Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Stop Vilsack!
The Fée Verte Absinthe Forum - The Oldest, Largest, Most Authoritative Absinthe Forum. > The Monkey Hole > The Newgate Calendar
Pages: 1, 2
dakini_painter
If you prefer organic food and don't want GM food, industrial factory farmed food, you might want to consider signing the petition at www.stopvilsack.org Vilsack is Obama's pick for Secretary of Agriculture. While his choice is much better than anything Bush ever made, his positions on organic food, GM crops, ethanol may not be the best.

While I'm not against fuel ethanol, it's not a good choice to replace land used for food production with fuel production. For fuel production a better (and more long term) is the addition of land under agriculture specifically for fuel, and the addition of new farmers entering the business at an affordable price.

btw, I saw a statistic that said 50% of our farmers are over 50 years old. Scary thought.
Donnie Darko
The term GM food is almost always misunderstood. Crops have been genetically modified for centuries (though nobody knew it was the alterations in the genotype that resulted in a different phenotype at the time), it just so happens that contemporary genetic modification techniques allow for far more precise modification. Plenty of the "natural" food we eat today was brought about by human tinkering that modified the species. The type of blueberries you eat today have only been in existence for a little over 100 years. Modern natural bananas aren't even remotely like bananas from a century ago. Corn came from Teostine, which you wouldn't even recognize as corn if it were put in front of you. Ironically modern transgenic crops are subject to far more rigorous scrutiny and regulation than any "naturally" grown food, even though it's just as possible for natural foods to have potentially dangerous properties as transgenic food.

GM crops also have great potential for alleviating famines, as they can grow and survive in pestilent areas with soil or climate problems in which non-GM crops cannot survive. Of course there are drawbacks, as there is some evidence that certain GM crops can negatively impact the ecosystem (though not as negatively as many pesticides), so we should be cautious, but GM is not a bad thing. One huge upside to GM is reducing the use of toxic pesticides, and another is the reduced tillage requirements of many GM crops, like GM cotton. Reducing tillage needs dramatically reduces C02 emissions.

I agree using corn for fuel ethanol is a bad idea. Sugarcane and switchgrass seem to be a bit better, but there are many other less harmful more cost-effective options than ethanol. None of this is any surprise though. Obama is from Illinois. Of course he's going to be on the side of the Corn industry. I'm surprised he isn't going to have them put high-fructose corn syrup in our drinking water. Vilsack isn't my ideal choice, but he's a step in the right direction.

I'm more pissed about Obama choosing Rick Warren to offer a prayer at his inauguration. There are ways to extend an olive branch without giving bigots a platform. But then I am not surprised Obama is doing any of that, as it is entirely consistent with how he has operated in the past.
dakini_painter
I doubt it will be naturally possible for a terrestrial plant to take on genes from a jellyfish.

I doubt it's a good idea to add pesticide resistance to food crop so you can indiscriminately use pesticides. This is why Monsanto promotes their Roundup-Ready breeds, so the farmer can freely use more Roundup™.

The idea that the whole world is supposed to use western (and Northern Hemisphere) wheat in the tropics is bogus. Same too for Holsteins in Ethiopia (better milk production). Unfortunately, many of the highly specialized breeds (goats, cows) are very well adapted to their environments even if their yields are less.

The whole idea of the benevolent Western (ie White) corporations are going to provide their Western (ie White) cows and grain to "feed the world" because the poor black, brown, and purple people can't get their act together is Colonialism at it's finest. It's to make money.
Donnie Darko
Profit is of course a driving factor, as it is in any business. Agribusiness isn't a charity. But the upside is that biotech developments do allow more crops to be grown in more places, and as a consequence stand to improve economies of previously poor areas which can grow stronger crops and produce more local revenues. Is it really bad to enable African farmers to be able to grow more crops? It is true that the company that develops such a thing will make money off of it (as they should), but arguing against GM crops in general isn't going to feed Africans or give them agricultural independence. What's worse for farmers in 3rd world countries? Companies possibly profiting off of them by selling them GM seed which will result in much larger sturdier crop yields, or people who tell the destitute populations of such locales that they are not allowed to have such a thing?

Also, in the case of Roundup, that is an herbicide, not a pesticide, and it is far better to have a plant resistant to it than to have a plant that is easily damaged by it, if one is going to use an herbicide. Otherwise farming crops vulnerable to weed damage would be much harder, which means less farms, less income for farmers, more expensive food and more hungry people. I think it's elitist colonial thinking to insist the whole world should grow organic or not grow at all, which is an utter impossibility in many parts of the world.

GM of course isn't all good. That's why a lot of research is being done into the effect of dominant genes in GM plants on the surrounding environment, and is why it takes years and in some instances decades for GM crops to be authorized. I just find it ironic that we've been tweaking the genotypes of plants for hundreds of years and it has never been an issue, but suddenly when we do it on the level of single genes then that is viewed as a horrible thing invented by evil White corporations attempting to plunder the poor colored world.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(dakini_painter @ Dec 19 2008, 12:21 PM) *

I doubt it will be naturally possible for a terrestrial plant to take on genes from a jellyfish.


It may seem impossible, but once one learns about the striking genetic commonalities between all Eukaryotes, it doesn't seem like such a Dr. Frankenstein undertaking to insert a Jellyfish gene into a plant. Phenotype gives the illusion of there being way more diversity than there actually is. Any two bacteria in terms of their genotype have less in common with eachother than we do with an earthworm. It all comes down to nucleotides, it just depends on their order and the promoters involved. Incidentally, the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to a team of scientists who used a phosphorescent gene from Jellyfish as a tag which has become an invaluable research tool, which is already dramatically speeding up research in many fields which may one day save your life or the life of someone you care about.
dakini_painter
QUOTE
Companies possibly profiting off of them by selling them GM seed which will result in much larger sturdier crop yields, or people who tell the destitute populations of such locales that they are not allowed to have such a thing?


You have absolutely no clue, do you?
Jaded Prole
Dakini is right.

Another problem with GM and monoculture in general is that when it fails, the results are truly catastrophic. We humans have learned a great deal in the last century but there is much more we don't know. As you point out, profit is a driving factor. In the oft short-sighted drive for profits much is missed concerning health, nutrition and the dangers of GM crops and their modifications (like not bearing fertile seeds and insect resistance) spreading to wild plants. How will this affect the ecosystem? Who knows and, when we're talking about big money, who cares?

Better to work on better farming techniques, natural breeding, and crop diversity.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Jaded Prole @ Dec 19 2008, 03:04 PM) *

Dakini is right.


