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Tag Archives: time
Posted: September 25, 2016 at 7:19 am
What is Tor?
Tor is a volunteer-run service that provides both privacy and anonymity online by masking who you are and where you are connecting. The service also protects you from the Tor network itself.
For people who might need occasional anonymity and privacy when accessing websites, Tor Browser provides a quick and easy way to use the Tor network.
The easiest way to use the Tor network is to use the Tor Browser Bundle, which combines a web browser, the Tor software, and other helpful software that will give you a way of more securely accessing the web.
The Tor Browser works just like other web browsers, except that it sends your communications through Tor, making it harder for people who are monitoring you to know exactly what you’re doing online, and harder for people monitoring the sites you use to know where you’re connecting from. Keep in mind that only activities you do inside of Tor Browser itself will be anonymized. Having Tor Browser installed on your computer does not make things you do on the same computer using other software (such as your regular web browser) anonymous.
Open a browser like Mozilla Firefox or Safari and type: https://www.torproject.org/download/download-easy.html.en in the URL bar. If you are using a search engine to look for the Tor Browser Bundle, make sure that the URL is correct.
Click the big purple download button to get the installation program for Tor Browser Bundle.
The website will have detected your operating system and you’ll get the correct file for OS X. If this fails you can click the link to the side of the purple button to download to the correct version.
If you are using Safari, the Tor Browser Bundle will start to download. In Firefox you will be asked whether you wish to open or save the file. It is always best to save the file, so click the Save button. This example shows Tor Browser Bundle Version 4.0.8, which was the most current version at the time this guide was published. There may be a more recent version available for download by the time you read this.
After the download is complete, you might get an option to open the folder where the file was downloaded to. The default location is the Downloads folder. Double-click on the file Torbrowser-4.0.8-osx32_en-US.dmg
A window will open asking you to install Tor Browser Bundle by dragging it to your applications folder. You may do so now.
Tor Browser is now installed in your applications folder.
To open Tor Browser for the first time, locate it in the finder or in launchpad on newer versions of OS X.
After clicking on the Tor Browser icon, a window will open with a warning about the origin of the software. You should always take these warnings seriously and make sure you trust the software you want to install and that you got an authentic copy from the official site over a secure connection. Since you know what you want, and you know where to get the software, and the download was from the Tor Project’s secure HTTPS site, click Open.
The first time Tor Browser starts, you’ll get a window that allows you to modify some settings if necessary. You might have to come back and change some configuration settings, but go ahead and connect to the Tor network by clicking the Connect button.
After clicking Connect, a new window will open with a green bar that will get longer as the Tor software starts up.
The first time Tor Browser starts it might take a bit longer than usual; within a few minutes Tor Browser should be ready and a web browser will open congratulating you.
You can verify that you are connected to the Tor network by visiting check.torproject.org. If you are connected the website it will say Congratulations. This browser is configured to use Tor.
Browsing with Tor is different in some ways from the normal browsing experience. We recommended reading the tipsfor properly browsing with Tor and retaining your anonymity.
You are now ready to browse the internet anonymously with Tor.
How to: Use Tor on Mac OS X | Surveillance Self-Defense
Posted: September 22, 2016 at 8:02 pm
In this Feb. 7, 2014 file photo, Belgian doctor Marc Van Hoey, a general practitioner who is president of the Right to Die Association in the region of Flanders, speaks with the Associated Press at his practice in Antwerp, Belgium.
Yves Logghe, AP
A terminally ill minor has been helped to die in Belgium for the first time since the country did away with age restrictions on euthanasia two years ago, according to the senator who wrote the law.
Liberal Senator Jean-Jacques De Gucht confirmed the death of the sick juvenile to The Associated Press Saturday.
He said the minor was from Belgiums Flemish region, but declined to provide any further details about the patient to protect the privacy of the grieving family.
Belgium is the only country that allows minors of any age assistance in dying, De Gucht said. In Holland, the lower age limit for euthanasia is 12 years.
Its terrible when a youngster suffers, but it gives me some comfort to know that now there is a choice out there for children in the final terminal stages, De Gucht said. Its important that society doesnt neglect people in such pain.
29-year-old woman with terminal brain cancer tells CBS News’ Jan Crawford about the emotional toll her illness has taken and how she’s coming to …
The Belgian law has very strict rules for the euthanasia to be approved. It requires the minor to be in the final stages of a terminal illness, to understand the difference between life and death rationally and to have asked to end his or her life on repeated occasions. It also requires parental consent and finally the approval of two doctors, including a psychiatrist.
The law -one of the most far-reaching in the Western world – had wide public support when it was introduced in 2014, but was opposed by some pediatricians and the countrys Roman Catholic clergy.
Catholic teaching forbids euthanasia and the president of the Italian bishops conference on Saturday described the news of the euthanasia of a child as painful and worrisome.
It pains us as Christians but it also pains us as persons, Genoa Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco told Italian news agency ANSA.
As House of Representative members in Belgium cast their ballots in 2014 and an electronic tally board lit up with enough green lights to indicate the measure would carry, a lone protester in the chamber shouted assassins!
