Rule Five GMO Nutballery Friday

ONE DAY UNTIL THE END.

OK, now that this is out of the way, let’s spend what some nut thinks is our last day on earth talking about 9 stupid arguments against genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.  Excerpt:

When discussing and writing about GMOs, many arguments are put forth on why they are “bad” and should be avoided. However, many of these are not about GMOs, but rather, are issues that we’re facing in modern agriculture and in our economy. In this post, I examine nine common reasons I’ve encountered for opposing GMOs that are much broader in scope.

Transgenesis, or the method used to make most GMOs, is a tool and it makes no sense to oppose a method with broad applications. It’s like opposing electronics as a category because you don’t like Microsoft or because Apple dominates the portable music electronics business. In fact in the comments section of an article just written in the NY Times about GMOs, you’ll see the reasons below being listed time and time again.

Here are a couple of my particular favorites, with my comments:

5) GMOs are being made by Big Ag to line their pockets. Unless your problem is with making money in general, then this doesn’t make much sense. Of course agribusinesses want to make money. Why would any corporate enterprise embark on a project where they think they’d lose money?

The proper response to this is “duh.”  Of course corporations exist to return profits to their shareholders; every corporation, everywhere, since the 16th century has existed to do that.  But it’s a fundamental law of the universe that whenever someone starts of an argument with a catch-phrase like “Big Ag,” or “Big Oil,” or “Big Anything,” that you can safely disregard anything else that they say.

2) GMOs promote a monopoly. Every time I see this, I think that someone over at Dow Agro is cackling. I work in a field in biotech where a single company has between 70-80 percent  of the market. Google web searches are used almost 70 percent of the time. Android has 80 percent of the market in operating systems for smartphones. But strangely enough, I’ve never seen a “March against Google”.

Anti-GMO’ers using this argument, as the author points out, almost seem to revel in their own hypocrisy.  It’s as deliciously stupid as the would-be “anarchists,” none of whom would survive ten minutes in a real anarchy, railing about “corporations” and “capitalism” via social media posts on their iPhones and sipping a latte from Starbucks, all the products of the world’s most successful capitalist culture.

Here’s the troublesome fact: Every modern crop planted and raised for human use has been genetically modified.  Corn was bred from a Central American grass called teosinte.  Potatoes were first raised up from a humble tuber in Peru.  Every human crop has been genetically modified – by selective breeding, by hybridization, and more recently, by direct genetic modification.

So why should we cease agricultural innovation now, in response to the bleatings of the ignorant?

GMOs have the potential to feed the world.  Drought- and pest-resistant crops, crops with enhanced yields per acre, crops that can grow in poor soils – the Third World clamors for such advances.

It’s ridiculous that science-illiterates in the developed world would deny them those advances due to idiotic arguments like the ones presented in this article.

Animal’s Daily Armored Column News

TWO DAYS UNTIL THE END.

On the surface, this appears logical:  To Defend Europe, NATO Must Deploy More and Better Armored Forces.  Excerpt:

The U.S. Army is in a somewhat better position than its NATO allies when it comes to the size of its tank park of approximately 6,000 Abrams main battle tanks. It also has 14 fully formed Armored Brigade Combat Teams (ABCT) each of which consists of Abrams, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and Paladin Self-Propelled Howitzer artillery plus supporting vehicles. However, the Army believes that a heavier brigade is better, so it is converting one of its infantry brigades into an ABCT.

But almost all Army ABCTs are based in the continental United States, thousands of miles away from Europe. The only two formations based in Europe are relatively light units, the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, equipped with Stryker Infantry Fighting Vehicles, and the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. The U.S. Army is working on ways to maximize its presence in Europe without recreating massive fixed infrastructure.