Why? Where is the evidence indicating that GM crops are universally dangerous, bad for the environment and only benefit the wealthy? You can tell Kenyans to grow only Organic corn if you want, but how do you propose they eradicate the stem boring insects which perpetually damage and weaken their crops?

QUOTE
How will this affect the ecosystem? Who knows and, when we're talking about big money, who cares?


While you assume big money guarantees that nobody will care, it's an unfounded assumption, contradicted by the billions of dollars spent on research evaluating the potential health effects of GM on populations and ecosystems. It's not like some mad scientist just runs around splicing genes and then some evil corporation unleashes it on everyone without first researching the possible effect. That's a comic-book portrayal of the situation. Yes, corporations do sometimes choose profit over public benefit, but profit and public benefit can also go hand in hand. One should guard against the former, but one should also welcome the latter IF the evidence supports it.

For example: The University of Australia has shown the prevalence of Bt Cotton crops in Australia has resulted in an 85% reduction in pesticide use. Don't you think using less pesticides is a good thing? And study after study has shown that less tillage results in less CO2 emissions. Don't you think reducing agricultural CO2 is a good thing? Or is all that still bad because it's GM and because it might be controlled by a White corporation?

As I've already said twice in this thread, GM crops are not flawless, and there ARE potential issues, which is why a tremendous amount of research and money is being poured into evaluating their impact on the environment and on people. Far less research goes into testing the safety of your toothpaste and your shampoo, and nobody needs toothpaste and shampoo to survive. People in Kenya do need food to survive, however. Should we say to farmers eager to provide for themselves and their communities that they are not allowed to enjoy the benefits of biological research because eco-conscious organic westerners have a hunch that it might be bad for the environment? Legitimate research indicates the benefits of GM crops in most cases outweigh the potential hazards, and the research still advocates that we should do everything possible to guard against those hazards. That seems far more reasonable, compassionate and even-handed than just saying NO across the board to genetically enhanced agriculture.

QUOTE
You have absolutely no clue, do you?


On what basis do you make such an insulting assumption? What exactly do I have no clue about?
Jaded Prole
QUOTE
but how do you propose they eradicate the stem boring insects


How about insects that eat stem boring insects. There are better methods than insecticides and genetic modification. I'm not saying genetic modification is always bad but I think it's being done to quickly with not enough study and consideration. Science is good. Its application however tends to be defined by a society's priorities. Capitalism is notoriously short-sighted.
Donnie Darko
I don't deny that capitalism encourages short-sighted profitability. We're surrounded by endless examples of that as of late.

I just think one has to carefully way potential risks vs. potential benefits with GM crops and other biotech innovations, as opposed to just rejecting them because they might be bad and because we assume corporations are generally bad, which seems to be a popular position, particularly within the political left. Of course GM may have potential problems, but what doesn't? Bt Cotton is great in Australia, not so great in India (in some areas, while in other areas it is great), for example. But the alternatives of blasting cotton with pesticides or trying to grow it organically and watching it succumb to pests hardly seem to be superior alternatives to GM crops. Crops genetically modify themselves anyway via natural selection, it just takes thousands of years. Artificial selection has been happening since the dawn of agriculture, this is just the most advanced way of doing so. Had the French been able to produce phylloxera resistant strains of grapes a century ago via direct genetic modification without altering the flavor of the grape, I doubt anyone here would have protested. Given the quantity of poisonous ethanol consumed by the membership here and the financial support we give to the far from saintly alcohol industry, the consternation over a single gene insertion into a plant seems to be a bit misplaced.

While it is not possible to research every possible outcome in every possible environment, as long as enough research is done to indicate general safety to the individual and ecosystem, then I think it is worth implementing, with study being continued as the adoption of GM crops increases. We treat everything else we consume the same way.
dakini_painter
The history of corporate exploitation of science. Humankind's tremendous lack of foresight.

Exhibit A: The recent Wall Street meltdown. Much of which was driven by computer models. Humans drove the greed, science via computer modeling drove the tactics.

Exhibit B: Global warming. Examine the history of the automobile, and what a great wonder and advantage it would be.

Exhibit C: Water supply in the US. Most cities in the US are required to have a big (i.e., expensive)

Exhibit D: The FDA GRAS list. Most of them are chemicals. The FDA says they're safe. Melamine wasn't considered safe in food when it came from China. But when the it was discovered that trace amounts are present in US made foods, all of a sudden those are "safe".

Exhibit E: bis-phenol-A. Is it really safe? The industry says so. An independent non-FDA government commission say perhaps not as safe as

Exhibit F: mercury in dental fillings. Remember that one? The ADA was adamant they were totally safe. Even threatened to revoke the membership of any dentist that used or even recommended alternatives. Now, maybe not so safe after all.

Exhibit G: America's loss of manufacturing to China. Not only did we export our jobs, we exported pollution too. And American's helped with their own greed by buying the more cheaply made products and shopping at Wal-Mart.

Exhibit H: America's current obesity and cancer epidemic. While the cost of food has fallen since the 1970's and the massive shift to industrial, factory farming (= more efficient = greater profits) the costs for health care: cancer treatment, heart disease, etc has more than made up for that.

Exhibit I: Nuclear power. Not intrinsically bad, but no solution yet to the tons of radioactive waste. Also no solution to the fluoride problem. Only in the US do they add it to water and toothpaste. http://www.fluoridealert.org/

I could go on and on and on, page after page after page, listing the times industry said something was "safe", and later, and often not so much later been discovered to be not so safe. In the rush for profit, the safety of the public or the consumer is not a concern. If they are harmed 10 or 30 years down the road, not a problem. The businesses have made their profit long ago. Let's go back 100 years ago.

There was the link I posted on NYC's milk supply. Lots of greed and resistance to pasteurization. A few businesses made an effort to promote "pure milk". Infant mortality (children under age 5) in NYC in the late 1880's was over 130 per 1000. Once pasteurization was enforced it fell to something like 5 per 1000.

You didn't check out the book on the Rise of French Science. Numerous cases of the "wonders" of science such as the coal tar based artificial colors that were actually dangerous for consumption, and yet due to the power of the industrialists, there wasn't the political clout to limit their use. At least that was true for many years.

Regarding studies about GM crops:
Here's one study, with some mixed results, but the results are clearly indicating warnings. And a number of articles.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3196768.stm
http://www.responsibletechnology.org/utili…e/?objectID=212
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/n…ops-852341.html
http://www.seedsofdeception.com/Public/Abo…Foods/index.cfm
http://www.ghchealth.com/genetically-modified-foods.html

The Union of Concerned Scientists, the British Medical Association, and others have all called for much more analysis before widespread approval of GMOs.

