WASHINGTON, D.C. — A day after hitting a season-high three home runs en route to a series-opening win, the Giants allowed a new 2019 high of four in a loss to the Washington Nationals.Giants starter Jeff Samardzija surrendered a pair of homers in the first inning before reliever Travis Bergen let a close game get out of hand late by giving up two in the seventh in a 9-6 loss. Despite forcing the Nationals to use each of their top relievers in a four-run ninth-inning, the Giants dug too deep of …
Philip Ball is no alarmist, but as consultant editor of Nature,1 he had sobering words last week about things that could go wrong in the new field of synthetic biology, where scientists are tinkering with cells to create artificial life forms:The expanding toolbox of ways to re-engineer microbes – and even construct new ones – has opened up extraordinary possibilities for biomedical discovery and environmental engineering. But it also carries potential dangers that could eclipse the concerns already raised about genetic engineering and nanotechnology. If biologists are indeed on the threshold of synthesizing new life forms, the scope for abuse or inadvertent disaster could be huge.Humans are taking existing design to new levels. “Synthetic biology,” Ball explains, is the logical corollary of the realization that cells, like mechanical or electronic devices, are exquisitely ‘designed’ – albeit by evolution rather than on the drawing board. Their functions are enacted by circuits of interacting genes.” But can we trust humans putting them back on the drawing board? He gives some nightmare scenarios:Artificial disease: “In a dramatic demonstration of the potential risks, virologist Eckard Wimmer at the State University of New York at Stony Brook announced in 2002 that his team had built live poliovirus from scratch using mail-order segments of DNA and a viral genome map that is freely available on the Internet. The feat put a spotlight on the possibility that bioterrorists could create even more dangerous organisms – including Ebola, smallpox and anthrax – perhaps endowing them with resistance to antibiotics.” Wimmer’s feat took three years, but last November, Craig Venter took only three weeks to concoct a virus that infects bacteria. And soon, synthetic bacteria themselves may move from concept to reality.New living things: “And researchers are getting close to determining the smallest set of genes necessary to support a living cell, which might make it possible to cook up new life forms.”New molecular machines: “In a parallel development, other researchers have been tinkering with the building blocks of genes and proteins themselves. Naturally occurring proteins are built from a standard set of 20 amino acids. Although these are enough to produce protein chains with a staggering array of functions, expanding this repertoire might enable the design of biomolecules with new functions, such as protein-based drugs that resist being broken down in cells.” Already, some 80 unconventional amino acids have been artificially incorporated into proteins.New genetic codes: Steven Benner has gotten DNA to incorporate an unnatural base pair. He said, “I suspect that, in five years or so, the artificial genetic systems that we have developed will be supporting an artificial life form that can reproduce, evolve, learn and respond to environmental change. This will help define how life not of earthly origin might appear”.New circuitry: “But building a new bacterial genome is not just a matter of chemistry – you have to design the circuitry too,” Ball says, and that’s just what some researchers are attempting. Bioterrorism: “An unclassified report by the CIA released last November warned that synthetic biology could produce engineered agents ‘worse than any disease known to man’…,” he says.Unintentional Risks: Probably riskier than bioterrorism is human errorism. “It is much harder to anticipate the unintentional dangers of synthetic biology,” Ball says. “For example, if new strains of bacteria were developed with unprecedented capabilities, how could they be kept under control?” Even those that have been designed with built-in self-destruct mechanisms have apparently mutated around them.Unanticipated Risks: “Yet as synthetic biology develops, it will be hard to anticipate all the possible problems, whether malevolent or inadvertent.” How can we protect ourselves against the unknown, when the “repertoire over the coming decade is limitless”?In 1975, scientists held a summit at Asilomar, California, to “voluntarily forego” certain kinds of research on recombinant DNA, and institute “safety measures to prevent abuses of new techniques” that might go awry. Is a new summit overdue? There is some self-policing going on, but safety might be a casualty of the promise of great discoveries, carelessness, curiosity or the desire to be first. In addition, the threat of bioterrorism is as real as the memories of 9/11. Either by stealing materials or learning how to do it themselves, there are groups who would have no qualms about unleashing deadly agents that could not only resist our defenses, but turn out to be uncontainable. Ball says that for the time being, safety protocols are “informal” because no one can properly understand the issues or assess the threats well enough to formalize any policies, let alone enforce them:Synthetic biology is now raising the bar. Should limits be set on what is attempted? If so, what should they be and how should they be enforced? And what steps can be taken to ensure that a rogue organization, or even a state-sponsored bioweapons programme, does not use the technology to synthesize a dangerous microbe?Meanwhile, “into the unknown” march the researchers into this risky yet promising new field, with the public largely unaware of what is going on. Ball ends his article with more apprehension than hope. “Sooner or later, synthetic biology may find itself facing dangers that are far more than hypothetical. As [bioterrorism expert George] Poste puts it: ‘Biology is poised to lose its innocence.’”1Philip Ball, “Synthetic biology: Starting from scratch,” Nature 431, 624 – 626 (07 October 2004); doi:10.1038/431624a.Would you trust a Darwinist, who can say with a straight face, “cells, like mechanical or electronic devices, are exquisitely ‘designed“ … by evolution” (Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week) to have any moral sense? [Dumb Ideas.] Would you trust an unethical scientist somewhere, with eyes on a Nobel prize, or winning a race against a competitor, or getting a big payoff