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Comment google ‘zerg rush' (Score 1) 95

I just googled ‘zerg rush’, and forgot all about the google easter egg..

Re. the OP, gambling on the outcome of sports is a deep and dark problem that has plagued humanity since the dawn of betting on sports.. Horseracing, athletics, boxing, football, american football, cricket, baseball - Throwing games of Starcraft was an inevitable, predictable continuation of a long standing activity.

Comment Re:Just some facts about GMO -- (Score 1) 330

FYI it's sugar beet. As of 2014 in the USA, over 50% of the entire production of soybean, beet, cotton, corn and canola (aka rapeseed) are GM crops.
Lots of that is used in derived ingredients - beet and corn are big sources of sugar and hfcs (high fructose corn syrup - the killer sweetner found in almost all consumer foods in the USA). Canola is used for cooking oil (french fries, etc). Soy is used for all sorts.

Comment Re:The geek understands nothing about agricuture. (Score 1) 330

Let's just concentrate on Monsanto for a moment..

Agent Orange: In the manufacture of 2,4,5-T, Monsanto accidentally overheating of the reaction mixture which caused it condense into the toxic self-condensation product TCDD. It was this dioxin, found present in Agent Orange, that caused untold suffering for which the defoliant is known for. Monsanto had overcooked the mix. QA did not find out about it until the stuff was already delivered to the DoD.
Profitable? Yep. Ethical? Definitely not.

DDT. Produced and sold by Monsanto to farmers for years as the best thing ever. The US ban on DDT is cited by scientists as a major factor in the comeback of the bald eagle (yes, the national bird) and the peregrine falcon from near-extirpation in the United States. Some states in the USA have still lost the vast populations of birds that used to live there.
Profitable? Yep. Ethical? Definitely not.

Dirty Tricks: US diplomats were found to be working directly for GM companies such as Monsanto. Wikileaks documents revealed that in response to an attempt by France to ban a Monsanto's MON810 in late 2007, the then US ambassador to France, Craig Roberts Stapleton, in a bid to "help strengthen European pro-biotech voices," asked Washington to "calibrate a targeted retaliation list that would cause some pain across the EU," in particular those countries that did not support the use of GM crops. This activity transpired after the US, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, India, Mexico and New Zealand had brought an action against Europe via the World Trade Organization with respect to the EU's banning of GMOs; in 2006, the WTO had ruled against the EU.
Profitable? Yep. Ethical? Definitely Not.

Monsanto almost single-handedly shows why big business is bad. Accept the fact. Profits and ethics are frequently at odds with each other. Monsanto has a terrifying record with it's ethical behaviour.

I'm not a farmer. I'm certainly not a government. Would I be persuaded by Monsanto? Definitely not.

Comment Re:This is not about science. It's about dependenc (Score 1) 330

For an answer to some of your retorts, see my response to AC above.
Let's look at this another way. The EU market is different from the USA. I'm sure we can agree on that.
For whatever reasons, possibly because it's the 'old world', EU consumers are innately conservative when it comes to the basics. We can probably agree on that.
Monsanto has a very bad name in the EU. Blame the PR department, or ignorant (but communications savvy) activists, but it's true. We can probably agree on that.

Fortunately for the EU, the countries within it are democratic. These means that the governments depend upon a popular vote for continued terms of office. So, while the ignorant, yet communications savvy, activists are able to state the case against Monsanto, it really makes little difference if you or I are wrong on this. Given a choice (and thank goodness for living in a free country that gives me choice), I would choose against Monsanto's versions of GM crops. We will have to differ on that. However, you may ask why. So I shall explain:-

As I say to AC above, citing Wickson and Wynne's paper which you know about if you are in the industry, and could read if you are not, for agricultural biotechnology, there are a range of conditions that make current practices of assessing the quality of biosafety science unethical. These include: a lack of open access to testing materials; limited resources for independent research; lack of transparency concerning the transgenic constructs in use; lack of consistency in the application of evidentiary and interpretive standards; and no clear processes ensuring accountability and consistency in assessment processes.

Whether or not you agree with Wickson and Wynne, it's hard to dispute that they assert that. I agree with them. I believe that several countries in the EU also agree with them. So on this issue, let's agree to differ.

When Monsanto comes back with good science - a willingness to share all data to the point of reproducibility, and a willingness to work for the good of mankind rather than for profits, come back to me. Otherwise I'm done here.

Comment Re:This is not about science. It's about dependenc (Score 2) 330

I have farmers in my family. I've, -er-, interacted with farmers from Nebraska, Ukraine, Nepal, India, UK, Germany, Holland and France.
Many of the farmers have used hybrids, sure. Many of them have decided against using hybrids for exact the same reason that they don't want to choose GM seeds. Some have heirloom crops that they are very proud of. Not all.
Some of the farmers I've talked with hate the other dependancies that you mention - pesticides are a pain, and farming legislation is increasingly tough. But there are choices, and there is competition. You have an idea about what your spend will be, you know what the current environmental risks are for your own farm, and you can do something about that. GM grain sells poorly in Europe. Legislation requires that, when used as ingredients, all GM crops are labelled as such, so that the consumer can make a choice. Blame an incredibly bad PR department from Monsanto if you wish, but GM has a truly bad reputation in the consumer sector of Europe.

