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tv   Manufacturing Ignorance  Deutsche Welle  May 4, 2021 11:15am-12:01pm CEST

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global release of the movies not just the version of the movies that show in china so that the chinese communist party censureship dictates actually effect what the entire world watches chinese posters for nomad land had already been printed before the ban china's propaganda apparatus loves films that are critical of the u.s. not criticism of its own country nomad land is unlikely to ever be shown in china. if you're watching news thank you so much for joining us to get. through to it's. there you of flushing wigs and glitter glitter glitter the fight against prejudice i got called a boy band recognition. little stores on the big stage.
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projects starts may 17th on g.w. . the 21st century human world is insatiable. with a constant demand for more technology more convenience and comfort more products on more shelves a lifestyle that also raises a growing number of issues what exactly is happening in the fields and farms that feed us. and in our medication. hasn't just realisation turned our world toxic. it's an issue of growing global concern. citizens on the streets accuse industry of hiding the truth from us
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as the corporations defend and deny how are we to judge which side is right. so we turn to science asking researchers to be the arbiters of this argument. surely they should know best except that scientists who do step into the. they are then themselves targeted and are subject to influence corruption and infiltration. we're living in a world where there are many people who have a vested interest in fighting information fighting scientific evidence and discrediting even the notion that science could provide the truth about the natural world there are tensions only seeking to science the 1st step is to identify these attacks and then expose the machinations of those trying to stand in the way of knowledge and in that context it's essential for us to understand who these people
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are what they do why they do it and how they do it. and we have to understand how it is that the public sometimes participates in the spreading of this to liberate ignorance so we need to visit this landscape of manufactured ignorance. like most of the developed world northern greece has seen a collapse of bee colonies a phenomenon that's been observed since the 1990 s. it's become a textbook case for the manufacture of confusion and culturally induced ignorance. here too it began with an enigma with experts on able to explain what was happening and why it was a complete mystery. why was so many bees suddenly dying t.v. reports showed beekeepers and complete despair if you would look and you. then
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a suspect was found a new generation of insecticides in our fields the latest innovation of the agro chemical industry products containing multiple active ingredients every syngenta formulation is the result of years of careful investigation and thorough research by our scientists a coincidence that these started dying in their millions once the. yes new products were being sprayed on our crops active ingredients which is why very quickly suspicion started falling in that direction could scientists solve the case. has been searching for the truth in research at her bee hives and in the lab and we scientists with the help of beekeepers must find the answer. what began as scientific research soon became a game of cat and mouse. normally scientists have the
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peace and quiet of their labs to examine data from field studies. the mass death of bees is just one of many but nominate experts have been asked to explain. traditionally science has the role of highlighting natural mechanisms and reaching an explanation for the slightest observable fact. this is how science normally progresses by solving more and more mysteries. and in principle our knowledge of the world we live in increases however this fine principle sometimes has a few hiccups. for scientific observers the case of the vanishing bees is emblematic of this with something like pesticides you should have been able to investigate it by collecting data by fall though the evidence where it's taking the the crux of the idea is that when we find the evidence that tells us what's
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happening we tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth and we let the chips fall where they may we commit in a way sort of committing to accepting the truth of those findings. but in the case of the bs that truth took a different course. in the early to thousands countless official reports pointed to the toxic effect of even very low doses of neo neck it annoyed on b.s. and yet 20 years on there is no universally accepted truth no consensus on the link between these pesticides and the disappearance of bees what explains that divergence. you need to be a very shrewd observer to see the whole picture of the moment the big problem appeared there was 4 to 5 times more research into causes not linked to pesticides . or natural pathogens like the sema and different viruses. but also
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bad beekeeping practices climate change the loss of habitat nightlights. the asian hornets and other invasive species like the small hive beetle i think basically research is much more intensive in causes unlink to pesticides than into pesticides themselves. as is shown with a quick search in a scientific study database. as soon as pesticides were suspected there was a dramatic rise in the number of public and private studies focusing on alternative explanations 2010 the veterinary authorities were confused. in the final being pursued. the more studies there were the less beekeepers could make sense of it all it seemed like a paradox until researchers discovered similarities in an older case leonie you see
