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Biotech

+ - Organ damage in rats from Monsanto GMO Corn

Submitted by jenningsthecat
jenningsthecat (1525947) writes "A study published in December 2009 in the International Journal of Biological Sciences found that three varieties of Monsanto genetically-modified corn caused damage to the liver, kidneys, and other organs of rats:

http://www.biolsci.org/v05p0706.htm

One of the corn varieties was designed to tolerate broad-spectrum herbicides, (so-called "Roundup-ready" corn), while the other two contain bacteria-derived proteins that have insecticide properties. The study made use of Monsanto's own raw data.

Quoting from the study's 'Conclusions' section:

"Our analysis highlights that the kidneys and liver as particularly important on which to focus such research as there was a clear negative impact on the function of these organs in rats consuming GM maize varieties for just 90 days."

Given the very high prevalence of corn in processed foods, this could be a real ticking time-bomb. And with food manufacturers not being required by law to declare GMO content, I think I'll do my best to avoid corn altogether. Pass the puffed rice and pour me a glass of fizzy water!"

Comment: Re:Bye, bye. (Score 1) 881

by MilesAttacca (#28984539) Attached to: Murdoch Says, "We'll Charge For All Our Sites"

newspapers that are controlled by a wealthy megacorp oligarchy

Not all newspapers are so. I live in Omaha, where the World-Herald Company (operating the eponymous newspaper and some regional small papers) is employee-owned. Despite the recent hardships, the World-Herald still has the most market penetration of any newspaper in the US.

They haven't figured out a good online strategy yet, it seems, but I'd be far more willing to pay up-front for its coverage than I would be to pay for a Murdock-owned publication. There are still good papers out there; don't give up on them all.

Comment: Re:"No more ruining cell phones by getting them we (Score 1) 67

by MilesAttacca (#28684237) Attached to: Plastic Circuits Designed To Enable Tough, Green Computers
I was helping to manage wireless mics for a local musical production. A member of the ensemble dropped $800 of pack and mic into the toilet. We took the battery out, left it to sit, and on the second day I tested it, it lit right up again. We didn't even drop it in a bag of rice, but that probably would have sped up the evaporation process.

Comment: Re:People change jobs all the time (Score 1) 223

by MilesAttacca (#28669125) Attached to: Developer Stigma After a Bad Or Catastrophic Release?

Speaking as someone who does sell those extended warranties, it's not a black-and-white bad deal, because of the customers themselves.

Scenario 1: We don't sell a warranty on an electronic product. It breaks. The customer will invariably want to return it to our store, after the 14-day electronics return policy clearly printed on the receipt (a policy I explicitly mention at the register) -- hell, often months later. When I remind them of the return policy, and tell them they now have to take up defects with the manufacturer, 9/10 of them won't get why this is the case and feel disappointed and cheated, and at least 1/3 will tell me they're never shopping at my store again. Some of them do this more "nicely" than others.

If I do sell a warranty, the user is covered against accidental damage, damage not covered under the manufacturer's warranty, and just not wanting the product after all. Compared to a 15-days-plus regular return, management doesn't bitch as much about a store warranty return performed in the store, even though we're supposed to direct customers to our 800 number/website to process returns. (From personally having one of the warranties on a camera I eventually dropped, yes, it really is a no-questions-asked, quick, friendly process. I don't think I even mentioned I'm an employee.) Since we can do this, the customer is happy, and my job is much more pleasant.

The important point of this story is that the customer doesn't understand the return process, and the customer doesn't want to understand the return process. He doesn't know why his product broke, or even if it's really broken. He doesn't want to look for solutions online, doesn't want to go to the trouble of phoning the Indian call center of the now-distrusted company, doesn't want to box the product up and ship it back. He goes to the "source" of the problem, my store, and just wants his money back within about 60 seconds and the signing of a single receipt.

Theoretically, by selling these no-worries warranties, I'm contributing to the downfall of mankind by telling people that, with a warranty, they don't have to be self-reliant, knowledgeable, or in any way responsible. But it's not like I could instill these qualities in random strangers, anyway. So by selling a warranty, I gain an extra dollar or two in my paycheck (employees' motivation to sell these is primarily managerial, not financial). The customer is placated. I don't have to call other employees or managers to the register, to say exactly what I just said, and take the exact same abuse from the customer.

