Re: How to turn some people to GM (was Glowing Grass)

From: D. den Otter (
Date: Tue Jul 11 2000 - 08:18:35 MDT

At 23:52 10-07-00 +0000, you wrote:
> I came up with this idea several years ago but just realized it's
> propogandistic value today: genetically engineer a strain of grass
> (common lawn grass) which produces THC, and other chemicals found in
> marijuana. Immediately, many of the people (from the left side of the
> anti-GM spectrum) who are now protesting GM food suddenly can grow their
> favorite drug, right in their front lawn, without arousing detection. The
> argument against hemp is that it will make it easier to grow marijuana -
> the argument applies here as well, to a much higher degree.. everyone has
> a lawn. How easy would it be to select a corner of it specifically for GM
> grass, nobody would ever suspect - prohibition would completely crumble.
> Could this be done? Is it as easy as inserting a single gene as has
> already been done in hundreds of other cases?

I dunno, maybe you'd have to include some of the (many) other chemicals
that are found in MJ as well for an optimal effect. The idea certainly has
potential. If you use a sturdy, "aggressive" type of grass this thing could
spread like wildfire. Of course there would be some side-effects like
perpetually stoned cows etc., but that's a small price to pay for what
could be a major victory for the good guys in the war against the war on
drugs. The govs of the world would no doubt try to wipe out the happy
grass, first with "conventional" means and later with some GM weapon(s) of
their own, but the grass could be adapted as well so you'd get something of
a GM arms race/guerilla warfare.

On a related note, you could presumably engineer a virus that's as
contagious as the flu (or worse), but which only "attacks" the brain's
pleasure centers and produces an XTC-esque effect, i.e. a "love virus". You
could either make it last for only a week or so, like the "normal" flu, or
(and this is probably a lot more difficult and risky) make the effects more
or less permanent, like chronic fatigue syndrome (chronic feelgood
syndrome). Because infected parties would be inclined to get intimate with
anyone and everyone, the virus should spread extra fast. In fact, this
would probably be such an effective reproductive strategy that I'm somewhat
puzzled that (afaik) no "natural" viruses work this way; making their hosts
feel sick and miserable, let alone *killing* them, is rather stupid from
the virus'/bacterium's point of view.

It's not all fun and games, of course; if the effects were strong enough,
you could use the virus as a means to paralyze or even take over countries
etc. A more vicious variant could be used to turn people into "zombies",
paranoid cowards or hyper-aggressive maniacs. L.A. riots^10 on a global
scale. Or what about a virus that attacks the optic nerves and makes people
blind - that would pretty much make them sitting ducks as shown in _The Day
of the Triffids _( Or a
combination of the above (first a mating-frenzy to spread the virus, then
aggression/ blindness etc.) Excellent terrorist weapons... who needs
nanotech to f*ck up civilization?

BTW: I saw a movie once (some 70's production, don't know the name etc.)
where a guy developed a "parasite" (big disgusting snail-like thing) which
caused its host to display wild mating behavior. There were some nasty
(lethal) side-effects though, mainly due to the fact that those things
multiplied in one's stomach, _Alien_-style. A virus would definitely have
been a more user-frienly choice. Anyway, they spread and presumably the
world went to Hell. Fun movie, though.

>This would probably backfire if done in isolation without anything else to
>appease the religious right wing "you're playing god!"

"I'm not playing god, I AM God". Maybe something for a t-shirt...

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