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Comment Re:I like this a lot (Score 1) 513

Genes already cross between species. It is not as hard as many people think. On a biological timescale it is actually pretty fast.

Saying that something is done with GMO or Organic is not like writing pork on something. GMO is not something in a food and neither is Organic.

We do label food for contents.

Radiation and chemical mutagens will eventually produce a plant with a protein similar enough to the one on peanuts that causes allergic reactions. Labeling something as Organic does not change that in any way. It is a useless label and devoid of information.

All food should be tested. Our technology is advanced enough that all food should have DNA and protein assays stored on a government website. That way you could have a smart phone app and list what you don't want in your food (allergens, religious objections etc) and simple scan a QR code on the food and your phone could tell if the food is okay. Labeling GMO or Organic is never going to help you.

That you even call it a mutant organism indicates you really don't understand this technology and are acting out of fear. Sure we what do in the lab is not a conventional process but the methods we use in the lab are the SAME methods that nature fundamentally uses. CRISPR is taken from a natural source and all of this stuff we have learned from nature. Genetic engineering is darn safe and pretty easy to do now. The real danger is in radiation and chemical mutagens since they are more random.

If you create labels that you know are going to feed into panic and many of the supporters of labeling have a stated goal and making people react out of fear then you are not helping people. Labeling something as GMO is not going to help anyone and it is going to be used to create harm.

In the end I don't see the point in informing the public on an issue they are not qualified to make a decision on. If we want to have better food labeling we also need to have better education to go with that so people can make rational decisions.

Comment I like this a lot (Score 1) 513

I am growing sick of tired of people wanting GMO labelled or touting Organic and some kind of magically safe food.

Labeling GMO tells you NOTHING. It is a completely worthless label. You have no idea what was changed, what impact it has, etc. The only usage of the label is to drive FEAR and I am tired of it.

Organic is not inherently safe either. Almost all deaths related to ecoli in lettuce or spinach have been from Organic produce. Organic also allows the usage of heavy metals to fight blight in potatoes. It also allows spraying Bt toxin on plants (and does so in huge quantities) where it runs off into the water and damages fish. Apparently Bt toxin is safe when you spray it on plants but when you engineer it in so it it still kills insects but very little runs off into the water so you don't harm so many fish that is somehow bad.

Worse you can use radiation and chemical mutagens for cross-breeding and for manipulation in a single plant since those methods are approved as Organic. Farmers have used these methods for quite a long time to get plants to cross breed, they just did not know how they worked until recently.These methods are far more unsafe than direct genetic manipulation.

In the end I see people ruled by fear and trying to cover it with pseudo science bullshit. It is getting so tiring to see it. You can't have a rational conversation since the VAST majority of people against GMO I have talked to have not based their decision on anything rational.

Maybe science is still too new. It is really only a few hundred years old and there are just not enough humans that understand and accept it yet. We are capable of doing so much better than we do now. We can make energy cleanly, produce enough food, not harm the environment that supports us, have air and water that are safe to breath and drink and none of that is going to happen because too many are controlled by FEAR and too many others in power have too much to gain with the current way things are run.

Sometimes I wish there was a way to abandon ship and just leave this planet. Find others that are tired of this stuff also and head off into space.

Comment Re:Nicely balanced versus clear point (Score 1) 331

It should not be equal since that makes it seem like the evidence is equal. Maybe under the talking heads there should be some kind of number of bar to indicate the percent support for the view. 97% vs 3% is not an equal debate. Especially when the 97% is from a pretty wide mix of fields that are involved with the environment.

Other viewpoints should be shown but you should have some kind of threshold. Should the media cover the 99.99% vs 0.01% ? At what point can you disregard the other side until it has at least gained traction in the scientific community.

You could even have the media only report scientific consensus on the issues, report that there is still 3% opposition to it within the scientific community and say that research is still being done. There is really no reason that scientific controversy to air in the media since the people watching are completely unqualified to take any part in the issue. Armchair scientist does not work and people massively misunderstand what is said and what it means because scientists don't use words the same way the average person does.

Comment Governments brought this on themselves (Score 4, Insightful) 111

The FBI and NSA are right that good default crypto will make it harder to catch criminals and the extremely rare terrorists. It will also make it harder to catch people doing quite a number of other bad things.

However, they also brought this on themselves. Overall this is like the response to ads online. Ads got so extremely bad that people just installed adblockers that block everything. Now many sites are finding it hard to even survive due to ads being blocked. If you unblock the ads on the site though you find out the ads are extreme with sound, video, taking over clicks, and with dozens of ads on a page and so you go back to blocking.

If the Ad industry had stayed to banner ads and maybe one or two small ads on the sidebars of a page and with no music or video then it is likely that people would not have gone to the effort to block them. They created this mess all on their own.

If the NSA had not started watching everyone in a fairly blatant violation of the law and the courts made it so you can't even try to stop them since they rule you have not standing since you can't prove you where watched then this reaction would not be happening. What the NSA did damaged Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook and many others along with pissing off average people a lot. When the average person thought the NSA was just going after evil people outside the country they where okay with it. Finding out they go after citizens in the country also is unacceptable.

I have no idea how to deal with the actual legitimate concerns of the NSA and FBI and also deal with their abuse. We all know that they will keep abusing their powers if they can. If you compromise encryption in any way then others will find the backdoors also and use them.

This is not a good situation and in the end I don't know how it will play out. It should be possible for the NSA and FBI to get access to data upon probably cause and with a court order I just don't see any realistic way to do that anymore given what they have done.

