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Comment Re:This legislation brought to you by.. (Score 1) 446

I very much mind not being allowed to know WHAT my food IS.

You are allowed to know. It is freely available on the internet, in fact, I'll tell you right now that the only GE crops currently available in the US are corn, canola, soy, cotton, alfalfa, sugar beet, papaya, and summer squash. The genes used include Cry and Vip genes, C4 EPSPS, prsv-cp, pat, and others. This is all freely available on APHIS's site. Now, for fun, if you care so much about knowing what is in your food, tell me if the last tomato you ate contained the Ph-3 gene from a wild Solanium pimpinellifolium. Tell me if the last apple you ate was a bud sport, and which one. Tell me if the last sweet corn you consumed was the product of doubled haploid hybridization. Tell me what the last pear you ate was grafted on. Tell me if the last citrus you ate was produced via radiation induced mutagenesis. Tell me if the last banana you ate was from a tissue cultured plant. Did the last watermelon contain product you consumed from from watermelons which have had induced polyploidy? Can you tell me? If not, why are you so selectively concerned? Why are you concerned about the thing which you can easily find yourself, but not everything else, and most importantly, tell me why that deserves a law.

For capitalism to work properly the consumer need to be able to make a INFORMED decision.

Wrong. If there is sufficient demand for consumer labeling, it will happen, in fact, it already has. If you have not seen dozens of non-GMO labels at your local mega mart you're not paying attention. It is the job of government to enforce rational regulations, yes, but it is not the purpose of government to cater to superstitions.

Comment Re:Other opponents (Score 1) 446

Now who the hell considers themselves an opponent of labeling GMO foods unless they have a financial stake in it?

Plant scientist here. I oppose it because it is deceptive and creates unnecessary fear over a safe technique, which consequently hinders critically important agricultural progress. I have zero financial stake in this. This is my opinion as an academic who is paid by public money with no obligations to any corporate entity.

So a law that requires that GMO foods are labeled as GMO foods would be a barrier to accurate, consistent information?

I could write a book about all the things you don't know about crop science. To single out one aspect of crop improvement without giving the whole picture and knowing the implication it will have is nothing more than a lie of omission. You can lie with out of context fact; just ask the 'evolution is only a theory' crowd.

Comment Re:approves an anti (Score 2) 446

When you genetically engineer an organism, you run the risk of creating or altering traits you never intended.

Correct, but this is true of all genetic alterations, including conventional breeding: known examples include toxic potatoes and celery.

This can and has lead to problems like feed corn that's toxic to the cattle and pigs it was intended for.

Citation needed. I believe you are referring to a case where GE corn was contaminated with fungal mycotoxins, and as the corn was GE, anti-GMO groups claimed it was the GE aspect that made them sterile, not the well known toxic agents that happened to also be in there (which they conveniently neglected to mention).

If we take your argument, we should label conventional breeding, with known cases of harm, not GE crops, with zero instances of harm (beyond baseless accusation anyway). Of course, that's a bit silly, yeah?

Comment Re:Huh (Score 1) 271

If sentences like that were dished out like candy, you might have a point. They, however, are only for the worst of crimes. Personally I'd call it more practical and humane than the death penalty, and safer than leaving these people back out in public.

If someone is cleaning a firearm and forgets to unload it and shoots someone, they're dumb, not evil. If someone is talking an a cell phone and accidentally hits someone, they're careless, not evil. Torturing a child is not something you accidentally do, it is something you make a conscious, knowing, willing decision to do. Maybe you're fine with someone who makes that choice out and free. I'm not. You say you have sympathy for the victim? You sure don't show any for the next victim.

And by the way, the first couple lines of your post are a big strawman designed to make the parent poster look bloodthirsty for simply wanting justice. Nice try.

Many rape victims also seem to feel that - 13% of rape victims attempt suicide. Think about that. These are people, a large number of people, who genuinely believe that it's better to be dead than raped. That's a problem, a big one, and it's a problem of perception.

Holy shit dude, you really don't see the reason people would compare long terms psychological trauma and PTSD with death? I guess this is what is meant by the term 'rape culture'.

The courts only reinforce this, if they're handing down life-ending sentences over rape offenses, and that feeds the problem further.

And what's your alternative? Preferably on with no more victims, ever. Hey, I'm playing the world's smallest violin for the scumbags who have decided to inflict horrific pain on another human being, I really am, but at the point you make that decision, you're far to risky to be let back into civilized society. I've got more sympathy for one needless victim than all the perpetrators put together. This isn't about punishment, well deserved on not; it's about pragmatism. If you've got a better idea that has a zero chance of additional attacks, then let's hear it.

Comment Re:Alarming Freedom (Score 2) 278

Democracy should not mean that one person's ignorance is equal to another's expertise. I certainty wouldn't want issues like medical regulations, environmental welfare, or food safety determined by popular vote, prone to the misinformation of professional activists or corporate ad campaigns, why would these topics be any different? Do you really think that in a technical or scientific topic like, for example, proper surgical guidelines, everyone should get equal say? I sure don't. I want a team of experts exercising complete authority over it, and I don't particularly care what Joe Schmoe has to say.

