Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Biotech Medicine Science

Could Colorblindness Cure Be Morally Wrong? 981

destinyland writes "One in 12 men suffers from colorblindness, though '[t]he good news here is that these folks are simply missing a patch of DNA ... which is just the kind of challenge this Millennium is made for. Enter science.' But NPR's Moira Gunn (from Biotech Nation) now asks a provocative question. Is it wrong to cure colorblindness? She reports on an experiment that used a virus to introduce corrective DNA into colorblind monkeys. ('It took 20 weeks, but eventually the monkeys started distinguishing between red and green.') Then she asks, could it be viewed differently? 'Are we trying to 'normalize' humans to a threshold of experience?'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Could Colorblindness Cure Be Morally Wrong?

Comments Filter:
  • Tetrachromat (Score:3, Interesting)

    by eightball ( 88525 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @08:57PM (#31634918) Journal

    I am waiting for the tetrachromat patch. So, I think you can assume my position.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2010 @08:57PM (#31634924)

    "Would you like to be cured?"

    Problem solved.

    Kind of like asking $sexual_preference people if they would like to be cured? Or perhaps asking $skin_colour people if they would like to be cured? Perhaps the "problem" is identifying colour blindness as a defect that needs a cure and trying to make all humans meet some baseline or be classified as defective.

  • Sure why not (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cheesybagel ( 670288 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @08:58PM (#31634934)
    Plus infrared and ultraviolet.
  • by Twinbee ( 767046 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @09:02PM (#31634968) Homepage

    When Qualia [] is concerned, nothing is certain. It's reasonable to produce scientific measurements of this and that. But what colours (or saturation) they *map* to inside the brain is another matter. For example, some creatures are monochromats, which means they can probably only see one colour. But what that colour actually is, is anyone's guess.

    Apparently, some people have four colour cones instead of three. Do they see a new colour competely outside our range, or just have extra 'depth' to distinguish our current range more easily?

  • Re:Stupid (Score:4, Interesting)

    by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @09:03PM (#31634972)
    What about deaf? Apparently, there are some parents who would deliberately wish to have a deaf child [].
    'We celebrated when we found out about Molly's deafness,' says Lichy. 'Being deaf is not about being disabled, or medically incomplete - it's about being part of a linguistic minority. We're proud, not of the medical aspect of deafness, but of the language we use and the community we live in.'

    Now the couple are hoping to have a second child, one they also wish to be deaf
    Not that I know anything about it, but they are out there. I hope those in the know will chime in here.
  • not wrong (Score:5, Interesting)

    by parallel_prankster ( 1455313 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @09:07PM (#31635018)
    It can't be wrong if we are fixing an inability to process particular wavelengths of light.There are definitely other things that we could do when we mess with bio-engineering /genetics etc that could raise moral and ethical issues . Now, using DNA to provide someone the ability to hear like a dog etc etc, that is more serious stuff ofcourse or maybe not. Maybe it is moral that if we have technology that can improve our senses, it is ok to improve it even if we humans were not gifted with it at birth. I dont believe Nature is perfect.
  • by adonoman ( 624929 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @09:09PM (#31635050)
    As the child of a color-blind dad, I think the worst part is getting all the various shades of brown, red and green play-dough mixed up into one nasty brown color all the time. Eventually we stopped letting him get near it. Although reflecting back, that may have just been his way of getting us to clean up ourselves....
  • by f3rret ( 1776822 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @09:10PM (#31635068)

    In all fairness it is a valid question to pose.

    Genetically altering humans is a fairly big ethical question. Granted curing color blindness is fairly harmless, but once we know how to do that and accept it can be done it pretty much stands to reason that we will find out how to do other things and will accept doing those.

