onyxleopard's recent activity

  1. Comment on Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election (145MB PDF) in ~news

    onyxleopard Link Parent
    IANAL, but yes, but this seems accurate. So, did Barr brazenly lie in today’s press conference in reply to the first question from the press? Barr claims that in his meeting with Mueller on March...

    IANAL, but yes, but this seems accurate. So, did Barr brazenly lie in today’s press conference in reply to the first question from the press? Barr claims that in his meeting with Mueller on March 5th that he asked Mueller about the OLC opinion, and he claims Mueller stated his decision was not based on the OLC opinion. This is contradictory to the report. Barr refers us to the report, which as you’ve quoted, does cite the OLC opinion, but then also claims that Mueller did not rely on that opinion in the declination decision. Barr’s contradiction of the report seems like pretty damning evidence that he is not a reliable communicator, and supports the position Barr is attempting to protect the president and misconstrue the findings of the report.

    2 votes
  2. Comment on The Age of Robot Farmers - Picking strawberries takes speed, stamina, and skill. Can a robot do it? in ~tech

    onyxleopard Link Parent
    It’s not personal to me, I’m just dumbfounded that it took me so long to realize I was talking past them. I’m done engaging.

    It’s not personal to me, I’m just dumbfounded that it took me so long to realize I was talking past them. I’m done engaging.

  3. Comment on The Age of Robot Farmers - Picking strawberries takes speed, stamina, and skill. Can a robot do it? in ~tech

    onyxleopard Link Parent
    So you’re a fortune teller now? What stocks should I invest in? No, you claimed that monocultures are an inherent problem of GMOs. If you’re going to change the goalposts I’m done treating your...

    Sure they can be. But they won't be.

    So you’re a fortune teller now? What stocks should I invest in?

    I already addressed this in my main argument that GMOs exacerbate almost all the problems that our current agricultural system has rather than solving them.

    No, you claimed that monocultures are an inherent problem of GMOs. If you’re going to change the goalposts I’m done treating your argumentation as good faith. Monocultures are not good, but they predate GMOs and it’s not an inherent problem to genetic engineering.

    First of all, if I'm already iffy on the prospect of GMOs, linking to GeneticLiteracyProject.com is probably not going to bring me around.

    You can reject expert opinions if you want, but again, you’re not acting in good faith if you won’t consider the propositions
    themselves and merely reject the source out of hand.

    Maybe the profiteers should make a sacrifice for a change instead of dismissing dissenters out of hand because they have all the money and power to back them up?

    You’re not a victim of Big-Ag. Please spare me that kind of hyperbole. You seem to have made up your mind, so I’m not sure why you bothered to engage in a discussion at all. Your problem is clearly with agricultural practices and you seem incapable of separating the industry from the technology. I’m sorry I engaged.

  4. Comment on Mayor Pete Buttigieg's 2020 Presidential Announcement Speech in ~news

    onyxleopard Link Parent
    You and I may be content to vote against Trump (whoever the Dems nominate). But, for a lot of people, esp. younger folks and first-time voters, who may not be as jaded, they may end up totally...

    You and I may be content to vote against Trump (whoever the Dems nominate). But, for a lot of people, esp. younger folks and first-time voters, who may not be as jaded, they may end up totally disenchanted with our political process if the candidate who they actually like is basically just a token in the primaries. You could sense the deflation of so many Sanders supporters in the 2016 cycle when they realized that he was just a token trying to pull Clinton left and the DNC had predetermined Clinton’s nomination as if it were a divine right. I know a lot of people my age were totally turned off of politics after the recounts in Florida in 2000 were stopped and the SC gave Bush the win. When our government is so clearly not even enacting the will of the majority, but rather, special interest groups, minorities feel especially hopeless. And hopeless people don’t show up at the booth in high numbers.

