Mar 1Liked by Jo Zayner, PhD

Love it. This reminds me of or points to a manifesto in the making.

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While I do agree that science demand actual work and not just reading and reciting information, there are a couple of things that I found alarming.

1. It's important to understand that the entire Cyberpunk genre is built upon a dystopian foundation. The movies you list are not something to aspire to or squeal over. While this genre includes interesting ideas, it's important to understand that these are written as cautionary tales. Quite frankly, no one should take your advice here, including yourself. To strive for "cyberpunk" is to strive for a future with unprecedented levels of inequality, abuse, and an environment where life is pretty low (hence why cyberpunk is considered a "lowlife" genre). It's like striving for world war 3 to wipe out most of us so we can live in the rubble because we like the apocalyptic v i b e s. It's fucking stupid. Biohacking, which has the science of life at its core, only makes sense if it revolves around protopia — not dystopia. To improve the human condition, not more pointless tech gadget bullshit.

2. Reading Molecular Biology of the Cell won't magically give you the ability to do anything. Even if you get through a couple of chapters, collecting information is not knowledge. First off, you come from a university background...Realistically, what do you know about amateur hacking? You're not self-made. From day one, and these are your words... "I remember when I first started doing protein engineering. I opened up a file of the 3-dimensional atomic level structure of a protein using VMD and started to move and manipulate the molecule. I couldn’t look away. I felt like I was staring into the soul of life. I was hooked." Dude...you came in as a PROTEIN ENGINEER! Like.... 🤦‍♂️ Your passion grew out of a university, not at home. I'm not trying to insult you here, but think about it. What made you even download and open up VMD in the first place? How did you even know about it? How to use it? Why you even need it? You don't understand what it means to enter this space as an amateur, where all you have are books, pirated software, and DIY equipment. You had all the necessary pre-requisites and resources to launch your new passion. It's important to understand this distinction because you try to make it sound easy, when the reality is that there are a million things that need to fall into their right place before one can even begin to know where to look or why.

The reality is that you need chemistry. You need to be really fucking good at chemistry and you need to have a solid philosophy of science that will guide your imagination as your foundation to amount to anything. With the direction things are going, you'll need computational chemistry, not just wet chem. Unless you're doing microchemistry, it's becoming infeasible to experiment in chem. Instead, we need to resort to simultion. This means serious mathematics, physics, quantum chemistry, programming, and so on. Just look at people like George Church, Tom Knight, Doudna, Zhang, and anyone else dealing in gene editing and is actually good at it....Look at anyone that does real science and you'll see what I mean. Chem chem chem chem chem....all in their history. Yet, you make it seem like we just need a few chapters of Bruce Alberts and a little bit of equipment.

Eric Drexler wrote on this dilemma a bit: https://web.archive.org/web/20120203080103/http://metamodern.com/2009/05/27/how-to-learn-about-everything/

This isn't a world for specialists. You need to study....a lot. Jack of all trades, master of all trades. One these trades is chemistry and you seem to think you can dance around it, when you yourself didn't. You studied chemistry. For those reading this worthless comment and don't know, Biophysics (which is what Zayner has a degree in) overlaps physical chemistry and biochemistry — both of which are considered advanced chemistry that you can't do without a solid background in mathematics and organic chemistry.

Instead of selling kits to make people believe they can do anything meaningful, you should maybe consider being truthful. You need serious chem. Perhaps make chemistry kits that compliment your gene editing kits.

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Exactly! Try try try and try more! It always ends up teaching you new things just by trying ANYTHING! Great advice. I found out pretty quickly I was the contaminant- just need to use more alcohol.

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Very interesting! Will finally give that kit a try once I'm visiting Canada again. It's probably never gonna be my "main" thing as I'm more a tech-y PC dude, but I think that could be a fun hobby nonetheless

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My comments are commonly available as referenced elsewhere [4].

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