    While curing color blindness and any number of genetic defects might in the long run be the best course of action, at least from a "continuation of the species"-viewpoint, at what point do we draw the line.
    I mean when we first begun to do surgery we did it to save life and for "the betterment of mankind", and now we are doing cosmetic surgery. In the case of cosmetic surgery the point can be made that people who have not had the surgery are at a disadvantage (Can't get certain jobs on ground of attractiveness, and so on), now when we start to do "cosmetic" DNA surgery we are tampering with humanity at a pretty basic level and run the risk of the species splitting off in to one (or several) different species, those who had have the genetic augmentations and those that have not.
    So once we are two different species what'll the augmented species think of the non-augmented one? Will the people who for whatever reason are not able to get or unwilling to get the augmentations done be considered as some kind of untermench or will the non-augmented line be terminated all together?

    I am not advocating that we should ban all genetic medicine, far from it, personally I would love to be cured of my colorblindness and I'm sure there are any number of people with various other genetic defects that would like to be cured.
    This also raises the question: how do we decide what constitutes a defect, and how to we go about determining if it should be cured? Also if we are set on removing genetic defects from the gene pool how to we deal with people who do not want the cure? Do we forbid them from breeding so they will not pass on their "defective" genes?

    Whatever is the case, it's a valid debate and one we'll WILL need to have before we do these sorts of things, even if they seem kind of harmless.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2010 @09:13PM (#31635108)

    totally. i love npr, but moira gunn is a little bit of an idiot especially as a "tech reporter". if you take some time to listen to her opinion pieces they are usually either not very well thought out or extremely conservative (and skeptical of disruptive technologies). i've taken to just changing the channel whenever she's on...

  • by biryokumaru ( 822262 ) * <> on Friday March 26, 2010 @09:16PM (#31635146)
    I beg to differ. Color-sighted people are physically incapable [] of doing something that colorblind people can do.
  • by biryokumaru ( 822262 ) * <> on Friday March 26, 2010 @09:19PM (#31635184)
    I'm an electrical engineer, and I can tell you that anyone who says you can't be one because you can't read resistors is a complete idiot. I am deeply saddened that you could not pursue that interest because of that extremely minor issue.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2010 @09:28PM (#31635266)

    What if they someday find a "gay gene" (or even just those for various intersex conditions) and cure those?

    "Would you like to be heterosexual, just like everyone else?"

    (The interesting thing about that is that you can piss off both sides of that debate. What if, in the future, being gay or not was indisputably a choice thanks to medical science? Would those who chose to cure themselves be seen as traitors or...?)

  • by Animaether ( 411575 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @09:56PM (#31635548) Journal

    I went to an EE prep school and had to tell one of my classmates - after he asked me if a stripe on a resistor was orange or red - that if he had difficulty discerning the two colors, he should check with the school council on this matter. They did indeed offer a variety of different courses to him simply because - by law - he would not be allowed to work with a large variety of systems based on e.g. old color coding of wiring (red and green for live and neutral) in houses.

    He *could* still pursue the course he was taking, but they did warn him that in either direction (installation tech - not just the 220V AC systems but also the very common 24V and 12V DC systems used in control panels - or electronics), he would face many issues ranging from inconveniences to basically a note on his certification that would preclude him from working on various electrical systems.

    On an up note - he went into mechanical engineering instead and last I bumped into him he was designing parts for water turbines/scoops that raise water from a lower water level to a higher water level without harming - and in some ways in fact helping - fish migrations.

    However, he still decided to give up his first passion. Maybe he would have gone on to do great things in that field just as well.. so if his colorblindness could have been 'cured' in the term mentioned in the story summary (20 weeks), then he could have simply applied for a hiatus on medical grounds and return the next year (or try and fast-track from the next semester) without re-enrollment procedures/etc.

  • by GaryOlson ( 737642 ) <slashdot.garyolson@org> on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:04PM (#31635638) Journal
    I have the same color blindness; and I don't see it as a defect. When inspecting a collection of machined parts, I could unerringly spot the defective parts visually. The defects were as small as .0015". I attribute this acuity to not being distracted by colors I can't see. My ability to discern form in greyscale is also much higher than almost everyone else I know. But don't ask me to look for numbers in the dots.
  • Re:Who knows? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by aussie_a ( 778472 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:05PM (#31635652) Journal

    If we know what normal-sighted people's DNA looks like, do we also know what colour-blind people's DNA looks like? If so, could this procedure also make someone colour-blind?

