told you can’t have something which makes you want it more.


Make her work for it and earn it. There’s nothing wrong with introducing a bit of competition to break up her monopoly.





  • Be unpredictable and mysterious



How can she fantasize about you if you leave nothing to her imagination? Being predictable takes all the mystery out of the dynamic and so she has nothing to think about. If you’re not always available, that will give her time to wonder what is more important than her and what you’re up to. Twice as effective when you take the last bullet point into consideration.







  • Be a sheep in wolf’s clothing



This is usually the hardest point of advice for the nice guys in the friend zone. It is contrary to how they actually are, and they find it very hard to act contrary to their disposition. I can say, from experience, that this actually works... ridiculously.


So much so, that to this day it baffles me.


Years ago, I put this theory to a test with my then girlfriend at the time. I called it the Double Blind Asshole Test.


My friend Brad couldn’t figure out why the woman he was interested in was blowing him off and putting him in the friend zone. I explained all of this to him and gave the same advice. The last bit of advice was to be a bit more of an asshole to her instead of constantly the nice guy. Effectively, balance being a sheep in wolf’s clothing. You don’t want to be completely at her whim and you don’t want to be a complete jerk to her.


If she jerks you around, don’t be afraid to jerk back. If she can’t give you a straight answer, don’t be afraid to drop her like a bad habit and move on until she comes to her senses.


She can take it or leave it, and if she doesn’t like it then she knows where the door is at. This is called setting the rules of engagement instead of letting her dictate them all the time at your expense.


You’re probably wondering how well this works... I mean, being an asshole with an ego can’t possibly work, right?


Let’s take a look at the guys she usually ends up dating instead of you.


Nuff said.


The difference is that you aren’t an asshole by nature, whereas the other guys actually are. So if you learn to be a sheep in wolf’s clothing, you give her the bit of dominance she is looking for... the take no shit attitude, but then she is happy to also see the “real you”... that nice, caring, sweet guy under the rough exterior that really just needed a good woman to bring out... but only if she earns it.


For whatever reason, women seem to like the idea of changing a guy into their ideal. They see a bad-ass jerk and think he’s hotter than hell... he must have something going on if he’s that confident... I’m sure I can mellow him out over time... he’s a fixer upper!


No, he’s almost always just an inconsiderate jerk and you’re not going to change him. Which is why those women always end up in bad relationships and crying on your shoulder about it.


The trick, then, is to seem like the guy they are attracted to and balance being the sweet, caring, nice guy that you actually are underneath it.


That’s how you attract and keep a woman.


Now, I know a lot of women will be reading this and likely will be up in arms about how manipulative this is or how it’s not the truth at all...


But I offer only real life experience to back up what I’m saying.


My girlfriend at the time of the Double Blind Asshole test was lukewarm to me. She’d maybe show up to go on a date. Maybe she’d text me back or call. But the minute I started acting like a wolf, she couldn’t get enough. Suddenly she was texting, calling, wanting to go out constantly... it’s like I flipped her inner nymphomaniac switch.


That relationship ended years ago, and the reason why was because I stopped acting like the wolf. I decided that if I had to act contrary to how I really was for her to stay interested, then it wasn’t worth it. I predicted, before the Double Blind Asshole test began, that the moment I stopped acting like the wolf she would lose interest and the relationship would fall apart.


Which is exactly what had happened.


Every time I acted like a wolf, she couldn’t get enough. Whenever I switched back to being the kind, caring, do anything for her guy, she got bored and lost interest.


I kept this volley going for years and the result never changed.


You’re probably wondering what happened to my friend Brad when he took my advice?


Well, he was skeptical at first, but he went ahead and tried it. He figured he had nothing to lose anyway. What happened was exactly what I had predicted. She went from putting him in the friend zone to almost obsessing over him.


Being a wolf also means doing the one thing women constantly insist you should never do, which is to know when to objectify them.


