The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Ringdrotten on Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:03 am

Yup - simple math, really Wink

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:07 am

Science could hold some answers. Genetically modified crops could vastly increase global yields of basic crops.
I don't know how GM crops are viewed in other countries but in the UK farmers testing it have to be protected otherwise the more extreme green movement members destroy the crops. And the tabloid press only ever report on it in the most extreme terms 'Frankenstein crops' 'Scientists acting like God' sort of stuff.So its never really got off the ground here.

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Eldorion on Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:13 am

We have the same attitudes here, particularly from the politically important religious right (and to a lesser extent moderate religious folk too) who take the 'playing God' argument and run with it. There are the environmentalists who oppose GM crops for their own reasons, too. Personally I'm in favor of it, so long as there is sufficient oversight from regulatory agencies, as I view solving the issue of hunger and resource depletion to be one of the most important challenges humanity will have to face in the next few decades.
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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Ringdrotten on Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:14 am

Bloody extremists, all over the place they are Mad Genetically modified food is fine, as long as it isn't done to animals (in a way that harm them, anyway). They're so fanatically obsessed with their "cause" that they forget what's actually beneficial for the majority, which in this case is more food for everyone.

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:27 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:Science could hold some answers. Genetically modified crops could vastly increase global yields of basic crops.
I don't know how GM crops are viewed in other countries but in the UK farmers testing it have to be protected otherwise the more extreme green movement members destroy the crops. And the tabloid press only ever report on it in the most extreme terms 'Frankenstein crops' 'Scientists acting like God' sort of stuff.So its never really got off the ground here.

GM crops will have terribly devastating effects on food resources. They are already destroying plant varieties. We have no idea of their long-term effects on humans and the environment. Many GM crops are simply modified to make them ready for intensive pesticide and "weed"-killers which are highly toxic. They are also created so that Corporations can have total control over our food supplies and DNA patents that they use to push out smaller non-corporate and "non-compliant" farms.

Their pollen spreads beyond their fields and their DNA "infects" neighboring farmers crops. When this happens, the corporations then sue the neighboring farms for "breaking" patent laws. This is all a matter of public record and most small farmers don't have the means to fight what are essentially planned corporate take-overs. A Canadian farmer is one of the few that has fought back semi-successfully with counter-suits, but that is a rarity. If you do some research into this Petty, you'll completely change your mind. I can practically guarantee that you will.

GM Crops are BAD NEWS all the way around.

GB

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:32 am

Ringdrotten wrote:Bloody extremists, all over the place they are Mad Genetically modified food is fine, as long as it isn't done to animals (in a way that harm them, anyway). They're so fanatically obsessed with their "cause" that they forget what's actually beneficial for the majority, which in this case is more food for everyone.

Sorry Rindrotten, but you're very very wrong on this subject. See my above post and do some research before jumping to conclusions. GM Crops have NOTHING to do with feeding people, and EVERYTHING to do with Corporations controlling our food supply.

GB

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:37 am

Good ole GB! Very Happy

I have a passing knowledge but not a good one, and will indeed do some reading on the matter. I realize there are risks and most of the worst risks having nothing to do with the science but with corporations and the like.
But not all GM crops are made with evil intent. There are crops designed to resist disease without the need for pesticides by using genes from naturally immune plants. That just doesn't seem bad to me.

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Eldorion on Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:52 am

Gandalf's Beard wrote:Many GM crops are simply modified to make them ready for intensive pesticide and "weed"-killers which are highly toxic.

Not all of them are, and while I agree that rampant usage of pesticides has detrimental health effects (someone in my family has battled cancer due to - we suspect - drinking well water from near a farm that overused certain chemicals), but that doesn't make all GM crops bad.

Their pollen spreads beyond their fields and their DNA "infects" neighboring farmers crops. When this happens, the corporations then sue the neighboring farms for "breaking" patent laws.

I agree that this is bad, and it ties into what I said about food corporations not being all good, but it's more of a legal problem (and one that governments should move to fix, but probably won't due to lobbying) then something intrinsic to GM crops. I agree with much of what you say about corporations, but I don't think that means we should discount the possibilities that GM crops can offer if properly handled.
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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:56 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:Good ole GB! Very Happy

I have a passing knowledge but not a good one, and will indeed do some reading on the matter. I realize there are risks and most of the worst risks having nothing to do with the science but with corporations and the like.
But not all GM crops are made with evil intent. There are crops designed to resist disease without the need for pesticides by using genes from naturally immune plants. That just doesn't seem bad to me.