TL;DR: Customers don't want the truth; that's why it's unacceptable. Until their attitudes change, or my company decides to engage in charity by paying its employees to help soccer moms grow up, instead of paying us to sell product, I'm more than willing to deliver a 30-second spiel about an extended warranty in the hopes of just keeping all parties happy.

Comment: Re:Hehe he ain't seen nothing yet... (Score 1) 354

by MilesAttacca (#28547109) Attached to: 13-Year-Old Trades iPod For a Walkman For a Week

That depends on the media and device, as with any format. I bet that Nakamichi was great, and I also bet your friend had very expensive speakers and tape to go along with it.

Quality control varied widely in 8-track duplication -- in fairness, the same can be said for cassettes -- and the incentive for recording and cartridge quality fell somewhat as companies shifted emphasis toward cassettes. Cassettes also gained many improvements that didn't filter down to the "old" format, including superior tape formulations. Most cassettes and 8-tracks sound comparable to my ear, they all have a 1/32" track width, but cassettes play at half the speed 8-tracks do (3.75in/s). Oh, and there were late-model 8-tracks and players with Dolby B support, but those are rather rare.

Anecdotally, I do have a Three Dog Night 8-track that sounds almost CD-quality after probably 30 years, played on a solid home deck and speakers; and about 500 tapes total, going from partially-demagnetized and muffled to plenty crisp and well-maintained. It's pretty easy to tell which spent their time at home, and which baking in the car. And it would make sense that the average quality of tape players and speakers (both car and home) increased from the early 70s to the 80s; better technology does drop down to the consumer price range, given time. I've heard that the best of the best back in the day were Wollensak or Akai decks, and Scotch or BASF tape.

8-tracks can definitely be rewarding to your ears; you just have to take into account that, at any time in recording history, the consumer has the choice between downright crappy, good, and truly excellent stereo systems; and manufacturers will similarly do what they will. Besides, these days, the price is right for what you get. 50 cents an album is a great way to legally drown yourself in classic rock and pop.

P.S. Here's the kicker, I'm 18. I've been collecting these things for years. :)

Comment: Why just Firefox? (Score 1) 345

by MilesAttacca (#27969511) Attached to: IE Losing 10% Market Share Every Two Years

There are too many sites today that work just fine in IE, and work just fine in Firefox (and so, one would assume, they're perfectly standards-compliant)...and then they break in Opera, which is my personal browser of choice.

For example, Amazon's "search inside this book" feature explicitly posts a message saying my browser isn't supported. I have to open up IE or Firefox to peek at books I'm considering. What's up with that?

All browsers should support the same standards; all sites should follow those same standards; and the idea should not be "Firefox: The IE Alternative," but "Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Konqueror, Epiphany, Lynx, and Internet Explorer: Your Choice."

Comment: Re:My model M rules (Score 1) 519

by MilesAttacca (#27355957) Attached to: Old-School Keyboard Makes Comeback of Sorts
Aww, that reminds me I had a Wang clone, too. I used it for some time, until I broke the spacebar once removing it. (Snapped one of the little plastic bits grabbing onto the [-shaped metal frame that held the whole bar level when you pressed it, and wasn't able to properly fix it.) Luckily, one of my birthday presents this year was a ridiculously heavy Model M from the mid-90s. :)

Comment: Re:Drives (Score 2, Interesting) 472

by MilesAttacca (#27258555) Attached to: The 100 Degree Data Center

Here's the whitepaper (HTML-converted).

I'm not able to open the PDF right now to see the pretty graphs, but it says "The figure shows that failures do not increase when the average temperature increases. In fact, there is a clear trend showing that lower temperatures are associated with higher failure rates. Only at very high temperatures is there a slight reversal of this trend." However, it also notes that "What stands out are the 3 and 4-year old drives, where the trend for higher failures with higher temperature is much more constant and also more pronounced."

If what they've been doing hasn't solved the problem, tell them to do something else. -- Gerald Weinberg, "The Secrets of Consulting"

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