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Comment: Re:Flaws? (Score 1) 170

by mcvos (#47719417) Attached to: Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook Released

I've yet to see a system which included mechanically relevant flaws that didn't end up with everyone being ugly squinting one eyed outlaws from a bad family who owe favours to someone three countries over.

Then you should look around a bit; there are plenty. Cortex+ systems (like Marvel Heroic Roleplay, or Firefly) have an interesting way to make flaws relevant without going overboard. FATE based systems do something similar with aspects that can be positive, negative, or even both.

Comment: Re:Nicatoids and bees (Score 1) 86

by ChromeAeonium (#47719241) Attached to: China Pulls Plug On Genetically Modified Rice and Corn

Not every GMO contains nicatoids

No GMO crop is modified to produce neonicotinoids, although some anti-GMO people have tried to conflate these separate issues because GMO crops, like non-GMO crops, may be sprayed with them.

Monsanto deserves a firey death for setting back non-psychopathic GMO's by 30 years or more.

I do not believe this is Monsanto's fault. The mainstream opposition to genetic engineering started with the Flavr Savr tomato, which was released before Monsanto released any GE crops. The blame lies with activist/interest groups like Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Navdanya, Organic Consumer's Association, ect. and other groups that saw genetic engineering as an opportunity to further their own social, political, or financial interests. Those 'psychopathic' GMOs you mention are insect resistant crops (reduced insecticide use), herbicide tolerant (sounds bad, actually results in lower environmental impact via the substitution of harsher herbicides and the promotion of no-till agriculture) and virus resistant crops, with drought tolerant corn recently approved (no independent data on its impact yet though).

Consider this; do you really think the same people who lie about university, NGO, and publicly developed GE crops are going to be honest about Monsanto? These anti-GMO groups aren't just opposing Monsanto's crops, they're opposing, vandalizing, and slandering all GE crops. Golden Rice, BioCassava, Bangladeshi Bt eggplant, Rainbow papaya, HoneySweet plum, CSIRO's low GI wheat (destroyed by anti-science thugs), INRA's disease resistant grape rootstock (also destroyed), Rothamsted's insect repelling wheat, VIB's cisgenic potatoes (also destroyed), ect. All publicly developed, all opposed (or destroyed) by anti-GMO groups. Put Monsanto's blame where it is due, but this one is not on them.

Comment: Re:MMO Crap (Score 1) 170

by mcvos (#47719199) Attached to: Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook Released

Opinions vary of course, but I don't think "I wack it really hard with my sword, but only once per day" makes all that much sense, really. Mind you, I've never been much of a fan of the "Vancian" magic system of D&D (that allows you to cast each spell only once). Pathfinder let go of that principle a bit by allowing cantrips (0 level spells) to be recast as often as you like. 5th edition continues along that path, both with more powerful cantrips, but also spells don't scale as hard with your level anymore: if you want your Magic Missile to become more powerful as you reach higher levels, you'll have to use a higher level spell slot to cast it. Meanwhile, fighters get more fancy stuff to do on top of wacking stuff with their sword. Hopefully this will balance classes a bit more without making them all feel the same.

5th edition is not a step backward; it does take elements from 4th edition, but only the best parts, and it also takes the best parts of previous editions, molding it all into a surprisingly coherent whole.

Comment: Re:MMO Crap (Score 1) 170

by mcvos (#47719147) Attached to: Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook Released

Yes, but that might make the initial comment valid for the previous edition, not this one. This one is as old-school as D&D has been in a long time. It combines the simple character creation of early editions with more streamlined customization options than the 3rd edition and Pathfinder have. It doesn't try to cover every possible case with an overdose of mechanics anymore. It's less MMO-like than 3rd edition and Pathfinder.

Comment: Re:Wow (Score 3, Insightful) 86

by ChromeAeonium (#47719107) Attached to: China Pulls Plug On Genetically Modified Rice and Corn

It produces a poison in the same sense that chocolate and grapes are poisonous (don't feed those to your dog). The Bt protein has a very specific mode of action in certain insect pests, and does not impact humans. It is not a health concern, and has been used in organic food production for decades before suddenly becoming controversial once genetic engineering got involved.

