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Comment Re:Morons. (Score 2) 458

You don't understand economics, do you?

If the gas was cheap, many would buy it. So they would have gas.

If the supply is low and the demand is high, as it is in an emergency, the price increases as demand outstrips supply. If you make the gas artificially cheap, the demand will increase to a level where it can't be met, so most people won't have gas.

Comment Re:Land of the Free (Score 1) 559

You certainly raise a good point that it's a relatively new technology and so the long term effects are somewhat unknown. However, there's currently no particular reason to think that it's not safe, even in theory. There is always the potential for some unknown and unforeseen factor to lie lurking in wait, but that's true for any new technology. The resistance to GM technology seems to mostly be based on fear of the unknown, combined with a lack of understanding of—and perhaps even a willful refusal to understand—the scientific principles behind the process.

Comment Re:Cheerleading for Kraft (Score 1) 559

In other words, your attempts to create a sort of Newspeak that redefines your terms to suit your argument having been exposed, you now attempt to redefine my terms to suit your argument.

Unless you want to argue that e. coli can crossbreed with wheat, there are genes that are introduced in GMO food that cannot come from cross-breeding.

You sound like the religious fanatics who claim that evolution couldn't possibly be true, because you can't explain how certain traits came up in some organisms and not others. Well, not only can I explain how it happened, I can generally explain why it happened. And knowing the why and the how, I can attempt to provide the same selection pressure on other organisms to produce the same result. Do you believe that it's impossible for traits that show up in one organism to ever show up in another? I assume you don't. Do you believe it's impossible to coerce a genetic trait into existence via selective cultivation and environmental pressure? Again, if you know anything about how bacteria evolve immunity to antibiotics, you know that's not true. Do you think it's impossible to transfer a desirable trait into a genetic line solely via selective cultivation and cross-breeding? If you know anything about botany, you know that you can indeed do so. So what makes you think you can't coerce a trait that exists in one organism into showing up in another via strictly non GM means? You obviously can do so, but it might take a very long time or a lot of luck. Genetic modifications just takes the random chance out of it, and allows you to skip the laborious and time-consuming process of doing things the traditional way. There's nothing magical about it.

Comment Re:Land of the Free (Score 1) 559

My point is that, from a strict scientific perspective, there isn't really any difference between genetic modification and selective cultivation. Genetic modification is simply a way of speeding up a process that historically took centuries or even millennia to accomplish with less advanced technology.

Anyway, I've been around this site long enough to know that unpopular points of view are regularly modded down as “trolls”. Most people here, ultimately, aren't really qualified to moderate because they can't tell an actual troll from somebody who simply has a differing viewpoint. Luckily, in the fifteen years or so that I've been here I've racked up enough karma that I don't really give a damn about moderators with an agenda to push. :)

Comment Re:Cheerleading for Kraft (Score 1) 559

The problem is that everyone who talks about the magic of the free market is talking about a perfect market.

Now who's arguing semantics? Sorry, but you can't just move the goalposts by redefining terms as you see fit. I know of nobody who believes that the term “free market” means anything other than a market free from government regulation.

Yes, GMO at its most benign is nothing but cutting short a few generations of selective breeding. However, just like I don't need the exact breakdown of every atom in the food I buy, so I don't need a breakdown of every gene in the food I buy. It's sufficient to list out the genes that were artificially inserted and that make up the patent for the food (I'm sure you know that one of the drivers behind GMO food is because it allows for patenting food, right?).

Is your argument about health concerns or patent concerns? Because it again seems like you're trying to shift the goalposts here. Your original concern seemed to be about wanting to know if the banana was a special “glow-in-the-dark” kind, with no mention of patents. If your concern is really about the patent issues, then fine, that's your prerogative. But while you've admitted that genetic modification is nothing more than a shortcut to cross-breeding, you still haven't said what's so special about genes added using this technique that makes them somehow more relevant than other kinds of genes.

You might want to also look into "false dichotomy", "relevance in decision making" and "silence is golden."

If you had a point here, I'm not sure what it is. Either you can claim some legitimate scientific reason why genes inserted via genetic modification are different from genes inserted by cross-breeding (which you can't, because they aren't actually any different), or you have no point whatsoever.

Comment Re:Cheerleading for Kraft (Score 1) 559

Yes, he does. A perfect market, by definition, must be a free market, and free markets operate more efficiently with better information. You cannot logically separate the concepts into two different things... so it is YOU who are making the straw-man argument.

The claim was that perfect access to information was a cornerstone requirement of a free market. It is not. A perfect market may be a form of free market that requires perfect access to information, but that doesn't mean that a free market requires it. Logic 101 here. If every A is a kind of B, and every A has C, does every B have C? Not necessarily. If every perfect market is a free market, and every perfect market requires perfect information, does every free market require perfect information? Not necessarily. See how that works?

Again, it is YOU who do not know what you are talking about. There are EASILY identifiable differences in many GMO foods. No amount of cross-breeding on earth will insert genes from already-highly modified E. Coli into crops ("roundup-ready" corn) or otherwise cross plants and animals in such a manner. Or dissimilar animals, like jellyfish with mammals.

