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Gender: Male
Current location: New Jersey
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 26,586

Journal Archives

Didn't take long: Hitler finds out Biden won the election!

For Stacey Abrams, revenge is a dish best served blue

For Stacey Abrams, revenge is a dish best served blue

Atlanta (CNN)With Joe Biden projected to become the next US president, and possibly the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Georgia in 28 years, much of the credit for his showing here is going to someone who wasn't on the ballot: Stacey Abrams.

Abrams, the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, has devoted years to expanding the electorate and boosting turnout in the state, which had been reliably red for decades.

Abrams lost the Georgia governor's race by 55,000 votes in an election marred by allegations of voter suppression. Instead of fading into the background, she climbed into the trenches. She formed an organization to register and empower voters, wrote a book about voter suppression and co-produced an Amazon Prime documentary, "All In: the Fight for Democracy."
Her relentless efforts paid off. No Democratic presidential candidate has won in Georgia since Bill Clinton in 1992, although Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton came fairly close. But Biden got more than 2.4 million votes in Georgia, smashing Hillary Clinton's total by more than half a million, and led President Trump by more than 7,000 votes as counting continued Saturday...

Dance to...


I just got off a conference call with India.

It was a technical conversation, but our Indian colleagues ended the meeting by saying that they, and the whole world, is waiting to celebrate the end of Trump.

They hear the same thing from all their international contacts outside of India and the US.

The whole world wants it to be official.

I told everyone with whom I work that I would love to be called Kamala.

I was recently promoted to VP of my company.

There is nothing the whole world needs more than a VP going by that name, and I certainly don't mean that referring to what people in my company call me.

Wealthy funder pays reparations for use of HeLa cells

This story is covered in the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which I bought for my wife as a Christmas present but never got around to reading myself.

Now there is a news item about an effort to correct what is now understood to be an injustice in Nature: Wealthy funder pays reparations for use of HeLa cells Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s six-figure donation is a step towards addressing racial injustice in the sciences. (Alexandre Witze Nature News, October 29, 2020, corrected October 30, 2020)

The full news item is probably open sourced, but some excerpts:

A major biomedical-research organization has for the first time aimed to make financial reparation for the continuing experimental use of cells from Henrietta Lacks, a Black woman who was the source of the historic ‘HeLa’ cell line, which has been a mainstay of biological research for decades. The Henrietta Lacks Foundation announced the six-figure gift from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) in Chevy Chase, Maryland, on 29 October.

In 1951, doctors took cancerous cells from Lacks without her consent, and later created the HeLa cell line, which today supports a multibillion-dollar biotechnology industry. Lacks died soon after, and for decades, her family saw no financial compensation and were not consulted on other medical decisions stemming from the use of the cells in research.

“We felt it was right to acknowledge Henrietta for the use of HeLa cells and to acknowledge that the cells were gained inappropriately,” says Erin O’Shea, president of the HHMI. “And to acknowledge that we have a long way to go before science and medicine are really equitable.” The HHMI did not disclose the exact amount of the donation...

...The HHMI decided to make the donation after this year’s transformative protests over racial injustice in the United States, including the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in May. The institution’s high profile as one of the world’s biggest private funders of basic biomedical research could set a precedent...

...The HeLa story became widely known with the 2010 publication of the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. But until recently, no institutions had stepped forward to make restitution for using the cells, says the book’s author, Rebecca Skloot. In August — the month in which Lacks would have turned 100 — the UK biotech firm Abcam announced that it had made an unspecified donation to the foundation...

...The foundation gives grants to people who have unknowingly been part of historic medical-research studies, and to their families who did not benefit from that work. Recent grants have included educational and medical expenses for members of the Lacks family, as well as support for the families of the Black men who, from 1932 to 1972, were part of a US government experiment to observe the effects of untreated syphilis. The men thought they were receiving free health care, but doctors gave them placebos and administered sham procedures instead.
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