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How the Global Seed Vault Aims To Fight Future Famine

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the betting-our-future-on-a-hole-in-the-ground dept.

Earth 115

Lanxon writes "The Global Seed Vault opened in 2008 after engineers spent a year drilling and blasting through the sandstone, siltstone and claystone of the Norwegian Platåberget Mountain to create a system of subterranean chambers on the Advent Fjord's southern flank that could store 4.5 million seeds. It's a $9 million bet against climate change. But can it save us from the threat of worldwide famine? An article at Wired explores its current state and its future: '... it operates as a secure storage space for samples of other collections that are at risk. The samples remain at all times the property of the depositors, the only proviso being that the originals must be freely available to researchers and breeders under the terms of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources. There have been deposits from every continent: 3,710 species in total, from 29 crop institutes representing 226 countries. Over the past few years the need for a secure storage facility has become ever more urgent. A typhoon in the Philippines in 2006 caused a flood that left the national crop gene bank under two meters of water.'"

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115 comments

Secure facility? (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34074884)

This seems to me to be a thornier (excuse the pun) problem than nuclear waste. At least if waste leaks it only poisons a small area and hopefully doesn't wipe out entire species.

Global warming isn't the big problem (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34074888)

Overpopulation is the problem that's going to be causing famines in the future. This seed vault isn't going to fix the problem that there won't be enough farmland in the world to feed everybody pretty soon.

Let's start by sterilizing all of those who, whenever someone brings up overpopulation, always reply with something retarded like "WHY DON'T U KILL URSELF FIRST LOLOLOL!!!11"

Monsanto seeds in there? (1)

carlhaagen (1021273) | more than 3 years ago | (#34074890)

Does anyone know if Monstanto's defunct, wretched, genetically modified seeds are in there as well?

Re:Monsanto seeds in there? (4, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 3 years ago | (#34075302)

Does anyone know if Monstanto's defunct, wretched, genetically modified seeds are in there as well?

Highly doubtful. From the summary, "The samples remain at all times the property of the depositors, the only proviso being that the originals must be freely available to researchers and breeders under the terms of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources."

Considering that the only organization more vile, despicable, and a greater danger to humanity than the Mafiaa (including their bought and paid for lackeys in the governments) is Monsanto, I doubt they would be able to cooperate with such an agreement.

Besides, seeds that can only be used once since they have death codes inside them don't belong in that seed vault by definition.

Re:Monsanto seeds in there? (2)

Seriousity (1441391) | more than 3 years ago | (#34076252)

Monsanto are one of the largest investors of this elaborate project, and anyone who has studied Monsanto knows that Monsanto is NOT TO BE TRUSTED.

They take absolutely every chance they get to strengthen their death-grip on international agriculture, if we give them an inch they will take a mile. This is about world domination of agriculture. [naturalnews.com]

They always sell their modified crap as being greatly beneficial and liberating to the poor farmers, when in reality they are shackling third world countires to rely on first-world corporations to produce food. Total enslavement.

"When you control the oil, you control the county. When you control the food, you control the population" - Henry Kissenger

Please people, open your mind and consider the history of Monsanto and the other groups involved in this project - we cannot afford to allow things like this to happen. Monsanto's seed is designed to produce only a single yield, and is modified to withstand the poisonous pesticides they produce; they have a very elaborate marketing machine working to deceive poor farmers across the globe to buy into this rip-off, this rabbit whole goes quite deep and when you get to the bottom of it, it's a total travesty that words can scarcely describe. If ever there was an organization worthy of the moniker "Evil Corporation" it would be Monsanto.

I implore you all to take the time to watch the documentary The World According to Monsanto [veoh.com] and follow the claims up with your own research - only when you have verified the length and breadth of the crimes against humanity commited by this corporation will you understand the gravity of what is transpiring. These people are presenting enslavement as a solution, seeking to rule us with an iron fist in a velvet glove - we must be vigilant to avoid deception.

Re:Monsanto seeds in there? (4, Informative)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 3 years ago | (#34077030)

Natural News? Seriously? Hint: a site that promotes homeopathy, reiki, and magic silver as cancer cures and says the vaccines cause autism isn't a good source of information. Great example of crank magnetism though.

