Prologue + Little
Lab of Horrors
Somewhere That's Green
Miss Guan ("Audrey") - farm girl
Mister Lao ("Seymour") - day-worker plowing with an ox
CEO Kong ("Mushnik") - farm owner
Inspector Yao ("Orin") - district inspector from government
Mo evil seed - GMO rice seeds
"Greek Chorus" - rice planters
Lao is plowing the earth of the rice terrace with a water buffalo attached to a plough.
On the dirt road that passes right next to the field, Inspector Yao rides with his Toyota Land Cruiser pickup truck.
inspector Yao stops next to Lao and shouts to Lao through the window
Hey Lao! I see you're still stuck with your stupid buffalo.
Why don't you progress to a tractor like the rest of the world?
Well inspector Yao, buffaloes give us milk and meat, they graze the weeds and their dung is a fertilizer and fuel. what use is the machine compared to all these?
Inspector Yao [steps out of the car] :
you're stuck in this village and you're stuck in world views from the middle ages. speaking of feudalism, where is your boss Kong?
Mister Lao [takes a break from his work with the buffalo and gets out of the muddy water]
Manager Kong is out for the day. Would you like to leave a message?
Tell him I brought "golden rice" seedlings for him.
Inspector Yao [stands with his hands on his hips and surveying the field] :
soon you will be breaking your back planting seedlings by hand... you know, a smart person would get a rice transplanter, but i see now that you're as dumb as that buffalo.
You love your technology so much, why don't you marry it?
Better watch your mouth Lao! i will marry that sexy piece of ass Guan that you're in love with, while you will marry your buffalo. Where is that stupid bitch anyway?
Mister Lao [annoyed stepping towards Yao] :
Don't you speak of Guan that way!
Inspector Yao [stepping towards Lao]:
or what? what you're gonna do farm boy?
The forceful and violent will not die from natural causes.
Inspector Yao [grabs Lao by the collar] :
Is this supposed to be a threat?
Mister Lao [keeps his cool in stoic martial arts fashion] :
No, it's a reminder to myself... say, you have all this energy to attack me, why don't you attack the real enemy here?
What enemy? we're the only people around here!
Our enemy is not a person, it's a thing. It's right there wrapped into coils on plastic trays in the back of your pickup truck.
Inspector Yao [releasing Lao and laughing] :
Ha ha... So stupid... You're actually afraid of a little seedling?
I'm afraid of something much smaller: one modified gene inside that seedling.
Well you're a big coward, i'll give you that. Do you even know what golden rice is?
I do, it's like a gold mine that gives money to the big companies and give cancer to the little people.
typical hillbilly! don't you realize that GMO's in general and "golden rice" in particular helps the little people - it's the only way to feed the growing population and without "golden rice" people suffer from blindness?
golden rice is a hoax. if people have a lack of vitamin A, this causes blindness. but there are other ways to get this vitamin A, for example: liver, eggs, butter and cheese from animals, and like orange colored vegetables such as sweet potato carrots and pumpkin, and like dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli kale and spinach. there is no need for the unnatural insertion of genes from daffodil flowers and soil bacteria into natural rice!
do you know why these huge companies want to sell you this modified rice?
because it's a humanitarian project and they care about the nutrition of the children?
Eh'nt - wrong! it's because they want to make money profits from patents. the patents law work in such a way that these companies contaminate our good natural rice dna with their bad modified rice dna, and after that our rice which grew here for free for thousands of years now belong to them! there was a famous case with the farmer Percy Schmeiser in Canada and the Monsanto company. he didn't even buy their modified corn, but his neighbor did, and the wind has blown a little amount of modified seeds into Percy's field, and from now on Monsanto claimed that all of Percy's seeds are the Monsanto company's intellectual property!
it's the same with golden rice: after approvals are given on humanitarian guise the Syngenta company can commercialize whenever they please, and take everything from us! remember what happened in Sparta - the Trojan horse?
We should be like the Trojan priest Laocoon who said: "I fear the Greeks, even when they bring gifts", because like the original Trojan horse this is a "gift" that will kill us all!
These is just are just the opinions of primitive people that are afraid of science and progress! don't you know that in the U.S.A. and Canada 90% of the crops are GMO? soy beans, canola, corn, cotton...
There are a few brave and independent scientists like Dr. Vandana Shiva who say this, but most of the scientists are either afraid to lose their jobs or worst, or they are corrupt and play the "game" while they enjoy the money and the power that they get from these very rich companies - the GMO companies. these companies have more money then countries and they control the countries and not the other way around.
As for the 90% of the food in north America is GMO - you are right and it's exactly because in the U.S.A. and Canada the governments are corrupted and serve the interest of the global corporations instead of the little people. the regulation authorities like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or in short FDA, is run by corrupt people that after they finished their modest paying job in the government (a.k.a. the public sector), go straight ahead to the powerful corporations (a.k.a. the private sector) and get a job that gets them tons of money. it's their prize for helping the corporations do all their evil deeds.
it's like you have a bank robbery, and the robbers are locked inside with the hostages, and then the police comes. and then you expect the the police will stop the robbers, but instead what happens is that the police cooperate with the robbers and help them to escape from the law in a helicopter and as a reward for the corrupt police the robbers and the police split the money from the robbery!
So it's all a huge conspiracy? all the companies in the world pay to all the governments in the world, to frighten all the scientists in the world, to shut up about the huge dangers in GMO?
You know i always knew you're an idiot but now you're a psycho too - believing in conspiracy theories. you probably also believe that aliens from outer space come and contact you, so i will stay out of your imaginary world, say hi to the aliens from me.
[Inspector Yao gets to the car, turns around and drives away]
Mister Lao [saying quietly]
Miss Guan [coming smiling from the patch of forest where she was hiding unbeknownst to Lao and Yao]
Mister Lao [now smiling too] :
Oh hi Guan! I didn't see you there.
I know silly, I was hiding. I went this morning to pick mushrooms in the forest and then i heard your argument, and i eavesdropped. by the way, thanks for standing up for me!
Mister Lao [with a frown] :
How can you be dating this asshole?
I don't know, I sometimes ask myself the very same thing... Can I ask you something?
You're a martial artist, you know kung fu and all, so when he grabbed you by the collar like that, I mean... Why don't you kick his ass?
My sifu once said half jokingly - that if an enemy is stupid enough to grab you by the clothes, then it's probably pointless to fight him.
Miss Guan [smiling] :
Your sifu sounds like a smart man.
yes, but I sometimes ask myself the very same thing...
[they both laugh]
Miss Guan [now serious] :
Did you meant what you said about GMO? I mean that being a huge conspiracy and all?
Yes, I know it sounds crazy, but if you got a moment to spare, I'll gladly explain and it will all make sense.
Miss Guan [sitting down on a rock and smiling] :
OK, start talking!
Mister Lao [smiling] :
OK. have you ever heard of the Pusztai affair?
Miss Guan [trying to remember and then gives up]
No... what kind of name is that?
Arpad Pusztai, it's a Hungarian name. they don't do many things, but each time they do something it shakes the world:
Leo Szilard is the father of the atom bomb. Edward Teller the father of the hydrogen bomb. John von Neumann the last great mathematician. Paul Erdos maybe the most prolific mathematician. you get the idea.
yeah, smart guys... so how did this Pusztai guy shake the world?
well that's the funny thing, the world should have been shaken by what Pusztai discovered, but it wasn't. a hidden hand is holding the world in a very firm grip. let me tell you the story in a nutshell.
I'm all ears!
Arpad Pusztai made the first experiment to check whether GMO food is healthy for people or not. before that he was a biochemist and nutritionist. for 36 years he worked in the leading
nutritional research center in Britain. Pusztai was a world expert in his field of study (a kind of plant proteins) and published discoveries books and many papers.
ok ok i get it. he was the perfect man for the job. Hold it!
You keep talking about him in past tense, did the bad guys kill him at the end?
Mister Lao [smiling]:
No. he is still alive. may i please continue the story?
Miss Guan [smiling] :
Mister Lao [smiling]:
thank you. now i don't want to get to the technical side, i just want to tell you the human side...
Miss Guan [offended] :
why? do you think I'm too dumb to understand??
of course not! ok I'll get into the technical stuff too.
Miss Guan [still a little pissed off] :
OK. so Pusztai checked genetically modified (GM) potatoes. these potatoes were injected with a gene from a flower called snowdrop. this flower has a natural protection against insects that want to eat the flower. so the flower has a natural pesticide. this pesticide is hurting the gut of the insect. ok so far?
they take the insect killer from the flower and put it in the potato.
that's right, the companies take the gene that is responsible for producing the insect killer in the flower, and put this gene in the potato.
so how did the good guy Pusztai check whether these potatoes are healthy?
Pusztai took rats and fed them with potatoes. he divided the rats into 3 groups. one group was eating genetically modified potatoes - potatoes with the gene that produce their own chemical pesticide; the second group was the control group that ate natural potatoes. the third group - and here is the clever part - the third group ate natural potatoes with the chemical sprayed on them.
Miss Guan [wondering] :
what's so clever about it?
because let's say he used only 2 groups: GMO and natural. and then the rats ate the genetically modified potatoes and got sick. how can Pusztai know whether they got sick because of the bug killer, or because of other changes that the modified gene caused in the potato?
this is what the 3rd group is for. they eat the chemical but not the gene, so you know if the rats got sick because of the gene or because of the chemical.
Miss Guan [happy] :
I see. I'm starting to like this Pusztai guy.
So after 100 days of experiment, which in an experiment like this is a very short time, Pusztai's team discovered that the rats who ate GMO suffered from intestine damage and immune system damage, they also had smaller sized livers and hearts and brains, which means these didn't develop properly.
oh wow! so the same thing happens to people who eat GMO?
yes and check this out: the TWO other groups in the experiment remained healthy. BOTH the natural potatoes eating group, AND the natural potatoes with insect killer sprayed on them. they remained healthy. only the GMO group got sick.
wow this is like a clear cut proof that GMO's are bad. how come this experiment didn't become famous?
So just like you did, Pusztai understood what his team discovered, and felt he must warn the public. So he didn't wait for years until the research is over and meanwhile people will die, he told about all this on TV in a 150 seconds long interview on the television program "World in Action".
Here is what Pusztai said:
"We’re assured that this is absolutely safe, We can eat it all the time. We must eat it all the time. There is no conceivable harm, which can come to us. But as a scientist looking at it, actively
working in the field, I find that it’s very, very unfair to use our fellow citizens as guinea pigs. We have to find guinea-pigs in the laboratory."
"If I had the choice, I would certainly not eat it till I
see at least comparable experimental evidence which we are producing for our genetically modified potatoes."
Oh my, now i totally like him! "If I had the choice I would certainly not eat it" ... "I find it's very unfair to use our fellow citizens as guinea pigs"... why aren't all scientists like him?