The Russian Army, which inherited most of the Soviet Union’s massive arsenal of over 50,000 tanks, has slimmed itself down to around 2,800 modern main battle tanks in active units plus another 12,000 in reserve. Most of these are positioned in western Russia facing NATO. Moreover, the Russian Army has reaffirmed its commitment to the tank and to heavy armored fighting forces with the re-creation of the multi-division 1st Guards Tank Army (1st GTA), an offensive unit once stationed in East Germany opposite U.S. forces on the Fulda Gap. The 1st GTA consists of some 500 to 600 tanks, 600 to 800 infantry fighting vehicles and 300 to 400 artillery pieces.

Let’s take a good look at that headline:  NATO should deploy more armor in Europe.

Part and parcel of President Trump’s international swamp-draining has involved calling on our NATO allies and other UN nations to pay their damned fair share.  This should especially apply to NATO, as several of the big players have not been living up to their treaty obligations; as for the UN, I’d rather see the U.S. withdraw from that irretrievably corrupt clubhouse for despots and tell them to get the

Part of the reserve force?

hell out of New York.

Let the Brits, the Belgians, the French and the Germans build and field more tanks.  Since, according to Morgan Freeman, we’re now at war with Russia, maybe that old Cold War nightmare of a few thousand T-80s pouring through the Fulda Gap really will happen – maybe, say, just before our next Presidential election?

Ante up, European allies.  More armor is probably a good idea, but you need to get over the idea that America will endlessly foot the bill for Europe’s defense.

Animal’s Hump Day News

THREE DAYS UNTIL THE END.

Happy Hump Day!

It’s Hump Day, midway through the week that some nutbar claims will be all of our last!

So, with that being the case, let’s have an update on that suppressor issue.  The statistics are what makes this article interesting.  Excerpt:

Despite such incredible claims that, as Kristen Rand of VPC said in a press release dated June 27, “silencers are military-bred accessories that make it easier for criminals to take innocent lives and threaten law enforcement. Existing federal law has kept crimes committed with silencer-equipped firearms rare,” the number of crimes committed with suppressors is incredibly low.

Not to labor the point, but this will not be a surprise to anyone who has ever actually used one. If you’re going to commit a crime with your weapon, fitting a suppressor will actually make this much more difficult. As Jeremy Mallette, social media director for Silencer Shop in Austin, told guns.com back in August, suppressors add considerable length to any firearm – making concealment impossible – and block the shooter’s front sight picture. “You can’t conceal a handgun anymore with one on and on a rifle, it would make the rifle very unwieldy,” he said. “That’s my biggest retort. (Some people) think silencers would be useful in these shootings and that’s just not the case.”

But let’s look at the numbers, for the sake of balance. Knox Williams, president and executive director for the American Suppressor Association, told guns.com that of the 1.3 million suppressors in circulation, his group can only fund 16 instances of criminal use since 2011. “That translates to the misuse of a glaringly low percentage of suppressors in circulation — roughly 0.000012308 percent,” he said.

That’s pretty low.

Saying that’s pretty low is like saying a single hydrogen atom is pretty small.  That percentage is so low that it is indistinguishable from statistical noise; in other words, so low as to be irrelevant.

I know I’ve beaten this long-deceased equine a fair bit already, but do you all remember when liberalized concealed-carry laws were passed in the several states?  Remember the doom and gloom predictions of the anti-gun left, of shootouts over parking spaces, armed road rage, blood and mayhem in the streets?  Now, after all is over on that issue but the shouting, the best statistics we have shows that you are safer, statistically, standing on a street corner next to a CCW holder than next to a cop.

The same will obtain here.  There will be dire predictions from the hysterical anti-gunners and, assuming this law passes – it should – none of them will come true.

Animal’s Daily Patrick Henry News

FOUR DAYS UNTIL THE END.

Moving right along:  do you, like me, think that the U.S. Constitution is probably the best-crafted governing document on the planet?  (I won’t say that our system is the best conceivable system of government; I will say that it’s the best possible system of government.)

