Monday, July 07, 2008

A trio of thought-provoking articles this past week

In the U.K., Human-pig hybrid embryos given go ahead:

"A licence to create human-pig embryos to study heart disease has been issued by the fertility watchdog.

This marks the third animal-human hybrid embryo licence to be issued by Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and the first since the Commons voted in favour of this controversial research last month.

An HFEA spokesman said it had approved an application from the Clinical Sciences Research Institute, University of Warwick, for the creation of hybrid embryos..." Full article accessible here.

From Uganda's leading website: Genital Mutilation - Women Grapple With a Deadly Tradition - "In the scorching afternoon sunshine, Philis Yapchemusto stands in the compound of a tiny building that houses the headquarters of Reproductive, Educative and Community Health (REACH) programme. The community-based programme was established in Kapchorwa to improve reproductive health conditions and stop female genital mutilation." Full article can be read here.

From Scientific American: What is self-awareness?
"Can a lobster ever truly have any emotions? What about a beetle? Or a sophisticated computer? The only way to resolve these questions conclusively would be to engage in serious scientific inquiry—but even before studying the scientific literature, many people have pretty clear intuitions about what the answers are going to be. A person might just look at a computer and feel certain that it couldn’t possibly be feeling pleasure, pain or anything at all. That’s why we don’t mind throwing a broken computer in the trash." Rest of the story here.

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