Show & Tell: February 21, 2008

1) Beal researchers contribute their thoughts and ideas to a collective presentation on Innovation & Sustainability. Guest contributions are welcome. (Contact: )

2) Research Associate Jenn Court will introduce her MES major paper research project, called Innovation and Sustainability: Design, Progress, and Technology. In this project she addresses the role of design within the larger context of society and the economy, and explores innovative and forward looking approaches to sustainable design.

3) Research Associate Mark Outhwaite Presents an overview of his paper entitled Science, Industry and Human Nature in the Anthropocene:
"If a certain element of the danger that exists in the world is a byproduct of human ingenuity and engineering, does it ever occur to ask whether human nature, especially in relation to our use of science and technology is something that should be actively shaped?"

With the existential threat of a post-biological future in which humankind and many of the Earth's complex lifeforms are either extinct or in irreversible decline, circumstances relating the actions of industrial civilization to its unfolding consequences now indicate that a transition between geological epochs is apparently close at hand.

If the 'anthropocene' is a veritable byproduct of industrialization, it portends a need on our part to effect a transition in our use of science and technology. First, as a means of redacting some of the errors that a minority of humankind have written into the world. Second, to question the social construction of the human body as a thing possessing a sacred, inviolable nature. If emerging fields in science and technology indicate that synthetic biology is a way forward, the effect may be to 'pull' human evolution
along this path also, so that the 'part' of which an individual is representative is indissociable from the 'whole' of ecosystems, industries and economies comprising future models for sustainable human habitation, production and organization. The conception of the body may be the first casualty in our efforts to live and survive in the 'anthropocene.'

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