Morning Links

Thursday, September 27th, 2012
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104 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Reformed Republican | 

    GMO Opponents Are the Climate Skeptics of the Left
    Yes, because it is the Climate Skeptics that rely on scare tactics and studies that do not release their data for public scrutiny.

  2. #2 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    While GMO opponents certainly contribute to food shortages, I feel it is important to mention that famines and starvation are still largely, mostly, almost entirely due to politics. From crop subsidies’ unintended consequences, to tyrannical leaders, to disrupted sub-Saharan nomadic migration routes due to country borders, to naive Peace Corps policies, to Monsanto seed IP, to the sugar mob, to nutritionally poor strands of wheat dominating global diets…all are a political hammer on the nail of hunger.

    Of course, anti-GMO politics is also politics.

  3. #3 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Squad car video: Is there a website that documents cases of police misconduct and then follows-up with listing actual charges (and time served, $$ payout, etc.)?

    I think it’d be rather powerful to link the videos of Oscar Grant being shot by BART’s Mehserle and that he served a grand total of 7 months after being sentenced.

  4. #4 |  Ryan | 

    The drug dog story would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad.

    The “iron man” story is really cool.

    I do take mild issue with the GMO story, though. The anti-GMO crowd is predominantly left-of-center, and has caused serious harm, but it is not nearly as monolithic as portrayed. GMO opposition, much like vaccine opposition, is somewhat stronger on the left but cuts across the aisle more than most are willing to admit; the conspiratorial mindset of “big bad pharma” and “big bad agri” are often seen together and are not locked in to any given party. You’d also find much less support for the proposition amongst the left than is often assumed and the position does not gain much traction in liberal politics. Climate faux-skepticism is an almost complete manufactroversy of the right, actively stoked in opposition to every single shred of evidence there is by the politicians at every turn and virtually unheard of outside the echo chamber. With these in mind, the entire article becomes a fallacy of the middle ground. The two positions may be comparably wrong (although even then one is much more likely wrong in degree while the other is absolutely wrong, full stop), but they do not have comparable support or impact.

  5. #5 |  jesse | 

    The GMO issue is most certainly being overblown by these alarmists, but I’m also hesitant to shed a tear for Big Ag in general (ADM, Cargill, etc.) that are addicted to subsidies and corporate favors in one way or another.

  6. #6 |  tarran | 

    CAGW skepticism (called climate skepticism or climate denialism by CAGW w/ their usual incoherence) is based on science:

    The mechanism of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming is that the rise in CO2 slighly increases the temperature in the troposphere resulting in a bunch of feedbacks (primarily releasing more water vapor into the atmosphere ) which lead to the lower atmosphere warming.

    Attempts to experimentally verify that these feedbacks are occuring have all uniformly failed. This is unsurprising: these mechanisms would posit a very unstable climate that would cycle between snowball Earths and the tropical Venus found in Robert Heinlein’s juvenile science fiction.

    At this point the CAGW movement is unable to posit a mechanism as to how CO2 should be creating dramatic warming, just as the anti-GMO movement is unable to come up for a mechanism for plants whose genes are controlled directly (rather than the indirect control used in the past when domesticating species) are bad for us.

  7. #7 |  Aresen | 

    Actually, the article in that runner up headline of the day is interesting.

    The article says the material is very strong. It must have taken the artist a long time to carve the figure. With or without the fylfot. (Only intellectually lazy people describe all running crosses as “swastikas”.

  8. #8 |  Aresen | 

    The only remaining certified police officer in the town of Vaughn, New Mexico is the drug dog.

    Well, that makes it one police force where I trust the integrity or the officers.

  9. #9 |  Brian | 

    (Only intellectually lazy people describe all running crosses as “swastikas”.

    Huh? Isn’t that what they’re called? Perhaps the more accurate complaint would be that only intellectually lazy people associate all swastikas with Nazis, but I don’t think it’s lazy to call it a swastika.

  10. #10 |  Aresen | 

    From Wikipedia:

    Other names for the shape are:

    crooked cross, hook cross or angled cross (Hebrew: צלב קרס, German: Hakenkreuz).
    cross cramponned, ~nnée, or ~nny, in heraldry, as each arm resembles a crampon or angle-iron (German: Winkelmaßkreuz).
    fylfot, chiefly in heraldry and architecture. The term is coined in the 19th century based on a misunderstanding of a Renaissance manuscript.
    gammadion, tetragammadion (Greek: τετραγαμμάδιον), or cross gammadion (Latin: crux gammata; French: croix gammée), as each arm resembles the Greek letter Γ (gamma).
    tetraskelion (Greek: τετρασκέλιον), literally meaning “four legged”, especially when composed of four conjoined legs (compare triskelion (Greek: τρισκέλιον)).
    The Tibetan swastika (࿖) is known as g-yung drung

    Given the recent association, using “swastika” to describe them all is intellectually lazy.

  11. #11 |  Terry | 

    An interesting side note to the GMO article, is that Harlan, the company that provided the rats used in the study, has made no effort to exclude GMO crops from the feed they use. So, at least in the US, all laboratory rats and mice have been fed GMO food for at least the last decade. No effect has been noted. Countless studies have been run with these rats and the control groups have had no change.

  12. #12 |  Jeff W | 

    The anti-GMO bill in California was officially endorsed by the Democratic Party of California, which is pretty remarkable. And don’t pretend as if the corporate giants are only on the other side – the anti-GMO side is primarily financed by organic food companies that stand to make tens of millions of dollars if the bill goes through.

    Every argument you hear against GMO is inherently anti-scientific. The concept of “chemical free” is anti-scientific (water is a “chemical”, guys). The entire law itself is anti-scientific, because it denies the definition of “genetically-modified”. We’re all genetically modified organisms. Humans have genetically modified food for tens of thousands of years. The only thing that has changed in recent decades is that we’ve made genetic modification safer by allowing scientists to separate out the individual genes that they want, rather than mating together animals/plants with desirable traits and just hoping for the best.

  13. #13 |  Juice | 

    Don’t worry. Genetically modified corn isn’t going to give you cancer.

    Sounds pretty conclusive. Looks like the matter is settled. Thanks, Slate.

  14. #14 |  Brian | 

    @ #10: Well, regardless of the other names, none of those are standard or widely used or even widely understood. The traditional name, despite recent associations, is clearly still standard so while I can understand your wanting to call it something else, I don’t see how it is in any way “intellectually lazy” to use the proper term. It is particularly apt to use the term with respect to ancient religious artifacts that have long been known to use the symbol, and even more so when the article mentions the symbol as a reason the Nazi’s brought it back.

    I mean really, if the article had said “The crooked-cross symbol on the piece – a version of which was adopted by the Nazi party – may have encouraged the 1938 expedition to take it back with them,” it would have read like an awkward PC double-speak contortion simply to avoid using the obvious, clear and correct term we all know.

  15. #15 |  whiskey | 

    Your first link is misleading, mislabeled, and false equivalency. No Democrat will ever be primaried for saying that GMOs are okay.

  16. #16 |  BamBam | 

    Not to mention Monsanto and their big campaign donations and lobbyists trying to squash support for a bill that requires GMO foods to be labeled as such. Gosh, why would a company do that?

    Approaching it from a scientific perspective, it is not known what GMO foods will do to a human. There have been no studies done, and GMO hasn’t been around long enough to warrant acceptance of existing studies. There was recently an article with pictures of mice with massive tumors that were from the group fed GM stuff, while the control group had no issues.

  17. #17 |  Aresen | 

    @ whiskey | September 27th, 2012 at 11:47 am

    I doubt very many Team Blue office holders and seekers would take that risk. And I have no doubt they would be visciously pilloried by their opponents if they did.

    @ BamBam | September 27th, 2012 at 11:50 am

    There have been plenty of studies done. None have show the level of risk associated with a strict Vegan diet.

  18. #18 |  Jeff W | 

    Mentioning Monsanto is becoming “Godwinning” these GMO debates. There are big money companies on both sides – it’s irrelevant to the scientific discussion.

    And there haven’t been scientific studies into GMOs? Really? There have been literally thousands of peer-reviewed studies over decades, and not a single one has found significant evidence of health or environmental problems. If you haven’t been convinced by now then either you’re ignorant of this evidence or you’re just so block-headed against science that there is no amount of scientific evidence that will convince you.

  19. #19 |  tarran | 

    Approaching it from a scientific perspective, it is not known what GMO foods will do to a human. There have been no studies done, and GMO hasn’t been around long enough to warrant acceptance of existing studies.

    Dude, people have been eating GMO since the dawn of history. There’s another word for how humans create GMOs: “domestication”

  20. #20 |  Dave | 

    As a libertarian all I ask is that GMO products be labeled as such.
    Why do companies that produce them object to people being informed?

  21. #21 |  Jeff W | 

    Dave, I’ll tell you why. First of all, what is your definition of “genetically-modified”? Every object sold in every grocery store has been genetically modified in some way. Heck, even organically grown heirloom tomatoes have been genetically modified.

    Second, it’s pure scare tactics. For example, much of the meat that is sold in stores has been treated with radiation to kill bacteria and make it safer. Should we put a blaring message on each package saying “WE FIRED DEADLY RADIATION AT THIS FOOD!” Because technically it would be accurate, but the only effect would be that it would cause ignorant people to stop buying perfectly safe food.

    If companies want to voluntarily put extra labels on their food because their customers want it then fine – that’s the free market operating and I’m fine with that. But the anti-GMO campaign basically consists of organic farming giants trying to put scary cigarette-type packaging on the food sold by their competitors so they can increase their market share.

