We Can Change!


We Can Change Our Wicked Problems!

Science and Technology

Science endeavors to understand the material universe and how it works by using the scientific method, a systematic and logical method of inquiry that starts with observations of the physical or natural world.  It is focused only on the natural world, that which is observable, reproducible and verifiable physically, not the supernatural or subjective.  The supernatural and subjective are outside the bounds of science.

Science then poses a hypothesis, an idea or theory of how something in the outside world is, works or interacts with other things.  That hypothesis must be testable and falsifiable, or possible to prove wrong.  Hypotheses are generally formed using:  1) deductive reasoning (if A is true and B is true, then, logically, C must be true, let’s test that in various ways); 2) inductive reasoning, which makes broad conclusions from specific observations (there’s a bunch of data, let’s look for patterns in that, make a theory about that and test it in various ways), or 3) abductive reasoning, which puts together a most likely explanation for an incomplete set of observations (it’s broken; my kid’s there; my kid must have broken it; test that). 

Science then analyzes and tests that hypothesis through reproducible experiments, largely by trying to test or prove if it is wrong, but also by observing what happens to refine hypotheses and experiments. 

That process and those experiments are then reproduced and verified by others.  Others kick the tires, attack it logically and experimentally.  If, after all that, it’s not proven wrong yet, it’s generally assumed to be right, for now.  New information, perspectives and observations, often outside parameters of previous consideration, may disprove the theory later, but that leads to new theories, ideas and tests.  Things with lots of agreement are called scientific laws; things with less are called scientific theories.[1] 

When a lot of that happens, we can learn a lot about how stuff is and works, and knowledge expands.  “Good science” needs lots of observations, input, testing and feedback, from many diverse perspectives and experiences, so there are ample opportunities to find errors, to prove things wrong, and really get at what’s going on, including networks of interactions, outcomes and impacts.  So, good science needs to be able to share what it’s doing and engage lots of diverse people in it.  Scientific knowledge and technologies grow evolutionarily.  The longer we’re at it, the more we know, and the more we can do. 

Science has developed extensive knowledge that we trust, in part, because it has led to technologies, applications of science that tangibly demonstrate the veracity of that knowledge, because they work.  Through scientific knowledge and its applied technologies, we have airplanes that fly, cars that drive, medicines that heal, systems that heat and light our buildings, phones that let us talk to others far away, and computing devices that store, organize and process information.  That has given science credibility.  To those who don’t understand it, it can seem like magic; to those who do, it’s science and technology.

Science isn’t always right.  False conclusions may lead to harmful action, like changing ideas about what’s good to consume as diet, but if we keep at it, with enough people going at it, those errors are, hopefully, eventually discovered and corrected.  We just have to know that part of scientific progress is getting it wrong for a while, so we need to be cautious about using science and technologies until we’re confident we know the implications and effects of what we’re doing, and we have to let others get at it.

Sometimes, we do things based on scientific understanding at the time that create big problems, because we were wrong or didn’t understand broader impacts.  For example, we did big engineering projects to change the flow of the Mississippi that have created catastrophic flooding and damages;[2] the U.S. pushes selling artificial baby formulas, when breast milk is much healthier;[3] we massively employed coal and oil for power, which have widespread harmful impacts on natural environments, health and climate; and we use plastics widely, creating huge health and environmental problems.[4]   Science and technology have advanced at phenomenal paces, recently, providing enormous benefits.  We’ve also created big problems with them, and there is harm and suffering in the world because of it. 

Generally, science and technology work well as patient processes over time for developing knowledge of the material world and applying it for practical benefit.  However, many problems arise from inadequate scientific feedback, unsure wisdom and decisions about when and how to use technologies, ignoring negative technology impacts, and using technologies before they’re adequately tested or understood.  Science is the evolutionary development of theoretical knowledge.  It tends to cause little direct harm.  It’s when science is tested or technologies are applied that real-world impacts and harms are realized.

Systems for developing “pure science,” theoretical scientific knowledge for the benefit of all that’s freely available for all, via public or academic research institutions, are receiving decreasing public funding.[5]     

Federal Government R&D Spending Trends.J

In 2018, total U.S. Federal Government investment in Research and Development was $143 billion.  That’s 12% of FADS, and, at first glance, that seems like a lot, more than it invests in Education.  However, that’s 9% less than it was 15 years before, in 2003, and 15% less than 10 years before, in 2008. 


Roughly half of that goes to Defense R&D, and that science is largely not available to the public,[6] so the benefits of that research and development are constrained largely to military and spy systems, and much of that Defense R&D does not benefit from widespread review from a broad scientific community.  That means it isn’t being tested and verified by a larger and more diverse set of scientists, or being tested from broader perspectives, or in more diverse settings and conditions, or with broader concerns.

