(CNN)When President Barack Obama visited Jerusalem in 2013, Shimon Peres, then 89 years old and in his fifth decade of public life, might have been expected to forgo the tour of high-tech innovations at the Israel Museum.
(CNN)When President Barack Obama visited Jerusalem in 2013, Shimon Peres, then 89 years old and in his fifth decade of public life, might have been expected to forgo the tour of high-tech innovations at the Israel Museum.
Want to become “maker famous”? Enter your best Raspberry Pi IoT project at http://www.piot.io for a chance to be published in MagPi magazine and win a ton of prizes including Raspberry Pi kits from MCM Electronics, a $250 gift card to Amazon, and Initial State subscriptions and swag. The PiOT contest runs through the month of October. Don’t [&hellip
The post New Contest! The PiOT Challenge: Become Maker Famous! appeared first on .
Nuffield Council on Bioethics report finds materials to perform basic experiments are now available to garage scientists
The simplicity and low cost of tools to edit the genetic code means garage scientists – or amateurs with some skill – can now perform their own experiments, posing a potential risk from the release of GM bugs, a new report suggests.
In a report published on Friday, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics said that the rise in precision gene editing tools had revolutionised biomedical research over the past ten years and could potentially have a dramatic impact on human society.
But it found that the materials needed to perform basic experiments were available to enthusiasts outside academia and established labs. This year, one firm began to sell a kit for 100 to DIY biology interest groups that allowed them to render the common soil microbe, E coli, resistant to the antibiotic streptomycin.
The report goes on to say that genetic technology has become so powerful that nations need to decide whether or not doctors should ever be allowed to modify the human species, a claims.
While the creation of GM humans is not on the horizon yet, the risks and benefits of modifying a persons genome – and having those changes pass on to future generations – are so complex that they demand urgent ethical scrutiny, the review found.
This could transform our range of expectations and ambitions about how humans control our world, said Andrew Greenfield, a geneticist and chair of the Nuffield Councils working group. Although most uses so far have been in research, the potential applications seem to be almost unlimited.
Genome editing has become a common tool in laboratories around the world. The most common technique, called Crispr-cas9, works like a pair of molecular scissors. It is essentially a pair of enzymes that can be designed to find and remove a specific strand of DNA inside a cell, and then replace it with a new piece of genetic material. The procedure can be used to rewrite single letters of genetic code and even whole genes.
The report found that gene editing could potentially block the inheritance of cystic fibrosis and more than 4000 other known conditions caused by single faulty genes. But the technique may also drive profound changes in farming, the report found, where the possibilities range from swine fever-resistant pigs, chickens that only give birth to females, and hornless cows that could be housed in smaller spaces. Because Crispr-cas9 does not leave any traces, meat and other products from GM animals could find its way to market without being labelled. Meanwhile, the simplicity and low cost of Crispr-cas9 means amateurs in the home can now perform their own experiments.
Altering the genetic makeup of a human embryo and transplanting it into a woman is banned in Britain, but there are ethical arguments in favour of the procedure, such as preventing children from inheriting genes that cause fatal diseases. But if the procedure were allowed, some fear it could open the door to what the report calls consumer or liberal eugenics where children are modified to suit their parents preferences.
Weve identified human reproductive applications as an area that demands urgent ethical scrutiny and we must consider carefully how to respond to this possibility now well before it becomes a practical choice, said Karen Yeung, a law professor at Kings College London, and co-author of the report.
Scientists have already begun to edit the genes of human embryos, but only for basic research. Earlier this year, researchers in China tried to add HIV resistance to human IVF embryos which had been donated to science when tests found them to be unviable. The experiments did not achieve their goal, but highlighted how difficult the procedure was likely to be in humans.
In 2015 another Chinese team became the first in the world to edit human embryos, when they tried, and failed, to modify a gene that causes beta-thalassaemia, a potentially fatal blood disorder. Again, the work was performed on abnormal IVF embryos donated to research.
From a purely medical standpoint, there are good reasons to correct faulty genes at the embryo stage, because the defective DNA is then erased from every cell in the body. The risk comes when the modification has unintended consequences. This could harm not only the child, but their future children, because the altered gene would be in their sperm or eggs.
In light of the report, the Nuffield Council has set up two new reviews to look specifically at the ethics of gene editing in human reproduction and livestock. One major question will be where to draw the line on what is acceptable if gene editing is approved in humans, in principle. It may be morally acceptable to correct a faulty gene that will definitely pass on a fatal disease to a child. But what about a gene that has a chance of raising by 10% a persons risk of heart disease or Alzheimers? The report notes that in the future, it may be possible to enhance people with genes from other organisms, for example to improve night vision and sense of smell.
It is only right that we acknowledge where this new science may lead and explore the possible paths ahead to ensure the one on which we set out today is the right one, said Yeung.
