Adonis Diaries

Archive for the ‘Events/Cultural/Educational/Arts’ Category

Trading Rights for Security? how_Boston_exposes_americas_dark_post_911_bargain
We surrendered our rights to a government of war criminals
“In America after 9/11, we made a deal with the devil, or with Dick Cheney, which is much the same thing.
We agreed to give up most of our enumerated rights and civil liberties (except for the sacrosanct Second Amendment, of course) in exchange for a lot of hyper-patriotic tough talk, the promise of “security” and the freedom to go on sitting on our asses and consuming whatever the hell we wanted to.
Don’t look the other way and tell me that you signed a petition or voted for John Kerry or whatever.
The fact is that whatever dignified private opinions you and I may hold, we did not do enough to stop it, and our constitutional rights are now deemed to be partial or provisional rather than absolute, do not necessarily apply to everyone, and can be revoked by the government at any time.
The supposed tradeoff for that sacrifice was that we would be protected, at least for a while, from the political violence and terrorism and low-level warfare that …is nearly an everyday occurrence in many parts of the world. (Low-level wars? What weapons should be used for that categories of warfare?)
According to the Afghan government, for example, a NATO air attack on April 6 killed 17 civilians in Kunar province, 12 of them children.
We’ve heard almost nothing about that on this side of the world, partly because the United States military has not yet admitted that it even happened.
But it’s not entirely fair to suggest that Americans think one kid killed by a bomb in Boston is worth more than 12 kids killed in Afghanistan.
It’s more that we live in a profoundly asymmetrical world, and the dead child in Boston is surprising in a way any number of dead children in Afghanistan, horrifyingly enough, are not.”
 published in Salon this April 21, 2013:

To put it mildly, this has been a bad week for democracy and a worse one for public discourse.

In the minutes and hours after the bombs went off in Boston last Monday, marathon runners, first responders and many ordinary citizens responded to a chaotic situation with great courage and generosity, not knowing whether they might be putting their own lives at risk.

Since then, though, it’s mostly been a massive and disheartening national freakout, with pundits, politicians, major news outlets and the self-appointed sleuths of the Internet – in fact, nearly everyone besides those directly affected by the attack – heaping disgrace upon themselves.

We’ve seen the most famous TV network in the news business repeatedly botch basic facts, while one of the country’s largest-circulation newspapers misreported the number of people killed, launched a wave of hysteria over a “Saudi national” who turned out to have nothing to do with the crime, and then published a cover photo suggesting that two other guys (also innocent) might be the bombers.

We’ve seen the vaunted crowd-sourcing capability of Reddit degenerate into self-reinforcing mass delusion, in which a bunch of people whose law-enforcement expertise consisted of massive doses of “CSI” convinced themselves that a missing college student was one of the bombing suspects.

(He wasn’t – and with that young man’s fate still unknown, how does his family feel today?)

We’ve watched elected officials and political commentators struggle to twist every nubbin of news or rumor toward some perceived short-term tactical advantage.

It was as if the only real importance of this horrific but modestly scaled terrorist attack lay in how it could prove the essential rightness of one’s existing worldview, and — of course! — how it would play in the 2014 midterms.

On the right, people were sure the Boston bombings were part of a massive jihadi plot – no doubt one linked to al-Qaida and Iran and Saddam Hussein and all the other landmarks in the connect-the-dots paranoid worldview of Islamophobia.

(In fact, many people are still convinced of that.)

On the left we heard a lot of theories about Patriots’ Day and Waco and Oklahoma City, along with the argument that it would be better for global peace if the bombers turned out to be white Americans rather than foreign Muslims.

(I sympathize with the underlying point David Sirota was making there, by the way, but the way it was phrased was deliberately inflammatory.)

How long did it take conservative pundits and politicians, after the bombing suspects were identified as Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, immigrant brothers of Chechen heritage born in Kyrgyzstan, to seize on that fact as a reason to walk back the supposed Republican change of heart on immigration reform? Was it even five minutes?

Never mind that the young men in question came here as war refugees in childhood, one was an American citizen and the other a legal resident, and we still have no idea what role their religion and national background may or may not have played in motivating the crime.

It’s hard to imagine what possible immigration laws could have categorically excluded them, short of a magic anti-Muslim force field.

