Bring them back?

I look forward to hearing what everyone at my school did on Spring Break last week.

And what did I do, after returning from the American Philosophy conference in New Jersey? Well, I didn’t grade anything (so thanks in advance, students, for not asking about that). I didn’t blog, I didn’t tweet, I didn’t read email. I did spend plenty of quality time at the Middle & High School softball field, at Warner Parks, and at Radnor Lake, where I pondered the wisdom of Rabindranoth Tagore:


“The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.”

He also said:

“It is very simple to be happy, but it is very difficult to be simple.”

“Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.”

“Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for she was born in another time.”

“Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.”

I don’t know what it all means, precisely, but it’s just the sort of high-minded vagueness a brisk lake-&-ridge hike makes irresistible to a sensibility like mine in March. He and Einstein got along pretty well too.

But now Break’s over and Bioethics is back today, with more midterm reports. We’re all tanned, rested, & ready, right?

Here’s a follow-up of sorts to Andrew’s pre-break report on anthropomorphic speciesism, and a bioethical challenge: if innovations in biotechnology allow us to undo some of the damage of anthropogenic species extinction, should we proceed? Eco-pragmatist Stewart Brand‘s response:

Throughout humankind’s history, we’ve driven species after species extinct: the passenger pigeon, the Eastern cougar the dodo …. But now, says Stewart Brand, we have the technology (and the biology) to bring back species that humanity wiped out. So — should we? Which ones? He asks a big question whose answer is closer than you may think.

Some other stuff that came up while we were breaking:

Widespread Flaws Found in Ovarian Cancer Treatment

Most women with ovarian cancer, which kills 15,000 Americans a year, miss out on treatments that could add a year or more to their lives, a study found.

Too Many Colonoscopies in the Elderly

Nearly a quarter of colonoscopies in patients over age 70 were “potentially inappropriate,” a new analysis finds.

Mary and the Zombies: Can Science Explain Consciousness?

Is a purely physical, scientific account of subjective experience possible?

The Allergy Buster

An experimental new treatment seeks to release children from the terror of severe food allergies.

When Exercise Stresses You Out

Does the stress of being, in effect, forced to exercise, perhaps because your doctor or worried spouse has ordered it, cancel out the otherwise sturdy emotional benefits of physical activity?

Wary of Attack With Smallpox, U.S. Buys Up a Costly Drug

Some experts say a contract for two million doses of a treatment for a disease eradicated in 1980 has the government paying too high a price for too much of a new medicine.

Putting a Value to ‘Real’ in Medical Research

A Laboratory Grows Young Scientists

Stroke Prevention Device Misses Key Goal in Study

F.D.A. Raises Heart Alert on Antibiotic in Wide Use

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