Of course, Brad was raised to be a gentleman, and so he was a bit uncomfortable doing this. I told him to just balance it out and know when he should go ahead and act like this. The result was that Penny... the woman he was interested in, went from prude to constantly wanting to have sex with him.


The proof is in the fact that they’ve been married now for years and have five kids.



What about my failed relationships?


It’s no big secret that I “suck” at dating. But is that really the case?


Well, for the most part, no.


I am keenly aware that my problem was simply that I refused to be a wolf. Curiosity more than anything led me to try not being an asshole to give the other side of the coin a fair shake. Instead of just smugly sitting here and saying to be manipulative and a wolf... so I spent a lot of years giving women the benefit of the doubt and letting them prove me wrong.


But they never did.


Not even once. Which thoroughly disappointed me.


Every single time I went into a relationship being the generous, caring, nice guy... always attentive, there for them when they needed me, and so on... it ended the same every time.


Take from that what you will, but to me that says women seem to act contrary to what they tell you they want. Sure, they’ll go on and on about how they want a nice guy who will treat them right, but then they’ll blow that guy off for the asshole.


Nora-Macgregors From experience, I find this to be true. From watching my friends go through it, and overcome that friend zone by following this advice, I find this to be true nine times out of ten.


Go down to the book store and look at the Nora Roberts section. There’s a reason the guys on the covers of those books aren’t anything like you. That’s why those books are soft porn for housewives. It’s their fantasy man in that book.


If you’re in the friend zone, then look at the assholes she actually is dating instead of you.


Notice the pattern here?


That doesn’t mean you have to be a total asshole. It means you should refuse to be a welcome mat, stop taking shit, and make them earn the praise and affection instead of spoiling her like a brat.


Learn to tell Verucca that she cannot have a Golden Goose. It’s that simple.


Ultimately, the point about being in the friend zone is that you’ll stay there so long as you allow her to get away with it. Again, there is a difference between friend and friend zone. You can be her friend, but never in the friend zone.


I have plenty of friends who are women, but at no point are they treating me like I’m in the friend zone and using me, because they all know I won’t put up with it.


Currently, I have taken my own advice about all of this and balance being a sheep in wolf’s clothing in my relationship today. I haven’t been single in a long time, and my girlfriend is amazing.


I’ve decided that there’s nothing wrong with being a bit of a jerk, sometimes an asshole, and not putting up with shit from anyone. It’s actually a good idea to make people earn your good grace instead of giving it freely like water on tap.


They won’t take you for granted, and they’ll appreciate you a lot more.




May 10, 2015

Faith in Science

Two words that don’t belong together


Would you believe a study sponsored by BP saying that oil in the ocean helps promote a healthier aquatic ecosystem by reducing the footprint of life while leaving only the more suitable species to thrive?


You would be an idiot if you did believe such a claim.



Science on Faith


There’s this notion in modern society that science is this infallible source of true knowledge and de-facto understanding. It’s something that troubles me in that so many times in history have we gotten things utterly wrong, that when the actual truth comes about, we garner this confirmation bias based solely on faith in previous scientific studies and that excludes playing devil’s advocate on the subject.


Take into consideration Galileo, who proposed a heliocentric model of the solar system. He would say “It looks like from my observations, that the earth revolves around the sun and not everything else revolving around the earth...”


Well, during that time it was an unorthodox view and countless studies prior to that contradicted Galileo’s claim. We, as a society, succumbed to confirmation bias and effectively blind faith in science. We didn’t actually know either way up until that point and were taking an educated guess which happened to rely heavily on religious faith at the time.


Still, Galileo ended up in the inquisition and all sorts of ugly things happened upon him for having the audacity to contradict the church and previous findings.


In today’s society we have the same problem.


The entire point of science is to have a healthy skepticism in all things, always looking for a better solution. But we’ve become so complacent in science that when a load of studies come out over a number of years saying one thing, we immediately try to discredit studies that begin to contradict that view.


