Of all the transhumanist technologies coming in the near future, one stands out that both fascinates and perplexes people. It's called ectogenesis: raising a fetus outside the human body in an artificial womb.
It has the possibility to change one of the most fundamental acts that most humans experience: the way people go about having children. It also has the possibility to change the way we view the female body and the field of reproductive rights.
Naturally, it's a social and political minefield...
The most frequent philosophical issue brought up about ectogenesis is how it might change the way society views women. Will the feminine mystique be lost by such an artificial process replacing what's been long a mainstay of the female domain? My short answer is no; rather, ectogenesis could further unchain women from the home, spare them and extend the age at which women can have children.
A fungus living in the soils of Nova Scotia could offer new hope in the pressing battle against drug-resistant germs that kill tens of thousands of people every year, including one considered a serious global threat.
A team of researchers led by McMaster University has discovered a fungus-derived molecule, known as AMA, which is able to disarm one of the most dangerous antibiotic-resistance genes: NDM-1 or New Delhi Metallo-beta-Lactamase-1, identified by the World Health Organization as a global public health threat.
Ian Burkhart, a 23-year-old quadriplegic from Dublin, Ohio, is the first patient to use Neurobridge, an electronic neural bypass for spinal cord injuries that reconnects the brain directly to muscles, allowing voluntary and functional control of a paralyzed limb. Burkhart is the first of a potential five participants in a clinical study.
"It's much like a heart bypass, but instead of bypassing blood, we're actually bypassing electrical signals," said Chad Bouton, research leader at Battelle. "We're taking those signals from the brain, going around the injury, and actually going directly to the muscles."