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Whole genome sequencing – Wikipedia

Posted: November 12, 2016 at 5:20 pm

“Genome sequencing” redirects here. For the sequencing only of DNA, see DNA sequencing.

Whole genome sequencing (also known as WGS, full genome sequencing, complete genome sequencing, or entire genome sequencing) is a laboratory process that determines the complete DNA sequence of an organism’s genome at a single time. This entails sequencing all of an organism’s chromosomal DNA as well as DNA contained in the mitochondria and, for plants, in the chloroplast.

Whole genome sequencing should not be confused with DNA profiling, which only determines the likelihood that genetic material came from a particular individual or group, and does not contain additional information on genetic relationships, origin or susceptibility to specific diseases.[2] Also unlike full genome sequencing, SNP genotyping covers less than 0.1% of the genome. Almost all truly complete genomes are of microbes; the term “full genome” is thus sometimes used loosely to mean “greater than 95%”. The remainder of this article focuses on nearly complete human genomes.

High-throughput genome sequencing technologies have largely been used as a research tool and are currently being introduced in the clinics.[3][4][5] In the future of personalized medicine, whole genome sequence data will be an important tool to guide therapeutic intervention.[6] The tool of gene sequencing at SNP level is also used to pinpoint functional variants from association studies and improve the knowledge available to researchers interested in evolutionary biology, and hence may lay the foundation for predicting disease susceptibility and drug response.

The shift from manual DNA sequencing methods such as Maxam-Gilbert sequencing and Sanger sequencing in the 1970s and 1980s to more rapid, automated sequencing methods in the 1990s played a crucial role in giving scientists the ability to sequence whole genomes.[8]Haemophilus influenzae, a commensal bacterium which resides in the human respiratory tract was the first organism to have its entire genome sequenced (Figure 2.1). The entire genome of this bacterium was published in 1995.[9] The genomes of H. influenzae, other Bacteria, and some Archaea were the first to be sequenced – largely due to their small genome size. H. influenzae has a genome of 1,830,140 base pairs of DNA.[9] In contrast, eukaryotes, both unicellular and multicellular such as Amoeba dubia and humans (Homo sapiens) respectively, have much larger genomes (see C-value paradox).[10]Amoeba dubia has a genome of 700 billion nucleotide pairs spread across thousands of chromosomes.[11] Humans contain fewer nucleotide pairs (about 3.2 billion in each germ cell – note the exact size of the human genome is still being revised) than A. dubia however their genome size far outweighs the genome size of individual bacteria.[12]

The first bacterial and archaeal genomes, including that of H. influenzae, were sequenced by Shotgun sequencing.[9] In 1996, the first eukaryotic genome ( the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae) was sequenced. S. cerevisiae, a model organism in biology has a genome of only around 12 million nucleotide pairs,[13] and was the first unicellular eukaryote to have its whole genome sequenced. The first multicellular eukaryote, and animal, to have its whole genome sequenced was the nematode worm: Caenorhabditis elegans in 1998.[14] Eukaryotic genomes are sequenced by several methods including Shotgun sequencing of short DNA fragments and sequencing of larger DNA clones from DNA libraries (see library (biology)) such as Bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) and Yeast artificial chromosomes (YACs).[15]

In 1999, the entire DNA sequence of human chromosome 22, the shortest human autosome, was published.[16] By the year 2000, the second animal and second invertebrate (yet first insect) genome was sequenced – that of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster – a popular choice of model organism in experimental research.[17] The first plant genome – that of the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana – was also fully sequenced by 2000.[18] By 2001, a draft of the entire human genome sequence was published.[19] The genome of the laboratory mouse Mus musculus was completed in 2002.[20]

In 2004, the Human Genome Project published the human genome.[21]

Currently, thousands of genomes have been sequenced.

Almost any biological sample containing a full copy of the DNAeven a very small amount of DNA or ancient DNAcan provide the genetic material necessary for full genome sequencing. Such samples may include saliva, epithelial cells, bone marrow, hair (as long as the hair contains a hair follicle), seeds, plant leaves, or anything else that has DNA-containing cells.

The genome sequence of a single cell selected from a mixed population of cells can be determined using techniques of single cell genome sequencing. This has important advantages in environmental microbiology in cases where a single cell of a particular microorganism species can be isolated from a mixed population by microscopy on the basis of its morphological or other distinguishing characteristics. In such cases the normally necessary steps of isolation and growth of the organism in culture may be omitted, thus allowing the sequencing of a much greater spectrum of organism genomes.[22]

Single cell genome sequencing is being tested as a method of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, wherein a cell from the embryo created by in vitro fertilization is taken and analyzed before embryo transfer into the uterus.[23] After implantation, cell-free fetal DNA can be taken by simple venipuncture from the mother and used for whole genome sequencing of the fetus.[24]

Sequencing of nearly an entire human genome was first accomplished in 2000 partly through the use of shotgun sequencing technology. While full genome shotgun sequencing for small (40007000 base pair) genomes was already in use in 1979,[25] broader application benefited from pairwise end sequencing, known colloquially as double-barrel shotgun sequencing. As sequencing projects began to take on longer and more complicated genomes, multiple groups began to realize that useful information could be obtained by sequencing both ends of a fragment of DNA. Although sequencing both ends of the same fragment and keeping track of the paired data was more cumbersome than sequencing a single end of two distinct fragments, the knowledge that the two sequences were oriented in opposite directions and were about the length of a fragment apart from each other was valuable in reconstructing the sequence of the original target fragment.

The first published description of the use of paired ends was in 1990 as part of the sequencing of the human HPRT locus,[26] although the use of paired ends was limited to closing gaps after the application of a traditional shotgun sequencing approach. The first theoretical description of a pure pairwise end sequencing strategy, assuming fragments of constant length, was in 1991.[27] In 1995 the innovation of using fragments of varying sizes was introduced,[28] and demonstrated that a pure pairwise end-sequencing strategy would be possible on large targets. The strategy was subsequently adopted by The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) to sequence the entire genome of the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae in 1995,[29] and then by Celera Genomics to sequence the entire fruit fly genome in 2000,[30] and subsequently the entire human genome. Applied Biosystems, now called Life Technologies, manufactured the automated capillary sequencers utilized by both Celera Genomics and The Human Genome Project.

While capillary sequencing was the first approach to successfully sequence a nearly full human genome, it is still too expensive and takes too long for commercial purposes. Since 2005 capillary sequencing has been progressively displaced by next-generation sequencing technologies such as Illumina dye sequencing, pyrosequencing, and SMRT sequencing.[31] All of these technologies continue to employ the basic shotgun strategy, namely, parallelization and template generation via genome fragmentation.

Other technologies are emerging, including nanopore technology. Though nanopore sequencing technology is still being refined, its portability and potential capability of generating long reads are of relevance to whole-genome sequencing applications.[32]

In principle, full genome sequencing can provide raw data on all six billion nucleotides in an individual’s DNA. However, it does not provide an analysis of what that information means or how it might be utilized in various clinical applications, such as in medicine to help prevent disease. Work toward that goal is continuously moving forward.

Because sequencing generates a lot of data (for example, there are approximately six billion base pairs in each human diploid genome), its output is stored electronically and requires a large amount of computing power and storage capacity. Full genome sequencing would have been nearly impossible before the advent of the microprocessor, computers, and the Information Age.

A 2015 study[33] done at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City detailed the use of full genome sequencing including full analysis. The process took a record breaking 26 hours[34] and was done using Illumina HiSeq machines, the Edico Genome Dragen Processor, and several custom designed software packages. Most of this acceleration was achieved using the newly developed Dragen Processor which brought the analysis time down from 15 hours to 40 minutes.

A number of public and private companies are competing to develop a full genome sequencing platform that is commercially robust for both research and clinical use,[35] including Illumina,[36]Knome,[37]Sequenom,[38]454 Life Sciences,[39] Pacific Biosciences,[40]Complete Genomics,[41]Helicos Biosciences,[42]GE Global Research (General Electric), Affymetrix, IBM, Intelligent Bio-Systems,[43] Life Technologies and Oxford Nanopore Technologies.[44] These companies are heavily financed and backed by venture capitalists, hedge funds, and investment banks.[45][46]

In October 2006, the X Prize Foundation, working in collaboration with the J. Craig Venter Science Foundation, established the Archon X Prize for Genomics,[47] intending to award US$10million to “the first Team that can build a device and use it to sequence 100 human genomes within 10 days or less, with an accuracy of no more than one error in every 1,000,000 bases sequenced, with sequences accurately covering at least 98% of the genome, and at a recurring cost of no more than $1,000per genome”.[48] An error rate of 1in 1,000,000bases, out of a total of approximately six billion bases in the human diploid genome, would mean about 6,000errors per genome. The error rates required for widespread clinical use, such as predictive medicine[49] is currently set by over 1,400 clinical single gene sequencing tests[50] (for example, errors in BRCA1 gene for breast cancer risk analysis).

