WEEKLY NEWSREEL – 3 1/2 TIME-OUTS TUESDAY (VOL. 55)

Good evening Mr. & Mrs. Catholic, and all you other Christians at sea. It’s time again for another Newsreel, brought to you as usual by the fine folks at Acts of the Apostasy, home of the 3 1/2 Time-Outs Tuesday and bane of liturgical puppets everywhere. Now off to press.

I

We give scientists (and occasionally Notre Dame) a lot of grief here at the Newsreel, so it’s nice to be able to report they’re both up to something reasonable for a change. To start off the new year properly, The University of Notre Dame’s John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values has announced its first ever list of emerging ethical dilemmas and policy issues in science and technology. Among the concerns the center sees on the horizon for scientists and laypeople alike include the possible hacking of medical devices (boobytrapped pacemakers), driverless zipcars (the Googlemobile), the potential abuse of 3-D printing (please wait, your bomb is being queued). And because the Catechism explains that “medical and scientific experimentation on animals is a morally acceptable practice if it remains within reasonable limits and contributes to caring for or saving human lives.,” the center is very concerned over the possibility of human-animal hybrids. Because, you know, that never goes very well, does it…

II

Oh well, at least it will probably take a while for scientists to get around to creating manimals. They’ll probably start tampering with something small first, like say insects. Like sometime real soon. According to an article in the Daily Mail, “Hundreds of thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes are awaiting federal approval for release into the Florida Keys as part of an experiment aimed at reducing the risk of dengue fever… The trial planned by mosquito control officials and the British company Oxitec would release non-biting male mosquitoes that have been genetically modified to pass along a birth defect that kill their progeny before reaching maturity… Only female mosquitoes bite, so the modified genetic material wouldn’t be passed on to humans, Mosquito control and Oxitec officials said.” Sure, why not? What could possibly go wrong with releasing genetically modified insects into the human population…

III

You know, if scientists just have to tamper with animals, maybe they should start with something that would have no affect on humans. For instance, ScienceDaily notes that “research conducted by Henkjan Honing, professor of Music Cognition at the UvA, and a team of neurobiologists headed by Hugo Merchant from the UNAM, shows that rhesus monkeys cannot detect the beat in music.” That doesn’t really seem fair, so we think scientists should spend some time teaching primates to read music. That way they could recognize the beat when it comes around. Wouldn’t that be a sweet thing to do for our simian friends? And besides, what conceivable consequences to humanity could possibly result from making monkeys smarter…

III 1/2

Well. It looks like we’re doomed if we do and doomed if we don’t. So what the heck, let’s just go ahead and make dragons…

And with that, we sign off this edition of the Newsreel, as is our custom, with the immortal words of the great Les Nessman. Good evening, and may the good news be yours.

David

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