Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

×

Comment: Re:in my opinion this guy is like Jenny McCarthy (Score 1) 295

by ChromeAeonium (#49502001) Attached to: Columbia University Doctors Ask For Dr. Mehmet Oz's Dismissal

I like how you're not even trying to counter my points, just saying that more people agree with you, therefore you're right. Fortunately, regulations are not decided by majority vote, and for good reason. Do you really think the opposite should be the case, that regulations should be decided by majority vote?

and they overwhelmingly want to know if there are GMOs in them.

Depends on how you ask them. Ask what they want, few say GE labels. Ask if they want GE labels, then they say yes. Of course, labeled products are already available, and consumers can already tell if something is GE or not as I explained in my previous post; that they either do not buy the former or do not educate themselves is no justification for a new law.

Don't you think that's an interesting development?

Not really; look at your own loaded questions for the reason. Even independent biotech information organizations are accused of being corporate propaganda.

Personally, I wan organic food labeled as having been grown in 400-700 nm radiation. What's wrong with letting the consumer know that?

Comment: Re:in my opinion this guy is like Jenny McCarthy (Score 1) 295

by ChromeAeonium (#49501855) Attached to: Columbia University Doctors Ask For Dr. Mehmet Oz's Dismissal

You know what would really help consumers a lot? If there were LABELS to tell which were GE crops and which weren't. Why are you so anti-consumer on this issue?

There are; they're called ingredient labels. Corn, soy, cotton, canola, sugar beet, alfalfa, summer squash, papaya. Know that, and a few details behind them, and you can tel if something is GE or not. Why do you need a label to replace educating yourself?

Great idea! LABEL ALL THE THINGS!

Yeah, that's practical. You offering to pay for all the tracking necessary to do that?

No let's talk "all the safety data that shows no problems" instead. Citation please?

Pick

one. There's plenty of information if you are willing to search through the scientific literature and not just random blogs and activist rants. Can't say the same for the supposed dangers though.
Now how about you point me to a single person who has gotten so much as a headache from GE crops? I notice you surprisingly ignored my request to elucidate the biochemistry behind how or why GE is intrinsically dangerous. Given how much genetic engineering is used in basic research, if you're right then there's a lot more than food that needs re-evaluation; step forward and claim your worldwide recognition, please.

But of course we would never find out about the linkage given the industry's fear of "Killer GE Crop" headlines...

Oh look, it's the old 'industry controls everything' conspiracy card. Didn't take that one long to come out.

Comment: Re:in my opinion this guy is like Jenny McCarthy (Score 1) 295

by ChromeAeonium (#49501783) Attached to: Columbia University Doctors Ask For Dr. Mehmet Oz's Dismissal

Are you saying that genetically modified food products are exactly the same as non genetically modified food products?

No. I am, however, saying that GE crops are no more different than those derived from hybridization, mutagenesis, bud sports, somaclonal variation, induced polyploidy, ect. all of which you eat unlabeled all the time, and you probably don't even know about them. I'm saying that unless there is a difference to the end consumer which is significantly different than what could otherwise be expected from the crop, then it should not matter for the purpose of labeling.

Why are you irrationally singling out one aspect of crop improvement, one that just so happens to be controversial (but not scientifically controversial [and yes, as a plant scientists, this stuff is about as controversial in my field as vaccines or the validity of evolution]), without demanding anything else be labeled (like other aspects of crop improvement and production, including but not limited to the other crop improvement techniques I mentioned, rootstock, PGR use, biocide use, fertilizer use [where's my poo label on organic foods?] date and location of harvest, ect) , without telling the details (such as gene inserted or what it does, ex NPTII, Bt, EPSPS, bar, CSPb, various cp genes, ect), without telling the benefits (ex. reduction in mycotoxins, reduction in insecticides, shift away from harsher herbicides such as atrazine, saving crops from viral infection, ect.).

You seem to want to be very specific and selective in what you tell the consumer, which is very fishy when we are talking about a thing that can be identified simply by knowing what you are looking for (corn, soybean, canola, cotton, alfalfa, sugar beet, summer squash, and papaya are all the GE crops out there). I can always tell if something I'm eating is likely to contain GE ingredients; why can't you educate yourself enough to do the same? Millions of vegans, Jews, Muslims, and Hindus with religious or personal dietary restrictions do the same, and they don't deserve a special law catering to their beliefs. You don't either.

If so, how can they be patented?

