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Comment Re:Yes. (Score 2) 122 122

Come on. I'm not a fan of either nuclear or the Japanese government, but that's just crap.

I don't know where in Japan you live, but in our jichikai (which is somewhere in the 24 districts of Tokyo) the old ladies had a contract with a private lab to test for "radiation poisoning" in early March 2011 already. They bought two geiger counters too, and even walked about for months measuring stuff. To their huge disappointment, not much was found. This was a completely private effort, that is, the "government" was not involved in any way.

If the jichikai tests had found something, anything, the news and the Internets would be all over the place (see below **). At the least, I would have heard about it. Also, I doubt ours was the only jichikai that went from totally unconcerned to seriously over-equipped and over-zealous about detecting radiation.

They were not the only ones measuring. Virtually every university, public or private, is doing measurements. So do or did many supermarket chains for a while. If there was a massive radiation contamination, it would have been found and reported. You can easily dig day-by-day data about radiation measurements, including independent ones, if you speak a little Japanese. Yes, they are still measuring.

As for the 'hot spots' in Tokyo, I recall two. One was a large cache of radium buried in a private garden by the grandkids of a watch repairman, who passed away in the 60s, the other was some equipment that was disposed of similarly by a company. Neither had anything to do with Fukushima, and IIRC, both were found by citizens with geiger counters and both made huge news on the TV, all channels covering and discussing them for days **. Care to mention what other spots are there, which were caused by Fukushima and I don't know about?

To wrap it up, it is quite impossible to hide a large scale contamination in Japan in the long run, because people here are health-conscious and wealthy enough to be able to run all kinds of tests independently, and the media, while not completely without influence, are free to cover what they want and some dislike the current government enough to publish anything that will harm its image.

So, either provide serious evidence about this conspiracy, or just shut up.

Comment Re:Another blow to states' RIGHTS. (Score 1, Insightful) 446 446

Every-thing we eat is literally some variant of GMO, we've been making GMO foods since we've been cultivating crops and domesticating animals.

No, not at all. The 'natural' equivalent of genetic engineering is something called horizontal gene transfer, it is a process discovered only in 1951 or thereabouts and happens mostly inside simple single-cell organisms that lack nucleus and not so often in single-cell eukaryotes. As far as I am aware, there is not a lot of evidence that HGT is an important evolution factor in multicell organisms, and we mostly eat those.

before listening to Bill Nye [startalkradio.net] explain

I am not really familiar with this person, but apparently he's a former mechanical engineer turned a TV personality. That would explain his bad analogy, but by quoting him you commit a grave argument from authority fallacy :). He doesn't know any more about the subject than you, me or the average slashdotter.

Also finding out how freaking awesome their genetics lab work was amazingly impressive.

Your impression of someone's lab does nothing to alleviate legitimate concerns about the method. I'm sure that some of the doctors who appeared in tobacco commercials owned or worked in stellar hospitals.

There is no going "back to the old ways" on this where you sprinkle pollen on the stamen by hand and wait for it to grow before selecting. We're waaaay past that. We can improve the new GMO process but there's ZERO chance we're going back to the old ways.

As I already explained above, this is precisely the problem that necessitates the labeling.

At the moment, a few players with an early start have developed some techniques based on rather incomplete knowledge, and they want to monetize those fast. It is this drive for profit that is driving the process, not scientific curiosity or care about benefits to mankind. And in order to recoup the costs of the investment in the process, companies push to market things that are only tested in a laboratory, again, according to their understanding of what 'safe' and 'beneficial' means. Unfortunately, this understanding is often limited to the benefits to the investors. Some people may want to take the bet that these products are safe and buy them. Others may not. What matters is that people should have the right to know what they are buying and the right to choose how they spend their money. This is what freedom is about, no?

100's of geneticists do this for 3-4 years before handing it over to the FDA which reviews it for another 3 years.

You're badly misinformed. In fact, what happens is that hundreds of employees try to come up with evidence that their company's products are safe, and in FDA a much smaller and poorly funded group uses that carefully prepared evidence as a basis for certification.