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a flourishing as new studies emerge in any particular area. a little bit ironically it creates the appearance of being dedicated to pursuing the trail but it takes me directly back to the cases they tobacco we were in the like that i can. end up trying to head up the bill in the 1950 s. tobacco still enjoyed the image of a completely harmless stimulant to blow. the backbone bone of a young but that carefree attitude would not last. as this product contains scientists in december 953 the tobacco industry was in big trouble tracked researchers had found that painting mice with tar from cigarettes caused cancer
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a revelation that sparked an embittered controversy. the tobacco companies had a real crisis because they can't contest the evidence and say it's wrong they just say we don't know and so the winners of all the major cigarette companies got together in new york city. a meeting subsequently took place at new york's plaza hotel between the bosses of the 7 major manufacturers collectively known as big tobacco. imagine the scene. the meeting would go down in the annals of ignorance as a challenge to every one of us and we're all in this together. in light of this threat to business the corporations came up with a plan they have warrants this care paper in which they said you know we're aware
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of the science we think there are problems with it and this is a matter of deep concern come up. now we are beginning a campaign to spell out that basic point so that no one will be able to get it that if they decided to make a public statement they are pledging aid and assistance to the research effort into all phases of tobacco use and health for this purpose we are stablish ing and joined tobacco industry group the tobacco industry research committee. going to thank you. the press published the declaration tobacco industry to start scientific research. believe me friends just feel as for your smoking pleasure and protect every advantage known to modern science just repeal gives you scientific fact. then the
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class. opening up a center of research on tobacco didn't aim to fund the knowledge to produce knowledge that would disprove established facts. so they were using scientific methods to refute established science. it's really using science against itself the explicit use of science against science i think does represent a kind of watershed to systematically find scientific research in order to undermine science effectively fighting fire with fire that's a watershed moment. so after they decided this how did they operationalize one of the things that tobacco companies funded a lot of that's what i call distracted research. the labs backed by the cigarette manufacturers set up research projects known as special projects or s.p.'s an
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entire arsenal geared to diverting scientific findings. they covered lung cancer in nonsmokers for example looking for links to residents working conditions and personal habits. they experimented on rabbits to see of lung cancer might be caused by toxins or viruses. as big tobacco generously financed hundreds of studies. some proved useful such as research into the precursors of cardiovascular disease. but other studies bordered on the absurd such as contact with or tomato juice allegedly leading to skin tumors or the link between lung cancer and baldness or even between cancer and the month of birth with march supposedly putting you at greater risk. juliet blanco's and the idea is to say there are only kinds of course if it is to spread ignorance clouding the issue with
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a multitude of data it's going to. draw. suspicion to other potential culprits is an effective strategy especially as long cancer could be attributed to a combination of factors identifying a range of risk factors and pursuing multiple avenues of research is perfectly normal in science but it can also be extremely handy for creating confusion. it then becomes almost impossible to determine the true guilty party and that's the point that's extremely well understood and that designed the playbook for pretty much every other science denial that that has. this is a story about tobacco this is a story about acid rain this is a fairy about the ozone hole this is a story about pesticides this is a story that climate change in its own eyes this feel a contraceptive pills i mean we have now seen this strategy used over and over and
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over again. about buying time same as oddly it's a winning strategy in the case of tobacco it's 70 years already and it's still going. in the case of the dying bees scientific insights have likewise been deliberately suppressed. with all that's gone on i'd say we've wasted 20 to 30 years. so we're talking about decades of just information and decades of delay. in the meantime the companies are still raking gobs of money.
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but eventually a scientific law i constructed over several decades can start to develop cracks. 40 years after the 1st alerts on tobacco a humble employee in the us turned whistleblower and changed everything. a box of documents was sent to the university of san francisco. professor stanton glantz was in for a surprise that day i made 121994 a box of documents landed in my office for an anonymous source these were internal documents from at the very highest levels of the tobacco industry their senior scientists their senior lawyers their senior management their senior public relations people talking very very frankly about what they knew about the dangers of smoking. the documents were an
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unexpected treasure trove for the professor. it was like a new world stumbling into a new world dates as the leaked documents increased in number the truth broke and the tobacco bosses were cornered gentlemen the recent disclosures of documents have shaken my confidence that your companies care about the truth these documents suggest possible manipulation of scientific research by industry attorneys if these things are true then you should know that this kind of behavior is unacceptable and will not be allowed. based with damning evidence the corporations were forced to make decades of secret archives public. the collection of words started out a few 1000 pages of grow up around $93000000.00 pages.
