op ed

Can Gene Therapy Cure Stupid?

Republibot 4.0's picture

Had something happen this past week which exemplifies why it can be a real minefield to discuss high tech science topics with reactionary people.

There was an article about a new technique for precisely targeting individual, damaged genes for gene-replacement therapy, which I thought was pretty exciting stuff, so I posted it. Well, the very first comment I got back about it, was, "Oh, here comes GATTACA." He also cited Khan from Star Trek, and a dystopian futuristic comic strip called "Endtown" as his reasons for being against genetic manipulation.

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Things You Never Knew Existed...

Republibot 4.0's picture

I mentioned the other day that I received the Hammacher Schlemmer gift catalog of unbelievably overpriced toys for the man who has far more disposable income than is good for anybody to possess. Well, I also get a catalog from the other end of the spectrum--Johnson Smith's Things You Never Knew Existed.

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Windows 8: Is it as bad as everyone says?

Robert Bee's picture

I teach computer classes at a public library, mostly classes on Windows and Office, so I’m on the front line, so to speak, whenever Microsoft changes its operating system. Not to overgeneralize, but I’ve found over the years that many Windows users tend to be technically hesitant or conservative. When Windows changes, the complaining from these users is extensive. This attitude directly contrasts with the Apple community, which tends to be excited, and extol the new look and features of the new operating system or device.

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Monday Morning Rant: Solving The World's Problems

Republibot 4.0's picture

I correspond on another forum board, where recently almost every discussion topic has erupted into a polticized shouting match. Since this other forum is normally a quiet haven from the usual vitriol one sees on the Internet, I felt deeply saddened by the way normally intelligent, friendly people were suddenly taking things out of context and going for each other's throats. For example, a thread on "Talk Like A Pirate Day" devolved into an angry debate over what to do about piracy in Somalia. The thread was eventually locked by one of the forum moderators.

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Monday Morning Rant: Fairness

Republibot 4.0's picture

The other day, I was having an on-line discussion with some friends of mine, and one of them, out of the blue, mentioned that Rush Limbaugh has written a book about American history aimed at children. Tied in with his line of tea ("Two If By Tea") the book follows time-travelling history teacher Rush Revere and his wise-cracking talking horse, Liberty, as they visit various points of historical interest and tell "the real story about America."

Okay, fine enough. We all recognize that Rush, being who he is, will be writing from a very conservative point of view.

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Modern Storytelling vs Old Style.

kelloggs2066's picture

The subject of how TV series stories used to be episodic, versus today's multi-story arcs, popped up in the discussion on "Where Star Trek started to go wrong", and I thought about addressing it there, but then I thought it deserved its own discussion.

 

Each style has its good points, and its bad points. I'd like to explore them now.

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Where Star Trek Failed For Me

kelloggs2066's picture

We've all heard the trendy deconstruction of Star Trek TNG: That The Federation is either an Evil Empire or a Bored Collective of Cult Members who believe they're perfect.

It was come up with by bored English Majors who spent far
too much time in their high school literary/poetry analysis classes investigating the deeper meanings of Kafka and Dostoyevsky. (Perhaps you know someone like that. Perhaps you *are* someone like that.)

But, for me, Star Trek went off the rails much earlier.

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Tuesday Morning Rant: Where Are We Going?

Republibot 4.0's picture

I keep hearing about how we have to engage in the search for new Earthlike worlds because our species is doomed otherwise.  Either the sun is going to go nova, or climate change is going to make our planet uninhabitable, or an asteroid's going to knock us for six, or we're going to kill ourselves with nuclear war or overpopulation or just sheer random stupidity.  So we have to have an escape plan in place, so our magnificent species will not vanish from the universe.

Bollocks.

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