Tag Archives: science-

Alternative Medicine Career Information and Education …

Posted: January 11, 2017 at 1:56 pm

A student seeking to begin an alternative medicine career may attend a college, university or specialty school that offers certificate and degree programs in this field. There are a number of certificate programs available in alternative medicine specialties, such as holistic health, massage therapy, herbal medicine, yoga instruction and oriental body therapy. Anatomy and physiology courses are common to many types of alternative medicine programs; other coursework varies.

Students can prepare for an alternative medicine career as an herbalist, for example, in a Bachelor of Science program that provides courses in science and herbal science. Some Master of Science programs combine studies of traditional Western medicine and non-traditional Eastern medicine in preparing one for a career in holistic medicine. Areas of study in an alternative medicine doctoral program include acupuncture, oriental medicine and homeopathy. Students in a doctoral program, such as a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (N.D. or NMD) program, gain the opportunity to improve their holistic skills and assist patients in private practices.

Depending on an individual’s area of practice, state licensure in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) may be necessary. As of August 2016, the Doctor of Naturopathy (N.D.) and the Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (NMD) were recognized in 16 states and four U.S. territories; naturopathic doctors in these regions must pass the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examination Board exam (NPLEX) after completing their education. Most states require acupuncturists to earn a license by passing the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine exam. Other areas, like reflexology and iridology, are not approved, recognized or regulated by any state.

Alternative medicine is still emerging in the medical field. Depending on the state, a doctorate in naturopathy may be recognized as a valid doctoral degree, while in others, a doctorate in a different medical field can help the aspiring alternative medicine practitioner. Specialized training is needed no matter what field one is entering into. Licenses, certifications, or associate’s degrees are examples of the kinds of programs available.

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Alternative Medicine Career Information and Education …

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Empowerment Theory – Springer

Posted: January 8, 2017 at 7:56 pm

Alinsky, S. (1971). Rules for radicals NY: Vintage

Barker, R. G. (1960). Ecology and motivation. Nebraska Symposium on Motivation,8, 144

Berger, P. J., & Neuhaus, R. J. (1977). To empower people: The role of mediating structures in public policy. Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research

Brown, L. D. (1983). Organizing participatory research: Interfaces for joint inquiry and organizational change. Journal of Occupational Behavior, 4, 919

Checkoway, B. (1982). The empire strikes back: More lessons for health care consumers. Journal of Health Politics, Policy,and Law, 7, 111124

Checkoway, B., & Doyle, M. (1980). Community organizing lessons for health care consumers. Journal of Health Politics, Policy,and Law, 5,213226

Conger, J. A., & Kanungo, R. N. (1988). The empowerment process: Integrating theory and practice. Academy of Management Review, 13,471481

Cornell Empowerment Group. (1989). Empowerment and family support. Networking Bulletin, 1,123

Cottrell, L. S., Jr. (1983). The competent community. In R. Warren & L. Lyon (Eds.), New perspectives on the American community (pp. 398432). Homewood, IL: Dorsey

Craig, S. C., & Maggiotto, M. (1982). Measuring political efficacy. Political Methodology, 8, 85109

Cravens, R. B. (1981). Grassroots participation in community mental health. In W. Silverman (Ed.), Community mental health New York: Praeger

De Charms, R. (1968). Personal causation New York: Academic

Dougherty, D. (1988). Participation in community organizations: Effects on political efficacy, personal efficacy, and self-esteem Doctoral Dissertation, Boston University, Boston, MA

Fish, J. (1973). Black power/white control: The struggle of the Woodlawn Organization in Chicago Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press

Galaskiewicz, J. (1979). Exchange networks and community politics Beverly Hills, CA: Sage

Gallant, R. V., Cohen, C., & Wolff, T. (1985). Change of older persons image, impact on public policy result from Highland Valley Empowerment Plan. Perspective on Aging, 14, 913

Gatchel, R. (1980). Perceived control: A review and evaluation of therapeutic application. In A. Baum & J. Singer (Eds.), Advances in environmental psychology (pp. 122). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum

Glass, D. C., & Singer, J. E. (1972). Urban stress: Experiments on noise and social stressors. New York: Academic

Heil, W. B. (1991, August). Re-reviewing participation in decision-making: Toward a multidimensional model Paper presented at the Ninety-Ninth Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, San Francisco, CA

Kieffer, C. H. (1984). Citizen empowerment: A developmental perspective. Prevention in Human Services, 3, 936. Labs, S. M., & Wurtele, S. K. (1986). Fetal health locus of control scale: Development and validation. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology,54, 814819

Langer, E. J. (1983). The Psychology of Control. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage

Lefcourt, H. (1976). Locus of control: Current trends in theory and research Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum

Levine, A. G. (1982). Love Canal: Science, politics, and people Lexington, MA: Lexington Books

Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1986). But is that rigorous?: Trustworthiness and authenticity in naturalistic evaluation. In D. D. Williams (Ed.), Naturalistic evaluation: New directions for program evaluation (pp. 7384). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Maynard, J. (1986, May 11). The people of New Hampshire against the nuclear dump. New York Times Magazine, pp. 2022, 2425, 40

Mechanic, D. (1991, February). Adolescents at risk: New directions Paper presented at the Seventh Annual Conference on Health Policy, Cornell University Medical College

Minkler, M. (1990). Improving health through community organization. In K. Glanz, F. M. Lewis, & B. K. Rimer (Eds.), Health behavior and health education: Theory,research, and practice (pp. 257287). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Morrissey, J. P., Tausig, M., & Lindsey, M. L. (1986). Interorganizational networks in mental health systems: Assessing community support programs for the chronically mentally ill. In W. R. Scott & B. L. Black (Eds.), The organization of mental health services (pp. 197230). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage

Pivan, F. F., & Cloward, R. A. (1977). Poor peoples movements: Why they succeed, how they fail New York: Vintage Books

Rappaport, J. (1985). The power of empowerment language. Social Policy, 16, 1521

Rotter, J. B. (1966). Generalized experiences for internal versus external control of reinforcement. Psychological Monographs,80, 10141053

Stone, R. A., & Levine, A. G. (1985). Reactions to collective stress: Correlates of active citizen participation. Prevention in Human Services,4, 153177

Sue, S., & Zane, N. (1980). Learned helplessness theory and community psychology. In M. S. Gibbs, J. R. Lachenmeyer, & J. Sigal (Eds.), Community psychology: Theoretical and empirical approaches (pp. 121143). New York: Gardner

White, D. M. (1981). Mediacracy: Mass media and psychopathology. In J.M. Joffe & G. W. Albee (Eds.), Prevention through political action and social change. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England

Zimmerman, M. A. (1986). Citizen participation, perceived control, and psychological empowerment Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Zimmerman, M. A. Israel, B. I., Schulz, A., & Checkoway, B. (1992). Further explorations in empowerment theory: An empirical analysis of psychological empowerment. American Journal of Community Psychology, 20,707728

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Empowerment Theory – Springer

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Human Longevity, Inc. Hires Cynthia Collins, Healthcare …

Posted: January 6, 2017 at 10:44 pm

“We are extremely pleased to have Cindy join HLI as our new CEO. Her wide-ranging experience in leading and growing commercial operations for privately-held and publicly-traded life science businesses, will be invaluable to HLI,” said Dr. Venter. “2017 will be a key year for HLI with the launch and expansion of many of our products including oncology, whole genome, HLI Knowledgebase, HLI Search, and the HLI Health Nucleus. Cindy’s combination of innovative business leadership, coupled with commercialization and operations acumen in a variety of life science arenas, is the perfect skill set to bring our vision of high quality, genomic-powered products to the global marketplace.”

Collins said, “HLI represents a tremendous opportunity to change healthcare and improve patient outcomes. I cannot imagine a more perfect union of my combined experience in diagnostics, therapeutics, and life sciences and in leading organizations through multiple phases of their life cycles to create value. I believe my capabilities and experience, combined with Dr. Venter’s scientific success and vision, are highly complementary and will create a solid foundation for HLI’s future.”

Collins comes to HLI most recently from GE Healthcare where she was the CEO/ General Manager for the Cell Therapy and Purification and Analysis Businesses. Prior to that she was CEO of GE’s Clarient Diagnostics, Inc., an in vitro diagnostics business. In her three years with GE, she restructured and refocused teams and investments for multiple strategic businesses and oversaw several strategic investments in Cell Therapy, which is a strategic growth play for GE.

Prior to joining GE, Collins was recruited by the board of directors of Genvec Inc. to be president and CEO. This publicly-traded biopharmaceutical company develops therapeutics and vaccines using adenovector technologies. Under Collins’ tenure the company was able to get the first gene therapy product into clinical trial, advanced four major vaccine products for partnering and received the first approval in the US for a vaccine for Foot and Mouth Disease in cattle.

Prior to Genvec, Collins was the Group Vice President of the Cellular Analysis Business Group, a $1 billion business of Beckman Coulter, comprising 3 business units; Hematology, Flow Cytometry, and Hemostasis. Collins was recruited in to regain its market leadership positions in these businesses. In her 4 years there, prior to the acquisition of Beckman Coulter by Danaher, she was successful in growing these businesses and rebuilding the leadership team.

Collins was the President and CEO of Sequoia Pharmaceuticals, Inc. post Series B Financing. While there she recruited, and led the senior management team, developed the overall strategic plan, developed and met product development milestones and created innovative financing strategies which led to a successful Series C Financing. Under her tenure, the company succeeded in getting two new drugs through the IND process and in to clinical trials.

Before Sequoia, Collins was President of Clinical Microsensors, Inc. (now Genmark), which was a wholly owned subsidiary of Motorola, where she directed the development and commercialization of molecular diagnostics, microarray products. While there the company completed several clinical trials, and received FDA approval their Cystic Fibrosis assay and instrument platform.

Collins also has deep experience in running large business units in multinational corporations. She spent 17 years at Baxter Healthcare Corporation having arrived there from a start-up, Pandex Laboratories, which was acquired by Baxter. Her tenure at Baxter included Vice President and General Manager level positions for the Gene and Cell Therapy, Transfusion Therapies and BioScience divisions. Her career there culminated in being named President of the Oncology business, a global pharmaceutic business she built and led which had $150 million in sales, 900 employees in more than 100 countries, and a $25 million research and development budget.

Prior to Baxter Healthcare, Collins spent six years at Abbott Laboratories in a variety of operational positions.

Collins received her MBA from The University of Chicago, Booth School of Business and a Bachelor’s of Science in Microbiology from the University of Illinois.

About Human Longevity, Inc.Human Longevity, Inc. (HLI) is the genomics-based, heath intelligence company creating the world’s largest and most comprehensive database of whole genome, phenotype and clinical data. HLI is developing and applying large scale computing and machine learning to make novel discoveries to revolutionize the practice of medicine. HLI’s business also includes the HLI Health Nucleus, a genomic powered clinical research center which uses whole genome sequence analysis, advanced clinical imaging and innovative machine learning, along with curated personal health information, to deliver the most complete picture of individual health. For more information, please visit http://www.humanlongevity.com or http://www.healthnucleus.com.

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/human-longevity-inc-hires-cynthia-collins-healthcare-industry-leader-as-new-chief-executive-officer-300385584.html

SOURCE Human Longevity, Inc.

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Human Longevity, Inc. Hires Cynthia Collins, Healthcare …

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Mythology of Stargate – Wikipedia

Posted: January 5, 2017 at 11:10 am

In the fictional universe of the Stargate franchise, the people of Earth have encountered numerous extraterrestrial races on their travels through the Stargate. In addition to a diversity of alien life, there is also an abundance of other humans, scattered across the cosmos by advanced aliens in the distant past. Some of the most significant species in Stargate SG-1 are the Goa’uld, the Asgard, and the Replicators. Stargate Atlantis, set in the Pegasus galaxy, introduced the Wraith and the Asurans. One of the most influential species in Stargate, the Ancients, have moved on to a higher plane of existence. For practical reasons of television productions, almost all of the alien and human cultures in the Stargate’s fictional universe speak native English. Because of the time constraints of an hour-long episode, it would become a major hindrance to the story each week if the team had to spend a sizeable part of each episode learning to communicate with a new species.[1]

Stargate SG-1 explains the human population in the Milky Way galaxy by revealing that the alien Goa’uld transplanted humans from Earth to other planets for slave labor. Many of these populations were subsequently abandoned, often when deposits of the precious fictional mineral naqahdah were exhausted, and developed into their own unique societies.[2] Some of these extraterrestrial human civilizations have become much more technologically advanced than Earth, the in-show rationale being that they never suffered the setback of the Dark Ages. The most advanced of these humans were the Tollan, although they were destroyed by the Goa’uld in Season 5’s Between Two Fires.[3] The human populations of the Pegasus galaxy are the product of Ancient seeding.[4] few human races in Pegasus are technologically advanced, as the Wraith destroy any civilization that could potentially pose a threat.[5] There are also large numbers of humans in the Ori galaxy, where they empower the Ori through worship.[6]

Stargate SG-1 takes place mostly in the Milky Way galaxy. Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner tried to stay true to the feature film, but also wanted Stargate SG-1 to be unique in its own way.[7]Stargate SG-1 gradually evolved away from the basic premise of the film and developed its own unique mythological superstructure.[8]Stargate SG-1 elaborated on the film’s Egyptian hybrid mythology and mixed in other historical mythologies, coming up with a mythological superstructure that explains the existence of all of the other mythologies in the overarching Stargate narrative.[9] The series expands upon Egyptian mythology (notably the Egyptian gods Apep/Apophis, and Anubis as Goa’uld villains), Norse mythology (notably the god Thor as an Asgard ally), Arthurian legend (notably Merlin as an Ancient ally), and many other mythologies like Greek and Roman mythology. SG-1 does not introduce new alien races as often as some other science fiction television series.[10] Most civilizations that the Goa’uld had transplanted maintain much of their original Earth culture, and Stargate SG-1 does not equate civilization with technology like many other sci-fi shows do.[11] Newly encountered races or visited planets are integrated into the mythology, although plotlines of individual episodes are often new, self-standing and accessible for new audiences, giving a compelling internal coherence.[12]

Stargate Atlantis is set in the Pegasus Galaxy and explores the adventures of an “elite expedition” from Earth. The gate address to the legendary city Atlantis is discovered on Earth by Daniel Jackson at the end of 7th season/start of the 8th season of Stargate SG-1. The Earth expedition has a multi-nation civilian leadership and a predominantly United States military faction providing security. The intent of establishing a diplomatic mission with inhabitants of the galaxy and a permanent human base in the city of Atlantis for scientific and military research and exploration are driving goals for the humans.[13]

Stargate Universe was conceived as “a completely separate, third entity” in the live-action Stargate franchise.[14] Although it is firmly entrenched in pre-established Stargate mythology, Stargate Universe has diverged in a new direction.[15] Like the first two series in the franchise, Stargate Universe takes place during the present time, not in the distant future.[14]

The show is set on the Ancient ship Destiny. Destiny was part of an Ancient experiment to seed the universe with Stargates millions of years ago but which was lost because of the Ancients’ ascension. Ships were sent ahead of the Destiny to seed the universe with Stargates. The Destiny itself was intended to follow a pre-programmed course to explore these galaxies; the Destiny was left unmanned at the time of the Ancients’ ascension. To reach this ship, an address would have to be dialled consisting of nine chevrons. The destination of this ninth chevron was previously unknown.[16] The series starts when a team of soldiers and scientists from Earth step through the Stargate to find the Destiny[17] after their base is attacked; unable to return to Earth, they must fend for themselves aboard the ship as it takes them to the far reaches of the universe.[18][19][20] The show was more serialized than its predecessors.[21]

The show is more relationship-based and more arc-driven[22] and will involve more space-based action than SG-1 or Atlantis.[18] “Survival and sacrifice” were the two main themes that were discussed at the preliminary script stages of the show,[23] and the first episode deals with a failing life support system.[24]Stargate Universe will be “a lot darker” than the previous Stargate series,[25] although humor will remain part of the franchise.[26] The show focuses mostly on the people aboard the ship instead of planet-based exploration,[22] and in Brad Wright’s words will be “hopefully exploring the truly alien, and avoiding the rubber faced English-speaking one”.[26] Despite the focus on survival, the show “will also focus on exploration and adventure and, by extension, the occasional alien encounter as well”.[27] A single dominant villain race like on SG-1 and Atlantis are not featured.[26]

A Stargate is a fictional device that allows practical, rapid travel between two distant locations. The first Stargate appears in the 1994 film Stargate, and subsequently carries over to Stargate SG-1 and its spin-offs. In these productions the Stargate functions as a plot generator, allowing the main characters to visit alien planets without the need for spaceships or any other fictional technology.

