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OP/ED: On Why a Kilo of Potatoes Will Not Be the Same in the Future.

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posted on Feb, 15 2005 @ 09:57 AM
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The progress of science is a marvelous thing. Sometimes it can be frustrating when you find the latest piece of computer kit you've bought is already out of date even by the time you've gotten home and plugged it in but mostly it is quite marvelous and awe inspiring.
 


Why am I waxing lyrical in homage to science ? Well two stories caught my eye today and I thought I'd share them with you.

The first seemed rather quaint. It seems that the Kilogram measurement is callibrated from an actual standard kilogram of platinum - iridium aloy kept locked up in a safe in the International Bureau of Weights and Measures near Paris.

Periodically, it's brought out and cleaned and used to recalibrate the kilo for all the scientists, and one assumes grocers, around the world. For more than a century now this process has been going on and the scientific measurement for the mass of one Kilogram has been taken from this prototype.

Unfortunately, there is one small problem. In all this time the cleaning process is making the prototype kilogram lighter. Yes, it's true you are getting less fruit and veg now than your great grandparents were. Those of us who remember that chocolate bars were a lot bigger when we were younger have been suspecting something like this for many years now.

But it's true, the prototype has fluctuated 23 millionths of a gram and it's driving scientist wild with frustration who today are calling for the Kilogram's mass to be assessed using constant natural forces. The Kilogram is the last of the seven international metric units not to be measured this way. In a paper presented to the Royal Society conference in London today scientists will call for the mass of a Kilogram to be calculated as either the amount of atoms of a particular element that weigh a kilogram or in terms of the electromagnetic force it takes to balance it against the Earth's gravity.

So a more accurate Kilogram.

Which is just as well because the other piece of news today concerns the GM potato which can grow naturally as a vaccine for Hepatitus B. This first edible vaccine which can survive digestion could help vaccinate millions of children in third world countries against a disease that kills aproximately one million worldwide every year.

In the future the dreaded nervous queue of children to visit the school nurse to be skewered by a jab the size of knitting needle could instead be a race for a portion of French Fries.

Apparently Bananas and Tomatoes are also appropriate fruit and veg for this technology.The research was carried out by the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York and the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research in Ithaca, New York.

So good news all around. In the future you won't be short changed on your kilo of vaccinated potatoes.

Now that really is progress.


Kilogram

Potatoes

[edit on 15-2-2005 by John bull 1]

[edit on 15-2-2005 by John bull 1]




posted on Feb, 15 2005 @ 10:01 AM
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wow edible vaccines, now that's innovation
It would probably be more cost efficient to produce and so much easier to administer.



posted on Feb, 15 2005 @ 10:32 AM
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Very amusing.
...Yet disconcerting. I already don't trust these guys - or vaccines. Now they're gonna drug our food?

Yipes, I say.



posted on Feb, 15 2005 @ 11:05 AM
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Very inspiring JB!


Originally posted by John bull 1
Unfortunately, there is one small problem. In all this time the cleaning process is making the prototype kilogram lighter. Yes, it's true you are getting less fruit and veg now than your great grandparents were. Those of us who remember that chocolate bars were a lot bigger when we were younger have been suspecting something like this for many years now.


So true.
And if I may apply a similar conundrum to another scientific measurement upon which we set standards and refine our manufacture of the world around us... that being public opinion.

Yes, contrary to public opinion about public opinion, it's measurement is indeed a science, but not without the same flaw of degradation over time as the anecdote of the kilogram prototype.

Not trying to digress JB, just extrapolate the significance here to our daily lives of building on arbitrary measure.

Q: How can a restaurant's burger (for example) be half as good as what they served you 10 years ago (which we all know it is), yet according to public opinion... be as good or better?

A: The dismissal of statistically insignificant differences over time.

Every year's new prototype (faster, cheaper, etc.) tested within acceptable standards of deviation to the previous years? Why then 10 years later does the latest innovation not sell, or make people sick? After all, they prefered it to last years?

That's just a meaningless little example of the failed root of consumerism (consumer opinion itself) purposefully related to JB's point of the ever shrinking chocolate bar, which holds true across. But to understand further how we apply these flawed prototypes to literally every aspect of "modern" life... well, look at us. Just look at us.

