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you're part of the big science experiment

paul wheaton
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Joined: Dec 14, 1998
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    ∞

Just saw this and thought I would share: http://www.krafty.org/flash/


permaculture Wood Burning Stoves 2.0 - 4-DVD set
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
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  16

correct me if i'm wrong, but don't farmers genetically engineer plants all the time by cross-breeding them? in other words, "i know strain A of wheat resists bugs, and strain B resists drought. so i'll cross-pollinate them to get a drought and bug resistant strain". which may also do who knows what to it's genes... maybe even giving it the ability to walk and kill by shooting it's wheat kernals at me.

Are these products tested/approved before going to market?


There are only two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors
paul wheaton
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Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20729
    ∞

There is a difference between breeding (which a bee can do) and tweaking the DNA in a laboratory (which a bee cannot do).

A friend was telling me about her husband a couple of years ago. Apparently he was diagnosed with "Irratible bowel syndrome". I'm not really sure what that is, but it sounds like he wants to stay close to a toilet.

It sounds like it was getting worse and worse. So bad that it sounded like he had less than a year to live. Then work took him to england. And it suddenly went away. For two weeks he was a new man. Back to the states and it instantly started up again.

It took him and his wife several months to figure out it was GMO food! As long as every spec of food he eats is organic, he is fine. But work in a teaspoon of GMO oil and it takes three days to recover!

I just recently learned that GMO food is banned in europe.
Dave Lenton
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Joined: Jan 20, 2005
Posts: 1241
Originally posted by Paul Wheaton:
I just recently learned that GMO food is banned in europe.
True, although there is huge pressure here from US lobbying groups to open the market up to US GM wheat and beef.

I'd rather we wait a while before doing that. Crops modified in labs have only been around for a relatively short period of time, and we've still got no idea if there are any long term side effects of modifying them.


There will be glitches in my transition from being a saloon bar sage to a world statesman. - Tony Banks
Jeroen T Wenting
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Joined: Apr 21, 2006
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all it does is speed up the natural process, allowing crossbreeds to be created faster than before.
Of course when you start to insert DNA from other, unrelated, life forms things can go further, and that's being done too (but almost exclusively for R&D purposes and for the creation of medicines).

Noone seems to mind genetically modified pigs being used to create human insulin for example...

The problem with Paul's friend almost certainly wasn't GMO food as much as eating specific foodstuff which in Europe either don't exist or are far rarer (or in Europe eating specific things he didn't eat in the US).
People can be alergic for the strangest things, and it's quite possible to have an alergy for a specific strain of corn but not another if that one strain has a chemical in its cells that others don't, it doesn't matter how that chemical got there.


42
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
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  16

I also only casually watched the video, but I didn't see any actual EVIDENCE of what they are claiming. No links to studies, no reports, no magazine articles. It's a cute flash video that could have been created by a disgruntled employee, trying to hurt their business.

Also, IMHO, this whole "organic" industry is a load of B.S. Here is an exellent paper on the subject.

I've also seen such a thing as "Organic Salt". Salt is a mineral - what is organic about it?
Ashok Mash
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Joined: Oct 13, 2000
Posts: 1936
Originally posted by Fred Rosenberger:
I've also seen such a thing as "Organic Salt". Salt is a mineral - what is organic about it?


Interesting! I had to look that up!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_salt

There are two common meanings of organic salt:

* In chemistry, an organic salt is a salt containing an organic ion.
* In marketing, organic salt is a term for table salt (sodium chloride, NaCl) that is harvested in natural environments, like sea salt, and not treated with additives like iodine (in the form of sodium iodide, or NaI, to reduce thyroid problems) or anti-caking agents. Technically, organic salt in this context is an oxymoron, since this kind of salt is always inorganic. See also Organic food.


[ flickr ]
paul wheaton
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Joined: Dec 14, 1998
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    ∞

all it does is speed up the natural process


Are you sure? Are you willing to bet your life on it? And the lives of your children? And your children's children?

If that was "all it does", then why is my friend's husband sick from it?

The problem with Paul's friend almost certainly wasn't GMO food as much as eating specific foodstuff which in Europe either don't exist or are far rarer (or in Europe eating specific things he didn't eat in the US).


On the one hand, I have a friend who is a highly educated engineer. And her husband, another highly educated engineer. When I talk to my friend, she properly qualifies her statements and speaks like an engineer. I asked her about her techniques of narrowing down the problem. It sounded very complete.

On the other hand, I have you. You never met these people, let alone talk to them. I offer an account and you come to a conclusion "almost certainly wasn't GMO food". Almost certainly?

Sorry Jeroen, I think I'm gonna trust my friend on this one. While I am tempted to say that I am 99.99% certain that this is, indeed, related to GMO foods, I'm going to go the extra mile and say "I am absolutely certain that this man's suffering is caused by GMO foods."

People can be alergic for the strangest things


Are you suggesting that this man's IBS is a histamine reaction?
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20729
    ∞

Fred,

It is true that the video does not provide evidence. The evidence is out there. I think that the video is entirely accurate.

I looked at your link claiming that organic food is a hoax. If I can convince you of even one fallacy in the document, will you dismiss that particular document?

I think I could contest about 80% of what is claimed in that document.

It is true that some chemicals are safer than others. That does not mean that when you examine the safer chemicals and find them to be safe (when used properly) that the less safe chemicals are also safe.

If you consume 1/3 of a cup of apple seeds, there is a 50/50 chance that you will die. If you rub half that much 2-4D (a popular chemical herbicide) on your skin there is a 50/50 chance that you will die. So .... we're talking about the LD50 rates: a common way to measure how toxic something is to mammals. You are eating this stuff. If you eat enough of it, you will die. Granted, you are eating small amounts - provided that the farmer used the right dose and you don't eat something from where your farmer spilled a bit of this stuff.

