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Comment Re:Manned versus unmanned. (Score 1) 189

I spoke once to a engineer that built motors for ships. His problem was that the motors were just too big to be transported from where he was (Bavaria) to where the ships were being built (Hamburg). They just didn't fit in the roads between these two places. So he had to build only the "small" motors (four meters high, ten meters long), while the really big stuff was built in China and shipped by ship (or just used for ships built also in China).

This Zeppelin would be the perfect solution for him. The carrying capacity is still too low (10 tons), as the big motors weight on the order of 100 tons, but I don't see any difficulty in scaling this up.

Comment Re:The small amount of fraud (Score 1) 182

And this is exactly why it will be strongly fought against.

To give a concrete example, in the last presidential elections in Austria the neonazi party FPÖ won in the polling booths, but lost in the postal votes. Their answer to that? Forbid postal voting, of course! Who uses it the most are university students that are away from their hometown, and have very little sympathy for the FPÖ.

Comment Re:Why not use irradiated sterile mosquito (Score 1) 144

I can see that people would be touchy about GMO organisms reproducing in the wild; just look at the comments here, people are already up in arms against a sterile GMO.

But why is it a harder genetic engineering problem? The technique used here was including a gene that would express a protein that stops the expression of other genes, stopping the descendants from developing. Why can't we simply include this gene in the X chromosome, so that only female descendants don't develop? Or include a gene that stops the expression of genes that exist only in the X chromosome?

Comment Re:Zika's march is inevitible (Score 2) 144

Also, there is literally no way that the spread of Zika will stop, so efforts like these are silly.

Care to explain why? If we reduce the population of mosquitoes enough Zika will not spread. It is as simple as that.

And come on, there exist no animal whose diet consists exclusively of Aedes Aegypti. If we eliminate it, they will just eat other mosquitoes instead. It is not as if there is any lack of mosquitoes in the wild.

Comment Re:At least the disease is the devil we know... (Score 1) 144

Nice. So you live somewhere without mosquitoes, and are telling from your golden throne that the people suffering from Zika, dengue, and yellow fever should do nothing and accept their suffering in order to not subject your royal highness to any imaginable risk?

Luckily the government of Brazil doesn't give a shit about what you think and it is spreading GMO mosquitoes all over the country.

Comment Re:What could go wrong? (Score 2) 144

Asexual reproduction would be one way to avoid being killed. There might be other recessive traits that also might surface.

It is obvious that asexual reproduction would be a way to avoid being killed. What I asked is how that could possibly evolve in Aedes aegypti. Are you suggesting that there already exist some female mosquitos that reproduce parthenogenetically, and that they will take over the species once the sexually reproducing ones die off? This is just impossible. Asexual reproduction is a complex adaptation, it doesn't just happen.

I think there is a widespread misconception that DNA is some kind of magic box that can do anything, and that we have no idea how it works. It is not magic. It cannot do everything. And we do know a lot about it.

And you are failing to take into account that the screwworm has been eradicated from some regions via a sterile male technique without any frankenstein appearing.

Comment Re:What could go wrong? (Score 1) 144

If we are unlucky, the trait that makes the 1% resistant to eradication also gives this new mosquito some even more obnoxious trait like the ability to asexually reproduce, swarm, and kill its host.

Care to explain how this could possibly happen? The GMO mosquitos express a protein whose effect is to stop other genes from expressing. How could this lead to the ability of asexually reproducing?

Comment Re:I'll tell you what could go wrong... (Score 1, Insightful) 144

It's not like we have a perfect overview of how significantly reducing these mosquito populations will affect all other animals that feed on them (and the animals that feed on those, plants that depend on their excrement etc), just to name one potential unintended side effect. Or how it may allow other animals to largely expand their population due to reduced competition for habitats or food sources (mosquitos generally don't survive on blood, that's just what they need for procreation). Or conversely, certain nutrients no longer getting sufficiently removed from the water by mosquito larvae, resulting on too high concentrations of certain substances that then start killing other animals or plants.

We're talking about extinguishing one species of mosquito. There are thousands of species out there. They will simply expand their numbers and fill the ecological niche left empty by the death of Aedes Aegypti.

But for the sake of the argument, let's assume that your doomsday scenario does happen. Would you rather risk having children with microcephalia and no ecological imbalance? Or do you actually live somewhere that mosquitos do not proliferate, so you are actually just risking other people's children, not your own?

FYI, I do live in an area where it is full of mosquitos, and I would let the fucking bats go extinct if this is what it takes to protect my children.

Comment Re:Why not use irradiated sterile mosquito (Score 3, Interesting) 144

Because they are not sexy enough. Seriously. The female mosquitos do not want to mate with them, so they don't make much impact.

But what I'm curious about is why don't they use the GMO mosquitos that only have male descendents. That would quickly bring the species to extinction.

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