Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Alex Sarheed: Bioethical Dilemma


"Should We Prohibit Genetically Engineered Babies?"

I know I am a week behind the genetic modification talking points with this post, but I think it successfully recapitulates the myriad of bio-ethical dilemmas we face when confronted with the prospect of future "designer children," and allows both sides of the argument to be presented fairly with the purpose of edification.

Definitely worth a listen if you have the time.


Hopeful Nostalgia

I will be sharing this video with the class today:


Also, I am speaking on a particular utopian society described in the book The Giver. Specifically, the lack of emotion in the society and the need for humanity to be in touch with itself in order to experience life.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Group 3 possible questions

I know it's extremely late to be posting these...but I figured something was better than nothing. Apologies for our slacking!

1.      The biggest concern for studies involving hallucinogens such as psilocybin is…
             Misleading messages about the safety of the drugs

2.      The oxygen-carrying blood substitute Polyheme was researched unethically due to…
A lack of informed consent

3.      Who are misleading patients to participate in pharmaceutical research for the sake of boosting their income?
Individual physicians

4.     Who is eligible to participate in pharmaceutical research?
Just about anyone

5.      Dr. Hwang and his lab scientists misleading of the public about their method of acquiring human eggs disproves what theory?
The Bad Apple Theory

6.      Genetically engineered humans may benefit the earth by…
Reducing consumption of the human body

7.      How will nanotechnology make viruses and components of our DNA more portable?
DNA codes will allow synthesizing machines to create viruses, embryos, tissue, etc.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Nick Barlow mid term blog. just starting hope to get some more info. please feel free to add comments at any time.

Nick Barlow's mid term blog

Hi, it's JPO piggy-backing on Nick's post & taking the liberty to suggest that if you like his report you'll like this too:

The Ethics of Physician-Assisted Suicide

[Komron MacLean]
Hey everyone, this is my mid-term report. I chose to discuss physician-assisted suicide (PAS) because I feel that it is an area of human medicine that, in our society, is misunderstood and undervalued, for several reasons. By reading ahead, you will see that I address both sides of the argument, for and against. You may learn a little about the technical aspects of PAS and also the laws that govern it in the United States. Although not comprehensive, I hope this essay contributes to your understanding of PAS and its significance to human medicine in our world today. 

