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This is a question First World Problems

Onemunki says: We live in a world of genuine tragedy, starvation and terror. So, after hearing stories of cruise line passengers complaining at the air conditioning breaking down, what stories of sheer single-minded self-pity get your goat?

(, Thu 1 Mar 2012, 12:00)
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Genetically Modified Crops
GM crops should be developed as they will save the developing world from starving to death, or so the argument goes.

Funny how the advocates of this tend to be large US bio-tech companies who really only want to make money out of the situation (see "crop termination", aka the "terminator gene", or "traitor technology" to understand what a bunch of scumbags they are).

I've got a better idea. The US, the fattest nation on Earth, goes on producing food at the same level as it does now, and we put its population on a diet. The difference between what they consume and what they produce can then be sent off to help the starving.
(, Wed 7 Mar 2012, 18:26, 17 replies)
It's a shame really, since GM could do a lot of good.
See also the problems of seed drift and pollen drift which allow the likes of Monsanto to extort money from farmers who don't buy their seeds.
(, Wed 7 Mar 2012, 19:12, closed)
Food Inc. made me do a sad
(, Thu 8 Mar 2012, 10:06, closed)

"GM crops are perfectly safe", said one carrot.
(, Wed 7 Mar 2012, 19:21, closed)
And who is going to pay for that?

(, Wed 7 Mar 2012, 19:23, closed)
Dear Anti-GM people
Maybe it's time to decide whether you are outraged at the idea of GM crops growing wild or at the idea of terminator genes which stop GM crops growing wild.
(, Wed 7 Mar 2012, 20:12, closed)

(, Thu 8 Mar 2012, 11:22, closed)
GM crops and nuclear power
would both be very useful, were it not for all the scaremongering.
(, Wed 7 Mar 2012, 20:13, closed)

(, Thu 8 Mar 2012, 11:23, closed)
Or, people living in developed countries could stop throwing all thier food into landfill.
I'm giving you evils Japan.
(, Wed 7 Mar 2012, 20:17, closed)
At least it's biodegradeable.

(, Wed 7 Mar 2012, 21:42, closed)
Having more than a passing acquaintance with GM
I can say a few things, although I tend not to state any preference, as a lot of people can't be objective, and just rant.

Firstly, GM plants aren't created in a laboratory out of sulphuric acid and parts from a truck engine. There's nothing 'non biological' in a GM plant.

Also, it's pretty much just another form of what we have been doing for hundreds of years.

Crops have been selectively bred and developed since farming began. Corn is a totally man made plant, it simply didn't exist. It was developed, or should we call it 'engineered' in South America from grass, as far as anyone can tell.

Many other examples exist. Eucalyptus trees in the modern world bear almost no resemblance to their historic forebears, as a result of deliberate intervention by man.

I think there's a lot of hysteria. People are worried that we can't tell what the effects of eating GM food are. I suspect that's rather unnecessary. Not least of all, Americans have been scoffing the stuff for over a generation, and so far there have been no observable effects at all.

I totally get peoples worries, and reservations - I particularly dislike the idea of people patenting food, but I also think there's a lack of good information and objective analysis.

Whether it should exist or not, I'm keeping my opinions to myself.
(, Thu 8 Mar 2012, 9:10, closed)
In order to avoid accusations of "playing god" and
"having designer babies", I've made a point of impregnating as many women as possible, regardless of their physical attractiveness, intelligence, or personality. You can thank me later.
(, Thu 8 Mar 2012, 10:00, closed)
Well said...
Just to add to that, regarding patents:
Those who go on about 'large multinational biotechs' and patenting, often seem to forget that plant breeders rights are generally held by large multinational biotech companies! Just look through some recomended crop lists if you don't believe that. PBRs are arguably as, or more restrictive than patents; do people (as seems to be the case) really believe that farm-saved seed can legally be used for free by farmers? If not, why the fuss about terminator genes?

There are free alternatives to GMs and varieties under PBR. There is a reason why farmers don't generally grow them.
(, Thu 8 Mar 2012, 10:01, closed)
generally means "the most common staple crop in the area". In Scotland, corn is rye. In England it's wheat. In furrin places it's maize. Not really relevant, I know, but I think it's quite interesting.
(, Thu 8 Mar 2012, 10:54, closed)
zea mays
is the proper name.

I've never heard it referred to as anything other than that, or any other grain referred to as corn.

Although similarly, in Brazil any kind of steak is often referred to as a 'beef', so you will find your meal could be a 'beef of chicken'.
(, Thu 8 Mar 2012, 11:16, closed)

'Corn' originally referred to pretty much any cereal seed and is still used in that sense sometimes. e.g. one might still talk about a barley corn, when reffering to a single grain. I think that is why there is some regional variation in what species it has become attached to.
(, Thu 8 Mar 2012, 12:08, closed)
Fair enough.
New one on me.
(, Thu 8 Mar 2012, 12:14, closed)

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