Wait you'll be shocked to hear what happened next...you'll get your answer.
Miss Guan [punching Lao in the shoulder and smiling] :
Quit teasing me....tell me already!
Mister Lao [smiling and rubbing his aching shoulder] :
OK OK... So for two days he was a hero. Pusztai's manager and Pusztai's research institute publicly praised him. but then the bad guys at Monsanto heard from all this and understood that this can stop or at least delay their whole GMO food business. so they called Bill Clinton who was then the President of the United States and told him this Pusztai must be stopped. The U.S. President called the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom who was back then Tony Blair. The Prime Minister's office made 2 phone calls to Pusztai's research institute.
Pusztai was fired from work, he was silenced with the threat of a law suit and threatened with losing his pension which they can do. His wife, Susan Bardocz, who also worked at the same research institute for 13 years, was eventually fired too. Their research was locked up.
Miss Guan [with tears in her eyes] :
What a bunch of fuckers! His only crime was to speak out, in his words, according to his conscience...
Mister Lao [putting his hand around her shoulder comforting her] :
I know. Maybe we should stop here? i don't want to sadden you.
Miss Guan [wiping her eyes with her wrist] :
no i'm ok, please continue.
Mister Lao :
Pusztai's boss and his research institute started spreading lies about how he did a bad job, he got this and that wrong, you name it. in addition they threatened everyone who work there not to talk about what happened, they took his team and put them in other teams. they rewrote what happened it's like George Orwell's book "Nineteen Eighty-Four" where they manipulation of recorded history. Of course when asked about it both Pusztai's boss and his research deny that there was any phone calls or any political or industrial pressure, but we know the truth from witnesses.
The media who at the beginning celebrated Pusztai and did it's job to watch the public now watched their commercial interest instead:
The Times said "Scientist’s potato alert was false". The Mail wrote: "Got it Wrong". The Guardian wrote: "In one of the most embarrassing admissions by a scientific institution in years, his superiors announced that the biologist – a world authority in his field – had been talking about the wrong potatoes".
Scientists and politicians alike vilified Pusztai.
Miss Guan :
What happened to Pusztai?
Mister Lao :
Pusztai had two heart attacks and the saga has left him and his wife, Susan, needing permanent medication for high blood pressure.
the Pusztai affair happened in 1998 and since then all the scientists in the world are either bought or afraid. But I'll tell you a quote that Pusztai said, that will cheer you up a little. he reminds me of you.
Miss Guan [leaning her head on Lao's shoulder] :
I can definitly use a cheer up.
Mister Lao :
"They picked the wrong guy - I will kick the bucket before I give up"
Miss Guan [laughing quietly into Lao's shirt] :
I like him very much.
Mister Lao :
So now do you see what I meant when I said it's a conspiracy? We are used to think about the word conspiracy in the context of "conspiracy theory" like crazy people who believe NASA never landed on the moon and it was filmed in Hollywood. But this here is not a false conspiracy, it's the biggest conspiracy of all.
Have you seen the movie Idiocracy?
Miss Guan :
Yes I loved it! [imitating Frito] "I like money"!
Mister Lao [chuckles]:
So remember the part when the narrator says:
"Water, the basic component of all life...
had been deemed a threat to Brawndo's profit margin.
The solution came during the budget crisis of 2330...
when the Brawndo Corporation simply bought the F.D.A...
and the F.C.C... enabling them to say, do and sell...
anything they wanted." ?
Miss Guan :
Sure, when the whole food pyramid fills with Brawndo logo.
Mister Lao :
Exactly, so it's already like that in real life.
The "food czar" of America from 2010 to 2016, which is the FDA's boss when it comes to food, was Michael Taylor. In the movie "The World According to Monsanto" they explain the "revolving door" he worked in the FDA, then he worked in Monsanto, then he worked in the FDA again. They don't need to buy the building, they buy everyone inside the building, or at least the decision makers.
Miss Guan :
And look at President Donald Trump. Idiocracy isn't the future. It's right now.
Lao and Guan together (in desperation) :
HOW MUCH WORSE CAN IT BE?
[Guan gently puts her head back on Lao's shoulder, and Lao gently rests his head on Guan's head.
They both fall asleep and dream and the lights go dark. This is the end of part two of the musical]
Son Be a Geneticist
(a dream within a dream)
Miss Guan ("Audrey") - paramedic
Mister Lao ("Seymour") - medical resident (intern)
Chief Physician Kong ("Mushnik") - head of the hospital ward
Doctor Yao ("Orin") - megalomaniac attending physician
Mo epidemic ("Audrey II") - flasks with deadly pathogen.
"Greek Chorus": nurses.
I want us to use our brains, i can feel my brain cells dying. Ever since Chief Physician Kong put us in a quarantine because of the CoronaVirus. everyday we're binge-watching series and movies. I feel like I'm turning into a zombie.
me too, but what can we do? it's been a week of quarantine now and we have one week to go. none of this would have happened if the senior staff, like your boyfriend Doctor Yao, would share the burden in this public hospital. but instead all the work every night is left to us, while the senior go and make money in their private clinics.
i wanted to e-mail to Chief Physician Kong about it but Yao said i'm a stupid bitch and that he will not help me if Chief Kong will fire me. Now we might have CoronaVirus because the hospital is short on staff at night. So they forced us to work shifts in infected wards which we're not equipped to do, and now we're here.
I know what we can do, after each binge we can discuss it. like what we did in class in school in literature lessons.
Miss Guan (smiling) :
Lao you're an uber-nerd. you know that don't you?
Mister Lao (smiling) :
I'll take it as a "yes". ok so who starts?
ladies first! so the latest one we binge-watched together was Star Trek Piccard.
Mister Lao (frown) :
Miss Guan (surprised) :
what do you mean "oh that..."? i thought it was very nice. it had all the characters from Star Trek The Next Generation, and Seven of Nine which I really like.
Mister Lao :
it was very nice on the surface of things, it had all the external appearance of the previous shows, but it is missing the essential element that was the heart of all the Star Trek series up until today.
Miss Guan :
You mean that it doesn't want to be science fiction anymore with Picard saying he "never really cared for science fiction", and the plot has minimum strange alien creatures and spaceship fights action and maximum philosophy and drama?
Mister Lao :
I haven't thought of that... you're right. No, I mean something more fundamental.
Miss Guan :
You mean that the purity is gone? the fact that the federation is not the idealistic and optimistic anymore, all because of a terror attack? the language that the head of Star Fleet tells admiral Picard: "at long last, shut the fuck up!", the fact someone murders and then forgiven as if nothing happened?
Mister Lao :
You're getting warmer... but it goes beyond their values, i'm talking about the whole message of the show. i'll tell you what bothers me. Star Trek was always the show that had the balls to say "technology is not the solution. technology is the problem". Picard breaks this principle.
Miss Guan :
are you kidding me? Star Trek always had TONS of technology. people always laugh at their technobabble and call it treknobabble: "It appears to be a multi-phasic temporal convergence in the space-time continuum."
Mister Lao (laughing) :
I know... but that's not what i mean. Think about all their previous series, who were the worst bad guys?
Miss Guan :
let me think... The Original Series - strange alien enemies, The Next Generation - the Borg cybernetic organisms linked in a hive mind, Deep Space Nine - Vorta genetically engineered clones, Voyager - again the borg collective, Enterprise - Cabal Suliban with genetic engineering enhancements, Discovery - sentient AI called Control...
yes... i see your point now, everybody except Captain Kirk fought evil technology.
Mister Lao :
Captain Kirk too. think back - who was Kirk's arch-nemesis , the one he hated the most? one word will come to your mind...
Miss Guan and Mister Lao [looking at each other and then shouting together ] :
[ they both laugh ]
Miss Guan :
You're right Khan Noonien Singh was a genetically engineered superhuman!
Mister Lao :
Right! The Eugenics Wars which were between natural humans and genetically engineered super-humans.
Now what happened for the first time ever in Star Trek Picard?
The artificial intelligence robots are the poor victim of unfair xenophobia from narrow minded humans, and in the end the AI and the humans are best friends forever and even merge! The creator of Star Trek - Gene Roddenberry - must be turning in his grave.
Miss Guan :
Wow that was really interesting, i never thought i would enjoy analyzing a TV show like this. hold on - i'm getting a super nerdy idea - tell me what's your opinion.
Mister Lao :
I agree let's do it!
Miss Guan [chuckles] :
Wait until I'll tell you what my idea is! ok... i suggest the next show we binge-watch we'll pick a show about an important issue from real life, i mean a documentary, and we will make a debate! of course it needs be a controversial issue, so we can each choose one side and raise convincing arguments.
Mister Lao :
Sounds cool! what issue do you feel like debating about?
Miss Guan [smiling] :
Well with all this KHAAAAAN and all, let's pick genetic engineering as our topic. I'll be for and you'll be against. deal?
Mister Lao [smiling] :
deal! so let's watch together the best documentary show about it, and write notes to ourselves during the show on paper, and then let's each take one hour to prepare our arguments, and then we do the debate.
Miss Guan [searching on the internet] :
Sounds good to me! here there's a 4 part documentary in Netflix called "Unnatural Selection". bingers let's get binging!
oh oh oh wait! i would like to suggest an improvement. your boyfriend doctor Yao is a geneticist. and he's working with CRISPR Cas and drive genes. so he can represent the pro-GMO and i'll represent the anti-GMO, and you will be the judge between us.
that's a great idea in theory but you know Yao despises you and is disrespectful towards me, so he wouldn't want to play with us.
i know, but we can only talk to him on video chat like Skype anyway, because of this quarantine. so all we need is for him to state his arguments that support the GMO, so he will give them one after the other a few minutes, and we'll record what he says.
then after we finish the conversation with him, we can play his arguments from the recording, one at a time, giving me the ability to rebuttal what he said and giving you the ability to sit and judge between us.
this solves the part of him not wanting to talk with us for an hour, but how do we solve the part of him not wanting to talk to me for a minute, and him not wanting to talk to you for a second?
we'll use his vanity against him. we'll pretend to be interviewing him from a prestigious scientific magazine and ask him as an expert in this field to give us 10 arguments in favor of this technology, and we'll offer to publish his name as an expert for the public to see.
but he knows our voices, he'll never fall into believing one of us is a reporter from some newspaper. and if we use a vocoder like a translator or something it's an automated robotic voice, and he'll get suspicious.
so it won't be us and not a computer. we'll use someone else's voice. someone that you pay to say whatever you ask for. i know - we'll contact a paid erotic private chat girl.
