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Australia Biotech

Australian Billionaire Wants To Build Jurassic Park-Style Resort 409

lukehopewell1 writes "Australian billionaire Clive Palmer has already floated a plan to rebuild the Titanic to scale and sail it around the world, but now the mining magnate has found a new use for his money: cloning dinosaurs. Palmer reportedly wants to clone a dinosaur and let it loose in one of his resorts in Queensland, Australia. The billionaire has already been in touch with the scientists who helped clone Dolly the sheep to see what it would take to clone a dinosaur from DNA."
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Australian Billionaire Wants To Build Jurassic Park-Style Resort

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  • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @02:23AM (#40839003)

    Doesn't it come across as "never do anything because there might be unintended consequences", though? I mean, the point of unintended consequences is you can't predict whether anything you do will have bad ones or not.

  • Re:Awesome! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CheshireDragon ( 1183095 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @02:38AM (#40839103) Homepage
    Like every other eccentric out there. No one cares that the rich are crazy, only the hobo on the street corner.
  • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @03:01AM (#40839275) Homepage Journal

    Crichton was trying to make a point with his Jurassic Park novels. It was a cautionary tale about "the law of unintended consequences".

    And so? Why should we take Jurassic Park, or any work of fiction, as a guide to the way this would work in the real world?

    Cautionary tales of Science Run Amok are at least as old as modern science itself (Frankenstein was published in 1818, arguably about the point where science as we understand it today was emerging from the morass of religious teleology, superstition, and philosophical maundering) and for just as long, they've been held up as examples of why we shouldn't do this or that: "That which we know now is Good and Right and The Way Things Are, but this new knowledge you're seeking is in the realm of Things Man Was Not Meant To Know!" And for the entire time, science has gone ahead anyway, and within a generation or two everyone pretty much agrees that it was a good thing ... just in time to complain about whatever new field of knowledge is opening up and is therefore Scary and Dangerous.

    I'd say spending any amount of money to clone dinosaurs is a bad idea, but that's not because the end result will be people getting eaten by raptors. It's because we don't have any dinosaur DNA* and aren't likely to have enough to get anything like a complete sequence, nor do we have nearly enough basic biological knowledge to create a viable embryo even if we did have the genetic information. Now, speaking as a bioinformaticist, if Clive Palmer wants to devote a portion of his considerable wealth to creating the knowledge that would allow us to clone dinosaurs if we were lucky enough to retrieve some reasonably intact tissue, I'll applaud -- but I hope he's not expecting to have a pet stegosaurus any time in the next few years, or even decades.

    *Not counting bird DNA, which of course is plentiful, but reconstructing the ancestral sequences back to the point necessary to create "dinosaurs" as most people think of them would be just about as huge a challenge as building the whole thing from scratch.

  • by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @03:21AM (#40839391)

    The lesson I got from Jurassic Park was - Don't clone the meat eaters. Brontosuars and Siplodocis may not be as excitinfg as T-Rex, bit they won't eat you.

  • Re:Awesome! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @03:29AM (#40839441)

    Eh, I suppose. The real point of it is: "Turn pages and tell your buddies to buy this book."

  • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tehcyder ( 746570 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @04:32AM (#40839729) Journal
    It's not the scientists who cause the problem in Jurassic Park, it's the selfish, money-obsessed fat-arsed geek who fucks everything up.

    But I can see why most slashdotters would not like this interpretation.
  • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by silentcoder ( 1241496 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @05:56AM (#40840091)

    Not at all. Even if all money is made in a profit-based market - and thus the funding for science comes from there- that doesn't mean that science has to be done with a profit motive.

    Crichton is strongly opposed to privatization of science and believes it must be tax-funded as a public-good without a profit motive, he also strongly opposes laws that allow publicly funded research to be patented.
    Now that tax-money may have been made by profit-seeking companies originally, but the intermediary step prevents THEIR motivations from becoming the motivations of the SCIENTISTS.