That is of general concern, because science and technology developed for Defense may be considered sound and valuable and lead to technologies released and in use, which are considered successful, because they meet the objectives of Defense or spy agencies, but have impacts and outcomes outside of their considerations that create harm, like they kill targeted people, but they also harm others.

For example, Defense R&D develops things like Agent Orange, a chemical defoliant massively used in the Vietnam War to kill plant cover, but it also sickens and harms many other kinds of life, for generations, which Defense science ignored because they were not really thinking or caring about that at the time.  They were just thinking about how to develop something to clear out plant cover used by opponents. 

It’s harmed generations of Southeast Asians and U.S. veterans.  85 grams of dioxin in Agent Orange, evenly distributed, could wipe out a city of 8 million people.  Its use caused Illness and death as initial side effects, but dioxin affects not only those exposed, but also their children, altering DNA.  Vietnamese babies continue to be born with deformities: misshapen heads, underdeveloped brains, bulging tumors, and nonfunctional limbs.  We assume all 2.8 million U.S. troops in Vietnam were exposed.[7]  Oops.

Oh, and in the graph above, in 2017, where it looks like we all of a sudden started valuing public R&D more than Defense R&D, and Defense R&D dropped, from $82 billion in 2016 to $58 billion in 2017, that’s actually obfuscation, part of government increasingly hiding what it is doing from its own public.  “Beginning in FY 2017, a new official definition of R&D was adopted by federal agencies.  Late-stage development, testing, and evaluation programs, primarily within the Defense Department, are no longer counted as R&D.”[8]  That is concealed from the public now, along with much of what our Defense and spy agencies do, like at least $81 billion (7% of FADS) in our secret intelligence community budgets. [9]

In 2018, the Federal Government invested $77 billion (7% of FADS) in non-Defense R&D, the money that goes out through the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and so forth that become patient, high quality, peer reviewed, verified science that’s really available for public benefit, and for development of scientists in our education and other public research institutions. [10]  In 2016, the last year before that obfuscation began, Federal Government R&D investments looked like this:

Table and Pie Chart showing 2016 U.S. federal R&D spending by sector:  Defense 54%, Health 23%, Space 9%, General Science 7%, Energy 2%, Natural Resources and Environment 1% and Other 4%, $140 billion total


OK, well, that’s still pretty good, right?  With 99.999% certainty, 97% of the global scientific community agrees humans are causing a looming global warming climate change crisis, likely to catastrophically harm human and most life on Earth.[12]  Yet, the U.S., the primary contributor to that problem, invests 1% of Federal R&D in Natural Resources and Environment, and 2% to energy solutions, $5 billion total.  That’s simply not enough for these huge problems.  It only provided $10 billion, 7% to General Science.  $56 billion (40%) of the $140 billion total was given away to private industry.[13]  Does that make sense?

Increasingly, U.S. R&D is conducted by businesses, rather than public-funded academic or other groups that produce scientific findings through broadly published and widely peer-reviewed and verified, patient, “good” science, and science and technologies largely available to broad scientific communities and to the public, for public benefit.  In 2015, 72% of U.S. R&D investments were by business, 11% by Federal Government, 13% by higher education, 4% by non-profits and <1% by Nonfederal government.

US Total R&D Investment Trends from 1950 to 2015, showing almost all of the growth is investment by Business
U.S. 2015 Total R&D Investment by Sector:  Business 72%, Higher Education 13%, Federal government 11%, Nonprofits 4%, Nonfederal governmen 0%


As a percent of GDP, Federal Government R&D investment has fallen over time.  In 1964, U.S. Federal R&D investments were 1.9% of GDP.  In 2015, they were 0.7%.  Business R&D investment went from 0.9% to 1.9% over the same period.  Business overtook public R&D about 1980.  They’ve changed places.  And 40% of federal R&D is given to businesses, so it’s an even bigger gap than it appears.

US R&D Investment Trends as Percent of GDP, 1953 - 2015, showing largely flat recent trend, with business overtaking governmet around 1980, and business increasing and governmet decreasing after that

Business R&D produces proprietary scientific knowledge and technologies, exploited for profits by corporations.  Scientific and technical knowledge become their “intellectual property (IP).”  That means IP owners can do what they want with it and keep others out of it.  That limits the spread, development and impact of scientific knowledge, and limits feedback and verification.  Much of that scientific work is limited to small groups of scientists within the organization, rather than diverse networks of scientists.

The ultimate owners of business scientific and technological intellectual property end up being wealthy and powerful corporation owners, who employ the people doing scientific and technological R&D work.  They ultimately control scientific knowledge and technologies, and their priorities are typically the same, no matter what they own:  exploit it for increasing financial wealth and power.

The spoken or unspoken prioritization of exploiting scientific knowledge and applied technologies for wealth and power leads to rapid development and release.  They want to roll out things to sell for profit, as quickly as possible.  It becomes business, like so much in our society.  Business priorities and values are often given preference over social, environmental, moral, scientific, or other priorities and values.

