Feb 06 2010
Gee, nothing could ever possibly go wrong with this:
The Pentagon’s mad science arm may have come up with its most radical project yet. Darpa is looking to re-write the laws of evolution to the military’s advantage, creating “synthetic organisms” that can live forever – or can be killed with the flick of a molecular switch.
As part of its budget for the next year (PDF), Darpa is investing $6 million into a project called BioDesign, with the goal of eliminating “the randomness of natural evolutionary advancement.” The plan would assemble the latest bio-tech knowledge to come up with living, breathing creatures that are genetically engineered to “produce the intended biological effect.” Darpa wants the organisms to be fortified with molecules that bolster cell resistance to death, so that the lab-monsters can “ultimately be programmed to live indefinitely.”
Of course, Darpa’s got to prevent the super-species from being swayed to do enemy work – so they’ll encode loyalty right into DNA, by developing genetically programmed locks to create “tamper proof” cells. Plus, the synthetic organism will be traceable, using some kind of DNA manipulation, “similar to a serial number on a handgun.” And if that doesn’t work, don’t worry. In case Darpa’s plan somehow goes horribly awry, they’re also tossing in a last-resort, genetically-coded kill switch.
Sounds like the procurement guys at DARPA have watched too many sci fi movies. Or too few.
Why don’t they just call it the Genesis project and be done with it? At least that might get the teabaggers interested.
(tip: sound ON for maximum effect.)
Or maybe The Terminator would be more appropriate?
Boys from Brazil?
Take your pick.
Earth to DARPA: when it comes to genetic weaponry, happy endings only ever happen in the movies.
And speaking of genetically engineered killing machines, we certainly can’t forget these guys:
The Dalek Project fits quite nicely, I think.
Jan 28 2010
But if anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know.
There is a better approach, Mr. President. It’s called Medicare for All, and it lets anyone under 65 buy into Medicare who wants to.
Want to bring down premiums? Medicare for All is the way to go, because you can create a vast insurance buying pool administered by an entity that only takes 3% off the top for expenses (for profit health insurers take 20%). The massive buying power of that pool, combined with huge administrative cost savings, is virtually guaranteed to cut premiums for everyone.
Want to bring down the deficit? I’ll tell you what. How about we get Medicare out of the red permanently by letting customers under 65 buy in? That way, the Federal Government isn’t stuck paying out of pocket for the most costly elderly patients while it lets private insurers capture all the revenues from everybody else.
Want to cover the uninsured? Let the millions of folks with preexisting conditions sign up for the more affordable insurance coverage that Medicare for All will provide. Subsidize those who are unable to pay.
Want to strengthen Medicare for seniors? Let people under 65 buy in to create a funding source of younger, healthier people that offsets costs from the more expensive senior pool. That way, instead of worrying about more cuts, seniors would actually see improvements to their benefits plans. As an added bonus Mr. President, you’ve just solved one of the top priorities of your new Fiscal Commission.
Want to stop insurance company abuses? There is no better regulator than competition. Give everyone a Medicare buy in option that competes with private insurers in an open exchange. Because a government-sponsored alternative gives customers a place to go if they don’t like the way they are being treated, private health insurers will be forced to straighten up and fly right if they want to stay in business.
Mr. President, the answer is obvious: the only approach to America’s health care crisis that satisfies all of your criteria is Medicare for All. Nothing else even comes close.
(also @ Big O)