I grew up on big ag farms. I worked the fields. I drove combines, tractors, trucks .... I sprayed weeds .... I read the labels, I asked questions .... I studied ... I learned .... in 1994 I read over 100 books on gardening. In 1996 I went through the master gardener training and did extensive research on pesticides and their side effects. I actually read of the uses and dangers of these chemicals. And was not only required to understand them, but was tested on my knowledge.

I have since then read 100 times more on the topic.

It is my opinion that these ag chemicals are at the root of 40% to 70% of all of the cancer in the world today. And maybe as much as 60% of all other medical ailments.

I not only support the organic industry, I desperately want to be a part of it.
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
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  16

I have a friend who is a highly educated engineer.

When does being a "highly educated engineer" allow you to give medical diagnoses?

Paul, you may indeed be correct, and so may your friends. But just because you are educated in one field, perhaps the most knowledgable person on the planet, that does not give you expertise in all other fields. In fact, it is a common mistake that everyone makes.

For example, there have been dozens of studies of the paranormal by PhDs, M.D, and so on. Very often they have all stated that this is "the real deal". But you show the same film to a conjuer/magician, and he'll tell you which of the 8 ways to palm a coin the guy used.

I am sorry your friend is sick. I am glad he is feeling better. I am not convinced it is GM food. I am not convinced it is not.

Has your freind been to an Allergist?
Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
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    6

I'm with Fred on the skeptisism of the flash. I've glanced over the website as well and found nothing compelling to warrent such a claim on Kraft. However, that doesn't mean it's not true. They just need to provide more facts if they are going to keep claiming these things. Especially if Kraft decided to take offense to it.

On the one hand, I have a friend who is a highly educated engineer. And her husband, another highly educated engineer....

On the other hand, I have you. You never met these people, let alone talk to them.

On another hand, neither your friends nor Jeroen are doctors that specialize in these sorts of things. So I'd say all of you are speculating and there could be some merit to both cases. I'd say that in a situation of these types of unknowns, it's best not to dismiss any possibility.


GenRocket - Experts at Building Test Data
Gregg Bolinger
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    6

It is my opinion that these ag chemicals are at the root of 40% to 70% of all of the cancer in the world today. And maybe as much as 60% of all other medical ailments.

I'd agree with this. My wife wrote a paper in college on pesticides. I read her paper and much of her reference material and it was a real eye opener.
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
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  16

The evidence is out there.
The video would have been more convincing to me if it had provided some evidence.
If I can convince you of even one fallacy in the document, will you dismiss that particular document?
No. If you can convince me of one fallacy, I will dismiss that fallacy. The validity of statement A should not effect the validity of statement B. I am not saying I believe everythign this guy says either. I look at most things with skepticism. I wear one of those little rubber bracelets that says "Critical Thinker". The fact that he provided links to support what he says lends credence to his statements. The fact that the video did not makes me less willing to believe it.
I think I could contest about 80% of what is claimed in that document.
I would love to read what you have to say. Please feel free to contact me directly, if you'd prefer.
That does not mean that when you examine the safer chemicals...
I agree 100%.
It is my opinion that these ag chemicals are at the root of 40% to 70% of all of the cancer in the world today.
If this is true, then countries that DON'T use these chemicals should have a significantly lower cancer rate. Or, at least the people who don't eat the foods that were grown with these chemicals should. I don't know of any evidence either way on this, or if a study like this has ever been done. It sounds worthwhile to me. If you know of one, please, forward the link.
And maybe as much as 60% of all other medical ailments.
Again, i'd love to see a study supporing/disproving this statement. Do we have any evidence that the cancer/disease rates have gone up since we started using these chemicals? Have disease rates been kept that far back? I'm not sure they have. It seems like 30 years ago, people died of "natural causes". Now, there is always a disease linked to it - often some form of cancer. Could it be that we just didn't know 30 (50? 100?) years ago that these diseases exist?
I not only support the organic industry, I desperately want to be a part of it.
And I think that is great. Seriously. If it will change the world for the better, go for it. But, I do have a few issues:
1) I, personally, with no supporting evidence, doubt that any single change (stopping all use of pesticide, for example) will be the panecea for cancer (or any other disease you care to name). Do you have evidence I am wrong?
2) IF we stop using pesticides/chemical fertilizers/whatever (and I honestly do not know), can we still produce enough food to feed everyone on the planet? Because even with them, we have millions of people dying of starvation today. How can we feed them
3) I resent the fact that anything "organic" is by definition better than something that is NOT labelled "organic", especially when the food industry has such strange, inconsistant rules on what makes something organic or not.

Please, tell me why I am wrong, what misconceptions I have, and provide evidence. I promise I will read it.
Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
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    6

I thought this article was interesting. Though, no external links to back up the information, so take it with a grain or organic salt.

Also here.
[ January 05, 2007: Message edited by: Gregg Bolinger ]
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20729
    ∞

When does being a "highly educated engineer" allow you to give medical diagnoses?


This person went to many doctors. In the end "You're gonna die within a year" was the diagnosis. That was years ago. This fella is not only still alive, but as long as he avoids GMO food, he is healthy.

While there are many highly educated engineers that are dolts, the woman, in this case, has a thorough understanding of logic. When I asked how she was so certain that GMO food was at the root of it, she detailed all of the things they did to experiment. 90% of it was quite simple: eat strictly organic food prepared at home (just to be sure it is all organic). After a week of good health, introduce a tiny bit of GMO food - the sickness returns within hours and takes days to get past it. Repeat this experiment with many different GMO foods.

What is your analysis of this information?

But just because you are educated in one field, perhaps the most knowledgable person on the planet, that does not give you expertise in all other fields.


While that is very true, I do not understand how that applies to anything I am saying.

