Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Quandary

Quandary column

The Facts About Surrogacy

By Michael Cook

The dismal death of Brooke Verity illustrates the need for longitudinal studies of the long-term outcomes of surrogacy.

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Turning Psychopaths into Nice Guys

By Michael Cook

If moral bioenhancement of psychopaths becomes obligatory, who will benchmark standards?

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Locked-in’s Challenge to Autonomy

By Michael Cook

Four patients with locked-in syndrome have communicated that they are happy as long as they receive adequate care at home.

The craze for Marvel superheroes encourages us to think that merely being human is too easy. We need to exceed our limitations by adding superpowers – breathing underwater, eternal youth, colossal strength, regeneration, flying, spinning spider webs and so on. Of course, that’s just comic book stuff, but the same dynamic is at work in the Olympic goal of going “faster, higher, stronger”.

Frozen Stiff

By Michael Cook

Cryonics is a growing industry even if its feasibility is questionable and its ethics murky.

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Patient Zero

By Michael Cook

An analysis of blood tests has revealed that HIV was widespread in the 1970s, and that the notion that Gaétan Dumas was the epicentre of the epidemic is flawed.

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Grim News for Immortals

By Michael Cook

A recent paper in Nature has cast a wet blanket over the dreams of immortality researchers.

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How IVF Is Changing Human History

By Michael Cook

Since IVF bypasses infertility it must also be having an effect on human evolution.

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Acting Absolutely Beastly

By Michael Cook

Charles Foster has tried to reconnect with the animal world by living as a badger, a fox, a swift, a deer and an otter.

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Masters or Slaves of AI?

By Michael Cook

If neural lacing enables our brains to be networked, we could easily be hacked or become the tools of Google or government.

In the 19th century and for a good part of the 20th century, many people feared that humanity was destined to become lapdogs of bloated industrialists. The world would be divided between the haves and the have-nots, the capitalists and the proletariat.

The fear persists, but nowadays capitalists like Mark Zuckerberg wear hoodies and tennis shoes like the rest of us. Apart from North Korea, there is universal agreement that “to get rich is glorious”.

Global Catastrophic Risk

By Michael Cook

A report calculates that we’re more likely to die in an extinction event than in a car crash.

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