Also, how do you recall a gene that escapes into the environment and moves from the GM crop to the natural plants?

Here's an article about a recent 2008 study done by the Austrian government. The article is here.

QUOTE
(Los Angeles, CA.) - A long-term feeding study commissioned by the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety, managed by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Health, Family and Youth, and carried out by Veterinary University Vienna, confirms genetically modified (GM) corn seriously affects reproductive health in mice. Non-GMO advocates, who have warned about this infertility link along with other health risks, now seek an immediate ban of all GM foods and GM crops to protect the health of humankind and the fertility of women around the world.



Feeding mice with genetically modified corn developed by the US-based Monsanto Corporation led to lower fertility and body weight, according to the study conducted by the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna. Lead author of the study Professor Zentek said, there was a direct link between the decrease in fertility and the GM diet, and that mice fed with non-GE corn reproduced more efficiently.



In the study, Austrian scientists performed several long-term feeding trials over 20 weeks with laboratory mice fed a diet containing 33% of a GM variety (NK 603 x MON 810), or a closely related non-GE variety used in many countries. Statistically significant litter size and pup weight decreases were found in the third and fourth litters in the GM-fed mice, compared to the control group.



The corn is genetically modified with genes that produce a pesticidal toxin, as well as genes that allow it to survive applications of Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup.



A book by author Jeffrey M. Smith, Genetic Roulette, distributed to members of congress last year, documents 65 serious health risks of GM products, including similar fertility problems with GM soy and GM corn: Offspring of rats fed GM soy showed a five-fold increase in mortality, lower birth weights, and the inability to reproduce. Male mice fed GM soy had damaged young sperm cells. The embryo offspring of GM soy-fed mice had altered DNA functioning. Several US farmers reported sterility or fertility problems among pigs and cows fed on GM corn varieties. Additionally, over the last two months, investigators in India have documented fertility problems, abortions, premature births, and other serious health issues, including deaths, among buffaloes fed GM cottonseed products.



The principle GM crops are soy, corn, cottonseed and canola. GM sugar from sugar beets will also be introduced before year’s end.



Here's a wiki page.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_m…d_controversies

Here's a page on a recent Irish study showing dangers in GMO oil seed rape.
http://www.irishseedsavers.ie/article.php?artid=393

And I'm only on page 4 of the query "dangers of GM crops". And I skipped over anything that had information that was all older than 10 years.

I'm sorry if you feel I insulted you. I know you're a smart person and knowledgeable in many areas. But I think your infatuation with science has obscured some willingness perhaps to consider history. The history that government regulation often fails, that large corporations wield excessive power and rush headlong where caution might be a better choice.

Science itself isn't a terrible thing, but it has to be used responsibly. Business itself isn't a terrible thing, but it too has to be used responsibly. Certainly right now we're not in an economic environment where we can trust powerful corporations, with powerful and well financed lobbying efforts to make choices with very dangerous repercussions based on the next quarter's profit.

Donnie Darko
QUOTE(dakini_painter @ Dec 19 2008, 05:38 PM) *

The history of corporate exploitation of science. Humankind's tremendous lack of foresight.
Exhibit A: The recent Wall Street meltdown. Much of which was driven by computer models. Humans drove the greed, science via computer modeling drove the tactics.


Other computer models showed an imminent collapse. One can hardly blame science for human tendencies to cherry-pick what supports their ambitions while ignoring what contradicts their ambitions.

For every one example you can give of a misapplication of science causing harm, I can give ten examples of science helping people. Frankly it's not worth the time unless you really want me to. People seem to think chemicals are evil, corporations are evil, refined sugar is evil, iodized salt is evil, pharmaceuticals are evil, etc. I wonder how we've managed to extend our life expectancy by nearly 30 years over the last century, what with all the harm science and evil capitalism has wrought upon us?

The bottom line is that it is very common for things to seem initially safe that are later discovered to be not-so-safe, for the simple reason that it is impossible to design any study which accurately predicts 100% of the known variables. I don't assume GM to be entirely safe, nor do I assume it to be bad. The best we can do is trust the research that we have available, at least until better research sheds new light on things.

I could google "Myths about GM crops" and come up with the same number of links you did contradicting a lot of the anti-GM claims, and I wouldn't trust all those either. The actual research conducted by actual agricultural scientists, who are far more qualified to tell what's going on than you or I, suggest that some GM crops appear safe and others should be studied more or are probably not safe. That's the best we can do. Saying boo to things just because they are GM is a comparatively ill conceived position.

As for concern over safety, yes, we should be concerned to a reasonable extent. But to live in a safe world, we'd have to ban hamburgers, cars and most prescription medications. Those things kill way more people and cause more environmental harm than it appears would be wrought by having pest resistant corn (which incidentally one of the studies you cited said appears totally safe and even beneficial to the environment). We could force the world to grow organic, but could everyone afford food?

I don't trust this naturalist position that the natural way is always best anymore than I trust a corporation to always know best. For instance, Prol suggested introducing bugs that eat bugs that damage corn crops would be better than using GM crops. Introducing a non-native insect into a new agricultural environment could have the same disastrous effect that introducing the fish in the film "Darwin's Nightmare" had on that lake and the people who lived off of it. I suppose we could just leave nature alone, and it will go on devastating some species while favoring others as it always has. Or we can use our knowledge to try and harness nature to our benefit, with the by-product that sometimes it won't work out and may cause harm. Neither approach is perfect, but one of them is better!
Jaded Prole
So what kind of herbs do you want in your absinthe. I prefer the old fashioned methods of growing sans pesticides and genetic modification.










But then I'm an anachronistic geezer.
dakini_painter
QUOTE
use our knowledge to try and harness nature to our benefit


This is nothing more than saying we can engineer the planet to our benefit. Or the mountain top coal mining companies use for to explain the necessity of the methods they use. You haven't been hanging out with the Chonger, have you? "Drill, baby, drill" is part of "harnessing nature for our benefit" too isn't it?

Also you have to look at the specific causes for improved life span, you can't simply say "everything has made this possible", because somethings will be more important than others. And I for one don't think that longer life span is necessarily a benefit if quality of that longer life goes down. And at what cost?

America uses so many resources that we are in an unsustainable situation.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Jaded Prole @ Dec 19 2008, 07:53 PM) *

So what kind of herbs do you want in your absinthe. I prefer the old fashioned methods of growing sans pesticides and genetic modification.