I am saying that these people understand logic and understand the scientific method. Therefore, while the medical industry said "you're gonna die within a year. Please pay us $20,000 for this information." they happened upon a "cure". Using their own brain power, they solved their problem. Nobody is making any claims at expertise in any new field, let alone all fields.

But if one were to say that there are no health risks with GMO food, I would have to say that that statement is not accurate. We have a least one case where there are clearly health risks.


For example, there have been dozens of studies of the paranormal by PhDs, M.D, and so on. Very often they have all stated that this is "the real deal". But you show the same film to a conjuer/magician, and he'll tell you which of the 8 ways to palm a coin the guy used.


It is true - there are things that are pushed by huxters out there. I guess you wish to advocate that the creators of the little video are the huxters? I guess I would advocate that the chemical/tobacco companies are the huxters.

Has your freind been to an Allergist?


I'll ask.
Jeroen T Wenting
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I too am a highly educated engineer Paul. I've a degree in physics and enough training and experience in software engineering that it might be equivalent to a degree in that as well.
That doesn't make me an expert in medical stuff though.
But I DID get more training in biology at school than most people, especially today's school environment where everything is only about the "soft" sciences.
And with my sister suffering from several rather severe alergies, I did spend some time finding out about those as well, more than most people probably ever will.

Your friend drew a conclusion based on his personal bias that GM food is bad and an experience of not being sick in a place where GM food doesn't exist.
From your account it doesn't appear he took all factors into account, so I question that decision based on what I know of the decision making process as far as I know it.

He may be right, but for the wrong reasons. And even if he is that's a single case relating to almost certainly a single product, and is still likely an alergic reaction to a substance contained in that product which wouldn't be there were it not for the fact that it was GM.

BTW, the resistance in Europe against GM foods is purely political and has nothing to do with worries about public health (though those are used as a thin veneer to cover up the real reason).
Blocking import of GM foodstuff serves as de facto market protection, closing the European borders for a lot of US products which are often cheaper and/or of higher quality than their European counterparts.
That's the main reason, blocking US products without having to impose tariffs which would bring the WTO down on the EU like a ton of bricks.
There's also the little "worry" about "evil" US corporations making plants which produce only sterile seeds, thus forcing poor farmers in hungry Africa to buy new seeds at extortionate prices every year. That's another market ruse, meant to effectively block GM plants from nations receiving EU foreign aid and lucrative trade agreements for agricultural products (mostly fruit).
The EU has given several African and other countries notice that they won't buy any agricultural products from them if they allow any GM seeds into the country at all, so they won't buy their bananas and pineapples (for example) if they grow GM corn...
Never mind that those GM crops often have higher yield than regular crops while requiring less in the way of pesticides and fertiliser, thus giving the "hungry Africans" more food (and thus making them less reliable on EU foreign aid, which has effectively replaced colonial governors as a means to control those countries).
Paul Clapham
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    8

I too don't believe that it's possible to be "allergic to GMO foods". Genetic modification includes a wide variety of techniques, it's not just a simple thing like adding polysorbate-80 to a product. But there could be a psychological thing where if you knew or suspected a food item contained a GMO component then you would have a physical reaction. Perhaps the initial problem was an allergy to a food that happened to contain a GMO component, and then when that was discovered the psychological problem was started. This can happen to engineers just as easily as to hairdressers. I know a person who becomes physically ill if he suspects he has eaten food containing tomatoes.

And if this is the case then most medical practitioners are going to have trouble finding that out. And if they do, they are only going to get denial from this engineer who believes he has done the right experiments.
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
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Joined: Oct 02, 2003
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  16

What is your analysis of this information?
My analysis of this information is that i do not have enough information to make any kind of determination as to whether this was a valid study. Nor do I think I am qualified to determine if something is a valid scientific study, so my analysis is pointless. Having said that, I would be interested in whether or not this experiment was double-blind. Did he know when he was eating the GMO food? Did the person preparing the food know? I'm going to assume it's pretty obvious to the observers whether or not the condition manifested itself afterwards, but even that can be called into question. NO study that is done with the participants knowing when they are getting a "real" sample vs. a "control" sample is valid, in my opinion. Most scientists would agree.
I do not understand how that applies to anything I am saying.
What I was trying to say is that while your friends are highly educated in one field, that does not mean they are qualified to make experiments in any other field. Would you let a doctor put together a test of the structural stability of a bridge you want to build? I think not. A doctor most likely does not understand all the subtlties that can come into play, or the factors that would be obvious to an engineer. I would think that an engineer does not necesarily understand everything involved in a medical test like this.
they happened upon a "cure".
Correlation does not imply causation. It is possible there is some other factor we (and they) are not aware of that is causing this problem. Maybe the not GMO food is also grown with some other organic herbicide that negates the problem. Maybe they are packed in a different kind of plastic. maybe the GMO ones are grown in a region where the pollen from some plant settles on them that doesn't get washed off, and the reaction is from THAT.
they solved their problem.
That I agree with you. That is what matters. But I do NOT agree on their conclusion that it is GMO. There are too many unknowns.
We have a least one case where there are clearly health risks.
No, we don't. We have one case where there are health issues that SEEM to be related, but MUCH more evidence is needed. Your friends may have considered all of this, but I dont' have that evidence, so I cannot agree with you here. I am simply stating that the limited information I have does not convince me their test was scientifically valid.
if one were to say that there are no health risks with GMO food, I would have to say that that statement is not accurate.
There are health risks with everything, GMO or not. I do not ever recall saying there are no health risks with GMO.
I guess you wish to advocate that the creators of the little video are the huxters?
Not at all. Please don't put words into my mouth. I was commenting on the observers, not the observee. My point is that you or I are probably not the kind of people to determine if their test was valid. I certainly don't have the knowledge/skills/experience. I don't believe you do, but correct me if I am wrong. THEY are probably not the people who can set up a scientificly valid test that deal with food, allergies, and GMO products to CONCLUSIVLY STATE that it is GMO food, AND NOTHING ELSE, that caused the problem.
They had a problem. They resolved it. I think that is fantastic. They sound like smart people. I am thrilled your friend is no longer sick. THAT is what matters. But I do NOT accept their conclusions. I DO accept their results. These are two separate things.
paul wheaton
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Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20729
    ∞

The video would have been more convincing to me if it had provided some evidence.