And don’t even get me started on the irrelevant but unavoidable fact that the shameless, butt-licking lackeys of the Senate’s Republican caucus (with a few Democrats along for the ride) took advantage of the post-Boston confusion to do Wayne LaPierre’s bidding and kill a modest gun-reform bill supported by nearly the entire American public.

I might have assumed, in other circumstances, that the Family Research Council’s press release suggesting that the Boston bombings were caused by abortion, “sexual liberalism” and hostility to religion was actually an Onion article.

Or that right-wing pundit Pat Dollard’s now-famous tweet (“GEORGE BUSH KEPT US SAFE FOR 8 YEARS”) came from some Brooklyn hipster’s parody account.

But nothing, it seems, is too painful or stupid or wrong for this particular week. There are many reasons why this happened: A terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon is a big news story by any measure, and this news story happened in a disordered media climate that’s changing so fast no one can keep up with it.

Our political culture is so fundamentally broken and divided that people on all sides seized on the story as a weapon and a symbol long before we had any idea who was behind the crime.

(It would be almost too perfect if the loaded question of whether the Boston bombings were foreign or domestic terrorism turns out not to have a clear answer, as now seems possible: A little bit of both, but not quite either.)

But I think the real reason why this gruesome but small-scale attack sent the whole country into such an incoherent panic lies a little deeper than that.

As a New Yorker who lived through 9/11, by the way, I’m aware that the trauma felt by people in and around Boston, whether or not they were directly affected, is real and likely to last quite a while.

What I’m talking about is the media spectacle of fear and unreason delivered via TV, news sites and social media, the nationwide hysteria that made a vicious act apparently perpetrated by two losers with backpack bombs seem like an “existential threat” (to borrow a little bogus “Homeland”-speak) to the most powerful nation in the world.

Because it was, in a way.

We are supposed to be protected, and then something like Boston comes along, a small-minded and bloody attack that appears to have been conducted by a couple of guys flying under the radar of law enforcement or national intelligence, pursuing some obscure agenda we will probably never understand.

(We have recently learned that Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his family were interviewed by the FBI in 2011, apparently at the request of Russian intelligence, and agents found “no derogatory information.” Is that the right’s new Benghazi I smell?)

Not only does it conjure up all the leftover post-traumatic jitters from 9/11 – which for many of us will be there for the rest of our lives – it also makes clear that our Faustian bargain was completely bogus, and the devil never intended to hold up his end of the deal.

We surrendered our rights to a government of war criminals, who promised us certainty and security in a world that offers none.

We should have known better, and in fact we did. At the literal birth moment of American democracy, Benjamin Franklin summed it up in a single sentence: “Those who would give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Comparing election law alternatives for Lebanon’s Parliamentary election (in 2014)

Note: Mind you that this article was written in 2014.

Since then 17 alternative laws have been presented and none of them were discussed in Parliament, with the tacit intention of renewing their mandate without any election. This parliament renewed their tenure twice and is about to renew it for a few more months.

This year 2017 is witnessing the same process in order Not to change the law. Apparently, a form of proportional is becoming inevitable, though the districts are meant to retain the old feudal and militia leaders.

The new season and collection of political headlines is out in Lebanon, and this year’s theme is the electoral law.

It is all we can read and hear about these days no matter where we turn; national TV, newspapers, facebook, twitter, bakeries, and even coffee shops.

Let’s try to go through our different options together and objectively determine what law to support.

Law-Proposals

In case you are not familiar with the terms, simple majority means winner takes all.

while proportional representation means you get a seat if your support is just the right size (If small politicians do not support proportional representation then they are not small… they are micro).

The above presents five proposals with coalitions, the government, and independent politicians pushing and shoving for one over the other.

The only thing that is common, and that all our politicians practically agree on, is to keep the sectarian division. This means the Parliament is divided based on religious representation.

Some politicians might claim one proposal is “more sectarian” than the other, but that is just because they will lose a couple of seats in Parliament, not because of their ideals.

The sad truth is that the politicians today are negotiating the results of the elections. They are simply re-dividing the seats among each other and negotiating the distribution of power in Lebanon.

Most voters will continue to vote for the same leader they have been voting for during the past couple of decades.

What we are looking at is a simple game of rotating thrones between lords. The only difference is that we have more than 30 lords seeking the throne, and the Realm is one twelfth the size of New York State.

(Actually, only 5 leaders are deciding of everything in Lebanon. Once they agree, the process follow through)

So to answer the question I posed in the beginning of the article on which electoral law to choose, my answer is none.