Science is not infallible, and in fact can be (and often is) corrupted. We have faith in a lot of junk science held as de-facto truth when in reality the results and outcomes are suspicious at best. But because enough studies are produced to reinforce that confirmation bias, we as a society on the whole never bother to question it.


Heroine It is absurd to think that less than 100 years ago it was scientifically deemed “safe” to include heroin in your kids cough syrup, and we think it’s absolutely absurd today that countless studies “proved” the safety and even health benefits of smoking cigarettes. So, too, it is insane to think that it’s alright to include cocaine in your Coca-Cola, even though it was originally sold that way as a health tonic.


Science, by itself, is theoretically hardcore and supposed to get to the truth of things. On its own, science is actually pretty freaking awesome (I’m a huge fan). It is one of those things that works amazing in theory but not so much in practice because the humans who conduct science are corruptible on the whole. Companies like Monsanto set up think tanks separately who (in turn) commission studies at universities on their products. Those universities have a monetary incentive to deliver favorable results to their benefactors, and so try and skew the results as best as possible to keep their funding.


This is junk science (checkbook science), and it absolutely pollutes what should have been a pure method of determination and truth.


The problem is that there is so much of it going on that we hardly ever question the validity or bias of these studies and they collect over the years into a body of corrupted studies that are taken on faith as “proof” something is safe or not safe. Science itself is more credible than faith only because it demands that you test it out to make sure somebody isn’t bullshitting you. Therein lies the problem, in that most people who rely entirely on the faith of science are also in no position to actually ask questions or test it.


So they (generally) just take anyone with a lab coat at face value if there are enough of them asserting the same thing. I mean, if the general consensus among scholars is that the universe revolves around the Earth, then who the hell am I  to question it? Better yet... who are you to come along and question people smarter than us? You must be some sort of whackadoodle! Just trying to fear monger!


It isn’t about science, per se, but more about winning public opinion regardless of the validity of the scientific findings. You can make anything sound scientific if you run a study at a university, and pay enough “independent” studies to give you the results you are looking for. And when you put together a large enough body of material to support your pre-conceived bias, you create this thinking in the population which assumes it’s all valid and the final word.


Another good example is the Fracking industry insisting that their methods are perfectly safe, despite never revealing what chemicals they are using to frack with, going to court and insisting it is a trade secret, and the EPA (yes, the Environmental Protection Agency) insisting that while they have no idea what the hell is in fracking fluid, they are assured it is perfectly safe and the fracking industry is taking the highest precautions for public safety possible. Because the fracking industry promised to regulate itself...





People setting their tap water on fire, breaking out in rashes, and entire towns experiencing earthquakes. It was only until California (I believe) forced the issue, that we actually found out how ridiculously toxic fracking fluids are and how badly they destroy the environment and our water supply.


Up until that point, everyone in the “industry” and who we should have been able to trust (local and national government, along with even the EPA) were telling us it’s perfectly fine and not to worry. Anyone who was saying there is a serious reason to worry was scoffed at and treated like they were conspiracy lunatics until it actually came out that those people weren’t as batshit as people thought.


Would you drink that water? The short answer is “Hell no...”


Hindsight is 20/20 in a lot of things, and if we look at our own history we know full well that when there is a monetary incentive for something to be “safe”, then there is no shortage of studies that come out to reinforce that predefined notion. It all goes well until the shit seriously hits the fan and people get sick, die or worse... then those same companies say “Oops...” play the plausible deniability card, and settle out of court for a few billion dollars (maybe a hundred bucks to everyone in the class action lawsuit) then call it a day. Considering they made hundreds of billions of dollars up until that point, it’s just cheaper to screw people over and pay a fine than it is to do the right thing from the start.


Corporations like Monsanto, whose GMO-agriculture inventions (Bt corn; Roundup herbicide) now threaten human and environmental health alike, have moved beyond the stage of simply denying or minimizing the science revealing the harm being done by their products (there is too much science now to maintain this strategy!); rather, they are now investing in the burgeoning, multi-billion dollar industry practice known as "check book" science: find willing researchers, research institutions, and journals to create and publish information favorable to the company writing the check, and you're in business.


