Genetic Altering of Human Embryos

Just because you can, does not mean that you should…Article is linked in the title:

Chinese scientists genetically modify human embryos

Rumours of germline modification prove true — and look set to reignite an ethical debate.

Dr. Yorgos Nikas/SPL

Human embryos are at the centre of a debate over the ethics of gene editing.

In a world first, Chinese scientists have reported editing the genomes of human embryos. The results are published1 in the online journal Protein & Cell and confirm widespread rumours that such experiments had been conducted—rumours that  sparked a high-profile debate last month2, 3 about the ethical implications of such work.

In the paper, researchers led by Junjiu Huang, a gene-function researcher at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, tried to head off such concerns by using ‘non-viable’ embryos, which cannot result in a live birth, that were obtained from local fertility clinics. The team attempted to modify the gene responsible for β-thalassaemia, a potentially fatal blood disorder, using a gene-editing technique known as CRISPR/Cas9. The researchers say that their results reveal serious obstacles to using the method in medical applications.

“I believe this is the first report of CRISPR/Cas9 applied to human pre-implantation embryos and as such the study is a landmark, as well as a cautionary tale,” says George Daley, a stem-cell biologist at Harvard Medical School in Boston. “Their study should be a stern warning to any practitioner who thinks the technology is ready for testing to eradicate disease genes.”

Some say that gene editing in embryos could have a bright future because it could eradicate devastating genetic diseases before a baby is born. Others say that such work crosses an ethical line: researchers warned in Nature2 in March that because the genetic changes to embryos, known as germline modification, are heritable, they could have an unpredictable effect on future generations. Researchers have also expressed concerns that any gene-editing research on human embryos could be a slippery slope towards unsafe or unethical uses of the technique.

The paper by Huang’s team looks set to reignite the debate on human-embryo editing — and there are reports that other groups in China are also experimenting on human embryos.

Problematic gene

The technique used by Huang’s team involves injecting embryos with the enzyme complex CRISPR/Cas9, which binds and splices DNA at specific locations. The complex can be programmed to target a problematic gene, which is then replaced or repaired by another molecule introduced at the same time. The system is well studied in human adult cell and in animal embryos. But there had been no published reports of its use in human embryos.

Huang and his colleagues set out to see if the procedure could replace a gene in a single-cell fertilized human embryo; in principle, all cells produced as the embryo developed would then have the repaired gene. The embryos they obtained from the fertility clinics had been created for use in in vitro fertilization but had an extra set of chromosomes, following fertilization by two sperm. This prevents the embryos from resulting in a live birth, though they do undergo the first stages of development.

Huang’s group studied the ability of the CRISPR/Cas9 system to edit the gene called HBB, which encodes the human β-globin protein. Mutations in the gene are responsible for β-thalassaemia.

Serious obstacles

The team injected 86 embryos and then waited 48 hours, enough time for the CRISPR/Cas9 system and the molecules that replace the missing DNA to act — and for the embryos to grow to about eight cells each. Of the 71 embryos that survived, 54 were genetically tested. This revealed that just 28 were successfully spliced, and that only a fraction of those contained the replacement genetic material. “If you want to do it in normal embryos, you need to be close to 100%,” Huang says. “That’s why we stopped. We still think it’s too immature.”

His team also found a surprising number of ‘off-target’ mutations assumed to be introduced by the CRISPR/Cas9 complex acting on other parts of the genome. This effect is one of the main safety concerns surrounding germline gene editing because these unintended mutations could be harmful. The rates of such mutations were much higher than those observed in gene-editing studies of mouse embryos or human adult cells. And Huang notes that his team likely only detected a subset of the unintended mutations because their study looked only at a portion of the genome, known as the exome. “If we did the whole genome sequence, we would get many more,” he says.

Ethical questions

Huang says that the paper was rejected by Nature and Science, in part because of ethical objections; both journals declined to comment on the claim (Nature’s news team is editorially independent of its research editorial team.)

He adds that critics of the paper have noted that the low efficiencies and high number of off-target mutations could be specific to the abnormal embryos used in the study. Huang acknowledges the critique, but because there are no examples of gene editing in normal embryos he says that there is no way to know if the technique operates differently in them.

Still, he maintains that the embryos allow for a more meaningful model — and one closer to a normal human embryo — than an animal model or one using adult human cells. “We wanted to show our data to the world so people know what really happened with this model, rather than just talking about what would happen without data,” he says.

