National Academy of Sciences

CORRECTION: Gene Drives, the Precautionary Principle, and the National Academy of Sciences

Go slow and let more people suffer and die

|

DeerTick
Christian Delbert / Dreamstime

How sardonic! On the very day that the New York Times reports on MIT evolutionary biologist Kevin Esvelt's discussion with Nantucket residents about using gene-drives to rid the island of the scourge of Lyme disease*, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) publishes a report arguing that the technology should not be used yet. The NAS report, Gene Drives on the Horizon: Advancing Science, Navigating Uncertainty, and Aligning Research with Public Values, basically endorses a highly precautionary approach in which new technologies are not permitted to be deployed until the most frightened objectors have assented.

Some 40 percent of Nantucket residents have had Lyme disease which is spread via bites from deer ticks. The ticks themselves acquire the microbe at an earlier stage of their life cycles when they bite white-footed mice. Esvelt proposes to use the new CRISPR genome-editing technique to create mice that are immune to the Lyme disease pathogen. The technically sweet aspect of this is that this immunological resistance trait can be linked up in a gene-drive which ensures that the trait is passed onto all offspring instead of the usual half. In sexually reproducing species, offspring inherit half of their genes from each parent; a gene-drive is a construct inherited from one parent that transforms the corresponding gene from the other to match. In this case, current genes that permit infection by Lyme pathogens would be transformed into genes for resistance.

Esvelt proposed releasing the genome-edited Lyme resistant mice first onto an unihabited island to breed with the natural population for two years to see if the gene-drive worked. If it did, he would breed up thousands of modified mice to be released on Nantucket where the genes for resistance to Lyme disease would spread. What's not to like?

GeneDriveNAS
NAS

The new NAS report outlines a slow precautionary series of scientific and regulatory hurdles that each proposed gene-drive would have to surmount before being deployed. Actually, Esvelt was already implementing a good bit of what the NAS is recommending: he is consulting with local residents and the first release would be in an isolated island to check on the efficacy of the gene-drive.

Certainly we all need to be aware of the unintended consequences of new technologies. However, the fact that all of the potential downsides of a new technology can never be entirely anticipated, does not, therefore, require that we should forego a tech's intended upsides such as disease prevention. Researchers have already shown that it is possible to devise gene-drives that reduce the populations of disease-causing mosquitoes or make them immune to malaria. A surer guide to safe progress is the proactionary principle:

People's freedom to innovate technologically is highly valuable, even critical, to humanity …. Assess risks and opportunities according to available science, not popular perception.  Account for both the costs of the restrictions themselves, and those of opportunities foregone.  Favor measures that are proportionate to the probability and magnitude of impacts, and that have a high expectation value.  Protect people's freedom to experiment, innovate, and progress.

Naturally, some anti-technology activists thought the NAS report was insufficiently precautionary. For example, in its Stop the Gene Bomb! press release, the ever-alarmed ETC Group calls for—wait for it—"a global moratorium on the release and commercial development of gene drives."

A moratorium is just the thing needed by the millions who suffer and die from malaria annually and the thousands who will be born with shrunken brains due to Zika virus infections, not to mention Nantucket residents who endure Lyme disease.

*CORRECTION: Professor Esvelt contacted me to explain that I had misunderstood his proposal. He would not release mice engineered with gene-drives, but instead is proposing to genetically engineer mice to be resistant to the Lyme pathogen and then release them to breed normally with regular mice on an isolated island. In this case, the disease-resistance gene would transmit normally as the engineered mice bred with the natural population. The idea is to test to see if spreading the resistance gene through normal sexual transmission would reduce the number of ticks infected with the Lyme pathogen.

My more egregious error is my implication that Esvelt thinks the NAS report recommendations are too onerous. In fact, Esvelt evidently thinks that the NAS report is insufficiently precautionary. For more background on his views, see his article, Strategies for Responsible Gene Editing. With due respect, I believe that he has fallen for the Asilomar fallacy. As I explain in my book, The End of Doom:

In 1976, the New York Times Magazine published an alarming front-page article, "New Strains of Life—or Death," by Cornell University biochemist Liebe Cavalieri. Cavalieri asserted, among other horrors, that gene splicing could lead to accidental outbreaks of infectious cancer. "In the case of recombinant DNA, it is an all or none situation—only one accident is needed to endanger the future of mankind," he warned.