    2 votes
  5. Comment on The Age of Robot Farmers - Picking strawberries takes speed, stamina, and skill. Can a robot do it? in ~tech

    onyxleopard Link Parent
    You’re not arguing in good faith if you’re going to stick to this point that I’ve already refuted. GMOs are already well-regulated (just as much as any other food products, at any rate). I don’t...

    with actual awareness of risks involved and regulatory systems in place to deal with them instead of just taking big agri-business at their word

    You’re not arguing in good faith if you’re going to stick to this point that I’ve already refuted. GMOs are already well-regulated (just as much as any other food products, at any rate).

    GMOs is the conventional methodology. All it's doing is intensifying the present system. Going that way instead of exploring other, less centralized production systems is where future food issues.

    I don’t see why GMOs can’t be used in your ideal food production systems just as effectively as they are used by Big-Ag farms.

    You seem to be under this impression that if we don't have modified crops with all the wrong priorities underlying their development, then we will never learn how to do genetic engineering.

    Quite the opposite—we already know how to do genetic engineering. We just need to engineer the right organisms with the right properties. I’m worried that the Monsanto’s or the He Jiankuis of the world, with their shitty practices, will poison the idea of GMOs, and bring us to a dark age where governments decide to ban genetic engineering out of fear and ignorance. You’re dismissing genetic engineering because of how it has been used to maximize profits with bad side effects. I’m saying, if we dismiss it for bad reasons, it may bite us when we can’t breed or hybridize the traits necessary in the future.

    The risks and problems of monoculture are inherent to how GMOs work.

    Experts don’t agree.

    You can't blame people for standing athwart them yelling "stop" if the people pushing for it are so intent on charging ahead with no respect or regard for any stake holders other than giant agribusiness.

    I do blame them because they are yelling "stop" when they should be yelling "take a different route".

    1 vote
  6. Comment on The Age of Robot Farmers - Picking strawberries takes speed, stamina, and skill. Can a robot do it? in ~tech

    onyxleopard Link Parent
    When you label things as dangerous without understanding them, they become bogeymonsters which is good for no one. What if we can’t solve future food issues with conventions methodology? What if...

    When you label things as dangerous without understanding them, they become bogeymonsters which is good for no one. What if we can’t solve future food issues with conventions methodology? What if we can’t solve future energy problems without thorium reactors? If all the tech options at our disposal are not studied and developed, we may find ourselves in situations we can’t engineer our way out of because of ignorance.

    You can't consider things holistically without considering them as wholes. That's the entire point.

    If you only ever consider a holistic view of technology, everything will look bad. It’s not always the most productive way to look at things. E.g. if the kitchen knife were invented today, people would say it’s too dangerous for the average person to use (and you could back that up with emergency room intake data). Just because something has negatives doesn’t mean you should ignore all the positives, esp. if the negatives are not inherent issues.

    1 vote
  7. Comment on Mayor Pete Buttigieg's 2020 Presidential Announcement Speech in ~news

    onyxleopard Link Parent
    You’re talking about demographics in a non-useful way. What if a significant number of women, Hispanics, and blacks stay home on general Election Day because they don’t feel enthusiastic enough...

    You’re talking about demographics in a non-useful way. What if a significant number of women, Hispanics, and blacks stay home on general Election Day because they don’t feel enthusiastic enough about the Dem candidate?

    1 vote
  8. Comment on The Age of Robot Farmers - Picking strawberries takes speed, stamina, and skill. Can a robot do it? in ~tech

    onyxleopard Link Parent
    Genetic engineering needs big industrial scale to reap returns, but not as big as you think. It depends on the organisms you’re working with: I know a molecular biologist who works on yeast and...

    Genetic engineering needs big industrial scale to reap returns, but not as big as you think. It depends on the organisms you’re working with: I know a molecular biologist who works on yeast and bacteria (not plants or animals), and you can work on that stuff with a 10 person team in a garage and $100k of equipment. That’s as far a cry from Big-Ag as you can get.

    All the problems you raise are problems with capitalism and profit-seeking corporations, not with genetic engineering as a technology.

    I agree that it’s important to consider things holistically, but please try not to conflate issues with corporations with science and engineering.

    1 vote
  9. Comment on Mayor Pete Buttigieg's 2020 Presidential Announcement Speech in ~news

    onyxleopard Link
    I strongly believe that the Democratic Party will be sorely mistaken if they nominate a white guy. Even if he’s gay, I just think that a white male is not going to unite the factions on the left...

