Never mind the logic here

About GM crops:

Nor have they so far shown much sign of feeding the world. Contrary to widespread belief, they do not generally increase crop yields, and may actually cut them. And because the world\’s poorest farmers – who make up most of the world\’s underfed – cannot afford to buy them, they tend to get driven the wall, so that hunger is increased not reduced.

Err, if they don\’t increase yields then why would farmers who don\’t use them get driven to the wall? Indeed, if they cut them then those who don\’t use them would profit from those who do.

That argument simply doesn\’t make sense.

12 comments on “Never mind the logic here

  1. Your RSS feed is bad. Since most of your posts start with a quote from somebody else, and for some reason you truncate the entries in your feed, your RSS feed consists of small snippets of somebody else’s text. All the formatting is removed, so the quotes look like your own content.

  2. Since you post so many blog entries it quickly gets too much trouble to have to open every single one in a separate browser window when reading via an RSS reader. Just sayin.

  3. But if the whole article is available in the RSS reader, readers never have to open the article in a browser meaning the Javascript code that is used to calculate number of visitors is not executed leading to under reporting of the number of visitors.

  4. Let me get this right.

    Only rich farmers can afford to grow GM food. So rich farmers spend extra money on GM seeds to grow fewer crops.

    This makes poor farmers go bankrupt.

  5. “But if the whole article is available in the RSS reader…”

    Yes, there is the ‘downside’ that Tim would save on bandwidth, while sacrificing interesting graphs for increased readership of his posts.

    Anyway, arent there ways to obtain or estimate readership stats from RSS feeds too?

  6. In theory you can look at server logs, in practice most analytics solutions now days involves execution of JavaScript. Increased readership may not be a bloggers sole motivator. They may want to be able to sell advertising space etc and if there is no metric on how popular a post is, then this is going to be an issue. I agree with you from the readers point of view; eg someone like Devils Kitchen rarely benefits from my reading his posts because I do it within the reader so my visit doesn’t count. From the bloggers point of view though, it makes more sense to do what Tim does. And seeing as bloggers provide free content for me to enjoy, I think it fair enough that they at least get to insist (if they want) that I do actually visit the site so that they can collect the readership stats.

  7. “I think it fair enough that they at least get to insist (if they want) that I do actually visit the site so that they can collect the readership stats.”

    It all depends if people write in order to be read or not. If they want others to read their words they will lower the barriers. If they want to ogle a graph of readers…

    So I agree that Tim is entirely at liberty to cause potential readers to not bother. 🙂

    Anyway I may be hallucinating but the RSS feed seems to have improved since my initial whinge. Looking back at the feed, some older posts are truncated and without formatting, but the new ones seem to be in full, and include formatting.

  8. The main GM crop used so far is maize, which has been genetically modified to be resistant to glyphosphate herbicides. So a farmer can spray his crop using cheap glyphosphate to kill weeds rather than expensive specific herbicides. So the increase is in profit, not yield. Thats why its popular – easier to establish and maintain, therefore more profitable.

  9. GM = bad
    Vaccination = bad
    Global warming = bad
    Alcohol = bad
    Immigration = bad
    Job creation = good
    Green = good
    Organic = good

    Simple stuff really, don’t know why you keep getting it wrong?

  10. “It all depends if people write in order to be read or not.”

    On that basis surely any author ought to write for free so that the cost of their writings can be reduced making their writings more widely read. In fact most authors are prepared to put up with fewer people buying their writings as a trade off to making some money. A person may write for a variety of reasons after all, some of those reasons in conflict with others – trade offs will be made.

    For someone who wants to monetise their blog, it is probably worth losing some potential readers as the trade off for being able to demonstrate to advertisers that theirs is a widely read blog. Ie its better to be able to prove that you have 1000 readers than to not be able to prove you have 1500.

    Don’t get me wrong, I really like the blogs that put the whole article in the RSS reader, and certainly read more of the articles in such blogs (Tim’s aside of course). But I can see the sense in NOT making the whole article available.

  11. The yield effect observed in some GM crops is in many cases due to the original germoplasm selected for modification being lower yielding. The yield effect is not due to modification with a particular GM trait (i.e. addition of most commercial GM traits does not effect yield, although of course that depends on the particular trait).

    For example, if you compare crops with the same genetic background, one having the insect resistant BT trait and the other not, then in a situation without applied insecticides the BT trait crop yields higher.

    The confusion comes when BT (or other GM crops) are compared to conventional crops from higher yielding strains with applied insecticides. Each GM trait must be evaluated seperately, taking into account the original yield potential.

    Making blanket statements like “GM crops reduce yield” is pretty stupid but par for the course in this particular area.

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