The same way non-GE crop varieties such as Clearfield wheat, Beneforté broccoli, and Snowsweet apples can be patented. You do realize that non-GE crops can also be patented, yeah? My question is why you're trying to use a legal argument on a topic that should be decided on the scientific basis of the things; if they are scientifically different, th

Comment: Re:Did they mention the yummy GMOs (Score 1) 295

by ChromeAeonium (#49499549) Attached to: Columbia University Doctors Ask For Dr. Mehmet Oz's Dismissal

There's noting wrong with truth in labeling. A lie of omission, however, is still a lie. If you tell consumers just enough about a single, arbitrarily selected manufactured controversy for them to be afraid, and don't give them any context whatsoever, then you're not really being honest, are you?

Comment: Re:I guess he crossed the wrong people (Score 1) 295

by ChromeAeonium (#49499533) Attached to: Columbia University Doctors Ask For Dr. Mehmet Oz's Dismissal

Modifying it so that it can withstand being soaked with ever-increasing quantities and varieties of synthetic pesticides is another.

Let's think about this economically; do you really think farmers would have adopted this technology so rapidly if the only use for them was to spend more costly herbicides on crops, which detract from the farmer's bottom lines? Be real; your 'soaking' rhetoric is extremely misleading. The reality is that farmers apply what them need after the seeds come up, thus avoiding the need for pre- and post-emergent applications of herbicide cocktails. It's not ideal, but I don't here any anti-GMO groups coming up with better weed management strategies.

As for your point about weed evolution, yep, that's been going on for a long time, before GE crops were a thing. Saying we shouldn't use that technology because of it is pretty off base though. Better resistance mitigation strategies, yes, but not completely forging the technology simply because it exists within a biotic system. If that's your stance, I hope you never get something that requires any anti-viral medication, because by your logic, that viruses evolve means we just shouldn't treat them. Pretty bad reasoning, no?

Comment: Re:I guess he crossed the wrong people (Score 3, Insightful) 295

by ChromeAeonium (#49499521) Attached to: Columbia University Doctors Ask For Dr. Mehmet Oz's Dismissal

You have a fundamental misunderstanding of the technology. Glyphosate use hasn't just go up; it has displaced other herbicides (including some harsh alternatives like atrazine, or just soil eroding tillage) and allowed farmers to hit the field with a single post emergent application of one of what is actually one of the more beneign herbicides out there. I wouldn't go drinking it, but glyphosate is hardly one of the scarier agrochemicals.

So yeah, glyphosate use is up, but so what? That's better than the alternative. Do you have a better weed management solution? Because if you do the farmers of the world would love to hear it; it isn't like they spend all that money on glyphosate for nothing. What you are saying is like saying that a line of cocaine is better than a glass of wine because the cocaine weighs less; you neglect to take into consideration that not all herbicides are equal. Furthermore, you consider only the one option against an ideal, when in reality, it is one of several options, and the ideal is not one of them.

Comment: Re:in my opinion this guy is like Jenny McCarthy (Score 1) 295

by ChromeAeonium (#49499499) Attached to: Columbia University Doctors Ask For Dr. Mehmet Oz's Dismissal

I stand against genetically modified crops because I don't want fucking multinationals to own the intellectual property rights over basic foodstuffs.

First off, you are against a technique because of how some people use it? Do I really have to point out how bad that logic is? Second, no one forces anyone to use Monsanto/Syngenta/Pioneer/ect.'s seed. They don't 'own' basic foodstuffs, they own the IP on very specific strains of crops. Don't like it? Fine, don't use them. Problem solved.

And this is what you represent:

You're claims that supporting genetic engineering equate to supporting all the things various companies have done in the past is like saying that supporting vaccination equates to supporting all the nasty things pharmaceutical companies have done. Your logic is again completely off base.

And they're the people saying GMOs will feed the hungry when GMOs are mainly targeted to countries where there are no hungry people.

Yes, things like Golden Rice and BioCassava and..oh wait, anti-GMO activists have worked to get such things blocked so that only large corporations have the money to get through the regulatory hurdles. That's a pretty key detail you conveniently neglected.

And, I'm also more than a little offended by people who say that consumers don't have a right to know the provenance of the food they eat. As if you've become some new arbiter of what information consumers may be allowed to base their purchasing decisions on.

If it objectively matters, it gets labeled, if not, no label. Same reason why there is no mandatory labeling on Halal/Haram, Kosher/non-Kosher, vegan, ect. Don't want to eat GE crops? There are only 8 species of food crop that are GE; if doing five minutes of research are so hard then perhaps you don't care that much anyway.