I refuse to enter a selection process that is completely separated from the notion of freedom.

I will not wait for the results of the brokered deal to know how free the electoral law will make me. I am free today by making my own choices based on my reason, emotions, and beliefs.

I choose to do what is right for me and for the people in my society. That is the electoral law I will support.

Cedric Choukeir is the regional director of the the World Youth Alliance in the Middle East and North Africa.

Palestinian Document of 1919: Palestine is the southern region of Greater Syria

Document sent to the Syrian Conference in Damascus

shared ‎د.عدنان عبود‎’s photo. (Adnan Abboud)
لكل من لا يعلم أن فلسطين الجزء الجنوبي من سوريا الكبرى: ++++++++++ هذا ما اقره اجدادنا وثيقة وقعها فلسطينيون في مدينة الرملة في فلسطين سنة 1919 واهم ما جاء فيها: ان مطلبنا نحن الموقعين ادناه بخصوص مستقبل بلادنا هي ما يأتي : اولا: ان تكون سوريا التي حدودها من جبال طوروس شمالا وتنتهي بالعريش ورفح جنوبا مستقلة استقلالا تاما ضمن الوحدة العربية . ثانيا : ان تكون فلسطين جزء لا ينفك عن سوريا مستقلة استقلالا داخليا تنتخب جميع حكامها وتستمد قوانينها الداخلية وفقا لرغبات حكامها الوطنيين وحاجات البلاد. ثالثا: نرفض هجرة اليهود الى بلادنا رفضا باتا ونحتج على الصهيونية بكل قوانا ، اما اليهود الأصليون المتوطنون في بلادا قبل الحرب نعتبرهم وطنيين لهم مالنا وعليهم ما علينا . رابعا:اذا الغيت المبادىء القاضية بتحرير الأمم والمصرحة بأن لكل امة الخيار في تقرير مصيرها وارغمت على اختيار ارشاد اي دولة فأنا نوكل ذلك لقرار المؤتمر السوري الذي يعقد في دمشق والمؤلف من مندوبي المقاطعات السورية ونكون اسوة ببقية سوريا ولا ننفصل عنها نهائي
لكل من لا يعلم أن فلسطين الجزء الجنوبي من سوريا الكبرى:
++++++++++
هذا ما اقره اجدادنا
وثيقة وقعها فلسطينيون في مدينة الرملة في فلسطين سنة 1919 واهم ما جاء فيها:
ان مطلبنا نحن الموقعين ادناه بخصوص مستقبل بلادنا هي ما يأتي :
اولا: ان تكون سوريا التي حدودها من جبال طوروس شمالا وتنتهي بالعريش ورفح جنوبا مستقلة استقلالا تاما ضمن الوحدة العربية .
ثانيا : ان تكون فلسطين جزء لا ينفك عن سوريا مستقلة استقلالا داخليا تنتخب جميع حكامها وتستمد قوانينها الداخلية وفقا لرغبات حكامها الوطنيين وحاجات البلاد.
ثالثا: نرفض هجرة اليهود الى بلادنا رفضا باتا ونحتج على الصهيونية بكل قوانا ، اما اليهود الأصليون المتوطنون في بلادا قبل الحرب نعتبرهم وطنيين لهم مالنا وعليهم ما علينا .
رابعا:اذا الغيت المبادىء القاضية بتحرير الأمم والمصرحة بأن لكل امة الخيار في تقرير مصيرها وارغمت على اختيار ارشاد اي دولة فأنا نوكل ذلك لقرار المؤتمر السوري الذي يعقد في دمشق والمؤلف من مندوبي المقاطعات السورية ونكون اسوة ببقية سوريا ولا ننفصل عنها نهائي

The hotness-IQ tradeoff in academia

SANJAY SRIVASTAVA posted this SEPTEMBER 17, 2013

(This repost was selected as one of the hot posts)

The other day I came across a blog post ranking academic fields by hotness. Important data for sure. But something about it was gnawing on me for a while, some connection I wasn’t quite making.

And then it hit me. The rankings looked an awful lot like another list I’d once seen of academic fields ranked by intelligence.

Only, you know, upside-down.

Sure enough, when I ran the correlation among the fields that appear on both lists, it came out atr = -.45. (No correlation whatsoever?)

hotness-iq

I don’t know what this means, but it seems important. Maybe a mathematician or computer scientist can help me understand it.

