Fourth, our current knowledge of the risk management (5,11,36,37,95) and containment (35,38) issues associated with gene drives is largely due to the efforts of researchers focused on mosquito-borne illnesses. Frameworks for evaluating ecological consequences are similarly focused on mosquitoes (39) and the few other organisms for which alternative genetic biocontrol methods have been considered (96). While these examples provide an invaluable starting point for investigations of RNA-guided gene drives targeting other organisms, studies examining the particular drive, population, and associated ecosystem in question will be needed.
Go ahead and check out the references (and the rest of the paper) if you're genuinely interested in this topic. This is not mad science, nor is it Pandora's Box.
NYPD: It's coming right for us! *BANG BANG BANG*
Every drone is an imminent threat.
Journalist: Dang, I wish there was a better way of doing this
Google: I can help you!
EU: No. You can't. Journalist, I'm afraid you're going to have to do this by hand if you want the data.
Journalist: But the data is still there... can't Google just help me sift through it?
EU: No. Go home. There's nothing to see here.
In academia, you're trying new things every day, often using protocols that you've made up, or have never used before at the very least. This is just the nature of the beast.
In industry you're generally making a well-defined product. You already know how to produce it, or your project would be in academia. If you already know what you're doing and have Standard Operating Procedures already in place, then OF COURSE you're going to make less mistakes!
Second, the program that's reference here isn't really that amazing. There are scores of tools that exist for copying and pasting DNA sequences. Back in the day I used to do it in notepad (and still do from time to time). The fact that they let you essentially "edit the text of your essay" and that it integrates databases of "essays" is cool, but there have been lots of tools like this in the past, (I use them all the time).
I guess what I'm saying is this: there's nothing new here, and even if it was... all you're getting in the mail is DNA -- not the organism. As others have stated, it's an entirely different thing. DNA is completely benign and is just a dry powder at the bottom of a vial. You could eat the suff, no matter the sequence.
That said, I believe the farmer who sold his seeds to the grain elevator was in the wrong, not the farmer (who didn't even know better) who purchased the seeds. This is similar to the file sharer being in the wrong, as opposed to the pirate.
When farmers use Monsanto seeds, they have to realize that they can't redistribute those seeds (or seeds made from those seeds). If this were legal, then Monsanto could be cut out of the picture after the first sale. Farmers could just go to "special" grain elevators who were known to have Monsanto seed progeny and pick up some good cheap stuff. In this case, Monsanto would never be able to recoup the time and billions of dollars spent developing those seeds. It's important to therefore realize that farmers who use Monsanto seeds forfeit their right to distribute seeds to grain elevators; this is their choice.
Farmers choose to use Monsanto seeds. If they still want to distribute seeds to grain elevators, then they can't use Monsanto's products. If it's so crucial that they use Monsanto products, then all hail Monsanto for saving the grain market -- it would have failed (or at least done more poorly) otherwise. And if Monsanto is price gouging, then competitors should have no problem creating alternative products and undercutting them... but they can't because of the aforementioned time and billions spent (which Monsanto needs to recoup or they can't make these "crucial" products).
Although it's easy to paint a David and Goliath portrait here and shed tears for the poor farmers getting sued by a big corporation, right and wrong aren't so black and white here. There's a reason why the laws (made by the people) are defending Monsanto's products here. It's simply not an easy case.
1) Star systems of the right elemental makeup where planets could have iron cores
2) Star systems of the right age, where the earth-like planets with iron cores would likely still have a molten core capable of producing a magnetosphere
I think we've all but proven that finding planets of the right size, within the right distance of their star, are perhaps abundant enough (see mars). That's great, and we can postulate that there might be liquid water on them because of this, but what we really need to worry about is their ability to produce a magnetosphere capable of holding in all that good stuff against the sweeping winds produced by their star.
Does anyone have some insight as to how easy or hard it would be to try to identify star systems with these characteristics *before* looking to see if we can find earth-like size/distance planets?