Hashtags of the Week (HOTW): Naming and Shaming (Week of March 25, 2013)

I was amazed (and a little horrified) by the number of stories having to do with ethics in science over the last week.  As a student at the School of Information, we heard quite a bit about the incident of public shaming and resulting fallout from PyCon (a conference about the Python programming language).  There was a lot of scuttlebutt and some serious discussion about the role of sexism in STEM. On the heels of this came the “revelation” that the I F*cking Love Science (IFLS) blog was run by *gasp* a woman!  Twitter was absolutely flooded with posts about #science, #ethics and #sexism.

Around the same time these issues were being discussed, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory at Heidelberg published a paper which released the full genomic sequencing of a strain of commonly used HeLa cells, as noted by Forbes. This brought up questions about personal genomics and privacy. You can follow this conversation on the following hashtags #HeLa, #privacy, #bioethics, #genomics.

And, to add a strange twist to our ethics discussions this week, Australian scientists have been able to resurrect an extinct frog as part of the Lazarus Project, while researchers in the US attempt to bring back the carrier pigeon. Both of these #deextinction initiatives have gotten Twitter talking about wooly mammoths and Jurassic Park.

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