Note: Is IQ score related to ability to model relationships? To comprehend models, from math equations, graphs, anything connected to quantifying data or designing experiment?

“I have to tell wife Anzi of my extermination mission…”

Note 1: The French author Jean-Claude Belfiore is from an Armenian mother and a Sicilian father. He had published “Hannibal: An unbelievable destiny“.

His second book that I reviewed in two parts was “I committed genocide on Armenians…” Diaries of a Turkish Captain.

He did his best to fool the reader that the book is a genuine diary from an actual Turkish officer.

The cover features an old picture of a Turkish officer, and throughout the book the author made sure to give the impression that the story was extracted from a diary, with attached clips of old Turkish dailies.

This style angered me and the author replied to my review.

Note 1: Sunni Kurds in the outback Turkey (195-18) were hired to do the ugly killing and ransacking of villages and guarding the prisoners.

Note 2: Here is the reply JeanClaude BELFIORE to my review.

New comment on your post “”I committed genocide on Armenians…” Diaries of a Turkish Captain. Part 1″
Author : JeanClaude BELFIORE (IP: 141.0.8.139 , s09-13.opera-mini.net)
E-mail : jc.belfiore@gmail.com
URL    : http://belfiore.fr/jeanclaude/
Whois  : http://whois.arin.net/rest/ip/141.0.8.139
Comment:

Merci pour cette mise au point. Dans la publication d’un livre,  il y a des contraintes éditoriales que, peut-être, vous ignorez et sur lesquelles il serait trop long de revenir.

Mais rappelez-vous une chose: un texte publié, quel qu’il soit (un journal?), est différent du texte qu’on garde chez soi dans un tiroir.

Encore une fois, le “journal” est un genre littéraire à part entière, comme le récit, comme le théâtre: il a ses lois – des lois qui sont différentes de celles du journal qu’on tient à la maison.

Il ne faut pas essayer de comparer les deux. Le premier n’est pas moins sincère que le second. – Et c’est parce que le massacre des Arméniens est sérieux que j’ai choisi un Turc pour le raconter.

Autre chose.
Je préfère la traduction “I killed Armenians” (part II) plutôt que “I committed genocide”, qui est anachronique. Le mot “genocide” est apparu en 1944.
Merci de l’intérêt que vous portez à ce livre.
JeanClaude Belfiore

Notes and comments on FB and Twitter. Part 21

I feel despondent: Nothing but the good came from mother (88 years), and they made sure to punish her by Not paying her visits, or have any patience to listen to her. She overcame all her pains and suffering to visit everyone of her relatives, whenever she could get a ride. She used to return home upset at the cruelty of those she visited.

And how the Boss can trick the others that he is consistent in his behaviors? If he fails to practice on the limitations that don’t match expectation or perception of the others?

How can the Boss satisfy the approbation of a cohort of conflicting idiosyncrasies?

It is exhausting to take on the role of the Boss. The key difficulty is to remain consistent in his set of attitudes, which he perceive or think that the other members perceive as “Boss’ Behaviors Requirements”

The proposed Boss, he better select a set of attitudes that match his natural upbringing, and keep practicing them to sustain his status (especially talent and fairness)

She is exclusively vegan. He is Not. She cooks for two. He cooks exclusively for himself. And occasionally go out single.

Helicobacter parasite neutralizes the gastric acid: take concentrated broccoli (sulforaphane)

East Aleppo must be liberated before Trump takes power

Congress/Senate pre-empted Trump take over by eliminating any excuse to renegotiate Iran Nuclear deal and antagonizing Europe: They extended for another 10 years the sanctions 

Obama cowed to Hillary’s pressures: sending 4,000 boots to Middle East. What for again? To make it harder on Trump’s rapprochement with Russia?

Les lois sur la “purete”des femmes sont apocryphes: ceux qui sont ecrites sont des interpretations mesquines et politiques

Jack London was the first ecologically minded person in running his farm (no fertilizers) and even his pigs were sheltered in stone houses (Pig Castle). He was the first who began producing long movies, 7 of them, before Hollywood existed.

If you want to transplant my brain, go ahead. Don’t blame me if you think your shitty brain is worse than mine.