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these documents are now kept at the university of san francisco archives they contain the details of a massive manipulation of science the tactics deployed the researchers recruited and the sums of money involved among the documents was an internal memo from 1969 that summed up the strategy of the tobacco industry doubters are products if it is the best means of competing with the body of fact that exists in the mind of the general public it is all for the means of establishing a controversy. the key strategy is the creation of doubt about science. is a perfect weapon it's effective but also punishes because doubt is legitimately part of science in fact it's an essential driver of science we investigate things because we have questions about them because we're curious or because we doubt the existing explanation is adequate so we need doubt in science would do it the word
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doctor is key to science we always say science doubts there are 2 types of scientists feels you could get established science where we no longer question that the earth is round all that apples fall at 9.8 meters per 2nd squared galileo measured it and we can measure it again but it won't change the results yet but here there is no doubt down to exists in ongoing science in what we have studied in proposing hypotheses so the strategy of doubt is about saying that established accepted science is still subject to town. so what the tobacco industry did was to take a further chill and turn to advice. the use of scientific method against science itself and spreading skepticism through dissent from ation. but this massive rebel atory documents in turn inspired a new field of study. how many of you before this week knew something about the
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history of tobacco yet most people of the old mia rescues shows her students how to identify the methods used in a story call obstructions of science the discovery of this long history of deception has led to a new field of intellectual study a new academic field and it's called agni taller g. and that means the study of ignorance. magnet is an unconventional field of study as academics attempt to unravel the mainsprings of our ignorance to look into what we don't know we were laughed at it 1st because people thought it was not academic to study the absence of knowledge to study ignorance but i think people are are laughing a bit less now and starting to be a bit worried because we sense and they realize how pervasive the problem might be . what are the obstacles to knowledge. a question of growing relevance prompting those who study ignorance to find
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a public voice. over the course of this talk introduce different ways of thinking about ignorance and particularly this phrase tricky to ignorance we're going to ask you to think about example in your own life a strategic ingrid's. individuals a new understanding of ignorance as a manager until now ignorance meant not knowing what we might know one day thanks to research but now we're beginning to see that you can produce. what the issue now is identifying obstacles to our knowledge things that halt the progress of science deliberately or not. perhaps in some cases it's about what we prefer not to know unraveling all that is no mean feat which is why agnew tallent the study of ignorance needs to progress methodically and it's a fascinating field of inquiry with contributions from psychology sociology history
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political science cognitive science computer science network science there are lots of disciplines involved that can help us understand how ignorance is being manufactured and how we can protect ourselves against. is still in its early days and has a lot of ground to make up. the generation of strategic ignorance has been constantly perfected. and to poking it often means plunging into the details of scientific practice. there's a constant stream of innovations on the market accompanied by a fair share of scrutiny are they a threat to our health and more importantly what are safe levels that's the big question the one at the heart of a fierce dispute. one
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such dispute began in this laboratory one day in 1909 carlos zone in shine and on a soto are both biologists for years they had been trying to solve the mystery of cellular proliferation in cancer. suddenly before their very eyes some control cells cultivated in a test tube began to multiply for no discernible reason. it was a real. investigation. trying to find out where it came from because that is the 1st you have to do identify what is the source. they reviewed each piece of lab equipment. after 4 months of growing suspense they finally had their culprit. the centrifuge tubes. they contained
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a material that should have been inert but wasn't. the plastic additive in question contained and dispersed a substance that acted like the hormone estrogen. were very fine we thought that this was a big deal the question now was what other products might contain the substance. toys disposable bottles food packaging and in all the plastics that end up in the environment and what impact does it have on our organism. the big question is establishing the doses through which the public can be exposed without a major risk to our health and that question really is the mother of all battles the impact of product x. on our health is studied by toxicologists the accepted rule is centuries old it's simple and seemingly makes good sense the effect is proportionate to the quantity
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consume. it's true for sugar and fats and applies to pretty much any product. the golden rule of toxicology says the dose makes the poison which by extension means that anything below that level isn't a poison. according to this rule of plastic with the character. mystic's of a hormone that ends up in a baby's mouth shouldn't pose any problem because the quantity of synthetic estrogen ingested is minuscule. true or false this is the crux of the controversy. an experiment was carried out at the university of missouri by research record fred von sol he was the 1st to carry out a controlled experiment on lab animals to try to evaluate the activity of a common plastic called bisphenol a. this as the structure of an estrogenic drug
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they are using a sex hormone to make plastic this is insane. professor frederick bansal and his team spent years observing mice exposed to different doses of bisbee in all a to measure traces of the product they explored what happens at the limits of detection using ultra sensitive machines and what they discovered sent shock waves through the scientific community in fact the damage to the reproductive system was occurring at 25000 times below what had been considered a dose that would cause you know were we were absolutely shocked. this was huge for several reasons. the most important being that some of these substances can have bigger effects tiny doses than with stronger doses.
