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Archive: Code for life January 2011

Regulating GMOs: time to move forward

Grant Jacobs Nov 23, 2017

It’s time to move regulation of genetic modification forward. The current set-up is temporary and unsound. We use a risk-based approach for almost everything because that’s what makes sense. But New Zealand takes an arbitrary approach to genetic modification. So we ‘ban’ a technique that evidence shows there is no special risk in using. That poor logic plays to a vocal … Read More

Public opinion of gene editing and enhancement

Grant Jacobs Nov 21, 2017

What if we could fix a kid’s genetic disease, cure them for their lifetime? What if we make that for all of their children, forever? Or enhance humans to be genetically better? What’s your opinion of gene editing and enhancement? A survey asked what people thought. Participants gave a green light for adult gene therapy. They were cautious … Read More

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Natural Health Products bill gets quietly dropped

Grant Jacobs Nov 16, 2017

Today Newsroom reported that the Natural Health Products bill has been quietly dropped. Fellow Sciblogger Mark Hanna offered thoughts on this in an interview. There is a need to address an unregulated market that has problems. In an earlier piece, I offered some thoughts on the draft bill. I felt quite a bit could be added. Claims about … Read More

2

Offering sympathies for disabilities

Grant Jacobs Nov 12, 2017

Short version: don’t. Be a wee bit careful about empathy, too. Why to not offer sympathies for disabilities is worth knowing. It’ll help you be kind to others in many situations, and to write or talk about disabilities and difficulties better. There’s a connection with science and science communication, too. A mantra about kindness that circulates in science communication and … Read More

2

Vote for your favourite book

Grant Jacobs Nov 10, 2017

The GoodReads Choice Awards is the only major book award decided by readers – you! Even if you’re not sure about voting, the mid rounds of competitions offer great reading lists to explore. Get to it! Don’t take too long – the semi-final round ends in three days. (There is a final round from November 14th until November 27th.) … Read More

1

Vaccine battles

Grant Jacobs Nov 08, 2017

Two articles from Stuff have sparked a long-drawn out battle over vaccines. The Facebook pages have drawn an huge number of comments, many posting ill-formed opinions. Yeah, it’s happening again. The Stuff articles themselves are mostly fine. The vaccine battles in the comments… not. Yesterday was the 150th birthday of Nobel laureate Marie Curie.* She once wrote, “Nothing … Read More

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When to kick out a professor

Grant Jacobs Oct 27, 2017

(Or a taught course, or department.) Reading about the latest retraction of a Shaw and Tomljenovic research paper on aluminium (with two ‘i’s!) and vaccines, I was reminded of topics I’ve ruminated on in the past: when to investigate a professor, and when do they no longer justify their position? What criteria might we use? What are the hallmarks … Read More

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Autism is mostly genetic again

Grant Jacobs Oct 24, 2017

Ever since Rain Man, autism has been a condition du-jour for those touting (fake) ’wellness’ remedies, opposing vaccines, and general head-nodding concern. Some claim autism is caused by any number of things, offering just many remedies offered to “treat” it. Recent research reminds us that autism is mostly genetic. People with autism, or autism spectrum disorder, have difficulty in social … Read More

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