The Archon X Prize for Genomics was cancelled in 2013, before its official start date.[51][52]

In 2007, Applied Biosystems started selling a new type of sequencer called SOLiD System.[53] The technology allowed users to sequence 60 gigabases per run.[54]

In June 2009, Illumina announced that they were launching their own Personal Full Genome Sequencing Service at a depth of 30 for $48,000 per genome.[55][56]

In August 2009, the founder of Helicos Biosciences, Stephen Quake, stated that using the company’s Single Molecule Sequencer he sequenced his own full genome for less than $50,000.[57]

In November 2009, Complete Genomics published a peer-reviewed paper in Science demonstrating its ability to sequence a complete human genome for $1,700.[58][59]

In May 2011, Illumina lowered its Full Genome Sequencing service to $5,000 per human genome, or $4,000 if ordering 50 or more.[60] Helicos Biosciences, Pacific Biosciences, Complete Genomics, Illumina, Sequenom, ION Torrent Systems, Halcyon Molecular, NABsys, IBM, and GE Global appear to all be going head to head in the race to commercialize full genome sequencing.[31][61]

A series of publications in 2012 showed the utility of SMRT sequencing from Pacific Biosciences in generating full genome sequences with de novo assembly.[62]

With sequencing costs declining, a number of companies began claiming that their equipment would soon achieve the $1,000 genome: these companies included Life Technologies in January 2012,[63]Oxford Nanopore Technologies in February 2012[64] and Illumina in February 2014.[65][66]

However, as of 2015, the NHGRI estimates the cost of obtaining a whole-genome sequence at around $1,500.[67]

Full genome sequencing provides information on a genome that is orders of magnitude larger than that provided by the previous leader in genotyping technology, DNA arrays. For humans, DNA arrays currently provide genotypic information on up to one million genetic variants,[68][69][70] while full genome sequencing will provide information on all six billion bases in the human genome, or 3,000times more data. Because of this, full genome sequencing is considered a disruptive innovation to the DNA array markets as the accuracy of both range from 99.98% to 99.999% (in non-repetitive DNA regions) and their consumables cost of $5000 per 6 billion base pairs is competitive (for some applications) with DNA arrays ($500per 1 million basepairs).[39]Agilent, another established DNA array manufacturer, is working on targeted (selective region) genome sequencing technologies.[71] It is thought that Affymetrix, the pioneer of array technology in the 1990s, has fallen behind due to significant corporate and stock turbulence and is currently not working on any known full genome sequencing approach.[72][73][74] It is unknown what will happen to the DNA array market once full genome sequencing becomes commercially widespread, especially as companies and laboratories providing this disruptive technology start to realize economies of scale. It is postulated, however, that this new technology may significantly diminish the total market size for arrays and any other sequencing technology once it becomes commonplace for individuals and newborns to have their full genomes sequenced.[75]

Whole genome sequencing has established the mutation frequency for whole human genomes. The mutation frequency in the whole genome between generations for humans (parent to child) is about 70 new mutations per generation.[76][77] An even lower level of variation was found comparing whole genome sequencing in blood cells for a pair of monozygotic (identical twins) 100-year-old centenarians.[78] Only 8 somatic differences were found, though somatic variation occurring in less than 20% of blood cells would be undetected.

In the specifically protein coding regions of the human genome, it is estimated that there are about 0.35 mutations that would change the protein sequence between parent/child generations (less than one mutated protein per generation).[79]

In cancer, mutation frequencies are much higher, due to genome instability. This frequency can further depend on patient age, exposure to DNA damaging agents (such as UV-irradiation or components of tobacco smoke) and the activity/inactivity of DNA repair mechanisms.[80] Furthermore, mutation frequency can vary between cancer types: in germline cells, mutation rates occur at approximately 0.023 mutations per megabase, but this number is much higher in breast cancer (1.18-1.66 mutations per Mb), in lung cancer (17.7) or in melanomas (~33).[81]

Inexpensive, time-efficient full genome sequencing will be a major accomplishment not only for the field of genomics, but for the entire human civilization because, for the first time, individuals will be able to have their entire genome sequenced. Utilizing this information, it is speculated that health care professionals, such as physicians and genetic counselors, will eventually be able to use genomic information to predict what diseases a person may get in the future and attempt to either minimize the impact of that disease or avoid it altogether through the implementation of personalized, preventive medicine. Full genome sequencing will allow health care professionals to analyze the entire human genome of an individual and therefore detect all disease-related genetic variants, regardless of the genetic variant’s prevalence or frequency. This will enable the rapidly emerging medical fields of predictive medicine and personalized medicine and will mark a significant leap forward for the clinical genetic revolution. Full genome sequencing is clearly of great importance for research into the basis of genetic disease and has shown significant benefit to a subset of individuals with rare disease in the clinical setting.[82][83][84][85] Illumina’s CEO, Jay Flatley, stated in February 2009 that “A complete DNA read-out for every newborn will be technically feasible and affordable in less than five years, promising a revolution in healthcare” and that “by 2019 it will have become routine to map infants’ genes when they are born”.[86] This potential use of genome sequencing is highly controversial, as it runs counter to established ethical norms for predictive genetic testing of asymptomatic minors that have been well established in the fields of medical genetics and genetic counseling.[87][88][89][90] The traditional guidelines for genetic testing have been developed over the course of several decades since it first became possible to test for genetic markers associated with disease, prior to the advent of cost-effective, comprehensive genetic screening. It is established that norms, such as in the sciences and the field of genetics, are subject to change and evolve over time.[91][92] It is unknown whether traditional norms practiced in medical genetics today will be altered by new technological advancements such as full genome sequencing.

In March 2010, researchers from the Medical College of Wisconsin announced the first successful use of whole-genome sequencing to inform the treatment of a patient.[93][94]

Currently available newborn screening for childhood diseases allows detection of rare disorders that can be prevented or better treated by early detection and intervention. Specific genetic tests are also available to determine an etiology when a child’s symptoms appear to have a genetic basis. Full genome sequencing, in addition has the potential to reveal a large amount of information (such as carrier status for autosomal recessive disorders, genetic risk factors for complex adult-onset diseases, and other predictive medical and non-medical information) that is currently not completely understood, may not be clinically useful to the child during childhood, and may not necessarily be wanted by the individual upon reaching adulthood.[95] In addition to predicting disease risk in childhood, genetic testing may have other benefits (such as discovery of non-paternity) but may also have potential downsides (genetic discrimination, loss of anonymity, and psychological impacts).[96] Many publications regarding ethical guidelines for predictive genetic testing of asymptomatic minors may therefore have more to do with protecting minors and preserving the individual’s privacy and autonomy to know or not to know their genetic information, than with the technology that makes the tests themselves possible.[97]

Due to recent cost reductions (see above) whole genome sequencing has become a realistic application in DNA diagnostics. In 2013, the 3Gb-TEST consortium obtained funding from the European Union to prepare the health care system for these innovations in DNA diagnostics.[98][99]Quality assessment schemes, Health technology assessment and guidelines have to be in place. The 3Gb-TEST consortium has identified the analysis and interpretation of sequence data as the most complicated step in the diagnostic process.[100] At the Consortium meeting in Athens in September 2014, the Consortium coined the word genotranslation for this crucial step. This step leads to a so-called genoreport. Guidelines are needed to determine the required content of these reports.

The majority of ethicists insist that the privacy of individuals undergoing genetic testing must be protected under all circumstances.[101] Data obtained from whole genome sequencing can not only reveal much information about the individual who is the source of DNA, but it can also reveal much probabilistic information about the DNA sequence of close genetic relatives.[102] Furthermore, the data obtained from whole genome sequencing can also reveal much useful predictive information about the relatives present and future health risks.[103] This raises important questions about what obligations, if any, are owed to the family members of the individuals who are undergoing genetic testing. In the Western/European society, tested individuals are usually encouraged to share important information on the genetic diagnosis with their close relatives since the importance of the genetic diagnosis for offspring and other close relatives is usually one of the reasons for seeking a genetic testing in the first place.[101] Nevertheless, a major ethical dilemma can develop when the patients refuse to share information on a diagnosis that is made for serious genetic disorder that is highly preventable and where there is a high risk to relatives carrying the same disease mutation.[102] Under such circumstances, the clinician may suspect that the relatives would rather know of the diagnosis and hence the clinician can face a conflict of interest with respect to patient-doctor confidentiality.[102]

Another major privacy concern is the scientific need to put information on patient’s genotypes and phenotypes into the public scientific databases such as the locus specific databases.[102] Although only anonymous patient data are submitted to the locus specific databases, patients might still be identifiable by their relatives in the case of finding a rare disease or a rare missense mutation.[102]

The first nearly complete human genomes sequenced were two caucasians in 2007 (J. Craig Venter at 7.5-fold coverage,[104][105][106] and James Watson at 7.4-fold).[107][108][109] This was followed in 2008 by sequencing of an anonymous Han Chinese man (at 36-fold),[110] a Yoruban man from Nigeria (at 30-fold),[111] and a female caucasian Leukemia patient (at 33 and 14-fold coverage for tumor and normal tissues).[112]Steve Jobs was among the first 20 people to have their whole genome sequenced, reportedly for the cost of $100,000.[113] As of June 2012[update], there are 69 nearly complete human genomes publicly available.[114]Commercialization of full genome sequencing is in an early stage and growing rapidly.

