The Atlantic Features “Fake Silk”

In The Atlantic, James Hamblin recently wrote a fascinating feature about FAKE SILK: The Lethal History of Viscose Rayon by Paul David Blanc, M.D.

Here’s an excerpt from “The Buried Story of Male Hysteria: When men actually began to be diagnosed as ‘hysterics,’ doctors searched for a cause. They found a chemical that may be on the rise again today.”

When a raving 27-year-old man was committed to Hudson River State Hospital for the Insane in April of 1887, no one thought much of it.

But 12 days later, another man arrived at the door in much the same incoherent condition. When the men regained awareness and could be interrogated, it turned out that they worked in the same nearby rubber factory.

That summer, a third man was brought to the hospital, where he was described as “in a condition of great mental excitement, disturbing the neighborhood by loud noises and violent praying.” He, too, turned out to be a co-worker.

The chief of the Nervous Department at New York’s College of Physicians and Surgeons at the time was Frederick Peterson. He knew these three cases couldn’t be a coincidence, so he set out interrogating the workers on the nature of their jobs. As he suspected, the men had all inhaled a chemical in the factory’s air: carbon disulfide.

Peterson had heard of carbon-disulfide insanity in Europe, so he alerted his colleagues in The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal (now known as The New England Journal of Medicine) that the problem had come to America. In England, the new term “gassed” had arisen, defined in the Liverpool Daily Post as “the term used in the India rubber business, and it meant dazed.” The British physician Thomas Oliver had recalled watching as people working in rubber factories left after their shifts and “simply staggered home,” apart from themselves. The effect could be deadly. “Some of them have become the victims of acute insanity,” Oliver wrote, “and in their frenzy have precipitated themselves from the top rooms of the factory to the ground.”

This article is part of our comprehensive publicity campaign for Fake Silk. Are you looking for a publicist, a publicity firm for nonprofits, a PR firm for small business, or an independent book publicist? Carney & Associates specializes in science pr and sustainability topics. Please contact Kathlene Carney for a free consultation to find out how our publicity services can contribute to your success.

Donald Trump and the media’s ‘epic fail’

There’s been a lot of reporting about the media’s “epic fail” in the recent election, and one of the most insightful articles is by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism:

One of the most egregious failings of the media in the US election was their chase of audience share at the expense of substantial reporting. Struggling with ever-declining advertising revenues, newspapers chased the stories that brought them the clicks.

At the heart of divided societies in both the US and Britain is a newspaper industry in precipitous decline. The true “epic fail” is of the journalism industry as a whole: that the sector has been unable to find an alternative commercial model to the one that has sustained it for so long. As print readers migrate online, few newspapers have been able to persuade them to continue contributing to the cost of producing news; and neither have they been able to convince advertisers that their online versions are as worthy of investment as their print products.

The article also referenced  the shocking reduction in journalists in the U.S. As reported in The Guardian, the number of people employed in the US newspaper industry has fallen by almost 60% since the dawn of the internet age – from nearly 458,000 in 1990 to about 183,000 in 2016. This loss has been felt most seriously among regional papers which have either cut their newsrooms back to the bone or shut down altogether.

Major media platforms did fly their own journalists around the country to interview supporters at Trump rallies, but these reporters “rarely got out of the campaign bubbles. They had not lived among the many communities that voted for Trump” the way local journalists had–before their jobs went away.

Based in London, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism understands the important role investigative journalism must play in the years to come. “Now more than ever, we need strong, independent, fearless and deep reporting that holds power to account. We need journalists who have the time and the resources to properly investigate the stories that matter.”

It’s now more urgent than ever that we support the legitimate sources that provide our news. Those journalists can’t work for free.

Meanwhile, are you looking for a publicist, a publicity firm for nonprofits, a PR firm for small business, or an independent book publicist? Please contact Kathlene Carney for a free consultation to find out how our publicity services can contribute to your success–through reputable news outlets.

 

Greenwashed products exposed on Groks Science Radio Show

The current “greenwashing” of viscose products as being eco-friendly (rayon fabrics, sponges, cellophane products) is exposed in FAKE SILK: The Lethal History of Viscose Rayon by Paul D. Blanc, M.D. (Yale University Press).