Crap like this is what pisses me off. No, Monsanto is not your friend, but then you have clueless people railing against them with no idea as to what is actually going on, and that just makes the whole issue that much harder. I won't listen to the medical opinions of a doctor who uses the terms brain and heart interchangeably, and I won't listen to agricultural opinions of people who use pesticide and herbicide interchangeably. And you know so many are only against Monsanto because they do genetic engineering, and, at this point in time, anti-GMO is just another form of baseless pseudoscientific crank denialism woowoo. "I saw Splice once, so I know more about genetic engineering than geneticists!" No, you don't, you just can't be effed to crack a book before protesting. They're like the anti-vaxxers and alt-med quacks who rant about companies like Pfizer and Merck, not because of the bad things those companies actually do, but because said cranks don't understand the science behind pharmaceuticals/vaccines. Then people like me, who do understand the science behind GMOs, the science behind what Monsanto does, are left in the awkward position of defending Monsanto for the sake of accuracy.

By all means, keep an eye on them, they are not to be trusted, hell, it looks like they may have lied about the yield of there latest generation of soybean, but keep it in the real, don't try to pass off anti-Monsanto sentiment as actual science, and stay away from tinfoil land. When the two major points in an agreement are backed by moneyed interests and and the ignorant yet vocal, it makes it really hard to find the truth.

Re:Monsanto seeds in there? (0, Troll)

uninformedLuddite (1334899) | more than 3 years ago | (#34077536)

anti-GMO is just another form of baseless pseudoscientific crank denialism woowoo

You are joking there aren't you? Or just not paying attention?

Re:Monsanto seeds in there? (2, Informative)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 3 years ago | (#34077708)

Oh, crap, you're right, I guess I really wasn't paying attention. I forgot the dash in the term woo-woo. [skepdic.com] My bad. I hope that clears things up.

Re:Monsanto seeds in there? (1)

uninformedLuddite (1334899) | more than 3 years ago | (#34077868)

Thank you for that one link to back up your wide ranging assertions regarding vaccination, quack doctors, and GMO foods. Me wonders why you are so defensive that you have to use terms like woo-woo to get your argument across.
Here's an interesting video clip [3news.co.nz] about a man called Allan Smith who was in hospital in New Zealand. The doctors decided he was beyond hope and were going to turn off life-support. His family demanded that he be given high doses of Vitamin C and it was administered although the doctors tried their best to stop it from happening. Poor old Allan then came back from the dead. It's terrible that quack sites [naturalnews.com] push the idea that modern medicine doesn't have all the answers.
Every single thing you have stated above can be contradicted by using Google. You may even find peer reviewed scientific papers supporting the assertion that GMOs aren't proven to be safe/beneficial.
And everyone knows that a tin foil helmet can protect a person from the voices in their head [freepatentsonline.com] .

The term ScepDic seems just so appropriate.

Re:Monsanto seeds in there? (1)

DryGrian (1775520) | more than 3 years ago | (#34077970)

And you know so many are only against Monsanto because they do genetic engineering, and, at this point in time, anti-GMO is just another form of baseless pseudoscientific crank denialism woowoo. "I saw Splice once, so I know more about genetic engineering than geneticists!"

Quotes taken out of context are great, aren't they?

Then people like me, who do understand the science behind GMOs, the science behind what Monsanto does, are left in the awkward position of defending Monsanto for the sake of accuracy. By all means, keep an eye on them, they are not to be trusted

Seems like he's paying attention to me.

Re:Monsanto seeds in there? (1)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 3 years ago | (#34075436)

Sigh.

the only proviso being that the originals must be freely available to researchers and breeders under the terms of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources.

Here's the summary of said treaty (first result in my Google search)

The Treaty aims at:

# recognizing the enormous contribution of farmers to the diversity of crops that feed the world;
# establishing a global system to provide farmers, plant breeders and scientists with access to plant genetic materials;
# ensuring that recipients share benefits they derive from the use of these genetic materials with the countries where they have been originated
.

So, I'd say patent encumbered seed stock wouldn't be offered to or accepted by the seed bank.
Which is a good thing, IMHO

Re:Monsanto seeds in there? (1)

WeeBit (961530) | more than 3 years ago | (#34075918)

hybrid seeds are not permitted. Or so that is what i thought. The idea was in case something happen. Too bad they can't do the same for the trout that Monsanto is forcing down our throats.

Oh and guess what! Not sure what truth their is to it but i heard that Bill Gates and Monsanto helped to fund this. Bill Gates is fine, but why would Monsanto fund something like this? It was my understanding that Monsanto is one of the reasons for why this vault was created. If they screw up mother nature then we must have a way to fix it. Were they forced to fund this? Because if they were it is just like they were forced to protect the very mother nature that they have messed with. Or! One could say that Monsanto knew they would eventually screw things up, and they better protect it. I can hear them now...

Surely a bet for (or on) climate change? (1, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#34074908)

if climate change doesn't happen then the value of their seed vault won't be what they are expecting and they lose.

Buying coastal real estate would be a bet againt climate change.

