Artificial life, Norman Macrae, One Law for All

Jun 22nd, 2010 | By | Category: This morning's reading

Morning Reading, selected articles of interest from various publications.

The unacknowledged giant – Norman Macrae
Few journalists have had as great an influence—or been proved right so often—as the man who, for 23 years, was the deputy editor of The Economist
[…] He kept the flame of free-market thinking burning during the long night of collectivism. He predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union, at a time when the CIA was obsessed by Russia’s growing strength, and foresaw the privatisation of industry, when other intellectuals were celebrating the triumph of the “mixed economy”. [..]
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New Report – Sharia Law in Britain: A Threat to One Law for All and Equal Rights
Based on an 8 March 2010 Seminar on Sharia Law, research, interviews, and One Law for All case files, the report has identified a number of problem areas:

– Sharia law’s civil code is arbitrary and discriminatory against women and children in particular. With the rise in the acceptance of Sharia courts, discrimination is being further institutionalised with some UK law firms additionally offering clients advice on Sharia law and the use of collaborative law.

– Sharia law is practiced in Britain primarily by Sharia Councils and Muslims Arbitration Tribunals. Both operate on religious principles and are harmful to women although Muslim Arbitration Tribunals are wrongly regarded as being of more concern because they operate as tribunals under the Arbitration Act 1996, making their rulings binding in law. […]
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Genesis redux – Economist.com
A new form of life has been created in a laboratory, and the era of synthetic biology is dawning.
[…] Like Shelley’s protagonist, Dr Venter and Dr Smith needed some spare parts from dead bodies to make their creature work. Unlike Victor Frankenstein, though, they needed no extra spark of Promethean lightning to give the creature its living essence. Instead they made that essence, a piece of DNA that carries about 1,000 genes, from off-the-shelf laboratory chemicals. The result is the first creature since the beginning of creatures that has no ancestor. What it is, and how it lives, depends entirely on a design put together by scientists of the J. Craig Venter Institute and held on the institute’s computers in Rockville, Maryland, and San Diego, California. When the first of these artificial creatures showed that it could reproduce on its own, the age of artificial life began. […]
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