A highly toxic chemical, carbon disulfide, has been the life blood of this industry from the start. It also has meant a death sentence for many of its workers. For a more than a century, making viscose has been linked to severe illness, including mental derangement, heart attack, and stroke.

Dr. Blanc discusses the history of the industry and its current rebirth in greenwashed eco-friendly products on the Groks Science Show. He emphasizes the importance of skepticism about “green” products on the market, not just in terms of potential hazards for consumers, but also up the chain in its manufacturing, and where it goes after the consumer is finished with it.

This interview is part of our comprehensive publicity campaign for Fake Silk. Are you looking for a publicist, a publicity firm for nonprofits, a PR firm for small business, or an independent book publicist? Please contact Kathlene Carney for a free consultation to find out how our publicity services can contribute to your success.

 

CJR: Tips for Journalists Covering Trump

“The Canadian media now knows how to report on a post-truth, journalist-bashing politician, and they have some ideas for their American counterparts struggling to keep up with Trump,” according to a fascinating article in  the Columbia Journalism Review.

In “Canadian Journalists Who Covered Rob Ford Offer Tips on Trump,” their first piece of advice is that visuals speak louder than words:

No one knows that better than Robyn Doolittle, the now Globe and Mail reporter who was one of two Toronto Star journalists to see the infamous Ford crack-cocaine video. She was only allowed to watch the video on an iPhone in the back seat of a parked car—she couldn’t take pictures or the video with her. While that seemed good enough at the time, when the story came out thousands of Torontonians, including Ford and other city counsellors, said it was fake. “I was shocked that the half the city would think that the Toronto Star made up the story,” she says.

About a year later, now at the Globe and Mail, another drug dealer called saying he had a second video of Ford smoking crack. Once again, she could only watch the video on a mobile phone, but unlike with the first video, her paper agreed to pay $10,000 for several screenshots. When the story came out the next day, Ford checked himself into rehab, something he had never done before. “I have a newfound appreciation for photos,” she says. “In the days of Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, people expect to see footage.”

The article also advises journalists to start standing up for themselves, and emphasizes the importance of support from news agencies.

It’s also critical for reporters to know their editors and their newspapers will be there to defend them, says Irene Gentle, managing editor at the Toronto Star. “Reporters have to believe they will be supported despite the attacks on them personally, despite the attacks on the integrity of the news organization and the news industry,” she says. “The editor has to make that completely clear. The reporters have to know their job is to keep going.”

At Carney & Associates, we’ve specialized in working with journalists for more than 20 years, and it’s our job to remain abreast of the monumental changes that are reshaping today’s media landscape.

Now it’s more urgent than ever that we support legitimate sources that provide our news. Journalists can’t work for free, more on this in future posts…

Meanwhile, are you looking for a publicist, a publicity firm for nonprofits, a PR firm for small business, or an independent book publicist? Please contact Kathlene Carney for a free consultation to find out how our publicity services can contribute to your success–through reputable news outlets.

 

Advertising, Fake News and ‘Attention Harvesting’

I just listened to the most fascinating interview on KQED-FM’s  radio show Forum, “Tim Wu On Advertising, Fake News and ‘Attention Harvesting’.” Here’s their promo copy:

Columbia Law professor Tim Wu is best known for coining the term “net neutrality” and for his research on the Internet, media and communications. His latest book, “The Attention Merchants,” looks at how advertisers have monetized public attention throughout history, from penny press newspapers to Facebook ads. We’ll talk to Wu about the book, get his take on the proliferation of fake news and explore what technology policy might look like in the Trump administration.

Wu explains that the attention merchants’ business model, targeting anyone who goes on Facebook or searches on Google  for example, takes us as its resource to harvest. It’s takes our minds, our attention, and wants us to be constantly distracted, looking at ads, losing control over ourselves. They don’t want you reading books or talking with friends or family, because that’s all wasted revenue to them.  This business model has become so pervasive in our lives, it’s starting to have profound effects on who we are and also on the underlying media. For instance, so much of the web’s content has become clickbait because that’s the only thing that can survive. It’s become a race to the bottom in terms of competing for people’s attention.

attentionmerchantsThe Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get  Inside Our Heads is receiving rave reviews:

“A startling and sweeping examination of the increasingly ubiquitous commercial effort to capture and commodify our attention…We’ve become the consumers, the producers, and the content. We are selling ourselves to ourselves.”—Tom Vanderbilt, The New Republic

