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Member since: Tue Nov 9, 2004, 11:55 PM
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Drone footage of Storm West Seneca NY 4K Aerial

Drone footage of Storm West Seneca NY 4K Aerial
James Grimaldi
Published on Nov 18, 2014

Storm 2014 West Seneca Aerial video and music by Jim Grimaldi in 4k

The Trouble With the Genetically Modified Future


The Trouble With the Genetically Modified Future
Nov 16, 2014
By Mark Buchanan

Like many people, I've long wondered about the safety of genetically modified organisms. They've become so ubiquitous that they account for about 80 percent of the corn grown in the U.S., yet we know almost nothing about what damage might ensue if the transplanted genes spread through global ecosystems.

How can so many smart people, including many scientists, be so sure that there's nothing to worry about? Judging from a new paper by several researchers from New York University, including "The Black Swan" author Nassim Taleb, they can't and shouldn't.


Not all risks are so easily defined. In some cases, as Taleb explained in "The Black Swan," experience and ordinary risk analysis are inadequate to understand the probability or scale of a devastating outcome. GMOs are an excellent example. Despite all precautions, genes from modified organisms inevitably invade natural populations, and from there have the potential to spread uncontrollably through the genetic ecosystem. There is no obvious mechanism to localize the damage.

Biologists still don't understand how genes interact within a single organism, let alone how genes might spread among organisms in complex ecosystems. Only in the last 20 years have scientists realized how much bacteria rely on the so-called horizontal flow of genes -- directly from one bacterium to another, without any reproduction taking place. This seems to be one of the most effective ways that antibiotic resistance spreads among different species. Similar horizontal exchange might be hugely important for plants and animals. No one yet knows.

In other words, scientists are being irresponsibly short-sighted if they judge the safety of GMOs based on the scattered experience of the past couple decades. It's akin to how, ahead of the 2008 financial crisis, analysts looked at 20 years of rising house prices and assumed they would always go up. The honest approach would be to admit that we understand almost nothing about the safety of GMOs, except that whatever happens is pretty likely to spread.


China sets cap on energy use

Source: Xinhua

China on Wednesday issued an energy development plan to cap primary energy consumption at 4.8 billion tonnes of standard coal equivalent per year by 2020.

The share of non-fossil fuels in its total energy mix will rise to 15 percent by the same year, according to a plan released by the State Council.

To meet the targets, annual coal consumption will be held at 4.2 billion tonnes until 2020, which is 16.3 percent more than the 3.6 billion tonnes burned last year, according to statistics from China National Coal Association.

Energy self-sufficiency rate will be boosted to around 85 percent and clean energy, such as natural gas, nuclear and renewable energy will be favored. Installed nuclear power capacity is expected to reach 58 million kilowatts by that year.

Read more: http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/article_xinhua.aspx?id=253473

Cured in Liberia, man tests positive for Ebola in Delhi

Source: Times of India

A 26-year-old Indian who was treated and cured of Ebola virus disease in Liberia has been quarantined at the Delhi airport's health facility after having tested positive twice. Although his blood samples were repeatedly found free of the disease, the deadly virus showed up in his semen.

The man was being kept under strict surveillance at the isolation ward of IGI Airport's health facility. He carries a certificate from Liberia of having successfully undergone treatment for the disease.

"During recovery from Ebola, patients continue to shed the virus in body fluids. It's unlikely that he may infect others through personal contact. However, due to presence of the virus in his semen, it's possible that he could transmit the disease through sexual contact for up to 90 days after cure," Dr V M Katoch, DG, Indian Council of Medical Research, told TOI.


The ICMR chief said the suspect will be tested again, repeatedly, over the next few days to rule out the presence of any virus before he is allowed to leave the quarantine zone. He did not comment on the possibility of the man having infected someone already during travel.


"As per WHO specifications, the person is deemed cured since the blood samples have tested negative for EVD," the official said. "However, as has been reported in the past, the virus may continue to be positive in secretions such as urine and semen for a longer time. Before releasing him from quarantine, a decision was taken to test his other body fluids."


Read more: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Cured-in-Liberia-man-tests-positive-for-Ebola-in-Delhi/articleshow/45197216.cms

Obama: 'We cannot be complacent' on Ebola

Source: The Hill

President Obama warned Tuesday that the deadly Ebola virus "is still going to be a danger" to Americans as he pressed lawmakers to approve more than $6 billion in emergency funding to fight the disease.

