Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

DARPA Aims for Synthetic Life With a Kill Switch 295

jkinney3 writes to mention that DARPA's mad scientists have undertaken a new program designed to create synthetic organisms, complete with a "kill switch." The project, dubbed BioDesign, is dumping $6 million into "removing the randomness of evolutionary advancement" by creating genetically engineered masterpieces. "Of course, Darpa's got to prevent the super-species from being swayed to do enemy work — so they'll encode loyalty right into DNA, by developing genetically programmed locks to create 'tamper proof' cells. Plus, the synthetic organism will be traceable, using some kind of DNA manipulation, 'similar to a serial number on a handgun.' And if that doesn't work, don't worry. In case Darpa's plan somehow goes horribly awry, they're also tossing in a last-resort, genetically-coded kill switch."

Geoengineering To Cool the Earth Becoming Thinkable 419

johkir writes "As early as 1965, when Al Gore was a freshman in college, a panel of distinguished environmental scientists warned President Lyndon B. Johnson that CO2 emissions from fossil fuels might cause 'marked changes in climate' that 'could be deleterious.' Yet the scientists did not so much as mention the possibility of reducing emissions. Instead they considered one idea: 'spreading very small reflective particles' over about five million square miles of ocean, so as to bounce about 1 percent more sunlight back to space — 'a wacky geoengineering solution.' In the decades since, geoengineering ideas never died, but they did get pushed to the fringe — they were widely perceived by scientists and environmentalists alike as silly and even immoral attempts to avoid addressing the root of the problem of global warming. Three recent developments have brought them back into the mainstream." We've discussed some pretty strange ideas in the geoengineering line over the last few years.

Slashdot Top Deals

Unix is the worst operating system; except for all others. -- Berry Kercheval