Tag Archives | Controversy

Gates, Google Join $120 Million Funding for Genome Editing Firm

Miran Rijavec (CC BY 2.0)

Miran Rijavec (CC BY 2.0)

Bill Gates and Google Ventures have invested in Editas Medicine Inc., a company that uses the Crispr-Cas9 technology to “fix faulty genes that lead to eye disorders.” The company will also work closely “Juno Therapeutics Inc., which engineers immune-system cells to fight cancer.”

Caroline Chen via Bloomberg Business:

Crispr allows scientists to edit the human genome by precisely cutting out faulty sections of DNA and replacing them with healthy ones. The technology is relatively cheap and easy compared with other genome editing techniques, and has drawn a rush of scientists interested in modifying everything from diseased human cells to insects and plants.

It’s also been controversial, with some researchers calling for a moratorium on its use in human sperm, eggs and embryos, known as the human germline. One fear is that the technology could introduce changes that would affect not only one patient, but future generations as well.

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Human Rights Organisation Calls for Decriminalizing Prostitution

el-toro (CC BY 2.0)

el-toro (CC BY 2.0)

Michaela Whitton via antimedia:

(ANTIMEDIAUnited Kingdom —Amnesty International is facing an intense backlash after announcing its intention to adopt a policy supporting the decriminalization of sex work. The organisation’s recently released “Draft Policy on Sex Work” will be considered at Amnesty’s main decision making forum, the International Council Meeting (ICM), in Dublin later this week.

The policy essentially endorses the full decriminalization of the sex industry, including the legalisation of pimps, brothels and the purchase of sex. It also acknowledges that Amnesty’s position on trafficking and the criminalisation of forced prostitution has not changed.

Within 24 hours of the proposed policy being announced, an international grassroots campaign was launched urging Amnesty to stand with those exploited in the sex trade. A wave of scathing criticism and dismay was unleashed by an array of human rights groups, celebrities, and organisations.

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Racism and Sexism Viewed as Aristotelian Virtues

Aristotle

CAVEAT EMPTOR.

Colin Liddell writes at Alternative Right:

For Aristotle there were always two vices for every virtue. This was because of his belief in the “Golden Mean.” For example, the virtue Courage existed between a vice of deficiency (Cowardice) and a vice of excess (Rashness).

To emphasize the metapoint: Aristotle saw all vices as existing on a continuum with all virtues, with no wall between them. This is very different from the Manichean morality that later poisoned the West through Judaic theology. What happens, however, if we apply this Aristotelian analysis to the major “vices” of the modern day, namely “Racism” and “Sexism”?

Of course the liberal left, with its agenda of deconstructing all elements of identity above the atomistic individual, seeks to impose its totalitarian will through a variation on this Judaic Manichaeism called “political correctness.” The sins of “Racism” and “Sexism” are accordingly seen as evil essence that must be expunged from society and all intellectual discourse through a no-platform, knee-jerk, quarantine, point-and-sputter approach.

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The ‘Kingsman’ Scene That Could Shock and Awe Audiences

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In a highly suspenseful scene in the new blockbuster action and spy-parody film, Kingsman: The Secret Service, an interlude occurs just before the final fight sequence. This interlude is quite memorable because it depicts the actions of Obama and several other world leaders.

Warning: Major plot spoilers ahead.

Sony’s The Interview will go down as one of the most controversial films ever produced, given the firestorm over its plot about the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. So we are curious to watch how the world — and the U.S. in particular — reacts to Fox’s new action movie, Kingsman: The Secret Service.

(Seriously, stop reading here if you don’t want any of the film’s plot spoiled for you.)

The film stars newcomer Taron Egerton as Eggsy, a rebellious teen recruited into the titular U.K. spy agency by Harry Hart (Colin Firth). Meanwhile, a billionaire named Valentine (Samuel L.

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Davos Says: 7 Reasons Why Elon Musk Is Wrong To Believe Intelligent Robots Will One Day Kill Us All

Maurizio Pesce (CC BY 2.0)

Maurizio Pesce (CC BY 2.0)

Jim Edwards writes at Business Insider:

A panel at the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland has just completely dismantled the idea — currently trendy in the tech sector — that artificially intelligent robots, lacking morals, may one day independently decide to start killing humans.

The idea has been spread, somewhat tongue in cheek, by Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, who has even suggested that the robots may even thwart any humans who try to escape them by blasting off to Mars.

AI research is advancing rapidly inside private companies right now like Facebook and Google. That R&D is mostly a secret, which is why people like to speculate about it. Plus, everyone loves the Terminator movies, in which killer AI robots are the main protagonists.

The panel was hosted by two UC Berkeley professors, Ken Goldberg (who studies robotics) and Alison Gopnik (who studies psychology).

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The Myth of the Megalith

Eusebius@Commons (CC BY 2.0)

Eusebius@Commons (CC BY 2.0)

via The New Yorker:

Baalbek, Lebanon, is the site of one of the most mysterious ruins of the Roman Empire, a monumental two-thousand-year-old temple to Jupiter that sits atop three thousand-ton stone blocks. (The pillars of Stonehenge weigh about a fortieth of that.) The blocks originated in a nearby limestone quarry, where a team from the German Archaeological Institute, in partnership with Jeanine Abdul Massih, of Lebanese University, recently discovered what they are calling the largest stone block from antiquity, weighing one thousand six hundred and fifty tons and matching those that support the temple. Its provenance is more shadowy than one might expect of a three-million-pound megalith. Nobody seems to know on whose orders it was cut, or why, or how it came to be abandoned.

Baalbek is named for Baal, the Phoenician deity, although the Romans knew the site by its Greek name, Heliopolis.

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Satellite photo of MH17 being shot down

386130_Russia-image

We’ve got mail! Over the weekend, two Disinfonauts alerted us to the release of a satellite photo of MH17 being shot down. It appears that there is much controversy (surprise!) surrounding its authenticity.

What do you think?

 Disinfonaut, Earthstar, sent this article from PressTV:

The Russian news service, Itar-Tass today published satellite photos clearly proving that Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, which crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, was downed by a Kiev-backed jet fighter.

The United States and Great Britain have had these photos for months, proving the Kiev junta responsible for purposefully downing the plane and killing 298 passengers and crew, 196 of them from the Netherlands.

In fact, for months, the preponderance of evidence has indicated that the downing of MH17 was done by Kiev as an act of false flag terrorism, one of many during the conflict.  However, as accusations against Kiev gained substance, the investigation was handed to the Dutch government, who tabled the entire process for over a year without any promise of a definitive finding.

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The Clash of the Shakespeareans

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I tried to think of a fitting Shakespearean insult that would suit this, but I came up short. I did, however, find this fun Shakespeare Insulter.

via The Guardian:

Shakespeare wasn’t immune to throwing around the odd insult, penning some of the greatest put-downs in the history of the English language.

“Thine face is not worth sunburning”; “Thou art as fat as butter”; “You are as a candle, the better part burnt out”.

But now the Bard himself is at the centre of some distinctly colourful language after academics traded blows over the publication of a Shakespearean journal.

The row erupted when one professor submitted a paper in which he cited evidence that poems and plays attributed to the “man from Stratford” were in fact written by Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford.

The essay – intended for the Italian journal, Memoria di Shakespeare – was said to examine the case for the theory as well as “the conscious and unconscious psychological factors behind the taboo against openly discussing the authorship question”.

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