Craig Venter: Designing life

2012, Biography  -   137 Comments
Ratings: 8.02/10from 44 users.

Some regard him as the most important scientist since Darwin. But he himself is only a little more modest. For the first time now, he can actually design life in a computer, make the DNA software, and create new life forms that have never existed before.

He cracked the genetic code using himself as a guinea pig, he created artificial life and he's been compared to God... and even to Hitler. Now he heads teams of scientists on a vital mission.

At the J. Craig Venter institute, near San Diego, teams of scientists are building on the original mapping of the genome. The information in our genes covers every aspect of our body, from eye color to susceptibility to disease.

Mapping those genes and identifying individual functions should one day enable doctors and scientists to develop drugs and procedures to target problematic genes. From cancer to global warming, to fuel and food supply, the Venter institute may offer the world a new hope. But Craig Venter leads from the front. When he mapped the human genome it was his own genome.

Ever since he was young, Craig Venter has been changing the outcome of his life. At school a brilliant mind, hid behind a rebellious nature. Unimpressive in the classroom, Craig joined California's beach bums, spending his days surfing the waves and impressing the girls. This was the 1960, but his hedonistic lifestyle was about to end. The United States was at war, and at the age of just 20 Craig Venter was called out.

Hooked on science and discovery, but still ready to fight the system, Craig Venter headed for the world of genetics. It was a branch of science which had only really taken off in 1953 when Oxford scientists Francis Crick and James Watson discovered the molecular structure of DNA. The research had taken many years, but Craig Venter was determined that the race to map the human genome should become a sprint, rather than a marathon.

He's a scientific superstar, and now he plans to save the world. Craig Venter's map of the human genome could potentially improve millions of lives and Craig's team is now attempting to transform the stuff of science-fiction into science-fact by creating life in a laboratory.

It has been the stuff of science-fiction to bring the spark of life to inanimate chemical but in the year 2010 Craig Venter once again hit the headlines with a startling new announcement for the world. At the J. Craig Venter institute, near San Diego, Craig's work on synthetic life is now racing ahead.

Exciting to some maybe, but terrifying to others, Craig's vision for the future has led to some fierce criticism. Health benefits are universally good news, but some of the world's senior political figures strongly disagree with Craig about the Earth's build up of greenhouse gasses. But the inter-governmental panel on climate change, the IPCC, backs up Craig's view that the climate change is real and man-made.

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137 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Dear Sick-o-fans of Venter:
    Intelligence is not a substitute for wisdom. The frequency of ["unintended" actually uncared about and ignored and denied until too late] con-sick-quences by the gung-ho intelligent but unwise are numerous. ALL as in every last supposedly "great things" he mentioned for modifying DNA is already available WITHOUT modifying it. Everything by those holding a hammer looks like a nail. It is a bit surprising that he is so uninformed and/or misguided about a number of things. Akin to the absent minded professor forgetting to zip his pants or in this case another victim of propaganda which he also propagates. Rather than suck up all the propaganda, go out and look at the sea level. There are tide markers at every port, compare levels to recorded history at the same lunar dates. If ice is melting, is it forming somewhere else? Yes, well it was, until the GeoEngineering or Climate Modifiers took over. Venter claims science is required now for survival yet it is the scientist who is killing us (Nuclear radiation, Climate Modification, Food Modification, Virus Modifications - Concoctions and release). He has to believe what he thinks or he would realize he is wasting his time and other's money on several things. Realizing and then actually stating that is Not good in getting grants from private and (public; if he does or doesn't we may not be able to know for sure) sources. He is little different than the gung-ho nuclear scientists of yesteryear whose effects we now have to suffer with greatly. And totally unnecessary now or then for more than sufficient energy production w/o fossil fuels, as is his tech and serious waste of time and money modified algae lab, in that regard. Ethanol was proved sustainable on non-crop land in Brazil. Or you can listen to the API paid for university studies here, which are a joke scientifically, if you actually look at them. Venter can change DNA all he wants and it will NOT eliminate disease since that is not the problem. When you realize what you Eat can change your DNA, then the old sage notion that you are what you eat should have more significance. This is why the population eliminator elites want you to eat more of their GMO food and do not want it labeled so you don't realize how many more things are now GMO. That definitely is Not making you better, it is killing you slowly just like other such poisons can and do. When he pulls his hammer(head) out of his backside, he will likely feel compelled to use his new tools of DNA modification to attack the real problem being microbial infection, rather their toxic(poison) excrement when they are able to multiply enough to impact you. When you find out that not as many things as you might think are hereditary but rather microbes passed on from your parents, much more so than heredity, the question will become: Is it wiser to modify your DNA to be less susceptible to a particular microbe chemistry / excrement or better to find better methods of dealing with all microbes? If you think the latter would be wiser then you can find several of those now. Why is there so little news on them? Is it because they don't work or is it because there is no money in it for big medicine and big pharma and for folks like Venter who must conquer things they consider difficult to satisfy their ego, to feel significant? What if it were true that all he has ever done makes very little difference or could do much more harm than good? The sickofans clearly believe that there is no god but their god is science. What if some wiser scientists believe Darwin's conclusions were wrong? All I can reco is to investigation much broader. At some point, if Venter wakes up, may have good intentions toward eliminating root cause of diseases, possibly via a vaccine, while those desirous of gross population eliminations of all you useless eaters, will use his technology in an attempt to wipe out most of you. Crazy talk? Go read the Georgia Guide Stones and then get back to me.