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Space Travel – Astronomy + Space Exploration – Leisure

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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Trump, Clinton Clash Over Second Amendment At Debate

Posted: October 20, 2016 at 11:33 pm

Donald Trump would not commit Wednesday night to accepting the results of the presidential election if he loses on Nov. 8, in a striking moment during his final debate with Hillary Clinton that underscored the deepening tensions in the race as the bitter rivals defined the choice for voters on an array of issues not three weeks from Election Day.

The debate in Las Vegas, moderated by Fox News Chris Wallace, started with a measured discussion on policy disputes ranging from gun rights to abortion to immigration. But it ended with the candidates hurling a grab-bag of accusations and insults at each other.

Trump called Clinton a nasty woman. Clinton called Trump the most dangerous person to run for president in modern history.

The most pointed moment came when Trump who for weeks has warned of a rigged election was asked whether he will commit to accept the results of the election.

I will look at it at the time, Trump said, citing his concerns about voter registration fraud, a corrupt media and an opponent he claimed shouldnt be allowed to run because she committed a very serious crime with her emails.

Pressed again whether hes prepared to concede if he loses, Trump again said: I will tell you at the time. Ill keep you in suspense.

Clinton delivered a sharp rejoinder: Thats horrifying.

That is not the way our democracy works, she said. He is denigrating, hes talking down our democracy and I for one am appalled.

Trump responded by calling the Justice Departments handling of her email probe disgraceful.

The exchange was among many contentious moments at Wednesdays debate, which covered several issues including the national debt that have gotten little attention in the race so far but flared with arguments between the candidates over WikiLeaks, over Russia, over the Clinton Foundation and over womens allegations of groping against Trump.

Through the thicket of accusations and personal animus they never shook hands on stage the candidates tried generally to mount a closing debate-stage argument about experience.

For 30 years, youve been in a position to help. The problem is you talk, but you dont get anything done, Hillary, Trump said. If you become president, this country is going to be in some mess, believe me.

Clinton countered by contrasting some of her experiences against Trumps. She said when she was monitoring the Usama bin Laden raid in the Situation Room, He was hosting The Celebrity Apprentice.

Im happy to compare my 30 years of experience with your 30 years, and I will let the American people make that decision, Clinton said.

Trump, meanwhile, again disputed the multiple allegations of groping that women have leveled against him since the candidates last encounter. He also said he thinks the Clinton campaign is behind the claims, charging, They either want fame or her campaign did it.

Clinton said, Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger. Trump repeated that nobody has more respect for women than him.

Trump then shifted to blast the Clinton Foundation as a criminal enterprise. He pointed to donations from countries like Saudi Arabia to question Clintons commitment to womens rights. He asked her if she would return money from countries that treat certain groups of people horribly, which she did not answer directly.

The candidates third and final debate now sets a bitter tone for the homestretch of the 2016 presidential campaign a race that already stands out as arguably the most personal, caustic and unpredictable White House battle in modern politics.

Trump, slipping in the polls amid various campaign controversies, said at the last debate that Clinton should be in jail. Clinton has blasted Trump all along as temperamentally unfit for office.

Since the second debate, numerous women have come forward to accuse Trump of groping them, allegations he denies. WikiLeaks also has embarrassed the Clinton campaign by releasing thousands of hacked emails purportedly from her campaign chairmans account. FBI files alleging a State Department official sought a quid pro quo to alter the classification on a Clinton server email added to the campaigns and Obama administrations woes.

The WikiLeaks controversy came up Wednesday night when Clinton asked if Trump would condemn Russian espionage. He denied knowing Vladimir Putin but said the issue is the Russian president has no respect for her.

Thats because hed rather have a puppet, Clinton shot back.

Trump responded, Nope. youre the puppet.

Trump later said he condemns any interference by Russia in the election.

The candidates also sparred over gun rights, with the Republican nominee charging that the Second Amendment is under absolute siege and would be eroded if his opponent wins.

We will have a Second Amendment which will be a very, very small replica of what we have now if Clinton wins, Trump said.

The Democratic nominee countered, I support the Second Amendment.

In a graphic exchange, Trump said Clintons position on abortion is nearing a point where one could rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month. Clinton accused him of scare rhetoric.

They also clashed on immigration, with Trump saying they need to deport drug lords and deal with bad hombres in the country. Clinton said violent offenders should be deported but then mocked Trump for not pushing his controversial border wall proposal during his high-profile meeting with the Mexican president. He choked, she said.

Trump said Clinton wanted a wall when she voted for an immigration overhaul a decade ago and now wants open borders, which she denied.

To date, the mounting controversies facing both campaigns have appeared to hurt Trump more than Clinton, who gradually has expanded her lead over the GOP nominee in recent polls.

A Fox News national poll released on the eve of the Las Vegas debate showed Clinton with a 6-point, 45-39 percent lead over Trump in a match-up that includes Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Trump, in the final three weeks, is thought to be zeroing in on several key battlegrounds including Florida, Ohio and North Carolina but the polls suggest his path to the presidency remains narrow, as even once-reliably red states like Texas are being contested by the Clinton campaign.

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Why is Gary Johnson still in the race – CNNPolitics.com

Posted: October 1, 2016 at 1:51 am

The Libertarian presidential candidate is the subject of intensifying ridicule following his latest televised flub when he couldn’t name a world leader he admired during a Wednesday interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. That follows another embarrassing on-air moment last month when, in response to a question about how he would alleviate the plight of the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo, he responded: “What is Aleppo?”

The gaffes, combined with his failure to make the debate stage and his infinitesimal chance of winning the White House, raise a pressing question: Why is Johnson still in the race?

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton ribbed Johnson Thursday by pretending to struggle when she was asked to name a world leader she admired. But she made clear her view that she and her Republican counterpart, Donald Trump, are the only viable candidates.

“Either Donald Trump or I will be the President of the United States,” she told reporters on her campaign plane, sending a clear warning to disaffected Democrats flirting with Johnson. “People have to look carefully in making their decision. It will be either him or me.”

But Johnson isn’t going anywhere.

William Weld, Johnson’s running mate, said the latest stumble doesn’t leave him with any doubts.

“He’s a deep person in terms of his thinking and he thinks through things in a way that many other people don’t,” Weld told CNN’s Randi Kaye Thursday on Anderson Cooper 360. “Pop quizzes on television are obviously not his forte but depth of analysis and surprising lines of analysis are his forte. I think he just needs time to expound what he’s thinking.”

Johnson’s decision to stay in the race isn’t just an academic question. He and Weld are doing well enough in swing states to pull votes from both Trump and Clinton. In the latest CNN/ORC poll of Colorado a state Clinton must win and which her campaign thought was already safe Johnson is polling at 13% among likely voters while Clinton trails Trump 42% to 41%.

Third party candidates have traditionally had a rough ride in the two-party US election system none have made a significant national impact since billionaire Ross Perot grabbed 19% of the vote in 1992.

But amid the most polarizing election in years featuring two major party nominees with historic unfavorability ratings, there may be a market for Johnson’s character and ideas.

“Something is obviously different this time,” said Kyle Saunders, a political analyst at Colorado State University. “Part of it is the unpopularity of the two major party candidates. The strongest of partisans are behaving the way they always behave.”

He added: “Those other people who are not the strongest partisans are looking for some other places to cast their ballot.”

And the more that the chattering classes disdain Johnson, the more stubborn he seems to get.

“It’s been almost 24 hours … and I still can’t come up with a foreign leader I look up to,” Johnson tweeted defiantly Thursday.

Johnson’s campaign manager, Ron Nielson, blasted Johnson’s critics as being guilty of “gotcha-ism at its worst” in a Facebook post and said that the oversight just proved that his candidate was just like other Americans.

“Gary Johnson is a real person. A pragmatist and the kind of leader that people can respect and trust,” Nielson wrote. “Unfortunately, as most Americans have come to realize, this is not the case with Clinton and Trump.”

It was not the first time that a presidential candidate has stumbled in a world leader pop quiz that raised doubts about their credentials to be President. In 1999, then-GOP frontrunner George W. Bush was stumped when asked by a Boston reporter to name the leaders of Chechnya, Taiwan, India and Pakistan.

And gaffes don’t seem to derail a candidate in 2016 the way they once did.

After all, Trump has made statements that are far more outrageous than Johnson’s comments — on an almost daily basis — and he is locked in a tight race with Clinton.