But Edward Lanphier, one of the scientists who sounded the warning in Nature last month, says: “It underlines what we said before: we need to pause this research and make sure we have a broad based discussion about which direction we’re going here.” Lanphier is president of Sangamo Biosciences in Richmond, California, which applies gene-editing techniques to adult human cells.

Huang now plans to work out how to decrease the number of off-target mutations using adult human cells or animal models. He is considering different strategies — tweaking the enzymes to guide them more precisely to the desired spot, introducing the enzymes in a different format that could help to regulate their lifespans and thus allow them to be shut down before mutations accumulate, or varying the concentrations of the introduced enzymes and repair molecules. He says that using other gene-editing techniques might also help. CRISPR/Cas9 is relatively efficient and easy to use, but another system called TALEN is known to cause fewer unintended mutations.

The debate over human embryo editing is sure to continue for some time, however. CRISPR/Cas9 is known for its ease of use and Lanphier fears that more scientists will now start to work towards improving on Huang’s paper. “The ubiquitous access to and simplicity of creating CRISPRs,” he says, “creates opportunities for scientists in any part of the world to do any kind of experiments they want.”

A Chinese source familiar with developments in the field said that at least four groups in China are pursuing gene editing in human embryos

Need Another Reason to Hate Facebook?

As many of you who have known me for awhile know, I quit Facebook two years ago because of how flatly nefarious they are. The thing that threw me over the edge wasn’t really their sharing of data with the NSA, nor the algorithms they run to effectively become one with the Department of Precrime, but the fact that the extrapolation of “people of interest” in any “investigation” was extrapolated out to a factor of 6 between Facebook “friends”. So, say the Powers that Shouldn’t Be were looking at yours truly for thinking unregulated thoughts, they would include my “friends”, and their “friends, and the “friends” of those “friends, and the friends of the friends of the friend’s friends” all the way out to a factor of six friends away. Frankly, that just creeped me out. We are simply reaching entirely too much singularity and the burden of proof of innocence in any “crime”, be it real or imagined, has become one wherein you must prove your innocence against potentially digitally created guilt.

It’s enough to make one want to go Amish. But I don’t think I could blend…And there are other things, too. So that really isn’t an option. I could almost be a Luddite, too. But I’m not a technophobe, nor am I a technophile. I just believe that technology should serve us and that it can be used for greatly positive enhancements to the human experience. But if you take human dignity and accountability for preserving that dignity out of the equation, we become chattel to the entities controlling the pseudo reality in which we virtually live.

I digress. And no, it isn’t difficult to get me to digress when we are talking about such an invasive and pervasive thing as the issue of human privacy and dignity in the age of technocracy. So, without further adieu, here is the article I wanted to share with you:

Facebook DOES collect the text you decided against posting

Ever written out a status update or comment but decided against posting it? One techie has discovered Facebook collects this content, despite the company’s claims to the contrary

– See more at: http://www.information-age.com/technology/information-management/123459286/facebook-does-collect-text-you-decided-against-posting#sthash.puuUwkvB.dpuf

‘I realised that any text I put into the status update box was sent to Facebook’s servers, even if I did not click the post button’

 

Facebook collects all content that is typed into its website, even if it is not posted, a tech consultant has discovered.

In December 2013, it was reported that Facebook plants code in browsers that returns metadata every time somebody types out a status update or comment but deletes it before posting.

At the time, Facebook maintained that it only received information indicating whether somebody had deleted an update or comment before posting it, and not exactly what the text said.

>See also: War on the data beasts: don’t let Google, Facebook et al control your digital lives

However, Príomh Ó hÚigínn, a tech consultant based in Ireland, has claimed this is not the case after inspecting Facebook’s network traffic through a developer tool and screencasting software.

‘I realised that any text I put into the status update box was sent to Facebook’s servers, even if I did not click the post button,’ he wrote on his blog yesterday.

Referring to the GIF he created below, he found that a HTTP post request was sent to Facebook each time he wrote out a status, containing the exact text he entered.

‘This is outright Orwellian, and inconvenient,’ he said. ‘Since I am now aware of this, I am more cautious about what I enter into the text area.

‘However I can’t help but notice the adverse effect of my new found awareness ― am I experiencing the censorship of my own thoughts because of a faceless entity such as Facebook that doesn’t care about you? I very much believe that is the case.’

There is nothing in Facebook’s Data Policy that directly alludes to the fact that it collects content that is written but not posted.

