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Department Of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Coming To Virginia’s Local Libraries

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The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles is bringing its DMV Connect program to select branches of Central Rappahannock Regional Library.

DMV Connect was developed to serve Virginians who may not be able to travel to a DMV office. Customers will be able to get and renew ID cards, licenses and learners’ permits. Customers can also take care of titles, vehicle registrations, transfers and plate returns. DMV Connect is not able to perform any testing or provide birth, death or marriage certificates.

On Friday, DMV Connect will be at Snow Branch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It will return to Snow Branch on Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

On Nov. 20, Fredericksburg Branch will host DMV Connect, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the Library Theater. It will be back at Fredericksburg Branch on Dec. 15 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Meeting Room 1.

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They’re Now Editing Embryos Here In America

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MIT Technology Review has learned that the first known attempt at creating genetically modified human embryos in the United States has been carried out by a team of researchers in Portland, Oregon.

The experiment, led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov of Oregon Health and Science University, involved changing the DNA of a large number of one-cell embryos with the gene-editing technique CRISPR, according to people familiar with the scientific results.

To date, three previous reports of editing human embryos were all published by scientists in China. None of the embryos were allowed to develop for more than a few days—and they claim that there was never any intention of implanting them into a womb—

Scientists claim their objective is to show that they can eradicate or correct genes that cause inherited disease, like the blood condition beta-thalassemia. The process is termed “germline engineering” because any genetically modified child would then pass the changes on to subsequent generations via their own germ cells—the egg and sperm.

Some critics say germline experiments could open the floodgates to a brave new world of “designer babies” engineered with genetic enhancements—a prospect bitterly opposed by a range of religious organizations, civil society groups, and biotech companies.The U.S. intelligence community last year called CRISPR a potential “weapon of mass destruction.”

Shoukhrat Mitalipov is the first U.S.-based scientist known to have edited the DNA of human embryos.

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A person familiar with the research says “many tens” of human IVF embryos were created for the experiment using the donated sperm of men carrying inherited disease mutations.

Mitalipov’s group appears to have overcome earlier difficulties by “getting in early” and injecting CRISPR into the eggs at the same time they were fertilized with sperm.

Tony Perry of Bath University, Successfully edited the mouse gene for coat color, changing the fur of the offspring from the expected brown to white.

Somewhat prophetically, Perry’s paper on the research, published at the end of 2014, said, “This or analogous approaches may one day enable human genome targeting or editing during very early development.”

Mitalipov was Born in Kazakhstan when it was part of the former Soviet Union. In 2007, he unveiled the world’s first cloned monkeys. Then, in 2013, he created human embryos through cloning, as a way of creating patient-specific stem cells.

His team’s move into embryo editing coincides with a report by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in February that was widely seen as providing a green light for lab research on germline modification.

The report also offered qualified support for the use of CRISPR for making gene-edited babies, but only if it were deployed for the elimination of serious diseases.

The advisory committee drew a red line at genetic enhancements—like higher intelligence. “Genome editing to enhance traits or abilities beyond ordinary health raises concerns about whether the benefits can outweigh the risks, and about fairness if available only to some people,” said Alta Charo, co-chair of the NAS’s study committee and professor of law and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

In the U.S., any effort to turn an edited IVF embryo into a baby has been blocked by Congress, which added language to the Department of Health and Human Services funding bill forbidding it from approving clinical trials of the concept.

 

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Appropriations Committee Voted To Approve Funding for Libraries

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The full House Appropriations Committee voted to approve FY2018 funding for libraries. By a 28-22 margin, the committee approved the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) funding bill, which proposes roughly $231 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)—including $183.6 million for Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) programs, and $27 million for the Department of Education’s Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program—essentially at 2017 funding levels.

In addition to saving the IMLS, the LHHS bill includes level funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. However, it funds the Department of Education (DOE) at $66 billion—a cut of $2.4 billion from 2017, which includes the elimination of some important library-related programs, including the DOE’s Striving Readers program. ALA officials said they would work to restore it.

Meanwhile, on July 18, the House Appropriations Committee approved by a 30-21 margin the FY2018 Interior and Environment Appropriations, which includes $145 million each for the NEH and the NEA, roughly equal to FY 2017 funding levels.

The key votes come after President Trump’s call  in May to eliminate IMLS and virtually all federal funding for libraries, as well as a host of other vital programs and agencies, including the NEH and the NEA. And, it comes after Congress, earlier in May, passed a belated 2017 budget that actually upped the IMLS, NEH, and NEA budgets.

