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Should human genes be patentable?

This week's question concerns the issue of gene patents. While some in the scientific community believe that human genes should not be exploited for commercial gain, others argue that a patent is a reward for years of expensive research that moves science forward. What do you think? Should human genes be patentable?

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Is cold fusion possible?

This week's question concerns the concept of cold fusion. Cold fusion refers to the nuclear fusion of atoms at conditions close to room temperature, which (theoretically) has the potential to produce an abundant source of energy at low cost. Once thought of as "junk science," cold fusion is slowly gaining acceptance in the mainstream scientific community. What do you think? Is cold fusion possible?

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Would you have a microchip implanted under your skin if concrete benefits were derived from it?

This week's question concerns a recent poll that was taken prior to the opening of the CeBIT Trade show that was held in Germany last week. The poll, conducted by the German IT industry lobby group BITKOM, asked participants whether or not they would have a microchip implanted in their body if they derived concrete benefits from it (concrete benefits were defined as assisting medical/fire personnel to rescue you more quickly, making shopping go more smoothly, etc.). One in four said yes. What do you think? Would you have a microchip implanted under your skin if concrete benefits were derived from it?

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Could a sin tax make people eat healthier?

This week's question concerns the U.S.'s ongoing efforts to encourage healthier eating. States across the nation are beginning to impose "sin taxes" on fat and sugar to dissuade people from eating junk food. The thought is that if you make it cheaper, people will eat more of it, more expensive and people will eat less. What do you think? Could a sin tax make people eat healthier?

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Is hands-free texting while driving a safe alternative?

This week's question concerns the ongoing debate over texting while driving. A research team at Clemson University recently developed an application called VoiceTEXT that allows drivers to speak text messages and keep their eyes on the road at the same time. Drivers using VoiceTEXT can put their cell phones in Bluetooth mode and connect it to their car. A voice command is given through the car's speaker system or through the Bluetooth headset that delivers a text message. What do you think? Is hands-free texting while driving a safe alternative?

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Is the American auto industry finally headed in the right direction?

This week's question concerns the wonders and the woes of the American auto industry. With falling sales, the somewhat controversial "cash for clunkers" program, and the spate of bailouts that occurred last year for Detroit's "big three", the industry seems to be due for some positive news. And reports from the 2010 North American Auto Show seem to be promising. At the show, Ford, GM, and Chrysler all unveiled new smaller, more efficient, hybrid vehicles prompting comments that American carmakers are finally "getting it." What do you think? Is the American auto industry finally headed in the right direction?

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Should the Internet be a nominee for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize?

This week's question concerns a recent Forbes/AP story that reported on the nominees for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. These include a Russian human rights group, a Chinese dissident, and, believe it or not, the Internet. Proposed by the Italian version of Wired magazine, which cited the Internet as a tool to advance "dialogue, debate, and consensus through communication,” it is unclear whether an inanimate object would qualify for the prize. What do you think? Should the Internet be a nominee for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize? Yes or no?

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