This weekend I am participating in an interdisciplinary think tank on Sea Island. The idea is that the organizers get a bunch of people together from different fields, invite them hang out together for three intensive days at a fancy resort, get each participant to give a talk about their own work, and then have everyone discuss it all over drinks and meals.

I shared a shuttle bus ride from the airport with Jack Horner. He is a noted paleontologist who, among other things, is studying how dinosaurs might be brought back to life.

The most promising approach, as I understand it, is to start with birds, which share a lot of DNA with dinosaurs. After all, birds evolved from dinosaurs. Then you use cutting edge science to transform those birds into dinosaurs (lots of technical details omitted).

Jack was telling me that there are many more possible ways to use the same technology. “For example,” he said, “you could create a duck with the head of an alligator or crocodile.”

“Wait,” I told him, “that sounds like a bad joke.”

“How so?” he asked.

“Imagine,” I said, “that it’s some time in the future, when all of this technology has been perfected. A man walks into a restaurant.

“Waiter,” the guy says, “I’ll have that new thing — the duck with the head of a crocodile.”

“Ok,” the waiter replies, “If that’s what you really want. But just wait until you see the bill.”

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