Miss Guan [laughing] :
are you nuts? those girls that strip on the webcam and talk dirty for money? mmmmmmmmm... ok that solves the unfamiliar voice alright! but this raises new problems: number one, chat girls don't call you, you call the chat girls. how do you get Yao to call a chat girl, and how do you make him believe she's a news reporter? number two, will she know what to say to Yao? and number three, how will we record this conversation that we're not even a part of?
Mister Lao [thinking for a moment] :
we WILL be a part of the conversation, only Yao will not know about it. we'll tape the microphone of the computer to the speaker of the phone, and we'll tape the speaker of the computer to the microphone of the phone. so that Yao thinks that the girl is speaking with him on the phone. and if put our ear next to it we hear as well, and we can record the conversation using the computer or the phone.
the first thing that we do is start a video and audio chat with the girl and explain to her our situation, and we give her a little detail on doctor Yao and on herself as a reporter like give her a fake name and title so she sounds more reliable. as long as she gets paid for her time she doesn't care what you ask her to say.
then you will call Yao on Skype and say that a reporter called the hospital, and the hospital operator tried to transfer the call to him but there was a technical problem, so they transfered the call to your mobile phone.
and you will stress the fact that the reporter needs just 5 minutes, and the reporter already wasted a lot of time on this, and you're afraid that if we hang the line she'll simply skip to the next geneticist on her list.
Miss Guan [laughing] :
and since it's a video chat we can also write to her what to ask and signal her on the camera... this might just work! when i said i wanted to use our brain i didn't take into account your criminal mind. ha ha i'm kidding i know it's for a good cause. ok so let's go!
[ after eavesdropping on Yao and the webcam model, and a few hours of binge-watching the show ]
Miss Guan [announcing dramatically] :
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, times up!
Mister Lao [smiling] :
OK OK... i'm putting my pen down. but before we begin, i tried to analyze whether or not our discussion is practical. in mean if we humanity decided to stop CRISPR Cas and Gene Drives - can we do it or is it too late? In other words: "is the genie already out of the bottle?".
you succeeded in making me curious... give it to me!
ever since Josiah Zayner sells CRISPR kits for $400, the physical hardware is available for anybody. he also made the basic knowledge available in Youtube - Bioengineering 101.
the question now remains can we keep secret this "recipe" of how to make a biological weapon? if it's just a file that anyone can download on the dark-net, can we stop this information from falling into the wrong hands?
this is the question, but how can you say anything intelligent about a future event?
a-ha! but it's not really the future. we have an analogue today where the bad guys try to reach information and use it to kill innocent lives - computer hacking to military information. by the way, Eugene Kaspersky also compared cyber weapons to biological weapons.
do you really think cyber warfare is as dangerous as weapons of mass destruction?
think for example what might happen if a terrorist organization got the launch codes and frequency and encryption of whatever is in the nuclear briefcase that can start World War III: the "Nuclear Football" of the American President, or the Cheget of the Russian President.
you got a point... so you checked if a country can protect itself against hackers?
yes, but i only consider superpowers: USA, China, and Russia. only superpowers are sophisticated enough to protect from hackers.
ok so what's your conclusion? can a superpower protect itself from hackers or not?
it's a little long, so bare with me here. we have 4 levels that we need to check:
can a superpower (USA/China/Russia) defend from another superpower? NO.
USA and Russia hack into each other's electricity power grid, China stole the plans of the F-35 jet fighter from U.S. defense contractors, and built the J-31 and J-20. so we conclude that even a superpower cannot protect its information from another superpower.
can a superpower defend from an ordinary country? YES. if we take Iran and North Korea as examples, they never did serious damage to a superpower (for example SONY movies). so we conclude that a superpower can protect its information from an ordinary country.
can a superpower defend from an organization? YES. organizations like Anonymous can't do any real damage to superpower (only shut down websites). cyber-crime organizations used ransomware against Chinese Public Security Bureau and against Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, but i guess it's because these are not very classified. so we conclude that a superpower can protect its information from an organization.
can a superpower defend from a single person? YES. There are cases of lone hackers like Gary McKinnon and Jonathan James and Ehud Tenenbaum hacking into U.S. military computers from the outside. these benign pranks are done by young or mentally ill people as mischief, with very low total harm, so we conclude that a superpower can protect its information from a single person.
SO THE FINAL CONCLUSION IS THAT IF THE U.S.A. CHINA AND RUSSIA WILL WORK TOGETHER THEY CAN PROTECT US ALL, AND THE WORLD CAN STOP CRISPR CAS GENE DRIVES!
hold your horses! i now agree that it COULD be stopped but you still have to convince me that it SHOULD be stopped.
you're right. so we've got 7 arguments from Yao, from 7 different aspects of the issue. so let's replay them one at a time, and i will rebattle, and you will judge. and at the end you declare your final verdict.
agreed. so let's start with our first subject:
every person has a basic civil liberty to enjoy what science has to offer like improved health.
if you will forbid and criminalize something like this, it will be like the prohibition of alcoholic beverages in the United States when the mafia headed by violent gangsters like Al Capone ruled the streets because people need to drink booze.
it's my turn? ok so I represent the "against CRISPR Cas and Gene Drives" side.
i claim that this is nothing like alcohol. people made beer 13,000 year ago. people only made CRISPR-Cas9 in the last few years. CRISPR is not a basic need. we did very well without it for all of history. what's more, alcohol only destroys one life or one family at a time. as opposed to one CRISPR Cas gene drive, which can destroy the whole world!
i suggest it's more similar to another right, the right to buy guns in the U.S.A. which was born in times and places like The Wild West, and now is completely wrong. every short while you hear of an automatic weapons massacre in the U.S.A. only because it's freely available. Once it's everywhere you can't turn back the wheel. with biological terror we can still stop it from starting!
ok. are you finished?
no, there's more. CRISPR Cas gene drives aren't like a gun. they are like nuclear bombs. they are global killers. today it's bad that a few people in the world have nuclear bombs, but the solution is NOT to hand out nuclear bombs for everybody. it's only a matter of time until one crazy person will kill a whole city. in fact the potential damage of genetic change is much bigger than nuclear bombs, because it replicate itself all over the world. so it's equivalent to a whole out nuclear war that wipes out humanity.
cool. so as the judge, i need to decide between people's natural right for the fruits of modern medicine and people's right to be protected from the danger of global terror.
for the individual that his life is saved by a new medicine he doesn't care about the world but only about himself or herself. but as a judge here i stand for the best interest of humanity as a whole.
i believe that just as the benefit of nuclear power is not worth the constant extinction threat for humanity as a whole, the same goes for a technology, no matter how tempting, that has the potential to cause extinction.
in any decision we decide between pros and cons. in order to do this, if it's a good thing, we must multiply the probability that this thing will happen by the benefit that this thing will bring us. or if it's a bad thing, multiply the probability by the damage.
in our case the damage in this bad thing of global terror is the ultimate damage, so even if the probability that it will happen is very small, we can not take this risk.
the only way to balance such a danger is for example if humanity as a whole was about to go extinct in the near future and this technology is the only way to save us.
so in the subject of individual rights, i rule against CRISPR Cas and Gene Drives.
wow that was awesome!
Miss Guan [smiling bashfully] :
thank you, so we move the our next point:
AGRICULTURE AND FOOD
the world has 8 billion people and with our current technology we can't feed them all. in order to sustain the growing population, we must have a new agricultural revolution, like that of the Green Revolution of the 1950's.
the huge death toll will come not only from the famine itself but also from the wars and political instability. also people from the poor global south will try to immigrate in huge numbers to the rich global north. these poor countries will be a hotbed for crime and terror.
the Earth can not support so many people, not in terms of CO2 emissions which bring climate change and ocean acidification, not in terms of fresh water consumption, not in terms of plastic pollution and so on. the green revolution of the 1950's was what brought us to this problem.
in the 1950's there were 2.5 billion people and now after 70 years there are 7.5 billion people. this situation cannot be allowed to continue. if we grow further we are just like stupid bacteria in a petry dish that multiply and multiply until they fill the plate and they all die. it is not a popular thing to say, but the world's problem today is not the shortage of food, it's the surplus of people. if we put more people on the planet we are just making this worse.
as for the population that is already on the planet, all of us, GMO is a huge food problem, not a solution. here is why:
at one point of the un-natural selection documentary, the woman is worried that they will eat Ramen Noodles. why? because Ramen Noodles contain MSG (Monosodium glutamate) and TBHQ (tert-Butylhydroquinone). This is only one example. today bodies like European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) protect you about what exactly you put in your mouth. But tomorrow when instead of a tomato being a tomato, one tomato inside will contain genes from a shark a mushroom and a butterfly, and the other who knows what, you have no idea what monstrosities you put in your mouth!
ok. so as the judge, this is more tricky because Yao is warning about things that are already happening like wars because of food prices like the war in Syria for example, and Leo talks about future things like when the human kind will exceed the Earth's capacity for the maximum number of people it can support.
but if we consider the problem by the numbers it's clear that Lao is correct and this future comes very quickly and surely. the population curve is an exponential function. let's take Africa. good hearted but short sighted people give them food and vaccines, so each person creates a few more, and each of these creates a few more, and this is exactly an exponential function that shoots right up into the sky.
on the other hand the green revolution with all its fertilizers and pesticides and so on multiplied our food production a few times, let's say doubled it or tripled it. it's clear that a linear function can never grow as fast as an exponential function.
so if humanity wants to survive on Earth we have to deal with the source of the problem and convince people to make less babies. this can be done by a nice way like educating the young girls, or by a less nice ways as punishments for large families or even forced sterilization after one child.
this isn't politicly correct but it is 100% correct. it was said in 1798 by Thomas Robert Malthus who was an inspiration for both Darwin and Wallace, and it is true today. population multiplies geometrically and food arithmetically
on top of this it is not sustainable for the human population to grow any further like Lao explained, we are already over exploiting the planet as it is. we are melting the polar region, this is not just the problem of the polar bear. this will kill all humans. we are cutting down the forests. this is not just the problem of the orangutan. this will kill all humans. we are making our oceans acidic. this is not just the problem of the sea shells. this will kill all humans.
on top of that we have the poisonous food problem that Lao mentioned which is enormous!
we humans tested which plants and which animals are edible since the first caveman picked the wrong berry or the wrong mushroom and died. now we shuffle all the cards genetically. doctors today don't even have a table that says which prescription medicine has a contraindication with which other medicine.
it goes without saying that we don't know how the dozens of chemicals within each plant or animal interact with each other, and now this ignorance goes up a hundred folds when we talk about knowing how every gene in every species interact with every other gene in every other species.
so in the subject of agriculture and food, i rule against CRISPR Cas and Gene Drives.
thank you for backing me!
i'm not backing you, i'm backing common sense. ok so our next subject is:
we are like a little kid that came to the sea shore for the first time, and is afraid to enter the water. how can we ever sail in a ship over the horizon like this? knowledge is a tool just like fire can heat and cook or can burn and destroy. we are at the doorway to a new world of discoveries in biology.
