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Comment: Re: SO (Score 1) 377

by crmarvin42 (#48386769) Attached to: How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa
I don't doubt that Drinkypoo believes what he's saying. The Anti-GMO crowd has been spreading that particular FUD for several years now. I've seen it in political propaganda dressed up to look like documentaries on several occasions. Their books and websites are similarly full of such BS.

If you have no connection to the country or agriculture it is hard to recognize that the claims don't match reality. Especially if the stories fit your preconceptions. Cognitive bias and cognitive dissonance are both very real phenomenon that can catch otherwise intelligent and honest people.

I've known several people from India and I've gotten the impression from most of them that things are much better than they were. Glad to hear further confirmation.

Comment: Re: SO (Score 1) 377

by crmarvin42 (#48381175) Attached to: How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa
Overall I agree with most of what you posted. The one line I'd like to challenge you a little on is this one:

And you really should not use carnivore manure

Plant's don't know whether the N, P, K, etc in fertilizer came from pigs, chickens, or cows. For manure from any species it is important to know the nutrient concentrations of the manure, the pre-existing loading of the soil, the requirements of the plant to be grown on the soil, the drainage properties of the soil, etc. Same goes for using synthetic fertilizers, BTW.

As I understand it, much of the problems in the Chesapeake Bay water shed came from incomplete understanding. Farmers were paying at least some attention to the N part of the equation, but were not paying any attention to the P part. Turns out that most manure has a much higher P to N ratio than plants need, so applying manure based on N only resulted in P overloading. Over the last couple of decades farmers have found ways to improve the P to N ratio and have limited application rates based on P as well, thus avoiding over loading. Even if it required an application of another fertilizer to get the N content of the soil right.

Comment: Re: SO (Score 1) 377

by crmarvin42 (#48378533) Attached to: How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa
Rebuilding top soil is a matter of fertilizing. The green revolution does not, contrary to the baseless claims by drinkypoo, "Destroy" top soil. Fertilization is an integral part of both traditional and modern farming techniques.

Plants extract nutrients from soil as they grow. The faster and larger they grow, the more nutrients are extracted. Traditional farming techniques utilized manure and other waste products to restore fertility to the soil, but in an imprecise way. Modern fertilizing techniques involved testing the soil, identifying the deficient nutrients, and then applying exactly what is needed to ensure optimal fertility. Modern techniques still use manure, but they also use other sources of nutrients to ensure that nutrient supply is as close to optimal as possible.

Traditional fertilizing involves spreading manure and other nutrient dense products without considering the ratios of the various nutrients present in the soil and fertilizer relative to the needs of the crops. Manure from swine tends to have much higher ratio of Nitrogen to Phosphorus than is ideal for corn and soy. If you apply manure as your sole source of nutrients you are either over supplementing with one (contributing to run-off and water eutrophication) or shorting your plants and reducing yields. Traditional farming techniques are inefficient due to ignorance, not apathy, but they are still harmful.

Comment: Re: SO (Score 2) 377

by crmarvin42 (#48378435) Attached to: How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa

People are starving right here, where these farming methods dominate overwhelmingly. There is more than enough food on the planet to feed everyone on it. Suggesting that we need to use destructive farming methods is foolish at best.

Yes, and much of that food is produced using modern farming practices. If the US were to revert to the traditional agricultural practices people view through the rose-tinted-glasses of affluence and satiety there would be MORE people starving both inside and outside of the US. We are a net exporter of grains, and those surpluses are possible because of those modern production techniques. There are many nations that are dependent upon US grain to feed a significant portion of their population. Cutting off US exports because we've decided to throw out the last 20 to 30 years of agricultural improvements would throw the world food supply into havoc. A drought in the Midwest US a couple of years ago was global news and affected food prices just about everywhere. What we grow in the US helps to feed the world.

Comment: Re: SO (Score 2) 377

by crmarvin42 (#48378259) Attached to: How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa
People are starving in India because people have always been starving in India. There have always been people starving everywhere. The question is whether there are MORE people starving in India now than before green revolution.

I don't have access to data that goes that far back, but the FAOStat page for India puts the per capita food supply at 2459 kcal/person/da, which is 25% higher than the FDA RDA of 2000 kcal/day. It is also a little more than 200 kcal more than 1996.

