jm + the-atlantic   6

A Controversial Virus Study Shows Flaws in How Science Is Done - The Atlantic
Absent clearer guidelines, the burden falls on the scientific enterprise to self-regulate—and it isn’t set up to do that well. Academia is intensely competitive, and “the drivers are about getting grants and publications, and not necessarily about being responsible citizens,” says Filippa Lentzos from King’s College London, who studies biological threats. This means that scientists often keep their work to themselves for fear of getting scooped by their peers. Their plans only become widely known once they’ve already been enacted, and the results are ready to be presented or published. This lack of transparency creates an environment where people can almost unilaterally make decisions that could affect the entire world.

Take the horsepox study [the main topic of this article]. Evans was a member of a World Health Organization committee that oversees smallpox research, but he only told his colleagues about the experiment after it was completed. He sought approval from biosafety officers at his university, and had discussions with Canadian federal agencies, but it’s unclear if they had enough ethical expertise to fully appreciate the significance of the experiment. “It’s hard not to feel like he opted for agencies that would follow the letter of the law without necessarily understanding what they were approving,” says Kelly Hills, a bioethicist at Rogue Bioethics.

She also sees a sense of impulsive recklessness in the interviews that Evans gave earlier this year. Science reported that he did the experiment “in part to end the debate about whether recreating a poxvirus was feasible.” And he told NPR that “someone had to bite the bullet and do this.” To Hills, that sounds like I did it because I could do it. “We don’t accept those arguments from anyone above age 6,” she says.
the-atlantic  science  news  smallpox  horsepox  diseases  danger  risk  academia  papers  publish-or-perish  bioethics  ethics  biology  genetics 
8 days ago by jm
Bank of the Underworld - The Atlantic
Prosecutors analyzed approximately 500 of Liberty Reserve’s biggest accounts, which constituted 44 percent of its business. The government contends that 32 of these accounts were connected to the sale of stolen credit cards and 117 were used by Ponzi-scheme operators. All of this activity flourished, prosecutors said, because Liberty Reserve made no real effort to monitor its users for criminal behavior. What’s more, records showed that one of the company’s top tech experts, Mark Marmilev, who was also arrested, appeared to have promoted Liberty Reserve in chat rooms devoted to Ponzi schemes.


(via Nelson)
scams  fraud  crime  currency  the-atlantic  liberty-reserve  ponzi-schemes  costa-rica  arthur-budovsky  banking  anonymity  cryptocurrency  money-laundering  carding 
april 2015 by jm
A World Transfixed by Screens - The Atlantic
Excellent "In Focus" this week -- 'The continued massive growth of connected mobile devices is shaping not only how we communicate with each other, but how we look, behave, and experience the world around us. Smartphones and other handheld devices have become indispensable tools, appendages held at arm's length to record a scene or to snap a selfie. Recent news photos show refugees fleeing war-torn regions holding up their phones as prized possessions to be saved, and relatives of victims lost to a disaster holding up their smartphones to show images of their loved ones to the press. Celebrity selfies, people alone in a crowd with their phones, events obscured by the very devices used to record that event, the brightly lit faces of those bent over their small screens, these are some of the scenes depicted below.'
mobile  photography  in-focus  alan-taylor  the-atlantic  phones  selfies  pictures 
january 2015 by jm
The Internet's Original Sin - The Atlantic
Ethan Zuckerberg: 'It's not too late to ditch the ad-based business model and build a better web.'
advertising  business  internet  ads  business-models  the-atlantic  ethan-zuckerberg  via:anildash  web  privacy  surveillance  google 
august 2014 by jm
The Ethics of Autonomous Cars
Sometimes good judgment can compel us to act illegally. Should a self-driving vehicle get to make that same decision?
ethics  stories  via:chris-horn  the-atlantic  driving  cars  law  robots  self-driving-vehicles 
october 2013 by jm
In Focus - The Atlantic
Alan Taylor moves his iconic blog of photojournalism from the Boston Globe to The Atlantic
the-atlantic  photos  photojournalism  journalism  alan-taylor  news  newswires  from delicious
february 2011 by jm

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