Oct
30
7:00 PM19:00

Reading Group: DARPA Program Controversies

This month we will be discussing controversies surrounding two DARPA programs, Insect Allies and Safe Genes.

Insect Allies aims to use insect vectors to transfer genes to plants via genetically modified viruses in order to protect crops against novel threats. Recently, scientists raised concerns about the program, noting how developing technologies to widely disperse infectious genetically modified viruses could facilitate a new form of biowarfare.

Insect Allies overview: https://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2016-10-19
Science article criticizing Insect Allies: https://drive.google.com/file/d/15lf1_kLQNP7llxsm69CZQpm9sFMr87vz/view?usp=sharing
DARPA response to Science article: https://www.darpa.mil/attachments/DARPA%20Response%20to%20Science%20Opinion%20Piece%20-%20Oct%204%202018.pdf

Safe Genes aims to develop gene editing technologies in a manner that emphasizes biosafety and biosecurity. Last year, a trove of e-mails between those involved in the Safe Genes program (the "Gene Drive Files") were released under a Freedom of Information Act request; some civil society organizations raised concerns that these e-mails revealed a covert effort by DARPA to advance gene drive technology.

Safe Genes overview: https://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2017-07-19
Criticism of Safe Genes based on the "Gene Drive Files": http://genedrivefiles.synbiowatch.org/2017/12/01/us-military-gene-drive-development/
DARPA response to criticism: http://genedrivefiles.synbiowatch.org/2017/12/07/response-from-darpa-to-gene-drive-files/

This takes place at REACH, the rationalist and effective altruism community hub. No need to call anyone to get in, just come to the front door and knock. This event is open to both people familiar with and new to thinking about biosecurity. It is baby-in-arms friendly, but not child-friendly.

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Oct
24
to Oct 28

iGEM Giant Jamboree

  • Hynes Convention Center (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

From the iGEM website:

With 340 teams this year, the iGEM Competition is bigger than ever! Due to the growing interest, we are excited to announce that the 2018 Giant Jamboree will be returned to our regular 4-Day program to accommodate so many amazing teams. Thursday, October 25 will now begin with the Opening Ceremony, followed by team presentations and posters. Just as in previous years, this schedule will have three full days of presentations, poster sessions, and workshops, so that everyone can make the most of their Jamboree experience.

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Oct
9
7:00 PM19:00

Short Talks: Defcon Reports, Human Engineering of Organisms

Two short talks related to biosecurity:

Reports on Defcon – Tessa Alexanian, Megan Crawford
Nature's Source Code is Vulnerable and Can't Be Patched - Jeffrey Ladish

This takes place at the EA community center. No need to call anyone to get in, just come to the front door and knock. This event is open to both people familiar with and new to thinking about biosecurity. It is baby-in-arms friendly, but not child-friendly.

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Oct
2
7:00 PM19:00

Reading Group: The Long-Term Consequences of Biological Risks

This month we will be doing readings on the long-term consequences of biological risks:

Existential risk and cost-effective biosecurity: https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/pdf/10.1089/hs.2017.0028

Long-term trajectories of human civilization: http://gcrinstitute.org/papers/trajectories.pdf

Reducing the risk of human extinction: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1I0PFj_L1X2WWS_KfTu3TuXjr0eXCNg8n/view

This takes place at REACH, the rationalist and effective altruism community hub. No need to call anyone to get in, just come to the front door and knock. This event is open to both people familiar with and new to thinking about biosecurity. It is baby-in-arms friendly, but not child-friendly.

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Oct
1
to Oct 3

SynBioBeta Global Synthetic Biology Summit

From the SynBioBeta website:

SynBioBeta 2018 is the premier industry networking event for biological engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and investors who share a passion for engineering biology to build a better, more sustainable universe. The event showcases the synthetic biology that is transforming how we fuel, heal and feed the world. Come be a part of the bio revolution, join us at SynBioBeta: Where Tech Meets Bio, and Bio Meets Tech.

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Aug
10
to Aug 12

Defcon 26: Biohacking Village

From the Defcon 26 website:

The Medical Industry is one of the last to be touched by technology. We have placed doctors and the study of medicine on an alter for years; the time of ivory towers, pedestals, and information isolation has come to an end. Biohackers are working on projects that have traditionally been kept in the labs of the medical institutions. We are moving science forward by working on DIY projects that matter and use citizen science to solve the economic problems that are caused by privatizing medicine and the resources for research. Our goal is to extend beyond the scope of mission driven technology. This event and the community behind it place a strong emphasis on diversity, inclusiveness, education, collaboration, and contribution. The BioHacking Village is also focused on helping developers learn the skills and other factors associated with successful careers in biotechnology and software development. The event aims to provide opportunities to interact with like-minded scientists and developers, to learn from one another, as well as help each other see opportunities that may be available

See schedule: http://villageb.io/.

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