Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, August 29, 2021

Upon initial consideration, the concept of biopiracy seems like a ludicrous overreach of state dominion over nature.

But not if you consider the practical possibilities:

Fears of biopiracy, loosely defined as any unauthorized acquisition or transport of genetic material or live flora and fauna, are deep and longstanding in Brazil. Nearly a century ago, for example, the Amazon rubber boom collapsed after Sir Henry Wickham, a British botanist and explorer, spirited rubber seeds out of Brazil and sent them to colonies in Ceylon and Malaya (now Sri Lanka and Malaysia), which quickly dominated the international market.

In the 1970s, the Squibb pharmaceutical company used venom from the Brazilian arrowhead viper to help develop captopril, used to treat hypertension and congestive heart failure, without payment of the royalties Brazilians think are due them. And more recently, Brazilian Indian tribes have complained that samples of their blood, taken under circumstances they say were unethical, were being used in genetic research around the world.

If countries can guard non-regenerative natural resources like oil, then why not other exploitable resources? As clumsy as the framework is now, I imagine techniques will be refined enough to make this a major national-security topic by mid-century.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 08/29/2007 08:39 AM
Category: Political, Science, True Crime
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Bad news if you live in California and still have been dialing up the phone company to hear a recorded woman’s voice intone the correct time: As of September, AT&T is discontinuing the now-antiquated service.

On the bright side, if you really need to know the time at any given moment… You could just look at your cellphone, before actually making a time-check call.

And if all you were really after was the assured sound of a woman’s voice, well, there are other options there as well.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 08/29/2007 08:28 AM
Category: Society, Tech
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