It doesn't SOUND bad until you realize the dreadful consequences of letting GM crops loose into the environment. They will quickly supplant all natural varieties of grains, legumes, potatoes etc (many of which are naturally pest resistant). Another reason they do this is so they can Mono-Crop, instead of Rotating different crops, which is the most natural and effective way of farming healthy crops.

It's the same principle as the overuse of antibiotics so that they can cram chickens and cows into the filthy stalls of factory farms (which are LITERALLY modeled on Nazi concentration camps). Very rapidly antibiotic resistant bacteria evolve which has very dangerous consequences for our own health.



GB

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:02 am

Yes but what's the alternative to trying? Doing nothing and waiting until resources start running out and millions starve to death?

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:03 am

Eldorion wrote:
Gandalf's Beard wrote:Many GM crops are simply modified to make them ready for intensive pesticide and "weed"-killers which are highly toxic.

Not all of them are, and while I agree that rampant usage of pesticides has detrimental health effects (someone in my family has battled cancer due to - we suspect - drinking well water from near a farm that overused certain chemicals), but that doesn't make all GM crops bad.

Their pollen spreads beyond their fields and their DNA "infects" neighboring farmers crops. When this happens, the corporations then sue the neighboring farms for "breaking" patent laws.

I agree that this is bad, and it ties into what I said about food corporations not being all good, but it's more of a legal problem (and one that governments should move to fix, but probably won't due to lobbying) then something intrinsic to GM crops. I agree with much of what you say about corporations, but I don't think that means we should discount the possibilities that GM crops can offer if properly handled.

There is no way to "properly handle" anything with altered DNA once let loose from a sealed laboratory environment. It's like a disease epidemic once released from a sealed and controlled environment. They are also having the same problems with GM salmon affecting the Wild Salmon population.

Again this is BAD NEWS no matter how you slice it. If scientists want to muck around in a hermetically sealed environment I couldn't care less. But Corporations have no intention of keeping these "Franken-foods" in a lab.

GB

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:13 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:Yes but what's the alternative to trying? Doing nothing and waiting until resources start running out and millions starve to death?

The reason people are starving is BECAUSE of the corporations moving in, taking over land and resources, and forcing people of their farms who had farmed in traditional ways. None of this is secret and there is plenty of factual information on all the aspects of this topic that I've been describing. I would start posting links, but I haven't had the time to find them for you.

GB

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:25 am

It really is all about Power and Control. You know all those B-grade Sci Fi movies about Future Corporate Dystopias in which Corporations literally own EVERYTHING. Well it's not the future. This S*** is happening now. Did you know that Corporations are trying to Patent the Human Genome? That's right! You won't even be able to own your own DNA if those "extremists" lose their lawsuits to prevent this crap from happening.
Mad Mad Evil or Very Mad Evil or Very Mad Mad


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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:13 am

I thought the human genome project was an international affair with all the results being published to everyone free of charge?

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:38 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:I thought the human genome project was an international affair with all the results being published to everyone free of charge?

The Human Genome project is indeed an international affair. However, it's what the Corporations are doing with that information that is "troubling" (understatement of the decade). And to a large degree much of the funding for the Human Genome Project comes from Corporate/Government "partnerships."

http://articles.cnn.com/2009-05-13/health/genes.patent.myriad_1_human-genes-brca1-trademark-office?_s=PM:HEALTH

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/10/1013_051013_gene_patent.html

I should note that there are a number of ,lawsuits heading for the US Supreme Court to stop this, and lower courts have ruled against some of this. But with a Right Wing Supreme Court that is well known for ruling in favour of Corporations, I'm not holding my breath.

Welcome to the Future Petty! Razz

GB

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:47 am

Can't we go back to a 1950's vision of the future? Please. All shiny and clean and full of robots and flying cars and personal jetpacks. What happened to that? When did it get replaced with this Mordor style corporate nightmare you lay out before us GB?

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Eldorion on Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:59 am

That's certainly strange and more than a little perturbing, but it seems that a lot of these patents were filed at a time when no one was really considering the implications of it. The situation may change in the future. However, despite the strangeness of the situation, the concerns expressed in those articles are limitations on research or high prices for pharmaceuticals, not a cyberpunk future where corporations literally own you.
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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Wed Feb 16, 2011 4:28 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:Can't we go back to a 1950's vision of the future? Please. All shiny and clean and full of robots and flying cars and personal jetpacks. What happened to that? When did it get replaced with this Mordor style corporate nightmare you lay out before us GB?