Also in 1976, Alfred Vellucci, the mayor of Cambridge, Massachusetts, guided by the left-leaning group Science for the People, wanted to ban gene-splicing research in his city. Of course, Cambridge is home to Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "We want to be damned sure the people of Cambridge won't be aected by anything that could crawl out of that laboratory," Vellucci told the New York Times. He added, "They may come up with a disease that can't be cured—even a monster. Is this the answer to Dr. Frankenstein's dream?" There is no little irony that today Cambridge promotes itself as "one of the world's major biotech centers." Needless to say, more than forty years after gene splicing was invented, no plagues, much less epidemics of infectious cancer, have emerged from the world's biotech labs.

In the context of this furor, some 140 molecular biologists convened in 1975 at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, California, to draft guidelines for conducting gene-splicing experiments. They self-consciously thought that they were avoiding what they saw as the mistakes made a generation earlier by Manhattan Project nuclear physicists when they unleashed the power of the atom. The initially restrictive guidelines have been greatly relaxed, not least because it turns out that microorganisms are natural and promiscuous exchangers of genes.

Reflecting later on the hysteria and rush to regulate, James Watson, codiscoverer of the double-helix structure of DNA, for which he won the Nobel Prize, succinctly noted, "Scientifically I was a nut. There is no evidence at all that recombinant DNA poses the slightest danger." Similarly, biophysicist Burke Zimmerman, who participated in the congressional debates over regulating biotechnology, concluded, "In looking back, it would be hard to insist that a law was necessary, or, perhaps, that guidelines were necessary."

However, once fears are raised, they are hard to allay, especially if some groups find them useful for advancing other agendas.

And sure enough, as I note above, the alarmist ETC Group in response to the NAS report immediately analogizes gene-drives to the development of nuclear weapons. The model of public consultation has already resulted in the rejection by residents in the Florida Keys of a field trial in which mosquitoes genetically engineered to spread a lethal gene to species that carry dengue, chikungunya, Zika, and malaria pathogens would be released. Field trials of those engineered mosquitoes in Brazil, Panama, and the Cayman Islands have shown that such releases greatly reduce the populations of the disease-carrying pests. These field trials are significantly different from gene-drives because there is no permanent transmission of the engineered genes. (How could there be since the engineered gene kills mosquitoes as larva?)

As I have made clear for years, I am no fan of the precautionary principle, which in The End of Doom I tendentiously summarize as: "Never do anything for the first time."

How to regulate an open access commons is always a perplexing problem. Esvelt is one of the leading developers and thinkers in this area and his views deserve careful consideration.

In any case, I am truly sorry for the confusion I have caused, and very much regret the errors in my reporting.

NEXT: Neither Trump Nor Clinton

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. If enough soccer moms get a good look at a microcephalic baby, we’ll be spraying DDT again.

    1. That is correct.

      After reading that the first thing I thought of was “Sure, I wanted everyone to have health insurance so I supported Obamacare. I just didn’t know I was going to be the one paying for it.”

      1. Yeah, “Sure, I wanted birds to be healthy so I supported banning DDT. I just didn’t know I was going to be the one having a baby with a pinhead.”

    2. So long as lack of mosquito control mostly affects others though, fuck ’em. Who care if millions of foreign brown people have to die? It’s worth it so that proggies can feel good about themselves.

      1. “Who care if millions of foreign brown people have to die? ”

        Oh, they care. It’s what they want.

        1. After a certain point, you have to assume that really is what they want.

            1. Clarification: It’s what I assume, not what I want.

            2. I’m coming around to the line of thinking myself. Malice is tilting scale on stupidity every election.

        2. Oh come on.

          I’m sure proggies want to keep a few brown people around as servants and pets.

          1. Where will they get their feelz-quotas if there is nobody left with whose struggle they can self-identify?

      2. DDT has never been banned as a malaria control. It was banned for agricultural use precisely in the hope that its use as a malaria control could be preserved as long as possible before mosquitos started developing an immunity to it, which was already happening in the late 60’s

        1. While I think DDT should be used if it is effective at combating serious diseases, some people put way too much stock in it. Had it never been banned or regulated, it would almost certainly be useless by now.

          1. This is what makes DDT a particularly difficult, and interesting, problem that polarizes partisans, as it has been extensively fictionalized by both sides.