Today, especially in computer, software and Internet fields, marching orders seem to be something like:  make something quickly conceived, half-finished and inadequately tested to sell using unsubstantiated claims about its potential ASAP; roll that out with shiny packaging, sell it hard, get money flowing in; then, if it’s going well enough, react to some buyer complaints about it and try to patch that stuff up, randomly and incrementally, charging and collecting more money if we think we can get away with it; and if it’s not going well, dump it, abandon adopters, and bankrupt the corporation created for it if there is too much liability for harms, avoiding liability, keeping as much money as possible, no matter what.

That’s a little simplified and cynical?  It’s truer in unregulated computer, software and Internet fields than in regulated industries.  Allowing scientific knowledge and technologies to be private property, allows avoidance of widespread input from others, lack of wisdom or concern for environments or others in developing scientific knowledge and deploying technologies, and the “business-ification” of science and technology.  That simultaneously slows and rushes science, creating benefits, problems and harms at once.  Using common sense, from the perspective of society, that’s risky and inefficient.  Rushed releases of inadequately considered things can easily produce harms, sometimes catastrophic.

Business owners and investors argue, truthfully, that business imperatives drive rapid innovation, hunger to make money motivates quick development, speeding the arrival and benefits of scientific and technological advances.  However, that hunger to make money also quickly creates situations where technologies are broadly released into the world without extensive, rigorous testing and verification.  That also drives rapid deployment of damage and harm done to people, life and environments.

Business imperatives to quickly produce things to sell quickly rush researchers and developers, who may not do adequate quality control work, or get adequate input from perspectives outside the organization.  It leaves blind spots, opportunities to inflict harm on environments, health and other life, not sufficiently considered or tested inside the organization.  Businesses sometimes also deliberately ignore harmful consequences or outcomes, because the external costs are not born by the businesses or their owners, but by the environment and/or public, so selling such products may still be profitable to them.

Often, the scientific research is not completed until long after product launches and disseminations.  Scientists study released product impacts as they are creating harms in the world, rather than before.

That all leads to harmful scientific and technical application releases, outcomes and impacts, like: 

  • Widespread use of phthalates, used to soften plastics and for other purposes in food processing, linked a range of harmful effects on male reproduction,[15]

  • Toxic pesticides, fertilizers, fungicides, propyl gallate, BHA, BHT, Sodium Nitrite and Nitrate, BPA, adipates, organometals, endocrine disruptors and many other toxins in foods we eat,[16] which kill essential pollinators, like bees, in addition to harming us and other life in agriculture use,[17]

  • At least 148 toxins in plastic packaging that harm people, other life and environments,[18]

  • Toxic chemicals in home cleaning supplies, furniture, carpets, kitchen and other supplies,[19]

  • Thousands of dangerous toxins used in makeup, beauty supplies and personal care products,[20]

  • Bio-accumulative and other toxins in clothes, like dyes, the 2nd largest clean water polluter,[21]

  • Toxins in laundry detergents[22] and dry-cleaning chemicals,[23]

  • Dangers in processed tobacco, known and suppressed by the tobacco industry,[24]

  • Faulty medical devices that have caused 80,000 deaths since 2008,[25]

  • Rolling out and hyping HPV vaccines without testing them for cervical cancer outcomes,[26]

  • A 350% increase, from 46 million to 206 million, of pharmaceutical item recalls, 2016-2017,[27]

  • Pharmaceuticals responsible for the worst drug abuse and mortality crisis in U.S. history,[28]

  • Plastic pollution in virtually all environments and higher life forms, causing great harms,[29]

  • Global climate change, toxic poisoning, and many other harms from fossil fuels industries,[30]

  • Many forms of industrial pollutions that harm air, water, land and life,[31]

  • Silicone breast implants that rupture and sicken, harm and kill women, [32]

  • Using asbestos for insulations, which killed 222,000 people worldwide in 2016,[33]

People are forced to attack and stop “bad” science and technology products via lawsuits in courts, instead of us preventing harmful product releases by “good” proactive science before product releases. For example, pervasive use of Roundup glyphosate herbicide, which the company came to know causes harm but kept selling anyway,[34] or a company selling hip-replacements that poison people who have them installed,[35] must be attacked in court via lawsuits to stop them, after harms are done.

Supposedly, we have a system in which government, on behalf of public interests, allows businesses to do scientific research and technology development to broaden and speed innovation and benefits, but also regulates industries and verifies their science is done right, and all products they release are safe.  U.S. government agencies responsible for doing that include the:  Environmental Protection Agency, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Federal Trade Commission, Food and Drug Administration, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, and Fish and Wildlife Service.  They are supposed to supervise and validate science, technologies and practices by businesses, and conduct independent scientific research, to make sure that realized or unanticipated outcomes do not harm humans, other life or environments.