Tolkien and Lewis both saw this coming. Charles Dickens commenting on his own times presaged the future. And certainly writers like Philip K Dick weren't writing about some cheery future.

GB

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Wed Feb 16, 2011 4:48 am

Eldorion wrote:That's certainly strange and more than a little perturbing, but it seems that a lot of these patents were filed at a time when no one was really considering the implications of it. The situation may change in the future. However, despite the strangeness of the situation, the concerns expressed in those articles are limitations on research or high prices for pharmaceuticals, not a cyberpunk future where corporations literally own you.

They are still trying to patent human genes Eldo. The fact that a few lower courts have tried to put up roadblocks hasn't stopped lawsuits and counter-lawsuits being filed. When some of them come up before the US Supreme Court, it's anyone's guess whether the Courts will side with the Christian Right who are against stem cell research, or the Corporate Right who want to own everything. But my money's on the Corporations; when push comes to shove they're the one's who put these guys on the Supreme Court. And they'd charge us for the air we breathe if they could figure out a way to do so.

I can understand why you'd like to think that they'd never go as far as I am certain they will (it's much more comforting to have faith that no-one could possibly be that evil). I just chalk it up to having a few more decades of experience than you do. When you've seen how things work in the real world, you'll see that Petty and I are right. The Future isn't going to look as shiny as Star Trek (except in the gated communities and Corporate Towers of the Rich and Powerful). It IS going to be a Cyber-Punk Horrorshow--straight out of Philip K Dick (BladeRunner aka Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep), Anthony Burgess (A Clockwork Orange), and William Gibson (Johnny Mnemonic).

As I said, this stuff isn't in some Future far away. We're living in the Future now. The 21'st century is HERE. Crying or Very sad

GB

PS: I wish it weren't this way Eldo. But I've lived long enough to see the Age of Aquarius get co-opted by Corporations, and trampled by their Tanks.

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Eldorion on Wed Feb 16, 2011 4:56 am

I don't think the future will be all sunshine and roses just because I don't think a cyberpunk future is guaranteed. Maybe something like that will happen, but we are still so early in the science of genetic engineering - particularly human genetic engineering - that any prediction of the future is mere speculation. And while the idea of patenting human genes is shocking and disturbing on a gut level, the articles you mention seem to think the implications will be limited to fields like research and medicine. That's not to say that I think patenting human genes is a good thing, but it's not yet clear what sort of future it will lead to, assuming it clears the legal and political hurdles.
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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:00 am

To be clear, I am not an Anti-tech Luddite. I am Anti-Corporate. I'm fine with tech that can better people's lives. But as long as Irresponsible and down-right Evil Corporations own the patents on it, they won't restrain it in a sterile lab, they will unleash it upon us like a Plague of Biblical Proportions. And you should know me enough by now Eldo, that I'm not given to speaking in Biblical terms without good reason.

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:03 am

Eldorion wrote:I don't think the future will be all sunshine and roses just because I don't think a cyberpunk future is guaranteed. Maybe something like that will happen, but we are still so early in the science of genetic engineering - particularly human genetic engineering - that any prediction of the future is mere speculation. And while the idea of patenting human genes is shocking and disturbing on a gut level, the articles you mention seem to think the implications will be limited to fields like research and medicine. That's not to say that I think patenting human genes is a good thing, but it's not yet clear what sort of future it will lead to, assuming it clears the legal and political hurdles.

I don't know how to be more clear Eldo. We're already living in a Cyber-Punk Future. But unless you're living at the bottom of the heap, you're not going to notice it.

GB

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Eldorion on Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:08 am

I appreciate your feelings on the matter, GB, but I think you're overstating things. For instance, there's this sentence, which I missed earlier:

Gandalf's Beard wrote:As I said, this stuff isn't in some Future far away. We're living in the Future now. The 21'st century is HERE.

I don't think anyone would deny that the 21st century has a lot of grim stuff going on, and that it has the potential to get worse, but it's hardly a new age of darkness and despair. Compared to the gigantic clusterf*** that was the 20th century, a lot of things have improved. We're not living under constant fear of nuclear annihilation, and the current great power rivalries are very unlikely to lead to war, partially because of multinational corporations brining different nations' interests together through trade. We also don't have to worry about a lot of the diseases that were pandemic throughout earlier times, largely thanks to pharmaceutical companies.

