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Messages - Kai

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46
Apple Talk / Re: something NEW* to fight about
« on: October 30, 2013, 11:58:00 pm »
You know, Nigel, I'm thinking back to that BookFace thread where I got butthurt and you were probably right. Sticking a single gene into a plant to make it produce a pesticide is a rather crude solution. It's a band aid, really. Any pest insect species subjected to a strong enough selection pressure will develop resistance eventually. Equally crude is giving plants herbicide resistance. These are quick fixes. These are first generation transgenic plants, much like the first generation of automobiles, or the first generation of airplanes, or the first generation of computers. They WORK, and at the time they look cool. But remember watching those movies from the 1950s and seeing those clunky gigantic mainframe supercomputers, and thinking that all of that computing technology could now be held in the palm of your hand? Yeah.

Monsanto is playing the first generation game. They have the big boxy supercomputers. But the Rice Initiative is making smartphones.

The irony, of course, being that unless we overcome the problems with food distribution and politicking that are the root of most famine, being able to produce more nutritious and more efficient crops is itself nothing more than a token gesture. Africa has enough arable land to feed the entire world using ordinary crops and ordinary sustainable farming methods, yet is home to some of the most food-poor regions in the world. For some reason people are married to the idea that we have a shortage of farmland, or will face one soon, but not only is farmland being abandoned on a mass scale, but the prices at which big agriculture is able to produce more cheap food (due in part to government subsidies) are driving small farmers out of business all over the world.

I appreciate the idealism behind the research, and I appreciate research for its own sake, but I seriously doubt that more food cheaper is going to result in an improved situation, unless major institutional changes accompany it.

I can't do anything about the institutional changes. All I can do is promote Science. And it's not just about cheapness. Water shortage is a huge problem, as is fertilizer use. Given that it's the staple crop for the majority of humans, and that 20% of all energy consumed is rice, and that rice farming is heavily water and fertilizer intensive, increasing the efficiency of yield is very much something to work towards.

47
Apple Talk / Re: something NEW* to fight about
« on: October 30, 2013, 11:46:03 pm »
And since the patent holders are going to give it out freely, it's like the Polio vaccine all over again.

False equivalence.

You're going to have to elaborate.

Polio vaccination does not spread from the person vaccinated.  Plants introduced into an environment can.

While I am reluctantly on board with golden rice, that is because the situation calling for it is DIRE, and the regular plant life in the target regions (ie, equatorial Africa, etc) is already more or less gone.

But just deciding that there can't be unintended consequences in the biological sciences because you WANT a particular result is no fucking different than the Luddites denying any science that disagrees with their values and/or religious beliefs.  IT ISN'T SCIENCE.

Did I fucking say that? NO, I DIDN'T FUCKING SAY THAT. In fact, I admitted that Bt crops and Roundup Ready crops were a shitty solution.

48
Apple Talk / Re: something NEW* to fight about
« on: October 30, 2013, 11:37:09 pm »
And since the patent holders are going to give it out freely, it's like the Polio vaccine all over again.

False equivalence.

You're going to have to elaborate.

49
Apple Talk / Re: something NEW* to fight about
« on: October 30, 2013, 11:32:09 pm »
You know, Nigel, I'm thinking back to that BookFace thread where I got butthurt and you were probably right. Sticking a single gene into a plant to make it produce a pesticide is a rather crude solution. It's a band aid, really. Any pest insect species subjected to a strong enough selection pressure will develop resistance eventually. Equally crude is giving plants herbicide resistance. These are quick fixes. These are first generation transgenic plants, much like the first generation of automobiles, or the first generation of airplanes, or the first generation of computers. They WORK, and at the time they look cool. But remember watching those movies from the 1950s and seeing those clunky gigantic mainframe supercomputers, and thinking that all of that computing technology could now be held in the palm of your hand? Yeah.

Monsanto is playing the first generation game. They have the big boxy supercomputers. But the Rice Initiative is making smartphones.

