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Hacking the President’s DNA - Andrew Hessel, Marc Goodman, and Steven Kotler - The Atlantic

Stashed in: Apocalypse

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The largest factor to consider is time. In 2008, some 14,000 people were working in U.S. labs with access to seriously pathogenic materials; we don’t know how many tens of thousands more are doing the same overseas. Outside those labs, the tools and techniques of genetic engineering are accessible to many other people. Back in 2003, a panel of life-sciences experts, convened by the National Academy of Sciences for the CIA’s Strategic Assessments Group, noted that because the processes and techniques needed for the development of advanced bio agents can be used for good or for ill, distinguishing legitimate research from research for the production of bioweapons will soon be extremely difficult. As a result, “most panelists argued that a qualitatively different relationship between the government and life sciences communities might be needed to most effectively grapple with the future BW threat.”

In our view, it’s no longer a question of “might be.” Advances in biotechnology are radically changing the scientific landscape. We are entering a world where imagination is the only brake on biology, where dedicated individuals can create new life from scratch. Today, when a difficult problem is mentioned, a commonly heard refrain is There’s an app for that. Sooner than you might believe, an app will be replaced by an organism when we think about the solutions to many problems. In light of this coming synbio revolution, a wider-ranging relationship between scientists and security organizations—one defined by open exchange, continual collaboration, and crowd-sourced defenses—may prove the only way to protect the president. And, in the process, the rest of us.

I randomly picked a book off my bookshelf in 1995 while on a trip to Reston, VA.  It turns out it scared the crap out of me. Richard Preston's Hot Zone.  It was all about the Ebola Reston strain on the USAMITC monkey house.  I asked people living there if they knew about it and they universally said, no Ebola is that thing in Africa. 

He wrote a follow on fictional book called the Cobra Event. 

What is possible boggles my mind.

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