the thing which defines us humans is our natural drive to explore. this is how science advances and progress of science is always a good thing. anyone who is against science is no better than the Catholic Church when they imprisoned Galileo Galilei. had the Catholic Church won, Neil Armstrong would have never made that one small step for man on the moon.
remember the Human Genome Project in 2003 ? this was the first step in this important direction. the whole world helped and cooperated. this now is the next natural step in the same positive direction. let's take this next step for all mankind.
these are nice dreams, but superpowers don't fund technology because they are curious. super powers try to make biological weapons, armies of clones, super human soldiers and the stuff of nightmares. America's race to space started because of the fear of the Soviet Union's Sputnik, and declined constantly since 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed.
another manipulation is that history repeats itself, people are always afraid of new technology, etc. this is not true. in the 19th century science was good - vaccines, electricity. in the 20th century science was a tool for good or bad - chemical, nuclear. in the 21st century science is bad because our technologies now are self replicating and they evolve by themselves and mutate out of our control. see Bill Joy "Why The Future Doesn't Need Us". this article explains several reasons why genetic engineering is more dangerous than weapons of mass destruction. it was true when it published in 2000 and it's all the more true now after CRISPR Cas Gene Drives and CRISPR Cas kits.
most scientists are afraid to lose their jobs because of the huge power of the pesticide and GMO companies: Syngenta, Bayer, Monsanto, Dow Chemical Company, BASF, and Dupont. see for example what happened to the government employed scientists Dr. Shiv Chopra, Dr. Margaret Haydon and Dr. Gerard Lambert in Canada. they worked in Health Canada, which is the health policy department of the Canadian government. these three whistle-blowers testified before the Senate of Canada trying to defend the public's food safety from Monsanto. and this is why Health Canada fired all three of them! Shiv Chopra later wrote the book: "Corrupt to the Core: Memoirs of a Health Canada Whistle-blower".
but still a few brave scientists warn against the dangers in CRISPR: "A prudent path forward for genomic engineering and germline gene modification" signed by 18 scientists and ethicists including Professor Jennifer Doudna the co-inventor of this technology! DOES SHE NOT UNDERSTAND THE TECHNOLOGY?
another example is "Open letter for conservation with a conscience: no place for gene drives" signed by 30 international conservation and environmental leaders including Dr. Jane Goodall, Dr. David Suzuki, Dr. Vandana Shiva. DO THEY NOT UNDERSTAND ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS?
professor Kevin Esvelt who invented CRISPR gene drive, said at first that it can be used to save endangered wildlife from extinction. Esvelt later retracted his support for the idea, except for extremely hazardous populations such as malaria-carrying mosquitoes and isolated islands that would prevent the drive from spreading beyond the target area. DOES HE NOT SUPPORT SCIENCE?
At some point in the documentary Josiah Zayner talks about a company that wanted to send this to Iran. He says there's nothing wrong with it. Wow let me think Iran. Declaring it wants to annihilate Israel every so often. Biological weapons. What could go wrong?
He's very caring but not about cancer patients, he cares about his psychopathic ego. All this rationalization about human side, what about the people on the other side of the rocket which will contain biological weapons in it?
Miss Guan (smiling) :
lucky for you're there is no time limit because it's not a real debate! as the judge i need to choose between the optimistic Doctor Yao who thinks everything will be wonderful, and you Lao who say we need to stop now because we are on the precipice now and our next step will cause us to fall off a cliff. i always think we should err on the side of caution.
everyone who is pushing us to go forward do this out of pure interest whether it's money like the companies or publicity like the scientists. let's take Monsanto for example. they made Agent Orange, they made DDT, the made Bt cotton, they made Roundup, i'm sorry but they're just not very nice people.
superpowers are run by people which are also not very nice. take the U.S.A. for example. they knew what the Japanese did to us in WWII in unit 731 the horrible biological warfare research and still let the go free in return for the information of how to make biological warfare. they threw the only nuclear weapons that were ever thrown, although you can see in "The Untold History of the United States" that it was unnecessary. they murdered their own president JFK. they worked with Nazies like Wernher von Braun for the space race, and for money like IBM. in 2014 they supported Yoshihiro Kawaoka an American Japanese virologist to recreate the Spanish-flu virus that already killed 40 Million People in 1918! that's in spite of the fact that in 1969 their President Nixon announced that the U.S. was unilaterally renouncing its biological warfare program.
so if i need to think what will this combination of not very nice at all people in the Military–industrial complex have in store for us, we must not be naive. we must put a moratorium on GMO in general, CRISPR technology in particular, and most of all on CRISPR Cas Gene Drives.
so in the subject of basic science, i rule against CRISPR Cas and Gene Drives.
thank you! what is our next subject?
if we make this legal and openly we can supervise with regulation, we can impose professional standards.
if we forbid this in the mainstream, people will do this in a dark alley illegally which will lead to deaths because of malpractice and irregular and low quality equipment and personnel.
this is similar to the first subject we discussed, is it a basic need or a basic right? but then we looked from the side of consumer or patient and now from the side of the producer or clinic. but it's still the same logic.
it goes back to the questions whether we could and whether we should stop the CRISPR Cas entirely at least to the public. and from our preliminary question we saw that with the help of the superpower nations we can stop it. and from our subjects until now we saw that we also have to stop it.
a short answer - way to go Lao!
if we were talking about prostitution which is a basic need of people - everybody wants sex and not everybody has a girlfriend, and we don't want want people to rape other people. by the way society's disrespect for prostitutes is very hypocritical because women who marry men for their money or want a rich husband are just the same. if not worse because a prostitute usually has no choice.
so yes we want to legalize it like in the Amsterdam in their red light district "De Wallen" or like in legal brothels in Las Vegas. this way we guard the workers from abuse by pimps and enforce medical checkups for sex transmitted diseases, we make sure they are paid fairly etc.
speaking of Amsterdam, drugs are not a basic need of people, and should be stopped, but currently we are fighting them in an ineffective way. see the war on drugs again by U.S. Predisent Nixon from 1971 and we know that 50 years later, the U.S.A. today has more drugs than ever.
in fact we know that the drug dealers have so much drugs in their stocks that they themselves keep it from the streets because they want to keep the prices high, they control the supply to keep the demand high, what an absurd!
of course the war on drugs should be fought with treating addicts for free and supplying them with free drug substitute which doesn't do the drugs damage, putting a lot of money in education for school children and parents, lots of free rehabilitation centers, death penalty to drug dealers because they are mass murderers and so on.
speaking of drug dealers, what Yao said is the classic excuse of drug dealers and any criminal: "if i won't do it someone else will". we can't accept that our moral code sums up to: let's see who's the worst in the world in every field of life and do what they do. not acceptable. we should punish the bad guys and reward the good guys, and fight to be good.
i'm not naive. i know superpowers will still do research and development in CRISPR. they believe that whoever will hold this will hold the power. they don't understand that you can't hold such technologies. these technologies evolve on their own and mutate out of control and slip out of your hand. but at the very least protect it more than your nuclear bombs, because it's more dangerous.
so to sum it up, CRISPR isn't sex and it's not even drugs. it's far worse. we humanity don't want it to be done right, we don't want it to be done at all. we don't want anyone killing us even if they kill us orderly and professionally. WE CAN AND MUST STOP CRISPR.
so in the subject of professional standards, i rule against CRISPR Cas and Gene Drives.
cool! so what's out next subject?
MEDICINE AND MEDICATIONS
this powerful technology will enable us to cure diseases that we currently can't. we can even prevent diseases before people are born, so they don't suffer. we can protect humanity from infectious diseases that could wipe it out. what if a new disease came and this is our only weapon against it?
we will be able to cure cancer and old age and maybe even give people their ancient dream - eternal life! imagine a world full of bright beautiful and young looking people, who don't suffer from diseases and pain, and live life in perfect health. CRISPR can give us that.
In the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, life expectancy at birth was 26 years. before modern medicine, let's say before 1850 people this average was 30 to 40 years. today it is 71 years. which one of theme do you call natural? would you like to die at a young age?
aren't we happy that Edward Jenner developed the smallpox vaccine? aren't we happy that Louis Pasteur discovered the principles of vaccination and pasteurization, reduced mortality from child-bed fever, and created the first vaccines for rabies and anthrax? aren't we happy that Jonas Salk made the polio vaccine and now children don't have to live in an iron lung?
just like the science of medicine gave us all the vaccines in the past, so today it gives CRISPR which will continue this good trend for humanity.
of course i'm happy too that good people invented vaccines, but has nothing to do with GMO and CRISPR CAS Gene Drives. we already talked about how the 19th century science was good and brought us vaccines and the 21st century is bad and brings us self replicating technologies. these are 2 very different technologies. one effects one person at a time and has no bad uses. the other effects a whole species, and will probably find a way to jump between species like today's viruses do, and also has tons of very bad side effects that we talked about.
lets use the logic of the Latin phrase about identifying crime suspects: "Cui bono?" which means in English "to whom is it a benefit?". let's take for example Jonas Salk. when he was asked "Who owns this patent?", Salk replied, "Well, the people I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?". compare this to all the GMO companies whose sole purpose is to take living things that don't belong to them and patent them, like Monsanto and the farmer Percy Schmeiser case. Bayer, the owner of Monsanto one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.
speaking of Bayer, you don't get this rich by having a conscience and trying to help mankind. during the Holocaust, these people who then were part of a parent company called IG Farben, used slave labor from concentration camps including 30,000 from Auschwitz. one of its subsidiaries supplied the poison gas, Zyklon B, that killed over one million people in gas chambers during the Holocaust in those same concentration camps.
they also purchased humans for dangerous medical testing. speaking of testing on human beings, everything that has to do with CRISPR Cas and especially CRISPR Cas Gene Drives is an experiment on all Earth's inhabitants, because you can stop it from spreading. when you look in Wikipedia in Self-experimentation in medicine, you see the greatest doctors who tried first on themselves: infectious disease (Jesse Lazear: yellow fever, Max von Pettenkofer: cholera), vaccine research and development (Daniel Zagury: AIDS, Tim Friede: Snakebite), cancer (Nicholas Senn, Jean-Louis-Marc Alibert), blood (Karl Landsteiner, William J. Harrington), and pharmacology (Albert Hofmann, and many many others)
i demand that if these companies' owners and CEO's and chief scientists have such a confidence in their products safety, then first let us put them on a deserted island for a year, and let them and their close families be injected with EXACTLY the stuff they want to sell to us. if nothing happens to them and the environment, then i can believe them and relax. remember that video where President Barack Obama pretended to drink Flint water, but the glass of water remained completely full? they should take a dose of their own medicine.