It is no surprise, then, that Monsanto funded studies prove how safe Monsanto products are.



Monsanto-Funded "Research" Reveals Monsanto Products Are Safe (Surprising Nobody)


A review on glyphosate (Monsanto's invention and key ingredient in their Roundup herbicide formulation) titled, "Developmental and reproductive outcomes in humans and animals after glyphosate exposure: a critical analysis," was published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health late last year which claimed the following: "[T]he available literature shows no solid evidence linking glyphosate exposure to adverse developmental or reproductive effects at environmentally realistic exposure concentrations."


The review authors included a thank you to Monsanto for funding their work: "The authors acknowledge the Monsanto company for funding and for providing its unpublished glyphosate and surfactant toxicity study reports."


It is of course worth mentioning that when an actual independent study came about that showed a link to cancer with GMOs and Roundup, the mainstream went berserk citing “mountains of evidence” to the contrary. Which isn’t surprising since that mountain of evidence was held up primarily from checkbook science practices.


I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be safe than sorry and err on the side of “Fuck GMOs and Roundup until we actually know legitimately”





Their report (and others) aimed to discredit the work of a French research group at the Institut Jaques Monod who published five articles indicating glyphosate’s wide-ranging potential for environmental and human harm. When the study came out with the cancerous rats, plenty of checkbook science studies came about to discredit it as well. Quantity over quality of research.


In their newly published rebuttal titled, "LETTER TO THE EDITOR: TOXICITY OF ROUNDUP AND GLYPHOSATE," the French research team pointed out several serious flaws in the Monsanto-friendly scientist’s criticism of their work.

The first major flaw was their total disregard for the scientific context within which their glyphosate research was performed, namely, the DNA-damaging and carcinogenic potential of the chemical.


The second flaw was the claim that their results were "not environmentally relevant" (repeated 5 times in the article), despite the fact that the French researchers were able to demonstrate toxicity in 100% of the individual cells at short exposure time below the usage concentration (20 mM) of the herbicide in present agricultural applications.


The French team went on to further dismantle the legitimacy of the Monsanto funded study and their assertions, but what you end up believing is the “official” study from Monsanto (which was funded by them) and wind up disregarding the actual science going on by independent researchers not affiliated or funded by Monsanto.



"Therefore, regarding the considerable amount of glyphosate-based product sprayed worldwide, the concentration of Roundup in every single micro droplet is far above the threshold concentration that would activate the cell cycle checkpoint. (2) The effects we demonstrate were obtained by a short exposure time (minutes) of the cells to glyphosate-based products, and nothing excludes that prolonged exposure to lower doses may also have effects. Since glyphosate is commonly found present in drinking water in many countries, low doses with long exposure by ingestion are a fact. The consequences of this permanent long term exposure remain to be further investigated but cannot just be ignored."



The problem is that when you have a boat load of money, this idea of checkbook science is ideal. You can effectively flood the scientific community with “independent” research to make your products look harmless. Because you are getting quantity over quality of research, and it comes with a confirmation bias and hefty funding, it may as well be discarded when taking into account whether or not Roundup and GMOs are safe.


But people don’t disregard those mountains of studies that are corrupted, and instead because they see the word “science” attached to it automatically take it as gospel.


And then independent teams (our version of Galileo) come along and say “No, it’s not what you believe but something different” and we go collectively apeshit because people are demanding labeling of GMO products and to stop using Roundup. We effectively relegate those people to the fringe and pretend like they’re relying on pseudoscience to make their minds up.


The irony of the situation is that it is the otherwise science advocates and public who blindly have faith in checkbook science that are swallowing the pseudoscience they swear is real science.


Nobody bothers to ask: Hey, did any of those countless studies happen to be funded by the very companies that have a stake in the outcome being in their favor?