    I strongly believe that the Democratic Party will be sorely mistaken if they nominate a white guy. Even if he’s gay, I just think that a white male is not going to unite the factions on the left of the spectrum into the kind of unified force that we need. I’m really hoping Kamala Harris succeeds. I think her background as both a minority and as a prosecutor, is ideal.

  10. Comment on Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 1 discussion in ~tv

    onyxleopard Link Parent
    I think this whole final season is going to be blowing their load. There’s only so much screen time left and a lot of subplots to wrap up if it’s going to have any sense of cohesion or closure....

    I think this whole final season is going to be blowing their load. There’s only so much screen time left and a lot of subplots to wrap up if it’s going to have any sense of cohesion or closure. It’s a little weird in contrast to some of the previous seasons where some subplots were quite prolonged, maybe even belabored. There is so much expectation, though, I’m actually having trouble seeing how it will possibly deliver (despite the massive budget). Like, the scene with the Hound and Arya was just not what I expected at all. I have a feeling many of my expectations are not going to be met.

    11 votes
  11. Comment on The Age of Robot Farmers - Picking strawberries takes speed, stamina, and skill. Can a robot do it? in ~tech

    onyxleopard Link Parent
    Can you enumerate some of these effects? Because I’ve never heard of these effects, nor seen evidence of them. (I suppose possibly you’re referring to pesticides or herbicides? In that case, those...

    because widespread use of GMOs has wider effects beyond just the public health and personal damages centric approaches that the FDA and EPA operate on.

    Can you enumerate some of these effects? Because I’ve never heard of these effects, nor seen evidence of them. (I suppose possibly you’re referring to pesticides or herbicides? In that case, those are a separate issue from GMOs, and they predate the discovery of DNA and the practice of genetic engineering.)

    Can you explain, in simple terms, what harm there is in using genetically modified yeast to produce rennet in the context of producing cheese, instead of getting rennet from mammals?

    It’s closing off alternative paths and committing you to courses of action that you can’t come back from.

    By saying that GMOs are categorically not useful, and even harmful (based on some unclear macro-effects that you haven’t clearly laid out), you are literally closing off the paths for developing genetic engineering technology. I don’t know how it could be a more clear example.

    2 votes
  12. Comment on The Age of Robot Farmers - Picking strawberries takes speed, stamina, and skill. Can a robot do it? in ~tech

    onyxleopard Link Parent
    You’re willfully misinterpreting that statement. There is no comprehensive regulation that specifically regulates GMOs because the way that the US federal government has opted to regulate GMOs is...

    There is no comprehensive federal legislation specifically addressing GMOs. GMOs are regulated under the general statutory authority of environmental, health, and safety laws.

    You’re willfully misinterpreting that statement. There is no comprehensive regulation that specifically regulates GMOs because the way that the US federal government has opted to regulate GMOs is the same way that it generally regulates non-GMOs. To say that GMOs are unregulated is to say that the FDA doesn’t regulate food and drugs, or that the EPA doesn’t regulate the environment or factors that affect the environment. I encounter this fallacy so often: GMOs are regulated just like everything else you buy. You can criticize the regulating bodies for not doing a good job, generally (which I don’t take issue with, because there are issues with, say, defunding food safety inspection etc.), but to take specific issue with not regulating GMOs is totally irrational. If you’re not confident in the FDA to regulate food, generally, then go ahead and try to farm your own. But, if you’re going buy stuff at the food market (like the vast majority of the non-agrarian population of the world), at some point you have take it on faith that the stuff you’re buying is highly unlikely to have been maliciously or negligently produced such that it will directly harm you.

    We can do that because it’s a framework for public health.

    That’s a particularly narrow interpretation. Personally, I think this should be part of a larger reform where the documentation of the provenance of things that end up on store shelves could be much better at communicating relevant information. Whether a product is a GMO, or there were GMOs that were involved in its production is just one small bit of relevant information that I’d like to see, along with where it came from, geographically, and which corporations were involved in its production and transport (that information is usually available by the supplier, but not necessarily in a normalized format).