But then I'm an anachronistic geezer.


There is nothing wrong with being anachronistic, per se, as long as it remains a personal preference and not a legislative agenda. You make a good point. There are certainly many organic food items I prefer to non-organic foods, primarily due to taste, like organic bacon. Meanwhile I prefer irradiated genetically modified strawberries to organic ones. As for absinthe herbs, I haven't been able to compare differences between organically grown and non-organic herbs used in absinthe, so I don't know which I prefer.

I think if you asked a resident of Congo whether they preferred organic corn or GM corn, they'd likely just say "we'll take any kind of corn we can get".
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(dakini_painter @ Dec 19 2008, 08:21 PM) *

You haven't been hanging out with the Chonger, have you? "Drill, baby, drill" is part of "harnessing nature for our benefit" too isn't it?


Ha! No, I'm not big on "drill baby drill", because there are numerous alternatives to oil (thank you science for discovering those) that make far more economic and environmental sense.

The reality is there is no safe solution. Anything science comes up with is probably going to have some drawbacks one way or another. Those drawbacks get discovered and addressed down the road. Things shouldn't be prohibited just because of possible risk though, unless a bad outcome is statistically demonstrated to be likely. Sometimes a mistake has to be made in order to lead us to the truth about things. By making the mistake of Thalidomide, we learned an extremely crucial lesson about chirality of chemical compounds which has led to much safer medications. Meanwhile the development of Thalidomide has helped people with suffering from Leprosy worldwide. Tragically many hideously deformed infants in Europe were born, because proper regulatory caution wasn't applied. In the US, however, we avoided most of the Thalidomide problem because of proper precautions. I think it's better to take the risk (within regulatory constraints) and learn from the mistake than to not take the risk.

QUOTE
Also you have to look at the specific causes for improved life span, you can't simply say "everything has made this possible", because somethings will be more important than others.


The main cause is actually, in my opinion (and the opinion of a few epidemiologists and physiologists I have spoken to), agricultural advances which have resulted in improved nutrition, along with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications which have kept many potentially deadly conditions in check. With the advent of genomic medicine and rational drug design, we're going to see life expectancy shoot up dramatically over the next 50 years.

QUOTE
And I for one don't think that longer life span is necessarily a benefit if quality of that longer life goes down.


I totally agree. That is why I support physician assisted suicide. But one can learn the most about the drawbacks to longer-life span by talking with those who have long life spans. When you talk to people in their 80s who may have some disability but are still alive and in an assisted living facility, most of them will say they're glad they're still alive, rather than having died before they got their disability.

QUOTE
And at what cost?


I don't place an economic value on life (that's a strangely capitalist notion coming from you, perhaps you meant some other kind of cost?). If someone isn't irreparably brain-damaged to the point where their self is essentially destroyed, then they deserve to live as long as we can help them to live, regardless of cost. If, however, they are suffering horribly with no end to the suffering being plausible, then an anesthesiologist should prepare them a nice large bolus of morphine and help them die pain-free. Stephen Hawking has one of the most horrible conditions a person can have, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gherig's disease), and his medical care cost is as astronomical as his cosmological ideas, and yet I challenge anyone to suggest he should be terminated because of the cost of his care. Yeah, health care can be very expensive, but a person's life shouldn't be measured with money.
dakini_painter
Drilling: But numerous natural gas companies are looking to do fracking of the Marcellus shale in a major way up here in the Catskills which is the watershed of NYCs water supply. Are you willing to pay more, in fact a lot more, for your tap water if the city needs to construct a $5 billion filtration plant if the water becomes contaminated from chemical residues due to their drilling?

My argument mostly does not involve science. It's about corporations and the extent they'll go to for continued profit growth at the expense of long term viability. You can see the results of it all around in the economic wreckage. You can see it in the worldwide environmental damage.

There's nothing capitalist about knowing what things are going to cost and how to pay for them. Very basic health insurance in NY under the "Healthy NY" program costs $250/month for a single person. About $1000/month for a family of four. That's on top of the money needed for the mortgage, food, utilities, etc. Here I'm talking about healthy working people that might not need much health care. Aside: the "Healthy NY" program is subsided by the state from the money they got from the tobacco companies; the program spends more than it takes in and is expected to be broke in 10 years or less.

How are we going to pay for elder care? If people retire from working at about 65 years of age and are expected to have another 20-30 years of life, perhaps not in the best of health, who pays for that? Even if all hospitals were non-profits, there still the doctors and nurses to pay, the equipment to buy and maintain. Who pays for all the elder care in nursing homes?

As a possible employer, I know that if I pay someone $12/hour (because I believe in a living wage), on top of that I'll have to pay another $4/hour for social security and other taxes, plus $1.50/hour for their health plan, and another $1.50/hour for their worker's comp insurance. So throw in vacation time and the effective pay rate is $20/hour. And I have to be aware of all this, because if I'm not I end up being just like GM and Chrysler: out of business.
Jaded Prole
And now for a satisfying diversion . . .

or for more of a challenge.
synthetic buddhist
Fun. That was a half hour at work.

I gotta side with Dakini across the board on this one, science is great and all but research doesn't pay for itself. Technology is no different than politics on that front, who foots the bill has the final say. Corporations exist solely to turn a profit for the shareholder. There can be no truly altruistic outcome for profit-driven science, medicine, whatever.

Additionally, we could grow all the food we need if we used hydroponic technology and grew indoors. Of course if we fed everyone, then the population would double, then quadruple, then octuple, in a couple generations' time. Then what would we do?
Jaded Prole
Make soilant green
eric
Here are a few suggestions.

1. Make abortions more easily available.

2. Large scale nuclear war.

And my favorite,

3. Feed all of the Christians to the Lions.

synthetic buddhist
I'll take 3 for 200, Alex.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(synthetic buddhist @ Dec 20 2008, 04:36 PM) *

I gotta side with Dakini across the board on this one, science is great and all but research doesn't pay for itself.


Exactly. That's why funding public universities is so important, and also why the potential to profit from some research is also important. MIT wouldn't exist without patents and the ability to profit from research. It takes a tremendous amount of effort to achieve such things, and such efforts deserve handsome compensation. Why shouldn't people make a profit if they discover something important or valuable? Profitability isn't the problem. Misrepresenting products as beneficial when in fact they are either no different from what is already available or are more harmful is the problem.

QUOTE
There can be no truly altruistic outcome for profit-driven science, medicine, whatever.


