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Comment: Re:Maybe anti-gun measures are good? (Score 1) 91

by mlts (#46802161) Attached to: L.A. Science Teacher Suspended Over Student Science Fair Projects

I feel like a survivalist stating this, but I think it is good to teach kids some skills that are not dependent on electricity, if only how not to be completely helpless during a power outage or a disaster:

One example is basic usage and care of a generator. It is surprising how few people don't get that there is a difference between a Harbor Freight special (which is an ET800 clone of a Yamaha model made in the early 19702), versus a Honda, Yamaha, or other quality generator with an inverter (or at the minimum active voltage regulation) that puts out clean power.

Another example, something simple as planting a garden or raising chickens. Skills that may not be needed all the time, but if something does happen, are worth having.

Comment: Re:Shame this happened (Score 1) 136

by ChromeAeonium (#46792331) Attached to: Plant Breeders Release 'Open Source Seeds'

And one other thing I forgot to add:

Had they focused their modifications only on creating high yield and high nutrition crops

There is no single gene for yield. Yield is a factor of weather, soil fertility, moisture, biotic conditions like disease, pest and weed pressure, ect. You take away pest pressure, and you don't think yield won't go up? well, it kind of doesn't, not in developed countries anyway, where we were spraying pesticides to control pests. But in developed countries, things are very different. So, you really can't say they don't improve yield, or sustainability. Even the much maligned herbicide tolerant ones do.

Of course, higher nutrient crops don't fair any better than Monsanto's crops, perhaps they are hated even more, if the protesting is anything to go by. Which makes sense I guess...the claim that GMOs are all bad and there's no nuance whatsoever and therefore you should don't money to professional anti-GMO activists might look a bit silly when it is out saving even more lives. God forbid Greenpeace, Navdanya, OCA, and all those other greedy sociopaths put humanity before profit. Their actions have lead to more deaths than the anti-vaxxers.

Comment: Re:Shame this happened (Score 1) 136

by ChromeAeonium (#46792249) Attached to: Plant Breeders Release 'Open Source Seeds'

Creating the terminator gene is first to mind.

They didn't create the terminator gene, they bought the company (Delta & Pine Land Co.) that did. They then promised not to use it when people got angry about it, and have never commercialized it, although people are also angry that GE crops can cross pollinate with non-GE crops (like every other outcrossing plant species on the planet). They're damned if they do and damned if they don't.

The biggest gripe I have is their drive to produce pest- and herbicide-resistant crops

That's a bit complicated. I believe you have been mislead by the anti-GE propaganda because within the proper context that makes a lot more sense. That's exactly how breeding and crop improvement programs work. We bred for hessian fly resistant wheat, and the fly evolved. We bred for late blight resistant tomatoes, and the late blight evolved. The first herbicide resistant weeds emerged in the 70's. That was conventional breeding, not genetic engineering, and the exact same thing happened, but no one makes a big fuss because breeding is not controversial, so no one calls them super pests or super weeds or super diseases. You are describing a problem of agriculture, not one of genetic engineering. And what would you have rather had, more pesticide sprays? Ignoring the pests and hoping they go away? That argument is like pointing to anti-viral resistant strains of HIV and claiming we should just stop trying to treat HIV. There is no prefect answer here, not when dealing with biotic systems anyway. Maybe with nutrient acquisition or drought tolerance or cold hardiness traits, yeah, abiotic factors don't evolve, but biotic factors are complicated. The way the media has been dealing with this has been sensationalist, ham handed, and completely fails to give the proper context of the matter, so in a sense its no wonder people hate Monsanto and their GMOs. The best thing to do is to use a multi-pronged mode of attack, with multiple modes of action, and biological and cultural considerations, but unfortunately, between the over-bearing regulations hindering new genes being utilized and other issues such as some people not planting their refuge areas and ruining it for everyone, the ideal methods are not being used.

Every one of these is putting other farmers' crops at risk, because they're creating pesticide-resistant super-bugs and herbicide-resistant super-weeds.

That's anther misconception. they're not super at all, they are just resistant to one particular type of insecticidal protein or herbicide. If you don't use Bt crops or glyphosate, if you use Liberty Link crops for instance, there is little to no difference to you. The threat here is not that we're creating a race of super weeds and super pests (BS emotional terms by the way) but that we will lose the benefits GMOs have already provided. By the way, funny how the anti-GMO groups went straight from 'There's no benefits to GMOs!' to 'Ha! They are losing their benefits!' Talk about having your cake and eating it too.

