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Topic: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding" (Read 499 times) previous topic - next topic - Topic derived from Deextinction and Rewi...

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Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #75
Glycophosphate. Weird. My spell check changes glyphosate to glycophosphate. Wtf is glycophosphate and why would spell check think that's a better word?
Love is like a magic penny
 if you hold it tight you won't have any
if you give it away you'll have so many
they'll be rolling all over the floor

Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #76
Heh. They're the same thing.
https://www.isitbadforyou.com/questions/is-glycophosphate-bad-for-you

But this is actually an interesting article for what it is.
Love is like a magic penny
 if you hold it tight you won't have any
if you give it away you'll have so many
they'll be rolling all over the floor

Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #77
Glycophosphate. Weird. My spell check changes glyphosate to glycophosphate. Wtf is glycophosphate and why would spell check think that's a better word?
Yeah, it seems interchangeable in duckduckgo, but much less common. It's related to glycine, so I guess it was just shortened.
...you beat me to it.

Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #78
Some more links supporting points I made earlier:

Quote
The most widely planted GMOs are designed to tolerate herbicides. By 2006 some weed populations had evolved to tolerate some of the same herbicides. Palmer amaranth is a weed that competes with cotton. A native of the southwestern US, it traveled east and was first found resistant to glyphosate in 2006, less than 10 years after GM cotton was introduced.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_food

Quote
An understanding of agroecosystems is key to determining effective farming systems. Here we report results from a 21-year study of agronomic and ecological performance of biodynamic, bioorganic, and conventional farming systems in Central Europe. We found crop yields to be 20% lower in the organic systems, although input of fertilizer and energy was reduced by 34 to 53% and pesticide input by 97%. Enhanced soil fertility and higher biodiversity found in organic plots may render these systems less dependent on external inputs.
http://science.sciencemag.org/content/296/5573/1694


  • Peez
Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #79
Tbf, re effects of GMO crops on various insects, there seems to be potential consequences:

Quote
In 1999, researchers at Cornell University did a preliminary lab study on the effects of Bt corn pollen on monarch caterpillars. The lead researcher, Dr. John Losey, sent a description of the study to the editors of the science journal Nature (Volume 399, 20 May 1999, page 214).

In Dr. Losey's study, monarch caterpillars in a laboratory were fed milkweed leaves that had been dusted with pollen from Bt corn. This was done because wind-borne corn pollen can settle on the leaves of milkweed plants, and milkweed is all that monarch caterpillars eat. Milkweed often grows in meadows or untilled fields and can be found in or near corn fields. Dr. Losey wanted to determine whether pollen from Bt corn would affect monarch caterpillars. His study found that " ... larvae of the monarch butterfly on milkweed leaves dusted with transgenic Bt-corn pollen ate less, grew more slowly, and suffered higher mortality than those fed leaves dusted with untransformed corn pollen or leaves without pollen."

Some people understood the results of the lab study to mean that Bt corn harms monarch caterpillars, but other scientists pointed out that the study may not accurately reflect what would happen in a field of Bt corn. They noted that:

    there were higher amounts of Bt pollen on the milkweed leaves in the lab than there would be found in a field;
    in the lab, caterpillars were limited to eating only leaves covered in corn pollen, whereas in a field, caterpillars may be able to avoid pollen-coated leaves.

As a result of Dr. Losey's findings, some scientists decided to combine their research on this topic and produced a large body of peer-reviewed work on monarch butterflies and Bt corn, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). These studies concluded that monarch butterflies exposed to Bt corn in the environment are not subjected to any significant risk. More information on these studies can be found on the Web site of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service.

The CFIA, in co-operation with Environment Canada, commissioned a study that became part of that body of work, called, "Final Report on the Ecological Impact of Bt Corn Pollen on the Monarch Butterfly in Ontario". This study concluded that the risks to monarch butterflies from Bt corn pollen is less than 1/100 of 1 per cent.

http://www.inspection.gc.ca/plants/plants-with-novel-traits/general-public/monarch-butterflies/eng/1338140112942/1338140224895
Interesting stuff, thanks for this.

