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Author Topic: from the Science Desk  (Read 40128 times)

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Tiervexx

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Re: from the Science Desk
« Reply #105 on: September 16, 2011, 11:51:15 PM »

In short, once again, these people are tinkering with stuff they don't fully understand, and
until the potential consequences can at least be estimated, it's a bad idea.

Cee is right, much more care need to be taken with this technology.

No body said there were not risks but I consider them to be very minor relative to the the number of people that have been saved already by biotechnology.

But yes... lots of testing on rats... than testing on small numbers of volunteers... it certainly needs to be done in controlled phases.
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lentower

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Re: from the Science Desk
« Reply #106 on: September 16, 2011, 11:53:41 PM »

In short, once again, these people are tinkering with stuff they don't fully understand, and
until the potential consequences can at least be estimated, it's a bad idea.

Cee is right, much more care need to be taken with this technology.

No body said there were not risks but I consider them to be very minor relative to the the number of people that have been saved already by biotechnology.

But yes... lots of testing on rats... than testing on small numbers of volunteers... it certainly needs to be done in controlled phases.

we disagree about the facts and the urgency
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CeeGBee

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Re: from the Science Desk
« Reply #107 on: September 17, 2011, 12:51:51 AM »

I'll give ya a real-world for-example...

Among the "desirable" traits for many of these engineered crops is an inability to reproduce themselves.
That allows Monsanto et al to sell a new batch of (patented) seed-grains every season, rather than having
farmers simply set aside a portion of last-season's harvest for next season's planting... They create pollen,
but the seeds are sterile.

Trouble is, pollen from the sterile fields has been blowing onto neighboring farms, and it's wiping out other
farmers' re-planting ability along with the guys who planted the GM seeds.  Adding insult to injury, Monsanto
is actually suing some of the neighboring farms for (they allege) stealing the patented genetic makeup of the
modified plants.  See how this might become a serious problem? See also: Potato Famine.

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Tiervexx

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Re: from the Science Desk
« Reply #108 on: September 17, 2011, 12:03:22 PM »

In short, once again, these people are tinkering with stuff they don't fully understand, and
until the potential consequences can at least be estimated, it's a bad idea.

Cee is right, much more care need to be taken with this technology.

No body said there were not risks but I consider them to be very minor relative to the the number of people that have been saved already by biotechnology.

But yes... lots of testing on rats... than testing on small numbers of volunteers... it certainly needs to be done in controlled phases.

we disagree about the facts and the urgency

Exactly what facts did I say that you disagreed with?  And I don't believe I said anything very specific about urgency so I'm not sure you could disagree with me there.

I'll give ya a real-world for-example...

Among the "desirable" traits for many of these engineered crops is an inability to reproduce themselves.
That allows Monsanto et al to sell a new batch of (patented) seed-grains every season, rather than having
farmers simply set aside a portion of last-season's harvest for next season's planting... They create pollen,
but the seeds are sterile.

Trouble is, pollen from the sterile fields has been blowing onto neighboring farms, and it's wiping out other
farmers' re-planting ability along with the guys who planted the GM seeds.  Adding insult to injury, Monsanto
is actually suing some of the neighboring farms for (they allege) stealing the patented genetic makeup of the
modified plants.  See how this might become a serious problem?

Monsanto are world class dicks who need to have their ass handed to them in a big lawsuit but I thought we were discussing the merits of the technology itself.

I'd still prefer Monsanto's bullshit over letting 2 billion people starve buy going back to "natural" means of food production.

See also: Potato Famine.

If you are talking about the Irish potato famine I really don't see how that would help your case one iota.  That disaster predated modern means of food production and could have been prevented if they did have modern means.  After all, can you think of any modern famines in developed countries?
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lentower

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Re: from the Science Desk
« Reply #109 on: September 17, 2011, 02:00:15 PM »

the irish potato famine could have been prevented
if they had used a lot of different potato varieties,
instead of just two.

the incas in the andes, who first used potatos as food, had thousands of varieties,
and though there were a number of plant disease attacks over the centuries,
none of them could wipe out all the varieties.
the incas never had a potato famine,
they did have a few lean years,
where potatos had to be shared across the empire

it's not a question of modern versus ancient means.
it's a question of understanding how life works,
and NOT taking mega-profit-driven shortcuts around it

our race and all those we share the planet with
has lost more in the medium and long run
when we have done so

Monsanto's bullshit has little to do with feeding those 2 billion people.
that belief is bullshit you've been sold

people starve because the too much land in their countries is used to grow
export crops to make the wealthy money, instead of feeding everyone

there is also the questions of droughts, etc.
where food has to be brought in from elsewhere.
those relief efforts that fail, do because:
* some groups use force (guns, etc) to prevent it
* those with money refuse to support the effort

as a race, we would all be better off,
if we regulated greed more,
and respected the realities of bio-diversity



homo sapiens?
wise apes?

