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  •                                  NETFUTURE
    
                        Technology and Human Responsibility
    
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    Issue #147                                                   July 15, 2003
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                     A Publication of The Nature Institute
               Editor:  Stephen L. Talbott (stevet@netfuture.org)
    
                      On the Web: http://www.netfuture.org/
         You may redistribute this newsletter for noncommercial purposes.
    
    Can we take responsibility for technology, or must we sleepwalk
    in submission to its inevitabilities?  NetFuture is a voice for
    responsibility.  It depends on the generosity of those who support
    its goals.  To make a contribution, click here.
    
    
    CONTENTS
    ---------
    
    Editor's Note
    
    Quotes and Provocations
       Missing Weapons
       Aphorisms on Computers in Classrooms
       Notes on Genetic Engineering
       Raising Hogs Unimaginatively
    
    DEPARTMENTS
    
    About this newsletter
    
    
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                                  EDITOR'S NOTE
    
    The main articles from The Nature Institute's newsletter, In Context #9,
    are now online.  They include an essay of my own ("To Explain or Portray?")
    about the nature of scientific explanation in the light of Goethe's
    thought, and also articles about the star-nosed mole, the genetically
    engineered contamination of Mexican corn, and an African journey.  Go to
    http://natureinstitute.org/pub/ic/ic9.
    
    SLT
    
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                             QUOTES AND PROVOCATIONS
    
    
    Missing Weapons
    ---------------
    
    With the official completion of the costliest and most hyped scientific
    venture in history, the promoters of the Human Genome Project are now
    busy gently dampening all the overheated expectations they earlier
    worked so hard to inflame.  Sure (they modestly concede), they have
    managed to decode the Book of Life; but there's just this little problem
    that they don't happen to understand what they decoded -- which makes
    for an interesting definition of "decode", doesn't it?  And if they
    didn't really decode the genome in any respectable sense, what the hell
    was all that noise about?  And all that money under false pretenses!
    I get several dozen emails a day offering similar deals on various
    promised benefits -- deals no more misleading than the one genetic
    scientists cut with a supportive public.  Is there any way this public
    can hold to account the perpetrators of a billion-dollar science scam?
    
    Meanwhile, the upshot of the matter is that, despite the efforts of the
    largest team of inspectors ever assembled, the advertised Weapons of Mass
    Enhancement remain about as well hidden as ever.
    
    (More on genetic engineering below.)
    
    
    Aphorisms on Computers in Classrooms
    ------------------------------------
    
    I have, in the