I agree. That would be nice.

Of course, do you agree that GMO foods are used by kraft?

Do you agree that GMO foods have not been adequeately tested?

What would be a part of the video that you would like to see evidence?

I look at most things with skepticism.


Then you are, in my opinion, a wise man.

The validity of statement A should not effect the validity of statement B.


True. But would a sound document that you are trusting contain any fallacies?

I would love to read what you have to say. Please feel free to contact me directly, if you'd prefer.


I'm happy to analyze the fallacies in that document publicly. It's just that there are so many that it would take a long time to be thorough.

(can't copy and paste from a pdf - dammit!)

"Let us start with the common belief that natural products are healthy and artificial products are not."

Is that a common belief? To everybody? There is not even one person who does not agree with that? Because if there is one person, wouldn't that mean it is not common? Perhaps the author meant to say "general" or "widely held" or "fairly common".

I would have to say that when a consumer is given a choice between a natural product and an artifical product, they would tend to think that the natural product would be healthier.

But wait .... to support this claim, they list natural chemicals, and then list sythetic chemicals. But where is the apples to apples comparison? These are just two lists of unrelated chemicals.

It is true that nature has lots of poisons. It is true that nature also has lots of stuff we need to live. Just as it is also true that there are many deadly synthetic substances and many safe synthetic substances.

Somehow this is supposed to support "the common belief that natural products are healthy and artificial products are not." ???

"the organic movement insists that nothing synthetic be used in food production."

Who? Where? I think this is just made up. A straw man fallacy that is easy to push over.

"A large number of synthetic chemicals are actually allowed in organic agriculture."

True.

What is not allowed in organic agriculture is stuff that is thought to be less than healthy. GMO prodcuts, for example, are not allowed in organic agriculture. 2-4D is another example something that is not allowed in organic agriculture.

While many of the things in that list can be found occuring naturally, the synthetic versions are acceptable. To be acceptable for organic use, there must be an exceptionally high level of confidence by some exceptionally skeptical organic-friendly biologists who will be cross reviewed.

I think the important point here is that this paper attempts to bash the organic folks by setting them up with a false statement and then knocking that over using organic method reality.

I'm only 10% of the way through the document, but I think you get the idea.

------ moving on

1) I, personally, with no supporting evidence, doubt that any single change (stopping all use of pesticide, for example) will be the panecea for cancer (or any other disease you care to name). Do you have evidence I am wrong?


It is my opinion that with just that one step (no longer using pesticides not approved for organic use) would eliminate 30% to 60% of all cancer. Organic methods involve many other steps, but that one is the biggest.

Yes, there is mountains of evidence. All provided on a toxin specific basis. And much of that information is required to be made available with the products - although it isn't.

Just doing a quick google on roundup: http://www.pan-uk.org/pestnews/Actives/glyphosate2.htm

2) IF we stop using pesticides/chemical fertilizers/whatever (and I honestly do not know), can we still produce enough food to feed everyone on the planet? Because even with them, we have millions of people dying of starvation today. How can we feed them


There lies my fascination with permaculture.

The chemical companies insist that we will starve without their chemicals. But! Look at cuba. They lost nearly all of their petrol and were forced to switch to organic techniques. Now, years later, they are experiencing bigger crops and are almost completely organic!

3) I resent the fact that anything "organic" is by definition better than something that is NOT labelled "organic", especially when the food industry has such strange, inconsistant rules on what makes something organic or not.


I agree that some of the rules are getting .... weird. And there is a massive discussion on that topic alone.

While you are welcome to resent anything you like, with or without reason, I would like to take this opportunity to say that I think that organic stuff is always better than stuff that is not.

Please, tell me why I am wrong, what misconceptions I have, and provide evidence. I promise I will read it.


The evidence is so overwhelming I'm not sure where to begin.

How about with agent orange. For years it was thought to be safe. Now it is banned. If a GMO corn is invented that will not die when agent orange is applied, will you eat those corn chips? This is effectively what most GMO stuff is: "Roundup Ready". You spray roundup on it and it kills everything but the corn. Some people say that roundup causes all sorts of sickness. The company that makes roundup insists that it does not. Kinda like the agent orange discussion of time gone past.

This is lot like what the whole stink about kraft foods is about.

But kraft is one of hundreds of companies doing this. Currently about 80% of our food contains GMO foods.
paul wheaton
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Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20729
    ∞

I too am a highly educated engineer Paul. I've a degree in physics and enough training and experience in software engineering that it might be equivalent to a degree in that as well.
That doesn't make me an expert in medical stuff though.
But I DID get more training in biology at school than most people, especially today's school environment where everything is only about the "soft" sciences.
And with my sister suffering from several rather severe alergies, I did spend some time finding out about those as well, more than most people probably ever will.


In that case Jeroen, help me to understand your engineering/scientific logic.

I convey to you that if this person eats GMO food, he gets sick. If he does not eat GMO food, he is healthy.

You then state "The problem with Paul's friend almost certainly wasn't GMO food as much as eating specific foodstuff which in Europe either don't exist or are far rarer (or in Europe eating specific things he didn't eat in the US)."

Your qualification is "almost certainly". Pretty strong stuff. In my mind "almost certainly" would be something like 99% certain. But maybe I'm wrong about that.