That's not to say that these companies always do good or even that the good things they do are out of benevolence, but corporate actions are not always bad and evil. And frankly, if you want to talk about a nightmare of corporate governance, then you should be looking to the past, not the future, because it has happened in the past in places like India, but was then stopped. Will we see something like that again? Perhaps, but history is no more a consistent progression towards despair than it is a consistent progression towards utopia. There are pros and cons to all historical eras, and the 21st century is no exception.

EDIT: This works as a response to your most recent post, too. Wink
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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:58 am

here's a short list of our Cyber-Punk present:

1) Aerial Drones that can blow S*** up piloted by remote control.
2) Man-made Weaponized Pathogens
3) Satellites that can see the rivets on a tank.
4) Microwave weapons that can fry a Human Being from a distance
5) Surveillance technology the size of a fly
6) Computerized Tracking devices
7) Depleted Uranium Weapons
Cool Micro-chipped tracking devices in human beings
9) Cameras tracking our every move (ask Petty or any UK resident who lives in a big city about how ubiquitous it is there, and we're getting closer to that in the US too. George Orwell, eat your heart out).
10) X-Ray and Heat Sensor tech that can see you moving in your house.
11) Sound Wave technology that can blow S*** up
12) Specialized Death Squads with hi-tech state of the art weapons and equipment
13) Nano-bots that can be programmed to do all kinds of stuff
14) NSA/Communications Corporations that can track information to your computer and detect key words on phone calls that will trigger an alert.
15) Facial Recognition Programs hooked up to surveillance cameras
16) Remote controlled Tanks that can blow S*** up
17) Ultra-sensitive listening devices that can hear your conversations at a distance
18) Privatized Military and Police Forces
19) Programmed Robots for numerous functions from Manufacturing to Medical to Military
20) Shanty-towns on the outskirts of big cities
21) Urban areas that look like war-zones
22) X-ray tech that can see through your clothes at airports
23) Hi-tech missiles that can be remotely targeted and blow S*** up
24) AI programs that are getting more and more sophisticated
25) Banned Books
26) Censored Media
27) Targeted Sophisticated Propaganda
28) various forms of Brainwashing and Mind-control technology--from lo-tech torture to hallucinogens to hi-tech Microwave and visual/audio Projection technologies
29) Battlefield sized Nukes--we are more in danger of Nuclear attack than we ever were in the 20th century


That's just a short list off the top of my head. Everyone feel free to continue this list. Still think we don't live in a Cyber-Punk world Eldo?

GB

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Why the Steven Seagal shooting kids GIF in my signature this last week??? To be perfectly honest, I didn't know why I posted it until tonight! I have been posting a lot on FB the past week about the Culture of Paranoia, Guns, and Violence in the US. The GIF reflected some of my visceral reactions to the School and Mall shootings!

"It is like a finger pointing at the moon. Pay no attention to the finger or you will miss all that heavenly Glory"--Bruce Lee

"Absence of Evidence is not Evidence of Absence."--Carl Sagan
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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Eldorion on Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:06 am

For the most part that list falls into two categories: advanced technology and stuff that has been around for ages. When I think of a cyberpunk future, I imagine something quite dark and gritty. The mere presence of advanced technology does not mean that. As for most of the rest of it - privatized military forces, death squads, decaying urban areas, shanty towns, literary and media censorship, sophisticated propaganda - if all that makes a cyberpunk world, than mankind has been living in a cyberpunk world for longer than 'cyberpunk' has been a word, which again doesn't fit with the ideas implicit in the word.

Regardless, I don't see how your list is incompatible with the crux of my earlier post, which is that all eras have pros and cons, and that the 21st century is not a radical departure from the rest of human history just because it has a dark underbelly.

Also, a few individual points jump out at me:



9) Cameras tracking our every move (ask Petty or any UK resident who lives in a big city about how ubiquitous it is there, and we're getting closer to that in the US too. George Orwell, eat your heart out).

As far as I know, the UK security cameras are posted in public places. We have a similar system in some places around where I live. However, that is a far cry from cameras tracking you everywhere. Besides, if the government wanted to track you everywhere, it would make more sense to use traditional intelligence methods which have been around for quite some time.

29) Battlefield sized Nukes--we are more in danger of Nuclear attack than we ever were in the 20th century

I'd really like to see your justification for that claim.
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