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Archive for July, 2008|Monthly archive page

Human-frog hybrids reveal autism’s secrets

In Cognition on July 22, 2008 at 10:18 pm

Human-frog hybrids might reveal the neurological secrets of autism. By fusing cells from the preserved brains of deceased autistic patients with the eggs of a carnivorous African frog called Xenopus, scientists have started investigating the way the brain cells of people with autism behave.
more here

Sir Paul McCartney calls on British public to support Paralympics

In Sports on July 20, 2008 at 11:38 pm

Sir Paul McCartney has launched a £2 million fundraising campaign for ParalympicsGB to support athletes heading to the Beijing Games, as well as to invest in the future of disability sport in the UK both in the run up to London 2012 and beyond.

The first, a brand ad for ParalympicsGB, created by Team Saatchi and directed by Luke Scott, Ridley Scott’s son, has Sir Paul’s iconic Live and Let Die as the soundtrack. Featuring a number of established and emerging athletes with a disability, the film is a moving and inspiring piece that not only shows the skill and ability of the athletes but also the excitement of competing. The second ad, a charity appeal featuring Sir Paul himself asking the British public to make a donation to ParalympicsGB, will be screened from July 7.

Sir Paul said: “I met leading Paralympic equestrian Sophie Christiansen and was completely blown away by her skill, dedication and the fact that she had won a world championship gold medal for Britain, so I felt I had to do something. My suggestion was simple why not create an ad that would highlight the work of ParalympicsGB and call on the British Public to donate much needed money. It was the start of a truly amazing effort from all those involved most of whom gave their time for free.” Read the rest of this entry »

What Sorts of World: A synthetic biology survey developed by my students

In General on July 9, 2008 at 2:45 am

the World is yours to shape

Dear readers of this blog,

As you are linked to various networks I hope that you send this post through your networks so that the students get many responses to the synthetic biology survey they designed. They worked very hard on the survey. You find the survey here.

I am the convener of a team of four undergraduate students (all in the bachelor of health sciences in my faculty, three finished the first year, one finished the second year) that looks into the ethical, legal, social. issues of synthetic biology. They the “Calgary iGEM Ethics Team” will present their finding -which will include the results of the survey- at the International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition iGEM.

“The International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition is the premiere Synthetic Biology competition and currently the largest Synthetic Biology conference in the world. Working at their own schools over the summer, participants use standard biological parts to design, build, and operate biological systems in living cells. During the first weekend of November, they share their work at the iGEM Competition Jamboree at MIT and in competition for a variety of awards for excellence. They add their new parts to the Registry of Standard Biological Parts for the students in the next year’s competition.” For details, see here.

The Calgary iGEM Ethics team is the first undergraduate team to present on the ethical, legal, social issues of synthetic biology at iGEM.

Thanks again for your help.
Cheers
Gregor

Scientists Identify Genes for brain development

In Ableism on July 7, 2008 at 2:13 pm

see here the academic paper

and here a write up on it

interestingly the write up title is

Scientists Identify Genes that Could Turn Ordinary People into Supergeniuses (or Mindless Drones)

Two new pieces from me

In Ableism, Disability, Enhancement, Human nature on July 2, 2008 at 5:18 pm

Peer reviewed article
Is There an End to Out-Able? Is There an End to the Rat Race for Abilities?
whole issue on able

from my column
From morphological freedom to morphological judgment
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