Monthly Archives: December 2010

New genes are as important as old genes

See:

http://www.ivanhoe.com/channels/p_channelstory.cfm?storyid=25998

Article reads: “Biologists have long assumed, quite reasonably, that ancient genes have survived natural selection because they are essential to life and that new genes are generally less critical to an organism’s development,” Irene Eckstrand, PhD, who manages Dr. Long’s and other evolutionary biology grants at the National Institutes of Health, was quoted as saying. “This important study suggests that this assumption is flawed, unlocking new questions that could lead to a deeper understanding of evolutionary processes and their impact on human health.

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Touting transhumanism

See:

http://asunews.asu.edu/20101229_transhumanism

Article reads: What does it mean to be human? In today’s world, the question is no longer a purely philosophical or religious inquiry. The answer may in fact depend more and more on the potential impact of our advancing technological capabilities. What will it mean to the definition of human if new technologies can enhance the abilities of the human body – and mind – to unprecedented levels?

Jonathan Littell’s “The Kindly Ones”

See:

http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/reviewofbooks_article/10037/

Review reads: What is most disturbing is the way in which the story is told, from the point of view of the narrator, Obersturmfuhrer Maximilian Aue. Ideally Max would be a sadistic monster, a character proportionate to his deeds. And in many ways he is. But in the main he is not. And this is the key to the book’s difficulty – the narrators’ argument that he is, at bottom, ‘a man like other men… a man like you’.

On Eugenics

See:

http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/id.8287/pub_detail.asp

Opinion reads: Ideas like eugenics have histories – and, they have consequences for the lives of ordinary people.

Being transhuman

See:

Click Here

Article reads: The obvious problem is that it requires some external group of humans to be responsible for managing the technology itself (unless this is to be turned over to machines), at which point it is clear that the end result of transhumanism is the ability to fully exploit an entire species of humans, and make them enjoy the prospect of being ruled by someone proclaiming themselves their superior.  It’s the ultimate ant farm.

Meditation on not knowing

See:

Click Here

Opinion reads: Given the complex and mixed-up world that our children will inherit, becoming comfortable with not knowing an answer right away may be one of the most important life skills we can teach them. Kids get this concept easily. It tends to be a tougher practice for their parents.

Study attacks complementary and alternative medicine

See:

http://www.doctorslounge.com/index.php/news/pb/16691

Article reads: The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among children is associated with significant morbidity and mortality, according to a study published online Dec. 22 in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Europe to ban herbal remedies

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Click Here

Article reads: Hundreds of herbal medicinal products will be banned from sale in Britain next year under what campaigners say is a “discriminatory and disproportionate” European law.

Mary Midgley on truth beyond the selfish gene

Watch video here:

Click Here

Midgley says, “There are truths far too big to be conveyed in one go.”

Old human fossil

See:

http://www.economist.com/node/17797276?story_id=17797276&fsrc=rss

Article reads:He and his colleagues have confirmed, using the creature’s whole genome, that a fossil finger bone which is at least 30,000 years old, and which was found in a cave in the Altai mountains of Siberia, comes from a previously unknown human species.