Author Topic: something NEW* to fight about  (Read 5108 times)

tyrannosaurus vex

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something NEW* to fight about
« on: October 30, 2013, 08:26:20 pm »
* not actually new.



On matters of environment, sustainability, renewable resources, and energy production I usually fall decidedly on the side of the Eco-Spags. However, on the specific issue of GMOs, I find little reason to back the violently anti-progress activists. Not because I am a great big fan of the assholes at Monsanto whose business model seems to be the genetically-engineered lovechild of Microsoft and Count Dracula, but because Monsanto's loudest opponents only use the economic and political evils of the company as a footnote to their squealing about the inherent evils of genetic engineering.

Now, I am probably largely uninformed on the topic of genetic engineering. I am neither a botanist nor an engineer, let alone both. But I have read some stuff and, like any random person on the Internet with more opinions than time, I don't see a compelling reason to shun all GMOs. Are they really bad for humans? Eh, probably not. They may be bad for bees, but that isn't conclusively proven either. I do know that GMOs present a viable short- to mid-term solution to *SOME OF* the problems we have with starvation related to overpopulation, economic instability and war. Whether the ultimate damage done by GMOs to the ecosystem (if any) outweighs the potential good GMOs might do for the people who live in that ecosystem is what I'm trying to figure out.

You won't find me arguing that the way Monsanto conducts itself in the market is excusable. It's a terrible organization filled with terrible people who have terrible priorities. But that's an economic and political problem, not necessarily a scientific or ecological problem.

What do you think?
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Re: something NEW* to fight about
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2013, 08:28:42 pm »
I'm worried about the Geo-Politics concerning Monsanto, and how basically they rip people off and force them to sell their land. I also I like organic fluoride not chemical fluoride (crickets*).
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Kai

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Re: something NEW* to fight about
« Reply #2 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.
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Cramulus

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Re: something NEW* to fight about
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2013, 08:31:27 pm »
I am fully on board with golden rice.

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Re: something NEW* to fight about
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2013, 08:31:41 pm »
Food distribution in 3rd world countries piss me off. All it takes is one fucking hippie to convince one leader to let food rot in storage. You know for the children.
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Re: something NEW* to fight about
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2013, 08:35:28 pm »
I'll look into this one GMO sweet potato that was created to survive shit quality soil in Africa. It requires very little water, and lots of sun. Here we have a super food that consumes less water. These are the kind of crops we should look into to conserve the usage of fresh water.
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Q. G. Pennyworth

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Re: something NEW* to fight about
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2013, 08:53:32 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.
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Kai

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Re: something NEW* to fight about
« Reply #7 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.
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Re: something NEW* to fight about
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2013, 09:24:49 pm »
Oh, crap, you're right.

I need to go look at more things, the "they're making corn that has pesticides in it" idea got in my head from somewhere and I don't know where. I'm totally uncomfortable with eating pesticides, because that has historically ended poorly for the organisms eating it.

I spend a lot of time around hippies and sometimes ideas sneak in without my permission :/
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Re: something NEW* to fight about
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2013, 09:25:00 pm »
GMOs are potentially really cool.

Monsanto is evil.

GMOs made by Monsanto are more likely to be evil than cool.

Patenting genes that can be spread via pollen is fucking moronic and a total disaster, but that comes back to Monsanto being evil.

Having plants produce pesticides in parts and ways previously unknown is probably an ecologically terrible idea that will have unintended consequences.

Putting GMO plants and their pollen out in the environment without extensive testing is also probably a pretty bad idea.

Guess we'll find out, can't unring the bell.
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Kai

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Re: something NEW* to fight about
« Reply #10 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 20C, 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.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2013, 11:19:00 pm by Kai »
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The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: something NEW* to fight about
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2013, 11:19:44 pm »
IS THIS THE PLACE WHERE WE COME TO SHOW HOW RIGHT WE ARE AND HOW SUPERIOR WE ARE TO THOSE PEOPLE?
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Re: something NEW* to fight about
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2013, 11:21:39 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 20C, 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.
Im guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk, Charles Wick said. It was very complicated.


The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: something NEW* to fight about
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2013, 11:22:51 pm »
GMOs are potentially really cool.

Monsanto is evil.

GMOs made by Monsanto are more likely to be evil than cool.

Patenting genes that can be spread via pollen is fucking moronic and a total disaster, but that comes back to Monsanto being evil.

Having plants produce pesticides in parts and ways previously unknown is probably an ecologically terrible idea that will have unintended consequences.

Putting GMO plants and their pollen out in the environment without extensive testing is also probably a pretty bad idea.

Guess we'll find out, can't unring the bell.

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- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

Kai

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Re: something NEW* to fight about
« Reply #14 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.
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