Category Archives: Commentary

DNA Synthesis Going Viral: Evaluating the Security of Dual-Use Biotechnology

In 2004, the United States passed legislation that made hundreds of researchers around the country guilty of a crime with consequences of up to $2,000,000 fines and a prison sentence of 25 years to life. What was that crime? Working with vaccinia—a live virus vaccine that essentially eradicated smallpox by 1980 and became the most widely used human immunization. While

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Alternative Science? The future of science research in Trump’s America

By: Lloyd Lyall Trump’s attitudes on medicine and the environment might be some of the most striking disavowals of science in the modern world. The president has labelled climate change a “hoax created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing noncompetitive,”2 and claimed “new ‘environmentally friendly’ lightbulbs cause cancer.”3 Fracking poses “zero health risks,”4 and vaccines

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A Bittersweet Future – The Sustainability of Cocoa

Theobroma. This is the Latin word for cocoa, and it means “the food of gods.” For ancient cultures like the Mayans and Aztecs, the bean was nothing short of divine. Cocoa trees served as bridges between heaven and earth, and chocolaty drinks played crucial roles in religious ceremonies. Moreover, the fruit acted as an economic staple, often exchanged as currency

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WEED 101: Recreational Marijuana, the Human Body, and Recreational Legalization

STANFORD, CA—As we stood in front of the mirror brushing our teeth a few weeks ago, my friends agreed that smoking cigarettes is bad. The Center for Disease Control, the American Lung Association, and anyone with an internet connection and a brain tend to agree on this one.[1] The irrefutable toxicity, the nefarious campaigns of the tobacco industry, the outlandish

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Misconceptions About Stem Cells: What You May Not Know Can Hurt Us All

What do you think of when you hear “stem cells?” Like most people, your perception of them may be vague.  This cloudy understanding may even be accompanied by fear and distrust.  Stem cells are cells that have the potential to become a variety of different body cells, ranging from the cells that line our organs to the cells that compose

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