It may surprise you to read that the Virginian Patrick Henry disagreed.  Excerpt:

(Henry) refused to attend the constitutional convention fearing it would create a central government that would override the states. He also feared that the precious liberty he risked his life for would be consumed by this super state.

He spoke to the Virginia ratification convention on June 5, 1788:

I have thought, and still think, that a full investigation of the actual situation of America ought to precede any decision of this great and important question.

That Government is no more than a choice among evils, is acknowledged by the most intelligent among mankind, and has been a standing maxim for ages. If it be demonstrated that the adoption of the new plan is a little or a trifling evil, then, Sir, I acknowledge that adoption ought to follow.

But, Sir, if this be a truth that its adoption may entail misery on the free people of this country, I then insist that rejection ought to follow. 

Gentlemen strongly urge its adoption will be a mighty benefit to us.

But, Sir, I am made of such incredulous materials that assertions and declarations, do not satisfy me. I must be convinced, Sir. I shall retain my infidelity on that subject, till I see our liberties secured in a manner perfectly satisfactory to my understanding.

He wanted the Bill of Rights embedded in the document itself, and not added as an afterthought as amendments. Oh by the way, Congress cannot abridge the right to free speech.

It is in the nature of government to grow ever more powerful and intrusive, and as we’ve seen here in the U.S. not even the most strongly worded prohibitions on that expansion of power will stop power-hungry pols from finding ways to expand that power.  The passage of the 17th Amendment, which began the direct election of Senators, removed the last real check on Imperial power by removing any representation the State governments had in the Imperial City.

And it’s been downhill since then.

But here’s the catch:  The Constitution wasn’t the first governing document our youthful nation implemented.  That document would be the Articles of Confederation, which resulted in a Federal government that was so limited as to be nearly incapable of any action and, really, would that be such a bad thing?

Maybe we should start a campaign to return to the Articles as our system of government.  Think any of our Imperial politicians would be on board?

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove and The Other McCain for the Rule Five links, and to blogger pal Doug Hagin over at The Daley Gator for the linkback.

Now, moving on; it seems the world is ending on Saturday.  Uh HUH.  So let’s start that countdown:

FIVE DAYS UNTIL THE END.

I’ll update the countdown, thoughtful guy that I am, until Saturday.  At least we’ll have a Gingermageddon for that last day.  Excerpt:

A Christian numerologist claims a verse in the Bible proves that the world will end on September 23.

In Luke’s passage 21: 25 to 26, there is a quote which apparently matches the date of the Great American Solar Eclipse, when Hurricane Harvey hit and when Texas was flooded.

September 23 was pinpointed using codes from the Bible and also a “date marker” shown by the pyramids of Giza in Egypt.

But NASA has dismissed the claims, insisting the Planet X theory is merely a hoax.

(No shit.)

Conspiracies about the mysterious planet named Nibiru suggest it could be headed towards Earth to destroy it on September 23.

It was first mentioned in 1976 by author Zecharia Sitchin in his book The 12th Planet.

He believed the planet is home to ancient aliens called the Annunaki who he claimed created the human race.

As the date fast approaches, Christian conspiracy theorist David Meade expects says Nibiru, also known as Planet X, will pass the Earth – bringing with it volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and earthquakes.

Meade buys into the idea that a 2,000-year-old prophecy, which was described in the book of Revelation, will cause an apocalypse.

What a screwball.

Somehow, somewhere, this asshole is making money on this; bet on it.  The only other possible explanations are that he’s clinically insane or as dumb as a bag of hammers inside another bag of wet hair which has been repeatedly beaten with the stupid stick.

Why would I be so harsh?  Simple – the prophecy game has one rule:  Don’t make prophecies that can be shown to have been bullshit.  Especially don’t make prophecies that will be shown to have been bullshit within a week.

But, just in case, we’ll keep the countdown going.  Hold on to your butts, True Believers!