Peez

  • Peez
Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #80
Church of science.
Just keep repeating that mantra, and don't leave out all those who worship science so much that they think the universe is billions of years old.

Peez

Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #81
Church of science.
Just keep repeating that mantra, and don't leave out all those who worship science so much that they think the universe is billions of years old.

Peez
Dover is over, Rover.
Love is like a magic penny
 if you hold it tight you won't have any
if you give it away you'll have so many
they'll be rolling all over the floor

  • Peez
Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #82
Just make it illegal to patent genes in any context.
This would seem a good idea to me.

Peez

Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #83
Just make it illegal to patent genes in any context.
This would seem a good idea to me.

Peez
It would potentially slow down research but it would also put that research under the ethics requirements of research institutions, which are, at a minimum, much stricter and better monitored than corporate research.
Love is like a magic penny
 if you hold it tight you won't have any
if you give it away you'll have so many
they'll be rolling all over the floor

  • Peez
Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #84
Hi ontic,

Our exchange seems to go around and around, and I do not feel that it is going anywhere.  It was not my intention to become involved in a long discussion of the possible problems associated with the development and use of "GMO's", my intent was rather to question what seems to be a widely-held assumption that "GMO's" are Bad.  I was therefore going to bow out here, but I noticed that you provided links to specific studies and since this is something that I had been asking for I feel obliged to take a look.

Ramirez-Romero R1, Desneux N, Decourtye A, Chaffiol A, Pham-Del├Ęgue MH. 2008. Does Cry1Ab protein affect learning performances of the honey bee Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera, Apidae)? Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 70(2):327-33.

This appears to be a generally well-designed study, although the sample sizes were modest and there were some limitations to the methodology the results should be interesting.  The authors report a small but statistically significant reduction in feeding rate for bees feeding on syrup that contains relatively high but relevant concentration of the Bt protein compared to bees feeding on a control syrup that lacked this protein.  The authors discuss the results at leanth and conclude with:
Quote
In the case of Bt corn, however, given the difference between the expected maximum dose of exposure under natural conditions (potential maximum accumulation into the hive) and the observed dose effect (5000 ppb), our general conclusion is that negative effects of Cry1Ab protein on foraging behaviour of honey bees are unlikely in natural conditions.
I am not dismissing this study, but I would like to make a few points.  First, the test was completed under artificial conditions that are quite different from what bees experience when feeding in the wild (that is not a bad thing, it allowed this effect to be detected, but its relevance to wild populations of bees has yet to be determined).  Second, having this "natural" pesticide (Bt protein is a "natural" pesticide) in the syrup may simply be changing its taste, which could change the feeding behaviour of the bees, such behaviours could quickly be adjusted as bee populations become accustomed to the new food.  Third, Bt protein is a pesticide, if one is going to use pesticides at all then the relevant comparison is between Bt and alternative pesticides (not just feeding behaviour, but mortality, etc.).

I looked for follow-up studies but found little of note.  A couple (No effect of Bt Cry1Ie toxin on bacterial diversity in the midgut of the Chinese honey bees, Apis cerana cerana (Hymenoptera, Apidae). and The effects of Bt Cry1Ie toxin on bacterial diversity in the midgut of Apis mellifera ligustica (Hymenoptera: Apidae).) found no effect of Bt protein on bee gut flora, while a couple (Low doses of neonicotinoid pesticides in food rewards impair short-term olfactory memory in foraging-age honeybees. and A neonicotinoid impairs olfactory learning in Asian honey bees (Apis cerana) exposed as larvae or as adults.) found a statistically significant effect on learning caused by a widely-used pesticide.  Of course several report significant effects of pesticides on bees (e.g., Exposure to neonicotinoids influences the motor function of adult worker honeybees., Delayed and time-cumulative toxicity of imidacloprid in bees, ants and termites.).

Interesting to note that big business was not able to suppress this study.

Incidentally, Testy Calibrate posted: "...all this one is doing is adding a gene that creates beta-carotene..." regarding 'golden rice', but all that engineers have done with Bt corn is adding a gene that creates Bt delta endotoxin.

