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Scientist claiming gene-edited babies reports 2nd pregnancy

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HONG KONG (AP) — A Chinese researcher who claims to have helped make the world’s first genetically edited babies says a second pregnancy may be underway.

The researcher, He Jiankui of Shenzhen, revealed the possible pregnancy Wednesday while making his first public comments about his controversial work at an international conference in Hong Kong.

He claims to have altered the DNA of twin girls born earlier this month to try to make them resistant to infection with the AIDS virus. Mainstream scientists have condemned the experiment, and universities and government groups are investigating.

The second potential pregnancy is in a very early stage and needs more time to be monitored to see if it will last, He said.

Leading scientists said there are now even more reasons to worry, and more questions than answers, after He’s talk. The leader of the conference called the experiment “irresponsible” and evidence that the scientific community had failed to regulate itself to prevent premature efforts to alter DNA.

Altering DNA before or at the time of conception is highly controversial because the changes can be inherited and might harm other genes. It’s banned in some countries including the United States except for lab research.

He defended his choice of HIV, rather than a fatal inherited disease, as a test case for gene editing, and insisted the girls could benefit from it.

“They need this protection since a vaccine is not available,” He said.

Scientists weren’t buying it.

“This is a truly unacceptable development,” said Jennifer Doudna, a University of California-Berkeley scientist and one of the inventors of the CRISPR gene-editing tool that He said he used. “I’m grateful that he appeared today, but I don’t think that we heard answers. We still need to understand the motivation for this.”

Doudna is paid by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, which also supports AP’s Health & Science Department.

“I feel more disturbed now,” said David Liu of Harvard and MIT’s Broad Institute, and inventor of a variation of the gene-editing tool. “It’s an appalling example of what not to do about a promising technology that has great potential to benefit society. I hope it never happens again.”

There is no independent confirmation of He’s claim and he has not yet published in any scientific journal where it would be vetted by experts. At the conference, He failed or refused to answer many questions including who paid for his work, how he ensured that participants understood potential risks and benefits, and why he kept his work secret until after it was done.

After He spoke, David Baltimore, a Nobel laureate from the California Institute of Technology and a leader of the conference, said He’s work “would still be considered irresponsible” because it did not meet criteria many scientists agreed on several years ago before gene editing could be considered.

“I personally don’t think that it was medically necessary. The choice of the diseases that we heard discussions about earlier today are much more pressing” than trying to prevent HIV infection this way, Baltimore said.

The case shows “there has been a failure of self-regulation by the scientific community” and said the conference committee would meet and issue a statement on Thursday about the future of the field, Baltimore said.

Before He’s talk, Dr. George Daley, Harvard Medical School’s dean and one of the conference organizers, warned against a backlash to gene editing because of He’s experiment. Just because the first case may have been a misstep “should in no way, I think, lead us to stick our heads in the sand and not consider the very, very positive aspects that could come forth by a more responsible pathway,” Daley said.

“Scientists who go rogue … it carries a deep, deep cost to the scientific community,” Daley said.

Regulators have been swift to condemn the experiment as unethical and unscientific.

The National Health Commission has ordered local officials in Guangdong province to investigate He’s actions, and his employer, Southern University of Science and Technology of China, is investigating as well.

On Tuesday, Qui Renzong of the Chinese Academy of Social Science criticized the decision to let He speak at the conference, saying the claim “should not be on our agenda” until it has been reviewed by independent experts. Whether He violated reproductive medicine laws in China has been unclear; Qui contends that it did, but said, “the problem is, there’s no penalty.”

He called on the United Nations to convene a meeting to discuss heritable gene editing to promote international agreement on when it might be OK.

Meanwhile, more American scientists said they had contact with He and were aware of or suspected what he was doing.

Dr. Matthew Porteus, a genetics researcher at Stanford University, where He did postdoctoral research, said He told him in February that he intended to try human gene editing. Porteus said he discouraged He and told him “that it was irresponsible, that he could risk the entire field of gene editing by doing this in a cavalier fashion.”

Dr. William Hurlbut, a Stanford ethicist, said he has “spent many hours” talking with He over the last two years about situations where gene editing might be appropriate.