Within the Stargate fictional universe, Stargates are large metal rings with nine “chevrons” spaced equally around their circumference. Pairs of Stargates function by generating an artificial stable wormhole between them, allowing one-way travel through. The symbols on the inner ring of the Stargate correspond to constellations and serve to map out coordinates for various destination planets.[2][28] A typical Stargate measures 6.7m (22ft) in diameter, weighs 29,000kg (64,000lb),[29] and is made of the fictional heavy mineral “naqahdah”.[2] The Stargates were created millions of years ago by an alien race known as the Ancients;[30] their modern history begins when Egyptologist Daniel Jackson deciphers their workings in the Stargate film.[28]

The Stargate device sets apart SG-1 from other science fiction shows by allowing modern-day people to travel to other planets in an instant,[31] although scholar Dave Hipple argued that SG-1 “also deploys [science fiction] stereotypes both to acknowledge forebears and to position itself as a deserving heir”.[32] With the help of the central Stargate device, the premise of Stargate SG-1 combines ancient cultures, present-day political and social concerns, aliens and advanced technologies.[8] Near-instantaneous interplanetary travel allows a fundamental difference in plot structure and set design from other series. There is a disjunction between politics on Earth and the realities of fighting an interstellar war.[33] The Stargate also helps to speed up the exposition of the setting.[12]

The Ancients are the original builders of the Stargate network. At the time of their introduction in SG-1’s “Maternal Instinct” (season 3), they have long Ascended beyond corporeal form into a higher plane of existence. The humans of Earth are the “second evolution” of the Ancients. The Ancients (originally known as the Alterans) colonized the Milky Way galaxy millions of years ago and built a great empire. They also colonized the Pegasus galaxy and seeded human life there, before being driven out by the Wraith. The civilization of the Ancients in the Milky Way was decimated thousands of years ago by a plague, and those who did not learn to ascend died out. With few exceptions, the ascended Ancients respect free will and refuse to interfere in the affairs of the material galaxy. However, their legacy is felt profoundly throughout the Stargate universe, from their technologies (such as Stargates and Atlantis, to the Ancient Technology Activation gene, that they introduced into the human genome through interbreeding) as well as many of the antagonists in the series, having resulted from failures or negligence on the part of the Ancients.

The Ancients were a small percentage of the Alteran Population, the remainder focused more on religious pursuits than scientific ones. Upon ascending to their higher plane of existence, they discovered ways of gaining strength by convincing material humans to abandon their wills to the ascendants’ desires. The Ori created the religion of Origin to gain power from the humans who practiced their religion. Priors, missionaries of the Origin religion, attempted to forcefully introduce their belief system to the Milky Way Galaxy. Their ways of conversion brought forth indiscriminate intimidation, terror and consequences. The people of Earth fought vehemently against this oppressive force and encouraged the people of the Milky Way Galaxy to defend their cultures and beliefs. The ascended Ancients did not become involved in the struggle and thereby allow the humans from Earth to maintain their role as heroic defenders.[10]

Aschen[34] are a technologically advanced (much more so than humans) race, from a world designated P4C-970. Aschen are a rather unemotional people (described as a “race of accountants”), and can’t tolerate loud noises which humans normally can. Typically, the Aschen will approach a prospective world, invite them into the Aschen Confederation, and provide that world with advanced medicines and technology; however, the Aschen then secretly target that world with a variety of covert means (including biological weapons), intended to severely reduce that planet’s population and thus create a new farming world to use for the Aschen’s benefit. In the Episode 2001[35] it is mentioned that the Volian homeworld was such a target; the Volians were formerly a prosperous technological civilization but reduced to little more than a few scattered farming communities. The Aschen also have the ability to turn a Jovian-type planet into a second sun to increase crop yields, and also possess a form of teleportation.

A benevolent race that, according to the mythology of Stargate, gave rise to Norse mythology on Earth and inspired accounts of the Roswell Greys. The Asgard can no longer reproduce and therefore perpetuate themselves by transferring their minds into new clone bodies as necessary. Extremely advanced technologically, the threat of their intervention shields many planets in the Milky Way from Goa’uld attack, including Earth.[36] They also provide much assistance to Earth in the way of technology, equipment, and expertise. Their main adversary in Stargate SG-1 are the mechanical Replicators, against which they enlist the aid of SG-1 on several occasions. The entire Asgard civilization chooses to self-destruct in “Unending”, due to the degenerative effects of repeated cloning. A small rogue colony of Asgard, known as the Vanir, still exist in the Pegasus galaxy. They were able to slow cloning’s diminishing returns by experimenting on humans.

Artificial life-forms composed of nanites, introduced in season 3 of Stargate Atlantis. They are similar to the human-form Replicators of Stargate SG-1 and so are called that in the show. The Asurans were created by the Ancients to combat the Wraith but were ultimately abandoned for being too dangerous. Extremely aggressive, the nanites thrived and built an advanced civilization. In season 4, Rodney McKay activates the Asurans’ attack code, causing them to attack the Wraith, but this eventually comes to threaten all the inhabitants of Pegasus as the Asurans decide the best strategy is to starve the Wraith by eliminating all human life in the galaxy.

A’t’trr: Microscopic aliens that feed on energy.

Crystalline species: Beings that can travel through electrical conductors and can enter the minds of humans through touch.

The Berzerker drones are a robotic war system with attack drones and motherships to control them. They appear to attack and destroy all not-self spacecraft. The Destiny crew speculate that their parent civilization is long dead, and that they just carry out their mission to destroy all non-native technology, destroying other races along the way.[37]

These bugs give the illusion of sand floating around. They can consume large volumes of water at a rapid rate considering they are such small entities. They seem to be intelligent creatures and are passive and helpful unless provoked, in which case they can be extremely lethal. They fly around in “swarms” and will attack together. They were the first species to be encountered in the Destiny expedition, though they were initially dismissed as a hallucination suffered by Matthew Scott. The creatures appeared to develop a rapport with Scott and aided him in his quest for Lime after he offered them water as a test of their sentience. The creatures also revived him on their home world when he collapsed due to the heat, through burrowing into the ground to release some water to wake him.

Energy beings

The Furlings are revealed as one of the alliance of four great races in “The Fifth Race”, but virtually nothing else has been revealed about them in the series. In “Paradise Lost”, Harry Maybourne leads SG-1 to a Furling teleportation arch that leads to an intended Utopian colony. Furling skeletons were originally planned to be featured in the episode, but the production of such proved to be too expensive.[38]Jack O’Neill concludes that the Furlings must be cute and cuddly creatures, based solely on their name. In “Citizen Joe”, another character equates the Furlings to Ewoks based on their name.

The length of time that the Furling nature has remained a mystery in the series has given the producers the opportunity to tease fans with a running gag. When Executive Producer Robert C. Cooper was asked “Will we ever meet the Furlings?”, his answer was “Who says we haven’t?”.[39] The writers later went on to state that although we have seen Furling technology and the Furling legacy, no actual Furling has ever appeared on the show. Joseph Mallozzi claimed that more about the Furlings would finally be revealed in Stargate SG-1’s tenth season.[40] In a Sci Fi Channel advertisement for the 200th episode, Cooper stated that “We’re finally going to get to see the Furlings.” What was actually shown was an imagined scene from a script for a movie based on the fictional television series “Wormhole X-Treme!”, a parody of Stargate SG-1 set in the Stargate SG-1 universe. The Furlings were depicted as Ewok-like, or Koala-like creatures that are destroyed by the Goa’uld soon after making contact with SG-1.

Gadmeer The society of the Gadmeer was a peaceful and technologically advanced one that lasted for over 10,000 years. Over a thousand years ago they were defeated by a superior power due to a lack of military technology and tactics, and thus their race apparently died out. To prevent their culture from vanishing they built a giant vessel which stored all their knowledge, including arts, mathematics and even the DNA samples of thousands of the plants and animals of their homeworld. [41]

The Goa’uld are the dominant race in the Milky Way and the primary adversaries from seasons 1 to 8 of Stargate SG-1. They are a parasitic species that resemble finned snakes, which can burrow themselves into a humanoid’s neck and wrap around the spinal column. The Goa’uld symbiote then takes control of its host’s body and mind, while providing longevity and perfect health. Thousands of years ago, the Goa’uld ruled over Earth, masquerading as gods from ancient mythologies. They transplanted humans throughout the galaxy to serve as slaves and hosts, and they created the Jaffa to serve as incubators for their larvae. The most powerful Goa’uld in the galaxy are collectively known as the System Lords.

The Goa’uld are the first and most prominent alien race encountered by the SGC, and also one of the few nonhumanoid species to appear in the early seasons of the series. The Goa’uld are branded as evil by their pretending to be gods and forcing people to submit to their quasireligious pronouncements.[10]

The humans of Earth play a central role in the story and mythology of the Stargate fictional universe. According to the Stargate film and Stargate SG-1, the parasitic Goa’uld ruled Earth thousands of years ago, posing as gods of ancient Earth mythologies, and transplanted Earth humans throughout the galaxy via the Stargate. Thus, the Goa’uld and their Jaffa servants know the humans of Earth as the “Tau’ri” ( or ), which means “the first ones” or “those of the first world” in their fictional language.[2] Earth is also known as “Midgard” by offworld humans protected by the Asgard, who masquerade as Norse gods.[42][43]Stargate SG-1 further extended the backstory of Earth humans by introducing the Ancients, an advanced race of humans from another galaxy. The Ancients regard the humans of Earth as their “second evolution”,[44] and some of their number merged with primitive human populations 10,000 years ago after they returned to Earth from Atlantis.[4]

Five thousand years ago, the people of Earth rose up against their Goa’uld oppressors, and buried their Stargate.[28] The modern history of Earth and the Stargate begins when it is unearthed in Egypt in 1928. The device is brought to the United States in 1939 to keep it out of Nazi hands and eventually installed in a facility in Creek Mountain, Colorado (Cheyenne Mountain in Stargate SG-1).[28] In the events of the Stargate film, Dr. Daniel Jackson deciphers the workings of the Stargate and a team is sent through to the planet on the other side. In “Children of the Gods”, taking place a year after the film, Stargate Command is established in response to an attack by the Goa’uld Apophis, and given the mandate to explore other worlds and obtain technologies that can be used to defend Earth. In the Stargate SG-1 spin-off Stargate Atlantis, the people of Earth establish a presence in the Pegasus galaxy. The ancients who occupied Atlantis in the Pegasus galaxy are often referred to as the “Atlanteans” (or simply “Lanteans”), after their occupation of Atlantis.

The writers had to strike a balance in the interaction between the explorers from Earth and advanced races (of which there were only few in the story) so that alliances could be developed where the advanced races do not give Earth all their technology and knowledge.[45]Stargate SG-1 emphasized its present-day-Earth story frame by frequently referencing popular culture, like The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer had done before.[32] According to one critic in 1997, Stargate SG-1 was designed to have no nationality, which might appeal to viewers all over the world.[46] The final episodes of season 7 (2004) brought a more global approach to the scenario when the Stargate Program was revealed to over a dozen nations, which further helped the international appeal of Stargate SG-1.[47]

A new race created by the Wraith Michael, first seen in “Vengeance”. After being outcast by his own kind, Michael sought to combine iratus bug and human DNA to create new followers with the strengths of the Wraith but not their weaknesses. He destroys the Taranians, amongst others, as test subjects for his experiments. The first Hybrids are bestial in appearance, with carapaces and claws. The two-part episode “The Kindred” reveals that Michael has created more “refined” Hybrids using the abducted Athosian population. These Hybrids resemble the Wraith, but do not need to feed on humans. In “Search and Rescue”, many of the Hybrids are killed by the destruction of Michael’s cruiser, and the rest are captured by the Atlantis Expedition. They are transformed back into their original selves using Beckett’s retrovirus. They are interred in a camp on the mainland by the IOA,[48] before being allowed to return to their people.[49] In the episode “Whispers”, an Atlantis team discovers one of Michael’s labs, containing earlier versions of his Hybrids that incorporate DNA from several other organisms in addition to the iratus bug. These vicious creatures are blind and hunt by sound, and can extrude a fog from gill slits on their necks that interferes with electronics.

The Jaffa (usually pronounced jah’FAH) are modified humans genetically engineered by the Goa’uld in antiquity to serve as soldiers and as incubators for their young. Their story is primarily told through Teal’c. The main difference between a Jaffa and a normal human is an abdominal pouch accessible from the outside by a X-shaped slit.[2] The pouch serves as an incubator for a larval Goa’uld. Implanted during a “coming of age” rite known as a prim’tah, the pouch improves the Goa’uld’s ability to successfully take a host upon maturation from 50% to nearly 100%. The Goa’uld have a device capable of quickly transforming humans into Jaffa.[50] The larval symbiote grants the Jaffa enhanced strength, health, healing, and longevity (more than 150 years). However, the presence of the symbiote also replaces the Jaffa’s immune system, and if removed the Jaffa will die a slow and painful death that can only be avoided by either acquiring a new symbiote or by lifelong regular injections of the drug tretonin which replaces the Goa’uld functions in the Jaffa body.[51] The Jaffa equivalent of puberty is the Age of Prata, at which time a prim’tah must be performed.[52] Jaffa do not require sleep, but must engage in a form of meditation called kel’no’reem to synchronize with their symbiote.[53] It is possible for a Jaffa to communicate with his/her symbiote through a dangerously deep state of kel’no’reem.[54]

Jaffa who are in service of a Goa’uld bear a black tattoo of their master’s insignia on their foreheads. The highest-ranking Jaffa in the service of a Goa’uld is known as the First Prime and bears a raised gold insignia, made by baring the bone with a special knife and filling the wound with molten gold; Teal’c describes it as a painful process. Other high-ranking Jaffa may bear similar silver marks. The elite guard of powerful Goa’uld sometimes wear helmets shaped like that Goa’uld’s symbolic animal; the helmets are made from articulated metal plates that can fold to reveal the face, and are intended to intimidate the Goa’uld’s enslaved human populations. Helmeted Jaffa seen or mentioned in the series include the Horus Guards (falcon-headed, serving Ra and Heru-ur),[28][55] Serpent Guards (cobra-headed, serving Apophis),[2] and the Setesh Guards (Set animal-headed, serving Seth).[56] A jackal-headed (Anubis) guard also appears in service of Ra in the Stargate movie.

SG-1 encounters three notable Jaffa factions. The Hak’tyl (“liberation”), introduced in “Birthright”, are a group of female Jaffa warriors founded by Ishta, High Priestess of the Goa’uld Moloc. When Moloc ordered that all female children born to his Jaffa be sacrificed, Ishta began secretly saving them on the planet Hak’tyl. The SGC assassinates Moloc in “Sacrifices”. The Hak’tyl are a significant power in the Free Jaffa Nation, and are represented by Ka’lel on the High Council.[57] The Sodan are introduced in “Babylon” as a legendary group of Jaffa who, over 5,000 years ago, realized that the Goa’uld were not gods and rebelled against their Goa’uld master Ishkur. The Sodan worship the Ancients and seek Ascension as their ultimate goal. They do not have tattoos on their foreheads specifying allegiance to any System Lord. They are massacred by one of their own who had been infected by a Prior in “Arthur’s Mantle”. The third Jaffa faction are the Illac Renin (“Kingdom of the Path”), who follow Origin in the belief that the Ori will Ascend them upon death. Their leader, Arkad, is killed by Teal’c in “Talion”.

Also called Anubis drones or Supersoldiers, the Kull Warriors are creatures created by the Goa’uld Anubis as a personal army to replace his Jaffa as foot soldiers. They consist of a genetically engineered humanoid form given life using Ancient healing technology, and implanted with a mentally “blank” Goa’uld symbiote to make it subservient. This results in a creature that is utterly obedient to its master.[58] A Kull Warrior possesses much greater strength and stamina than a human and are relentless and single-mindedly focused on their goal; they will ignore any enemies that stay out of their way.[58] The Kull Warrior is bonded to armour that is impervious to almost all firearms, energy weapons, and explosives. Stargate Command and the Tok’ra eventually find a way to counteract the Kull Warriors’ life-sustaining energy.

One of the alliance of four great races, the Nox are a fairy-like people encountered by SG-1 on P3X-774 in “The Nox”. They want nothing to do with humanity, viewing them as “young” and having “much to learn”. The Nox can live to be hundreds of years old and have a great desire for wisdom and understanding. They are extreme pacifists and never employ violence for any reason, even to defend themselves. As they have the ability to render themselves and other objects invisible and intangible, as well as the ability to resurrect the dead, they never need to fight. They also have the ability to activate a Stargate wormhole without the use of a DHD. Although they outwardly seem to be primitive forest-dwellers, they possess advanced technology beyond that of the Goa’uld, including a floating city.[59] The Nox also appear in “Enigma” and “Pretense”.

Not much is known of this species, but they seem to be a highly advanced race who are eager to obtain Destiny’s secrets. They have attacked Destiny with the intention of boarding it on numerous occasions. They kidnapped Rush and Chloe in an attempt to gain key knowledge of destiny. During their captivity a locator beacon was implanted in Rush’s body which enabled the aliens to track Destiny.

An ancient amphibious species which appear in the Season 1 episode “Fire and Water”.

A major threat in the cosmos, the Ori are Ascended beings who use their advanced knowledge of the universe to force lesser beings to worship them. In essence, they used to be Ancients, however they split into separate groups due to different views of life. The Ori are religious while the Ancients prefer science. The Ori sway lesser-developed planets into worshiping them by promising Ascension through an invented and empty religion called “Origin”. This religion states that they created humanity and as such are to be worshiped by their creations. It also promises its followers that, on death, they will Ascend. However, Origin was designed to channel energy from the human worshipers to the Ori. As such, the Ori never help anyone else Ascend because then they would have to share the power that they sap from their worshipers. Their ultimate goal is to completely destroy the Ascended Ancients, who they know as “the Others”. All of their efforts, including their technology, are for the purpose of garnering worshipers.