Peez

Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #85
my intent was rather to question what seems to be a widely-held assumption that "GMO's" are Bad.
On this forum there are maybe three or four members who's understanding of biology is simplistic enough for this to be meaningful. I'm not just bitching or trying to shoot you down here but this is a real issue imo. Trying to simplify the problem into a black/white issue of good/bad promotes the idea that if you "believe in science" then you must necessarily also believe that GMO's are "not bad" because the ignorant view of creating chimeric monsters out of soybeans is, well, ignorant. The informed debate is obligated to exclude views such as yours (or such as the one that follows from your perspective as stated in the above quote) as an attempt to stifle debate. Anyone who has ever worked out a predator/prey model with even one additional environmental factor knows that nonlinear feedback makes this an ignorant and actually dangerous view. Since I assume you have probably worked out such a model or an equivalent, I have to assume that you are attempting to marginalize the uninformed in the debate and would potentially have a more nuanced view if you were to feel that the participants in the discussion did indeed understand the basic issues regarding the science involved.

This is counterproductive in a general sense, Jenny McCarthy or whoever like her notwithstanding. It promotes an us/them dichotomy where the side of science is actually the side of irresponsible corporate behavior rather than the side of actual understanding. GMO's are technology, and, like a lot of technology, externalize lots of environmental variables with the idea that we will manage the feedback as it arises. That idea is far more dangerous than even YEC or anti vaxxers. Equilibrium isn't static in a dynamic system and nature operates with massive cross-scale dynamics meaning that only a fool believes that we can manage the feedback caused by attempts to linearize complex, dynamic systems. The debate around GMO safety is almost exclusively one of environmental feedback responses initiated by the application of such technologies. Since they are almost exclusively being researched, created and applied by almost entirely unaccountable institutions operating only under the profit motive, to promote a view that fears are overblown is not just unjustified but truly irresponsible.

Interesting to note that big business was not able to suppress this study.
Big business is not easily able to suppress studies done outside their field of influence. However, the vast majority of research in this area is within that field so this is not actually interesting. It is depressing because there are so few qualified institutions equipped to carry out such research and such meager funding for that research. In the age of Trump and our current FDA/USDA/EPA regimes, this is even more salient.

Incidentally, Testy Calibrate posted: "...all this one is doing is adding a gene that creates beta-carotene..." regarding 'golden rice', but all that engineers have done with Bt corn is adding a gene that creates Bt delta endotoxin.

My point was that even with such a relatively benign modification, we still can't get yellow rice, the singular example trotted out by GMO cheerleaders, into production. However, we have much less problems getting modifications with inevitable consequences like the global rise of BT resistant insects on the market, incidentally removing BT from the organic farming toolkit. Worse yet, the truly ignorant (to the point of being as damaging to informed debate) as any anti science reactionaries science cheerleaders (really I should say engineering cheerleaders but the narrative has already co-opted science so whatever) will say monumentally dumb shit like "well if the organic farmers were using it, that resistance would have arisen anyway." This kind of language makes it clear that the author is a member of the religion of science and has not got the education, critical thinking skills, or temperament to be taken seriously or given a space at the discussion table. The difference between global application of massive low levels of a toxin which is unquestionably going to hybridize into the wild environment since it confers such an obvious advantage and intense, short, and local applications in organic situations is such that this line of argument is simply ignorant. Worse, it promotes whataboutism in cases where organic techniques might irresponsibly misuse the technology which leads to the complete breakdown of criticism, legitimate ior not, of a clearly dangerous technology which has almost no public oversight and is incentivized to be used to generate profit and not incentivized to be used responsibly. In a world where environmental systems are at the breaking point everywhere on the globe, the dangers of cascading system failures far outweigh the benefits of the actual uses we've put the technology to thus far.