In the real world, we call that conflict of interest and it’s usually the thing that invalidates everything, including “scientific findings”. But I’m not entirely worried about it because somebody had enough common sense to build a giant Nintendo Wii into the side of a mountain and catalogue all the seeds in the world just in case humanity doesn’t come to its senses in time. Otherwise known as the global seed vault in Norway. So I’m glad not everyone is totally convinced that the shit isn’t going the hit the fan.


In my own little world here, I simply avoid GMO stuff whenever possible. It’s a personal choice and no more destructive or silly than an Orthodox Jew demanding to eat only Kosher foods and no Pork or a Vegan insisting on Gluten Free whatever. I mean, an entire food industry exists around Kosher foods and nobody would ever even think to ridicule or berate a Jew for their choices.


So If I choose not to eat GMOs of my own accord, and I ask to have it labeled on my foods so I can make that personal choice, then it’s not ridiculous or ill-informed. Not after understanding that most of the studies saying it’s safe come out of that checkbook science sector. If I am against Fracking because I’m not a fan of flaming tapwater, rashes and earthquakes, then so be it... it is a legitimate reason. I don’t believe checkbook science because it isn’t real science at all but a wolf in sheep’s clothing used to lull a panicky public back into docility and acceptance.


Ultimately though, the question is whether I actually trust a major international corporation with near monopolistic control over the world’s food supply. Patenting the very food we rely on while doing everything they can in order to phase out any foods that are not their own devising and proprietary.


Of course, the short answer to that is “Hell no!” once again because you’d have to be a complete idiot to let a single company do that. So the whole “anti-GMO” thinking is just as much a matter of principle to me as it is the inability to actually know how safe it is.


To a lesser extent, even the so called “anti-vaxxers” have a legitimate point. Not that I condone leaving your kids unvaccinated, but in a way they do make a compelling point (even if inadvertently). The underlying issue with vaccination is that there is legitimate concern that at the rate things are mutating and becoming immune to our vaccines, that we are in fact forcing nature to create ever more powerful bugs that cannot be cured. The general consensus is that at some point (maybe soon) it would have outpaced our ability to vaccinate against it.





Then we’re pretty much screwed as some super-bug version of the common cold damned near wipes out humanity. So there is a bit of truth to either side of the coin, despite what checkbook science will tell you.


Remember, it is the same checkbook science that published numerous studies about the health benefits of smoking cigarettes and how there were no discernible links to the cigarettes being cancerous. If you hire enough folks in lab coats and they make it all official sounding, the public by and large will believe it.


Do I have faith in science?


Absolutely not. Faith implies an unreasonable belief without proof, and that should always be relegated to religion. If you have blind faith in science, you are effectively sciencing wrong. You are in effect treating science like a religion, where just because a bunch of people say it’s true you believe it without questioning (whether you actually have any idea or not whether it’s true).


I do, however, have a healthy respect for science and the scientific method.


Independent research that is not tied to corporate biased funding has my attention. It doesn’t have my blind faith, and I will use my own judgement to decide whether it’s credible or not. I will always ask questions and play devil’s advocate. Because that’s how science is actually done, and it requires critical thinking skills.


Do I believe aspartame, sucralose and similar artificial sweeteners cause issues? You bet your ass I do. If it says phenylketonurics on the package I avoid it like the plague. It is from personal experience that any product that says that on the back gives me headaches and ADHD symptoms. I can say that from personal experience and so I have every right to know when it’s in food and drink, so I can choose to avoid it.


When it comes to GMO foods, I reserve the right to know when it’s in my food and drink also so I can make up my own mind. Now, if that makes companies scared because the general public will reject GMO foods, then maybe they shouldn’t be fucking using them to begin with?


If all the “science” and studies done about GMOs have by and large been checkbook science, then as far as I am concerned there are no credible studies done on the effects of GMO and long term toxicity. If most of the studies for Roundup have by and large been checkbook science, then there are no credible studies on it worth paying attention to. If the studies for artificial sweeteners are by and large checkbook science, then there are no credible studies on their effects.


The whole lot of it is invalidated simply because of conflict of interest.