The process is strongly influenced by politics and lobbies and is seldom too biased in favor of public safety. It is only after a significant amount of suffering accumulates that corrective measures begin to happen. You can observe the tobacco industry and the health consequences of smoking, or the fast food industry and the obesity epidemics as cases in point. There are, of course, many more specific examples that illustrate the problem with a wide range of products: medicines, particular food additives and so on.

We're now able to do in weeks what takes mother nature centuries. We can make plants resistant to bugs, pests, reduce the water they intake, make them more nutritious, give them a longer shelf life, reduce or eliminate natural toxins that many plants have, grow faster. This is really literally super food.

This is the advertisement line. But actually all 'we' have come up with is plants that are at best similar in quality with the garden variety, and the major difference is an increased resistance to a particular pesticide that the genetic engineering company wants to sell and removed ability to reproduce.

IMHO, that's not a big social benefit, especially given the fact that the overuse of such pesticide has probably been an important factor in things like the bee colony collapse disorder, apparently a very serious threat to agriculture.

Being anti GMO is nearly as bad as being anti-vaccination.

Your accusation in the context of discussion about labeling implies several things, which I'd like to list and discuss explicitly.

1. You equate the position that labeling is necessary (pro-labeling) with 'anti-GMO'. However, you could hardly be more wrong. 'Anti-GMO' is the position that GE foods should not be developed, produced or sold. Asking that such foods be labeled is exactly the opposite, as it implies acceptance of the position that such food may actually be produced and sold. That is, pro-labeling is, in fact, conditionally pro-GMO.

2. You equate 'anti-GMO' to 'anti-vaccination' and by extension, you equate pro-labeling to anti-vaccination. What you actually want to say is:

Anti-vaxxers are people who don't understand the subject and base their beliefs on hearsay grounded in a fake study, therefore, because anti-GMO people are stupid like them, and people who want labeling are anti-GMO, labeling is bad.

I've already shown that this 'logic' of yours breaks badly if you consider that labeling already implies pro-GMO stance.

However, let's consider where this accusation is coming from. I already pointed out that you don't understand the process of genetic engineering very well, that you choose to trust an authority with a questionable qualification on the subject, which happens to support your feelings, and that the logic you use to conclude that pro-labeling crowd is stupid is broken.

Are you not over-stretching a bit when you accuse other people of ignorance?

Comment Re:Another blow to states' RIGHTS. (Score 3, Insightful) 446 446

Nope. The labels are about informed choice.

I have the right to know if what I'm buying with my money is the result of a combination of genes that have undergone thousands of years of 'safety testing' known as evolution, or something concocted in a lab by people who don't even understand fully the basics of what they're doing, but whose employers are in a rush to make a quick buck while they have the patent; something, which is only 'tested' against the interpretation of the safety rules of the said employers for a year or two.

Even if there was a working thorough safety testing procedure and no cause of concern (which isn't the case just yet), if I'm buying something with my money, I still have the right to know what it is made of, just like I have the right to know what's on the ingredient list, where something was manufactured, what color is the item in the package, what is the CPU inside and how many points are there per inch, and just like I tell my clients what's in the product that I ship to them.

If you're against labeling on the ground that it creates 'fear', let's remove the country of origin stuff too, after all, the importers have done all the testing and it is quite certain there's no harm to the consumer. Let's remove info about nutritional value, because high calories or weird ingredients scare the consumer. Finally, let's get rid of the pesky expiry date stuff, we all know that businesses will thoroughly test and that they won't put something spoiled on the shelves.

Submission + - Uber downgraded from a hot dot-com to an average taxi company in CA->

siddesu writes: The California Labor Commission has ruled Uber drivers are employees and not independent contractors. The ruling has serious implications for Uber’s business model, since it will now be required to offer its drivers benefits that meet the requirements of the Californian labor laws. The labor commissioner's office has apparently awarded $4k per driver, which Uber is appealing.
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