Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Big Picture: "Feeding Edge"

Another science episode. Enjoy!


Euler d'Moogle said...

Fantastic. Glad you touched on this topic.

Lucas Neumann said...

Ok, and the point was????

Sure, you know a hell lot of how people grow corps and select cows Bob, but the issue in question here isn't the food that is being processed in labs, and some of the impredicable side-effects that some of the new gene implated in corps for an exemple to produce their own pesticide against insects might have on humans?

Tottaly agree we souldn't freak out because of genetic engineering, and there's is a long and tested work behind these food, but still, some concerns remains, and top resarchers say that practice does have umpredicable results, not that's certain that you'll eat poison, but still, not 100% safe.

So why you didn't talk about that, and instead you choose to talk abou Fankstein and how people get ressurected with electricity. Also, kinda stupid your comparation to Franknstein and defibrillators, since defibrillators are not magic, and you still need a working Brain (or part of it) so you can restart your heart. And what the hell does that have to do with food?

You just want to genetic engineering to have the same meaning the process of selection the food and CHANGING THE FREAKING DNA of the stuff. But it's not the same, not by a long shot.

As I said, not be freaked out, but your arguments are flawed, people are not afraid of cientists, they are afraid of the unknown consequences these food might bring. Sure, media likes to create a circus around this, but still, there are cases of and negative impact on the soil that genetic modified corps have grown, and various cases of animals poisoned and sick by eating those food, and the technology behind those is quite still new. So no Bob, the genetic engineering being discussed in the news is not as simple as choosing the orange carrot as you make it to be.

dkh said...

Lucas, I would hazard that what the Frankenstein bit had to do with food is to point out that people are selective in what they like and do not like in this, that, or the other without recognizing similarities or differences.

I would argue, Bob, that there are multiple elements to genetic engineering and that what is frequently done in labs is not a simple sped up process. It's missing the point a bit.

Also also, the original Frankenstein wasn't a drop out so much as a man forced to abandon his studies because he was driven mad by his creation. Dropout has a connotation that doesn't really fit the man.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

Having been a culinary student and subsequently a cook for several years now, the complete arbitrariness of what constitutes "natural" and unnatural" food has annoyed me to no end. Table salt or sugar which don't even remotely resemble salt or sugar that exist in the wild are "natural", while MSG which comes right from seaweed is "unnatural" because... it has a big Latin name, I guess?

The argument is usually that "unnatural" foods are ones that have been "processed" or "chemically altered" in some way. But, unless you picked it from the tree yourself, any food you eat is chemically altered in some how. I mean, the simple act of cooking chemically alters food... coagulating proteins, caramelizing sugars, breaking down fats... none of which could never happen naturally. Given any definition I've heard, there's virtually no such thing as "natural" food.

I wish people would just shut the hell up about it and accept that they'd probably hate most food as it truly exists in nature.

Smashmatt202 said...

OMG, what kind of coincidence is this! In my Biology class I'm taking, we've had numerous discussions with my Biology teacher, who can't understand people are called fish "Frankenfish" because they were genetically altered to taste better and control how much of them taste just as good. Because that's what farmers do all the time, ever since ancient times. They keep the good stuff and reproduce it/grow it so that there will be more of that kind. The only difference here is that... Well, it's controlled in a lab and that seems to have people weirded out for some reason.

SaLaDiN_5 said...

Don't tldr
Ok First of all when you change something in DNA you don't always know the result proof:when they try to increase the sweetness of apples and it ended up with bitter ones (2002) Second what make you think think these sciencetist are mature enough to play with the rensposibility proof:they have put bug spray chemicals on tomatoes skin, third and most importand neither those sciencetist believed it was safe proof: they first test the splising in sweet potatos in field in africa and the people eating them were constandle checked by doctor (bbc 1995)

Let mother nature do the splising or the counting that opens the DNA to create the I-RNA get fucked resolting the frequency and amount of creation within the cell gets fucked, plus you might get some different or worst unique combination(for proteins), that's what some of the people are feared.

Sophie said...

okay, first of all.. that carrot bit was nice. And no the frankenstein thing was not a bad move to bring in, simply as it a) is part of the Big picture being about random but not-random thoughts and b) Victor Frankenstein and most scientists (at least in theory) want to do even cooler stuff (the fact that frankenstein figured his idea was bullshit 10 seconds after he finished creating his creation ... shit happens, le´ts not dwell on it...and oh, Frankenstein really is not a drop-out, I think he was an academic rogue with short-term ambitions). However, there is some undenieable responsibility with science and splicing is not all that simple, but ... responsibility comes with all sorts of jobs that are not that simple either, and ever noticed how 80% of the time we freak out about topics like these is when someone screws up while ignoring all the good and healthy carrots we had (or not had) in our lives? I think the main point is: don´t get hysterical, just because some press people can put a Frank´n in the headlines when discussing a topic. It´s dangerous, it´s requiring brains (not in the way the movie frankenstein required them)... and not all of us get all the details of it, but that is what most of the world is made up of. So Bob does not have to get his comparisions accurate, most people getting hysterical over genetical engineering don´t get theirs accurate either. It´s not about genetics being simple, it´s about people not further complicating matters by freaking out about something they don´t always know anything about.