As Ascended beings, the Ori do not interfere directly in the mortal plane. They use instead humans called Priors, which they artificially evolve so that they are one step from Ascension, giving the Priors godlike powers. Because the Ori have worshipers across the entire home galaxy of the Ancients, and use their knowledge to spread, they are nearly unstoppable. For example: Ori warships, built using conventional means while operated through the supernatural abilities of the Priors, are generally considered to be the most powerful vessels in the Stargate universe.

The Ori might be regarded as a shadow form of the Goa’uld, with the significant difference that the Ori promise transcension to their followers but never provide it.[10] The moral balance between the Ancients and the Ori clearly echoes that of the Goa’uld and the Tok’ra.

Reol The Reol are a race of humanoid aliens, supposedly from the Milky Way. They are a peaceful race who were almost wiped out by the Goa’uld. They were forced to abandon their home world because of the Goa’uld. Reol have a unique natural defense; one of their bodily secretions is used to create false memories and illusions when it comes into contact with a living creature. Their appearance are tall, lanky bipedal creatures with thick strands of hair and dark black eyes. Their heads appear almost skeletal in shape. The Reol have also decided not to embrace technology to the extent that no other species have. [41]

A potent mechanical lifeform using a kiron-based technology composed of building blocks using nanotechnology. They strive to increase their numbers and spread across the universe by assimilating advanced technologies. They are hostile to all other lifeforms in the universe, but are opposed primarily by the Asgard. In the episode “Unnatural Selection”, the Replicators had developed human-form Replicators, based on the technology they extracted from their Android creator, that appear just like humans and are able to change their form. Standard Replicators are resistant to energy weapons, and can only be destroyed by projectile weapons. Human-form Replicators, on the other hand, are resistant to projectile weapons as well due to the change in their nature from large blocks to smaller units the size of organic cells (cell blocks).

In the episode “New Order (Part 2)”, an Ancient weapon called the Replicator Disruptor was developed by Jack O’Neill while he still had the knowledge of the Ancients in his mind. It works by blocking the cohesion between the blocks that make up the Replicators. The Replicators in the Milky Way galaxy were wiped out by the Dakara Superweapon in the two-part episode “Reckoning” at the climax of Season 8. It has been indicated that the Asgard used the same technology to defeat the Replicators in their own home galaxy as well.

Re’tu: Invisible non-humanoid aliens. A small terrorist like group of these beings wage war on the Goa’uld by eliminating humans as their potential hosts. They operate in 5-man suicide units, which are capable of setting off an explosion equivalent to a small tactical nuke.

Sakari: An ancient silicon-based lifeform, which uses severe hallucinations into manipulating others. The Sekkari are an extinct civilization that distributed devices across the Pegasus galaxy. These “seed carriers” contained the means to begin their evolution again on other worlds, as well as a repository of knowledge to tell the Sekkari descendants everything that once was. They are also the only known silicon-based lifeform in both the Pegasus and the Milky Way galaxy.[41]

Serrakin: An advanced race that has lived together in a largely harmonious society on the planet Hebridan.

Shadow entity: Accidentally released from a container, it roams looking for energy to feed on, and the more it feeds, the more lethal it becomes.

Spirits: Advanced aliens that, for a millennium, have been the object of a religion among the Salish ago.

Stragoth: Aliens that use a frequency-based technology to mimic the appearance of other beings, i.e. humans.

The Unas (meaning “First Ones”) are the original hosts used by the Goa’uld on their homeworld of P3X-888, first seen in “Thor’s Hammer”. A race of large and primitive humanoids, the Unas possess great physical strength and have been exploited for physical labor by both Goa’uld and humans.[60][61] Their strength is enhanced even further when they are taken as Goa’uld hosts, and the symbiote is additionally able to heal even grievous injuries.[42][62]

The Unas are a tribal society living in close-knit communities with defined territories. Each tribe is led by a dominant alpha male leader.[61][63] They have limited stone age-level technology, but are more culturally sophisticated than is apparent at first glance and have established codes of behavior and honor. One of the most valuable possessions of an Unas is a necklace made of bone, which prevents Goa’uld symbiotes from burrowing into their necks.[63] The Unas speak their own language that varies between planets but is close enough to be mutually intelligible.[61] Only Goa’uld-possessed Unas have been shown to speak any language other than their own.[42] In “The First Ones”, Daniel Jackson is able to decipher the Unas language and befriend a young Unas named Chaka.

In “Beast of Burden”, it is shown that a race of humans from another unnamed world use Unas as slaves. A group of slavers from this planet learn the location of the Unas home world, and launched an expedition to capture more Unas. On this expedition, Chaka was captured. SG-1 subsequently followed them to rescue Chaka, and although they were successful, Chaka chose to remain on the planet to lead a rebellion to free his people.

Unity: Alien life that forms unstable doubles of people.

The Ursini[64] first appear in “Awakening”. They are small bipedal aliens, but are agile. Their skin is a greenish grey color. They were in pods when Destiny docked with the Seed Ship. These pods were subsequently found aboard a heavily damaged ship floating in space. The pods were uninhabited this time. When Telford was stranded on the Seed Ship with them, they used the pods to transfer their knowledge to him (by the use of a neural interface), and together they repaired the Seed Ship. Eventually coming to Destiny’s rescue when it was being attacked by the same Drone Ships that destroyed the Ursini’s ships.[65] It is learned that the seedship Ursini are the last of their race, as no communication with any other Ursini can be established. The Ursini die with the seedship on an attack run on the second Drone Command Ship.[37]

Water lifeform: Microscopic beings that live in, and control, water.

A vampire-like telepathic race who feed on the “life-force” of humans. While intelligent humanoids, they are genetically close to insects. They evolved in the Pegasus galaxy after a human population seeded by the Ancients was fed upon by an insect called the irratus bug, which has the ability to draw upon a human’s life to heal itself. As they fed, the bugs incorporated human DNA into themselves, giving rise to the Wraith.[66] The Wraith too feed on humans, treating them akin to livestock and regarding the act of feeding as nothing more than natural predation.[4] Their existence is restricted to waking en masse every few centuries to replenish their health by galaxy-wide abductions of humans called “cullings.” A small selection of Wraith were tasked with remaining active during this time to maintain watch on the galaxy to prevent human reprisals.[4]

The main antagonists in Stargate Atlantis, the Wraith, are the dominant species in the Pegasus Galaxy. They are biologically immortal hive-based humanoids who feed on the “life-force” of humans, causing them to “lose years” in a way similar to aging. The Wraith drove the Ancients out of Pegasus 10,000 years ago; they now maintain the human worlds of the Pegasus Galaxy as sources of food. The arrival of the Atlantis Expedition in the Pegasus Galaxy leads to the Wraith waking prematurely from their hibernation; the human population of the Pegasus Galaxy is not enough to sustain all of the waking Wraith. To sate their hunger, the Wraith try to get to Earth whose population is much bigger than that of the whole Pegasus Galaxy. This can only be achieved either through the Stargate or by getting more advanced Hyper drive technology, both of which are present in Atlantis. After the expedition tricked them into thinking the city was destroyed, the Wraith began a brutal civil war.

One Wraith, whom Sheppard named Todd, was particularly cooperative after he was rescued from the Genii by him; Todd subsequently aides the expedition’s efforts for mutual gain.

Although most known habitable planets in the Stargate universe are populated by humans, there was once an Alliance of four great races. A strategic alliance of the four advanced species was built over many millennia since before the rise of the Goa’uld. In “The Torment of Tantalus”, SG-1 discovers a meeting place for the alliance on the planet Heliopolis. There they find a chamber showing the written languages of the four races, as well as a hologram of a common language based on graphical representations of the 146 known (to them) chemical elements. This is possibly derived from the H. Beam Piper novelette Omnilingual in which a similar scene takes place. In the season 2 episode “The Fifth Race”, Jack O’Neill learns from the Asgard that the alliance consisted of the Ancients, the Asgard, the Furlings, and the Nox. The Asgard also say that humanity has taken the first steps towards becoming “the Fifth Race”. In the Stargate SG-1 finale “Unending”, Thor declares the Tau’ri are the Fifth Race.

The Tok’ra (literally “against Ra”, the Supreme System Lord) are a faction of Goa’uld symbiotes who are opposed to the Goa’uld culturally and militarily. Spawned by the queen Egeria, they live in true symbiosis with their hosts, both beings sharing the body equally and benefiting from each other. Although they have few members, the Tok’ra have fought the Goa’uld for thousands of years, favoring covert tactics and balancing the various System Lords against one another. Since season 2 of Stargate SG-1, the Tok’ra have become valuable allies of Earth.

The Athosians are a group of hunters, farmers, and traders from the planet Athos. First introduced in “Rising”, they are the first humans encountered by the Atlantis Expedition in the Pegasus galaxy. The Athosians were once technologically advanced, but reverted to a pre-industrial state to avoid the Wraith. Following their contact with the Expedition, the Athosians move to Lantea and their leader, Teyla Emmagan, joins Major Sheppard’s team. In “The Gift”, it is revealed that some Athosians possess Wraith DNA, resulting from an old Wraith experiment to make humans more “palatable”. This allows these individuals to sense the presence of Wraith, to tap into their telepathic communications, and to control Wraith technology. In the third season episode “The Return”, the Athosians are asked to leave Lantea by a group of surviving Ancients reclaiming Atlantis from Earth. The Athosian population is subsequently found to have disappeared from New Athos in “Missing”. The search for the missing Athosians and their fate at the hands of the rogue Wraith Michael contributes to a major plot arc near the end of the fourth season.

The Genii appear to be simple farmers, but are in fact a military society with technology comparable to 1940s Earth. First appearing in “Underground”, the Genii were once a formidable human confederation until the Wraith vanquished the Ancients 10,000 years ago, and the subsequent victory forced them into hiding in subterranean bunkers during cullings. They have since built their entire civilization underground, and devoted their existence to developing technology such as fission bombs to destroy the Wraith. Their collective desire for revenge has made them paranoid and hostile towards others and they pursue their aims regardless of the cost to anyone else. They become enemies of the Atlantis Expedition in the first season when they attempted to seize an SG team’s puddle jumper and weapons, and once try to invade Atlantis,[67][68] though after a coup d’etat in the second season they have been more favorable towards cooperation with the city.[69]

The Satedans are the people of Ronon Dex, who joins the Atlantis Expedition in the season 2 episode “Runner”. In that episode, it is revealed that the Satedans were a civilization comparable in technology to Earth in the mid-20th century, but met the fate of all advanced civilizations in Pegasus when their homeworld Sateda (P3R-534) was devastated seven years ago by the Wraith. In “Trinity”, Ronon discovers that some 300 Satedans survived the attack in shelters west of the capital and later moved onto other planets like Ballkan and Manaria. In “Reunion”, Ronon encounters more Satedans, his former military comrades, who have been converted into Wraith worshipers.

The Travelers are humans who live on a fleet of ships to avoid the Wraith, introduced in “Travelers”. Although not as technologically advanced as the Ancients, the Travelers possess hyperdrives and advanced weapons. Due to their population outgrowing their available space, the Travelers had been forced to abandon some of their people on planets. Their discovery of an Aurora-class battleship promised to solve this problem, but without the ATA gene they were unable to operate it. They kidnap John Sheppard and extort him to create an interface for them. Though uncooperative at first on account of his abduction, Sheppard and the Traveler leader Larrin eventually came to an understanding after a mutual experience with the Wraith. In “Be All My Sins Remember’d”, the Travelers become concerned by the Asuran Replicator threat after one of their trading partners is wiped out. Several of their ships, including their Ancient battleship, join the Atlanteans and the Wraith in battling the Replicators over their homeworld. According to producers Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, the Travelers were created as a “wild card” like the Genii, but with advanced technology that would make them a “challenge” for the Atlantis team. Their lifestyle was devised as a way around the established fact that the Wraith wipe out any civilizations that approach them in technological advancement.[70]

Dakara is the planet where the Ancients first landed in the Milky Way Galaxy after fleeing the Alteran Galaxy. It is here where they later built a powerful device, capable of destroying existing life or creating it where there was none before, long before the galaxy was colonized by the Goa’uld or the humans.[71] Long after the Ancients disappeared, the Goa’uld System Lords eventually took possession of the planet, unknowing of its history. The place eventually became a holy ground for their Jaffa servant race since they held legends which described Dakara as the planet where their enslavement began. At the Temple of Dakara, Jaffa were given their strength and longevity through the first implantation of symbiotes. The temple is therefore the ultimate holy ground of the Goa’uld, who kept the Jaffa loyal by propagating lies that they were gods. The idea of stepping into Dakara was unthinkable to the free Jaffa.[72]

After the Replicators start to invade the galaxy in season 8, killing Goa’uld and taking over their fleets, Bra’tac and Teal’c decide this to be the best time to take over Dakara. Dakara easily falls to the rebellion, and the capture of the planet proves to the majority of Jaffa still in servitude that the Goa’uld were not in fact gods. This leads to a general revolt by the Jaffa against their masters. Also, the final battle with the Replicators occurs here which results in their destruction by the Dakara superweapon. Combined with the weakened state the Goa’uld are left in after their war with the Replicators, this resulted in the fall of the System Lords and the collapse of the Goa’uld Empire.[72] Shortly after, the Free Jaffa Nation is declared, with Dakara being made the capital.[71] Two seasons later, Adria sets course for Dakara, destroying the weapon and conquering the planet in the process.[73] After the loss of Dakara, the Free Jaffa Nation begins to fracture into several warring factions, some of which blame the Tau’ri for the devastation of Dakara.[74] In Stargate: The Ark of Truth SG-1 returns to the ruins of Dakara in search of the weapon that could stop the invasion of the Milky Way galaxy by the Ori Crusade.

Stargate Atlantis is set in the dwarf galaxy Pegasus. In reality, there are two galaxies in the Local Group called Pegasus Dwarf; the Pegasus Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy and the Pegasus Dwarf Irregular Galaxy. It has not been explicitly stated which of these is the galaxy in Stargate Atlantis. However, in this discussion regarding the new McKay-Carter Intergalactic Gate Bridge, General Hank Landry states that the distance between the Pegasus and Milky Way galaxies is “three million light-years,” suggesting that the series takes place in the Pegasus Dwarf Irregular Galaxy.[75] Also, in a few episodes the Pegasus galaxy has been seen from between the Milky Way and Pegasus, showing an irregular galaxy.

Unlike what happened in the Milky Way, the human population of the Pegasus galaxy is a product of Ancient seeding. The Lanteans arrived in the Pegasus galaxy via the Ancient city ship of Atlantis. As there was seldom interbreeding between the Ancients and humans, the ATA gene is virtually non-existent amongst the natives of Pegasus. Few human races in Pegasus surpass Earth in technological advancement, as the Wraith destroy any such civilizations as potential future threats to their dominance.

Atlantis is an Ancient city equipped with intergalactic hyperdrive engines that serves as the base of operations for the main SGA characters, from which they explore other planets through the Stargate. According to the mythology of the show, the city was built by an advanced race known as the Ancients originally as a central outpost in prehistorical Antarctica, until an unexplained crisisinvolving a virulent plagueforced them to relocate the city to the planet Lantea in the Pegasus Galaxy. The Ancients (known as “Ancestors” to the denizens of Pegasus, “Lanteans” to the Wraith) submerged the city around 8,000 BCE to evade Wraith detection and returned via stargate to Earth, where survivor recollections formed the basis for the ancient Greek accounts of Lost City of Atlantis. As the humans from Earth inhabit the fabled City of the Ancestors after the series pilot of Stargate Atlantis, some Pegasus cultures believe the SGA members to be the Ancients returned.[4][76]

Ascension is a process by which sufficiently evolved sentient beings may shed their physical bodies and live eternally as pure energy on a higher plane of existence, where their capacity for learning and power grows exponentially. It is a mental, spiritual, or evolutionary enlightenment that can arise as the direct result of achieving a certain level of wisdom and self-knowledge. Ascension was once employed by the Ancients as a means to avoid several issues threatening their species with extinction, but it is sought by major powers on Earth and other races such as the Jaffa later. The concept is introduced in the SG-1 season 3 episode “Maternal Instinct” and becomes a central theme of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis.

Ascension can happen in one of two ways: evolutionarily or spiritually. Ascension can occur when a human evolves the ability to use approximately 90% of his or her brain capacity.[77] The Ancients who ascended naturally reached this point without the aid of technology. They, however, developed the DNA Resequencer, a device capable of enhancing humans so that they would gain telepathy; telekinesis; superhuman senses, speed, and strength; precognition; perfect health; the ability to self-heal rapidly and the power to heal by touch; and the ability to use many parts of their mind and fully focus on a single thing.[78] Spiritual ascension can occur through meditation when one is pure of spirit and in the search for enlightenment,[71] has a fully opened mind,[79] and has shed one’s fears and attachment to the mortal world.[80] In the process of ascension through meditation, many beings obtain the same supernatural abilities that users of the DNA resequencer receive. In some cases, however, no level of spiritualism can help with ascension: the Asgard’s genetic degradation was so severe that they could not ascend, in spite of the fact that many of them would otherwise have been good candidates.