“An erudite, energizing, outraging, funny and thorough history…A devastating critique of ad tech as it stands today, transforming “don’t be evil” into the surveillance business model in just a few short years. It connects the dots between the sale of advertising inventory in schools to the bizarre ecosystem of trackers, analyzers and machine-learning models that allow the things you look at on the web to look back at you…This stuff is my daily beat, and I learned a lot from Attention Merchants.”—Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing 

“Tim Wu has written a profoundly important book on a problem that doesn’t get enough— well, attention. Attention itself has become the currency of the information age, and, as Wu meticulously and eloquently demonstrates, we allow it to be bought and sold at our peril.”–James Gleick, author of Time Travel: A History 
 

The Attention Merchants should be required reading for anyone working in public relations, publicity, marketing or advertising, as well as the general public.

Infographic-The Clean Energy Revolution is Happening Now

Despite political resistance, climate denial, and outdated misinformation, the clean energy revolution really is happening now.  

Fossil fuels will become a thing of the past just like oil from whale blubber, according to energy expert Leah Y. Parks. “Disruptive technologies are changing business models and clean technologies are on track to completely disrupt the fossil fuel industry. We can either embrace this future, become the leader in the ‘clean energy’ revolution, and reap the benefits or we can fall behind and risk obsolescence like Kodak and Blockbuster.”
The following infographic illustrates that a 21st century energy transformation is already underway:

Clean Energy Revolution infographic made by Carney & Associates as part of our national book publicity campaign for All-Electric America, by Leah Y. Parks and S. Davis Freeman. To find out how our publicity services can help spread the word of your book, product or organization, please contact Kathlene Carney.

Coast to Coast AM Examines Grid Threats with Benjamin Dancer

Hurricane Matthew recently forced millions of people to survive without power. Although these power outages were temporary, they served as a powerful reminder of a much larger threat: there are several mechanisms of destruction that could bring down the entire grid, leaving no one in America capable of coming to any one else’s aid.

Accordpatriarchruning to journalist Benjamin Dancer, that scenario is not far-fetched, and he says there’s a direct connection between national security and sustainability.

Dancer works for The Colorado EMP Task Force On National and Homeland Security. He is also the author of PATRIARCH RUN, an eco-thriller premised on the threat posed by our reliance on the grid. The book has been endorsed for its realism by environmental leaders such as Paul Ehrlich and Alan Weisman on the left, and Dr. Peter Pry, who served in the Congressional EMP Commission, and Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, author of ON KILLING, on the right.

Dancer will be a guest on the national radio show Coast to Coast AM on Tuesday, November 1, 2016 10:00  p.m. –12:00 a.m. PDT, prepared to discuss the following:

National Security
• Underreported threats to the grid including EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack, cyberattack, physical sabotage, and a coronal mass ejection.

Sustainability
• The larger the human population becomes, the more difficult it is to manage it sustainably. 
• Renewable energy is a critical component of any plan for a secure infrastructure.
• The loss of the grid would not have been a threat 100 years ago because the population of the country was only about 76 million people. At that time, food was produced outside the urban centers, and the production of food was not yet dependent on electrical power. Today the population of the United States is about 325 million people, and most foods are produced by technologies that rely on electrical power.  Technologies include fertilizers, pesticides, mechanical irrigation, refined fuel for farm machinery and transportation, food processing facilities, infrastructure for clean drinking water.
• Many of our urban centers have outstripped the carrying capacity of their surrounding landscapes so food and basic supplies are shipped over long supply lines, which are often global, and the production of the fuel that drives those supply lines is also dependent on electricity. 

In a worst-case scenario, large urban centers denied of critical resources such as food, safe drinking water, transportation, sanitation, and medical care could experience widespread starvation, the reintroduction of diseases vanquished by modern sanitation, unprecedented social unrest, and a skyrocketing mortality rate.

Therefore, renewable energy transmitted through a secure grid makes for a more sustainable and more secure future.

Coast to Coast AM airs on more than 600 stations in the U.S., as well as Canada, Mexico and Guam, and is heard by nearly three million weekly listeners. With hosts  George Noory,  George Knapp (weekend), it is the most listened to overnight radio program in North America.