Basically, yeah, people hate Monsanto for the reasons you gave, true, but those reasons actually are not very convincing. Unfortunately, there is a lot more rhetoric and baloney being put out there than actual fact and essential historical and scientific context.

Comment: Re:Mnsanto - hate unjustified? (Score 2) 136

by ChromeAeonium (#46792035) Attached to: Plant Breeders Release 'Open Source Seeds'

How the hell did that get modded informative, that's blatantly false.

They planted Roundup-resistant plants

'They' here being farmers, do you have any idea how supply chains work?

all over while saying "the resistance will never spread to other plants" without actually bothering to check whether that was the case, as if they had never heard of plasmids.

Yes, your degree from Google University means you know more than all the scientists at Monsanto. And what the hell do plasmids have to do with anything?

Roundup-resistant weeds with the Monsanto gene in them were found IN THE NEXT FIELD BELONGING TO A DIFFERENT LANDOWNER four months after the first crops were planted

Man, if horizontal gene transfer happened that easily we'd be living in a very different world, however, that didn't happen. This is evolution 101 here; apply a strong selective pressure over a large area upon a fast reproducing species and you produce genetic shifts. If you knew anything about agriculture (you clearly don't) you would know that the first examples of herbicide resistant weeds emerged in the 70's, decades before GMOs. This is a problem systematic of agriculture, not one of GMOs. As for the Roundup resistant weeds, their mode of resistance is well understood, with mutations such as amplification of the EPSP synthase enzyme, or blocking of glyphosate translocation, or modification of the glyphosate binding site responsible, but never once has there been a single instance of the weeds uptaking the crop's genes. I'll eat my hat if you can find me a single example of the C4 EPSPS gene (the gene used in RR crops) being integrated into a weed's genome. Come on, prove me wrong, I'd love to hear about it. If Monsanto is so evil, and the hate so justified, the evidence of what you say should be abundant, and it shouldn't be hard to shut me up.

Since then, Monsanto have lied repeatedly about the spread of resistance

And here's Monsanto talking about it., Two seconds on Google is all it would have taken to find that. That news is all over the ag world, no one is covering it up, its been a topic of discussion for a long time, and if you paid attention to ag news or watched ag TV programs like on RDF-TV then you'd know that.

I really wish people who knew nothing about agriculture would stop going around saying what's what when they wouldn't know guanine from glufosinate.

Comment: Re:Palm IIIx (Score 1) 674

by mlts (#46789845) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

I have a Palm VII. It was fiddly, but it worked and works now (although no wireless anymore) as a great password manager that is offline and will always remain offline.

The device I have that I say has the best design for being timeless is the Palm V. It is one of those things that even 15 years later, it still looks relatively modern (other than the lack of a color screen.) It held up with daily use for years until smartphones caused the device and its charging cradle to wind up on the shelf for good.

Comment: Re:test gear that was made in USA in the 50s and 6 (Score 4, Informative) 674

by mlts (#46789753) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

I would say that my old HP48SX calculator with a card for additional functions still works and is useful. Engineering calculations are engineering calculations, and the tactile feel of the buttons is a lot more accurate than trying to use an emulator on a smartphone.

Just the small engineering touches showed outstanding build quality. For example, the card had an edge connector, but there was a sliding metal flap that kept the connector on a card shielded until it was inserted into the calculator.

Comment: Re:Anything built before 2001 (Score 1) 674

by mlts (#46789705) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

I remember an early 1990s computer case for a generic 386 (back when we had hundreds of beige box makers.) It had multiple cam locks (Medeco or Ace, forgot which), as well as a keyswitch. It wasn't made out of tinfoil sheet metal as today's cases, the thickness had to be at least 1/8 of an inch. That case was used and reused by a friend of mine because it just worked without issue, and why waste something that well made.

I wouldn't mind going back to the days of repair rather than replace. Better off to pay twice as much for something and be able to maintain/expand/upgrade it than have it break or go obsolete and contribute to more landfill clutter.

Comment: Re:There aren't infinite bugs (Score 4, Interesting) 234

by mlts (#46787989) Attached to: Bug Bounties Don't Help If Bugs Never Run Out

People talk about bug free code. It is a matter of won't, not a matter of can't.