            DDT is wonderful stuff. At one time it killed a wide variety of pests quite effectively without being significantly toxic, which is no small feat. Those who were singing its praises in the 60s were perfectly right to be doing so.

            OTOH, Rachel Carson recognized early on that the understandably widespread use due to its near-miraculous properties would very quickly wipe out the population of pests, including malaria-carrying mosquitos, that was susceptible, and thus become useless against the remaining population, which would be immune.

            Rather than present this argument in a straight-forward fashion, however, she lied about how damaging it was in order to get agricultural use banned. Never did even Carson advocate for banning it for malaria abatement.

            Nowadays DDT is little more than mosquito repellent, but it’s still a decent one. People in India use it as a common household good.

            There’s a faction on the right, however, who wants to see the DDT ban as a left wing conspiracy to commit genocide in Africa, while there’s a faction on the left who believe DDT is a world-ending poison foisted on the world by heartless capitalists hell-bent on world destruction. Neither of these narratives is likely to go away anytime soon.

            1. Personally, I think the DDT ban is an interesting question from a libertarian perspective. Can you ban someone from using a tool if their use of the tool makes the tool less useful for everyone else?

              1. Can you ban someone from using a tool if their use of the tool makes the tool less useful for everyone else?

                That would imply that you have a greater right to use of the tool than the other guy. Unless the ban was universal, but doesn’t that defeat the purpose? A tool that’s never used is completely ineffective.

                1. That would imply that you have a greater right to use of the tool than the other guy.

                  In which case I don’t think you could make a case for a ban, because it’s just choosing one user over another.

                  OTOH, when everyone is using it like there’s no tomorrow, and a critical medical need is identified for it, and it’s very clear that the ongoing use by everyone is neutralizing that medical need, is there a case for restricting its use?

                  I’m not saying there is, because a ban pretty well necessarily implies a state-power to enforce that ban, and that state-power is almost certainly going to distort it, but is there a situation where a restriction on use might be the lesser of two evils?

                2. That would imply that you have a greater right to use of the tool than the other guy.

                  Everybody has an equal right to use it. If that means it becomes less useful to everyone later, so be it.

                  Its a little weird to say “If we use it now, then sometime later it will be useless, so in the name of preventing it from being useless later, we’ll make it useless now.”

                  1. Its a little weird to say “If we use it now, then sometime later it will be useless, so in the name of preventing it from being useless later, we’ll make it useless now.”

                    Just to play Devil’s Advocate, since I’m undecided on this one, the idea would be “let’s restrict the use of this tool to medically necessary circumstances, so that it remains medically useful as long as possible.”

                    Analogy:

                    We only have x quantity of this life-saving medicine that also can be used as a pesticide on food crops. Every use makes there be less of it, and each use on food crops means one less use as medicine.

                    In that circumstance, is it appropriate to restrict the medicine only to medicinal uses, or do we say “if the market allows it all to be used on food crops and none on medicine then that is the outcome that we accept?”

              2. How about cap and trade? Maintains effectiveness and, ensures those most willing to pay for its use get to use it.

        2. Way to tell part of the story.

          The wikipedia page discussing Silent Spring (which your article directly links to) lists 85 footnotes and 13 sources.
          34 of the 85 footnotes come from the following sources:
          1)Lear, Linda (1997). Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature.
          2)Lytle, Mark Hamilton (2007). The Gentle Subversive: Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, and the Rise of the Environmental Movement
          3)Oreskes, Naomi; Conway, Erik M. (2010). Merchants of Doubt.
          At least a further 25 from various screeds all defending Carson, or are from Carson’s book.

          The fact is, the ban on DDT in the US only permitted spraying in emergency situations. And the main reason why DDT is ineffective now in many places in India, is many people sleep outside. And since DDT is restricted to IRS, this pushes the mosquitos outside.

          To deny Carson’s role in this tragedy is being willingly blind.

          1. To deny Carson’s role in this tragedy is being willingly blind.

            What tragedy? Show me where malaria killed anyone because of a DDT ban.

            And the main reason why DDT is ineffective now in many places in India, is many people sleep outside.

            That doesn’t even make basic sense. DDT doesn’t kill Indian mosquitos anymore. This is not controversial – it’s empirically proven. It works as a repellent indoors.

