Newsy Tuesday: December 4

I was watching the news last night and I actually thought to myself, “wow this is boring.” And then, I just sat there and celebrated the fact that I wasn’t listening to tales of fire and murder and natural disasters. I could actually sit there and listen to just everyday things. So, I shouldn’t be too surprised that I had trouble finding stories for this post that I felt really stood out. Normally when I do these posts, I have lists of 15-20 stories, which I narrow down to ~5. This week, I have a list of four, which I am narrowing down to four.

Designer Babies Researchers in China reportedly have used CRISPR gene editing to develop embryos which are resistant to HIV, smallpox, and cholera. One of the major concerns with this type of editing, is the risk for other mutations that may spur susceptibility to other diseases. Additionally, there’s the ethical issue of an embryo not being able to make its own decisions, and whether the person’s future has already been decided for them. Another concern is the heritability of this gene, which currently is deemed unethical in the scientific community. I am personally against this type of genome editing, and even hesitate with genetic testing on embryos. As a researcher who uses CRISPR, I fully understand the risks and considerations and do my best to ensure that my work is carefully thought-out. CRISPR can be a great tool, but as with any new scientific discovery, we need to take care before we jump head first into potentially dangerous studies.

George H. W. Bush The 41st President of the United States of America passed away on Friday, November 30. Many government facilities will be closed Wednesday, December 5, in observance of his passing, including the United States Postal Service (USPS). Bush was president from 1989 – 1993, immediately following an 8 year stint as Vice President to Ronald Reagan. I don’t remember anything about Bush’s presidency, because I was still a baby when he left office, but I hear he was the president during Desert Storm (which I have also only heard about, a lot). I did hear someone reading one of his letters aloud on Good Morning America on Monday of this week, and I have to say that he was extremely eloquent in his written communication. Also, according to CNN, he went skydiving for his 75th (and 80th, 85th, 90th) birthday, which I think is pretty flipping awesome. Finally, if you want your heart to absolutely melt, here is his service dog (Sully) paying his respects. 

Watch Sully Say Goodbye (Opens in a new tab)

Stolen Forklift In other political news, a North Dakota man plead guilty to stealing a forklift with which to assassinate Donald Trump. The event occurred on September 6, 2017, when Trump was in North Dakota for a tax reform speech at Mandan Refinery. He drove the fork lift on the presidential motorcade route with the intention of, “get to the limo, flip the limo and get to the president… to kill the president” according to a statement given in federal court on Friday November 30. The perpetrator is already serving time on state convictions, for vehicle theft, fire to a maintenance shop and a state parole and probation office; he is scheduled to be released in 2038. He is not scheduled to be sentenced for this crime (a federal case) until February 2019, and could face up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine. 

Alabama Man Shot in Back by Policeman After gun shots were fired in an Alabama mall on Thanksgiving (November 22), an officer shot a 21 year old man named Emantic “EJ” Fitzgerald Bradford Jr. At the time, police reported that he was armed, and they believed he was the perpetrator. It wasn’t long before they admitted that they had shot and killed the wrong person, and the suspect was still unfound. However, it was reported Monday, December 3 following autopsy results that the man was shot in the back three times. Bradford’s family has hired a civil rights attorney, Benjamin Crump, to handle the case. Crump also handled Trayvon Martin’s case. 

Note: Featured image was obtained from the New York Times

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