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Comment: Re:So, does water cost more? (Score 1) 377

by ChromeAeonium (#48380133) Attached to: How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa

I don't think you know what I mean when I say hybrid. I mean the offspring of two separate, inbred lines. Sure, wheat for instance is a hybrid between species, but modern day corn lines are hybrids of a different sort, between lines. Seed doesn't go bad after a year (most species anyway) but if you have a variety of genotype AB, and it produces pollen with either the A or B gene and eggs with either the A or B gene, a simple Punnett square will show you the offspring will be either AA or AB or BB, and in a 1:2:1 ratio. If AB is the best, that's a problem for you now that half your seed is no longer of that genotype, and if that same thing is happening in many traits, then its a real bugger.

Heterosis and the genetics behind it are what they are and they favor hybrid seed, with annual repurchasing. This isn't Big Ag mantra, it is a simple fact of genetics.

Comment: Re:Nope (Score 1) 377

by ChromeAeonium (#48376803) Attached to: How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa

So far it looks just like the same "Red Queen's Race" evolution has always provided.

Yes, that exactly. The Union of Concerned Scientists is, as usual, misleading. When we see hessian flies overcome conventionally bred resistances in wheat, where are the cries of superpest? When we see phytophthora overcome conventionally bred resistances in tomato, where are the activists saying that conventional breeding is flawed? Nowhere, and rightfully so, because saying that biotic factors can adapt, and therefore you should do nothing against them, is completely mind bogglingly daft. It's called resistance breakdown, it happens, its been around a lot longer than GMOs have, and as for herbicide tolerant weeds, the first of those showed up decades prior to the introduction of GE crops. And yet, when this very same thing occurs and GMOs are involved, suddenly all there are cries of superpest and superweed (horribly misleading terms) and people saying that basic facts of agriculture prove it worthless.

What I like most is how they try to have their cake and eat it too. GMOs have no benefits, but simultaneously, pests and weeds might adapt and take those benefits away. And the thing is, unless you actually know what you're looking at (which describes most people who work outside of agriculture), the cognitive dissonance is easy to miss and the whole thing sounds pretty convincing, but if you do understand, it is frustratingly biased.

Comment: Re:Lol (Score 1) 377

by ChromeAeonium (#48375857) Attached to: How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa

They're not. They're GMO denialists who recently made misleading claims about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation work in Africa. If you want a legitimate genetic resources organization, you want Biodiversity International. These guys are just professional activists who, rather than doing something worthwhile, are just looking for something to leech off.

Comment: Re:Insert free advert for GMO crops .. (Score 1) 377

by ChromeAeonium (#48375613) Attached to: How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa

not that the seeds get any weaker.

Imagine you have a crop with genetype AB. It produces pollen (male gametes) with gene A, and with gene B. It produces eggs (female gametes) of A and B as well. The means you get a 1:2:1 ration of AA:AB:BB in the progeny. Say you only want AB, as it is the best, and now imagine this same thing is happening is a dozen traits. Do you see why seed saving of hybrids is problematic?

Through over use, weeds are developing resistance to these chemicals, meaning that more of it has to be used.

And this is a problem because it threatens to diminish just how useful those crops are, and it highlights the need for resistances to multiple modes of action of herbicide to mitigate the development or resistant weeds.

Comment: Re: SO (Score 2) 377

by ChromeAeonium (#48375399) Attached to: How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa

Yes, you can't fix hunger without fixing the underlying social issues. Everyone knows that, stop stating the obvious like it is an actual argument. You want to end world hunger, fix corruption, poverty, income inequality, infrastructure, education, healthcare, social welfare, sexual inequality, and all those other ills. But that is easier said than done. Do you have a solution to all those social, economic, and political problems? Because you're smarter by far than me if you do. Ticktock, people are hungry, and every second counts. In the meantime, I don't know how anyone could say that improving the lot of impoverished farmers is a bad thing. It isn't a panacea, but look at the benefits Bt cotton has brought to India (the ignorant but oft repeated claims them causing suisides notwithstanding), or the promise of Bt eggplant in Bangladesh, and tell me you think its a bad thing.

It's such a strange claim, you know. I doubt any anti-GMO activist would reject improvements in, say, automobile safety and say that instead of a technological solution people should all just drive safer. But suddenly when you talk about agriculture, that sort of reasoning is valid, the only way forward is wait for someone to fix that myriad of human centric problems and hope that too many people don't go hungry in the meantime, but don't you dare touch the technological side of things. How utterly absurd it is.

Comment: Re:Alternative? (Score 1) 377

by ChromeAeonium (#48375363) Attached to: How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa

Why no labels? This is an issue that comes up again and again, and there are plenty of good reasons:

1) You irrationally single out a single aspect of crop improvement. Where are the labels for hybrids, open pollinated lines, crops developed with mutagenesis, crops developed with induced polyploidy, bud sports, crops produced with somaclonal variation, crops produced via embryo rescue or with wide crossing in their lineage, ect.? We don't label them. We don't label them because corn produced via a doubled haploid hybrid is still corn, an apple that is a bud sport is still an apple, and a zucchini that is genetically engineered is still a zucchini.

