Your Views for October 25


While you’re at it …

Since the 21-year-old drinking age has been so successful in deterring drinking by young people, why not raise the minimum smoking age to 21?

Using the same reasoning, here are a few more ideas:

— Since any amount of alcohol may impair driving, why not decrease the DUI blood-alcohol limit to 0.01 percent?

— Since the abuse of prescription medicine is the leading cause of drug-related deaths in Hawaii, why not regulate the distribution of prescription medicine more?

— Since the consumption of GMO food may be hazardous to your health, why not ban all GMO food products?

— Since young drivers cause the most accidents, why not raise the driving age to 24, like most rental car companies?

— Since killing yourself is proven hazardous to your health, why not make all forms of suicide illegal? Oops, my bad, it already is.

— Since cell phone distractions cause accidents, why not ban all driving distractions?

— Since requiring hurricane-safe rooms in a private house makes you safer, why not require all new construction to be “hurricane proof?”

Hopefully you can see the absurdity of it all, but, unfortunately, I probably just gave our law makers some more “good” ideas…

Fred Fogel

Volcano

Not a GMO plot

A recent letter from a GMO opponent described how her relatives in Iowa who grow Roundup-ready corn on a commercial scale now have to battle Roundup-resistant weeds “because the gene that confers Roundup resistance has spread to the weeds.”

This struck me as a very remote biological possibility because the corn would have to cross-pollinate with a whole slew of different species of weed plants or a very rare lateral gene transfer would have to occur. I think that what has happened to the weed population is just an example of natural selection and is not the fault of the GMO corn but that the culprit here is the long-term application of Roundup and the no-till method of agriculture which has been popular in these kinds of commercial operations.

In any large population of weeds there are bound to be a few individual plants with a mutation that makes them resistant to Roundup. This does not have to be by the same mechanism which operates in the corn. After Roundup is applied, these few resistant weeds have a chance to mature and go to seed since no tilling of the ground occurs. After a few seasons, there will be more and more resistant weeds until they start to become a real problem.

So this is not some kind of new evil plot by Monsanto to force farmers to use more and more Roundup. It is the simple consequence of natural selection on the weeds. The solution appears to be a return to old fashioned tilling of the soil.

Adrienne S. Dey

Hilo

 

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