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Comment Re:Not Me (Score 1) 370

This is getting silly - you didn't even read your own link.

It's about a successful vaccination programme, and the complaint is that the Gates Foundation invests in oil companies. Obviously if the Foundation wants to continue making money they have to grow their capital - to do that they invest. Oil companies are profitable, so they invest in them. Then they use the money to do good things. Exactly as outlined in that article.

It's getting a little tiresome having to keep contradicting you so other people don't see your nonsense and take it for truth.

Comment Re:Not Me (Score 1) 370

Yes, I worked in South Africa for a while and several of my researcher colleagues are from South Africa. Whilst they have it better than anyone else in Africa, the facilities at the best universities and the quality and impact of the research that leaves there is not on the same scale as in the USA, Canada, UK, other major EU powers, Japan, China, India. Similarly the quality of the education system in SA is generally below that of Europe, North America and Asia.

What you are suggesting, seeding a new philanthropic organisation in SA, sounds fine, but is nothing to do with the remit of the Gates Foundation.

Comment Re:Not Me (Score 2) 370

Monsanto don't use terminator genes because of the public outcry about them. It is not profitable for Monsanto to chase license infringers and prosecute them - they will hardly ever recoup their costs in the legal settlements. It is necessary for them to police infringements because if they didn't, infringement would be come more widespread.

If you bother to look at the history of cases Monsanto has brought in the USA, only a small handful turned out to be accidental infringement. Most are people trying to cheat the licenses.

Comment Re:Not Me (Score 3, Insightful) 370

Not all of Africa is warlords and mud huts. Are you racist, or is this just typical ignorance?

I never suggested it was. The quality of biological research in most African nations is so bad as to be meaningless when compared with developed countries. It makes no sense to try to tackle the biggest biological challenges of the century using the worst labs and worst educated researchers in the world. It's a sad fact, but a fact nonetheless. It's got nothing to do with race.

!American != African. Logic fail, kid.

I oversimplified in response to parent, but this was your logic fail. I never asserted that there was a binary choice between African and American, I just used the words used by the parent. The Gates Foundation does not only use American companies - GSK for example are a UK company.

And draw human and logistic resources away from other goals that health care professionals are already working on.

Firstly, the GF is trying, as every philanthropic organisation must, to prioritise the most important work. Of course that means some people will work on the more important problems, that's the whole point. They add funding and structure, the work gets done. Secondly, they are primarily *adding* resources to the (African) system, not diverting them.

Right, if your goal is to spread the dominance of Big Pharma, you don't have to worry about whether people are dying faster than you can vaccinate them. You just give out a bunch of vaccinations, declare MISSION ACCOMPLISHED and move on.

This is trollish. Perhaps you have not actually read the article or about what work the GF supports, but this isn't it.

Yes, actually, this is one of the world's great tragedies. The terminator genes can never do worse than decrease yields, and in exchange they would prevent other farmers' fields from being contaminated with Monsanto's IP, which would prevent Monsanto from stealing their land. In fact, we should have demanded that every GMO plant ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD be modified with Monsanto's terminator gene. The down side, bad seed practices. The up side? No accidentally saving seed and getting assraped by Monsanto.

I don't completely disagree. But what do you mean by 'bad seed practices'? Licensing their technology? I think you misunderstand how the world is being fed - it's by farmers who willingly buy licensed seed because it is more productive and generates higher yields and profits for them than other alternatives. If they want to cheat by breaking the license conditions, they face the legal consequences. Most don't, and they feed the world under that system.