It’s debatable whether true Libertarian voters those who support the party because it favors a disentangling from foreign quagmires and a less robust US global role are that bothered that their candidate is not deeply acquainted with the details of the Syrian civil war.

But it’s not just verbal stumbles that are beginning to build pressure on Johnson.

His political position is also eroding because of his failure to hit the 15% polling threshold needed to muscle his way into the debates between Clinton and Trump.

Back in June, Johnson told The New Yorker that if he missed what he called the political “Super Bowl” “There’s no way to win.”

There are reasons — beyond the disdain that a large proportion of the electorate appears to hold for Clinton and Trump — for Johnson to stay in the race.

First, he appears to have the chance to make tangible progress for the Libertarian Party across the nation. In 2012, Johnson ran for President and won just under 1% of the electoral vote. Even if he only cracks 5% this time, that would represent an undeniable step forward for the party.

But there’s a more fundamental reason why Johnson may resist calls to quit.

He explained in an op-ed piece in the New York Times on Wednesday that the American political system, by producing such alienating rivals as Clinton and Trump, has failed. That, he argued, means reformers have no choice but to fight.

“Hyper-partisanship may be entertaining, but it’s a terrible way to try to run a country. We’re the alternative and we’re the only ticket that offers Americans a chance to find common ground,” Johnson wrote.

Johnson also appears to be building a significant base of support among millennial voters — a demographic that Clinton needs to dominate to make it to the White House — but which could fuel Libertarian Party growth in future.

A Bloomberg News/Selzer & Co. poll released Monday found Clinton’s 10-point advantage among younger voters cut to a statistically insignificant four points when Johnson and Stein are included in the race.

While some Democrats who abhor Clinton might be tempted by a fling with Johnson, he is also providing a refuge with Republicans who cannot stomach Trump. Antipathy for the billionaire prompted the Detroit News Thursday to do something it has never done in its 143 year history — endorse someone other than the Republican presidential candidate.

Still, Johnson’s resilience is causing genuine concern for top Democrats.

“There’s one message I want to deliver to everybody: If you don’t vote, that’s a vote for Trump. If you vote for a third-party candidate who’s got no chance to win, that’s a vote for Trump,” President Barack Obama said on the Steve Harvey radio show this week.

Vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine is warning wavering Democrats attracted to Johnson that they risk bringing about an electoral catastrophe similar to the one in Florida in 2000 when Ralph Nader siphoned votes away from Vice President Al Gore. That allowed Bush to claim Florida after the vote count showdown in the US Supreme Court.

“If Gore had been president, we probably wouldn’t had a war in Iraq,” Kaine told Yahoo News’ Katie Couric last week. “Casting a vote, a protest vote, for a third-party candidate that’s going to lose may well affect the outcome. It may well lead to a consequence that is deeply, deeply troubling. That’s not a speculation, we’ve seen it in our country’s history.”

CNN’s Eli Watkins contributed to this report.

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Tailored Access Operations – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Posted: September 11, 2016 at 5:22 pm

The Office of Tailored Access Operations (TAO) is a cyber-warfare intelligence-gathering unit of the National Security Agency (NSA). It has been active since at least circa 1998.[1][2] TAO identifies, monitors, infiltrates, and gathers intelligence on computer systems being used by entities foreign to the United States.[3][4][5][6] The NSA terms these activities “computer network exploitation”.

TAO is reportedly “now the largest and arguably the most important component of the NSA’s huge Signals Intelligence Directorate (SID)[7] (SIGINT), consisting of more than 1,000 military and civilian computer hackers, intelligence analysts, targeting specialists, computer hardware and software designers, and electrical engineers.”[1]

A document leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden describing the unit’s work says[not in citation given] TAO has software templates allowing it to break into commonly used hardware, including routers, switches, and firewalls from multiple product vendor lines”.[8] According to The Washington Post, TAO engineers prefer to tap networks rather than isolated computers, because there are typically many devices on a single network.[8]

TAO’s headquarters are termed the Remote Operations Center (ROC) and are based at the NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland. TAO also has expanded to NSA Hawaii (Wahiawa, Oahu), NSA Georgia (Fort Gordon, Georgia), NSA Texas (San Antonio, Texas), and NSA Colorado (Buckley Air Force Base, Denver).[1]

Since 2013, the head of TAO is Rob Joyce, a 25-plus year employee who previously worked in the NSA’s Information Assurance Directorate (IAD). In January 2016, Joyce had a rare public appearance when he gave a presentation at the Usenixs Enigma conference. [9]

In the Remote Operations Center, 600 employees gather information from around the world.[10][11] Their motto is “Your data is our data, your equipment is our equipment – anytime, any place, by any legal means.”

Details[citation needed] on a program titled QUANTUMSQUIRREL indicate NSA ability to masquerade as any routable IPv4 or IPv6 host. This enables an NSA computer to generate false geological location and personal identification credentials when accessing the Internet utilizing QUANTUMSQUIRREL.[15]

The NSA ANT catalog is a 50-page classified document listing technology available to the United States National Security Agency (NSA) Tailored Access Operations (TAO) by the Advanced Network Technology (ANT) Division to aid in cyber surveillance. Most devices are described as already operational and available to US nationals and members of the Five Eyes alliance. According to Der Spiegel, which released the catalog to the public on December 30, 2013, “The list reads like a mail-order catalog, one from which other NSA employees can order technologies from the ANT division for tapping their targets’ data.” The document was created in 2008.[16] Security researcher Jacob Appelbaum gave a speech at the Chaos Communications Congress in Hamburg, Germany, in which he detailed techniques that the simultaneously published Der Spiegel article he coauthored disclosed from the catalog.[16]

The TAO has developed an attack suite they call QUANTUM. It relies on a compromised router that duplicates internet traffic, typically HTTP requests, so that they go both to the intended target and to an NSA site (indirectly). The NSA site runs FOXACID software which sends back exploits that load in the background in the target web browser before the intended destination has had a chance to respond (it’s unclear if the compromised router facilitates this race on the return trip). Prior to the development of this technology, FOXACID software made spear-phishing attacks the NSA referred to as spam. If the browser is exploitable, further permanent “implants” (rootkits etc.) are deployed in the target computer, e.g. OLYMPUSFIRE for Windows, which give complete remote access to the infected machine.[17] This type of attack is part of the man-in-the-middle attack family, though more specifically it is called man-on-the-side attack. It is difficult to pull off without controlling some of the Internet backbone.[18]

There are numerous services that FOXACID can exploit this way. The names of some FOXACID modules are given below:[19]

By collaboration with the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) (MUSCULAR), Google services could be attacked too, including Gmail.[20]

Finding machines that are exploitable and worth attacking is done using analytic databases such as XKeyscore.[21] A specific method of finding vulnerable machines is interception of Windows Error Reporting traffic, which is logged into XKeyscore.[22]

QUANTUM attacks launched from NSA sites can be too slow for some combinations of targets and services as they essentially try to exploit a race condition, i.e. the NSA server is trying to beat the legitimate server with its response.[23] As of mid-2011, the NSA was prototyping a capability codenamed QFIRE, which involved embedding their exploit-dispensing servers in virtual machines (running on VMware ESX) hosted closer to the target, in the so-called Special Collection Sites (SCS) network worldwide. The goal of QFIRE was to lower the latency of the spoofed response, thus increasing the probability of success.[24][25][26]

COMMENDEER [sic] is used to commandeer (i.e. compromise) untargeted computer systems. The software is used as a part of QUANTUMNATION, which also includes the software vulnerability scanner VALIDATOR. The tool was first described at the 2014 Chaos Communication Congress by Jacob Appelbaum, who characterized it as tyrannical.[27][28][29]

QUANTUMCOOKIE is a more complex form of attack which can be used against Tor users.[30]

According to a 2013 article in Foreign Policy, “TAO has become increasingly accomplished at its mission, thanks in part to the high-level cooperation it secretly receives from the ‘big three’ American telecom companies (AT&T, Verizon and Sprint), most of the large US-based Internet service providers, and many of the top computer security software manufactures and consulting companies.”[36] A 2012 TAO budget document claims that these companies, on TAO’s behest, “insert vulnerabilities into commercial encryption systems, IT systems, networks and endpoint communications devices used by targets”.[36] A number of US companies, including Cisco and Dell, have subsequently made public statements denying that they insert such back doors into their products.[37]Microsoft provides advance warning to the NSA of vulnerabilities it knows about, before fixes or information about these vulnerabilities is available to the public; this enables TAO to execute so-called zero-day attacks.[38] A Microsoft official who declined to be identified in the press confirmed that this is indeed the case, but said that Microsoft can’t be held responsible for how the NSA uses this advance information.[39]

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Immortality – Superpower Wiki – Wikia

Posted: August 25, 2016 at 4:26 pm

Immortality Power/Ability to:

Never die

The power to never age and recover from almost any injury. Opposite to Mortality.