Re:Surely a bet for (or on) climate change? (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34074952)

Actually, I would think that climate change is the least of our issues with the amount of GM seed in commercial production.

Re:Surely a bet for (or on) climate change? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34074970)

Yeah all those damn GM crops producing higher yeild so millions more can feed their families.
Unnatural I tell you!

Re:Surely a bet for (or on) climate change? (3, Interesting)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34075026)

I'm not against GM, I'm against companies OWNING genes. It's the old story of proprietary vs open source... do you really want the food sources of humanities future controlled by corporations with only a profit motive and no humanitarian concerns?

Re:Surely a bet for (or on) climate change? (2, Funny)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34075038)

Gah, humanity's*. It's late here, 4am does not make for good grammar. So sayeth the Yoda. Actually, "4am does not good grammar make", so sayeth the Yoda.

Re:Surely a bet for (or on) climate change? (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34075048)

They will only be controlled if regular people are deluded into believing so and allow it. However, I think extreme hunger will win in the long run.

Re:Surely a bet for (or on) climate change? (1)

Diantre (1791892) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078362)

They will only be controlled if regular people are deluded into believing so and allow it.

I totally can't see that happening. Regular people being fooled by corporations, against their best interests? Nah....

Re:Surely a bet for (or on) climate change? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#34075300)

It's the old story of proprietary vs open source... do you really want the food sources of humanities future controlled by corporations with only a profit motive and no humanitarian concerns?

The pragmatic - profit-oriented - corporation I can live with.

The government or NGO which lacks staff or funding or whose policies change with every shift in the politcal winds, every notion of ideogical purity or political correctness, I am not so sure of.

 

Re:Surely a bet for (or on) climate change? (1)

dachshund (300733) | more than 3 years ago | (#34075350)

The pragmatic - profit-oriented - corporation I can live with. The government or NGO which lacks staff or funding or whose policies change with every shift in the politcal winds, every notion of ideogical purity or political correctness, I am not so sure of.

Will you be able to live with them when they decide that letting you and your family starve to death increases shareholder value? Or is "live with" just a figure of speech?

Sometimes the problem with loving the devil you know (rather than the angel you don't) is that the devil will fucking kill you.

Re:Surely a bet for (or on) climate change? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34075406)

You should be against GMO. If you screw it up which is quite possible you can end up wiping out a good portion of the other plants in existence. It's way beyond the possible harm of just selective breeding. Unless you know how to breed a leopard with a firefly and get a leopard with glowing spots, because you'd have to be nuts to imagine that sort of thing.

Re:Surely a bet for (or on) climate change? (1)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 3 years ago | (#34077254)

I'm not against GM, I'm against companies OWNING genes.

That's a reasonable position, although, while that's frequently said, but it's actually very rare to find someone who actually believes that. A lot of people who say 'I'm not anti-GM, but...' are actually anti-GM, with the second half of that sentence being some weak justification. Many 'not anti-GMO' people are also against GMOs like Rainbow papaya, Golden Rice, and Cornell's Bt eggplant, both of which farmers are allowed, even encouraged, to save seed. They are even against government made GMOs, like HoneySweet plum, or those GM grape rootstocks in France that were recently burned by arsonists. They also disregard and make up facts about commercial GMOs, which is a lot like saying 'I don't like Big Pharma so I'm going to claim vaccines cause autism.' It's not a good thing.

I personally think that people or companies should be able to have reasonable patents on things like that, which plant patents have done long before genetic engineering (of course, they should have to go through some level of reasonable independent testing and all). That's my opinion there. Disagreeing with a view on social issues is fine, just so long as you don't pass it off as science, which so many do.

You might like to know that non-corporate GMOs are increasing in number faster than corporate ones. There's a lot being done by universities and NGOs all over the world. Unfortunately (due in part to the anti-GMO movement) it is so hard to get those GMOs approved for commercial growing that only big companies can afford to spend the time and money needed to get the FDA/EPA/USDA seal of approval, and near impossible to get it approved in the EU (not sure about other places where they grow GMOs, like China, India, Argentina, or Iran). I swear, I would not be surprised if Monsanto was supporting the anti-GMO movement...

Re:Surely a bet for (or on) climate change? (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078628)

I'm not against GM, I'm against companies OWNING genes. It's the old story of proprietary vs open source... do you really want the food sources of humanities future controlled by corporations with only a profit motive and no humanitarian concerns?

You mean like it pretty much is now?

Re:Surely a bet for (or on) climate change? (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34075600)

Higher yield was the propaganda phase. Now they are engineering stuff resistant to herbicides instead.

