Craig Venter created an artificial lifeform, and in order to tag it, he encoded some literary quotes in its DNA -- a misquotation (as it turns out) of Feynman, and a line from James Joyce. Now he's attracted a legal threat from the famously litigious Joyce estate (an estate that, in my opinion, epitomizes loony, censorious, vindictiveness exercised against living readers and writers on behalf of a dead man).
The irony is ripe -- after all, Venter's the man who wants to patent the human genome.
After announcing their work, Venter explained, his team received a cease and desist letter from Joyce's estate, saying that he'd used the Irish writer's work without permission. "We thought it fell under fair use," said Venter.
The funniest thing is that Joyce isn't "written" in the genome, he's encoded in it by a code of Venter's design. Venter could "erase" Joyce by declaring a different set of mappings for the code. Indeed, you could declare any genetic sequence to be a one-time pad coding for any literary quote (or other text) of the same length and it would, in some sense, be true.
Craig Venter's Genetic Typo
Writing in Slate, Cathy “Weapons of Math Destruction” O’Neill, a skeptical data-scientist, describes the ways that Big Data intersects with ethical considerations.
Our pals at surreal clothiers Imaginary Foundation bring us this fine enamel pin emblazoned with an essential insight of the ages, captured by a simple Venn diagram. Just $10!
In his weekly address, President Barack Obama this week pledged $4 billion in federal funding for computer science education in schools throughout the nation.
You’ve heard the news: cyber security is the new and very scary frontier. Hackers are out there just waiting for you to relax for a second and let them in. But that’s not going to happen to you. With a lifetime premium subscription to ZenMate VPN, you’re completely protected from anyone out there who wants […]
Remember back to the time when people thought java was just a hip way to talk about coffee? Or you vaguely remembered from geography class that it’s an island in the South Pacific? We’ve come a long way since then and now that we’ve rocket blasted into the tech future, you’re going to need to […]
Plastic is so 2013. You don’t want to buy something only to throw it away or lose it and barely care. You like nice things and want to hang onto them. The Plazmatic lighter here is a high quality, high tech alternative to the typical cheap, plastic lighter you get at the old gas station. […]