Rule Five Politico Lies About Guns Friday

Take a look at that header:  “Politico Lies About Guns.”  Nothing new about that, right?  This time it’s about suppressors.  Excerpts below, interspersed with my comments:

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) is renewing his controversial push to make it easier to buy gun silencers, a debate that had been postponed following the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) in June.

Someone remind Politico that there is no such thing as a “silencer.”  You can’t silence a gunshot, not even a .22 rimfire.  Politico is once again doing firearms research by watching old Matt Helm movies.  The term is “suppressor.”

Duncan argues that silencers are used by hunters and target shooters to limit potential hearing loss from gunfire. Duncan introduced a stand-alone silencer bill, dubbed the “Hearing Protection Act,” in January. That legislation currently has 160 co-sponsors, including several Democrats.

Several Democrats actually have some sense.  That’s hopeful.

But gun control groups argue that Duncan’s bill is one of the top legislative goals for the powerful National Rifle Association and is opposed by many police organizations. There is also very little chance Duncan’s bill would be able to pass the Senate due to Democratic opposition.

And here we are with the hysterical shriek of “OMG OMG THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION!”  The NRA is an advocacy group; indeed, a civil rights group, protected by the First Amendment.  The NRA’s members vote for their leadership, their by-laws, their policies; the NRA does what its millions of members tell it to do.  I thought the political Left was in favor of grass-roots movements?

But here’s the real gem, and I’ll cut Politico some slack; this is a quote, not part of the written copy:

“NRA leadership and their friends in Congress have gone behind closed doors to try to prop up lagging gun sales by making it easy for anyone to buy a silencer without a background check,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety.

Feinblatt is either lying or badly misinformed.  The Hearing Protection Act will remove suppressors from regulation under the 1934 National Firearms Act, it’s true – but they will be regulated the same way as firearms under the 1968 Gun Control Act.

So which is it, Mr. Feinblatt?  Are you a liar, or are you just stupidly careless?

So, once again, we have a (for once) sensible piece of firearms-related legislation.  Once again, we have a (as usual) anti-gun nutbar shrieking his opposition while at the same time having no real idea what the hell he’s blathering about.

Just once – just once – I’d like to see one of these anti-gun groups actually do some reading about actual guns.  Until then, we’re stuck with stupid statements like the one above, along with the famous “shoulder thing that goes up” gem.

It’s enough to drive one to distraction.

Animal’s Daily Burger-bot News

Honestly, I haven’t eaten a fast-food burger in years and years.  I prefer good burgers.  But it seems the fast-food burger industry is in the news again.  Remember those folks still “fighting for $15??”  Meet the inevitable result:  The burger-bot.  Excerpt:

As fast food employees across the U.S. continue to protest for higher wages, a California chain restaurant has decided to hire a new staff member that works for free. The competition for the company’s low-wage workers: a burger-flipping robot named “Flippy.”

CaliBurger has announced they will be installing the high-tech replacement in 50 of their locations around the world. “Flippy,” the robotic kitchen assistant, was created by a California startup company called Miso Robotics and is expected to roll out in 2018.

“We are excited about the impact Miso’s AI-based solutions will have for the restaurant industry,” Miso’s David Zito said. The CEO added that their creation will likely push workers out of their current jobs.

“Humans will always play a very critical role in the hospitality side of the business… We just don’t know what the new roles will be yet in the industry.”

Note:  When Mr. Zito says “We just don’t know what the new roles will be yet in the industry,” he fails to add “…but there will be fewer of them.”

Who doesn’t love a burger?

This, True Believers, is the inevitable consequence of setting an artificial wage floor in the economy.  Not only do you price the low-skilled right out of the market, you price some existing semi-skilled workers – like fast-food workers – out as well.

And let’s be honest about one thing at least – if you are trying to support a family on the minimum wage, you need to take a long, hard serious look at your life choices.

Deep thoughts, news of the day, totty and the Manly Arts.