    The body, if you ask Darwinians, evolved from the muck to become us. If it was able to do this on its own, why do the ego maniac scientists think it now requires them to survive further? Or the ego maniac and greedy politicians or greedy corporatists or their media, or the greedy doctors who accept no less than bribes by big pharma to put you on their drugs which often do more harm than good... why do they ALL also think it requires them to tell you what to do in order to survive? I suggest that all you really need is to turn them all off and investigate alternative information and sources.

    The body was clearly designed to heal itself if we only remove the barriers to healing, whatever that may be for you. That certainly isn't heredity if you lived many years with no problem. It may not be even if you were born with a problem. Are the problems of babies born near Chernobyl hereditary? No. It simply was another scientist who modified their DNA via not cared about consequences until it was too late. No doubt there are those who would seek to defend the scientist and blame others which are also guilty. But with such dangerous consequences, why would the scientist release enough info without proper protections and safeguards? And others would claim they instituted proper safeguards but it was simply human error. Yet the damage is still being done. Japanese radiation is still flowing into the air and water of the world. And I am having to breathe it right now. If Venter wanted to do something significant he could figure out a way to stop the radiation flow and/or clean it up. He is losing the race to DNA modification!

  2. Craig Venter is a great inspiration, role-model, protagonist for the human race, I dare even say hero!

    For all the "back-striders": Craig Venter does not equal Monsanto!

    He is trying to help improve the lives of all humans and saving mother earth and the human species in the same time.

    Yes, we have to be careful how this new amazing technology/knowledge is being used. But it´s hardly Dr. Venters fault if we choose to use it in a way it wasn´t supposed to be used.

    For all the skeptics: Imagine that we could change a gene that would make us resistant against radioactivity, and thus eliminate the threat of nuclear war eliminating us as a species "in a lazy afternoon".. And basically giving humanity a "second chance". How can that be a bad thing?

    Yes, I´m winging it quite a bit here, I have no idea if that example is even practically possible, but it´s only through progress and with Dr. Venters mindset that we will be able to achive something like that.

    10/10 on the doc.

    1. That's all fine and nice, but there's no such thing as 'progress' nor such a thing as 'good' or 'bad.' All these dreams you share are merely your own preference, nothing more, nothing less than that.

  3. Mr Frost looks like he should stop abusing his liver.

    An informative interview conducted by grandpa Simpson revealing scientific success can erode humility.

    1. RIP Mr Frost.

  4. Hopefully there will be a genetic treatment to cure the world of fools.

  5. Nobody knows, where this road will take humans.
    Will a human being produced in a lab, via artificial intelligence
    be vastly different or identical to current human beings?