  22. #22 |  Random notes: September 27, 2012. « Whipped Cream Difficulties | 

    [...] (Hattip: Balko.) [...]

  23. #23 |  James | 

    @Jeff W…

    I’m assuming you’re aware that the FDA has banned GMO-free labeling (they won’t allow food producers to label their foods as being free of genetic modification).

    I’m also assuming that both you (based on the last paragraph of your comment) and Radley (because he’s a libertarian) are against this ban.

  24. #24 |  Jeff W | 

    I’m fine with laws saying companies can’t say their food is free of genetic-modification, since it would be factually false. ALL food in grocery stores is genetically modified.

    The libertarian position on labeling is clear: any company that wants to voluntarily label things because their customers want it should be allowed to, as long as that labeling is true (i.e. you can’t explicitly lie). I’d actually go a little further with this, because I think that a lot of products claim things that aren’t true, and it deceives customers (such as homeopathic medicines and energy bands).

  25. #25 |  Dakota | 

    @19 Anyone who is freaked out by GMO has no idea what modern Animal Husbandry or farming is like.

    Take one example, like modern pork farming. The industry has been striving for genetic uniformity, through strict practices of artificial insemination, research, bolt guns, and barn floors. So if they can use a lab to get the genetics uniform more quickly and years of lower defect and cull rate it’s infinitely better for man and pig kind.

    It took 20-25 years of genetic modification to create millions of the same pig, but that’s exactly what Smithfield did with “Lean Generation Pork”. The new line of pigs grow faster, have a bigger yield, less fat, and are easier to process. This line of uniform pigs have very little in common with any animal that ever existed in history, and likely could never live outside a barn. But Smithfield was able to lower the cost of meat on the plate. What is so wrong with cutting out all the years of waste with AI, and culling?

  26. #26 |  SPO | 

    The Milwaukee death is just awful. I wonder how the cops live with themselves.

    Shouldn’t this video be part of the training of all police officers? Maybe, in the back of their minds, they’d always remember it and not simply dismiss “I can’t breathe” as fakery.

    I like to think that these cops really did think that the guy was faking and aren’t really terrible people. I hope that they will have the balls to man up and actually apologize for this.

  27. #27 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #20 Dave: “Why do companies that produce them object to people being informed?”

    Labels and informing shouldn’t be a big deal, right. I’m a label reader myself, so I’m all for this. But this is how large corporations (and governments) react to scrutiny. Obfuscation, secrecy, propaganda, lies, etc. Multinational corporations are generally incapable of talking TO the consumer. They talk AT the consumer and try to baffle him with their bullshit. And in the end, they make things worse with their cover-ups and PR campaigns.

    So, I think the anti-GMO movement is primarily an expression of rage against these corporate entities. And when we are enraged–and when ideology is involved–scientific inquiry takes a backseat. To be fair, people have good reasons for believing that these corporations would fail to protect consumers. Look at the historical record!

    In an economic/political system that wasn’t controlled by massive corporations working hand in hand with nation states things would probably be different. But genetically modified foods aren’t usually being produced by good old farmer Bob or by farmer cooperatives. They are being produced by huge legal fictions that are designed solely to maximize profit. Buyer beware!

  28. #28 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    From the Onion: “Hopefully, when the international climate is slightly less volatile, children will be able to enjoy all of Muhammad’s hijinks, especially in the episode ‘Weeee! Muhammad,’ in which he takes his yearly hajj to Mecca Land by sliding down the Magical Chute of Greasy Bacon Fat.”

    LOL, that is excellent! Whenever humorless reactionary bastards get me down, I can count on the Onion to give me a chuckle! Thanks guys!

  29. #29 |  James | 

    I’m fine with laws saying companies can’t say their food is free of genetic-modification, since it would be factually false. ALL food in grocery stores is genetically modified.

    I may be misunderstanding but are you saying that all food sold in grocery contains genetic material that has been altered using genetic engineering techniques.

  30. #30 |  Jeff W | 

    #28 James, I’m saying that the phrase “genetic modification” is a vague term that can mean a whole lot of things. When people 2000 years ago took their two strongest horses and mated them in the hopes of getting a stronger horse, that’s genetic modification.

    It’s like the panic over “chemicals” in food. I have news for those people – EVERYTHING in food is a “chemical”. Water is a chemical, sugar is a chemical, etc. If you are scared by the concept of a “chemical” then you don’t know what a chemical is.

    #26 Helmut, the world will always have big companies that make lots of money. And in the GMO debate, as is typical, BOTH sides are representing big companies that want to make lots of money. The big organic food companies (the organic food industry is a multi-billion dollar per year industry in the US) stand to make huge amounts of money if the GMO labeling bill passes. And they are financing most of the anti-GMO campaign.

    And regardless, that’s not how science works. Just because somebody works for a corporation or gets money from a corporation doesn’t make them automatically right or wrong. Genetically modified food has saved the lives of LITERALLY a billion people on planet Earth so far. So if some companies made a bunch of money off it, why should I care? Just as why should I care if some PhRMA company makes billions of dollars off a drug that saves millions of Americans from a cancer death? This is why the free market works – people are rewarded for improving society.

    Unless you have actual scientific evidence to contradict the reams of scientific evidence saying that GMO food is perfectly safe, the fact that GMO food makes corporations a bunch of money is not an argument against its use.

  31. #31 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    Anti-GMO folks and others who would generally support high levels of government regulation would do well to read the essay “The Regulatory State–Behind the Myth” by Kevin Carson, which is currently posted on the Center for a Stateless Society website (C4SS.org). Here is a lengthy excerpt:

    “Of course anyone familiar with the history of the regulatory state, as recounted by radical historians like the New Leftist Gabriel Kolko, will know that’s exactly what the regulations are there for. First of all, they provide an official seal of approval, much like the quality and safety codes of trade associations. But since, unlike with trade associations, individual firms are not allowed to defect from compliance with the regulatory regime, the regulations do not become an issue of cost competition between firms. The cost of compliance is borne across the entire industry, and passed on to consumers as a simple cost-plus markup.

    Second, compliance with the regulatory standard — which is typically a dumbed-down least common denominator far, far below the standards of common law tort liability — serves as a safe harbor against civil litigation. The regulatory standard — which is, after all, based on (ahem) ‘sound science’ — trumps any more stringent legal standard of liability. So long as a company’s emissions comply with the EPA’s limit on parts per billion of this or that toxic chemical, it doesn’t matter if the entire town has asthma and breaks out in painful lumps.

    Finally, compliance with the regulatory standard can sometimes protect a company from even voluntary competition by other firms in an industry that choose to adhere to a more stringent standard of safety or quality. For example, Monsanto has successfully pursued court remedies in some jurisdictions against dairies and other food producers that advertise their products as free from Genetically Modified Organisms or recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone. And the big meat packers have won USDA sanctions against smaller packers that advertise their voluntary adherence to a more stringent inspection regime against “mad cow disease” than is required by law.

    In all these cases, simply advertising one’s voluntary adherence to a more stringent standard than is required by government regulations is treated as ‘food libel’ or ‘product disparagement.’ That is, it implies that a competitor’s products that just meet the ordinary standard are inferior to one’s own, despite the competitor being in full compliance with legal requirements (which — again — are based on ‘sound science’).”

  32. #32 |  Miroker | 

    On GMO’s, notice the term “selective breeding” is used to explain how humans have created some interesting organisms. Compare that to “genetic modification” and ask yourself how long, if possible, it would take to selectively breed plants to be weed resistant. Big difference between the two methods. I personally want to know if there are any GMO’s in my food supply.

    And if they are going to allow the continued use of genetic modification, when are they going to start working with humans?

  33. #33 |  Marty | 

    my issues with gmo have to do with monsanto’s shitty behavior and how they abuse farmers who don’t buy the roundup sales pitch.

  34. #34 |  demize! | 

    GMO’S are garbage and you’re ignoring an entire segment of the alternative and anti statist, anti capitalist right that oppose them.Radical traditionalists for one.

  35. #35 |  J Mo | 

    Did anybody else catch what the DA in Milwaukee said, that the medical examiner’s changing the result of death to homicide does not mean a crime was committed? Um, homicide is by definition a crime, so how could a crime have not been committed? Can a DA just deny the conclusion of a medical examiner?

  36. #36 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #29 Jeff W:
    Thanks for your comments. I think in my post I was basically just reflecting on the difficulty of having a scientific conversation about GM food due to ideology and the (quite justified) lack of trust in multinationals.

    I certainly agree with you that organic food companies are out to make a buck too. But do you really think the “big companies” which dominate our economy are a natural growth of the “free market?” I doubt it, because the free market is theoretical at this point (and perhaps it always will be). Economies going back before the industrial revolution have been controlled by kings, nation-states, and other government entities. And they have always benefited favored industries and/or individuals. There either is a free market now or there isn’t. And if there isn’t, then there is no guarantee that in the absence of corporatism (our REAL economic system) these “big companies” would exist as they due today. For more on this, I would encourage you to read the excerpt from the Kevin Carson essay I posted here a few minutes ago or just go to C4SS.org to read the whole post.

  37. #37 |  James | 

    When people 2000 years ago took their two strongest horses and mated them in the hopes of getting a stronger horse, that’s genetic modification.

    That’s genetic modification but the horse would not be considered a genetically modified organism. Not by biotech professionals, not by the vast majority of laymen and certainly not by your average consumer.

    If you disagree (I’m guessing you do), please provide me with a Google search that will help me locate others making the same argument (selective breeding results in a GMO). I had zero luck.

  38. #38 |  Just Plain Brian | 

    Compare that to “genetic modification” and ask yourself how long, if possible, it would take to selectively breed plants to be weed resistant.