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i mean why is that important because regulates re toxicology tests the home from this of these molecules at high doses and never tests or extremely rarely tests the hopefulness of these molecules at the tiny doses to which humans generally exposed . except that at low doses instead of acting like a typical poison bisphenol a is an end to disrupt or it alters our hormones the molecules that regulate among other things our reproductive system even in the tiniest observable doses it can have devastating effects in other words researchers began to come across some barry unexpected relationships between the dose and the effect of a product and this was shaking up the world of toxicologists we were rejecting
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their dogma the ecology community have not accepted it and they said we reject this the resistance among toxicologists was understandable it was also convenient for the manufacturers of plastics it's not always that people intentionally want to. some people unwittingly through no fault of their own can it times be pawns in other people's efforts to pretty strategic ignorance. at the same time the plastics industry gives financial backing to alternative studies which its representatives use to defend their simple thesis that low doses cannot be dangerous more than $100.00 independent studies have shown that real life exposure to be created is about a 1000 times below the safe intake limit set by you i'm saying one thing industry is saying another and there needed to be explanations of how.
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the difference was occurring eager to understand from solve collected studies published on the subject and as a true agne tala just he set about explaining the disparity in their conclusions during that time i didn't get a lot of sleep and drank a lot of core of. his conclusion 93 percent of publicly funded studies indicated harmful effects at very low doses of this being in contrast to none of the studies financed by the industry he eventually discovered the primary reason for this difference instead of an outright lie some creative trickery and the private sector lapse they put a lot of time and effort into figuring out how do 'd we do a study that shows no effect.
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the 1st step is to find the right test animal model using catalogues of laboratory mice and rats which can be chosen according to their biological parameters. they can be customized to fit the requirements of the relevant experiments and are then dispatched directly to the researchers lab. and history groups were using very strange animal to try to show that bisphenol a cause or if you are interested the showing that between early is not. you would select. in which bisphenol a does not become minister jinnie. so you how to be very careful about the mother you choose because you can choose their own model and you can choose their own model because you don't know or you can choose the mother because you know too well how can you do this. test rats tailor made to manipulate
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the results and prove the innocence of bisping all a another successful trick by the illusionists of science. so the most insidious offensives are hidden in the details. research protocols for example that outline the planning of a study and are delicately put in place. it only takes one corrupted protocol or a broken rule to stall scientific progress. what's at stake here is evidence based policy making whether a policy is faced on the best available evidence over the policy is designed to satisfy a particular industry in their pursuit of profit. the manufacturers a big difference have a target a democratically elected politicians who can decide whether a suspect product is banned or authorized. for any reason to
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see. the moment we give up on evidence based policymaking we've given up on democracy. they won't last each. see saw me. in 2010 the french parliament outlawed the guilty baby bottles but the ban was limited to this one single and a current disruptor present in one single product sold in one single country a small victory 20 years after the 1st alarm bells rang. a serious public health issue therefore continues to be covered up. among the population we're seeing a sharp increase in metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes hormone sensitive cancers neuro behavioral disorders and infertility in this proliferation of symptoms and ukraine disruptors are the prime suspects due to our exposure to
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them nevertheless the defenders of the plastics industry continue to sow doubt. the presence of a chemical in your body is not as harmful any such affirmations are spread on the internet ready. yes if you say. the internet is host to a great many organizations with no apparent links to industry that tell us about everything from this being all way and energy sources to the disappearance of bees the climate food supplements animal welfare and fracking. online made to measure science is rampant. and the target on this front is the general public us and our opinions these days we can weigh in with the click of a mouse on everything from pro or anti diesel homeopathy or baiting we click on like
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we tweet or re tweet this is now public opinion anonymous yet global social networks seem to be the ideal form disinter mation. global opinion making is among the issues being monitored inside this building in paris. or was it the complex systems institute brings together mathematicians i.t. experts and data specialists. they develop tools to analyze the my. lead waters of social networks. over 3 months. larry os and his team's analyzed 20000000 posts on the climate that originated on twitter before spreading across the globe disappear so who is talking to whom and how did the climate skeptics and their adversaries compete for this
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virtual space. the team have put together a system that can visualize this sprawling controversy. each dot represents one person a line between 2 people means that one of them has shared the other's post the more we forward posts the closer the dots get. that is what twitter feeds you include. thanks to the program the dispute over the world's biggest scientific debate becomes apparent we have all the twitter accounts that form the community of climate skeptics you can see that this community is very distinct in terms of sharing the information from the other community made up of those who agree on the climate consensus that's 140000 accounts that's a lot of people. once the debate is rendered observable and you know what can we conclude from vessels on the skeptic side the core is always active these people never stop tweeting there are fewer of them but they're more active which means they're trying to counterbalance the byte exactly that overactive some accounts
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have 100200000 tweets in 10 years that's incredible so this is how they colonizing twitter it's crazy. with us all at core spreading their arguments on an astronomical scale a powerful asset for the climate skeptics in this battle for territory enough to keep their community alive despite the growing evidence for me. or the scientific community global warming is indisputable as is the evident impact of humankind. this consensus however does not impose itself on the web. we see the very regularly scientific facts prove the climate skeptics there is wrong which is potentially dangerous for this community because they can lose members over it again so there's a kind of inoculates of reaction for 2 or 3 days they'll inundate the social
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networks with alternative facts don't keep their visibility in a globalized environment. without social networks communities of this size wouldn't be able to survive the facts which so clearly disprove their beliefs a lot of cornell's. conspiracy theories abound on all manner of scientific subjects with bloggers free to propound their own theories. the coronavirus a bio bioengineered virus contains nano particles that can be activated on a time based arrangement by 5. 1000000000 of us you know. said to me. they can. fix anything and we haven't cured they just want to give it out. amid all the rumors and counter rumors some call out a scientific conspiracy and are themselves called out fake news. share this is.