            The only places DDT does kill mosquitos are in places where it was banned for agricultaral use. Which wouldn’t include India pre-1989.

            “One study concluded that “DDT is still a viable insecticide in indoor residual spraying owing to its effectivity in well supervised spray operation and high excito-repellency factor.””

            “In India outdoor sleeping and night duties are common, implying that “the excito-repellent effect of DDT, often reported useful in other countries, actually promotes outdoor transmission.” Genomic studies in the model genetic organism Drosophila melanogaster revealed that high level DDT resistance is polygenic, involving multiple resistance mechanisms.”

            Reality isn’t always a conflict between a dark conspiracy and truth-warriors.

            1. “Show me where malaria killed anyone because of a DDT ban.”

              From the story I linked below:

              Similarly, the Canadian government gave Ethiopia (where nearly 150,000 people were dying of malaria each year) $1.5 million to fund a “national implementation plan” compliant with the International Stockholm Convention resolution to eliminate “persistent organic pollutants” such as DDT. But this plan proved to be entirely ineffective, and Ethiopians continued to die of malaria in enormous numbers. As journalist Paul Driessen aptly put it: “In effect, then, this effort to eliminate DDT pays Ethiopia about $10 for each dead Ethiopian.”

              I guess it wasn’t overtly banned, but they were paid to stop using DDT and lots of people died because of it. There were lots of other examples like Eritrea and South Africa that were mentioned in the article too.

              1. Well, that source is a little iffy when you get things like:

                These threats were so great, said Carson, that on balance they more than negated whatever benefits were to be gained from using the pesticide to prevent malaria

                when Carson never made this argument, and the 1972 ban was for agricultural use only – it was not banned for malaria abatement.

                The alternative abatement strategies that were developed in the 1980s were developed because DDT was losing its effectiveness, not because of the bans.

                But overall, yes – like I said above, it got politicized by blind partisans on both sides who’ve both been peddling falsehoods for decades.

                Would I be surprised that there were some cases where some asshole environmentalists pressured someone to stop using DDT for malaria and then malaria cases rose? No. Is this the same as “OMG RACHEL CARSON KILLED MILLIONS OF BLACK PEOPLE!”? No.

        3. I appreciate your factual accurate comments about DDT, and not being drawn into a bizarre one-liner contest by the masses.

          1. It’s always nice to see someone more interested in actual truth than winning an argument or bashing one’s opponents.

      3. Not dying of malaria is just another kind of Western cultural imperialism.

    3. Bring back DDT. At least in limited quantities it can still be very effective in reducing malaria. It can probably also be used in large scale ag too.

      By 1967 the disease[malaria] was eradicated from all developed countries where it previously had been endemic?most notably large regions of Latin America and tropical Asia. Typical was the case of Taiwan, where the incidence of malaria plummeted from more than a million cases in 1945, to a mere 9 cases in 1969.

    4. Soccer moms don’t breed in the numbers they used to. I credit the lack of DDT.

  2. What’s the point of being on a regulatory panel if you can’t stop progress every once in a while?

    1. Wouldn’t it be nice if regulators and politicians applied the precautionary principle to every policy decision they ever made that restricts the liberty of the proles?

      “Now, Obamacare sounds good on paper and all, but we’ve really gotta take a look at the potential consequences…”

      Who am I kidding.

    2. Aaarh,tis the long arm of Greenpeace behind the gene drive ban.

      Saving the ticks means saving the whales, forLyme disease is driving Nantucket whalemen & Vineyard harpooners to extinction.

  3. OT: Brownshirts are the same everywhere all the time. Oh left, never change!

    http://www.foxnews.com/politic…..trump.html

    1. So, if they believe that violence is the logical response to politicians they don’t like, I assume they will be fine with Trump supporters attacking them and the rest of Hillary’s supporters.

      1. Key Phrase: “They don’t like.”

        We uneducated plebs cannot possibly judge when violence is appropriate, all the GMOs are rotting our brains.

      2. I don’t think Trump supporters are generally violent people (as evidenced by the fact that they cause very little violence in response to the protesters), but I also don’t think it’s a good idea to push them too far. And openly fucking writing that violence against citizens for political beliefs serves a valuable purpose is one helluva shove.