50
Apple Talk / Re: something NEW* to fight about
« on: October 30, 2013, 11:26:06 pm »
Here's a GMO project which is not Monsanto, is not related to pesticide resistance or production, and will ultimately be free for use.

http://c4rice.irri.org/

Quote
In the majority of plants, including rice, CO2 is first fixed into a compound with three carbons (C3) by the photosynthetic enzyme ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase oxygenase (Rubisco)—this is known as C3 photosynthesis.Rubisco is inherently inefficient because it can also catalyze a reaction with oxygen from the air, in a wasteful process known as photorespiration (rather than photosynthesis). At temperatures above 20°C, there is increasing competition by oxygen (O2), with a dramatic reduction in CO2 fixation and photosynthetic efficiency. While all this is happening, water is escaping from the leaves while the CO2 is diffusing in. Thus, in the hot tropics where most rice is grown, photosynthesis becomes very inefficient.

C4 plants are more efficient in carbon dioxide concentration that results in increased efficiency in water and nitrogen use and improved adaptation to hotter and dryer environments.
In nature, this has occurred more than 50 times in a wide range of flowering plants, indicating that, despite being complex, it is a relatively easy pathway to evolve.

In other words, they're going to up yield, increase water efficiency, and lower fertilizer use, by turning rice into a C4 plant. If you can't get behind it, you are some sort of technophobe.

ETA: I've talked to one of the members of this team just recently. To make this work, they have to change about 12 steps in the basic cellular physiology of these plants. As of now, they have four steps. So, one third there. As they keep adding steps the work is going to get more and more complicated.

THAT kind of thing is fucking cool.

It's the way of the Future, Nigel. Once we make it work for Rice, what's stopping us from doing it for all of our crop plants? And since the patent holders are going to give it out freely, it's like the Polio vaccine all over again.

51
Apple Talk / Re: something NEW* to fight about
« on: October 30, 2013, 11:23:15 pm »
IS THIS THE PLACE WHERE WE COME TO SHOW HOW RIGHT WE ARE AND HOW SUPERIOR WE ARE TO THOSE PEOPLE?

NO, THIS IS WHERE WE TALK ABOUT HOW FUCKING AWESOME SCIENCE IS THAT WE CAN DO SHIT LIKE TURN A C3 PLANT INTO A C4 PLANT.

52
Apple Talk / Re: something NEW* to fight about
« on: October 30, 2013, 11:16:12 pm »
Here's a GMO project which is not Monsanto, is not related to pesticide resistance or production, and will ultimately be free for use.

http://c4rice.irri.org/

Quote
In the majority of plants, including rice, CO2 is first fixed into a compound with three carbons (C3) by the photosynthetic enzyme ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase oxygenase (Rubisco)—this is known as C3 photosynthesis.Rubisco is inherently inefficient because it can also catalyze a reaction with oxygen from the air, in a wasteful process known as photorespiration (rather than photosynthesis). At temperatures above 20°C, there is increasing competition by oxygen (O2), with a dramatic reduction in CO2 fixation and photosynthetic efficiency. While all this is happening, water is escaping from the leaves while the CO2 is diffusing in. Thus, in the hot tropics where most rice is grown, photosynthesis becomes very inefficient.

C4 plants are more efficient in carbon dioxide concentration that results in increased efficiency in water and nitrogen use and improved adaptation to hotter and dryer environments.
In nature, this has occurred more than 50 times in a wide range of flowering plants, indicating that, despite being complex, it is a relatively easy pathway to evolve.

In other words, they're going to up yield, increase water efficiency, and lower fertilizer use, by turning rice into a C4 plant. If you can't get behind it, you are some sort of technophobe.

ETA: I've talked to one of the members of this team just recently. To make this work, they have to change about 12 steps in the basic cellular physiology of these plants. As of now, they have four steps. So, one third there. As they keep adding steps the work is going to get more and more complicated.