Sometimes, there are products out there which can be considered "finished". Done as in no extra features needed, and there are no bugs to be found. Simple utilities like /usr/bin/yes come to mind. More complex utilities can be honed to a reasonable degree of functionality (busybox comes to mind.)

The problem isn't the fact that secure or bug free software can't be made. It is that the procedures and processes to do this require resources, and most of the computer industry runs on the "it builds, ship it!" motto [1]. Unfortunately, with how the industry works, if a firm does do the policy of "we will ship it when we are ready", a competitor releasing an early beta of a similar utility will win the race/contracts. So, it is a race to the bottom.

[1]: The exception to this rule being malware, which is probably the most bug-free code written anywhere these days. It is lean, robust, does what it is purposed to do, and is constantly updated without a fuss.

Comment: Re:Shame this happened (Score 1) 136

by ChromeAeonium (#46786353) Attached to: Plant Breeders Release 'Open Source Seeds'

For me, it's not the GE plants themselves but the misuse of artificial scarcity (aka "intellectual property) laws to monopolize them.

They're not monopolized though. That's not how patents work (that's like saying Sony has a monopoly on Playstations, it is kind of true, but a monopoly is controlling all of a thing, not all of a particular type of a thing), and anyway, don't like Monsanto, there's Syngenta, or Pioneer, or Bayer. A much more important problem is the over-regulation preventing publicly funded projects from being commercialized. Ending patents won't do much of benefit.

Comment: Re:Shame this happened (Score 3, Insightful) 136

by ChromeAeonium (#46786303) Attached to: Plant Breeders Release 'Open Source Seeds'

Yeah, fuck them for blocking important technological advances like insect resistant crops and lifesaving Golden Rice! And fuck them for suing farmers for unknowingly having their crops cross pollinated, even though that never actually happened. Oh wait...what are we angry about again? You know, before you start damning folks to hell (it wouldn't be the first time I've gotten that one), maybe you should check to see that you're not being lied to and emotionally manipulated by people out to advance their own social, political, and economic agendas.

And the fact that this bullshit is being exported through corrupt politicians to 3rd world countries where people starve every day.

Well, I agree with that, but I think we're talking about very different bullshits. I'm talking about the fact that, if the field of plant improvement had not been set back by 15 years by activists using Monsanto as a generic boogeyman, we'd be awash in all sorts of beneficial crop traits. Instead, publicly funded GE crops stopped with the extremely successful Rainbow papaya. Bangladesh is just now getting Bt eggplant, and its about time (and just wait, when it inevitability makes it to India, there's going to be a shitstorm among idiot activists who've never stepped food in either a farm or a lab). Golden Rice still has yet to be released. Something is very wrong here, and this time it isn't the big corporation.

Comment: Re:Shame this happened (Score 4, Interesting) 136

by ChromeAeonium (#46786191) Attached to: Plant Breeders Release 'Open Source Seeds'

Yep, seems to be about that way. I've got some blue tomato seed that has no patents on it (Dancing With Smurfs, actual name), and no one makes a fuss about it. I don't see what their point is here. I was about to mod you up but since I actually work with plant breeding think I'll give my own 2 cents instead.

The claim in TFA about being worried about no more germplasm is totally ridiculous. With my blue tomatoes I've got a bunch of heirloom varieties of things (Blue Jade sweet corn, Dragon Tongue bean, Red Kuri squash, Giant Prague celeriac, Star of David okra, and lots more) that can in no way be patented. They are there, and as long as people keep propagating them they'll always be there, free to use. Furthermore, the patents on plants do expire; Honeycrisp apples used to be pateneted, but they're not anymore (by the way, that patent brought in tons of money to the program that developed it, allowing them to develop some other pretty amazing varieties). And Monsanto (because everyone brings up Monsanto) is not an exception here; their first Roundup Ready soybean goes off patent in a few months. That means this very year, farmers can, if they choose, save that variety and plant it for the 2015 crop. I really can't see the problem people have with these sorts of patents, isn't that how things are supposed to work? Develop, patent, recoup losses, then the invention falls to the public domain, and the profit is reinvested for new innovations (ex. SnowSweet apples and DroughtGard corn). Don't like patented plants? Fine, don't grow them, problem solved. And with the 'farmers sued for cross pollination' thing being a myth (no, accidental cross pollination is not the same as intentional selection any more than making a home movie is the same as recording a film in a theater and selling it), so I really don't get the Monsanto hate people are inevitably going to flame up with this. The vast majority of the reasons they are demonized for are nothing but lies, and yet somehow, Monsanto is still the bad guy here, not the weasels lying and being emotionally manipulative to make an extremely important technology look evil via guilt by proxy.

