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Comment count is 12
fluffy - 2014-10-17

The original broadcast of this had man-on-the-street interview segments. PoE's own NoCode was in one of them. Looks like this version has had them all edited out though (not to mention editing out all of the non-scary answers to the potentially-scary questions).

infinite zest - 2014-10-17

Cool (not the editing) I had never heard of this show. Maybe Bill will put the full ones on his youtube channel if people ask (I think all the Science Guy ones are in full, but I was always more of a Beakman's World kinda kid so I wouldn't know for certain.)

fluffy - 2014-10-17

Looks like the full episode is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKm2Ch3-Myg

I can't find NoCode. Maybe I'm forgetting which episode she was in, but I was pretty sure it was this one.

Oscar Wildcat - 2014-10-18

Bill has not much of an imagination. Consider:

1) We have only a dim understanding of the genome. Some 90% of it isn't even understood to perform a function.

2) What we do know, is the old notion of 1 gene : 1 function is badly mistaken.

3) We now propose to start short circuiting major branches on the tree of life, largely ignorant of the exact nature of the changes we are making and what knock on effects there will be in the organism, and more importantly, in the ecosystem.

I am not worried about dropping dead from eating GM corn. I am worried about being able to eat corn 20 years from now. Or being able to eat at all.

Let us also consider that 25 years of food engineering so far has made it a very difficult to find actual food at your grocer. Yes, if you get past the miles of frozen garbage, you can find some fresh fruits and vegetables, but mostly the varietals found in stores are bred for things like shelf life and shipping capacity rather than taste and nutritional value. More of this is not going to be better.

Monkey Napoleon - 2014-10-18

The issue is that you can use the exact same arguments with the exact same verisimilitude to argue against cross-breeding the old fashioned way. What do you define as "actual food"? Many foods, including corn, lack any sort of nutritional value and are borderline inedible in their natural, uncorrupted by agriculture forms.

I don't dare imply that there aren't ethical questions that need to be discussed with bio-engineering, but the idea that these foods lack nutrition because they suffer a marginal loss in nutrients is straight up woo.

SteamPoweredKleenex - 2014-10-18

Sorry Oscar, you've got some FUD via vaguery going on in your post.

1, The genome of what, specifically?
2, Yes, so? You think those doing this are just saying, "aw, fuck it, throw it in the Burpee catalog without any test results, trials, or whatever"? These aren't script kiddies trying to make Linux food and hoping it'll get debugged after it covers North America in Roundup-Ready tomatoes.
3. This happens in nature and via selective breeding all the effing time. I'd rather we not sit on our hands until we have a massive dust bowl to start thinking we should make drought-resistant crops.

"Real" food? That's a knee-slapper there. "Frozen garbage?" I'd agree if you're talking about Hungryman XXL, but corn, peas, green beans? Are they garbage, too?

I don't think you appreciate how difficult it is to bring enough food to market without it being devoured by pests or fucked up by the weather. And as for the whole breeding thing, if that's the case in all groceries, explain to me why the tasteless-yet-pretty Red Delicious apple is only a small part of the eight or nine other kinds of apples with more on the way? I see a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, artisan breads, etc. in my local stores. Maybe it's just your area and/or whatever it is you think "unreal" food is.

SteamPoweredKleenex - 2014-10-18

Oh, as a follow-up: The whole "GM FOOD IS BAAAAAD" argument focuses on the ill-defined "natural" or "real" or whatever at the cost of what should really be fought: Patents on genetically modified seeds and plants as well as what can be done with them. I find it onerous that Monsanto can sue a farmer for keeping seed from a crop to plant the next year rather than being forced to buy new seed because Monsanto says it's a patent violation. See, that's actually happening and is actually evil, but noooo, let's all run around in circles making up fairy tales about how this GM cucumber will give your kids two heads or make you have stomach cancer rather than trying to do something helpful..

EvilHomer - 2014-10-18

In fairness to Monsanto, all copyright law is a crock of shit. It's just that when Monsanto abuses it, everybody who needs to eat to live gets fucked over. Of course, there's more money to be made by scaring people into the arms of over-priced organic food than there is in reforming copyright law so as to make it not so evil towards small independent farmers, so we're unlikely to see any change on that front. Ever.

The best we can hope for is that Monsanto WILL inadvertently grow a race of mutant carnivore flying tomatoes, which will then turn upon their creators and devour them all, rather like how the T-Virus zombies destroyed Umbrella Corp.

Oscar Wildcat - 2014-10-19

If you liked their DDT, and you _loved_ their PCB's, wait 'till you try their harmless and throughly tested GM food!

But if, perchance, there _are_ some minor and wholely accidental problems that arise? Well, no need to fear! Lobbiests have worked hard to insert language into upcoming bills to prevent and unnecessary "interference" with the sale and growing of these products.


Whew! I know, I know. I was worried too that Monsanto might lose money. THANK FUCKING GOD, THEY'RE COVERED!

Oscar Wildcat - 2014-10-19

Also: Yes, on average, you folks eat a mountain of trash. This is why one in three of you is categorized as obese by the CDC. That number was one in fourteen when I was in my twenties. Could changes in the food we eat have anything to do with that???? Perhaps the big Ag companies are not looking out for our best interests, you know? Not sure why you are so filled with faith here.

BorrowedSolution - 2014-10-19

Two points here, Oscar. The first is that the BMI is tragically flawed, which skews the hell out of obesity statistics. The second is that it's no mystery what's happened to foods in the last couple of decades: sugars. Corn sugars, cane sugars, doesn't really matter, we're pumping everything full of them. Sometimes I can't even eat things because of the ridiculous amount of sugar in them (Hunts Tomato Sauce is a good example). At the same time, we're cutting all of the delicious fats and salts out of everything, which is contributing to heart disease like you wouldn't believe.

EvilHomer - 2014-10-19

In addition to the explosion of sugars, there's also the hyper-abundance and low cost of food in America, less physically strenuous jobs, longer periods of leisure time, the increasingly sedentary nature of our recreation, and so on. Of those, only the low cost and easy access to food can be blamed on GMOs, and frankly, that's a *good* problem to have! I'd rather live in a world where even the poorest of men can gorge himself as fat as a Victorian banker, than one in which a single cloud of locusts can trigger a famine capable of killing off half the subsistence villages in a hundred-mile radius.

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