What I hate is when people use a lie of omission to imply a falsehood. Labeling GE foods is like labeling evolution teaching textbooks with 'Evolution is just a theory.' Technically true, but also misleading politically motivated garbage and everyone knows it. I'll believe you care about 'knowing what's in your food' and not just fearmongering when you demand all other methods of crop improvement (which most people outside of plant & agricultural science [that's you] don't even know about) be labeled and demand labeling for the hows, whys, and benefits of what has been genetically engineered.

Also, the studies on GMO safety have been extremely narrow, looking for toxicity and certain types of cancer-causing effects. There have been no studies at all on people who've eaten GMOs for 20 years, because they've only been selling GMOs to people for 20 years.

And there haven't been any 20 plus years on the effects of Wifi either, and yet, I don't see you panicking about that. Maybe when you give me a reason to suspect genetic engineering, instead of arbitrarily singling it out, I'll ignore all the safety data that shows no problems. So, lets talk biochemistry; what is it you find uniquely suspicious about genetic engineering, and be as specific as possible.

If you're so ashamed of where that food comes from, well that tells me something, too.

So you write a post slandering the flawless safety record of GE crops, reflecting the multitude of misinformation on the internet, then wonder why farmers and seed companies don't want them labeled? Gee, I can't imagine why.

Comment: Creative thinking (Score 1) 180

by crmarvin42 (#49495241) Attached to: Social Science Journal 'Bans' Use of p-values
If this is important enough of an issue to consider such a radical change to policy, then they should also have considered other possible solutions, like requiring a statistician be included in the pool of reviewers. The journal I submit to most frequently uses 2 to 3 ad hoc reviewers plus the associate section editor. It could be possible to require the section editor who choses the ad hoc reviewers to include a statistician as the 3rd reviewer. They would then review for the soundness of the statistical procedures, and the appropriateness of the conclusions based on the model used, and analysis conducted.

I have better stats chops than most in my field (dunning kruger delusion on my part, possibly), but I know that I'm no statistician. I think that getting an actual statistician involved in reviewing most papers as a content expert is far more valuable to science as a whole than simply banning a statistical convention that can be, but is not universally, abused. The comments from the statistician would improve the statistical prowess of the corresponding author, thus reducing the tendency for conclusions based on poor stats to be accepted at face value. This move just hides the ignorance behind confidence intervals, which can also be abused if they are not calculated correctly.

Comment: Re:A first: We should follow Germany's lead (Score 1) 698

Contributions to Jewish congregation are voluntary, not compulsory.

I am not Jewish, but a co-worker of mine who is indicated that you must pay pretty hefty membership dues to be able to join and attend Temple. I don't remember all of the details, but the description he provided sounded very much like a 'pay-to-pray' type arrangement.

Comment: Re:Well that's rather the point (Score 1) 320

by sumdumass (#49491701) Attached to: Gyro-Copter Lands On West Lawn of US Capitol, Pilot Arrested

In these situations, I'm not entirely sure collateral damage is of a primary concern. The image of either building being damaged or destroyed or the threat to elected representatives likely presents a worse impact than collateral damage might. Its like all the special protections they already have. For instance, punch your neighbor and face a misdemeanor, punch a senator or the president and it is not only a felony but a serious one at that. Kill someone in an auto accident and it can be a charge with less than 10 years but run over a police dog and you face life for killing an officer of the law.

Our system has said they are special and more protected than most people for quite a while now.

Comment: Re:Shocked he survived (Score 1) 320

by sumdumass (#49490325) Attached to: Gyro-Copter Lands On West Lawn of US Capitol, Pilot Arrested

Anything is possible but they have helicopter rides at the county fair around my neck of the woods. They take off and land right next to the fair way with an area about 30 yards roped off. Of course they approach and leave from the far side and away from the rides but its usually still over a parking lot.

I'm not sure I would be overly excited about his landing. Still some concerns but likely not dangerous.

Comment: Re:Well that's rather the point (Score 1) 320

by sumdumass (#49490227) Attached to: Gyro-Copter Lands On West Lawn of US Capitol, Pilot Arrested

There is a surface to air missile battery on the capital building and white house. Likely in other areas around there to.

Because of his slow speed and open cockpit they had the opportunity to watch him instead of just reacting. If he got closer or appearedt to be threatening to the white house he likely would have been shot down.

Comment: Re:A first: We should follow Germany's lead (Score 1) 698

by crmarvin42 (#49486691) Attached to: 'We the People' Petition To Revoke Scientology's Tax Exempt Status
Most people (theist or atheist) I suspect fall into the "Live and let live" camp. However, when a theist chooses to engage me on the topic, I will NOT pretend to beliefs I don't have, and I will not accept flawed argumentation out of some fake "respect" for their beliefs. That would be to lie to them, something they claim to hate. If they had any respect for my lack of belief, they wouldn't have broached the subject, and it is hypocritical of them to expect me to show their belief more respect than they chose to show mine. The fact that even some atheists believe I should shows just how privileged theists are in society.