so in conclusion, even if the scientists are naive and want to help society, it's these companies who control both them and the politicians. the companies want only to make money. that's the theory of capitalism. this is why the world looks like it does. i'll give simple examples from other companies that cause human extinction:
if Coca Cola would switch from plastic bottles back to glass bottles; if beef will be heavily taxed so that a burger cost will reflect it's real price for our priceless jungles; the same goes for oil and gasoline and natural gas, these companies externalize the costs to the planet and cause extinction. if the real cost to society was internalized, no one would buy burgers or polluting cars. and if everybody will buy health food then its price would drop. if everybody will buy electric cars and charge them from solar then these technologies will become advanced and cheap. no need for sophisticated high tech solutions. no need for goodwill of the public. all we need to save the Earth are leaders with conscience. that's it.
by the way most of our dangerous epidemics came from eating animals. if we all go vegan with the help of responsible adults as world leaders instead of what we have now, then most of our diseases like: avian influenza (bird flu), Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease), swine influenza, corona-virus that came from someone eating a bat, and so on. being vegan is almost as tasty and a lot more healthy then eating meat, you can see in that movie "The Game Changers" from 2018.
these pharma companies don't want to cure our cancer. if someone did invent a cure for cancer they would go out of business. by the way in the documentary "The Idiot Cycle" from 2009, you understand the connection between the chemical and GMO companies causing us cancer by pollution etc and they also develop cancer treatments and drugs. they benefit both when making us sick and when "helping" us. this has to stop.
in the documentary "NOVA: Cuba's Cancer Hope", you see that because of the silly embargo, the U.S.A. does not control the medicine in Cuba. so the Cubans invented their own lung cancer vaccine that can help jump-start the body's immune response to cancer. and now some U.S. patients are even defying their country's trade embargo to travel to Cuba for treatment. if someone would invent something like this in the U.S.A., the pharma companies, which are the biotech companies, the same companies we talk about all the time, would choke this research by using their funding or pressuring the institute who made it, and we wouldn't know about it. another way to prevent cancer is by balanced organic food, but the drug companies and even the medical faculties don't teach this, because this will hurt their real business - making money.
the last thing i wish to explain is that CRISPR Cas Gene Drives has a very good chance of creating new diseases of its own, some of them in a whole different league compared to today's worst diseases. i'll give two examples that i can think of, but nature has a much wilder imagination. the first example is a super virus. think of the HIV or AIDS virus, which changes itself. this is called a retro virus and because of that we can't cure it. but now give it the ability not only to change his own RNA but our DNA as well through CRISPR Cas. we can't even begin to imagine what such a virus can do to the body, but it's not good.
the second example is generation skipping sterility. as we know when you breed a horse and a donkey you get a mule which is sterile. what if the Crispr Cas shuffled our genes so we're sterile but this disease was not seen until the next generation? many hereditary diseases skip a generation. so what if it was something very very serious like sterility that skipped? normally such a thing will pass on slowly in the population but with a Crispr Cas Gene Drive we can all get infected and by the time we find out, it will be too late!
Lao! i thought you got my hint to keep it short! are you trying to tire your judge to death?
but you're absolutely right. i will not repeat what you said, but i totally agree and i'll just add the bigger picture.
doctor Yao is again promising fantasies, but he doesn't call the shots. in his specific case, thank God for that, because he's an evil geneticist who just manipulates us to promote his technology. but even if a good hearted scientist would come, who really wants to help humanity, he or she doesn't call the shots. the ones who call the shots are the big companies, which means the richest people in the world and they have other plans.
the richest people don't like the poor people and don't care for them. throughout history they used them as production workers and soldiers. but now more and more they have robots to do these roles, so very soon the richest people will no longer need the poor. you have to be super naive to think they would try to prolong the lives of the vast majority of the population which are the poor, especially now that they outstripped the planet and there's shortage in resources food, water, air etc.
another factor to think about and is not politically correct but is correct, is that it's not a good thing to give people very long or eternal life, because they will not let go of power. think about Stalin in the Soviet Union, would you like him to live forever? most countries are not democracies where there is a limit of how long one person can rule. the first ones who will get eternal lives are the most powerful ones, and they will never let go.
and finally two small points that i noted for myself, the first has to do with statistics:
the average length of lifespan that Doctor Yao told us about is a mean. what would happen is a lot of the babies would die, but once someone survived he could have lived until an old age like us. so for most of history a woman would give birth like 10 times, and only 2 or 3 of the babies will survive to adulthood. this also made the healthiest survive and this was normal.
the mean number is also effected by wars for example, the soldiers that fight are young, so you get the false impression that everybody die young, but without the war they could have reached old age. so don't imagine anceint society as if there were no old people.
the other thing i wanted to say is similar to what you said that sometimes our biggest problems can be solved with simple solutions. i'm talking about the Hungarian physician and scientist Ignaz Semmelweis who was called the "saviour of mothers". Semmelweis proposed the practice of washing hands with chlorinated lime solutions in 1847. with this genius but simple idea he succeeded in bringing the rate of deaths of mothers from 30% down to less than 1%.
so in the subject of medicine and medications, i rule against CRISPR Cas and Gene Drives.
sorry! i'll try to keep it short next time.
Miss Guan [smiling] :
you'd better! or i will rule that Doctor Yao is the winner! ha ha just kidding! ok our next subject is:
with this technology humanity can solve problems that it created like climate change.
for example with global warming, we can stop the upcoming danger of invasive species that take over because of the weather changes. like mosquitos carrying tropical disease into cool places where they never reaced in the past.
we already talked about humanity can reverse climate change much more simply, by financial incentives, by internalizing the real cost to the environment into the product. if the plastic for the bottle will cause Coca Cola to pay a lot more taxes, they will use glass and recycle, and so on. with internalized pricing cars will use solar electricity instead of gasoline etc.
so now we'll talk about the importance of balance in an ecological system. a good metaphore is if someone builds a house of cards and we pull out one card and the whole thing collaspes. we know from fossils that mosquitos evolved 46 million years ago. since our species separated from chimpanzees 4 to 7 million years ago, i think it's fair to say that the planet's ecosystem depend on mosquitos more than on humans. so i wouldn't just pull that card out of the house of cards and throw it away.
you can read in Wikipedia in "Mosquito control" there are ways to fight mosquitos with genetics:
* introducing large numbers of sterile males.
* uses a strain that is genetically modified to require the antibiotic tetracycline to develop beyond the larval stage.
* other genetic methods including cytoplasmic incompatibility, chromosomal translocations, sex distortion and gene replacement.
* a gene drive method eradicated small populations of Anopheles gambiae.
* genetic modifications resulting in the OX513A variant to reduce reproduction.
* a fungus with a gene from a spider was inserted into the fungus causing it to produce a neurotoxin.
* "specicide" of thirty mosquito species by introducing a genetic element which can insert itself into another crucial gene, to create recessive "knockout genes".
but in the same article in Wikipedia there are twice as many ways to fight the mosquitos without genetics:
* dry out standing water sources
* releasing a lot of sterilized by radiation insects into the wild
* biocontrol with fish that eat larvae, dragonfly and lizards and other predators
* dead spores of the soil bacterium that interrupt larvae
* fungi that can kill adult mosquitoes
* larva trap where they suffocate
* adult mosquito trap where they dehydrate
* thin layer of oil on top of the water
* contact poisons
* growth regulators
* surface films
* stomach poisons, poisons like DDT, and if they are immune to DDT then malathion, propoxur or lindane. of course all of the poisons very bad to other species and to people too.
* dismantling a protein associated with eggshell organization, factor EOF1.
anyway what i did was to invent a new way to fight the diseases that mosquitos spread...
Miss Guan [amazed] :
come again?!? you invented a system of your own - what a wowzer! how does it work?
Mister Lao [blushing] :
ummm... thank you!!! it works in an original way... have you noticed how all these solutions are deadly in one way or another to the mosquito? so my solution is based on keeping the mosquito alive and well, and only killing the disease pathogens inside it.
if you think about it, when you damage the mosquito in anyway, you work against evolution, because any mosquito that survives will carry the genes that allows it to not be killed by you, for example fear of traps and so on.
but if you think about it more, our problem is not with the mosquitos, they are annoying, but what we really want to fight are almost always viruses:
yellow fever virus, dengue fever virus, Zika virus, Japanese encephalitis virus, West Nile virus and so on.
the only exception is Malaria which is a single-celled microorganism of the Plasmodium group.
so what we want to do is to catch the mosquito, reward it by a drop of food or blood so it comes again next time, and in this machine that catches it we do one of 2 things, or both:
method #1 - dialysis filtering that cleans the mosquito's "blood" (hemolymph) from pathogens.
method #2 - cleaning of the mosquito's saliva and proboscis (straw) with high energy beam.
the way that a mosquito transmit the disease is by biting a sick person and then biting a healthy person. so if the mosquito will be cleaned between this points in time, the disease will not spread. so we want the mosquito to visit the cleaning machine as frequently as possible. that's why we never harm the mosquito and we always give it a reward in the machine. we will not have less mosquito bites which is the annoying part, but they will no longer spread disease which is the critical part.
insects have a heart and it pumps a fluid that has the same job as blood in us, it's called hemolymph
"How is bug blood different from our own?" by Rob DeSalle in Scientific American March 19, 2001
so the machine will tempt the mosquito with a drop of food or blood. we can also attract the mosquito with the smell of CO2 or warmth or whatever attracts the mosquito, but it's important also to reward it so it comes back often.
once the mosquito is inside the machine, we radiate the area of its head with x-ray or electron beam. this messes up the DNA of the virus so it's no longer functional.
the other thing we do is equivalent to what we do with a person kidney failure which is dialysis.
the different components of the mosquito's "blood" (hemolymph) have different sizes but they are all fixed and known to us. let's say for example that it has 6 materials:
(1) water (smallest molecule here - just oxygen and two hydrogens)
(2) inorganic salts (a little bigger like Sodium chloride our table salt)
(3) lipids (bigger contain some "head" and then chains of carbon and hydrogens)
(4) proteins (usually a lot bigger and more complex)
(5) yellow fever virus (virus are made from proteins and other building blocks so they're bigger)
then you have things which are a lot bigger like
(6) Hemocyte (invertebrate immune system cell)
so what we need is a series of chambers. between the chambers we pass the liquid through a semi-permable membrane but with each chamber that we proceed, the holes in the membrane are smaller.
so the first chamber catches the biggest component, and let the others go through. then the next chamber catches the second biggest and so on. if it's better we can use centrifuges for the same thing, and this will order the components by weight.
once we have all the components seperated we destroy the virus for example with a blast of high energy radiation. then we combine the components back together and inject it back to the insect's body.
