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Bioenhancement News and Commentary

Wednesday, December 31, 2003
"Desperate for alternatives to alleviate hot flashes, more women are turning to certain antidepressants such as Prozac and Effexor," writes Lauran Neergaard in Salon.

"And then there's "Levitra." I love this name. It sounds like the Harry Potter spell for summoning an erection. Levitra!" But what's up with those hokey ads? wonders Slate's Seth Stevenson in "Romancing the Tire Swing."

"Brain scans and DNA diagnoses will fail to capture the reality of being human, but that doesn't strip them of their power to support potentially oppressive categorisations," writes Gail Vines in her review of Being Me: What it Means to be Human by Pete Moore.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003
"I wanted to be decapitated," said a 28 year-old telephonist testifying in the trial of German cannibal Armin Meiwes. Police say they have discovered a thriving cannibal scene in Germany. "We are talking about dentists, teachers, cooks, government officials and handymen," a police officer told the court.

Saturday, December 20, 2003
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the University of California-Berkeley has denied tenure to Ignacio Chapela, whose disputed research found that genetically engineered corn had infiltrated native maize in Mexico. He was also a leading critic of a controversial 1998 deal to give Novartis, a Swiss-based biotechnology company, privileged access to UC plant research in exchange for $25 million. That deal was criticized in an Atlantic Monthly article in March, 2000, titled "The Kept University."

Monday, December 15, 2003
The New York Times Magazine's annual "Ideas" issue has articles on food simulators, make-up for men, wrinkle-fillers, and a new drink called the Nicotini: a martini infused with nicotine-rich tobacco. ''I've combined the two greatest problems in our society,'' says Larry Wald, the owner of the Cathode Ray Club in Fort Lauderdale and inventor of the Nicotini. ''One leads to sex, and the other is used after. It's very confusing."

Sunday, December 14, 2003
Anthony Appiah's lecture at Princeton on December 10, "The Ethics of Identity" is available on video at the Princeton University webmedia archive.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003
"One morning, retired architect George Boyer picks up a shotgun, sits down on the grass near his Florida home and ties a tourniquet tightly around his upper left thigh. Then he purposely blows the leg to shreds, forcing doctors to amputate the limb. For the first time in his life, he says, he feels 'complete.'" See Film gives voice to an unusual obsession -- voluntary amputeeism in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Monday, December 08, 2003
"Hundreds of articles in medical journals claiming to be written by academics or doctors have been penned by ghostwriters in the pay of drug companies, an Observer inquiry reveals." Read "Revealed: how drug firms 'hoodwink' medical journals" in The (London) Observer.

Sunday, December 07, 2003
"Sitting with a brown Yorkie in her lap, Dr. Levine explains that she is "simply fulfilling a need, a need to wear stylish shoes." Although she would not provide specific numbers, Dr. Levine said that this year she will undertake 40 percent more cosmetic foot surgeries than she did three years ago. Among the most common are operations to shorten toes, at a cost of $2,500 per toe." Read "If Shoe Won't Fit, Fix the Foot? Popular Surgery Raises Concern" in The New York Times.

Saturday, December 06, 2003
"With every piece of flesh I ate, I remembered him," Meiwes, a self-assured and well-spoken computer repairman, told the judge. "It was like taking communion." Armin Meiwes is on trial in Kassel, Germany, for killing and eating a willing victim. See "Net Cannibal" in The Arizona Star.

Monday, December 01, 2003
"Women who cannot have orgasms can now have a device implanted in their spines that will trigger the sensation for them. Clinical trials of the "orgasmatron" have begun in the US, with the approval of the Food and Drug Administration." Read more in The New Scientist article, "Orgasmatron inventor seeks female volunteers."


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