The Ethics of Physician-Assisted Suicide
                The Hippocratic Oath, written between 400 and 300 B.C. is still taken and honored by medical doctors today, albeit in many different, highly modified forms. The mere fact that it has lasted so long, withstanding the trials and modifications of even this past century’s technological, cultural and medical advancements, proves its value and command over both ancient and modern practical medical ethics. It is a fact that the original Oath states, “To please no one will I prescribe a deadly drug nor give advice which may cause his death.”[1] The ancient guiding principle of health care, Primum non nocere- do no harm, is one principle that remains even today. Others pertain to patient confidentiality and honoring one’s teachers. Thus, it is clear that the original ethical code established for the governance of medical ethics holds a bold and unwavering stance on the subject of euthanasia. The Oath is not one bound by law but one simply of tradition and honor.
                Modern medical professionals display contrasting emotions regarding the Oath. Many feel that in order to practice modern medicine, which may require such actions as administering toxic chemotherapy, treatment with radiation and inducing potentially harmful events to yield a diagnosis, the do no harm aspect of the Oath must be violated daily.[2] As many other laws have since been adapted to modern society and many once unacceptable practices deemed necessary and suitable to our needs as a dynamic species, perhaps this oath will soon be amended to afford some form of physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill. Currently, state laws govern such practices.
                There are three separate modes of euthanasia: passive euthanasia, non-active euthanasia and active euthanasia. Passive euthanasia involves withholding life support measures such as administration of fluids, antibiotics or other medications or treatments necessary to sustaining a patient’s life, while knowing that in doing so, and as a direct result of that action, the patient is certain to perish. Non-active euthanasia involves the termination of life support of a patient who can no longer consciously make that decision himself. Finally, active euthanasia, the most controversial means of euthanasia, is the direct administration of a lethal dose of a toxic substance to a patient in an attempt to abruptly end their life. Active euthanasia is the topic most often in question due to its common interpretation as homicide. 
               Active euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (PAS) are viewed as two entirely separate events. Active euthanasia requires a physician to personally end the life of a patient in their care. Physician-assisted suicide on the other hand, refers to the physician providing the means and understanding by which a patient may, by his or her choice, ultimately end their life themselves.[3] After centuries of debate, consensus has not been reached among scholarly parties concerning this matter in particular. Is it murder or is it mercy? And, where are the lines drawn?
                This is indeed a multi-party debate not limited only to physicians, patients and state legislature. Monotheistic religion, as broad of a category as it is, has actually for the most part, come to a general agreement concerning the act of suicide itself. “Life is a gift from God, and  ‘each individual [is] its steward.’ Thus, only God can start a life, and only God should be allowed to end one.”[4] Some go so far as to say suicide is a sin. Followers of faith in a divine Creator believe that God would not give humanity anything it cannot handle, thus we must live as he created us and leave the physical world when called and not a minute sooner. In some religions such as Islam, the concept of “life not worth living” simply does not exist and any measure taken to counteract the continuance of life is considered cowardice or sinful.
                Meanwhile, other religious viewpoints described as being “liberal” and not believing in a single Creator or any at all, dictate an opposing view; “Each person has autonomy over their own life. Persons whose quality of life is nonexistent should have the right to decide to commit suicide, and to seek assistance if necessary.”[5] Both sides present strong arguments, but those acting on faith bear the burden of proof to justify their cause.
                Arguments supporting PAS include respect for autonomy, justice and compassion. The elements of respect for autonomy and compassion for the suffering are self explanatory. For a moment, place yourself in the shoes of a person suffering from Huntington’s disease.
You are 35 years old and your life is just falling into place. You are newly married and you are finally advancing in your career. One day you drop a coffee pot in the kitchen, and five years later, you are taking your meals through a tube to your stomach while your husband or wife works two jobs to support you while answering phone calls from the bank and collection agencies. All you can do is cry and blink. The doctor says you have two more years. Perhaps faith in God will soothe you while your wife changes your fecal bag.
                Justice applies to treating all cases individually but fairly. Not all cases are alike. One terminally ill patient who no longer has the desire to continue suffering may hasten their imminent demise by simply refusing treatment, or completing a DNR (do not resuscitate order). Another terminal patient in similar anguish, but with a differing medical issue, may not be able to quicken death simply by refusing treatment. Thus suicide becomes their only option for achieving swift freedom from torment. Both deserve equal consideration of their differing circumstances, and both should be given options suiting their needs. A woman indefinitely connected to a respirator; another with a degenerative neurological condition; a twelve-year old with cerebral palsy in constant, intractable pain; and a transient man with no identification who hit by a car, is now comatose and mortally injured in a public hospital’s ICU supported by tax dollars- four cases, all different. All are deserving of independent review and treatment. All will fall under separate ethical guidelines, but they certainly cannot be lumped under the same.
                Perhaps the clear, virtual basis for legalized PAS- the more rational component of justification- plays the leading role in support of physician-assisted suicide. The abortion of a healthy fetus upon request is legal in four US states regardless of justification. If aborting a healthy, viable life for any reason whatsoever is sanctioned, why then is a humane, physician guided endpoint for the terminally ill suffering from unmanageable pain or progressive, irreversible loss of somatic control deemed unlawful in the same states?[6]
                Thirty-five states actively euthanize convicted inmates as a form of capital punishment for crimes against their fellow citizens.[7] The definition of the noun form of the word “murder” is the killing of a human being under the conditions specifically covered by law.[8] Therefore if lethal injection, which is certainly the killing of a human being, is legal under U.S. law in thirty-five states as a means of terminating the life of a criminal, then it is arguable that a perfectly innocent, terminally ill patient, suffering in their own existence by no fault of their own, who has been deemed mentally stable, should be able to seek the help of knowledgeable personnel in reaching a swift, humane endpoint. This is not a question of yet legislated legal practice, but instead, of the ethical and moral principles that have guided our government’s decisions for the past 237 years of its existence. 
                The financial burden to caretakers of the terminally ill can also present an argument for PAS. It is no mystery that medical costs in the United States are high. Imagine a family with a single source of income, no health insurance and the significant financial burden of managing a terminal illness. In a best case scenario, the patient’s suffering is attenuated for a few months or years until they die; and in the meantime, the family is driven to financial ruin. PAS would be a significantly easier way of avoiding the total financial destruction of the household of a terminally ill patient while also providing the patient with a dignified endpoint, if they so chose it.
                Finally, openness of discussion brings up a very important and more legally limited point. There will, with certainty, be instances where patients “accidentally die of morphine overdose due to medical negligence”. It may be assumed that in some of those cases, there was a mutual understanding between physician and patient that the overdose of a barbiturate, opiate or other sedative would lead to a quick, painless death.[9] PAS’s illegalization prevents open discussion regarding the procedure and therefore precludes disclosure of its occurrence to everyone involved in the patient’s care, possibly leading to complications. These complications can further jeopardize the patient’s health.
Definitive arguments against PAS, excluding those concerning religion, include: potential abuse of the method, the marring of professional integrity, and fallibility of the profession. The argument surrounding abuse stems from the potential of a person without access to proper medical care, to be influenced in their decision to seek an easier, more “convenient” option rather than carrying on and possibly becoming a burden on those close to them. This is a very valid point, especially in light of recent events such as one case involving Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who claimed to have assisted in the deaths of at least 130 persons. Dr. Kevorkian claimed that he operated under strict guidelines. Examples of these guidelines seemed reasonable, such as only assisting diagnosed, terminally ill patients who had received matching diagnoses from at least two physicians and had expressed repeatedly their desire to die. Mental stability confirmed by a clinical psychologist was also a prerequisite. Yet a Detroit Free Press investigation in 1997 showed that “In fact, at least 60 percent of Kevorkian's suicide patients were not terminal. At least 17 could have lived indefinitely and, in 13 cases, the people had no complaints of pain”[10]. In the event that PAS were to be legalized, the definition of physician assisted suicide would need to be clear in both its limits as well as the circumstances surrounding its justification. Any right must not be abused.
Preservation of professional integrity dates back to the third century B.C. and is not a statute easily corrupted by any force, no matter how bold. With legalization of regulated physician-assisted suicide in the United States, there would be significant opposition even from within the medical community.
The Hippocratic Oath, whose guidance has given the medical trade honor and virtue for centuries, will be contested.  Also, the modern institutions that guide and represent doctors and other practitioners of medicine such as the American Medical Association, who feel that such permissive legislation will tarnish the “do no harm” reputation of its entrusted practitioners, also object.
The final and most logical of the arguments against PAS, is concern for fallibility of the profession. Doctors will inevitably make mistakes that could unnecessarily harm a patient promised a quick and painless release from their already agonizing life. While no doctor will claim to be infallible, the objection is sustained. This is a potential complication that must have its edges ironed out by bioethicists and physicians alike.
Ultimately, the best way to curb the debate and reach a logical and reasonable conclusion is that each case be treated individually, and for each decision to be reached independently and scientifically, rather than by merit of ancient tradition alone. The Oath, treated as a time honored guide for medicine, will remain debated from a contemporary perspective. In the end the decision will lie in the hands of the practitioner, whose ancient art is based on the Oath which in part reads, “I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel”[11] Perhaps medicine will retain its traditional values and keep separate the arts of healing the body and freeing the soul. Or, perhaps it will recognize that the same progression of thought and the bold pushing of boundaries that have raised the quality of life of the average individual from what it was centuries ago may elevate patient care even beyond what we now perceive as “ethical”.