    1. I think the human race better figure out what is really valuable. Profit or one's heart? What kind of Brave New World do we want? A surveillance society run by androids or a super obedient cast of superior intellects ready to do their masters bidding? Do you think that for one second the elites of today will allow their positions to be threatened? That said anything can happen. It is really up to us. What is that truly makes one happy? Attaining achieving making lots of money to exclusion of all else or one's relationships and specifically one's relationship to oneself?

    2. You've said absolutely nothing.

    3. What's your point? Look humans being human, being concerned with profit their egos and the arrogant can do anything attitude lets go bravely where we've never gone before will most likely destroy themselves long before such genetically engineered Nazi supermen ever get a chance to walk. Google the current problems with GMO's. This is the result of a few genes at most being transferred. Your comment that science can correct itself is stupid. We now have atomic bombs for all time. How do you correct that with science? GMO's have resulted in resistant superbugs and resistant superweeds and who knows what the military is cooking up. Imagine an earthquake destroying a biohazard lab or a flood. This doc is an infomercial.

    4. Science has corrected itself time and time again which is why we no longer have alchemy, phrenology and eugenics.
      Now, what do you have to offer in place of those like Dr. Venter and his institution? My guess is nothing except your promotion of wilful ignorance and your atttempt to stand in the road of progress. In short, you're pathetic and despicable.

    5. We are playing with the fundamental source code of all life. Look if this was safe I wouldn't blink an eye. Transgenic Salmon we were assured couldn't transfer their genes but now scientists tell us they can. Experimental wheat never approved by the USDA that Monsanto had given up on turns up in a field. Scientists trying to create a mouse contraceptive using mousepox kill all the mice even those inoculated against it. This was totally unexpected. There are many examples. Mr. Vender may be the most conscientious safe scientist in this area but his lab is on earthquake fault zone. Imagine biofuel algae escaping. I would of loved to hear him discuss that scenario. He may of taken it into consideration, I don't know. As profit comes into this and dollars blinds all else, expect businessmen not to have such strict guidelines or a moral compass.

    6. First of all, it's Dr. Venter. Second, it's I would have. Third, it's he may have
      Now, what are your scientific qualifications and background? And once again, let's see your alternative or does it consist of merely attempting to stand in the way of progress? .

    7. Look I'm not going to stop this. My hope is that maybe people may think twice about the consequences. For better or worse we're stuck with it. So far if you choose to read the Union of concerned Scientists report Failure to Yield, the promise of GM crops hasn't panned out. But your aware of this right? Your qualified scientist that has looked into all this? Instead of saying I'm not qualified tell me how a GMO bug factory on a fault line in California is safe? Remember it only takes one of the little buggers to pass on it's genes. Tell me how the Union of concerned Scientists messed up? Explain to me why we now have GMO superweeds and superbugs after what only 20 years? Your qualified right. You tell me, especially when this wasn't supposed to happen.

    8. Obviously you have no scientific credentials and thus are unqualified to evaluate the articles you cite, especially the one from Chemtrail Central, a conspiracy newsletter by Dan Rockwell who, like you, has new qualifications whatsoever.
      Obviously, you have no alternative.
      In short, you're a pathetic ignoramus with nothing to contribute and anyone who takes you seriously is as much a pathetic ignoramus.
      P.S. And it's you're qualified, not your qualified. You've made this error twice in this post. Obviously you have no grammatical credentials either.

    9. You have no argument do you and no qualifications either so cut the crap. Any grade 2 student could tell you building on a fault zone isn't such a bright idea. Nature responds and that is out of scientists control. Very weak rebuttal frankly.

    10. You're the one making claims. The burden of proof rests with you and you obviously cannot meet it because you have no scientific qualifications or credentials. You're no better than Don McLeroy, a former member of the Texas State Board of Education who argued against the teaching of evolution due to stasis as described by Stephen J. Gould and the unreliability of the fossil record as treated by Ernst Mayr. Like you, he lacked the education to understand and evaluate what he was reading.

      Once again, I haven't seen you come up with any alternatives and frankly, it's not only an insult to the intelligence but beneath contemptible and beyond pathetic when an ignoramus such as you attempts to tear down a giant such as Dr. Venter (once again, please note spellling).