from someone, to be overly concerned about safety, let alone ethics? Big Science resists any political restraints on their work. They like to think they can police themselves. Most scientists are conscientious and ethical, but it just takes one that’s not, and these nightmare scenarios become tomorrow’s reality. Only ethics based on loving God with all our heart and loving our neighbor as ourself will stand the test of time. For those who trust God and his word, there is comfort commensurate to any threat, local or global (for example, read Psalms 144-147). The reason for that comfort is the confidence that the Creator of the world is in control. He understands DNA because He invented it. Scientists might make a superbug that resists all our defenses, but God can – and will – override man’s worst. He is not going to let the world that He formed to be inhabited (see Isaiah 45) be wiped out by man’s mistakes, and the future of this planet is in his hands. That doesn’t mean we should stop fighting evil and working for peace and safety. It does not mean we should forego pursuing good uses of science and technology, even though there is risk. But no matter what comes, even if global terror threatens, our trust should be in the Lord, not in scientists, summits, national defense or human promises to be good. There is only one reliable source of help for mankind. “I will lift up my eyes to the hills– From whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth….The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore” (Psalm 121).(Visited 15 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Meghan MarkleGetty ImagesMeghan Markle may not have been the Queen’s favourite after all. Though the Queen is gracious and cordial to the Duchess of Sussex when they are in public, it seems that the Queen’s affection is all for the cameras.According to the claims of a documentary, the “grandmotherly love” the monarch showed could have been a PR exercise. Being part of the Royal Family comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, one of these disadvantages being that the members of the Royal Family are always under the scrutiny of the media. Meghan Markle has been a part of the Royal Family only for a little while, which makes her a novice in Royalty’s public relations.The Queen, on the other hand, is a veteran at handling and presenting a Royal image to the world. Now according to reports, the Queen and Meghan Markle have an amicable relationship where Meghan apparently refers to the monarch as “Mama” in private. However, according to the documentary “Harry and Meghan: the first 100 days”, the Queen’s warm behaviour could be a PR exercise by the Palace. Meghan MarkleGetty ImagesMeghan Markle has been on the Queen’s radar for a while now, especially with reports of a Royal feud brewing between the Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex. The Queen tamped down any attempt by Meghan to separate herself from the Royal family and to carve out her own path.But it seems that the Queen could be making an effort with Meghan Markle as the Palace may not want a repeat of what happened with Princess Diana. Either way, it seems the Queen and the Duchess of Sussex have many opportunities to work on their relationship. Meghan Markle is expected to give birth this month and the couple Sussex will be moving to Frogmore cottage after the arrival of the baby.
yaba. File PhotoMore than 100 traffickers of illegal narcotic substance called yaba, have surrendered to the law enforcement in Cox’s Bazar under a government-sponsored rehabilitation process.The listed yaba traders, who were taken to the surrender ceremony venue on Saturday morning, include four brothers and 12 relatives of former Awami League member of parliament (MP) Abdur Rahman Badi, the number one person in the list prepared by the home ministry.However, Abdur Rahman Badi himself refrained from surrendering. Saiful Karim, the second man in the list, is reportedly staying abroad. Badi’s wife Shahin Akhter is now an MP of the ruling party.The yaba traders were seen handing over yaba pills and guns to home minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal at the gathering at Teknaf Pilot High School. Inspector general of police Javed Patwary was present.Only 24 out of 73 listed top yaba traders in the tourist district that has border with Myanmar surrendered, according to the police.Of the rest (49), six have already been killed since a drive that began May last year. Others numbering 43 traders are yet to surrender.“Those who have not surrendered have to face a dire consequence,” the home minister told the programme organised by the law enforcement, after months of discussion about the surrender.He mentioned that the surrender of yaba traders is a process as part of the drive against illegal arms and drugs.According to officials, names of 26 traders including Badi as the key patron, his five brothers and one sister were listed both by the home ministry and the Narcotics Control Department.Asaduzzaman warned that a stern action would be taken if anyone of the local administration is found involved in illegal drug trafficking.The home minister asked the members of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) to gear up surveillance along the border with Myanmar to stop entry of yaba.Those who surrendered include Badi’s brothers Abdul Shukkur, Abdul Amin, Mohammad Shafiq and Mohammad Foysal, Badi’s cousin Kamrul Islam Rasel and nephew Shahedur Rahman Nipun.Teknaf upazila parishad’s chairman Zafar Ahmed’s son Didar Mia, Hilar union parishad members Nurul Huda and Zamal Hossain, Teknaf municipality councilor Nurul Bashar Nurshad, woman councilor Kohinur Begum’s husband Shah Alam, Teknaf sadar UP member Enamul Haque and upazila BNP general secretary’s two brothers Ziaur Rahman and Abdur Rahman, among others, surrendered.Each of them was implicated in lawsuits up to 16.Around 300 people were killed in what the law enforcement called ‘crossfire’or ‘gunfights’ across the country since the crackdown against drugs began on 4 May last year.Among them, 44 were killed in Cox’s Bazar alone.Officials said yaba traders have been brought in for surrender at police lines in Cox’s Bazar since mid-January as part of the ‘initiative to bring yaba traders to normal life’.Cox’s Bazar superintendent of police ABM Masud Hossain, however, said two separate lawsuits in connection with drug and arms will be filed with Teknaf model police station.There is no scope of general amnesty for them, the police official said, the law will take its own course.
