Scientist engineers plants to detect explosives, toxins
Question : Should Medford receive more funds for her researches ?
This article is about a scientist, Ms Medford, who modified plantsgenetically so they can turn from green to white when they are near explosives. Today, she and her research team of thirty scientists received almost 10 million dollars since 2003. They received moneyfrom several entities such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects (DARPA), the Office of Naval Research and even from the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency which represent their maininvestor. But should Ms Medford and her team receive more funds ? We will try to answer this question by studying the utility of such plants, the way to use them, and the impact of their use in our society.At first sight, these color changing plants seem to be a great idea. When we usually use sniffing dog which are risking their life by getting close to the explosives, we could use these plants whichtotally insignificant compare to living beings. Actually, special trained sniffing dogs are the only way that we dispose of to detect explosives. But raising a sniffing dog costs time and money, andsuch a dog cannot be replaced easily if something bad happens, for example getting blew off by an artisanal bomb. On the other side, every Medford plants are identical and can easily be replaced byanother one. They are also way more convenient to move. You only need to take a plant with you, whereas a dog needs to be transported with a minimal care. Considering the side effects of explosivedetection, the plants seem a better solution than sniffing dogs. But what about the main goal of our plants, detecting explosives ?
The article specifies that these plants will turn from green to whiteafter three hours if there near an explosive. This is the main problem of such way of detecting explosives. For example, it won’t work in a airport. Imagine a terrorist trying to get in plane with a...
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