Comment Re: Why should they? (Score 1) 187

This seems like a recipe to have complete stagnation. Developing and getting a new technology made available would be a horrible battle every time.

If our economic system can't survive with our changing technology then it is time to change the economic system and not the technology.

The VAST majority of people fear change and if they voted on allowing laptops, cell phones, genetic engineering, self driving cars, the internet etc it would all be not allowed. If you want to fight change and live the past there are countries that follow that path. Mostly they are not doing very well.

Comment Re:$120B worth of jobs (Score 1) 439

I AGREE with this entirely.

It would be cheaper to pay these people to do nothing with taxes than the current friction they generate in the economy. However, I think that most of them have skills more useful elsewhere or could learn more useful skills. We should be investing in the population to get the greatest return on that investment.

Comment Re:Price tags are the greatest innovation of retai (Score 2) 439

Negotiation is a waste of time and energy.

I have no interesting in playing games with price. You charge a fair price and I will buy. You charge an unfair price and I won't. I won't even talk to you about the price. If I think it is unfair compared to a simple internet search I will just go elsewhere.

I care about solving problems related to making drugs for curing things like cancer available. I care about figuring out new ones to optimize a problem. Talking to a human to figure out a price on something just does not make the list of anything I am interested in. If I have to talk to you to figure out a price you already cost too much.

Comment Re:Price tags are the greatest innovation of retai (Score 1) 439

That is why I do pretty much everything online.

I don't negotiate. I find what I want and order what I want.

When I go back to the USA if I have to have a car I will get a Tesla so I don't deal with any of that crap.

I don't like poker, I don't like bluffing, and I hate haggling. The whole competing thing just to get a car at a reasonable price is insane and a gigantic waste of time across the entire society.

Comment Re:Price tags are the greatest innovation of retai (Score 3, Interesting) 439

I DESPISE haggling. I won't do it under any circumstances. I find it to be a major waste of time and energy.

When I give someone a price that is the price and it is not open to negotiation. If I see a price and I think it is fair I will pay it, if not I will go somewhere else and that is the end of it.

If there is somewhere that only does haggling I would just not go there ever. If there is an item that can only be bought with haggling I will just not buy it or pay someone else to do it.

Comment Re:This is not about science. It's about dependenc (Score 4, Insightful) 330

So out of curiosity how do you think we should develop GMO crops without patents? These things cost billions of dollars in very hard R&D to develop and bring to market. Without a patent then anyone will grow some of your seeds and then sell them next year to compete with your seeds and they had to do none of the work.

If you want to replace this system you must come up with an alternative.

No patents on living organisms would also screw over the biotech industry. What if I make a new tumor supressor gene from scratch that is better than any human gene and would 100% prevent cancer. As soon as I treated the first person someone would just have their DNA read and find the sequence and sell it without doing any of the R&D.

I understand not liking patents on living things but if you want technology developed our current economic system required a profit motive and without that motive the technology won't be created. This is not like computer programming where a few people on no budget can do amazing work and change things. This stuff is insanely expensive and hard to do. Reaction ingredients alone would bankrupt most people.

Comment Re:This is amazing news (Score 4, Interesting) 33

You should have looked at my signature. :)

I have already done some genetic engineering and I am going to be doing a lot more of it in the future since that is part of my profession. There are risks and there will be mistakes but not trying won't help anymore. Imagine how long it would have taken us to make jet airplanes if we didn't even try to learn how to fly until we where completely sure?

There are drugs today that raise cancer survival rates from 5% to 95%. There are diseases caused by a single defective gene that we can cure. Heck we can now build a robotic arm that has a sense of touch and wire it to your BRAIN. 10 years ago the state of the art was still a danged hook.

Technology is changing quickly and biotech/nanotech developments are going to allow us to cure problems we never even imagined would be cureable. Long term I hope to work for Google's biotech company and work on solving human aging.

The best reason ever to climb a mountain is "because it is there" and I feel the same way about this. We have an opportunity that is unlike any other in human history and we can make a real difference and we should find out how to do it safely and accurately. I hope that in 20 years you will be able to go to a doctor and get a security patch shot that upgrades your tumor supressor genes, grants immunity to a wide range of viruses, improves your regeneration capabilities and your lifespan. That is my goal and that is what I am working towards.

Comment This is amazing news (Score 4, Interesting) 33

I would bet that Editas and other companies switch over to this almost immediately. The problem with Cas9 is the blunt ends and that makes it much harder to do highly specific genome editing but it does work. This method looks vastly better and just as easy to work with. It is hard to explain why the creation of sticky ends is so much better. The old method would be like sawing a piece of wood straight through and the new method a cut half way through, a horizontal cut and then completes it the rest of the way down so you have an overhang. The overhang makes the method far more precise for hooking up new sequences.

I can't wait for us to finally start curing genetic diseases at the source. Biotechnology is progressing so quickly right now and many of the things we have already created are amazing but I don't think this is even the tip of the iceburg yet. Once we can cure genetic problems that will deal with a huge amount of health problems that humans have and these techniques are actually cheap. CRISPR is easy to do and easy to replicate.

It is going to be an interesting next few decades coming up. :)

Comment Re:Considering how fast Google ditched China (Score 1) 381

This is not how laws and treaties work.

They are over specific issues. If the USA and EU countries have laws about copyright and DMCA type laws then those would be enforced and it would have nothing to do with data protection laws.

I don't know if the EU and the USA have treaties for data protection laws that cover this kind of issue.

I know I can say things in the USA that are illegal in many EU countries and the USA won't deport for that ever. Very few laws are respected internationally.

"Love your country but never trust its government." -- from a hand-painted road sign in central Pennsylvania