  • by westlake ( 615356 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:23PM (#31635826)

    Yeah, the 'moral dilemma' is kinda silly. But why stop at curing colourblindness? When can I get my IR and UV vision?

    Here is a tale from one of the great Now-It-Can-Told memoirs of World War I:

    Of Spies & []
    Stratagems by Stanley P. Lovell

    Lovell was the director of R&D for the OSS. The man who became Bill Donovan's Professor Moriarty. You'll find no better introduction to the real world of spy tech than here.

    A most important field of deception and concealment concerned the landing of spies and saboteurs on enemy occupied coastlines, and at the exact spot where he or she would be met by friendly personnel from the underground organizations. This proved to be a most difficult problem for us to solve. Such landings had to be made on nights with no moon.

    Early in the war fixed lights and blinkers were used on the shore to mark the rendezvous, but enemy airplanes and sur face vessels often spotted them. Many an agent and his reception committee of resistance fighters were surrounded, picked up and summarily shot.

    The ideal shore signal to guide the O.S.S. agent to the selected place was an ultra-violet beacon. A small UV bulb, powered by a single dry-cell battery, would flash intermittently for almost a year. The difficulty arose when we found that even a person with superior eyesight could pick out the ultra-violet signal in the blackness of night only from a distressingly short range. I could not detect it at all beyond one hundred feet. I was about to abandon the UV system of landing signal as worthless, when a surgeon specializing in cataract
    removals told me by chance that patients who had undergone that operation had extraordinary sensitivity to ultra-violet light. We asked for volunteers and tested several people whose cataracts had been removed. To our astonishment we found that they could see and pinpoint the little, flashing ultra
    violet light from over a mile away, whereas the rest of us could
    see nothing but inky blackness.

    Brave, elderly people, so selected, guided our operators
    infallibly to these normally invisible rendezvous. I am certain
    the Germans and the Japanese never had the faintest idea of
    how it was done.

  • by myowntrueself ( 607117 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:25PM (#31635838)

    Ok how about this.

    The whole potential human genome is a search space.

    By removing the gene for colorblindness we could remove access to potentially valuable volumes of the search space.

    Suppose that the gene for colorblindness turned out to be connected with a gene for telepathy
    such that if we remove colorblindness from the human genome we effectively rule out any possibility of evolving telepathy? (ASSUMING one thinks of telepathy as a potential valuable thing for humans to acquire; lets not get sidetracked by that).

    Just an arbitrary example of the way in which we could exclude possibilities from future generations.

  • by __aasqbs9791 ( 1402899 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:29PM (#31635854)

    Why should it ever end? Does progress have a single predefined 'end point'?

  • by sparkeyjames ( 264526 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:30PM (#31635858)

    Quite a number of years ago my brother in law had a car that was getting small rust spots all over it so he decided it needed to be fixed. He called me up to come help him as there were a lot of rust spots. I went over and it took us nearly all day to sand them down and prime them up. He said he would handle the final painting of them. It was a dark brown car. What I did not know was that he has green/brown color blindness. He called me up a couple of days later to say he had it all done. So I went over to take a look at the finished handy work. I damn near busted a gut from laughing because he now had a dark brown car with dark green spots all over it. At first he would not believe me so he called my sister out (she had not seen the car since we started the repairs) and the look on her face and the question "How come there are dark green spots all over it?" started me laughing all over again.

  • by nschubach ( 922175 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:52PM (#31636060) Journal

    I know not a lot of people do this on a regular basis, but I target shoot with my father and he has had laser eye surgery and he has a hard time lining up iron sights because the fine space has refracted images of the side of the rear sight. It's not clear enough to get a good bearing.

    He used to easily take out ground hogs with his M1 Garand from about 150-200 yards with iron sights and he says it's much harder after the surgery.

    Granted, this is not exactly life shattering since the surgery gave him the ability to see clearly during his day job without contacts or glasses, but it has lessened something he enjoyed doing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:44PM (#31636460)

    some of these elites will make their offspring genetically incompatible with others

    SLIPPERY SLOPE! Sorry. When fellow geeks give such direct examples of logical fallacies I tend to get a bit....irrational.....