Please help me to understand how the raw data you started with combined with your engineering mind and scientific process brought you to the conclusion of "almost certainly wasn't GMO food".
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
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  16

Do you agree that GMO foods have not been adequeately tested?
"Adequately tested" by who's definition? There are some people out there for which there can NEVER be adequete testing. There are others who would say "we fed it to a mouse, once, and it didn't die, so TO THE STORES!!!". Ok, I'm exaggerating both sides here. I don't think there is agreement on what that phrase means. I would be willing to bet the testing done has met the governments definition.
What would be a part of the video that you would like to see evidence?
I'll have to watch it again once i get home.
But would a sound document that you are trusting contain any fallacies?
Are you saying you have NEVER, NOT ONCE EVER, stated something that was not 100% true? Maybe I should dismiss everything YOU say, since you have (most likely) stated a fallicy at some point in your life. I would like to judge each individual statement on it's own merits. You sound to me like your falling for one of your own fallacies here...
15) Proof by Past Crimes
Your argument is wrong because you were once wrong about something else.
It sounds to me like you are saying "Everything on this document is wrong because (at least) one thing on this document is wrong.

I'll try to look at the roundup article this weekend.
Look at cuba.
What works in Cuba will not necesarrily work every (any) where else. again, from your fallacy document:
Proof by Limited Survey (Hasty Generalization Fallacy)
My argument is right because I asked three people and they said so

Now, you're saying "It worked in Cuba, so it will work on the entire planet!!!"

"resent" may not have been the best word. perhaps I should have said "I don't agree, and find it rediculous that people, especially the organic food industry, say..."

I think that organic stuff is always better than stuff that is not.
That is your right. I don't agree with you. I don't disagree with you. Primarily, because we will probably not agree on what "better" means.
Agent Orange
So, again, things were wrong once before, so now they are always wrong? I did not read your link yet (I'm spending WAY too much time on this as it is), but again this sounds like a fallacy to me. This sounds like another Proof by Past Crimes argument.
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20729
    ∞

My analysis of this information is that i do not have enough information to make any kind of determination as to whether this was a valid study.


It is not a valid study. It is entirely anectdotal. It is one person.

I think a big part of my point is that the study was never done. GMO food was allowed into our food stream without appropriate study.

Of course, to do the study, there must first be a hypothisis to base the study on. And the hypothisis for something like this generally comes from anectdotal information.

Another important aspect is that the FDA says that the GMO stuff is the same as the non-GMO stuff. It's just food. And for at least one person, it turns out to be not the same.

What I was trying to say is that while your friends are highly educated in one field, that does not mean they are qualified to make experiments in any other field. Would you let a doctor put together a test of the structural stability of a bridge you want to build? I think not. A doctor most likely does not understand all the subtlties that can come into play, or the factors that would be obvious to an engineer. I would think that an engineer does not necesarily understand everything involved in a medical test like this.


A very good point.

In this case, the "experts" said "you're going to die within a year." Is it possible that the experts didn't know? GMO's were recently dumped into our food stream without the proper research on their safety. How is a doctor expected to be aware if there has not been the proper research?

So, these two people got lucky and found a clue to solving the problem. They then used their own scientific knowledge to try and narrow down the problem. And because of that, they have been able to keep this fella alive for years. While the experts predicted he would be dead by now.


Correlation does not imply causation. It is possible there is some other factor we (and they) are not aware of that is causing this problem. Maybe the not GMO food is also grown with some other organic herbicide that negates the problem. Maybe they are packed in a different kind of plastic. maybe the GMO ones are grown in a region where the pollen from some plant settles on them that doesn't get washed off, and the reaction is from THAT.


An excellent point!

I think since most GMO food is "roundup ready" it is safe to conclude that those (RR) foods are sprayed with roundup. It is possible that this chap is getting sick from the roundup.

But I do NOT agree on their conclusion that it is GMO.


Eat GMO, get sick.

No GMO, no sick.

I agree that it is not necessarily the GMO organism itself causing the illness. But if not that, it has to be something that is related to the use of the GMO, such as the roundup. Would you agree with that?

No, we don't. We have one case where there are health issues that SEEM to be related, but MUCH more evidence is needed. Your friends may have considered all of this, but I dont' have that evidence, so I cannot agree with you here. I am simply stating that the limited information I have does not convince me their test was scientifically valid.


Fair enough.

How about this: given the limited information at your disposal, what would you say are the odds that this person's illness is related to the GMO foods? Directly or indirectly? I accept that it could be packaging, or how the foods are processed. Those would be indirect.

There are health risks with everything, GMO or not.


True.

Of course, some things have more health risk than others.

And for some things, we don't find out about the health risks until after people have died.

paul says:

I guess you wish to advocate that the creators of the little video are the huxters?


fred says:

Not at all. Please don't put words into my mouth.


Sorry Fred. I do not wish to put words in your mouth. I am trying to understand your point and fishing a bit for clarity on your position.
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
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  16

I convey to you that if this person eats GMO food, he gets sick. If he does not eat GMO food, he is healthy.[/QB]

Let's look at this, too. Does ANY GMO food cause this problem? Or is it just the GMO oil you mentioned back in your second(?) post? what happens if he eats a GMO tomato (not knowing it's GMO)? a carrot?

now, assume it is just the oil - can we assume it's corn oil, for discussion? We can assume the GMO corn that made the oil was GMO'd from two plants (at minimum). Has your friend tried eating the NON-GMO version of both of these plants?

What I'm trying to say is that it may be the GMO oil that causes the problem, but that does not meant that it's the fact that it is the GMOing that causes the problem. are the oils manufactured the same? stored in the same containers? the same age? exposed to the same amount of heat, sun, and shipping processes?

there are a LOT of variables that i'm betting their experiments have not taken into consideration.

and now, i really need to be done with this until i get home tonight.
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
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Joined: Oct 02, 2003
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  16

what would you say are the odds that this person's illness is related to the GMO foods? Directly or indirectly?
It sounds rather likely to me, for the specific food tested. I don't think you can make the blanket "all GMO foods make him sick" statement.

now i really am done until i get home.
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20729
    ∞

"Adequately tested" by who's definition?