    It would take four years to selectively breed roundup resistant coca plants.

  39. #39 |  Bob | 

    Gotta love the GMO debate! Of course, the same retarded race that thinks putting Crocodiles into pools with kids is perfectly safe just because their mouths are taped shut will think nothing of destroying the bio-diversity that keeps the planet’s food supplies on the rails just to A: Make cheap food and B: increase the number of humans that can can be fed.

    Now, my comment: There is a HUGE difference between breeding plants and animals to achieve a more desired outcome and outright genetic modification. On one hand, the outcome is similar: intentionally destroying bio-diversity to make a buck. On the other hand, the long term effects of environmental manipulation (Classic Animal Husbandry and Plant Hybridization.) are fairly benign, whereas the long term effects of genetic manipulation are unknown and potentially horrific.

    So, we are not ONLY rolling the dice by destroying bio-diversity, but we’re doubling down by opening the door for grievous long term effects.

    Why? So we can feed 7 billion people instead of 6 billion? Fuck that shit!

  40. #40 |  Radley Balko | 

    Hey Bob,

    Are you going to volunteer yourself and your family as one of the extra billion that will need to starve to death for the cause of genetic biodiversity?

    Or is your enthusiasm for starvation contingent on it being limited to poor brown people you won’t have to look at?

  41. #41 |  Radley Balko | 

    my issues with gmo have to do with monsanto’s shitty behavior and how they abuse farmers who don’t buy the roundup sales pitch.

    Agreed. And it’s an area where IP law can be especially unfair.

    But that’s a reason to fix the law, not to ban GMOs. And it’s a different argument than spreading pseudo-science claims from activists that they aren’t safe.

  42. #42 |  The Late Andy Rooney | 

    @ J Mo

    This appears to be another horrendous case of police misconduct, but I’m not certain you’re right about homicide necessarily being a crime. I would think that if a person kills in self-defense (or, for that matter, if a person is executed), the death certificate would read “Homicide,” but no one would be charged with a crime.

  43. #43 |  marie | 

    I personally want to know if there are any GMO’s in my food supply.

    Not hard to answer: Yes, there are. No need for a label now, is there?

  44. #44 |  a leap at the wheel | 

    #39 – I’ll keep your ‘benign’ comment in mind the next time some blight like hoof in mouth disease decimates a crop or herd that was producing using only Classic Animal Husbandry and Plant Hybridization.

    #40 – You dirty corpratists.

  45. #45 |  Jeff W | 

    #37 James, You can quibble over the definitions, but “genetically modified” means, by definition, that the genes have been modified. The more modern methods of genetic modification are SAFER than the old methods. When you just take the two strongest horses and breed them together you also mix all sorts of other genes and you can create the same problems that popped up in all of those European royal families that inter-married. Modern genetic modification allows you to improve just the genes you want to improve with much greater certainty of the impact.

    And to give a perfect example of how GMO food benefits the world, in addition to the billion people who have been saved from starvation (although again, that really needs to be emphasized to the anti-science/anti-GMO crowd), is that it helps ecologically. Scientists have created weed-resistant crops that allow for the use of fewer pesticides. Fewer pesticides that can leak into the water supply sounds like a good idea, no?

    #36 Helmut, People who want to bitch about big companies can do that. I’m in total agreement that big companies use rent seeking with the government to increase their profits. I’m strongly against corporate welfare, agriculture subsidies, etc. But this incessant screaming about Monsanto (a minority of the 43 posts on this page as I type this are against anti-GMOs, yet “Monsanto” has come up in 7 of them) is 9/11 conspiracy theory type stuff. Like I said, it’s kind of a corollary of Godwin’s Law. Any discussion of GMOs will very quickly result in somebody bringing up Monsanto, and the person doing so is almost certainly trying to fight against scientific facts with emotion.

    There are scientists all over the world who work for independent labs, universities, etc (not to mention rival businesses). And everybody on Earth has eaten loads and loads of food that has been developed with modern GMO science. If there were negative health effects of any significance, somebody would have found them by now.

  46. #46 |  Jeff W | 

    #39 Bob, I don’t mean to be rude but that’s one of the most ridiculous posts I’ve ever seen on the internet. First of all, do you know what is an example of “rolling the dice”? Classic animal husbandry! You are telling two animals to have sex with each other, and then rolling the dice on what the genes become. Modern genetic modification is much safer because you can strictly control what genes you are touching. “Rolling the dice” was the old system – new science is much safer and more certain.

    And as for “Why? So we can feed 7 billion people instead of 6 billion? Fuck that shit!”, I’ll just let you share that opinion to the billion people who are alive who would have been dead without GMO foods. You may not care about them, but I’d like to see you tell them that to their faces.

  47. #47 |  Fred | 

    “Yep. And people are unnecessarily starving to death because of it”
    I a word yes, Monsanto donated $4million worth of seeds to Haiti
    After the earthquake there that the overfed “environmentalists” in this country, convinced them to burn. Because they were hybrid seeds, humans have been hybridizing plants for over 10,000 years, as any one with a 5th grade education can tell you.
    P.S as far as “organic” I leave you with.
    “We aren’t going to feed 6 billion people with organic fertilizer,” said Nobel Prize-winning plant breeder Norman Borlaug at a 2002 conference. “If we tried to do it, we would level most of our forest and many of those lands would be productive only for a short period of time.” Cambridge chemist John Emsley put it more bluntly: “The greatest catastrophe that the human race could face this century is not global warming but a global conversion to ‘organic farming’-an estimated 2 billion people would perish.”

  48. #48 |  Bob | 

    Hey Bob,

    Are you going to volunteer yourself and your family as one of the extra billion that will need to starve to death for the cause of genetic biodiversity?

    Or is your enthusiasm for starvation contingent on it being limited to poor brown people you won’t have to look at?

    Sorry Radley, that isn’t how it works. You don’t get to “volunteer” to be born where there’s not a lot of food anymore than you get to “volunteer” to be the egg that was never fertilized in the first place. (Or, along the same vein, the embryo that got aborted.)

    So no! I don’t feel guilty about living in an area where food is plentiful. Nor do I feel guilty about not being aborted or having been lucky enough that my mom was both sexually active and not on birth control at the time.

    Basically, it sounds like you’re advocating a food redistribution scheme where people in fertile climates must dedicate themselves to growing food for everyone else whatever the cost. That doesn’t sound very free market to me. In fact, it sounds like that view is creating the problem by upsetting the natural market forces.

    Hell, for fun… let’s carry this to it’s end game. Let’s declare the goal to make as many humans as possible. 7 billion? Fuck that! I bet the planet can hold 100 billion or more. Sure, we’ll have to surgically extract the ovaries from the most fertile females and clone the embryos, and then we’ll have to develop food sources like the Soylent series in the movie “Soylent Green.” But hey! It will be worth it to have 100 billion people! Then what? 200 billion? Where does this shit stop? At some point, there will be too many people and they will starve. Does it really matter if that point is 7 billion or 200 billion?

    At some point, supply and demand must meet.

  49. #49 |  Jeff W | 

    No, Bob. The US selling excess food supply to other countries is not “redistribution”, it’s called “international trade”. And even the United States couldn’t feed itself if the whole country switched to locally-grown/non-GMO/organic foods. Do you think New York City can feed itself from hipsters growing heirloom tomatoes on the top of their apartments in Brooklyn?

    Even if you don’t care about a billion brown people dying far away from the neighborhood you live in, there’s the fact that GMO food improves the environment, increasing the amount of land we can keep undeveloped, and drives down the price of food for the poor in the United States. And again, it must be repeated – THERE ARE NO NEGATIVE HEALTH EFFECTS.

    So here is a technology that has only positive effects for the world, and you are against it because you don’t understand the science. You shouldn’t be so proud of being a luddite.

  50. #50 |  Personanongrata | 

    According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) there is (2012) and there has (pre 2012) been ample end stock in rice, wheat, cereal and coarse grain to feed the poor.

    Link: http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/wfs-home/csdb/en/

    Scroll down to the bottom of the page to review FAO tables for 2012 cereal supply and demand.

    The most significant problem facing the poor in obtaining food isn’t the lack of food but the lack of money to purchase the food.

    From the wonderful folks at Foreign Policy (FP) an article on how banking turd stains through rampant unchecked/unregulated commodities speculation have driven the price of basic foodstuffs up, up and away from the ability of the poorest to pay.

    How Goldman Sachs Created the Food Crisis

    Don’t blame American appetites, rising oil prices, or genetically modified crops for rising food prices. Wall Street’s at fault for the spiraling cost of food.

    Demand and supply certainly matter. But there’s another reason why food across the world has become so expensive: Wall Street greed.

    It took the brilliant minds of Goldman Sachs to realize the simple truth that nothing is more valuable than our daily bread. And where there’s value, there’s money to be made. In 1991, Goldman bankers, led by their prescient president Gary Cohn, came up with a new kind of investment product, a derivative that tracked 24 raw materials, from precious metals and energy to coffee, cocoa, cattle, corn, hogs, soy, and wheat. They weighted the investment value of each element, blended and commingled the parts into sums, then reduced what had been a complicated collection of real things into a mathematical formula that could be expressed as a single manifestation, to be known henceforth as the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI).

    The link to the rest of the story: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/04/27/how_goldman_sachs_created_the_food_crisis?page=0,0

    Should genetically modified crops be better tested before being “released” into the wild and mass consumed by humans?

    Yes

    Should there be greater transparencey in obtaining the data sets for the testing already completed by the Mosanto’s and Archer Daniels Midland’s of the world and the government run labs?

    Yes

    Should bankers through rampant commodities market speculation be allowed to sacrifice the poor on the altar of greed?