Works Cited
Bioethics Education Project. Braddock, Clarence H.  University of Washington.  April 11th, 2008. Sept. 17th 2009 http://depts.washington.edu/bioethx/topics/pas.html#ques4
Cheyfitz, Kirk. "Suicide Machine, Part 1: Kevorkian rushes to fulfill his clients' desire to die". March 3, 1997. Detroit Free Press. Archived May 26, 2007.
Clark, Richard. Capital Punishment UK 1995. Sept. 17th 2009. http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/injection.html
Collier, P.F.  et. al. "Harvard Classics Volume 38" 1910. Sept. 17th 2009 http://www.euthanasia.com/oathtext.html  
"Murder." Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 17 Sep. 2009. Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/murder>.
NOVA http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/doctors/oath_doctors.html  Retrieved 2-23-2013
Patients Rights Council  http://www.patientsrightscouncil.org/site/assisted-suicide-state-laws/ 2013Retrieved 2-22-13
Robinson, B.A. “Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide (PAS)” Religious Tolerance.org  2009-SEP-03. Sept. 17th 2009 http://www.religioustolerance.org/euthanas.htm
Weber, David O.  “Malpractice insurance rates reach boiling point: Physicians burned by lawyers,                     lawsuits and jury awards - Doctors, Lawyers and Lawsuits” BNet . March 2002. Sept. 17th 2009                      http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0843/is_2_28/ai_84236557/

