We do in fact live among pure forms, in radical obscenity, which is to say visible and undifferentiated, among figures that were previously secret and distinct. The same is true of the social, which rules today also in its pure form, that is, obscene and empty. The same for seduction, which in its actual form, has lost all risk, suspense, and magic to take the form of a faint and undifferentiated obscenity. Seduction – Jean Baudrillard
Strong words for strange times, words that are hardly used outside the context of a court case, for what can be truly called obscene anymore? Will we know it when we see it?
From The New York Times.
Scientists Add Letters to DNA’s Alphabet, Raising Hope and Fear
Scientists reported Wednesday that they had taken a significant step toward altering the fundamental alphabet of life — creating an organism with an expanded artificial genetic code in its DNA.
The Scripps researchers chemically created two new nucleotides, which they called X and Y. They inserted an X-Y pair into the common bacterium E. coli. The bacteria were able to reproduce normally, though a bit more slowly than usual, replicating the X and Y along with the natural nucleotides.
In effect, the bacteria have a genetic code of six letters rather than four, perhaps allowing them to make novel proteins that could function in a completely different way from those created naturally.
‘If you have a language that has a certain number of letters, you want to add letters so you can write more words and tell more stories,’ said Floyd E. Romesberg, a chemist at Scripps who led the work.
Well, isn’t that swell, and of course they chose such a friendly pathogen.
But not to worry my brothers and sisters, they just used the “harmless kind”.
Not the nasty kind.
Pathogenic Escherichia coli
But hey, no harm, no foul, right? Nothing to worry about here.
Go ahead, click the links, fact is these creatures only eat synthetic nucleotides, something like that, everything is just fine. What we are seeing here folks is the dawn of a New Age, new medicines, and help for the poor people of the world; and I have a nice bridge in Brooklyn for you.
This is all part and parcel of the budding new field of Xenobiology.
Xenobiology, the discipline which has brought us XNA, this is the subject of this little jeremiad.
Remember what everybody says about the little boy who pulls the wings off of a butterfly? A beautiful creature which has taken nature billions of years to bring forth on our planet? There is a new sort of cruelty stalking the land to my mind, a new sort of perverse thinking; and this is the thinking that nature, and by extension, ourselves, are here to be manipulated and recombined into whatever form the more enlightened among us see fit.
Be my guest, Google laws regulating this field, I have, nothing comes up, except for this.
Safeguarding the Genetic Firewall with Xenobiology**
Markus Schmidt, Ph.D.
Biofaction KG, Vienna, Austria
The potential future release of deeply engineered or novel synthetic microorganisms raises the issue of their intentional or accidental interaction with the environment. Containment systems, risk assessment, and safety regulations designed for genetic engineering in the 1980s and ’90s, for the purpose of limiting the spread of genetically engineered organisms and their recombinant traits, are still largely viewed by regulators and scientists as sufficient for contemporary synthetic biology product.
Progress in synthetic biology is expected to yield a staggering growth in the number of new biological functions and modified organisms with useful purposes. These developments will sooner or later pose a significant problem for established biosafety and risk assessment practices. A technological development that is outpacing its safety regulation is going to end up in (i) a series of unintended consequences and unforeseen accidents, (ii) a legal bottleneck for further product development because of a lack of a clear legal and regulatory framework, and/or(iii) increasing, and well justified, public resistance toward synthetic organisms if they are not considered to be ‘safe enough.’
Once again, feel free, there is also this site to check out.
My bet is that this conference will advance the agenda of this modern genetic Frankenstein, rather than debate the morality of working to develop new forms of life while the species has yet to take care of its own, and that would be you and yours truly. Do you feel safe and secure in this world? No money worries? Everything just hunky dory?
But wait! There’s more! You also get a brand new Crusher!!! That’s right folks!!! Your country’s very own Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicle and Perceptor Integration System!!!!
Because, you see, once again, it’s very important to save lives as we take lives. Of course I don’t want our boys to be put in harm’s way, but silly me, I figured the way to do that just might be to not put them in harm’s way. Go figure. Some people.
This is the narcissism of the West, patting ourselves on the back for how wonderfully our new Ginsu can slice and dice the world while our people still go bankrupt paying for school, or the odd medical procedure here and there.
Call now! Operators are standing by!
It could be made into a monster if we all pull together as a team.
I really don’t have much more to say on this subject, people will draw their own conclusions.
Best wishes. HT