However, the general ambiguity under the heading ‘What kinds of information do we collect?’ makes it unclear, such as: ‘We collect the content and other information you provide when you…create or share. This can include information in or about the content you provide.’

One thing is certain: most Facebook users do not expect the company to collect the text they decided against sharing.

>See also: Track record: how Facebook is normalising the privacy trade-off

The company faced a backlash in 2009 when it removed part of a clause that promised to expire the license it has to a user’s ‘name, likeness and image’, which it uses for external advertising, if they remove content from the site.

Following a protest campaign, it returned to the previous terms of use. However, it’s unclear what rights Facebook has over content that is not posted.

Information Age has contacted Facebook for comment.

– See more at: http://www.information-age.com/technology/information-management/123459286/facebook-does-collect-text-you-decided-against-posting#sthash.puuUwkvB.dpuf

Beware, Beware!

Did a radio show today essentially about the singularity and biometric identification regarding MorphoTrust and the Real ID comliant state issued identification. During that show, the host told me about a program that assigns a threat level to individuals that police are using before they pull someone over and such. Here is an article about it below….My thanks to the author! There’s a lot of homework here:

Cops scan social media to help assess your ‘threat rating’

By Brent Skorup
December 12, 2014

minority-report1

A national spotlight is now focused on aggressive law enforcement tactics and the justice system. Today’s professional police forces — where officers in even one-stoplight towns might have body armor and mine-resistant vehicles — already raise concerns.

Yet new data-mining technologies can now provide police with vast amounts of surveillance information and could radically increase police power. Policing can be increasingly targeted at specific people and neighborhoods — with potentially serious inequitable effects.

One speaker at a recent national law enforcement conference compared future police work to Minority Report, the Tom Cruise film set in 2054 Washington, where a “PreCrime” unit has been set up to stop murders before they happen.

While PreCrime remains science-fiction, many technology advances are already involved with predictive policing — identifying risks and threats with the help of online information, powerful computers and Big Data.

New World Systems, for example, now offers software that allows dispatchers to enter in a person’s name to see if they’ve had contact with the police before.  Provided crime data, PredPol claims on its website that  its software “forecasts highest risk times and places for future crimes.” These and other technologies are supplanting and enhancing traditional police work.

Public safety organizations, using federal funding, are set to begin building a $7-billion nationwide first-responder wireless network, called FirstNet. Money is now being set aside. With this network, information-sharing capabilities and federal-state coordination will likely grow substantially. Some uses of FirstNet will improve traditional services like 911 dispatches. Other law enforcement uses aren’t as pedestrian, however.

One such application is Beware, sold to police departments since 2012 by a private company, Intrado. This mobile application crawls over billions of records in commercial and public databases for law enforcement needs. The application “mines criminal records, Internet chatter and other data to churn out … profiles in real time,” according to one article in an Illinois newspaper.

Here’s how the company describes it on their website:

Accessed through any browser (fixed or mobile) on any Internet-enabled device including tablets, smartphones, laptop and desktop computers, Beware® from Intrado searches, sorts and scores billions of commercial records in a matter of seconds-alerting responders to potentially deadly and dangerous situations while en route to, or at the location of a call.

Crunching all the database information in a matter of seconds, the Beware algorithm then assigns a score and “threat rating” to a person — green, yellow or red. It sends that rating to a requesting officer.

For example, working off a home address, Beware can send an officer basic information about who lives there, their cell phone numbers, whether they have past convictions and the cars registered to the address. Police have had access to this information before, but Beware makes it available immediately.

Yet it does far more — scanning the residents’ online comments, social media and recent purchases for warning signs. Commercial, criminal and social media information, including, as Intrado vice president Steve Reed said in an interview with urgentcomm.com, “any comments that could be construed as offensive,” all contribute to the threat score.

There are many troubling aspects to these programs. There are, of course, obvious risks in outsourcing traditional police work — determining who is a threat — to a proprietary algorithm. Deeming someone a public threat is a serious designation, and applications like Beware may encourage shortcuts and snap decisions.

It is also disconcerting that police would access and evaluate someone’s online presence. What types of comments online will increase a threat score? Will race be apparent?

These questions are impossible to answer because Intrado merely provides the tool — leaving individual police departments to craft specific standards for what information is available and relevant in a threat score. Local departments can fine-tune their own data collection, but then threat thresholds could vary by locale, making oversight nearly impossible.

Tradition holds that justice should be blind, to promote fairness in treatment and avoid prejudgment. With such algorithms, however, police can have significant background information about nearly everyone they pull over or visit at home. Police are time-constrained, and vulnerable populations – such as minorities living in troubled neighborhoods and the poor — may receive more scrutiny.

