Wednesday, August 17, 2011

FurLumpz and other "new" species

One of the most amusing (to me, personally) trends in Libertopia are the genetically-engineered pets: "FurLumpz".

They are billed as "the perfect pet", and I suppose they are. For a lot of people. Cute (indescribably so), fuzzy, non-shedding, can be induced to hibernate if you need to leave them home while you go away for 6 months or more, clean (they excrete hard, odorless pellets), easily fed, long-lived, and healthy.

Just about everyone I know either has one now, or is thinking about getting one soon. I have to admit I'm still a sucker for the defective natural critters that evolution designed so well (even if that "design" doesn't mesh quite as well with living with a human).

But, FurLumpz aren't the only genetically-engineered animal (or plant, or combination of both, or of neither) out there. There are some "unextincted" creatures around for those who like that sort of thing. There are some things that have been created for the individual that doesn't like cute and cuddly, but toothy and hideous. Some people prefer to work with the microscopic world and have made bacteria that do some amazing and beautiful things. Or some odd things. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all.

Just about any hacker can put together a genetic manipulation lab these days. That may not be "safe", but it is freedom. There have been some unfortunate incidents. However, if you create something that causes harm to any individual or their property, you WILL be held fully liable. There is nothing to shield you from accountability. There are always ways to figure out just where a creature originates and who is responsible in case of a problem when there is an incentive to find out. This accountability has kept tragedies to a bare minimum.

So far, the benefits have vastly outweighed the drawbacks. And not just for pet lovers. There have been incredible breakthroughs in medicine that would have never been discovered had the doors of innovation not been ripped from their hinges. There have been new art forms created (beyond looking at life as a medium for art). There have been new energy sources discovered and new materials perfected. All because of (mostly) "kids" tinkering in their bedrooms and garages.

I love it, and could tell you so much more, but it's time to feed my archaeopteryx.


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