Yummy GM foods

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Finally, a consistent, principled message: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/03/18/father-raymond-j-de-souza-pope-francis-challenges-affluent-catholic-church-to-live-modestly/

We’ll see what comes of it. It’s always amazed me the way Christians sidestep some of the clearest, most fundamental teachings of their saviour, Jesus Christ. Pope Francis isn’t being radical when he calls for a poor church – he’s espousing a core tenet of the new testament that literally centuries of Christians have avoided enacting: be poor, use wealth to benefit the poor, and know your reward is in heaven.

Not everyone is as bad as this guy, of course: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creflo_Dollar

But how many avowed Christians do you know who forgo material wealth to help the poor? Is a new $40k truck Christian? How about a 50-inch TV?

Jesus lived in the dust and ministered to lepers and prostitutes. The correct Christian path is pretty clear and simple, but it seems few of the so-called devout have the will to follow it.

I’ll believe Pope Francis when he starts selling off the Vatican’s billions – trillions? – in treasure.

No, this blog hasn’t become the hammer religions bully pulpit. For example, I also address other issues of the spirit, er, spirits: http://life.nationalpost.com/2013/03/17/happy-hour-dont-shoot-fine-tequila-is-meant-to-be-sipped/

I’ve been curious about this exact topic. See, I’ve never really liked tequila. Sure, I’ve had my share of shots, but it always struck me as a pretty raunchy drink. But it occurred to me a year or so ago that maybe the problem was the tequila I was drinking. Is judging tequila by its cheapest brands like judging scotch by the cheapest blends? Scotch is horrible if all you’ve had is Grants.

So recently I bought a bar fridge shot bottle of a higher end tequila (full bottle would be maybe $60, so the little bottle was perhaps $8). Now, the real experts will dismiss this as still being cheap. Whatever. What I can say is that it was definitely better than the entry-level tequilas, and by quite a bit. However, I’m not going to say I actually liked it. Let’s face it, devoid of alcohol, few if any hard liquors have a flavor we’d enjoy. (Admit it: Do you like vodka or bourbon so much you’d drink it if it was stripped of alcohol?) But if I’m going to drink the hard stuff straight up, the whiskies are by far the tastiest.

Funny how threatening to take money out of people’s bank accounts decreases confidence in banks and the economy generally: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/mar/18/cyprus-bailout-markets

I’m an austerity believer, but having a run on people’s savings held in banks should be completely illegal and is just plainly idiotic – guaranteed to do more harm to an economy than good. If I’m a Cypriot right now, I’m withdrawing all my money and buying gold. (For one analysis of bank runs: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/b501c302-8cea-11e2-aed2-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2NtdZ8cId)

Apparently Britain is on the cusp of passing legislation to put limits on press freedom: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/30/opinion/a-free-press-isnt-the-problem.html?_r=0

I won’t pretend to be neutral on this subject, nor am I an expert on the particular restrictions proposed. I do think, though, the NYT editorial rightly points out that a legal system already exists which can be used to limit illegal behavior by anyone, including the media. It’s hard to see how having additional regulation aimed at media outlets benefits the public, freedom in the vanguard of the push for legislation: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/business/jk-rowling-hugh-grant-urge-british-government-to-take-tough-stand-against-press-intrusion-198670011.html

I can appreciate their outrage at being victims of an unscrupulous press, but it’s not like there weren’t any repercussions. One newspaper has gone under because of the scandal, and there have been lawsuits. In short, wrongdoing was met with serious consequences.

It takes courage to admit when you’re wrong: http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/03/18/a-founder-of-the-anti-gm-food-movement-explains-how-he-got-it-wrong-all-wrong/

I’m not opposed to GM foods being labeled because I’m all for customer choice. At the same time, despite occasionally brutish behavior by some companies who profit from GM foods, I think we have to acknowledge GM foods have been resoundingly successful at meeting the needs of a giant and growing population globally. More importantly, I just dislike knee-jerk negativism towards the advances of science, and the seemingly arbitrary division between what is ‘natural’ and ‘artificial’: Humans don’t create atoms, and our manipulation of materials is no more unnatural than the manipulation of materials that takes place in chemical reactions throughout the natural world. When something we make is bad, let’s call it that and substantiate why, but let’s not declare something bad because it’s a human invention. There is no ‘nature’ to meddle with, there’s just reality, all of which is natural.

There are reasons to be wary of technology, but baseless fear is the wrong approach. We will need technology, and better technology, to negotiate the future. We need to harness creativity and materials to improve lives. Let’s light the darkness, not huddle by our campfires.

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