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Dirk Flinthart's madly scientific whimsies

By Dirk Flinthart - posted Wednesday, 15 May 2002

God, I miss the old days.

Back then, you didn't have to have a multinational megacorp behind you to be a Mad Scientist. All you needed was a few basics: really zany hair, a deformed servant, and a serious grudge against the human race. Then it was off to your secret lair to dream up your fiendish scheme, and soon you'd be cackling maniacally in the teeth of the thunderstorm, shouting: "The fools! I'll show them all!"

Being a Mad Scientist had genuine prestige back then. It was an honourable occupation, much aspired to by bullied schoolboys and disgruntled migrants with a good technical grounding. These days, you can't even call a mad scientist mad: they're just "ethically questionable" now.


The other really good thing about the whole Mad Scientist system was the right of public redress. These days, the whole process is shrouded in layers of corporate spin-doctoring, shielded by banks of high-powered lawyers, and armed with all the legislative support that lapdog government ministers looking for the big consultancy in their political retirement can offer.

I reckon there's a lot of good in the old ways. I mean, this whole stem-cell thing, this great big GM controversy, it's really not much more than a bunch of mad scientists hammering away at the same old stuff, is it? At least this time there may be some potential benefits. Spinal injuries repaired by stem cell transplants. Diabetes cures. Pest-resistant food crops. Plants that can recover salt-poisoned soils. Sure, there's some questionable ethical stuff happening, but when you think about it, the old-style Mad Scientist never did much more than build weird monsters that lurched about the place frightening the livestock. The new breed has much better hair, too.

So I say: let today's Mad Scientists keep doing their corporate-sponsored thing, but with one proviso. Let's bring back the old rules. No more lawyers, courts and interminable ethics committees.

Meanwhile, you may care to amuse yourself with the following droll websites:

The nitty-gritty of that ethical debate:

A very odd site... this man, however, appears to have been proud to be a Mad Scientist


It's just faintly feasible that these things could in some way have a connection with Genetic Modification...

This is the sort of chap we need to bring back the real spirit of scientific investigation...

Irony... makes you wonder how many people are gonna plaster their thumbs up against the monitor screen!

Apparently, this piece of work was carried out by scientists deemed sane. In this case, it's quite a useful illustration of the primitive means of genetic engineering utilized to this point in history. Work currently being carried out by Monsanto and Roche Pharmaceutics is expected to render this kind of genetic engineering completely obsolete...

Gentlemen: and you thought it was just your personality...

Aaargh! Glow-in-the-dark Rhesus Monkeys with jellyfish DNA – Quick! Get the torches and the hedge trimmers. Those dang Mad Scientists have gone too far this time!

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About the Author

Dirk Flinthart is a writer and student who lives in Tasmania.

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