Anubis Soundwave said...

And what about cheese? It's one of the oldest processed foods (along with alcoholic beverages like mead).

As far as Bob's accuracy: he's speaking in layman's terms, I think.

My summation is that scientists are doing the same thing with food that McIntosh did with his apples--only they've taken all the guesswork out of it.

Khaki Hat said...

Ok, so we can all agree that breading the crop for desired genes won't destroy the world. But
the danger of GM food is in the process: Genetic manipulation isn't as easy as copy and paste. Depending on the process, the DNA is either being blasted by amino acids in a violent process that has shown to affect un-targeted genes or is being manipulated by viral injection. While I don't fear the E Coli method (processed e-coli is GM tech's wet dream), the gene gun is what freaks me out. What if some vitamin gets its blueprints denatured, making the fruit less nutritious or even dangerous? Even if a lot of little bunny rabbits didn't die in the initial testing, their could be long term ramifications that could hide in our physiology for years before showing up in our bodies. A bit like the embryonic stem cells vs. stem cell retrodifferentiation debate.

But please consider the following: the ag-corporations have an interest in sterilizing their patented multimillion dollar GM seeds to make a profit and cut off the practice of a seed crop. Also consider that this market will also homogenize the gene pool, making room for extremely adaptive viruses to latch onto the food supply. Likely we'll have heirloom crops to back us up, but how long will it take for the Martha Stewart heirloom crop club to revive the old crops before the world economy asks us (the US and other western states) to start buying oranges from other countries already tired soil?

Not to say that your stupid, Bob. You stated yourself that The Big Picture is simply a soap box. Not something that world policy should model itself after. It is a good thing that you brought this up. as our economy plungers deeper we start looking for ways to make and keep money. One effective way is GM crops. But we need to remember that evolution has kept our crops up to date against botanical vectors for eons. Even with the human interference of breeding, the 'kernel' has remained largely robust against attack. GM crops are a sizable threat. I believe it can be controlled, but my belief in human decency has been lost since cartoon network started rolling Total Drama Island.

Bademantelfreak said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bademantelfreak said...

I'm sorry for not reading the other comments but I am sort of in a hurry and I am raging about your video beyond belief.
First of all, as many pointed out: genetic engineering and breeding are not the same. Why? Well because we don't know what the fuck we are doing when we put genes from certain organisms into others. This process is still in a very experimental stage and the repercussions are not completely known yet.
Why is this a problem? There are several issues with this. First of all: if you put peanut genes into potatoes, someone with a peanut allergy might die from eating potatoes, because they produced a certain protein that shouldnt be in potatoes, but in peanuts. This has happened numerous times and it will happen more often the more we randomly mix gene parts of organisms.
Secondly the companies that engineer these foods put patents on them (at least in Germany). This means: you have to buy the right to grow a certain crop, because it was engineered by a certain company and they want money for their work. This is not a problem. The problem is that these plants are made to grow better, spread faster and be more resistant to pesticides. So it could mean that a farmer, who's fields are next to a farmer, who bought the right to grow altered plants finds altered plants on his own field. The company, that engineered these plants finds out and sues the living hell out of that guy.
The third and most important part however is a report I read about cows being fed genetically altered corn: they became sterile. And not only that, their milk contained a hormone that made those who drank it sterile. Now, I can not cite that source because it's been a while, but my mom (Biology teacher) and a good friend of my dad (Biology prof) backed this information as legitimate.
Stick to the things you understand, okay?

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ naysayers

I don't think that there's any question that scientists should vigorously ensure that any product they come up with is safe. Perhaps even more so than they do now. But, to throw out the entire concept just because there is the remotest chance that something harmful slipped through is absurd. Fact is that just about all foods have a lot of real risks involved with them normally. Just ask your local health inspector how safe the food you're eating is. Genetic engineering, if anything, reduces the dangers in food.

Bademantelfreak said...

Yeah sure, it's totally cool to put unsafe merchandise on the market.

TheAlmightyNarf said...


Genetically engineered food is no more inherently unsafe than any other food.

Do freak accidents occasionally happen? Sure. But, I'm less worried about accidents the happening in controlled laboratory conditions than I am the accidents happening in food manufacturing plants and restaurant kitchens.

a.m.bernal said...

Whoa, that's why the world is (sometimes) a shitty place: people like to shit all over good ideas. Somehow bad ideas (like the existence of some religions :D) get a milder treatment. Everything gets manure-coated, but some things more than others. Case in point: GE food.

Bademantelfreak, you're talking about the bacteria-derived Bt-toxin (yes, I had to look it up). But I hardly think you know much about it; your folks may. Yet the biggest voices around such issues aren't the experts. It's r-tards like me and the lot of you. Idiots that have little to no idea what they're talking about, yet they're loud as hell.