These agencies are increasingly attacked by business interests that do not want to be slowed by them.  EPA attacks by the U.S. President have included:  promising to gut the EPA in campaign speeches,[36] denying climate change and appointing climate change deniers as EPA heads, one who’d sued the EPA many times, and another a former coal lobbyist,[37] and rolling back regulations through 2018, including: rolling back requirements of oil and gas companies to report methane emissions, loosening rules to limit toxic emissions from major industrial polluters, and not enforcing rules barring hydrofluorocarbon use, powerful greenhouse gases in air-conditioners and refrigerators.  As of end of 2018, he had rolled back:

US Environmental Rollbacks completed and in process by the current administration, 78 total


The President has tried to severely reduce EPA funding and staff in budget proposals for 2018 and 2019.

US EPA Budget Trends with Proposed Cutbacks by the President that were not accepted by Congress


Those are attempts to reduce budget 30% and staff 25% in 2018, budget 23% and staff 20% in 2019, and budget 31% for 2020,[40] in a booming economy with increasing government revenues and spending.

The commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has a background in defending companies in courts against dangerous product litigation, for example, asbestos and big tobacco.[41]  CPSC has 500 employees and a budget of $126 million to oversee the safety of $1.6 trillion in annual consumer products under its jurisdiction, 9% of GDP. [42]  That means, on average, we give each CPSC employee $250,000, including their own salary, benefits and proportion of CPSC’s operational overhead, to exercise the responsibility of assuring the public safety of $3.2 billion worth of U.S. products sold.  That is not an enormous assurance public of safety, is it?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) $310 million budget, and staff of 1,140 are charge with protecting consumers and competition by preventing anticompetitive, deceptive and unfair business practices via law enforcement, advocacy and education, without unduly burdening legitimate business activity.    Total U.S. GDP is $20 trillion.  That means, on average, we give each FTC employee resources of $272,000, including their own salary, benefits and proportion of FTC’s operational overhead, to assure that $17.5 billion of net U.S. economic activity is done safely, fairly and honestly.  Is that assuring?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for “protecting the public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices; and by ensuring the safety of our nation's food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.”  2019, its budget request was $5.8 billion for a staff of 17,000.[43] 

Of 13,000 chemicals in cosmetics, the FDA has evaluated 10% for safety.  It can regulate cosmetic and personal care product ingredients; it mostly doesn't.  No approval’s required for cosmetics to be sold.  The FDA takes regulatory action only if others determine they’re harmful, adulterated or misbranded.  "FDA's legal authority over cosmetics is different from our authority over other products we regulate, such as drugs, biologics, and medical devices.  Under the law, cosmetic products and ingredients do not need FDA premarket approval, with the exception of color additives.”

The FDA says companies that manufacture and sell cosmetics are responsible for ensuring their safety (any conflict of interest?).  "Neither the law nor FDA regulations require specific tests to demonstrate the safety of individual products or ingredients."  "The law also does not require cosmetic companies to share their safety information with FDA."  So, cosmetics companies are responsible for assuring the safety of their own products, but there are no required tests for that, and they don't have to share any data about that.  The FDA is also not authorized to order recalls of hazardous chemicals in cosmetics.

The average U.S. woman uses 12 cosmetic products daily, exposing her to 168 different chemicals.  Skin, our largest organ, is permeable, so most anything we put on it ends up in our bloodstream, gets distributed throughout our bodies, and tends to accumulate over time.[44]  We put this stuff on our skin.  The E.U. has banned 1,300 chemicals used in makeup; the U.S. has banned 11.[45]  Is that assuring?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FCIS) mission is to protect public health by ensuring safety of meat, poultry and processed egg products.  In 2014 in the U.S., FCIS let us kill 9 billion chickens, 242 million turkeys, 107 million pigs, 31 million cattle and 2 million sheep,[46] while science tells us animal agriculture as we do it is responsible for 51% of all CO2 emissions, is a leading cause of mass extinctions, is a leading cause of ocean dead zones and water pollution, contributes to world hunger by inefficiently using plants to produce animal meat rather than feed humans, is a major contributor to obesity, heart disease and cancer, uses almost half the Earth’s land, is a leading contributor to droughts, is a leading cause of deforestation, uses 80% of U.S. antibiotics and is a leading cause of antibiotic resistant super-bugs, all of which cause harm.[47]  Is that ensuring safety?

The Fish and Wildlife Service mission is to work with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of U.S. people.[48]  Science tells us: 

  • We have cleared 90% of continental U.S. native forests, 96% of California redwood forests:  causing big harms to environments, humans and other life; reducing stored carbon and releasing it in the air, the 2nd largest human-caused source of CO2 in air after fossil fuel burning, 17% of all carbon humans release into the air; eliminating natural ecoservices that remove carbon and pollution from the air and store it in woods, plants and soil, making oxygen for life to breathe, and maintaining the fragile balance that keeps climates in ranges that support life; taking habitat from the 70% of the world's plants and animals that live in forests; and 28,000 species will become extinct by the next quarter of the century due to deforestation.  Yet, government keeps letting us cut down forests.

