Oh Heck No! Professionals and amateurs are dinking around in their garages, experimenting with genetic materiel, as if tinkering with the very stuff of life can be compared to building the first Hewlitt-Packard Gas Chromotagraph!
Oy vey! What monstrous dabbling into the creation of new life forms is going on in Suburbia? Didn’t you ever wonder why your neighbor’s cat looks eerily similar to your neighbor?
What viral, bacterial, animal, plant, and other catastrophes are about to leak, run, fly, grow, or be released into the world for us to deal with?
Could we deal with the results? As a fan of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Childs (even though they don’t seem to realize that Black people exist), I prefer that the apocalyptic stuff remain under the control of fiction writers.
Lab equipment is easily available. All the stuff of genetic knowledge is online. Overbuilt houses have more than enough unused rooms.
Making science “sexy” or “fun, is the goal here, but those convnient online instruction manuals contrive to completely miss the part about proper safety, scientific, and hygiene controls.
Seriously, the horrible street drug, Crystal Meth, got it’s start in garage science labs. Now, anyone can get information off of the internet and dangerous labs can be set up anywhere, at anytime. Meth is made from common substances that can be obtained locally or through underground distribution networks.
The clandestine labs become major explosive and toxic hazards. The dangerous materials are a threat to law enforcement, the community and the other residents in an area. If the materials are dumped into sewage and septic systems, buried in backyards, or dumped into water drainage systems, the hazards spread far beyond the garage or apartment unit.
Making one pound of meth creates five pounds of toxic waste.
There had been a decrease in the levels of meth use since 2005, but now there is a resurgence. There is a new “one pot” method for cooking meth, which makes it even easier to set up labs in even smaller housing or storage units.
So, the amateur science labs that we all think of used to be for learning and for exposing the young to the wonders of the world and universe. Those are fine if they are safely set up and operated. But we seem to have a new illegal drug, or an easier way of husbanding life forms every week. And we know what happens when corners get cut, safety protocols are not followed, and hazardous operations go on unsupervised.
Let’s let the pros run the labs!