The government and French energy giant EDF are set to sign the key contract for the new 18bn Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.
EDF boss Jean-Bernard Levy is expected to join high ranking officials from the UK, France and China at the behind-closed-doors ceremony in London.
Earlier this month the government gave the go-ahead for the plant which will power nearly six million homes.
It will be the UK’s first new nuclear plant in a generation.
The signing ceremony is a second attempt at finalising the deal after Prime Minister Theresa May unexpectedly announced in July that she needed more time.
With her approval now granted and the contracts updated, the Department for Business is expected to confirm the formal signing on social media on Thursday afternoon.
Dozens of contracts running to thousands of pages for the huge project in Somerset are believed to have been prepared ahead of the event.
The key document is the Contract for Difference, or CfD, which gives a guaranteed price for the electricity Hinkley will generate for 35 years.
In return EDF, with its Chinese partner CGN, will finance the project and shoulder the risk of any delays.
Critics say the guaranteed “strike price” – which is more than twice the current wholesale cost of electricity – will provide a windfall for EDF for decades to come.
The formal go-ahead for Hinkley will also cement China’s foothold in Britain’s nuclear industry.
The last government signed a series of co-operation agreements in civil nuclear power with Beijing which opened the UK’s market to Chinese firms.
CGN will pay about a third of the cost of Hinkley. Under its agreement with EDF it will also have a stake in a new plant at Sizewell in Suffolk.
The Chinese will then be allowed to develop their own reactor technology at Bradwell in Essex, subject to planning and regulatory approvals.
On Thursday afternoon the government is expected to publish some of the key documents linked to the deal. These will include the Contract for Difference and the waste transfer agreement that covers nuclear waste generated by the plant.
After numerous delays EDF’s board agreed to proceed with the controversial project back in July.
But just weeks after taking office, Prime Minister Theresa May ordered a review of the deal, leading to questions over the UK’s openness to foreign investment.
Her government gave its approval two weeks ago on condition that it could prevent EDF from selling its controlling stake before completion of the project.
EDF’s board approved the new terms on Tuesday paving the way for the formal signing of the deal.
You can follow John on Twitter at @JohnMoylanBBC
Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37502547
Waukesha, Wisconsin (CNN)Donald Trump on Wednesday touted a long-debunked conspiracy theory that the most popular internet search engine suppresses negative headlines about his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.
(CNN)Not everyone is rejoicing following the birth of a seemingly healthy three-parent baby earlier this year, which is detailed in study published in a scientific journal Tuesday. The baby boy was born on April 6 in Mexico, having been conceived using a technique called spindle nuclear transfer.
Washington (CNN)Russia might be behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee, according to US officials and lawmakers — but not Donald Trump.
Alan Yuhas fact-checks the statements of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton at the first presidential debate at Hofstra University in New York
Trump is primarily talking about the North American Free Trade Agreement, but the long-term decline in manufacturing around the US cant only be attributed to the trade deal. Economists still debate the effect of the deal on jobs, since US trade with Canada and Mexico is modest at best. In 2015, the Congressional Research Service wrote: Nafta did not cause the huge job losses feared by the critics or the large economic gains predicted by supporters.
Manufacturing is down 37% since its peak in 1979, but this change has a great deal to do with the general shift toward a service-based economy, which the US has had surpluses in in recent years. Its true that many manufacturing jobs have been outsourced, especially since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, but its also true that the US has added more than 800,000 factory jobs since 2010.
Trump never struggled for money or started with anything modest. In 1978 his father gave him a loan totaling almost $1m about $3.7m today and acted as guarantor for the young Trumps early projects. A 1981 report by a New Jersey regulator also shows a $7.5m loan from the patriarch, and years later he bought $3.5m in gambling chips to help his son pay off the debts of a failing casino, which was found to have broken the law by accepting them. Trump also borrowed millions against his inheritance before his fathers death, a 2007 deposition shows.
Trump has not proven that he is worth $10bn, though his tax returns, which he has refused to release, could provide a clearer picture of his worth. His financial filings suggest he has less than $250m in liquid assets, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. Trump has a history of overstating his properties: he has, for instance, told the FEC that a New York golf club is worth $50m but also argued in court that it is worth only $1.4m.
Trumps tax plan would disproportionately help the wealthiest Americans, saving them millions of dollars and adding trillions to the national debt, according to an analysis by the Tax Foundation, a conservative thinktank. He would reduce the business tax rate to 15%, eliminate the estate tax (aka the death tax), which mostly affects wealthy inheritors, and would reduce revenue from taxes by about $5tn. According to the Foundation, the top 1% of earners would see a 10.2% increase to their incomes.
