Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Where synthetic biology may lead us...

Michael Specter is probably one of my favourite science writers. He has written a fascinating piece on synthetic biology in this week's issue of the New Yorker. It's fairly futuristic and it seems like this will be a field to watch. I quote from the article below -- a taste of things to come!
"No scientific achievement has promised so much, and none has come with greater risks or clearer possibilities for deliberate abuse. The benefits of new technologies—from genetically engineered food to the wonders of pharmaceuticals—often have been oversold. If the tools of synthetic biology succeed, though, they could turn specialized molecules into tiny, self-contained factories, creating cheap drugs, clean fuels, and new organisms to siphon carbon dioxide from the atmosphere."

Saturday, September 5, 2009

It is not knowledge we lack

I've been in the grip of Sven Lindqvist's book on European barbarism. It's called 'Exterminate All The Brutes' and is a terrible, wrenching account of imperialism and racism through the centuries. He ends the book with this paragraph that I think is broadly applicable to life.

"You already know enough. So do I. It is not knowledge we lack. What is missing is the courage to understand what we know and draw conclusions."