Yours. I'm asking for your opinion.

paul: But would a sound document that you are trusting contain any fallacies?

fred: Are you saying you have NEVER, NOT ONCE EVER, stated something that was not 100% true?


I will say now, as I have said before, that I say stupid stuff all the time. I'm a bumbling dunderhead. A twit. A ninny. An ignorant clod.

At the same time, there are documents I compose where I try really hard to convey absolute truth. These documents are intended for public consumption and need to be accurate. So I go over them dozens of times to try and make sure that the document is 100% sound. Often times basing my conclusions on other documents that I have decided are sound documents.

It seems that this bit is part of a dicussion where we are attempting to test the validity of this video clip and the document that talks about how organic stuff is a hoax. Do they contain truth? Are they propoganda and/or spin? Clearly people have taken the time to polish them up. If they contain fallacy, they are probably more spin than truth.

15) Proof by Past Crimes
Your argument is wrong because you were once wrong about something else.


I did ask you if you would be willing to concede that particular document if I could find one fallacy. I claim that the document is full of fallacies. To list them all would take days and days. We all stumble about and make mistakes and try to move forward despite our mistakes. At the same time, there are well polished documents that have been thoroughly researched, thought out and written by people far smarter than me that make a compelling point because they are free of fallacy. The truth does not need fallacy to support it. Propoganda and spin documents are full of fallacy because their position is too weak to use truth.

So, yes, I am fishing for a short cut. Rather than spend days pointing out all of the fallacies, I'm hoping that if I point out just one (or two) you will be satisfied that the document is, at best, weak.

What works in Cuba will not necesarrily work every (any) where else. again, from your fallacy document:

quote roof by Limited Survey (Hasty Generalization Fallacy)
My argument is right because I asked three people and they said so




True. But if somebody makes a claim that says "never" or "always" then all you have to do is come up with one case to disprove the statement.

Now, you're saying "It worked in Cuba, so it will work on the entire planet!!!"


With my advanced knowledge of horticulture and agriculture, I would say that it will work with the entire planet and I will use Cuba as an example.

So, again, things were wrong once before, so now they are always wrong? I did not read your link yet (I'm spending WAY too much time on this as it is), but again this sounds like a fallacy to me. This sounds like another Proof by Past Crimes argument.


You asked for evidence about how the non-organic approach could be less than healthy. I replied that there are mountains of evidence and that I would start with this one tidbit.
Jeroen T Wenting
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Joined: Apr 21, 2006
Posts: 1847
Originally posted by Fred Rosenberger:

Let's look at this, too. Does ANY GMO food cause this problem? Or is it just the GMO oil you mentioned back in your second(?) post? what happens if he eats a GMO tomato (not knowing it's GMO)? a carrot?

now, assume it is just the oil - can we assume it's corn oil, for discussion? We can assume the GMO corn that made the oil was GMO'd from two plants (at minimum). Has your friend tried eating the NON-GMO version of both of these plants?

What I'm trying to say is that it may be the GMO oil that causes the problem, but that does not meant that it's the fact that it is the GMOing that causes the problem. are the oils manufactured the same? stored in the same containers? the same age? exposed to the same amount of heat, sun, and shipping processes?

there are a LOT of variables that i'm betting their experiments have not taken into consideration.


Couldn't have said it better. The GMO part is just one teeny tiny part of the equation.
The number of other factors are large enough that it's far more likely that one of them (or a combination of them, maybe in combination with the genetic modifications and their results) is the cause.

Case in point:
My sister is alergic to milk protein (a rare alergy in white adults, it's somewhat common in young children but almost always disappears in their teens, with her it started in her late teens).
Doctors took over a decade to properly diagnose that.
They diagnosed her with dozens of diseases that have somewhat similar symptoms, put her on all kinds of medication for those diseases (which of course didn't work), until one of them who just happened to have visited a conference about rare alergies where lactose intollerance was a topic thought those symptoms were enough reason for an in-depth alergy test (she'd had them before, but never for lactose).

So don't stare blindly at a diagnosis of some rare condition, it might be a description of the symptoms but not the cause of those symptoms.
Same with a cure. Stopping the consumption of a GMO cooking oil may remove those symptoms, but the problem might not have been that GMO part but some other ingredient of the oil.
You mentioned his symptoms disappeared when he went to Europe. In Europe corn oil is pretty rare.
Sunflower oil and olive oil are the most commonly used cooking oils, so it might well have been the fact that he was using oil based on a different plant that caused his symptoms to disappear (in fact it might have been that other oil that caused the symptoms to disappear rather than no longer consuming corn oil). Wouldn't be the first time.

When my sister changed from pasteurised cow milk to sterilised goat milk her symptoms disappeared.
That wasn't because of the pasteurisation process used to make the cow milk keep good (which has been blamed for disease on similar "evidence" as you claim for GMO food being bad) but because she switched to lactose free milk.
She's now not taken any medication for all those conditions she was supposed to have in over a decade, and only rarely is ill (only when she gets some lactose into her system, a piece of food cut with a knife that's been used earlier to cut meat cooked in butter is enough so you can imagine how careful she is).
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20729
    ∞

Does ANY GMO food cause this problem?


Yes.

what happens if he eats a GMO tomato (not knowing it's GMO)? a carrot?


Apparently when he was first experimenting, he had eaten foods that he thought was GMO free only to get sick. On later analysis it turned out that there was something where the GMO factor was not certain.

now, assume it is just the oil - can we assume it's corn oil, for discussion? We can assume the GMO corn that made the oil was GMO'd from two plants (at minimum). Has your friend tried eating the NON-GMO version of both of these plants?


Ahhhh .... so that's why you think it is safe.