Working out the difference is left as an exercise to the reader.

Re:Surely a bet for (or on) climate change? (1)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 3 years ago | (#34076736)

They? Yeah, because all genetic engineers are part of a single monolith./sarcasm

First off, herbicide resistant crops are, contrary to the ramblings of a bunch of people whose education in genetics consists solely of having seen Jurassic Park once, actually fairly useful to the farmer, and pretty beneficial to the environment. Yeah, spraying herbicides (even ones that degrade quickly like glyphosate) probably hurts the environment somewhat, but by allowing no-till farming, they've done a lot less harm overall. Think of it like shooting yourself in the foot to cure brain cancer. It's useful to the farmer because they have more flexibility as to post emergent applications, and because hand weeding is a pain in the ass.

As for yield, that's just wrong. There's not too many that directly increase yield, but you don't have to do directly modify something to yield higher to have higher yield (although it certainty wouldn't hurt and I'm sure there are some folks working on it). Bt crops increase yield, especially in third world countries. Disease resistant GMOs, like the Rainbow papaya, can stop the crop from dying. How's this for increasing yield, without GMO papaya, there would be no papaya industry in Hawaii. There is one, BioCassava, that is specifically designed to be larger. Recently in China, they got some pretty big yields out of a rice plant with corn genes in it (though this news is only about two weeks old, so I can't comment much on it). And, though it isn't a plant, the GM AquAdvantage salmon grows visibly larger than non-modified salmon. Probably quite a number more in the works.

To say that increased yield is propaganda, quite frankly, is simply untrue.

Re:Surely a bet for (or on) climate change? (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34076800)

> To say that increased yield is propaganda, quite frankly, is simply untrue.
I said propaganda phase. When media started discussing GM, media told they'd resist parasites and yield more.
Your post itself says higher yield is not often the direct result of GM. That is the point, and anyway we'll soon see.

About genetic engineers, it's their bosses that count.

Re:Surely a bet for (or on) climate change? (1, Insightful)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34074972)

It just occured to me that I'm arguing the wrong point in that last post. What the hell does economic value have to do with preserving genetic diversity? This is (theoretically at least) a pure science problem of preserving gene sequences that may be wiped out by economic forces... oh wait, I think I just refuted my own argument.

Re:Surely a bet for (or on) climate change? (2, Insightful)

phyrexianshaw.ca (1265320) | more than 3 years ago | (#34074986)

the "bet against climate change" seemed pretty straightforward to me that it was a bet against the success of climate change

maybe it's just me, but I got what they were saying.

Afro-American Racism Against Whites and Asians (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34075514)

During the election, about 95% of African-Americans voted for Barack Hussein Obama due solely to the color of his skin. See the exit-polling data [cnn.com] by CNN.

Note the voting pattern of Hispanics, Asian-Americans, etc. These non-Black minorities serve as a measurement of African-American racism against Whites (and other non-Black folks). Neither Barack Hussein Obama nor John McCain is Hispanic or Asian. So, Hispanics and Asian-Americans used only non-racial criteria in selecting a candidate and, hence, serve as the reference by which we detect a racist voting pattern. Only about 65% of Hispanics and Asian-Americans supported Obama. In other words, a maximum of 65% support by any ethnic or racial group for either McCain or Obama is not racist and, hence, is acceptable. (A maximum of 65% for McCain is okay. So, European-American support at 55% for McCain is well below this threshold and, hence, is not racist.)

If African-Americans were not racist, then at most 65% of them would have supported Obama. At that level of support, McCain would have won the presidential race.

At this point, African-American supremacists (and apologists) claim that African-Americans voted for Obama because he (1) is a member of the Democratic party and (2) supports its ideals. That claim is an outright lie. Look at the exit-polling data [cnn.com] for the Democratic primaries. Consider the case of North Carolina. Again, about 95% of African-Americans voted for him and against Hillary Clinton. Both Clinton and Obama are Democrats, and their official political positions on the campaign trail were nearly identical. Yet, 95% of African-Americans voted for Obama and against Hillary Clinton. Why? African-Americans supported Obama due solely to the color of his skin.

Here is the bottom line. Barack Hussein Obama does not represent mainstream America. He won the election due to the racist voting pattern exhibited by African-Americans.

African-Americans have established that expressing "racial pride" by voting on the basis of skin color is 100% acceptable. Neither the "Wall Street Journal" nor the "New York Times" complained about this racist behavior. Therefore, in future elections, please feel free to express your racial pride by voting on the basis of skin color. Feel free to vote for the non-Black candidates and against the Black candidates if you are not African-American. You need not defend your actions in any way. Voting on the basis of skin color is quite acceptable by today's moral standard.