Maybe if yellow rice were actually being grown, there would be a better argument that there is a good side to the current application of GMO technology in agriculture. But, until then, it is just lip service to the gods of science and ultimately, commerce. Science is a method, not a truth.
Love is like a magic penny
 if you hold it tight you won't have any
if you give it away you'll have so many
they'll be rolling all over the floor

Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #86
Love is like a magic penny
 if you hold it tight you won't have any
if you give it away you'll have so many
they'll be rolling all over the floor

Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #87
Peez, thanks. I take on board your criticism, i.e. I accept the argument that these are equivocal results, there are problems with excessive dosing in toxicity studies, and possible other causes of observed effects ('taste', etc.).

I appreciate you taking the time to respond to those points, and that you didn't intend to get into a long discussion. Nor, really, did I - that's what happens on forums when we make a passing observation and someone picks it up and asks for evidence (quite right, of course). I'm learning a lot from this, so I'm grateful for your involvement.

Testy Calibrate, wow, that last longer post of yours was quite something! It felt very supportive of many of my views on this, although not all. I think we have to be careful when we start talking about people creating a them-and-us division, since we've already identified a culpable group (like the old joke about there being two types of people in the world...), and I find talk of 'the religion of science' tends towards the same effect of dividing us, although I recognise that sometimes these short-hand versions are useful or we'd never say anything.

I don't want to make this about individuals any more than it has to, and I'm unable to make such harsh judgements of Peez as you have here, but you put many of my concerns very succinctly, and have given me confidence that my intuitions about GM crops (as one of the leading edges our dangerous environmental and agricultural practices generally) aren't completely mad.

I'm a generalist. I have some grounding in the biological sciences from school and a couple of years at uni, and also a little general knowledge of 'systems' theories, computational modeling, etc., and some of my concerns come at this meta-level, seeing the forest and worrying that so many who are making the decisions are lost in the trees.

Natural systems create and maintain balances. If we distort the dynamics too far and constantly in one direction, which is to drag more and more biomatter out of a piece of ground, I think there's plenty of evidence from similar systems and system theory that we could end up making things progressively worse. Where this kind of process gets established, each intended improvement to the system causes it to adjust in ways that make a bigger fix necessary. As I suggested earlier, at one end of this continuum, there's a virgin forest with apes picking fruit off the trees, at the other a micro-managed world where we're endlessly trying to kill the latest pests and diseases that have mutated to take advantage of our vast seas of protein and carbohydrate. This is what life does, mutates (randomly) to exploit (by natural selection) opportunities in its environment. As I've said, our fight with our own bodies' pathogens are a case in point. I also recognise that this raises a big question about whether we can act differently, and what advantages and disadvantages other approaches might have. But we tend to have a fixation on increasing the height of our high-tech solutions in the world, and a knee-jerk reaction against low-tech ones (the 'bunch of hippies' response is one; but sometimes it's other things, like accepting sacrifices have to be made - lower productivity, or harder work, or more cost, or greater complexity: these are automatically identified as backward steps, even when we might acknowledge that our drive for higher production or simplicity or cheapness or ease has caused environmental damage). There are examples where a return to simpler, traditional systems (or invention of new, but 'natural' systems) have improved everything, from productivity to diets to wildlife, to self-sufficiency and sustainability, but they're just seen as quaint one-offs. Raising fish in paddy fields is one example that comes to mind.

I don't think biologists generally have got their heads round the fact that the ecosystems of which we're a part will often tend to react to (or 'against') whatever disturbance we cause. I'd have expected ecologists to grokk this, but I don't really think Peez does. It's almost like if physicists didn't get their heads round the conservation of energy, and were installing 'free energy' power stations. The idiot public keep raising concerns about the rumours that they only work by 'borrowing energy from the future', but the physicists reassure them that, logically, the future is always the day after tomorrow, never arrives, and thus there's no problem. And it's a fundamental weakness of science, as I may have already mentioned, because it is necessarily based on analysing past events to give us 'hard evidence', so if we take the political stance that all technologies are acceptable unless hard evidence can be found against them, we can rationally expect to find technologies that are actually destructive, but can be excused on those grounds. I think this may be one of them. Burning fossil fuels was like that for a long time, and showing that global warming is a real problem still requires a good deal of projection into an insanely complex, chaotic global system. I am in no way intending to argue against AGW, but logically we have no idea whether a large increase in vulcanism, or any number of other changes, might work against the warming, with or completely without causal relationship to rising temperatures.

