Why a new era of synthetic biology could make the dangers of the atomic age seem quaint.
It’s not hard to understand why our lives are increasingly wrapped up in the latest twists and turns of the cyberworld. That supercomputer you are carrying in your pocket (when its tiny colorful screen isn’t parked six inches in front of your eyes) is a synthesizer of all the world’s knowledge, photography, art, music, and data. It is also a kind of X-ray machine that can provide insights into the deepest recesses of our personal lives: our preferences, choices, intimate moments, health, purchases, and indeed our character.
Yet the impact of all that information and data pales in comparison to what is heading our way in the world of biology. Biological, not cybernetic, developments will determine the course of the 21st century. Ebola, Zika, and the emergence of antibiotic-impervious superbugs are just previews of the coming challenges. Continue reading
The Zika virus, linked to severe birth defects in thousands of babies in Brazil, is “spreading explosively” and could infect as many as 4 million people in the Americas, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.
Director-General Margaret Chan told members of the U.N. health agency’s executive board the spread of the mosquito-borne disease had gone from a mild threat to one of alarming proportions. The WHO would convene an emergency meeting on Monday to help determine its response, she said.
“The level of alarm is extremely high,” Chan told the Geneva gathering. Continue reading
As anti-American as the state-owned (Kremlin) propaganda outlet RT is, there couldn’t be more truth behind this article:
The United States is in decline. While not all major shocks to the system will be devastating, when the right one comes along, the outcome may be dramatic.
Not all explosives are the same. We all know you have to be careful with dynamite. Best to handle it gently and not smoke while you’re around it.
Semtex is different. You can drop it. You can throw it. You can put it in the fire. Nothing will happen. Nothing until you put the right detonator in it, that is.
To me, the US – and most of the supposedly free West – increasingly looks like a truck being systematically filled with Semtex.
But it’s easy to counter cries of alarm with the fact that the truck is stable – because it’s true: you can hurl more boxes into the back without any real danger. Absent the right detonator, it is no more dangerous than a truckload of mayonnaise.
But add the right detonator and you’re just one click away from complete devastation. Continue reading
Did you ever hear the one about the Colombian Chemicals factory in Centerville, Ala., blown up by ISIS terrorists on Sept. 11? Possibly not–because it did not happen.
The Colombian Chemicals fake is an example of the Russian government’s determination to get into the heads of Americans through the deployment of an army of hundreds so-called “trolls,” who prowl the Internet to spread disinformation and attack those who are deemed enemies of the Kremlin. Creating the hoax involved setting up fake Twitter accounts, commentary in Arabic claiming ISIS involvement, and fake Louisiana TV images on YouTube. For a few moments it had local people severely rattled. Continue reading
Dr David Nabarro, the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy on Ebola, told The Independent the world should prepare for more major outbreaks of zoonotic diseases – those which can pass from animals to humans – which he said were a “local and global threat to humanity”. Continue reading
BERLIN — The Ukraine conflict, Islamic State group jihadists and the wider “collapse of the global order” will occupy the world’s security community at an annual meeting in Germany from Friday.
Also on the agenda of the three-day Munich Security Conference (MSC) will be Iran’s nuclear talks, the Syrian war and mass refugee crisis, West Africa’s Ebola outbreak and cyber-terrorism.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is among 20 heads of government and state on the guest list, along with 60-odd foreign and defense ministers including US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russia’s top diplomat Sergei Lavrov. Continue reading
Death toll from virus outbreak nears 7,000 as World Health Organisation warns figures may be significant underestimation
The number of people with Ebola in west Africa has risen above 16,000, with the death toll from the outbreak reaching almost 7,000, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says.
The number of deaths is more than 1,000 higher than the figure issued by the WHO just two days ago, but it is thought to include deaths that have gone unreported in the weeks or months since the outbreak began. Most of the new deaths were recorded in Liberia.
(Reuters) – The death toll in the world’s worst Ebola epidemic has risen to 5,689 out of 15,935 cases reported in eight countries by Nov. 23, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.
Almost all cases and all but 15 deaths have been in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia – the three hardest-hit countries, which reported 600 new cases in the past week, the WHO said in its latest update.
“The total number of cases reported in Sierra Leone since the outbreak began will soon eclipse the number reported from Liberia,” it said. The former British colony has reported 6,599 cases against 7,168 in Liberia. Continue reading
Someone jabbed him with a needle in an airport in Nigeria. Was it the beginning of a new type of terrorism?