    11. If you are some kind of professional, then why do you resort to juvenile, petty namecalling? It completely destroys any chance of anyone considering your argument. In fact, it makes you sound like one of those paid corporate shills. Namecalling is ignorant in itself.

    12. He has clearly no scientific credentials, yet he feels himself competent to cast aspersions on Dr. Venter and his institute, relying on rags such as Chemtrail. He deserves to be called every name in the book, if only for attempting to spread his pathetic ignorance--and no, I'm not a shill, just an admirer of one of the few heros of our time.

    13. totally agree. science will be the downfall of mankind. what about all the stuff they dont know they like to call it junk dna. and to make their calculations sum correctly they say 96% of the universe is unknown. gmo's will ultimately bring about the mass starvation and disease that was written about 2000 years ago.

    14. You obviously don't know the first thing about junk DNA and yet you keyboard. Now, where does your figure of 96% come from and while we're at it, let's see your scientific qualifications.
      And just what do you propose to replace science with? You seem really pathetic.

    15. science will be the downfall? Well lets start with why, and how?

  6. There will be two different types of humans.
    Humans that are present today and the humans that will
    be created in the lab.

    1. How do you know this?

    2. He was sent here from the future

    3. how do you not

    4. Artificial Life has already been created.
      The best resources, currently available, will be
      invested in that life form.

    5. How do you know that there won't be three or four different types of "humans" or perhaps at some point the whole thing might fail. Dr. Venter doesn't know. So why do you claim that you do?

  7. Yet another great piece from Aljazeera. Enjoyed it quite a lot. The last century, they say, was the century of Physics, and this one will be of Biology. Good on Venter for doing so much to give it an early start. But I don't wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to this kind of thing; I do worry a bit about anything less than an extraordinarily careful approach to this, since the implications are so enormous. But certainly neither would I be a Luddite, refusing all such advances as intrinsically wrong or immoral. I look forward to seeing where it all leads, on the whole. My personal wish is that, indeed, all these things eventually lead to our descendents being able to stretch out from this planet to the stars some day.

    There were also a few points of humor in this for me, which I believe I will just relish in private. It doesn't happen to be one of them, but now that I think of it, I also loved his remark about the school system not breeding creativity out of him because he never paid much attention to it.

    1. I suggest that you check out the Venter Institute's website. In some ways, it's even more incredible than the documentary.

    2. I'll head over there and take a look.

    3. Your comments would be appreciated.

    4. I was just there reading about the conversion of the genome letters to binary code, and how they've reversed that process to help them define, and maybe even eventually improve, cell characteristics. Certainly, I'm winging it here, but reading that just made me wonder how much of, for example, true A.I. may be created and defined some day by processes and applications like these, since I think most of us, if we think of it at all, tend to come at it strictly from a more or less "traditional computer hardware" point of view, so to speak. That is, that it may actually turn out in the end to be easier to create a self-aware, artificial neural net in this way, at some point.

    5. I also loved his remark about the school system not breeding creativity out of him because he never paid much attention to it. <--- here is claiming not to have been brainwashed but i believe is is an instrument of the brainwashing and has been selected for this .

    6. What you believe is only so much garbage. It's what you can prove and so far you've proved nothing.

  8. Impressive work, indeed. Nature will be very grateful for the improvements made upon her.

    1. And hopefully will frown on Prince Charles for doing her a disservice.

    2. What make me snicker about the Prince Charles clip is that I thought he was one of the elite and part of the group financing Dr. Frankenstein (Ventor). The elite that is looking for ways to eliminate the useless eaters through genocide. Is there dissension in the ranks?

  9. lol Everyone seems a little surprised that Mr. Venter's staff and lab are so amazing. Why? Mr Venter is the 'hope' for the future. A 'future' that they fully intend you and I will not be around to see.

    And, just to clarify, this man is not the least bit interested in furthering your life or my life with all of his scientific knowledge. He fully intends to do what he has been called to do.

    I am aware that most people don't want to believe that anyone would do things as horrible as Mr. Venter is doing... but he is creating new species of animals mixed with human DNA.

    That is why he has such nice accommodations because your tax dollars are paying for them. Every business that furthers the plans of the New World Order is always top-notch.