No one wants the police to remain behind a thick veil of ignorance, but invasive tools like Beware — if left unchecked — may amplify the current unfairness in the system, including racial disparities in arrests and selective enforcement.

Intrado representatives defend Beware’s perceived intrusiveness, pointing out that credit agencies have similar types of information. This data-mining program, however, goes beyond financial records to include social media, purchases and online comments when assigning a rating.

And no system is foolproof. Congress, for example, recognizes the sensitivity of the information that lenders and employers have, because errors can cause serious financial harm. The Fair Credit Reporting Act therefore gives consumers the right to access their credit reports and make corrections.

The risks to life and property, however, are far higher and more unpredictable in the law enforcement context. Yet there is no mechanism for people to see their threat “ratings” — much less why the algorithm scored it. You have no ability to correct errors if, say, someone with the same name has a violent criminal record.

Another effect is that these technologies give law enforcement the ability to routinely monitor obedience to regulatory minutiae and lawmaker whims. Police officers now boast, for example, that the Beware system allows the routine code enforcement of a nanny state — such as identifying homeowners so overgrown trees on a property can be trimmed.

Beware can also encourage fishing expeditions and indiscriminate surveillance in the hopes of finding offenders. Police used Beware recently at a Phish concert in Colorado, for example, checking up on concertgoers based on car license plates.

Perhaps the most serious issue is that such systems may be used as pretext in unconstitutional investigations. John Shiffman and Kristina Cooke reported for Reuters last year that a secretive Drug Enforcement Administration unit regularly funnels information to other law enforcement agencies in order to launch criminal investigations. This information is frequently acquired via intelligence intercepts, wiretaps and informants. As the FirstNet national wireless network rolls out, federal-state coordination will likely increase opportunities for police to receive sensitive information from powerful federal agencies.

Data-mining gives police significantly more information to create reasonable suspicion for suspects that federal agencies flag. Officers could receive a search or arrest warrant with the help of information gleaned from Beware and other databases, like those tracking license plates. If an arrest follows, data-mining helps provide the police with the legal pretext to engage in these fishing expeditions. Defendants will likely have no opportunity to challenge the legality of the original surveillance that led to their arrest.

As predictive policing investment ramps up, and local police and federal agencies increasingly coordinate, more secrecy becomes more valuable. Local police and prosecutors often refuse to disclose how they gain information about defendants because federal agencies prohibit them from discussing these technologies. In Baltimore, for example, police recently dropped evidence against a defendant rather than reveal information about cellphone tracking that the FBI did not want disclosed in court.

Yet police might not acquire some of this equipment if the local community is made fully aware of its use. Consider, the city council of Bellingham, Wash., recently rejected a proposed purchase of Beware. The police department had applied for, and received, a one-time $25,000 federal grant to cover some of the $36,000 annual cost of Beware. At a mandatory hearing about the purchase, Bellingham citizens discovered how Beware worked and opposed the purchase because of both the cost and the privacy implications. The funds were subsequently redirected.

This rejection demonstrates that many modern policing techniques — and the accompanying secrecy — can antagonize the average citizen. The occasional appearance of sniper rifles and military vehicles only stokes that sentiment. Local police forces increasingly receive military surplus equipment and federal lucre from an alphabet soup of U.S. agencies and opportunistic contractors. Now police are using, typically without residents’ knowledge, powerful databases, along with cellphone and license-plate trackers.

Police need guidance about under which circumstances these sophisticated databases can be used. An inaccurate threat level for a residence, after all, can change how police approach a situation. Failure to update who lives at a particular residence, for example, could transform a green rating into a red rating — turning a midday knock on the front door into a nighttime SWAT raid.

 

PHOTO (TOP): Tom Cruise in Minority Report. Courtesy of  20th Century Fox

Transparency? Heck no! Shutting Down Cell Phones is for Your Safety

Technology is not inherently evil. However, dependency upon it and authoritarian control over it can certainly be seen as either ignorant or evil.

When one considers the desire of the Powers that Shouldn’t Be to be omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent, it doesn’t take long to arrive at the conclusion that the freedom garnered by such wonderful inventions as the internet is very much a double edged sword. We have electronic fingerprints. We are monitored at every site. If we wish to not be monitored, we are “suspect” for being unlike the herd they would have us be. I guess it raises your position in the herd managing system for culling.