Greater consumption by the wealthiest can of course result in an increase in the average, without changing things in a meaningful way for those at the bottom. Fortunately the FAOStat page also indicates that the prevalence of under nutrition went from 21% in 1999 to 18% in 2012. Again small changes, but definitely an improvement when you consider that India has 1/6th of the world population. That 3% point improvement in access to nutrition for India represents 0.5% of the GLOBAL population. Not too shabby.

AS to the population issue. I agree that population control could help, but I see improving production as far more likely than getting the global population to agree to reduced population growth. Data shows that the best way to slow population growth in a country is to increase the quality of life. There is a consistent negative correlation between quality of life in a nation and the reproduction rate from citizens (discounting immigration and immigrant families from developing nations).

GMO crops enable no-till farming. That is but one of the ways that they CONTRIBUTE to sustainable agriculture. If you'd ever planted a GMO crop you might know that.

Comment: Re: SO (Score 1) 377

by crmarvin42 (#48377607) Attached to: How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa
Charcoal is acting as a fertilizer in this scenario. Of course fertilizing the field will bring benefits if the soil is nutrient deficient. That doesn't change the fact that a plant that is intrinsically resistant to a common pest will yield even more than one that is susceptible to the pest if both are fertilized appropriately.

There are so many things that are less than optimal in traditional subsistence farming that lots of different interventions can potentially increase yields. Just because one works, does not mean that another would not also improve yields. In fact, combining both changes would likely improve yields in a largely additive way. That is why farmers in developed countries are so much more productive. They take advantage of a lot of different improvements that work together.

Comment: Re: SO (Score 3, Informative) 377

by crmarvin42 (#48377217) Attached to: How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa
Simply saying something, whether you honestly believe it or not, does not make it true.

World hunger is at the lowest it has ever been. https://www.wfp.org/stories/10... How exactly to interpret that to mean that the green revolution has led to starvation?

Producing foods by traditional means was a large part of the reason hunger was worse in the past than it is now. There were fewer people, more of them were directly involved in food production (both in real terms and as a percent of the population) and yet there was MORE hunger than today. The modern techniques were developed because the worked better, not out of some perverse desire to make people less food secure. Large agriculture takes feeding the world as a mission statement. Every conference I've ever attended is peppered with references to the disconnect between population projections (going up FAST) and available land projections (trending downward in developed countries, and stagnant in developing ones).

We need to produce twice as much food in 2050 as in 2010, yet we need to do it with LESS land and finite resources than we did in 2020. Going backward with regard to efficiency and yields is not a viable solution unless you are willing to let a lot of people starve needlessly.

Comment: Re: SO (Score 2) 377

by crmarvin42 (#48375395) Attached to: How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa
Speak the truth and be modded a troll by a group of people who've probably never gone hungry for more that a few hours at a time their entire lives.

most farmers in Africa are subsistence farmers. It is a good year if they have enough for themselves and a little extra to sell. Free seeds that improve yields by 9-25% in developed countries, and an additional 14% points in developing countries is a chance to get ahead instead of just scraping by (planned to post a link to the article on the economist websites here I pulled those numbers, but can't paste for some reason on my phone).

it's easy to look down on GE seeds with a life time of full bellies in your past, your future, and your children's futures as far as you can see. Try going hungry despite spending all you can spare on food and then rail against seeds that have never made a single person sick and have fed billions.

Comment: Re:Enough already (Score 1) 229

by crmarvin42 (#48143957) Attached to: The Subtle Developer Exodus From the Mac App Store
I suspect the saturation with low value apps and the restrictions are not unrelated. It sounds like the store is structured in such a way as to limit the number of possible business models that can be pursued profitably. Low value apps are easier to develop so there is less inherent risk with putting them into the Mac App Store than more complex apps that may run up against things like the sandboxing requirement. Success comes not from creating a single, polished and powerful application, but from developing a lot of small throw-away apps that make little money individually, but are profitable (more or less) in aggregate.

I think one shortcoming of the Mac App Store from the software buyer perspective that most people miss is the effect it has had on OTHER application sites. I used to know of several different sites I could go to and search for applications from various developers, but they all died off. Now it's the Mac App Store or Google, but Google turns up lots of PC apps, FOSS apps of questionable quality, or apps listed on aggregators that make their money off of pretty horrendous amount of adds/page and frequently link to apps that no longer exist.

I prefer to buy directly from the developer when possible, but I need to FIND the developers app first and the Mac App Store is making that more difficult.

