The vitamin D nonsense paper of the year: Biofortified tomatoes

This year vitamin D nonsense information of the year comes by a plant biologist at Rothamsted Research in Harpenden, UK who wants to block a tomatoe conversion pathway leading to an “accumulation of the vitamin D precursor” (which reminds me of the 1930 attempts of mushroom irradiation to generate high amounts of vitamin D2).

Martin and her colleagues plan to study this, and have been given permission to grow their gene-edited tomatoes in fields. The team also hopes to measure the impact of outdoor UV light exposure on conversion of provitamin D3 to vitamin D3 in the plants’ leaves and fruit …You can only edit what you understand,” he says. “And it’s only because we understand the biochemistry that we’re able to make those sorts of interventions.”

Vitamin D supplements are clearly over rated according to a recent BMJ paper. No doubts that it is a bad idea to supplement an uncontrolled amount of an pro-hormone by eating tomatoes.

Fortunately with 0.2  μg/g  or 8 IU D3/g dried tomatoe we are below toxicity levels.


Science I have come to learn …

is as political, competitive, fierce, a career as you can find, full of the temptation to find easy paths (Paul Kalanithi, When breath comes air, 1977-2015)

Responsibility for algorithms

Excellent paper  at about the responsibility for algorithms including a

broad framework for involving citizens to enable the responsible design, development, and deployment of algorithmic decision-making systems. This framework aims to challenge the current status quo where civil society is in the dark about risky ADS.

I think that the responsiblity is not primarily with the developer but with the user and the social and political framework ( SPON has a warning about the numerous crazy errors when letting AI decide about human behaviour while I can also recommend here the “Weapons of Math Destruction” ).

Being now in the 3rd wave of machine learning, the question is now already discussed (Economist & Washington Post) if AI has an own personality.



The dialogue sounds slightly better than ELIZA but again way off. We clearly need to regulate that gold rush…

Frieden ist kein Zustand sondern ein Prozess

Frieden ist kein Zustand, sondern ein Prozess – so das neue Ethik-Evangelisch Lexikon

Zentral sind vielmehr auch Aspekte wie soziale Gerechtigkeit, Rechtsstaatlichkeit, Achtung der Menschenrechte und Sicherheit für alle Menschen. Dennoch bleibt die Frage nach der Anwendung von Waffengewalt auch für den gerechten Frieden zu diskutieren, gilt diese nach wie vor als äußerste Option.

Lesetipp auch der frühere Eintrag zu Antje Schrupp “Der Pazifismus ist nicht gescheitert”.

PubPeer Statistics

For a forthcoming article, I need some statistics to illustrate how PubPeer performs.  AFAIK know there is only one report from 2021 so  I had to try something by my own.

PubPeer submissions until 23 April 2022

Continue reading PubPeer Statistics

More PubPeer Pearls

It’s always interesting if we can find a discussion under a PubPeer article with more than 3 comments. Elisabeth Bik collected some of these interesting #PubPeer Pearls at Twitter while I am starting a new collection here.

The longest thread that I remember is this one with 290 comments around a retracted article while my most appreciated PubPeer author Continue reading More PubPeer Pearls

Ghost authors

We all know that there are animal co-authors in the scientific literature like the dog of Polly Matzinger. Here is another example, see a further nice story of Sophie Fessl …

About the ‘failed scientist’ trauma

Three journalists writing about science journalism, administration & support jobs

In recent years, we have seen ‘support’ jobs become more important at research organizations, including roles such as data stewards, research software engineers, scientific community managers and program managers. We have seen how a diversity of roles and contributions drives progress and success in research and innovation. We have come to see the sharp distinction between ‘academics’ and ‘support staff’ as a barrier to effective research because it discourages a culture of collaboration and appreciation of a diversity of roles and contributions. As professionals, we make a significant contribution alongside conventional academics….We work in partnership with researchers, contributing unique expertise and skills.

I think this is much more a trauma from the inside of journalists, department managers et al. than from “active scientists” aka academics who plan, analyse, publish and teach a continuous stream of new ideas. Without standing on the shoulders of others, also the most prolific scientist would fail immediately.

The Lancet and scientific integrity

We have learned in the past that the Lancet published editorials that clearly separated the journal from the publisher Elsevier

Reed Elsevier’s response is that the sale of military equipment is legal, government supported, and tightly regulated. However, The Lancet‘s collaborations in child survival and health-systems strengthening, for example, risk being tainted by Reed Elsevier’s promotion of the “selling process” of arms.

Of course you can’t sell weapons and distance yourself from selling weapons at the same time…