The terminal at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, was packed. Inside, a small team of U.S. air marshals wormed its way through the crowd. They had a plane to catch: United Flight 143 to Houston. It was Sunday, Sept. 7, and that was the day’s mission.
The exact size of this group of air marshals is an operational secret. Even how many people are employed by the federal air marshal service is not shared. But the number has certainly grown since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, renewed fear of hijacked planes.
The air marshals in Lagos were following an expediter – a Nigerian airport worker charged with guiding them through the terminal and helping them get through security, said Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association. But the air marshals were having trouble keeping up. They kept losing sight of the expediter. He was moving too fast. The air marshals were walking through the airport, nearly to the security checkpoint, other travelers passing them in every direction, jostling for space, when two men approached from the opposite direction. These two men didn’t stand out, until they brushed past the U.S. agents.
It happened in a flash, Adler said. One of the men jabbed a hypodermic needle into the arm of an air marshal and then melted into the crowd, he said. No shouting. No fighting. It took a moment to even realize what had occurred. By then, the two passing men had disappeared. Continue reading
PM says ‘red warning lights are flashing’ against a backdrop of instability and uncertainty, as G20 summit draws to a close
David Cameron has issued a stark message that “red warning lights are flashing on the dashboard of the global economy” in the same way as when the financial crash brought the world to its knees six years ago.
Writing in the Guardian at the close of the G20 summit in Brisbane, Cameron says there is now “a dangerous backdrop of instability and uncertainty” that presents a real risk to the UK recovery, adding that the eurozone slowdown is already having an impact on British exports and manufacturing. Continue reading
A lack of preparedness for possible Ebola cases is symptomatic of a more general erosion in patient care standards, claims National Nurses United
Almost 20,000 nurses went on strike in California on Tuesday, ahead of national protests planned for Wednesday over what union leaders deem a lack of protection for nurses who might treat Ebola patients. Continue reading
On rare occasion will an article in its full entirety be posted here. Due to its nature, in how things don’t add up (or finally add up), this is one such occasion.
(NaturalNews) Nurse Kaci Hickox, who has made headlines over the last few days by refusing to quarantine herself after returning from the Ebola front lines in Africa, turns out to have been trained as an “intelligence officer” under a two-year CDC program modeled after the U.S. military.
As you can see from the document below, Hickox graduated from a two-year CDC intelligence officer training program in 2012. This is the same nurse whose LinkedIn page was recently scrubbed to hide her ties to the CDC, an agency that stands to benefit tremendously in both political power and budgets if an Ebola outbreak sweeps across America.
The official intelligence designation granted to Nurse Hickox by the CDC was “Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer,” and she is a graduate of the 2012 EIS programEIS according to this CDC document (PDF). (See page 138 – 139 for her name and photo, or view photo below.) Continue reading
Ebola is a lot easier to catch than health officials have admitted — and can be contracted by contact with a doorknob contaminated by a sneeze from an infected person an hour or more before, experts told The Post Tuesday.
“If you are sniffling and sneezing, you produce microorganisms that can get on stuff in a room. If people touch them, they could be” infected, said Dr. Meryl Nass, of the Institute for Public Accuracy in Washington, DC. Continue reading
As mentioned in a previous post: Islamic State jihadists may infect themselves to spread Ebola in the West
Furthermore, it has also already mutated over 300 hundred times in 2014 through observing its genomic sequencing. A bio attack could easily come from the Russians without a trace and easily have blame placed on islamic jihadists.
She was an ordinary lab technician with an uncommonly dangerous assignment: drawing blood from Ebola-infected animals in a secret military laboratory. When she cut herself at work one day, she decided to keep quiet, fearing she’d be in trouble. Then the illness struck.
“By the time she turned to a doctor for help, it was too late,” one of her overseers, a former bioweapons scientist, said of the accident years afterward. The woman died quickly and was buried, according to one account, in a “sack filled with calcium hypochlorite,” or powdered bleach.
The 1996 incident might have been forgotten except for the pathogen involved — a highly lethal strain of Ebola virus — and where the incident occurred: inside a restricted Russian military lab that was once part of the Soviet Union’s biological weapons program. Years ago, the same facility in the Moscow suburb of Sergiev Posad cultivated microbes for use as tools of war. Today, much of what goes on in the lab remains unknown. Continue reading
A German newspaper has reported that the government is developing a special aircraft designed to transport Ebola patients. At present, only the US has planes equipped for the task.
Citing government sources, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung reported that officials planned to develop several planes that were designed to safely carry such highly infectious patients. Continue reading