Comment: Re:Fox News? (Score 1) 460

by crmarvin42 (#48064267) Attached to: Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans
Large news publications like the esteemed New York Times routinely get science wrong in major, and detrimental ways.

For example they are hosting a symposium to talk about the future of modern agriculture, but didn't bother to invite anyone who is part of the current agricultural system. All of their speakers are people who are famous for taking a political stance on a scientific issue and using their bully pulpit to actively mis-inform the public. If the media were held accountable for promoting BS, then the NYTimes would be facing serious sanctions for this, but they are not.

Comment: Re:Fox News? (Score 1) 460

by crmarvin42 (#48064237) Attached to: Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans
No need to bring right or left into it. Yes the right is full of morons who don't believe in evolution for religious reasons or Man-made global warming due to motivated self interest, but the Left is full of morons who don't believe that Vaccines or GMO crops are safe for what, in the end, boil down to religious reasons (Naturalistic Logical Fallacy).

Comment: Re:Americans are smart. (Score 1) 460

by crmarvin42 (#48020511) Attached to: Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans
Title 21 of the US Code of federal regulations (21 CFR) lists all of the ingredients approved for use in the US food supply, whether for humans or animals. The US is a net exporter of corn and soy, and China is a net importer, so your example is not the best but I get your point.

More importantly, so does the FDA. They are currently working on the second draft of the proposed rules to cover verification that imported food products are produced to US standards as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). FSMA is the most extensive revision of US food and feed laws since the original 1938 Federal Food Drug and Cosmetics Act. One of the proposed regulations is to cover Foreign Supplier Verification, by which importers must certify (through inspections) that foreign companies are following the same rules as US based companies when producing their products for export to the US. Furthermore, the FDA plans to begin on-site inspections of foreign sites at a minimum of every 3 years. For those sites that are classified as a higher risk level, they will be inspecting every year, and only the first inspection is free. The FDA will bill the company for the cost of follow up inspections if problems are found and a re-inspection is deemed necessary.

Also, FSMA gives the FDA vast new enforcement powers. Currently, they can recommend a product recall, but the manufacturer ultimately decides. Once the act is in place, they will be able to sieze all product in the supplychain, issue recalls, and close down manufacturing sites on the suspicion of a problem. They don't need to have any hard evidence like testing data or sick people.

Comment: Re:Fox News? (Score 3, Insightful) 460

by crmarvin42 (#48020339) Attached to: Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans
^^This is, in my not so humble opinion, one of the main reasons science and scientists are viewed with such skepticism.

How many newspapers and TV news programs gave Wakefield (and even worse, Jenny McCarthy) valuable opportunities to speak publically without challenge, even after it became clear that autism is not caused by vaccines? On the other hand, how many times have they, in the name of "Balance", allowed crackpots to act as foils to certified experts in an area?

How about the cult-worship status of TV stars like Dr. Oz or Dr. Phil who are billed as trustworthy experts despite their lack of qualifications in the area they spend most of their time talking about. Dr. Oz. is not a toxicologist, but that doesn't stop him (or his producers) from putting out BS on the risks of new pesticides about which none of them appear to know anything accurate.

The media needs to be held accountable for spreading bullshit for the sake of increased circulation/clicks. They aren't because of freedom of the press, and I am not opposed to freedoms of the press. As Spider-man would say "with great power comes great responsibility", but the press seems to be allowed to exercise enormous power without being held responsible for the harm they do.

Comment: Re:Be careful with those assumptions. (Score 1) 281

by crmarvin42 (#47768335) Attached to: The Evolution of Diet
You were the one claiming that we had eliminated natural selection, I was using a little thing called sarcasm to emphasize the inconsistency between the claim and the existence of mortality due to reasons other than old age. If you can't parse sarcasm when it is pointed out to you in advance then you probably shouldn't be wasting your or anyone else's time by posting.

Comment: Re:Be careful with those assumptions. (Score 1) 281

by crmarvin42 (#47764505) Attached to: The Evolution of Diet
In the US we formulate animal diets based in kcal/lb (industry) or kcal/kg (academia). In Europe they are more likely to use MJ/kg.

I've never understood why the human nutrition folks have created such unnecessary confusion. I've been told the goal was to make things simpler and easier for the layperson to understand, but the success of that is dubious at best.

No hardware designer should be allowed to produce any piece of hardware until three software guys have signed off for it. -- Andy Tanenbaum

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