Besides this, there are just simple ethical feelings - we're effing with the planet too much, treating it like property and an endless goldmine - even while we're in the midst of a mass extinction phenomenon. AGW will probably give the GM argument more force - we can tweak plants to be more drought-resistant, etc. - but we might be better working towards more 'organic' principles (even if changing climates will alter the suitable flora and fauna). Or maybe GM is the only way to cope with global warming. I don't know.

I just found this in an unrelated article on stigmergy, and thought I might as well post it. http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/Papers/Stigmergy-Springer.pdf
Quote
This general principle can be illustrated by a classic ecological experiment: if two identical patches of land are seeded with plants that belong either to one or a few species, or to several different species, the more diverse patch will produce more biomass than the more homogeneous one (Cardinale  et  al.,  2007;  Naeem  &  Li,  1997).  (The  overall  yield increases  with  the  logarithm  of  the  number  of  species.)  The  reason  appears  to  be  that plants  of  different  species  use  the  available  nutrients  in  somewhat  different  ways,  thus together being able to exploit the resources more completely ("niche complementarity"), while  moreover  helping  each  other  through  synergies (Hector  et  al.,  1999).  This  is  an example  of  parallel  stigmergy  where  synergetic  interaction  is  mediated  by  the  shared environment (land).
The evidence seems to have been very equivocal on this over recent decades, but the above seems to be settling out of the data. If we could work towards local economies based on near-permacultures, we might get roughly 1.5 times the amount of bio-matter out of our land, and not have to import so much into the system.

This again points to the massive ignorance behind our agricultural systems - we rip rock and petroleum products out of the earth, pump them onto barely living soil used as a holding medium (because it's blitzed with Roundup), feed ourselves on it (wasting a vast amount feeding animals to eat), then pump a good deal of the waste into the sea. Our whole global outlook is unsustainable, and I believe GMOs and monocultures work within this insane paradigm, they ignore that background, and worsen it. We get further and further from equilibrium, from a sustainable cycle of natural substances, and the reaction just seems to be 'we'll fix any problems that arise later'. Like global warming has been until recently, unsustainability in agriculture is a later generation's problem. Or rather, I believe we're lied to that it's the fix.

Maybe this answers a question of yours, Peez, that I didn't get round to - do I see GM as Good now, but not maintanable? (paraphrasing maybe). If you identify reasonable arguments that current actions (even with some benefits) are going to lead to serious problems in future, it's hard to call those 'Good', although there may be times when suboptimal action needs to be taken in the short term that can be fixed later, and all of this depends on subtle interplay of benefits and disadvantages likely to occur over time. I have a picture of someone digging their way out of a hole, though, imagining most of the benefits of deepening it in the first place. We have to wake up from the underlying delusion we have, that fucking with the Earth is generally Good.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/do-seed-companies-control-gm-crop-research/
That's rather old news - any idea if this situation has improved since?

Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #88

Testy Calibrate, wow, that last longer post of yours was quite something! It felt very supportive of many of my views on this, although not all. I think we have to be careful when we start talking about people creating a them-and-us division, since we've already identified a culpable group (like the old joke about there being two types of people in the world...), and I find talk of 'the religion of science' tends towards the same effect of dividing us, although I recognise that sometimes these short-hand versions are useful or we'd never say anything.
The religion of science and the religion of anything else create an identical problem. They posit truths with attached normative values presented as superior to others and justified by these truths. However, the truths used to support those values are ontological, inferred from other facts accepted by the individual who accepts the truth as opposed to any sort of objective quality. Because these truths are accepted as self evident they are not given to questioning. This leads to an effect Glenn Morton called, "Morton's Demon". The justification for the demon is irrelevant. It comes from believing in one's truths as self evident.