    No

    In short there is enough food there just isn’t enough money.

  51. #51 |  Bob | 

    #44: a leap at the wheel

    #39 – I’ll keep your ‘benign’ comment in mind the next time some blight like hoof in mouth disease decimates a crop or herd that was producing using only Classic Animal Husbandry and Plant Hybridization.

    I’m a bio-diversity advocate. I’m also an advocate of small, self sustained farms ala the “Joel Salatin” model. Using “Classic Animal Husbandry” to inadvertently create a species of animal that is susceptible to blights like that is stupid. You can only force nature to your will so far before she rebels all over your face.

    My point was that if “Classic Animal Husbandry”, which is fairly benign, can get you into trouble by limiting bio-diversity, is it REALLY a good idea to double down and go the GMO route?

  52. #52 |  Jeff W | 

    #50 Bob, “My point was that if “Classic Animal Husbandry”, which is fairly benign, can get you into trouble by limiting bio-diversity, is it REALLY a good idea to double down and go the GMO route?”

    Yes. That’s like asking that since 17th and 18th century medicine often made people sicker rather than healthier, is it REALLY a good idea to double down and go the modern medicine route?

    Once again, GMOs have been studied by thousands of scientists over decades. So far the only effects that have been found are that the foods are safer, cheaper, better for the environment and have saved over 1 billion lives.

    Usually once technologies save 1 billion lives without any known negative effects, that’s usually enough to support their use.

    Are you trying to suggest that there is some yet-unknown effect of GMO food that will kill more than 1 billion people (and thus will make the technology a net negative for the world)? Because if you have such information, you should probably share it with people.

  53. #53 |  el coronado | 

    @#50 –

    note to self: gotta start reading closer. On first glance, it appeared you were espousing farming ala “the Joe Stalin” method. I thought, “Wait…that can’t be right…he *wants* to starve the peasants?!?”

  54. #54 |  Jeff W | 

    #52 el coronado, you were right the first time. Bob actually is supporting starving the peasants so that he can feel more warm and fuzzy about the strawberries he buys. For example: “Why? So we can feed 7 billion people instead of 6 billion? Fuck that shit!”

  55. #55 |  James | 

    You can quibble over the definitions, but “genetically modified” means, by definition, that the genes have been modified.

    The FDA ban is on ‘GMO-free’ labeling. If you want to forcefully prevent an individual from telling another individual that “this product is GMO-free” when both of those individuals agree on what “GMO-free” means then you are no different that the people who want to ban GMOs.

  56. #56 |  el coronado | 

    You may have a point there. Jeff. Daddy always said never trust or even pay attention to someone who uses the pronoun “she” when describing nature, the ocean, Earth, or God/The Gods.

  57. #57 |  Mario | 

    Sickle cell crisis has been the subject of debate in the medical community when it occurs in people such as Williams, who had the genetic marker known as sickle cell trait, but not the disease itself. Sickle cell crisis results when red blood cells suddenly become misshapen, or sickle, blocking blood vessels and preventing oxygen from being carried throughout the body.

    The cops were absolutely wrong in not getting the young man medical assistance immediately. I want to get that out of the way before I turn to what I’m really wondering about. Let’s for the sake of argument assume that sickle cell crisis can happen in people who have the genetic marker but don’t have the disease itself (since this is controversial in the medical community). Does anybody else here remember years ago when Darryl Gates of the LAPD publicly wondered if “blacks might be more likely to die from chokeholds [...]“?

    Don’t get me wrong—I don’t mean to defend that guy. Good riddance to him. But his speculation was the first thing that popped into my mind after reading the above passage.

  58. #58 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #48 Bob:
    “But hey! It will be worth it to have 100 billion people! Then what? 200 billion? Where does this shit stop? At some point, there will be too many people and they will starve. Does it really matter if that point is 7 billion or 200 billion?”

    Wow a real live social Darwinist! Starve ‘em all and let momma nature sort ‘em out! Since when is feeding people the same as urging them to reproduce as much as possible? Oh I get it. You’re one of those zero population growth hysterics, aren’t you Bob. Funny how these efforts seem to focus mostly on population growth among non-Europeans. Gee, I guess it’s not as nasty sounding as old time Eugenics, right. It’s just getting to crowded. Cramping the white man’s style a bit. So is a purge in order, Bob. Man, keep digging…

  59. #59 |  Jeff W | 

    #54 James, every piece of food that you purchase in a grocery store is made up of ingredients that have been genetically modified by one process or another. Therefore, labeling your product as “not genetically modified” is factually false. That is fraud.

    The FDA can say “We will CALL this genetically modified” and “We will NOT call this genetically modified”, but the effect will be to confuse consumers who have no idea what those definitions mean and/or what the difference is.

    This is precisely why the GMO-labeling laws will be harmful to consumers. Consumers will assume that foods labeled “genetically modified” are “frankenfoods” that can potentially do them harm, and many will stop buying them. This will drive up the price of food for everybody, will make the environment worse, and will lead to more world-wide starvation. And of course, the consumers won’t be getting food that is any better for them since there is no scientific evidence saying that they will.

    So please tell me again how laws that deceive consumers, increase starvation, increase poverty and make the environment worse are good for anybody?

  60. #60 |  bbartlog | 

    It’s unclear to me why choosing a food (in this case, GMO-free) that consumes more resources to produce somehow makes me complicit in the deaths of millions. Does eating bacon instead of getting my calories from grain also hang this albatross of guilt around my neck? Remember, I paid for it. Presumably (in the case of non-GMO foods, as in the case of bacon versus bread) I paid an additional price to cover those extra costs and risks of production. Now, I see that there is some sort of additional argument that *if everyone tried to do this*, there would be a catastrophe; millions would starve, the planet wouldn’t support it, and so on. So what? Everyone *won’t* try to do it; we have this system of supply and demand in place that will simply raise the price of (organic, or non-GMO food, or bacon, or foie gras or ANY OTHER THING THAT WE CAN’T MAKE ENOUGH OF FOR EVERYONE) until there is a balance.
    Utmost, you could argue that there should be some moral obligation to prefer food (and other goods!) that use fewer natural resources to produce, so as to not needlessly raise prices for those living at the margin of existence. But if so I think this is really a far more general argument and shouldn’t be employed just to indict those who prefer non-GMO foods. Really, I think your contempt for the anti-science crowd has clouded your otherwise clear economic thinking…

  61. #61 |  Bob | 

    #51: Jeff W

    Once again, GMOs have been studied by thousands of scientists over decades. So far the only effects that have been found are that the foods are safer, cheaper, better for the environment and have saved over 1 billion lives.

    That’s complete crap. Unless, of course, you’re lumping “Genetically Modified” in with “Environmentally modified”, I.E. Animal Husbandry and Plant Hybridization. Which is a totally different thing.

    #52: el coronado

    LOL! Good one.

  62. #62 |  Radley Balko | 

    Basically, it sounds like you’re advocating a food redistribution scheme where people in fertile climates must dedicate themselves to growing food for everyone else whatever the cost. That doesn’t sound very free market to me. In fact, it sounds like that view is creating the problem by upsetting the natural market forces.

    ????

    I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’m talking about the attempt by some on the left to regulate GM foods off the shelves using junk science. And yes, the European left has so terrified people of GMOs that some African countries facing famines have in some instances turned down food aid. Which is abhorrent. But I don’t know how you get from that to the idea that U.S. farmers must “dedicate themselves to growing food for everyone else whatever the cost.”

    I’m not advocating we force anyone to do anything. I’m advocating that hysterical people stop pushing bad science in the interest of smothering technology that saves lives.

  63. #63 |  Kurtz | 

    Mind if I interrupt?

    I know y’all are pretty engrossed in you’re GMO debate, but has anyone seen this?

    http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2012/09/26/controversial-new-measures-planned-to-curb-violence-in-east-st-louis/#comments

    Is this a joke? Did The Onion cleverly disguise itself as a different website? If not, how are people not up in arms about this?

    “The loiterers will be arrested, not warned, but arrested. Those who are hanging out at 11th and Bond, 15th and Lynch, 38th and Waverly, wherever you happen to be, if you are loitering, you will be arrested.”

    Just for ‘loitering?’ Forget RAS or Probable Cause.

    “No royal blue, no bright red to be worn by our men or our boys in this community,” Parks said. “Why is that? Those colors have long been affiliated with gang kinds of affiliations”

    Holy shit. You can’t wear a certain color shirt because it’s evil.

    Guys, tell me I’m actually schizophrenic and this is all BS. Please.

  64. #64 |  Bob | 

    #62: Radley

    Junk science is of course, bad. But let me give you one example of non junk. Yellow Dent Corn. Yellow Dent Corn is the primary corn grown in the US. It’s not really edible, really… it tastes like crap. It’s used as animal feed, the corn component of High Fructose Corn Syrup, etc. As such… it’s used in a lot of products.

    Back in the day, farmers were lucky to get 40 bushels per acre of corn. But through the magic of GMO, Yellow Dent Corn now produces 180 bushels per acre. The way this works is the genetic protection of “Too many plants around me” has been disabled and way more plants can be planted per acre. The ramification of this is that much more fertilizer has to be dumped on each acre to feed these extra plants. And of course, the increased corn density results in a magnet for insects and weeds. Which results in demand for roundup resistant GMO strains, etc.

    Mother nature has been working on this for a billion fucking years. Do you think man can just stumble on the solution to increase yields by 400% after a shitty few decades? And have it be sustainable? No! There are BIGGER pictures here. That genetic protection of “Too many plants around me” that limited production to 40 bushels per acre was there for a reason. Just because we don’t know what it is doesn’t mean we can just laugh at it with impunity.