In the last 15 years, I’m the only person who frequently patronized this library, to sit and read, and share what I read and review books. There is no appreciation of who should be treated as VIP

I have this strong impression that she opens the library when acquaintances or friends call her up for “sob7iyyeh wa dardasheh”.

I was eating a loaf of bread (baguette) while walking. A young woman approached me for money to buy milk. I asked her if she like to share some of my bread. She vehemently replied: No. No. Question: If you are Not willing to share my bread, why should I be incited to share the little cash I carry?

Frequent occurences: Homeless demands more cash than what you handed him. What? I didn’t read on a board hanging from his neck the minimum he is willing to accept

Crois-tu qu’on entretienne cette maisonée par magie? Non, Par des gens. Une communauté entiére

I’m reproducing what others have written, in my own style. Occasionally, I alter ideas, to transmit my reality 

Ce que les gens ne veulent pas se souvenir: la mortalité, un Coeur brisé, l’ignorance, la folie… Tout ce qui ne s’accroche pas aux mesures du temps

Case for engineering our food?

I am a plant geneticist.

I study genes that make plants resistant to disease and tolerant of stress. In recent years, millions of people around the world have come to believe that there’s something sinister about genetic modification.

Today, I am going to provide a different perspective.

0:35 First, let me introduce my husband, Raoul. He’s an organic farmer. On his farm, he plants a variety of different crops.

This is one of the many ecological farming practices he uses to keep his farm healthy. Imagine some of the reactions we get: “Really? An organic farmer and a plant geneticist? Can you agree on anything?”

we can, and it’s not difficult, because we have the same goal. We want to help nourish the growing population without further destroying the environment. I believe this is the greatest challenge of our time.

genetic modification is not new; virtually everything we eat has been genetically modified in some manner.

Let me give you a few examples. On the left is an image of the ancient ancestor of modern corn. You see a single roll of grain that’s covered in a hard case. Unless you have a hammer, teosinte isn’t good for making tortillas.

Now, take a look at the ancient ancestor of banana. You can see the large seeds. And unappetizing brussel sprouts, and eggplant, so beautiful.

to create these varieties, breeders have used many different genetic techniques over the years. Some of them are quite creative, like mixing two different species together using a process called grafting to create this variety that’s half tomato and half potato.

Breeders have also used other types of genetic techniques, such as random mutagenesis, which induces uncharacterized mutations into the plants.

The rice in the cereal that many of us fed our babies was developed using this approach.

today, breeders have even more options to choose from. Some of them are extraordinarily precise.

I want to give you a couple examples from my own work.

I work on rice, which is a staple food for more than half the world’s people. Each year, 40% of the potential harvest is lost to pest and disease.

For this reason, farmers plant rice varieties that carry genes for resistance. This approach has been used for nearly 100 years. Yet, when I started graduate school, no one knew what these genes were.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that scientists finally uncovered the genetic basis of resistance. In my laboratory, we isolated a gene for immunity to a very serious bacterial disease in Asia and Africa. We found we could engineer the gene into a conventional rice variety that’s normally susceptible, and you can see the two leaves on the bottom here are highly resistant to infection.

the same month that my laboratory published our discovery on the rice immunity gene, my friend and colleague Dave Mackill stopped by my office. He said, “70 million rice farmers are having trouble growing rice.”

That’s because their fields are flooded, and these rice farmers are living on less than two dollars a day.

Although rice grows well in standing water, most rice varieties will die if they’re submerged for more than three days.

Flooding is expected to be increasingly problematic as the climate changes. He told me that his graduate student Kenong Xu and himself were studying an ancient variety of rice that had an amazing property. It could withstand two weeks of complete submergence. He asked if I would be willing to help them isolate this gene. I said yes — I was very excited, because I knew if we were successful, we could potentially help millions of farmers grow rice even when their fields were flooded.

Kenong spent 10 years looking for this gene. Then one day, he said, “Come look at this experiment. You’ve got to see it.” I went to the greenhouse and I saw that the conventional variety that was flooded for 18 days had died, but the rice variety that we had genetically engineered with a new gene we had discovered, called Sub1, was alive.

Kenong and I were amazed and excited that a single gene could have this dramatic effect. But this is just a greenhouse experiment. Would this work in the field?

I’m going to show you a four-month time lapse video taken at the International Rice Research Institute. Breeders there developed a rice variety carrying the Sub1 gene using another genetic technique called precision breeding.

