Government and the private sector had a famous competion to see who could map the human genome. Now we have social media helping both with runnaway oil in the Gulf area. People are providing observations and also solution ideas for the crisis.
For example, Gulfcoastspill.com has been setup to help.
The site was developed with the help of the Scotland-based web development company EdgeCase.
Through Gulfcoastspill, eyewitnesses can log sightings of the spill (oil on beaches, injured wildlife and volunteer activities etc.), recording their position and uploading photos, videos and comments. There’s also, inevitably a tie-in with Twitter and a mobile app for both Android and iPhone.
As widely reported after some 15 years of work and about a $40 million investment , Craig Venter’s team of scientists (at the J. Craig Venter Institute) reports success in “creating the first living organism with a completely synthetic genome.”
This is offered as proof that genomes designed in a computer and assembled in a lab can function in a donor cell, eventually reproducing fully functional living creatures, that is, artificial life.
There are obviously very important ethical issues that we need some wisdom on. FFor one thing this work has progressed without any real regulation and the science largely over the public’s head – e.g use of words like “clone” or “synthetic life”.