  • When forests are cleared, soil is loosened.  Without protection of trees and their ecological services, capturing and distributing water, organisms in soil creating biomatter to become healthy soils die; and lands become barren and are eroded by winds and rains, silting waters and affecting their flows, eliminating productive soil to support future plant growth and animal life.  Agriculture irrigation erodes soils, and artificial fertilizers, insecticides and bioengineering, overgrazing, antibiotics and other chemicals given to farm animals, destroy soil productivity and pollute waters.  Pollution we release in the atmosphere, waters and lands poison it, destroying its productivity.  If current degradation rates continue, all the world's topsoil could be gone in 60 years.  Exposure to contaminated soil sickens humans.  It kills wildlife.  Yet, government keeps letting us do all that.

  • In 2015, 26,800 U.S. organizations produced 34 million tons of hazardous waste in the U.S., over 200 pounds (94 kg), like a toxic U.S. football player, for each man, woman and child in the U.S., extremely deadly to all life, and destroying wildlife.  Yet, government keeps letting us do that.

  • 2005-2017, U.S. businesses produced 31 million feet3 (878,000 meters3) of radioactive wastes, 12,700 40-foot cargo containers worth, though we have no permanent place to safely store it, and there’s no guarantee it will be stored safely for many thousands of years needed for it to degrade.  It’s very harmful to wild, human, domestic and all life.  Yet, government keeps letting us do it.

  • We use 70,000 chemicals, which harm human, wild and all life through air, land and water pollution.  Yet, government keeps letting us do it.

  • We produce and release huge volumes of biological hazardous waste, pharmaceuticals, human and animal tissues and stuff infected by blood, diseases, bacteria and viruses, stuff from biotech companies and biology lab researchers, waste from agriculture, like feces and leftover plant and animal parts, that harm human, wild and other life.  Yet, government keeps letting us do it. 

  • In 2015, the U.S. produced 262 million tons of municipal solid waste, 4.5 pounds (2kg) per person per day, 3.3 times the world’s average, enough to fill 6.5 million 40-ton 18-wheeler trucks, which if placed end-to-end would circle the equator 3.7 times, including toxic E-Waste, much harmful to life.  Yet, government keeps letting us do it.

  • We release 52 billion pieces of litter annually on roadways alone in the U.S., which harms wildlife.  Yet, government keeps letting us do it.

  • Globally, we’ve made 7 billion tons of plastic waste, a ton for every man, woman and child on Earth.  6.3 billion tons were never recycled, enough to fill 157 million 40-ton 18-wheeler trucks, which placed end to end would circle the equator 89 times.  It does not really degrade, and destroys life.  It’s in every environment and all higher life forms on Earth.  Yet, government keeps letting us do it.

  • We’ve polluted waters in our lands, aquifers, rivers, streams, lakes, air and oceans, killing fish and wildlife that depend on fish or water, which is all of it.  Yet, government keeps letting us do it.

  • We make huge light and noise pollution, harming life.  Yet, government keeps letting us do it.

  • The Earth’s in a "mass extinction event", the first since dinosaurs vanished, 65 million years ago. Since 1970, 58% of global wildlife populations have died, 86% of freshwater fish and amphibians, 60% of all vertebrates (birds, fish, mammals, amphibians).  We may kill 66% of all wildlife by 2020.  Half of all coral reefs died in the last 30 years.  In 2017, 26,000 of 92,000 species assessed were "threatened" with extinction (41% of amphibian; 25% of mammal species), 5,600 were "critically endangered,” 8,500 "endangered," and 12,000 "vulnerable" to extinction.  10,000 species may go extinct annually, due to climate change.  Bee populations, which provide essentially pollen transfer services to plants, are collapsing.  Yet, government keeps letting us do what we do to cause that.[49]

The President is stifling government science advisor groups in unprecedented ways, cutting a third.[50]  In 2017, they met less often than in any other year since the government started tracking them, in 1997, two-thirds less than required in their own charters.  EPA science advisories met two-thirds less than their charters required; and the FDA's flagship Science Board meeting was by phone, had no agenda, and lasted less than 15 minutes.  The FDA disbanded its Food Advisory Committee, which had operated for 25 years as the agency's only committee dedicated to food-related science policy.[51]

Further, the current President is, on behalf of industry and business:

  • Shelving independent science advice and expertise by cutting scientists from decision-making processes, leaving science positions vacant, disbanding or compromising advisory committees, and/or sidelining independent expertise in many areas.

  • Suppressing scientific studies when their findings undercut the administration's political agenda.

  • Politicizing scientific grants by letting political appointees review them.

  • Eliminating climate change from policy development, repeatedly ignoring, dismissing or suppressing climate science, limiting the ability of federal scientists to study it or speak about it, and removing mentions of climate change from official agency documents and websites.

