Greed has perverted true meaning of ‘patent’

December 7, 2006
Last fall, the journal Science reported that one-fifth of known human genes have been patented, some as many as 20 times. This surprising result highlights the fact that in America, private entities can now assert ownership over natural phenomena. Even our own genetic constitution is up for grabs. Genetically, humans vary only slightly. Our genome »

Wal-Mart deal with gays sparks evangelical ire

November 16, 2006
This holiday season, Wal-Mart faces a boycott. To most Yalies, this is hardly controversial: Our idealistic ivory-tower classmates are rarely enchanted with union-busting, health-care-withholding corporate mega-chains. But this latest criticism comes not from liberal activists, but from evangelical Christians. Their complaint? Wal-Mart is cooperating with homosexuals to further the “gay agenda.” On Aug. 21, the »

‘Intellipedia’? CIA jumps on wiki wagon

November 2, 2006
On Tuesday, with Washington still fighting a Foley Internet hangover, the news wires reported that the U.S. intelligence community is using Intellipedia, a sort of top-secret wiki for spies and Feds. Aimed at improving inter-agency collaboration, the system was launched in April and now boasts over 3,600 users and 28,000 (highly classified) articles. But can »

‘Second Life’ not ready to replace first

October 19, 2006
On Tuesday, Reuters assigned a full-time reporter to cover a virtual-reality environment called Second Life. The news agency will now bring breaking headlines to thousands of immersed characters, and perhaps more interesting, pipe game-world news to our real-world Web. So what is this virtual playground? According to its Web site, Second Life (SL) is an »

Republicans are to blame for Foley’s folly

October 5, 2006
Florida Republican Congressman Mark Foley last week moonwalked away from his special Neverland of alleged man-boy seduction, leaving us to ponder a thorny question: Precisely how busy must an elected representative be before masturbation takes a back seat to politics? Thanks to transcripts and ABC News’ intrepid reporting, we need no longer puzzle over this. »

Aptitude gauges are often skewed

September 22, 2006
Many years ago, I learned the so-called “Golden Rule” of biochemistry: You get what you assay for. In other words, the result you attain from an experiment depends upon what you measure. This is a basic lesson and a good one, one that college admissions staff would do well to remember. Harvard’s retreat from Early »

Technology can breed doomsday scenarios

September 12, 2006
Early next year, the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will finally commence operation. Buried 100 meters underground near the French-Swiss border, this particle accelerator will send subatomic particles crashing headlong into one another at near light-speed. The resulting high-energy collisions will liberate new particles and illuminate states of matter not seen since the first moments »

‘Snakes’ couldn’t bite after too much hype

September 1, 2006
The big Hollywood story this week is the underperformance of New Line Cinema’s “Snakes on a Plane.” After months of wild Internet hoopla, the kitschy thriller starring cult icon Samuel L. Jackson opened to a dismal $15.4 million — far below even the most pessimistic estimates. Was the film itself to blame? I went to »

In-flight nuisances bring travel to new low

April 13, 2006
Early this morning, as I was trying to sleep on a flight, it struck me that air travel is no fun anymore. Flying today is worse than unremarkable. It’s downright depressing. In its early days, commercial flight was chic and exclusive: the idle rich jet-setting around the globe, prim stewardesses in pillbox hats. But though »

Let blogger beware: Web prose travels far

March 30, 2006
I’ve had it with blog users and their double standard of personal privacy. The reasoning goes like this: Bloggers are free to choke the Internet with drivel and pepper their tedious memoirs with keywords that ensnare innocent Google users. But if a stranger should stumble upon their blogs and actually read what they have published, »

Plucky villains glamorized in movies, reality

March 2, 2006
It’s the type of story usually confined to the silver screen: a gang of expert thieves, employing a host of techniques from police impersonation to so-called “tiger kidnapping,” robbed a plain-looking cash depot in Tonbridge, England last week and made off with 53 million pounds ($93 million). The largest cash robbery in a nation known »

Yalies must embrace love’s random nature

February 16, 2006
Setting the stage for Sex Week at Yale, last Friday’s scene section featured an article that claimed Yalies are too busy for relationships (“My so-called sex life,” 2/10). It seems between class, sports, work and extracurricular activities, our overachieving undergraduates have no time for the luxury of human pair-bonding. I suspect St. Valentine would be »