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Why Genetically Modifying Food Is (Not?) A Bad Idea - Forbes (2013)

Why Genetically Modifying Food Is (Not?) A Bad Idea - Forbes (2013) | Economics | Scoop.it

Comment: I did research on Golden Rice and other micronutrient interventions and I was also curious about the potential of kitchen gardens. Unfortunately I didn’t find any information on their cost-effectiveness...

 

There is no doubt that kitchen gardens are possible, and there is also data that suggests that they do improve nutritional status, i.e. they “work”, but are they really “low-cost”? Can they be scaled up?! Thinking of big countries with millions and millions of undernourished people like India and Bangladesh, or also Indonesia: What are the costs for reaching out to all those people to teach them about kitchen gardens? What are the costs to train the extension specialists? How long will it take to introduce kitchen gardens everywhere? Where do people get the seeds, where the water, how can they protect their gardens from pests? And also very important: What are the opportunity costs for those people? During the time they tend the garden they could (try to) earn money elsewhere, or they could do their homework (if they are children), etc. ... 

 

With a limited budget, you could indeed help more people if you spent that money on interventions such as Golden Rice, supplementation or fortification... In a world of limited resources... to do as much good as possible, a promising and potentially very cost-effective solution such as Golden Rice should not be discarded (or the work on it even destroyed)... 

 

Finally eating real carrots and eating Golden Rice are not and should not be mutually exclusive! If the message is simply “Eat orange!”, as it is put out by some NGOs, then people will eat carrots and mangos when they can afford it, but if they are out of season or if their money is not enough to buy fruit & veggies regularly, buying Golden Rice will still be a good option – and people will be free and empowered to decide if they want to do so or not: It will be pretty obvious what is Golden Rice and what not… 

 

Buy all means, bring out the message that people should try to cultivate a few veggies if they can, promote the consumption of carrots, but also let people know that if they do not get enough fruit & veggies one way or the other, and if the vitamin A supplementation programme has not reached their kids, then Golden Rice is a better fall-back option to ensure their kids are less susceptible to vitamin A deficiency and all the related adverse health outcomes than to eat conventional rice... 


Via Alexander J. Stein
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Alexander J. Stein's curator insight, August 26, 2013 11:15 PM

... In the end it may well be that the biggest contribution of Golden Rice is that of a catalyst: It focused attention on micronutrient malnutrition and encouraged more research - whether to determine the potential of Golden Rice or to show the viability of alternative interventions. That additional attention and the knowledge generated in its wake hopefully will do a lot of good and allow more rapid progress in the fight against undernutrition, irrespective of whatever happens with Golden Rice....

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Welcome, Robot Overlords. Please Don't Fire Us?

Welcome, Robot Overlords. Please Don't Fire Us? | Economics | Scoop.it
Smart machines probably won't kill us all—but they'll definitely take our jobs, and sooner than you think.

 

THIS IS A STORY ABOUT THE FUTURE. Not the unhappy future, the one where climate change turns the planet into a cinder or we all die in a global nuclear war. This is thehappy version. It's the one where computers keep getting smarter and smarter, and clever engineers keep building better and better robots. By 2040, computers the size of a softball are as smart as human beings. Smarter, in fact. Plus they're computers: They never get tired, they're never ill-tempered, they never make mistakes, and they have instant access to all of human knowledge.

The result is paradise. Global warming is a problem of the past because computers have figured out how to generate limitless amounts of green energy and intelligent robots have tirelessly built the infrastructure to deliver it to our homes. No one needs to work anymore. Robots can do everything humans can do, and they do it uncomplainingly, 24 hours a day. Some things remain scarce—beachfront property in Malibu, original Rembrandts—but thanks to super-efficient use of natural resources and massive recycling, scarcity of ordinary consumer goods is a thing of the past. Our days are spent however we please, perhaps in study, perhaps playing video games. It's up to us.