[2] http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/doctors/oath_doctors.html. Retrieved 2013-02-23
[6] http://www.patientsrightscouncil.org/site/assisted-suicide-state-laws Retrieved 2013-02-22
[10] http://www.freep.com/article/20070527/NEWS05/70525061/SUICIDE-MACHINE-PART-1-Kevorkian-rushes-fulfill-his-clients-desire-die Retrieved 2013-02-22

Exam 1 Study Guide

Wednesday's exam will be drawn as much as possible from questions the class has submitted. Here's what we have so far. It's not too late to add or amend. (Group 3?)

Don't forget you can prepare your extra credit discussion question in advance. Just a paragraph or two, on a relevant topic of your choosing... worth up to ten points (enough to offset a couple of misses).

And remember, the best way to study for this is to locate the relevant textual passages and familiarize yourself with them.

Proposed Exam questions: Group 1

[Komron MacLean] Questions for Bioethics

What is Craig Venter best known for?
Answer: creating the first self replicating microorganism in a lab. 

Which contraceptive stops the period entirely?

What scandal is Woo-suk Hwang of South Korea best known for? 
Fabricating Data to support research

What was the name of the clinical trial in Alabama in which hundreds of African American men were infected with Syphilis and left untreated? 
Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment 

In Carl Elliott's article "This is Your Country on Drugs", steroids were used as a platform for the misuse of what? 
General enhancement technology

Given a scenario where one woman donates an "egg shell" another donates her DNA and a third carries the fertilized egg to term, who is considered the biological mother?
The woman who donates the most genetic material 

Possible Questions Group 2

Bioethics Factual Questions:
Case 2: According to a February 2011 Gallup poll, what percentage of Americans believe in evolution? Answer: 40 percent.
Case 10: In 2005 the NIH announced that employees would have to sell their stock interests and would no longer be able to purchase stock. To whom did these regulations apply?
a.) Only Doctors currently writing prescriptions
b.) All Doctors and researchers
c.) All employees
d.) All employees and spouses (Correct Answer)
Case 14: The concern with testing at the Indian Pharmaceutical Facilities was...
a.) Subjects were not receiving full disclosure of possible dangers (Correct Answer)
b.) Subjects were not told what drugs they were on
c.) Subjects were abducted off the street
d.) Subjects were not paid what they were promised
Group 3???

Group Four Study Guide Questions

1.      Which rule was not among the three guidelines adopted by the South Korean government’s Code for Robot Ethics committee that were outlined in Isaac Asimov’s story ‘Runaround.’

a.      A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
b.      A robot must defer to governmental laws and ethics when not in the presence of his original master as long as this does not conflict with either of the other two laws.
c.       A robot must obey orders given by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the first law.
d.      A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the other two laws.    

