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Voltaire2's Journal
Voltaire2's Journal
February 18, 2018

Calling B.S. in Parkland, Florida

Last Thursday evening, I arrived at Pine Trails Park, in Parkland, Florida, just as the candlelight vigil to honor the dead was ending. The cars were still arriving, in long lines that gleamed under halogen streetlights, waved through intersections by officers of the Broward County Sheriff’s Department. Flashlights and phone lights bobbed along the sidewalks that bordered the road as families passed on foot or on bikes. It was just past eight o’clock, darkness had fallen over the palm glades and cul de sacs and strip malls of this city at the edge of the Everglades, and if you hadn’t known the circumstances, you might have expected a Fourth of July celebration.
Instead, the people here had gathered for a different kind of national ritual. In Parkland, Florida, after the fatal shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School this Valentine’s Day, the aftermath had at first a familiar pattern: the initial news alerts; then the psychological profiles of the killer; the repetition of “thought and prayers,” the news scrum, this vigil. The funerals would begin the next day, but the long-term prospect was of another lull in the debate until the next act of spectacular violence—a routine so predictable that a couple of days later I saw that someone in Fort Lauderdale had drawn it in imitation of the Krebs Cycle and printed it on a T-shirt. The first hint that something might be different this time came the morning after the shootings, from a Douglas High School sophomore named Sarah Chadwick, who informed the President of the United States, via his favorite medium, in words that quickly went viral, “I don’t want your condolences you fucking piece of shit, my friends and teachers were shot.”

February 14, 2018

Does anyone here think thoughts and prayers

is an appropriate response to yet another gun massacre?

February 12, 2018

Its Darwin Day!

February 9, 2018

Can Religion Explain Why Americans Are So Easily Duped by Fake News?

Novelist and journalist Kurt Andersen offers a compelling theory.

As Protestant Christians became more extreme, the Republican Party was similarly becoming more extreme.

“So, one thing that has happened, and one thing that has led the Republican Party to fantasy and wishful untruth more and more into its approach to policy…are now in the Republican mainstream,” Andersen argued.

Falsehoods like President Barack Obama is a secret Muslim or climate change is a Chinese hoax are all issues that are easy to believe if “fantasy and wishful untruths” are the norm. That makes it easier to accept conspiracy theories or fake news.

Anderson explained that he doesn’t care if people believe what they want to believe in private. However, when religious belief “bleeds over into how we manage and construct our economy and our society,” there’s a problem that will cause lasting trouble for the country.


February 8, 2018

The FBI hasn't found any evidence that border patrol agent was murdered

CNN: https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/08/us/border-patrol-agent-death-investigation/index.html

But Trump will continue to believe that “illegals” murdered him.

And as we’ve been told here, non-belief without evidence is equivalent to belief without evidence, Trump’s position is valid and justified until the FBI proves the agent wasn’t murdered.

February 3, 2018

Two sisters charged with torturing girl, 5, and boy, 8, in alleged voodoo rituals in East Bridgewate

The Randolph hairstylist said her two young children — a 5-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy — had been behaving badly “due to evil spirits,’’ so last month she took them to two sisters who she claimed could cast out the demons.

During a five-day period in an East Bridgewater apartment, according to police documents, one of the sisters threatened to cut off the boy’s head. They allegedly blew fire into the girl’s face, burning her and inflicting permanent disfigurement. And on two occasions, the sisters and the girl’s mother held her down, and used a sharp object resembling a needle to cut her arm and collarbone area.

Police charged the women with abusing the children but the sisters said they were practicing their religion, Haitian voodoo.

February 3, 2018

Is there an ethical issue with the elimination of genetic abnormalities?

What are the clinical implications of this technique? Could you highlight a few specific conditions that this could prevent in the future?

Aneuploidy is a human genetic disorder related to the addition or deletion of a chromosome, leading to significant morbidity and mortality during infancy or childhood, including Down’s syndrome (an extra 21), Klinefelter Syndrome (an extra X) or XYY syndrome. Using CRISPR/Cas9 – mediated targeted chromosome elimination, an extra chromosome could be selectively eliminated in cultured cells, embryos, and, more importantly, tissues in vivo, providing a potential therapeutic approach for aneuploidy diseases. However, when one of two homologous X chromosome was deleted by this approach, we found that the remaining X chromosome was also mutated. We believe these mutations in the remaining one (XXY and XYY syndrome) or two chromosomes (Down’s syndrome) could be avoided by using sgRNAs that target only one of the two or one of the three homologous chromosomes, based on single nucleotide polymorphism. Aneuploidy is also a hallmark of cancer. CRISPR/Cas9 – mediated targeted chromosome elimination offers a new approach for studying aneuploidy in tumorigenesis and a potential treatment strategy against a broad spectrum of human tumors.


Down syndrome is just one example.

As gene editing tech like CRISPR become more precise widespread and available our ability to directly manipulate our genes will be put into use.

Is there an ethical issue with eliminating unwanted mutations from our genes?

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