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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s prophetic words, uttered April 4, 1967, continue to haunt and challenge us.  

The wisdom, commitment to humanity, and charisma he embodied during his fleeting 39 years on this earth are badly needed now amid the ongoing proliferation of military aggression, killing machines and fomenting hate.

Dr. King would be 89 years old , had his life not been taken prematurely 50 years ago.

In November 2015, 23 of biology’s bigwigs met up at the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, DC, to plot a grandiose scheme. It had been 12 years since the publication of the complete genetic sequence of Homo sapiens. Other organisms’ genomes had been deciphered in the intervening period but the projects doing so had a piecemeal feel to them. Some were predictable one-offs, such as chickens, honey bees and rice. Some had ambition, such as attempts to sample vertebrate, insect and arachnid biodiversity by looking at representatives of several thousand genera, but were advancing only slowly. What was needed, the committee concluded, was a project with the scale and sweep of the original Human Genome Project. Its goal, they decided, should be to gather DNA sequences from specimens of all complex life on Earth. They decided to call it the Earth BioGenome Project (EBP).

“I left the former government showing my opposition to fraud and corruption, and formed a new government. Is it to continue the same frauds and corruption I ask you? It is true that UNP supporters voted for me, and I owe my gratitude to them. Are the UNP members attacking me to frighten me? Or to chase me out? I do not know whether they are doing these things with a purpose or others leading them to do such things.

Later this month, if all has gone according to plan, a rocket called the Falcon Heavy will take off from Cape Canaveral, in Florida. Its mission is to put a sports car in orbit around the sun. The Falcon Heavy is the latest product of SpaceX, a firm founded by Elon Musk, an American billionaire. The car is Mr Musk’s own, made by Tesla, another of his businesses. SpaceX has the explicit aim, besides making money, of enabling people to travel to and colonise Mars. Before then, the Falcon Heavy may earn its keep lifting satellites and carrying tourists on “slingshot” trips around the moon.

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