Submitted by Josepth Jankowski via PlanetFreeWill.com,
While the development of new genome-editing technology that could one day ensure that children do not inherit unwanted diseases and disorders sounds like a magnificent breakthrough, one scientist is warning that the latest technology runs the risk of eliminating future geniuses like Thomas Edison and Stephen Hawking.
According to Dr. Jim Kozubek, author of Modern Prometheus, eliminating conditions such as depression, autism, schizophrenia or Asperger's through the new Crispr-Cas9 human genome editing technology runs the risk of seeing future generations of geniuses wiped out.
Dr Kozubek said a world without depression, autism, schizophrenia or Asperger’s might also mean one without the likes of playwright Tennessee Williams, as figures show that writers are ten times more like to suffer from bipolar than the general population and poets are 40 times more likely to be diagnosed with it.
Dr Kozubek said: “Thomas Edison was ‘addled’ and kicked out of school. Tennessee Williams, as a teenager on the boulevards of Paris felt afraid of ‘the process of thought’ and came within ‘a hairsbreadth of going quite mad’.
Kozubek says that “Darwin showed us that evolution does not progress toward an ideal concept or model, but rather is a work of tinkering toward adaptation in local niches.”
He added that a condition like autism should be thought of as a “gift” that has made its was through human genes for millions of years.
“Before we begin modifying our genes with gene editing tools such as Crispr-Cas9, we’d be smart to recall that genetic variants that contribute to psychiatric conditions may even be beneficial depending on the environment or genetic background,” Kozubek said.
Crispr-Cas9 is a new technology that enables geneticists and medical researchers to edit parts of the genome by removing, adding or altering sections of the DNA sequence.
Dr. Kozubek’s rather shocking warning comes as human trials using Crispr are already underway inside the United States.
The first human trials involving the method began in China where oncologists at Sichuan University were the first in the world to insert Crispr edited cells into a patient suffering from an aggressive form of lung cancer.
Last year, British scientists at the University College London used a similar gene editing technique to help a 17-month-old girl with leukemia.
Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have recently used CRISPR/Cas9 gene targeting system to mice to treat hemophilia B.
As a result of a change in department requirements, history majors at George Washington University are no longer required to take a U.S. history course in order to graduate. Although professors claim that most student opt to take a U.S. history course voluntarily, it is now possible to receive a history degree from George Washington University without studying United States history.
The change was made to “recruit students” to the major in the increasingly “globalized” world. Denver Brunsman, an associate professor of history at George Washington claimed that the change allows students to study history from an increasingly globalized perspective.
“I think an important change in the history major has been to make our major actually reflect the field of history the way that historians study it now,” Brunsman said. “In the past – and I think our old standards reflected this – it was very common to have students take a class in American history, in European history and maybe, just maybe, something else, another part of the world.”
« Last Edit: Dec 28th, 2016, 04:40am by Sys_Config »
Re: Stuff and Nonsense Unleashed
« Reply #502 on: Dec 28th, 2016, 10:52am »
Alaskans battle a unique problem: Dirty winter air
By Linda Hervieux Published December 27, 2016
In this file photo, ice fog envelops downtown Fairbanks, Alaska. (Eric Engman/Fairbanks Daily News-Miner via AP, File)
Odds are old Saint Nick was happy to flee the North Pole to make his annual rounds this Christmas. A dirty haze has settled over this part of northern Alaska, hovering over streets named Santa Claus Lane.
The New York Times pins the blame on what it calls an "only-in-Alaska" pollution problem: People use old, inefficient wood-burning stoves, and when the smoke goes out their chimneys, frigid temperatures force it back down to ground level.
That results in the highest readings in the nation of a pollution measure called PM 2.5, which refers to fine-particulate matter. In fact, the area suffered a record stretch of six consecutive days earlier this month with air deemed unhealthy, reports the Fairbanks News-Miner.
This ground-level pollution is seen as particularly dangerous because it can get directly into lungs. The dirty woodstove problem is particularly pronounced in the Fairbanks-North Pole area, about the size of New Jersey.
With cleaner natural gas in short supply and heating oil expensive, wood is the fuel of choice as temperatures hover around minus 20 below. Upgrading to a more efficient wood stove is expensive, even with local government assistance, and many independent Alaskans balk at the cost—and being told what to do.
(An education campaign is trying to spread the word that upgrading is actually a wise investment, notes the Frontiersman.) Failing to comply could result in residents being fined, and the borough losing federal transportation funds if the EPA declares the area in violation of the Clean Air Act.
Re: Stuff and Nonsense Unleashed
« Reply #503 on: Dec 28th, 2016, 1:39pm »
Carrie Fisher's cherished dog -- a 4-year-old pooch named Gary -- will now be cared for by Carrie's daughter ... TMZ has learned.
Family friends are telling us Billie Lourd will take custody of the French bulldog, which was by Carrie's side on the plane from London to LAX when Carrie's heart stopped. The pooch also visited Carrie at UCLA Medical Center.
Billie already has a French bulldog named Tina, that's best friends with Gary. We're told she wants to make sure the 2 get along in the long term and she's able to handle the added responsibility.
A family source told TMZ, Carrie always wanted Billie to take Gary if something happened to her. If, for some reason, Billie can't care for Gary for the long haul, the dog will remain in the family.