      3. I assume Obama called Bernie on the carpet this morning to offer him a brand new pair of cement shoes if he doesnt stop splitting the Dem vote. He must have been very persuasive because Bernie announced after his Captain’s Mast that he will gladly go down on Hillary at her pleasure.

        1. Rumors that Bernie will demand Debbie W-S resign.

    2. Ironically, the progressives likely will not change.

  4. Nobody likes stopping progress more than soi-disant “progressives”.

    1. Words really mean nothing in politics anymore. The original progressives, while evil, would have embraced all of this stuff. They were all about engineering humanity and the world as they saw fit. I’m not in what sense most of today’s “progressives” are progressive. In reality, most environmentalists and many others in today’s supposed progressive left are reactionary conservatives.

  5. I got bitten by a deer tick a few years ago and the doc I went to tried to send me home without any antibiotics because I only had one symptom of Lyme’s disease (the bullseye bite mark). He wanted me to wait until I started exhibiting more symptoms because he was worried about over use of antibiotics in general.

    Our meeting didn’t go well. I did a lot of yelling about how I’m not going to let an infection get worse because he is worried about a problem in general. I made a scene and demanded my copay back from the quack. He didn’t take my criticism of his skills very well and started yelling back.

    I eventually got to see another doc at the clinic who took one look at the bite mark and wrote me a prescription for an antibiotic.

    1. Its people like you that are destroying this planet. Its for your own good that we will be executing you.

      1. Will the execution be covered by Obamacare? I’d hate to have to pay for that out of pocket. After all we’ve proven that I’m a complete selfish bastard.

        1. Your relatives will be billed for the organically shade-grown silk cord that will be used to strangle you.

          1. I’m a vegan, can I request co-op sourced hemp rope?

        2. Would the execution have been covered under the old insurance or would it have been denied because it’s a preexisting condition?

    2. Minocycline is very effective against Lyme disease, has very few side effects, and there is only one (IIRC) case of bacteria developing immunity to it. Whoever that doc was should find a new line of work.

      That funny itch (guess how I know that) and the bullseye mark are cause for great concern. He should have immersed you in a bathtub full of minocycline immediately.

    3. Why can’t you just take one for the planet and die because we’re over populated?

      /prog.

      1. What is funny is I got the deer tick from gutting a mule deer in western North Dakota. So according to the progs I definitely deserved to suffer for killing a defenseless critter.

    4. You’re looking at the future of medicine right there. You’re not the customer anymore, the state is.

      It’s why I stayed with my doctor when he went concierge. I had a sinus infection last week, and I called his cell phone on a Sunday. There were antibiotics waiting for me by the time I got to the pharmacy.

      This used to be the way medicine was practiced everywhere 30 years ago. Now, you have a god damn ring on your skin and you have to beg for antibiotics. Thanks, Obama!!!

    5. I got bitten by a deer tick a few years ago and the doc I went to tried to send me home without any antibiotics because I only had one symptom of Lyme’s disease (the bullseye bite mark).

      Did you bring up Lyme’s Disease or did he?

      I hate hearing about Lyme’s Disease because it almost always comes across like syndrome X or any one of a dozen other sub-clinical diseases that have been invented in the last half-century (e.g. Chronic Lyme Disease Myth, under-reporting ofinfections/cases at >90%, and the ‘spread’ coinciding with knowledge of the disease rather than the endemic contagion) . A little like going to the doctor and saying, “My glaucoma’s bugging me, can you write me a script for some weed?”. I don’t have a problem with smoking weed, but I could see how someone might take offense to the field or their profession if you did that.

      The bullseye bite mark, especially if warm and/or itchy, is a sign of infection regardless of Lyme’s Disease and is sorta the prototypical case for antibiotics.

      1. I brought it up. In my defense I spend a lot of time in the woods and know lots of others who do the same. For the last 15-20 years Lyme’s Disease has been a big thing. I know lots of people who have been bitten and infected and there is a lot of awareness out there about the symptoms. So it isn’t like I’m a complete rube.

        My appointment started badly because he started quizzing me about what the tick looked like. I finally realized that he thought I had been bitten by a wood tick and not a deer tick. When I told him I knew what the difference was, he said I should have brought the tick in for testing. That is when I was able to tell him that they had stopped sending ticks in for testing years ago (I knew this from my fellow outdoorsmen, but he didn’t).

