Category Archives: Science & technology

Student threatens violence after seeing Trump sticker on classmate’s computer. ‘I’ll smash this b**ch’s computer’

#WaronWomen

trump computer

A student has been condemned online after threatening to smash a classmate’s computer because it had a Donald Trump sticker on it.

The Daily Mail reports that the man, identified online as Clifford Durand, a student at St John’s University, New York, posted at 10am threatening to ‘smash this b**ch’s computer’ if his message was retweeted 7,000 times.

After the message went viral, attracting more than 20,000 shares as of Wednesday evening, Durand boasted about getting into a fight with the girl, who has yet to be identified.

Clifford Durand

Clifford Durand (Facebook photo)

In a now-deleted message at around 4pm, Durand wrote: ‘She threw her Starbucks at me and got shoved in the neck.’ According to students at the college, who spoke to the New York Daily News, the fight broke out in a corridor after the woman saw the message about her. Sources told the news site that the woman asked for the post to be taken down, to which Durand responded ‘make me’.  During the altercation witnesses said Durand hit the woman in the chest, and she threw a cup of coffee at him. It is unclear what order these events took place in.

While thousands of people appear to support Durand’s actions online, he was also bombarded by hundreds of tweets from critics. In response Durand, whose Twitter account has now been suspended, lashed out with a series of vicious counter-tweets, branding people ‘c***s’ and threatening to ‘stomp’ his opponents.

St John’s University did not respond to a request from the Dailymail.com for comment, but instead posted a short response on Twitter. Without directly referencing Durand’s messages, it says: ‘Thank you to everyone who reported the incident to us. This type of behavior will not be tolerated. Public Safety is handing the situation. ‘Safety is our top priority. Any student in violation of our Code of Conduct is subject to our conduct process.’

Read the whole story here.

P.S. The Daily Caller is reporting that Durand is a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement.

DCG

Report: Top Clinton aides also handled ‘top secret’ intelligence on server

Given all that has happened with Clinton and her emails/private server, this comes as a surprise to no one, except maybe Drew Barrymore.

Time's Hillary cover

At least a dozen email accounts handled the “top secret” intelligence that was found on Hillary Clinton’s server and recently deemed too damaging for national security to release, a U.S. government official close to the review told Fox News. The official said the accounts include not only Clinton’s but those of top aides – including Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, Jake Sullivan and Philippe Reines – as well as State Department Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy and others.

Patrick Kennedy

Patrick Kennedy

A second source not authorized to speak on the record said the number of accounts involved could be as high as 30 and reflects how the intelligence was broadly shared, replied to, and copied to individuals using the unsecured server.

The State Department recently confirmed that the messages in question include the most sensitive kind of intelligence. On Jan. 29, Fox News first reported that some emails on Clinton’s server were too damaging to release in any form. The State Department subsequently announced that 22 “top secret” emails were being withheld in full; these were the messages being handled by more than a dozen accounts.

Kennedy recently told the House Benghazi Select Committee that he knew about Clinton’s personal email account from the beginning, but did not understand the “scope,” thinking it was for reaching husband Bill Clinton and their daughter Chelsea — and not for the exclusive handling of State Department business. Kennedy’s testimony appears to conflict with emails released through the Freedom of Information Act that show he routinely sent and received government business from the Clinton account.

Fox News has asked the State Department to comment on the email accounts that shared the highly classified information, and how it was that Kennedy did not understand the “scope” of Clinton’s personal email being used for government business.  A spokesman for the intelligence community inspector general, which has been reviewing the classification of the Clinton server emails, had no comment.

It’s now come to the point where I’m not holding my breath that anything will happen to Hillary Clinton. I’ll just believe it when I see it.

DCG

Award-winning biologist says Pope Francis gave his blessing to animal-human hybrids

In Greek mythology, the Chimera is a monstrous fire-breathing animal hybrid, usually depicted as a lion, with the head of a goat arising from its back, and a tail that ends with a snake’s head.

Now, unscrupulous scientists are fashioning even worse than Chimeras — animal-human hybrids — by injecting human stem cells into animals, to grow human organs for eventual transplant.

In January 2016, it was reported that scientists in Japan successfully used human stem cells to grow a human ear on the back of a rat. (Discovery)

rat with human ear

In September 2015, the National Institutes of Health (NIH)  announced it would not support research involving “human-animal chimeras” because of the hybrids may blue the line between species by ending up with human brain cells. But some U.S. research centers are defying the federal government with support from other funding sources, such as California’s state stem-cell agency. They are growing human tissue inside pigs and sheep, with the goal of creating hearts, livers, or other organs for transplants. (See “Defiling God’s creation: Scientists are creating animal-human hybrids“)

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, is one such research center.

