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Tag Archives: first
Posted: November 21, 2016 at 11:02 am
The First Amendment Defense Act (often abbreviated FADA) (H.R. 2802) is a bill introduced into the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate on June 17, 2015. The Senate sponsor of the bill is Mike Lee (R-Utah), and the House sponsor is Raul Labrador (R-Idaho). The bill aims to prevent the federal government from taking action against people who discriminate against LGBTQ people for religious reasons.
The bill provides that the federal government “shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”
The FADA was introduced into both the House and Senate on the same day (June 17, 2015), by Mike Lee and Raul Labrador. As of November 21, 2016, the House version had 172 co-sponsors, and the Senate version 34. Also as of that date, the House bill had not been considered by either of the two committees it had been referred to.
When asked by Heritage Action, FRC Action, and the American Principles Project if they would pass the bill in their first 100 days in office, three of the top four Republican presidential candidates in the 2016 election said they would, the exception being Donald Trump. It was also supported by the Family Research Council, the American Family Association, and the Liberty Counsel, among other groups, shortly after it was introduced. On September 22, 2016, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump changed his mind and said in a press release, “If I am elected president and Congress passes the First Amendment Defense Act, I will sign it to protect the deeply held religious beliefs of Catholics and the beliefs of Americans of all faiths.”
On July 21, 2015, the Los Angeles Times editorial board wrote that FADA was “unnecessary and could allow discrimination against gays and lesbians.” Later that year, Walter Olson of the Cato Institute wrote in Newsweek that the bill does not “try to distinguish rights from frills and privileges,” and also criticized it for only protecting those who opposed same-sex marriage, not those who supported same-sex marriage or cohabitation or non-marital sex. It has also been criticized by Ian S. Thompson, legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union, who claimed that it would, if passed, “open the door to unprecedented taxpayer-funded disagreement against LGBT people.”
A version of the FADA was introduced in Georgia on January 21, 2016, by Greg Kirk, a Republican state senator. The bill would, if passed, protect government employees who do not want to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because they object to the practice for religious reasons. Kirk cited Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis as an example of the people who would be affected by the law. This bill was passed by the Georgia State Senate on February 19. The bill was then sent to the State House for consideration. Governor Nathan Deal vetoed this bill in March 2016.
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First Amendment Defense Act – Wikipedia
Posted: November 17, 2016 at 6:34 pm
The mainstream media is freaking out over what it thinks are going to be restrictions on its First Amendment rights under President-Elect Donald Trump.
Everything we have everything that makes us unlike any other nation flows from those words and the protections they offer for free expression, Margaret Sullivan, the media columnist for The Washington Post wrote on Nov. 13. Donald Trumps presidency is very likely to threaten those First Amendment rights.
Last month, the Committee to Protect Journalists, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the rights of journalists, said in a statement: Trump has consistently demonstrated a contempt for the role of the press beyond offering publicity to him and advancing his interests.
This is not about picking sides in an election, the statement added. This is recognizing that a Trump presidency represents a threat to press freedom unknown in modern history.
The groups board consists of Associated Press executive editor Kathleen Carroll, New Yorker editor David Remnick, CBS New correspondent Lara Logan, Univision boss Isaac Lee and many other mainstream media journalists.
Yet, the left and especially President Obama have shown repeatedly their indifference to the First Amendment, a fact these journalists carelessly ignore in making their case against Mr. Trump.
Mr. Obamas administration set dangerous precedents, and the left, for years has been shutting down the opposition through their use of safe-spaces and trigger warnings.
For nearly eight years, President Obama massively expanded his authority on national security issues: on the prosecution of whistleblowers, secret surveillance courts, wars without congressional authorization, and drone campaigns without public oversight, wrote Tim Mak of the Daily Beast. During this time the left, with the exception of some civil liberties groups, remained largely silent.
The New York Times and the ACLU had to sue Mr. Obamas administration to get basic legal documents on the governments position on targeted killing through drone strikes as if some part of U.S. law should be secret.
