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Scientists in China edit human genome in embryos for the first time

New study confirms rumors in the scientific community, heralds new debate over the ethics of human genetic engineering

By James Vincent on April 23, 2015

For the first time ever, scientists have reported editing the genetic code in human embryos. The work, carried out by researchers in China, sought to remove a gene responsible for a potentially fatal blood disorder using embryos sourced from a local fertility clinic. Although the study purposely used a type of embryo incapable of developing into a live birth, scientists have warned about the ethical implications of the work. The technique used to edit the genetic material — known as CRISPR — is potentially capable of not only removing diseases from the human genome, but also enhancing traits such as intelligence and beauty.

Nature News notes that rumors about the work, led by Junjiu Huang of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, have been circulating for a while in the scientific community. Scientists responded preemptively in March, calling for a temporary worldwide ban on the use of CRISPR to edit human genes until the implications had been better examined. In an article published in the journal Science, leading biologists warned about the dangers of altering the human germline (meaning permanent changes to the egg, sperm, or embryo that can be passed on to future generations). They note that the "enormous opportunities" of such genetic engineering come with "unknown risks to human health and well-being."

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Americans in Canada racing to give up passports

"In every U.S. election, there are always threats by Americans that they’ll flee to Canada if the candidate they hate wins. Those threats rarely come to anything.

But thanks to a 2014 intergovernmental agreement committing Canada to provide the banking information of Americans living here to the IRS, there appears to be mad rush by some Americans to renounce their U.S. citizenship, and stay here - forever.

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McConnell Introduces Bill to Reauthorize Patriot Act Until 2020

National Journal - April 21, 2015 - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a bill Tuesday night that would reauthorize a controversial surveillance authority of the Patriot Act until 2020, a push that comes just as a group of bipartisan lawmakers is preparing a last-minute push to rein in the government's mass-spying powers.

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Pharmaceutical Drug Company Whistleblowers

He is not making up that story about glaucoma / eyelash growth. We used it on glaucoma patients, they grew ABNORMAL eyelashes. They were long and dark, and sometimes grew the wrong direction. The drug also may turn your eyes from blue to brown. The patients who experienced this side effect were generally not happy about it. I was stunned when I saw it being marketed for cosmetic reasons, it is absurd.

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Hydraulic Fracturing & Earthquakes Linked since 1990

Within the United States, injection of fluid into deep wells has triggered documented earthquakes in Colorado, Texas, New York, New Mexico, Nebraska, and Ohio and possibly in Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Mississippi...most are associated with water-flooding operations for the purpose of secondary recovery of hydrocarbons.

http://pubs.usgs.gov/bul/1951/report.pdf

U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY BULLETIN 1951 - Prepared in cooperation with the Environmental Protection Agency

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CA Senate Committee Approves Bill to Require Vaccinations for ALL School Children - Even Private

Vaccines have been all the talk lately this year, sparking intense debate in all social circles regardless of political bent. This largely stemmed from the outbreak of measles which occurred at Disneyland this past January. For a few weeks it seemed like everyone from your favorite quasi-libertarian politician to your high school Facebook friend you haven’t actually seen in real life in twenty years had something to say about the issue.

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Rand Paul’s Internet Army

Welcome to the front lines of the battle for your Facebook news feed.

By TOM BARTLETT

Vincent Harris wants details, and he’s not getting them. The 26-year-old political consultant is quizzing two Facebook guys who’ve showed up at the Austin headquarters of his media firm, and all he’s getting back is a pat lecture about the value of social networking for online campaigns.

Harris and the dozen staffers gathered in his company’s conference room don’t exactly need to be convinced: This is what they do. And by the time the 2016 presidential campaign is over, these twentysomethings expect to be paid millions of dollars for doing it well. They already spend all day everyday on the digital front lines, producing content—videos, graphics, games—tailored specifically for Facebook, tallying likes and clicks, dissecting what caught fire and what fell flat. They already get why Facebook matters. What they want to know is how to crack the code.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/04/rand-paul-2016-social-med...

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NYC City Council Speaker Wants Cops to Stop Arresting People for Petty BS

NYC City Council Speaker Wants Cops to Stop Arresting People for Petty BS
April 21, 2015 | By John Surico

Between 2001 and 2013, according to an analysis by the New York Daily News, nearly 2.7 million New Yorkers were issued criminal summonses for publicly consuming alcohol, urinating in public, riding a bicycle on the sidewalk, being in a park after dark, failing to obey a park sign, littering, or making unreasonable noise. Hundreds of thousands of them had to appear in court for these seven minor offenses, waiting on a line that can stretch the length of a city block just to stand in front of a judge, plead guilty, and pay a fine. Yes, your honor, I pissed outside.

But if City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has her way, this dreary, daily routine of the New York criminal justice system may be a thing of the past. On Monday, the Daily News and other local outlets reported her office is busy scripting a proposal that would decriminalize those seven offenses, which according to the News, have made up roughly 42 percent of all summonses issued between 2001 and 2013. A City Council spokesperson said the category of offenses would essentially shift from criminal to civil—an idea put forward in the Speaker's State of the City address in February.

People who are caught drinking outside or pissing in an inappropriate place are currently allowed to mail in a guilty plea and a fine, but under Mark-Viverito's plan, you'll also be able to pay fines for five other minor offenses that way. Also, failure to pay won't result in a warrant being issued for your arrest; rather, you'd be hit with a default monetary judgment. That's a big deal, given that there are reportedly 510,000 open arrest warrants related to these crimes. (Jumping a subway turnstile, which the Council Speaker spokesperson said the office is also looking into, led to over 25,000 arrests last year, making it one of the city's leading causes of jail time.)The Speaker's proposal caps off what has been a week's worth of reform news from New York, as Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced that he is seeking a citywide summons reform package too. But while his proposal is focused on fixing what happens inside the courthouse—the way you're notified of your court date, how long it takes to resolve a case, etc.—the Speaker's proposal goes beyond that by seeking to cut down on the number of arrests, which disproportionately affect minorities.

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