Also, that a plant produces a poison is not an alarming thing. In fact, it is ubiquitous. Chemical defenses are found throughout the plant kingdom, including in crop plants. Things like solanine in potatoes, or glucosinolates in broccoli, or even caffeine in coffee and tea (note that they are produced respectively in the seeds and leaves, two things a plant might want to defend...that humans like them for it is kind of an evolutionary plot twist) all have insecticidal properties. Anti-GMO groups love to be alarmist over the fact that some GMOs produce an additional insecticide (yes, one more, even non-GMO corn is going to have things like maysin in it) but in and of itself is not alarming. It's just preying on the ignorance of those who do now know just how many natural pesticides we consume daily.

Comment: Re:Better to starve I guess? (Score 1) 86

by ChromeAeonium (#47719085) Attached to: China Pulls Plug On Genetically Modified Rice and Corn

And that really is annoying, because people assume that it is a case of herbicide tolerant GMOs vs some ideal hypothetical where weeds are never a problem, when in reality it is herbicide tolerant GMOs vs. other weed control methods, including harsher herbicides and soil damaging tillage. Giving the choice between the realistic options, I'll take the herbicide tolerant crops any day.

Then you see people point to herbicide resistant weeds as evidence that they are a bad thing, but that's trying to have your cake and eat it too. The resistant weeds are a big problem, you bet they certainty are a problem, because they threaten to diminish the benefits of the herbicide tolerant GE, but then people say there are no benefits, while also saying that the benefits are eroding. Then when you point that out you're apparently on Monsanto's payroll.

I get that facilitating the use of an agrochemical is not the sexiest possible application of biotechnology, but until someone comes up with something better it does not deserve bashing it always gets.

Comment: Re:Applaude (Score 3, Informative) 86

by ChromeAeonium (#47719075) Attached to: China Pulls Plug On Genetically Modified Rice and Corn

You mean like wheat, a hybrid of three species, and strawberries, another hybrid?

Or corn, bred to be so radically different from its ancestral teosinte that most people wouldn't even recognize it?

Or carrots, which were not orange until humans bred them to be that way?

Or cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, kale, and Brussel's sprouts, which are all the same species with various genetic mutations dramatically altering their form?

Or apples, which are selected from somatic mutations and grafted onto root stocks?

Or citrus, which is altered through selecting radiation induced mutations?

Or pluots, which had to have their embryos cut out of the parent plant and cultured in vitro because they would have never developed naturally?

Or seedless watermelons, which are bred from chemically induced chromosome doubled watermelons?

Or tomatoes, which have genes introgessed from other wild species?

Oh, you're just referring to the thing you knew was unnatural, not all the things you were utterly clueless about. Well, since it would be such a bother to admit your initial premise and driving belief are completely inane, I'll wait while you move the goalpost to attempt to justify your irrationality.

Comment: Re:Better to starve I guess? (Score 2) 86

by ChromeAeonium (#47719035) Attached to: China Pulls Plug On Genetically Modified Rice and Corn

It produces Bt, which is toxic to certain orders of insects, not to humans. And before someone comes along and says that it is still toxic, remember that gapes and chocolate are toxic to dogs, and dogs are a lot more closely related to humans than lepidopterans.

Oh, and every plant produces insecticides anyway. It's only alarming if you don't know much about plant biochemistry. Give something that can't swat back at the trillions of things out there trying to eat them a few hundred million years to come up with defenses and they develop things chemical defenses, like caffeine (yep, it has insecticidal properties, ever wonder why coffee evolved to have it right in it's seeds?), piperine (a yummy insecticide, turns out black pepper's original plan was to not have things eat its offspring), maysin (found even in your non-GMO corn) solanine (tomatoes and potatoes, don't eat this) and falcarinol (found in carrot a neurotoxin in high enough quantities).