The ascended Ancients maintain a strict rule of noninterference in mortal affairs. If broken, this rule may result in forceful de-ascension or other punishment by the other ascended beings.[81] The Ori, on the other hand, seek to increase their power by any means, including destroying their former compatriots, the Ancients, in a crusade against the Milky Way Galaxy. The power of an ascended being can be negated through the Sangraal, a device that the Ancient Merlin gave up his life to create to battle the Ori.[82]

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Mythology of Stargate – Wikipedia

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Genetically modified food – Wikipedia

Posted: December 21, 2016 at 6:43 pm

Genetically modified foods or GM foods, also known as genetically engineered foods, are foods produced from organisms that have had changes introduced into their DNA using the methods of genetic engineering. Genetic engineering techniques allow for the introduction of new traits as well as greater control over traits than previous methods such as selective breeding and mutation breeding.[1]

Commercial sale of genetically modified foods began in 1994, when Calgene first marketed its unsuccessful Flavr Savr delayed-ripening tomato.[2][3] Most food modifications have primarily focused on cash crops in high demand by farmers such as soybean, corn, canola, and cotton. Genetically modified crops have been engineered for resistance to pathogens and herbicides and for better nutrient profiles. GM livestock have been developed, although as of November 2013 none were on the market.[4]

There is a scientific consensus[5][6][7][8] that currently available food derived from GM crops poses no greater risk to human health than conventional food,[9][10][11][12][13] but that each GM food needs to be tested on a case-by-case basis before introduction.[14][15][16] Nonetheless, members of the public are much less likely than scientists to perceive GM foods as safe.[17][18][19][20] The legal and regulatory status of GM foods varies by country, with some nations banning or restricting them, and others permitting them with widely differing degrees of regulation.[21][22][23][24]

However, there are ongoing public concerns related to food safety, regulation, labelling, environmental impact, research methods, and the fact that some GM seeds are subject to intellectual property rights owned by corporations.[25]

Genetically modified foods, GM foods or genetically engineered foods, are foods produced from organisms that have had changes introduced into their DNA using the methods of genetic engineering as opposed to traditional cross breeding.[26][27] In the US, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) favor the use of “genetic engineering” over “genetic modification” as the more precise term; the USDA defines genetic modification to include “genetic engineering or other more traditional methods.”[28][29]

According to the World Health Organization, “Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be defined as organisms (i.e. plants, animals or microorganisms) in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination. The technology is often called ‘modern biotechnology’ or ‘gene technology’, sometimes also ‘recombinant DNA technology’ or ‘genetic engineering’. … Foods produced from or using GM organisms are often referred to as GM foods.”[26]

Human-directed genetic manipulation of food began with the domestication of plants and animals through artificial selection at about 10,500 to 10,100 BC.[30]:1 The process of selective breeding, in which organisms with desired traits (and thus with the desired genes) are used to breed the next generation and organisms lacking the trait are not bred, is a precursor to the modern concept of genetic modification (GM).[30]:1[31]:1 With the discovery of DNA in the early 1900s and various advancements in genetic techniques through the 1970s[32] it became possible to directly alter the DNA and genes within food.

The first genetically modified plant was produced in 1983, using an antibiotic-resistant tobacco plant.[33] Genetically modified microbial enzymes were the first application of genetically modified organisms in food production and were approved in 1988 by the US Food and Drug Administration.[34] In the early 1990s, recombinant chymosin was approved for use in several countries.[34][35] Cheese had typically been made using the enzyme complex rennet that had been extracted from cows’ stomach lining. Scientists modified bacteria to produce chymosin, which was also able to clot milk, resulting in cheese curds.[36]

The first genetically modified food approved for release was the Flavr Savr tomato in 1994.[2] Developed by Calgene, it was engineered to have a longer shelf life by inserting an antisense gene that delayed ripening.[37] China was the first country to commercialize a transgenic crop in 1993 with the introduction of virus-resistant tobacco.[38] In 1995, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Potato was approved for cultivation, making it the first pesticide producing crop to be approved in the USA.[39] Other genetically modified crops receiving marketing approval in 1995 were: canola with modified oil composition, Bt maize, cotton resistant to the herbicide bromoxynil, Bt cotton, glyphosate-tolerant soybeans, virus-resistant squash, and another delayed ripening tomato.[2]

With the creation of golden rice in 2000, scientists had genetically modified food to increase its nutrient value for the first time.[40]

By 2010, 29 countries had planted commercialized biotech crops and a further 31 countries had granted regulatory approval for transgenic crops to be imported.[41] The US was the leading country in the production of GM foods in 2011, with twenty-five GM crops having received regulatory approval.[42] In 2015, 92% of corn, 94% of soybeans, and 94% of cotton produced in the US were genetically modified strains.[43]

The first genetically modified animal to be approved for food use was AquAdvantage salmon in 2015.[44] The salmon were transformed with a growth hormone-regulating gene from a Pacific Chinook salmon and a promoter from an ocean pout enabling it to grow year-round instead of only during spring and summer.[45]

In April 2016, a white button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) modified using the CRISPR technique received de facto approval in the United States, after the USDA said it would not have to go through the agency’s regulatory process. The agency considers the mushroom exempt because the editing process did not involve the introduction of foreign DNA.[46]

The most widely planted GMOs are designed to tolerate herbicides. By 2006 some weed populations had evolved to tolerate some of the same herbicides. Palmer amaranth is a weed that competes with cotton. A native of the southwestern US, it traveled east and was first found resistant to glyphosate in 2006, less than 10 years after GM cotton was introduced.[47][48][49]

Genetically engineered organisms are generated and tested in the laboratory for desired qualities. The most common modification is to add one or more genes to an organism’s genome. Less commonly, genes are removed or their expression is increased or silenced or the number of copies of a gene is increased or decreased.

Once satisfactory strains are produced, the producer applies for regulatory approval to field-test them, called a “field release.” Field-testing involves cultivating the plants on farm fields or growing animals in a controlled environment. If these field tests are successful, the producer applies for regulatory approval to grow and market the crop. Once approved, specimens (seeds, cuttings, breeding pairs, etc.) are cultivated and sold to farmers. The farmers cultivate and market the new strain. In some cases, the approval covers marketing but not cultivation.

According to the USDA, the number of field releases for genetically engineered organisms has grown from four in 1985 to an average of about 800 per year. Cumulatively, more than 17,000 releases had been approved through September 2013.[50]

Papaya was genetically modified to resist the ringspot virus. ‘SunUp’ is a transgenic red-fleshed Sunset papaya cultivar that is homozygous for the coat protein gene PRSV; ‘Rainbow’ is a yellow-fleshed F1 hybrid developed by crossing ‘SunUp’ and nontransgenic yellow-fleshed ‘Kapoho’.[51] The New York Times stated, “in the early 1990s, Hawaiis papaya industry was facing disaster because of the deadly papaya ringspot virus. Its single-handed savior was a breed engineered to be resistant to the virus. Without it, the states papaya industry would have collapsed. Today, 80% of Hawaiian papaya is genetically engineered, and there is still no conventional or organic method to control ringspot virus.”[52] The GM cultivar was approved in 1998.[53] In China, a transgenic PRSV-resistant papaya was developed by South China Agricultural University and was first approved for commercial planting in 2006; as of 2012 95% of the papaya grown in Guangdong province and 40% of the papaya grown in Hainan province was genetically modified.[54]

The New Leaf potato, a GM food developed using naturally occurring bacteria found in the soil known as Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), was made to provide in-plant protection from the yield-robbing Colorado potato beetle.[55] The New Leaf potato, brought to market by Monsanto in the late 1990s, was developed for the fast food market. It was withdrawn in 2001 after retailers rejected it and food processors ran into export problems.[56]

As of 2005, about 13% of the Zucchini (a form of squash) grown in the US was genetically modified to resist three viruses; that strain is also grown in Canada.[57][58]

In 2011, BASF requested the European Food Safety Authority’s approval for cultivation and marketing of its Fortuna potato as feed and food. The potato was made resistant to late blight by adding resistant genes blb1 and blb2 that originate from the Mexican wild potato Solanum bulbocastanum.[59][60] In February 2013, BASF withdrew its application.[61]

In 2013, the USDA approved the import of a GM pineapple that is pink in color and that “overexpresses” a gene derived from tangerines and suppress other genes, increasing production of lycopene. The plant’s flowering cycle was changed to provide for more uniform growth and quality. The fruit “does not have the ability to propagate and persist in the environment once they have been harvested,” according to USDA APHIS. According to Del Monte’s submission, the pineapples are commercially grown in a “monoculture” that prevents seed production, as the plant’s flowers aren’t exposed to compatible pollen sources. Importation into Hawaii is banned for “plant sanitation” reasons.[62]

In 2014, the USDA approved a genetically modified potato developed by J.R. Simplot Company that contained ten genetic modifications that prevent bruising and produce less acrylamide when fried. The modifications eliminate specific proteins from the potatoes, via RNA interference, rather than introducing novel proteins.[63][64]

In February 2015 Arctic Apples were approved by the USDA,[65] becoming the first genetically modified apple approved for sale in the US.[66]Gene silencing is used to reduce the expression of polyphenol oxidase (PPO), thus preventing the fruit from browning.[67]

Corn used for food and ethanol has been genetically modified to tolerate various herbicides and to express a protein from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that kills certain insects.[68] About 90% of the corn grown in the U.S. was genetically modified in 2010.[69] In the US in 2015, 81% of corn acreage contained the Bt trait and 89% of corn acreage contained the glyphosate-tolerant trait.[43] Corn can be processed into grits, meal and flour as an ingredient in pancakes, muffins, doughnuts, breadings and batters, as well as baby foods, meat products, cereals and some fermented products. Corn-based masa flour and masa dough are used in the production of taco shells, corn chips and tortillas.[70]

Genetically modified soybean has been modified to tolerate herbicides and produce healthier oils.[71] In 2015, 94% of soybean acreage in the U.S. was genetically modified to be glyphosate-tolerant.[43]

Starch or amylum is a polysaccharide produced by all green plants as an energy store. Pure starch is a white, tasteless and odourless powder. It consists of two types of molecules: the linear and helical amylose and the branched amylopectin. Depending on the plant, starch generally contains 20 to 25% amylose and 75 to 80% amylopectin by weight.[72]

Starch can be further modified to create modified starch for specific purposes,[73] including creation of many of the sugars in processed foods. They include:

Lecithin is a naturally occurring lipid. It can be found in egg yolks and oil-producing plants. it is an emulsifier and thus is used in many foods. Corn, soy and safflower oil are sources of lecithin, though the majority of lecithin commercially available is derived from soy.[74][75][76][pageneeded] Sufficiently processed lecithin is often undetectable with standard testing practices.[72][not in citation given] According to the FDA, no evidence shows or suggests hazard to the public when lecithin is used at common levels. Lecithin added to foods amounts to only 2 to 10 percent of the 1 to 5 g of phosphoglycerides consumed daily on average.[74][75] Nonetheless, consumer concerns about GM food extend to such products.[77][bettersourceneeded] This concern led to policy and regulatory changes in Europe in 2000,[citation needed] when Regulation (EC) 50/2000 was passed[78] which required labelling of food containing additives derived from GMOs, including lecithin.[citation needed] Because of the difficulty of detecting the origin of derivatives like lecithin with current testing practices, European regulations require those who wish to sell lecithin in Europe to employ a comprehensive system of Identity preservation (IP).[79][verification needed][80][pageneeded]

The US imports 10% of its sugar, while the remaining 90% is extracted from sugar beet and sugarcane. After deregulation in 2005, glyphosate-resistant sugar beet was extensively adopted in the United States. 95% of beet acres in the US were planted with glyphosate-resistant seed in 2011.[81] GM sugar beets are approved for cultivation in the US, Canada and Japan; the vast majority are grown in the US. GM beets are approved for import and consumption in Australia, Canada, Colombia, EU, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Russian Federation and Singapore.[82] Pulp from the refining process is used as animal feed. The sugar produced from GM sugarbeets contains no DNA or proteinit is just sucrose that is chemically indistinguishable from sugar produced from non-GM sugarbeets.[72][83] Independent analyses conducted by internationally recognized laboratories found that sugar from Roundup Ready sugar beets is identical to the sugar from comparably grown conventional (non-Roundup Ready) sugar beets. And, like all sugar, sugar from Roundup Ready sugar beets contains no genetic material or detectable protein (including the protein that provides glyphosate tolerance).[84]

Most vegetable oil used in the US is produced from GM crops canola,[85]corn,[86][87]cotton[88] and soybeans.[89] Vegetable oil is sold directly to consumers as cooking oil, shortening and margarine[90] and is used in prepared foods. There is a vanishingly small amount of protein or DNA from the original crop in vegetable oil.[72][91] Vegetable oil is made of triglycerides extracted from plants or seeds and then refined and may be further processed via hydrogenation to turn liquid oils into solids. The refining process[92] removes all, or nearly all non-triglyceride ingredients.[93] Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) offer an alternative to conventional fats and oils. The length of a fatty acid influences its fat absorption during the digestive process. Fatty acids in the middle position on the glycerol molecules appear to be absorbed more easily and influence metabolism more than fatty acids on the end positions. Unlike ordinary fats, MCTs are metabolized like carbohydrates. They have exceptional oxidative stability, and prevent foods from turning rancid readily.[94]

Livestock and poultry are raised on animal feed, much of which is composed of the leftovers from processing crops, including GM crops. For example, approximately 43% of a canola seed is oil. What remains after oil extraction is a meal that becomes an ingredient in animal feed and contains canola protein.[95] Likewise, the bulk of the soybean crop is grown for oil and meal. The high-protein defatted and toasted soy meal becomes livestock feed and dog food. 98% of the US soybean crop goes for livestock feed.[96][97] In 2011, 49% of the US maize harvest was used for livestock feed (including the percentage of waste from distillers grains).[98] “Despite methods that are becoming more and more sensitive, tests have not yet been able to establish a difference in the meat, milk, or eggs of animals depending on the type of feed they are fed. It is impossible to tell if an animal was fed GM soy just by looking at the resulting meat, dairy, or egg products. The only way to verify the presence of GMOs in animal feed is to analyze the origin of the feed itself.”[99]

A 2012 literature review of studies evaluating the effect of GM feed on the health of animals did not find evidence that animals were adversely affected, although small biological differences were occasionally found. The studies included in the review ranged from 90 days to two years, with several of the longer studies considering reproductive and intergenerational effects.[100]

Rennet is a mixture of enzymes used to coagulate milk into cheese. Originally it was available only from the fourth stomach of calves, and was scarce and expensive, or was available from microbial sources, which often produced unpleasant tastes. Genetic engineering made it possible to extract rennet-producing genes from animal stomachs and insert them into bacteria, fungi or yeasts to make them produce chymosin, the key enzyme.[101][102] The modified microorganism is killed after fermentation. Chymosin is isolated from the fermentation broth, so that the Fermentation-Produced Chymosin (FPC) used by cheese producers has an amino acid sequence that is identical to bovine rennet.[103] The majority of the applied chymosin is retained in the whey. Trace quantities of chymosin may remain in cheese.[103]

FPC was the first artificially produced enzyme to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.[34][35] FPC products have been on the market since 1990 and as of 2015 had yet to be surpassed in commercial markets.[104] In 1999, about 60% of US hard cheese was made with FPC.[105] Its global market share approached 80%.[106] By 2008, approximately 80% to 90% of commercially made cheeses in the US and Britain were made using FPC.[103]

In some countries, recombinant (GM) bovine somatotropin (also called rBST, or bovine growth hormone or BGH) is approved for administration to increase milk production. rBST may be present in milk from rBST treated cows, but it is destroyed in the digestive system and even if directly injected into the human bloodstream, has no observable effect on humans.[107][108][109] The FDA, World Health Organization, American Medical Association, American Dietetic Association and the National Institutes of Health have independently stated that dairy products and meat from rBST-treated cows are safe for human consumption.[110] However, on 30 September 2010, the United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, analyzing submitted evidence, found a “compositional difference” between milk from rBGH-treated cows and milk from untreated cows.[111][112] The court stated that milk from rBGH-treated cows has: increased levels of the hormone Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1); higher fat content and lower protein content when produced at certain points in the cow’s lactation cycle; and more somatic cell counts, which may “make the milk turn sour more quickly.”[112]

Genetically modified livestock are organisms from the group of cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, birds, horses and fish kept for human consumption, whose genetic material (DNA) has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. In some cases, the aim is to introduce a new trait to the animals which does not occur naturally in the species, i.e. transgenesis.

A 2003 review published on behalf of Food Standards Australia New Zealand examined transgenic experimentation on terrestrial livestock species as well as aquatic species such as fish and shellfish. The review examined the molecular techniques used for experimentation as well as techniques for tracing the transgenes in animals and products as well as issues regarding transgene stability.[113]

Some mammals typically used for food production have been modified to produce non-food products, a practice sometimes called Pharming.