Quote
I don't want to make this about individuals any more than it has to, and I'm unable to make such harsh judgements of Peez as you have here,
I did not intend a harsh judgement of any individual. I intended a harsh judgement of the misuse of logic in the service of belief. If anyone wishes to defend the position of belief, that is their prerogative.

Quote
Natural systems create and maintain balances. If we distort the dynamics too far and constantly in one direction, which is to drag more and more biomatter out of a piece of ground, I think there's plenty of evidence from similar systems and system theory that we could end up making things progressively worse. Where this kind of process gets established, each intended improvement to the system causes it to adjust in ways that make a bigger fix necessary.
This is from 1973 but is still just as relevant today as it was then:
http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.es.04.110173.000245

Everyone should read it.

Quote
But we tend to have a fixation on increasing the height of our high-tech solutions in the world, and a knee-jerk reaction against low-tech ones (the 'bunch of hippies' response is one; but sometimes it's other things, like accepting sacrifices have to be made - lower productivity, or harder work, or more cost, or greater complexity: these are automatically identified as backward steps, even when we might acknowledge that our drive for higher production or simplicity or cheapness or ease has caused environmental damage). There are examples where a return to simpler, traditional systems (or invention of new, but 'natural' systems) have improved everything, from productivity to diets to wildlife, to self-sufficiency and sustainability, but they're just seen as quaint one-offs. Raising fish in paddy fields is one example that comes to mind.
The part I bolded is a very serious problem and is, IMO, the root source of religion of any stripe. We cannot simplify a complex dynamic system. It is not possible. All we can do is externalize some factors for a brief time period. Those externalized factors are the source of feedback which always surprises engineers who can't imagine how come they hadn't foreseen the problem when in fact, they built their blindness intentionally into their system believing they could linearize chaos. Hubris is the word we use for that.  The approach of engineering to control natural systems not only has failure built in to the effort, it has state flip built in. Another term for that flip is collapse of an attractor basin or just ecosystem collapse. It is a guaranteed outcome following from the engineering approach.

Quote
I don't think biologists generally have got their heads round the fact that the ecosystems of which we're a part will often tend to react to (or 'against') whatever disturbance we cause. I'd have expected ecologists to grokk this, but I don't really think Peez does.
I don't think peez is an ecologist.

Quote
Besides this, there are just simple ethical feelings - we're effing with the planet too much, treating it like property and an endless goldmine - even while we're in the midst of a mass extinction phenomenon. AGW will probably give the GM argument more force - we can tweak plants to be more drought-resistant, etc. - but we might be better working towards more 'organic' principles (even if changing climates will alter the suitable flora and fauna). Or maybe GM is the only way to cope with global warming. I don't know.
GM has tremendous potential in a wide variety of situations but economics based on continual exponential growth is a serious problem. As I mentioned earlier in the thread, the problems associated with the patentability of genes could be solved by simply removing that potential and making them public property in all cases.

Quote
This again points to the massive ignorance behind our agricultural systems - we rip rock and petroleum products out of the earth, pump them onto barely living soil used as a holding medium (because it's blitzed with Roundup),
For practical purposes, it is sterilized.
Quote
feed ourselves on it (wasting a vast amount feeding animals to eat), then pump a good deal of the waste into the sea.
Among the worst environmental problems we face, short of nuclear war or boiling off the planet's water, is global fisheries collapse, and it is a real possibility which will not happen gradually or come with clear warning. This is what system collapse does. And it is the bottom link of the global food chain. The engine of Gaia so to speak. Or at least the engine of a Gaia that supports large mammals.
Quote

Our whole global outlook is unsustainable, and I believe GMOs and monocultures work within this insane paradigm, they ignore that background, and worsen it. We get further and further from equilibrium, from a sustainable cycle of natural substances, and the reaction just seems to be 'we'll fix any problems that arise later'. Like global warming has been until recently, unsustainability in agriculture is a later generation's problem. Or rather, I believe we're lied to that it's the fix.

agreed.
Love is like a magic penny
 if you hold it tight you won't have any
if you give it away you'll have so many
they'll be rolling all over the floor