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Comment Re:Define "Fully" automated (Score 1) 278

It's (kind of) both. It is true that a lot of pruning and training goes into getting fruit trees to be the desired shape, but there is also a genetic component. Trees which have been bred to be short (and usually also cold tolerant & disease resistant) are used as rootstocks for a lot of fruit trees, with the above ground portion that produces the fruit being grafted onto those roots. The end result is dwarf trees that are easier to work with. True, this isn't genetic engineering, but it is a bit more than just pruning.

Comment Yes (Score 4, Insightful) 278

The ultimate thing about farming is that it is not easy. Harvesting of fruits and vegetables, in particular, is long, hard, laborious work. As economies develop, there's going to be less people wanting to do that for the prices consumers want to pay. Mechanized harvesting is already employed in a lot of agronomic crops (corn, rice, wheat, soy, ect) and some horticultural crops. The difficulty is going to be getting machines that are able to tell when to pick, how to pick, and how to avoid damaging the crop. Some things might still have to be done by hand (pruning of tree fruit, which is an art and a science, comes to mind), but in general, mechanized agriculture will be the future, and I think that's a good thing.

Comment Re:As a scientist... (Score 3, Insightful) 55

Also a scientist; I say it's not even piracy. Piracy is downloading something you didn't pay for. If I download, for example, the new Star Wars VII or Civ 6, that would be piracy, because I would be getting something that someone else made, with their money, with the intention of making a return on that investment, without paying a fair price for it.

On the other hand, if you download something that was made at a public institution, build and run with public funds, by a group in some part funded by public money grants, than that is not stealing; that is getting what you are owed. Demanding that someone should have to give $39.99 to some leech-weasel publishing company to get access to something they already paid for is the real piracy going on here. Elsevier and their ilk are stealing from the public.

Science needs to be open to everyone, not just those of us lucky enough to have institutional access (and hell, where I am, I don't even have easy access to all years for all journals, stupid as that is). I've no sympathy whatsoever here for them, and I'd bet they don't even lose money anyway when some curious individuals 'pirate' scientific articles, because most people aren't going to pay $40 for something that may or may not be pertinent to what they want to know. I'm not at all one of those people who rejects the idea of copyright and IP in general, not at all, but Elsevier and the rest of them are thieves, and they can take their copyright and shove it up their ass.

If science piracy is giving the public access to what they are entitled to and supporting the principle of scientific openness for all people, than long live science piracy.

Comment Re:They can go pound sand (Score 3, Insightful) 197

Bollocks, what of all the GE crops like Golden Rice, BioCassava, Bangladeshi Bt Eggplant, and Brazilian golden mosaic virus resistant beans developed exactly for that purpose? These of course are equally opposed by anti-GE activists, probably more so because of how they disprove your claim. Besides that, GE is such a broad term that you might as well say cooking exists solely to make McDonald's money.

Comment Re:GMO (Score 3, Interesting) 197

You are right that political issues don't make you anti-science, but the vast, vast majority of complaints about GE crops I see claiming to be 'political issues' are simply nonsense dressed up to justify irrational opposition. I'm not sure which specific patent problem you are referring to though.

You are also right that we need better regulation. The regulations on GE crops are so strict right now that only one non-corporate GE crop is presently in use right now...the Rainbow papaya, developed by the University of Hawai'i, and even the creator of that one believes that the only reason that one made it is because it was released before the regulations became stricter. Very recently we saw approval of an apple by a smaller company. If you want to avoid excessive corporate control by Monsanto (which by the way isn't actually a monopoly considering that the are several other similar companies out there, like Pioneer, Syngenta, Bayer Crop Science, and Dow AgroSciences) then what we need are regulations that will allow innovations like this to actually come to use instead of being shelved indefinitely, which is the fate of most university developed GE crops.

Comment Re:guess again (Score 1, Insightful) 249

It's like guns. I respect Second Amendment rights, but that doesn't mean I like someone shooting wildly in a crowded area. My right to not be shot trumps the rights of others to shoot. Same thing here. You choose, seemingly out of sheer spite, to be a disease vector, fair enough, just never do it around the rest of society. If your right to not put something that, in the vast majority of cases, is negligable into your body overrides my right to not get sick and possibly die, fine then, my right to not get sick and potentially die overrides your right to live in the rest of society.