If you want only truly altruistic outcomes, you'll have to look to non-profit charities, and then you'll have to throw out half of them too. The problem I'm seeing with the mindset in here is the naive assumption that pursuit of profit is always bad for the public, as if it were impossible for any business owner or research interest to have a conscience. I wonder why any of you people who think profit is evil bother to get up and go to your jobs in the morning. What do you think you're doing at your job? Saving starving babies? Maybe some of you are, but I'll bet most of you are just trying to feed yourselves, pay your bills and if you're lucky, do things you enjoy. How altruistic of you.

DP gives some pertinent examples about corporate malfeasance, and I fully agree that we shouldn't merely trust profitable interests to always do the right thing. We should skeptically keep an eye on them. But we shouldn't just assume if a business is trying to profit from something then it is utterly non-altruistic and is probably going to harm people. Don't worry, I'm not going to go all Libertarian on everyone and suggest we should just de-regulate everything and assume the "market" will always push business to do the right thing and punish them when they don't. That's childish fantasy. But I also recognize that profit being a motivator doesn't mean the actions it motivates will likely be bad.

QUOTE(eric @ Dec 20 2008, 05:45 PM) *

Here are a few suggestions.

1. Make abortions more easily available.

2. Large scale nuclear war.

And my favorite,

3. Feed all of the Christians to the Lions.


Hey, isn't that a Leonard Cohen song?
synthetic buddhist
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Dec 22 2008, 05:12 AM) *


It takes a tremendous amount of effort to achieve such things, and such efforts deserve handsome compensation. Why shouldn't people make a profit if they discover something important or valuable?


Indeed. But I have a strong feeling that the Science Guy with all the Letters after his Name, and whatever research techs were actually in on the discovery and did the work get a pittance in comparison with the CEO of whatever corporation bankrolled it. Fuck, that year's Christmas bonus alone would be considerably more. Drug companies in particular get my goat, important work is being doled out only to those who can afford it. Some years ago I had to go on some meds for a bone disease and was looking at paying 1300 dollars a month for the shit when I was actually bringing in around 1100 and just barely meeting living expenses. I eventually found a charity program and between that and being shipped boxfuls of samples by my doctor(s) got my shit covered. But the thing is, now that it's gone generic I pay less than twelve bucks a month. I mean that is utterly ridiculous. The people who figured out to use fluconazole for skeletal coccidioidomycosis most definitely didn't get paid like some fuckin fatcat at Pfizer, that is for certain. And the people looking for a vaccine for it are SOL at the time of this writing, research is close to nonexistent. We're getting into personal involvement best saved for an in-person encounter as I feel a good heartfelt Rant is best experienced live, but to be brief sp_ike.gif I'd say the leash is already way too long.


QUOTE
If you want only truly altruistic outcomes, you'll have to look to non-profit charities, and then you'll have to throw out half of them too. The problem I'm seeing with the mindset in here is the naive assumption that pursuit of profit is always bad for the public, as if it were impossible for any business owner or research interest to have a conscience.


well, ideally one would want only altruistic outcomes but human nature shows us otherwise. At this point I have to be shown personally that a business owner or research interest has a conscience. I'd say to assume otherwise is a naive assumption.

QUOTE

DP gives some pertinent examples about corporate malfeasance, and I fully agree that we shouldn't merely trust profitable interests to always do the right thing. We should skeptically keep an eye on them. But we shouldn't just assume if a business is trying to profit from something then it is utterly non-altruistic and is probably going to harm people.


Sorry, I just don't see Monsanto or Halliburton or Raytheon or whomever helping things out.





Le Gimp
Quarterly profit announcements.

Go for the stock holders and make them happy in the short term.

I have little faith in the short term goals of most US industries.

Yes, since Bacon we have been genetically modifying plants. Now we do it with more precision, but we are still screwing with nature.

For every technical solutions we find, there are two more unsolved problems introduced.




Donnie Darko
That sounds comfortingly cynical, but it's not demonstrably true.

Yes, of course US industries (actually global industries) have a tendency to focus too much on the short term, which is to the detriment of us all, and also to the long term detriment of the industries themselves. That problem is not because of using science for technical solutions, though.

The argument against messing with nature hardly holds water either. Nature says we should all make babies when we're 13. All of you likely do dozens of very unnatural things daily and likely live in houses that were made by chopping down forests. Messing with nature with more precision means being able to better limit unintended side effects of messing with nature. For example, take cancer treatment. In patients with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, the best option used to be chemotherapy and radiation, which wiped out healthy cells in addition to the cancerous ones and could even introduce mutagenic changes in DNA which might cause cancer further down the road. Now the best option is Gleevec (imatinib) which targets a very specific protein in the cancer cells and stops them from dividing. CML used to be a death sentence, and now it is a chronic manageable condition which has a 90% survival rate. That success story came out of messing with nature in precise ways, which of course we only learned how to do because we messed with nature in more blunt general ways first.

I know everybody in here but me seems to think the world is going to hell in a hand basket, but at the end of the day I don't picture any of you going Unabomber on us and moving to a cabin in the middle of Montana to avoid the evils of modern technology and science that creates 2 problems for every one it solves. When you're in your 80s and suffering from physical decline I bet most of you will eagerly reach for those medicines made by the evil pharmaceutical giants who aren't interested in helping people.
synthetic buddhist
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Dec 23 2008, 06:16 AM) *

That problem is not because of using science for technical solutions, though.


Science isn't the issue. Who is paying for it is.
QUOTE

The argument against messing with nature hardly holds water either. Nature says we should all make babies when we're 13. All of you likely do dozens of very unnatural things daily and likely live in houses that were made by chopping down forests.


Hell, we (Americans anyway) all live in a country that was literally built by racism and hubris over the last few hundred years, and by your logic we are reaping the benefits of slavery, child labor and other such gifts of unregulated industry --that none of us living now had no part in setting into motion--as a result. And therefore we should embrace it. And thank that fat fuckin' CEO when he should in all rightness be drawn and quartered in the public square(or at the very least tarred feathered and violated by a St. Bernard). I don't buy that argument for a nanosecond.


