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Tent City, Hanover

(05/10/00 9:00am)

Please let me move in with you. I'll push all my things into a corner. That'll be my little area. Please? I won't bother you. You don't even have to look at me. Just let me move in with you please." These are the immortal words of the Herlihy Kid that Adam Sandler played in a skit for Saturday Night Live. However, I think they are also applicable in a situation that is far more relevant to Dartmouth.

Missing the Point

(05/10/00 9:00am)

On Saturday night, some of my fraternity brothers and I went to the dance marathon for a couple of hours. The CFSC had decided the marathon would be a nice, easy (as well as highly visible) service event, and therefore it signed all the houses up. I worry that many of the people who went, though, missed the point of the event -- the dance marathon was supposed to bring Dartmouth students together with the staff, patients, and families from CHaD, not provide easy community service for Dartmouth students.

Using the information -- a difficult moral dilemma

(05/10/00 9:00am)

By sometime this summer, scientists in government and privately funded laboratories working under the auspices of the international Human Genome Project (HGP) will have sequenced all 3 billion letters of the human genetic code and the 50,000 to 100,000 human genes (functional units) that these letters make up. Within a year, the entire sequence will be available to any researcher on the Web or on a DVD disk.

Gene therapy -- a largely positive process

(05/10/00 9:00am)

Inscribed on the portal over the Oracle at Delphi is the Socratic injunction, "nosce te ipsum"; know thyself. In the year 2002, biologists will have fulfilled one aspect of that injunction by completing the Human Genome Project. Now and for the first time, we have available the essential blueprint for humans in the form of a DNA sequence. In spite of the fact that there are very few biologists who really believe that Genes 'R Us, that sequence does contain the full complement of information required to construct a person and, as a consequence, it represents a rich resource for future biomedical research. While it will certainly take several decades to fully comprehend the meaning of those instructions, the human genome project has already produced some practical outcomes. We now have available many new genetic tests that detect the presence of malady producing forms of specific genes, such as cystic fibrosis. Additionally, the field of biotechnology has converted human DNA sequences into gold, by mass producing large amounts of rare and therefore valuable human proteins, such as human growth hormone, used for the treatment of hereditary dwarfism. What I want to focus on here is how the human genome project has enabled the development of gene therapy, and how the development of gene therapy raises several profound ethical concerns.

Biology and Society Feature

(05/10/00 9:00am)

Biomedical research has reached new peaks in the last couple of decades. Humans today have the ability to influence their reproductive process, to interfere with the genetic makeup of individuals and to breed genetically modified crops. And while biomedical technology is cruising along to unknown heights, it is simultaneously leaving behind a plethora of unresolved moral issues.

An Underwhelming Decision

(05/09/00 9:00am)

To the Editor: The recent announcement by the Dartmouth Board of Trustees regarding the Student Life Initiative came as a terrible anticlimax. It followed a process that led me to believe that Dartmouth would publicly embrace its evolution towards a community that will celebrate diversity, allocate student resources more equitably and enhance every student's social life.

MST 3K Fallout

(05/09/00 9:00am)

A few years ago, the Earth was graced with the presence of a little TV show called Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST 3K). For those of you who are too cool for television, I'll provide some background. MST 3K is a show in which a human and his two robots crack jokes while watching painfully bad B-movies. This premise may sound a bit campy, but the show worked simply because the writers were comic geniuses, and each of their jokes was both intelligent and funny. This is a very important fact to keep in mind.