Monday, May 23, 2016
One of H.G. Wells more disturbing sci-fi stories is the Island of Dr. Moreau, where a mad scientist has been creating human animal hybrids. Now 5/18/16 NPR reports on somewhat similar efforts:
A handful of scientists around the United States are trying to do something that some people find disturbing: make embryos that are part human, part animal.
The researchers hope these embryos, known as chimeras, could eventually help save the lives of people with a wide range of diseases.
One way would be to use chimera embryos to create better animal models to study how human diseases happen and how they progress.
Perhaps the boldest hope is to create farm animals that have human organs that could be transplanted into terminally ill patients.
But some scientists and bioethicists worry the creation of these interspecies embryos crosses the line. "You're getting into unsettling ground that I think is damaging to our sense of humanity," says Stuart Newman, a professor of cell biology and anatomy at the New York Medical College.
The experiments are so sensitive that the National Institutes of Health has imposed amoratorium on funding them while officials explore the ethical issues they raise.
Nevertheless, a small number of researchers are pursuing the work with alternative funding. They hope the results will persuade the NIH to lift the moratorium.
"We're not trying to make a chimera just because we want to see some kind of monstrous creature," says Pablo Ross, a reproductive biologist at the University of California, Davis. "We're doing this for a biomedical purpose."
The NIH is expected to announce soon how it plans to handle requests for funding.
Recently, Ross agreed to let me visit his lab for an unusual look at his research. During the visit, Ross demonstrated how he is trying to create a pancreas that theoretically could be transplanted into a patient with diabetes.
Sunday, May 22, 2016
Back in the 1990s, I worked in marketing for Diamond Lane Communications, one of the pioneers in DSL access multiplexers. Then Nokia bought us cheap. After I left Nokia, Alcatel bought their DL operation. Rather like this:
When writing some promotional literature, I explained megabit Internet service would enable highly specialized videos to have a distribution market not possible with video rental stores. (These are an ancient, nearly forgotten enterprise in the era of Netflix and Redbox.)
The examples I gave of such narrow market specialized videos were "Helicopter Maintenance for Fun and Profit" and "Janet Reno Dances the Dance of 10,000 Veils." Little did I know that lemon-lime shaving cream would soon be that narrow. I used to buy this when I was young and now no store carries it except...Amazon.
Saturday, May 21, 2016
5/22/16 New York Times:
On a four-day journey through this lush swath of China’s Zhejiang Province, I spoke with residents who described in new detail the breathtaking scale of an effort to remove Christianity’s most potent symbol from public view. Over the past two years, officials and residents said, the authorities have torn down crosses from 1,200 to 1,700 churches, sometimes after violent clashes with worshipers trying to stop them.
“It’s been very difficult to deal with,” said one church elder in Shuitou, who like others asked for anonymity in fear of retaliation by the authorities. “We can only get on our knees and pray.”
The campaign has been limited to Zhejiang Province, home to one of China’s largest and most vibrant Christian populations. But people familiar with the government’s deliberations say the removal of crosses here has set the stage for a new, nationwide effort to more strictly regulate spiritual life in China, reflecting the tighter control of society favored by President Xi Jinping.
In a major speech on religious policy last month, Mr. Xi urged the ruling Communist Party to “resolutely guard against overseas infiltrations via religious means,” and he warned that religions in China must “Sinicize,” or become Chinese. The instructions reflect the government’s longstanding fear that Christianity could undermine the party’s authority. Many human rights lawyers in China are Christians, and many dissidents have said they are influenced by the idea that rights are God-given.Now you know why progressives are so intent on marginalizing Christianity here.
REDMOND, Ore. — B.J. Soper took aim with his AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and fired a dozen shots at a human silhouette target. Soper’s wife and their 16-year-old daughter practiced drawing pistols. Then Soper helped his 4-year-old daughter, in pink sneakers and a ponytail, work on her marksmanship with a .22-caliber rifle.
Deep in the heart of a vast U.S. military training ground, surrounded by spent shotgun shells and juniper trees blasted to shreds, the Central Oregon Constitutional Guard was conducting its weekly firearms training.
“The intent is to be able to work together and defend ourselves if we need to,” said Soper, 40, a building contractor who is an emerging leader in a growing national movement rooted in distrust of the federal government, one that increasingly finds itself in armed conflicts with authorities.
Those in the movement call themselves patriots, demanding that the federal government adhere to the Constitution and stop what they see as systematic abuse of land rights, gun rights, freedom of speech and other liberties.
Law enforcement officials call them dangerous, delusional and sometimes violent, and say that their numbers are growing amid a wave of anger at the government that has been gaining strength since 2008, a surge that coincided with the election of the first black U.S. president and a crippling economic recession....
President Obama’s progressive policies and the tough economic times have inflamed anti-government anger, the same vein of rage into which Donald Trump has tapped during his Republican presidential campaign, said Potok and Mark Pitcavage, who works with the Anti-Defamation League and has monitored extremism for 20 years.
Much of the movement traces its roots to the deadly 1990s confrontations between civilians and federal agents at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and in Waco, Tex., that resulted in the deaths of as many as 90. Timothy McVeigh cited both events before he was executed for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people, and said he had deliberately chosen a building housing federal government agencies.At least are saying coincided and not directly blaming this on racism. If only they could spend some time in America's shoes, jobs, and stop blaming this on people "clinging to their gun and Bibles."
Doubling down on his feud with the Democratic Party leadership, Senator Bernie Sanders said that if elected president, he will not reappoint Democratic National Committee chairwoman, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida.
He made the comments during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper that is set to air on Sunday. Mr. Sanders also said he was supporting Tim Canova, a law professor who has begun an insurgent campaign against Ms. Wasserman Schultz for her South Florida congressional seat. They will face off in a primary this summer.
“Well, clearly, I favor her opponent,” Mr. Sanders told Mr. Tapper. “His views are much closer to mine.”
For months, Mr. Sanders has accused the party of favoring Hillary Clinton, often calling her the “anointed candidate.”Seriously, the Sanders/Clinton squabble is now much worse than the 1980 Democrat intraparty fight.