QUOTE
Messing with nature with more precision means being able to better limit unintended side effects of messing with nature. For example, take cancer treatment.


or the prevalence of cancer in industrialized areas? A definite unintended side effect(unless you are a Ceaucescu; they used to irradiate holding cells of political prisoners so they'd get cancer and be out of the way)

QUOTE

In patients with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, the best option used to be chemotherapy and radiation, which wiped out healthy cells in addition to the cancerous ones and could even introduce mutagenic changes in DNA which might cause cancer further down the road. Now the best option is Gleevec (imatinib) which targets a very specific protein in the cancer cells and stops them from dividing. CML used to be a death sentence, and now it is a chronic manageable condition which has a 90% survival rate. That success story came out of messing with nature in precise ways, which of course we only learned how to do because we messed with nature in more blunt general ways first.


….and how much does this medication cost? to someone with no medical insurance? This is where I think you really are not getting what I'm saying here. If I develop CML and am unable to afford the meds, I am in effect being fined for my illness--by a company that makes its living by claiming to help me--, and the medical advance is of NO PRACTICAL USE. From my position, said medical advance did not happen.

QUOTE

I know everybody in here but me seems to think the world is going to hell in a hand basket, but at the end of the day I don't picture any of you going Unabomber on us and moving to a cabin in the middle of Montana to avoid the evils of modern technology and science that creates 2 problems for every one it solves.


It is, and actually I spent 10 years in Montana. Don't fuckin' knock it 'til you've been there.

The tendency to write off such thought is typical of "educated" coastal types and reminiscent of the tendency to label any leftward or compassionate thought as "dopey Hippie shit". The types who do that are usually too young to have even been alive in the 60's and take the 80's faux-hippy-Grateful Dead/ Hacky Sack scene to be the '60's. Trust me, it ain't.


QUOTE

When you're in your 80s and suffering from physical decline I bet most of you will eagerly reach for those medicines made by the evil pharmaceutical giants who aren't interested in helping people.


Dude, I'm on those fuckin' meds NOW. You really think it's gonna get easier for me over the next 40 years? Sounds like you need to take your nose out of the book and look around you.


dakini_painter
QUOTE
Nature says we should all make babies when we're 13.


Even the boys?

Nature also says we're supposed to be dead by 30 or 40. That we're supposed to use fire to heat ourselves, and cook with and provide us light when the sun goes down. In fact, nature says we shouldn't have alcohol stronger than wine or beer. So send me all your pre-Ban. hehhehe

Maybe by the time I'm in my 80's we can get medications here in the US for the same price as in Canada and Mexico (for the same meds made by the same US companies; I'm sure they're being very altruistic towards those poor Canadians and Mexicans (sarcasm alert!)).
synthetic buddhist
Pfizer, Merck, J&J, et al. wouldn't get away with the egregious overcharging that passes for Business As Usual if they couldn't make the money. Third World countries get what drugs they do for so much less because there is not the money to be made off them. And they frequently get off-brand or damn near expired drugs.

The only reason I was not forced to go without my meds was because my condition is largely unknown and the drug I needed (need) was being pushed as part of an HIV cocktail. Since they don't know much about my condition they have to be honest about me being basically a guinea pig, and cannot get away with financially ruining me under the pretext of being here to help. Which worked out for me, but only due to fortuitous circumstance(some would say coincidence) and a couple of cool doctors who personally got involved--at no financial advantage to themselves I might add.

Pfizer, et al. can go fuck themselves, price gouging on that level is far worse than the actions of any Crack or Junk dealer our Newstainment Media so loves to excoriate. If I a way wasn't found for me I would have been expected to have shelled out 156,000 dollars over the last decade for a drug that now is being sold to me for 2 cents a pill. Julian, wheres my 50k? I'm sorry, 156k, my apologies for not being thankful enough….
Jaded Prole
QUOTE
The tendency to write off such thought is typical of "educated" coastal types and reminiscent of the tendency to label any leftward or compassionate thought as "dopey Hippie shit". The types who do that are usually too young to have even been alive in the 60's and take the 80's faux-hippy-Grateful Dead/ Hacky Sack scene to be the '60's. Trust me, it ain't.


You said a mouthful there!

The rest of it too.
Doctor Love
Some pharma companies make a lot of money, some don't. In that business shit can go bad very quickly, which is in part why they gouge people when they have a chance with a successful drug. I sure as hell wouldn't want to be in that business, considering you have to deal with things like:

1) Your R&D efforts often wind up yielding ineffective treatments that you can't bring to market.

2) Sometimes what you do bring to market winds up having side-effects or long-term effects on patients that didn't show up in trials, which can expose the company to massive, massive liability.

3) When you do get a successful drug, you have a limited time window to recoup your expenses before the "generic" version becomes available.

So it's obviously a double-edged sword, a competitive marketplace yields the most innovation and new treatment ideas, but that same competitive marketplace will yield extremely high drug costs when the best innovators cash in on their success. But to me it seems like that would be a nightmare business of constant risks to be involved in, makes me want to get some ulcer medication just thinking about it!
Donnie Darko
Given that many products companies make a huge profit off of don't help people at all, and many other companies that make huge profits don't even make any products (this encompasses the entire financial industry), the hate laid upon pharmaceutical companies seems a bit misplaced, as they are actually one of the tiny fraction of industries that do make some products that can make a real difference in people's lives.

That doesn't mean pharmaceuticals should be exempt from criticism. More often than not they repackage old drugs with some new additive that really doesn't do anything. They also do overcharge for medications, and I'm not excusing that one bit. But for the drugs that do work, it costs about $1 billion to bring a successful drug to market (before advertising!), and 70% of all attempts at drug development never make it past clinical trials. For original small-molecule rationally designed drugs for rare disorders such as CML, the cost and risk is even higher. Dr. Love is right about the extreme risk involved (but of course the potential for extreme profits is what keeps them going).

Again, nowhere in my arguments are there any claims that we should thank CEOs for the privilege of being ripped off by greedy corporate agendas. You guys keep saying I'm "clueless" and to "take my nose out of a book" and just "look around". I suppose I am one of those "sheeple" that needs to wake up? Meanwhile all I'm advocating is a balanced approach towards evaluating scientific innovation. Is it really ignorant and elitist of me to suggest that beneficial things can come from for-profit research? While it seems blatantly obvious, perhaps I should re-emphasize I also strongly support greater funding for non-profit basic research, as there is much value in simply learning things about nature that have no applicable profit potential.

I'm just trying to get you people to see that there is a tremendous amount of grey area when it comes to for-profit enterprise, and research that comes from such avenues can't simply be written off as probably bad simply because profit motivated some of the research. Maybe Monsanto really is Satan, I don't know. But I don't see any convincing evidence that we should stop pursuing GM crops, all I see is some evidence indicating the need for careful evaluation before proceeding to the implementation stage with some crops, which is the case with implementing ANY new technology or research.

