Around The Web | What We’re Reading

In a significant development in the area of genomics, scientists in the US have successfully edited the first human embryo using CRISPR technology. A lot of people are wondering if this is just the first step in a move towards building super human babies. We shouldn’t be worrying about what we can create here, NASA has just put the word out for a Planetary Protection Officer to defend us from potential extraterrestrial invaders. Alien designs are definitely part of Dutch futuristic fashion designer Iris Van Herpen. Celebrate 10 years of her ethereal work below. Finally, for a phenomenon more from the here and now, take a look into the day to day life of Amazonian disco powerhouse that is Grace Jones as she lets us in for an exciting new documentary.

Here’s some fun reading for the weekend:

“Whether they constitute a new series or not, the images provide a heady glimpse into the life and mind of the artist.” Legendary photographer Cindy Sherman just made her Instagram account public and it’s amazing.

“Iris deals in magic, somehow: the powerful practical magic of science and of spirit. Her clothes make creatures of all who wear them, supernatural, phosphorescent, elevated, crucially reconnected to the wondrous stuff of matter and relieved of the mundane burdens of parochial terrestrial human living.” To celebrate 10 years of Iris Van Herpen’s eponymous label, collaborators from Tilda Swinton to Marina Abramovic reflect on the designer’s innovative excellence.

“For almost two minutes we get to sit back and watch Grace Jones become Grace Jones. She stares into a vanity mirror, applying generous amounts of rouge to her face and seamlessly morphing into her signature androgynous, otherworldly persona.” Watch a clip from the much-anticipated Grace Jones documentary, filmed by Sophie Fiennes over a 10-year period.

“Hi to all mankind. The greatest leak of cyber space era is happening. What’s its name? Oh I forget to tell. It’s HBO and Game of Thrones……!!!!!! Enjoy it & spread the words. Whoever spreads well, we will have an interview with him. HBO is falling.” HBO is the latest victim in a string of cyber attacks on Hollywood entertainment companies, much to the glee of GOT fans everywhere.

“Basically, we don’t want our probes or robots to screw up potential ecosystems worth studying unsullied, and we don’t want our probes to bring back something that might screw up the Earth’s ecosystems in ways we’re not prepared for.” Apparently Nasa is looking for a Planetary Protection Officer, a role that pays a healthy sum of $187000 with the main task of protecting Earth from an alien invasion… Any takers?

“It’s not a problem of the people. It’s the system they are surrounded by and we’re not going to change it until we change the political system.” Watch ex-Republican congressman Mickey Edwards describe his radical resolution to the current Democrat/Republican gridlock by getting rid of political parties altogether. Or maybe we should just leave it to robots?

“Like in the period of the Great Terror, when political reprisals, murders, extrajudicial executions became the norm of Soviet life, so today persecution, arrests, beatings at rallies, the closing of independent organisations … have become the norm of life in Russia.” Find out how this gulag grave hunter trying to uncover the shocking crimes of the Stalin era is now being punished and silenced by Putin in an age of Russian nationalism. 

“Because the early days of embryonic development are so tumultuous, with lots of dividing and recombining, those cells might have special ways to avoid genetic mishaps—like, say, copying a random piece of DNA that a scientist stuck into a cell. Evolution may have made it harder than anyone thought to subvert its will with superbaby genes.” As the first US scientists have managed to edit a human embryo using CRISPR technology, how close are we to creating superbabies?