        The doc was an old guy who was out of touch with this stuff and then was mad because I wouldn’t bow and scrape to him because he was the doctor. Instead I challenged him and he knew he was wrong.

        To use your analogy, I bitched about my glaucoma and he told me it was caused by too much masturbation. You don’t have to put up with idiots like that.

        1. To use your analogy, I bitched about my glaucoma and he told me it was caused by too much masturbation. You don’t have to put up with idiots like that.

          Well, as I said, tick or no tick, you show up at your GP with a bullseye bite mark and he says, “Let’s just see how this plays out.”? Even if you ended up plying the script out of him, it’s time to find a new GP.

          And for his part, if it were any other profession and the customer showed up with a problem of unknown origin that they claim is getting worse, you’d have to be an idiot to think you could tell them, “Let’s just see how bad it gets before we do something about it.” and expect repeat business.

  6. What’s not to like?

    Mice, everywhere?

    1. Look dude, this guy just wants money so he can watch a bunch of mice fucking. I thought you would be into that.

      1. Well, when you put it that way…

  7. Nantucket? Fuck em.

    1. There once was a tick from Nantucket….

      1. If your disease was a Lyme I’d suck it.

        1. Get a room, guys.

  8. Why don’t the Nantucket folks pull a page out of Staten Island’s playbook and snip the bucks?

    Or if they have really small scissors I guess they could snip the male ticks?

    1. Your link has Lyme disease.

      1. Shit

        To make up for it, a little humor:

        A disheveled doe staggers out of the woods and mutters, “last time I do that for 5 bucks!”

  9. Some 40 percent of Nantucket residents have had Lyme disease which is spread via bites from deer ticks. The ticks themselves acquire the microbe at an earlier stage of their life cycles when they bite white-footed mice.

    I’m with the NAS on this one. This seems like evolution at work. Has no one considered the fact that this just may be natures way of ridding itself of Nantucket residents?

    1. The deer are trying to cull the herd of Massholes.

      1. nantucketeers aren’t regular massholes.

    2. A series of big sharks didn’t work so nature decided to try the long game.

    3. It doesn’t seem to be working if it is.

  10. “Esvelt proposed releasing the genome-edited Lyme resistant mice first onto an unihabited island to breed with the natural population for two years to see if the gene-drive worked. If it did, he would breed up thousands of modified mice to be released on Nantucket where the genes for resistance to Lyme disease would spread. What’s not to like?”

    Have you even *seen* Jurassic Park?

    /sarc

  11. However, the fact that all of the potential downsides of a new technology can never be entirely anticipated, does not, therefore, require that we should forego a tech’s intended upsides such as disease prevention.

    I’ll remember that logic the next time a few legislators propose legislation with intended upsides. Like mandatory health insurance, for example.

  12. Oh, ffs.

    Okay, so here’s how we’ll do this. Right? We’ve got fifty states. Forty-nine can be as safe as they like, bless their little cotton socks. They can be the sensible, reality-based people. And we’ll set aside one that’s an absolute hellhole of experimentation. No official regulations. No official oversight. It’s the goddamned Wild West all over again. Anything goes. OPEN BORDERS LIKE WHOA.

    Perfect. A ready-made population upon which to test the riskiest market options, and by the time it is known whether something is really “safe”, there’ll be a generation’s worth of data to back it up. Or they’ll all be dead or moved back to where it’s so very sensible, and it will have been nothing important wasted.

    1. Does it have to be a state? Or could it be maybe be the District of Columbia?
      If the latter, I like your idea. We’d finally get some useful results from the residents there.

    2. Every summer Nantucketers For Trump build a tick wall around the island, but the sand keeps washing away

  13. I’m not against technology, but it isn’t always the best answer to everything.

    The Massholes’ irrational concept that deer are sacred needs to be eradicated first. Of course, leave it to a Masshole to pick the expensive supported-by-someone-elses-money approach of genetic modification when culling the deer herd would be quicker and cheaper.

    1. Import some good ol’ boys with rifles and six-packs, give them a bounty on each deer, and turn ’em loose in the Bay State. Woooo-eee!

      That should put a dent in the problem.

      1. “We wouldn’t let your great-grandpappy come this far North, but that was before we became a bunch of Gaia-worshipping weaklings.”