I also don't actually have a problem with Montana, and it seems absurd that I even have to say such a thing. I've been there, I think it's beautiful and really peaceful, in spite of the fact that I live on the east coast and am apparently an ignorant elitist (isn't bashing "clueless" coastal people its own form of etlitism?). I just used it as an example because the Unabomber thought that would be a good place to go to get away from the very same problems you guys seem to be so worried about. So apologies to the entire state of Montana. I don't actually think everyone in Montana is like the Unabomber (shocking, I know!).
G&C
QUOTE
I don't actually think everyone in Montana is like the Unabomber


I do.
Jaded Prole
I might be movin' to Montana soon.
Kirk
Just me and my pygmie pony, riding out across the ranges with a 6 foot pair of zircon encrusted tweezers to pick the dental floss with.
dakini_painter
QUOTE
I see is some evidence indicating the need for careful evaluation before proceeding to the implementation stage with some crops, which is the case with implementing ANY new technology or research.


Problem is, that's not in business interests. If you've spent all this money: buying a rare pygmy pony, having the highly specialized stainless steel tweezers made especially for you, planted acres of dental floss, you can't have some government idiots coming in with sirens wailing, DEA helicopter gunships flying cover, and saying
QUOTE
"WHOA! You there on the pygmy pony! You can't do that!!!!"


think of the investment and how your money could be tired up for years in legal challenges. You'd be ruined. That's why we've got to let up on all this government regulation, so business can get down to doing all those good things DD thinks they'll do for us. Just like the folks on Wall Street did for us.

btw, read about the FDA turnabout on bisphenol-A in the NYT today.
Jaded Prole
It ain't easy getting to be a mental toss flycoon!
Kirk
Nearly ruined me over fennel. I found the government officials they made me deal with to be cold, arrogant and (largely) ignorant. There needs to be less regulation on most things, less government, period .
The government agents that do stay should be required to know their ass from a hole in the ground and to not forget who they work for.
dakini_painter
Lacking knowledge is a major problem, especially when it refers to very common herbs and plants. For people like you and me, Kirk, who'd never do anything to harm to anyone it seems like too much control and regulation. Unfortunately, history shows us that there's sadly too many people willing to make a buck at other people's expense.

Where do you draw the line and who decides?
Kirk
I know, I'd like to see truth in labeling. I would also like to know exactly what I'm buying,
I don't mind the government paying attention to what comes in, it's necessary I suppose. I'm frustrated by the way my tax money gets wasted, some of that wasted money could have been spent on a better product identity and provenance tracking system. Customs should be able to scan a bar code attached to a ton of fennel, xray it for anomaly, enter the code and get a picture of fennel and current excise status.
In my greatest fantasy, they could scan the fennel and say it is indeedy Doux, and it came from farmer 'X' and farmer 'Q', followed by an in depth review of how the fennel crop faired in that district.
A system like that would do more than the bomb ever did, I might even be proud of paying taxes again, if we had that.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(dakini_painter @ Dec 24 2008, 07:45 AM) *

btw, read about the FDA turnabout on bisphenol-A in the NYT today.


I did. The real scientists within the FDA challenged the policy of the pro-industry political appointees at the FDA and actually got them to re-evaluate their position. That's a good thing. Business looks out for business first and the people they sell things to second, and for at least the last 8 years the regulatory agencies have deferred to the business interests. We all know that. But just because some things were developed for profit doesn't mean they will likely cause more harm than good. What it does mean is that if it is determined they might cause more harm than good, then a business may try and sweep that under the rug and keep selling the harmful thing. That's why we need better regulatory oversight.

QUOTE
That's why we've got to let up on all this government regulation, so business can get down to doing all those good things DD thinks they'll do for us. Just like the folks on Wall Street did for us.


That's really disingenuous to equate any of what I am saying with any of what you just wrote above. Please try to have the conversation with me rather than have the conversation with some phony characterization of my position. I am consistently in favor of more government oversight of business than we already have, and am hopeful that at least some of Obama's appointees will stop politicizing safety and science issues as the Bush admin has done. Two of the people I recommended to change.gov as science advisors actually got picked by Obama (Eric Lander and Steven Chu), and I recommended them precisely because they favor stronger regulation coupled with increased government funding of research into energy and genetics. I doubt my individual recommendation had any influence, but it's nice to see Obama views this issue the same way I do.

What I think many in here fail to understand is that one cannot judge something solely on the basis of it being brought about for profit. If the government were the ones doing the research rather than corporations, would that mean the end results of the research would always be better? Or should we just stop doing all this messing-with-nature research, because when you mess with nature two problems arise from every one problem you solve, like Gimp said? As far as I can tell the only consistent position most of you have is that for-profit research usually produces things that harm us. If I am incorrect in that assumption, please correct me, I don't want to be turning all of your points into straw men.

By the way, so this point doesn't get turned into a straw man again and again, I am perfectly fine with strict regulatory oversight being applied to GM crop seed, but I am also in favor of GM crop seed if research doesn't indicate that GM crop seed is worse for consumers and the environment than the current status quo of tillage and spraying pesticides. And it also should be determined on a case by case basis of each GM crop. One cannot merely conclude GM is probably bad because Monsanto is an advocate of it or because one particular GM crop might be harmful.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Kirk @ Dec 24 2008, 11:02 AM) *

I know, I'd like to see truth in labeling. I would also like to know exactly what I'm buying,


I agree. I think GM or irradiated food should be labeled as such. There is no such thing as too much information.

QUOTE
A system like that would do more than the bomb ever did, I might even be proud of paying taxes again, if we had that.


That's a great example of what could be positive regulatory intervention. There are plenty of regulations that are utterly retarded money-wasters and that serve no public good, as you and DP have no doubt endured. And then there are plenty of things that are under-regulated that need much heavier oversight. Hopefully these new people coming in will make the government just a little less stupider than it has been, and hopefully they won't just allow powerful business influences to write policy (though that may be a fantasy).
dakini_painter
QUOTE
spraying pesticides


Not something I'm interested in. Just like GM food. I'm not interested in that either. If someone wanted to insert glow in the dark genes into hyssop and melissa so when I colored my absinthe product it would glow in the dark or under a blacklight, I'm sure there are people who'd think that would be really cool. I'm not interested in that.

I worked in the biotech software business for 7 years. Consulted to Monsanto. In the end I got out of that business because of the ethics of it. The scientists were well meaning and well intentioned.