And it was Mr. Obamas Department of Justice that subpoenaed the telephone records of AP journalists to track down a leak. It also investigated Fox News journalist James Rosen and named him as a co-conspirator in a leak about North Koreas nuclear program. The Justice Department charged Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a State Department contractor who was Mr. Rosens source, with violating the Espionage Act.
The Justice Department used security badge access records to track the reporters comings and goings from the State Department, according to a newly obtained court affidavit, The Post reported at the time. They traced the timing of his calls with a State Department security adviser suspected of sharing the classified report. They obtained a search warrant for the reporters personal emails.
Mr. Obama used the Espionage Act against government whistle-blowers who shared secret information with reporters more than any other administration in history, the Daily Beasts Mr. Mak reported.
Now thats some scary stuff.
And as the Federalist noted, the lefts infringement on First Amendment rights isnt just through the expansion of executive powers, its also cultural.
When mainstream media outlets collectively applaud the boycott of a rural pizza parlor, or the ruination of Brendan Eich, or the persecution of florists and bakers and elderly nuns who hold disfavored political views, it sends a strong message that freedom of speech doesnt mean anything, the Federalists John Daniel Davidson wrote.
On college campuses across the country, liberal professors encourage their students to boycott and protest conservative speakers, shout down administrators who dare to challenge them, and segregate themselves from anyone who might have a different view. Couched in the language of safe spaces and trigger warnings, the Lefts enforcement of political correctness has created a climate of intolerance that goes beyond the campus, Mr. Davidson added.
So before the collective freakout of the mainstream media, speculating about Mr. Trumps presidency, perhaps they should take an inward look of whats happened in the last eight years.
Mr. Obamas presidency created some uncomfortable precedents when it came to secrecy. Transparent, it was not.
This is a good rule: Dont answer any questions when they start yelling at you, Mr. Obama advised Mr. Trump when reporters started shouting questions at the two after their first Oval Office meeting this month.
Mr. Trump is just inheriting Mr. Obamas legacy.
Posted: November 8, 2016 at 3:44 pm
Space exploration has captured the worlds interest ever since the famous Space Race between the Soviet Union and the U.S. during the Cold War, which cu…
Space exploration has captured the worlds interest ever since the famous Space Race between the Soviet Union and the U.S. during the Cold War, which culminated in the U.S. landing the first humans on the moon in 1969. In fact, it was only mere decades ago that the idea of space tourismnot just for astronauts and scientific research but for leisure and recreationwas the stuff of science fiction: Star Wars, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Today, space travel for the common man is no longer a matter of if but when, thanks to the ingenuity and imagination of self-funded business magnates with an eye on the sky.
A few major players have emerged in the race towards the first commercial flights to space. Prototypes from Richard Bransons Virgin Galactic space line are readying to take its first passengers on a suborbital space flight to the edge of Earths atmosphere. Meanwhile, SpaceX, an aerospace manufacturer founded by Tesla Motors CEO and investor Elon Musk, has begun launching rockets into orbit, with the ambitious end goal of enabling human colonization on Mars.
Of course, the price of airfare to space is still well beyond most anyones meansa single seat on Virgin Galactic will put you out of $250,000. Luckily, the rest of us can still gaze upon the worlds beyond ours from our backyards. Stargazing remains a beloved nightly pastime, where views of phenomena like the northern lights and lunar eclipses can be seen for free with just the naked eye.
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Posted: October 25, 2016 at 7:48 am
You have decided that you or your loved one is in need of treatment. Now what? How do you find out about treatment facilities? What level of care is needed? How do you know if a treatment center is a right fit? How do you know if you are getting what you pay for? Here are a few tips for making the best decision for treatment.
Identifying the appropriate level of care is the first step when looking for a treatment facility. Speak to your doctor or mental health provider to determine the appropriate level of care. Levels of care for treatment facilities include residential or partial hospitalization. Knowing the appropriate level of care will determine what treatment facility is appropriate.