Biologist Dr. Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte

Biologist Dr. Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte

Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, 55, is a professor in the Gene Expression Laboratories at the Salk Institute. A native of Spain, he received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Pharmacology at the University of Bologna, Italy and the University of Valencia, Spain. In 2004, he helped establish the Center for Regenerative Medicine in Barcelona and was its Director for 10 years, from 2004 to 2014. He is the recipient of several awards and honors, including the William Clinton Presidential Award, the Pew Scholar Award, the Gold Medal of the Junta Castilla-La Mancha, and the Roger Guillemin Endowed Nobel Chair.

At the Salk Institute, Dr. Izpisua Belmonte heads a team of scientists who “discovered a new type of stem cell that allowed them to develop the first reliable method for integrating human stem cells into an animal embryo. This could help them overcome a major hurdle toward growing replacement organs for humans.” If allowed to grow after birth, the chimeric embryo creature would be an animal-human hybrid or chimera.

In a phone interview with Christine Gorman, an editor of Scientific American magazine, published on January 25, 2016, Dr. Izpisua Belmonte said the following in answer to Gorman’s question, “How far along have these human-animal chimeras developed?”:

“We are entering into an ethical [area]. Because there are some people who think that we shouldn’t mix human cells with other animals and there are others who don’t care, so to speak. Here in California, we have gone through the different committees and they allow us to have a pig embryo develop for a month. Which is one third of their gestation. At that point you can see already all of the major organ primordia.

There are other countries. I’m from Spain and Spain has been quite open to this field of stem cell research. And they have allowed us to go until the animal is born. So in theory we could have a pig born with the human organ. It was not easy. Even though Spain is quite open to this stem cell research area, at the same time, Spain is a very Catholic country, so we had to go through the Pope. He very nicely said yes. This is to help people.”

When Gorman expressed surprise and asked, “The current Pope?,” Dr. Izpisua Belmonte confirmed that indeed he was referring to Pope Francis, i.e., Jorge Bergoglio:

Yes. The current Pope. So the Vatican is behind this research and has no problem based on the idea is to help humankind. And in theory all that we will be doing is killing pigs.

Dr. Izpisua Belmonte acknowledges that animal-human hybrids could develop human brain cells:

“One problem and the major problem is that these cells could colonize the brain of the animal in which you put them. And obviously it would not be appropriate to have an animal with neurons from people. Or these cells could colonize the germline so that the sperm or the oocytes of that pig would be human. So to avoid that the government of Spain allowed us to have the pig be born and then immediately after to be sacrificed.

But I was not happy with that. People will think that still you will have an embryo maybe with some neuron contribution. And even though the pig is not born, there are people who believe that that should not be done. So we are devising genetic engineering technology so that if a cell becomes a neuron it is just destroyed in the embryo. Any cell that starts to be taught okay you are going to become a neuron at the moment of the first stages of neurogenesis, we are putting a toxin construct in it so that it will be destroyed by itself. So that will prevent any pig embryos from having human neurons so to speak.

I feel that this will still generate controversy. Many people will think one way and others will think differently, so it is impossible to have a consensus. My feeling is that we still need to better understand these issues of cell competence, of mixing cells in embryogenesis—the rules of development, so to speak. And I am a developmental biologist by background and that is my own interest. It will take a long time to have all these hopes and dreams come true.”

According to a statement by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the Catholic Church supports ethically responsible stem cell research and “has long supported research using stem cells from adult tissue and umbilical cord blood, which poses no moral problem.” Ethically irresponsible research is any research that “exploits or destroys human embryos,” which would include “research as currently conducted” that employs embryonic stem cells. However, the Church “welcomes” proposed research that obtains “embryonic stem cells or their pluripotent equivalent without creating or harming embryos”.

An even more relevant document is Instruction Dignitas Personae on Certain Bioethical Questions, which was issued in 2008 under Pope Benedict XVI by the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith as the Church’s doctrinal directives on embryonic ethical controversies. No. 33 of the Instruction clearly states the following on “attempts at hybridization”:

From the ethical standpoint, such procedures represent an offense against the dignity of human beings on account of the admixture of human and animal genetic elements capable of disrupting the specific identity of man. The possible use of the stem cells, taken from these embryos, may also involve additional health risks, as yet unknown, due to the presence of animal genetic material in their cytoplasm. To consciously expose a human being to such risks is morally and ethically unacceptable.

Animal-human hybrids do exactly that by being “admixtures of human and animal genetic elements” which “disrupt the specific identity of man”.