2.      What does iPSC stand for?

a.      Iatrogenic Pharmaceutical Stem Cells
b.       Idiopathic  Physicochemical Stem Cells
c.       Immunological Paliative Stem Cells
d.      Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

3.      Which ‘reproductive freedom model’ have the National Bioethics Advisory Commission used to make the claim that cloning is physiologically unsafe?

a.      Pediatric Model
b.      Adoption Model
c.       Adolescent Model
d.      Paternal Model

4.      True or False? IVF is most affordable in the United States.

(Post by Betsy)

1 comment:

  1. 5) The Dickey-Wicker Amendment, a Federal law, prohibits______.
    A) abortion
    C) stem cell research
    D) the funding of stem cell research

Nick Barlow needs to move to the blog post group. I am still under the flu bug and public speaking would not be great for me at this time.

In Refutation, A Conversation on Ray Kurzweil's Singularity

Download Article

A sample of the Resolution: "Ray Kurzweil has discovered through his Law of Accelerating Returns, which is an expansion of Moore's Law, that computer technology's progression, due to it being absorbed as an Information Technology, is undergoing an exponential increase that will result in said technology’s interpretive faculties exceeding humans. The root of this exponential growth will come from the study and implementation of the advanced hierarchal thinking found within the Neo Cortex into various emergent technologies. (Authors@Google, 2012)"

Alex Sarheed: I'd like to go second if possible

My presentation will target the dilution of the problems we've covered in class; I'll to take us through the complexity of doing the  "right thing" and help explain why it so dense, and why society has so many conflicts in terms of bioethical research, treatment, and healthcare. I will be discussing far more than presenting, however, i will use my presentation as a guide so the class follows me to final conclusion. That bioethics cannot be addressed individually, that a doctor cannot perform ethical medicine; instead, society determines the ethics by which it expects from its citizens, and each individual operates within the infringements the ethical framework instills. These infringements contain the harshness of our primitive nature, our desire to excel, suppress, investigate, overpower, strengthen and advance.
I hope this embeds correctly.  This TedMed talk is about the fascinating, and unacceptable, practice of "data choosing."  Peer-reviewed journals are always looking for the newest and coolest avenue in science to publish about.  There are a few hot topics like stem cells, cancer, and pharmacology that are received with gratitude when submitted for publication by researchers.  However, the less exciting topics, in particular the ones that did not come to fruition experimentally, are ignored and refused publication.  The problem is that in essence we are seeing some of what we did right and almost none of what we did wrong.


Singular medicine

Our scheduled #Bioethics cases today concern the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, Eclipse pseudo-cigarettes, the continuing absence (despite the presence of the 2010 Affordable Care Act) of universal healthcare in America, and special interest neo-natal screening. The main connecting theme here is the ever-rising cost of healthcare and how much cheaper it would be to provide real prevention on the front end, rather than hit-or-miss cures on the downslope… and how much entrenched resistance and counter-investment blocks that approach.

 Interesting topics all, and I hope we don’t get to them today. (Don’t worry, class, they’ll not be on Wednesday’s exam.)

That’s because I hope we get immersed instead in our midterm report presentations, commencing with William’s “disproving Ray Kurzweil’s numbers on the Singularity.” Guess he wants to squash my last thin reed of hope that I might still live long enough to live forever. Or is he going to tell us it’s nearer than even Ray thinks? Not likely...

(Continues at Up@dawn)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Group Four Study Guide Questions

1.      Which rule was not among the three guidelines adopted by the South Korean government’s Code for Robot Ethics committee that were outlined in Isaac Asimov’s story ‘Runaround.’

a.      A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
b.      A robot must defer to governmental laws and ethics when not in the presence of his original master as long as this does not conflict with either of the other two laws.
c.       A robot must obey orders given by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the first law.
d.      A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the other two laws.    