Re:Surely a bet for (or on) climate change? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078556)

if climate change doesn't happen then the value of their seed vault won't be what they are expecting and they lose.

I don't think they expect to profit from it...

Oh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34074926)

Oh, and without trying to sound like a l33t kid... monoculture FTL.

Seed bank? Bah! Apocalyptic spectacle more like (3, Informative)

ColMstrd (103170) | more than 3 years ago | (#34075022)

A single seed bank like this doesn't make any kind of biological sense. It is remarkably unlikely to be useful in the event of catastrophe: it's a long old road up there to Norway to replenish stocks of some ancient carrot variety from most parts of Europe.

If you actually wanted to guard biodiversity, you would encourage social networks of gardeners to replant varieties each season and share the ensuing seeds. The French organisation Kokopelli [wikipedia.org] does this, but seems to suffer from legal harassment rather than incur the subsidies it would receive in any sane world.

An analogy for the slashdot crowd might be Napster (centralised) vs. BitTorrent (distributed).

Re:Seed bank? Bah! Apocalyptic spectacle more like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34075778)

Unfortunatly it makes no economic sense for individual farmers to care about genetic diversity. Seed vaults are better than nothing.

Re:Seed bank? Bah! Apocalyptic spectacle more like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34079102)

A single seed bank like this doesn't make any kind of biological sense. It is remarkably unlikely to be useful in the event of catastrophe: it's a long old road up there to Norway to replenish stocks of some ancient carrot variety from most parts of Europe.

As opposed to in the middle of a major metropolitan area where it can be pillaged and burned? A major city that would be the target of military action (either convention or nuclear) where it could be destroyed?

I do agree that we need more of these things, but I'd rather have them in the middle of of no-where, where they'll less likely to be looted. If they're forgotten about then they'll more likely to survive some greedy bastard(s) breaking in.

Re:Seed bank? Bah! Apocalyptic spectacle more like (1)

Guppy (12314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34079136)

An analogy for the slashdot crowd might be Napster (centralised) vs. BitTorrent (distributed).

BitTorrent's a good example of both the strength and weakness of distributed distribution. There are going to be both popular and unpopular plants, and as the years pass eventually you'll start finding the equivalent of dead torrents. The best solution may be a hybrid model, with a centralized bank periodically "Re-seeding" (ah-yup) less popular varieties into the distributed network.

Only 4.5 million seeds? (2, Funny)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#34075030)

I'm pretty sure that my bathtub could hold 4.5 million seeds, and for $9 million thats $2 per seed? What the hell am I missing?

1m x 1m x 1.5m = 1.5m^3 = 1500000cm^3 so my bathtub could store over a million seeds that were 1cm cubes... way larger than the average seed, right?

Re:Only 4.5 million seeds? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34075132)

I'm pretty sure that my bathtub could hold 4.5 million seeds

Yes, but the Global Seed Vault is not interested in sharing quarters with where you scrub your derriere . . .

Rare seeds with pubes . . . ick!

Following generations will not be amused.

Re:Only 4.5 million seeds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34075416)

I'm pretty sure that my bathtub could hold 4.5 million seeds, and for $9 million thats $2 per seed? What the hell am I missing?

1m x 1m x 1.5m = 1.5m^3 = 1500000cm^3 so my bathtub could store over a million seeds that were 1cm cubes... way larger than the average seed, right?

You must have an awfully large bathtub for it to be a meter deep and a meter wide.

Other than that your point is well taken. However, Wikipedia suggests there are currently 250 million [wikipedia.org] seeds in the vault.

Re:Only 4.5 million seeds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34077982)

Global Seed Vault keeps each seed in its own room, with TV/internet/etc. There are some public rooms too, where seeds can meet when they get bored.

When you cut out the bullshit it's very simple... (2, Informative)

KillAllNazis (1904010) | more than 3 years ago | (#34075032)

Re:When you cut out the bullshit it's very simple. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34075056)

If you give the third world food, they'll just breed more until they don't have enough to feed everyone even with the aid. Want to fight starvation effectively? Give them condoms.

Re:When you cut out the bullshit it's very simple. (3, Insightful)

I(rispee_I(reme (310391) | more than 3 years ago | (#34075136)

Ah, but if we give them condoms, we are encouraging fornication.

This seems like a textbook example of why churches are not the best agent for philanthropic missions.

Note to self: Use this as a talking point to republicans to demonstrate why tax breaks to churches are no substitute for actual social programs.

Re:When you cut out the bullshit it's very simple. (0)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34075166)

A small amount of urine just ran down my leg with (delight/drunkeness, delete as applicable)... please mod parent up.