    As it is, farmers that grow this kind of corn are forced to use the GMO variety. They have to.

    This will bite us in the ass. Do you think we can just increase production by 400% forever with no down side?

    Back to “the European left has so terrified people of GMOs that some African countries facing famines have in some instances turned down food aid”

    That’s bullshit. If your people are FUCKING STARVING, and you care at all, you’ll accept any food. This shit is political. Hell, I’d eat Soylent Green if I was hungry enough, and I’d be pissed at my government for not importing it.

  65. #65 |  divadab | 

    @Radley – You say “Are you going to volunteer yourself and your family as one of the extra billion that will need to starve to death for the cause of genetic biodiversity?”

    It’s a sad fact of biological life that a population will continue expanding to the limit of available resources. Humans are not exempt from this iron law.

    And relying on more unsustainable chemical-industrial “farming” techniques to grow more food (and expand populations) in the short run only delays the inevitable: human populations will decline. We need to reduce the imprint of human populations on the planet and work in harmony with natural processes rather than following an ignorant and doomed dominionist approach.

    SO yes, I will protect my family and clan and nation from starvation. But people living in marginal areas who irresponsibly breed beyond the carrying capacity of the ground are the authors of their own fate.

  66. #66 |  scott | 

    Radley,

    I’m a libertarian and have found your blog captivating in your coverage of civil liberties. Your ignorance on the subjects of global warming and gmo’s is making it hard to come back here though. For starters there’s this – “Huber’s Warning”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zm7wU6KMjfM

    If you want to continue to call yourself a libertarian, part of liberty is accepting what nature has in store for us.

  67. #67 |  Radley Balko | 

    Scott:

    You’re right. I hereby renounce my positions on both global warming and GMOs, both of which are consistent with the overwhelming scientific data, because of this single YouTube video for which you have provided a link! The thousands of studies confirming the safety of GMOs are clearly mistaken. The aggregate billions of people who have consumed GMOs without any deleterious effects are clearly deluding themselves. I bow before your powers of persuasion! I repent, and beg you to please, please forgive my ignorance and continue to come back. I need you, Scott.

    Also: What Fluffy said!

  68. #68 |  scott | 

    Thousands of studies! GMO’s have been around for 20 years. How could you possibly have a conclusive study on the affects of GMO’s in 20 years. And most of those studies were conducted by Monsanto. Did you watch the video? Are you saying that Dr Hubers 40 years of experience and unbiased results are false? You seem to abhore ad hominem attacks so why are using them against me?

  69. #69 |  scott | 

    Could you also please provide some evidence as to how billions of people are going to starve if they don’t plant gmo crops. We seem to have done fine until now. Animals starve. It’s the way NATURE balances.

  70. #70 |  James | 

    James, every piece of food that you purchase in a grocery store is made up of ingredients that have been genetically modified by one process or another.

    If you’re going to keep using my name as if you’re replying to my comments, reply to my actual comments. In my two previous comments — both of which you read — I made it clear I am talking about Genetically modified organisms (GMO) and NOT anything that has been “genetically modified by one process or another” (such as selective breeding).

    If you want to claim “every piece of food that you purchase in a grocery store” contains genetically modified organisms, do it so that I can prove you wrong. But don’t change the subject from “GMO” to “ingredients that have been genetically modified by one process or another” and pretend you’re replying to something I said.

    Therefore, labeling your product as “not genetically modified” is factually false.

    Again, as I made clear in my previous comment, “the FDA ban is on ‘GMO-free’ labeling”. If you want to claim that it’s impossible for a product to be GMO-free and therefore labeling a product as ‘GMO-free’ is factually false, do it so that I can prove you wrong. But don’t change the label from “GMO-free” to “not genetically modified by one process or another” and pretend you’re replying to something I said.

    The bureaucrats at the FDA even know there are GMO-free products. The reason they give for not allowing “GMO-free” labeling is because it might give consumers the impression that GMO-free foods are healthier than foods that aren’t GMO-free.

    That is fraud.

    Of course, if we ignore your straw men and look at the actual comment you were pretending to reply to — “an individual… telling another individual that ‘this product is GMO-free’ when both of those individuals agree on what ‘GMO-free’ means” — there is nothing that can be construed as fraud. I’m guessing that’s why you ignored it and knocked down a straw man instead.

    So please tell me again how laws that deceive consumers, increase starvation, increase poverty and make the environment worse are good for anybody?

    To tell you “again” would imply that I’ve told you before. Are you being dishonest or do you think I am someone else? During our short conversation, the only law that has been discussed is the FDA’s ban on GMO-free products being labeled ‘GMO-free’. You are for the law (an act of aggression) and I am against it.

  71. #71 |  scott | 

    I’m beginning to think your a malthusian rather than a libertarian.

  72. #72 |  scott | 

    Oh and by the way cancer and tumors are way down over the last 20 years, right?

  73. #73 |  scott | 

    I love how people use the term “overwhelming scientific data”. Do you know who pays the “overwhelming” amount of scientists.

  74. #74 |  Floridians Now Renting Alligators to Swim in Pools for Kids’ Parties — Feederoo.com | 

    [...] -via The Agitator | Photo: Bay News 9 Posts related to Floridians Now Renting Alligators to Swim in Pools for [...]

  75. #75 |  Miroker | 

    @38,
    Read the paper and seems the plants were being sprayed with pesticide during the process. Sounds like something different than natural selective breeding, since chemicals were used.

  76. #76 |  Miroker | 

    @43,
    I still would like to see that product state on label it contains GMO’s so I can make the choice as to whether I want to purchase the product.

    So yes, still a need for label.

  77. #77 |  Ted S. | 

    I love how people use the term “overwhelming scientific data”. Do you know who pays the “overwhelming” amount of scientists.

    The government? I mean, that’s who’s paying the people who produce the climate studies that basically conclude we need more government to avert a disaster.

  78. #78 |  Jeff W | 

    Radley, where do you get these conspiracy theorists? My goodness. Hopefully some of these aren’t normal readers and just show up anywhere on the internet that GMO stuff is being talked about.

    If you honestly believe that the reason that 100% of all peer-reviewed scientific research on genetically-modified food is that it’s equally safe as (or safer than) organic food is because the government or some evil corporation is paying everybody to keep it quiet, that’s 9/11 trutherism/moon-hoax kind of stuff.

    And by the way, as I keep pointing out but the GMO-hoaxes refuse to acknowledge – there is huge money on the anti-GMO side. Organic food is a multi-billion-dollar-per-year industry in the US, and they are dropping millions of dollars on this anti-GMO campaign in California. Why aren’t they “paying off scientists” to get the results they want?

    Gee, it might be because scientists aren’t all lemmings who will publish lies just to make an extra buck? I’m a scientist for a living, by the way, and I can assure you that I’ve never been asked by any government official or corporation to lie about my data.

    And the people who think we need to kill off 1 billion people because there are too many people on the planet… how about we start with your family first? You seem to be so happy to kill off a billion brown people in far off places – how would you feel if we started in your neighborhood instead? That doesn’t sound like such a good idea, does it?

  79. #79 |  Jeff W | 

    By the way, GMO-hoaxers, you can conduct your own scientific research right now. Every human on the planet (in western nations, at least) has eaten large amount of food genetically-modified with modern technology. Where are the people dropping dead? Where are the decreasing average life spans?

    So far GMO food has saved the lives of over 1 billion humans, and has not (as far as any scientist on Earth has found) caused the death of a single one. It’s arguably the greatest invention of the 20th century. The only other thing that comes close is the Internet.

  80. #80 |  SamK | 

    I knew this was going to be an exciting post for the comments section.

  81. #81 |  Brandon | 

    Radley, Bob=Luvsbob=Crazybob, he keeps changing his name and posting the same unhinged, fallacious crap, setting straw men on fire and winning debates in his own head. I may not always have anything better to do than engage his moronic crap, but I am absolutely certain you do.

  82. #82 |  divadab | 

    @#Jeff W – DO you work for Monsanto? Your hysterical defense of GMO foods suggest your livelihood is somehow involved with GMO’s.

    As I said in a prior post, it’s not about the safety of eating GMO food – apart from the pesticides they are bathed in, they are probably edible. It’s about the unsustainable farming practices their manufacturers promote – mining aquifers as if they won;t be dry in 100 years, spraying chemicals that disrupt endocrine systems of higher animals including humans, genetically-identical monoculture over vast areas. These practices ignore the long-term damage to the planet in favor of short-term profit and cheap food so that human populations can continue to expand beyond the point of stupidity.

    If we don;t start respecting natural processes of the planet, and abandon our ignorant dominionist attitudes, the crash when it comes will be catastrophic and may mean we have made the planet uninhabitable for humans.

    This is a hard sell to simple people and so “GMO’s are bad” is marketing to the lowest common denominator. Stop taking the bait and think for a change.

  83. #83 |  divadab | 

    @Radley – You’re too smart a man to to espouse the reactionary “global warming is not happening and GMO-haters are stupid wrong hippies” corporatist viewpoint. By all means argue about the climate data but try talking to the Iowa corn and soybean farmer whose yields are down +50% due to drought and 70 degree temperatures in February (!!!) and see what he says. I have, and he thinks it’s time to sell out and move north.

    We’re about to see movements of starving people on an unprecedented scale in places like Sub-saharan africa and Bangladesh and northern china – and when (not if) we can no longer afford to send them food aid because we need to feed our own population, all hell will break loose.

    I think that’s the first of the four horsemen we will see (apart from war, which seems to be a constant). But nature has ways of dealing with out-of-control populations and plague may be her alternate solution!