This placement is one of many in our national book publicity campaign for this title. To find out how our publicity services can help spread the word of your book, product or organization, please contact Kathlene Carney at Carney & Associates.

Bizarre Rules that Threaten Our Food Systems

Food lawyer and scholar Baylen Linnekin appeared recently on the renowned Leonard Lopate Show in New York City to discuss his popular new book Biting the Hand that Feeds Us: How Fewer, Smarter Laws Would Make Our Food System More Sustainable (Island Press).

The Peabody Award-winning program airs on WNYC-FM, local NPR for the New York City market.

baylenlinnekinLeonard and Baylen discussed food policy, the unintended consequences of many rules and regulations, and ridiculous food laws that defy common sense, including those in his book:

  • Constraints on the sale of “ugly” fruits and vegetables
  • Preventing sharing food with the homeless and others in need
  • Threatening to treat manure-the lifeblood of organic fertilization-as a toxin
  • Mandating food preparers wear latex gloves which actually makes food less safe
  • Prohibiting people from growing fruits and vegetables in their own yards

Baylen also dished up solutions, explaining how better regulations could enable sustainable practices for the future and enhance what lands on our plates.

The long-running Lopate show airs weekdays 12:00pm to 2:00pm, exploring literature, art, culture, food, and life. Heavy-hitting writers, actors, ex-presidents, political figures, economists, scientists, comedians, dancers, chefs, historians, filmmakers and do-it-yourself experts have all sat down with Leonard. Prominent guests include Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John McCain, Henry Kissinger, Ang Lee, Anne Hathaway, Francis Ford Coppola, Sarah Jessica Parker, Alice Munro, Robert Altman, Mel Brooks and many more.

This placement is one of many in our national book publicity campaign for this title. To find out how our publicity services can help spread the word of your book, product or organization, please contact Kathlene Carney at Carney & Associates.

Daily Beast Features Candid Creatures

The Daily Beast featured an entertaining gallery of funny camera trap photos from our client’s blockbuster book Candid Creatures last week:

“Humans aren’t the only narcissistic selfie-loving animals, turns out much of the animal kingdom enjoys a good portrait. Biologist Roland Kays assembled hundreds of candid photographs of animals from across in the globe in the wild from scientists and conservation projects in a new book, Candid Creatures: How Camera Traps Reveal the Mysteries of Nature. “Kays reveals how scientists have used camera traps to indentify problems, as well as solutions, so that humans and wild animals can coexsist,” the book states. Aside from its conservation usefulness, the photos have undeniable humor and interspecies friendships.”

Credit: BENOIT GOOSSENS
Credit: BENOIT GOOSSENS

 

 

 

 

 

 

Candid Creatures: How Camera Traps Reveal the Mysteries of Nature by Roland Kays is published by Johns Hopkins University Press.

This placement is one of many in our national book publicity campaign for this title. To find out how our publicity services can help spread the word of your book, product or organization, please contact Kathlene Carney at Carney & Associates.

Trumped and Stumped: Review of I’m Right and You’re an Idiot

Many thanks to Erik Curren for his thoughtful review of I’m Right and You’re an Idiot: The Toxic State of Public Discourse and How to Clean It Up by James Hoggan on Curren’s site Transition Voice.

Trumped and Stumped: A Cure for Political Polarization?

Curren notes the book “sounds like it was written just for the 2016 US presidential race” and it says “a lot about the polarization in American politics that has grown over the last forty years and made this year’s presidential race both incredibly nasty and totally absurd.”

Hoggan interviewed more than 60 leading thinkers including Thich Nhat Hanh, Peter Senge, and the Dalai Lama for the book, as Curren says, “all famous smart people who obviously have lots to say about how angry people can get along with each other better in politics.”

In his review, Curren  highlights the work of Adam Kahane, using power and love for social change. “…perhaps my favorite chapter comes from a peacemaker I hadn’t heard of before. During a stint with the oil company Shell, Canadian facilitator Adam Kahane learned the art of scenario planning. He then took this brand of practical storytelling on the road as a consultant to help people in more than 50 countries stop yelling at each other and start working together.”

It’s a fascinating read, see more here.

At Carney & Associates, we specialize in providing publicity services for authors and experts who improve our world. To find out how we can help spread the word of your book, product or organization, please contact Kathlene Carney.