*Originally published on May 14th, 2016 at joelhovell.com
I do realize I have an infinite number of interests that includes creative writing, electrical engineering, and science. When it comes to the ‘day job’ career which parallels my current one as a writer, I spent nearly two years in college to figure out who I really was. I’ve been a student in several majors, electrical engineering, laboratory science (technicians who test your food before they reach the grocery store), and now my strive to complete a medical lab technician degree. Since I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in March of 2014, I have always been interested in health beyond the basics of diet and exercise. I wanted to know how this awful ailment which inflames the ileum, the final section of your small intestine, could be cured and not managed through drugs with nasty side effects. However, because I’m such a stubborn man, I realize should I wish to pursue a hail mary career in genetic research, I must continue beyond an Associate’s degree while possibly going far enough to earn a professional degree or a medical degree. The details of the near future, the subsequent decade, are not permanent stepping stones towards completion of this lofty goal of mine. No matter what, I should just enjoy the ride no matter where life takes me.
To the individual who doesn’t follow the latest advances in genetic engineering, to modify genes for the purpose of enhancing plants meant for crop production and as medical treatments for genetic defects in patients, this might seem farfetched. Instead of science fiction, these generalized ideas have been accomplished. However, as a result in my deep interest for genetics, I believe genetic modification should be utilized for moral purposes. These would include curing people of genetically related diseases like Crohn’s Disease through manipulation of the NOD2 gene possibly and ALS through another though unknown gene to me. What about the introduction of new types of crops which could rival current grains like wheat and corn with the enhancement of vitamins and minerals necessary for good health? How about new species of animals for the wilderness regions of Earth and for domestication purposes? Lastly, I believe one day, possibly within the next century, that people who are considered old could receive introductions of stem cells to replace all the various cells of the human body and become young again. This might seem science fiction to many, but if humanity can find the key to change human skin cells and revert them to stem cells, reprogram them to contain identical genetic information to someone in need, and inserted these stem cells into the body, would they grow younger? Regardless of whether or not these questions are answered, I suspect someone like me could participate in this new industry of scientific awe and wonder.
I refuse to believe humanity should wait to colonize the universe until all the problems on Earth are solved first. Besides, there will always be problems no matter what our current goals are, it’s part of the process towards greater achievement. I propose my support for the colonization of specifically the planet Mars and the Earth’s moon, the latter being the first step towards interplanetary societies. Forget the expensive cost of rocket launches, which SpaceX has managed to solve through innovation by having pieces of the rocket land at a specific location outside salty bodies of water, everybody cries out that cost is always a barrier to achieving something big. But we must remember, how much money is spent on technologies to kill each other? Exactly, if we stopped this war racket, there would be plenty of money space exploration and colonization. I might not wish to be in the first generation of space explorers who go beyond the moon, but I will certainly plan on going into space should the opportunity arise as a commercial option.