Users possess an infinite life span, and can shrug off virtually any kind of physical damage. Some users are the defensive type, simply preventing such damage from appearing (invulnerability/protection), while others are the regenerative type, surviving and quickly recovering from anything you throw at them.

Some may only possess the power of:

Semi-Immortality

Reliant Immortality (Concept-Dependent Immortality, Self-Puppetry)

Immortality

Unfettered Body

Absolute Immortality

See Also: Immortality and Complete Immortality.

Zeus (Greek mythology) is immortal Father of Gods and ruler of Olympus.

Sun Wukong (Journey Into The West) become unable to die or be harmed in any way after eating both the food of the heavens and erasing his name off death’s register.

Teitoku Kakine (A Certain Magical Index) achieved a form of immortality by creating a human tissues (and a new body) out of his Dark Matter.

Ladylee (A Certain Magical Index) is an immortal, in that when she grew weary of living, she sought to use powerful magic to kill her, which did not work.

Tenzen Yakushiji (Basilisk) having his symbiote “eat” away his wounds and restoring any ravages of time or battle, even reattaching his head by sealing the cut.

Creed Diskenth (Black Cat) possesses the God’s Breath nano-machines within his body, regenerating even fatal wounds in seconds and maintaining his youth, thus granting him immortality aside from any brain damage being irreparable.

Ssuke Aizen (Bleach) gained immortality after fusing with the Hgyoku.

C.C (Code Geass) is immortal.

V.V (Code Geass) is immortal.

Garlic Jr. (Dragon Ball) made a wish via the Dragon Balls for eternal life, and will regenerate from any and all injuries seamlessly.

Kager (Flame of Recca) using a forbidden spell that opens a time portal, but it traps her outside of space-time, rendering her completely immortal.

The Truth (Fullmetal Alchemist) is invincible, immortal and invulnerable.

Utsuro (Gintama) possesses immortality by harnessing the Altana energy of Earth to prevent aging and recover from wounds and diseases.

Kouka (Gintama) possessed immortality by harnessing the Altana energy of Kouan to prevent aging and recover from wounds and diseases. However, when she left the planet for good, she weakened overtime and died.

Yta (Mermaid Saga) is a 500 years old immortal since unwittingly eating mermaid’s flesh.

Mana (Mermaid Saga) is a 15 years old immortal since being fed mermaid’s flesh.

Masato (Mermaid Saga) is an 800 years old immortal since eating mermaid’s flesh.

Orochimaru (Naruto) considers himself immortal with his Living Corpse Reincarnation to transfer his soul to another body and his Cursed Seals as anchors of his conscious.

Hidan’s (Naruto) main advantage is his inability to die by physical damage, though he is vulnerable to death by lack of nutrient.

Kakuzu (Naruto) attained a form of immortality (though he denies to think of it as such) by tearing hearts out of others and integrating them into himself, extending his lifespan. He kept five inside him at all times.

Madara Uchiha (Naruto) claims he has achieved complete immortality due to hosting the Shinju, as he regenerated form his torso being blown apart. Only when the tailed beasts were all pulled out of him did he die.

Kaguya tsutsuki (Naruto) is immortal, in that she has tremendous regenerative powers, and that the only way to defeat her is to seal her person away by splitting her chakra into the nine tailed beasts.

Gemma Himuro (Ninja Scroll) putting his severed body parts back together, even his head is possible, rendering him immortal.

Due to her race, Jibril (No Game No Life) has age 6407 years old, she has incredibly vast knowledge and high magical abilities, in two words; she live with gathering many old and new knowledge, in other words; she can no longer age or die.

Rin Asogi (RIN ~Daughters of Mnemosyne~) is immortal, due to a magic spore from Yggdrasil. she can even handle more alcohol than a normal person.

Free (Soul Eater) is a werewolf from the Immortal Clan, and therefore, immortal. He can only be harmed and killed by the “Witch-Hunt”.

Koj Akatsuki (Strike the Blood) is revealed to be immortal, even by vampire standards after regenerating from complete decapitation.

Tta Konoe (UQ Holder) cannot regrow limbs unless they are completely destroyed, but otherwise is immortal and can reattach any of it, including his head.

Karin Yki (UQ Holder) has one of the highest ranked forms of immortality, stating that she’s “not permitted to get hurt or die”

Elder Toguro (Yu Yu Hakusho) stated that his regenerative powers enables him from dying. This prevented him from dying from Kurama’s torturous Sinning Tree.

Zeref (Fairy Tail) was cursed by Ankhseram with his contradiction curse which gives him uncontrollable Death Magic and Immortality.

Ban (Nanatsu no Taizai) acquired immortality after drinking the Fountain of Youth.

Porky Minch (Earthbound) has abused Time Travel so much that his body is stuck in the current timeline and cannot age nor die.

It is believed that Ganondorf (The Legend of Zelda) is immortal due to the Triforce of Power.

Clockwerk (Sly Cooper) has kept himself alive for millennia thanks to his cybernetic body and his jealousy and hatred of the Cooper Clan.

Solaris (Sonic the Hedgehog) is a super-dimensional life form and the Sun God of Solenna, and exists in all timelines that he is immortal unless he is killed simultaneously in every temporal point.

Presea Combatir (Tales of Symphonia) is immortal and invulnerable because of a combination of her exsphere and her special ability Suppress

Kaguya Houraisan (Touhou Project) drank the Hourai Elixir, which grants her immortal in every sense of the word: she does not age, is immune to disease, and can regenerate from even being completely disintegrated.

Though he can be imprisoned and sealed away, Grima (Fire Emblem) can only be truly and permanently killed by his own hand.

Snow White (Valkyrie Crusade) is a immortal princess that is always trying to die, but nothing works.

Shadow the Hedgehog (Sonic the Hedgehog)

Chip/Light Gaia (Sonic the Hedgehog)

Dogmeat (Fallout 4) cannot die

Doomsday (DC Comics), being immune to all that once killed him.

Ra’s al Ghl (DC Comics) is granted immortality by the Lazarus Pit’s effects.

Lobo (DC Comics) possessing regenerative powers of such a level that he can recreate his entire body from nothing more than a puddle of his blood, as he is banned from Death.

Resurrection Man (DC Comics) is immortal, and will return to life no matter how many times he is killed, returning with a new power associated to how he was killed.

Hercules (Marvel Comics) an Olympic half God.

Deadpool (Marvel Comics) is in the same boat as Thanos, both banished from death.

Gaea (Marvel Comics), the Elder Goddess of Nature.

Loki (Marvel Comics), the God of Mischief, is immortal.

Zeus (Marvel Comics), the King of the Olympic Gods.

Atlas (Marvel Comics) no longer ages and is functionally immortal because of the ionic energy that empowers him.

Adam Destine (Marvel Comics) is immortal and invulnerable to physical harm.

Mr. Immortal (Marvel Comics) having evolved beyond death cannot be killed permanently, and will always come back to life without so much as a scar.

Count Nefaria (Marvel Comics) no longer ages and is functionally immortal because of the ionic energy that empowers him.

Wonder Man (Marvel Comics) no longer ages and is functionally immortal because of the ionic energy that empowers him.

Dr. Manhattan (Watchmen) is immortal due to his physiology.

Pariah Dark (Danny Phantom) is the powerful immortal, former king of ghosts.

Peter Griffin (Family Guy) Peter Griffin has survived many life threatening situations and came back unscathed.

Ernie the Giant Chicken (Family Guy) always comes back for a rematch despite Peter Griffin always dealing a fatal blow on Ernie.

Lord Voldemort (Harry Potter) acquired immortality by splitting his soul and hiding the fragments in various objects as anchors, though when his body was destroyed, he existed as a spectral form that many others would prefer death over.

Fawkes (Harry Potter) is a phoenix, who will be reborn with all of his memories intact upon death, and thus immortal, being the only known creatures in the wizarding world to have natural immortality.

Adam Monroe (Heroes) possessed immortality due to his tremendously advanced regeneration ability, though once the ability is taken away from him, he died within seconds.

The Dog Talisman (Jackie Chan Adventures) grants its master invincibility.

Nathan Young (MisFits) is immortal.

General Immortus (Teen Titans) knows the strategy of every battle in history because he was there to see it.

Starscream (Transformers G1) possesses an immortal Spark, soul energy, meaning even if his physical vessel is destroyed he will live on.

Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th) can only be truly and permanently killed by his own family members.

The Beast (Doctor Who) claims to have existed before our universe was created

Candyman (Candyman) has lived for centuries

Ashildr AKA Me (Doctor Who) is effectively immortal due to being given a Mire computer chip.

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Immortality – Superpower Wiki – Wikia

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Libertarian ticket eyes post-convention opening and debate …

Posted: August 10, 2016 at 9:22 pm

The Libertarian Party ticket, facing what polls show are two of the most unpopular presidential candidates in modern American history, is seeing a bump in support as the general election race moves into full swing and a surge in interest that could carry nominee Gary Johnson onto the prized debate stage this fall.