  84. #84 |  Jeff W | 

    #82 divabob, I’m explaining science to you. And congratulations for Godwin’ing yourself by bringing up Monsanto.

    Let me explain this to you again. First of all, a “chemical” isn’t what you think it is. Do you know that you “bathe your lawn in chemicals regularly!!!!!” That chemical is water, but hey, it’s a chemical so it must be dangerous!! Lol.

    And you actually have it backwards about pesticides – one of the many advantages of modern GMO food is that farmers can use FEWER pesticides and the farming is MORE sustainable. The food has been genetically modified to be more resistant naturally to pests, and to grow on less land. GMOs make the planet MORE habitable for humans, not less.

    And as for your unhinged rant about how we need to be more “natural” to save the planet, I suggest you read up on the Naturalistic Fallacy ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturalistic_fallacy ). The phrase “natural” has no technical meaning. The idea that something is “more natural” and thus “better” is fallacious. If you want to know whether some technology is a positive development for the world, study that technology – don’t ask unhinged, scientifically-illiterate lunatics like yourself on the internet if it’s “natural”.

  85. #85 |  Jeff W | 

    By the way, Divabob, people like you have been screaming about the coming ecological collapse and mass starvation for thousands of years. It’s always just 5-10 years away!

    Of course, if you had it your way and we abandoned science then it would probably actually happen. But humanity always seems to come up with these darned technologies like modern genetic modification of food that make food production easier, cheaper, safer, better for the environment and more sustainable.

    I guess you’ll be really depressed 10 years from now when there is no mass worldwide starvation, huh?

  86. #86 |  Radley Balko | 

    You’re too smart a man to to espouse the reactionary “global warming is not happening and GMO-haters are stupid wrong hippies” corporatist viewpoint.

    I only espouse one of these viewpoints. The fact that you assume I hold both positions shows you don’t take the time to be sure you know what the hell you’re talking about before you write.

    I’ve written several times on this site that I believe climate change is real, and that from what I’ve read, the evidence clearly suggests a large part of it is caused by man.

  87. #87 |  Radley Balko | 

    Oh and by the way cancer and tumors are way down over the last 20 years, right?

    In fact, they are.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/05/us-usa-cancer-rates-idUSTRE8032A420120105

  88. #88 |  Radley Balko | 

    Could you also please provide some evidence as to how billions of people are going to starve if they don’t plant gmo crops. We seem to have done fine until now.

    Until about the last 100 years, the primary objective each day of nearly every human in history was to avoid starvation. Today we have enough food to feed everyone on earth. (People still starve because of geo-political factors, not a lack of food supply.)

    Not only that, but a large and growing percentage of humanity is fat. And the country that most embraces GMOs has the largest surplus of food.

    And it isn’t just starvation. There are GMOs that can put needed nutrients into staple crops, which would also prevent millions from dying of preventable diseases.

    Animals starve. It’s the way NATURE balances.

    And animals have fought like hell to avoid starvation since animals have existed. We figured out a way to beat it. Now we should give it all up?

  89. #89 |  Elliot | 

    Radley:I’ve written several times on this site that I believe climate change is real, and that from what I’ve read, the evidence clearly suggests a large part of it is caused by man.

    Have you even bothered to taken the time to read serious skeptics? You keep making completely ignorant remarks about what skeptics believe. The issue is not whether there is anthropogenic global warming (AGW). It’s whether the predictions of the alarmists of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) have any basis in fact.

    You can be skeptical of prosecutorial abuse, recognizing the incentives in having biased expert witnesses and pathologists. You recognize the incentives built into civil forfeiture and the like. Can you not see the obvious political incentives for alarmist scientists (grant money) and the journalists (most of whom are too stupid to have taken math and science in college) who pimp the most sensational predictions?

    Why are you such a sucker for the Y2K-type alarmism? Can’t you see a middle ground in which there is AGW, but not of catastrophic proportions?

    You do understand that the relationship between the CO2 content of the atmosphere and global temperature is only a logarithmic function? That has been confirmed by laboratory experimentation and is accepted by the serious skeptics. That means it tapers off quickly. All CAGW predictions (like this one) are based upon the baseless assumption that positive feedbacks will not only cancel out negative feedbacks, but will inflate a logarithmic function to be linear, or even greater. The alarmists write computer programs to simulate global climate into the future and they get to build in the functions they choose, ignore the factors which lead to negative feedbacks or the multitude of unknowns they have not even imagined. That gets them the results that keep the grants coming.

    Given that the climate has changed for billions of years, in completely natural cycles (absent any anthropogenic cause), do you honestly buy that the world is so fragile that an increase in CO2 from human industry is going to trigger some “runaway” process? If the Earth’s climate is so fragile, why haven’t asteroids, volcanic eruptions, and the like turned this place into Venus millions of years ago?

    Previously, alarmists predicted that by now, there would be tens of millions of global warming refugees. Well, they were wrong about that. Why do you believe that they are right about everything else?

    In this case, you’re coming across as a brainwashed twit, swallowing the Al Gore koolaid. Take the middle road. Being skeptical of the alarmists doesn’t mean you deny AGW. It just means you have enough intelligence to think for yourself rather than trying to fit in with your liberal friends and coworkers.

  90. #90 |  Elliot | 

    Incidentally, comparing the hysterical paranoia over GMA crops to skepticism over catastrophic AGW is total crap. The former remind me of the truthers, birthers, contrailers, etc..

    The serious skeptics do not deny AGW. They challenge the scientific basis for alarmist claims, and for good reasons.

    Just as anyone in government who raises the idea that medical marijuana may be worth investigating is silenced by the DEA reefer madness goons, or people who oppose the Patriot Act are shouted down, anyone who offers factual, scientific counterarguments to the holy green religion is ostracized, compared to Holocaust deniers, etc..

    You should be better than to take part in that sort of thing, to compare good, honest people to conspiracy nuts.

    Shame on you.

  91. #91 |  Elliot | 

    Incidentally, this is the sort of thing you seem to be advocating when you support carbon taxes:

    A key component of California’s landmark greenhouse gas emissions law would impose enormous costs on businesses at a time when the state’s economy is sputtering, oil refiners, manufacturers and others said Thursday.

    Fees from the state’s pending cap-and-trade program for carbon emissions amount to a $1 billion-a-year tax increase on about 500 businesses in the state, the California Air Resources Board was told.

    Source: Washington Post, Sep 20, 2012

    California is hemorrhaging companies. Do you honestly think this sort of thing is justified? Do you think this will do anything but harm the California economy, making the state government completely unsustainable?

    Imagine the horrific economic devastation if this were put into effect nationwide. It’s economic suicide.

    Nothing about that is libertarian. It’s either Marxist or nihilism.

  92. #92 |  Elliot | 

    Incidentally, if anyone is interested in how a bona fide libertarian approaches matters in a more consistently principled manner, check of Warren Meyer at Coyote Blog. He is also author of a climate skeptic blog and a park privatization blog. He writes for Forbes, as well.

    On climate science, watch his video “Catastrophe Denied”, which delves into the mathematics of positive feedbacks and negative feedbacks.

    The very idea that Meyer, Watts, and other skeptics are anything like the GMA opponents is ludicrous.

  93. #93 |  damaged justice | 

    http://www.gnolls.org/1833/we-must-reclaim-human-health-sustainability-environmental-justice-and-morality-from-the-birdseed-brigade/

    “Hell, just look out your window. Or travel to India, China, or Sub-Saharan Africa. The only reason they exist is because six countries (USA, Canada, Argentina, France, Australia, Thailand) have enough extra land to provide 90% of the world’s grain exports. Sure, the US can probably feed itself sustainably…but we can’t feed the rest of the world that way, too. And we’d need at least three extra Earths if we wanted every one of the seven billion to enjoy the same lifestyle you and I now enjoy.”

  94. #94 |  Bob | 

    #81: Brandon

    Radley, Bob=Luvsbob=Crazybob

    Nope. I’ve ONLY used the name “Bob”. I have no idea who these other people are, but they’re not me. I moved from Virginia to Missouri recently, so my IP has changed… but I assure you, I’m just Bob.

    #84: Jeff W

    #82 divabob…

    Reading comprehension for the win! That person’s name is DIVADAB, not DIVABOB. Really. You made this mistake over and over again. Scientist, huh? So, do you work for Monsanto? That’s the kind of mistake I’d expect from a Monsanto scientist.

    Radley, you are putting WAY too much faith in GMOs and the “science” that backs them up. The word I would use for this is “Naive”. When you control every aspect of the implementation of a technology, you control the spin of it’s information as well.

    Let’s go back a bunch of posts to the Yellow Dent Corn post (post 64.) Sure, It’s so safe! That is… assuming we completely comprehend every aspect of every chemical process involved in the mechanics of increasing the yield of corn by 400%. Guess what! WE DO NOT. In fact, we have no fucking clue. We’re just running and gunning here. And at the same time we’re requiring (Through government programs) farmers to use the GMO strains just to break even. Nice, huh? Are you REALLY FUCKING SURE you want to back GMOs?

  95. #95 |  demize! | 

    “Until about the last 100 years, the primary objective each day of nearly every human in history was to avoid starvation.” This is a hackneyed and unverifiable peice of conjecture about preindustrial life. You can neither prove nor disprove this because of the broad absurdity of the statement itself. Stop being the stereotype of a vulgar libertarian that liberals make you out to be. You’re better than that.

  96. #96 |  Elliot | 

    divadab (#83) :By all means argue about the climate data but try talking to the Iowa corn and soybean farmer whose yields are down +50% due to drought and 70 degree temperatures in February (!!!) and see what he says.