    His point is science should be done for knowledge, if somebody can use that knowledge to make a profit that's fine- but that somebody must not be the scientist. I tend to agree.

    If you take that approach, then you can prevent the kind of stupid laws that want to turn universities into more "business-like" entities, if anything they are TOO MUCH like private enterprize already, they OUGHT to operate as a public service. Nobody ever asks if a neighbourhood playground makes MONEY - we just build them because it's better to live in a world with them than a world without them. That is what science should be. A neighbourhood playground.

  • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lotana ( 842533 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @06:22AM (#40840213)

    it must be tax-funded as a public-good without a profit motive

    His point is science should be done for knowledge, if somebody can use that knowledge to make a profit that's fine- but that somebody must not be the scientist.

    That would be ideal. Unfortunately that only works if people at large are happy to pay taxes to fund the science. In the real world we live in, majority of people bitch and whine about taxes that don't bring them direct, immediate benefits.

    Science investment brings with it incredible returns, but in incomprehensible forms that can only be put into practical inventions many years later. Majority of people would rather have more money in their pocket to spend on whatever they feel like at the moment, rather than being put towards something that they don't understand nor can imagine ever being useful. Another aspect is the anti-intellectual slant that seems to be quite prevalent.

    Thus taxes get cut, government science programs are on the top list to get slashed (Since majority of voters care about them the least and don't employ as many people), so researchers must turn towards profit-looking private investors to survive.

    Idealism just doesn't survive in the real world.

  • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by silentcoder ( 1241496 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @07:19AM (#40840461)

    >- no? So tell me then, what is the motivation if it is not for profit? So how do you measure scientific output, how do you figure what scientific paths to pursue?

    Knowledge, knowledge is the most valuable commodity in the universe, far moreso than profit - especially monetary profit. Besides which - all knowledge ultimately translates into profit anyway - but sometimes that takes centuries.
    That's exactly why profit should NOT be a motivator. Where is the profit in studying planets around stars 20 milion lightyears away ? It will never be profitable -but it could ultimately turn out to the most important thing humans ever did.

    >Do you understand why science developed mostly starting with the industrial revolution, which was the consequence of free market capitalism?
    You've got the cause and effect exactly BACKWARDS. Science can, and does, drive industry - but while industry can drive science it must NEVER be allowed to.
    For-profit science didn't EXIST during the industrial revolution, the idea of academic research being patentable, the idea of a PHD holding patents was unthinkable in those years (as it OUGHT to be today). Scientists produced knowledge, some of that knowledge was used by industrialists to create products, but a lot of it wasn't useful for products.
    In fact the vast majority of non-university scientists in the industrial revolution were priests ! Why ? Because priests had lots of free time, which they devoted to research, and no profit motive to detract from researching what was INTERESTING.
    By your logic one of the greatest scientific discoveries should never have been allowed to happen: Darwin's theory of evolution. Since Darwin was trained in theology and medicine, and never worked as either, and his research was absolutely useless to ANY industries that existed at the time (in fact it would take almost 70 years for the next piece of the puzzle - genetics to be discovered - and another 50 years before industries were able to make use of that combination for anything at all, it's only STARTING now).

    You're another typical "free market uber alles" capitalist who refuses to see even the POTENTIAL value in PUBLIC goods.

    Let me guess, you want eternal copyright too - because knowledge in the public domain has no value according to you.
    What value does Shakespeare have, what profit is there in Snow White - how can there be value in something that belongs to EVERYBODY ?

    Oops... idiot.

  • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by silentcoder ( 1241496 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @08:08AM (#40840725)

    >Value can be measured in the real world, it's not that hard, either people want it and are willing to SPEND on it, and thus you can have profit and you can measure efficiency or people don't want it and then there is NO VALUE except for what is in your head.

