Jun 4, 2014 mgmarco commented on Is Amazon the Reason Rents Are Going Up?.
This is why I bought a houseboat when I recently found out my current old duplex was being demo'd. It was affordable, came with a lease for a liveaboard slip, and with some upgrades will be just as nice as any of those generic, prefab Lego-condos that have been springing up like weeds. Monthly moorage can be an order of magnitude cheaper than monthly rent or mortgage on land.

When Seattle was first settled, poor people who couldn't afford land in the big land-grabs going on at the time just built a shack on a raft and called it good ...
Feb 19, 2013 mgmarco commented on Wondering How to Feel About the GMO Labeling Initiative?.
I think a lot of the stigma around GM just comes from the unknown. So far, studies have found no ill acute effects, but we have no idea what happens when a person consumes large amounts of them every day for their entire life, or what happens to kids who eat a lot of them, etc. Such studies will be nearly impossible to attain in an unbiased and scientifically accurate way, and no one is really trying because all the major funding agencies (USDA, FDA, NIH, NSF) have already decided it's okay to distribute GM seeds/food. (Who lobbies to/works for their boards of directors and the conflicts of interest lying therein are a topic for another day.)

In essence, humans in America have become research subjects to study the long-term health effects of eating GMOs, and without our explicit consent, that is an ethical violation under ANY institutional review board. The precedent this has set for future food technology is disturbing.

And, yes, buying organic provides a way for some people to "opt out" of this study to a degree, but much of the state/nation lacks easy access to organic food, and those who have access might not be able to afford it on a regular basis. So, the current system essentially enables wealthy/middle-class people in urban areas an easy way to opt out, but no one else. Affordable, non-organic, non-GMO food should be available to everyone, or humans are going to have a tough road to hoe ...
Feb 18, 2013 mgmarco joined My Stranger Face
Feb 18, 2013 mgmarco joined My Stranger Face
Feb 18, 2013 mgmarco commented on Wondering How to Feel About the GMO Labeling Initiative?.
I'm pursuing a scientific PhD now, and I know first-hand that GMOs provide tools necessary in conducting life-saving research. That said, I find it wholly unethical to introduce them freely into the environment, especially as staple crops in a food supply upon which millions of people rely.

Regardless of the tenuous evidence so far on human health effects, the ST article made no mention of the long-term environmental and food security issues that result from the large, inefficient monocropping operations that GM seeds support, or how GM seeds make farmers heavily reliant on chemical companies to produce crops to feed the general public.

On a much wider philosophical level, any thinking person eventually has to wonder if this kind of food supply system is *really* best for our species ...