    Money kind of is zero sum

    That’s irrelevant. Money may be zero sum in some sort of strict economical sense, but the value that is created by research and development dollars is not accountable in the same strict economical sense you’re referring to. We got the internet, microwave ovens, and countless other technologies that have become prevalent in civilian use due to US government funded research on fundamental technologies. The money spent by DARPA, NASA, etc. has created vastly more value than what was put in.

    Path dependence is a very serious thing

    Which is exactly why I don’t understand your objection to GMO research! GMOs are a new path which has great promise that is being stifled by Ludditist attitudes. Of course, it should be well regulated, I don’t object to that. What I object to is the abject rejection of the notion that we should even explore genetic engineering as a solution to problems.

    4 votes
  13. Comment on The Age of Robot Farmers - Picking strawberries takes speed, stamina, and skill. Can a robot do it? in ~tech

    onyxleopard Link Parent
    But we already use GMOs very productively! Something like 90% of cheese in the US is made from GM yeast. People who are uninformed about GMOs generally wouldn’t like the lay of the land if GMOs...

    There are plenty of things people oppose because we, as a society, aren't set up to use that freedom productively.

    But we already use GMOs very productively! Something like 90% of cheese in the US is made from GM yeast. People who are uninformed about GMOs generally wouldn’t like the lay of the land if GMOs were banned, categorically. GMOs are already very well regulated by the EPA and FDA (labeling of products on the shelves in stores is still hit or miss, though).

    We kill plenty of useful technologies by pursuing GMOs as well, like emphasis on logistics and supply chains as the way to address food security rather than emphasis on modifying the foods. Pursuing one avenue to solve a problem closes off others and that chokes off their growth by starving them of resources.

    This is fallacious. Developing technology is not zero sum—just because we develop one thing doesn’t mean we scrap everything else.

    4 votes
  14. Comment on The Age of Robot Farmers - Picking strawberries takes speed, stamina, and skill. Can a robot do it? in ~tech

    onyxleopard Link Parent
    I think so, but I haven’t seen any polls asking this question ;P. Edit: I think it is about ethics. Ultimately laws are societal implementations of ethical standards (or at least that’s what they...

    Less popular than importing a bunch of immigrants from poor countries to do the dirty work instead?

    I think so, but I haven’t seen any polls asking this question ;P.

    Edit:

    It's not about having ethics, it's about what level of risk is considered acceptable and how many would argue we've tuned it too low in some places.

    I think it is about ethics. Ultimately laws are societal implementations of ethical standards (or at least that’s what they attempt to be). If not for moral imperatives, why do we legislate?

    1 vote
  15. Comment on The Age of Robot Farmers - Picking strawberries takes speed, stamina, and skill. Can a robot do it? in ~tech

    onyxleopard Link Parent
    You can oppose GMOs for whatever reasons you want, but to oppose them because only companies that you dislike use GMOs in their business practices is stupid. That would be like saying you hate...

    In light of that, I'm not sure why we're expected to fight to help big ag get bigger.

    You can oppose GMOs for whatever reasons you want, but to oppose them because only companies that you dislike use GMOs in their business practices is stupid. That would be like saying you hate HTML because all the websites of companies you dislike use HTML. It’s not productive and if you convince enough people to also hate HTML for illegitimate reasons, you kill useful technologies.

    3 votes
  16. Comment on The Age of Robot Farmers - Picking strawberries takes speed, stamina, and skill. Can a robot do it? in ~tech

    onyxleopard (edited ) Link Parent
    I’m not sure I have as much faith in the average person’s ethics as you. I think there are plenty of amoral or outright immoral people who are forced to act better than they otherwise would due to...

    I’m not sure I have as much faith in the average person’s ethics as you. I think there are plenty of amoral or outright immoral people who are forced to act better than they otherwise would due to the current system. They tend to get away with a lot anyway, though, and the more capital you’ve already acquired, the easier it seems to be to pass liability on to others.

