The Dark Side of CRISPR

Americans have celebrated the fact that the Biden administration is embracing science and returning the country to evidence-based policymaking. We agree that science should guide policy—except in cases where it wouldn’t assist people to live their lives but would, instead, exclude them.

The CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology, for which biochemists Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, has the potential to do just that. So do other forms of scientific technologies. We should therefore always be aware of the ethical choices these technologies can pose.    

In the case of CRISPR, those choices are complex. CRISPR has many functions; one of these is that it can be used to treat disease. Yet the far-reaching, more fraught promise of this technology—one about which scientists seem at once excited and cautious—lies in its ability to eliminate from the gene pool what medical science identifies as faulty or abnormal genes that

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Look Up Sci-Fi Terms with This New Online Dictionary

What do you really know about terms like warp drives and transporters? You likely associate them with Star Trek, but what else? You can expand your knowledge of these and other science-fiction words with the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction, which we first learned about at Winter Is Coming. Edited by its creator, Jesse Sheidlower, a lexicographer and former editor-at-large for the Oxford English Dictionary, this new online resource is for more than checking the correct spelling of words like lightsaber. The tool defines sci-fi words and provides their history and earliest known uses.

The genre of science fiction reaches back through the decades. Its words and ideas have influenced other genres and even the real world. Browsing the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction gives sci-fi terminology context and even more weight.

Sheidlower’s creation just came online recently, but it’s been in the works since

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Google unveils new classroom tools as schools focus on remote learning


Google is debuting new education tools.

Angela Lang/CNET

Google on Wednesday unveiled several new software tools aimed at remote learning, as teachers and students continue to meet in virtual classrooms amid the pandemic. 

Many of the new features are coming to Google Meet, the company’s Zoom rival, and Google Classroom, which helps teachers manage classes online. One new Meet tool allows the teacher to mute all the students at once, a way to try to get control of an unruly class. Another tool lets the teacher end the meeting for everyone, so students don’t linger and have their own unsupervised meetings. Teachers will also be able to get transcripts of lessons for students who missed class.

For Google Classroom, one update will let teachers track a student’s engagement with content, like who posted a

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Valve refuses Apple subpoena of its sales & operations data in Epic Games legal battle

Valve claims Apple’s request for the data falls well outside of reasonable cooperation.

As the antitrust legal battle between Epic Games and Apple continues, many other major groups in the gaming industry have either been drawn into the fracas or stepped in of their own accord. Valve is the latest big name to come up in the matter. Apple filed a subpoena asking for access to extensive Steam sales and operations data. Valve denied the subpoena in joint filing with Apple, calling the request unreasonable and burdensome.

Apple and Valve recently filed the joint letter of their recent legal interaction in the Northern District of California Oakland Division US District Court, as reported by PC Gamer. According to the subpoena, Apple asked for access to Steam product listing, operations, and sales data for information the company deemed relevant to its ongoing legal battle with Epic Games, in which

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