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for sure you really do want to be. on social media it's one side against the other. see. are these online arguments supplanting the patient and meticulous approach of science has it become to each their own truth. you know if i can just. drop it we have gravity that's not a matter of. whatever our beliefs we can't ignore reality the victims of climate change. the victims of particulates pollution. or those of infectious diseases where people are no longer vaccinated. they are all a grave reminder that ignoring scientific truths as a human cost in the end the facts do tend to prevail.
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and despite the hurdles to progress our knowledge increases gradually building up in one way or another through the ages. a few centuries ago you had to be a mad person to go against common belief and state that the sun and stars don't turn around us but that the earth turns round and round like a spinning top those who champion this inconvenient truth pay dearly in europe the works of copernicus were banned galileo was sentenced to house arrest for life their research posed a threat to established beliefs. another time another setting what makes the world go around today is the economy. when the law of the market replaces that of the church what new limits will be imposed on science. will this new confrontation decide which research is accepted. of course there are cases
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of researchers being caught in a conflict of interests a scientist who ceases to remain objective because they're influenced by financial backers but the grip of the economy on science outweighs these individual cases. what impact the market has on a research can only be gauged if we look at the bigger picture. of the current framework within which science is done hugely influences which science we do the market economy frame science in a way that the i'll use in science that can be monetized that is lucrative. researchers have to generate money and to find it and so science has turned into a marketplace where everyone is trying to attract attention.
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to the. basically competing value out to highlight and specificity is really in come up with fashionable keywords. in the early 2000 is the magic word genomic he said you want to genomes which would vastly influence medicine you were given millions of dollars. and do some research of 1000 the research on how to use the word genomic in 2010 it was nanotechnology 2020 it's artificial intelligence. i think you're already local police your current competition is pointing science in a certain direction that you have created memory my artificial intelligence. this is too cool i can walk why and in the meantime there are a whole host of unknown fields set aside as of caution i. deemed less
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fashionable or less profitable in the short term. certain scientific fields have been deserted. some researchers have identified what they call the problem of and done science now that science simply last uninvestigated because there's little commercial imperative in. undone science science that simply isn't done. the experiment never carried out the lab that never opened. the epidemiological study that doesn't exist because it was never financed. the scientific books never written the medical theses never published these are the vast territories of ignorance which we don't explore because they're not profitable because we prefer not to know or because we never
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even imagined them. our thirst for knowledge is limitless and our wonder at science unabated. but science is under threat of virus spreading and scientific denial spreading with it coordination is not an issue it's not that we and it's not an issue for many doctors who has controversies multiply they cloud our understanding it's up to pick it up don't punish the kids who killed us have collaborate there are now scientists beating back the tide of ignorance there are still only a few but for us the general public they are a new force we can count on their developing tools and methods to shed light on
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ways of protecting a common asset science and its meticulous progress. because . one man is heading for the 7th time in one season. and the future is going to come should be here for the 2nd time around. their colleagues to go to sherman coaches their tactical personal secrets.
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to. w. . the funding against the coronavirus pandemic. the rate of infection been developing. measures are being taken. what does the latest research say. information and context. the coronavirus update the code special monday to friday on w. m whereas if you when i arrived here i slept with 6 people in a room there's one thing. that was hard i was fair. i even got white hairs that. language never got this gets me when they go. to entrap let's say
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