biology, General opinion, genetic modification, History of science, medicine, Organ transplantation, Science, science fiction, SF and science

Franken fears, Franken futures (part 2)

Moving from AI back to biology, how close are we to creating life out of replacement parts? Or nothing at all? Well, we could probably clone a human being any day. This really isn’t the big deal it sounds like: there have been human clones as long as there have been humans: they’re called identical twins. In terms of the ethics, I imagine the worst is that you’d just get some unhealthily grieving people trying to clone their dead Dad, which isn’t a good idea. Clone armies to wage your wars? Well, no, it’s not going to get any faster to grow a human being and raise it to adulthood, and, for the moment, we don’t have those artificial wombs (nor are we likely to, taking an embryo from the moment of conception). You’d probably go for those AI drones instead.

Making a different form of human is another thing entirely. Continue reading

History of science, Miscellaneous, Uncategorized

I want a leech-based storm predictor

I’m aware I’ve been a little slack with the postings lately; life is getting busy as I prepare to start a new job (and move house to start said job…). I’ve got a post in the works, but in the meantime I’ll just leave you with this: the Tempest Prognosticator, which I just learned about from BBC4’s excellent documentary on the history of weather forecasting, Storm Troupers. It’s a way of predicting oncoming storms using the agitation of leeches. Yes, really.

Tempest prognosticator
At the Whitby museum (taken by L Wang).

Just not sure where I’d fit it in the living room…