    First off:

    A) Curing color blindness is NOT the same thing as creating a genetic super-species. One does not automatically imply the other. One could be embraced while the other resisted. Therefore, the possibility that the other might occur anyway is no reason to reject the one.


    B) Choosing not to use genetic knowledge and technological advancements to cure genetic diseases will NOT prevent the technological progress that would bring about the ability to create a genetic bifurcation in our species. So, preventing the one does not prevent the other. So again, this is no argument to resist using genetic manipulation to cure ourselves.


    C) Genetic bifurcation could very well happen anyway, without the aid of genetic technologies, simply through preferential mate selection. It has happened before, in fact. That is why we don't have tails.


    D) All useful technological advancements, absolutely without exception, could be used for evil purposes. The evil doesn't come from the technology, it comes from the people. To refrain from empowering ourselves out of fear of what evil people might do with it does us greater harm than the having of the technology would. There are some things that are simply worth the risk...and the capacities provided by transhuman advancements are a prime example.


    E) Life isn't risky; it is doomed to failure. We all die in the end. So, when we cower in fear of the greatness that our own discoveries can bring, we sacrifice unimaginable gain in order to protect mere (and temporary) pebbles. Maybe it is true that only the rich will be able to afford you think it is therefor better that nobody ever be allowed to have it? That sounds more like petty selfishness than some noble moral sentiment. If you reflect objectively on the realities of our own evolution you will see that precisely this sort of unfairness is what has made our species what it is today. What if the apes of old had thought "some apes will be smarter than others, which just can't be tolerated, so we must ensure that we all stay dumb forever!" If that had happened, none of use would be here, nor would we have cell phones, trips off our planet, or conversations about morality and justice. Your very being already stands upon this is naught but deleterious folly to seek the comfort of ignorance.


    E) This entire discussion is moot. The most wealthy, most moral, and greatest in number have never managed to stop the progression of our technological knowledge. Moira Gunn will not either.

  • I'll do it... but... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by retech ( 1228598 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:45PM (#31636466)
    It's been the single most defining element to my life. Colorblindness shaped my world view from my early youth and has only served to reinforce that view. I'm colorblind. Typically Red Green and I've known since right around my 6th birthday. My grandfather and older brother were as well and when I started getting things wrong I experimented to see if I was or not. I'd pick crayons that had a basic title: Skyblue, Brick Red, Lemon Yellow and I'd find a selection of men and women (teachers, aunts, uncles), without the label, I'd ask them: What color is this crayon? I found if I asked 10 separate people I got 10 answers. If I asked 10 people in a group I got about 4-6 answers and an argument amongst them. One Christmas gathering I did this and it ended up turning into a huge family argument. Granted they're a bit dysfunctional. This taught me that we clearly live in our own shell of a world. Each of our perceptions are unique unto us. I find it a miracle that we've ever communicated or agreed on anything at all. Men already see 30% less of the spectrum than women, yet a colorblind man will insist (very often) that he's correct. I sincerely doubt that any two people have a 100% understanding or perception agreement on anything they experience together. If I were ever a juror and had to decide on a case that was based on eyewitness testimony I do not care how I felt, I'd dismiss it entirely. We are grossly flawed in thinking there is a universality to our understanding of our life. We live in bubbles only barely seeing into someone's bubble.
  • by carolfromoz ( 1552209 ) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @01:12AM (#31637054)
    You're right. I've noticed I ofen disagree with others on the gree-blue spectrum. None of us can be at all sure about what another person's brain is seeing.
  • by eh2o ( 471262 ) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @01:53AM (#31637238)

    No I am perfectly aware of the difference between monochromatic pure color and a synthetic color (wheel or whatever). I think my point was perhaps misunderstood...

    Consider for a moment the ear. It also has a dimensionality reduction in the translation from sound to perception. Meaning, multiple audio spectra map to the same perceived sound. MP3 famously uses this effect to hide compression artifacts. Colorimetry is the applied science of doing basically the same thing but for color mixing with different reflectance/emmission spectra.