For myself, I will continue to be a criminal because I will continue to think unregulated thoughts. I will continue to try to “interface” with people in the real world about real topics. I will continue to be nonplussed by celebrities latest dalliances or legal kerfuffles.

If they turn off the cell phone, the internet, the cars, the lights, the amusement, so be it.

The revolution will not be televised.

And it won’t be tweeted, either:

Court mulls revealing secret government plan to cut cell phone service

Feds: SOP 303 mobile-phone kill-switch policy would endanger public if disclosed.


A federal appeals court is asking the Obama administration to explain why the government should be allowed to keep secret its plan to shutter mobile phone service during “critical emergencies.”

The Department of Homeland Security came up with the plan—known as Standing Operating Procedure 303—after cellular phones were used to detonate explosives targeting a London public transportation system.

SOP 303 is a powerful tool in the digital age, and it spells out a “unified voluntary process for the orderly shut-down and restoration of wireless services during critical emergencies such as the threat of radio-activated improvised explosive devices.”

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in February sided (PDF) with the government and ruled that the policy did not need to be disclosed under a Freedom of Information Act request from the Electronic Privacy Information Center. The court agreed with the government’s citation of a FOIA exemption that precludes disclosure if doing so “could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual.”

EPIC asked the court to revisit its ruling, arguing that the decision, “if left in place, would create an untethered ‘national security’ exemption'” in FOIA law. On Friday, the court ordered (PDF) the government to respond—a move that suggests the appellate court might rehear the case.

EPIC originally asked for the document in 2011 in the wake of the shut down of mobile phone service in the San Francisco Bay Area subway system during a protest. The government withheld the information, EPIC sued and won, but the government then appealed and prevailed.

In its petition for rehearing, EPIC argued that the appellate court’s decision “created a catch-all provision that would allow federal agencies to routinely withhold records subject to disclosure where the agency merely asserts a speculative security risk.”

Under the direction of the so-called National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee, SOP 303 allows for the shutting down of wireless networks “within a localized area, such as a tunnel or bridge, and within an entire metropolitan area.”

There have been no publicly disclosed instances when SOP 303 has been invoked, but the telecoms have agreed to shutter service when SOP 303 is invoked.

Local governments, however, have the power to shutter wireless service regardless of SOP 303.

The last known time mobile phone service was cut by a government agency was the San Francisco example from 2011. That’s when the Bay Area Rapid Transit System took heat for disabling service to quell a protest in four downtown San Francisco stations. The three-hour outage was done after BART cut service without the assistance of the telcos.

In the aftermath, BART produced a new policy that said service could only be cut off when “there is strong evidence of imminent unlawful activity that threatens the safety of district passengers, employees, and other members of the public.”

More Trouble For Round Up

Despite the fact that the website is called…Sustainable Pulse…(maybe they mean that in the non UN Agenda 21 way?) This is a good article regarding a recent study by scientists from several different nations on Round Up and bacterial resistance to antibiotics. We don’t need any more super bugs, do we?

New Study Shows Roundup Herbicide Causes Antibiotic Resistance in Bacteria

Research lead by a team from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand has found that commonly used herbicides, including the world’s most used herbicide Roundup, can cause bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics.

antibiotic resistant bacteria

Full Study:  mbio.asm.org/content/6/2/e00009-15

Herbicides are used to kill plants. They can be tested for killing bacteria, too, as part of the process of reviewing their approval for use. However, they have never been tested for other effects on bacteria, University of Canterbury’s Professor Jack Heinemann says.

This is the first study of its kind in the world. While other substances such as aspirin have been shown to change bacteria’s tolerance to antibiotics herbicides have never been tested. The team at the University of Canterbury investigated what happens to species of disease-causing bacteria when they are exposed to common herbicides such as Roundup, Kamba and 2,4-D.

“We found that exposure to some very common herbicides can cause bacteria to change their response to antibiotics. They often become antibiotic resistant, but we also saw increased susceptibility or no effect. In most cases, we saw increased resistance even to important clinical antibiotics,” Professor Heinemann says.

“We were so surprised by what we were seeing. We wanted to be sure it wasn’t an artefact of conditions in our laboratory or some kind of contamination. So we enlisted a fellow researcher at Massey who conducted the same experiments but without knowing what she was adding to the bacteria. She got the same results.”

The effects found are relevant wherever people or animals are exposed to herbicides at the range of concentrations achieved where they are applied. This may include, for example, farm animals and pollinators in rural areas and potentially children and pets in urban areas. The effects were detectable only at herbicide concentrations that were above currently allowed residue levels on food.