The dog was like a child to Carrie, who carted her best friend almost everywhere she went ... even interviews.
A murder in Arkansas may change the way people behave around smart devices. A warrant has been issued for an Amazon Echo, revealing that Amazon may retain recordings on a server for law enforcement investigations.
UPDATE, READ MORE: Amazon denies police Echo data sought in murder case warrant
An Amazon Echo was cited in a warrant related to a November 2015 murder in Bentonville, Arkansas. While other smart devices were identified, police have pinned some specific hopes on the Echo for a simple reason: it never stops listening.
The Echo is only activated after a user says its wake, or activation, word. But once triggered, it records snippets of things said that are then sent to an Amazon cloud. A speech-recognition network moves things along until a response is sent back to the device, where it obeys a user’s commands.
Echo owners may be familiar with the companion app, which stores all requests to be listened to and cherished. But that’s not the only thing it does with those recordings. Amazon holds on to that data allegedly with the purpose of improving its voice assistant services, according to CNET.
The Echo in question belonged to James Andrew Bates, who is facing a first-degree murder charge for allegedly strangling and drowning Victor Collins in Bates’ hot tub.
Amazon twice refused the requests from Bentonville law enforcement. In a statement to Engadget, Amazon said: "Amazon will not release customer information without a valid and binding legal demand properly served on us. Amazon objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course.”
However, it provided investigators with Bates’ account details, including purchases. In addition, investigators were allegedly able to recover information from the speakers but did not specify what type.
It is likely that authorities are hoping that Echo’s eavesdropping technology accidentally led to it being activated by music, conversation, or ambient noises and created a recording containing any information relevant to Collins’ death.
The warrant did not only cover Bates’ Echo. His home was furnished with an array of smart devices that use Internet of Things technology such as a Nest thermostat, a Honeywell alarm system, wireless weather monitoring in the backyard and WeMo devices for lighting.
In fact, police seem to have already relied on his smart meter that measures electricity and water usage. Police found that on the night of the murder, Bates used roughly 140 gallons of water between 1:00am and 3:00am. Investigators believe that this could be a sign that he had used water to wash away evidence of what happened on his hot tub patio, Engadget reported.
Regardless of what’s discovered on the Echo, the use of evidence gathered from smart devices has been controversial. Kimberly Weber, Bates’ attorney, told Engadget: “You have an expectation of privacy in your home, and I have a big problem that law enforcement can use the technology that advances our quality of life against us.”
This wouldn’t be the first time someone’s digital footprint has been held against them in a court of law. Prosecutors in the infamous 2011 Casey Anthony trial tried to connect her Google searches for words like “chloroform,” “chest trauma” and “neck breaking” to the murder of her two-year-old daughter.
Also in 2011, the confession a 16-year-old Canadian boy made in a World of Warcraft chat of the murder of another teenager was used against him, along with text messages made allegedly where the body was dumped.
Re: Stuff and Nonsense Unleashed
« Reply #507 on: Dec 29th, 2016, 06:47am »
GOOD MORNING ALL
The FOIA Request That the CIA Didn't Touch for Six Years
Get it together, CIA.
by JPat Brown December 28, 2016
Back in 2011, MuckRock user Jason Smathers filed a FOIA with the CIA for all responses they had sent to requesters containing the term “record systems.” This was a reference to two earlier rejections he had received from the Agency, which cited the inability to preform a search in the system based on the terms Smathers had provided.
In response, the agency sent him partially redacted copies of those same two rejections.
GREAT SPIRITS ALWAYS ENCOUNTER THE MOST VIOLENT OPPOSITION FROM MEDIOCRE MINDS E=MC2
Re: Stuff and Nonsense Unleashed
« Reply #509 on: Dec 30th, 2016, 09:22am »
BUENOS DIAS ~ BOM DIA ~ BON MATIN ~ BUONGIORNO ~ GOEDEMORGEN ~ GOOD MORNING CRYSTAL ~ AND INDEED YOU ERUDITES WHOM DINE A LA CASEBOOK CAFE'
WANTED TO WISH ALL A SAFE AND CERTAINLY PROSPEROUS HAPPY NEW YEAR ~ HAVING SAID THE AFOREMENTIONED AND "COMET" HAS BEEN IN THE NEWS CYCLE RECENTLY ~ WE ~ A LA CASEBOOK CAFE' ~ ALWAYS OFFER A DIFFERENT SLICE
Apart from the traditional fireworks and illuminated ball in Times Square, look for a blazing comet to light the night sky on New Year’s Eve.
“Say farewell to 2016 in cosmic style by looking up to see the #NewYearsEve #comet on December 31,” the laboratory said in a Wednesday Instagram post.
Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova will be near the moon on New Year's Eve, NASA said.
The comet, NASA said, was expected to appear in the western horizon on Dec. 15 and had a bluish-green head by Dec. 21. The comet is a periodic comet, which returns to the inner solar system about every 5 years.
Dr. David Reitzel, an astronomical lecturer at Griffith Observatory in California, said the comet is visible now using a telescope or strong binoculars. On Saturday, people should point their instruments to the west just after sunset to catch a glimpse of the comet, which will be just to the left of the crescent moon. For a good view, go somewhere away from residential lights.
SHALOM...ZZZ EDIT TO ADD:
FOR ALL THOSE COMET WATCHERS ~ It looks like 2017 may be a good year for comet spotting.