A GM salmon, awaiting regulatory approval[114][115][116] since 1997,[117] was approved for human consumption by the American FDA in November 2015, to be raised in specific land-based hatcheries in Canada and Panama.[118]

The use of genetically modified food-grade organisms as recombinant vaccine expression hosts and delivery vehicles can open new avenues for vaccinology. Considering that oral immunization is a beneficial approach in terms of costs, patient comfort, and protection of mucosal tissues, the use of food-grade organisms can lead to highly advantageous vaccines in terms of costs, easy administration, and safety. The organisms currently used for this purpose are bacteria (Lactobacillus and Bacillus), yeasts, algae, plants, and insect species. Several such organisms are under clinical evaluation, and the current adoption of this technology by the industry indicates a potential to benefit global healthcare systems.[119]

There is a scientific consensus[120][121][122][123] that currently available food derived from GM crops poses no greater risk to human health than conventional food,[124][125][126][127][128] but that each GM food needs to be tested on a case-by-case basis before introduction.[129][130][131] Nonetheless, members of the public are much less likely than scientists to perceive GM foods as safe.[132][133][134][135]

Opponents claim that long-term health risks have not been adequately assessed and propose various combinations of additional testing, labeling[136] or removal from the market.[137][138][139][140] The advocacy group European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER), disputes the claim that “science” supports the safety of current GM foods, proposing that each GM food must be judged on case-by-case basis.[141] The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment called for removing GM foods from the market pending long term health studies.[137] Multiple disputed studies have claimed health effects relating to GM foods or to the pesticides used with them.[142]

The legal and regulatory status of GM foods varies by country, with some nations banning or restricting them, and others permitting them with widely differing degrees of regulation.[143][144][145][146] Countries such as the United States, Canada, Lebanon and Egypt use substantial equivalence to determine if further testing is required, while many countries such as those in the European Union, Brazil and China only authorize GMO cultivation on a case-by-case basis. In the U.S. the FDA determined that GMO’s are “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) and therefore do not require additional testing if the GMO product is substantially equivalent to the non-modified product.[147] If new substances are found, further testing may be required to satisfy concerns over potential toxicity, allergenicity, possible gene transfer to humans or genetic outcrossing to other organisms.[26]

Government regulation of GMO development and release varies widely between countries. Marked differences separate GMO regulation in the U.S. and GMO regulation in the European Union.[148] Regulation also varies depending on the intended product’s use. For example, a crop not intended for food use is generally not reviewed by authorities responsible for food safety.[149]

In the U.S., three government organizations regulate GMOs. The FDA checks the chemical composition of organisms for potential allergens. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) supervises field testing and monitors the distribution of GM seeds. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for monitoring pesticide usage, including plants modified to contain proteins toxic to insects. Like USDA, EPA also oversees field testing and the distribution of crops that have had contact with pesticides to ensure environmental safety.[150][bettersourceneeded] In 2015 the Obama administration announced that it would update the way the government regulated GM crops.[151]

In 1992 FDA published “Statement of Policy: Foods derived from New Plant Varieties.” This statement is a clarification of FDA’s interpretation of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to foods produced from new plant varieties developed using recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (rDNA) technology. FDA encouraged developers to consult with the FDA regarding any bioengineered foods in development. The FDA says developers routinely do reach out for consultations. In 1996 FDA updated consultation procedures.[152][153]

As of 2015, 64 countries require labeling of GMO products in the marketplace.[154]

US and Canadian national policy is to require a label only given significant composition differences or documented health impacts, although some individual US states (Vermont, Connecticut and Maine) enacted laws requiring them.[155][156][157][158] In July 2016, Public Law 114-214 was enacted to regulate labeling of GMO food on a national basis.

In some jurisdictions, the labeling requirement depends on the relative quantity of GMO in the product. A study that investigated voluntary labeling in South Africa found that 31% of products labeled as GMO-free had a GM content above 1.0%.[159]

In Europe all food (including processed food) or feed that contains greater than 0.9% GMOs must be labelled.[160]

Testing on GMOs in food and feed is routinely done using molecular techniques such as PCR and bioinformatics.[161]

In a January 2010 paper, the extraction and detection of DNA along a complete industrial soybean oil processing chain was described to monitor the presence of Roundup Ready (RR) soybean: “The amplification of soybean lectin gene by end-point polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was successfully achieved in all the steps of extraction and refining processes, until the fully refined soybean oil. The amplification of RR soybean by PCR assays using event-specific primers was also achieved for all the extraction and refining steps, except for the intermediate steps of refining (neutralisation, washing and bleaching) possibly due to sample instability. The real-time PCR assays using specific probes confirmed all the results and proved that it is possible to detect and quantify genetically modified organisms in the fully refined soybean oil. To our knowledge, this has never been reported before and represents an important accomplishment regarding the traceability of genetically modified organisms in refined oils.”[162]

According to Thomas Redick, detection and prevention of cross-pollination is possible through the suggestions offered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Suggestions include educating farmers on the importance of coexistence, providing farmers with tools and incentives to promote coexistence, conduct research to understand and monitor gene flow, provide assurance of quality and diversity in crops, provide compensation for actual economic losses for farmers.[163]

The genetically modified foods controversy consists of a set of disputes over the use of food made from genetically modified crops. The disputes involve consumers, farmers, biotechnology companies, governmental regulators, non-governmental organizations, environmental and political activists and scientists. The major disagreements include whether GM foods can be safely consumed, harm the environment and/or are adequately tested and regulated.[138][164] The objectivity of scientific research and publications has been challenged.[137] Farming-related disputes include the use and impact of pesticides, seed production and use, side effects on non-GMO crops/farms,[165] and potential control of the GM food supply by seed companies.[137]

The conflicts have continued since GM foods were invented. They have occupied the media, the courts, local, regional and national governments and international organizations.

The literature about Biodiversity and the GE food/feed consumption has sometimes resulted in animated debate regarding the suitability of the experimental designs, the choice of the statistical methods or the public accessibility of data. Such debate, even if positive and part of the natural process of review by the scientific community, has frequently been distorted by the media and often used politically and inappropriately in anti-GE crops campaigns.

Domingo, Jos L.; Bordonaba, Jordi Gin (2011). “A literature review on the safety assessment of genetically modified plants” (PDF). Environment International. 37: 734742. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2011.01.003. PMID21296423. In spite of this, the number of studies specifically focused on safety assessment of GM plants is still limited. However, it is important to remark that for the first time, a certain equilibrium in the number of research groups suggesting, on the basis of their studies, that a number of varieties of GM products (mainly maize and soybeans) are as safe and nutritious as the respective conventional non-GM plant, and those raising still serious concerns, was observed. Moreover, it is worth mentioning that most of the studies demonstrating that GM foods are as nutritional and safe as those obtained by conventional breeding, have been performed by biotechnology companies or associates, which are also responsible of commercializing these GM plants. Anyhow, this represents a notable advance in comparison with the lack of studies published in recent years in scientific journals by those companies.

Krimsky, Sheldon (2015). “An Illusory Consensus behind GMO Health Assessment” (PDF). Science, Technology, & Human Values. 40: 132. doi:10.1177/0162243915598381. I began this article with the testimonials from respected scientists that there is literally no scientific controversy over the health effects of GMOs. My investigation into the scientific literature tells another story.

And contrast:

Panchin, Alexander Y.; Tuzhikov, Alexander I. (January 14, 2016). “Published GMO studies find no evidence of harm when corrected for multiple comparisons”. Critical Reviews in Biotechnology: 15. doi:10.3109/07388551.2015.1130684. ISSN0738-8551. PMID26767435. Here, we show that a number of articles some of which have strongly and negatively influenced the public opinion on GM crops and even provoked political actions, such as GMO embargo, share common flaws in the statistical evaluation of the data. Having accounted for these flaws, we conclude that the data presented in these articles does not provide any substantial evidence of GMO harm.

The presented articles suggesting possible harm of GMOs received high public attention. However, despite their claims, they actually weaken the evidence for the harm and lack of substantial equivalency of studied GMOs. We emphasize that with over 1783 published articles on GMOs over the last 10 years it is expected that some of them should have reported undesired differences between GMOs and conventional crops even if no such differences exist in reality.

and

Yang, Y.T.; Chen, B. (2016). “Governing GMOs in the USA: science, law and public health”. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 96: 18511855. doi:10.1002/jsfa.7523. PMID26536836. It is therefore not surprising that efforts to require labeling and to ban GMOs have been a growing political issue in the USA (citing Domingo and Bordonaba, 2011).

Overall, a broad scientific consensus holds that currently marketed GM food poses no greater risk than conventional food… Major national and international science and medical associations have stated that no adverse human health effects related to GMO food have been reported or substantiated in peer-reviewed literature to date.

Despite various concerns, today, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the World Health Organization, and many independent international science organizations agree that GMOs are just as safe as other foods. Compared with conventional breeding techniques, genetic engineering is far more precise and, in most cases, less likely to create an unexpected outcome.

Pinholster, Ginger (October 25, 2012). “AAAS Board of Directors: Legally Mandating GM Food Labels Could “Mislead and Falsely Alarm Consumers””. American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved February 8, 2016.

“REPORT 2 OF THE COUNCIL ON SCIENCE AND PUBLIC HEALTH (A-12): Labeling of Bioengineered Foods” (PDF). American Medical Association. 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2016. Bioengineered foods have been consumed for close to 20 years, and during that time, no overt consequences on human health have been reported and/or substantiated in the peer-reviewed literature.

GM foods currently available on the international market have passed safety assessments and are not likely to present risks for human health. In addition, no effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of such foods by the general population in the countries where they have been approved. Continuous application of safety assessments based on the Codex Alimentarius principles and, where appropriate, adequate post market monitoring, should form the basis for ensuring the safety of GM foods.

“Genetically modified foods and health: a second interim statement” (PDF). British Medical Association. March 2004. Retrieved March 21, 2016. In our view, the potential for GM foods to cause harmful health effects is very small and many of the concerns expressed apply with equal vigour to conventionally derived foods. However, safety concerns cannot, as yet, be dismissed completely on the basis of information currently available.

When seeking to optimise the balance between benefits and risks, it is prudent to err on the side of caution and, above all, learn from accumulating knowledge and experience. Any new technology such as genetic modification must be examined for possible benefits and risks to human health and the environment. As with all novel foods, safety assessments in relation to GM foods must be made on a case-by-case basis.

Members of the GM jury project were briefed on various aspects of genetic modification by a diverse group of acknowledged experts in the relevant subjects. The GM jury reached the conclusion that the sale of GM foods currently available should be halted and the moratorium on commercial growth of GM crops should be continued. These conclusions were based on the precautionary principle and lack of evidence of any benefit. The Jury expressed concern over the impact of GM crops on farming, the environment, food safety and other potential health effects.

The Royal Society review (2002) concluded that the risks to human health associated with the use of specific viral DNA sequences in GM plants are negligible, and while calling for caution in the introduction of potential allergens into food crops, stressed the absence of evidence that commercially available GM foods cause clinical allergic manifestations. The BMA shares the view that that there is no robust evidence to prove that GM foods are unsafe but we endorse the call for further research and surveillance to provide convincing evidence of safety and benefit.

The literature about Biodiversity and the GE food/feed consumption has sometimes resulted in animated debate regarding the suitability of the experimental designs, the choice of the statistical methods or the public accessibility of data. Such debate, even if positive and part of the natural process of review by the scientific community, has frequently been distorted by the media and often used politically and inappropriately in anti-GE crops campaigns.

Domingo, Jos L.; Bordonaba, Jordi Gin (2011). “A literature review on the safety assessment of genetically modified plants” (PDF). Environment International. 37: 734742. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2011.01.003. PMID21296423. In spite of this, the number of studies specifically focused on safety assessment of GM plants is still limited. However, it is important to remark that for the first time, a certain equilibrium in the number of research groups suggesting, on the basis of their studies, that a number of varieties of GM products (mainly maize and soybeans) are as safe and nutritious as the respective conventional non-GM plant, and those raising still serious concerns, was observed. Moreover, it is worth mentioning that most of the studies demonstrating that GM foods are as nutritional and safe as those obtained by conventional breeding, have been performed by biotechnology companies or associates, which are also responsible of commercializing these GM plants. Anyhow, this represents a notable advance in comparison with the lack of studies published in recent years in scientific journals by those companies.

Krimsky, Sheldon (2015). “An Illusory Consensus behind GMO Health Assessment” (PDF). Science, Technology, & Human Values. 40: 132. doi:10.1177/0162243915598381. I began this article with the testimonials from respected scientists that there is literally no scientific controversy over the health effects of GMOs. My investigation into the scientific literature tells another story.

And contrast:

Panchin, Alexander Y.; Tuzhikov, Alexander I. (January 14, 2016). “Published GMO studies find no evidence of harm when corrected for multiple comparisons”. Critical Reviews in Biotechnology: 15. doi:10.3109/07388551.2015.1130684. ISSN0738-8551. PMID26767435. Here, we show that a number of articles some of which have strongly and negatively influenced the public opinion on GM crops and even provoked political actions, such as GMO embargo, share common flaws in the statistical evaluation of the data. Having accounted for these flaws, we conclude that the data presented in these articles does not provide any substantial evidence of GMO harm.

The presented articles suggesting possible harm of GMOs received high public attention. However, despite their claims, they actually weaken the evidence for the harm and lack of substantial equivalency of studied GMOs. We emphasize that with over 1783 published articles on GMOs over the last 10 years it is expected that some of them should have reported undesired differences between GMOs and conventional crops even if no such differences exist in reality.

and

Yang, Y.T.; Chen, B. (2016). “Governing GMOs in the USA: science, law and public health”. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 96: 18511855. doi:10.1002/jsfa.7523. PMID26536836. It is therefore not surprising that efforts to require labeling and to ban GMOs have been a growing political issue in the USA (citing Domingo and Bordonaba, 2011).

Overall, a broad scientific consensus holds that currently marketed GM food poses no greater risk than conventional food… Major national and international science and medical associations have stated that no adverse human health effects related to GMO food have been reported or substantiated in peer-reviewed literature to date.

Despite various concerns, today, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the World Health Organization, and many independent international science organizations agree that GMOs are just as safe as other foods. Compared with conventional breeding techniques, genetic engineering is far more precise and, in most cases, less likely to create an unexpected outcome.

Pinholster, Ginger (October 25, 2012). “AAAS Board of Directors: Legally Mandating GM Food Labels Could “Mislead and Falsely Alarm Consumers””. American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved February 8, 2016.

“REPORT 2 OF THE COUNCIL ON SCIENCE AND PUBLIC HEALTH (A-12): Labeling of Bioengineered Foods” (PDF). American Medical Association. 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2016. Bioengineered foods have been consumed for close to 20 years, and during that time, no overt consequences on human health have been reported and/or substantiated in the peer-reviewed literature.

GM foods currently available on the international market have passed safety assessments and are not likely to present risks for human health. In addition, no effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of such foods by the general population in the countries where they have been approved. Continuous application of safety assessments based on the Codex Alimentarius principles and, where appropriate, adequate post market monitoring, should form the basis for ensuring the safety of GM foods.

“Genetically modified foods and health: a second interim statement” (PDF). British Medical Association. March 2004. Retrieved March 21, 2016. In our view, the potential for GM foods to cause harmful health effects is very small and many of the concerns expressed apply with equal vigour to conventionally derived foods. However, safety concerns cannot, as yet, be dismissed completely on the basis of information currently available.

When seeking to optimise the balance between benefits and risks, it is prudent to err on the side of caution and, above all, learn from accumulating knowledge and experience. Any new technology such as genetic modification must be examined for possible benefits and risks to human health and the environment. As with all novel foods, safety assessments in relation to GM foods must be made on a case-by-case basis.

Members of the GM jury project were briefed on various aspects of genetic modification by a diverse group of acknowledged experts in the relevant subjects. The GM jury reached the conclusion that the sale of GM foods currently available should be halted and the moratorium on commercial growth of GM crops should be continued. These conclusions were based on the precautionary principle and lack of evidence of any benefit. The Jury expressed concern over the impact of GM crops on farming, the environment, food safety and other potential health effects.

The Royal Society review (2002) concluded that the risks to human health associated with the use of specific viral DNA sequences in GM plants are negligible, and while calling for caution in the introduction of potential allergens into food crops, stressed the absence of evidence that commercially available GM foods cause clinical allergic manifestations. The BMA shares the view that that there is no robust evidence to prove that GM foods are unsafe but we endorse the call for further research and surveillance to provide convincing evidence of safety and benefit.

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Genetically modified food – Wikipedia

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Singularitarianism Wikipedia – euvolution.com

Posted: December 14, 2016 at 11:54 pm

Singularitarianism is a movement[1] defined by the belief that a technological singularitythe creation of superintelligencewill likely happen in the medium future, and that deliberate action ought to be taken to ensure that the Singularity benefits humans.

Singularitarians are distinguished from other futurists who speculate on a technological singularity by their belief that the Singularity is not only possible, but desirable if guided prudently. Accordingly, they might sometimes dedicate their lives to acting in ways they believe will contribute to its rapid yet safe realization.[2]

Time magazine describes the worldview of Singularitarians by saying that they think in terms of deep time, they believe in the power of technology to shape history, they have little interest in the conventional wisdom about anything, and they cannot believe youre walking around living your life and watching TV as if the artificial-intelligence revolution were not about to erupt and change absolutely everything.[1]

Inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil, author of the 2005 book The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, defines a Singularitarian as someone who understands the Singularity and who has reflected on its implications for his or her own life; he estimates the Singularity will occur around 2045.[2]

Singularitarianism coalesced into a coherent ideology in 2000 when artificial intelligence (AI) researcher Eliezer Yudkowsky wrote The Singularitarian Principles,[2][3] in which he stated that a Singularitarian believes that the singularity is a secular, non-mystical event which is possible and beneficial to the world and is worked towards by its adherents.[3]

In June 2000 Yudkowsky, with the support of Internet entrepreneurs Brian Atkins and Sabine Atkins, founded the Machine Intelligence Research Institute to work towards the creation of self-improving Friendly AI. MIRIs writings argue for the idea that an AI with the ability to improve upon its own design (Seed AI) would rapidly lead to superintelligence. These Singularitarians believe that reaching the Singularity swiftly and safely is the best possible way to minimize net existential risk.

