The CRISPR Era: A Promising Future with Dark Implications

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By: Ben Cashdollar

In November 2018, a Chinese researcher claimed that he created the world’s first genetically edited babies, a pair of twin girls who are purportedly immune to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The scientist, He Jiankui, “feel[s] proud” of this accomplishment, a stark contrast to the highly critical reaction of the scientific community at-large. While the scientific accuracy of Jiankui’s claims remains in dispute, this story is an undisputed harbinger of a new era, one where human-kind can wield scientific understanding to alter with impunity the genetic code of any living organism. This newfound ability raises several pressing ethical concerns, and underscores that our society is woefully unprepared to address the challenges created in the age of genetic editing.

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Catch Me If You Can: The Evolution of Technology in the Context of Criminal Investigation

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By: Treja Jones

Americans are fascinated by the mystique of criminal investigations. Books, movies, tv shows, and even board games about “whodunit” murder mysteries, have popularized the challenge and intrigue of catching criminals. Though the American audience enjoys the drama of crime fiction, the technological challenges of improving criminal investigations have been all too real. Over the years, advancements in technology have aided law enforcement in the ease of identifying, apprehending, and convicting guilty criminals. This article briefly explores the historical evolution of technology’s role in criminal investigation.

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YouTube (Still) Has a Copyright Problem

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By: Jake Plovanic

The new year started with an old problem for the vaunted video platform YouTube. In January, a spate of copyright-related conflicts between content creators and purported rights-holders grabbed headlines across the Internet, causing a few minor dustups in related communities on Reddit. The driver of the controversy was that actual copyright infringement had not occurred. Instead, false, mistaken, or otherwise improper claims of infringement threatened several YouTube channels.

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Can Tech Solve America’s Forest Management Crisis?

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By: Jake Plovanic 

After another wildfire season raged through California and the western United States, the debate over how best to minimize and manage future blazes has intensified. The total destruction of the city of Paradise and the loss of scores of lives in the Camp Fire mark a sobering new reality for the agencies tasked with fighting, predicting, and preventing these fires. Climate change is making fire season longer, hotter, and more dangerous in the western states. Cities and suburbs continue to encroach into fire-prone wildland. Both issues require redefining the approach to managing the fires and the forests that fuel them.

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Cellular Privacy: Supreme Court Rules to Protect Historical Cellphone Location Data

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By: Ariana Morello

On June 22, 2018 in Carpenter v. United States the United States Supreme Court held that police must have a warrant and show probable cause when retaining cell-site location information (CSLI), which is the information nearby towers gather from cell phones.  In a close 5-4 decision, the Court found that a cell phone user has a legitimate expectation of privacy and CSLI data obtained from a cell phone carrier company qualified as a “search” under the Fourth Amendment.

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