      2. There are plenty of rifle and 6-pack dudes in Mass. Just not in Nantucket.

        1. You’re harshing my stereotype buzz, Zeb.

          1. MUFFY: “Oh, Biff, this is so exciting, hunting deer and fighting disease at the same time!”

            BIFF: “Now, Muffy, do be quiet or you’ll frighten them away.”

            MUFFY: “You should talk, your orange vest is so loud it would frighten a herd of bison.”

            BIFF: “I am well rebuked, it’s that I am in need of some relaxation while waiting for the deer to show up. Pass me the Scotch, will you?”

            1. It’s *just* that I am in need

            2. Mmmm. Can of Scotch.

      3. Don’;t need good ol’ boys, just lighten up on the gun regs and I’ll start shooting the damn things myself the next time I catch one in my orchard.

      4. If your good ol’ boys need a bounty as a reason to hunt deer, then you need some new good ol’ boys.

  14. After a quick scan of the comments, I must say…I am disappoint.

    A story about Nantucket and NOT ONE dirty limerick.

    What has happened to my H&R?

    1. WHERE MUH HAMPERSANDR GONE

      Kidding. I think there were a couple allusions to said limerick, maybe because it’s a little, um, played out.

    2. Jimbo and SF started one.

      1. There were no survivors.

        1. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  15. OT: 9th Circuit says no Constitutional Right to concealed carry.

    1. I saw a video of some of the proceedings. It was obvious this was going to happen. The judges were completely opposed to the notion that someone having to prove they were in more danger than average was any sort of infringement of rights. And the lawyer (wanna say NRA, but not sure) didn’t do a great job either.

      1. Why a ban on concealed carry isn’t an infringement of the right to bear arms is, apparently, left as an exercise for the reader.

        Words mean nothing anymore. I can’t imagine that will end well.

        1. In the implementation indicated, I agree. But, literally, the 2A guarantees you the right to own/carry a gun, not the right to keep it a secret. I defend you’re right to own a nuclear bomb so long as all the property owners within the blast radius are aware of your situation.

        2. Well, it is the 9th Circuit after all. They make a broken clock’s accuracy look good.

        3. Words mean nothing anymore.

          As far as the Constitution goes, words haven’t meant anything for a while.

          The Living Constitution means never having to interpret honestly.

          I can’t imagine that will end well.

          It didn’t begin well. It continues unwell. The question is whether it will ever end.

    2. So, the right to bear arms does not actually include the right to bear arms. So glad the the exalted ones have enlightened us with their wisdom.

  16. There once was a person named Esvelt
    Who to the locals their options all spelled out
    For dealing with ticks
    Who were making them sick
    By using tech whose ramifications weren’t found out.

  17. Obama has endorsed Hillary.

    Looking like it’s all up to Comey at this point.

    1. What can he do? Resign in protest?

  18. My neighbor’s half-sister got paid $18590 last month. she been working on the internet and moved in a $397900 home. All she did was get blessed and apply the instructions uncovered on this website..

    browse this site…. Go Here._______________ http://www.earnmore9.com

  19. I endorse a highly precautionary approach in which new laws and regulations are not permitted to be deployed until the most frightened objectors have assented.

    1. Indeed. And that’s why the precautionary principle negates itself. Crawls up its own arse, so to speak.

      How can we adopt it, when adopting it would be a violation of it?

      1. It is a logical Ouroboros.

  20. What’s not to like?

    Damn the Externalities!
    Free the Grey Goo!
    Free the Grey Goo!
    Free the Grey Goo!

    require that we should forego a tech’s intended upsides such as disease prevention.

    Delia Surridge: Oppenheimer was able to change more than a course of a war. It changed the entire course of human history. Is it wrong to hold on to that kind of hope?
    V: I’ve not come for what you’ve hoped to do. I’ve come for what you did.

    Unintended consequences.

    he is consulting with local residents and the first release would be in an isolated island to check on the efficacy of the gene-drive.

    The degree of isolation is the issue. One rat gets out, and you’ve remade all the world’s rats, *by design*.

  21. Pests are very destructive to the building. You should know that irrespective of whether it is small ants or bigger rodents these can prove to be harmful for your building. The best thing which you can do is hire services of a Pest Control Monroe CT. You have to know that you can get rid of all the pests in the house just when you hire services of the exterminators rather than doing it yourself.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.