It's the CEO's and the bean counters I don't trust. Or maybe even humans scavenger-gatherer genetics which rewards greed in a high threat/high investment food environment.

I know you think I'm twisting your position, but I think you're unwilling to look at the problems that we have with corporate business these days. The vast majority of the financial institutions basically ran their companies into the ground. I don't know how many would have survived if the government didn't step in and hand them a wad of our cash (or debt, we'll have to pay up later). My guess is maybe B of A.

Look at Detroit (the auto makers). Ford seems to have been the only one with a clue and working to keep the company viable in the long term.

Look at all the companies that off loaded their manufacturing to China or other country where there was cheap(er) labor, and lax environmental laws. And Americans went and bought those products.

The pesticide and fertilizer companies have little interest in the sustainability of their practices. We already have algae blooms and dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico because of those practices. And testing of those products never would have revealed a problem because it's unlikely that anyone would have thought of that, the effect of runoff on such a scale.

I want my food to be grown in a sustainable manner and I don't want a bunch of chemicals in it either. I don't want the chemicals from when it was grown, processed, or packaged. I want my energy to come in a sustainable manner too. I know, I ask for too much.
scuto
QUOTE(dakini_painter @ Dec 24 2008, 02:30 PM) *

Look at all the companies that off loaded their manufacturing to China or other country where there was cheap(er) labor, and lax environmental laws. And Americans went and bought those products.


Though a product may be cheaper for us to buy, that cost we get in "savings" is translated into another "cost" for the region it is produced in, the people who produce it. I'm all for regulation if it focuses on reminding businesses that there is more than one bottom line. As far as GM crops, I have mixed feelings cos there is either gross overpopulation or gross mismanagement of farming & natural resources (Monsanto is a good example of not paying attention to the other bottom lines).

That said, we're going to have to make a far bigger lifestyle change than Carter's throw-on-a-sweater campaign; buying local, eating seasonal, these things aren't easy when you want your Trader Joe's dried mango and you know it's been shipped from overseas. How many tubers can I really eat this winter without going insane?!? I like 'em, but I want to keep liking them. I do feel fortunate to have a few local farms that are mostly organic (one uses fertilizer, but none of the -cides), so in that sense I'm hopeful.

As for big pharma, there is a lot of gray area as Donnie said. Marketing without true education about the ailment the drug is aimed to treat, and the possible side-effects is part of the dark side. Of course, there are also the PCPs who are willing to throw a pill at you after asking you two questions instead of referring you to the right specialist. (My anecdotal experience.)
Jaded Prole
In the search for alternative fuels, one man found a way to live off the fat of the land.
Tibro
Now if he starts raising S.American cattle and buys a MickeyD franchise or two he'll have perfected the trifecta.
Kirk
Smells like. . .
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(dakini_painter @ Dec 24 2008, 02:30 PM) *

If someone wanted to insert glow in the dark genes into hyssop and melissa so when I colored my absinthe product it would glow in the dark or under a blacklight, I'm sure there are people who'd think that would be really cool. I'm not interested in that.


That application of phosphorescence would indeed be silly, but I think phosphorescent genes are intended to make certain genotypes of a plant identifiable to manufacturers and researchers, not to make the whole plant glow in the dark and impress the consumer.

QUOTE
I think you're unwilling to look at the problems that we have with corporate business these days.


Not at all, I'm just pointing out that just because something is corporate doesn't mean it's a problem. Properly done research is properly done research, whether it's for profit or non-profit. If a corporation sweeps under the rug some data revealed by research that reflects poorly on a corporation's products, that's not properly done research. That's fraud. We need much more aggressive efforts to track down and punish such behavior.

QUOTE
The pesticide and fertilizer companies have little interest in the sustainability of their practices.


True, but sustainable is becoming trendier, and I think that's a good thing, and I think financial incentives from the Obama administration (which I'm sure Vilsack will be part of) will push things more in the sustainable direction. I think rather than rejecting GM out of hand and expecting the entire world to go organic, a tasty carrot and a heavy stick can push for-profit agriculture in a better direction.

QUOTE
I want my food to be grown in a sustainable manner and I don't want a bunch of chemicals in it either. I don't want the chemicals from when it was grown, processed, or packaged. I want my energy to come in a sustainable manner too. I know, I ask for too much.


Not at all. I want that too. But I think GM in some instances can actually be part of the solution. Current agricultural practices that are not as common with GM crops require enormous resources, many of them potentially toxic. Any technological innovations that enable better yields through less use of resources and pesticides should be welcomed. GM has the potential to actually increase sustainability. GM cotton in the US, for instance, requires 70% less pesticide use than conventional cotton.

synthetic buddhist
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Dec 23 2008, 05:28 PM) *


I don't actually think everyone in Montana is like the Unabomber (shocking, I know!).



Unfortunately they're not. Or fortunately, I guess, while I agreed with a few points in his manifesto it seems he was a real asshole on a personal level. And in reality I was just havin' a caffeinated laugh with that whole Montana thing, if it was so fuckin' great I'd still live there. Or if anyone there wanted big custom tattoos and had the money to pay for them…

Back on topic ranting.gif Donnie, I actually have an opinion similar to yours on science, and my agreement with Dakini on this topic is not a contradiction to my mind. My issue is not with GM foods per se but the way it's being handled doesn't sit well with me at all. I have no problem with the notion that for-profit research can have beneficial outcomes, I just think we could do considerably better. As far as who should be funding said research, I readily admit that I got nothin to offer solutionwise. No matter who holds the pursestrings there will be a bias, it seems that 80-year-old guys with boners and a full head of hair seems to be what Americans want to work toward more than anything else.

I was only bitching about Pharaceutical companies cuz thats an area I have a small amount of experience with. I'm well aware that they are a small part of the problem. Nonetheless, I do have a bucket of tar and a couple feather pillows at the ready for that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

And hell yes, I'd love luminescent greenery in my booze. I'm sure that was a bad thing to say but I didn't get my Ph.D in Blasphemiology for nothing you know.

Donnie Darko
Ain't no thing. I have a tendency to take offense when none was intended when it comes to things in print. The funny thing is that, in person, I'm so dense about it I usually don't even take offense when it IS intended.

As for GM crop research, it seems to me several of the crops already have enough research to conclude they are less harmful than conventional farming practices. I think it's silly the UK and the EU banned them all based entirely on one faulty study of GM potatoes that weren't even going to be introduced as a crop. I agree we can do better at double-checking the safety of some of these crops though.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Invision Power Board © 2001-2018 Invision Power Services, Inc.