Clintons tax plan does not change tax rates for the middle class, but does increase taxes by 4% on people who have an adjusted income of more than $5m, as well as closing corporate loopholes. Only about 0.5% of small businesses in the US reported a profit of more than $1m in 2011, according to the US treasury department. Clinton would increase tax revenue by $1.1tn by taxing the top 1% of earners, increasing the estate tax and eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, and by implementing and a more complex tax code, according to the Tax Policy Center.
Trump has not proven that he pays any federal income tax, and did not deny that he doesnt pay, saying simply that it would prove hes smart.
Trump often cites Chicagos shooting crisis as evidence that the US is plagued by dangerous crime, but not even that city, which has the most homicides in the US, compares to a war zone as Trump says. In 2015, Chicago had 2,988 people who were victims of gun violence, according to the Chicago Tribune, and 488 homicides in all. The city has more than 500 homicides so far this year, per the paper, and more than 2,100 victims of gun violence.
In Afghanistan a country Trump often compares the city to between January and June 2016, 1,601 civilians have been killed and 3,565 injured, according to the United Nations. The figures include 388 killed and 1,121 injured children. The UN reported 3,545 civilians killed and 7,457 injured in 2015. More than 80,000 people have been displaced by violence this year. The US and Afghan forces control only about 70% of the country, while the Taliban and militants control the other 30%, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff told the Senate on Thursday.
The controversial police tactic of stop and frisk, which became a hallmark of New York policing through the mayorships of Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg, has landed the city in federal court, where a judge ruled it unconstitutional. One research paper, unpublished through peer review, found modest drops in some crimes. A second paper, published through peer review, found problems in the first study and few significant effects of the tactic.
A New York Civil Liberties Union report, on 12 years worth of police data, found young black and Hispanic men were targeted for stops at a vastly higher proportion than white men: more than half the people searched were black and about 30% were Hispanic. Among more than 5m stops during the Bloomberg administration, police found a gun less than 0.02% of the time, according to the report. NYPD records between 2004 and 2012 show similar figures: in 4.4m stops, weapons were seized from 1.0% of black people, 1.1% from Hispanic people and 1.4% of white people.
New Yorks long-term decline in crime rates began before Giuliani took office in 1994, and its causes were and are diverse: data-driven policing with the Compstat system, the growth of the police force by 35% over the decade, incarceration increases by 24% and the 39% unemployment decline that matched with national economic growth. Not even the loudest supporters of stop and frisk, including Bloomberg whose last term Trump has called a disaster have argued the tactic alone reduced crime to its current lows.
Trump said that the tactic was ruled unconstitutional because of a judge who was against policing, but his personal opinion about the judge does not mean she did not rule it unconstitutional.
This argument flies in the face of Trumps pro-gun rights stance for legal owners; he has repeatedly and falsely insisted that Clinton wants to take away guns from legal owners.
Trump claimed that New Yorks crime rate is up since the end of stop and frisk. It remains near historic lows.
There is no evidence that Clinton or her campaign had anything to do with the false rumors that Barack Obama was not born in the US, nor did Clinton have anything to do with Trumps five years of questions about birth certificates, which he finally recanted last Friday.
Trumps campaign has tried to blame several people who were, if at all, tangentially related to the Clinton campaign. There is no evidence that Solis Doyle had anything to do with the claim either. She told CNN that there was a volunteer coordinator in Iowa who forwarded the email and that the volunteer was dismissed, and that she called the Obama campaign to apologize.
A former aide named Mark Penn wrote a 2007 memo that Obamas lack of American roots could hold him back. But he added: We are never going to say anything about his background. The Clinton campaign never acted on his advice, and he was dismissed in April 2008.
Some Clinton supporters have been blamed over anonymous chain emails for questioning Obamas citizenship, but none of the rumormongers were linked to the campaign. Philip Berg, a former Pennsylvania official who supported Clinton, filed a lawsuit in 2008 over Obamas birth certificate; the suit was thrown out because it was groundless. Blumenthal, an old friend of the Clintons who frequently sent them unsolicited advice, reportedly asked reporters to investigate Obamas birth, but he has denied this and denounced the conspiracy.
As fellow fact-checkers at Politifact have noted, a Texas volunteer for Clinton named Linda Starr eventually joined Bergs failed lawsuit; there is nothing to suggest Starr had any influence in the campaign at any level. Campaign volunteers who forwarded emails falsely alleging Obama is Muslim resigned when they were found out.
Trump did not answer the question about what convinced him that the president was born in the US, even though the birth certificate has been public for the five years that has Trump continued questioning Obamas birthplace.
The Islamic States first segments formed out of the post-invasion civil war in Iraq, while George W Bush was president. The group took root in Syrias civil war, where the US did not intervene until 2014. The terror group largely formed out of the remnants of Saddam Husseins government and the factions that formed al-Qaida in Iraq all of which happened in the last decade or so. The group also gained international notoriety only in 2014, when it invaded Iraq in significant forces and when Clinton was out of office.
