Saturday, July 05, 2008

Biology in Science Fiction Roundup: July 5 Edition

I hope all my American readers are having a nice Independence Day holiday weekend - and a belated happy Canada Day to those of you who live north of the border.

Anyway, here are some biology in science fiction-related links from the past few weeks:

Written Word



Nancy Kress talks about the origins of Dogs - ebola, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and becoming a dog owner - on Whatever

The Aqueduct Press blog links to a review of Vandana Singh's Of Love and Other Monsters in SFRA Review:
[W]hen pondering Rahul's liberation or decolonization, Arun imagines the mitochondrion that has become an integrated part of the cell. "If you could offer a mitochondrion its freedom, would it take it?" (73)

Because of Singh's scientific background, the novella is filled with this kind of comparison. Yet despite this, the central premises of the book--telepathy and mind-melding--remain unfounded in scientific or rational principles. But as with so many elements of the novella (sexuality, gender, alienation), that may well be the point. Nevertheless, Of Love and Other Monsters offers a beautiful and compelling tale of alienation and difference, of groundedness and transcendence.
Nina Munteau reviews Oryx & Crake

Åka at Physicality of Words interviews Jo Walton about the science in science fiction.

Movies

At Sci Fi Weekly Wil McCarthy writes about the Gaia hypothesis and The Happening.

Bloody Disgusting reports that Repo! The Genetic Opera is tentatively scheduled for limited release on November 7.

Television

Meredith Woerner at io9 has a look at the TNT miniseries Blank Slate, which is due to air in September. It "follows a team of FBI agents as they attempt to solve crimes by putting the memories of the deceased into the minds of the living."

Cool Science

io9 Biogeek Terry Johnson looks at the possibility of silicon-based life.

Here's a video of George Dvorsky giving a talk on transhumanism and life extension at the Center for Inquiry Ontario.

The Age has a slightly scare-mongering article about the (hypothetical) use of gene doping in sports:

Now the question is: could the biggest dopes of all, this August, be the hundreds of millions expecting a fair contest? Dr Peter Larkins is a former head doctor for Australia's athletics team and past president of Sports Medicine Australia.

"I think it is happening now," he says of gene doping.

"I can't believe that 10 years after gene therapy has been proven and we have mice that grow muscles twice the size of normal mice and mice that are called marathon mice because they run all day, I can't believe the scientists who have been unethical enough to help athletes cheat for the last 30 years aren't giving that technology to some people.

Read more about the "Mighty Mouse" gene in this 2004 article in the NewScientist.

Paul Stamets' TED talk on 6 ways mushrooms can save the world.

Bioethics Bytes looks at "Ghosts in your genes - epigenetics"

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