Archive for September 7, 2006

Bio Mutiny

Bio mutiny
Voice of the voiceless

I am angry. My rage directed at the establishment, at every person involved in this business of biotech, the students for being mute spectators and the teachers to encourage mediocrity. A mass production of generic individuals subservient to acknowledged authority where deflection from the norm is chastised.

The hackneyed and obsolete education system undermines latent potential of an individual and seldom encourages oblique thinking. The inherent structure of the system suppresses independent view point while rewarding compliance with defined notions. So, a novel idea becomes secondary to the so called primary objective of “achieving merit”.

The gulf between industry and academia is widening by the day. It is an accepted fact that a person has to unlearn his concepts when he or she enters the industry. So why are we investing in infrastructure and machinery when its eventual utility is void? A biotechnology graduate ignorant of practicality is severely restricted in his opportunities. In effect we are educating people to be unemployed as the skill set required for absorption in the industry is absent.



by the same writer
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FOR THE FULL ARTICLE SEE:

  • TBI link
  • Bio Mutiny

    Bio mutiny
    Voice of the voiceless

    I am angry. My rage directed at the establishment, at every person involved in this business of biotech, the students for being mute spectators and the teachers who encourage mediocrity. A mass production of generic individuals subservient to acknowledged authority where deflection from the norm is vehemently chastised.

    The hackneyed and obsolete education system undermines latent potential of an individual and seldom encourages oblique thinking. The inherent structure of the system suppresses independent view point while rewarding compliance with defined notions. So, a novel idea becomes secondary to the so called primary objective of “achieving merit”.

    The gulf between industry and academia is widening by the day. It is an accepted fact that a person has to unlearn his concepts when he or she enters the industry. So why are we investing in infrastructure and machinery when its eventual utility is void? The UGC had advised not to initiate a under-graduate course in Biotech due to the lack of infrastructure and discontinuity in terms of academic progression.In its fifth year now (in Mumbai) there is very little that this course can claim to have accomplished.

    A biotechnology graduate ignorant of practical applications is severely restricted in his opportunities. In effect we are educating people to be unemployed as the skill set required for absorption in the industry is absent. Through an initiative of public-private partnership this can be corrected. By linking academia with the industry we can nurture competent and productive work force which will sustain long-term growth.

    The government with its policies has virtually incapacitated entrepreneurs and set the biotech industry in retrograde. Although the cautious nature of our policies considers broader arguments with regards to implication of technology, its structure constricts expansion and rapid growth. As a result, India is trailing almost a decade behind countries like the US and China in spite of having equivalent resources.

    As practitioners of biotech the manufactured foot soldiers of ignominy aspire to extend a pre fabricated agenda without contemplation. Hence, we have researchers quick to eschew responsibility when a product of their design causes harm to people. Under the veiled accusation of “an incompetent administration”, which to a large extent may be true, they transfer their liability.

    Also, corporate policies with a linear objective of amassing wealth dilute the prospect of actual benefit to the masses. An erosion of moral fabric or sensitivity towards the common interests of people and the environment alike which may be linked to the lack of holistic education. A case in point would be the American MNC Monsanto and its unabashed persistence via contemptuous marketing and directed media, of introducing a harmful rBST vaccine ‘posilac’ to increase milk production in cows, which caused grave damage not only to the animals but also humans who consumed the milk. Closer home, the BT cotton debacle where farmers committed suicide due to the failure of crop or the imported Japanese encephalitis vaccine, a prophylactic measure taken without proper trials, killed many in North India. Accountability has become a flaccid value, a fleeting thought which does not inspire compassion or remorse.

    In what is touted as the century of biological sciences, a majority of the population is ignorant of the impact that this field has on their every day existence. The growth of the industry is solely reliant on developing a knowledgeable consumer base. But, the initiative in generating an informed consent is seen as a faltering strategy because this would lead to deliberations on issues which now are considered a prerogative of industry. This abject alienation further hinders societal responsibility.By ignoring the demands of sustainable industry, the current paradigm will lead to a subsequent degeneration of intellect and enterprise.

    The state of biotech can be likened to the early attempts of man to fly. A person would stand on a very high cliff, flapping his wings. In a moment of faith he would leap in order to test his theory. Initially the air rushes at him creating an illusion of overcoming gravity, but the ground inches closer eventually to break his fall. In actuality he is just free falling. We are governed by certain laws of nature and our momentary perception does not alter the reality.

    Weekly synopsis of your views and comments!

    August 27 to September 3 2006

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    However, the vaccines recently produced by India as well as by China, are aimed at the CURRENT H5N1 STRAIN and will be of no help if the virus mutates in to a real human virus strain.

    As you know, H5N1 is a Bird Flu virus, which is NOT supposed to be killing people.

    The new vaccines could well help with the current H5N1 strain, but if the virus mutates in to a human virus, as it did back in 1918, the above mentioned vaccines will not provide any protection against the new strain.

    In that case, these vaccines can only mislead every one in to a false sense of security, as well as resulting in a wastage of badly needed resources.

    The-Best-Bird-Flu-Blogs team.
    www.birdflubreakingnews.com

    ***
    Sorry to burst your bubble, but the The-Best-Bird-Flu-Blogs team hates good news en only believes in doom. Anyone who is not a believer of the full doom-scenario receives a burst-your-bubble-warning.

    anon


    Thank you for your burst-your-bubble-warning. Lighten up guys whats with the “full doom scenario”. It is critical information, an aspect which had been left out by the general media.

    ***
    …Why don’t you post more often?…
    Vaibhav
    via email.

    Well buddy, journalism suffocates a person by occupying every trace of free time available. Hence, the latitude in posting.
    Put your minimally affordable bandwidth where your mouth is mail me a write up about what you feel about the industry or academia. I presume you are from India too. So you must neccesarily have a lot of pent up angst!

    Interesting Sciam articles

    Here are a few articles from Sciam which are a must read.

    *****
    September 2006 issue

    ROLE FOR FISSION
    The Nuclear Option
    A threefold expansion of nuclear power could contribute significantly to staving off climate change by avoiding one billion to two billion tons of carbon emissions annually

  • Energy beyond carbon
  • *****
    Unlocking the Secrets of Longevity Genes
    A handful of genes that control the body’s defenses during hard times can also dramatically improve health and prolong life in diverse organisms. Understanding how they work may reveal the keys to extending human life span while banishing diseases of old age

  • Can DNA beat time?
  • *****
    Stem Cells: The Real Culprits in Cancer?
    A dark side of stem cells–their potential to turn malignant–is at the root of a handful of cancers and may be the cause of many more. Eliminating the disease could depend on tracking down and destroying these elusive killer cells


  • Stem Cells responsible for cancer?
  • *****
    Also see weekly synopsis of your comments

  • Aug 27 to Sept 3 2006
  • ***