Re:When you cut out the bullshit it's very simple. (1)

baKanale (830108) | more than 3 years ago | (#34076092)

That's no talking point at all! Many Republicans would agree that condoms encourage fornication, which, again, most of them would be against. Also, as the GP said, giving them food encourages them to breed, thus fulfilling God's first command after Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden, namely "be fruitful and multiply". That and they'd probably say social programs are "communist", too, so even if they're demonstrably better than churches they're automatically evil anyway.

But then again I'm a pessimist...

Re:When you cut out the bullshit it's very simple. (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078636)

Ah, but if we give them condoms, we are encouraging fornication.

This seems like a textbook example of why churches are not the best agent for philanthropic missions.

Note to self: Use this as a talking point to republicans to demonstrate why tax breaks to churches are no substitute for actual social programs.

Church's should be non profit groups. They shouldn't get a tax break. It would stop on some of these seriously fake, oh wait, nm, they all are seriously fake.

Point stands. Tax breaks for religons is very stupid. And bias.

Re:When you cut out the bullshit it's very simple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34079168)

Ah, but if we give them condoms, we are encouraging fornication.

Sex is the leading cause of pregnancy and AIDS transmission. The less sex you have the smaller the odds are that pregnancy or infection will occur.

If you give out condoms (which have a 10% failure rate in "typical" use), you're giving people the impression that they'll be safe(r) and they'll act accordingly. It's called risk compensation:

In ethology, risk compensation is an effect whereby individual people may tend to adjust their behaviour in response to perceived changes in risk. It is seen as self-evident that individuals will tend to behave in a more cautious manner if their perception of risk or danger increases. Another way of stating this is that individuals will behave less cautiously in situations where they feel "safer" or more protected.

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

Re:When you cut out the bullshit it's very simple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34075472)

If you want to give the third world food, give them food instead of the cash that appears to end up in the hands of whatever warlord is currently in power. And for pete's sake, stop selling them arms, hmm?

Re:When you cut out the bullshit it's very simple. (1)

vxice (1690200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34075606)

give a man a fish... people don't want to be given something that depends on others. They want to be productive in their own right.

Re:When you cut out the bullshit it's very simple. (1)

weicco (645927) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078238)

This is in fact quite correct.

There's a country in Africa, which name I just forgot, which was doing quite OK by their own. They had stable food market there and so on. Enter the charity organizations...

Charity organizations brought free food to the country because it was said that people there are starving. Well, they weren't, but hey! it's Africa and everyone MUST be starving there because it's Africa. Now what happens to economy, when free goods are introduced to the market? It collapses! Production drops to zero. No-one did any farming after that because food prices were zero. Why waste time and resources on farming when you can't get any income from it?

No imagine what happens when that free food is taken away from the market and production is near zero? Starvation. It takes time to put your fields back in order and start growing things. Then it takes time to things to grow. After that you need to harvest and take it to the market place.

So charity organization destroyed a good stable economy just that they could get publicity points in the eyes of the rest of the world. They would have probably done much better job by just staying at home.

Re:When you cut out the bullshit it's very simple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078218)

And, don't give them access to medical care. The problem of overpopulation only became one the moment they had access to modern medical care, since if they don't, child mortality will take care of the problem.

Also, don't give them medicaments against HIV - the disease would probably long since have died out in Africa as all the carriers died away.

Re:When you cut out the bullshit it's very simple. (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34075404)

OK, so cue panel 2 of the cartoon, showing two more mouths to feed, now that you fed the first one. If all these children really are dying due to lack of food, what the hell is creating even more children who will suffer the same fate, and what is going to prevent this from creating even more once you provide more food?

So what do you do (2, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34075910)

When the area between A and B is filled with assholes with guns? So you go in and kill them, invade another country and try to impose your will on it? You'll note the US has done that sort of thing recently and it hasn't gone very well.

This idea that it is as simple as just giving food to starving people shows a shocking lack of ignorance of the situation of the world. It is a childlike oversimplification of the situation. I mean you are right in the basics that the world is capable of producing enough food to feed all the humans currently around. That doesn't mean it is as simple as just handing it out.

There are other even more complex questions too. As someone else noted, in destitute countries people breed quickly. So even if you did something like just airdrop in food (still an invasion by the way) you aren't really solving anything. So long as the country as a whole remains in a poor condition, people will have lots of kids. The standard of living as a whole has to be brought up, not just that people have enough to eat (that is a major part of it), but that they are more or less safe, have a place to live, have access to basic medicine, and so on. Only then do you find the birth rate falling. You have to bring prosperity, not just food, to deal with the problem. That, however, you can't just air drop, nor can you even force at the end of a gun.