  • Undermining protections from hazards at work and home, weakening chemical safety laws and air pollution rules, limiting public access to information on fracking, and rolling back collection of data on workplace injuries.

  • Endangering the environment by pushing science out of environmental protection for our national parks and other protected areas, curtailing or canceling environmental impact reviews, and undermining the Endangered Species Act.

  • Limiting public access to government science and scientists by limiting scientist communications and language scientists can use in public communications, instituting new barriers to scientists' interactions with reporters, and omitting important scientific information from news releases.

  • Creating cultures of fear among scientists at multiple U.S. federal agencies, which is resulting in self-censorship and reduced effectiveness.

  • Restricting federal science at scientific conferences by blocking or creating political barriers to conference attendance for many federal scientists.

  • Changing data use and availability by limiting access to it, failing to collect data, removing information from easily accessed websites, and even restricting the ability of its own scientists to use important data when crafting regulations.[52]

  • The President publicly attacked science 100 times in half a presidential term.[53]


Benefits of science are maximized when practiced with rigor and adequate resources, by competent practitioners, well-trained in science and ethics, publicly, with widespread review, feedback, testing and verification, with supervision, and findings widely available, for wide learning, enhancement and growth.  Technologies need to be fully tested and validated, before release, with good quality control, for effects in all possible environments and populations, over enough time to assess cumulative long-term effects.  Government needs to provide adequate protections against harmful uses of science and technologies, for society, humans, rights and freedoms, environments and other forms of life, now and in the future.


It feels bad to know that is not all happening adequately, science and technologies are locked away as intellectual property for exploitation, government isn’t adequately protecting us, our environments or other life on Earth, and widespread harms are being realized because of it?  Why?


Change!  Share information about this issue, so more are aware!  Try to not buy or use proprietary stuff!  Try to buy only quality things we truly need, that we research to confirm are fully tested and ethical, from quality ethical suppliers!  Insist on adequate government supervision of science and technology!  Vote for representatives supporting good science, technology and government supervision of them!  Those doing R&D, maintain scientific integrity and ethics and encourage our organizations to do so!  Don’t just believe future business technologies will save us from harms we create!  Prevent harm!

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[1] “What Is Science?”, Alina Bradford, Live Science, August 4, 2017, https://www.livescience.com/20896-science-scientific-method.html

[2] “Unnatural Disaster: Human Factors in the Mississippi Floods”, Harvey Black, PMC, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, September 2008, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2535649/

[3] “U.S. support of formula over breastfeeding is a race issue”, Andrea Freeman, The Conversation, July 23, 2018, https://theconversation.com/u-s-support-of-formula-over-breastfeeding-is-a-race-issue-99987

[4] See the chapter on Climate Change and Environmental Harms

[5] “Reduced public funding for basic research leaves U.S. in the scientific dust”, Michael Hiltzik, April 28, 2015, Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-the-funding-decline-in-basic-research-20150428-column.html    

[6] “Historical Trends in Federal R&D: Defense, Nondefense, and Total R&D, 1976-2018”, American Association for the Advancement of Science, https://www.aaas.org/programs/r-d-budget-and-policy/historical-trends-federal-rd

[7] “The Vietnam War Is Over. The Bombs Remain.”, Ariel Garfinkel, The New York Times, March 20, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/20/opinion/vietnam-war-agent-orange-bombs.html

[8] “Historical Trends in Federal R&D: Defense, Nondefense, and Total R&D, 1976-2018”, American Association for the Advancement of Science, April 2018, https://www.aaas.org/programs/r-d-budget-and-policy/historical-trends-federal-rd

[9] “DNI Releases Budget Figure for FY 2019 Appropriations Requested for the National Intelligence Program”, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, February 27, 2018, https://www.dni.gov/index.php/newsroom/press-releases/item/1849-dni-releases-budget-figure-for-fy-2019-appropriations-requested-for-the-national-intelligence-program

[10] “Historical Trends in Federal R&D: Defense, Nondefense, and Total R&D, 1976-2018”, American Association for the Advancement of Science, https://www.aaas.org/programs/r-d-budget-and-policy/historical-trends-federal-rd

[11] “Historical Trends in Federal R&D: By Function: Defense and Nondefense R&D, 1953-2017”, American Association for the Advancement of Science, April 2018, https://www.aaas.org/programs/r-d-budget-and-policy/historical-trends-federal-rd

[12] See the chapters on Greenhouse Gasses and Global Warming Climate Change and Energy

[13] “Historical Trends in Federal R&D: Federal R&D and Facilities Funding by Performer, 1967-2017”, American Association for the Advancement of Science, April 2018, https://www.aaas.org/programs/r-d-budget-and-policy/historical-trends-federal-rd

