Philosopher Meets Meteorologist to Talk About Climate Engineering

In a recent article for Grist, meteorologist Eric Holthaus claims that we are already locked into a devil’s bargain on climate change. The bargain asks us to weigh a trade-off between two things that pollution in the atmosphere does for us. On the one hand, it causes serious health and respiratory problems that kill over …

The Part that’s Not Funny about Cloning Macaques

On January 25th 2018, CNN.com announced a striking scientific breakthrough in biotechnology with the painful headline “Monkey See, Monkey 2.” A technique known as somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) had been used successfully by Chinese researchers to create two genetically identical long-tailed macaque monkeys. This was the first time that SCNT, a technique that arrived …

When Saving Lives Kills: The Strange Case of Maritime Ship Emissions

Ships large enough to carry cargo across the world's oceans have big engines. In fact, they have really big engines. The ones that power the monster container ships that are the linchpin of global trade stand over four stories high and stretch for most of the length of a basketball court. They weigh over two thousand …

Oil Spills and the Unexpected in a Synthetic Age

When U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced plans in January to greatly expand offshore drilling to ninety percent of the U.S. coastline, the condemnation of the move was immediate, vocal, and bi-partisan. The governors of the majority of coastal states – including Republican governors in Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, and South Carolina – immediately objected to …

Love of Country

Guest author Albert Borgmann is back by popular demand.  Borgmann is a world renowned philosopher of technology and culture. He previously wrote on this blog about how Facebook and Apple bring undisclosed costs to society.  Here he talks about a possible way of healing the growing political rifts of our  tribal time. He puts his …

Some Excellent Non-Scientific Reasons to Reject Climate Change Denial

Everybody wants a white Christmas. In Erie, Pennsylvania they certainly got it.  On Christmas Day they received 34 inches of snow and by midweek they had received over 65 inches of the white stuff. In the central and northeastern parts of the U.S., bitter air from Canada reduced temperatures to record lows in the period …

Gene Drives and the Hijacking of Origins

Over the last thirty years, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have struggled to gain the confidence of consumers.  In the European Union, many member states have maintained virtual moratoria on their use in agriculture. Even in the less precautionary U.S., where only the weakest of labeling laws have ever made it through Congress, surveys show that …