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Grey Lemercier

Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: San Diego
Home country: USA
Current location: London
Member since: Fri Jul 22, 2016, 05:13 AM
Number of posts: 1,429

About Me

26 yo, bi-racial, femme lesbian, happily married, moderate liberal, business owner, post grad degree, South Kensington, London GO HILLARY 2016! PS I hate flying with no leg room,lol. https://i.gyazo.com/08101542e7aeaac6a803a7b32f4fa723.png

Journal Archives

GMOs Could Save Your Life—They Might Have Already


The shadow of the Zika virus hangs over the Rio Olympic Games, with visitors and even high-profile athletes citing worries about Zika as a reason to stay away (even if the risk is probably quite low). The public’s concerns are a striking example of the need to rapidly combat emerging infectious diseases. In the fight against Zika, public health experts have turned to what may sound like an unlikely ally: genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

Consumers are used to hearing about GMOs in food crops, but may be unaware of the vital role GMOs play in medicine. Most modern biomedical advances, especially the vaccines used to eradicate disease and protect against pandemics such as Zika, Ebola and the flu, rely on the same molecular biology tools that are used to create genetically modified organisms. To protect the public, scientists have embraced GMO technology to quickly study new health threats, manufacture enough protective vaccines, and monitor and even predict new outbreaks.

Vaccines, meet molecular biology

Vaccines work with the immune system to strengthen the body’s own natural defenses. A vaccine offers a preview of a potential infection, so the immune system is ready to pounce if the real threat shows up. The earliest vaccines were primitive – think Edward Jenner in the 1790s inoculating against smallpox by rubbing together the open wounds of uninfected patients and those with cowpox. But over the years, advances in medical technology led to improved vaccines. The modern age of vaccines was ushered in by the introduction of molecular biology tools in the 1970s, which vastly improved our ability to study and manipulate viruses.

Under the microscope, viruses look like spiky balls, with an internal cargo bay that houses their genetic material. “Dissecting” a virus means using molecular biology tools to study its genes (whether encoded via DNA or RNA) up close. For example, researchers can “cut and paste” genes to study them in isolation and figure out what they do. Or researchers can cause genetic mutations and watch how an organism responds.

Posted by Grey Lemercier | Thu Jul 28, 2016, 03:25 PM (1 replies)

Dr. Jill Stein Is Anti-Science, Bad for the Environment, and Deserves Her Anti-Vax Label


I’m a strong progressive with socialist leanings, but more than anything else, I’m an environmentalist working for biodiversity — it’s my life’s passion. I campaign hard for Greens running in local elections. While a government environmental scientist, I successfully blew the whistle more than once on politicized agencies’ illegal actions to permit corporate pollution. I pushed my agencies hard to put science over politics and stop dragging their feet on climate change. While working for a non-profit conservation group, I managed successful statewide biodiversity campaigns, criticizing politicians and government agencies who were obstacles. In my personal life, I’m a naturalist and organic gardener, who lectures about gardening for wildlife. For these reasons, I would not dream of voting for Green Party candidate Jill Stein and will be voting for Hillary Clinton for President. Does this surprise you? It shouldn’t.

For weeks I’ve been following the debate as to whether Stein is a pseudoscience peddler, wondering if there was any truth to those who claimed she was being unfairly characterized as anti-vaccination and anti-science. I’m not wondering anymore. In an extremely disappointing statement last week, Stein responded to the concerns she’s anti-science when asked about vaccinations:

What I say to those people is that we need regulatory agencies we can trust. I’m definitely not anti-vax; what I have raised is the issue that we need an FDA that’s working for us, that’s not working for the pharmaceutical industry. I think that makes some people uncomfortable, so they’re trying to smear me as being anti-vaxxer. I’m not anti-vax; I’m just saying we need good, reliable data so that the American people know what we’re doing. I mean, it’s like saying the FDA, that has leadership from Monsanto, should tell us what kind of food is safe? No, you get Monsanto out of there, you get the pharmaceutical companies out of there, and then we can trust…

Stein insults progressives like me by claiming the real reason we’re concerned that she’s promoting vaccine distrust is that we’re part of a conspiracy to smear her. Does she honestly not understand our sincere concerns over her accusations that the U.S. vaccination program is untrustworthy and corrupt? That doctors who vaccinate do so without good data? That they don’t know what they’re doing? Does she not see why we’d be concerned that her accusations rest not on evidence, but known myths and vague, unspecified claims of conspiracies that make reference to Monsanto, which has nothing to do with vaccines?

Posted by Grey Lemercier | Thu Jul 28, 2016, 12:19 AM (6 replies)

The ominous Trump-Russia link: What happens if Moscow really is meddling in the 2016 race?

If Russian hackers are conducting a 2016 sabotage campaign, it would put massive strain on our political system


The resignation of Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz over a series of embarrassing leaked emails is obviously a big political story, and it does not portend well for Democratic efforts at demonstrating unity over the next week. But the larger, much more significant story surrounding those emails is the growing pile of evidence that they were hacked and released by Russian intelligence agencies.

Vice News’ Thomas Rid compiled all the publicly available evidence surrounding the hacking of the DNC, which was first reported last month. There’s a lot of technical jargon, but he writes that “the forensic evidence linking the DNC breach to known Russian operations is very strong,” while the evidence linking its dissemination to the Russians “is not as solid, yet a deception operation… is still highly likely.” The FBI is investigating the case, and as the Daily Beast reported Monday, the working theory is that the operation was intended to sway the presidential election in Donald Trump’s favor:

The FBI suspects that Russian government hackers breached the networks of the Democratic National Committee and stole emails that were posted to the anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks on Friday. It’s an operation that several U.S. officials now suspect was a deliberate attempt to influence the presidential election in favor of Donald Trump, according to five individuals familiar with the investigation of the breach.

Nothing has been concretely proven, but we have to consider the ominous ramifications of what we’re looking at here. The DNC hacking operation described by Vice was highly sophisticated and had been ongoing “since at least summer 2015.” One has to leave open the possibility that, given the proficiency of the hackers and the amount of time they spent undetected, they obtained access to information that hasn’t been released yet. And if we are indeed seeing an effort by Russian intelligence services to sow chaos in the 2016 presidential race, then you can’t rule out the possibility that we’ll see more targeted releases of stolen information that coincide with big political moments – the DNC emails dropped just before the Democratic convention, and we still have several debates to get through, not to mention Election Day itself.


Posted by Grey Lemercier | Tue Jul 26, 2016, 11:09 AM (2 replies)
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