On the left, you can see the Sub1 variety, and on the right is the conventional variety. Both varieties do very well at first, but then the field is flooded for 17 days. You can see the Sub1 variety does great. In fact, it produces three and a half times more grain than the conventional variety.

I love this video because it shows the power of plant genetics to help farmers. Last year, with the help of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, three and a half million farmers grew Sub1 rice.

many people don’t mind genetic modification when it comes to moving rice genes around, rice genes in rice plants, or even when it comes to mixing species together through grafting or random mutagenesis.

But when it comes to taking genes from viruses and bacteria and putting them into plants, a lot of people say, “Yuck.” Why would you do that? The reason is that sometimes it’s the cheapest, safest, and most effective technology for enhancing food security and advancing sustainable agriculture. I’m going to give you three examples.

First, take a look at papaya. It’s delicious, right? But now, look at this papaya. This papaya is infected with papaya ringspot virus.

In the 1950s, this virus nearly wiped out the entire production of papaya on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. Many people thought that the Hawaiian papaya was doomed, but then, a local Hawaiian, a plant pathologist named Dennis Gonsalves, decided to try to fight this disease using genetic engineering. He took a snippet of viral DNA and he inserted it into the papaya genome.

This is kind of like a human getting a vaccination. Now, take a look at his field trial. You can see the genetically engineered papaya in the center. It’s immune to infection. The conventional papaya around the outside is severely infected with the virus.

Dennis’ pioneering work is credited with rescuing the papaya industry. Today, 20 years later, there’s still no other method to control this disease. There’s no organic method. There’s no conventional method. 80% of Hawaiian papaya is genetically engineered.

some of you may still feel a little queasy about viral genes in your food, but consider this: The genetically engineered papaya carries just a trace amount of the virus. If you bite into an organic or conventional papaya that is infected with the virus, you will be chewing on tenfold more viral protein.

take a look at this pest feasting on an eggplant. The brown you see is frass, what comes out the back end of the insect. To control this serious pest, which can devastate the entire eggplant crop in Bangladesh, Bangladeshi farmers spray insecticides two to three times a week, sometimes twice a day, when pest pressure is high.

But we know that some insecticides are very harmful to human health, especially when farmers and their families cannot afford proper protection, like these children.

In less developed countries, it’s estimated that 300,000 people die every year because of insecticide misuse and exposure.

Cornell and Bangladeshi scientists decided to fight this disease using a genetic technique that builds on an organic farming approach. Organic farmers like my husband Raoul spray an insecticide called B.T., which is based on a bacteria.

This pesticide is very specific to caterpillar pests, and in fact, it’s nontoxic to humans, fish and birds. It’s less toxic than table salt. But this approach does not work well in Bangladesh. That’s because these insecticide sprays are difficult to find, they’re expensive, and they don’t prevent the insect from getting inside the plants.

In the genetic approach, scientists cut the gene out of the bacteria and insert it directly into the eggplant genome. Will this work to reduce insecticide sprays in Bangladesh? Definitely.

Last season, farmers reported they were able to reduce their insecticide use by a huge amount, almost down to zero. They’re able to harvest and replant for the next season.

I’ve given you a couple examples of how genetic engineering can be used to fight pests and disease and to reduce the amount of insecticides. My final example is an example where genetic engineering can be used to reduce malnutrition.

In less developed countries, 500,000 children go blind every year because of lack of Vitamin A. More than half will die. For this reason, scientists supported by the Rockefeller Foundation genetically engineered a golden rice to produce beta-carotene, which is the precursor of Vitamin A.

This is the same pigment that we find in carrots. Researchers estimate that just one cup of golden rice per day will save the lives of thousands of children.

But golden rice is virulently opposed by activists who are against genetic modification. Just last year, activists invaded and destroyed a field trial in the Philippines.

When I heard about the destruction, I wondered if they knew that they were destroying much more than a scientific research project, that they were destroying medicines that children desperately needed to save their sight and their lives.

Some of my friends and family still worry: How do you know genes in the food are safe to eat? I explained the genetic engineering, the process of moving genes between species, has been used for more than 40 years in wines, in medicine, in plants, in cheeses.

In all that time, there hasn’t been a single case of harm to human health or the environment. But I say, look, I’m not asking you to believe me. Science is not a belief system. (how people can easily discriminate science from pseudo science?)

