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Comment Re:Is this legal? (Score 1) 245

Limiting access to any virus or bacteria that's in the environment is rather hard.

Depends on the pathogen. Things like smallpox, sars, or ebola are not going to be easy to come by, while something like influenza and the information to recreate Spanish flu would be. But that was kind of what I was getting at in my last point. Someone could easily start cloning things into common pathogens, which is not a good idea unless you are doing it in controlled conditions (like a BSL3 lab), but in practice there is no way you can effectively regulate that.

Comment Re:Is this legal? (Score 1) 245

Virtually all academic researchers are required to have approval of a recombinant DNA research advisory committee before they do any kind of work like this. There certainly is a real possibility of someone creating something dangerous, such as a recombinant pathogen which is the very reason why we have those oversight committees in the first place. For example, the article mentions creating tattoos using florescent squid genes, which is vague but I'm assuming the only way that would work would be to make a recombinant virus expressing a GFP-like gene. So you really don't that it might be a bad idea to have people injecting infectious agents into themselves that they brewed up in their garage?

I'm all for regulating this, but realistically there is no way to prevent people from making recombinant human pathogens in their garage while still allowing legitimate educational activities like making GFP-expressing e.coli. So frankly, regulation is pointless beyond what already is in place, such as limiting access to pathogens.

Comment Re:Great Depression? (Score 1) 873

We make paper. Or Zeros and Ones. Those will not be worth as much as they once were.

The US is still by far the largest manufacturing economy in the world. In fact, it's almost as large as the next 2 countries (China and Japan) combined:

2007 stats in USD:
US: 1.8 trillion
China: 1.1 trillion
Japan: 0.9 trillion

http://unstats.un.org/unsd/snaama/dnllist.asp

Comment Re:Retarded (Score 1) 294

Flagship demo projects like this often get exceedingly big discounts from the vendors.

Yeah, remember Virginia Tech's crazy Mac cluster that had a a slew of Power G5s that they ran for what seemed like less than a year and replaced with XServes? IIRC, Apple gave them an even swap for the brand new XServes.

Privacy

Submission + - RFID Powder

microsage writes: Engadget is carrying a short article about a new RFID technology with some worrisome privacy implications.

From the article:
"As if the various other permutations and teensyness of RFID weren't wild enough, here comes Hitachi with its new "powder" 0.05mm x 0.05mm RFID chips. The new chips are 64 times smaller than the previous record holder... and yet still make room for a 128-bit ROM that can store a unique 38-digit ID number. "

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