Comment Re:GMOs (Score 4, Informative) 527

Well okay, seeing as how I'm part of that 'science industry' as you put it, your claim is interesting if true. Let's see here, the first study detected proteins at a level lower than that test can accurately detect (ergo it was noise), the second one doesn't seem to indicate anything special about GE crops, the third one is mere correlation by a known liar with a made up institute (you could use that exact same bogus methodology to link those maladies with organic food sales), the fourth one has been widely debunked for extremely shoddy methodology, then next couple are about glyphosate, not actually genetic engineering, which is it's own often misunderstood topic, the ninth study was based basically on eyeballing pig organs with nothing particularly substantive and was widely criticized when it made the rounds a few years back, and a quick glance over the tenth one looks to me like it does not actually indicate anything about genetic engineering being dangerous, rather it seems to be criticizing not using a one size fits all approach to testing (not a criticism I would make).

So yeah, try again. Maybe explain to me what the causative mechanism is on the genetic and molecular levels and why it shows up in no other type of natural or man made genetic alteration while you're at it because I never really got that part about the claimed dangers of genetic engineering.

Now, about those bribes, know where I can sign up for Monsanto's Free Money Program? Because those stingy bastards haven't been paying me like they're apparently supposed to.

Comment Re:so there you have it folks. (Score 2) 528

She hasn't been particularly as overtly anti-vaccine as she could be, which is good, but she has given some pretty wishy-washy answers on the topic of alternative medicine and pandering to the corporate conspiracy crowd. At a time when she should be giving a scientific answer she gave a politican's one; something she would no doubt attack other politicians for doing if the topic was climate change (and rightfully so of course).

Although, on the topic of genetically engineered crops, she has just been consistently in the wrong, and the recent thing about 'subjecting children to wifi' was pretty silly as well.

Comment Re:Criminal (Score 5, Insightful) 528

Yeah well there's just so many other options to choose from. You've got the corporate Teflon, the thought crime promoting nutcase, the de facto plutocrat who would let the invisible hand screw us right on over, and the conspiracy nutter who thinks wifi will fry your brain, and two of them don't even count. The options are so shitty I can't even protest vote, and if you go to any of the more minor parties you find theocrats, would-be communist overlords, and other assholes. There is literally no one who represents me, no one promoting reasonable reform where necessary without all the usual wingnut idiocy. This election day I see no get out of bed, except maybe to write in I. C. Wiener on my ballot. This election is genuinely disheartening.

Comment Re:Much rejoicing... (Score 5, Insightful) 155

I absolutely agree. In theory, one would think that the internet, being a global phenomenon, should be treated as such with no one nation having control. In practice, we have other countries bending over backwards to justify their anti-freedom of speech actions, and that's not okay. I'm not going to say that America is perfect...far from it, and in many many ways...but when it comes to freedom of speech, there's really no one even close.

I keep seeing these stories about how this or another person got fined or arrested for saying the wrong thing, a lot in Europe lately, and I see people defending this as completely acceptable, arguing that they still have freedom of speech, just that freedom of speech does not include unpopular sentiment that they disagree with. Saying unpopular, unsavory, or downright asshole-ish things is the exact definition of freedom of speech. The idea does not exist to defend popular ideas, it exists to ensure that everyone, even people who might be downright wrong or mean, get a voice. There are places where if I say the Holocaust did not happen (wrong and hateful), sing a song about how Erdoan is a scull fucking douchebag (honest and accurate), or reject the state's religion or political ideology (every individual's choice), among plenty of other things, I could face legal consequences.

And regardless of how you feel about any of those things, you don't get to take away another person's voice. There are ideas that I consider to be extremely dangerous and actively harming people and the planet but that I argue against them; doesn't mean I get to censor them. Speech is a human right, and that's end of the goddamn story. Recent events continue to show that not everyone agrees, and now they get greater control over the worlds most important communication medium? I don't like that. They say they will not compromise openness on the internet, but this is in a world where censorship in the name of 'preserving dignity,' whatever the hell that's supposed to mean, is argued to be not a violation of the human right to free speech; I ask them to lay out clear guidelines for openness. Like I said, America isn't perfect, but on this issue I trust the US a hell of a lot more than I do any other country.

Comment Re:Do I have this right? (Score 2) 183

The difference between herbicide and pesticide

Technically speaking here, as per legal definitions, a pesticide is anything that kills an unwanted organism. An insecticide kills insects, a miticide kills mites, a rodentacide kills rodents, a fungicide kills fungi, an herbicide kills weeds, and all are technically pesticides, although in the common vernacular, pesticide and insecticide are frequently used interchangeably.

I agree with what you're saying, and the parent poster most likely was using the word pesticide to mean insecticide (because there is a lot of confusion around those terms), but in case anyone tries to get pedantic on you for making the probably correct assumption that the parent posted didn't know what they were talking about, you should know that referring to an herbicide as a pesticide is technically correct, although imprecise and confusing.

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