My opinion doesn’t matter. Let’s look at the evidence.

After 20 years of careful study and rigorous peer review by thousands of independent scientists, every major scientific organization in the world has concluded that the crops currently on the market are safe to eat and that the process of genetic engineering is no more risky than older methods of genetic modification.

These are precisely the same organizations that most of us trust when it comes to other important scientific issues such as global climate change or the safety of vaccines.

Raoul and I believe that, instead of worrying about the genes in our food, we must focus on how we can help children grow up healthy.

We must ask if farmers in rural communities can thrive, and if everyone can afford the food.

We must try to minimize environmental degradation. What scares me most about the loud arguments and misinformation about plant genetics is that the poorest people who most need the technology may be denied access because of the vague fears and prejudices of those who have enough to eat.

We have a huge challenge in front of us. Let’s celebrate scientific innovation and use it. It’s our responsibility to do everything we can to help alleviate human suffering and safeguard the environment.  

14:19 Chris Anderson: Powerfully argued. The people who argue against GMOs, as I understand it, the core piece comes from two things.

One, complexity and unintended consequence. Nature is this incredibly complex machine. If we put out these brand new genes that we’ve created, that haven’t been challenged by years of evolution, and they started mixing up with the rest of what’s going on, couldn’t that trigger some kind of cataclysm or problem, especially when you add in the commercial incentive that some companies have to put them out there?

The fear is that those incentives mean that the decision is not made on purely scientific grounds, and even if it was, that there would be unintended consequences.

How do we know that there isn’t a big risk of some unintended consequence? Often our tinkerings with nature do lead to big, unintended consequences and chain reactions.

Pamela Ronald: Okay, so on the commercial aspects, one thing that’s really important to understand is that, in the developed world, farmers in the United States, almost all farmers, whether they’re organic or conventional, they buy seed produced by seed companies.

So there’s definitely a commercial interest to sell a lot of seed, but hopefully they’re selling seed that the farmers want to buy.

It’s different in the less developed world. Farmers there cannot afford the seed. These seeds are not being sold. These seeds are being distributed freely through traditional kinds of certification groups, so it is very important in less developed countries that the seed be freely available.

CA: Wouldn’t some activists say that this is actually part of the conspiracy? This is the heroin strategy. You seed the stuff, and people have no choice but to be hooked on these seeds forever?

PR: There are a lot of conspiracy theories for sure, but it doesn’t work that way. For example, the seed that’s being distributed, the flood-tolerant rice, this is distributed freely through Indian and Bangladeshi seed certification agencies, so there’s no commercial interest at all.

The golden rice was developed through support of the Rockefeller Foundation. Again, it’s being freely distributed. There are no commercial profits in this situation.

And now to address your other question about, well, mixing genes, aren’t there some unintended consequences? Absolutely — every time we do something different, there’s an unintended consequence, but one of the points I was trying to make is that we’ve been doing kind of crazy things to our plants, mutagenesis using radiation or chemical mutagenesis.

This induces thousands of uncharacterized mutations, and this is even a higher risk of unintended consequence than many of the modern methods.

And so it’s really important not to use the term GMO because it’s scientifically meaningless. I feel it’s very important to talk about a specific crop and a specific product, and think about the needs of the consumer.

CA: So part of what’s happening here is that there’s a mental model in a lot of people that nature is nature, and it’s pure and pristine, and to tinker with it is Frankensteinian.

It’s making something that’s pure dangerous in some way, and I think you’re saying that that whole model just misunderstands how nature is. Nature is a much more chaotic interplay of genetic changes that have been happening all the time anyway.

PR: That’s absolutely true, and there’s no such thing as pure food. I mean, you could not spray eggplant with insecticides or not genetically engineer it, but then you’d be stuck eating frass. So there’s no purity there.

Note: In Africa Burkina Fasso, Monsanto is monopolizing vast lands for genetically modified crops and Not distributing  any of its seed to local farmers

Patsy Z  shared this link

One of my favorite TED talks this year: Pamela Ronald makes a strong case for engineering food: http://b-gat.es/1zYWICq

Pamela Ronald studies the genes that make plants more resistant to disease and stress.
In an eye-opening talk, she describes her decade-long quest…
b-gat.es|By Pamela Ronald

adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

March 2017
M T W T F S S
« Feb    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Blog Stats

  • 920,863 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 461 other followers

%d bloggers like this: