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Comment Re: FUD (Score 3, Informative) 357

This is a common misconception. That a thing is nutritionally substantially equivalent does not imply it is cannot be patented. The Gale Gala apple, to give one example of many, is patented. It is a bud sport (a somatic spontaneous mutant arising from a bud growth) of the standard Gala apple which is commercially propagated and cultivated. It can be patented because it is a unique thing, however, it does not fall outside the range of any standard apple nutrition variation, nor I might add does it anyone require it be so labeled. In fact, there are lots of patented conventionally bred crops; plant patents are nothing new. The last peach you ate might have been one of the patented Flamin Fury peaches, or maybe the last time you consumed sunflower it came from a patented Clearfield sunflower, or perhaps your last. Neither the apple, peach, nor sunflowers I mentioned are genetically engineered.

Comment Re: FUD (Score 4, Interesting) 357

The problem with labeling GE crops is that GE crops are not substantially different from any other crops, so not justified, and beyond that, it's deceptive. You don't see any other crop improvement technique market for singling out, just one, and you want to label it, not tell people the exact details, not tell people the hows or the whys, not correct any misconceptions, and give no context about the generalities of crop genetics that are prerequisite to understanding the topic. I call that a lie of omission.

You label an Arctic apple that has PPO gene silencing, but not label applesauce made with a Gravenstein apples, which are triploids with an entire extra set of chromosomes. You label a Rainbow papaya genetically engineered with the PRSV-CP gene, but not a Pusa Nanha papaya produced with radiation induced mutagenesis. A tomato with the Ph-3 gene for late blight resistance bred in from a wild species goes unlabeled, but a potato with GE late blight resistance is. Corn bred for higher levels of maisin as a defense against insects is unlabeled, but you must label genetically engineered insect resistant Bt corn, even though it has been shown to have lower levels of carcinogenic mycotoxins.

Do you see my problem here? This is basically the 'evolution is just a theory' label thing all over again. Yes, labeling things that are GE as such is technically true, but unless you are also giving the whole story (which a simple label absolutely does not give), it is also deceptive and just a way to make GE crops look bad when there is no science to support the anti-GE movement's stance.

Comment Re:return to reality, please (Score 1) 357

Now, having said that, I am perfectly sympathetic to wanting to eat "natural" vegetables without any GMO or herbicides involved in their production.

Even then, natural is defined by how new it is anymore. Lots of crops have been altered in all sorts of ways that people don't know about, either by selecting of somatic cell line mutants (like certain apples), inducing mutations (like red grapefruit), breeding with wild related species, sometimes with create difficulty (like late blight resistant tomatoes), chemically altering the chromosome count (like seedless watermelons), ect. And of course, conventional section which has turned a wild mustard into cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi (those are all the same species, Brassica oleracea). I don't think that fits any reasonable definition of natural, and yet, because people do not know about it and it has been going on for a long time, you can have 'natural' triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye which was sterile until its chromosome count was doubled chemically). People's views on this topic are very...well, they're something. I mean, if you want to pay extra for it that's your call, although I really hate the marketers who are playing to people's fears on this one and laughing all the way to the bank about it.

Comment Re:GMO itself isn't the problem. Its how its used (Score 2) 357

This article is going to further cloud the issue and I fear its going to give Monsanto and its ilk free reign to continue their abuse of the local seed supply.

And how, exactly, are they doing that? What your are implying is not true at all. Farmers are free to buy whatever seed they liked, or save their own.

The issue has never been about GMO itself,

The opposition to genetic engineering started with the first one on the market, the Flavr Savr tomato, which had better shelf life due to a silenced polygalacturonase gene. This continued onto Bt corn, which is insect resistant and the Rainbow papaya, which was disease resistant, and now on to things like the low acrylamide Innate potato and non-browning Arctic apples, and even extends to things like vitamin A enriched Golden Rice. The only thing those have in common is the fact that they are all GE. Saying the GMO controversy is not about genetic engineering itself is disingenuous at best.

its when you use it to introduce resistance to toxic chemicals that you start to have a real problem.

