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Comment Re:1. Retards - Let's piss off the consumers! (Score 1) 151

It's Nintendo, the most oblivious game company out there, the company that could easily make a very pretty penny by putting their last two decades of games on Steam for a reasonable (keyword there) price. Does this really come as a surprise to anyone? Who really knows what they're thinking.

ergo, the limited terms of copyright.

Ha. It's funny that the only way to Super Mario Bros. legally (outside of a used copy at a yard sale or something) is to spend $5 at the Nintendo eshop. Five dollars, for something that came out in 1985, literally 3 decades ago. That copyright should be long expired.

Nintendo is known for two things: great games and boneheaded actions.

Comment Re:Oh no no no! (Score 1) 103

Yes. I think a lot of the problem is that people are very disconnected from agriculture, and tend towards having little knowledge of basic botany. Agriculture has become so successful over the past century (in developed countries anyway) that we've gone from having half the population engaged in farming to less than 2%. And when it comes to plant knowledge, very few people have much of it. I've heard people claim that GE crops don't produce any seeds, and that's scary. Not because they actually believe that about GMOs, but because some of the top GE crops, corn, soy, and canola, are grown for their seeds; people who say that have just revealed that they don't actually know what seeds are. Personally, I think that plant & agricultural science should be required to be taught for at least a quarter of high school biology classes.

I disagree about the validity of the GMO labeling thing. We don't label any other crop improvement method, and no one makes a fuss about them. There's no one demanding labels for selective breeding, hybridization of inbred lines, doubled haploids, wide crossing/embryo rescue, radiation induced mutagenesis, induced polyploidy, somaclonal variants, bud sport selection, ect. Go to the store and pears don't say they were grafted on quince, blueberries don't even say which species of blueberry they are, apples won't say which bud sport they are, corn chips won't say which varieties of corn they used, watermelon juice won't say the ploidy level of the watermelons, tomatoes won't say if they have S. pimpinellifolium genes in them, ect. To single out one and only one aspect of crop improvement, while not saying the how or why or what of the thing (what gene is inserted, why it is used, how it works, ect.), while not doing anything to counteract the perception of inferior quality that you know people will get form that label, I argue is deceptive. It is telling a certain bit of the truth, but only up to a certain point. I call that a lie of omission, and that's still a lie. It's no different than the 'evolution is only a theory' stickers creationists tried to force a while back in that, while it is technically true, it is also deceptive because to does not give the whole truth and everyone knows it was just an attempt to slander the thing it was targeting.

I have no problem if people want to label things as non-GMO voluntarily, and they are free to do that just like they are free to label things as kosher, halaal, vegan, ect. But I do not agree with forcing it. It is not like sugar contents or presence of soy or gluten or allergens or anything else that can have an actual physical impact on someone. This is a lifestyle choice, not a nutritional necessity, and legal regulations should not exist to cater to ideologies, religions, or lifestyle choices. Unfortunately, the argument if they are unlabeled goes "If they're so safe why are they hidden?" which almost sounds reasonable if you know nothing of the other methods I mentioned. Of course, these same people will point to countries where labeling is mandatory and say "If they're so safe why do they have to be labeled?" so it's a damned if you do damned if you don't situation, but I find don't preferable. Let the opponents of genetic engineering complain; they were going to complain anyway. The thing I find really irritating is that GE crops are so much more controlled and documented than anything else. Eight species (corn, cotton, canola, soybean, papaya, summer squash, alfalfa, and sugar beet, with potato and apple coming soon) are all that is used. If, rather than spend all that time protesting and trying to pass unnecessary laws, anti-GMO people take the five seconds necessary to educate themselves about their own beliefs and remember to avoid those, or buy non-GMO labeled/organic versions, one can avoid GE crops, if that is one's choice. Try doing that for any other crop improvement method.

Comment Re:Oh no no no! (Score 3, Informative) 103

Except that McDonald's market domination (in the sector "cooked foods") is negligible compared to Monsanto's market domination (in the sector "agrobusiness").

Yes, there's only Pioneer, Syngenta, BASF, Dow, Bayer CropScience, ect. Ever been to any of their operations? I have. Those are far from negligible alternative seed sources.

Except that McDonalds isn't (successfully) lobbying governments around the world to rule out home cooking.

And what, exactly, are you implying Monsanto is lobbying governments to forbid? The only ones I see doing that are the anti-GMO groups who would ban even publicly funded GE research.

Except that McDonalds hasn't bought out whole university departments and has a thumb on publication of their results.

So I've been told. Well, I happen to be in one of those often accused of being bought out university departments, and damnedest thing, I keep missing those lucrative selling out seminars. Accusations of conspiracy are the last resort of the wrong. If I was willing to sell myself out for Monsanto or the like I'd just up and work for them and take a nice pay raise while I'm at it. Now, if you have proof of this cabal (which must clearly be clearly global, given the genetic engineering research the world over), and I really am being left out of all that good old Monsanto corruption money without so much as a free Monsanto T-shirt to show for it, I'm willing to hear it, but it better be good, because I think you just made that up.

Comment Re:This happens a lot (Score 2) 103

No, it is still very much not out of date. Although horizontal gene transfer's role in evolution is still being understood, and it may be that the syncytin gene you reference is viral in origin, that certainty doesn't invalidate the standard Darwinian model so much as it adds on to it. To say it plays a larger role in evolution than mutation, at least right now with today's evidence, is quite an extraordinary.

Comment Re:Oh no no no! (Score 1) 103

No, no , no, this is natural transgenics, and that makes things fine, because evolution just smooths things out like that, like it did with the appendix. That was the reaction to natural transgenes in sweet potatoes anyway You joke this might have an impact on the GMO controversy. It won't. Horizontal gene transfer has been known to exist for a long time; amazing what a little hand waving, armchair speculation, and goalpost moving can do to buffer an ideology.

But this doesn't really come as much of a surprise. I think that as more genomes are sequenced and compared to other sequences, we'll probably turn up a lot more examples of horizontal gene transfer. We've already seen a similar case in the plant parasite, striga.

Comment Re:Oh no no no! (Score 4, Insightful) 103

It's just the combination of GMO with incredibly powerful, greedy-without-bounds, out of control corporations what is possibly going to eliminate us from this planet

Well, that's not an overly dramatic exaggerated misrepresentation at all.

The day Monsanto and the likes disappear I'll reconsider my position on GMO.

That's absurd. That's like saying cooked food is bad because you don't like McDonalds. Even if we assume that all the urban legends about Monsanto are true, and that for some strange reason they really are these Saturday morning cartoon super villains that so many people take them for, are you really going to oppose things like the Rainbow papaya (university made, by the University of Hawai'i & Cornell University), Golden Rice (NGO made, by the International Rice Research Institute), Bt eggplant (government made, by Bangladesh), ect. on the basis that someone else is doing something wrong with the same technology?

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.

Retirement means that when someone says "Have a nice day", you actually have a shot at it.