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Comment: And yet the government doesn't follow... (Score 1) 245

The surveys found broad support for government to spend money on science

And in spite of that, the budgets for NIH, NSF, and DOE - the three largest funding agencies from the federal government for scientific research - has been consistently flat or declining in real dollars over the past decade-plus. If the people support it, they aren't communicating it well through their congressional representatives.

Comment: Re:What could possibly go wrong? (Score 3, Interesting) 189

Then nothing is different.

Female mosquitoes aren't going to breed more because of this. Part of what makes mosquitoes so unpleasant is that their breeding mechanism is awkward and requires, for example, blood - our blood - to work. Finding a partner to breed with is the last of their worries.

As a result, what this boils down to is:

Status quo: virtually all females will breed with a regular mosquito, lifestyle unchanged.

Changed to: sizable numbers of females will breed with a GMO mosquito instead of a regular mosquito.

If plan works, enough females will go with the GMO, and breed shorter lifespan mosquitoes of their own, resulting in a (probably temporary, alas) reduction in the mosquito population. If the plan fails, either because the altered genes fail to do their job, or because females avoid the GMO mosquitoes somehow, NOTHING IS DIFFERENT.

What's the issue here? What can actually go wrong that's worse than the status quo? What scenario are you seeing that could happen as a result of this particular project? It's not like this is something out of a Michael Crichton novel. "We think we can reduce the mosquito population by releasing this RADIOACTIVE MOSQUITOS into the population! Their UNTESTED RANDOM GENETIC DIFFERENCES will render the entire population dead within the week! Also let's breed the mosquitos with FROGS just beforehand! Nothing could possibly go wrong!"

We know the generic differences. We know what we're releasing are otherwise regular mosquitos. This is not that terrible novel.

As someone who has good medical reasons to fear mosquito bites more than most, I sincerely hope this works. And I applaud them for trying.

Comment: Re:What could possibly go wrong? (Score 2) 189

by Rei (#48938615) Attached to: FDA Wants To Release Millions of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes In Florida

My point was all about what happens when the mosquitos are not as infertile as planned.

If some offspring survive that means that they didn't get the gene to kill them for some reason. Aka, they're just like wild populations. So.....?

If chemical companies are going to dump something into my backyard, I will scream and shout just as loud

Your back yard is full of the intentional products of chemical companies. Here we're talking about the intentional products of genetic engineering. You're trying to change the situation by comparing waste products with intentional products.

You seem to claim that people should just trust experts. I claim that experts should attempt to inform the public better, thereby earning their trust...

Sorry, but Joe Blow GED is never going to become an expert on genetic engineering. Ever. Period. And the same goes for the vast majority of the public.

So, rabbits that got released in Australia are the top predator? The Pampas grass in California is the top predator? I can make a long list of invasive species that are not the top predator and still influenced their ecosystem a lot


Got any examples that aren't introduced species? We're talking about reducing or eliminating species within an ecosystem, not adding new ones from totally different ecosystem. And part of the reason rabbits were so uncontrolled in Australia anyway was because settlers had killed off almost all of the top predators. One could easily imagine that, for example, tasmanian tigers would have quite enjoyed a rabbit feast. Dingo numbers were also shaply culled in the areas with the highest rabbit populations.

Comment: Re:What could possibly go wrong? (Score 3, Insightful) 189

by Rei (#48938019) Attached to: FDA Wants To Release Millions of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes In Florida

That's because most physics and chemistry experiments don't breed and multiply.

Neither do infertile mosquitoes; your point?

They are talking about something that happens literally in their own backyard.

Really, you think there's no products of modern chemistry in your backyard?

They are right to do a risk assessment.

And there have been risk assessments done, by regulators, taking into account the scientific data. Risk assessments are not something for Joe Bloe and his GED who reads NaturalNews and thinks that "GMO mosquitoes" means that they're going to bite his children and spread a zombie plague.

Changing the balance in an ecosystem can have huge consequences.

Contrary to popular belief, changing the bottom of a food chain rarely has major consequences; it's the changing of the top of a food chain that tends to have the biggest consequences. The higher up the food chain you go, not only do you have more of a profound impact on the landscape (look at how radically, say, deer overpopulation transforms a whole ecosystem), but also the more species tend to be generalists rather than specialists. Generalists means the ability to switch more readily between food sources, meaning changes further down have little impact on them. But if you eliminate a top predator from an area, the consequences further down can be profound.