Not all treatment facilities are created equal. So, how do you know which treatment facility to choose? The individual needs of a person is the first thing to consider when choosing a treatment facility. For example, choose a facility that can address specific addiction (gambling, substance use) and mental health needs. Check out what therapies are offered, such as evidence based-practices (Cognitive Behavioral Therapies, Dialectal Behavioral Therapies, Expressive Therapies, and Trauma Therapies). In addition, addiction treatment should include work with peer counselors (counselors who are in recovery) and provide follow up care, such as referrals for additional treatments and support in identifying recovery needs. Another way to determine if a facility can meet your needs is to check out the staff credentials and ensure that the facility has appropriate licensing. In addition to treatment needs and therapies, also consider the individual attention that is given to each patient. A low staff to patient ratio and a focus on individual sessions will ensure that you or your loved one will receive one on one attention.
Addiction and mental health treatment is expensive, making affordability a consideration when planning for treatment and for your future. It is important to consider the value of treatment when determining the cost. Are you paying for treatment or for the location and amenities? We offer the look and feel of home with the safety and security of an inpatient/residential treatment facility. Patients are surrounded by 400 acres of beautiful farmland with modern amenities and an in house chef. In addition to the beautiful surroundings and amenities, Williamsville also focuses on meeting individual needs through intensive individual and group sessions. At Williamsville, we have a 1:1 therapist patient ratio and offer 15+ individual sessions per week. The focus on individual sessions ensure that each patient is receiving individual attention, encouragement and support for processing and exploring root issues to addiction and mental health concerns. We address issues of addiction and mental health through a variety of evidence-based therapies and have on site peer counselors that support patients through the steps of AA/NA/GA. We are in-network with most major insurers which enables you to have intensive therapy in an excellent environment at the lowest possible cost.
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Posted: October 23, 2016 at 4:19 am
In modern molecular biology and genetics, a genome is the genetic material of an organism. It consists of DNA (or RNA in RNA viruses). The genome includes both the genes, (the coding regions), the noncoding DNA and the genomes of the mitochondria and chloroplasts.
The term genome was created in 1920 by Hans Winkler, professor of botany at the University of Hamburg, Germany. The Oxford Dictionary suggests the name is a blend of the words gene and chromosome. However, see omics for a more thorough discussion. A few related -ome words already existedsuch as biome, rhizome, forming a vocabulary into which genome fits systematically.
Some organisms have multiple copies of chromosomes: diploid, triploid, tetraploid and so on. In classical genetics, in a sexually reproducing organism (typically eukarya) the gamete has half the number of chromosomes of the somatic cell and the genome is a full set of chromosomes in a diploid cell. The halving of the genetic material in gametes is accomplished by the segregation of homologous chromosomes during meiosis. In haploid organisms, including cells of bacteria, archaea, and in organelles including mitochondria and chloroplasts, or viruses, that similarly contain genes, the single or set of circular or linear chains of DNA (or RNA for some viruses), likewise constitute the genome. The term genome can be applied specifically to mean what is stored on a complete set of nuclearDNA (i.e.,the “nuclear genome”) but can also be applied to what is stored within organelles that contain their own DNA, as with the “mitochondrial genome” or the “chloroplast genome”. Additionally, the genome can comprise non-chromosomal genetic elements such as viruses, plasmids, and transposable elements.
Typically, when it is said that the genome of a sexually reproducing species has been “sequenced”, it refers to a determination of the sequences of one set of autosomes and one of each type of sex chromosome, which together represent both of the possible sexes. Even in species that exist in only one sex, what is described as a “genome sequence” may be a composite read from the chromosomes of various individuals. Colloquially, the phrase “genetic makeup” is sometimes used to signify the genome of a particular individual or organism. The study of the global properties of genomes of related organisms is usually referred to as genomics, which distinguishes it from genetics which generally studies the properties of single genes or groups of genes.