passive saliva sterilizer (using electricity from solar power and battery)
we need a tiny amount of nuclear waste, like the types used in medicine which are gamma ray emitters
nuclear waste doesn't cost anything, the problem is the opposite - what to do with it.
since we are talking about tiny amounts there is no risk of someone collecting the bags and building a dirty bomb.
now we need a canister like a "tin can", but made of lead. that's because lead blocks radiation and we want the genitals of the mosquitos not be radiated, only their mouth, because if we radiate the mosquitos reproductive system it can't reproduce.
the top of the canister we close with a lidwhich is also made of lead, it's like the lid of a cooking pot, but made of lead, and matches the size of our canister.
we also drill small holes into the canister, two holes close to the top so that we can tie a string, so that we can hang the canister from a branch of a tree, so that ants can't reach it, but flying mosquitos can.
we tie the tiny amount of radioactive material to the lid from the inside, for example inside a small platic bag, that is tied with a little string to the lid. we drill a small hole in the lid for this.
so now we drill tiny holes all around, close to the bottom of the canister. the holes should be small enough so that when we pour water with sugar into the canister the water doesn't drip, but big enough so that a mosquito can put it's "drinking straw" and suck sugary water.
when the mosquito puts its "drinking straw" into the tiny hole, his mouth is exposed to radiation that cleans his saliva from viruses, because the gamma rays mutates the virus and the virus is too simple to have correction mechanisms, unlike a cell.
every once in a while the people take it down, open the lid, pour some more syrup which is just sugar and water boiled together, into this feeding and sterilization station.
the tiny amount of exposure, very little material over a short time, doesn't do any damage to a creature the size of a human.
active saliva sterilizer (using electricity from solar power and battery)
we do something similar but without radioactive material, instead we make X-rays using electricity.
we make x-rays using a "Crookes tube" this is how Wilhelm Rontgen discovered them in 1895
but the idea is the same we use lead to stop the x-rays from harming the mosquito's reproductive system, and the short blast of x-rays sterilizes only the mosquito's mouth.
Miss Guan [laughing] :
i'm sorry, i just can't stop thinking of Spider-Man that got his abilities after a bite from a radioactive spider!
Mister Lao [laughing] :
i created a monster - mosquito man! i guess "with great power there must also come great responsibility"!
[they both laugh]
you always have good ideas...
so what about the other method? the dialysis of the mosquito's "blood"? that one sounds more complicated, is it possible?
i think it's possible. we have the technique of Microdialysis, for example for brain tissue.
and Japanese scientists already used it on Tobacco cutworm which is a moth.
Yuji Ikemoto, Satoru Kawaii & Junya Mizutani (1993)
Microdialysis for the Analysis of Insect Haemolymph,
Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry,
57:3, 402-404, DOI:10.1271/bbb.57.402
and here is another study that used it on Blattella germanica which is a cockroach.
A microdialysis study of allatostatin degradation in Blattella germanica (L.) (Dictyoptera, Blattellidae)
Enrique Peralta, Lluisa Vilaplana, Nuria Pascual, Cristina Carreno, Maria‐Dolors Piulachs, David Andreu, Xavier Belles.
Physiological Entomology (2000) 25, 254-259 doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-3032.2000.00189.x
they even have a photo of the cockroach with the microdialysis.
so i'm pretty sure we can do it with a mosquito.
we don't have time to pump out all the fluids from one mosquito, and then clean them properly, and then pump them back into the mosquito.
so what we should do is sacrifice the first mosquito which dies but buys us time.
we take the fluids from the first mosquito, and then clean them properly and store them. then when the second mosquio comes, we have a clean "blood donation" waiting for him, and the secon mosquito's blood will be used for the third mosquito and so on.
if the volumes of the mosquito's fluids is too small for doing such processes like filtering through membranes or seperating with centrifuges, the machine can dilute it with distilled water after we pump the fluid out of the mosquito, and filter out that same volume of water before we pump the fluid back into the next mosquito.
how do we pin down the insect without hurting it so we can later relese it unharmed?
for this we can use the centrifugal force that water in a bucket experience when you swing thee bucket around and the water is "glued" to the bucket and don't spill like they would normally do.
the machine will have a small "room" with an open door. the machine puts a small drop of syrup as "bait" to come in. when the insect is inside the door closes. the insect finishes drinking the syrup. then the whole room has a very strong gravity so the insect can't fly and is flat on the floor of the "room". in reality what happens is that the tiny "room" is installed on a rotating arm, and after the door closed and the insect finished drinking, the rotating arm started to rotate the room faster and faster . but the insect only feels strong gravity that "glues" him to the floor without causing him any harm.
inside the room on the ceiling of the room, there is a tiny camera, so that the computer can see where the insect is. the floor of the room has tiny holes drilled into it in regular intervals. imagine a chessboard where in every corner of every square there is a tiny hole.
from the other side of the floor, i mean below the floor and outside of the room, we install a small robotic needle which we inject into the insect through one of the tiny holes, using the camera above the insect, which tells the computer which hole to pick. like a 3D-printer where the nozzle moves along the x and y axis until it reaches the exact point and then it injects the plastic resin, but here we don't have a nozzle, instead we have a needle.
a more sophisticated design would have higher resolution "chessboard" and two needles, one that can pump out the dirty liquid from one end of the insect, and another that at the same time pumps in the clean liquid into the other end of the insect. this better design is also healthier for the insect.
at the end of the process we pull the needles out of the insect, we slow down the rotation gradually, and we open the door so it can fly free. and we put a drop of syrup for the next insect to come.
Miss Guan [laughing again] :
i'm sorry, now i just can't stop thinking about "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom", it's like you combined the "Bug Tunnel" and the "Death Trap" with the spikes!
Mister Lao [laughing] :
"There are two dead people down here!"
"There are gonna be two dead people in here! Hurry!"
[they both laugh]
but seriously now, i really think it can save many lives. can someone produce it in a reasonable enough price so that the rich global north will buy many of these machines for the poor global south. and with the climate change this blow will hit rich countries too.
thank you!!! i also hope it works and that it will be put into good use, but i'm getting back now to where we started, as the saying goes, we shouldn't use "a sledgehammer to crack a nut". if i can invent 2 methods to solve this, then scientists can use these methods or find better methods, and solve this without genetics.
agreed! as the judge i just want to add a few last points.
lately i've been reading a biography of Elon Musk, that's called: "Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future".
oh Elon Musk, i'm a huge fan of his!
me too! did you know that before he started building his own space rockets, he had another idea to inspire humanity to go into space, and that idea was to grow a plant on Mars?
no, i didn't... but it sounds cool!
wait. [Guan takes a book out of her bag and leafs through it]
here i'll read to you the parts i marked for myself, it starts on page 113:
But, as the discussion wore on, a consensus started to build around pursuing a different project—something called “Mars Oasis.” Under this plan, Musk would buy a rocket and use it to shoot what amounted to a robotic greenhouse to Mars. A group of researchers had already been working on a space-ready growth chamber for plants. The idea was to modify their structure, so that it could open up briefly and suck in some of the Martian regolith, or soil, and then use it to grow a plant, which would in turn produce the first oxygen on Mars. Much to Musk’s liking, this new plan seemed both ostentatious and feasible.
Musk wanted the structure to have a window and a way to send a video feedback to Earth, so that people could watch the plant grow. The group also talked about sending out kits to students around the country who would grow their own plants simultaneously and take notice, for example, that the Martian plant could grow twice as high as its Earth-bound counterpart in the same amount of time. “This concept had been floating around in various forms for a while,” said Dave Bearden, a space industry veteran who attended the meetings. “It would be, yes, there is life on Mars, and we put it there. The hope was that it might turn on a light for thousands of kids that this place is not that hostile. Then they might start thinking, Maybe we should go there.”
sounds super cool!
i know, but wait. here comes the not so cool part. i'm skipping to the not so cool part:
Then there were the immense engineering challenges that would need solving. “To have a big window on this thing was a real thermal problem,” Bearden said. “You could not keep the container warm enough to keep anything alive.” Scooping Martian soil into the structure seemed not only hard to do physically but also like a flat-out bad idea since the regolith would be toxic. For a while, the scientists debated growing the plant in a nutrient-rich gel instead, but that felt like cheating and like it might undermine the whole point of the endeavor. Even the optimistic moments were awash in unknowns. One scientist found some very resilient mustard seeds and thought they could possibly survive a treated version of the Martian soil. “There was a pretty big downside if the plant didn’t survive,” Bearden said. “You have this dead garden on Mars that ends up giving off the opposite of the intended effect.”
Miss Guan [closes the book]
by the way Musk was not afraid of all this, project didn't start from another reason, and that was that the russians didn't want to sell him rockets. and they were the only ones he had affordable rockets. then on the plane home Musk made some calculations and figured out he can build rockets himself, so he found another way to inspire people to go to Mars, and so SpaceX was born. but do you see what i mean?
that with all the experts we don't even have enough understanding in biology to grow one plant if the conditions are a little different?
exactly! we humans talk a lot but when it was time to put our money where our mouth is, when we needed to bet that our knowledge will work we got cold feet. why? because deep down we know that we don't know. these are such complex systems.
here is an example:
it was only a few years ago in 2015, that american scientists discovered that dust from the Saharan desert in Africa fertilizes the rain forest in the Amazon Basin in South America. so if we know so little, how dare we bet in the "Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives"? which is the name of the anti-GMO book and documentary by Jeffrey M. Smith.
here another example:
it was only a few years back in 1988, when Edward I. Newman from the University of Bristol in his article
Mycorrhizal Links Between Plants: Their Functioning and Ecological Significance
Advances in Ecological Research
Volume 18, 1988, Pages 243-270
discovered the WOOD wide web! the way trees are speaking with each other, trade food, make friends, warn from danger and much more. all this is done by a network of fungi that grows between in and between the roots of different trees.
watch this beautiful short video by the BBC on Youtube:
How trees secretly talk to each other - BBC News
and the documentaries: Intelligent Trees, and What Trees Talk About.
before this recent discovery, the fungi was considered only a parasite. what if we decided to kill all fungi?
tribal shamans in the Amazon rainforest have accumulated through the generations encyclopedic knowledge about medicinal plants, they respect the forest and protect it. we in turn must protect them and the forest, if not for morality and justice, then because each plant species could bring us medicines and cures that are unknown to us. natural and safe and proved medicines and cures.
the tribal Maori people in the documentary "Unnatural Selection" show a lot of wisdom too. they didn't learn it in fancy universities but from their ancestors by experiencing and feeling nature. when they talk about Whakapapa, they demonstrate an intuitive understand for how interconnected nature is.
so scientists, first prove your understanding by creating an ecosystem for Mars. terraform Mars so it's inhabitable by humans. only then risk collapsing Earth's ecosystem.
systems with so many parts are too complex even for modern science to calculate. it's like the butterfly effect. it's like non-linear equations. we can't predict what will happen.
