Such modifications could affect every cell in an adult human being, including germ cells, and therefore be passed down through the generations. Many organisms across the range of biological complexity have already been edited in this way to generate designer bacteria, plants and primates. There is little reason to believe the same could not be done with human eggs, sperm and embryos. Now that the technology to engineer human germlines is here, the advocates for a moratorium declared, it is time to chart a prudent path forward. They recommend four actions: a hold on clinical applications; creation of expert forums; transparent research; and a globally representative group to recommend policy approaches.
The hour is late. His scientific papers were published years ago, filled with equations wrought by the energies of a younger man. But at 69, theoretical physicist Ron Mallett still goes to work every day to build a time machine based on his most elegant construct: At the other end of the equation, he believes, is his father.
Boyd Mallett died when Ron was 10. Like Telemachus out for Odysseus, he vowed as a boy to sail back through time in a device to warn the older Mallett of the heart attack that would take his life on the night of his 11th wedding anniversary.
A University of Connecticut research professor who for years taught in the classroom, Mallett immersed himself in the mysteries of time and space, crafting equations derived from the work of Albert Einstein.
This year is a milestone for both his heroes: the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s general theory of relativity that made time travel a serious topic among today’s theoreticians and the 60th anniversary of his father’s death.
“My whole existence, who I am, is due to the death of my father,” Mallett says, “and my promise to myself to figure out how to affect time with Einstein’s work as a foundation.”
Adam Donovan started as a sculptor and uses the principles of sculpture in his sound art work. But an interest in applying the techniques of sculpture to the field of sound led him to develop work in robotics. His installation Psychophysics Machines, presented in November at the 20th International Symposium on Electronic Art in Dubai, featured five five robotic sound-generating sculptures. Inspired by the tautophone, a type of ‘audible ink test’, the work combines psychology and physics to challenge normal human audio perception.
“The ambiance of the luxury suite on the 14th floor of the Wynn Hotel is at once both sybaritic—the remains of a generous lunch are visible piled on a large tray as I enter the door—and clinical, with an array of wires, patches, electrodes in evidence scattered on tables and other flat surfaces. It sets the tone pretty effectively for the demo I’m about to engage in: A sneak peek at Thync, a new technology that promises to help its users “conquer life” by allowing them to tweak and torque their mood on demand.”
“Introducing a new way of recording and listening to the world: Recho is a sound app for saving and sharing the stories and moments that matter to you – on specific locations in the real world. It could be in your backyard, in front of your lover’s house or even on top of a mountain. But to listen you have to be in the exact spot where the recording took place.”