Links 7/13/16

Links for you. Science:

‘Shocking images’ reveal death of 10,000 hectares of mangroves across Northern Australia
The Fuzzy Fluffy Super-Cute Health Threat In Your Backyard
‘There is no escape’: Nairobi’s air pollution sparks Africa health warning
Why scientists’ failure to understand GM opposition is stifling debate and halting progress
Arizona now has largest measles outbreak in U.S. (and it’s U.S. residents, not ‘dirty illegals’ who are transmitting the disease)


This Guy Posted His Own Animal ‘Facts’ At The Zoo And They’re Hilarious
It’s getting hot in Indianapolis: Corporate greed moves 2,100 more American jobs to Mexico (not robots. Just saying)
Public Schools? To Kansas Conservatives, They’re ‘Government Schools’
Now You Can See Everything Google Knows About You and Delete the Embarrassing Stuff
Jim Jeffries hammers Trump and his awful, bigoted rhetoric
Sanders’ victory: How Bernie ended the Cold War in 2016. Sanders’ dark horse candidacy stripped socialism of its fringe labels and, culturally speaking, ended the Cold War
The Illicit Perks of the M.D. Club
How Bernie Sanders lost black voters (though also see this)
NRA’s offensive hypocrisy: When will the organization demand justice for black gun owners shot by police?
The New York of 2016 Needs the Wide, Generous Sidewalks of 1906
Silicon Valley-Driven Hype for Self-Driving Cars (anyone who has developed a bioinformatics pipeline can’t take self-driving cars seriously…)
North Carolina Congressman Wants To Ban EPA Employees From Flying For Work
Walking While Black
With the Democratic Platform Done, Bernie Prepares to Endorse Hillary
Here’s Why Activists Don’t Buy Hillary Clinton’s Justification for the Honduras Coup
Students at state’s public colleges gird for higher tuition

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3 Responses to Links 7/13/16

  1. Chris G says:

    Re Why scientists’ failure to understand GM opposition…

    My principal concern is “What’s the first big ‘Oops.’?” Corporate control and monopoly ownership definitely rate as concerns but my primary concern is management of downside risk. What does the first big fuck up look like? How about the second?

    My undergrad degree was in chemistry. “Better living through chemistry” has brought us lots of great things but it also brought us thalidomide, DDT, and lots of other really shitty things. You need to look at pros and cons. Don’t dismiss one or the other. If you want to sell me on the merits of a technology then explain to me why the upside is so good that it justifies the downside risk.* I want to hear from GM risk researchers. How do they assess the risks associated with combining genetic material that would never (?) combine without human intervention? With the admission that I’m not a biologist, a realistic assessment of the downside risks seems like a really tall order. Why is old-fashioned genetic modification not satisfactory? ** Artificial selection has worked well for centuries, no? What are the worst “Oops.” cases you can think of with respect to artificial selection? Three certainties in life: death, taxes, and over-enthusiastic scientists will fuck up badly. We’re human. It’s gonna happen.

    *I’m down with antibiotics. Sure, overuse leads to resistant bugs but the upside with proper use is huge. You’d have to have rocks in your head not to accept the downside risk. Accept the risk and work to minimize it.


    • Chris G says:

      >”As the Nobel laureates recognise, agricultural systems are under severe stress from converging problems associated with soil deterioration, lack of water, chemical pollution, climate change, and population growth.”

      If we need GMOs to save our necks while we develop solutions those problems then you may be able to sell me on them. (Starving to death isn’t on my bucket list.) GMOs as a means of whistling past the graveyard? I don’t think that’ll work. “The better your four wheel drive the further you are from civilization when you get stuck.”

  2. Gingerbaker says:

    My problem with GMO foods:

    Nearly every member of the GMO Foods Are Completely Safe You Idiot Brigade has zero idea what the biological effects of these compounds are in the human body. Why? Because it has not really been studied.

    Why hasn’t it been studied? Because GMO foods are considered to be foods, not drugs or active biologically-active agents – that’s why. So, we know a heck of a lot more about the metabolism and distribution of over-the-counter antihistamines than we do about GMO foods – which may be – in a single foodstuff – a whole family of compounds, compounded to be genetic-modifiers working in concert to modify the food product’s DNA products.

    The problem is that these genetic modifiers may or may not be active in humans, and may or may not survive gastric absorption. They may or may not be absorbed as functional units into the bloodstream of humans, and may or may not have effects on blood cells.

    Are you of the understanding that GMO DNA agents can not survive the GI tract? 99% of happy GMO-touters believe this is so – and they are wrong. Now you’ve got DNA modifiers all along your digestive tract. And it’s uncharacterized. Do you believe it is impossible for intact GMO DNA modifiers to be absorbed into the human bloodstream and retain their biological potential? 99% of GMO food supporters believe this – and they would be wrong.

    Do they have downstream effects after the bloodstream, absorption by other tissues? Effects seen years after initial exposure? We don’t really know – because it hasn’t been studied. Because these are just foods, right? So, we have hundreds of studies demonstrating that GMO foods have the same nutritional value as their non modified congeners. And that some humans who have eaten GMO foods don’t seem to get sick from it over the short term. The biological markers they have looked at seem completely fine. Chem panels-blood screen – they look great.

    The problem I have with GMO foods is is with what we don’t know about them because, unlike every single pharmaceutical in the world – they have not been properly studied.

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