Equating someone's faith with a belief in alien abductions is anything but respectful.

Not to the person who believes in alien abductions.

I've known several conspiracy theorists who believe that aliens exist, they abduct people for experimentation, and that the government knows about it. I can respect them as a person, without respecting the belief in phenomenon for which there is no credible evidence. I view ANY belief in something without credible evidence the same way, with skepticism. For some reason that is perfectly acceptable EXCEPT if the belief is called a religion. That makes no sense to me.

Comment: Re:A first: We should follow Germany's lead (Score 4, Insightful) 698

by crmarvin42 (#49481043) Attached to: 'We the People' Petition To Revoke Scientology's Tax Exempt Status
I think you are confusing two different issues here. Atheism vs Theism is about Belief, Gnosticism vs Agnosticism is about Knowledge. My wife and I are both agnostic atheists. Neither one of use Know whether or not there is a god, but neither of us belive that one exists based on the available evidence and rational marshaled as justification for his/her/its existence. It is possible to be a Gnostic Atheist (Knowing and Believing in the absence of a deity), as well as an Agnostic Theist (believing in god without actually knowing). From my perspective, the truly scary to me are the Gnostic Theists who claim to know for certain that god exists, not because of any empirical evidence, but simply because... Their counterparts, the Gnostic Atheists at least have a view that is consistent with observable phenomenon and are generally willing to be convinced of their error with sufficient evidence. I've had Gnostic Theists on the other hand tell me flat out that there is no evidence they would accept of god's nonexistence to even open up the possibility that they might be wrong. That kind of absolutism is truly dangerous.

Atheism is not a religion, it is the absence of religion and therefore a "true believer" in atheism is an oxymoron. It's like if you ask someone what there favorite cola is. The majority will say Coke, a close second will be Pepsi, some percentage will name far less popular colas, and some will say they don't like cola at all. That last group is the functional equivalent of an atheist. To say that their favorite cola is "None" is not really correct because it presumes that they like cola at all, which is not the case.

That being said, there are assholes in any group, and one should not confuse the views and actions of the asshole as representative or indicative of the group. And in defense of some atheists I've seen accused of being militant (my wife being one), what believers often perceive as being militant is actually being unapologetic. My wife's family has on several occasions attempted to engage my wife in religious discussions only to get frustrated when she turns there attempts at conversion (which no matter what they claim, was the true purpose of these conversations) into a dialog where she explains her beliefs and tries to make them understand her view. They view her attempts to turn the tables as being disrespectful and rude because they start from the assumption that god exists and any discussion of the possibility that he might not be real is inherently wrong and disrespectful to god. As the previous poster pointed out, there are lots of things people believing for which there is no credible evidence. Just because someone believes in something does NOT mean I have to show respect for that belief. However, lack of respect for the belief does not grant me permission to show disrespect to the believer. The religious in this world enjoy a privileged status in most society and many view that privilege as their right, instead of as an artifact of previous intolerance of different religions or the non-religious. Therefore they have a hard time not seeing my lack of respect for their belief as a lack of respect for them as a person.

Comment: Re:A first: We should follow Germany's lead (Score 1) 698

by crmarvin42 (#49480887) Attached to: 'We the People' Petition To Revoke Scientology's Tax Exempt Status
Not true. The majority of atheists do not care one whit what you believe. The majority of the country still believes in some deity or other, and unless we want to be social hermits/pariahs, atheists engage with the religious all of the time. Most people don't even know that I am an atheists, and I don't know most other peoples faiths because I simply don't care. Not our business how you spend your Saturday/Sunday, or what you do at home.

However, we have just as much right to weigh in on how our tax dollars are spent, or what activities are incentivized by exemptions from those taxes. My grandmothers church goes on missions to 3rd world countries and I used to support her efforts by donating money to pay for the trip, supplies, etc. However, when I learned that the missions largess was only offered to those who agreed to convert to Christianity, my donations started going somewhere else. I don't care what the poor believe, and so I refuse to allow my money to incentivize conversions I see no importance to or value in. I have no problem supporting Christians in need, but not at the deliberate expense of non-believers. That kind of quid-pro-quo is why many atheists now oppose tax exemptions for religious organizations. Not because they are religious, but because they are discriminatory in how they dispense the largess of their donors. I don't want to incentivize discrimination by allowing tax exempt status for what I view as immoral behavior.

"If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in the library?" -- Lily Tomlin

Working...