Maybe you think I'm pulling your leg here. Or being archly ironic. After all, this does have a bit of a rose-colored tint to it, doesn't it? Like something from The Jetsons or the cover ofWired. That would hardly be a surprising reaction. Computer scientists have been predicting the imminent rise of machine intelligence since at least 1956, when theDartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence gave the field its name, and there are only so many times you can cry wolf. Today, a full seven decades after the birth of the computer, all we have are iPhones, Microsoft Word, and in-dash navigation. You could be excused for thinking that computers that truly match the human brain are a ridiculous pipe dream.

 

But they're not. It's true that we've made far slower progress toward real artificial intelligence than we once thought, but that's for a very simple and very human reason: Early computer scientists grossly underestimated the power of the human brain and the difficulty of emulating one. It turns out that this is a very, very hard problem, sort of like filling up Lake Michigan one drop at a time. In fact, not just sort of like. It's exactly like filling up Lake Michigan one drop at a time. If you want to understand the future of computing, it's essential to understand this.


Via James Keith
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World Startup Report: One man’s quest to document startup culture around the world

World Startup Report: One man’s quest to document startup culture around the world | Economics | Scoop.it
Editor's Pick After selling his company to LinkedIn and quitting two years later, one startup entreprenuer is going to map the startup world, finding the best places to start a company.

Via Marylene Delbourg-Delphis
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China’s Next Chapter

China’s Next Chapter | Economics | Scoop.it

The next China will look decidedly different from the one the world has grown accustomed to. In the first installment in a series on China’s future, we explore the trends remaking China’s economy, cities, and society.


Via The Learning Factor
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The Learning Factor's curator insight, June 3, 2013 5:06 PM

To continue its stunning rise, China must fundamentally rethink its cities, companies, and society.

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How 3D Printing Will Transform Chinese Manufacturing (Op-Ed) - Yahoo! News

How 3D Printing Will Transform Chinese Manufacturing (Op-Ed) - Yahoo! News | Economics | Scoop.it

China's national agenda has its eyes firmly fixed on building a knowledge-based economy where 3D-printing technologies will play a vital role. Chinese culture values self-discipline, hard work and respect for authority, beliefs that have enabled China to rapidly transform into the world's largest economy. It will be interesting to see China's factory for the world put 3D-printing technologies to work.  

 

 


Via jean lievens, Lindsy Russ
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New Asean energy transition

New Asean energy transition | Economics | Scoop.it

Asean countries, like countries in other major regional groupings, including the European Union (EU) and the west African ECOWAS (the Economic Community Of West African States) group, are moving rapidly towards achieving energy sector goals – that are themselves changing rapidly. The energy ministries in Asean countries, together with organisations and entities ranging from the Asean Secretariat to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the UN ESCAP (economic commission for Asia-Pacific) to external entities like the World Economic Forum, are exploring how each country can create a new energy architecture that is secure, sustainable, affordable and has low environmental impact.

 

One immediate problem is that these goals are subject to technology, scientific, economic and even political change: the EU27’s “climate energy package” of energy sector goals and member state programmes (set in December 2008) for example, were developed on the basis of forward projections of oil and gas scarcity, with high energy prices being the rule for long-term future. Also, at the time Europe believed that global warming was a major near-term threat to economic and even social stability in Europe.


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How 3D Printing Will Transform Chinese Manufacturing (Op-Ed) - Yahoo! News

How 3D Printing Will Transform Chinese Manufacturing (Op-Ed) - Yahoo! News | Economics | Scoop.it

China's national agenda has its eyes firmly fixed on building a knowledge-based economy where 3D-printing technologies will play a vital role. Chinese culture values self-discipline, hard work and respect for authority, beliefs that have enabled China to rapidly transform into the world's largest economy. It will be interesting to see China's factory for the world put 3D-printing technologies to work.  

 

 


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Column: Obama's free market space exploration success - USA TODAY

Column: Obama's free market space exploration success - USA TODAY | Economics | Scoop.it
Column: Obama's free market space exploration successUSA TODAY... trips to the Mir space station. Japan, Austria. … France bought six trips! We think that trips to the Moon will be at least as popular.

Via Matthew Hebert
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