Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Nobel Prize for Genetically Modified Organisms, Boo for Hunger Stats and Chilling out on Global Warming

THE GENE REVOLUTION: Greenpeace, the radical environmental organization that's been spreading pseudoscientific claptrap in our shopping malls lately, won't like this, but the Nobel Prize Committee this year once more honors work on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) by two Americans and a Brit who developed those wonderful and highly versatile designer or knockout mice, work that has led to all kinds of discoveries, therapies and drugs to treat human illness.
The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has today decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 2007 jointly to Mario R. Capecchi, Martin J. Evans and Oliver Smithies for their discoveries of "principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells". This year's Nobel Laureates have made a series of ground-breaking discoveries concerning embryonic stem cells and DNA recombination in mammals. Their discoveries led to the creation of an immensely powerful technology referred to as gene targeting in mice. It is now being applied to virtually all areas of biomedicine – from basic research to the development of new therapies.
The Nobel awards goes a long way to filling the vacuum of scientific information on GMOs and genetic engineering that the Greenpeace activists have been assiduously filling with their mixture of pseudoscience and fearmongering about GMOs, especially of plants like Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT) corn, golden rice (Vitamin A built in) and all kinds of revolutionary GMOs that are doing more to solve the problem of hunger in the world than anything else. The Green Revolution did it in the sixties, now the Gene Revolution is on. Though of course Greenpiss activists never mention such stunning successes like the genetically modified E-coli bacteria that have been producing human insulin for decades so we don't have to get it from pigs. The sad thing is that these ideological numbskulls seem to have all the front page space they want from the usual newspapers and broadcasters who seem to turn to no one else for authoritative information on the scientific pluses and minuses of the technology.

Related: Attack of the Rainbow Warrior

IS SWS MEASURING HUNGER OR HARVEST SEASONS? Speaking of hunger, Mahar Mangahas and SWS claim that a new record in hunger incidence has just been recorded by them. No doubt they have collected and analysed their data professionally as they always do. But if you know about frequency analysis, go to the SWS website and run their quarterly time series data through your handy dandy fft alogorithm and tell me that the periodicities revealed don't suggest they are measuring something else. I shall give a hint: hunger nearly always peaks in the quarter just before the June and December harvests and highest in Presidential election years. Heehee! (Remember this is SELF-RATED hunger they are measuring.) I have always maintained that this is not a scientific survey because there is no independent event or process to verify or falsify the data, like elections do for their highly accurate and scientific voter preference surveys. Just because they use scientific methods to collect the data, doesn't mean the survey question sets up a scientific survey. It's not clear to me how a positive answer to the question "have you experience hunger at least once due to lack of food" amounts to "Moderate Hunger". Although it cannot be denied that hunger and poverty exist in the Philippines, the SWS survey's quantitative data is largely meaningless and only good for propaganda to beat the government over the head with. In an indirect rebuttal, it is amazing to me that at a time when dollar remittances and the Philippine dollar reserve is at an all time high, that hunger would also be at record levels..but how many days is it till Christmas harvest season?

Related Philippine Commentaries:

Hunger Stats Reveal Vicious Filipino Addictions to Alcohol, Cigarettes, Shabu, Jueteng Prostitution

Food For Thought About SWS Hunger Stats


CHILL OUT! The Washington Post has an excellent op-ed by Bjorn Lomborg on Global Warming. He avoids the two extremes of Al Gore's millennarianist doomsaying and the "atheism" of the global warming skeptics, saying, "We shouldn't ignore climate change or the policies that could attack it. But we should be honest about the shortcomings and costs of those policies, as well as the benefits." and "It's estimated that by 2050, global warming will cause almost 400,000 more heat-related deaths each year. But at the same time, 1.8 million fewer people will die from cold." He takes particular aim at the inutility of the Kyoto Protocols, pointing out a number of interesting assessments by the scientific community. For example,

"Global warming will claim lives in another way: by increasing the number of people at risk of catching malaria by about 3 percent over this century. According to scientific models, implementing the Kyoto Protocol for the rest of this century would reduce the malaria risk by just 0.2 percent."