A convicted prisoner of a murder case, died at the Jashore Central Jail on Thursday.The deceased was Mohammad Iqbal Sheikh, son of Abdul Khalek Sheikh of Shamnagar village in Fakirhat upazila of Bagerhat.Md Abu Taleb, jailor of Jashore Central Jail said Iqbal was taken to the jail hospital after he fell unconscious in the morning.Later, he was shifted to Jashore General Hospital as his condition deteriorated where the physicians declared him dead. The physicians suspected that Iqbal had a heart attack.Iqbal was awarded death penalty in a murder case in 2009 which was commuted to life term imprisonment by the High Court on 2014.
Last September, a complaint was filed against Google and other ad auction companies about a data breach that “affects virtually every user on the web”. This complaint was made by a host of privacy activists and browser makers, alleging that tech companies broadcasted people’s personal data to dozens of companies, without proper security through a mechanism of “behavioural ads”. The complaint stated that every time a person visits a website and is shown a “behavioural” ad on a website; intimate personal data describing each visitor and what they are watching online is captured and broadcast to tens or hundreds of companies. This was done in order to request potential advertisers’ bids for the attention of the specific individual visiting the website. The complaints were lodged by Jim Killock of the U.K.’s Open Rights Group, tech policy researcher Michael Veale of University College London, and Johnny Ryan of the pro-privacy browser firm Brave. They claimed that Google and other ad-tech firms were breaking the EU’s strict General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by unlawfully recording people’s sensitive characteristics. Now, new evidence has been released by the very same organizations that filed last September’s complaint, showing the data broadcasted includes information about people’s ethnicity, disabilities, sexual orientation and more. This sensitive information allows advertisers to specifically target incest, abuse victims, or those with eating disorders. The irony of it being, yesterday was ‘International Data Protection Day”. What is Behavioral advertising? Yahoo finance has explained the concept of behavioral advertising very simply. The online ad industry tracks a person’s movements around the internet and builds a profile based on what the individual looks at/ sites the user visits. On visiting a webpage that runs behavioral ads, an automated auction takes place between ad agencies with the winner allowed being to show the user an ad that supposedly matches their profile. This ultimately means that for the real-time bidding system to work, personal details of the users have to be broadcasted to the advertisers in so-called “bid requests”. Evidence against Google and IAB Joining the list of complainants is Poland’s Panoptykon Foundation, another rights group, that has complained to its local data protection authority about organizations including Google and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), which is the industry body that sets the rules for ad auctions. The evidence submitted by the complainants comprises category lists from Google and IAB, including topics such as being an incest victim, having cancer, having a substance-abuse problem, being into a certain kind of politics or adhering to a certain religion or sect. Special needs kids, endocrine and metabolic diseases, birth control, infertility, diabetes, Islam, Judaism, disabled sports, bankruptcy- these serve as supplementary evidence for the two original complaints filed with the UK’s ICO and the Irish DPC last year. A Google spokesperson told TechCrunch that the company has “strict policies that prohibit advertisers on our platforms from targeting individuals on the basis of sensitive categories” and that if they did find such ads violating said policies, they would take immediate action”. The original IAB lists can be downloaded as a spreadsheet. The PDF versions of the IAB lists with special category and sensitive data highlighted by the complainants can be viewed here (v1) and here (v2). You can go ahead and download Google’s original document for more insights on this news. Read Next French data regulator, CNIL imposes a fine of 50M euros against Google for failing to comply with GDPREuropean Consumer groups accuse Google of tracking its users’ location, calls it a breach of GDPRTwitter on the GDPR radar for refusing to provide a user his data due to ‘disproportionate effort’ involved