    Possibly this is the basis of Luke 21:26. If you are a Christian, watch it and learn. If you are not a Christian, watch it from a historical viewpoint..., or don't.

    Anyone who wants more info, watch Rob Skiba, "Mythology and The Coming Great Deception". It is available on Youtube.

    Time is short. Don't listen to anything anyone else has to say. Search out the truth for yourself.
    God bless.

    1. Dr Moreau? Really?

    2. Sometimes the shortest comments are the best!

    3. You have the dubious distinction of being the first religee to post on this thread.
      Here is an exceptional man who is trying to better the lot of the world through science and education and here is ignorant little you trying to block his way, bible in one hand, "Mythology and the Coming Great Deception" in the other--how dare you attempt to place Ron Skiba on the same level as Dr. Venter.

      If it's your religion that inspires you to vilify what is clearly a beneficial organization and a man who is clearly a benefactor, you and it are both beneath contempt.

      P.S. The Venter Institute is a private organization which makes your claim about how your tax dollars are spent a complete lie.

    4. P.S. The Venter Institute is a private organization which makes your claim about how your tax dollars are spent a complete lie. and i would bet you believed the official 911 stories as well.. ?brainwashed by the education industrial complex.

    5. lol ohhhh everything you dont believe is a conspiracy and the people who do believe it are brainwashed.

      very clever sir. that must protect against all the cognitive dissonance that reality causes you.

    6. " . . . its [sic] how i imagine your neighborhood gay bar might be."

      Mr. Farley seems to be one of the sickest posters we've had for some time.

    7. i thought that also. very disturbing individual.

    8. Accusations don't count. Let's see your evidence.

    9. "And, just to clarify, this man is not the least bit interested in furthering your life or my life with all of his scientific knowledge."

      you base this one what?

      "I am aware that most people don't want to believe that anyone would do things as horrible as Mr. Venter is doing... but he is creating new species of animals mixed with human DNA."

      what is so HORRIBLE about this?

      "That is why he has such nice accommodations because your tax dollars are paying for them."

      he runs a private organization. why are you lying?

      people like you who are afraid of science are what is wrong with this world.

    10. he runs a private organization. why are you lying? <--- you have been brainwashed sir

    11. Or maybe you have been and im fine. How can you be sure?

    12. Let's see your evidence that the Venter Institute is not a private organization as you seem to contend.

    13. One day, you may find yourself in a doctor's office, being told that without treatment you face certain death. You will accept this treatment because you don't want to die and when you are healed you will never realize that it is the work of this man that led to the discoveries that saved your life. I can even picture you returning in that future scenario to vilify this man and his work. I may have the wrong scenario. You may realize that the treatment is the result of Ventor's work and refuse it on principal and choose to die. After all, God will look after you.

      I wonder which scenario hits closer to the true one.

    14. One day you may find yourself in a doctors office being told that without treatment you face certain death. You can't afford to pay for the treatment, so you just die, great way to get rid of the lower class and uneducated, disenchanted or bringing the rest of your family to it's knees.


      One day you many not find yourself in a doctors office because insurance companies gives your mother information that your DNA has a likely statistic that you won't live longer than 50. But she can't afford to have the defective DNA string fixed, so the the insurance company won't insure her baby (You). What does she do?
      ( lnsurance lobbiests will get likely get their way to get the information they need as DNA gets more important doubt).


      You're in the doctors office and can afford to treatment......and THANK GOD he created money and for blessing you to in the tribe of the elite.

      I wonder which scenario hits closest to the vast majority of people?

    15. You're right. Let's not bother. Why even try to find solutions. It'll only go to sh!t anyway. I guess I'll just crawl into a hole and wait for the inevitable. SIGH!!!

  10. Paul Gloor - Just wait until humanoids are manufactured to programs to do laborious tasks (such as pushing carts) and other mind numbing jobs. No think, just do. Feed them carbon fungus. I wonder where your job as a cart pusher is then. Once all this has come about there won't be any room left for us tax paying humans and only room for the elite. We other substandard humans will be obsolete and die off slowly or quickly depending on how quick the elite can manufacture these low maintenance species. A nuke should do the trick on a country or 3. or even invade with a super trooper humanoid that feels no pain or emotion. Sounds great..........for some.