Both the number of base pairs and the number of genes vary widely from one species to another, and there is only a rough correlation between the two (an observation is known as the C-value paradox). At present, the highest known number of genes is around 60,000, for the protozoan causing trichomoniasis (see List of sequenced eukaryotic genomes), almost three times as many as in the human genome.
An analogy to the human genome stored on DNA is that of instructions stored in a book:
In 1976, Walter Fiers at the University of Ghent (Belgium) was the first to establish the complete nucleotide sequence of a viral RNA-genome (Bacteriophage MS2). The next year Fred Sanger completed the first DNA-genome sequence: Phage -X174, of 5386 base pairs. The first complete genome sequences among all three domains of life were released within a short period during the mid-1990s: The first bacterial genome to be sequenced was that of Haemophilus influenzae, completed by a team at The Institute for Genomic Research in 1995. A few months later, the first eukaryotic genome was completed, with sequences of the 16 chromosomes of budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae published as the result of a European-led effort begun in the mid-1980s. The first genome sequence for an archaeon, Methanococcus jannaschii, was completed in 1996, again by The Institute for Genomic Research.
The development of new technologies has made it dramatically easier and cheaper to do sequencing, and the number of complete genome sequences is growing rapidly. The US National Institutes of Health maintains one of several comprehensive databases of genomic information. Among the thousands of completed genome sequencing projects include those for rice, a mouse, the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, the puffer fish, and the bacteria E. coli. In December 2013, scientists first sequenced the entire genome of a Neanderthal, an extinct species of humans. The genome was extracted from the toe bone of a 130,000-year-old Neanderthal found in a Siberian cave.
New sequencing technologies, such as massive parallel sequencing have also opened up the prospect of personal genome sequencing as a diagnostic tool, as pioneered by Manteia Predictive Medicine. A major step toward that goal was the completion in 2007 of the full genome of James D. Watson, one of the co-discoverers of the structure of DNA.
Whereas a genome sequence lists the order of every DNA base in a genome, a genome map identifies the landmarks. A genome map is less detailed than a genome sequence and aids in navigating around the genome. The Human Genome Project was organized to map and to sequence the human genome. A fundamental step in the project was the release of a detailed genomic map by Jean Weissenbach and his team at the Genoscope in Paris.
Reference genome sequences and maps continue to be updated, removing errors and clarifying regions of high allelic complexity. The decreasing cost of genomic mapping has permitted genealogical sites to offer it as a service, to the extent that one may submit one’s genome to crowd sourced scientific endeavours such as DNA.land at the New York Genome Center, an example both of the economies of scale and of citizen science.
Genome composition is used to describe the make up of contents of a haploid genome, which should include genome size, proportions of non-repetitive DNA and repetitive DNA in details. By comparing the genome compositions between genomes, scientists can better understand the evolutionary history of a given genome.
When talking about genome composition, one should distinguish between prokaryotes and eukaryotes as there are significant differences with contents structure. In prokaryotes, most of the genome (8590%) is non-repetitive DNA, which means coding DNA mainly forms it, while non-coding regions only take a small part. On the contrary, eukaryotes have the feature of exon-intron organization of protein coding genes; the variation of repetitive DNA content in eukaryotes is also extremely high. In mammals and plants, the major part of the genome is composed of repetitive DNA.
Most biological entities that are more complex than a virus sometimes or always carry additional genetic material besides that which resides in their chromosomes. In some contexts, such as sequencing the genome of a pathogenic microbe, “genome” is meant to include information stored on this auxiliary material, which is carried in plasmids. In such circumstances then, “genome” describes all of the genes and information on non-coding DNA that have the potential to be present.
In eukaryotes such as plants, protozoa and animals, however, “genome” carries the typical connotation of only information on chromosomal DNA. So although these organisms contain chloroplasts or mitochondria that have their own DNA, the genetic information contained in DNA within these organelles is not considered part of the genome. In fact, mitochondria are sometimes said to have their own genome often referred to as the “mitochondrial genome”. The DNA found within the chloroplast may be referred to as the “plastome”.