Despite Donald Trump and Hillary Clintons popularity issues and trust gap with voters, few expect the Libertarian ticket to pose a Ross Perot-style threat this year.

But the party is far more than a political curiosity in 2016. Rumors are swirling in the wake of the major-party conventions that high-profile Republicans are now considering backing the ticket; a recent video from Johnson and running mate William Weld generated considerable buzz; and the polls show Johnson getting close to 15 percent the threshold he needs to reach to land him on the debate stage with Trump and Clinton this fall.

The RealClearPolitics average has Johnson at 8.4 percent in a four-way race with Trump, Clinton and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, up from 4.5 percent in June. The latest Fox News poll released Wednesday, after the conventions, put Johnson at 12 percent.

An NBC poll taken toward the end of the Democratic convention put Johnson at 9 percent, roughly where he was in prior polling.

Party officials said the unpopularity of the Republican and Democratic candidates gives the party an unprecedented opportunity.

It goes from week to week and day to day watching for what new thing [Clinton and Trump are] going to do to become more unpopular with the American people, and frighten people, Nicholas Sarwark, chairman of the Libertarian National Committee, told FoxNews.com. Those candidates are the gift that keeps on giving. Were running as the qualified adult in the room.

Sarwark pointed to Johnsons record as a two-term New Mexico governor, re-elected as a Republican in a Democratic state, in touting his credentials and appeal.

Unclear is whether the support in the polls will translate into support at the ballot box. In 2012, Johnson won just 0.99 percent of all votes cast — making him the most successful White House candidate in Libertarian history, but not making much of a dent in the race as a whole.

But this year, there are plenty of signs more voters are seeking an alternative candidate. At the Democratic convention last week, many Bernie Sanders supporters were getting on board with the Green Partys Stein. But so far, Johnson is polling the best among third-party candidates.

He and his running mate, former Massachusetts Gov. Weld, generated some buzz before the conventions with a slick video ad listing their accomplishments.

Weve been there … And done that! the candidates say.

Johnson said in an interview Monday with the Los Angeles Times that he believes in addition to appealing to disenfranchised Republicans on issues like free trade, low taxes and smaller government, the Libertarian stance on social issues and foreign policy could bring Sanders voters on board.

Sarwark said the party is banking that while Trump and Clinton are about as well-known as they are going to be, Johnson still can introduce himself to voters not familiar with his story especially if he is able to get on the debate stage.

This is far from a foregone conclusion.

So far, while Johnsons support is higher than in past years, an 8.4 percent average is still a distance from the 15 percent hed need to make the debates.

And he would need to get there by Aug. 15 to qualify, hitting 15 percent in not just one poll but an average of five recent polls chosen by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Politically, where we stand, is we have to get into those presidential debates to really stand a chance, Weld told The Wall Street Journal last week. If we catch a break or two, we may get there.

Even then, the record for third-party or independent candidates is not strong.

In recent political history, the one who came closest to the presidency was businessman Perot in 1992 who was an independent, not technically a third-party candidate. At one point, Perot was leading in some polls against then-President George H. W. Bush and Democratic challenger Bill Clinton. However, after dropping out of the race before re-entering, he lost support. He eventually garnered 19 percent of the vote, with some Republicans arguing he split the GOP vote and handed the election to Clinton.

Republicans, meanwhile, were arguably given a boost by Green Party candidate Ralph Nader in 2000, when Nader picked up 2.7 percent of the vote against Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush.

Johnsons potential impact is hard to gauge. The latest Fox News poll found Johnson siphoning support about equally from the Democratic and GOP candidates.

But he could get a boost in the coming weeks as some Republicans reportedly consider backing him.

Most notably, 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush reportedly are mulling endorsements for Johnson. Marvin Bush, youngest brother of Jeb and George W., also endorsed Johnson last week.

From what Ive heard from the Bush and Romney camps, theyre still considering it, Sarwark claimed.

Asked if the party is looking just to make a strong showing, or go all the way, Sarward was bullish: Theres a path to the presidency. The ground is there.

Adam Shaw is a Politics Reporter and occasional Opinion writer for FoxNews.com. He can be reached here or on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.

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Libertarian ticket eyes post-convention opening and debate …

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American Eugenics Society – Controlling Heredity: The …

Posted: July 14, 2016 at 4:27 pm

The American Eugenics Society (AES) served to promote a popular education program for eugenics in the United States. Following the success of the Second International Congress of Eugenics held in New York in 1921, a Eugenics Committee of the United States was established that ultimately led to the incorporation of the AES in 1926. The AES sought to coordinate the efforts of the smaller, local eugenics groups such as the Galton Society in New York and the Race Betterment Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan. The founders of the AES included Madison Grant, Harry Laughlin, Irving Fischer, and Henry Fairfield Osborn.

The organization championed racial betterment, eugenic health, and genetic education through lectures and exhibits. A popular promotion of the Society was the Fitter Family contest, held at state fairs across the United States. These contests often required submission of a familys eugenic history, a medical examination, and an intelligence test.

In 1930, the Society consisted of 1,260 mostly prominent and wealthy members who more often than not were non-scientists. By 1960, the membership had dropped to 400 but consisted of almost exclusively professionals in science and medicine. This shift in the demographics of the membership was echoed in a shift from the Societys promotion of class-, economic-, and racial-based eugenics to genetics and medical genetics. In 1972 the AES was renamed the Society for the Study of Social Biology. The interests of the Society were spelled out in a 1972 issue of its publication, Social Biology, as being the trends of human evolution and the biological, medical, and social forces that determine these trends.

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American Eugenics Society – Controlling Heredity: The …

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The Enemy of Eugenics – Second Spring

Posted: June 30, 2016 at 3:29 am

There is increasing recognition that G. K. Chesterton was one of the greatest Christian apologists of the twentieth century. He was probably exceeded in this regard only by C. S. Lewis who was, of course, greatly influenced by the older man. Nevertheless, Chesterton, unlike Lewis, was busily engaged in political debate and public action for most of his life. It is here that his contribution has been almost forgotten, and yet a typical paradox it was in this area that his achievements were of the greatest public importance. This is true of Chesterton’s writings and campaigning for a sane economics under the banner of “Distributism,” but it is perhaps most true of his fight against eugenics. Whilst re-reading the main Chesterton biographies over the last couple of years, I was struck by the fact that all of them seem to skate over his battle against eugenics in a few lines, and this essay aims to redress the balance somewhat.

Eugenics was the belief that the human race needed to be protected from “degenerates,” the “unfit” or the “feebleminded.” Of course, this policy was most enthusiastically adopted by Nazi Germany. One of the first acts of the new Reich in 1933 was to pass a Eugenic Sterilisation Law, ordering doctors to sterilise any one suspected of suffering from hereditary diseases. “We want to prevent the poisoning of the entire bloodstream of the race” to quote Goering’s legal assistant. By 1939 some 250,000 “degenerates” had been forcibly sterilised, over half of whom were diagnosed as “feebleminded.” The Nazi regime took what it regarded as the logical next step in 1939, when it decreed euthanasia for all severely disabled or mentally ill people in German asylums. Any Jew in these asylums automatically qualified, irrespective of degree of handicap, and about 70,000 people were murdered. It can thus be said, without exaggeration, that eugenics was one policy which paved the way for the “Final Solution” of European Jewry, which itself did not start until the Wansee Conference of December, 1941.

Of course, it is easy to argue that Nazi Germany was a pariah state, to feel that such things could not “have happened here.” The whole idea of eugenics became discredited following the defeat of the Third Reich in 1945. Yet, in fact, eugenics was widely practised in the free world, and more and more evidence is coming to light which shows how prevalent it was. In August 1997, the Swedish government shamefacedly admitted the widespread eugenic sterilisation of “feeble-minded or racially inferior women.” It seems that 60,000 Swedes who were either mentally defective, or who merely regarded as lacking “Nordic” racial features, such as gypsies, were compulsorily sterilised in the period 1935-1970. Many others were locked up for years. Evidence is also appearing that this practice also occurred in many other European countries, including 15,000 mentally handicapped women forcibly sterilised in France. Most states in the United States had extensive eugenics laws, some still on the statute books as late as the 1970s.

The United Kingdom was one of the few major countries where eugenics was not effectively put into law. Yet people should not feel smug that it did not happen in Britain because it nearly did. The United Kingdom escaped eugenics laws by the skin of its teeth, as they were backed by some of the most powerful people in the land. As far as can be seen, only one public figure waged a vigorous, and ultimately successful, campaign against the proposed Mental Deficiency Bill in 1912. That man was G. K. Chesterton. The battle against eugenics is Chesterton’s great, unknown victory. To explore it properly, I have given a brief introduction to the subject, followed by an account of Chesterton’s battle against what he called the “feeble minded Bill.” An account of draconian eugenics laws in the United States, including forced sterilisation, shows what might have happened in Britain without his fight against it. Lastly, I have included some pieces from Chesterton’s 1922 book, Eugenics and Other Evils, which show, once again, what great prophetic insight he possessed.