this is not only about morality and being humble. When you take away the rats for example, their natural enemies die (snakes, bird of prey, cats), then if something like a rat comes back, we are defenseless. Each part of an ecological system is connected to another. For example, if you take out krill, the fish die, then everything that eats fish including us die.
but CRISPR is a lot more dangerous because it's an unstoppable engine of random changes. It makes an unexpected change and then another completely different unexpected change, and again and again, it's like rolling the dice or spinning the roulette endless times, and when you "win" you die. In Russian roulette you have just one spin, but what would happen if you have endless spins? How long until the round enters the chamber?
so in the subject of invasive species, i rule against CRISPR Cas and Gene Drives.
ok so our last subject is
we must give the CRISPR Cas technology to everyone, we do this by selling cheap CRISPR Cas kits that even the poor can afford. so the poor can make their own CRISPR Cas medicines and enhancements.
if we don't, the gap between rich and poor will grow and grow.
the rich will be able to afford to cure the rich kids genetic diseases and buy genetic enhancements so they and their future offsprings are born more intellegent and more beautiful and more healthy etc.
the poor will stay as they are today, so while the rich will become super human the poor will be far behind. there will be a master race and a slave race literaly.
it's similar to what the old New Zealand called: "false urgency" and "false lack of options".
what we have here is called "false dilemma". Doctor Yao tries to convince us that there are only 2 options: either everybody has CRISPR Cas - or - only the rich people have CRISPR Cas. but this is not true. he "forgot" the third option: that nobody will have CRISPR Cas.
remember we talked about it as a preliminary question, can the world (the superpowers) really stop the CRISPR Cas or is all this just an academic debate with philosophic value only. we compared bio-weapons to cyber-weapons and arrived at a very practical conclusion, that the world actually can stop CRISPR Cas!
after we established that indeed we could stop CRISPR Cas, then we did all this debate on whether we should stop CRISPR Cas. and since we arrived at the conclusion that we definitly should stop CRISPR Cas, this is our third option: nobody will have CRISPR Cas.
this is our best option. in this option, there are no masters and no slaves, just human beings.
i agree with you Lao. as the judge, i'll elaborate on just one point which i think is the most important of all:
in the documentary Josiah Zayner said: "how do we help it so that everybody can get these edits? What are we left with? We're left with a lot of athletic, attractive, healthy people? Whoo, that's gonna be a terrible world."
people like to hear that, because it's not fun to hear pesimistic people describing dystopia; it's much more fun to hear optimistic people describing utopia. but we don't have that luxury. we have to analyze rationally not emotionally and come to the inevitable conclusion that Josiah Zayner is telling us a lie.
let's think about arms races that we know. in geopolitics: is the nuclear arms races between superpowers leading to a good thing? of course not. it would be much better to agree between us not to race, i will have less bombs, you will have less bombs. better for everybody.
in nature let's take the Peacock tail. male peacocks made an evolutionary arms race with each other to impress the females, and now their tails are so long they can't fly and can't escape predators. is this leading to a good thing? of course not. it would be much better for the birds to agree between them not to race, i will have a shorter tail, you would have a shorter tail. better for everybody.
let's take human females with silicone breast implants. with bigger and bigger boobs. is this leading to a good thing? of course not. it would be much better if they could agree...
the last example also demonstrates that humans don't choose to make themselves better, like have more compassionate and tolerant character, be more altruistic and kind etc. humans choose to make themselves higher in their stupid hierarchy even by cheating. so if they will all become more intelligent, it will not be a better world. we will trade a dog eat dog world with a superdog eat superdog world. they want to beat each other. they want a situation of i win and you lose. this is called win-lose in game theory,
all the situations we mentioned are described by a simple game called "the prisoner dillema". two people who can't trust each other, if they cooperated they will have WIN-WIN, but they are afraid that the other side will betray them which is LOSE-WIN, so they are betraying the other side first, hoping to beat him WIN-LOSE, but since they both betray each other, the total result is LOSE LOSE.
what if we could cooperate about CRISPR? all we have to do for this is understand the simple fact that a LOSE-WIN (the other side beat us) is just as bad as LOSE-LOSE. because it's not like the case where they nuked us and they continue to live normally. and it's not like the case where they impressed their mate with their big tail or tits and passed their genes and our genes died with us.
it's a DIFFERENT case because if the secrets of how to make bio-weapons are out in the open, in a short time someone will develop them further and kill everyone. like the bad guy said in the movie Leon the professional: "EVERYONE!!!!"
i repeat - this time WIN-WIN is the only good result. WIN-LOSE is a bad result. why? because if we beat the other country, it's just a matter of a short time, before this CRISPR will come back to hount us. this technology has a "will" of its own. you can NOT control this technology. guaranteed 100%. with genetic engineering WIN-LOSE = LOSE-WIN = LOSE-LOSE. period.
so in the subject of economic inequality, i rule against CRISPR Cas and Gene Drives.
so as the judge i will now announce my final verdict - Lao is the winner! CRISPR Cas is bad and Gene Drive is bad!!!
thank you!!! may i finish with one last "speech" about a small issue, a quote of one of the greatest people ever - Charles Darwin - which this documentary took completely out of context?
Miss Guan [smiling] :
sure. this is your prize as the winner!
Mister Lao [smiling] :
that's the prize? i was hoping for something more... like... a hug!
[Guan gets up and comes and sits next to Lao, and she gives him a big hug and a kiss on the chick]
Mister Lao [smiling from ear to ear] :
wow! it pays to be a winner!
Miss Guan [smiling] :
it pays to be a good person. at least when you're dealing with good people.
Mister Lao [blushing and Guan gets it and smiles] :
so the out of context quote is
"if our poor and our sick suffer not because of nature, but because of our institutions, great is our sin."
first of all, the original quote from Darwin's "The Voyage of the Beagle" goes like this:
It is often attempted to palliate slavery by comparing the state of slaves with our poorer countrymen : if the misery of our poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin ; but how this bears on slavery, I cannot see ; as well might the use of the thumb-screw be defended in one land, by showing that men in another land suffered from some dreadful disease.
Darwin doesn't mention sick people. But if only this was the problem; Oh no, Zayner as master of manipulation really works his twisted talent in ripping this quote out of context and forcing it to serve Zayner's dark purpose:
Darwin saw cruel atrocities done to the black slaves in Brazil. Darwin was rightfully appalled. The slaves’ owner said that the poor people in England suffer just as much. In essence the slave owners accuse Darwin of being a hypocrite.
Is Darwin a hypocrite?
On the personal level Darwin is not hypocrite because his grandfathers Erasmus Darwin and Josiah Wedgwood were both prominent abolitionists.
Also here is a passage from THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF CHARLES DARWIN page 51:
By the way, a negro lived in Edinburgh, who had travelled with Waterton and gained his livelihood by stuffing birds, which he did excellently; he gave me lessons for payment, and I used often to sit with him, for he was a very pleasant and intelligent man.
Is Darwin a hypocrite on the national level?
By the time Darwin came back there was no more official slavery in the British Empire. But Darwin is not denying that there is injustice towards the poor. There was a big division between employers and workers, between rich and poor. Darwin asks himself who's fault is it? Is it the nature of the poor themselves (are they stupid and lazy by nature for example)? Or is it the fault of the financial institutions of the rich people, that keep the poor poor forever? Darwin does not give an answer, but he is not running away from responsibility. Darwin says that is the current situation is not the fault of the poor but the fault of the rich, then great is our sin.
Then Darwin explains that if this is indeed the case (class struggle in England) this doesn't justify slavery.
First of all because it's very different by degree:
In slavery there is corporal punishment and sexual abuse and the slave is practically the property of the master to the point that the master can torture him or her to death. The slave owner can and does separate families and sell them to the highest bidder etc. No one can do this to the poor people in England.
and second of all because it's not the same type of problem:
The British Empire made a lot of money from African slaves (e.g. Jamaica) and Britain itself stopped it. The hierarchy between people (which exists also in animals) is a lot harder to solve if at all possible. There is a clear distinction between the two problems. One is about people from the same country who are protected by law, and have the right to choose to quit and go work somewhere else. The other is about kidnapping people from another country by force beating them and treating them as objects (selling, abusing, killing).
In summary: One bad thing cannot justify another one, and especially a moderately bad thing cannot justify an extremely bad thing.
Now back to Zayner. What is the situation in our case?
The poor does not suffer by the institutions, the FDA and so on (if they are doing their job) are trying to prevent a disaster brought by Zayner and his friends to all people: poor and rich. In fact, it makes sense that if anyone can escape the disasters caused by no edible food etc., brought by Zayner, then it would be the rich. If or more accurately when Zayner's irresponsibility would bring a global illness, again the rich stand a better chance of surviving. Zayner is playing the card of "we the little people" against "the big bad government" triggering the historical American fear from "Big Brother" but in fact the greatest risk comes from the likes of Zayner happily supplying fanatic terrorists or corrupt businessmen with toolkits of doom.
So for those who have just tuned in:
In Darwin's case the institutions were bad; in Zayner's case the institutions are good. WE NEED A LOT MORE REGULATION.
In Darwin's case the sin was class hierarchy (a natural if unfortunate phenomenon); in Zayner's case the so called "sin" is NOT using CRISPR (CRISPR is totally unnatural and very dangerous).
In Darwin's case he cares about other people and blames himself; in Zayner's case he cares about himself and falsely blames other people.
In Zayner's mind he is Robin Hood. Taking from the rich, giving to the poor. In my mind Zayner is the apprentice in The Sorcerer's Apprentice. But in the real world, there is no way to breaks the spell, for example Zayner cannot undo an epidemic. Let us all listen to Goethe's poem: only a master should invoke powerful spirits. CRISPR is a super powerful spirit, and scientists today are a far cry from being masters at genetics.
you're 100 percent right, and this was just an example of one of the biggest difficulties we face: how easy it is for the bad guys to drop a lie, and how hard the good guys have to work just to find out and prove the truth.
take the average person on the street: the bad guys give him a short and catchy explanation that he "gets". the good guys give a long and elaborate explanation because real science is hard. the average person doesn't get it (in the best case) or suspects it's a lie because it doesn't make sense to him (in the worst case).
how can this person vote later for the right leader to do the right thing?
Lao and Guan together (in desperation) :
HOW MUCH WORSE CAN IT BE?
[Guan gently puts her head back on Lao's shoulder, and Lao gently rests his head on Guan's head.
They both fall asleep and dream and the lights go dark. This is the end of part three of the musical]
(a dream within a dream within a dream within a dream)
Guanyin invites the immortals for a meeting on top of the most beautiful mountain in China - Huangshan (The Yellow Mountain).