[14] Figure 4-1, U.S. Total and R&D Intensity, Science and Engineering Indicators 2018, National Science Foundation, National Science Board, https://nsf.gov/statistics/2018/nsb20181/report/sections/research-and-development-u-s-trends-and-international-comparisons/recent-trends-in-u-s-r-d-performance

[15] “More News on Toxic Chemicals in Food That’s Hard to Swallow”, Daniel Rosenberg  Erik D. Olson, NRDC, March 29, 2018, https://www.nrdc.org/experts/daniel-rosenberg/more-news-toxic-chemicals-food-thats-hard-swallow

[16] “Toxic chemicals in our Food System”, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Accessed March 5, 2019, https://www.psr.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/toxic-chemicals-in-our-food-system.pdf

[17] “They Profit, We Die: Toxic Agriculture and the Poisoning of Soils, Human Health and the Environment”, Colin Todhunter, Global Research, October 25, 2017, https://www.globalresearch.ca/they-profit-we-die-toxic-agriculture-and-the-poisoning-of-soils-human-health-and-the-environment/5483932

[18] “Plastic packaging contains thousands of chemicals, including hundreds of hazardous substances”, Plastic Pollution Coalition, July 20, 2018, https://www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org/pft/2018/7/20/plastic-packaging-contains-thousands-of-chemicals-including-hundreds-of-hazardous-substances

[19] “Toxic chemicals in your home could be linked to cancer, autism, and reproductive issues. Here are 4 of the most concerning.”, Aria Bendix, Business Insider, December 6, 2018, https://www.businessinsider.com/toxic-chemicals-in-your-home-2018-11

[20] “Toxic Cosmetics to Avoid (Updated for 2018)”, Joel Mackey, Beauty Schools Directory, May 29, 2018, https://www.beautyschoolsdirectory.com/blog/toxic-cosmetics

[21] “The environmental costs of fast fashion”, Patsy Perry, Phys.org, January 3, 2018, https://phys.org/news/2018-01-environmental-fast-fashion.html

[22] “14 poisonings involving laundry detergent reported in Utah so far in 2018”, Sheila Wang, Utah Standard-Examiner Staff Jan 24, 2018, https://www.standard.net/lifestyle/health/poisonings-involving-laundry-detergent-reported-in-utah-so-far-in/article_1c1a40c9-fb73-5681-81b9-6abc586b98f9.html

[23] “Dry cleaning is dirtier than you think. Meet the neurotoxin hiding in your winter coat.”, Freshly-laundered clothes mask an environmental and social blight.”, Populat Science, Eleanor Cummins  November 16, 2018, https://www.popsci.com/dry-cleaning-chemicals

[24] “Department of Justice Lawsuit Against the Tobacco Industry”, American Cancer Society, Cancer Action Network, November 27, 2018, https://www.fightcancer.org/news/department-justice-lawsuit-against-tobacco-industry

[25] “Medical devices for pain, other conditions have caused more than 80,000 deaths since 2008”, Associated Press, Stat, November 25, 2018, https://www.statnews.com/2018/11/25/medical-devices-pain-other-conditions-more-than-80000-deaths-since-2008/

[26] “The Gardasil Vaccine—Bad Science, Great Promotion, Dangerous”, AVN admin, Australian Vaccination Risks Network, May 9, 2018, https://avn.org.au/2018/05/gardasil-vaccine-bad-science-great-promotion-dangerous/

[27] “Product recall trend: up strongly in 2018”, Pharmaceutical Commerce, May 28, 2018, https://pharmaceuticalcommerce.com/manufacturing-and-packaging/product-recall-trend-up-strongly-in-2018/

[28] “The Worst Drug Crisis in American History”, Jessica Bruder, The New York Times, July 31, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/31/books/review/beth-macy-dopesick.html

[29] “Plastic Pollution”, Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser, Our World in Data, September 2018, https://ourworldindata.org/plastic-pollution

[30] See chapter on Climate Change and Environmental Harms and “Global Warming FAQ”, Union of Concerned Scientists, Accessed March 5, 2019, https://www.ucsusa.org/global-warming/science-and-impacts/science/global-warming-faq.html 

[31] See the chapter on Other Harms to Environments and Life, and “Industrial Pollution: Causes and Effects And Biggest Culprits Of Global Warming”, Josy O’Donnel, Conservation Institute, April 26, 2018, https://www.conservationinstitute.org/industrial-pollution/

[32] “Breast implants study reveals serious safety concerns: Global investigation finds lack of clinical oversight and failure to track long-term outcomes”, Hannah Devlin, Hilary Osborne and Caelainn Barr, The Guardian, November 26, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/nov/26/breast-implants-study-reveals-serious-safety-concerns

[33] “Study Details Significant Increase in Asbestos-Related Deaths”, Tim Povtak, Asbestos.com, July 9, 2018, https://www.asbestos.com/news/2018/07/09/asbestos-death-toll-increase/