The word “eugenics” (from the Greek for “of noble birth”) was in fact a British invention, the term being first used in 1883 by Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin. Born in 1822, Galton was one of those rich dilettante scientists who were quite common in the Victorian period. A highly neurotic individual, he dropped out of Cambridge University in 1842, but fortunately the inheritance in 1844 of a large fortune from his father prevented him from needing to work. From the 1850s onward he was dabbling in the nascent science of genetics, and in particular on the family trees of illustrious men. Thus he published a book in 1869 under the title of Hereditary Genius, which contained his eugenic ideas even if they had not yet found a name. From the beginning, they were based upon fears that lower races or social classes would outbreed the noble Anglo-Saxon upper classes who practised “restraint,” and it was therefore necessary: “to give the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable.”

Galton’s marriage was childless, and it has been noted that the more this fact became obvious, the more he aggressively lectured the Victorian middle classes on the need to propagate. Eugenics was first taken up by radicals in the United States. In 1869, John Humphrey Noyes, prompted by Galton, founded the first experimental programme of selective human breeding at his “free-love” Oneida community in upstate New York. In Britain, it was given widespread publicity by the magazine Biometrika, edited by the statistician Karl Pearson, a friend of Galton’s. Although employed as a mathematician by London University, from 1895 Pearson started giving lectures in eugenics there. In 1911, when Galton died he left his fortune to London University to endow a Professorial Chair in eugenics on condition that Pearson got the job.

There were a number of intertwined ideas in eugenic belief. Part of it was social Darwinism, the idea that Darwin’s idea of the survival of the fittest had to be applied to the human race, else false compassion would lead to the human race drowning in a sea of degenerates. Of course, for eugenists, who were overwhelmingly White, Protestant, and middle class, the fittest meant the rich, and the unfit meant the poor. Secondly, it was avowedly racist, particularly in the United States. The worry was that lesser, feckless, races, generally agreed to include Blacks, Jews, and other immigrants such as Irish Catholics, were breeding much faster than those of “Nordic” origin. Lastly, it was founded upon fears of a vast army of mentally handicapped people being born who would be a burden on the State. Much eugenics literature expanded o
n the alleged sexual licence of the poor, the mentally ill, and the lower races. At that time, sexual matters among the middle classes were regarded as too private to mention in public, and it may well be that sexual frustration lay behind part of the frequent tirades about the sex lives of the delinquent, and possibly even the fervent clamour for forced sterilisation.

Eugenics, like Galton’s own writings, was never a subject of great scientific precision. Its two main descriptive terms were often “feeble-minded,” referring to hereditary mental incapacity (not just mental illness, but anyone believed to be of low IQ), and “degenerate,” referring not just to physical disability, but also to alleged moral lapses such as alcoholism, crime, or sexual promiscuity. Indeed, in many cases the arguments were circular, as alcoholism or crime were argued to be evidence of “degeneracy” or “incapacity.” Yet on this flimsy intellectual basis two main policies were strenuously argued for: that the “feebleminded” should be compulsorily segregated away in asylums for life, in order to prevent them reproducing, and also that “degenerates,” should be forcibly sterilised for the same reason. As Chesterton pointed out in a late essay (“The Fallacy of Eugenics,” published in Avowals and Denials (London, 1934):

Eugenic ideas gained ground at the time of the Boer War (1899-1903), when it was found that many young men from slum backgrounds were unfit for military service. It was also noticed that healthy men from richer backgrounds also came from smaller families. The same fact was also observed in 1939 when it was discovered that the cause had nothing to do with hereditary factors but was simply the result of poor diet leading to the bone-deforming disease, rickets. In 1904, the Conservative government of Arthur Balfour established a Royal Commission “On the Care and Control of the Feebleminded,” which reported in 1908 to the new Liberal government. It recommended compulsory detention of the mentally inadequate, as well as sterilisation of the unfit. Up to this point mental asylums were used only for the criminally insane, judged to be a danger to themselves and others.

Eugenics became a widespread progressive cause promoted by the Fabian Society, and was closely allied with similar arguments for birth control. In 1903, H. G. Wells wrote: “the conclusion is that if we could prevent or discourage the inferior sort of people from having children, and if we could stimulate and encourage the superior sort to increase and multiply, we should raise the general standard of the race.” Dr. Saleeby, one of the most distinguished doctors of his day, advocated that people intending to marry should have “health books” proving that they had no congenital deformity. Other enthusiastic eugenists were Shaw, who put forward eugenic arguments in his play, Man and Superman, and the sex investigator Havelock Ellis. Ellis was a weird pervert worthy of his successor, Kinsey. Impotent himself, it never seems to have occurred to him whether he was a “degenerate” or “unfit.” The leaders of the radical Socialist Fabians were the husband and wife team of Beatrice and Sydney Webb. Fabian Tract No. 131, written by Sydney in 1907, states:

Yet it was not just the radical Left which promoted eugenics. One of its most vocal advocates in Britain was the Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral from 1911-1934, Dr. William Inge. Ex Officio one of the most senior members of the Church of England, he was known as the “Gloomy Dean” for his warnings about overpopulation. In an essay published in 1917 called simply Eugenics, he pointed out that all the males in his family had won scholarships at Eton, Oxford and Cambridge, but that: “Unfortunately the birth-rate of the feeble-minded is quite 50% higher than that of normal persons.” The answer was eugenics, beginning with “the compulsory segregation of mental defectives.”

Any regular reader of Chesterton’s essays will have come across the name of Dean Inge, so it may be appropriate here to explain who he was, and what he represented. Chesterton never had any enemies, but if he ever had a regular opponent, that man was Dean Inge. Inge seemed to have little interest in the traditional doctrines of Christianity, calling himself “a modern churchman.” He was however a convinced Erastian, that is, dedicated to maintaining the “established” position of the Church of England as a pillar of the British State. In a late essay called The Erastian on the Establishment (1934), Chesterton wrote: “A bitter and cynical man said, ‘The Church of England is our last bulwark against Christianity.’ This is quite unjust as a description of the Church of England. But it is not altogether unjust as a description of Dean Inge.” Inge was known as the “Gloomy Dean” for his Malthusian worries about the poor overbreeding. He also proclaimed, in thoroughly modern terms, that global competition meant that the British workers simply had to accept lower wages and poor working conditions, although somehow this never applied to the members of the Establishment itself. In “The New Theologian” (published in A Miscellany of Men, 1912) Chesterton takes him apart with wit and precision: “When next you hear the “liberal” Christian say we should take what is best in Oriental faiths, make quite sure what are the things that people like Dr. Inge call best. . . . You will find the levelling of creeds quite unexpectedly close to the lowering of wages.”

Eugenics fervour reached its peak in the United Kingdom in 1912, when the first International Eugenics Conference, with over 750 delegates, was held in London. It was addressed by the former Prime Minister Balfour, and attended by an enthusiast who had the power to make law in Great Britain the Home Secretary, Winston Churchill. He called for a “simple surgical operation (sterilisation) so the inferior could be permitted freely in the world without causing much inconvenience to others.” In 1910, on becoming Home Secretary, he had asked the civil service to investigate putting into practice the Indiana law (see below): “I am drawn to it in spite of many Party misgivings. . . . Of course it is bound to come some day.” Churchill was put off by the chief Medical Advisor of Prisons, Dr. Horatio Donkin, who wrote of the Indiana arguments for eugenics: “the outcome of an arrogation of scientific knowledge by those who had no claim to it. . . . It is a monument of ignorance and hopeless mental confusion.”

The International Conference on Eugenics led to great public pressure for Britain to adopt eugenics laws, something Churchill was only too pleased to see. As he wrote to Prime Minister Asquith: “I am convinced that the multiplication of the Feeble-Minded, which is proceeding now at an artificial rate, unchecked by any of the old restraints of nature, and actually fostered by civilised conditions,
is a terrible danger to the race.” He was wary of the cost of forced segregation, preferring compulsory sterilisation instead. In 1912, the government introduced a draft proposal, the Mental Deficiency Bill, for the compulsory detention of the feeble-minded. Hundreds of petitions arrived in Parliament urging the government on.

