Biopunk

Biopunk - Marcus Wohlsen Kind of interesting, Wohlsen goes a talk to a few people out there who like to do genetic engineering at home, the the garage, and on the cheap. It was a revelation to me that it was possible to set up a discount bio-lab, but apparently there are people who have done it and are doing it.

Of course, Open Science is big on the agenda of most biopunk aficionados, and for this they are to be commended. It may well be the cure for cancer, or some other novel biological solution is a result of one such lab or person who just want to make a difference and is not obsessed with patents and profits.

Wohlsen does also discuss the potential darker side of people setting up their own labs - though takes the threat there somewhat lightly in my view. Really, while is it highly unlikely someone could produce a home made nuke, a home made biological agent (even if 'by accident') seems likely to me at some point - so watch out for your neighbours...

The thing that really annoyed me with the book though, was the use of the word 'hacking'. This is not limited to this book for sure, and I know the meaning and usage of words changes over time, but for me, hacking is what Matthew Broderick did in 'war games' - gaining unauthorised access to a system that you shouldn't have access to, not a bit of programming or re-sequencing DNA. Please, world, stop using this term to mean 'messing about with stuff you (don't) understand' - THAT IS NOT HACKING! Grrr.