SandySandfort on August 02, 2009, 10:31:03 am
And Sandy, I'm assuming that you've read Gilpin's Space by Reginald Bretnor and The Great Explosion by Eric Frank Russell, which involve public dissemination of low-cost interstellar transportation technologies and some of the after-effects.

I've never heard of Gilpin's Space, but I read The Great Explosion many years ago. It probably influenced me, but then, everything has.

Azure Priest on August 03, 2009, 01:14:07 am
You missed the point. Africanized honey bees were created because, as the scientists themselves claim, they brought the African bees to cross breed with European bees because African bees are more prolific and European produce more honey per bee ergo, more overall honey production. The result, unfortunately, is the reverse as can be seen by the "escaping" hybrid which then converts local honeybees to AHB because only the queen carries genetic material from generation to generation and the AHB queens mature more quickly than the local queens and prevent the slower queens from reaching maturity. Bee experts to this day are still confused as to AHB's behavior as it fits no established bee patterns, they all agree though that they're far more agressive in "defending their home territory" than "normal" bees.

Here are some KNOWN side affect of ACTIVE genetic engineering in the lab (Not cross-breeding or "husbandry" but actually altering DNA at the cellular level).

1.) Advanced aging. "Dolly" quickly reached old age and died, as well as numerous experimental rats and mice.

2.) Tumors.

3.) Deformities and anomalies as well as features not known from either donor or host species.

4.) Disease "mutations."

5.) Bizzarre abberant behavior also not known from any of the species involved.

The list goes on.  If such "food" was introduced into the market, I'd at least like that info on the label.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2009, 01:26:28 am by Azure Priest »

Mabuse on August 03, 2009, 05:37:34 am
A little OT but for your edification Sandy; Information Mechanics was published in 1967 not 77.

Are you sure you are talking about the Information Mechanics written by Frederick Kantor? Amazon and others list the publication date as 1977. See:

http://www.amazon.com/Information-Mechanics-Frederick-William-Kantor/dp/0471029688/ref=wl_it_dp?ie=UTF8&coliid=I3FGEWRKFL6UOT&colid=3H07XO4YJR3AY

Well either that's a reprint or my source of information is unreliable; probably the latter. Oh and BTW; if anybody's interested in other stories of Information Mechanics applied to transport I heartily recommend Moving Mars by Greg Bear.

SandySandfort on August 03, 2009, 12:06:43 pm
You missed the point. Africanized honey bees were created because, as the scientists themselves claim, they brought the African bees to cross breed with European bees because African bees are more prolific and European produce more honey per bee ergo, more overall honey production. The result, unfortunately, is the reverse as can be seen by the "escaping" hybrid which then converts local honeybees to AHB because only the queen carries genetic material from generation to generation and the AHB queens mature more quickly than the local queens and prevent the slower queens from reaching maturity. Bee experts to this day are still confused as to AHB's behavior as it fits no established bee patterns, they all agree though that they're far more agressive in "defending their home territory" than "normal" bees.

Assuming, arguendo, the queen bees escaping is some fault of genetic engineering, the result isn't that much worse than swarming "normal" bees, Hollywood scary films to the contrary, notwithstanding. There is some risk in all new human endeavor. On the other hand, it only takes a few jackpots to more than make up for the oopsies. Disease resistant Brahma-cow hybrids are helping produce more meat in the tropics, the "beefalo" produces lower fat, environmentally-friendly meat. Have you ever seen the original Indian corn? Compare that to modern hybridized corn for quality and volume. But all pales in comparison to the Green Revolution that has saved a billion lives. Sorry, but I like the odds with regard to genetic investigation. 

Here are some KNOWN side affect of ACTIVE genetic engineering in the lab (Not cross-breeding or "husbandry" but actually altering DNA at the cellular level).

1.) Advanced aging. "Dolly" quickly reached old age and died, as well as numerous experimental rats and mice.

Not so. Dolly died of a common sheep lung cancer. Though there was some conjecture that she was born with shortened telomeres, but that has not been shown upon further examination of her genes. Even if true, current research shows that telomerase can be used to re-lengthen telomeres. And finally, Dolly was the first attempt. That is why we do research. We find out what works or we find out how to fix what doesn't work. It is an iterative process of successive approximations.

2.) Tumors.

3.) Deformities and anomalies as well as features not known from either donor or host species.

4.) Disease "mutations."

5.) Bizzarre abberant behavior also not known from any of the species involved.

The list goes on.  If such "food" was introduced into the market, I'd at least like that info on the label.

Okay, so let's put "genetically modified" on the label. I'll eat it, you won't, problem solved.

