The interwebs are abuzz with glowing reviews for Rebecca Skloot’s new book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”. I’m currently #37 on the library reserve list (sorry, Rebecca, but I’m a poor grad student and I can’t afford to buy it). The book tells the story of the HeLa cell line, which are cells that were taken from a patient without her consent. These cells have led to important medical breakthroughs. But how isolated of an incident is this?
Even though my Steelers weren’t in it this year, I watched the Super Bowl last night. I suppose that we have to let other teams win occasionally. I was disappointed by the ads this year overall (though the milkaholic E-trade baby and the Dorito’s ninja were awesome), but one in particular caught my attention. Is … Read More “Audi’s Green Police Ad” »
Swim At Your Own Risk recently ran a story about a new way that Australia is protecting their swimmers from shark attacks. Large sharks are fitted with satellite tags, and when these sharks get close to a beach, it sends a text message to lifeguards patrolling that beach. While I’m thrilled to see a solution that doesn’t involve killing sharks with gill nets, here are five reasons why this is a terrible idea.
Part 3 of 3 in the series “Get to know your fry-entists”
Many scientists believe that advocacy is not our proper role. They claim that scientists should instead focus on gathering data and solving scientific problems, and should leave advocacy to others. According to some, publicly advocating a position runs the risk of discrediting a scientist, discrediting a discovery and possibly even discrediting science itself. While I respect the opinions and concerns of my peers, I strongly disagree with them. At least with respect to my discipline of shark conservation biology, our worthy goals are doomed to failure without scientist-advocates.
As promised, this week’s ethical debate deals with one of the most hotly debated issues in the marine conservation community- the tactics of “Sea Shepherd”.
Though “Sea Shepherd” is most famous (or infamous) for their work with the Japanese whaling fleet, which is featured in “Whale Wars”, they are also heavily involved with the shark finning industry.
Before we get started, I want to say something about the tone of this debate. I know from our own comments sections, even ones that don’t deal directly with Sea Shepherd, that there are strong opinions on both sides of this issue. See last week’s Deep Sea News, particularly the comments section, for an example of this. Here at Southern Fried Science, we recently came up with a new comments policy, which we will be enforcing strictly with this post. DO NOT personally attack anyone, DO NOT try to change the subject to something totally irrelevant, and DO NOT post under multiple names to create the false appearance of a majority (“sock puppetry”). Since the Deep Sea News post covered whale stuff pretty solidly, we will only be talking about shark finning here. WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT WHALING IN THIS POST.
Ok, now on to the debate.