However, according to eminent biologist Dr. Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, Pope Francis approves of research that uses human stem cells to grow human organs in animal, which may lead to the animal developing HUMAN brain cells.

But that’s okay with Jorge Bergoglio, so long as the animal-human hybrid is immediately killed after it’s born. All in the name of the end justifying the means — “doing good” by “helping humankind”.

And who’s to say there aren’t scientists, even in Spain, who disobey the rule by letting the chimera survive after birth?

See also:

UPDATE (Feb. 9, 2016):

According to the Italian-language blog Il Sismografo, Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See’s Press Office, said, “It’s absolutely untrue that Pope Francis encourages this kind of [animal-human hybrid] research.” Lombardi calls reports that claim the pope approves of such research “a disgusting lie, irresponsible and uncivilized”. I suggest Lombardi contact Scientific American and Dr. Izpisua Belmonte to set the record straight.

~Eowyn

New search engine lets anyone spy on your webcam

A new website called Shodan enables anyone to spy on your webcam, seeing everything that the webcam sees, such as the interior of your home.

So if you have a webcam installed either inside or outside your home, make sure you set a password for your webcam.

privacy

Jennings Brown and Adi Cohen report for Vocativ, Jan. 25, 2016, that a new feature on Shodan, the most popular search engine for the Internet of Things, just made it a lot easier for anyone to find your webcam feeds. And it’s even creepier than you can imagine.

Shodan is a website that scans the internet for publicly accessible devices and captures their IP addresses—creating a searchable index that includes everything from in-home surveillance cameras to traffic lights to fetal heart monitors to power switches for hospitals. Essentially, any device that doesn’t have a password is up for grabs.

Programmer John Matherly developed Shodan in 2009 when he was a teenager, and he originally thought his pet project would help large tech companies see who was using their devices. But now the website is mostly used by hackers and researchers. Until recently, Shodan was used almost exclusively within the cybersecurity community, because searches require a general understanding of technical language. But a new feature has made it easier for anyone to peek people’s home surveillance devices. The new channel includes screen grabs of security camera feeds along with their location.

As Ars Technica reports, Shodan members who pay the $49 monthly fee can search the full feed at images.shodan.io. A Vocativ search of some of the most recently added images shows offices, school, porches and the interior of people’s homes. Accompanying each of these grabs is a pinned map that shows the location of the device capturing that footage.

Shodan1

The site also offers free memberships that allow anyone to search through thousands of webcams. Most of these devices require a password to view the feed (Shodan users have written a few articles about the most-used passwords so that others can easily hack feeds), but many people don’t set up password authentication on their devices. Such cameras are easily accessed through Shodan, and many of them can even be controlled by Shodan users.

The authors of the Vocativ article tried out Shodan for themselves.

Moments after setting up a free account on Shodan, they were able to access and maneuver several security cameras within people’s homes, even moving the webcam’s views from left to right, down and up. Here’s a screenshot of the view from a webcam inside someone’s home:

Shodan3

Shodan also provided the general location where each of the live feeds were coming from, which means it would not be difficult to track down those homes and figure out when their owner is away.

So, if you value your privacy and security, set up a password on all your connected devices!

~Eowyn

Xenogenesis: They’re growing vaginas in labs for transplant

The Greek word xenos means “strange” or “foreign”; the word genesis means the origin or mode of formation of something.

Combining the two, xenogenesis may mean strange origin — an apt word for vaginas grown in a lab.

A team of scientists led by Anthony Atala, MD, director of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine, succeeded in growing vaginas in a laboratory, then transplanted them into four girls. The study was co-funded by Wake Forest University and Hospital Infantil de México Federico Gómez.

Their findings were published in an article titled “Tissue-engineered autologous vaginal organs in patients: a pilot cohort study,” in the online April 10, 2014 edition of the journal The Lancet.

The study’s subjects were four teenage girls, aged 13-18 years, who were born with vaginal aplasia caused by Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome (MRKHS) — a rare genetic condition in which the vagina and uterus are underdeveloped or absent. The congenital deformation affects between one in 1,500 and one in 4,000 female infants.

To build the personalized vaginas, the researchers took a small piece (less than half the size of a postage stamp) of vulvar tissue from each patient, and then allowed the cells to multiply in lab dishes.

The vagina is made up of two major layers with two cell types: muscle cells and vaginal epithelial cells. To build these layers, the researchers placed one cell type on one face of a biodegradable vagina-shaped scaffold, and placed the other cell type on the other face of the scaffold.

lab-grown vagina

The cell-scaffold was then placed in a bioreactor — an ovenlike device that has the same conditions as the human body — for about a week.