    1. And just what's the matter with that?

    2. Maybe you should refer this question to Mr. Paul Gloor along the many other millions in the same situation as he is in.

      However, what l am trying to point out, as Mr. Jack Frost did, and was maybe something of a hidden message and obviously overlooked by many optimists, was Craig Venter's love for the author Mary Shelley (her father was an even greater person) the creator of Frankenstein. With all good intentions, the scientist created a monster that he couldn't foresee would cause pandemonium. The monster had a soul. As in her novel that soul may reflect earths nature in the future.

      Nature has evolved for over 3.5 billion years to fine tune itself to what it is today. On the short term, with a tunnel vision view, it looks great. On the long term.....its something to ponder before jumping into.

    3. Could be that all the cart pushers will now be free to join the elite. That should be the ultimate goal. There should be no middle or lower class. All humanity should be in the same class. It will never happen as long as there is a need for cart pushers.

      You offer nothing but pessimism, doom and gloom and fear. Ventor offers hope, optimism and a future where we can live our lives without fear. I know which offering I respect.

      I have read Paul Gloor's posts in the past and he has struck me as an intelligent and thoughtful individual. I would never demean his present occupation but I hope he does go on to continue his education. I wish I were younger. It is an exciting time for those who have the proper mindset and attitude.

    4. What is "Proper" Mr. Jack?

    5. I think that it would be the love of learning for its own sake. To see the world as a place of wonder and to have the desire to understand how and why things are the way they are. To know that our problems are a part of life and they can be dealt with through education and optimism.

      I have always felt that the world, the universe, is an amazing place. The more I learn about it the more I want to know. I have always rejected the notion that the world is a sh!t hole. I find those who believe this to be true are an angry and sullen lot and I would hate to live my one, short life with the attitude that they have. Happiness is a choice. It comes from within. If you are unhappy, you have only yourself to blame.

    6. "Too bad all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxi cabs and cutting hair."

      George Burns was a smart man :P

    7. George Burns was certainly onto something, imo. Woody Allen once said, "I could never respect a club that would have me as a member." Kinda makes me think of the U.S. presidency, in that the best people for the job would never be caught anywhere near the place.

    8. A steal from Groucho Marks.

    9. Lol, I think that line is one he used in 'Annie Hall,' right? So that's where he got it from.

    10. As I remember it, that line was in one of the Marx Brothers movies. I can't recall which one and was repeated in one of Groucho's biographies. One way or the other, it was not original with Woody Allen who, by the way, I find to be highly overrated.

    11. I watched (some of) Annie Hall a few weeks ago, and I'm nearly positive that line is in there, though I could be misremembering. He may even have actually attributed the line to Marx in the film, I'm not sure about that, either... lol. After about 30 minutes of it, the jokes got tired and I turned it off.

    12. The line's there all right, but as I said, it's a steal.
      I saw "Annie Hall" when it first came out and found it at best as sophmoric and obvious as I've found the few of his films which I have even bothered to watch. The scene between Mr. Konigsberg and Ms. Keaton (whom I also find overrated) while they reel off the titles of some Dostoevsky novels while waiting to enter a theater line was particularly embarassing.
      In short, I'm not interested in the sex life of a dull man.

    13. I like Annie Hall, but I'm a lowbrow type. I like the story of how he got kicked out of his metaphysics class for cheating on an exam by looking into the soul of the student next to him.

    14. Probably the best Allen line I ever heard was, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your future plans."

    15. One more, if you will allow.

      Eternity is a long time - especially towards the end.

    16. "The future ain't what it used to be." Yogi Berra

    17. If you're looking for one-liners, try the radio show "It Pays to Be Ignorant," (remember this was back in the '40's BEFORE the creationist vogue), a number of episodes of which are on You Tube.