First off, if true, explain why there is no controversy over conventionally bred crops like the Clearfield wheat and sunflower lines that to do the same thing? Yep, that's right, conventional breeding is used to do exactly what you just mentioned, and nobody cares or makes a fuss, probably because of how few people are really aware of any basic aspects of agriculture. Second, explain your alternative weed control method. The reason farmers do this is because, before, you'd have to have a certain number of pre- and post- emergent herbicides, a god number of which are worse than glyphosate (the main but not only one GE crops are resistant to, there's also the Liberty system which uses glufosinate) possibly combined with soil-eroding tillage, to control weeds. Now you've got a simpler system, with less toxic herbicides, and somehow that's a bad thing. Okay, fair enough, what do you suggest as a superior alternative to control weed control, baring in mind that weed control is not optional?

That resistance not only allows to overuse of toxic chemicals (to the point of saturating the local environment), you also introduce a form of addiction where the farmer becomes dependent on the chemical. This addiction dooms the farmer to a form of indentured servitude and will eventually result in their exiting the market due to unsustainability.

That's very wrong. Like I said, the herbicide resistance systems are not about brute forcing things. You've got a plant producing a bacterial form of the enzyme inhibited by the herbicide (in glyphosate's case; glufosinate and glufosinate resistance have a different mode of action). This does not imply you get to 'douse' things in it; that's a bullshit anti-GE talking point. And if you do the EPA will be up your ass soon enough if you get caught. And it certainly doesn't stop a farmer from switching to another system the next year; in fact, switching is encouraged as it mitigates the emergence of herbicide tolerant weeds.

Your view is very common, and it is easy to see why it is a common view, but it is very wrong and very disconnected from actual agriculture.

Comment Re:Why not a simpler solution? (Score 1) 216

Well, my glass door fridge would come with an advanced dual pressed cellulose memory & graphite core marking system which would allow you to check and record items prior to even leaving your home for the grocery store! Poor connectivity and data fees are a thing of the past, there'll be no more frustration as you try to make out the date on the bottom of a jar through a smartphone in the middle of the condiment aisle, and thanks to it's advanced solid state data storage system you don't even have to worry about battery life when accessing your data. I call this revolutionary next-gen technology 'Grocery list.'

Comment Why not a simpler solution? (Score 3, Interesting) 216

For years I've been wanting something that would enable me to see inside my refrigerator without opening the door and wasting electricity. I always kinda figured the solution would involve a thick glass door and a light switch though. This is cool and all, I guess, but I'd rather have something simpler, with less things to go wrong and break down, and if my last fridge is any indication, that's kinda an issue.

Also, here's the link that was omitted.

Comment Re:OP must be a native Hawaiian (Score 3, Interesting) 251

It isn't entirely about money. There's also the Hawaiian Sovereignty movement making noise here. Basically, there are people who think the Hawai'i should secede from the US and Hawaiian Kingdom should be re-established. This is an easy target to rally around to gather support. The beauty of it is they are wrong. If they win, they get to say 'Hey everyone look what we did!' If they (rightfully) lose, they get to claim oppression because they don't have racial control over land and use that to drum up further support.

Personally, I think holding back science which benefits all of humanity for a financial payoff is a bit less unsavory that doing it for your own petty power struggles, but that's just my opinion.

Comment Re:I'm going to call Donald Trump . . . (Score 1) 251

Yep, it isn't like people are lining up to pay for that land. It's cold, barren, with low oxygen. Worth is determined by what people will pay for it; if no one wanted gold, it would be worthless. It is true that the leases on the previous telescopes generated very little money (although I have no doubt they benefited the economy of the Big Island in other ways), and so if someone wanted to complain about that, they might have a case, but in the TMT's case they were going to pay quite a large sum for the land, $1 million a year. A million annually for something no one else is going to pay for is quite a bit if you ask me.