    Now some people have better hearing than others, they can hear the MP3 artifacts when someone else can't. Shall we argue that they have an "extra" dimension of sound perception? I'd rather just say they have a more refined threshold of difference between spectra. Similarly some people have better color perception than others, and this manifests as finer discrimination thresholds.

    Most of colorimetry and its various models are really made for applications, they have no interest to a vision scientist. The mantis shrimp has something like 18 different cone classes, shall we give names to every one of those and run around an 18-dimensional hypersphere? What if I put in a bionic eyeball with a spectrophotometer that senses a thousand different frequencies... at some point you need to throw out all the color models and switch over to something that scales easily, namely, sampling theory.

    Furthermore if you look into the details (which I have) you realize that these linearly separable cartesian models are an idealization rather far from reality; first of all they fail linearity tests (such as associativity rules) except under highly constrained viewing conditions and furthermore they don't describe at all the fact that some dimensions are not as strong as others (various attempts to fix this have been made with mixed results).

  • by compro01 ( 777531 ) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @02:25AM (#31637344)

    Something that doesn't just give someone a 'different', 'unique' or 'special' perspective on reality, but an affliction that removes and impedes capability to function as well as the rest of us.

    Actually, colourblindness can be legitimately described as a unique perspective on reality. One of my high school friends is fully red colourblind (protanopia). He's in the military where his colourblindness is an asset. Most camouflage is almost useless against him due to the patterns being designed with normal colour vision in mind. He also has far better night vision than a person with normal vision would have.

  • by compro01 ( 777531 ) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @06:39AM (#31638200)

    Yeah, I'm slightly (-1.75 diopters) nearsighted myself and the better vision closeup is why I still wear glasses rather than contacts (easier to remove when I read or work at a computer) and don't plan on getting corrective surgery unless things change dramatically (prescription hasn't changed at all in the 7 years since I got glasses, so I figure it isn't likely to change anytime soon).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 27, 2010 @08:22AM (#31638602)

    On the other hand, my tennis coach was in the Marines and not allowed to work with camouflage because his colorblindness made it so he couldn't hide himself properly. He'd think he was camouflaged and the sergeant would just walk over and pick him out automatically.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 27, 2010 @10:26AM (#31639258)

    Actually, colourblindness can be legitimately described as a unique perspective on reality. One of my high school friends is fully red colourblind (protanopia). He's in the military where his colourblindness is an asset. Most camouflage is almost useless against him due to the patterns being designed with normal colour vision in mind. He also has far better night vision than a person with normal vision would have.

    Why not just custom order some LCD computer screens missing red or blue or green, and send the image through normally? Wouldn't that accomplish the same thing?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 27, 2010 @10:49AM (#31639450)

    There is serious debate in the deaf community (which really is its own distinct sub-culture) about whether deaf children should be given cochlear implants. Some have them, and never really become full members of the deaf world -- a real bummer if your whole family is deaf. There's a really interesting documentary that you might want to Netflix... "Deaf World?" I can't recall the title.

  •     I agree totally. It's as morally wrong to correct colorblindness as it is to change any other aspect of a person. Does it change the person? Sure.

        I went through corrective eye surgery years ago because I had a congenital cataract (i.e., I was born with it). By the time I was 18, my vision was 20/200 in my bad eye. The fix in the early 90's was pretty simple. Cut the lens out, and put a plastic one in. The method has changed slightly since then, but it's pretty much the same. Something they didn't tell me about until after was that the natural lens filters UV light. After the surgery, the spectrum of light I was able to see was increased at the UV end of the spectrum. Black lights no longer remain almost invisible, they are bright blue to me, only in that eye. Comparing the two eyes, some things like purple flowers, are different colors in each eye. It's kind of weird, but something I've learned to live with. Did the adaptation make me "super" in some way? Not really. It's just different. Color blind people see fewer (or no) colors. I see more in one eye. It was an elective surgery. If I hadn't had it done, I would be blind in that eye by now.

        Is it any worse for me to have my vision corrected so I wouldn't be blind? Is it wrong for someone who is missing a limb to get a prosthetic limb?