Comment Re:Not Me (Score 4, Insightful) 370

1. It would be crazy to try to solve disease by creating research facilities in Africa, when there isn't the infrastructure or educational standard to support to work. Cures will develop much faster in developed nations.
2. Ditto with American drug companies - which African ones are large and stable enough to handle the work?
3. You're describing aid programmes with your alien tech analogy, which are flawed for the reason you give. That's not how the Gates Foundation works. I can only speak to their agricultural development work, but it is not similar to an aid programme - they invest heavily in R&D geared towards specific high-impact goals. They are investing the money where they think it will have the highest impact per dollar spent.
4. I agree about the fundamental problems in Africa, but those aren't the remit of the foundation. They are about developing technological solutions, not about steering political and economic change, which is much less concrete and difficult to engineer. Frankly, whether or not you think it's the major problem, the tech is needed.
5. MONSANTO DO NOT USE TERMINATOR GENES. NOBODY DOES. It's crazy how many people have this idea, but there have never been seed with terminator genes on the market from any company. The technology *was* developed to an early stage by the USDA and a small agro company, who were later bought out by Monsanto. Monsanto made a public commitment to abandon the terminator technology when they acquired the company.

The simple fact is that the Green Revolution worked in Asia, it raised nearly 1.5 billion people out of frequent famine. Whether or not it created a perfect system, it got massive humanitarian results. It couldn't have happened if it didn't leverage existing infrastructure including plant breeding and seed companies, as well as agrochemical producers.. The same is true of Africa - if agricultural production is to be massively increased there within a reasonable timeframe, it needs to be done using the best infrastructure we have available, which includes having the world's major seed companies involved in seed production.

Comment Re:Um (Score 4, Interesting) 84

Great summary here. As a young scientist I see this a serious problem for the credibility of science in general. The gross fraud cases seem to be mostly limited to a few fields - anaesthesiology in particular has had a few major retractions bouts recently.

As you point out, medicine and other fields involving population studies are much more prone to confirmation bias. In a similar vein, any field where the cutting edge involves extremely expensive experiments is open to direct abuse or failure of scrutiny to discover mistakes because it's prohibitively expensive to replicate experiments. Open data is one part of the solution to that problem, but to understand the data you need a good precise methodology published along with it, and often methods are lacking in detail to the point where they could never be accurately replicated. I think openness with data and methods need to go hand in hand.

The major lesson I've taken from all this is not to allow myself space for confirmation bias. In my field that means always performing the complete set of experiments to confirm the causative link you are exploring, not just getting a fat load of correlations. That needs to go hand in hand with a thorough understanding of the relevant statistics, not just blindly working with standard confidence intervals.

Comment Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (Score 1) 377

If you check your own source, it states: "monsoons leading to a series of droughts, lack of better prices, exploitation by Middlemen, all of which have led to a series of suicides committed by farmers across India." If the droughts were the main cause then prices would go up from lack of supply. Since prices are falling, the pricing problem is largely for other reasons, including middlemen like Monsanto.

It seems you read the Wikipedia article but not the references, or the report I linked to. Droughts were not the only cause, but the major one. Read the report. Even if middlemen were a factor, they are not necessary or sufficient to explain the situation, and Monsanto are not middlemen, they are the ultimate supplier.

Again, if you check your own source, the WHO data is irrelevant since it's for all of India, not just farmers. If you check your Wikipedia source, this states that farmer suicides are increasing.

The previous poster said "farmer suicide is now the #2 killer in India". I provided the data which demonstrates this to be false. Farmer suicides have been increasing, but that doesn't mean you can lie about the magnitude.

You would do well to take your own advice; but then apologists rarely do.

I'm not an apologist, just a reasonable person who thinks knee-jerking against corporations is stupid. And my post was reacting to cpu6502 posting completely false statements in support of his fallacious point. Your sources are not reliable, they are activist sites with a very blatant agenda and no evidence-based reasoning.

Comment Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (Score 1) 377

No, that's what I said. You initially said it was sold. Then you took that bit back and said Monsanto have been active proponants [sic] of it. That's the part I wanted evidence of - they haven't been proponents of it at all. They just bought a company who had originally developed the technology (in partnership with the USDA), immediately stopped the development of it, and publicly stated that they would never use it.

Comment Re:Remove the yoke of Monsanto! (Score 2) 377

No, they don't have them. The technology was under development, then development was halted and Monsanto pledged never to bring it to market. There was not UN moratorium, and the UN did not even discuss the issue until 2006 at the CBD, 7 years after Monsanto's pledge.

I agree that people (i.e. you) are confused, but it's because they don't bother to look things up, not because of Monsanto.

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