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the Jesus Christ,That Ain't Right thread
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Lasairfiona



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bad*lil*kitty wrote:
and ethanol is a promising alternative fuel source...

Ethanol will never be promising for this country until it is made from something other than corn or anything else that cuts into a food source.

And corn cuts into more than one food source! The actual veggie corn, all meat that is fed from corn, all milk from animals that are fed by corn, and EVERYTHING ELSE that impacts which is a lot.

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E-boy



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
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Location: Virginia (Much barfiness)

PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah it would take all the available acreage in this country devoted to corn and corn only to put a tiny dent in the energy we get from oil. Seeing as how we provide sixty percent of the world's corn and a big giant chunk of other cereal crops that might be a bit disappointing in places dependent on importation of food and reasonably cheap prices. Even the acreage we've already set aside, small as it is, has impacted food prices. Las is VERY right on this one. On top of that with current tech you have to use fossil fuels to make ethanol. Even in the best case scenario it may be no better than oil usage unless they can cut input energy or find clean alternative for large scale production of that input energy. Even if you didn't run your tractors on gas you'd still have petrochemical fertilizer made from..... YOU GUESSED IT! OIL!

I find it odd that if you gentically modify a domestic crop plant (that can't survive without human help by design) you are CREATING A MONSTER THAT WILL KILL US ALL! But if you genetically engineer a bacteria with a human insulin gene to make insulin for diabetics.... Well that's all right then. Nary a bad word to be said.

Of course that engineered bacterium wouldn't survive well in the wild either. In both cases there is the possibility the engineered genes could escape control by plasmid exchange in the bacterium and through drifting pollen in engineered corn. The insulin it has no use for gets in the way and typically they have problems with unwanted protein folding killing the bacteria after a while (Mad cow disease for bacterium... Incidentally that did lead to some interesting re-search avenues for treating afore mentioned disease because a guy figured out how to deal with the mis-folded proteins in the bacteria and it is possible it could help people and cows out too!).

Point being that most of what we are doing to these organisms is going to be decidedly bad for their selective fitness outside the niche we create for them. I'd worry more about potential unintended consequences of new genes in the mix more than anything and that is something they can easily test. Hell selective breeding has unintended and sometimes quite disastrous outcomes. They came up with an organic potato variety a while back that required no pesticides. WONDERFUL! Of course, there was a catch. The potato was pest resistant because it was amazingly toxic. Toxic even to people.

The present level of understanding in genetics is roughly "HOLY SHIT! THERE'S A LOT OF STUFF WE DON'T UNDERSTAND!". They really thought they had it worked out til junk DNA turned out to have more than junk in it, and epigenetics had to go and resurrect Lamark in a most unexpected way. Still trial and error has served humans well for thousands of years and it should work just as well now.
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Mizike



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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Location: Iowa City

PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lasairfiona wrote:
bad*lil*kitty wrote:
and ethanol is a promising alternative fuel source...

Ethanol will never be promising for this country until it is made from something other than corn or anything else that cuts into a food source.

And corn cuts into more than one food source! The actual veggie corn, all meat that is fed from corn, all milk from animals that are fed by corn, and EVERYTHING ELSE that impacts which is a lot.


The bolded is actually a different type of corn.
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Mizike



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Location: Iowa City

PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 2:13 pm    Post subject: Re: the Jesus Christ,That Ain't Right thread Reply with quote

Major Tom wrote:
it's not, like, i'm surprised that Monsanto Runs the World, but still


Don't tell me what you're puttin' in my lunchbox
Don't tell me what you're feedin' me today
Don't fill me head with troubles while I'm scarfin' down a cheese souffle

I want to be a new original creation --
A cross between a moose a monkey and a fig
I'm ready, Monsanto, let me be your guinea pig.

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Thy Brilliance



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 2:18 pm    Post subject: If only there was infrastructure for it we'd be in business. Reply with quote

Hydrogen is the future, blah blah blah.
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The Highlord



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I want my car to be nuclear powered.
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Usagi Miyamoto



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:38 pm    Post subject: with a flux capacitor Reply with quote

I want my car to be fusion powered.

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E-boy



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:01 am    Post subject: Re: If only there was infrastructure for it we'd be in busin Reply with quote

Thy Brilliance wrote:
Hydrogen is the future, blah blah blah.


HA HA HA! I'd add the word "distant" in front of future.
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bad*lil*kitty



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 5:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

you never know how fast science will suddenly advance... Razz
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E-boy



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 6:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not the science that worries me. Most of the big 'technical' hurdles for a hydrogen economy have been over come already. It would be nice to have some somewhat more efficient and durable membranes for fuel cells, but that will probably happen soon enough.

Infrastructure ain't cheap. That's why I don't think hydrogen is going to save the world in the near term. We will probably end up there at some point, but I don't see it happening soon. Right now we need efficiency measures, bridging technologies a whole new grid that can actively monitor and respond to various needs in various places in real time and that has the storage capacity to make full use of the potential of alternate energy sources, like solar, wind, geo-thermal, and hydro. People tend to forget about our patchwork dilapitated outdated grid. All the alternative energy technology in the world isn't very helpful if you can't move the power. A smart grid would also increase efficiency of use.

It would be a huge expenditure as well, but somewhat cheaper than a balls out bid to try and jump straight into a hydrogen economy. Especially because it allows large scale implementation of technologies and power sources to create that hydrogen at scales that matter. Effectively building the required infra structure to support a hydrogen economy as we go.

Having said that, carbon neutral sources of hydrocarbons might well make hydrogen unnecessary. Gasoline packs more easily accessible energy in less space with fewer hassels and there is already infrastructure to handle it. Engineered micro-organisms that produce gasoline and other hydrocarbon fuels using carbon to do it would effectively be carbon neutral sucking up just as much carbon to produce the hydrocarbons as those hydrocarbons release when burned. They already have bacteria that can do it, it's a question of whether the tech can be scaled up. I'm not holding my breath, but it is pretty cool.

There are a lot of technologies people are touting as major players and some of them are lame ducks (like corn ethanol), others are more realistic and can be implemented now, and still others are potentially world changing, but only if they can be scaled up. I imagine economics, government policy, and random historical events will pick some combination thereof. It doesn't hurt if we try to give things a little push and avoid blind alleys if at all possible.
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Dogen



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think rubber bands are the future. I made a proof-of-concept car in wood shop in junior high. It works. I just need five incredibly long and thick rubber bands... and a giant robot to twist them for me. A giant robot that is fueled by burning oil and the dreams of the unborn.
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Thy Brilliance



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dogen wrote:
I think rubber bands are the future. I made a proof-of-concept car in wood shop in junior high. It works. I just need five incredibly long and thick rubber bands... and a giant robot to twist them for me. A giant robot that is fueled by burning oil and the dreams of the unborn.


That concept might have worked in the 70s, but the theory fell apart more recently.
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Michael



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

30 or even 20 year old rubber bands will frequently fall apart.

Like any other road-safe vehicle a Dogen(TM) car will require an annual check-up.
You should also keep it out of the sun
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DeD CHiKn



Joined: 04 Aug 2006
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Location: Baltimore, Maryla*gunshot*

PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael wrote:
30 or even 20 year old rubber bands will frequently fall apart.


The ones I use in the operating room to bind together supplies last less then a year before they need to be replaced. And they are just sitting there drying out.
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Mr_Moustache



Joined: 01 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as I have understand, the genetically modified food debate is msotly about the patents on the crops and the tendencies of them to mix with indigenous species potentially making more and more corn containing those genes, subjugating more and more farmers to pay fees to the companies that hold them.
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