Comment: Re:Wow (Score 2) 86

by ChromeAeonium (#47718983) Attached to: China Pulls Plug On Genetically Modified Rice and Corn

patented genes that spread to neighboring fields

All genes do. If you are referring to the 'people getting sued' over it thing, look into it further. No one has ever been sued for simply being cross pollinated, and give China's general stance on IP of any kind, I highly doubt any company would have a chance of successfully suing in China.

genes that provide restitence to weed-killers spreading to wild species

To my knowledge there has never been any documented example of the herbicide tolerant gene jumping between GMO crops and weeds. There has, however, been selective pressure on weed populations that has resulted in the emergence of herbicide tolerant lines (by for example having a mutation at the binding site of the enzyme the herbicide targets). The key context here is that, one, this is due to over-reliance on the glyphosate herbicide (the main one of the two herbicides that crops are resistant to) instead of using herbicides of multiple modes of action, two, the problem here is that these weeds will diminish the benefits already provided by herbicide tolerant crops. The ideal would be rotating through multiple modes of action to mitigate resistance, however, due to the benefits of these crops, there has been too much reliance on them, which is why there is now more of a push to diversify the herbicides, although no doubt in the future glyphosate will still be preferred. I also fee it must be said that herbicide resistant weeds predate GMO crops by a few decades; although the case with GMOs is particularly problematic due to the gains that are at risk, this is not a new problem. There's a lot of hatred for the herbicide tolerant crops, and on the surface that makes sense, but I find people rarely have the background context and complete story.

modifications that hinder the production of viable seeds, so the farmers have to buy new GM seed from the producers rather than growing part of their harvest on next year

That doesn't exist outside labs. Anti-GMO people love to talk about that one but they lie. What is out there is hybrid seed, which has been in use since the 30's, which has better yields, more hardy, ect. the first year but subsequent progeny is so genetically variable that it makes economic sense to continue to purchase hybrid seed. Think of it like this, you cross AA with BB to get AB, which could be the best, but when you cross the AB and AB offspring you get AA, AB, and BB, which doesn't work out so well. Corporations didn't do this, genetic engineering didn't do this, its just basic genetics.

I'm sure GM would be welcome in most countries if it was not for the companies producing them. Another thing is that the Chinese are fully capable of developing or buying the technology themselves - so why should they allow in American companies that are only intent on siphoning off as much profit as possible to their share holders?

Well, you're wrong. They are Chinese developed varieties, the rice developed by Huazhong Agricultural University and the corn was developed by Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences' Biotechnology Research Institute in Beijing. Contrary to popular believe, more than just corporations are using technology. They're just the only ones able to jump through the scientifically unjustifiable regulations. There's cool GE plants sitting in university labs around the world, but the agriculture and plant science departments just don't have the funding necessary to bring them to market like the big corporations do. And to give your notion that non-corporate GMOs would be welcome another counterpoint, note that China does not accept shipments of the Rainbow papaya, developed by the University of Hawai'i, not a corporation.

The movement against GMOs likes to hide behind anti-corporatism, but so much as scratch the surface and you'll find they are just anti-science. Look at the controversy over Golden Rice developed by an NGO. Look at the opposition to Arctic apples developed by a small company. Look at the vandalism of CSIRO's low GI wheat. Every single genetically engineered crop that gains any notability is opposed. No exceptions. You can't call that opposition to some big company. TFA indicates the government may have decided not to pursue the technology further with so much public controversy and as they have been boosting food production without other means. I don't know when China started to care about Greenpeace and other science denialists (as a plant scientist I put them right with anti-vaxxers and young earth creationists). This is sad and frustrating news.

Comment: Oh it'll happen... (Score 3, Interesting) 522

by MikeRT (#47714887) Attached to: Linus Torvalds: 'I Still Want the Desktop'

The day that the various desktop environments decide to cut out the middlemen. When I can go grab an official KDE install disk that gives me a polished KDE experience with the latest kernel and Wayland from, that's the day Windows will start really hurting. Then I can say to my relatives "Linux? Just go get KDE" and there'll be no confusion anymore. If it's KDE compatible, it's KDE compatible. Load the binary, off you go. Just like OS X and Windows.

Comment: Re:I hope it's just me (Score 1) 693

by squiggleslash (#47712491) Attached to: News Aggregator Fark Adds Misogyny Ban

I wrote my bullet points because I really couldn't believe you wrote what you just did. If I'm interpreting your response correctly, you either are embarassed by what you wrote and are trying to walk it back in a way that doesn't admit you made the mistake at all, or you're trolling. You certainly haven't attempted to clarify how my interpretation is incorrect.