Some of the changes to the DNA are not not corn-to-corn, but corn-to-bacteria, or corn-to-critter.

In fact, I'm pretty sure that most of the GMO stuff is splicing bacteria DNA into plant DNA.

Add to that: what about all the lab stuff that generates the first plant. Does that add anything new to the mix?
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20729
    ∞

Jeroen,

No reply to my direct questions to you?

I am trying really hard to understand your position and take the time to respond to your rather .... interesting ... declarations.
Nilesh Jain Ji
Greenhorn

Joined: Jan 05, 2007
Posts: 3
Hi Paul,

I just wanted to know how can i contact you in private,please suggest.

Nilesh Jain Ji
Jeroen T Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 21, 2006
Posts: 1847
Yes.


Which says enough about it being between the ears rather than something to do with the goods themselves.
There are so many possible variations of effects of GMO techniques that it's impossible for ALL of them to have the same effect on someone.
Marilyn de Queiroz
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 22, 2000
Posts: 9053
    
  12
Originally posted by Jeroen T Wenting:
Case in point:
My sister is alergic to milk protein ...
[Doctors] diagnosed her with dozens of diseases that have somewhat similar symptoms, ... until one of them who just happened to have visited a conference about rare alergies where lactose intollerance was a topic thought those symptoms were enough reason for an in-depth alergy test (she'd had them before, but never for lactose).


Lactose is not milk protein. Lactose is not a protein at all. Lactose is milk sugar. Goat milk also contains lactose (even after it is sterilized), but it contains only 4.1 percent versus 4.7 percent in cow's milk. You can buy lactose free cow's milk in the grocery store (at least I can in my grocery store).

It may be that the patient is not lactose intolerant at all, but instead is one of the 1-in-10 people who are allergic to the major protein of cow's milk ... alpha S1 casein protein. The symptoms are almost identical to those of lactose intolerance. Both goat milk and human milk lack this offending protein.
[ January 06, 2007: Message edited by: Marilyn de Queiroz ]

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Marilyn de Queiroz
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 22, 2000
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  12
Originally posted by Fred Rosenberger:
Are these products tested/approved before going to market?

This is a big question. "Let me comment briefly on the recall announced by Kraft Foods this past Friday. FDA commends Kraft Foods for acting responsibly in light of testing showing the possibility that the products contained a bioengineered protein that had not been approved for human consumption." FDA statement. In this case it would appear that the food was not tested before going to market as they had to recall it.

According to Dr. Louis Priybl of the FDA Microbiology Group, "There is a
profound difference between the types of unexpected effects from
traditional breeding and genetic engineering which is just glanced over
in this document." He added that several aspects of gene splicing "...may
be more hazardous." More FDA documentation

Rather than focusing on one person's experience, I'd suggest that we read some official documents.

Here is one about a lawsuit against the FDA.
"... when the FDA approved the "flavr savr" tomato it did so ignoring statements from its own scientists that tests involving feeding the tomato to rats led to a pattern of stomach lesions that raised a safety issue and therefore failed to confirm that it was safe for human consumption. Safety testing of subsequent GMOs has been even less stringent and in many cases non-existent." reference

That sounds pretty scary to me. Even scarier is the magnified effect it might have on infants and young children. The effect of almost anything on children (take radiation for example) is magnified due to their faster growing cells. Of course, if those cells die, they are also replaced more quickly (faster healing).
[ January 06, 2007: Message edited by: Marilyn de Queiroz ]
Jeroen T Wenting
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Joined: Apr 21, 2006
Posts: 1847
Originally posted by Marilyn de Queiroz:


Lactose is not milk protein. Lactose is not a protein at all. Lactose is milk sugar. Goat milk also contains lactose (even after it is sterilized), but it contains only 4.1 percent versus 4.7 percent in cow's milk. You can buy lactose free cow's milk in the grocery store (at least I can in my grocery store).

It may be that the patient is not lactose intolerant at all, but instead is one of the 1-in-10 people who are allergic to the major protein of cow's milk ... alpha S1 casein protein. The symptoms are almost identical to those of lactose intolerance. Both goat milk and human milk lack this offending protein.

[ January 06, 2007: Message edited by: Marilyn de Queiroz ]


true, my bad for mixing two terms.
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
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Posts: 11498
    
  16

GMO food was allowed into our food stream without appropriate study
This is a concern.
the experts predicted he would be dead by now.
That doesn't mean he WOULD be dead by now. Experts are often wrong.
Yours. I'm asking for your opinion.
Would you ask me if the original design for the Tacoma Narrows bridge was safe? Paul, I don't know. I have not studied this stuff. I see one group of "experts" saying that it's fine. I see another group of experts, and I am including you here as an expert, saying "it will destroy all life on the planet" (ok, that's an exaggeration). Whom should I believe?
I'm hoping that if I point out just one (or two) you will be satisfied that the document is, at best, weak.
I will accept that the document has weaknesses, and then look upon the other arguments with greater skepticism. But I will not dismiss the whole document out of hand any more than I will dismiss your arguments out of hand.
I would say that it will work with the entire planet
So if i find ONE example where organic gardening was tried and failed, you will admit it will NOT work for the entire planet?
GMO factor was not certain.
So he's not sure if some of the food is GMO or not, and then concluded that GMO foods are the problem? That does not sound like good science to me.
Ahhhh .... so that's why you think it is safe.

I never said I thought it was safe. I never said I thought it was unsafe. Nobody has convinced me either way. Even if somebody does, that really doesn't mean much. I am not an expert in the field.

I was trying to illustrate a possible flaw in the experiment. Maybe is is having a reaction to the protein in the bacteria that %99.99999 of the people on the planet don't have.