Many people believe a technological singularity is possible without adopting Singularitarianism as a moral philosophy. Although the exact numbers are hard to quantify, Singularitarianism is a small movement, which includes transhumanist philosopher Nick Bostrom. Inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil, who predicts that the Singularity will occur circa 2045, greatly contributed to popularizing Singularitarianism with his 2005 book The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology .[2]

What, then, is the Singularity? Its a future period during which the pace of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life will be irreversibly transformed. Although neither utopian or dystopian, this epoch will transform the concepts we rely on to give meaning to our lives, from our business models to the cycle of human life, including death itself. Understanding the Singularity will alter our perspective on the significance of our past and the ramifications for our future. To truly understand it inherently changes ones view of life in general and ones particular life. I regard someone who understands the Singularity and who has reflected on its implications for his or her own life as a singularitarian.[2]

With the support of NASA, Google and a broad range of technology forecasters and technocapitalists, the Singularity University opened in June 2009 at the NASA Research Park in Silicon Valley with the goal of preparing the next generation of leaders to address the challenges of accelerating change.

In July 2009, many prominent Singularitarians participated in a conference organized by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) to discuss the potential impact of robots and computers and the impact of the hypothetical possibility that they could become self-sufficient and able to make their own decisions. They discussed the possibility and the extent to which computers and robots might be able to acquire any level of autonomy, and to what degree they could use such abilities to possibly pose any threat or hazard (i.e., cybernetic revolt). They noted that some machines have acquired various forms of semi-autonomy, including being able to find power sources on their own and being able to independently choose targets to attack with weapons. They warned that some computer viruses can evade elimination and have achieved cockroach intelligence. They asserted that self-awareness as depicted in science fiction is probably unlikely, but that there were other potential hazards and pitfalls.[4] Some experts and academics have questioned the use of robots for military combat, especially when such robots are given some degree of autonomous functions.[5] The President of the AAAI has commissioned a study to look at this issue.[6]

Science journalist John Horgan has likened singularitarianism to a religion:

Lets face it. The singularity is a religious rather than a scientific vision. The science-fiction writer Ken MacLeod has dubbed it the rapture for nerds, an allusion to the end-time, when Jesus whisks the faithful to heaven and leaves us sinners behind. Such yearning for transcendence, whether spiritual or technological, is all too understandable. Both as individuals and as a species, we face deadly serious problems, including terrorism, nuclear proliferation, overpopulation, poverty, famine, environmental degradation, climate change, resource depletion, and AIDS. Engineers and scientists should be helping us face the worlds problems and find solutions to them, rather than indulging in escapist, pseudoscientific fantasies like the singularity.[7]

Kurzweil rejects this categorization, stating that his predictions about the singularity are driven by the data that increases in computational technology have been exponential in the past.[8]

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| Boston University

Posted: December 11, 2016 at 7:43 am

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Ed’s Guide to Alternative Therapies – pathguy.com

Posted: December 8, 2016 at 5:10 pm

f Ed’s Guide to Alternative Therapies

Contents:

This website collects no information. If you e-mail me, neither your e-mail address nor any other information will ever be passed on to any third party, unless required by law.

This page was last modified August 23, 2011.

I have no sponsors and do not host paid advertisements. All external links are provided freely to sites that I believe my visitors will find helpful.

I’m a board-certified anatomic and clinical pathologist and operator of the largest one-person medical information site on the web. As a pathologist, it’s my job (among others) to examine tissue, tell what’s the matter, and predict the behavior of the disease and response to therapy. Like most other pathologists, I’m extremely successful at this. Like most other pathologists, I take a lot of pride in this. (Call us arrogant if you like. I am an honest physician who engages in public debates. When I catch somebody deliberately deceiving the public, they never defend their cases on the facts, but almost always call me “arrogant” or “elitist” and claim I am secretly in the pay of the wicked pharmaceutical companies.) And if I screw up even once, I’m in MAJOR trouble.

Unlike many M.D.’s, I’m open-minded about what’s known as “alternative medicine”, i.e., therapies that are not recognized by mainstream medicine. During the 1980’s, I reviewed alternative medicine and found there was little to recommend. As the alternative medical community has responded to pressure to defend its claims by the usual methods of science, some areas have improved.

This site aims to let the public know what empirical evidence is available for various alternative remedies, especially studies published in refereed journals. This will enable people who must make decisions to rely on more than anecdotes and advertising.

This site will always be under intensive construction. Only a fool pretends to know everything. I cannot buy or read a book, but I am interested in your personal experiences (“anecdotes”), and especially in real work by real scientists (i.e., people taking serious precautions against self-deception.) Unless you specify otherwise, I’ll feel free to quote you.

I would be remiss without placing links to Quackwatch . The fact that I am less likely than some members to dismiss alternative claims out-of-hand probably reflects our differing life experience. Remember there are plenty of bad doctors in both “mainstream medicine” and “alternative medicine”.

Here’s the ranking system that this site will use:

The remedy has a plausable mechanism and has been given some basic tests, and/or has solidly passed two good, clear, controlled studies

The remedy makes sense pathophysiologically, and there is at least impressive anecdotal evidence

The anecdotal evidence seemed interesting to me, but that’s all there was.

I can see why somebody might have thought of this. But if this actually works better than a placebo and a little human kindness, we are all going to have to make some major readjustments in how we think about health and disease. Don’t spend too much money, or get your hopes up.

Bold indicates the remedy has passed a controlled, reasonable-sounding study for this use. Underlining means it failed. Claims that lack substantial testing are unmarked.

Here are some things that are NOT “alternative medicine”.

People who believe their own claims will make every effort to do controlled studies. If their therapy works, it should pass some controlled study sooner or later. If positive results are obtained, some other scientist will always try to duplicate the work. If this succeeds, the claim is “reproduced”, and you can present a truthful, honest claim to the public.People who don’t believe their own claims will start complaining about “lack of funding”, “the Heisenberg uncertainty principle”, “placebos are valuable and ethical too”, “politics in science”, “social causation”, “you create your own reality”, “Thomas Kuhn”, “closed-minded medical establishment”, “persecuted geniuses”, “we will NEVER treat individual whole-persons as statistics”, etc., etc.

Another very popular claim by charlatans, who admit they have no placebo-controlled studies, is to observe that the vast majority of today’s therapies have not been placebo-controlled. These people either don’t understand or are lying about the central model of a modern medical study — clinical equipoise. The control group isn’t people receiving no treatment. It is people receiving the most popular standard treatment. To be ethical, there must also be a reason to think the treatment will be superior.

“The Beautiful Truth” / “Dying to have known”: In Max Gerson’s era, no child was ever cured of leukemia. To demand that in 2009 we randomize children with leukemia between the modern therapy that cures that vast majority, and a “treatment” group getting only a magic raw-liver-and-vegetable-based diet and coffee enemas, without even an animal model, would be a crime against humanity. Go ahead and call me an unspiritual corrupt brainwashed bigot if you want — I’ve stopped answering my crank mail.

When lives are at stake, I don’t think asking for a controlled study is asking too much. Do you?

If there are published, controlled studies, find out what they showed.

If the statistical effect is pronounced and reproducible, you can be confident we have something real. If it is not reproduced, there may have been some intentional or unintentional bias in the original lab.

CAUTION: As charlatans become more sophisticated, you occasionally find books that list refereed journal publications by the dozen. For example, somebody promoting oral superoxide dismutase to prevent aging will cite references to the substance’s activities in the body, the harmful effects of free radicals, and so forth. This is the old salesman’s technique of telling a bunch of truths, so you won’t notice the lies… (1) Superoxide dismutase isn’t going to make it from your stomach into your cells, but will be destroyed; (2) free radicals may contribute to degenerative disease, but they do not cause aging; (3) animals that produce huge amounts of superoxide dismutase age as fast as others. If you’re in doubt, feel free to phone the authors of the papers that are cited in the dubious book… I’ve done so occasionally, and they have been VERY unhappy to learn that…

Possibility 2: Everybody knows it works. I’d like to illustrate this with an example. I like working out, and in the late 1980’s, I obtained an EMS unit that I’d heard could accelerate my muscle growth. The anti-quackery literature listed this as fraudulent, but it made sense biologically, and I decided to do a pilot study, using the EMS unit only on the right side of my body. The end-point would be three people telling me (without my asking) that I was asymmetric. This took about a month. I decided to report my study in a letter to the JAMA, but first I went again to the refereed literature and I discovered an article that described EMS as generally known to be effective in accelerating muscle hypertrophy.

Possibility 3: Nobody stands to make a buck. Nowadays I really doubt it. The unpatentable alternative remedies that obviously work (melatonin, DHEA, creatine, St. John’s wort, strontium for osteoporosis) are widely marketed, presumably for just a modest profit.

Any proposed mechanism of action can be wrong. For example, I was taught totally-wrong mechanisms of action for bismuth anti-ulcer remedies, dandruff shapoos, nitroglycerine for angina, and nitroprusside for hypertension. (I congratulate myself for having been skeptical as a student.) So if a proposed mechanism for an “alternative remedy” sounds wrong or even silly, don’t dismiss the remedy out-of-hand.

Be skeptical about remedies that cannot work by any means presently known to science or religion. I’m open to the reality of the supernatural — in fact, as a Christian, I’m committed to it (though not necessarily to the effectiveness of intercessory prayer or laying-on-of-hands.) Enough of this for now.

Acai Berries

The fruit of the acai palm tree, which like everything else contains some biologically active molecules, was presented as a multi-level marketing scheme in 2004. Claims included weight loss and “cleansing”. The shady work of the marketers is now history, as is Oprah’s successful lawsuit against them. A pilot study of acai for weight loss was a miserable and total failure (Nutr. J. 10: 45, 2011). At least the juice seems not to be toxic or carcinogenic (Toxicology 278: 46, 2010. There junk journal claims (“adding it to cigarets prevents emphysma in mice”), etc., etc.

Acupuncture

References to follow.

Many people who have experienced acupuncture treatment believe that it caused physiologic changes beyond just suggestion and relaxation. As acupuncture moves from folk medicine into real scientific therapeutics, physicians will insist on sorting out the placebo effect and the cultural overlay.

Acupuncture appears to have effects on neurally-mediated reflexes. Because the reflexes are so subtle, studies will remain empirical for a long time to come. Positive studies will need to be replicated, especially since the strong feelings that some people have in favor of acupuncture may introduce bias. This will probably happen soon, but to date, there are no findings of effectiveness (i.e., this particular acupuncture procedure works in this particular situation) that are robust after being replicated in several different series.

Serious studies of whether traditional acupuncture is actually more effective than placebo now use sham acupuncture as the control. In “sham” acupuncture, the operator deliberately needles the wrong points. This isn’t double-blind, but it’s a start. There are positive results (i.e., real acupuncture is significantly more effective than sham acupuncture) for nausea and vomiting after gynecologic surgery (weak), epicondylitis, anxiety in the emergency pre-hospital care setting, and even parental anxiety during anesthesia induction in a child. In one study of nausea and vomiting after tonsillectomy, the control group did better and the sham group did worse than those not treated at all.

In a few instances, acupuncture has proved superior to a standard medication. One example is an electrical technique for post-operative nausea and vomiting after cosmetic surgery. In another instance, stimulation of a particular needle-point proved as effective as a standard anti-emetic for post-operative nausea and vomiting in children. Another study obtained a similar result for children undergoing anesthesia in the dentist’s office.

In the anesthetized patient, the placebo phenomenon is less likely to be operating. Electro-acupuncture is now widely used in Europe to reduce the need for anesthetic agents, and the effect was strongly significant in a US double-blind study.

There are also numerous negative studies, in which particular techniques applied to particular clinical problems showed no significant effect. This is in spite of the fact that acupuncture proponents might be reluctant to share a negative study. An electrical technique failed for low back pain. Another electrical technique failed to reduce the need for anesthetics. A major study showed no effect for asthma. Urologists were unable to obtain any benefits by needling the “kidney-ureter-bladder” meridian. “Minute sphere acupuncture” failed to help postoperative pain or morphine use. Despite an apparent effect in one study of cocaine addicts, acupuncture did not outperform relaxation or sham treatment for cocaine addiction in a second study. Unlike some other complementary therapies, acupuncture did not show an effect in a major study of chronic low back pain. Although two non-blinded studies of acupuncture for tinnitus suggested an effect, four blinded ones showed no significant effect.

Some large studies have actually not included a sham-acupuncture group when it would be easy to do so. These do help make it clear that acupuncture is relatively safe. Recent studies without a sham control but with positive results compared to no-acupuncture include one for low back pain in the elderly, another for nausea and vomiting during cyclophosphamide infusion for rheumatic disease, another for wheelchair-user’s shoulder, another for childhood constipation, and another for labor pain. Two British studies found that a trip to the acupuncturist gave good results for chronic headache patients at relatively low cost to the health care system. The question was, “Is this worth the money?” rather than “Is this anything more than a placebo?” The authors characterized their own approach as “pragmatic”. In turn, there are ethical questions involved in placebo treatment, even to make people feel good.

Some studies of electroacupuncture claiming to show a benefit (i.e., for low back pain, nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, nausea and vomiting of myeloablative chemotherapy) have used as controls a non-electrical apparatus, which is not really blinding.

Physiologists are starting to characterize the reflexes involved in needle insertion. One surprising finding, awaiting confirmation, is the induction of mirror-image electrical activity when a myofascial trigger point is stimulated. Controlled studies showing no clinical benefit (for example, post-stroke leg spasticity) still showed curious reflex effects from treatment. Animals have reflexes in response to acupuncture treatment that may be abolished by certain medications.

Despite the training they receive, several acupuncturists examining the same patient are likely to recommend widely different needle placements. This was demonstrated in a test using a low-back- pain patient, and perhaps this is no different from other physicians. Practice is likely to become more standardized as the scientific work continues. Acupuncturists will need to decide how much to retain of the cultural trappings and imaginative physiology. We can expect that most will regard the “theory” as something to be treasured as a bygone age’s attempt to understand the riddles of the body. Instead, its practitioners will recognize that the effects are really mediated by subtle reflexes that are not fundamentally unlike the other processes by which the body maintains its health.

Acupuncture seems to be safe overall. One acupuncturist perforated the right ventricle of the heart causing hemopericardium, and there have been several instances of pneumothorax. I have been pleasantly surprised with how few other complications have been reported during the last few years. My friends in oriental medicine asked me to mention that it’s now standard to use single-use, presterilized, disposable needles.

Artemisinin for cancer

The anti-malarial drug artemisinin and its relatives are being promoted by the alternative-medicine community for cancer in general. There is some interest in their possible anti-cancer properties, and a few decent papers, mostly focusing on which patterns of gene expression predict that the drug will kill cells in tissue culture (Pharmacogenetics Journal 6: 269, 2006). They’re well-known to do this, because they are poisons, and the fact that they kill cancer cells (J. Med. Chem. 49: 2731, 2006, from the Hop) should come as no surprise. Especially, they may have activity as angiogenesis blockers.

The foremost proponent in the US seems to be Dr. Henry Lai, whose professional degree is in psychology and who teaches in the department of bioengineering at U. Wash. His focus on the effects of non-ionizing fields on humans seems to have led him into fringe medicine, and he has been writing papers about artemisinin as an anti-cancer agent since 1995. He notes that breast cancer cells reportedly (a few old papers in obscure journals) tend to have more surface transferrin (iron-binder) than their benign counterparts. So artemisinin (which generates toxic free radicals when exposed to iron) could induce apoptosis selectively in breast cancer. He managed to demonstrate this effect in a culture of breast cancer cells awash in iron-binder (Life Sciences 70: 49, 2001). Artemisinin alone was a dismal failure. At least he’s honest. It sounds to me as if the breast cancer cells simply were more adherent for the iron-binder; the experiment does not support the claim that they have greatly increased transferrin surface levels. However, around this time, Dr. Lai speculated about how one could saturate the allegedly-increased transferrin molecules with enough iron, not mentioning that flooding the body with iron is itself dangerous. The iron-bearing pigment that accumulates in malaria is orders-of-magnitude richer in iron than one could possibly accumulate simply from having extra surface transferrin. (At least, both are ferric.)

Readers should know that there are no reports to date (despite ten years of interest, especially by Dr. Lai) of artemisinin inducing even a partial remission of any cancer in any animal system. The claim that there are 350 papers showing an effect on cancer is just another lie. The 88 that I found were mostly cell-culture studies without benign cells as controls. Conspiracy buffs who assume that the drug companies have shunned artemisinin since it’s a naturally-occurring substance and therefore less profitable should note that taxol (a similar case) became part of mainstream breast cancer therapy as soon as it proved to work.

There just might be an effect. Dr. Lai actually got a chance to try it as a breast cancer preventative in mice in 2006 (Cancer Letters 231: 43, 2006). This was the only in vivo study I could find. He claimed an effect with p

If you want to try artermisinin for cancer prevention or treatment, it’s your decision.