Opposition seemed minimal. The Catholic Social Guild commissioned a pamphlet by Father Thomas Gerrard, which roundly condemned eugenics, but the influence of the Catholic Church was small in Britain in 1912. Indeed, Dean Inge complained that eugenics was so logical it was only opposed by “irrationalist prophets like Mr. Chesterton.” Chesterton’s response was a series of lectures, public talks and essays ridiculing what he called “the Feeble-Minded Bill.” Chesterton later compiled his arguments against eugenics into a book published in 1922 Eugenics and Other Evils. It begins:

In his book, Chesterton showed that eugenics was an unholy mixture of social Darwinism, coupled with mad Nietzsche’s dream of breeding the Superman. (It is one of ironies of history that Nietzsche, his brain destroyed by the wormholes of syphilis, should have been one of the inspirations of eugenics. He would have not lasted long when Germany really began to breed the Superman.) Chesterton also argued that the real target was not the mad, for which the Lunacy Laws were quite sufficient, but the poor, and he put his finger on the key weakness of eugenics its essential vagueness:

According to Chesterton, the real target was the poor, as the clause highlighted above rather gives the game away. He marshals compelling arguments that eugenics was one more logical progression in the tools used by the State to suppress the landless poor, initially needed in the factories, and now surplus to requirements. One more step in the road of the Exclusion Acts and Game Laws which had forced the poor from the common lands which had once belonged to them, one more step in the Poor Laws and the workhouse with its treadmills and flogging.

At this time, around 1910-1914, Chesterton wrote much about how the new Liberal Government, far from making things better for the poor, was actually making them worse. The Industrial Revolution and enclosure of the common lands had reduced the ordinary people to destitution; now these new Liberal reformers punished them for their destitution. Chesterton’s great work of social criticism, What’s Wrong with the World (1910), ends with the story of urchin children whose hair was cut off at school for fear of lice a treatment which was never handed out to children of the rich, only the poor:

Those great scissors of science that would snip off the curls of the poor little school children are ceaselessly snapping closer and closer to cut off all the corners and fringes of the arts and honours of the poor. Soon they will be twisting necks to suit clean collars, and hacking feet to fit new boots.

In Eugenics and Other Evils, he mentions the case of a farm labourer’s wife sent to prison for not having running water in her rural cottage, although her children were recognised as healthy and well-looked after. The full story is given in detail in the essay The Mad Official, 1912. The book also has the bizarre story of two tramps sent to prison for sleeping in a field, who would have committed no crime if they had done so with money in their pocket. Chesterton argues that eugenics was just one more logical step in this policy of:

Chesterton’s campaign was a success, as a normally supine Parliament began to question the new law. The Independent Member of Parliament, Josiah Wedgewood stressed the threat to civil liberties. Churchill had moved on to the Admiralty, so the measure had less support in the Home Office. After much criticism, the Mental Deficiency Act was passed in July, 1913 in a severely watered-down form. The attempt to prevent the pro-creation of the unfit was abandoned. Sterilisation was not even mentioned, nor was there compulsory segregation of the mentally deficient. The only real new power was to take the illegitimate children of paupers into care. In the 1930s, new eugenics bills were submitted to Parliament, but sentiment had so turned against the idea that they did not even make the first stage of becoming law. Chesterton always kept an eye on eugenics, and was one of the first to note their introduction in Germany once Hitler had come to power. As he wrote in 1934 in “The Fallacy of Eugenics”: “It is as well to repeat our unanswered answer to the creed behind such barbarous tricks; for they are not confined to the curious commonwealth of Mr. Hitler.”

The American experience shows how rapidly the enthusiasm for eugenics could sweep a civilised country and be turned into punitive law. The United Kingdom was rare and lucky to avoid what happened in most of Europe. Eugenic sterilisation laws were passed in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Switzerland, as well as being practised in France. Chesterton’s victory was great indeed. Eugenics became fashionable in the United States about the same time as in Britain. In 1904, the biologist, Charles Davenport, persuaded the Carnegie Foundation to give him a huge grant to establish a eugenics research facility on Long Island. Eugenics in America was always racially based, probably because immigration was running at such a high level, whereas it was almost negligible in Britain at that time. Davenport exclaimed: “New blood will make the American population darker in pigmentation, smaller in stature, more mercurial . . . more given to crimes of larceny, kidnapping, assault, murder, rape, and sex-immorality.” This from a supposedly objective scientist! In 1896 Connecticut was the first State to pass explicitly eugenic marriage laws, and by 1917, twenty States had such laws on the statute book. The 1905, Indiana law was typical: marriage was generally forbidden to the mentally deficient, to those with transmittable diseases, or to habitual drunkards. Both parties to a marriage had to present a certificate of medical soundness before the marriage could take place. Indiana then went further in 1907 with the first compulsory sterilisation law. By 1917, sterilisation laws had been approved by sixteen States, most of which prescribed such treatment for habitual criminals, rapists, epileptics, and idiots. Eugenics was a “progressive” cause, and was mostly taken up by States which believed themselves to be “advanced.” California was the lead of eugenic treatments being carried out, while eugenic laws were slow to pass in the “backward” Deep South. In the 1920s a number of legal challenges were made questioning whether such punishment was not “cruel and unusual,” and hence prohibited by the United States Constitution. From 1924-1927 a legal test case, Buck vs. Bell, was fought all the way to the United States Suprem
e Court. Despite the presence on the bench of such humane jurists as William Howard Taft and Louis Brandeis, the court voted 8:1 in favour of forced sterilisation of a young Virginia girl, Carrie Buck, whose only crime had been to have an illegitimate child. Only one judge, a Roman Catholic, voted against. Buck vs Bell opened the floodgates. By 1929, twenty-four States had eugenics laws. 9,000 forced sterilisations were carried out from 1909-1927, but the pace accelerated from Buck vs Bell, so that by 1939 the total had reached 30,000, 10,000 of them in California alone. Eugenics won another victory in 1924 when the Immigration Act severely restricted new immigration into the United States. President Calvin Coolidge stated: “America must be kept American. Biological laws show . . . that Nordics deteriorate when mixed with other races.”

Eugenics was also fashionable in Canada, being aggressively pushed by Helen MacMurchy, Head of the Division of Maternal and Child Welfare in the federal Department of Health from 1920-1934. In 1912, a Dr. Godrey presented a bill to the Ontario state legislature, a bill based on that of Indiana to segregate the unfit and compulsorily sterilise these, although the bill was not passed. Again there were strong racist overtones, with concern that the dominant Anglo-Saxon Canadian type was being outbred by French Canadians and immigrants.

Eugenics and Other Evils also illustrates Chesterton’s almost uncanny ability to foresee the distant future. Perhaps I may be permitted the luxury of quoting myself:

It is becoming increasingly accepted that the relativism of the late Twentieth Century has resulted in a collapse of moral discourse; Alasdair McIntyre’s After Virtue explores this in detail. Secondly that into this void has entered a strange doctrine known as political correctness, coupled with an extension of the powers of the State into areas that were formerly felt to be none of its business. Chesterton saw this coming in 1912. As he wrote in Eugenics and Other Evils:

White Slavery was the fear that English girls were being kidnapped in order to sell them into prostitution in the East. If we move forward to the late 1990s, and substitute “child abuse” or “wife battering” for “White Slavery”, we see how emotional slogans can engender draconian laws.

In his book, Chesterton also presciently identified eugenics with the German cult of the Superman. It had fallen out of fashion after 1914 because it was identified with Germany: “England went to war with the Superman in his native home. She went to war with that very land of scientific culture from which the very ideal of a Superman had come.” The German attempt to build a Nietzschean warrior-state had fallen in 1918, and with its fall eugenics in England became somewhat discredited. However Chesterton did fear that this project might revive in its German homeland:

In 1922 Hitler was an unknown agitator in the beer-halls of Munich, with no chance yet of putting the eugenic manifesto fully into practice.

RUSSELL SPARKES is the Editor of Prophet of Orthodoxy, a compilation of Chesterton’s religious writings, with a critical introduction, published by Harper Collins, and Chief Consultant on the Sane Economy Project of the Chesterton Institute. The present article was published in The Chesterton Review for February-May 1999.

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The Enemy of Eugenics – Second Spring

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Eugenics | Define Eugenics at Dictionary.com

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Historical Examples

eugenics is based to a very large extent upon the principles underlying sex hygiene.

I try so hard not to be afraid of men, for I know they are necessary to eugenics.

eugenics is the science of reproducing better humans by applying the established laws of genetics or heredity.

It is a sin of our race that the eugenics Office should have bred out–but they have failed.

eugenics deals with the even more vital subject of improving the inherent type and capacities of the individuals of the future.

It has been said that eugenics is futile because it cannot define its end.

British Dictionary definitions for eugenics Expand

(functioning as sing) the study of methods of improving the quality of the human race, esp by selective breeding

Derived Forms

eugenic, adjectiveeugenically, adverbeugenicist, nouneugenist (judnst) noun, adjective

Word Origin

C19: from Greek eugens well-born, from eu- + -gens born; see -gen

Word Origin and History for eugenics Expand

1883, coined (along with adjective eugenic) by English scientist Francis Galton (1822-1911) on analogy of ethics, physics, etc. from Greek eugenes “well-born, of good stock, of noble race,” from eu- “good” (see eu-) + genos “birth” (see genus).

eugenics in Medicine Expand

eugenics eugenics (y-jn’ks) n. The study of hereditary improvement of the human race by controlled selective breeding.

eugenics in Culture Expand

The idea that one can improve the human race by careful selection of those who mate and produce offspring.

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