"We cannot be complacent simply because the news attention on it has waned," the president said Tuesday during a meeting with top health officials.

"We have to stay with it, and that’s why I’m calling Congress to make sure that it approves, before it leaves, the emergency funding request that we’ve put forward to respond to Ebola," he added.


"All this makes it necessary for Congress to act," he continued. "This is not a Democratic issue. This is not a Republican issue. This is a basic issue of the health and safety of the American people, and so I hope that Congress is on the case on this issue before they leave."

Republican aides have indicated that the additional funding will likely be included in a spending bill expected to pass during the lame-duck session, although it's still unclear whether the GOP will agree to the full request. Lawmakers must agree to a government funding deal by Dec. 11 or risk a shutdown.


Read more: http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/224525-obama-we-cannot-be-complacent-on-ebola

UMMC Announces Plans for New Isolation Unit for Ebola Threat

Source: WJTV

Nationwide the Centers for Disease Control estimates that only about two dozen hospital beds are fit for Ebola treatment.

On Monday, staff at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) said they are adding to that total.

In a press conference administrators told a group of reporters that the new isolation unit is about a quarter-mile away from the main hospital.

That distance means that if a patient needed to be isolated, that person's presence would not impact the intensive care unit or the clinical enterprise.


Read more: http://www.wjtv.com/story/27410726/ummc-announces-plans-for-new-isolation-unit-for-ebola-threat

Linguists to deploy to West Africa in Ebola fight

Source: Bay City News

Members of a San Francisco-based California National Guard battalion are deploying to West Africa in spring 2015 to support the ongoing global fight against Ebola, National Guard officials said Monday.

About a half-dozen linguists from the 223rd Military Intelligence Battalion will travel overseas to provide critical support roles for up to a year in areas impacted by Ebola, according to the California National Guard.

The soldiers will begin training next month before joining the approximately 2,100 National Guardsmen and Reservists deploying to West Africa in the spring.

Upon return, all soldiers will undergo a 21-day controlled monitoring period to make sure they are healthy and have not contracted Ebola.


Read more: http://abc7news.com/news/linguists-to-deploy-to-west-africa-in-ebola-fight/399426/

Obama extends condolences to Salia family

Source: Press Trust of India

President Barack Obama today extended his condolences to the family of Martin Salia, a doctor from Sierra Leone who died at a US hospital during treatment for the deadly Ebola virus.

"We extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of Dr Martin Salia, who succumbed this morning to Ebola at the University of Nebraska Medical Centre, despite the heroic efforts of that institution's incredibly talented team," Obama said.


Obama said: "Dr Salia leaves behind loved ones in the US, his adopted homeland, and in Sierra Leone, where he was born."

"He viewed this vocation as his calling, telling his fellow United Methodist Church members that he pursued medicine not because he wanted to, but because he firmly believed it was God's will for him," Obama said in a statement.


Read more: http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/obama-extends-condolences-to-salia-family-114111800020_1.html

Nebraska patient case raises questions about Ebola test

Source: USA Today

The death of physician Martin Salia from Ebola has raised questions about the tests and drugs used in the disease.

Salia, a surgeon who was flown from Sierra Leone to Omaha's Nebraska Medical Center Saturday, had two negative tests for Ebola before testing positive.


Read more: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/11/17/ebold-patient-nebraska/19171611/

Surgeon dies after 'false negative' Ebola test

Source: USA Today

A surgeon who had tested negative for the deadly Ebola virus in Sierra Leone before testing positive days later died Monday in Omaha, Nebraska Medical Center announced.

Martin Salia, whose family lives in Maryland, was flown to Omaha from Sierra Leone on Saturday and rushed to the medical center's specialized biocontainment unit.


Isatu Salia said her husband believed he had malaria or typhoid after initially testing negative for Ebola. Salia said her husband worked frequently in Africa because he felt he was needed there, she said. Salia had been working primarily at a hospital in Freetown that is not an Ebola treatment unit, but Salia worked in at least three other facilities in Sierra Leone, officials said.


Read more: http://www.freep.com/story/news/nation/2014/11/17/ebola-doctor-dies-nebraska/19162919/

Actually, he had TWO false negatives.
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