Genome size is the total number of DNA base pairs in one copy of a haploid genome. The nuclear genome comprises approximately 3.2 billion nucleotides of DNA, divided into 24 linear molecules, the shortest 50 000 000 nucleotides in length and the longest 260 000 000 nucleotides, each contained in a different chromosome. The genome size is positively correlated with the morphological complexity among prokaryotes and lower eukaryotes; however, after mollusks and all the other higher eukaryotes above, this correlation is no longer effective. This phenomenon also indicates the mighty influence coming from repetitive DNA act on the genomes.
Since genomes are very complex, one research strategy is to reduce the number of genes in a genome to the bare minimum and still have the organism in question survive. There is experimental work being done on minimal genomes for single cell organisms as well as minimal genomes for multi-cellular organisms (see Developmental biology). The work is both in vivo and in silico.
Here is a table of some significant or representative genomes. See #See also for lists of sequenced genomes.
Initial sequencing and analysis of the human genome
The proportion of non-repetitive DNA is calculated by using the length of non-repetitive DNA divided by genome size. Protein-coding genes and RNA-coding genes are generally non-repetitive DNA. A bigger genome does not mean more genes, and the proportion of non-repetitive DNA decreases along with increasing genome size in higher eukaryotes.
It had been found that the proportion of non-repetitive DNA can vary a lot between species. Some E. coli as prokaryotes only have non-repetitive DNA, lower eukaryotes such as C. elegans and fruit fly, still possess more non-repetitive DNA than repetitive DNA. Higher eukaryotes tend to have more repetitive DNA than non-repetitive ones. In some plants and amphibians, the proportion of non-repetitive DNA is no more than 20%, becoming a minority component.
The proportion of repetitive DNA is calculated by using length of repetitive DNA divide by genome size. There are two categories of repetitive DNA in genome: tandem repeats and interspersed repeats.
Tandem repeats are usually caused by slippage during replication, unequal crossing-over and gene conversion,satellite DNA and microsatellites are forms of tandem repeats in the genome. Although tandem repeats count for a significant proportion in genome, the largest proportion in mammalian is the other type, interspersed repeats.
Interspersed repeats mainly come from transposable elements (TEs), but they also include some protein coding gene families and pseudogenes. Transposable elements are able to integrate into the genome at another site within the cell. It is believed that TEs are an important driving force on genome evolution of higher eukaryotes. TEs can be classified into two categories, Class 1 (retrotransposons) and Class 2 (DNA transposons).
Retrotransposons can be transcribed into RNA, which are then duplicated at another site into the genome. Retrotransposons can be divided into Long terminal repeats (LTRs) and Non-Long Terminal Repeats (Non-LTR).
DNA transposons generally move by “cut and paste” in the genome, but duplication has also been observed. Class 2 TEs do not use RNA as intermediate and are popular in bacteria, in metazoan it has also been found.
Genomes are more than the sum of an organism’s genes and have traits that may be measured and studied without reference to the details of any particular genes and their products. Researchers compare traits such as chromosome number (karyotype), genome size, gene order, codon usage bias, and GC-content to determine what mechanisms could have produced the great variety of genomes that exist today (for recent overviews, see Brown 2002; Saccone and Pesole 2003; Benfey and Protopapas 2004; Gibson and Muse 2004; Reese 2004; Gregory 2005).
Duplications play a major role in shaping the genome. Duplication may range from extension of short tandem repeats, to duplication of a cluster of genes, and all the way to duplication of entire chromosomes or even entire genomes. Such duplications are probably fundamental to the creation of genetic novelty.
Horizontal gene transfer is invoked to explain how there is often an extreme similarity between small portions of the genomes of two organisms that are otherwise very distantly related. Horizontal gene transfer seems to be common among many microbes. Also, eukaryotic cells seem to have experienced a transfer of some genetic material from their chloroplast and mitochondrial genomes to their nuclear chromosomes.
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Genome – Wikipedia
Posted: September 22, 2016 at 7:46 pm
First Posted: Sep 22, 2016 06:04 AM EDT
In less than a week, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is reportedly going to explain his colonization plans for Mars, a goal close to his heart and one that he has championed for many years. According to speculations, Musk will talk about the technologies and vehicles needed to transport people to the Martian surface, and create a settlement there.
The Tesla cofounder is going to talk about his plans on September 27. Incidentally, the announcement coincides with an awkward time for SpaceX, after the company faced a major debacle when one of its Falcon 9 rockets exploded in the Cape Canaveral launch pad. However, going by Musk’s talk schedule, it doesn’t seem like the plan to discuss his Mars vision next week has changed.
“I think there is a strong humanitarian argument for making life multi-planetary in order to safeguard the existence of humanity in the event that something catastrophic were to happen,”Elon Musk had stated previously in 2014. However, the CEO of SpaceX has never absolutely cleared what his plans for Mars entail. Based on periodic information released by Musk and SpaceX, regarding various technologies, here is what can be gathered about the Mars colonization plan as of now, until the real picture is presented by the man himself.
The plan to reach the red planet, as forwarded by Musk, is based on two main elements that comprise of a rocket booster and a giant spaceship that will transport people and cargo. After being launched by the booster, the spaceship will continue on its long journey to Mars. The two vehicles have been referred to as the Mars Colonial Transporter (MCT); however last week the name was changed to Interplanetary Transport System, because Musk believes the vehicles can also make a journey beyond Mars. Over the past few years, Musk has indicated that rocket used to propel the spaceship will be reusable, and he hopes to launch the first manned spaceship in 2024. However, a test to launch a person into space has still not been conducted by SpaceX.
A key part of the rocket and spaceship will be the Raptor, a huge engine that the company has been working on since 2009. According to Musk, the Raptor will be capable of 500,000 pounds of thrust at liftoff, which implies it will be as strong as the main engines of the space shuttle. The component will reportedly be fueled with liquid methane, unlike the kerosene dependent Merlin engines used for powering the Falcon 9 rockets. Furthermore, a whole group of such raptors will power the Interplanetary Transport System, though their precise numbers are still unclear at the moment. Incidentally, the first full-scale Raptor was transported to the SpaceX testing facility in Texas earlier this year.
Musk had also revealed SpaceX’s plan to launch a series of Red Dragon missions, starting in 2018 whose sole purpose will be to see if the vehicle can drop off supplies to the Martian surface to set up the framework of hardware and equipment in preparation for the people journeying from Earth. In addition, Musk has also revealed that his spaceship will be brought back to Earth and won’t be on a one way journey like the Mars One project. “These spaceships are expensive, okay, they’re hard to build. You can’t just leave them there. So whether or not people want to come back or not is kind of – like they can jump on if they want, but we need the spaceship back,” Elon Musk has stated.
At the moment, it is not clear how the spaceship is going to make a return journey or where exactly will the people, who travel to Mars, live. The details will only be revealed once Musk talks about his plans next week.
TagsMars, Elon Musk, spacex
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Mars Colonization: Elon Musks Plans And SpaceX …
Posted: at 7:46 pm
In the shadow of a landmark where student activism helped change the world, Longwood University will invite the public to make their voices heard during the Oct. 4 Vice Presidential Debate.
In 1951, 16-year-old Barbara Johns led a student walkout at all-black Moton High School. The students two-week strike launched a court challenge that became part of the Supreme Courts Brown v. Board of Education decision.
Now a National Historic Landmark that is affiliated with Longwood and located a short walk from the debate venue, the Moton Museum will be proud to help welcome a new generation of activists to Farmville on debate day: A field behind the school where Moton students once played will serve as the debates First Amendment Field.
The area will be reserved for public speaking, debate, protest and discussion on the day of the debate. Activists, protestors, concerned citizens and students are invited to address topics important to them from the stage and podium being set up there.
Creating a space for students as well as members of the broader community to engage with the issues they are passionate about… underscores Longwoods commitment to freedom of speech, peaceful protest and civic engagement.
The Moton Museum exists to honor student activism in the civil rights era, said Longwood President W. Taylor Reveley IV. Creating a space for students as well as members of the broader community to engage with the issues they are passionate about, and locating that space next to the museum, underscores Longwoods commitment to freedom of speech, peaceful protest and civic engagement.
The field behind Moton historically has been a site where citizens have asserted their First Amendment rights, said Larissa Fergeson, university liaison to the Moton Museum and professor of history at Longwood. Barbara Johns and her fellow students planned their strike on that field. Fifty years ago, in July 1966, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Stokely Carmichael gave a speech to an integrated audience here, a mere month after he coined the term Black Power at a rally in Mississippi.
Longwood University is dedicated to the development of citizen leaders, Reveley said. As the university prepares to be a host once again to history, it was vitally important for us to offer our students and members of the public the opportunity to be heard on the issues that spark their passion.
First Amendment Field is open to the general public from10 a.m.-6 p.m.onOct. 4.Those who wish to speak are strongly encouraged to pre-register for 10-minute time slots via this webpage. Latecomers may register on site if any remaining time slots are available. First Amendment Field will have a stage outfitted with a podium and PA system.
The physical address for First Amendment Field is 800 Griffin Blvd., Farmville, VA. Questions should be directed to Sherry Swinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Be heard at First Amendment Field – Longwood University
Posted: September 18, 2016 at 8:23 am
Dolly (5 July 1996 14 February 2003) was a female domestic sheep, and the first mammal cloned from an adult somatic cell, using the process of nuclear transfer. She was cloned by Sir Ian Wilmut, Keith Campbell and colleagues at the Roslin Institute, part of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and the biotechnology company PPL Therapeutics, based near Edinburgh. The funding for Dolly’s cloning was provided by PPL Therapeutics and the UK’s Ministry of Agriculture. She was born on 5 July 1996 and died from a progressive lung disease 5 months before her seventh birthday. She has been called “the world’s most famous sheep” by sources including BBC News and Scientific American.
The cell used as the donor for the cloning of Dolly was taken from a mammary gland, and the production of a healthy clone therefore proved that a cell taken from a specific part of the body could recreate a whole individual. On Dolly’s name, Wilmut stated “Dolly is derived from a mammary gland cell and we couldn’t think of a more impressive pair of glands than Dolly Parton’s”.
Dolly was born on 5 July 1996 and had three mothers (one provided the egg, another the DNA and a third carried the cloned embryo to term). She was created using the technique of somatic cell nuclear transfer, where the cell nucleus from an adult cell is transferred into an unfertilized oocyte (developing egg cell) that has had its cell nucleus removed. The hybrid cell is then stimulated to divide by an electric shock, and when it develops into a blastocyst it is implanted in a surrogate mother. Dolly was the first clone produced from a cell taken from an adult mammal. The production of Dolly showed that genes in the nucleus of such a mature differentiated somatic cell are still capable of reverting to an embryonic totipotent state, creating a cell that can then go on to develop into any part of an animal. Dolly’s existence was announced to the public on 22 February 1997. It gained much attention in the media. A commercial with Scottish scientists playing with sheep was aired on TV, and a special report in TIME Magazine featured Dolly the sheep.Science featured Dolly as the breakthrough of the year. Even though Dolly was not the first animal cloned, she received media attention because she was the first cloned from an adult cell.
Dolly lived her entire life at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh. There she was bred with a Welsh Mountain ram and produced six lambs in total. Her first lamb, named Bonnie, was born in April 1998. The next year Dolly produced twin lambs Sally and Rosie, and she gave birth to triplets Lucy, Darcy and Cotton in the year after that. In late 2001, at the age of four, Dolly developed arthritis and began to walk stiffly. This was treated with anti-inflammatory drugs.