UPDATE: 2011. The discussion continues. A correspondent who believes herself to have been cured of breast cancer entirely by artemisinin brought to my attention a very lively ongoing discussion as to whether the substance produces neurotoxicity (see Clin. Inf. Dis. 43: 1618, 2006.) This actually does not reference the index case. Dr. Lai continues to publish both on animals and cell culture and has findings that are interesting. There are still no reports of cancer regression in an animal system, but Cancer Letters 231: 43, 2006 (which is an elite journal) published the results of a model in which the treated animals got fewer / smaller tumors after treatment with a carcinogen (anti-cancer effect, altered carcinogen metabolism, or someting else?) I’m going to stand by my statement, “There just might be an effect”, and wait with hope for the success of Dr.Lai, an investigator who is obviously a sincere and decent person.

Beta-mannan to reverse dysplasia of the cervix

Beta-mannans are presently being promoted by one individual as able to reverse most cases of dysplasia (pre-cancer) of the cervix. The principal promoter bases his claim on anecdotal evidence, but does claim 95% success.

Mannans are found in tomatoes and may have something to do with their empirical link to a lower rate of some cancers. They may prevent some of the mutations that accumulate to cause cancers. It’s harder to see how they would reverse the mutations once they have happened. (“That’d be like reversing loss of virginity.”) The promoter claims instead that beta-mannan stimulates the immune system, which is weak in Americans because of our alleged poor diet and smoking habits.

To his credit, the principal proponent has a side-note that urges women with frank cancer to get the required surgery.

People considering this “complementary remedy” need to know the facts.

Until I see a publication, I’ll reserve final judgement. But I’m very much afraid this one won’t work out.

The principal promoter of this complementary remedy is none other than the author of the old “Phantom Notes”, which I found very helpful when I was on my surgery rotation. They were a superb resource; curiously, we had to send away for them and get them delived to us by mail. A few months later, a sheaf of “Bible Prophecy” stuff “that proved the truth of the Christian religion” was mailed to our PO boxes from “The Phantom”. My Jewish friends especially did not appreciate this. “Bible Prophecy” still appears on the “beta mannan for cervical dysplasia” site. Again, you’ll need to draw your own conclusions. In September 2003, a correspondent shared with me the court decision in a lawsuit against Dr. _______ for plagairism in connection with the Phantom notes. The judge had some very harsh things to say about him even back in the 1970’s.

Anti-Malignin Antibody Test for Cancer

See my notes. This allegedly is an extremely sensitive and specific way of determining whether cancer is present in the body, and its proponents talk about its making pap smears, mammograms, and so forth obsolete. But after more than 20 years, only the original “discoverer” has described this substance as really existing. In a short (unrefereed) letter in “Lancet” announcing that his serum stains three different kinds of cancer cells, the discoverer failed to mention any control using any benign cells. (If the fundamental idea is correct, benign cells would be unstained.) I’m ready to draw the obvious conclusion. To the lab’s credit, there is no talk of “conspiracies” or “cover-ups” or “persecution”.

Botanicals for Diabetes

There is presently an online promotion of a “secret” natural remedy for both type I and type II diabetes. You’ll have to find the site yourself, but the claims are obviously bogus.

A supposed scientific article is appended to the site. It is clear that this was not accepted for publication, even by a non-refereed junk journal. For starters, the composition of the remedy is not given. Second, the authors mention at least three previous studies but do not cite references. Third, there are no controls. There are also illiterate expressions. (“There is a remarkable phenotypic difference in Type 2 Diabetes. The connective importance of the genetic and environment causes of type 2 diabetes varies between people.”) These people claim, in their ad, to make pancreatic islands regrow, but there are no tissue studies in the article. This is a sensational claim, and if there were any reason to think it were true, some scientific journal would have grabbed up the evidence. The shabby quality of the work is shown by the ad page, which states “The clinical study further concluded, ‘… treatment with _____ partially brought about a regenerative capability for the damaged endocrine tissues as evidenced by increased islet cell numbers and resulted in restoration of near normal architecture of pancreatic islet (sic.).'” Anyone who reads the fine print will see that this is simply untrue. The study cited shows nothing of the sort, but simply makes this statement about a second, unreferenced study. Even the name of the “independent lab” that supposedly did the tests is concealed from the reader.

If you want to send these people a few hundred dollars for their secret mix, that is your business.

Right now (2005), current articles in the genuine scientific literature on the use of “natural” remedies for diabetes are conspicuous by their absence. For a review of how herbalists design complementary therapy for diabetics, see Acta. Diab. 41: 91, 2004. “The ten most frequently suggested herbal remedies were gymnema, psyllium, funagreek, bilberry, garlic, Chinese ginseng, dandelion, burdock, prickly pear cactus, and bitter melon. The ten most frequently recommended dietary supplements were biotin, vanadium, chromium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, selenium, alpha-lipoic acid, and fructo-oligosaccharides.” The reviewers felt some of these might help at least some. This is far from the grandiose claims made by the current promotion.

Bromelain / pineapple for goiter and so forth

Bromelain is an enzyme in pineapple that, as it happens, pathologists use in blood bank testing. In July 2010 I was alerted to promotion of magic pineapple juice, especially as a treatment for goiter (enlarged thyroid gland). This is very, very surprising. If enough bromelain were to get through your gut mucosa to have any effect, it would start by gravely altering your red cell antigens, like it does in lab.

Just to be sure, I ran a check of the NIH database that would find any study — even a mouse study in a bottom-class junk journal — on bromelain / pineapple and thyroid disease. Exactly nothing.

Various plants contain various chemicals that can enlarge thyroid glands. There may perhaps be something in some plant that has as as-yet-unknown effect on thyroid glands. The burden of proof is on the person trying to sell you the magic pineapple extract. It’s your money.

If you have a goiter, the most important thing to find out is “Why?” Common nodular goiter often responds well to conventional treatment with thyroid supplementation. Medical disease of the thyroid is likely to kill if not diagnosed properly. And of course there’s plenty of thyroid cancer. It’s your life.

Follow-up: When I originally heard of the claim, I did not believe that any bromelain would make it through the gut mucosa. A correspondent brought to my attention Am. J. Phys. 273: G139, 1997. After taking 3 grams of bromelain a day, plasma levels reached as high as 5,000 picograms/mL. A picogram is one trillionth of a gram. I did the arithmetic and assuming a serum half-life of one day, one molecule of bromelain out of 600,000 will be absorbed. No drug company would issue an oral preparation with such a poor level of absorption. I stand corrected, and would invite the promoters of magic pineapple juice to take some of the stuff, or pure bromelain, intravenously and see how much good it does them. By the way, when I was in the blood bank, technicians were warned against inhaling bromolein powder because many people (maybe 50% of technicians) become allergic to it by this route and develop skin and lung problems.

Cesium Chloride for cancer

Cesium is an ion that cannot bond covalently with any other atom or molecule under any circumstances in a living body. Except for its ability to interact with electrical membranes, with potentially lethal results especially in the presence of kidney failure or if given by vein, it is as inert a substance as you can introduce into your body. However, taking a large dose is presently being touted as a cancer preventative or remedy, especially by a group representing itself as the “Life Science University Medical Center” or the “Life Science Universal Medical Center”. (One must be a misprint, which is surprising in their own publication. I’ve taught in accredited medical schools for a quarter-century and I have never heard of them.) The author claims to conduct experiments in Rockville, Maryland, suggesting to the unwary that they are affiliated with the National Institues of Health. These people report an uncontrolled series of 50 end-stage cancer patients who were given cesium chloride plus other “holistic” remedies. The reported results are hard to understand:

An overall 50% recovery from cancer by the Cs. therapy was determined in the fifty patients treated. Data from the autopsy (sic.) indicated the absence of tumors in patients dying within fourteen days of the Cs-treatment.

One wonders what killed the people who died if they had no tumors. The author is a person using the pen name “Annie Appleseed” who admits to having no medical qualifications, but apparently claiming she performed and supervised these activities in 1981-2. It is hard to understand how the three patients in coma were fed whole grains and vegetables. Even harder to understand is why, if these accounts are true, there was never a publication, not even in an unrefereed junk journal. Further, why was this not noticed by the communist nations? Cancer was rampant in Russia and China, and they had an effective spy network. The supposedly-corrupt profit-driven capitalist medical establishment would have had no way of stopping the use of an effective cancer remedy which (had it worked) would have been a masterful stroke in the propaganda war against the West.

Of course, there is no refereed-journal publication on cesium chloride’s anti-cancer effects. The explanation of how cesium chloride is supposed to work is obvious baloney. Supposedly, cesium in the extracellular milieu causes the pH of the cell to increase. Cesium chloride is cited as an alkaline salt, which raises the pH of the fluid itself. Cesium can supposedly enter a cancer cell but not a benign cell, and neutralize the acids that supposedly cause cancer. Finally, they claim that the pH in a cancer cell is “as low as 5.5”, and that cesium in the milieu raises the pH to 8.0 which results in cell death within hours.

People considering this proposed mechanism should remember their high school biology. Simply because a cell is not dividing does not cause it to die. (Consider your healthy brain, heart, muscle, and most other cells.) Cesium chloride is not an alkalinizing agent any more than is table salt. Ask a grammar-school chemistry teacher. The claim that cesium can enter cancer cells but not benign cells is referenced only to the work of Brewer, a mid-1900’s cancer charlatan with a physics background and if its own proponents believed it, they could easily test their own claim in any tissue-culture lab and publish in one of the junk journals for an honest reference. Of course they have not done so. The idea that unnamed acids cause cancer and can be neutralized is like saying the moon is made of green cheese. The claim that a cancer cell might have an internal pH of 5.5 is ridiculous. (Below 6.5 will kill any cell in a few minutes. And the dyes I use to stain cancer cells include pH indicators similar to litmus; of course no such pH change is evident.)

Of course, there are anecdotes. One patient whose cancer supposedly was observed by the author to shrivel to almost nothing within one hour after cesium administration. (Regrettably, soon afterwards she fell and broke her neck from a cancer-related hip fracture.) If this had actually happened anywhere near the National Institutes of Health, it would have been stolen by one of the research piranhas and published in a real journal. Of course there is no such publication, and “Annie Appleseed” cites a massive conspiracy.

Other sites repeat the grossly false claim that Otto Warburg’s 1931 Nobel Prize was awarded for demonstrating that anaerobiasis causes cancer. He actually distinguished between aerobic and anaerobic metabolism and figured out how the cytochromes work. You can read his Nobel Prize lecture for yourself if you still don’t realize that these people are trying to sucker you. Not surprisingly, these people also repeat the false claims that the Hunza people and reservation-dwelling Hopi people have a remarkably low incidence of cancer, attributed this time to abundant cesium in the diet.

Cesium chloride is a common chemical that costs almost nothing, though there might be a fee for administering it orally. If the proposed mechanism is accurate, then it should be sufficient therapy to provide a cancer cure. However, its proponents say it only works when given with other holistic remedies and a diet, typcially of uncooked foods, and under the supervision of a holistically-minded nutritionist.

Cesium in combination with aloe vera went to law in Maryland after a physician and two other people pretending to be physicians promised cures for cancer and AIDS. They went to prison. It used to be described at the Maryland Attorney General’s site. At his site on coral calcium, Steve Barrett claims the regimen actually killed some people, but I couldn’t find anything to support this.

Some of the cesium chloride sites accuse mainstream physicians of willful ignorance, attribute the vilest motives to them, compare them all to Hitler, etc., etc. If you still wish to become involved with the cesium chloride people, that is your business.

Citrus bergamot for dyslipidemia

The oil from the peel of an exotic orange has been used for decades by aromatherapists for various reasons. It is pungent and fragrant. The oil components also have some pharmacologic activity; it contains naringin, the bitter substance in grapefruit which is known to have a host of pharmacologic actions and especially drug-interactions.

One article from Spain in 2009 has been much-cited but I could not find it in a literature search, reports are that it has no controls, and the results seem too good to be true (which usually means they won’t be verified.)

The one article in a NIH-listed journal (the obscure Fitotherapia 82: 309, 2011, from the med school in Catanzaro, Italy) gives results of oral trial on rats and people; there was a moderate cholesterol-lowering effect and some tendency to lower blood glucose in diabetics. The effects were most marked in folks with the metabolic syndrome. The authors simply called for some real, quality studies on humans because the kind of work they were doing is prone to false-positives. They did note that the oil inhibits HMG-CoA reductase just like today’s statins.

That’s it so far. Remedies that actually work generally get snapped up by the research piranhas and become mainstream, even when nobody stands to make a lot of money.

There’s also a rat study in which the oil, injected into the blood, made the rats excited; no surprise. I eat orange peel myself sometimes, and if you want to try this out, it’s your choice.

Clay Eating / Clay Therapy

Using clay as an aid to health. Special miracle clays from exotic locations (some of which supposedly concentrate cosmic energies) are sold to the “alternative and complementary community.” There are probably some reasonable uses for clays in cosmetics, and I can’t address the use of clay as a deodorant.

The claims are extremely diverse. Common sense would suggest that clay-eating would alter the gut flora and physical properties. For many years, a kaolin clay-based formulation has been in use in mainstream medicine as a diarrhea remedy, and some obscure journals are now looking at bentonite as well. Clay is included in some animal feeds, and some species consume certain clays selectively. Pilot studies are just now starting to appear in support of some of the more reasonable health claims for humans.

A study out of U. Az. confirmed the common-sense idea that components of clay are ‘cidal for some pathogenic bacteria (J. Antimicrob. Chemo. 61: 353, 2008. Some obscure journals are looking at other clays especially for control of functional bowel syndrome, and it’s not surprising that some clays adsorb and thus protect from mycotoxins. Thanks to my correspondent Kjell K. for bringing these to my attention.

Clay eating is known medically as “geophagia”, a variant of pica. It’s seen among the mentally ill, and in some places it’s a cultural phenomenon, mostly among the poor (do we dare say “ignorant”?) See J. Roy. Soc. Med. 95: 143 and 274, 2002; South. Med. J. 95: 1228, 2002. One group in J. Exp. Bio. 207: 319, 2004 speculates how the widespread practice may have developed (trace-mineral availability, diarrhea control). Known hazards are intestinal obstruction (Archives de Pediatrie 11: 461, 2004), perforated colon (Acta Chir. Belg. 99: 130, 1999), lead poisoning (Clin. Ped. 43: 189, 2004; Amb. Ped. 3: 37, 2003), hypokalemia (a young mother-to-be’s agonizing misadventure: Ob. Gyn. 102: 1169, 2003), and toxacara roundworm infection (you can get it in the US: South. Med. J. 91: 882, 1998; massive problem in Sri Lanka: Southeast Asia Journal of Tropical Medicine 34: 7, 2003; Brazil Curr. Op. Ophth. 12: 450, 2001; in Trinidad TRS Trop Med 96:139, 2002; several others).

Given that many members of the “alternative medicine community” believe that mercury in dental fillings is a terrible health hazard, it is surprising that there was no outcry after eating certain clays was found to produce clinical mercury poisoning (Conn. Med. 61: 207, 1997) or that there are no assays for mercury levels or other poisons on the clay promotion websites. If the consumers were clear thinkers, you’d think they’d demand to know.

I was able to find single hard-science study of a health claim for clay. A clay-based product was promoted for sheep to protect from locoweed toxicosis. It failed a controlled test miserably (J. Animal Science 75: 1867, 1997). As a food additive, there are two small controlled studies showing benefits for pigs and rats respectively. There may be more such in the future, with positive results.

One article that really helped me understand how people adopt their “cherished beliefs” was MMWR 47(43): 928, 1998. A lady from an anti-immunization family almost killed her baby by putting “health and beauty clay” on the umbilical stump, causing a dreadful anaerobic infection and neonatal tetanus. The clay was of course laced with tetanus spores, probably from decades of horse manure. When the baby recovered, the mother refused to have the child immunized because of “concerns about potential adverse effects”.

Clay-eating is widespread and most people seem not to be harmed. Please be sure your clay comes from someone you have good reason to trust.

Colonic Irrigation for “Autointoxication”

Colonic irrigation with saline with or without phosphate is standard for a variety of diseases of the large intestine, including chronic fecal incontinence and the acute management of some mechanical and functional problems.

Presently there is a resurgence of interest in the old claim that the colon contents produce poisons that damage the rest of the body. This is actually true in liver failure, in which enemas and laxatives help appreciably with the brain malfunctions. (Octopamine and other bacterial products from the gut, if allowed to bypass the liver, act as false neutransmitters, sort-of-like “reverse prozac”). Evidence that anything like this happens when the liver is healthy hasn’t been forthcoming.

I own a popular book promoting colonic irrigation. It showcases pictures of barium enema x-ray photos, and states that the areas where the colon is narrow are sites of “toxic bowel settlement”, a substance (variously described as “slimy” and “cement-like”) that accumulates on the wall of the colon, and that colonic irrigation removes. This is just a bold lie. The pictures represent the narrowings by which the colon propels its contents (“peristalsis”). As a pathologist, I have opened hundreds of colons and never seen anything like “toxic bowel settlement”.

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Ed’s Guide to Alternative Therapies – pathguy.com

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Transhumanismus Wikipedia

Posted: December 7, 2016 at 7:55 am

Transhumanismus (zusammengesetzt aus lateinisch trans jenseits, ber, hinaus und humanus menschlich) ist eine philosophische Denkrichtung, die die Grenzen menschlicher Mglichkeiten, sei es intellektuell, physisch oder psychologisch, durch den Einsatz technologischer Verfahren erweitern will. Die Interessen und Werte der Menschheit werden als Verpflichtung zum Fortschritt angesehen.

