Tag Archives: opinion

Food For Thought: GMO Logic

beware-gmoI’m not going to make any claims here that GMO foods are dangerous. Maybe you believe they are, maybe you don’t. That’s basically the point behind efforts to label foods that contain GMO, isn’t it? We’re supposed to have faith in the ability of free markets to reach sound conclusions. (If not, we’re all doomed.) At least in theory en masse we generally get it right.

Some companies, though, seem to chafe at the bit at the bit when it comes to revealing information about what’s actually in their foods. So many “secret” ingredients and the like. So many euphemisms like “natural flavors” to avoid a detailed accounting of what’s really in there. (And happily stamped “OK” by Uncle Sam, too.)

But without information what possible decision-making can take place? I submit that a free market can’t reach those legendary conclusions in a void of data. Without the ability to weigh facts, the market must simply go where it is led by the powerful few in the know. As a general rule other people making decisions on your behalf don’t turn out all that well.

1913: 100% of corn was farmer owned. By 2013 approx. 95% was owned by corporations.
–A statistic I found all over the Internet which may or may not be real

Today, without attempting to examine real and/or imagined ills that may or may not be associated with GMO, I wish to look at a single debate point offered by those who oppose labeling. What GMO means to you should be something you investigate for yourself. See if you can, somehow, sort through all the noise and determine your own level of comfort.

I look at it like this? If given the choice of no food and dying of starvation or nom nom on some GMO most of us would probably choose the latter and take our chances. Is that the issue in a nutshell? As Earth converts farmland to condominiums and strip malls and the population continues to increase no doubt one day we’ll all be facing a question like that. (And insects. Don’t forget the edibility of insects.)

So, here in Oregon, a lot of us signed a petition and Measure 92 qualified for the ballot. It’s a measure that Oregon voters will decide this November. The aim of the measure is to mandate labeling of GMOs in food.

Naturally, now we’re being subjected to a horrifying barrage of television ads both for and against. One of the arguments against the measure kind of stuck in my craw. Let’s take a look.

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Spanks A Lot

What a mean dad!

What a mean dad!

For a long time I’ve said that parents are the worst people to have children. That much seemed obvious. But the burning question remained. Why?

I was pondering the current state of the National Football League (NFL) when it hit me. On second thought, perhaps “hit me” isn’t the best turn of phrase in conjunction with the NFL these days.

First there was the Ray Rice video where he punched his then-fiancée in the face. That shined a stark light on the issue of domestic violence within the league. The video hasn’t changed the reality of what has always been a very serious matter but now, thanks to the virality of the video, the issue is finally being taken more seriously.

News media took the ball and ran with it. The journalists scurried to look under rocks and ask probing questions like, “Who else might be doing stuff like this?”

With the NFL under a microscope suddenly all bets were off. I’m not sure how but the next big thing in NFL umbrage was the Adrian Peterson who was arrested for child abuse after “whooping” his four-year-old son using a “switch.”
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Random musings on #Ferguson

The #1 result in Google Images for a search of "Ferguson Missouri Police Department."

The #1 result in Google Images for a search of “Ferguson Missouri Police Department.”

I’ve been thinking about recent events in Ferguson, Missouri. I’ve been trying to control my brain and avoid leaping to conclusions.

I preface the following thoughts with this disclaimer: I’m a big fan of law enforcement. They have a tough job. They have my empathy. They have an extremely necessary function in a society that is populated with far too many assholes. We need them.

I’ve never been a cop but I know a few. I have never walked a mile in their shoes. To those who say that means I’m not entitled to my opinion or that I’m somehow unable to form cogent (but possibly erroneous) conclusions from a different vantage point, I only say this: It is possible to form conclusions without having been there first. If that wasn’t true, humans would have never been able to leave Earth and visit outer space.

Therefore, opinions and conclusions about police by non-police shouldn’t automatically be rejected out of hand on that basis alone. That would be a logical fallacy. If you want to reject ideas, find a better rebuttal than that.

Thought #1

“It is a failure of civilization when an armed person kills an unarmed person.”
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We Are The Hurled

funny-protest-signs-17The Law of Biology states:

An organism will do anything it can.

The hypothetical and highly imaginary Law of Ethics states:

Just because you can do a thing doesn’t mean you should.

BZZT! Shock administered to test subject. The word “should” is disallowed. You lose a turn. Go back to START.

Okay. How far back should I go?

Hmm. No need to be excessive. How about the day your slimy species grew legs, became amphibious and hauled itself up out of the primordial ooze and lay panting on the beach?

So yeah, the other day I became embroiled in a discussion on Twitter about free speech. It all started when a person I follow stated they were under attack by some haters. Not only that, but she had just written a piece about how the haters were attacking her supporters, too. Hate by proxy, I guess. Adding my two cents, I responded with this pearl of wisdom:

“You have the right to your voice. Online harassers shouldn’t be allowed to operate with impunity.”

Naturally, as if to prove her point, I picked up some criticism of my own. I then got involved in a surprisingly civil discussion about the perils of too much free speech and what, if anything, constitutes “hate speech.” I began by asking my new-found critic a simple question: Where do YOU draw the line on anonymous online free speech?

His reply? “I don’t. Sticks and stones…”

No limits on free speech? None??? Such is the world of absolutes that some find friendly. This got me to thinking. Twitter, alas, was too limiting of a medium to try to explore some complicated concepts, so this post was born.

What would a world with no limits on free speech look like? Warning: This isn’t going to be pretty.
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Yelp This

hate-yelpEveryone’s a critic but nobody enjoys being criticized. If you ask me, that’s a fantastic system. P.S. You suck.

Today we’ll explore another fascinating facet of GUNT (Grand Unification Negativity Theory) that offers supporting evidence that every human enterprise is gamed to the Nth degree.

At the Guru of Negativity I happen to love Yelp. (Their politics aside. That’s another story.) Surprised? Think about it. Start with the word “yelp” itself.

yelp: a short sharp cry, esp. of pain or alarm

Yep! The negativity is built right in. Don’t blame me. I’m not the one who named the service. It’s intended to be a place where you share your sharp cries of pain. Now that’s a blight idea!

The Yelp business model is simple. You criticize each other and we’ll make money off it. What could possibly go wrong?
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Thar Be Trolls

I find myself still thinking about yesterday’s story about road rage and the trolling its spawned in comment sections galore. Mostly consisting of death threats and hate. That seems to be who we have become as a people.

I found a post I like on the topic of healthier responses to trolls. It offers three key points on how to view trolls in a different way. I think the points make sense although they might be a skosh overly optimistic on humanity itself.

It also includes an extremely disturbing example of religion-based extreme trolling that took my breath away. Wow.

This is my reblog of the week.

Jana Riess – Religion News: The care and feeding of Mormon trolls: A guest post by Stephanie Lauritzen

Hyppo and Critter: The Theory of Effing Science

Hyppo and Critter