On 14 February 2003, Dolly was euthanised because she had a progressive lung disease and severe arthritis. A Finn Dorset such as Dolly has a life expectancy of around 11 to 12 years, but Dolly lived 6.5 years. A post-mortem examination showed she had a form of lung cancer called Jaagsiekte, which is a fairly common disease of sheep and is caused by the retrovirus JSRV. Roslin scientists stated that they did not think there was a connection with Dolly being a clone, and that other sheep in the same flock had died of the same disease. Such lung diseases are a particular danger for sheep kept indoors, and Dolly had to sleep inside for security reasons.
Some in the press speculated that a contributing factor to Dolly’s death was that she could have been born with a genetic age of six years, the same age as the sheep from which she was cloned. One basis for this idea was the finding that Dolly’s telomeres were short, which is typically a result of the aging process. The Roslin Institute stated that intensive health screening did not reveal any abnormalities in Dolly that could have come from advanced aging.
In 2016 scientists reported no defects in thirteen cloned sheep, including four from the same cell line as Dolly. The first study to review the long-term health outcomes of cloning, the authors found no evidence of late-onset, non-communicable diseases other than some minor examples of oseteoarthritis and concluded “We could find no evidence, therefore, of a detrimental long-term effect of cloning by SCNT on the health of aged offspring among our cohort.”
After cloning was successfully demonstrated through the production of Dolly, many other large mammals were cloned, including pigs,deer,horses and bulls. The attempt to clone argali (mountain sheep) did not produce viable embryos. The attempt to clone a banteng bull was more successful, as were the attempts to clone mouflon (a form of wild sheep), both resulting in viable offspring. The reprogramming process cells need to go through during cloning is not perfect and embryos produced by nuclear transfer often show abnormal development. Making cloned mammals was highly inefficient in 1996 Dolly was the only lamb that survived to adulthood from 277 attempts. However, by 2014 Chinese scientists were reported to have 7080% success rates cloning pigs and in 2016, a Korean company, Sooam Biotech was producing 500 cloned embryos a day. Wilmut, who led the team that created Dolly, announced in 2007 that the nuclear transfer technique may never be sufficiently efficient for use in humans.
Cloning may have uses in preserving endangered species and may become a viable tool for reviving extinct species. In January 2009, scientists from the Centre of Food Technology and Research of Aragon, in northern Spain announced the cloning of the Pyrenean ibex, a form of wild mountain goat, which was officially declared extinct in 2000. Although the newborn ibex died shortly after birth due to physical defects in its lungs, it is the first time an extinct animal has been cloned, and may open doors for saving endangered and newly extinct species by resurrecting them from frozen tissue.
In July, 2016, four identical clones of the Dolly sheep (Daisy, Debbie, Dianna and Denise) were alive and healthy at nine years old.
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Posted: August 29, 2016 at 7:38 am
Virtual reality is getting the presidential treatment.
In honor of the centennial celebration of the National Park Service, President Obama is set to make his virtual-reality debut in a video filmed on his family’s visit to Yosemite Valley in June.
In a partnership between National Geographic and the virtual-reality company Oculus, viewers get an up-close 3-D, 360-degree experience to bask in some of the country’s most scenic views with its most powerful occupant. The piece was directed and produced by Felix & Paul Studios, which was the creative lead behind the experience and used its own technology to shoot and edit the piece.
In a Facebook post Thursday, Obama called Yosemite “one of the most stunning places I’ve ever been.”
“I get to share that experience with you — in a 360 degree view,” he noted. “Thanks to some high-tech virtual reality cameras, you can stand amid Yosemite’s giant sequoia groves or float on Mirror Lake in a canoe. I checked this out for the first time yesterday. It was pretty surreal, like being transported back into the park.”
Obama narrates portions of the video, describing the importance of national parks to generations of Americans. He is also shown talking with a park ranger, joking with a group of children and standing on a bridge with the first daughters and the first lady.
But the Secret Service is notably absent from the videos. Thats because the agents were instructed to hide behind trees in the park, a White House official told ABC News.
The video, available to download for Oculus users, is also up for viewing in 2-D format on National Geographic’s Facebook page. Watch here on your mobile device.
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