This week on The Micah Hanks Program, we lead off with news of law enforcement in New York City collecting DNA from a number of individuals without their knowledge or permission, and the controversy that has ensued since news reports about the operation came to light. While on the subject of genetics, we also look at the controversial studies conducted by Spanish scientists in China where the successful initial stages of hybridizing a human-monkey chimera were achieved. What are the ethical considerations here, and why does the news have some members of the scientific community concerned?

Then for the latter portion of the program, we shift our attention over to the landmark film 2001: A Space Odyssey as we seek answers to how science fiction influences engineering, scientific discoveries, and the future of space travel. At the center of the conversation is the eerie “monolith” depicted in the film, the appearance of which marks changes in human evolution over millennia by a mysterious, “alien” force. Arguably, many of the greatest discoveries in the history of science drew initial inspiration from creativity; much like the monolith itself, we explore questions like whether the mere interest humans have in the possible existence of extraterrestrial life is enough to drive our innovation and discoveries in the direction of profound new technologies… perhaps such advancements could one day even reshape our idea of what it means to be “human.”

Below are links to stories discussed on this week’s program:

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Micah Hanks

Author: Micah Hanks

Micah Hanks is a writer, researcher, and podcaster. His interests include areas of history, science, archaeology, philosophy, and the study of anomalous phenomena in nature. He can be reached at info@micahhanks.com.

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