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The Real News: The Age Of Science And Discovery



...and ...some TED talks are more interesting than others...

I agree about how most "news" is a total waste of information but I totally disagree about Afghanistan's war being one of them. If people had a better view of the "long news" in that region we may have avoided this whole fiasco in the first place.

Moving along, everything's fine, agree, agree, that's interesting, and then...Britain will starve without genetically modified crops. Screeeeeeeech. What the...? No supporting data, no further explanation. Just that little tidbit of truthiness tossed out there.

Which is why I think it was posted.

I had a small conversation with my parents about GMO foods. (My parents are self defined as conservative hippies) Here are their points:

  • It's too significant a technology to be handled by profit motives.

  • It's too connected to complex systems to be applied to frivolous wants.

  • It has to be pursued because designing our own food is how we've always managed to thrive.

I think perhaps he'd read the study by Royal Society referred to in this article.

Professor David Baulcombe, a plant scientist at the University of Cambridge who chaired the study, said: "We need to take action now to stave off food shortages. If we wait even five to 10 years, it may be too late. Biological science has progressed in leaps and bounds in the last decade and UK scientists have been at the head of the pack when it comes to topics related to food crops. In the UK we have the potential to come up with viable scientific solutions for feeding a growing population and we have a responsibility to realise this potential. There's a very clear need for policy action and publicly funded science to make sure this happens."

The Royal Society (my emphasis) said the government should reverse a decay in agricultural research in Britain and spend at least £200m each year for the next 10 years on science that improves crops and sustainable crop management.

The report said the changing diets of people around the world, the likely impact of climate change and growing scarcity of water and land made it harder to increase food production to meet an expected rise in global population of 3 billion by the mid-century. Production methods would need to sustain the environment, preserve natural resources and support the livelihoods of farmers and rural populations around the world, it added.

I like the call to policy action and public funding of research.

I like that too. We can thank our Republican friends for their private enterprise does everything better for the current state of affairs.

What I thought was interesting from your link:

In 2003, the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in Britain published the results of what it called the Farm Scale Evaluations and the press called the GM crop trials. The trials included 66 fields of sugar beets, 68 cornfields, and 67 canola fields, each planted half with a genetically modified herbicide-tolerant variety and half with a conventional crop that was not herbicide tolerant. Teams of scientists from three research centers counted and compared the number of species of weeds and of weed seeds, as well as of beetles, butterflies, and other invertebrates found inside and along the edges of each half-field throughout the year. They concluded that some genetically modified crops (canola and sugar beet) reduced biodiversity, while GM corn increased it.

The difference was that the chemicals currently used to keep weeds out of conventional cornfields (atrazine and its derivatives) are quite effective-better at killing weeds than the glufosinate used with the genetically modified corn. The herbicides used with conventional canola and sugar beet, on the other hand, are less effective than glufosinate when used with GM canola or than glyphosate when used with GM sugar beets. The studies thus, as the Scientist reported, "are less about GM crops directly than about the herbicides used to manage weeds in GM and conventional varieties." GM corn was said to imcrease biodiversity because the herbicide used on GM corn (glufosinate) did no kill as many weeds as the herbicide used on non-GM corn (atrazine)

Had to type this out because the text is an image and not selectable. Also wish I could have read more, but this is as much as Google could show under copyright restrictions. In other words, any errors are mine and not the authors. :)

Mendel in the Kitchen: A Scientist's View of Genetically Modified Food

Send me your address via E-mail and I'll send you a copy in fact if another two readers would like a copy they can do the same. First come first serve after thaddeusphoenix


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