Read it all and Chill Out!

11 comments:

lcnatabio said...

hunger in this country is a created aberration, an artificiality that is so revolting.

hunger - in an agricultural country where almost any kind of plant can be grown.

hunger - in this day and age where technological innovation in food production have been perfected.

the culprit is not that harvest season is still far around the corner or that a natural calamity
washed away the crops of the hapless farmers as explained by some cabinet cretins.

the culprit is the free-market, GATT imposed, consumer-led economy which leaves our poor farmers unable to compete with the subsidized products of other countries and the unemployed growing in numbers. we have an irresponsible government which continue to shove globalization down our throats without first preparing us to become competitive. we have become suckers of globalization, consuming but hardly producing. El Tabako Ramos talked about some form of safety nets then when he's trying to sell this globalization thing in Congress.

safety net my foot. and now this - widespread hunger.

and you're more concerned about the scientific integrity of the survey?

just open your eyes to the realities on the ground Mr. Bocobo.

DJB Rizalist said...

icnatabio,
have you seen this news about the 12.7 billion dollar OFW remittances and the growing middle class? That's the effect of globalization. Our dollar reserves are also at record levels as a result. Yet hunger is supposed to be at record levels? It makes no sense.

But my criticism of the hunger stats, if you read it carefully is not its scientific integrity but the erroneous appreciation of the data, in particular the SEASONALITY of the hunger peaks, which occur in the quarter before June and December harvests. What we are measuring is not hunger but the seasonality of food availability.

It is not to deny the existence of hunger and poverty (even with my eyes closed I can see that). But 1 out of 5 are "moderately hungry"--that's nuts!

lcnatabio said...

globalization equals growing middle class, huh? so who's growing hungry?

tell you what, not everyone can afford to be OFW that's why. and there's huge numbers of them, that's why. and there are OFWs who come home in body bags, victims of illegal recruiters, commit suicides or were abused and raped. Obviously their families add on to the statistical hunger incidence, noh?

a country so rich in natural resources has to send its people abroad working as caregivers and domestic helpers just so they can sustain the economy? does it not offend you? why can we not develop our own industries? you are a scientist you said, why do we not develop our own R and D in science and technology and be at par with japan or south korea. why, in heaven's name are we contended to be just the doormats of the world?

even your beloved US of A did not embrace globalization before it's ready to do so, hook line and sinker like we did. it protected its own industries, imposed tariffs, and fortified its competitive edge before preaching the virtues of globalization.

DJB Rizalist said...

icnatabio,
it's not just ofws that benefit from globalization. Even the rich and the poor in the archipelago benefit greatly from it. Without globalization our inflation rate would be 20%. with globalization we are able to import millions of tons of rice at very low prices. you think hunger is bad? it would be far, far worse if protectionism was our policy. it's naive to think that other countries are doing globalization out of charity. they do it because it is in their best interests and they know it. And so what if filipinos leave the country? there are so many more of them where they came from!

as for us being "doormats" of the world, you must read too much of conrad de quiros!

lcnatabio said...

"it's not just ofws that benefit from globalization. Even the rich and the poor in the archipelago benefit greatly from it."

-yes, mafia dons and donyas and smugglers benefit from it greatly, but the poor? - i don't think so.

"Without globalization our inflation rate would be 20%."

-yeah? are u also an economic expert with infallible scientific data to back this up? how were u able to cook up this cookie?

"with globalization we are able to import millions of tons of rice at very low prices."

-hah! when we could very well be an exporter!!! this is exactly the bane of globalization, creating an artificiality of need like we need imported bagoong from thailand.

"you think hunger is bad? it would be far, far worse if protectionism was our policy."

-your beloved US of A practices protectionism! why must it be a mortal sin for us to do so??? truth is, because we are ill-prepared to embrace it, globalization actually induces hunger.