Antibiotic resistance is a serious and growing problem for human and animal health. New antibiotics are hard to find and can take decades to become available. Effects of chemicals such as herbicides could conflict with measures taken to slow the spread of antibiotic resistance.

The research team included researchers from Mexico, Lincoln University and Massey University.

For further information contact Professor Jack Heinemann, School of Biological Sciences, jack.heinemann@canterbury.ac.nz

Monsanto Admits “Hubris”, but Still Beats the Same Drum

The article below is interesting. A Monsanto exec admits that they “never thought” about these aberrations of agriculture fit into the food chain, but he still holds to the disproven idea that GMO’s are necessary to feed a larger population. Answer: More smaller diversified farms with better access to market.

I guess it’s kind of good news, so I just wanted to share it with you!

Monsanto chief admits ‘hubris’ is to blame for public fears over GM


Monsanto CEO : ‘We never thought about our place in the food chain’

The American company that produced the world’s first genetically modified crop has admitted for the first time that its “hubris” in promoting the technology contributed to a consumer backlash against genetically modified food.

Speaking to The Independent, the chief executive of Monsanto conceded that the company had failed to appreciate public concerns over GM technology when it was introduced nearly 20 years ago.

And he also said that the company had suffered by making “the wrong call” when it failed to rebrand itself in the aftermath of the botched launch of GM in Europe.

But Hugh Grant claimed that unless public attitudes towards biotechnology changed it would be impossible to feed the world’s growing population and called for a more nuanced debate on the potential uses for GM technology in the developing world.

“There never had been a lot of trust in companies, particularly not big companies and certainly not big American companies,” he said.

There is no compelling evidence to suggest that genetically modified crops are any more harmful than conventionally grown food There is no compelling evidence to suggest that genetically modified crops are any more harmful than conventionally grown food (Getty)

“[But] we were so far removed from that supermarket shelf, that was never something we gave a lot of thought to. We never thought about our place in the food chain.”

“I think as an agricultural community in general – and Monsanto in particular – there is so much more to do to explain where food comes from and how it is produced and how much more we’re going to have to make.”

The Independent visited Monsanto to speak to its senior executives as part of a series on GM food.

Asked how the company had dealt with public concerns over the introduction of the first GM varieties 20 years ago, Mr Grant replied: “Hubris and naivety. They are sort of opposite sides of the same coin. We did really cool science and we worked within global regulatory requirements. From where we were the conversation with consumers was an abstract.”

But he claimed that companies like Monsanto would be needed if the world was to feed a growing population. “If you look at (farming) growth in the last 15 years, about 70 per cent came from new land cultivation. When you go from six to nine billion over the next 30/40 years there is no new land. Can you do it without biotech? I don’t think so.”

Monsanto’s research centre in Missouri Monsanto’s research centre in Missouri (Polaris)

Mr Grant hoped some form of consensus could be found between environmentalists and big biotech companies. “There is a middle ground in all this and if the shrill noise could die down my hope is there is an opportunity to engage in this. Maybe this is optimism but I think there is a chance that we are going to look back fondly and say, ‘God – some of those arguments. They were intellectually interesting but practically ridiculous’.”

Addressing European anti-GM activists who have long targeted Monsanto as the face of the biotech industry, Mr Grant said they had to explain how the world could be fed without such technologies. “I would say (to them), if you step back from your daily life – and Tesco or Waitrose or Sainsbury’s – and you think about your kids and your grandchildren, then if not this, then what? How are we going to crack this thing? If Monsanto and this entire industry did not exist then what would the alternative would look like.”

Mr Grant added that he was also frustrated that the anti-GM lobby had failed to adequately answer the question of how to feed more people with finite land without using new technology. “The thing that often frustrates me in the debate is that there is never an alternative… The other side of this is still pretty empty.”

Net Neutrality Rules Are Out

Net Neutrality Rules Are Out.

The rules for Net Neutrality are finally out. The doc is 400 pages and can be downloaded here:

http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2015/db0312/FCC-15-24A1.pdf

At this point, we can now begin to have honest conversation about what these rules may mean for us as far as internet freedom, privacy, and security are concerned. Anyone opining about how horrific or wonderful they were before reading them was truly jumping the gun.

So, let’s actually read them and backtrack on what the terms mean, and then we can have a solid opinion as to whether they are going to be positive or negative for us common folk.

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