Rocketman on August 04, 2009, 09:38:03 pm
Sandy:  Here's a question for you.  I've seen on television shows people who have tatooing that makes them look like a cat for example.  My knowledge of Genetics is weak at best.  Do you think that sometime in the near future that some people will undergo genetic manipulation to give them cat or some other animal DNA and if so how successful do you think that the manipulation will be?

SandySandfort on August 04, 2009, 11:26:25 pm
Sandy:  Here's a question for you.  I've seen on television shows people who have tatooing that makes them look like a cat for example.  My knowledge of Genetics is weak at best.  Do you think that sometime in the near future that some people will undergo genetic manipulation to give them cat or some other animal DNA and if so how successful do you think that the manipulation will be?

From what I understand (which is limited), the answer is, yes, they could. However, with extreme body manipulation available via nanotechnology, I don't see any purpose in going the DNA route. If you wants cat's eyes, fur and spicules on your penis, nanotech will make it possible, quickly and easily.

quadibloc on August 05, 2009, 12:30:26 am
There is some risk in all new human endeavor. On the other hand, it only takes a few jackpots to more than make up for the oopsies.

Generally speaking, that has indeed been true throughout human history. Progress has so often been tragically delayed because of people who wanted to retain political power, either by keeping people in ignorance, or preventing any economic changes that might threaten stability, and so on.

But human power has been steadily increasing as technology has advanced. Thus, the discovery of atomic power made it possible for war to be more destructive than ever. With the "ozone hole", we had our first indication that pollution was becoming something global, rather than local.

Conditions change. That technology could soon be at a level where an "oopsie" might mean a microorganism that turns every human being on the planet into jelly is not inherently impossible. Of course, the trouble is, even if that is true, government breathing down the necks of private industry will do nothing about the more serious threat... the weapons labs of North Korea and the like.

But because technology does bring about profound changes in conditions, I'm mistrustful of putting ideology over pragmatism, since what was reasonable in one situation may not be properly fitted or adapted to a new situation.

Rocketman on August 05, 2009, 07:54:53 am
Quadibloc got part of my reasoning.  If say a member of an US infantry platoon had the ability to see in the dark like a cat and another had the ability to sniff out the explosives in booby traps or hear the enemy as they lie in ambush that would be a huge advantage and I could readily see the military funding the technology.

quadibloc on August 06, 2009, 09:23:24 am
Are you sure you are talking about the Information Mechanics written by Frederick Kantor? Amazon and others list the publication date as 1977.

You're probably quite correct, but in doing a Google search on this, I found one quote where a famous science-fiction author gave the 1967 date for that book; so, when a credible source makes a mistake, it often propagates.

J Thomas on September 03, 2009, 11:00:35 am
Flash-back to a short story I read over 40 years ago, but I forgot its name and author.  Deep in the amazon jungle, a crazy scientist said he had a process for changing chlorophyll into hemoglobin, making meat out of plant food.  But that's not exactly the way it worked. ;)

I remember that story! A fleeing dictator and his men had found a lone scientist who was working away in the jungle. He told them he was producing tomatoes that were full of meat, but really he was injecting the tomatoes with snake blood. They let him live because it was so hard for them to hunt game there, and after it was too late he revealed his real research -- he had found a way to make plant-animal hybrids that resulted in all the bad guys taking root.

I've forgotten what he called his special tomatoes. Beefalos? Beefsteak tomatoes? Tomeatos? Nothing sounds quite right but I remember laughing with my friends about the name.

I wondered whether the author might have had that story in mind when the inventor gave away tomatoes....

SandySandfort on September 03, 2009, 06:40:45 pm
Flash-back to a short story I read over 40 years ago, but I forgot its name and author.  Deep in the amazon jungle, a crazy scientist said he had a process for changing chlorophyll into hemoglobin, making meat out of plant food.  But that's not exactly the way it worked. ;)

I remember that story! A fleeing dictator and his men had found a lone scientist who was working away in the jungle. He told them he was producing tomatoes that were full of meat, but really he was injecting the tomatoes with snake blood. They let him live because it was so hard for them to hunt game there, and after it was too late he revealed his real research -- he had found a way to make plant-animal hybrids that resulted in all the bad guys taking root.

I've forgotten what he called his special tomatoes. Beefalos? Beefsteak tomatoes? Tomeatos? Nothing sounds quite right but I remember laughing with my friends about the name.

I wondered whether the author might have had that story in mind when the inventor gave away tomatoes....

Nope, just coincidence. I'm pretty sure I never read that story.