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Comment Re: Quit it already! (Score 1) 470

I personally wish golden rice worked and was viable. It's not.

I have no idea what you're talking about - it works just fine, the only issues are the political BS, scaremongering, and competing with other possible solutions.

I wish there was a magic gene ... Tinkering with genes for features that don't address those beneficial base requirements seem to have been commercially successful. Hence my skepticism.

So lowering costs (diesel, labor) and increasing yields (less pest damage, less competition from weeds) that lead to lower prices and less environmental damage isn't worthwhile? I'm sorry version 1.0 isn't exactly what you wanted, but how is that an argument against it?

Now something I could really get behind is removing certain mosquito's blood sucking gene set, reverting them back to a nectar eating bunch...

So what you're in favor of is something far beyond our current ability, as well as absurd? (How would you prevent them from speciating? Why not just take the easier route and engineer them into extinction (doable with existing tech) and breed a new pollinator from an existing one?)

Comment Re:Quit it already! (Score 1) 470

If you're arguing every single GMO product should go through all 3 agencies, we're on the same page.

I'm arguing that they should, and already do, require approval from all three agencies.

Apparently not inert. And why was it in the product in the first place?

It's not an active ingredient (it's not added in order to react chemically with anything) so it's called an inert ingredient, even if it does have some other effect. If we were to use a stricter definition of 'inert' then everything (including water) becomes 'active', so the term would be useless.

Polyethoxylated tallow amine is a surfactant added to lower surface tension, which helps the herbicide spread out rather than 'bead up' on the plants. This increases the amount of active ingredient that gets absorbed.

I'm complaining someone got self-replicating river water mixed in with my distilled water, and I can't get it out.

I'm starting to think that the assumptions that we're making are too disparate to make an analogy worthwhile. The point I'm trying to get across is that everything you've ever eaten has had random, untested mutations in its DNA, so why would carefully planned changes that go through multiple stages of testing be more likely to cause problems? Why would glyphosate resistance from an inserted gene be more likely to have a bad effect than the same property brought about by heavy x-ray doses and genetic testing to find strains to breed together?

Comment Re:Quit it already! (Score 1) 470

why bother controlling pollution

Pollution should be avoided in general. You're complaining that someone got some distilled water mixed in with your river water.

It's not like a smoking gun over a corpse, but the study certainly raises some questions about the assumed safety of the product as currently used.

So an inert (and easily replaced) part of one product, when directly exposed to sensitive cells (i.e. not when eaten), may cause issues. And because that product is used in conjunction with a second product, everything that uses the technology in the second product is suspect?

You've gone from "a fabric used in Toyota Camrys is possibly more flammable than expected" to "ban the wheel".

Every product should be individually approved.

We do that already - EPA, FDA, USDA.

Comment Re:Quit it already! (Score 1) 470

Mine's more concerned with an unintended and will almost never occur in nature genetic hybrid getting out and turning out to be bad.

Why would that be worse than the uncountable number of mutants that crop up all of the time?

There simply hasn't been enough testing over a long enough time, and there's been too many variables...

Eaten trillions of times, zero demonstrable human health effects. That doesn't mean we stop looking, but how much testing would be enough for you to stop worrying?

Roundup itself is quite bad.

Sigh. That's not what the article said.

Comment Re:Proprietary food, like proprietary software (Score 1) 470

Because only the latter is clearly patentable.

That's patently (ha ha) false. I don't know where these absurd ideas come from.

The EULA imposed by GMO plant patent holders tends to forbid saving seeds for replanting, and this is antithetical to traditional sustainable farming.

If you're into traditional farming you aren't going to want to use hybridized seed, either. Not every product is going to be a perfect match for your business.

It's the same reason that some people prefer free software.

And some people don't. Why should people who have one preference get to require scare-mongering labels on things for people with a different preference?