    What you’re talking about with a lottery is like a draft, and I think there’s too much stigma associated with that in the U.S. due to Vietnam and other military drafts. I think it would be very unpopular.

    1 vote
  17. Comment on The Age of Robot Farmers - Picking strawberries takes speed, stamina, and skill. Can a robot do it? in ~tech

    onyxleopard Link Parent
    There are lots of attributes of crops you can engineer besides just making them Round-up ready etc. You can make them more nutritious or taste better, or make them more genetically diverse to...

    There are lots of attributes of crops you can engineer besides just making them Round-up ready etc. You can make them more nutritious or taste better, or make them more genetically diverse to improve the odds of crops going extinct due to disease etc. Just because Big Ag is only putting certain GMOs to market doesn’t mean those are the only useful applications.

    4 votes
  18. Comment on The Age of Robot Farmers - Picking strawberries takes speed, stamina, and skill. Can a robot do it? in ~tech

    onyxleopard Link Parent
    In that case, I think they’ll have to overcome the ill-informed hysteria about GMOs. I think since some parts of the marijuana industry already have embraced genetic engineering in the plants,...

    In that case, I think they’ll have to overcome the ill-informed hysteria about GMOs. I think since some parts of the marijuana industry already have embraced genetic engineering in the plants, they’d may be open to getting the chemicals from bugs, too, but you never know what the irrational reactions of the market will look like.

    3 votes
  19. Comment on The Age of Robot Farmers - Picking strawberries takes speed, stamina, and skill. Can a robot do it? in ~tech

    onyxleopard Link Parent
    I think that’s a separate, but related, issue that has more to do with liability than it has to do with safety. Even if you have zero ethical qualms about toddlers drowning in your pool, if you...

    We could just tell our kids to not play around by the pool and accept the risk that the occasional unattended toddler might drown as an alternative as people had done for ages past.

    I think that’s a separate, but related, issue that has more to do with liability than it has to do with safety. Even if you have zero ethical qualms about toddlers drowning in your pool, if you could be devastated financially in a lawsuit by the parents, you’re going spend more to mitigate that risk (maybe even going beyond whatever is required by law). The legal recourses that are allowed put some lower bound on the value of the toddler’s life. That’s related to OSHA, where the rules are set up to protect workers generally, but some people feel like it flies in the face of individual responsibility and the notion of informed consent. In the case of toddlers, though, there isn’t really a possibility of informed consent (you can’t get toddlers to sign a contract that stipulates that they assume the risk of playing unattended near a pool).

    Personally, the notion that we should have protective laws makes sense, because I think without them the incentives for profit end up in races to the bottom for a majority of most risky, low paying jobs. I realize there are also high risk, high paying jobs out there, but I think they’re a minority, though I’m not sure how you effectively legislate to make sure that those jobs get done.

    3 votes
  20. Comment on The Age of Robot Farmers - Picking strawberries takes speed, stamina, and skill. Can a robot do it? in ~tech

    onyxleopard Link Parent
    So, where is that offset going to come from then? Will customers accept paying more for the product, or will the seller accept less profit? If you can’t negotiate either of those options (or some...

    Maybe that stuff is all too expensive since it's functionally a wage increase.

    So, where is that offset going to come from then? Will customers accept paying more for the product, or will the seller accept less profit? If you can’t negotiate either of those options (or some of both), it’s a non-starter.

    I have an analogous anecdote from a molecular biologist I know. They were working on genetically engineering bacteria to produce certain chemicals that were traditionally produced by chemists with very wasteful methods. It turned out that they succeeded in genetically engineering bacteria that would produce the stuff in enough quantity more cheaply and less wastefully than the American chemists. But, Chinese chemists entered the market, and since they were not bound by the same standards of lab cleanliness, OSHA, etc. that American chemists were, they dropped the floor out of the market, and so the whole project was scrapped. Technology can, indeed, offer objectively better solutions to certain problems. But, the parameters have to be set such that human livelihoods are valued more than the products of their labor. Unfortunately, globalist, capitalist regimes are not amenable to that.

    8 votes