Additionally, I am envious of these guys if they have a program that has enough money to release things for free, although reading TFA it seems like they will be picking and choosing which is released for free and which is patented, indicating this is just a way to get some good publicity out of things that would otherwise be discarded. I work with a breeding project and you can bet whatever comes out of it will be patented, not because I'm out to get rich (we'd all go corporate if money was the prime concern) but because there is not enough funding for public agriculture research. You think we want to? We don't, but breeding programs need funding. That's a fact of life. Times are hard for funding, and sometimes it seems the only time the public stops long enough to pay attention is to demonize us for saying GMOs don't cause cancer, or autism, or whatever the hell the denialists and conspiracy theorists are prattling on about today. Maybe if everyone called up their local congresscritters and other politicians and demanded more funding for their land grant universities and public agriculture research that wouldn't be the case. Ever been to a corporate lab? Well I have, and it'd be great to have the equipment they can afford. But hey, go on attacking Monsanto and other private breeders for trying to support themselves (anyone think pluots just magically appeared? Someone spend a hell of a lot of time and effort developing those, nice to hear from the anti-plant patent crowd that they deserve to get screwed over for it), I'm sure hurting them will make all the actual problems magically disappear.

All that aside, its damned cool that they're working with quinoa breeding. It's about time we see a stronger focus on quinoa breeding. Now if only teff, amaranth, sorghum, millet, manoomin, fonio, chia, and Job's tears programs will follow...

Comment: Re:Disagree (Score 1) 254

by mlts (#46779925) Attached to: SSD-HDD Price Gap Won't Go Away Anytime Soon

I don't see tape being killed off until magnetic density in HDDs hits major diminishing returns. Even though there is only one tape drive maker these days (Quantum with the LTO line), they can keep advancing tape because the media has a lot more area than a HDD platter (or a stack of platters.) An average LTO-6 tape is 846 meters long, and that is a lot of space, even with factoring in the physical contact that the media has to go through.

It would be nice to see a consumer grade tape drive that can run from USB 3 or 3.1, especially if WORM cartridges were available, with media about 1TB native in capacity. Couple this with some decent backup software, and it would come in handy to mitigate data loss. Tape's advantage is that it is inexpensive, easily stored (drop a cartridge, and if there is no physical damage, it will still work), and can be set read-only in hardware.

I've wondered if a HDD maker could make archival grade hard disks, with media that can last 25 years or so. This might require multiple sets of read/write heads (similar to a drive that had two sets and could access different data sets at the same time independantly.) Couple that with a form factor that is easily grippable/manipulable by a robot, and that would replace both VTLs and real tape libraries.

Comment: Re:RAID? (Score 1) 254

by mlts (#46779095) Attached to: SSD-HDD Price Gap Won't Go Away Anytime Soon

I've seen a couple hard drives in laptops that present themselves to the BIOS as multiple volumes, although I don't know what brand they are (if someone does know the make/model, please enlighten me). One had a 32 GB SSD partition, then a 512 GB HDD partition. Unlike drives that have an 8GB cache, having two volumes allows the OS, swap, perhaps an application to sit on one volume while everything else is on the HDD.

As for the backup hard disk, that is a wise idea as the first level of defense. It can't hurt to have another means of backup just in case malware nails that drive, but having the backup drive will counter a number of "oops" issues (deleted files, etc.)

Comment: Re:Nonsense (Score 1) 290

by mlts (#46778707) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

There is a balance. If you bend over too much and let them "do your job", there may be grave issues several months down the road.

The problem with that is the "it happened on your watch" statement that will be uttered come any calamities in the future. The patch they rejected that causes an outage later on won't fall on their heads. It will fall on the sysadmin's head. Even though it won't be the sysadmin's fault, they will get fired because management has to appear to do something, and the sysadmin was in the driver's seat.

One can't be a complete douchebag, but one can't just cede control over completely. If push comes to shove, it is better to get laid off because a H-1B is taking over than be fired for cause.

Your fault -- core dumped