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Comment: Re: In other words (Score 1) 299 299

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) 299 299

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) 299 299

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) 299 299

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) 299 299

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) 299 299

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.

Comment: Re:GMOs have so many different problems (Score 1) 187 187

No, GE crop labeling has failed, and rightfully so. Labels on patented crops were never an issue. Many non-GE crops are also patented. If you don't like them, don't grow them. If you want no interaction of any sort with anything patented, well, good luck with that. Even the non-GMO organic grown with patented stuff from John Deere.

Comment: Re:Bash transgenic foods all you want (Score 1) 187 187

The first sentence says exactly what I already said, which is how inserts overcoming the crop's resistance can lead to an erosion of already provided benefits, which is quite a well documented and easily explained phenomenon. That is very different than the claim that GE crops lead to more insecticide use.

Comment: Re:GMOs have so many different problems (Score 1) 187 187

Eventually it will be a bit difficult to avoid the altered genes.

Well, kind of. All genes do that in an outcrossing species (a crop that pollinates others readily, like corn or squash). In a natural population, selection pressure will influence the spread of the gene throughout the population, however, crops are not a natural population. For example, I have seed of blue, red, white, and yellow corn, and seed of all sorts of heirloom squash (orange and lumpy, bright red and smooth, pale and long). How is it possible that each of those still manages to exist, if genes inevitably spread throughout the population? Simple, controlled crossing. Genes inserted though biotechnology are no different. If you are preserving a population of, say, heirloom crops, you don't want any crossing anyway, and if you are simply buying hybrid seed every year, which many farmers do, it doesn't matter what they get crossed with.

but to have plants that resist Roundup get big doses of Roundup to kill other plants.

That is a misconception. They do not have to withstand 'big doses' of the herbicide; do you honestly think that farmers are spending extra money on seed so they can spend extra money on herbicide? The gene inserted is an alternate form of an enzyme found in all plants; the amount you need to spray is not a 'big dose' but rather enough to kill the weed.

That's arguably an irresponsible use of GMO.

Fair enough, I suppose you have a better method of weed control then? Your options, realistically, are tillage (very damaging to soil health), hand weeding (completely unfeasible), or harsher herbicides. Not good options, but that's what we've got, and if you're going to criticize crops resistant to glyphosate, which is one of the better herbicides out there, you are going to need a viable alternative; this is not a case of herbicide resistant crops versus nothing, it is a case of them or something else.

Certainly it makes Roundup a short lived herbicide, as plants develop resistance to it. And they will.

Well, yes, just like weeds developed resistance to other types of herbicides. This does not mean you don't use them, it means we need to use them better to mitigate resistance by using multiple modes of action instead of over-relying on one mode of action (EPSPS inhibitors in the case of Round-Up). Additionally, conventional breeding is also used to make herbicide resistant crops; are you going to criticize conventional breeding as well?

Comment: Re:GMOs have so many different problems (Score 2) 187 187

No one says when hessian fly resistance genes in wheat are overcome by the pest, or when late blight genes in tomato fail (both being non-GE), that it means conventional breeding is of questionable benefit. But when the GE crops have the same problems non-GE crops do, then suddenly they're of questionable benefit? The problem is people don't know how much they don't know, and rather than assuming maybe there's a reason plant scientists aren't in revolt against genetic engineering, they assume they've got the whole story. Fact is, this is basic population genetics, you apply selection pressure to a large fast reproducing population like pests, weeds, or pathogens, you risk genetic shifts which might not be what we as humans want, and nature really doesn't care if that pressure is coming from breeding, genetic engineering, chemical controls, or what. You are using a universal problem as an argument against a specific thing.

Comment: Re:GMOs have so many different problems (Score 4, Insightful) 187 187

Yep. People oppose the various big company made ones, claiming they don't like big companies. But then they'll also oppose things like the Arctic Apple (developed by a small company), the Rainbow papaya (developed by the University of Hawai'i), Golden Rice (developed by non-profit International Rice Research Institute), and Honeysweet plum (developed by the USDA), among plenty of other examples. Many will oppose university, NGO, and government developed GE crops, then say it's just about Monsanto...not buying that. Even this wheat in question was publicly funded and developed by Rothamsted Research,and what happened? This group called Take the Flour Back wanted to destroy it, which is better than what happened to CSIRO's publicly funded GE wheat research in Australia, where some book burners from Greenpeace successfully did destroy the research. All that aside, there are plenty of patented non-GE plants which vary rarely encounter controversy. The only consistent thing that gets controversy it genetic engineering, not public or private, patented or not. This controversy is not about patents, or quite bluntly any of the other common excuses for opposition to genetic engineering for that matter.

Comment: Re:GMOs have so many different problems (Score 2) 187 187

If you don't like patented plants, no one is forcing you to use them. Problem solved. You use the things that were not built on patent royalties, let others pay extra for the things that were, and in 20 years, they're both the same anyway when the patent expires. Isn't that how the patent system is supposed to work, you develop something, recoup your costs (and heaven forbid make a profit), hopefully reinvest into new innovation, then eventually the thing falls to the public? What's wrong with that system? This isn't copyright's 'life of the universe plus 10 years' schtick.

Rather they stole them

Oh, did they download a car? What was stolen, from whom, by who, and how?

And furthermore, I like how no one ever brings this up when conventional breeding is mentioned...no one ever opposes Honeycrisp, for example, which was once patented (since expired). No one ever says 'Ah, those damned greedy apple breeders, trying to keep their apple breeding program well funded so they can go on to develop new awesome varieties like SnowSweet that otherwise might not even exist!' That alone tells me this has more to do with justifying opposition to genetic engineering than any legitimate gripe with plant patents.

Comment: Re:Bash transgenic foods all you want (Score 3, Interesting) 187 187

After cursory glance at that, it seems neither of the graphs in the EWG thing you linked to even mention GE. More widely accepted publications tend to say otherwise, depending on the situation.

I also like the part where no one ever explains how insect resistance is supposed to increase insecticide use, but only when that resistance is transgenic. No one would ever argue against conventionally bred resistances, and somehow, once genetic engineering is involved, then the genetic component of integrated pest management (which is to say, select varieties and/or species resistant to your local insect populations as a first line of defense against them, as opposed to chemical controls later) is suddenly a bad thing.

I do love that they mentioned the insects that have overcome the transgenic defenses. Typical anti-GE nonsense: deny the crops help pest problems, meanwhile say the crop resistances are creating selection pressure for resistance overcoming insects (which shows they slept through population genetics), then deny there are benefits, meanwhile say that the resistant pests are a huge problem. I mean, yeah they genuinely are a problem, but because they threaten the benefits we've already gotten.

Comment: Re:Nothing that money can't buy (Score 1) 65 65

You're not the only one to notice that; I've seen that too. I've seen some protests here on O'ahu but never been to any, and I certainty don't care to, but I've noticed that there is a large overlap between the two groups. For example, one of the well known activists who wants all the telescopes gone is the same one who played a big role in the banning of genetically engineered taro research and presently supports the anti-GMO groups. IMO, there's a lot of projecting and two minutes of hate tactics to advance the agendas and careers of certain professional activists (and the sovereignty movement) at any cost, at least at the top level anyway, no doubt there must be those who are honest but uninformed, and maybe a small number of people who would still care for their own reasons even if there wasn't a popular bandwagon to jump on. It's kind of ironic considering that UH developed the genetically engineered papaya...the proof that genetic engineering works and evidence that it is not a corporate conspiracy is literally in the local market.

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