FDA Wants To Release Millions of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes In Florida 189

Posted by samzenpus
from the I've-seen-this-movie dept.
MikeChino writes In an attempt to curb outbreaks of two devastating tropical diseases in the Florida Keys, the FDA is proposing the release of millions of genetically modified mosquitoes into the area. Scientists have bred male mosquitoes with virus gene fragments, so when they mate with the females that bite and spread illness, their offspring will die. This can reduce the mosquito population dramatically, halting the spread of diseases like dengue fever.

Comment: Re:Maybe in another few decades... (Score 1) 19

by damn_registrars (#48931729) Attached to: Today is Lets Talk day here in Kanuckistan
That suicide was just one that happened to get more news exposure for whatever reason. Yet it made no difference on the national level, unfortunately.

The Newtown massacre was also a giant demonstration of our national failings in mental health. It could have been prevented were it not for all the barriers we build as a nation towards access to mental health treatment. Even worse, when the gun lobby had an opportunity to help turn this in to a discussion on mental health they instead upped the paranoia and now we have more unstable people running around armed instead of fewer. I stated from day one that the massacre was a problem with mental health and all that was said in response was "ZOMG! Obama's after YOUR guns!".

Maybe companies in the US are afraid of being "tainted" by taking part in such initiatives.

On this regard it is useful to remember that access to mental health resources is often regulated by the same bastards that control access to physical health resources - the insurance industry. Hence if you seek mental health assistance, your insurance company knows about it and it goes into your electronic medical records. While your employer isn't supposed to be able to discriminate against you based on that, your insurance provider is certainly entitled to do so and can raise your rates (through your employer) to the point where your employer has no choice but to fire you - after which point you no longer have access and the downward spiral begins again.

Mental health access should become a national right, completely decoupled from physical health access. Of course we'll never see that happen as the conservatives running the show will declare it a socialist/communist/fascist/whatever-other-inaccurate-ist "takeover" of the industry and it will die at that moment.

Comment: Re:No (Score 1) 43

by damn_registrars (#48931503) Attached to: Props to William Jacobson

the 2A's absolute right of self defense.

Except the second amendment says nothing about self defense. It mentions

the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

But it never says that these arms are for self defense. In fact, if we look at the full text

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

We see mentions of a Militia and a free State. We never see anything about self defense. The self defense notion is a product manufactured by the gun lobby.

Comment: Re:Word on the street is that SW rocked (Score 1) 23

by damn_registrars (#48931463) Attached to: The Kevlar Kandidate Starts Kampaigning
Smitty I honestly don't see the connection here. Please, can you clarify what you mean by

the IRS, and the general expansion of the administrative state, offer literally hundreds of thousands of [pages of] reasons why

In the context of it somehow being an explanation for

why this particular type of freedom of association should be banned

I think you are trying to somehow use the IRS as justification for your desire to outlaw union membership (at least, amongst government employees) but the connection just isn't there. What does the IRS have to do with unions?

And neither do unions. Unions work for their members.

The inescapable conclusion is that a public sector union, over time, is going to serve its members, to the detriment of the public.

I disagree completely with that assertion. It is in now way an "inescapable conclusion". Or are you trying to support a movement to set all government employees' pay to zero? While Citizens United did a great job of reducing the participation of non-wealthy people in government, setting government pay to zero would be a great final blow if that is your goal.

Comment: Re:Maybe in another few decades... (Score 1) 19

by damn_registrars (#48931307) Attached to: Today is Lets Talk day here in Kanuckistan
I can't say I've ever shared those particular links, but that is only because I had never seen them before now. I do advocate for mental health assistance and screening, and I have advocated for it previously here on slashdot as well.

Allow me to be direct; I believe that mental health needs vastly more attention and resources committed to it than what it currently gets in this country. Furthermore I believe that the stigma associated with it needs to go away.

Unfortunately I think the stigma is the bigger problem. It goes back generations and it continues to persist in the current age. It isn't like some of the other stigmas that have subsided over time, and in some pockets of culture it is genuinely getting worse. I have no idea how to counter that on a scale broader than my own family and community.

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