53
Apple Talk / Re: something NEW* to fight about
« on: October 30, 2013, 09:09:29 pm »
Fighting proper labeling of GMOs is a dick move, and something I agree with the eco-spags about. I think it's sensible to be cautious about new foods being created, but the hysteria is uncalled for.

I do outright oppose the existence of one class of GMOs: the pesticide-resistant and pesticide-containing ones. Peak oil isn't going to not happen just because the only people whining about it are crazy, and right now all our pesticides are based on petroleum. Wasting time and money creating food that will be useless in the foreseeable future is just fucking stupid.

I don't know if you lump this in with the business practices, but the loss of biodiversity in our food supply is really worrying. We're down to single digits of corn species, there's a very real possibility when shit gets that narrow the entire population could be wiped out and there would be no more corn, ever.

I can see that pesticide resistance having to do with oil use, but pesticide containing? It's manufactured by the plant, and takes the place of synthetic pesticides. Not really an argument for or against, just asking for clarification.

54
Apple Talk / Re: something NEW* to fight about
« on: October 30, 2013, 08:29:46 pm »
I agree with your premise and add that wholesale rejection of GMOs is the problem. Individual transgenic lines may have problems, but to write off all of GMOs is some sort of technophobia.

55
Apple Talk / Re: Authenticity of Approval
« on: October 30, 2013, 12:35:42 pm »
Yoga Alliance.

Alliance against WHOM?   :lulz:

The unwashed?

No, I think it's the Pilates geeks.  Everyone hates those bastards.   :argh!:

Yoga, Feng Shooey, and the Tai Chi thugs.  Allied against the people with the huge balls.

As a member of the Tai Chi Independents, I take offense to your implication that I am aligned with such quackery!

56
Apple Talk / Re: Peeve of the day
« on: October 30, 2013, 12:19:33 pm »
When people talk about "Americans" but what they really mean is "White people".

Kind of like when people say "Christian" but mean "people who aren't assholes"?

57
Apple Talk / Re: The Problem with the Paleo diet.
« on: October 30, 2013, 12:19:49 am »
One of many problems, actually, that I have with almost any time people start a sentence with "Humans evolved to...", including myself. Seriously, I will punch myself in the face.

HUMANS DIDN'T JUST MAGICALLY STOP EVOLVING 10,000 YEARS AGO.

WE'RE STILL DOING IT. It's an ongoing process.

Anyway. Peeve aired. Carry on.

Indeed. Furthermore, much of our digestive ability comes from epigenetic effects, namely, our gut microbiomes. Even /without/ that, lactase production in adults is a relatively recent adaptation. Nomadic herders who had this mutation reproduced more, and thus it became widespread.

If I have one more person tell me that grains are evil and that my diet should consist of artificially constructed food scenarios for 25 thousand year old paleolithic hunter gatherers, I am going to go all Green Revolution on their asses.

58
Apple Talk / Re: BITCH DONE BIT MY STYLE!
« on: October 27, 2013, 09:25:31 pm »
You guys should get LMNO on board. He wrote some truly horrendous Harry Potter horrorfic back in the day.

59
Apple Talk / Re: Atheists and White Supremacists
« on: October 26, 2013, 01:25:17 am »
If I speak, I fear somone will attack me.

This is how I operate most of the time. Regretfully. What does it say that I was hesitant about posting even this?


Also, today has been exhausting. I cried for 20 minutes today about PD and though I am not ashamed, I am really tired.

60
Apple Talk / Re: Atheism outside of Atheism
« on: October 25, 2013, 04:32:50 pm »
Thanks, Hoopla. I appreciate that. I think it would benefit all of us if we speak up about those kinds of things... but be aware that when you do, you may get beat up on a little, and more or less treated like a race-traitor.

That's pretty much every conversation for me anyway.  I have a sort of disagreeable face and personality.
Filth and lies, I've seen your youtube videos and you are adorable.

He's just as adorable in person. Too bad we didn't get any pictures of him, Remmington, and me when we met up. That was about 4-5 years ago.

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