more clever but foolish apes ...

too clever

not at all clear that technology is a species survival trait

we are the first known species to use it so heavily,
and the population growth and resource use patterns we have
are those of species that have gone extinct
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Agonistes

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Re: from the Science Desk
« Reply #110 on: September 17, 2011, 02:29:06 PM »




homo sapiens?
wise apes?

more clever but foolish apes ...

too clever

not at all clear that technology is a species survival trait

we are the first known species to use it so heavily,
and the population growth and resource use patterns we have
are those of species that have gone extinct


one of the things that separates human animals from the garden variety kind is adaptability.  other species died out not from lesser technology, but rather from having no technology.  humans are adaptable enough to survive in almost any environment, because they have the ability to change their surroundings enough to survive.

granted we are destroying our environment at an alarming rate.  but, i just don't think that's enough to kill us off, honestly.  it's the other species that suffer from our advancement, not us.  as i see it, human's greatest need right now is controlling our birth rates, and improving the quality of life for the births we are already stuck with.  

the greatest problem with humanity, as i see it, is this newly cultivated idea (which in part was brought to us by technology) that every single person's life is sacred and equal, and worth preserving.  animals do not feel this way.
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tanqgirl

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Re: from the Science Desk
« Reply #112 on: September 17, 2011, 03:08:56 PM »

ag

Cee and I pointed out one case where over dependence on a mono-culture (ok, two varieties) killed millions.  Have you yet to realize how much human argiculture is using fewer and fewer varieties of plants and animals to feed us?  And what the danger of that is?

Have you yet to realize that the global ecosystem is in the midst of the greatest of the half dozen known mass extinctions in the history of life?  And what that means?

Have you yet to realize what species is causing that mass extinction?  And why?

I could go on with these, but this is more than enough for now.
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lentower

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Re: from the Science Desk
« Reply #113 on: September 17, 2011, 03:12:45 PM »

Almost a real life Tatooine....

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/distant-planet-similar-star-wars-tattooine-circles-twin/story?id=14512728

just have to warm it up a few hundred degrees,
and take baout 99% of the mass away ; - }

and Lucas didn't come up with the idea of a planet
orbiting binary stars.
he just is the best known popularizer of it
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Re: from the Science Desk
« Reply #114 on: September 17, 2011, 03:15:05 PM »

the greatest problem with humanity, as i see it, is this newly cultivated idea (which in part was brought to us by technology) that every single person's life is sacred and equal, and worth preserving.  animals do not feel this way.

the problem that comes out of this,
if you buy it,
is:

who JUDGES who gets perserved?
and by what criteria?


the Nazis in '30s and '40s Germany had one set of answers

the Communist Party in China has another

etc.
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Re: from the Science Desk
« Reply #115 on: September 17, 2011, 03:19:48 PM »

ag

Cee and I pointed out one case where over dependence on a mono-culture (ok, two varieties) killed millions.  Have you yet to realize how much human argiculture is using fewer and fewer varieties of plants and animals to feed us?  And what the danger of that is?

Have you yet to realize that the global ecosystem is in the midst of the greatest of the half dozen known mass extinctions in the history of life?  And what that means?

Have you yet to realize what species is causing that mass extinction?  And why?

I could go on with these, but this is more than enough for now.


--i realize agriculture is using fewer and fewer products to feed the MAJORITY of us.  and yes, i realize the impact that has on a group.  our dependence on high fructose corn syrup is going to kill us.  the very soda i am drinking is out to get me as i type.  i know this, yes.  but i disagree that it is the norm across the board.  wealthier (and more educated) households can afford to use more than two food groups.  and they will, while the rest of us starve to death on stale sugar.

--'greatest half dozen extinctions?'  really?  do you not believe in dinosaurs, then?

--i know which species is causing any extinctions that have anything to do with the last eight thousand years, at least.  we are not a moderate nor respectful creature.  this doesn't bother me, however.  it wouldn't be as much of a problem if there were not so many of us.  consider the buffalo, which also overbreeds and kicks the shit out of its habitat.  


i know you could go on.  and i agree with you on many more levels than i let on.  but, i maintain the problem is unchecked breeding and our environmental ravages are symptomatic of this.  clearly, our collective id is outweighing our need to preserve (human) life at all costs, no matter the cost to the environment or social or economic ramifications.  it's rigodamndiculous to expect any of it to change for the better when our collective respect for (human) life outweighs our respect for either future (human) life, or current environmental conditions.

the earth will heal itself, i assure you.  whether that healing sustains levels of life that we are accustomed to is anybody's guess.  i have no doubt that unless the surface of the planet becomes completely covered with lava or something, that at least enough of us will survive to fuck it all up again, because we are that adaptable.



the greatest problem with humanity, as i see it, is this newly cultivated idea (which in part was brought to us by technology) that every single person's life is sacred and equal, and worth preserving.  animals do not feel this way.