Once the lab-grown vaginas were ready, doctors surgically created a cavity in the girls’ bodies, then stitched one side of the vaginal organ to the opening of the cavity and the other side to the uterus.

For each girl, the whole process took about 5 to 6 weeks, from the time the vulvar tissue was taken from her to the time the engineered vagina was surgically implanted.

The patients were followed up for 8 years. There were no long-term postoperative surgical complications. The implanted vaginas are working normally, as indicated by the patients’ responses to self-administered Female Sexual Function Index questionnaires, showing normal ranges in all areas tested, such as desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and painless intercourse.

The success of the pilot study is promising for the treatment of several disorders that might require vaginal reconstruction, such as congenital abnormalities, injury, or cancer. Current treatments for MRKH syndrome include dilation of existing tissue or, for more severe cases, reconstructive surgery using a piece of intestine or a piece of skin to create a new vaginal organ.

Notwithstanding the success of this pilot study, the researchers caution that the risk of complications is high when non-vaginal tissue is used to lab-grow vaginas because, as Dr. Atala explained, “They are not ideal because they don’t perform the same functionality.”

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Tuesday, July 30, 2013, after receiving a verdict in his court martial. Manning was acquitted of aiding the enemy — the most serious charge he faced — but was convicted of espionage, theft and other charges, more than three years after he revealed secrets to WikiLeaks. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

While Dr. Atala did not include transgenders among expected patients for lab-grown vaginas, that is clearly a possibility. I won’t be surprised if the Obama administration already has plans ready to have taxpayers foot the bill of growing vaginas in laboratories for surgical implantation into men who imagine themselves to be women.

After all, taxpayers are already forced to pay for the “sex change” hormone “therapy” of former U.S. Army soldier Bradley “call me Chelsea” Manning, who is serving a 35-year sentence for leaking more than 700,000 classified document; as well as “sex reassignment” surgeries for Medicare and illegal immigrants.

~Eowyn

Would you want a tattoo embedded with all your medical & financial information?

So many candidates for the Mark of the Beast!

Here’s the latest.

Some of us may soon willingly carry a tattoo embedded with a person’s financial and medical information.

tech tattoo

CBS New York reports, Jan. 29, 2016, that a software company called Chaotic Moon has developed a “tech tattoo” that gets embedded into a person’s arm and can track a person’s financial and medical information.

Eric Schneider, the company’s hardware creative technologist, explains the tattoo can monitor if a person is about to get sick, and transmits this information wirelessly to a mobile app or computer being monitored by one’s health professionals. He enthuses, “Rather than going to the doctor once a year for your physical, this tech tattoo can be something you put on your body once a year and it monitors everything that they would do in a physical and it sends that to your doctor, and if there’s an issue they can call you. So the tech tattoos can really tie in everything into one package. It can look at early signs of fever, your vital signs, heart rate, everything it needs to look at to notify you that you’re getting sick or your child is getting sick.”

The tattoo would also carry one’s financial information. Schneider says: “We carry wallets around and they are so vulnerable. With the tech tattoo you can carry all your information on your skin and when you want your credit card information or your ID, you can pull that up automatically through the system.” he said.

The tattoos are made with “electro conductive ink” that contain various sensors, and in some cases tiny microchips. The makers say they will last for up to a year.

Tim Moynihan of Wired magazine thinks there could be a future with these tech tattoos because 20% of Americans already have tattoos, though not “tech” tattoos.

Lance Ulanoff of Mashable also lauds the “tech tats” because of their potential use to track missing children or check up on soldiers in combat.

Cosmetic company L’Oreal also offers a temporary tattoo that can track UV exposure and alert people if they’re in danger of burning.

See also:

~Eowyn

Facebook bans private gun sales

This will stop all the criminals from getting guns, I’m sure. Just another reason I’ll never get back on Facebook.

Two peas in a pod...

Two peas in a pod…

According to Guns.com, Facebook has banned the private sale of firearms. This also applies to its sistered site Instagram. This was announced late last  Friday.

The ban applies to private, person-to-person sales of guns, but posts by licensed gun dealers are okay. Facebook already prohibits unauthorized dealers to purchase, sell, or trade prescription drugs, illegal drugs, or marijuana.

Although Facebook has never been directly involved in gun sales, users have created groups used specifically for the sale of firearms.

Facebook updated it’s policy in 2014 to limit the sale of guns due to pressure from gun control groups. The company pushed forth efforts to block attempted sales to felons, minors or across state lines without an FFL.

They are a private company and are entitled to set their own rules. Just as I’m entitled to not use any of their social networking applications!

facebook

DCG