2) You tell the consumer nothing. I modified my computer; tell me what I did to it. If I say that a crop is genetically engineered, tell me what that means. Tell me what I did, why, what it means, what are the benefits. Is it insect resistant, herbicide tolerant (if so which one), virus resistant (if so which ones), drought tolerant, how do those genes work, why are they used, what are the benefits? Unless you already know what is what (see point 4), saying that something is GMO doesn't actually tell me anything, does it?

3) You do not correct any misinformation. People are afraid of GMOs. Unfortunate, not scientifically justified, but true. Non-GMO labels are everywhere, even on crops where there are no GMO varieties, as a marketing tool. I saw non-GMO labeled figs and non-GMO labeled basil the other day..there is no GMO figs or basil on the market, anywhere. Remember that old XKCD comic about marketing? Make no mistake, this is both marketing for the companies that convenient sell non-GMO crops, as well as ideology. Professional activists at Greenpeace and the Center for Food safety have made a career of denying science and spreading fear. A label does nothing to correct that and can very easily be taken as a sign there is something wrong with the food, when there really is nothing.

4) You can already tell what crops are and are not genetically engineered. Corn, soy, canola, cotton, alfalfa, sugar beet, summer squash, papaya. Learn about them, and you can know. Too hard for you? Too damned bad, this is your ritualistic impurity beliefs, you take responsibility for it. Just like Kosher or Halal, you can avoid what you find questionable, or buy specially labeled things.

So, you want to select one thing, tell nothing about it, and correct no deficiencies in public knowledge? That's not informing people, that's a lie of omission. It is no different from the 'Evolution is just a theory' labels. Yeah, it was technically true, but taken so far out of context that it was deceptive and everyone knows it. This labeling nonsense is politically motivated crap and everyone knows it.

Comment: Re:So, does water cost more? (Score 3, Informative) 377

by ChromeAeonium (#48375225) Attached to: How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa

We did that for millennia before switching to hybrid seed. Ever consider that there might be a reason why farmers would be willing to pay more for their seed? Over the past century hybrid seeds, as well as increased focus on plant breeding, have given massive yield gains. No one is saying that locally adapted traits shouldn't be used, of course they should, everyone including the companies selling they hybrid seeds know that, but hybrid vigor is a very real and very powerful thing, and there's no way around that.

Comment: Re:What Happens When /. Headlines... (Score 1) 170

by ChromeAeonium (#48366475) Attached to: What Happens When Nobody Proofreads an Academic Paper

To their credit it does mention 'despite layers upon layers of editing, peer review, and proofreading' right in the summery, so I assume it must in TFA (which I, as per tradition, have no intention of actually reading), but as we all know /. editors sure as shit don't have any room to criticize other people's mistakes in editing.

Comment: Re:Not just Aquaman (Score 1) 187

by ChromeAeonium (#48166309) Attached to: Warner Brothers Announces 10 New DC Comics Movies

Before the movies cam out I'd say it was about the same for Marvel too. Spider-Man was, as far as I recall anyway, way more well known than Iron Man and Thor, but Marvel successfully popularized them. Marvel pulled off Guardians of the Galaxy pretty well and how many people, one year ago, had ever even heard of them? If DC promotes and makes their films well (Green Lantern was pretty awful IMO), I think they could successfully promote not only the characters listed here but also some of their other characters.

It's too bad Young Justice got canceled by some suited shit for brains, that was a great introduction to the DC universe to wider audiences.

Comment: Re:To quote TBBT (Score 1) 187

by ChromeAeonium (#48164707) Attached to: Warner Brothers Announces 10 New DC Comics Movies

Whoa there, have you actually seen any good Aquaman related material? I mean, besides some campy old cartoon from decades ago? Bulletproof, super strength, super speed, the standard suite of DC powers, along with some magical abilities, ruler of a kingdom, master of the seas...and yeah, command of marine life.

If you don't know much about Aquaman I suggest reading over this or this to understand. Aquaman kicks ass. The common kneejerk 'Aquaman sucks' thing is not accurate.

Comment: Re:Is there a single field that doesn't? (Score 1) 460

by ChromeAeonium (#47949871) Attached to: Science Has a Sexual Assault Problem

At a recent professional meeting, a woman made suggestive sexual remarks to me about a computer program. If I had said the same thing to another woman, the second woman could have interpreted it as harassment under that definition.

That's basically the 2013 'Donglegate' controversy in a nutshell.

Comment: Re:Apoplectic (Score 1) 167

by ChromeAeonium (#47838255) Attached to: Scientists Sequence Coffee Genome, Ponder Genetic Modification

That happened in Hawai'i. The University of Hawai'i was considering developing a GE variety, but the Kona coffee growers opposed it. I imagine not because they actually believe it was actually a bad thing, but because they target the high end market, which has a large cross-over with the hippie anti-science market that would flip out if they though their coffee was GMO. It doesn't even have to be since these types of people consider Facebook rumors to be fact checking, so the mere rumor would be enough to hurt the industry. As such, GE coffee on the Big Island got banned (also, GMO taro got banned at the same time because of political and religious reasons, which was absolute bullshit, but that's another topic). Now that the coffee berry borer is becoming increasingly problematic, I wonder if anyone is having second thoughts, although necessity has never mattered to the anti-GMO crowd, who still hate the papaya industry for being saved from total destruction by the Rainbow papaya. It is frustrating that ignorance is now considered a valid point of view.

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. -- Elbert Hubbard