Let's Get Mental

Let's Get Mental is a podcast about science, technology, and society by Portland-based tech writer and journalist Dustin Driver. It covers CRISPR, artificial intelligence, computer security, Star Trek TNG, killer robots, Elon Musk, and lizard people. Subscribe now:

iTunes Google Play

Episode 5: Clone Puppies

Barbra Streisand cloned her favorite dog and things didn’t turn out as expected. Why? And How? And, most importantly, Whuuuuuuuut? First, Streisand revealed in a recent interview with Variety Magazine that she had her recently deceased dog Samantha cloned—twice. Well, she had two clones made. According to the world-renown singer, the dogs have different personalities than Samantha and aren’t exactly identical to her, either. More from National Geographic.

Episode 4: Crawdad Invasion

In science fiction they call it gray goo - nanobots that replicate without limits until eventually everything on the planet is a featureless gray goo. It’s the first thing that came to mind when I read a recent article in the NY Times about a new species of crayfish that clones itself and is taking over Europe. The species emerged just 25 years ago as a mutation. Normally, animals have two chromosomes, one from each parent. This female crayfish ended up with three, meaning that she could produce her own fertilized eggs without mating. And every egg is a perfect clone of the original crayfish. Oh, and crayfish lay hundreds of eggs at a time. More from the German Cancer Research Institute.

Episode 3: Molerat Underlords

That’s right, naked mole rats may be the true underlords of this planet, shriveled immortals lurking beneath our feet, sewing discontent throughout society until humanity is on the verge of collapse. Explains the current state of the world quite well, I’d say. But unfortunately we can’t pin humanity’s failings on the machinations of mole rats. We may, however, learn how to extend our misery indefinitely by studying their apparent agelessness. elifesciences.org/articles/31157

Episode 2: Spectre and Meltdown

Spectre and Meltdown are two serious security vulnerabilities discovered in nearly every computer processor made since 1995. So what does it mean? Is this the end of computing? Should we throw our computers on the campfire and live among mother nature? I wanted to find out, so I talked to security expert Wu-chang Feng at Portland State University. The verdict? You might just want to break out the abacus, because we’re all in big trouble.

Episode 1: CRISPR at OHSU

In this, the very first podcast, I chat with Amy Koski at the Oregon Health and Science University about CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing. Amy is the lab manager at the Center for Embryonic Cell and Gene Therapy at OHSU. The lab made headlines in August 2017 when they successfully repaired heart disease genes in human embryonic cells using CRISPR/Cas9.

about the host