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Posts Tagged "ethics"

Compound Eye

To kill, or not to kill: the insect photographer’s question (part 2)

IMG_5453s

Earlier, I posed a series of ethical scenarios in which an insect dies as part of a photographic project. I did not mention why I’d written that post, but the piece does have a backstory. I teach several photography workshops every year. These events attract two rather different sorts of people: entomologists who are learning [...]

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Compound Eye

To kill, or not to kill: the insect photographer’s question

fulva9f

And now, just in time for your long weekend, an ethics quiz! Imagine you have an insect, a camera, and a photography project that might involve the death of your little subject. Insects are not universally regarded to have moral standing, of course, yet exterminating them for no reason also seems wrong. Or, it should [...]

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Food Matters

Face Off! A Debate About Eating Anything With A Face

Food_FinalCleanWeb

Is it healthier to be a vegetarian? Or an omnivore? And how much of an environmental impact does livestock really have? These questions can spark a lively debate and that’s exactly what happened last week when Intelligence Squared presented Don’t Eat Anything With A Face. Clinical researcher and author Dr. Neal Barnard and Gene Baur, [...]

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Guest Blog

Practicing Narrative Medicine

Just listen. (Credit: Rick&Brenda Beerhorst via Flickr)

Since the first day of medical school, I was in breathless anticipation of my third year. I came to Harvard with a background in creative writing and the big draw of medicine for me lay in its compendium of human stories. In college, I volunteered at local hospitals where my primary responsibility was to go [...]

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Guest Blog

“Gene Drives” and CRISPR Could Revolutionize Ecosystem Management

picture of adult cane toad

A note from the authors: With this guest blog post we want to share the key features of an innovative method for the high-precision genome editing of wild populations that has been outlined by our team at the Wyss Institute, Harvard Medical School, and the Harvard School of Public Health. Our technical description of the [...]

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Observations

Smartphone App Takes Morality Science out of the Lab and into the Real World

Image of the Smartphone Experience-Sampling Signal (SMS linking to smartphone survey). Courtesy of Wilhelm Hofmann.

Just when it seems there’s a mobile app for just about everything, psychologists have shown there’s room for one more: they are using smartphones to help them better understand the dynamics of moral and immoral behavior out in the community. A team of U.S., German and Dutch researchers has used Apple iOS, Google Android and [...]

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Observations

Lance Armstrong Comes Clean—a Mixed Blessing for Sports

armstrong,cycling,doping

Lance Armstrong’s confession to Oprah Winfrey earlier this week that he’s been a drug cheat throughout his illustrious career was a mixed blessing for the sports world. On one hand, key questions have been answered and a perpetrator has been caught. We now know that cycling’s preeminent athlete over the past two decades managed to [...]

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Observations

Cigarette Additives Increase Toxicity, According to External Analysis

Cigarette maker Philip Morris spent years studying whether additives, such as menthol, added to the toxicity of their smokes. And several published studies—conducted by the company—have claimed that the additives had no impact on the danger of their products.  But thanks to lawsuits against the tobacco industry, a trove of previously secret scientific and corporate [...]

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Observations

How much money was your doctor paid by a drug company?

doctors collect money from pharmaceutical companies

It’s no secret that many doctors get paid by pharmaceutical companies to talk to other docs—about general conditions, research trends or specific drugs—or to provide expertise for company research. But what has long been undisclosed is the amount of money that these drugmakers were giving physicians for their time. Thanks in part to some high-profile [...]

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Observations

Exploitative experiments: U.S. government researchers secretly infected Guatemalans with syphilis in the 1940s

syphilis

The U.S. government apologized Friday for a previously unreported experiment that infected hundreds of un-consenting Guatemalans with syphilis in the 1940s. The research was "clearly unethical," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a joint statement. "Although these events occurred more than 64 years ago, we [...]

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Observations

Scientific misconduct estimated to drain millions each year

calculating the cost of scientific misconduct

As speculation swirls around the status of possible investigations into research by the prolific Harvard psychologist Marc Hauser, a new study drills down to figure out the true cost of scientific misconduct. Neither Harvard nor the federal government, which has funded some of Hauser’s work that has been retracted or amended, has come forward with [...]

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Observations

Many physicians fail to report incompetent or incapacitated colleagues

doctors not reporting a colleague who is impaired or incompetent

An intoxicated co-worker in many workplaces might be more of a nuisance than a threat. But an impaired or incompetent physician can present a real risk to patients. The American Medical Association (AMA) asserts that all doctors have an "ethical obligation to report" colleagues who are suspected of being unable to safely fulfill their duties, [...]

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Observations

NASA-funded monkey-radiation experiment raises hackles

NASA monkey radiation experiment

A nonprofit group that promotes animal rights in medical research has taken issue with a NASA grant funding an assessment of the long-term effects of radiation on monkeys. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), based in Washington, D.C., sent an appeal Thursday to NASA administrator Charles Bolden, urging that the radiobiology study, intended to [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Scientists Learn How to Put an Octopus to Sleep

octopus anesthesia sleep

We can’t really ask an octopus to count backward from 10. Which is just one of the tricky things about putting an octopus under. If knocking an octopus out (for science) sounds like an unusual procedure, well, it is. But it’s likely going to get a lot more common in labs around the world. Canada, [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

The pain of not getting cited: oversight, laziness, or malice?

The author laments (a photograph taken at the University of Portsmouth back in September 2009).

It’s time to republish this classic article from Tet Zoo ver 2 (originally published in September 2009). The problem I’m concerned with certainly hasn’t gone away, and in fact is on my mind right now since I’ve seen a couple of recent, egregious examples. Those of us who publish technical research papers like to see [...]

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