You said: "every woman on Twitter who says anything remotely prominent stops getting hundreds of rape threats in response". This is ludicrous hyperbole, an attempt to foster moral panic.

No, it's a reasonable depiction of the current environment. You, thus far, have claimed it isn't because (1) you claimed only Valenti was getting the threats, and then, when it became clear that wasn't true, that (2) it was only "feminists" who were getting them (and somehow implied this isn't a problem then.)

I'm leaning towards the "I'm being trolled" hypothesis when it comes to your commentary. You're welcome to prove me wrong, but at this point I'd like you to start by:

- Agreeing that it's not just Valenti getting the threats of physical and sexual violence.
- That NOTHING Valenti has said justifies the threats of physical and sexual violence.
- That it is actually misrepresenting someone to post a picture of them wearing what's obviously a joke T-shirt and imply that it isn't a joke, rather than address directly what they've written.
- That the subset of threats of physical and sexual violence I've pointed you at directly were unjustified
- That Feminists do NOT deserve threats of physical and sexual violence.

Once you say, explcitly, the above, I'll respond. But based upon how you've commented thus far, I'm not interpreting it as anything other than how I've described, and I'm concerned you're not arguing in good faith.

Comment: Re:I hope it's just me (Score 1) 693

by squiggleslash (#47711885) Attached to: News Aggregator Fark Adds Misogyny Ban

I'll bullet point what I'm reading and you can tell me what I'm misunderstanding from your post, if anything:

- The women receiving rape threats are, in your view, Feminists, and so it's not an issue. You don't explain why it's OK if Feminists receive rape threats.
- Michele Malkin has never retweeted numerous death and rape threats despite widespread coverage when it happened. (She's probably a Feminist too, amirite?)
- Valenti has made a career of demonising men, as can be evidenced by one joke T-shirt, which is totally not misrepresenting her views because she wore it in public and even showed a picture of it online which nobody ever does with a joke shirt.
- You bringing up male suicides in response to someone complaining they're seeing more PCism because women online keep getting rape threats is not deflection. Me pointing out that it has nothing to do with the topic at hand is.


Here's the truth, which you appear to be completely unable to comprehend:

1. No, Valenti does not hate men, nor has she made a career of demonizing them. I've actually read some of Valenti's stuff, and while she says a lot of nonsense, most of the idiots complaining about misandry are the ones who respond to "Wouldn't it be nice if men didn't ${badthing} women" with "Not all men ${badthing}" despite the fact the sentence was never "It's terrible that ALL MEN ${badthing} women, it should stop!"
2. No, Valenti is not the only one getting rape threats.
3. Sorry to bring up Valenti again, as this issue has nothing to do with her save for her being one of the numerous victims, but asking about the existence of subsidized tampons should not result in you receiving threats of physical and sexual violence, including rape.
4. Thinking it would be nice to have Jane Austin on a banknote does not mean you deserve to be threatened with physical and sexual violence, including rape. Jane Austin is fucking awful, but that is a disproportionate response. BTW, that wasn't Valenti. Valenti is not the receipient of all or most of the rape threats.
5. Even hating liberals should not make you a target for threats of physical or sexual violence.
6. Politely asking men not to hit on women in public spaces like cons should not make you a target for threats of physical or sexual violence. In fact. Rebecca's request was an entirely reasonable one regardless of your views on women.
7. Actually, pretty much no action should result in you getting those threats. None. Not even over-reacting to men making sexist jokes behind you in a way that gets both one of them and yourself fired.

Comment: Re:Just let the investigations complete (Score 1) 4

by squiggleslash (#47711591) Attached to: What they want you to think

That is interesting, and it'd be interesting to see a version of events that explains both the injury and the eyewitnesses apparently not noticing anything that would explain it. The only thing that springs to mind is that reportedly Wilson opened his car door in such a way that it hit or came close to Brown, whereupon it slammed back (either pushed by Brown or bouncing off him) into Wilson.

Still, that's a lot of damage for a door "bouncing".

Successful and fortunate crime is called virtue. - Seneca