Several independent security firms, in addition to intelligence officials, have pointed to Russian-backed hackers as the culprits behind a hack of the Democratic National Committee. Trump is correct in an extremely technical sense: no one has provided 100% proof that Russia was behind the hack, and the Obama administration has proven loath to escalate a hacking war. But security experts have found technical fingerprints that seem to hint back toward Russia, just as they have found links back to Chinese hacks in unrelated cases.
The claim that Obama and Clinton created the conditions for Isis ignores that Isiss first segments formed out of the post-invasion civil war in Iraq, while George W Bush was president; that the group took root in Syrias civil war, where the US did not intervene until 2014; and that Obama withdrew American forces in 2011 under the timeline agreed on by Bush and Baghdad.
But Nato has had a Defense Against Terrorism program since June 2004, almost a full 12 years before Trump called the alliance obsolete. In July its member nations decided to increase efforts against Isis, specifically, in Syria and Iraq, as its leaders had discussed for months. Trump was not involved.
Not quite. Per the AP:
A June 2013 press release posted on the Trump Organizations website announced that the redevelopment of the old post office was expected to start in 2014 with the hotel opening scheduled in 2016. A few months later, the Trump Organization announced the expected grand opening of the hotel would happen at the end of 2015. The Trump Organization said in a third statement in 2013 … completion was expected in late 2015.
In 2014, the Trump Organization went back to announcing the hotel would open in mid-2016. In February, in the midst of Trumps presidential campaign, the organization shifted and announced the hotel was planned to open in September, almost two years ahead of schedule, which is unheard of for a project of this size and complexity, Ivanka Trump is quoted as saying.
And during a March visit to the site, Donald Trump said: Were two years ahead of schedule. Were going to be opening in September.
The hotel is now only partly open.
Clinton had nothing to do with the delivery of $400m to Iran as part of a settlement for a failed arms deal that Tehrans pre-revolutionary government had made with the US in the 1970s.
The State Department under John Kerry has admitted, however, that it wanted to use that money as leverage to secure the sailors release, although its transfer had been mediated through an international court. The money was delivered as foreign currency because US law bars any transaction in US dollars and sanctions make bank transactions difficult.
The US is not giving any of its own money to Iran as part of an international nuclear arms deal meant to prevent the construction of weapons. The deal gradually unfreezes assets that belong to Iran but were frozen under sanctions related to the nations nuclear program. Sanctions related to human rights, terrorism and other issues remain in place and still lock Iran out of billions.
Trumps guess of how much Iran will benefit by unfrozen assets is far higher than most experts estimates, though not inconceivable. Treasury secretary Jack Lew has put the number at $56bn, and Iranian officials have said $32bn and $100bn. Independent economists have calculated that Iran will free up anything between $30bn to $100bn. Complicating the math are Irans debts: it will have to pay off tens of billions to countries such as China.
There is no evidence that the brief capture in January of 10 American sailors had any effect on the nuclear deal, which had been finalized five months earlier, although the incident rattled fragile relations between Washington and Tehran. A few days after the sailors were released, UN inspectors confirmed that Iran had complied with the deal.
What Iran does next remain an open question subject to inspection by UN officials and Clintons argument in favor of the deal hinges on a degree of good faith that Tehran will comply by the terms of the deal.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement is a government agency. It does not endorse political candidates. A group of former customs officials endorsed Trump just before the debate.
In our latest experiment, you can sign up for Android notifications from Guardian columnists during the presidential debates wherever you are in the world
The Guardian Mobile Innovation Lab and the Guardian US opinion desk are sending experimental web notifications tonight during tonights presidential debate, with real-time opinions from Guardian columnists.
To sign up: Open this page in a Chrome browser from an Android phone (Samsung included) and tap to sign up. Web notifications are currently only available on Chrome on Android devices. They are meant for mobile but will work on Chrome browsers on desktop, too.
These experimental alerts will supplement the news alerts sent from the Guardians Android app with reactions from Guardian columnists Richard Wolffe and Lucia Graves. They will be sent at key moments throughout the debate, while the Guardian app news alerts will provide only the most important updates. (The alerts can also be received through desktop Chrome browsers but unfortunately not iPhones. Were working on a way to release iOS versions of our notifications experiments and hope to have that ready next month.)
During the debate, you will hear from the columnists with their quick takes on the candidates policy statements, their debating styles, and whos winning and whos losing.
This project is the latest installment in ongoing experimentation with notifications, part of the Mobile Labs mission to learn more about mobile storytelling. After the experiment, well send out a survey soliciting feedback on the experience.
Questions, suggestions or observations? Drop us a note: firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington (CNN)During his campaign, Donald Trump’s made many claims about trade and the economy. CNN’s Reality Check Team put the billionaire’s statements and assertions to the test.