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 …

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 …

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 …

Albert Borgmann Reflecting on Facebook and the iPhone

On occasions this blog will have guest posts by authors who have expertise in areas related to our central themes.  We are lucky to hear today from Albert Borgmann, a world renowned philosopher of technology and author of Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life. Here Borgmann reflects on Facebook and the iPhone and the hidden …

To Rise From the Dead

“Extinction,” as they say, “is forever.”  It is the threat that has launched a thousand environmental campaigns. Despite being the ultimate fate of all species, extinction remains universally appalling in its finality. The thought of extinction serves as a chilling reference point for almost all conservation thinking. Technologies being developed in the emerging Plastocene epoch …