- Junk Science Week: The Rubber Duckies
FP Comment ’s annual Junk Science Week comes to a triumphant close with today’s Rubber Duck Awards to recognize the scientists, NGOs, activists, politicians, journalists, media outlets, cranks and quacks who each year advance the principles of junk science
- The Rubber Duckies: Slow death by tax-free money
Posted: June 19, 2009, 9:23 PM by NP Editor
Since we named The Rubber Duck Awards after the book, Slow Death by Rubber Duck, it is more than fitting that the first award go to the authors of the book, Rick Smith and Bruce Laurie. The book alone, a shoddy compilation of unproven science scares and junk science gimmicks, is worthy of an award. Earlier this week we reviewed one element of the book, in which Mr. Smith neglects to mention that the alarming volume of the chemical Bisphenol A in his urine was actually 200 times below zero-effect safe levels.
But this isn’t about the book. The award actually goes to Messrs Smith and Laurie for their conversion, using a string of financial arrangements and contacts, of their operation, Environmental Defence of Canada (ED), into a fountainhead of junk science agitation, chemophobia and government lobbying.
- The Rubber Duckies: Baird leads Harper team
This Rubber Duck Award goes to John Baird, as representative of the Harper ministers of Health and Environment who have been playing along with the junk science activism of the radically green Environmental Defence of Canada. Sharing the award are former Health Minister Tony Clement and current environment minister Jim Prentice, all of whom appear to welcome the role as pawns in Environmental Defence’s game.
Joining the group yesterday was current Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, who announced a ban on the use of the chemical phthalates in soft vinyl toys — including rubber ducks!
This ban comes despite a lack of evidence that phthalates pose a risk.
- The Rubber Duckies: McGuinty’s nanny state
When readers were asked to submit nominations for these Rubber Duck Awards, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty scored high. He deserves it. The list of nanny-state initiatives foisted upon Ontarians based on dubious science claims is long and growing. The
- The Rubber Duckies: Deutsche Bank’s countdown to the carbon bubble
Posted: June 19, 2009, 9:14 PM by NP Editor
This year’s Corporate Rubber Duck Award goes to Deutsche Bank and the world’s financial institutions. The crass willingness of the world’s banks and investment houses to jump on to the global warming crusade reached a new low of irrational exuberance this week with the erection in Manhattan of an eight-story high Deutsche Bank carbon counter. The rolling digital clock flies through digits at the rate of about 1000 tonnes a second —the rate at which greenhouse gasses are accumulating in the atmosphere.
For a second yesterday afternoon, the counter stood at 3,642,124,591,652 — before it moved on. Why would Deutsche Bank do this? Because in those numbers Deutsche Bank, and all the other big financial blunderers who delivered today’s financial crisis, are gearing up to cash in on the next big wave, carbon markets and green investing.
To banks and financial players now lobbying Washington, Ottawa and governments everywhere, the rolling carbon counter is a rolling dollar counter.
- The Rubber Duckies: Lifetime achievement
Paul Ehrlich Wins the Rubber Duck award for Lifetime Achievement. The candidates most often suggested by our readers as deserving of the award – Al Gore and David Suzuki – have lost out to Suzuki’s mentor, Paul Ehrlich, the Stanford biologist and author of the 1970 best-seller The Population Bomb. Ehrlich, who remains an honorary director of the David Suzuki Foundation, has been a profoundly influential figure in the environmental field with numerous prestigious awards over the decades, including an Institute of Biological Sciences, a United Nations Sasakawa Environment Prize and a MacArthur Prize.
- The Rubber Duckies: Still no retraction from CTV on Port Hope
Posted: June 19, 2009, 8:34 PM by NP Editor
Our first Media Rubber Duck Award goes to CTV and its investigative journalism show, W-Five.
Last November, in an outrageous bit of junk journalism, the CTV network’sW-Five show visually dropped an atom bomb on Port Hope, Ont. (see at right). The implication of the W-Five episode, “What Lies Beneath,” was that residents of the small town — home to the Eldorado nuclear reactor — were suffering from nuclear fallout that was making people sick.
Based on interviews with local activists and a few residents, W-Five dropped junk science reports and scaremongering speculation that portrayed Port Hope as a nuclear-laced community whose waters and grounds were polluted. Elevated levels of uranium were said to have been found in urine samples, which were linked to elevated death rates and diseases of the “lung, brain/sinus, esophageal, lip, bone and colorectal.”
- FP Comment proudly announces new junk science prize!
FP Comment ’s Junk Science Week is proud to announce The Rubber Duck Award for achievement in the field of junk science. The awards, to be given annually, are intended to recognize the scientists, NGOs, activists, politicians, journalists, media outlets