I think an academic consensus would be the only valid one (yes, for those who know, that's a dificult task, scientists are opinionated bastards themselves). But no, we leave it to IQ-impaired politicians to decide...

And what if there's such a thing as Bt? Every time you have an exotic meal you run the risk of suffering from anaphylaxis (N.B.: you were not expecting). Do you cower away from Thai restaurants then? Sure Bt-integration should be restricted as well as similar practices. But blowing the whistle when somebody (usually smart) lets out a fart after his peers already assed "the situation" is ridiculous people. R-tard speaking.

Lamar Namou said...

Dear "The Big Picture",

Are you incompetent? You must be a total moron for making this video. Now, I'm not stating that because I don't believe in genetic engineering, but your ignorance astounds me. You took it so far one sided it was funny to even take you seriously. Hell, you didn't even mention Monsanto once throughout your whole presentation, then I again I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't even know who they were.

Also, calling people idiots for being afraid of genetic engineering? Something that could be potentially revolutionary? We've barely gotten anywhere and it's already caused problems. You didn't touch up on the political aspects that have run millions of family owned farms to close down.

By the way Mr. "Dur, we eat genetic food. So all of it must be safe." There have been genetic foods that are potentially dangerous. That doesn't mean we shouldn't have control over what we eat and what we don't eat. So far, we've made it so that our food can grow faster, not BETTER.

Do you want to feel educated? Watch "The Future of Food". Now, I'm not saying all genetically engineered food is bad, but I am stating that your statements were very ignorant and just flat out bias as Hell. You spoke of something as if you knew everything, but in the end, you know nothing. I bet you didn't even know that we can patent genes.

Pros - Potentially, we can make it so food can absorb more minerals and vitamins. We can possibly make it so that we can grow food more efficiently. We can possibly make sure that insects don't get on the food.

Cons - We can possibly make something potentially dangerous (Even if we haven't, that doesn't mean we CAN'T). Currently, there are a lot of political issues with genetic engineering that deal with patents. It can help kill off breeds of plants (Also, hybriding is NATURAL engineering.

Controversy - They can possibly in the future, get rid of "diseases" from humans before they're born. Though, currently, they eject them (Or freeze them). But here's the problem. What's a disease? If you look at history, some of the smartest and most interesting people were ones with disorders.

So, before you say "Genetic engineering good! If you disagree, you're dumb! End of story!" Don't be so damned conclusive without having done SOME form of research.

Smashmatt202 said...

@ Lamar

My Biology professor said that same thing in my classes, and he pretty much agrees with what Bob said. There ARE potential dangers, but don't you think the people MAKING these things would be aware of it and know what they're doing to prevent it? The only real danger that my Biology professor spoke of was possible allergies, but even then, that's not much of an argument, since there are PLENTY of people allergic to different kinds of food, but we don't remove THEM from the market because of that.

And just what do you mean by "something dangerous"? What are you getting at? Whatever, I think Bob knows what he's talking about here.

AC said...


Love it, Bob! I was just thinking about that this morning, how whenever people talk about "getting away from technology", what they really have in mind is using just technology from an earlier period.

"I don't use modern technology, I ride my bike everywhere!"

Forgetting that "technology" includes many pre-mechanical and pre-electrical tools and ways of thinking.

As for the "Frankenfood", the only thing that scares me is how much of it is being done by large private corporations, who we all know tend to act responsibly when ethics get in the way of profit. It's really a strong argument for more research being done by the government.

vlademir1 said...

"It's really a strong argument for more research being done by the government."

Yeah, since we have no evidence of big business' interests having any involvement there *rolls eyes*. What it's a strong argument for is proper governmental regulation in the form of proper safety protocols and full public data transparency at every step of the process. It can be done safely, it's just a matter of ensuring it actually is.

Dooley said...

We're beyond basic definition, smart
It's way beyond WHAT we're genetically modifying and moved into HOW it's being modded!

Here's a basic idea: Spermicide being produced by your corn. You like that thought? How about just regular pesticides?
Being generated by your corn? That's fine, right?
It's alright that you're eating that too, right? Carrots, corn, canola, soy beans, you name it. Pesticides generated within each cell of that organism that you're consuming. Mmm, hungry?

If shit keeps up like this, your kids may not be able to reproduce. You have kids, don't you?

Did Monsanto pay you to run this video? No seriously, cause it's the most ignorant approach to explaining the current circumstances I've ever seen from someone semi-intelligent. Especially someone paid to be a journalist or writer of some sort. Apparently we're all escaping sense and sensibility.

What the hell are you doing rabbit trailing half way through your video to talk about electro-stimulus anyhow? What does that have to do with Genetic Modified Foods?
Don't answer that, it's already clear you produced this video to seem smart, not because you ARE smart.

Here's a closing thought: By removing the growth limitations in our Salmon, Rainbow Trout are going extinct. Ahh, boohoo right?

Stick to movies, Bob. Stick to what you know.