    Again, for those who are interminably deaf to basic meteorology: Climate is not weather. Weather is not climate. The record temperatures and droughts are regional phenomena. They are to be expected in any complex system and do not constitute a statistically significant rise the amount of droughts. The Dust Bowl was much worse and happened well before the vaunted “hockey stick” got past the taped portion of the handle.

    I seem to recall Radley complaining about people mocking Al Gore for the hilarious coincidences between his visits and it unseasonably cold weather, particularly snow storms. No, that wasn’t proof that he was a charlatan. His pseudo-scientific sensationalism was evidence. The coincidental weather just added great mirth to spirit of lampooning that jet-setting owner of massive mansions who stands to gain a fortune with his carbon market scam. Al Gore is a carpetbagger, plain and simple.

    Yes, AGW can be real and people like Al Gore can be frauds for cherry picking data, reversing causality between temperature and CO2 content, using bad science fiction movie footage in an alleged documentary, and putting up pictures of polar bears on small ice bergs to dishonestly suggest they were endangered. In point of fact, in parts of the arctic, governments encourage killing polar bears to prevent overpopulation.

    divadab (#83) :We’re about to see movements of starving people on an unprecedented scale in places like Sub-saharan africa and Bangladesh and northern china – and when (not if) we can no longer afford to send them food aid because we need to feed our own population, all hell will break loose.

    That’s hilarious:

    …it had been estimated that there would be between 50 million and 200 million environmental migrants by 2010.
      — Sixty-second General Assembly Informal Meeting on Climate Change and Most Vulnerable Countries, July 8, 2008

    This is Y2K hysteria, with promised catastrophes always in the future. You can claim that there will soon be movements of starving people, yet again, but I don’t believe you. When I see verifiable data, I’ll believe that.

    Predictions do not impress me, particularly when those making the predictions rely on the severity of the predictions to dishonestly scare readers into believing them.

    Remember, they’ve also predicted one devastating hurricane season after another, and each time been flat wrong. Even Hollywood psychics who make yearly predictions probably have a higher percentage of being correct.

    Human industry, particularly in developing countries in Asia and eventually in Africa will likely belch out huge amounts of CO2 and, even worse, harmful particulates in the coming decades. If Europe, the US, and Canada carpet bombed our fossil fuel power plants and factories, banned fossil fuel vehicles, and watched as Americans and those previously fed by US exports of food starved or reverted to abject poverty without modern technology, China, India, et al. would belch out plenty of CO2 to make our sacrifice moot.

    Any curtailment of CO2 by human industry which is not global is useless. It’s one group sacrificing while the rest take advantage of their gullibility.

    You can believe in AGW. I do. You can even play the bait-and-switch game of using the nonsense term “climate change” when global temperatures level off for a decade or so while atmospheric CO2 continues to rise, unabated. I expect that temperatures will probably begin to rise again, but possibly even fall, as natural cycles influence global temperature even more than the alarmists will ever admit. But when the predictions are made and the deadlines pass without evidence that the forecasts had any bearing on reality, at what point do you stop attacking people who are skeptical of the catastrophic alarmist claims (CAGW)? At what point do they stop being the evil Holocaust Deniers, the murderers of babies and poor people?

    Use science, for fuck’s sake. Stop trying to scare the shit out of people.

    A middle-of-the-road approach is the most rational, I believe. AGW but with a low probability of anything catastrophic or of a new ice age. The results will quite probably be very mundane, unsensational, and unworthy of ceding our rights to government.

    For all those libertarians who are tempted to join the CAGW bandwagon and “do something” to save the world, just remember that if you calculate wrong and the drastic actions are not actually necessary, the politicians will never drop any new taxes, regulations, or other market controls (carbon markets and the like). They didn’t drop ethanol when that proved to be a bust because of the primaries starting in corn country. They haven’t stopped sugar tarriffs, even when they result in the crappy HFCS being substituted for real sugar due to price considerations. Hell, look at the Telephone Excise Tax, which started with the Spanish-American War. That albatross inflated your phone bills up until 2006.

    Even better, consider:

    The Environmental Protection Agency has slapped a $6.8 million penalty on oil refiners for not blending cellulosic ethanol into gasoline, jet fuel and other products. These dastardly petroleum mongers are being so intransigent because cellulosic ethanol does not exist. It remains a fantasy fuel. The EPA might as well mandate that Exxon hire Leprechauns.

    (google that cite, I can’t add another URL without triggering the canned meat filter)

    Even if you want to save the world, giving politicians the power to control us and take more of our productive efforts is not the answer.

  97. #97 |  divadab | 

    @jeff w – #84:

    General – “what we have here is a failure of communication” – much of your response is directed at your idea of what I might have said rather than what I said. You can argue with a straw man ’til the cows come home but I’d rather engage in a dialog.

    Specific points:
    1) Godwin’s law relates to bringing up Nazis – you invoke Godwin because I brought up Monsanto – perhaps you equate Monsanto and Nazism?
    2) Sure, water is a chemical. One necessary to life. Your reductionist argument is absurd – that since water is a chemical, and chemicals bathe GMO food, GMO food must be OK !?!
    You can eat endocrine disrupters like ROundup (which is relatively benign – classified as “slightly toxic” in its MSDS) or feed them to your own kids, because they are chemicals like water all you like but I won’t.
    3) You accuse me of an “unhinged rant” – and then go on in an unhinged way yourself, inventing ignorant insults: “unhinged, scientifically-illiterate lunatics like yourself”. This is a classic ad hominum (lowest form of argument) – look it up because it’s a sure sign you don’t have a cogent argument.
    4) finally, in a parting shot you postscript “I guess you’ll be really depressed 10 years from now when there is no mass worldwide starvation, huh?”. Another insult. And if you informed yourself better, rather than absorbing the corporatist media propaganda, you would know that there is already significant starvation in human populations in many regions – in sub-Saharan Africa in Mali and Senegal, for example, in North Korea, and in parts of the Indian sub-continent. And increasing the amount of farming based on unsustainable Monsanto-style chemical agriculture is a short-term shot in the arm (like meth) with bad long-term consequences.

  98. #98 |  divadab | 

    @Radley – #86

    Radley – I based my idea the you were a climate-change denier on what you wrote in #67: “I hereby renounce my positions on both global warming and GMOs”. Glad you recognize the science on anthropogenic global warming.

    As to GMO’s, as an eater of canola oil, the original GMO, I recognize that like any technology, genetic modification can be used for good or ill. We are greenhouse horticulturalists, and try to stay organic (which as any greenhouse grower knows, is hard in the humid, enclosed environment in a greenhouse). SO we use modern biological integrated pest management, which includes, for example, organic anti-fungals derived from knotweed and neem oil.

    The bigger issue with GMO crops is the massive unsustainable monoculture based on spraying endocrine disrupting chemical pesticides. This stuff causes amphibians to become hermaphroditic – and I sure don;t want my kids eating it or exposed to it. Watch the film Food Inc. – there’s an interview with an Idaho potato farmer who admits he doesn’t feed his family the Monsanto potatoes he grows because of the pesticides – he grows his own potatoes in a garden using organic techniques! I feel sorry for this man and his moral dilemma – but consider how wrong it is to sell something to people to eat that you would not eat yourself!

    ALso – monoculture is, biologically speaking, a huge risk. COnsider the Irish potato famine – an entire population relied for food on one variety of potato – which, when it was hit by a blight, resulted in a complete loss of staple food. And mass starvation and population movement. Exactly what WILL happen, sooner or later, as populations grow past the point of food supply, or food supply is reduced by climate change.

    I don’t have answers to this terrible prospect other than to try to make sure that my little part of the world can sustain my family and clan and greater community. I’m doing the best I can.

  99. #99 |  divadab | 

    @Elliot #96:

    Climate change deniers are an entertaining lot, but your views are at least informed and well-written. But still generally denialist. For example, you say “This is Y2K hysteria, with promised catastrophes always in the future. You can claim that there will soon be movements of starving people, yet again, but I don’t believe you. When I see verifiable data, I’ll believe that.”

    Consider the number of refugees worldwide – in the middle east, at least 7 million people are living as refugees having fled their homes in Iraq, Palestine, Syria. In Myanmar, Bangla people have been burned out, killed, and pushed into camps. In Mali, Senegal, and other sub-Saharan areas, people are fleeing South as the Sahara expands. All these people are no longer able to feed themselves but rather rely on food aid, mostly from the US. CHeck it out – this is just a harbinger IMHO of what’s to come. You and I are among the fortunate minority who live in the US, a food exporter. Easy to deny something that;s happening to someone else, eh?

  100. #100 |  Elliot | 

    divadab (#96):Climate change deniers are an entertaining lot….

    They are also a product of your imagination.

    The Earth’s climate has changed, sometimes radically, but always in large cycles, for billions of years. The term “climate change” means nothing. Nobody sane denies climate change. And, as I agree that there is AGW, I’m not even denying that. So, the word “denier” is just a lie, a smear to try to associate scientific, rational skepticism with Holocaust denial.

    But still generally denialist.

    You cannot make an honest argument if you keep lying about anyone who has a disagreement. I stated, “You can believe in AGW. I do.”

    That’s not “denialist”. That’s agreeing that global warming has occurred due to anthropogenic causes.

    Consider the number of refugees worldwide – in the middle east, at least 7 million people are living as refugees having fled their homes in Iraq, Palestine, Syria. In Myanmar, Bangla people have been burned out, killed, and pushed into camps.

    Are you asserting that refugees of war are to be counted as “climate change refugees”?

    In Mali, Senegal, and other sub-Saharan areas, people are fleeing South as the Sahara expands.