Comment Re: Wow. (Score 1) 470

Vitamin pills, homeopathy and feng shui are just a few examples of irrational things that lead people to spend their money unwisely. In a free society, that's just part of life's rich tapestry. If a sufficiently significant proportion of the population wants labels, they should have labels. Your definition of irrationality is irrelevant.

No. Required labels should be for things that have demonstrable consequences for the consumer - anything else turns a useful tool for protecting customers into a political circus.

What's next, natural foods must be labeled "non-fortified"? Regular medicine - "non-homeopathic"? Houses that haven't been checked by charlatans have to be advertised as "potentially haunted" and have a "feng shui" rating?

Comment Re:"Wirelessly beam it to the ground"? (Score 1) 159

Thanks - I didn't realize the beam would cover such a large area. Guess I wasn't thinking...

Don't be so hard on yourself - that was a perfectly reasonable question if you haven't read up on the subject. Sorry if I came off blunt/harsh.

Do you also have any insight into what the ultimate efficiency would be, or what the optimal frequencies are?

Microwaves can form beams tight enough to be focused over the range/area needed and can be converted fairly efficiently - some phone networks still use microwave relays. Wikipedia's article suggests ~85% efficiency, I have to reason to doubt that.

Comment Re:Simcity 2000 (Score 1) 159

I love the climb-down - "simcity 2000 cityzapper" to "a problem".

First, since it's receiving power 24/7 it automatically gets a minimum of 3x boost over solar because it's always at peak output, the conversion efficiency would be higher because it's a single frequency absorbed by an antenna (likely another factor of 2), more so after cloud cover, dirt, etc are taken into account. So assuming the same amount of incoming energy, an area that gives 1kw of solar energy on average should be able to give at least 6kw from a satellite continuously.

Second, we get to choose the frequency, so we can make sure it won't interact with living things and minimize interactions with other objects (i.e. metal).

Third, I always assumed that the ground station would have a signal for the satellite to 'lock on' to, tied to the power coming in. So if the station stopped receiving the beam it would be shut off in about a third of a second.

Comment Re:wrong (Score 1) 159

The more diffuse you make it, the less-efficient the transfer

That's true for heat engines, but we're basically talking about a large microwave receiver.

the greater the requirements for the Earth-based power receiver station.

Yeah, a square mile or so of wire grid, tuned to receive a particular frequency, possibly supported by posts or on top of a building so that the space gets used efficiently.

only fried thousands of birds per year

How do you 'fry' a bird with radiation that doesn't interact with it? We would want to use a frequency that doesn't interact with water - the opposite of the way the one in your kitchen works.

The second edge is political/PR.

But that's true for anything. If people freak out, we may wait a couple of generations. This isn't the kind of thing that's going to happen (on a large scale) in the next couple of decades (if ever).

Comment Re:Flaw in the idea (Score 1) 159

To get it down to manageable levels you probably need a rail hundreds of meter or even kilometers deep in the moon's surface.

"Deep", like you're firing it up off the surface? Why do that when you can build along the surface? It's not like you need to get above an atmosphere.

The designs I've seen are more like a Halbach array levitated train on a gentle slope than a 'gun'. To make lunar orbit roughly 50 km of track would only require 1G of acceleration, and 5 km for 10G.

You would need to maneuver into position after that, but if you're making solar-thermal generators (and that might be simpler than trying to make doped-silicon solar cells) they're basically already solar sails.

Comment Re:Read TFA (Score 1) 159

Therefore, it too will receive day/night cycles because a geostationary orbit can only occur at the equator.

Er, no. There's a reason that lunar eclipses are rare and only happen at two times during the year - a satellite that far out would rarely be "behind" Earth, and even then most of the year it would miss Earth's shadow by being "above" or "below" it since the Earth is tilted on its axis.

Plus there's no reason that multiple independent satellites couldn't be used to power a given area, all at a different angles - when one at a time gets eclipsed it's not a big deal. And there's no reason they need to be geostationary - if their orbits tilted at different angles (i.e. once a day, but not directly over the equator) they'ed get eclipsed at different times of the year.

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