    18. Old vaudeville joke! I'm lowbrow enough to have liked "Bustin'" and "Where Does it Hurt?" not to mention Olson & Johnson, but I couldn't stand "Annie Hall." Quite frankly, I have never laughed during a Woody Allen movie, but I have yawned--uncontrollably and incessantly through "Hannah and Her Sisters." Mr. Konigsberg just seems to be no more than a warmed-over version of what I grew up with and what I've seen and his sexual hang-ups are as riveting as freshly-laid asphalt.

    19. you remind me why i despise the education system so much. full of whiny opinionated attention grabbing intellectuals. its how i imagine your neighborhood gay bar might be

    20. And just what are your qualifications?

    21. Wikiquote assigns it to Groucho (I don't want to belong...) regarding the Friars Club, but also offers a source for the sentiment to author John Galsworthy in The Forsyte Saga published many years earlier.

    22. I saw that reference to Galsworthy on Wikiquote, but it's too far-fetched. I wish I had the finished scripts to the Marx Brothers movies.

    23. It did seem a stretch to me, too.

      Strange that we have a doc like this producing quotes from George Burns, Woody Allen and Groucho Marx. Is humor genetic, or vice-versa?

    24. One would hope they devise electric automatons for that rather than biological 'machines' to push that ethical debate over slavery and genetic engineering of multicellular organisms.

  11. If only education didn't cost so much and it wasn't such a risk to take a student loan these days. Of all the sciences, genetics, followed closely by robotics interest me the most... and I'm stuck here pushing carts at Wal-Mart and suffering fools.

    1. take the loan. invest in your future.

      Although high school graduates only enjoy a slight income advantage over those without a high school diploma ($4,300 more annually on average), university graduates earn nearly double what high school graduates do ($23,000 more), according to Statistics Canada.

    2. Yep, there are millions of people that have taken that loan and graduated, that are shuffling carts around parking lots. Knee deep in debt before even starting off in life.

    3. More pessimism. Don't try anything because you may fail. Don't let fear rule your life.

      This is a quote that I read almost forty years ago. I use it whenever I run into a situation where I feel apprehension about a decision I must make. "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me." It is a litany that seems overly dramatic but it has helped me through some tough situations.

      I went to college as an adult. I wish it had been university but family obligations came first. I never really pursued my field of study and I did incur college debts but I will never regret going. It enriched my life in ways that has nothing to do with money. I feel I'm a better person because of it.

    4. No doubt you're a noble man. However, starting a family in the 70's was a little different than the times today. It's a shame everyone doesn't have the same access to education as what you did and being enabled to enrich their lives and as a nation as a whole. A shame people have to make that choice. To be educated or not, that is the question.

      A word on optimism and pessimism: real estate agents in 2007 were very optimistic. Anyone going against the grain was bawled out as pessimistic and shouldn't be listened to.

      An optimist can ask pessimists why they are pessimistic? Usually they will reply they aren't and that they are just being realistic. Is the optimist a dreamer? Not in touch with reality? Delusional? Are we actually in a time such a crises where anyone going against optimism are labeled pessimistic?

      As to the optimist, from where comes the expression Fools Luck? Only a few fools succeed but they are trumpeted as geniuses.

      The quote "The only thing to fear is fear itself" was made in a time of war. How about that hymn 'onward Christian soldiers going on to war" that trumpets something with optimism. Maybe other fanatical religions have the same theme.

      Fear is real. Being a real man in todays times can be a tragedy and unfortunately not many left in the western world. Seems like you past your test in the past. But l think it has little to do with optimism if you base it on fear.

    5. I went to college in the early eighties. My kids were still at home. Inflation stood at around ten percent. My mortgage rate was at eleven percent and I was facing renewal in one year with the prospect of a mortgage rate of over twenty percent. Many were losing their homes. Factories were closing, including the one I worked at, which was the biggest employer in the region. It now sits empty. Gas prices were beginning to climb. It wasn't as easy a decision as you might think.

      Of course fear is real and the reasons for it legitimate. However, no matter what happens, life goes on and you have to live it. I prefer to live it doing something. Live in the moment. The future will look after itself.

    6. I'm not at all worried about me failing, I have a pretty good academic track record, now if I were to learn something that actually interested me on this level... I'm worried about the system failing me when the economy inevitably tanks.