    The Sahara Desert has been expanding and contracting for thousands of years, well before the start of AGW. In fact, recent climate changes may actually be increasing rainfall in the Sahara (
    Sahara Desert Greening Due to Climate Change?
    , James Owen, National Geographic News, July 31, 2009).

    Droughts and famines have occurred with great regularity throughout recorded history.

    …this is just a harbinger IMHO of what’s to come.

    That’s what they said about Katrina. The hurricane seasons since then have mostly been below average. Certainly, the predicted hellish storms predicted as a result of “climate change” have yet to materialize.

    Easy to deny something that;s happening to someone else, eh?

    That’s not what’s happening, though, is it? I’m not denying things which actually have happened. The past is easily examined because we have measurements, verifiable data.

    I question predictions of the future, particularly the more outrageous alarmist predictions. I expect more than the output of computer programs (particularly when the source code is secret). I expect reproducible experiments, transparency, and milestones at which scientists can compare predictions to measured results.

    Anyone can predict what will happen a century from now. There’s no risk.

    But when the alarmists have made near predictions and those predictions have failed, why keep paying attention to them?

  101. #101 |  divadab | 

    @Elliot – no need to accuse me of lying – I’m finding your position difficult to pin down. You say you believe in AGW but attack 1) any attribution of climate change currently occurring to AGW and 2) any prediction of future AGW-caused climate events. Forgive me if I find this incoherent and, frankly, perverse.

    Now to your specific (non-insulting) points:

    1) “Are you asserting that refugees of war are to be counted as “climate change refugees”?”
    -Yes. What is the cause of the war but conflicts over scarce resources getting scarcer? Just as the Viking expansions were motivated by a cold period that made their nordic homeland less able to support their population. You’re confusing cause and effect. War is an effect, not a cause.

    2) “The Sahara Desert has been expanding and contracting for thousands of years, well before the start of AGW.”
    -It’s been expanding and contracting for millions of years. No argument. But AGW is causing it to expand FASTER. This is the key point about AGW – it’s speeding up and exacerbating global warming and related climate change. DO you assert that refugees from the Sahara’s expansion are not climate change refugees? Or that because the Sahara has been expanding and contracting over the eons that somehow makes it ok that millions of humans are moving to greener pastures?

    Your arguments are EXACTLY the same as climate change deniers. Asserting that you believe in AGW, and then arguing that AGW is not causing mass human movements is IMHO an incoherent position.

    3) I don;t disagree that there are a lot of alarmist predictions that are frightening the ignorant. MOst of these predictions are based on faulty perceptions of time. We humans live in our own time, not geologic time. So climate changes that unfold over generations are not well understood by people who when told that climate is changing, expect it to happen next year. I hope I don;t see most of the terrible effects in my lifetime that I believe are inevitable over the next few thousand years. But we are loading the dice in horrendous ways that are only increasing the speed of change.

    Franky, I think the human species is doomed. Ot may take 500 years, it may take 500,000 years, but until we overcome our ignorance and disrespect for the living planet that we are part of, we are fouling our own nest and only home.

    There is no Planet B.

  102. #102 |  Bob | 

    #101: Divadab

    Franky, I think the human species is doomed. Ot may take 500 years, it may take 500,000 years, but until we overcome our ignorance and disrespect for the living planet that we are part of, we are fouling our own nest and only home.

    There is no Planet B.

    Well, I wouldn’t use the word “Doomed” per se… but “Screwed”? Yeah. That’s the word I would use. And within a few thousand years, too. Our abuse of the soil will result in the mass die-off of most of humanity.

    But at the same time? There is another dynamic going on… The Technological advancements we’re seeing allow for the same production levels with far fewer workers. Back in the day? You needed hundreds or thousands of workers to push buttons and turn valves. Today? A microprocessor and a motor can do that cheap. Back in the day? You needed an army of typists and draft persons to create documents. Today? Computer Software does that with ease.

    The droids are here, and they are taking the jobs of all the people that will be rendered useless in the ongoing manufacturing revolution.

    Society just doesn’t need all these people anymore. You see it happening now… people are taking “Service Sector jobs” because they can’t get jobs in their trained professions.

    Manufacturing? CNC machines blast out parts for super cheap. This technology has completely supplanted “manual” machining. And it will just snowball from here.

    The result? The earth just doesn’t need all these people. They won’t be able to get jobs. They will have to all be supported with tax dollars in the form of welfare, or be supported by their families.

  103. #103 |  Elliot | 

    divadab (#101):@Elliot – no need to accuse me of lying – I’m finding your position difficult to pin down. You say you believe in AGW but attack 1) any attribution of climate change currently occurring to AGW and 2) any prediction of future AGW-caused climate events.

    The word “any” in both of those is completely your invention.

    CO2 and other greenhouse gases have dramatically increased since the industrial revolution. That increase has raised global temperatures beyond the increase due to natural cycles. As emerging nations like China, India, etc. accelerate the addition of CO2, the increase in these gasses will have an additional warming effect, all other factors being equal.

    The serious skeptics will agree to this, because it is based upon the relationship between CO2 and temperature, as measured and verified in laboratory experiments.

    Note that this relationship is logarithmic, which means it tapers off. If you double the CO2 in the atmosphere, you get 1C of warming. To get 2C of warming, you need to quadruple the CO2 content. To get 3C warming, you need to increase CO2 eight fold.

    When alarmists call the science “settled”, all they can honestly attach that word to is the logarithmic CO2 to global temperature function. However, many dishonestly pull the bait and switch tactic of starting with what is actually settled by scientific experimentation and substituting wild predictions which are not. Attempting to quash discussion by shouting “settled” or “consensus”, to drown out discussion of matters which are most assuredly not “settled” is anti-scientific. It’s the argument by authority (orthodoxy), the argument by popularity, or, eventually, the argument by force: agree or not, we will use political force to get what we want.

    Forgive me if I find this incoherent and, frankly, perverse.

    Your lack of clarity is not my fault.

    1) “Are you asserting that refugees of war are to be counted as “climate change refugees”?”
    -Yes.

    So, this is just made-up stuff and actual, concrete facts don’t matter?

    2) “The Sahara Desert has been expanding and contracting for thousands of years, well before the start of AGW.”
    -It’s been expanding and contracting for millions of years. No argument. But AGW is causing it to expand FASTER.

    Cite?

    This is the key point about AGW – it’s speeding up and exacerbating global warming and related climate change. DO you assert that refugees from the Sahara’s expansion are not climate change refugees? Or that because the Sahara has been expanding and contracting over the eons that somehow makes it ok that millions of humans are moving to greener pastures?

    I don’t know that the Sahara is, in fact, expanding. My trivial google search yielded a mixed bag of answers on that question, including the Nat Geo News cite I gave you that global warming may increase rainfall in the Sahara.

    I’d like to know more. Since, as you acknowledge, the Sahara has been growing for centuries, but in a cyclic manner, well before the onset of AGW, attributing a particular crisis of people in a given region to anthropogenic causes seems problematic.

    The key point is that the UN predicted millions of refugees by two years ago, and they haven’t materialized. Their prediction was wrong and no one seems to be holding them accountable for their false information, nor giving them less credence for further predictions.

    Your arguments are EXACTLY the same as climate change deniers.

    The term “climate change denier” is a meaningless one. Nobody asserts that the Earth’s climate is fixed, that there have never been ice ages, warming periods, and the like. Well, maybe some people who believe the Earth is a few thousand years old have such ignorant beliefs, but anyone with a serious scientific approach not only accepts that climate varies, and has varied for billions of years, but that human industry has affected temperatures.

    The crux of the matter is: how much does human industry impact global temperatures?

    Just calling people names like “deniers” when you don’t even specify what they deny is meaningless name calling.

    When I call people “alarmists”, it’s specific. They raise the alarm, predicting catastrophic consequences which are not based upon solid scientific inquiry. Computer programs are not data. They may be a useful tool to help understand, a means to creating a metric by which to compare real, observed data. But they are not observations.

    Asserting that you believe in AGW, and then arguing that AGW is not causing mass human movements is IMHO an incoherent position.

    This is part of the “bait and switch”. We know there is AGW. We know that changing regional conditions, such as droughts, can cause famines and refugees. But you’re insisting, without making a rational argument, that any and all weather-related problems must be the fault of anthropogenic factors. So, the droughts and famines before 1900 were what? Divine punishments?

    Sorry, but I need solid data to connect the dots.

    Franky, I think the human species is doomed. Ot may take 500 years, it may take 500,000 years, but until we overcome our ignorance and disrespect for the living planet that we are part of, we are fouling our own nest and only home.

    Long before the sun becomes a red giant and boils away the Earth, an asteroid, gamma-ray burst, or other similar catastrophe will likely devastate the Earth enough to exterminate human life. A caldera eruption, like Yellowstone, or the collapse of La Palma island generating a megatsunami, could wipe out hundreds of millions of lives within hours or days. No environmental conservation, nor WMD disarmament/containment, will matter at all when any of these completely natural events occur.

    How arrogant to think that our factories have the power to destroy this massive world, or that our relatively puny efforts will ever avert extermination.

    There is no Planet B.

    Probably not, unless the problem of interstellar travel is ever overcome. Unless there are fantastic leaps in physics, the resources necessary to travel to other solar systems with enough living organisms and materials to colonize will always be extremely expensive, to the point of being impossible.

    I don’t think humans will kill themselves off. Nature will likely settle that–and not out of some Gaia fantasy of a vindictive spirit, but simply through unfeeling random chance. Such events occur all the time in the universe, so why should we expect the Earth to be immune once humans become sentient?

  104. #104 |  Elliot | 

    Here’s another example of an alarmist engaging in the bait-and-switch tactic.

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