Comment What is it worth? (Score 4, Insightful) 251

This article is pretty off on some things.

But there’s something else to consider: something that hasn’t been properly considered for, honestly, the entire history of the world. How do the native inhabitants of the land that the telescope is proposed to be built on feel about it?

That's absolutely not true. That was considered, quite intensively. The TMT folks bent over backwards to make sure that the people who's nucleotides happen to include the certain chemical arrangement called Hawaiian were well consulted, cultural sensitivities taken into consideration, ect. They actually planned it to be built in an area somewhat not as good for viewing in order to minimize any potential impact on cultural practices on the summit. Until the popular bandwagon got rolling, most people were in support of it.

While many in the media picked up one or two of the soundbites or demands and harped on them as ridiculous or backwards, the reality of the situation is this: a culture that’s many thousands of years old was — in the same imperialist spirit as much of the world — conquered and forced to live in a world they did not choose for themselves.

Maybe thousands, though newer estimates put it at about 800 years IIRC, with previous inhabitants maybe getting killed off by the second wave of immigrants who are the ancestors of Hawaiians. Either way, no one gets to choose the world they were born into. Maybe I wanted to be a citizen of the British Empire, damned colonial rebels. If you have actual prejudice and present issues, that is a legitimate concern. Something that happened to your ancestors, even if it was wrong, not so much.

Earlier this year, many Hawaiians protested the construction of this telescope, seeking to halt its construction until their concerns were addressed.

Many of their concerns were either wrong (for example, that it would damage aquifers) or unprovable (that it would damage the 'spiritual waters' of the Mauna). What do you say about concerns like that? To be fair, mistakes were made in the past with other telescopes, so having concerns about keeping things right is absolutely justified, but that isn't the same as disregarding the environmental impact statement and spreading rumors.

I don't get why people are bending over backwards to justify this. If Christian groups try to influence others, especially science, for their religious/cultural reasons, it is wrong. When, say, Switzerland banned minarets for their 'cultural' reasons, that was also wrong...for the Swiss to say 'You Muslims are of the wrong non-native race/culture so suck it up' is bullshit and everyone knows it. If I were to say that I hold claim to a certain plot of land simply because of my race, everyone would call me an asshole, and rightfully so. That Hawaiians suffered wrongs a century ago should be acknowledged, but it does not justify the same.

Comment Re:Artificial Banana Flavouring (Score 2) 199

I've had them. Gros Michael is good, but I don't think it is better or worse that Cavendish, just different, and while I can only speak from my own experience I don't think it tastes like artificial banana flavoring. But different people like different things; maybe Gros Michael is the best variety for some people. My personal favorite variety is Pisang Awak (followed by Muraru), now there's a variety that it is a real shame isn't more widely available.

Comment Re:Decades? Really? (Score 1, Insightful) 199

Well,while those advances are real and significant, we do also have people actively working to keep those advances from being utilized. Wouldn't want to tamper with the genetics of a seedless man made fruit, which often has an extra set of chromosomes, and sometimes is a hybrid with a parent that has banana streak virus integrated naturally into its genome...nope, wouldn't want to mass with that picture of biological integrity.

As it stands right now, it looks like the most promising research is the use of somaclonal variants. This is, to make a long story short, when you generate clones with slight random genetic variations which are then grown out and screened for their level of disease resistance. This seems to be the way things will go, which is fortunate, because then we don't have to deal with the anti-GMO crowd trotting out their usual manure.

Comment Re:More than that actually. The bananas are better (Score 5, Informative) 199

Having tried a fair bit more bananas that most people, I disagree. I would say Cavendish is just fine. Sure, there is diversity in banana fruit tastes, and IMO Cavendish is not as good as, say, a Pisang Awak, but I don't get where people call it bad. I've had worse varieties.

and won't survive a plane crash like your laboratory-born neo-fruit.

Cavendish has been cultivated for well over a century. Not exactly what you'd call a 'neo-fruit,' as if that would be a bad thing anyway.

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