You state that 'most' farmers switched over entirely to GM crops within the second year of using them. The USDA disagrees. In the USA, its true that most (ie, over 50%) soybean, beet, cotton, corn and canola are GM crops. but that's it. GM is a choice, yes. But actually there's a far greater move towards premium value crops in EU - such as the organic market, which is high risk, but very high reward. The reward is so high that it covers a bad year without difficulty. What may surprise you is that EU consumers will prefer a small non-uniform non-hybrid organic vegetable to a beautful, big, bouncy GM one.

So, why was MON 810 barred from some countries? It's yet another Bt maize, so what's the fuss?

Wickson and Wynne suggest that debates over the quality of science for policy in the case of MON810 are inherently shaped by unstated normative commitments and value judgments. Finally, they argue that for agricultural biotechnology, there are a range of conditions that make current practices of assessing the quality of biosafety science unethical. These include: a lack of open access to testing materials; limited resources for independent research; lack of transparency concerning the transgenic constructs in use; lack of consistency in the application of evidentiary and interpretive standards; and no clear processes ensuring accountability and consistency in assessment processes.

Comment This is not about science. It's about dependency. (Score 5, Insightful) 330

The problem isn't to do with GM, it's to do with the way in which profits are derived from GM. The difficulties of GM are that the producer is able to develop a dependancy on the product. This dependency should be illegal. It's why pimps get their girls (and boys) hooked on crack or heroin. It's why big tobacco is evil.

What compounds the issue is that the US patent system is known to be desparately broken. Intellectual property and copyright law are bracketed into the same brokenness. What that means is that not only do consumers of GM products become dependant on the product, but the producer is able to sustain an indefinite monopoly of it.

This isn't about science. Never was. It's about becoming Monsanto's bitch and not being able to do anything about it.

Comment Re:"Photons of light..." (Score 1) 85

A photon is its own antiparticle, so there is no such thing as a photon of dark.
Which you know, of course.

However, not all photons are light (if we use 'light' in it's normal context of the visible electromagnetic spectrum), even though all light is photons.
Examples of photons which are not light include microwaves, x-rays, radio waves, etc.

That would almost allow for the article not to look like it was written by an idiot, except that TFA ( ) states that the spectrum used is with pulses at around 1560nm - way below the visible spectrum.

So yes as you say:- WTF? photons of light? OMG N00b!

Comment Why not? (Score 3, Informative) 296

I love C++. It will take you a a couple of years to get good at it, but as you say - it's a personal project, and I am guessing you've had enough of Java.
However, if you are doing any sort of front end GUI for it, then don't go there. Stay with Java. There is no unified FE GUI for C++ which I could recommend.
Likewise, many of the suggestions above seem to have not read that you already know Java.

Comment Hit mass with mass (Score 1) 150

Don't carry payload into orbit - it's phenomenally expensive. Instead, gather mass that's already up there using lightweight automata. Then accelerate it, and keep it in a parking orbit. Rinse & repeat. The best way to shift mass is with mass. It doesn't really matter what it is. It's also far safer to manipulate mass than it is to manipulate nuclear charges.

Submission + - Interstellar travel was almost possible, 70k years ago... (

mrthoughtful writes: According to the bods at the University of Rochester, 70,000 years ago, a recently discovered dim star (Scholz's star) passed through our Oort cloud, in a near collision with Sol only 52,000 AU distant. Although this is still quite a distance, it is far closer than Proxima Centauri's current 266,000 AU, but still a stretch for Voyager I's 125 AU. Still, maybe the best way to engage in interstellar travel is just to wait until the time is right.

Comment This is -the- Dyson (Score 1) 249

Dyson is one of my science heros. cf.
He is a notable subversive and a joker. He was once commissioned to write a paper for the US DOD regarding the use of nukes in Vietnam. He is pointing something else out in this paper (already three years old - not news), and it appears the irony is being missed.

Submission + - World most dangerous toy 'Gilbert Atomic Energy Lab' goes on display at museum (

hypnosec writes: The Gilbert Atomic Energy Lab — dubbed as the world's most dangerous toy — has gone on display at the Ulster Museum in Northern Ireland. The toy has earned the title of most dangerous toy because it includes four types of uranium ore, three sources of radiation, and a Geiger counter that enables parents to measure just how contaminated their child had become. The Gilbert Atomic Energy Lab was only available between 1951 and 1952 and was the most elaborate atomic energy educational kit ever produced. The toy was one of the most costly toy of the time retailing at $50 — said to be equivalent to $400 today.

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made. -- Jean Giraudoux