Mind Meld 119 | Reading the Language of God with Biologist, Ellen Jorgensen

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Molecular Biologist, Biohacker and Co-founder of Biotech Without Borders, Dr. Ellen Jogensen enters the mind meld to talk CRISPR, incredible biological breakthroughs and why we’re headed for high weirdness.

Michael worries about orcs.

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Tuck away your speculatory proboscis people, because this week we’re talking science. We’re talking the actual code of nature, the caduceus of life, the language of god if you like– DNA.

In preparing for this one, though, I was forced to (once again) confront the hard truth that I’m a dope. That I must have just astral projected my way through the majority of my biology classes in school or something. I hardly remembered anything about the topic aside from the most obtuse basics. So due to that, this is something of a toughie for me to wrap my temporal tentacles around. That lack of attentiveness really chaps me now, because we’re, as a species, certainly breaching the epidermis of an era of bio-technical magick. Technologies like CRISPR, for example, are going to allow us to truly take hold of physical reality in unimaginable ways. We’ll be able to read and write genomes like computer code, snip disease out of our bodies and, for better or worse, decide even the most trivial features of our unborn designer babies.

But, as I just mentioned, I’m a neophyte when it comes to this stuff, so you’d be a silly, silly goose to take it from me. So thank the wise bearded archetype of your choice– You don’t have to! We have a true expert on this show, Dr. Ellen Jorgensen. She is the founder of Biology Without Borders, a biohacking lab in Brooklyn. She’s also worked in the biotech industry for decades and she’s well-versed in this very stuff, including CRISPR (on that note check out her TED talks)

I’ll just say this before we move forward– I’ve known the future is about to get weird, but I’ve never been more sure about it now. We are literally reverse engineering the code of biological life and we’re going to be able to wield it like a language before long.  Combine that astonishing fact with everything else that’s brewing technologically and creatively…

(I’ll just leave at that sort of hanging open ended ellipses).

Musings in this mind meld

  • Revisiting Biology basics
  • What is CRISPR
  • How DNA works
  • Is DNA the ultimate hard drive?
  • How scientists have already stored data in DNA (yes you read that right)
  • “You could fit 10000 cell nuclei on the head of a pin, yet within each one there’s 6 linear feet of DNA”
  • Are viruses alive? what are they and why do they look so alien?
  • Is the language of nature a perfect masterpiece or a creative work of art with scribbles and mistakes?
  • Will technologies like CRISPR really cure disease and help us live longer?
  • Biotech plus quantum computing = magick?



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