“I knew his early work. I knew where he was heading,” Hurlbut said. When he saw He four or five weeks ago, He did not say he had tried or achieved pregnancy with edited embryos but “I strongly suspected” it, Hurlbut said.

“I disagree with the notion of stepping out of the general consensus of the scientific community,” Hurlbut said. If the science is not considered ready or safe enough, “it’s going to create misunderstanding, discordance and distrust.”

___

Marilynn Marchione can be followed.

The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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Culture and Religion

Top 5 ‘assault weapon’ technologies that existed BEFORE the Constitution was written

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Top 5 assault weapon technologies that existed BEFORE the Constitution was written

Just a sample of some of the repeating firepower that existed long before the 2nd amendment.

Leftist lore has it that the only guns in existence at the time of the writing of the 2nd amendment were muskets that took 5 minutes to reload. This being exemplified by the New York Times in using an image of a musket contrasted with an assault rifle in an article on their usual obsession with gun confiscation. Or from a commercial from a liberty grabber group depicting the long, drawn out reloading of a musket. As is usually the case with leftist lore, this is a complete fabrication.

The fact is that multishot or repeating firearms existed long before the affirmation of the common sense human right of self-preservation in the US Constitution. We’ve already highlighted some of these technologies that predate the Constitution. However, for the sake of completeness, we shall fill out the list with the other fine examples.

Since there is no set definition of the term ‘assault weapon’ or ‘weapons of war’ or what ever farcical term the liberty grabber left has come up with to demonize ordinary firearms, we bestowed this term to these technology as some of the first ‘Assault Weapons’.

Repeating rifles of the early 1600s, predating the Constitution by 160 years

The Encyclopedia Britannica has a very informative article on this subject with this excerpt detailing the most important point:

The first effective breech-loading and repeating flintlock firearms were developed in the early 1600s. One early magazine repeater has been attributed to Michele Lorenzoni, a Florentine gunmaker. In the same period, the faster and safer Kalthoff system—designed by a family of German gunmakers—introduced a ball magazine located under the barrel and a powder magazine in the butt. By the 18th century the Cookson repeating rifle was in use in North America, having separate tubular magazines in the stock for balls and powder and a lever-activated breech mechanism that selected and loaded a ball and a charge, also priming the flash pan and setting the gun on half cock.

[Our Emphasis]

Please note that these multishot or repeating firearms existed almost 2 centuries before the writing of the Constitution, eviscerating the ‘Muskets only’ lie of the national socialist Left. For those who are numerically as well a factually challenged, this was also 370 years before the 21st Century.

The Lorenzoni repeating flintlock: Portable firepower that predated the Constitution by over 100 years

Our first video from the venerable website Forgotten weapons is of two London-Made Lorenzonis Repeating Flintlocks. This was a repeating flintlock developed in the early 1600’s that was able to fire multiple shots 160 years before the writing of the Constitution.

Early development of revolving cylinder firearms, predating the Constitution by over 109 years

Next on the Pre-constitutional timeline, we have One of the Earliest Six-shot Revolvers from the collection of the Royal Armory that we profiled in a previous article. The Curator of Firearms, Jonathan Ferguson notes that this wasn’t one of the earliest revolvers along with pointing out how the technology has ‘evolved’ over time.

This also brings up an important point, that arms and other weapons of self-defense were vitally important, a matter of life or death. Every living being is in a battle for survival, in the case of human society, these technologies determined its survivability. Thus it is a constant competition with these technologies constantly changing and evolving over time. Something that would have been known by the learned men that wrote the founding documents.

The Puckle or Defense Gun from 1718, was predating the Constitution by over 70 years

We have previously detailed the Puckle or Defense Gun invented in 1718 and demonstrated early ‘automatic weapon’ fire in 1721:

The Puckle Gun, or Defense Gun as it was also known, was invented and patented in 1718 by the London lawyer James Puckle.

This was an early ‘automatic weapon’ was capable of firing 63 shots in 7 minutes in 1721.

For those following along this missed the mark of being a 21st Century weapon by almost 300 years.

The multishot Girardoni Air Gun that predated the Constitution by 9 years.

This is another multishot weapon of war that existed before the Constitution.