From living longer while being less healthy to even the leaders we choose and the reasons we choose them... Bah, it's difficult to avoid a partisan point here.

Let's rip something from the current headlines then. How far have we degraded from the "scientific" prototypes or even best-intentioned Platonic abstract ideals defining our existence when a White House Press Secretary must struggle with "What is a journalist?"

How low can the bar go? Seriously how low?

We've made great strides. No doubt about it. As JB said the progress of science is a marvelous thing. If only man could keep up. I actually envy ancient man that knew relatively little but earnestly sought real knowledge. Real truth. He could only dream of a world with today's scientific understanding. Compared to him, how can I not pity modern man that knows much, but dreams to deny it all?

[edit on 15-2-2005 by RANT]



posted on Feb, 15 2005 @ 11:21 AM
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Originally posted by RANT

We've made great strides. No doubt about it. As JB said the progress of science is a marvelous thing. If only man could keep up. I actually envy ancient man that knew relatively little but earnestly sought real knowledge. Real truth. He could only dream of a world with today's scientific understanding. Compared to him, how can I not pity modern man that knows much, but dreams to deny it all?





Fine post RANT (and JB too of course).

But IMO - ancient man likely was not less knowledgeable than modern man. The thing about human knowledge is that it is acquired - nothing much is hard wired; it's not communicable in any infectious sort of way; can't be transmitted by osmosis or telepathy; needs work, every time. Education starts over from the beginning with each individual. Think Sisyphus.

There is a reason public education systems have been controlled and now are being dismantled. Same reason controls are being prescribed and planned for the Internet...


.



posted on Feb, 15 2005 @ 11:40 AM
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I quite like the idea of them keeping it in a safe.

In the UK we have an imperial measurement called a Stone.

Which stone and where is it now ?

What about a foot ?

Who's foot and did they amputate it after the guys death so that they could calibrate their rulers afterwards ?



posted on Feb, 15 2005 @ 11:45 AM
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Originally posted by soficrow
But IMO - ancient man likely was not less knowledgeable than modern man. The thing about human knowledge is that it is acquired - nothing much is hard wired; it's not communicable in any infectious sort of way; can't be transmitted by osmosis or telepathy; needs work, every time. Education starts over from the beginning with each individual. Think Sisyphus.


Excellent point. I agree, and also agree with the point on education.


Part of the problem you illuminate then is the modern emphasis on efficiencies of specialization. There's in fact a discouragement of "renaissance men" for the supposed betterment of society as a whole. Which further contributes to an adversarial and departmentalized society.

Are you with the geologists or against them? Can't believe the authorites of spirituality and science! It's not allowed.

Well since when and why the hell not?



posted on Feb, 15 2005 @ 11:48 AM
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Originally posted by John bull 1
I quite like the idea of them keeping it in a safe.


Yeah.
Me too.


What about a foot ?

Who's foot and did they amputate it after the guys death so that they could calibrate their rulers afterwards ?


I've heard this. Wasn't it a specific Kings? I know there's one who's arm's length made a yard. According to legend anyway.



posted on Feb, 15 2005 @ 11:59 AM
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Originally posted by RANT

Part of the problem you illuminate then is the modern emphasis on efficiencies of specialization. There's in fact a discouragement of "renaissance men" for the supposed betterment of society as a whole. Which further contributes to an adversarial and departmentalized society.




...and isolation of one group from another because everyone speaks a different "language." The 'renaissance man' translates, builds bridges and heals rifts: not on the agenda.





Can't believe the authorites of spirituality and science! It's not allowed.

Well since when and why the hell not?



Again, unifying theories, impacts, unwanted.



Depressed yet?




posted on Feb, 15 2005 @ 12:30 PM
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This first edible vaccine


Not sure if that's accurate since I just took an edible Typhoid vaccine a couple weeks ago. It was a booster for my previous 3 year Typhoid vaccine and this one which came in 4 pills is good for 7 years! I was pretty impressed, I hate needles!

-raven



posted on Feb, 15 2005 @ 12:34 PM
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First edible vaccine that is digestable.



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