Friday, October 31, 2008

The Geography of Biodefense

Two recent stories in the press have drawn attention to some really questionable decisions to site biodefense facilities.
Wired magazine looks at the possibility of a level 4 biosafety lab, specifically a National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility, being built at the existing Plum Island Animal Disease Center just off of the tip of Long Island. Of course, the primary question being the wisdom of such a facility being located so close to the most populated city in the country.
The New York Times looks at the existing Robert E. Shope Medical Laboratory at the University of Texas in Galveston, one of two facilities pushed by the post 9-11 Bush Administration. The second facility, to be located in Boston University Medical Center, has met much more resistance than has emerged in Galveston. Both facilities will study highly contagious and lethal pathogens, from Ebola to drug-resistant tuberculosis.
While no longer active, the Sunshine Project is a great resource for how these facilities are funded, regulated and sited.

posted by ryan griffis  # 9:20 AM 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Will Sweet Energy Give Us Cavities?

It's been a while since I've posted here, but I just received news from our friends at the ETC Group. This weekend, they've been in attendance at SynBio 4.0 conference in Hong Kong. The meeting is obviously the fourth in a series where leaders in the emerging field of synthetic biology come together to plan our shiny new future. Even though I've been posting about synthetic biology here for a few years now, apparently, most of us in the U.S. don't have any idea what it is. OK, I don't really think this blog is a barometer of public knowledge... I'd be surprised if anyone is even reading it other than me.
Anyway... The ETC Group has a new report about the potential, and existing, problems surrounding the push to develop fuels from plant-derived sugars. Lots of familiar arguments against biofuels, but some welcome specificity with regard to genetic engineering.
And if you're interested in their first hand accounts of the SynBio 4.0 conference, check their blog.

posted by ryan griffis  # 2:44 PM 0 comments links to this post


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