Your Other Half

Tom Easton In the last few years, the human microbiome has been drawing a great deal of attention. It consists of the bacteria, viruses, and fungi that occupy your guts (generating about a third of your poop), as well as your skin, mouth, nose, and other niches.  Its many species make up a population of […]

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Gimme Juice

Tom Easton Before the automobile was the horse, and Lo! the streets were covered with horse puckeys and the air was filled with stink and flies. Most especially in cities. People were happy to see the steam engine and the trains it enabled. But trains were restricted to tracks, emitted smoke and sometimes sparks, and […]

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How Safe Is Safe?

Tom Easton One of the foundations of computer science and thus of all the gadgets that enrich (or bedevil—take your pick!) our lives is cybernetics. The root is the Greek word for “steersman” (as of a ship) and it is apt for the study and implementation of electrical devices that produce appropriate outputs in response […]

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Making It Up

Making It Up Tom Easton   What comes after genetic engineering? Ever since its origin in the 1970s as “recombinant DNA,” some people have wrung their hands and cried alarm about how swapping and editing genes (made of DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid) in our food posed hazards of toxicity and ecological destruction. If we ever […]

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Prepping for Disaster

Prepping for Disaster  Tom Easton Most of these little essays deal with matters of science and technology. My aim has not been to add to the flood of techno-hype. I have mostly chosen to point out potential problems and—when possible—potential solutions. Perhaps unfortunately, the realm of solutions is not the realm of science and technology, […]

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It’s Loose!

IT’S LOOSE! Tom Easton   What’s loose? If you’re a fan of old movies, you are probably thinking Giant BUGS! Ants! Moths! Lizards! Squids! Things from the swamp! And of course those velociraptors from Jurassic Park. You’re partly right. Bugs, but not giants. Genetically engineered bugs, with features Mother Nature never dreamed of, unless she […]

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Bouncing, Bouncing, Bouncing

Bouncing, Bouncing, Bouncing  Tom Easton   Sustainability–defined as using resources in such a way that resources remain for future generations to use, with no decline in life-style or well-being–entered the global debate in the early 1980s, when the United Nations’ World Commission on Environment and Development released Our Common Future (Oxford University Press, 1987) (the […]

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