As British scientists seek to edit the genes of embryos; bioethicists warn of potential dangers

“It was the first time edits had been confirmed to have been done on reproductive cells and the news caused deep divisions within the scientific community. Some expressed optimism and hope that such research could eventually lead to the eradication of genetic diseases from the face of the Earth. Others were horrified — warning that genetically modifying humans is unsafe and could have devastating consequences on future generations of our race that no one can foresee.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/rweb/api/print.html?id=4c92e97901b450352df9f3f89c5f4496

How hard is it to clean up the scientific literature?

“Because the goal is supposed to be a body of reliable knowledge upon which the whole scientific community can draw to build more knowledge, it’s especially problematic when particular pieces of the scientific literature turn out to be dishonest or misleading. Fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism are varieties of dishonesty that members of the scientific community look upon as high crimes. Indeed, they are activities that are defined as scientific misconduct and (at least in theory) prosecuted vigorously.”

http://scienceblogs.com/ethicsandscience/2010/03/27/how-hard-is-it-to-clean-up-the/

Radiolab Podcasat: The Trust Engineers

“When we talk online, things can go south fast. But they don’t have to. Today, we meet a group of social engineers who are convinced that tiny changes in wording can make the online world a kinder, gentler place. So long as we agree to be their lab rats.

Ok, yeah, we’re talking about Facebook. Because Facebook, or something like it, is more and more the way we share and like, and gossip and gripe. And because it’s so big, Facebook has a created a laboratory of human behavior the likes of which we’ve never seen. We peek into the work of Arturo Bejar and a team of researchers who are tweaking our online experience, bit by bit, to try to make the world a better place. And along the way we can’t help but wonder whether that’s possible, or even a good idea.”

http://www.radiolab.org/story/trust-engineers/

A Lasting Gift to Medicine That Wasn’t Really a Gift

“The story began in January 1951, when Mrs. Lacks was found to have cervical cancer. She was treated with radium at Johns Hopkins, the standard of care in that day, but there was no stopping the cancer. Her doctor had never seen anything like it. Within months, her body was full of tumors, and she died in excruciating pain that October. She was 31 and left five children, the youngest just a year old. She had been a devoted mother, and the children suffered terribly without her.”

Pouring molten aluminum down an ant hole to create art

Is it ethical to make artwork if the process kills other living things? Does it matter that those things that are dying are ants? What if we gain scientific knowledge in the process? Take a look at the videos below. Consider those questions.

Interview with the artist showing his process

Video of the process

Pictures of the various casts he has made

http://anthillart.com/

http://www.ebay.com/blogs/stories/aluminum-anthill-art-fever-hits-ebay

Energy Drinks Promise Edge, but Experts Say Proof Is Scant

Do advertisers have an ethical responsibility to accurately inform their audiences?

Energy drinks are really popular and increasingly so. They make many claims about increased mental and physical performance and charge a lot of money for their products. If the actual product they’re selling is nothing more than overpriced caffeine with some other ingredients thrown in, are they behaving unethically?