Friday, May 21, 2010

Aranjuez concerto and New Life

'Space music' by Isao Tomita; an interpretation of Juan Rodriguez's 1939 masterpiece, the Aranjuez concerto.

And a note on the first production of synthetic life. I think this is a spectacularly bad idea. Since January I've read over 300 journal articles, books and papers on the cutting edge of modern evolutionary biology in research for my forthcoming book on evolution, and the clearest message of all is that there are several major paradigmatic shifts going on, right now, in the life sciences, particularly in microbiology. That tells me that we are still just sorting out the principles of genetics, and that introducing new life into the world is foolish and reckless. Of course these life forms will escape the lab; Venter and his associates have even planned for that by writing a 'fingerprint' into the DNA so it can be identified later, so I can't be told that even they are confident of confining this synthetic life. Bad idea, guys. Remember the nuclear genie, of which--with, say, the prospect of London incinerated by a nuclear blast--we now think, Gee, wish we hadn't let that one out of the bottle? Remember that?

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