Health

CRISPR-Cas9 is a customizable tool that lets scientists cut and insert small pieces of DNA at precise areas along a DNA strand. This lets scientists study our genes in a specific, targeted way.
Credit: Ernesto del Aguila III, National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH (Public Domain)

Genetic Scissors: Thoughts on Gene Editing

October 14, 2020 at 1:49 pm

Jennifer A. Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier were recently awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work on the gene-editing tool now known as CRISPR/Cas9. This award has drawn the public’s attention to a technique that has been of interest (and concern) to bioethicists for several years — certainly sinceRead More

Premier Stephen McNeil and Dr. Robert Strang, 2020.10.06

NS COVID-19 Update for 6 October 2020

October 6, 2020 at 4:16 pm

Briefing Premier Stephen McNeil and Dr. Robert Strang held one of their now-rare COVID-19 briefings on Tuesday at 1:00 PM. Strang began with the numbers — Nova Scotia has 3 active cases (including an essential worker who continues to be in ICU), all of which are related to travel outsideRead More

Angry Old Testament God

“God’s Will,” Thoughts on Providentialism

September 30, 2020 at 12:26 pm

“It’s God will” is a statement so often heard that when one personally decides s/he no longer accepts it as reasonable, practical, or —  let’s face it — believable, a statement from a high-ranking clergyman in the Catholic Church endorsing such a view, especially with regard to COVID-19, has toRead More

NS COVID-19 Update for 9 September 2020

NS COVID-19 Update for 9 September 2020

September 9, 2020 at 4:21 pm

Briefing Premier Stephen McNeil and Dr. Robert Strang, the province’s chief medical officer of health, held one of their now-quite-rare COVID-19 updates on Wednesday. The premier had nothing in particular to announce, other than congratulating teachers, staff and especially students for “having the courage” to return to school yesterday. (IRead More

When MAID Meets Organ Donation

When MAID Meets Organ Donation

September 9, 2020 at 4:17 pm

Last month, I wrote about the ethical issues generated by the euphemistic and imprecise term Medical Assistance In Dying (or MAID) and the way in which the change in the law which led to the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia had avid supporters (whom I have labelled “optimists”) andRead More

COVID-19/Back-to-School Update for 2 September 2020

COVID-19/Back-to-School Update for 2 September 2020

September 2, 2020 at 5:59 pm

Briefing Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Robert Strang, and Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Zach Churchill briefed reporters today (some in person, some on the phone) on the province’s plan to send students back to their classrooms on September 8. Churchill began by recapping previously announcedRead More

B0NNRP Syringe and a bottle of morphine

Assisted Suicide: A Slippery Slope?

August 19, 2020 at 2:49 pm

In 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada decriminalized the prohibition on assisted suicide, a decision which led to the legalization of assisted suicide (when an individual ends her own life with the help of another, usually a physician) and voluntary active euthanasia (when someone gives permission to another person –Read More

Back to the One-Room Schoolhouse?

Back to the One-Room Schoolhouse?

August 5, 2020 at 2:47 pm

As predicted, the Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s long-awaited plan for getting students back to school in September has been met with push-back and “yeah-buts” from both opposition parties, the NSTU and CUPE Nova Scotia, who feel it is short on details about how, exactly, it’sRead More

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

July 22, 2020 at 11:22 am

Managing expectations Students of local municipal politics! Given that CBRM Mayor Cecil Clarke seems to be pretty obviously running for a third term (despite announcing on election night in 2016 that he would do no such thing) I invite you to compare and contrast the following items: Exhibit A ARead More

New Zealand coastline. (Photo by Charmead Schella)

Letter from New Zealand: COVID a World Away

July 22, 2020 at 11:20 am

Editor’s Note: Many years ago in Prague, I had a very boring job, the silver of lining of which was the opportunity to meet a very good person — a fellow Canadian named Charmead Schella. She now lives in New Zealand, a country that has distinguished itself internationally by itsRead More