"it's naive to think that other countries are doing globalization out of charity. they do it because it is in their best interests and they know it."

-you are right on this one. and it's also in our best interest to prepare for it, give ourselves the fighting competence to slug it out in the world economic stage instead of embracing globalization like a blind idiot.

"And so what if filipinos leave the country? there are so many more of them where they came from!"

-correct again. the bastardization of humanity!

"as for us being "doormats" of the world, you must read too much of conrad de quiros!"

-3 out of 7. sorry.

DJB Rizalist said...

icnatabio,
where do you think 12.7 billion dollars in ofw remittances came from? Your idol, jomasison?
explain that fact with your protectionist ideology--the one we employed for fifty years before the people themselves wised up. if you want a soviet system why not move to north korea, where they are starving but your troglodyte philosophy still reigns. capisce?

lcnatabio said...

Hahaha, whoever gave you that idea? FYI, I was one of those who were greatly disappointed when the Dutch gave Joma the benefit of the doubt and set him free. Why the sudden turn around is rather mysterious. Maybe they saw he’ll be more politically dangerous in prison than he is in his apartment.

It’s unfortunate that you’re only seeing black and white in this globalization issue. A spin-off perhaps from Uncle Dubya’s if-you’re-not-with-us-you’re-against-us dictum. Not very different from the jihadists' extreme fundamentalism. But thank God voters’ sentiments are against republicans right now and Al Gore won the Nobel prize. He should have won the presidency kung di lang nag hocus-pocus itong si George sa Florida na parang si Gloria sa Mindanao. Hands down, Gore would have been a better president than the war freak Georgie backed and egged on by the neo-cons.

DJB Rizalist said...

I know that you liberals don't actually believe in anything, but let's not get carried away and start calling the United States Constitution and Supreme Court as hocus pocus. He won fair and square and even Al Gore has the grace to admit and accept that, even if folks like you can't seem to.

But I wish he would run for office in 2008. It'll be a nice repeat of 1912, or if he beats hillary to the white house, maybe it will be a lesser evil, though I really like Barack Obama since he wants to focus the war on terrorism here in Asia.

Am still waiting for something truly original from you though, Icnatabio, since everything you say, I've already read also somewhere else, like the Onion or the Garlic or whatnot.

Say something about globalization that you really, really believe in deep in your heart, to try and convince me. Even if you think I won't agree, I am believer in Literature and have the utmost respect for any Good Idea Well Put.

What for example would you do about OFWs? Make more of them or restrain them or what and how?

lcnatabio said...

I need you to answer this first Mr. Bocobo:

You seem to be such die hard martinet for following the rules. Why is it ok for you if the US practices protectionism while you are quick to the draw in calling anyone from a third world country who advocates the same a communist?

DJB Rizalist said...

What ever do you mean Icnatabio? There are millions upon millions of protectionists while there are how many real communists? half a dozen? Protectionism and economic nationalism are common social and national policies for nations that are unable to compete with stronger nations, not realizing that it is that very policy which makes them largely uncompetitive. Just as tribalists disagreed with nationalists, so too now nationalists disagree with globalists.

As for my "rule-making" how can it possibly be effective on yourself for example, when I don't even know or care who you are or what you do with your life.

But I do appreciate your indulging me at all by coming around here to disagree with me. But believe me, there is no way for me to control you or what you think, so why would I even try?

Only you can do that, so please don't get mad at me, I'm just a blogger whom you can completely ignore if you so wish.

If I have no power over you, how can I even dream of controlling states and nations and governments?

Peace!

lcnatabio said...

"Protectionism and economic nationalism are common social and national policies for nations that are unable to compete with stronger nations, not realizing that it is that very policy which makes them largely uncompetitive."

- holy cow, i do not expect this kind of twisted, intellectually dishonest logic from you.
Strong countries have and are at this very moment practicing protectionism. Did it, does it make them uncompetitive? The US, Japan, Germany and other economic giants got to where they are now by practicing protectionism!

Unbeli-bubble!!!