Jover and Belton Flintlock Repeating Musket – 1786, this also predates the Constitution

Our last video of multishot or repeating firearms that predated the Constitution is the Jover and Belton Flintlock Repeating Musket from 1786. We’re trying to keep this as short as possible, thus we have left off other examples such as the Ribauldequin, Duckfoot or Nock gun.

Very much like the previous example, the Belton Flintlock Repeating Musket was known to the founding fathers because he corresponded with Congress on this weapon in 1777 [Again, before the drafting of the Constitution]. For those keeping score at home, 1786 is still is not of the 21st Century.

Leftist lies on this subject depends on a number of improbable fallacies and assumptions. The founding fathers would have known the history of technological developments and they would have expected those developments to continue. Thus rendering the fallacy that they could not have foreseen that weapons technologies wouldn’t of continued on to the point of absurdity.

The Takeaway

Unfortunately for the Liberty Grabber Left, firearms tend to be valuable historical artifacts, these videos show that multishot or repeating firearms existed well before the Constitution. Thus we have eviscerated the ‘musket myth’. It should also be evident that the violence problem hasn’t been caused by the ‘easy’ availability of guns or repeating firearms.

As is the case with most Leftist lies and prevarication’s, they depend on a lack knowledge of the subject to succeed. This is why is extremely important that everyone of the Pro-Liberty Right be apprised of these facts in engaging those of the Left who have little care for logic, science or truth. The fact that multishot or repeating firearms existed centuries ago should make it clear that the Left is lying about the subject of self-defense from beginning to end.

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Democrats

4 Retweets in an hour: Bill de Blasio’s campaign failed to materialize

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4 Retweets in an hour Bill de Blasios campaign failed to launch

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was supposed to make an impact on the Democratic presidential nominating process. At least that’s what a handful of pundits thought. But after a little buzz on his first day and a few jabs by the President, it appears de Blasio was nowhere near ready to run for president despite coming in much later than most in the field.

Last week, we noted how his YouTube channel had failed miserably. But that embarrassment was nothing compared to his attempts to play on Twitter, which happens to be the President’s favorite social media playground.

Bill Tweet

In case he keeps the Tweet up (he shouldn’t) and doesn’t attempt to artificially boost his numbers (he shouldn’t), I’ll put it here to see if it got any traction. Out of sheer embarrassment for him, I shared it and encouraged people to help him out. This is just too cringeworthy to watch unfold on its own.

Is Twitter important? There’s actually as much of a risk to candidates saying the wrong thing on Twitter as there is of them gaining support as a result. But between Trump’s epic use of Twitter in 2016 and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s use of the platform to shoot herself up to fame, candidates need to at least try to do well on the platform. Bill de Blasio is not doing well. That indicates two possibilities: either he and his team were ill-prepared to run for president or they’re not really running for president but rather running for a cabinet spot or something else in exchange for his help delivering the New York delegates to the eventual nominee.

Either option seems viable at this point.

One thing is certain: Bill de Blasio’s campaign for president should not be taken seriously by anyone. Democratic primary voters and Republican operatives need to all ignore him. He’s going nowhere in 2020.

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Entertainment and Sports

Twitter suspends Houston Rockets’ account

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Twitter suspends Houston Rockets account

What happened to the Houston Rockets’ Twitter account? Did they Tweet something conservative or Christian? Did they misgender someone? Is this retribution for falling to the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs four out of five of years? Whatever they did, Twitter decided to suspend them, leaving their 2.8 million followers in the dark.

All jesting aside, there are three likely scenarios. They could be the victims of a mass reporting attack in which multiple Twitter accounts report a user in a short period of time, prompting an algorithmic suspension. Or, if they’d been hacked, Twitter may have detected it and shut them down until the real users can regain control and change passwords.

But the most likely culprit is a DMCA takedown complaint that triggers instant temporary suspension. Chances are, they posted a video that included music they didn’t have permission to use. It happens.

The Rockets have not responded to our request for comment.

If you or someone you know gets suspended on social media, take solace in knowing even big organizations like the Houston Rockets can fall victim to the ban-hammer (though I doubt they’ll get the same scorn from Twitter as James Woods).

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