Lisa Randall: The Risks of Scientific Innovation

Lisa Randall: I’m a little bit hesitant to overstate the risk because some science is risk and some science is not. I do think that probably biological advances will entail ethical consider . . . issues. And I don’t mean that we shouldn’t be doing certain types of research. But in the end we should be able to evaluate. For example if we do understand genes, how much do we want to be able to engineer? I mean those . . . I don’t know that that’s a risk, but I think it’s important to be able . . . that there’s a systematic way of asking these questions and that they’re on the table. There probably are risks to the environment. There probably are risks to our food supply. And it’s not necessarily from science, but sort of how science is applied in sort of more agricultural and industrial sort of contexts. There probably are risks associated with antibiotic resistant bacteria. There are risks of that sort. But a lot of the risks, I think, have to do with how things are applied in general. And I think that has . . . I mean it’s not just that science research could be controlled, but perhaps industries using scientific analysis should be better controlled. For example, you know, bio engineered food – it’s not that it’s necessarily bad, but there should be some way of regulating it to see if it is bad or not. And right now it’s not . . . I mean so I think the risks are sort of that things are changing so fast that sort of regulation doesn’t necessarily keep up with it. So that’s probably more of the risks at this point. Recorded On: 11/2/07

Some science is risky, but much of science is not, says Randall.

Why the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner won’t feature a comedian in 2019

It's the first time the association hasn't hired a comedian in 16 years.

(Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images for Vulture Festival)
Culture & Religion
  • The 2018 WHCA ended in controversy after comedian Michelle Wolf made jokes some considered to be offensive.
  • The WHCA apologized for Wolf's jokes, though some journalists and many comedians backed the comedian and decried arguments in favor of limiting the types of speech permitted at the event.
  • Ron Chernow, who penned a bestselling biography of Alexander Hamilton, will speak at next year's dinner.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

A new study says alcohol changes how the brain creates memories

A study on flies may hold the key to future addiction treatments.

Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Mind & Brain
  • A new study suggests that drinking alcohol can affect how memories are stored away as good or bad.
  • This may have drastic implications for how addiction is caused and how people recall intoxication.
  • The findings may one day lead to a new form of treatment for those suffering from addiction.
Keep reading Show less