Articles Of Interest January 9, 2014

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“The Gene Factory”     Michael Specter

This is an interesting article from The New Yorker about a Chinese company BGI, which is the world’s largest genetic-research center. The article brings up several thought-provoking, in my opinion, cultural differences that will need to be tackled on a worldwide scale. Here is an excerpt:

From page 40:

“In twenty to forty years, at least in the developed world, most babies could be conceived through in-vitro fertilization, so that their parents can choose among embroyos,” Hank Greely, a professor at Stanford Law School and the director of the university’s Center for Law and the Biosciences, told me. Greely’s book on the ethical implications of genomics and human reproduction, “The End of Sex,” will be published next year.”

Also From The New Yorker:

“The Birds”    Jonathan Rosen

This is a tremendous review on a book entitled: “A Feathered River Across The Sky: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction” by Joel Greenberg. The review gives the history of the passenger pigeon and the environmental problems that the passenger pigeons caused and the ultimate demise of the birds. The article brings up the plans of de-extinction of the birds and plans to recreate the bird. (probably not the best way to describe de-extinction). I urge you to read the article for a better presentation. The primary question that Mr. Greenberg wants to answer is this: How in fifty years could this bird become extinct after having a population of seemingly billions?

“Finding The Next Edison,”     Derek Thompson

This article from the January/February 2014 issue of The Atlantic focuses on how outsiders are presented with problems, you would expect the expert to come up with the best answer. However, the outsiders are coming up with the most-interesting answers to complex problems in spite of their lack of expertise. An excerpt from page 24:

“Opening up challenges to a diverse group of people is powerful, not only because it gives you more shots on goal, but also because it gives you different shots, from surprising angles. “Big companies can’t invent that well. They know too much,” Kaufman said. “They lose touch with the average person. When you become infinitely educated in a category, you’re your own worst enemy, because you can instantly say the 15 to 20 reasons something isn’t needed, and you don’t realize the one reason it is needed.”




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