Then there's simple things like the cost of shipping food across an ocean, and the sustainability of a system where people rely 100% on others for their basic needs. Not a sustainable system. They don't need food, they need the capacity to produce their own food. Related, but not the same.

If you think the solutions to the worlds problems are extremely simple, all it means is you are ignoring the realities of the world, of humans.

Re:So what do you do (1)

KillAllNazis (1904010) | more than 3 years ago | (#34076968)

You may have taken my post too seriously, I'm not an idiot. I wouldn't have bothered replying except that someone might mistake the words you put in my mouth for my own.

Food inc. (0)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34075120)

I just re-read my posts... and realised that I may look like a Karma farmer, however I just watched Food Inc a few days ago and my passions are running high on a few related issues. Apologies to Slashdotters if you're getting annoyed with my multiple posts.

SAGE THIS SHIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34075786)

Just shut the fuck up already.

Re:Food inc. (1)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 3 years ago | (#34077262)

I tried watching it a few days ago. Didn't last too long. How anyone can stomach that movie is beyond me. This review [scienceblogs.com] about sums up the what I was able to get out of it. I can't believe how many people are able to find such great meaning out of that steaming turd. I guess it's because most of us are so disconnected from agriculture.

algae, fungi and yeast (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#34075168)

That is our future food.. everything else just wont cut it.

What is there no genetic vault? (1)

Diac (1515711) | more than 3 years ago | (#34075174)

With more and more species becoming extinct all the time why does someone not collect genetic material from the as many remaining individual creatures from a species so that if they all die out in the future there is a chance of bringing them back.

There trying with mammoths but that is with badly preserved genetic material, imagine if you had a change to take samples of your chose from a mammoth we would be having them walking around the zoos right now.

Even from a business point of view as someone has to pay for the collection and storage, the potential for a company to hold the only remaining genetic material of an entire species would be a massive asset to a company.

Re:What is there no genetic vault? (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34075198)

No offense intended Diac, but this is what a genetic vault's intended purpose is.

What about crops which we can't grow from seeds? (1)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 3 years ago | (#34075490)

Like most crop varieties of apples, bananas and tomatoes?

Or do they manually pollinate them? Whilst crossing fingers and hoping for the best (apple trees take a long time to grow to fruit bearing age so it's hard to validate)..

clueless much? (2, Interesting)

dbc (135354) | more than 3 years ago | (#34076012)

Ummmm....apples and tomatoes both contain seeds. My mother started tomatoes from seeds all the time.

Unless by "we" you were implying that you and I both are lacking in the necessary skills to start a tomato from seeds, which is true for me, at least compared to my mother.

Re:clueless much? (1)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 3 years ago | (#34076598)

He probably means things that are propagated asexually and don't come true to seed. Superior varieties of apple can't be grown from seed. Well, I mean, yeah, they can, but due to the genetic variability of apple seedlings, it is very uncommon for, say, a Fuji seedling to be anything like the parent Fuji. Bananas, not sure about their variability, but most varieties of them are also reproduced asexually. Tomatoes, got me there, they'll self pollinate pretty nicely and make nearly genetically identical seeds. Maybe he meant potatoes? Anyway, even if made unintentionally, it's a good point. There are many varieties of such crops that do not come true to seed that we must also ensure survive. Case in point, right now, hundreds of unique varieties of plants like that at the Pavlovsk station in Russia are scheduled to be paved over.

Re:clueless much? (1)

Guppy (12314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34079280)

Bananas, not sure about their variability, but most varieties of them are also reproduced asexually.

All commercial varieties of banana are reproduced asexually, as they are triploid and sterile; the random seed may occasionally occur, but very rarely.

Wild bananas are seed producing, see pictures here [blogspot.com] .

Re:clueless much? (1)

Sleepy (4551) | more than 3 years ago | (#34077090)

Technically speaking, you almost never grow apple from seeds found in an apple you eat. This is basically because the seeds DO NOT match the apple (and this is due to two things: the parent tree was likely spliced onto different rootstock, and because most apples are cross pollinated with crabtrees because they make great polinators for other apple trees... lousy eating is not relevent since the meat of the fruit matches the type of tree that hosted the fruit)

You actually get the same problems with tomatoes and peppers. Just try growing hot peppers and sweet peppers... they will cross pollinate and gene transfer unless you separate the plants by a mile or more (with lots of unrelated flowers in between to reduce the likelihood that the same bee visits both peppers).