        I have a friend who was in an accident and has no control over her legs. She's making progress towards walking again in the future. Should she just accept the fact that she can't walk, and not try to be "normalized" (as TFA said)? If the ability is there, and the patient wants it, let them have it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 27, 2010 @11:49AM (#31639886)

    There are definitely amputees who don't want their limbs back. Aimee Mullins did an interesting talk for TED and an article for Gizmodo on this topic. And of course there are some who do.

    Electronics doesn't have to be closed to colorblind people. That's a completely contingent state of affairs. Non-colorblind people made decisions that ended up excluding colorblind people. Similar decisions were made with regard to traffic lights and so on.

    The moral question is actually a question of values, and is twofold: first, why do we think it's better/easier to change someone's body rather than change the way we make (like the electronic example), even when those decisions are totally arbitrary? Second, why do we value uniformity over diversity? It seems to me that we can get into the idea of a world where everyone has full color vision, or where everyone is colorblind, but we can't handle a world where people of different color visions coexist and make allowances for each other. Diversity of course has the potential for misunderstanding and conflict, but doesn't it have benefits also?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 27, 2010 @01:53PM (#31641096)

    Yeah ... but color blindness? ........Is there any advantage to color blindness at all?

    Yep. The color receptor density is lower and the light-dark receptor density is higher. The more profoundly color-blind, the more profoundly light sensitive you become. It's like built-in night vision goggles. Ever walk around without a flashlight on a full moon night? A profoundly color-blind person can see this well with almost any moonlight.

    Pattern recognition is also more developed in most color-blind people, due the necessity to compensate for communication with non-color-blind people. Ever play find the X differences in these pictures with a color-blind person? They'll find more differences, faster than a non-color-blind person, guaranteed.

  • by tengwar ( 600847 ) <slashdot.vetinari@org> on Saturday March 27, 2010 @06:18PM (#31643128)
    There's a huge assumption in the phrase "colour blindness". Most languages call it Daltonism, after the discoverer, which makes sense because most of us can see colours, just not quite the same ones you do. For most of us blue and yellow are seen the same as an ISO standard human. Green is more interesting. I see several colours which I've had to learn to group together as "green", since they don't have much in common to me. Yellow-green is obvious, but I also see blue-green (not turquoise - different colour) and red-green. Those infernal bi-coloured LEDs show red-green. Blue-green is the colour of a "go" traffic light green in my country (UK) and in most countries I've visited. Twenty years ago I would still see the odd old red-green traffic "go" light, but they seem to have been replaced as a matter of policy. The difference between a blue-green "go" and a red "stop" is huge for me: no chance of confusion. An amber (I think it's called yellow in the USA) traffic light is much closer to red, and I have to use the position to distinguish them.
    Size of the colour patch also matters: I can distinguish finer gradations in colour if the patch is larger. Luminance differences also help. This is part of the reason why specific mains wiring colours in the UK (and I think the EU) were chosen: for most colour-blind people, there is no risk of confusion.
    Would I get it changed? Possibly, but it would be a risk trade-off like laser eye surgery for my myopia, with a much more restricted up-side. It would be useful for getting the right white balance for my photography, but not as much of an advantage for that as you might expect.
    Much more important, lower risk, and easier is to make sure that you use the right colours for user interfaces - road signs, software etc. - or provide some sort of word-around. Let me give an example: I have to prepare a weekly Powerpoint 2003 slide summarising the state of my projects. There are two places where I have to colour something red/amber/green. One is a cell in a table, and the other is a filled circle. Unfortunately there are different dialogs for editing these colours: one contains two rectangles - the first containing recently used colours, and the second a wider palette. The other dialog contains a hexagonal palette. It doesn't matter hugely exactly which amber or green I use, but I'd like it consistent across the slide. This two-dialog arrangement means that I can't use the position of a colour in a palette to get a consistent selection.
    Since come what may, you will always be dealing with people with uncorrected vision even if an upgrade is available, it's worth taking a few minutes to get this right when you are doing design work. It doesn't need to compromise the experience of anyone with standard sight, any more than a blue-green traffic light bothers them.

Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semicolon. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982