Guanyin - the Chinese Goddess of Mercy
Laozi - founder of Taoism philosophy
Confucius - founder of Confucianism philosophy
Yaoguai - strange demon monster
Mogwai - the Chinese devil monster
Chang'e - Chinese goddess of the Moon
Feng Po Po - Chinese goddess of the wind
Leizi - Chinese Goddess of Lightning
Laozi good friend! thank you for coming! let me pour you some tea.
Laozi [receives the cup from Guanyin and nods in thanks] :
thank you for having me Guanyin! i like your taste in meeting spots.
well you know, you Taoists have your four sacred mountains, we Buddhists have our four sacred mountains, that's why i wanted us all to meet here on common ground. i wish it was under happier circumstances.
it's feels so empty though without people.
so even you with your "death is as natural as day turning into night" philosophy feel sadness?
of course i do. don't you feel sad despite of your "cycles of rebirth" philosophy?
yes of course. Buddha tells me to stop clinging because it only leads to suffering. but i can't.
yes me too. Zhuangzi tells me to take it easy because maybe life is a delusion. but i can't.
what do you miss most about them?
it's the little things. i liked their imagination like science fiction. i liked their humor like comedies.
ooh! did you ever get to watch TV science fiction sitcom Red Dwarf?
yes i love it! which episode is your favorite?
Guanyin [smiles] :
that's a no brainer - Dimension Jump - Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast.
Laozi [laughs] :
What a guy!
[they both laugh]
what's your favorite episode of Red Dwarf?
Back To Reality. it also very relevant to what happened to humanity.
what do you mean? the Despair Squid?
mmm... you're right now i remember:
"Its defense mechanism is a curious one. It secretes a venom, a poison, possibly even a hallucinogenic, which disfunctions its prey by inducing despair. That's why the crew members, and even that fish, committed suicide."
exactly! and the similarities run even deeper than that. remember what created the Despair Squid in the first place?
you're right, it was sped-up evolution!
right! that brilliant dialogue at the end of the episode sums it up:
"LISTER: Those planet engineers really screwed up in a big way here, didn't they? Playing god. The evolutionary process threw up a life force so much stronger and more deadly than any other species -- damn near wiped out everything on the entire planet. Spreading despair and destruction wherever it stuck its ugly mush.
KRYTEN: Hmm, that sounds rather reminiscent of a species sitting not a million miles away from me now. Ha ha ha! (He laughs alone.)
KRYTEN: You probably have to be a mechanoid to fully appreciate that one."
i get your drift. humans themselves unbalanced the planet.
pretty much. but it's not humans per se. it was their desire for progress and their disrespect for nature.
[ they see Confucius walking towards them ]
and here comes the guilty party now.
hey! that's no way to greet a fellow immortal... it's been what? 2,500 years?
don't pay attention to Laozi, he's just grief-stricken. here Confucius, have some tea.
Confucius [receives the cup from Guanyin thankfully] :
thank you, Guanyin.
let me remind you that i'm not the bad guy here. the bad guys are Mogwai and Yaoguai.
if you hadn't drive people to such a frantic rat race then none of this would have happened.
you know poeple killed each other pretty efficiently back in the day too. and also in the "Warring States" period, people used the latest technology - back then it was iron and cavalry - to kill each other. this time it was just the same.
it was not the same at all. back then even in the worst case if the strong country killed the entire weak country, still the human kind survived and repopulated. who would repopulate now?
and as for technology - if you saw that new technology is always used by people to make weapons and fight wars, why did you encourage all this learning and production, isn't it obvious what it will bring?
so you're against all technology?
yes i'm against all technology. humans survived 300,000 years without technology. genetic engineering came in the seventies and now after 50 years all humans are gone! and it's all your teachings' fault!
gentlemen! please. we're here to drink tea in memory of humanity, not to fight between ourselves... i'm sure we can discuss things in a civilized manner. Laozi, you were saying that technologies are inherently bad?
i'm saying when you go against nature, bad things are sure to follow. if only people would practice "wu wei" which means don't work so much. don't produce so much. don't consume so much. don't do actions that go against the harmony of things.
you mean you would advice humanity to be and a do-nothing idler? what would they reach with that?
what do they have to reach? in the Zhuangzi book in the chapter "Heaven and Earth", there's an old man who refuses to use a machine to irrigate his field with water.
he understands that the machine can save him a lot of work, but he says the machine goes against the principles of the Dao. he's not looking to work less, he's willing to work more, in return for peace of mind. this was in our time: 2,500 years ago!
so according to you people in the 21st century should have lived like the Amish, without electricity, telephones, and automobiles?
i'm saying that if everyone lived like the Amish, first of all they would all be alive now instead of dead; there would be less people because we wouldn't have the "Third Agricultural Revolution"; there will not be climate change with a runaway global warming that would have killed everybody; and telephones didn't improve mankind's survival chances. in fact, when the telegraph was invented people thought that now there will no longer be wars, because people will know what happens in far away places, and this will put an end to misunderstandings. as we know everyone ignore what they want and intepret things the way they want. so the telegraph didn't really help mankind and neither did the telephone.
so what are your ambitions as a species? your plans? or you don't have any? you just want to live in the forest like a hunter gatherer. like an animal. wasting your time without achieving anything.
2,500 years should have put things in perspective for you - like they said in "The Fifth Element" - time is not important, only life is important ! the worst thing is to self-destruct the way humanity did. its technology skills grew much faster then its moral and maturity as a species. a "primitive" tribe has much more maturity then humanity as a whole. they treat the Earth as their mother and not as some commercial resource. an average shaman in the jungle knows more medicinal herbs and has more survival knowledge than any modern person. you may say they are animals, but i say modern people are animals, and not the best kind. in terms of thinking about the future the tribes are sustainable and use only what they need, and think a few generatios ahead. as opposed to modern CEO which is the dream of every modern man, who sees only the next quarter's profits and is willing to burn the whole world for that. since we couldn't make humanity more mature and more moral faster, then i say we should have slowed down to a halt the technology.
even the Amish use modern medicine. no one wants to die.
modern technology was what killed people, not the lack of it! doesn't it strike you as strange that the doctors didn't push preventive medicine, like eating vegan and fresh organic fruits and vegetabls, and instead pumped more and more drugs to the people? each drug causing more and more "side effects" providing income to more doctors? it's like what happened with "The Lightbulb Conspiracy". really curing everybody would have been bad for business.
i've had enough of your nonsense. i'm leaving. thanks for the tea Guanyin!
Confucius, wait. it's true that Laozi's manners could use some polishing. but he's making a lot of sense. we should empty our cup.
i'm sorry but the ravings of luddites are not my cup of tea. it's been a pleasure as always Guanyin, take care!
sorry about that.
"luddite" is not an insult. it's those guys who broke "Jacquard machines". these machines are not just any machines. these were mechanical looms that you could program using punched cards. these machines gave inspiration to the first computer that was ever designed - but that was never built in practice - Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine. looking back we know that a computer is the first step towards Artificial Intelligence (AI) which is mankind's most dangerous invention. the luddites didn't know what the future held in store, but they felt this machines are ominous. so when Confucius calls me a luddite, i wear this title on my sleeve with pride.
Laozi, your fears about technology turned out to be true in retrospect, but it's not fair to judge things in hindsight. after the race is over everybody knows which horse to bet on. if you were a young person living in the 21st century, after humanity already fell into these traps, what would you have done differently?
first of all it's not true that wise people couldn't predict dangers. in August 14, 1912 which is more then 100 years ago, a newspaper in New Zealand predicted the Earth's temperature would rise because of 7 billion tons of carbon dioxide produced by coal consumption.
by the way in 1863 also in New Zealand, Samuel Butler published his article called "Darwin among the Machines" which predicted that machines, which means the computers will develop intelligence and a will of their own and they will become a danger to humanity.
i guess they were doing something right in that beautiful country. so every time before a disaster actually came, a handful of smart people try to warn mankind; but mankind never listens!
but suppose i woke up in the 21st century and find myself trapped inside a hole. the Law of holes states that "if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging". so my advice would have been to just drop whatever you're doing and bury all your work and never touch it again.
don't you think that's a little extreme? maybe humanity should have found a "Middle Way" maybe humanity should have explored these technologies but more carefully?
this implies that humans are able to know how to be careful. this implies that they understand self replicating technology, which grows in exponential functions. have you seen the documentary "Two Raging Grannies" from 2013? in the most important scene they visited Prof. Albert Allen Bartlett in his home. Bartlett made it his life mission to explain that: "The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function."
i don't mean that humans don't know how to write three squared equals nine. this is something everybody learns in the fourth grade in school. i don't mean calculating the correct result. i mean they don't feel intuitively what the result means. like for example that folding a piece of paper 45 times can get you to the moon
Exponential Growth: How Folding Paper Can Get You to the Moon by TED-Ed
or the chessboard and the wheat problem, where you put 1 grain in the first square of the board, 2 grains in the second square, 4 grains in the third square, and so on. and by the time you reach the 64th square you have 18,446,744,073,709,551,615 grains.
people can't really understand such numbers.
here's a simple example from that documentary. the two grannies ask an economics lecturer why the economy has to grow every year. the lecturer has no answer and makes them leave. most people believe blindly that things can go on like they are now.
the world's resources are finite. can something grow bigger and bigger faster and faster in a limited space without causing an explosion? no.
this is true for the economy. this is true for global population. but how many people did you see talking about having just one child? Bartlett regarded the word combination "sustainable growth" as an oxymoron. a self-contradiction. the same is true with all self replicating technologies. "safe self replicating technology" is a contradiction in terms.
you know... it's not even a probability. a probability is when it might happen with a certain chance over some period of time. but from the moment when humanity created this technology, it sped up evolution which is equivalent of speeding up time faster and faster. a huge earthquake is unlikely in a human's lifetime, but is certain to happen over geological time; there's almost no chance of a planet killer asteroid in a human time scale, but it's guaranteed to happen during astronomical time scales. by compressing the evolution time line like humans did, any remote catastroph, however improbable, becomes...inevitabile.
Laozi, i'm coming to terms with the fact that humanity is lost forever. but indulge me one final philosophical question. i would give anything to have a time machine so that we can travel back in time and save the world. let's imagine for a moment that such a time machine was possible. what would you say was the last moment to stop this catastroph? i mean when is that point in time that we have to set in the time machine destination, so that we would arrive just before the point of no return, when there's still time for humanity to save itself?
Laozi [his voice has reverb and echo as if in a dream] :
as soon as you wake up... wake up... wake up...
(back to reality)
Lao and Guan wake up back at the start-up company's lab where it all began.
the couple look at each other speechless for a moment, as they
realize what happened and that it's up to the common people to
save the world.
without saying a word their lips draw closer together until they
good people like you can stop the triumph of this evil... will
you wake up in time? it's up to you!