the problem that comes out of this,
if you buy it,
is:

who JUDGES who gets perserved?
and by what criteria?


the Nazis in '30s and '40s Germany had one set of answers

the Communist Party in China has another

etc.

i didn't say it was a pretty solution.  i didn't even say i trust anyone to make those decisions.  i am too conditioned otherwise to seriously suggest an emotionless change in our ways today, or even tomorrow.  and yes, i know the nazis had one set of answers, and i know stalin and pol pot have done their part, and i agree that it is a heinous way to approach the situation.  eugenics itself isn't pretty, as we have discussed elsewhere.  even the more applicable and altruistic ideas are subject to desecration and the natural horror we as a species bring to each other.

on the other hand..........it's what we do.  yeah, hitler's a good example.  but there are pages and pages and pages of examples.  without looking at the social ramifications at all, and by witholding our natural empathy towards situations like that....how is it different than a male deer culling fawns because there are too many born in a season in an area?
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lentower

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Re: from the Science Desk
« Reply #116 on: September 17, 2011, 03:26:44 PM »

mass extinctions are measured by the number of species killed off,
not the size of the creatures

the large creatures near the top of food chains have a higher chance
of going extinct

we're unlikely to kill off all life on Earth.
much more likely to kill off our species along with countless others



the wealthy will have trouble buying their diverse diets,
if any one of the major mono-culture food plants get killed off

homo sapiens is not smart enough to survive without the global ecosystem.
we might possibly gain enough knowledge and wisdom in time to do do,
but it seems unlikley it will be soon enough

the complexity involved is greater than the complexity of the human mind
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Re: from the Science Desk
« Reply #117 on: September 17, 2011, 03:30:49 PM »

mass extinctions are measured by the number of species killed off,
not the size of the creatures

the larger creatures at the top of food chains have a higher chance
of going extinct



the wealthy will have trouble buying their diverse diets,
if any one of the major mono-culture food plants get killed off

homo sapiens is not smart enough to survive without the global ecosystem.
we might possibly gain enough knowledge and wisdom in time to do do,
but it seems unlikley it will be soon enough

the complexity involved is greater than the complexity of the human mind



i know how mass extinctions are measured; my point is that with dinosaurs, ALL of their kind were killed off, except like, tortoises and bugs.  it was a global dominance shift in species altogether.  i didn't mean that dinosaurs were large; i'm not a moron.

homo sapiens is most certainly smart enough to survive without the global ecosystem.  remember the ice age?  we did fine.  will all of us survive?  hell no, ninety percent of us are not worth the resources we consume now (hence the problem).  but a few will, most assuredly.  if the wealthy can't afford their food even through the black market, another form of currency will of course be established.  i've seen this species do incredible things in the name of survival.  if you need a metaphor, watch what any politician does in terms of social survival.  i wouldnt want to compete with something like that for food.  trust me, if there is a way, a human will find it.
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lentower

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Re: from the Science Desk
« Reply #118 on: September 17, 2011, 03:57:51 PM »

during the ice ages, the homo * species survived, mostly,
in the equatorial regions where they wasn't any ice. 
nothing of our complexity survived on top of the ice. 
some survived along the edges.

you have another example?

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Tiervexx

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Re: from the Science Desk
« Reply #119 on: September 17, 2011, 09:06:50 PM »

the irish potato famine could have been prevented
if they had used a lot of different potato varieties,
instead of just two.

the incas in the andes, who first used potatos as food, had thousands of varieties,
and though there were a number of plant disease attacks over the centuries,
none of them could wipe out all the varieties.
the incas never had a potato famine,
they did have a few lean years,
where potatos had to be shared across the empire

it's not a question of modern versus ancient means.
it's a question of understanding how life works,
and NOT taking mega-profit-driven shortcuts around it

I don't need you to explain to me why biological diversity is useful.  What I do need more explanation on is why biotech would result in less diversity.  I think it will result in much, much more.

people starve because the too much land in their countries is used to grow
export crops to make the wealthy money, instead of feeding everyone

there is also the questions of droughts, etc.
where food has to be brought in from elsewhere.
those relief efforts that fail, do because:
* some groups use force (guns, etc) to prevent it
* those with money refuse to support the effort

The fact is that the total amount of food we produce is too small.  It's not just a question of how it is allocated (though that does cause problems).  If Earth's population reaches 9 billion we'll of course need to produce more and more food.  Switching to entirely organic means would force total food production to take a dive.

And no, this isn't really about Monsanto.  They are just one firm working on it and not even the first.  Scientists like Norman Borlaug helped prevent many people from starving to death by teaching them how to increase crop yields with "unnatural" means.  He even won a Nobel Peace prize for it.

Norman Borlaug is also the one who said 2 billion people would have to starve if we switched entirely to organic means, not some corporate officer of Monsanto.
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