static, interference, intervention, intervene, get involved so as to alter or hinder an action, white noise, snow, fuzz, fuzzy, Fuzzy, ME

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Things That Shouldn't

I don't think that I ever mentioned Alba, the glow-in-the-dark rabbit on this blog. The rabbit was born and died before I started this blog. Having said that, I did talk and write a lot about it. It was an albino rabbit that was commissioned by artist Eduardo Kac to be created in a French genetics lab using a gene from a jellyfish. His idea was to have the rabbit created in a laboratory, let the public know about it so a discussion could be had about the research, and finally the rabbit would be brought home to live with the Kac family. The first two of these things occured but the head of the laboratory was unfortable about letting the rabbit leave the lab so it lived its life in the laboratory. I had nothing against the rabbit, it was not the fault of the rabbit that it glowed in the dark. I had a problem with the ethics of the experiment and with the fact that public funds were used to run this experiment. I also agree with the lab director not releasing the rabbit. It has been shown that genetic contamination happens fairly easily in the wild (which is a major reason I am opposed to transgenic foods). If the rabbit had been fed on by a parasite of any kind, the gene could have traveled.

Now, I brought all of that up because I wanted to talk about this. A Taiwanese Laboratory has succeeded in making glow-in-the-dark pigs. Embryonic pigs were injected with fluorescent green protein. The plan, apparently is to use the pigs in stem-cell research. I honestly don't see how making a glow-in-the-dark animal is going to help stem-cell research. If the thought was to make glow-in-the-dark stem-cells, I would think that that would be tried. Stem-cells exist only in very small areas of the body and it would seem to me a waste to make an an entire animal glow.

On a completely different subject, engineers at MIT have created an alarm clock for those people that have a hard time getting up the first time the alarm goes off. Called Clocky, it is an alarm clock with wheels and, I am guessing, some sort of visual sensor that will roll off the nightstand, run around the bedroom and look for a place to hide. It will apparently try to find different places to hide each day so you can't go to the same place to turn it off. It is presently in production and will be on the market soon. It is also the winner of the 2005 Ig Nobel Prize for economics.


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