Tagged With politics of science

When Kevin Esvelt, an evolutionary biologist at MIT, started thinking about using genetically engineered mice to fight Lyme disease, among his first stops was a community meeting in the small Martha's Vineyard town of Chilmark. Esvelt makes regular field trips to talk to the public about his work. If the potential of tools like CRISPR to solve the problems of disease, hunger and environmental catastrophe is ever to be realised, he reasons, first the public will have to be convinced it is not about to usher in the apocalypse.

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.

American health sciences are not faring well in an initial draft of President Trump's 2018 budget proposal. Released Thursday night, the draft proposal includes a $US5.8 billion ($7.6 billion) cut to the National Institutes of Health, accounting for nearly 20 per cent of its entire budget. The Department of Health and Human Service, which includes the NIH, FDA, Indian Health Service and the Centres for Medicare & Medicaid Services, was earmarked for $US15.1 billion ($19.7 billion) in cuts. And the National Science Foundation, which awards billions in research grants each year, was nowhere to be seen.