You are mistaken. Genes are genes. They neither know nor care which organism a specific genetic sequence arose in. Essentially any genetic sequence can be achieved in any organism given enough generations for it to arise and careful cross-breeding to isolate it. The fact that a specific mutation has arisen in one type of organism through luck of the draw shouldn't preclude us from reaping the benefits of it in others. There's no scientific rationale for the position that it should, except that it “sounds scary” to people who don't understand as much about how the science of genetics works as they think they do.

Comment Re:Land of the Free (Score 1) 559

Yes, it can. First you just have to wait around a few thousand generations for the same gene to surface in the host plant. There's no reason why it couldn't or wouldn't, if you believe in the theory of evolution. Then you isolate that gene in the host plant by selective cross-breeding. It's a very slow, labor intensive process that can take many years to be successful, but there's no reason why it couldn't work. It's precisely what we've been doing for millennia. Genetic modification simply allows to reap the benefits of that labor at a much accelerated pace.

Comment Re:Cheerleading for Kraft (Score 1, Flamebait) 559

I find it interesting that one of the cornerstone requirements for a working free market - perfect access to full information - is being opposed by entities praising the free market at every turn.

You don't know what you're talking about. Perfect access to information is a condition of a perfect market, not a free market. The only condition for a free market is a lack of government regulations. Free markets do not require perfect access to anything, either as a condition to exist or in order to function properly. Your entire argument is a strawman.

It's that when I buy a banana, I want to know that this isn't a regular Chiquita banana, but the glow-in-the-dark version that is designed to keep nocturnal monkeys from eating it. In other words, I want to know what the product is that I'm buying. This bill would help me with that.

You're under the mistaken impression that there's some identifiable difference between GMO and non-GMO foods, that couldn't be achieved through natural cross-breeding techniques that have been used for thousands of years. Genetic modification just speeds up the process. Do you expect the entire genome of any fruit you buy to be mapped out for you before you decide whether or not to purchase it? If not, then your position is invalid, because just knowing that a food is “genetically modified” tells you absolutely nothing about what's actually in that food.

Comment Re:Land of the Free (Score -1, Troll) 559

That's silly. So-called “genetic modification” is no different from cross-breeding that has been going on since the dawn of agriculture. Would you require a label for food that's grown using a tractor, or a computer controlled irrigation system, or some other technology that didn't exist a couple hundred years ago? What's special about this, other than that ignorant technophobes are freaked out by this particular thing for no good reason?


Android Tricorder Killed By CBS 247

First time accepted submitter josn writes "Today I found out that Moonlight's Tricorder app, which I always install on Android devices, is gone. Google received a DMCA letter from CBS. I think it is a shame that CBS thinks it needs to kill a free and open source project giving a ad-less app. I, for one, sent a message to CBS explaining that this fan-supported app is not bad, but good for them, and asked them to reconsider. I hope, especially for the author, who must have spent a lot of time on this app, that they do."

Comment Re:Moving on (Score 1) 364

Read this and weep. NOBODY has the ability to just move off of nuclear power. Or any other power source for that matter. There is no such thing as "alternative energy". Global power demand is constantly increasing, even faster than population growth (in fact, as energy use increases, population tends to grow more slowly or even decline). We're going to need every watt of power we can get in the not too distant future, from nuclear sources or otherwise. This is a very foolish act on the part of Germany, that will only end up screwing them down the line as energy costs increase dramatically within 50 years, and their economy struggles to keep up. But by then, it will be too late. If Germany started building nuclear plants NOW, and continued building them at a rate that is practically impossible to manage, there's a CHANCE their economy might not end up collapsing completely within half a century.

Mark my words. People will look back on this as the beginning of the end for Germany.

Hardware Hacking

Magical Chinese Hard Drive 347

jamax writes "From TFA: 'A Russian friend .... works at a hard-drive repair center in a Russian town, located near the Chinese border. A couple of days ago a customer brought a broken 500GB USB-drive that he had bought in a Chinese store across the river, for an insanely low price. But the drive was not working: if you, say, save a movie onto the drive, playing the saved movie back resulted in replaying just the last 5 minutes of the film.' Apparently, the contents of the external HDD box included: two nuts, glued to the inner surface of the box with a 128MB flash drive wedged between them (image). And it was a clever hack, too — if ever an attempt was made to write a file that's too large, it got cycled — rewriting itself over and over from the beginning, while leaving the existing files intact. And it reported everything correctly — file sizes and all!"

Microsoft Patent Deems Comic Books Shameful 209

theodp writes "A newly-surfaced Microsoft patent application describes methods of secretly matching up individuals whose shared 'fringe interests' might be 'a source of shame or embarrassment' to them should they become known to society-at-large. No, not sexual preferences. A much bigger taboo. Comic books. 'For example,' explains Microsoft in its filing, 'an ambitious professional is not likely to divulge that he likes, say, comic books, even though quite true. Appreciably, certain affinities especially those relating to fringe interests, eccentricities, or topics about which there is a common misconception or very little mainstream familiarity or understanding are generally omitted rather than included in conventional descriptions. Typically, this is so because these affinities might be a source of shame or embarrassment or incur undue explanation.'"

Your own mileage may vary.