Die Vertreter des Transhumanismus finden sich vor allem im angelschsischen Raum.[1] Es handelt sich dabei um eine lose[2] und heterogene Verbindung von Vertretern unterschiedlicher soziokultureller Hintergrnde und unterschiedlicher Disziplinen.[3]

Transhumanisten sehen die Wurzeln ihrer Philosophie im Renaissance-Humanismus und dem Zeitalter der Aufklrung angelegt.[4] Es wird von Transhumanisten intensiv diskutiert, ob und inwiefern Friedrich Nietzsche als Ahnherr des Transhumanismus angesehen werden kann und sollte.[5][6]

Der Biologe und Eugeniker Julian Huxley hat 1957 in seinem Buch New Bottles for New Wine den Begriff Transhumanismus im gleichnamigen Kapitel postuliert.

Mensch, der Mensch bleibt, aber sich selbst, durch Verwirklichung neuer Mglichkeiten von seiner und fr seine menschliche Natur, berwindet.

Der Begriff kam anschlieend in Abraham Maslows Toward a Psychology of Being (Psychologie des Seins, 1968) und Robert Ettingers Man into Superman (1972) vor. Wie Maslow und Ettinger benutzte auch der iranisch-amerikanische Futurist FM-2030 (geborener F.M. Esfandiary, Namensnderung Mitte der 1970er) den Begriff in seinen Schriften aus den 1970er Jahren in Bezug auf Personen, die sich neue Technologien, Lebensweisen und Weltbilder zu eigen machen, die einen bergang zum Posthumanen erkennen lassen. In seinem Buch Are You Transhuman? von 1989 schreibt der transhumanistische Philosoph FM-2030:

Transhumane sind die erste Manifestation einer neuen Art von evolutionren Wesen. Sie hneln darin den ersten Hominiden, die vor vielen Millionen Jahren die Bume verlieen und begannen sich umzuschauen. Transhumane haben nicht notwendigerweise das Ziel, die Evolution hherer Lebensformen zu beschleunigen. Viele von ihnen sind sich ihrer Rolle als bergangsform der Evolution gar nicht bewusst.

Eine moderne Definition des Transhumanismus geht auf Max More zurck[7]:

Transhumanismus ist eine Kategorie von Anschauungen, die uns in Richtung eines posthumanen Zustands fhren. Transhumanismus teilt viele Aspekte mit dem Humanismus, einschlielich eines Respekts vor Vernunft und Wissenschaft, einer Verpflichtung zum Fortschritt und der Anerkennung des Wertes des menschlichen (oder transhumanen) Bestehens in diesem Leben. [] Transhumanismus unterscheidet sich vom Humanismus im Erkennen und Antizipieren der radikalen nderungen in Natur und Mglichkeiten unseres Lebens durch verschiedenste wissenschaftliche und technologische Disziplinen [].

Die frhen Transhumanisten trafen sich formal in den frhen achtziger Jahren an der Universitt von Kalifornien in Los Angeles, die zur zentralen Anlaufstelle fr Transhumanisten wurde. Dort konferierte auch FM-2030 ber die futuristische Ideologie der Upwingers. John Spencer von der Gesellschaft fr Weltraumtourismus organisierte viele transhumanistische Events zum Thema Weltraum. Natasha Vita-More (frher Nancie Clark) stellte Breaking Away bei EZTV-Media aus, ein Treffpunkt fr Transhumanisten und andere Futuristen. FM-2030, Spencer und Vita-More lernten sich kennen und organisierten gemeinsam Treffen fr Transhumanisten in Los Angeles.

In Australien schrieb der Science-Fiction-Autor Damien Broderick das Judas Mandala. 1982 verfasste Vita-More das Transhumanistische Knstlermanifest und produzierte spter die erfolgreiche Fernseh-Show TransCentury Update zum Thema Transhumanitt.

1986 wurde Eric Drexlers bekanntes Buch zur Nanotechnologie Engines of Creation verffentlicht.

Der Schwerpunkt der Transhumanismusbewegung ist die Anwendung neuer und knftiger Technologien, u.a.:

Die Technologien sollen es jedem Menschen ermglichen, seine Lebensqualitt nach Wunsch zu verbessern, sein Aussehen sowie seine physikalischen und seelischen Mglichkeiten selbst bestimmen zu knnen. Niemand solle zu irgendeiner Vernderung gezwungen werden.

Es lassen sich im Transhumanismus Unterstrmungen ausmachen, die in der Realitt aber selten klar voneinander abgegrenzt sind.

Die Eugenik spielt im Transhumanismus eine zentrale Rolle. Allerdings hofft man, nicht durch Sterilisation eine Geburt zu verhindern, sondern durch Genmanipulation fr die Geburt eines gesunden Kindes zu sorgen.[4][11] Dabei soll die menschliche Evolution knftig, an vom Menschen gewhlten Zielen orientiert, gesteuert werden. Diese Zchtung von Menschen soll nicht in staatlicher Hand liegen (wie etwa von der nationalsozialistischen Eugenik angestrebt), sondern in die Hnde der einzelnen Eltern gelegt werden.[12]

In Deutschland knpfen hnliche Diskussionen eher an Friedrich Nietzsches Begriff des bermenschen an und sind damit nicht vornehmlich technisch orientiert, sondern immer auch von Gedanken einer kulturellen Weiterentwicklung durchdrungen.[13]

Die Frage, inwiefern transhumanistische Zukunftsprognosen ber die technologische Entwicklung realistisch sind, und welche ethischen und anthropologischen Konsequenzen sich daraus ergben, wird kontrovers diskutiert. Der Transhumanismus wurde von Francis Fukuyama einem ausgesprochenen Gegner eine der gefhrlichsten Ideen genannt,[14] whrend ein Befrworter (Ronald Bailey) dem entgegensetzte, dass diese Bewegung das khnste, mutigste, visionrste und idealistischste Bestreben der Menschheit sei.[15]

Der Genetiker und Wissenschaftsautor Steve Jones argumentiert, dass die Menschheit die Technologie nicht hat und nie haben wird, die die Befrworter des Transhumanismus suchen. Jones behauptet, dass Technologien wie die Gentechnik nie so leistungsfhig sein werden, wie allgemein angenommen wird.

In seinem Buch Futurehype: Die Tyrannei der Prophezeiung zhlt der Soziologe Max Dublin viele fehlgeschlagene Vorhersagen des vergangenen technologischen Fortschritts auf und postuliert, dass moderne futuristische Vorhersagen hnlich ungenau ausfallen werden. Er tritt auch gegen das, was er als Fanatismus und Nihilismus in der Befrwortung transhumanistischer Zwecke sieht, ein und behauptet, dass historische hnlichkeiten zu religisen und marxistischen Ideologien bestnden.

Dem Transhumanismus wird vorgeworfen, auf technologische Entwicklungen zu setzen, ohne die damit einhergehenden ethischen Aspekte hinreichend zu bercksichtigen.

Der Politikwissenschaftler Francis Fukuyama meint, dass Transhumanismus die progressiven Ideale der liberalen Demokratie auf kritische Weise unterminieren knne. Dies geschehe durch eine fundamentale Vernderung der menschlichen Natur und der menschlichen Gleichheit.[16]

Science Fiction hat Transhumanismus schon seit vielen Jahren in verschiedensten Formen dargestellt.

In der bekannten Neuromancer-Trilogie von William Gibson sind viele Elemente des Transhumanismus enthalten. So sind die meisten Menschen mit Microchips ausgerstet, die sie unter anderem intelligenter machen und die sie jederzeit auswechseln knnen. Knstliche Intelligenzen agieren frei im Cyberspace und die Charaktere wechseln zwischen realer und virtueller Welt. Auch die meisten anderen Romane von Gibson (z.B. die Kurzgeschichtensammlung Cyberspace) befassen sich mit Transhumanismus.

Eine intensive Auseinandersetzung mit dem Thema findet man bei Greg Egan. In Distress beschftigt er sich unter anderem mit dem Konzept der morphologischen Freiheit, dem (knstlichen) Anpassen des Krpers an sein eigenes Selbstbild. In Permutation City und Diaspora beschftigt er sich mit dem Uploaden, mit der Entwicklung komplexer Gesellschaftssysteme basierend auf simulierten Individuen.

Die Ousters im Hyperion-Zyklus von Dan Simmons sind ein Beispiel fr eine transhumane Menschheit, bis hin zum Posthumanen. Anstatt sich an Felsen zu klammern wie der Rest der Menschheit (die sie als Barbaren hassten und frchteten), zogen sie in Richtung Weltraum, passten sich an die Umgebung mittels Nanotechnologie an, und traten in eine symbiotische Beziehung zu ihrer Technologie. Simmons spteres Buch Ilium zeigt eine andere Situation in der fernen Zukunft, wo Posthumane von ihrer eigenen Technologie scheinbar absorbiert wurden, whrend eine kleine Bevlkerungsgruppe von weniger vernderten Menschen weiterhin auf der Erde lebt und dabei komplett von einer Technologie abhngig ist, die sie nicht lnger verstehen (siehe Technologische Singularitt).

Der Roman Die Abschaffung der Arten von Dietmar Dath, der 2008 auf der Shortlist des Deutschen Buchpreis war, spielt in einer Welt, in der das transhumanistische Projekt verwirklicht wurde, indem ein Teil der Menschheit sich durch gesteuerte Evolution in die Gente verwandelt hat. Sie sind eine Art umfassendes auf den heute bekannten Tieren beruhendes Geschlecht, welches zur Informationsbermittlung auf ein Duftstoffnetz zurckgreift.

Auerhalb der Science-Fiction wurde der Transhumanismus zum Beispiel von Michel Houellebecq in seinen Romanen Elementarteilchen und Die Mglichkeit einer Insel thematisiert. Die Menschheit beschliet hier als Reaktion auf die Desillusionen der Moderne, zugunsten einer geschlechtslosen, unsterblichen Spezies von der Weltbhne zu verschwinden.

In dem 2012 erschienenen Roman Maschinenmann des australischen Autors Max Barry verliert ein Wissenschaftler durch einen Unfall ein Bein, welches er durch eine biomechanische Prothese ersetzt. Als der Wissenschaftler feststellt, dass sein neues synthetisches Bein wesentlich leistungsfhiger ist als ein natrliches, beginnt der Mann, weitere seiner Krperteile auszutauschen, um seinen organischen Leib zu perfektionieren.

Im 2013 erschienenen Roman Inferno von Dan Brown erschafft ein Wissenschaftler, der sich als Transhumanist sieht, ein Virus, das die Welt vor der drohenden berbevlkerung und dem seiner Ansicht nach damit unvermeidlichen Kollaps der Erde retten soll.

Auch in aktuellen Computerspielen tauchen Ideen und Konzepte des Transhumanismus auf. Die Deus-Ex-Reihe behandelt auch und vor allem die Auswirkungen berlegener Technik wie knstlicher Implantate und knstlicher Intelligenz auf den menschlichen Geist und die Gesellschaft.

Ein weiteres Beispiel fr eine transhumanistische Organisation in Computerspielen ist die Cerberus-Gruppe in der RPG-Serie Mass Effect. Diese versucht durch Genmanipulation und Implantologie der Menschheit einen Vorteil im intergalaktischen Wettbewerb mit den anderen, auerirdischen Rassen zu verschaffen. Obwohl der Spieler im ersten Teil der Serie die teils unmoralischen Experimente und Machenschaften der Gruppe aufdeckt, wird er zu Beginn des zweiten Teils durch eben deren Technik wieder zum Leben erweckt und versucht im Folgenden mit Untersttzung von Cerberus die Vernichtung allen organischen Lebens durch die sog. Reaper, uralte und hoch entwickelte Maschinenwesen, zu verhindern. Der Spieler kann dabei an mehreren Stellen in Dialogen seine Einstellung zur Cerberus-Gruppe darstellen und sich dabei sowohl loyal zeigen als auch abgrenzen.

Das Computerspiel BioShock dreht sich um ein gescheitertes libertres Gesellschaftsmodell, welches dem Transhumanismus hnelt. Die elitren Bewohner der Unterwasserstadt Rapture verwendeten dabei exzessive Genmanipulation, um ihre Krperfunktionen zu erweitern, was ihnen schlielich zum Verhngnis wurde. Autor Ken Levine greift dabei Ayn Rands Objektivismus auf und zeichnet das Portrt einer Gesellschaft, in der diese Weltanschauung in Gnze gelebt wurde, aber letzten Endes scheiterte.[17]

In den Syndicate Computerspielen ist es mglich, seinen Agenten vorteilsbringende Prothesen zu kaufen, wodurch sie im spteren Spielverlauf zunehmend zu Cyborgs werden.

Der Horror-Titel Soma des schwedischen Studios Frictional Games verwischt die Grenze zwischen Mensch und Maschine und mchte Grauen mit daraus entstehenden Fragen vermitteln.[18]

Das Open-World Rollenspiel “Fallout 4” des US-amerikanischen Spieleentwicklers Bethesda Game Studios, ermglicht dem Spielenden sich ausfhrlich mit der Frage zu beschftigen, ob bzw. ab wann knstliche Intelligenzen (hier:Synths) “Lebewesen” sind und als solche entsprechende Rechte verdienen. Die fortschrittlichsten dieser Synths sind vollstndig synthetische Menschen, die jedoch mittels eines “Synthmoduls” programmiert und Sprachgesteuert werden knnen. Das “Institut”, welches fr die Entwicklung und Produktion der Synths verantwortlich ist, sieht in Ihnen die “Menschheit -neu definiert”, wird dabei jedoch von der Untergrundorganisation “Railroad” bekmpft, welche dem Institut vorwirft die Synths zu versklaven und auszubeuten. Demgegenber steht die “Sthlerne Bruderschaft”, eine militrisch disziplinierte Organisation, welche die Synths trotz ihres eigenen Vertrauens in hoch entwickelte Technologien fr eine Gefahr hlt.

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Transhumanismus Wikipedia

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Johns Hopkins University | Coursera

Posted: December 2, 2016 at 12:31 pm

Statistics for Genomic Data Science

Starts Dec 19, 2016

Introduction to Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Starts Nov 28, 2016

Principles of fMRI 2

Starts Nov 28, 2016

Systems Thinking In Public Health

Starts Dec 12, 2016

Advanced Linear Models for Data Science 1: Least Squares

Starts Nov 28, 2016

Introduction to Neurohacking In R

Starts Dec 12, 2016

Building Data Visualization Tools

Starting December 12th, 2016

Design and Interpretation of Clinical Trials

Starts Dec 05, 2016

Ruby on Rails Web Services and Integration with MongoDB

Starts Dec 05, 2016

Rails with Active Record and Action Pack

Starts Dec 05, 2016

Major Depression in the Population: A Public Health Approach

Starts Dec 05, 2016

Introduction to Genomic Technologies

Starts Dec 19, 2016

Genomic Data Science Capstone

Starts Dec 05, 2016

R Programming Capstone

Starting January 18th, 2016

Training and Learning Programs for Volunteer Community Health Workers

Starts Jan 16, 2017

Mathematical Biostatistics Boot Camp 2

Starts Dec 19, 2016

Reproducible Research

Starts Nov 28, 2016

Statistical Inference

Starts Nov 28, 2016

The Data Scientists Toolbox

Starts Nov 28, 2016

Single Page Web Applications with AngularJS

Starts Dec 05, 2016

Exploratory Data Analysis

Starts Nov 28, 2016

Health for All Through Primary Health Care

Starts Dec 25, 2016

Developing Data Products

Starts Nov 28, 2016

Getting and Cleaning Data

Starts Nov 28, 2016

Ruby on Rails: An Introduction

Starts Dec 05, 2016

Introduction to the Biology of Cancer

Starts Dec 05, 2016

Data Science in Real Life

Starts Nov 28, 2016

Statistical Reasoning for Public Health 2: Regression Methods

Starts Nov 28, 2016

HTML, CSS, and Javascript for Web Developers

Starts Dec 05, 2016

Statistical Reasoning for Public Health 1: Estimation, Inference, & Interpretation

Starts Jan 16, 2017

Understanding Cancer Metastasis

Starts Dec 12, 2016

Systems Science and Obesity

Starts Nov 28, 2016

Data Science Capstone

Starts Feb 06, 2017

Command Line Tools for Genomic Data Science

Starts Dec 19, 2016

The R Programming Environment

Starts Nov 28, 2016

Psychological First Aid

Starts Dec 12, 2016

Mathematical Biostatistics Boot Camp 1

Starts Dec 19, 2016

R Programming

Starts Nov 28, 2016

Building R Packages

Starts Nov 28, 2016

Capstone: Photo Tourist Web Application

Starting January 17, 2017

Confronting Gender Based Violence: Global Lessons for Healthcare Workers

Starts Jan 09, 2017

Community Change in Public Health

Starts Nov 28, 2016

Managing Data Analysis

Starts Nov 28, 2016

Principles of fMRI 1

Starts Dec 19, 2016

Advanced R Programming

Starts Nov 28, 2016

Chemicals and Health

Starts Dec 26, 2016

Python for Genomic Data Science

Starts Dec 19, 2016

Advanced Linear Models for Data Science 2: Statistical Linear Models

Starts Dec 05, 2016

Algorithms for DNA Sequencing

Starts Dec 19, 2016

Practical Machine Learning

Starts Nov 28, 2016

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Johns Hopkins University | Coursera

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