    That's an economist's definition of value - it's not an accurate or complete picture. Knowing the movements of the planets is information we cannot use to make a product, we cannot sell it, we cannot make anything out of it, if we ever can it won't be for probably hundreds of years - yet it DOES have value.
    Any and ALL knowledge have value. In fact, the value of it is INFINITE since knowledge cannot be used-up. It's a true post-scarcity supply.
    Economists measure that value as "zero" - but that's because economists are using a too limited view.

    >If you are not seeing this, then all you are talking about is mental masturbation, sure sure, you can have your mental masturbation, you can have your mental orgasm even because you believe that you have some knowledge that wasn't there previously, but if this knowledge never translates into anything that the economy actually is willing to pay for with profits, then its purely irrelevant, it was no more relevant than any other form of entertainment.

    That kind of view is the antithesis of human progress. All knowledge has infinite value just by existing.

    >My argument is that the basic science is done in the private sector as long as there is no government stealing money from the private sector, and it's done as a side effect of people searching for profit.

    If we limit science to that which has the potential for profit (or at least the currently VISIBLE potential for profit) we destroy it, not least because it isn't science AT ALL unless the results are freely available. It's only science WHEN it is public domain, until then - it's not science.
    Fundamental principle of the scientific method is peer-review, public scrutiny and openness - directly contradictory with a profit motive.

    >Before 1913 there were no income taxes, there were no corporate taxes, there were no payroll taxes, there were no capital gains taxes, no taxes on dividends, no taxes on rent, no taxes on PRODUCTIVITY

    Not only an idiot, an idiot who thinks America is the world. Read the bible, the first version of income taxes will be found the very first chapter of Kings I. 4000 years ago the governments charged taxes. Most of the Industrial-age scientific revolution came from Britain, not America and that WAS a welfare state. Most scientists were not employed by industry but by the church or by TAX-FUNDED academia (which Britain had, had for hundreds of years by then). The idea of tax-funded academic research was already WELL ESTABLISHED when it gave us Isaac Newton in the 1600's !

    >But how necessary is it to have government stealing money from the private sector to fund research into such things, what is the efficiency of this model?
    It takes something of fixed/limited value to buy something of infinite value that only gets MORE valuable the bigger the supply becomes and MORE valuable the more people have access to it. It's the greatest deal in the world, the ultimate investment.

    >It is the institutions that are concerned with education that allow the environment to develop that is necessary to do scientific research, including basic sciences.

    Cause and effect reversed - AGAIN. It's institutions that are concerned with research that double as the best training grounds for other researchers. That should be the total extent of university education: training the next generation of scientists. Everybody who does not WANT to be a scientist should NOT get a degree, but go to some or other form of trade school.

    >You are completely wrong, putting the cart ahead of a horse, thinking that the education and science came before the free market capitalist looking for profit.
    The first example of a University was Plato's academy, established in 387BC, it charged no admissi

  • Re:Awesome! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @09:21AM (#40841381) Homepage Journal

    ...but... when was dynamite used as a weapon of war?

    Well, it sure was abpopular weapon for Clint Eastwood in some of his spaghetti westerns....

  • Re:Awesome! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @10:32PM (#40851459) Journal
    While large creatures are probably dangerous to humans, they are unlikely to be a real danger to humanity, unless they are as intelligent as humans AND people decide to give them equality or near equality with humans. Because if bad things happen, they'd just end up near extinction like the other large creatures or large predators. Who believes we can't kill practically every last tiger or elephant in the world if we really wanted to? If dangerous dinos somehow escape the humans will come with guns and hunt them down, heck all the big game hunters will be fighting to get licenses to do it. The only way there'd be millions of them is if they end up being farmed by humans for meat, leather, feathers or other stuff.

    The smaller creatures on the other hand could end up as pests like rats. But if they breed via eggs, they better be able to keep their eggs (and young) safe or the rats, cats and dogs will exterminate them too.

    The even smaller stuff like old viruses and bacteria? Now that's what scares me. But they are probably being introduced regularly already from all that thawing ice - albeit not at such scale.

If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.