Glowing Bacteria to Track Long Buried Landmines

Landmines Over thirty people will be killed or maimed by unexploded landmines today.  One was probably taken out as you had lunch.  They will lose limbs or lives as forgotten explosives from a now-pointless conflict erupt to devastate them and their community, and some Scottish students could stop this with the power of SCIENCE.  

Minesweeping is slow, dangerous work, as most activities based on "purposefully advancing into an area you know is full of landmines" tends to be.  Most technology - in fact most of human instinct and thus history - is based on moving away from things like that.  The problem is that these devices are designed to be as hard to spot as possible, which is why a new approach unanticipated by their builders could be so powerful:  genetically-engineered bacteria.

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Paging Dr. Frankenstein? The Human-hybrid Debate

Genetic Engineering Louisiana Senator Danny Martiny is filing senate bill 115 on behalf of the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops - indicating that he's fuzzier on that silly "separation of church and state" thing than a kitten in a dryer that's been struck by lightning.  The bill would forbid the use of stem cells to create human/animal hybrids, so it's basically the usual religious "NO!" reaction to stem cells, except applied to something nobody's even doing.  It's nice to see that they sound just as stupid when they try to think ahead.

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Is the World Ready to Protect the Rights of Potential Human Clones?

Human_cloning_2 "Whichever path the international community chooses it will need to act soon – either to prevent reproductive cloning or to defend the human rights of cloned individuals."

Dr. A.H. Zakri, Director of the United Nations University's Institute of Advanced Studies.

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Will Scientists Create "Manimals"? Human-Animal Embryos Get Approval

Thoth British scientists will be allowed to research diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s using human-animal hybrid embryos, after the House of Commons rejected a ban recently. Advocates of human-animal embryo research say that scientists need every available means possible to research devastating diseases. Critics, on the other hand, say that scientists are promoting a frightening and irreversible future.

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Neanderthal Man, the Sequel -Scientists Aim to Bring Extinct Species Back to Life

042_22theneanderthalposters_2 It’s happening again, scientists watch a Sci-Fi movie and then a few years later, they’ve figure out a way to recreate the outlandish ideas in real life. Who ever said Hollywood was good for nothing. Well, a lot of people actually, but they were wrong!

Remember how the fictional billionaire John Hammond resurrected the extinct dinosaurs in Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park? Now real paleontologists are piecing together the complete genomes of long-dead species such as the woolly mammoth and the Neanderthals in an effort to bring them back to life.

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“Smart Mice” Created - A new mechanism of learning

StorysmartmouseU.S. scientists have genetically engineered mice that are more skilled at learning, remembering and adapting to new situations than normal mice.

"It's pretty rare that you make mice 'smarter,' so there are a lot of cognitive implications," said Dr. James Bibb, assistant professor of psychiatry and senior author of the study. "Everything is more meaningful to these mice. The increase in sensitivity to their surroundings seems to have made them smarter."

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Notable Films on Fate of Mankind

Genome010625Geneticists often endow DNA with a nearly spiritual importance. Their own language -- describing the human genome as the "Book of Man," the "essence of life" or the "Holy Grail" -- plays directly into popular belief in the sanctity of the human genome. This spiritual language about the human genome helps fuel the anti-technology aspects of human gene manipulation in science fiction cinema: How can scientists consider our genome humanity's "soul," and then commit sacrilege by manipulating a "holy object?"  Don't miss this brilliant essay on Hollywood's treament of the fate of the human genome. Posted by Jason McManus.

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