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Yeah, so about that hiatus…

28 Jan

Alright, here it is.


I’d like to apologise, as I have mentioned several times on twitter, for the sheer lack of activity on Biojammer since December.

Scawled notes like this, in which the baby actually represents dudes with robot eyes. Maybe.

Scawled notes like this, in which the baby actually represents dudes with robot eyes. Maybe.

All I can say, really, is that it has been a very busy time, in which researching articles and then translating my fevered scrawlings into legible and coherent prose just hasn’t really been feasible.

Which, I’m aware, sounds like a big ol’ excuse. And perhaps it is, to be honest.  The holiday season was upon us, and then I found myself, all of a sudden, with a whole lot of deadlines looming. I was given some exceedingly kind advice by members of SIBLE to rejig a paper and then try submitting it to a particular journal, who will for now remain nameless (because their submission process and referencing style guide was, to say the least, perplexing). That was a much longer process than it probably warranted, but how great would it be to get published?

I have also, in the last quarter of an hour, finally completed the process for submitting my PhD proposal in totality. Twitterites may have followed this saga over the last few weeks, but that too has been something of a labour, due to a series of misunderstandings and miscommunications.

I smell a sitcom!!

Still it’s done now, and in the lap of the gods. I had a meeting with a professor who was very encouraging, so let’s hope that it all works out and I can convince some rube wonderful organisation blessed with incisive foresight to throw me a grant. There have also been a variety of other projects I’ve been doing work for, some of which you might hear more about here soon; and some of which are moneymaking schemes, because I’m an impoverished wannabe academic and also I always wanted to swim in cash like Scrooge McDuck.

So, in short, it has been frantic times at Biojammer labs, and I sincerely apologise to the few of you who come here for my prattling. I genuinely appreciate every reader, and I always like having a banter about whatever gibberish I’m currently spouting. I’m just putting together something on morality and pharmaceuticals, which as it happens is mildly topical. your source for tangentially relevant polemics. Other than the Daily Mail, that is.

New post within the next 24 hours, I promise, and many more to come. I currently no longer have institutional access as the University of Sheffield has finally managed to shake me off its books, so the dense post style may have to change to accommodate my altered research circumstances, but I have one or two ideas I can work on for the moment.

Stay groovy.

Update: Science writing prize entry, version 2!

12 Nov

Here’s the edited piece I wrote for the 2012 Wellcome Trust/ Guardian Science Writing Competition. I was fortunate enough to be shortlisted, and I thank the Wellcome Blog for posting this edited version of the piece (which I have posted previously in unedited form) on their site- albeit along with the least flattering photograph I think I’ve ever had. I intend to do more writing of this type in the near future, so watch this space!

Wellcome Trust Blog

We’re publishing the shortlisted entries to the 2012 Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize. Today, David Lawrence on the common forms of human enhancement.

I should warn you: I took a cognitive enhancement drug before I began to write this. A central nervous system stimulant, to be precise. I took it to increase my capacity to think clearly, and to keep me focused. It gives me an advantage over the girl at the table next to mine – I’m going to be able to keep working longer and more productively with my enhanced brain than she is. Until she buys a dose too, anyway. It’s perfectly legal – in fact, there aren’t any specific regulations on it at all.

Okay, so I had a coffee. You probably had one too this morning, without considering that you were, in fact, enhancing yourself. Caffeine crosses your blood-brain barrier and inhibits your adenosine…

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The Incredible Enhancement-Man?

13 Oct

I love costumed characters with super-powers. I also believe in the potential of human enhancement. There’s a link there…

Superman was evidently intended to be a kind of anti-car terrorist when he debuted.

In the West, most children (admittedly generally male, but let’s leave gender politics out of it) grow up knowing about superheroes. It’s probably been this way since comic books came mainstream, in what, the forties? Superman made his first appearance in ’38, so let’s say a couple of years later his popularity and that of imitators had blossomed. Every kid has been exposed to them since Supes turned up, and it’s fair to say that most children lap it up. Not that it’s just children, either- I know plenty of adults who retain their love for superheroes well into their lives. My father, for instance, adores the Silver Age work even now. He gave me a Marvel annual when I was young which contained what remain some of his favourite stories- the origin of the Hulk, the Avengers, and the Fantastic Four, and I know he still reads it.

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Stop… biojam!

28 Sep

Welcome to, a blog about bioethics and the future, along with pop culture and vague philosophy. Take a look at the about and author pages to learn more, and follow me on twitter for constant updates about anything that takes my fancy in the world of biotech! I will be posting here as often as I can, and I hope it becomes a firm bookmark in your daily reads!