Comment Re:Alarming Freedom (Score 2) 278

And also, those people vote and act within society. When denying climate change becomes a politically beneficial platform, that's a problem. When teaching the basic biological facts of evolution becomes controversial, that's a problem. When vaccine preventable diseases start to make a resurgence because people think vaccines are dangerous, that's a problem. I work in plant science, and I can't help but mention that the very first thing in the survey relates to the gap in acceptance of genetically engineered crops...don't tell me that hasn't had a very real negative effect on the world, because it has. Yeah, you're free to stand where ever you like on these issues, no one is disputing that, but when people are taking factually incorrect stances on very important topics with very real consequences, you bet I find that troubling.

Comment Re: In other words (Score 1) 305

It was chosen because it is one of the best, if not the best, site in the northern hemispheres for observation.

The environmental impact statement, which is freely available for all to see, was conducted over many years and came back clean. If you wish to claim that it is ecologically damaging, you are completely wrong. The claim of ecological destruction simply does not hold up.

If you think that astronomers, of all people, are part of some grand money making conspiracy to spend millions building telescopes on mountain tops so they can get a vacation, completely ignoring how much of this stuff is done remotely anyway, then I just don't know what to tell you.

Comment Re:Glaing Error (Score 1) 305

You're not alone in those observations. People say it is against Hawaiian culture and/or religion, but they never explain how or give any historical basis, and it seems like you're just not supposed to ask if you're not 'local.' I think it is funny that this protest really kicked up during the last Merrie Monarch festival, named for King David Kalkaua, who supported astronomy in Hawai'i. It really reeks of the whole 'there are parts of the Bible I like and parts I don't like' kind of hypocrisy that some groups like to use to justify whatever their present course of action happens to be.

Comment Re:The protesters complaints are NUTS!!! (Score 1) 305

Next range over has Kitt Peak Observatory, which is ugly and destroys the natural mountain's ridge line.

When I saw the telescopes on Maunakea a while back I didn't think that at all. It took nothing away from the beauty of the Mauna. If all you can focus on are percived flaws, and not the beauty of the whole, maybe you're the one with the problem. At any rate, good thing we live in a society where aesthetics and legality are separate.

Just say no to earth-bound observatories. Put 'em in space. I bet the scientists would like that too.

I'm sure they would. Do you have any idea at all how insanely much that would cost? The Hubble Space Telescope has a 2.4-meter mirror and cost $10 billion. This one is has a 30 meter mirror. Do the math.

Comment Re:In other words (Score 1) 305

It's not just about money; it's largely about the Hawaiian sovereignty movement. There are people who believe that the State of Hawai'i is not a US state, but rather an occupied kingdom, and that the islands should become an independent Kingdom of Hawai'i again. They are using this to draw attention to themselves. Not that holding science hostage for the petty power struggles and race based nationalism make makes it any better, in fact, I would find it less distasteful to deal with appeals to religion or demands for payouts, but there it is.

The beauty of this whole thing is they picked a target which benefits all of humanity, one which they have no legal grounds whatsoever to block. So when they rightfully lose, the leaders get to point to their followers and claim Hawaiian voices are not heard and claim oppression.

Comment Re: In other words (Score 1) 305

I respect the beliefs of people, even if I myself do not hold them. For example, I will respect the Islamic principle of abstaining from alcohol, even if I myself do not hold that view. However, if someone tries to stop me from drinking a beer on that basis, then we have a problem.

Some people feel that the Mauna is sacred, and you know what, I agree with them. It is a sacred place, and it should be treated with respect. However, it does not follow that building this telescope, which has been positioned with just that point of view in mind, is desecration, or that the blocking of the telescope is justified. I understand the sacredness aspect, and while people should be mindful of history and culture and the environment, that just isn't sufficient justification for what we're seeing.

Comment Re: In other words (Score 4, Insightful) 305

They are fighting for their land, sovereignty, and culture.

Their land? I was unaware that land could be racially owned, I'm sure that xenophobic nutjobs around the world will be overjoyed to hear that. I have French genetics in me; does that mean I can tell a Frenchman of Nigerian descent what they can and can't do with 'my' land because he is not of the native ethnicity?

And sovereignty? Sovereignty is derived form the will of the people, not genetic happenstance. If people want to claim that Hawai'i should declare independence, they're free to do it. I don't see that though, I see a push for race based nationalism, and that's always a bad thing.

It's all being stripped from them day in and day out. Not 500 years ago, still today.

Bad shit happened in the past, and that was wrong, but you know what? Two wrongs don't make a right. The villains and victims are dead. And even if we do accept that point of view, what the hell does that have to do with a telescope? And furthermore who, exactly, is going around stealing the land of Hawaiian people and preventing people from freely expressing Hawaiian culture? Because you should report them to the police.

As long as we're going to reinvent the wheel again, we might as well try making it round this time. - Mike Dennison