from the guardian

Articles of interest from today’s Guardian:

  1. Over-counter or internet gene tests a waste of money according to research presented at a Royal College of Physicians meeting–there is no regulation beyond that the tests are safe and measure what they’re supposed to. The “what then?” factor is ignored. It may be so, but as long as the popular press like Newsweek keep headlining with spin like this, the public perception will be that genetic tests are a mine of information… and will be willing to pay for them.
  2. This one irritates me: There is no stop button in the race for human reengineering, a piece about Meeting of Minds in Brussels last week. It begins with the tired trope of envisioning the near future and the variant nifty improvements we can make to ourselves with biological and technological improvements, and ends with the same old slippery slope questions. Yes, there are ethical issues, and they are legion. But do these Brave New Biologies work? How? On what timescale? Or are they mere scientific twinkles, like Star Trek-style teleportation envisioned from laboratory experiments where sub-atomic particles jump across a lab bench? Yes, there is no “stop button”, but we have been on the brink of these technological marvels (and their associated ethical dilemmas) for some time now, and I’m still relying on coffee to kickstart my brain in the morning.
  3. This, though, is cool: The world in one country: a unique atlas of multicultural Britain. Proof that you can put any data on a map and I’ll think it’s interesting.
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