A little Free Speech

I went to the GPLv3 Conference in Tokyo today. Well, part of it. Today was only my second day in my new job, and I couldn’t really spend the whole day at the conference. But I really wanted to be at the conference in the afternoon since they asked me to participate in the panel for ” International coordination of Free Software Movement”.

I expected the panel to be a question and answer setup, where the panel members responded to questions from the audience. But that isn’t what happened. Instead the panel chairman talked for 30 minutes, and then handed the mike over to me!

That wasn’t what I was expecting, but it wasn’t a problem either. I spent fifteen minutes saying my bit, then passed the mike on to the next guy.

The following panelists had interesting things to say, and I learnt a few things too. I didn’t know that pharmaceutical companies spend more on marketing than they do on research, although I wasn’t surprised to hear that. I was amused to hear that all maize (corn) was effectively genetically engineered millennia ago in South America.

But the quote that stood out the most was not a new fact, but it was a nice opinion: “education is not just about skills; it is about building values and building a citizen”. Somebody needs to start repeating that back in the UK.


  1. all maize (corn) was effectively

    genetically engineered millennia ago

    in South America

    Selective breeding is nothing like genetic engineering — not even “effectively”.

  2. I have to disagree with tucowed’s comment. I understand that selective breeding, as used to make corn, and modern biochemical genetic modification are different, but they have the same purpose: to produce particular traits in the next generation of plant or animal. That means they are effectively the same.

    And according to some sources (for example: Encarta and Biofact) selective breeding is a type of genetic engineering.

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