Fringe – A Representation of Our Future?

Over break, I started watching the show Fringe (all 6 seasons are available on Netflix), and all I could think about was how much it reminded me of this class. From cloning to reproductive technologies to miracle drugs, this class has explored numerous examples of literature or film that, in some way, predict what the future of science will look like. And, if you want a modern example of this, you need to start watching Fringe.

Just in the first few episodes, the show has explored scientific technologies that I couldn’t have even dreamt of, but seem quite logical – rapid aging, communication using wave frequency we currently don’t yet know how to access, flesh crystallization, inter-brain connections, you name it! So, if you want to continue surrounding yourself by the Biomedical Futures, you should probably start watching this show (after finals period, of course).


Drones- The Future of Aging?

I came across this article I thought was relevant to our class. The author discusses a new idea in helping the aging population in a culture that does not adequately take care of them: drones. These drones are proposed to offer help in multiple ways, ranging from help with household chores to companionship. One software designer said, “that the science-fiction future of elder-care robots is closer than many people believe.”

As Aging Population Grows, So Do Robotic Health Aides

They’re Made Out of Meat?

While reading The Humans, the narrator’s quirks reminded me of a short story that I read a few years back which always makes me laugh.  “Meat” is the story of extraterrestrial, intelligent life discovering life of Earth yet having the hardest time understanding how humans function despite being made out of meat (thinking meat, conscious meat, singing meat?!?). I’d recommend taking 5 minutes out of your day to read it, especially before today’s class.

Two articles I found interesting

1. “The Silence of Prozac” – Sharpe discusses how conceptions of antidepressants have changed over the past two decades. The drugs that were once seen as a starting point for dystopic “cosmetic pyschopharmacology,” she argues, are today seemingly mundane. Our notions of what these drugs do has also changed. People used to believe that antidepressants fundamentally change personality; today, the effect is seen more as “a shift into a different register of [the user’s] personality.”

2. “Happy Miscarriages: An Emotional History of Pregnancy Loss” – Miscarriages occur more often and for different reasons than people think. Withycombe discusses the history of miscarriages. In doing so, she asserts that much of society today associates miscarriages with shame or guilt because medical advances have given women more control over reproduction (birth control, artificial insemination, abortion, etc.), and “with great control always comes great responsibility.” She raises a call for greater discussion, awareness, and understanding.

Let me know if you have any thoughts on them — would love to discuss.


Malaria Cure or Jurassic Park in the making?

“Gene drive technology has great potential to help tackle malaria and other global problems in public health. But the ability of genetic changes to spread rapidly in the wild population means that great caution should be taken when building gene drive systems in the laboratory.

Accidental or malicious release of a gene drive system into the wild could have unpredictable ecological consequences and thus researchers must use multiple safeguards that are robust to human error and nefarious actions.”

Youngest person to be cryogenically frozen

An article about a two-year-old Thai toddler who became the youngest person to be cryogenically frozen. Her parents are medical engineers who stated, “as scientists we are 100% confident this will happen one day – we just don’t know when”. She was also conceived through IVF and her parents believe that since technology played such a central role in the start of her life, it will likely restore it as well.