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If Your Face Is Scanned the Next Time You Fly……………………HUH?

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Scanned Face

There’s unsurety as to what the Government is doing with the images. They say, Facial-recognition systems may indeed speed up the boarding process, however, the real reason they are cropping up in U.S. airports is that the government wants to keep better track of who is leaving the country, by scanning travelers’ faces and verifying those scans against photos it already has on file. The idea is that this will catch fake passports and make sure people aren’t overstaying their visas. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has partnered with airlines including JetBlue and Delta to introduce such recognition systems at New York’s JFK International Airport, Washington’s Dulles International, and airports in Atlanta, Boston, and Houston, among others. It plans to add more this summer.

“As It Searches for Suspects, the FBI May Be Looking at You”). Privacy advocates also point out that research has shown the technology to be less accurate with older photos and with images of women, African-Americans, and children (see “Is Facial Recognition Accurate? Depends on Your Race”).

 

 

Quantum Technology To Eliminate Counterfeit Products & Fake Goods

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Researchers have created a unique atomic-scale identifications based on the irregularities found in 2D materials like graphene, making it possible to fingerprint them in simple electronic devices and optical tags. Because of the materials used, the small tags could be edible and coated onto medicines.

The counterfeit industry is a huge market with imports of counterfeited or fake agoods costing nearly $500 billion in lost revenue around the world annually, with counterfeit medicines accounting for nearly $200 billion alone.

The team is also showcasing the new technology through a smartphone app that allows people to check on their own the authenticity of a product by reading whether a product is real or fake.

The customer can scan the optical tag with the app that matches the 2D tag with the manufacturer’s database.

The researchers expect the patented technology and smartphone app to be available publicly in 2018.

When light is shone on graphene, tiny imperfections shine causing the material to emit light that can be measured as a signal, unique only to that small section of material. The signal can be turned into a digital fingerprint with a number sequence.

The study was published in 2D Materials.

On the other hand in another report by the European Union,  says  this

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The San Francisco metro area was the top location for venture capital investment in the country, hauling in $23.4 billion—more than triple the VC investment in Silicon Valley proper in 2016. New York had virtually zero VC-backed startups in the 1980s, but last year it took in $7.6 billion, eclipsing Silicon Valley as well. Boston and Cambridge were close, with $6 billion. Los Angeles drew $5.5 billion. The likes of Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook continue to maintain suburban campuses, but more than half of venture-capital-financed startups are now in dense urban neighborhoods. Amazon’s headquarters are located in downtown Seattle, and Google has now taken over the old Port Authority building in Manhattan.

Researchers say The migration of high-tech startups to cities is less of a reversal and more of a historical correction.

For years, economists, mayors, and urbanists believed that high-tech development was an unalloyed good thing and that more high-tech startups and more venture capital investment would “lift all boats.” However, the reality is that high-tech development has caused in a new phase of what’s called winner-take-all urbanism, where a relatively small number of metro areas, and a small number of neighborhoods within them, capture most of the benefits.  Middle-class neighborhoods have been hollowed out in the process. In 1970, about two-thirds of Americans lived in middle-class neighborhoods; today less than 40 percent of us do. The middle-­class share of the population shrank in a whopping 203 out of 229 U.S. metro areas between 2000 and 2014. And places, where the middle class is the least include such superstar cities and tech hubs as New York, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, Houston, and Washington, D.C.

The high-tech industry remains a major driver of economic progress jobs and much-needed tax revenues that cities can use to address and mitigate the problems that come with financial success.

Researchers suggest that they can work with cities to help build more housing, which would reduce housing prices.

WannaCry Ransomeware

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The worm called WannaCry infected  200,000 computers in more than 150 countries, tied the UK health service in knots, took out the Spanish phone company, made train travelers in Germany chaotic, and took big swipes out of FedEx, Renault, a reported 29,000 Chinese institutions, and networks all over Russia—including the Russian Interior Ministry.

Can you get infected by Wanna Cry Ransomeware?

No. MalwareTech defanged the malware. Although there are a few extraordinary situations where the threat persists (in particular if your network blocks access to one odd website), for most people, WannaCry has been out of commission since late Friday.

Well Do I  need to worry about it right now?

Yes. There have been reports from Matt Suiche of a new WannaCry variant that’s been sinkholed with 10,000 infections logged. The clones are coming, and many of them won’t be easy to stop. You have to get your Windows PC patched now.

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