Tears in Rain

Google’s already brought us the Nexus One, and apparently DARPA is working on the Nexus 6:

The Pentagon’s mad science arm may have come up with its most radical project yet. Darpa is looking to re-write the laws of evolution to the military’s advantage, creating “synthetic organisms” that can live forever — or can be killed with the flick of a molecular switch.

As part of its budget for the next year, Darpa is investing $6 million into a project called BioDesign, with the goal of eliminating “the randomness of natural evolutionary advancement.” The plan would assemble the latest bio-tech knowledge to come up with living, breathing creatures that are genetically engineered to “produce the intended biological effect.” Darpa wants the organisms to be fortified with molecules that bolster cell resistance to death, so that the lab-monsters can “ultimately be programmed to live indefinitely.”

Joking aside, it would be nice to live in a world where a larger share of cutting-edge US government biological research was being undertaken for medical purposes—to help people, in other words—rather than to find new and better ways to kill people.

At any rate, here’s a bioweapon who’s sad that his makers have turned off his molecular switch:

Currently I suppose Caprica is offering a more contemporary version of this cautionary tale, but I haven’t seen it yet.