Also, I understand that you were providing an example of a problem with GMO food. BUT... I am not convince it is the GMO part of the food that's the problem. Second, you knowing one person who gets sick, even if from GMO, does not mean that it is not safe for the rest of the world. My uncle had a horrible reaction every time he ate wheat. This started long before GMO was even dreamed of. Does that mean we should not allow ANYONE to have wheat? and finally, I am not sure you approached this with an UNBIASED eye. You may have. You may have started off saying "boy, GMO is sure interesting. It could make the world a much better place, although it might be bad. I should do some experimentation to find out".

Or did your read something that said "GMO is bad", and then, because of your farm experience, your organic beliefs, or whatever, look for more evidence to support the "GMO is bad" belief, while ignoring the "GMO is safe" evidence?

That is not meant as "You are wrong". It is EXTREMELY hard to do an unbiased survey. I put the scientist who work for Kraft in the same boat - clearly they want their products to be found safe.

This is why it is CRITICAL to do double blind experiments. The ONLY way to be unbiased is to not know what (in this case) is GMO or not, do the test, report the results, and THEN see which was which. I'm willing to bet almost anything your friends did NOT do a double blind test.
paul wheaton
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Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20729
    ∞

Whom should I believe?


As an engineer, I expect you, at this moment, to classify this information in your head as "disputed"

As time passes, you collect information and make decisions on that information.

Of course, your children are depending on you to make good decisions.

But I will not dismiss the whole document out of hand any more than I will dismiss your arguments out of hand.


I think that I have shown that that document contains fallacy. Is there any fallacy I have presented on this topic?

I suspect that the organization that composed that document is sponsored by chemical companies who have something at stake here. What could be my gain other than concern for you?


paul: I would say that it will work with the entire planet

fred: So if i find ONE example where organic gardening was tried and failed, you will admit it will NOT work for the entire planet?


If I were to claim "The world cannot survive without organic gardening" and you find a relatively closed system that did survive without organic gardening, then my statement would then be false.

I will stand and say right now "I think that all of the people in the world can be fed with organic methods" the statement is always true no matter what you say because I started it with "I think."

In this case I said "I would say that it will work with the entire planet". I would say that. I will continue to say that. Therefore it will forever be true.

I am not saying non-organic stuff won't work (triple negative?). Non organic stuff can work to feed the people of the world.

So if you find a fail case for organic gardening, it does not weaken my statement.

So he's not sure if some of the food is GMO or not, and then concluded that GMO foods are the problem? That does not sound like good science to me.


You must qualify your data sets.

I never said I thought it was safe. I never said I thought it was unsafe. Nobody has convinced me either way.


If you eat it. And if you feed your children GMO food, certainly you must think it is safe.

Second, you knowing one person who gets sick, even if from GMO, does not mean that it is not safe for the rest of the world.


The FDA is saying that GMO food is no different than any other food. Therefore, it does not require testing before being released on the public.

If it is true, then why is there one person who is getting sick from it?

They have stated an absolute. I need only one case to crush their absolute. I have presented the one case.

This is why it is CRITICAL to do double blind experiments.


My point exactly. The double blind experiments that should have been done were not done.
Guy Allard
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Joined: Nov 24, 2000
Posts: 776
This is a very interesting thread.

Just a comment:

I am an engineer.

My personal physician was educated as an engineer and then went to medical school.

For whatever reason, I am comforted by his engineering background.

He certainly understands experiment and logic. I know this from experience.

G.
Nicholas Jordan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 17, 2006
Posts: 1282
Originally posted by Fred Rosenberger:
correct me if i'm wrong, but don't farmers genetically engineer plants all the time by cross-breeding them? in other words, "i know strain A of wheat resists bugs, and strain B resists drought. so i'll cross-pollinate them to get a drought and bug resistant strain".

I saw a standard high-school F.H.A. lab this last week - it had a wall poster explaining the process. They hold the material at lowered temperature for quite awhile, then drop it into a boiling bath momentarily. This forces - and the poster states that the actual process is unkown - the second species or whatever the latest terminology is, into the geno-type of the target sample. Cross-polination occurs in nature. Carefully controlled temperature with planned shock does not occur in nature.

Are these products tested/approved before going to market?


You Never Can Tell. We had a room mate once when I was living near U.T. - he was middle aged, running a business. The nature of the business was that a C.A.T. scanner was used for materials testing at a nationally recognized research lab. He mentioned to me that they we going to try to get a new contract to do testing on a proposed method of disposing of yellowcake. The method described was an area in which I had expertise, and volunteered my assistance in sample preparation.

It was made clear to me that going to dinner at a riverside hotel was far more important than researching the effectiveness of the facts.
[ January 07, 2007: Message edited by: Nicholas Jordan ]

"The differential equations that describe dynamic interactions of power generators are similar to that of the gravitational interplay among celestial bodies, which is chaotic in nature."
Nicholas Jordan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 17, 2006
Posts: 1282
Originally posted by Paul Wheaton:
Fred,

It is true that the video does not provide evidence. The evidence is out there. I think that the video is entirely accurate.


The final battle will not be battle fought with guns and wars and bullets, it will be a battle for men's hearts, their mind and their souls.

Screw the 2-4-d, what about 245-t and the ignorant bull ? Which probably could use some Trepanation

Ever heard of a 3208 ?
[ January 07, 2007: Message edited by: Nicholas Jordan ]
Jeroen T Wenting
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Joined: Apr 21, 2006
Posts: 1847
Originally posted by Paul Wheaton:


My point exactly. The double blind experiments that should have been done were not done.


Correct, your friend did not do a double blind experiment before making his conclusion...
Nor did you do one before excepting that conclusion as gospel.
Nicholas Jordan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 17, 2006
Posts: 1282
Originally posted by Guy Allard:
This is a very interesting thread.

G.


Yes, it is - but it is not Meaningless Drivel. Based on my experience thusfar, we need to make a fenced off area called Mad Dog and work these issues there.
 
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