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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.

OHSU/KRISTYNA WENTZ-GRAFF

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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Should There Be Another Constitutional Convention in New York?

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New Yorkers have the chance to vote whether they want to hold a constitutional convention to amend, tweak or otherwise improve the founding document of the state every twenty years. Voters have demuurred for the past 50 years. Come November, however, academics, good-government groups and others believe the outcome of the ballot question may be different. But before voters confront the ballot question, they will no doubt be barraged by aka “Con-Con”,  campaigns for and against a constitutional convention. Nonprofit groups interested in issues including campaign finance reform, redistricting, term limits and the legalization of marijuana have come out in favor of a convention. At the same time, unions like the United Federation of Teachers and state legislative leaders have argued against a convention, saying it could repeal hallowed protections.

Speakers waiting their turn at the opening session of the New York State Constitutional Convention in 1967 included, seated from left, Senator Jacob K. Javits, Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller, Chief Justice Earl Warren and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Credit Bettmann, via Getty Images

Delegates assembled for the opening session of the 1938 constitutional convention in Albany. Credit The New York Times

If voters approve a convention, delegates would be elected in 2018, with the convention held the next year. It remains to be seen.

CIA, WIKI LEAKS​ & VAULT 7

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Wiki Leaks has dubbed it Code- “Vault 7” and it is the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency.

More on   VAULT 7

Artificial Intelligence, Racism & The Whitehouse

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Artificial intelligence is currently being used by law enforcement across North America to identify convicts at risk of re-offending and high-risk areas for crime. However,recent reports reveal that  AI will disproportionately target or otherwise disadvantage people of colour. 

Example: If a data set contains a bunch of faces of mostly white people, or if the workers who assembled a more diverse dataset (even unintentionally) rated white faces as being more attractive than non-white faces, then any computer program trained on that data would likely “believe” that white people are more attractive than non-white.

Read The Report Here

More On It Here

View my Archives about AI & Beauty pagents

Teen Hacks Government FTP Servers

 

caramel6_001Teen hacker using the alias “Fear” hacked hundreds of FTP servers owned by the U.S. government. The hacker first  gained access to one server, but then discovered that it listed the access credentials to all FTP servers residing on the .us and .gov domains. The .us servers include public data, private data, program source code, and more sensitive data, while the hacker wouldn’t say what’s loaded on the .gov sites. The teen hacker managed to grab credit card numbers from the First Bank of Ohio because the government has access to that particular bank. In turn, the bank stores the sensitive numbers across several SQL tables, which is a form of Excel-like data storage within a database. Moreover, one FTP server located within Florida wasn’t even password protected. It reportedly serves up one file with 267 million records, one file with 76 million records, another one with 400 million records, and more. Since then, that specific FTP server has now become password protected (even though that may be a case of closing the barn door after the data-rich cow has gotten out). the teen managed to collect credit card numbers by the thousands, and social security numbers by the millions. He managed to get the details of state employees including their telephone numbers, names, addresses, and government positions. Apparently, the FTP sites owned by the U.S. government depend on passwords with only five characters. Soon after the federal government shut down the main .us FTP server.

A Safety Warning From The United States Military’s Sprawling Joint Base Lewis-McChord

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“DO NOT chase Pokémon into controlled or restricted areas, office buildings, or homes on base,” it said, in a Facebook post aimed at “budding Pokemon Trainers using Pokemon Go on JBLM.”

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