Re:clueless much? (1)

dbc (135354) | more than 3 years ago | (#34077902)

Sure, food you buy in a store is almost certain to not have useful seeds, either because they are an unstable hi-bred, or simply a bad cross as you point out. But my point is that it is possible to start the plants from seed if you have access to a stable varietal. See my post on preservation of heirloom varieties. Far too few people understand the perilous state of our genetic seed bank for food crops. (And feed crops, too, for that matter.) Many intrepid gardeners grow heirloom varieties from seeds that they save. It's good humor, and good for the planet's gene bank. I often wonder if the survivalists understand, or are blissfully unaware that the seeds in their bunker are unstable.

Fruit tree grafting I understand -- in his day, my great-grandfather started the largest fruit tree nursery in his county. Bananas, however, are beyond my knowledge base, the afore-mentioned county being on the Iowa-Minnesota border, I never saw a banana tree up close until I went to Borneo. As I understand it, bananas have so far been impervious to hi-bredization. And the banana plantations of the world are dangerously mono-cultural. There was a plantation variety that was quite common a generation ago that was wiped out by disease. We are not eating the same bananas that our grandparents did, because all the plantations switched over to a different variety, but have effectively become a mono-culture again. IIRC, while it is possible to start a banana plant from seed, it is devilishly difficult, I think they are propagated by cuttings outside of nature.

No, you can't grow crop apples from seeds.. (1)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078440)

...with any kind of accuracy. Apples can't self pollinate, which means you'll never get the same variety of apple out of its seeds. Sure, you'll get an apple, but not the same apple you were expecting.

Google for more info:

http://www.google.nl/search?q=growing+apples+from+seed [google.nl]

As far as tomatoes go I was refering to certain popular crop tomatoes which, as I understand it, do not produce viable seeds.

I understand that a lot of the varieties grown commercially have similar problems. They've either been designed to be sterile, or they involve splicing one plant onto another (see: apple tree) or something similar...

Re:What about crops which we can't grow from seeds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34076248)

ffs you retard, apples grow from seeds as well.

Excellent seed bank article from New Yorker 2007 (1)

MrPCsGhost (148392) | more than 3 years ago | (#34075574)

Cary Fowler is engaged in the Noah-like task of gathering the seeds of some two million varieties of food plants

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/08/27/070827fa_fact_seabrook

Individuals can help preserve hearloom genomes (1)

dbc (135354) | more than 3 years ago | (#34076066)

Most of the food plants we grow today are hi-bred seeds. As a result, many heirloom varieties are in danger of disappearing. It is import to continually plant and harvest these seeds, every 3 or 4 years or so, to keep them potent. Individual gardeners can help immensely. It is important that heirloom varieties not be grown near to other varieties or hi-breds of the same species in order to avoid contaminating the genome by cross-pollination. Yes, your back yard garden is a better place to grow an heirloom carrot than a university research station, because you have natural isolation that is immensely expensive for a university to achieve.

It is important to preserve these genomes so that various properties, for instance resistance to particular diseases, is preserved in the species' genome.

famine is artificially created by corporate and (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34076576)

financial interests.
there is enough food on earth for everyone.
Google: Greg Palast hunger

Is it a resource or a weapon? (1)

nani popoki (594111) | more than 3 years ago | (#34076690)

Has anybody else here read the newly-released-in-SFBC title "Windup Girl"? Paulo Bacigalupi has written a cautionary tale of where GM crops, IP and climate change collide with gene hacking and seed banks in Thiland.

I haven't read anything quite so disturbing since "Blood Music".

What gives??? (1)

apricots (1859992) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078010)

And yet they built it on an ISLAND!!! Facing the arctic ocean! What gives??? I thought they were worried about flooding! GCC! Why didn't they put it in Idaho, or Montana! Again, what gives???

Re:What gives??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078058)

And yet they built it on an ISLAND!!! Facing the arctic ocean! What gives??? I thought they were worried about flooding! GCC! Why didn't they put it in Idaho, or Montana! Again, what gives???

Just because it's an island doesnt mean it's flat.
The entrance is located 130 meters above sea level.

Not always working (1)

conscarcdr (1429747) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078070)

The No. 1 (1959, China) and 3 1932, (USSR) famine by fatalities in history are caused by politics. Can this vault save us from those?

Re:Not always working (1)

mousse-man (632412) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078254)

No, one would have to weed out socialism for this. And not to store it underground to make it reappear hundreds of years later.

We need at least three vaults. (1)

RichiH (749257) | more than 3 years ago | (#34079084)

It's easier to say this than to do this, but I would argue that we need at least three of those locations. Unfortunately, only the near-Arctic is suitable, the southern hemisphere has no locations that are the right temperature.

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