[34] “Roundup weed killer lawsuit hits a snag, but Monsanto is not off the hook”, Richard G. "Bugs" Stevens, The Conversation, October 26, 2018, https://theconversation.com/roundup-weed-killer-lawsuit-hits-a-snag-but-monsanto-is-not-off-the-hook-105559  

[35] “J&J Hit with $1 Billion Verdict in Hip Implant Product Liability Case”, Jef Feeley and Tom Korosec, Insurance Journal, December 2, 2016, https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2016/12/02/433817.htm

[36] “With a shrinking EPA, Trump delivers on his promise to cut government”, Brady Dennis, Juliet Eilperin and Andrew Ba Tran, The Washington Post, September 8, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/with-a-shrinking-epa-trump-delivers-on-his-promise-to-cut-government/2018/09/08/6b058f9e-b143-11e8-a20b-5f4f84429666_story.html?utm_term=.5e724db16eac

[37] “Andrew Wheeler: Trump's EPA pick says climate change 'not the greatest crisis': The former coal lobbyist took over the EPA when his predecessor Scott Pruitt resigned after months of controversy”, Emily Holden, The Guardian, January 16 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/16/andrew-wheeler-climate-change-trump-epa-hearings

[38] “78 Environmental Rules on the Way Out Under Trump”, Nadja Popovich, Livia Albeck-Ripka and Kendra Pierre-Louis, The New York Times, Updated December 28, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/10/05/climate/trump-environment-rules-reversed.html

[39] “EPA's Budget and Spending”, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, https://www.epa.gov/planandbudget/budget,

"FY 2018, EPA Budget in Brief", United States Environmental Protection Agency, https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-05/documents/fy-2018-budget-in-brief.pdf,

"FY 2019 EPA Budget in Brief"", United States Environmental Protection Agency, https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-05/documents/fy-2018-budget-in-brief.pdf

[40] “House Democrats reject Trump's proposed 31% EPA budget cut”, Clare Foran, CNN, May 14, 2019, https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/14/politics/house-democrats-epa-budget-trump/index.html

[41] “Trump’s Consumer Product Safety Nominee Defended Deadly Products”, Sharon Lerner, The Intercept, October 31 2017, https://theintercept.com/2017/10/31/trump-consumer-product-safety-commission-dana-baiocco/

[42] “Agency Financial Report:  Fiscal Year 2018”, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/FY2018AgencyFinancialReport-%20FINAL%2011-8-18.pdf?AGdL6lhUjwZqM1iH5FCEVJRp89yBhpF6

[43] Department of Health and Human Services:  Fiscal Year 2019 Justification of Estimates for Appropriations Committees, https://www.fda.gov/downloads/AboutFDA/ReportsManualsForms/Reports/BudgetReports/UCM603315.pdf

[44] “Women Put an Average of 168 Chemicals on Their Bodies Daily”, May 13, 2015, Mercola, https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/05/13/toxic-chemicals-cosmetics.aspx

[45] “US cosmetics are full of chemicals banned by Europe – why?: A long list of potentially harmful ingredients banned in the EU are legally allowed in the US due to historically relaxed regulations”, Oliver Milman, The Guardian, May 22, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/22/chemicals-in-cosmetics-us-restricted-eu

[46] “Meat and Seafood Production & Consumption”, Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser, August 2017, https://ourworldindata.org/meat-and-seafood-production-consumption

[47] “10 Negative Effects the Meat Industry Has On The World”, Zachery Brasier, November 25, 2015, https://listverse.com/2015/11/25/10-negative-effects-the-meat-industry-has-on-the-world/

[48] “About the Fish and Wildlife Service”, https://www.fws.gov/help/about_us.html

[49] See the chapter on Other Harms to Environments and Life

[50] “Trump's order to slash number of science advisory boards blasted by critics as 'nonsensical': "It's no longer death by a thousand cuts. It's taking a knife to the jugular,” one science advocate said of the order to eliminate a third of the advisory boards.”, Phil McCausland, NBC, June 15, 2019, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/trump-s-order-slash-number-science-advisory-boards-blasted-critics-n1017921

[51] “Abandoning Science Advice: One Year in, the Trump Administration Is Sidelining Science Advisory Committees (2018)”, Center for Science and Democracy, Union of Concerned Scientists, https://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/attach/2018/01/abandoning-science-advice-full-report.pdf

[52] “The State of Science in the Trump Era (2019): Damage Done, Lessons Learned, and a Path to Progress”, Center for Science and Democracy, Union of Concerned Scientists, Accessed March 7, 2019, https://www.ucsusa.org/center-science-and-democracy/state-of-science-trump-era

[53] “The Trump Administration Has Attacked Science 100 Times ... and Counting: That’s more than any administration since the Union of Concerned Scientists started tracking”, Jacob Carter, Anita Desikan, Gretchen Goldman, Scientific American, May 29, 2019, https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/the-trump-administration-has-attacked-science-100-times-and-counting/?redirect=1