    7. No matter what happens in the economy, if you study the things that interest you, the economy can never take that away from you. If you really have a passion for something, go for it. Relish every minute you spend on it because those minutes will be infinitely better than the minutes spent pushing shopping carts. It will stay with you the rest of your life even if you go back to pushing those carts.

      As for the inevitability of an economic collapse, the more you learn the better prepared you will be for it. But, what if it doesn't happen...or it doesn't happen for another thirty years? You will have spent a lifetime pushing shopping carts instead of doing the things you really want to do. Better to look back at a life of failure than one of regrets. Failure is a result of attempting something. Regret is the result of doing nothing at all.

    8. those people didnt apply themselves. There is no excuse for pushing shopping carts around while having at least a Bsc. unless of course you got your degree in philosophy.

      The stats show that it is a MUCH better bet to go to university.

    9. I've read your comments for some time now, you're a smart guy. Be the man with the plan and get out of there, if that is truly what you want.

  12. Ya dude...keep your peperoni on yer pizza...I'm watchin'. Geez! So...does this earn me some stars??

  13. Achems_Razor, Over_the_Edge, Epicurus and, of course, everyone:
    You three especially should watch this documentary and then go to the website for J. Craig Venter Laboratories. Notice the quality of the staff. This is nothing short of amazing and as I stated before, I'm disappointed that nobody has commented!

    1. good call. this is an incredible interview.

    2. Wait till you see what's on the website for J. Craig Venter Institute, especially the mobile lab in the education section, the long list of peer-reviewed papers and the quality of the staff. .

    3. WOW. Amazing stuff.

    4. Sort of reminds me of the Great Theater of Oklahoma.
      P.S. How would you like to work there?

    5. I was thinking how badly I would like to work there. He needs to open up a facility in Canada.

    6. Why not apply? What do you have to lose?

    7. Moving isnt exactly an option right now, and i would love to avoid living in America if I can. lol no offense. Perhaps Colorado or Washington.... ;)

    8. None taken. I live about 120 miles away from the San Diego facility which is in a nice area. There is also a facility in Maryland. Once again, you have nothing to lose by applying and who knows what may happen?

    9. give it a shot anyway. i have always wanted to work at The Perimeter Institute. if i only had an adequate grasp of the subjects discussed there lol. too bad because it is in our neck of the woods. a friend works there and the things they work on are amazing (what i understand of it) and the work environment seems perfect

    10. Im applying like crazy at the ROM this summer. even if its only an internship.

    11. good luck. that would be right up your alley.

    12. Good luck with that. I'm planning to take my grandson there this fall. We are both looking forward to it.

    13. Just finished watching. Fantasiamos! Will go to the website tomorrow.


    14. watched it. great video looking forward to the discoveries in the future

  14. This is the first time that I've led the comment section and, quite frankly, I'm rather disappointed. Here is a true hero of our time whose accomplishments speak for themselves and whose work is of paramount importance and nobody seems to care.

    1. Actually, I did watch and I was more than impressed by his work. An exceptional individual who is setting the stage for a positive future. I guess I just thought the film spoke for itself.

    2. Pretty good for a former beach bum. Have you seen the website for J. Craig Venter Laboratories? If not, wait till you see the staff.

    3. Not yet, but I will. I did do a little Wiki reading about him. A man doing terrific work.

    4. So did I. And like Dr. Salk, he's not in it for the money or even the fame, but rather for the artistry which places him at the pinnacle of my respect. Let me know your opinion of the website.

    5. Great stuff. There is an overpowering atmosphere of curiosity and optimism. Even though Ventor is not governed by a desire for riches, it seems the money falls into his pockets, anyway. He and his fellow researchers deserve the greatest respect we can offer.

    6. And if falls into his pockets, so it should. At least it is being spent constructively.

    7. ya his past gave me hope that I didnt start my education too late. I have a similar history to him, doing awful in high school to the point of dropping out. didnt start my university life until i was 22.

    8. Was Darwin all that brilliant of a student? What about Galois? Maybe it's just as well that Dr. Venter did not begin his education until his early twenties. Speaking of education, I suggest that you go to the website for the Venter Institute, click on education and watch the video on the mobile lab (complete with 14 stations!).