2.      What does iPSC stand for?

a.      Iatrogenic Pharmaceutical Stem Cells
b.       Idiopathic  Physicochemical Stem Cells
c.       Immunological Paliative Stem Cells
d.      Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

3.      Which ‘reproductive freedom model’ have the National Bioethics Advisory Commission used to make the claim that cloning is physiologically unsafe?

a.      Pediatric Model
b.      Adoption Model
c.       Adolescent Model
d.      Paternal Model

4.      True or False? IVF is most affordable in the United States.

(Post by Betsy)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Enhancement of the Eyes and Beyond

[Austin O'Connor] As we began to discuss our case on optics enhancement we began, as most of these discussions do, asking is it ethical to make enhancements to ourselves.  I believe some of us said yes without restriction but others of us felt that some enhancements were acceptable but that some are too extreme. At which point we began to ask if these eye enhancements we were discussing were cosmetic or to improve quality of life.  If they were for enhanced quality of life then it seems these extreme means would be well worth it.  We then began to discuss the social justice aspect in enhancement, asking whether it is fair because these types of procedures would most likely not be covered by insurance and therefore would come out of pocket so only the rich would be able to have such procedures.  We also asked at what point does these types of enhancement change your nature (god-given or nature given depending on your beliefs).  

We also discussed being able to select traits for your children to create so called designer babies.  Someone raised the question about if it could create animosity between parent and child.  Or perhaps a parent selected a trait to specifically keep their children from doing something? For example the parents do not want their child to play basketball for some reason so they make them short and make it so they cannot jump very high or something like that.  This type of genetic selectivity begs the question would parents just use this as a tool to create what they want or what they wish they could have been instead of a new unique human life.  

I'm sorry that this post is delayed.  

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Case 22 Group2

The case we discussed today was about the Planktos company and their project to improve the world's atmosphere. Planktos is working on a way to make plankton absorb more CO2 and produce more oxygen.

The project involves dumping a refined form of iron into the ocean, where the plankton exist. Some people in our group are worried that such dumping may negatively effect other marine life. Someone mentioned the mercury poisoning problem with fish and was curious to know if excess iron might also prove hazardous to people consuming fish from these areas.

Later we found that the CEO went ahead and dumped the iron without permission (100 tons I believe). This is an interesting case, because if this plan negatively effect the plankton then we may have problems, due to the fact that they produce a large amount of oxygen for the planet.

Group 3 Man, Machine, and all the rest

This was actually written by Mary, I'm just passing it along:

The idea of man and machine converging even further with the exploration of nanotechnology did not strike us as unethical. It was mentioned that many circumstances already exist in which life forms depend on machines for survival, such as a person in a coma using a ventilator.
We discussed the issue of identity to help decide whether a person is still a person if they are made from non-human parts. We decided yes, and that a person's identity is not determined by how "biologically natural" they are. Just as a person who has a prosthetic leg is still a person, so is someone who is made from cloned DNA and gestated in a bubble. Ongoing identity was also mentioned, which we didn't have a definite answer for, but decided that people decide for themselves whether or not they are the same person after whatever biological change it may be.
Genetic engineering also made its way into discussion. We decided it would be much more logical for people to decide what traits to give themselves rather than their children. We aren't sure how this would work, but nanotechnology and cloning would probably have something to do with it. Once again, identity would be an issue, but the importance of that would be up to the individual.
The last part of our case mentions using nanotechnology to "keep people alive well into their hundreds." This raised the issue of whether it would be natural or ethical to extend our lifetime past the point of how far current medicine will sustain us. To combat the problem of overpopulation and unsustainability this would create, there would have to be some kind of authority over reproduction. Denying potential life for the sake of extending our own seems selfish, but how can it be unethical if the lives we are discussing don't exist?
Nanotechnology seems like the natural step for science to take, and humans altering the way nature works does not seem unnatural or unethical, because nature itself is constantly being altered by all forms of life in a big swirl of chaos.

Case 25- Group 1

[Komron MacLean]
I felt that Mcgee probably wrote this case while sitting in bed reflecting on his day and simply jotting down thoughts in an incoherant manner and calling it a case. Nevertheless, from what we (Group 1) could muster, Mcgee is conflicted about where funds for nanotechnology research should be allocated, how much should be spent and who would best spend it. For guy who claims not to have a firm grasp on what nanotech even is, he sure did have a lot to say about it. He seems to believe too much is allocated for ELSI in nanotech. Consolidating all the ELSI nanotechc research under one roof would be efficient but would it provide for the most diverse platform on which to build nanotech. Would we see progress as quickly if one institution handled everything with limited input from other sources?

Proposed Exam questions: Group 1

[Komron MacLean] Questions for Bioethics

What is Craig Venter best known for?
Answer: creating the first self replicating microorganism in a lab. 

Which contraceptive stops the period entirely?

What scandal is Woo-suk Hwang of South Korea best known for? 
Fabricating Data to support research

What was the name of the clinical trial in Alabama in which hundreds of African American men were infected with Syphilis and left untreated? 
Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment 

In Carl Elliott's article "This is Your Country on Drugs", steroids were used as a platform for the misuse of what? 
General enhancement technology

Given a scenario where one woman donates an "egg shell" another donates her DNA and a third carries the fertilized egg to term, who is considered the biological mother?
The woman who donates the most genetic material 

Zizek on Nature


Hope this embedded right. Essentially his argument for Anthropocentricism sets an underlying tone that may answer a lot of questions raised so far here- those in regard to nature's relationship with man, for those who agree with him. Personally, I do.

Making nano work for us

Things behave very differently in the nano-world, but Stephen Fry makes it all sound so inviting: Now we can understand nature's nano-secrets and use them for ourselves. Hope so.

"It's all about changing the molecular structure of matter, atom by atom...You are already a masterpiece of nanotechnology... It's a world that's always been around, but that we're just beginning to understand... Many think this coming age will be the age of nano... It could take you into atoms and beyond the stars. Good luck."

More nano video... Smalley Institute (Rice)... What I'm Worried About: Bill Joy... Nano nyt… TEDmap… Nano shockwavesNanoSOTU

ALSO OF INTEREST. The New Yorker author I mentioned appreciated my RT & suggested we might also like to check out:
What Neuroscience Really Teaches Us, and What It Doesn't : The New Yorker - 
 A Collection of Essays About What We Should Fear : The New Yorker - 

Just heard this while driving into campus:
Scientist Eric Lander was named today as one of the winners of the new Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, the world’s richest academic prize for medicine and biology.
The prize was established by four Internet entrepreneurs, including Google co-founder Sergey Brin and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
It awards $3 million – twice the amount of the Nobel Prize – to scientists “who think big, take risks and have made a significant impact on our lives.”
Lander was one of the leaders of the Human Genome Project, the effort to map the entire human genetic code.
He went on to found the Broad Institute biomedical and genomic research center often described as “Disneyland, a playground for scientists.”
Lander also advises President Barack Obama, who named Lander when asked for his favorite scientist or mathematician.
Lander gave Here & Now’s Robin Young a crash version of his Introduction to Biology class, saying he hated biology when he took it in high school.
What Lander tries to do is teach the story of the greatest scientific revolution of the last century, and put the details on the context of that story.
The class, “Introduction to Biology – The Secret of Life,” will be available free online via edX starting March 5th...
Listen to Here & Now...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Group 3 : Anonymous Baby Disposal

We never really reached a consensus on how to resolve the issue, aside from the fact that we thought McGee made too much of a fuss about the issue altogether. He was very passionate about the mechanical nature of the German baby depositories, but aside from that, there seemed to be nothing remotely inhumane about the practice, other than the fact that the people involved dealing with people with questionable parenting qualifications and ethics. We doubt that anything like this could really be instituted in the United States due to the issue of funding, and the fact that it's already possible to put your child up for adoption, and with the text citing 100 infant deaths a year WORLDWIDE due to abandonment, while it is extremely unpleasant to think about, it isn't enough to "wage war on infanticide," as Glenn fervently announced at the end of the article.

Postmortem Sperm Collection

[by William Phillips] Today we discussed the ethics of the postmortem collection of sperm, and the psychological implications of having a child through a deceased sperm donor.

One of the major questions that arose was would it be possible to use Hitler's sperm, and if so, would the child grow up to have the same personality traits, and thus attempt to achieve the same goals. However, we unanimously agreed that in that specific circumstance, without the context of the time, and amid the stigma of the child's father's legacy, the child would not grow up to fulfill any of his father's goals.

Basically, it's the text-book nature-vs-nurture argument. While we all agreed that genetics plays a major role in shaping in the blue-prints of the human vehicle, one's environment builds the car.