Socialist Hans Bonte at the time said no member of the House hoped the law would ever be used. But he said all Belgians, including minors, deserved the right to bid farewell to life in humane circumstances without having to fear they were breaking the law.
Some have questioned whether children should be allowed to make the choice between life and death. In 2014, a group of doctors – including pediatricians – signed a group letter to voice opposition to the measure.
A lot of people – in whatever profession – still have a problem coping with the idea that people can choose when they end their own life, De Gucht said.
2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
See the rest here:
Posted: at 7:51 pm
by Ben Best
Robert Ettinger is widely regarded as the “father of cryonics” (although he often said that he would rather be the grandson). Mr.Ettinger earned a Purple Heart in World WarII as a result of injury to his leg by an artillery shell. He subsequently became a college physics teacher after earning two Master’s Degrees from Wayne State University. (He has often been erroneously called “Doctor” and “Professor”.) Robert Ettinger was cryopreserved at the Cryonics Institute in July2011 at the age of92. See The Cryonics Institute’s 106th Patient Robert Ettinger for details.
A lifelong science fiction buff, Ettinger conceived the idea of cryonics upon reading a story called The Jameson Satellite in the July 1931 issue of Amazing Stories magazine. In 1948 Ettinger published a short story having a cryonics theme titled The Pentultimate Trump. In 1962 he self-published THE PROSPECT OF IMMORTALITY, a non-fictional book explaining in detail the methods and rationale for cryonics. He mailed the book to 200 people listed in WHO’S WHO IN AMERICA. Also in 1962, Evan Cooper independently self-published IMMORTALITY:PHYSICALLY, SCIENTIFICALLY, NOW, which is also a book advocating cryonics. In 1964 Isaac Asimov assured Doubleday that (although socially undesirable, in his opinion) cryonics is based on reasonable scientific assumptions. This allowed THE PROSPECT OF IMMORTALITY to be printed and distributed by a major publisher. The word “cryonics” had not been invented yet, but the concept was clearly established.
In December, 1963 Evan Cooper founded the world’s first cryonics organization, the Life Extension Society, intended to create a network of cryonics groups throughout the world. Cooper eventually became discouraged, however, and he dropped his cryonics-promoting activities to pursue his interest in sailing. His life was ended by being lost at sea. Cooper’s networking had not been in vain, however, because people who had become acquainted through his efforts formed cryonics organizations in northern and southern California as well as in New York.
In 1965 a New York industrial designer named Karl Werner coined the word “cryonics”. That same year Saul Kent, Curtis Henderson and Werner founded the Cryonics Society of New York. Werner soon drifted away from cryonics and became involved in Scientology, but Kent and Henderson remained devoted to cryonics. In 1966 the Cryonics Society of Michigan and the Cryonics Society of California were founded. Unlike the other two organizations, the Cryonics Society of Michigan was an educational and social group which had no intention to actually cryopreserve people and it exists today under the name Immortalist Society.
A TV repairman named Robert Nelson was the driving force behind the Cryonics Society of California. On January12, 1967 Nelson froze a psychology professor named James Bedford. Bedford was injected with multiple shots of DMSO, and a thumper was applied in an attempt to circulate the DMSO with chest compressions. Nelson recounted the story in his book WE FROZE THE FIRST MAN. Bedford’s wife and son took Bedford’s body from Nelson after six days and the family kept Dr.Bedford in cryogenic care until 1982 when he was transferred to Alcor. Of 17cryonics patients cryopreserved in the period between 1967 and 1973, only Bedford remains in liquid nitrogen.
In 1974 Curtis Henderson, who had been maintaining three cryonics patients for the Cryonics Society of New York, was told by the New York Department of Public Health that he must close down his cryonics facility immediately or be fined $1,000per day. The three cryonics patients were returned to their families.
In 1979 an attorney for relatives of one of the Cryonics Society of California patients led journalists to the Chatsworth, California cemetery where they entered the vault where the patients were being stored. None of the nine “cryonics patients” were being maintained in liquid nitrogen, and all were badly decomposed. Nelson and the funeral director in charge were both sued. The funeral director could pay (through his liability insurance), but Nelson had no money. Nelson had taken most of the patients as charity cases or on a “pay-as-you-go” basis where payments had not been continued. The Chatsworth Disaster is the greatest catastrophe in the history of cryonics.
In 1969 the Bay Area Cryonics Society(BACS) was founded by two physicians, with the assistance of others, notably Edgar Swank. BACS (which later changed its name to the American Cryonics Society) is now the cryonics organization with the longest continuous history in offering cryonics services. In 1972 Trans Time was founded as a for-profit perfusion service-provider for BACS. Both BACS and Alcor intended to store patients in New York, but in 1974 Trans Time was forced to create its own cryostorage facility due to the closure of the storage facility in New York. Until the 1980s all BACS and Alcor patients were stored in liquid nitrogen at Trans Time.
In 1977 Trans Time was contacted by a UCLA cardiothoracic surgeon and medical researcher named Jerry Leaf, who responded to an advertisement Trans Time had placed in REASON magazine. In 1978 Leaf created a company called Cryovita devoted to doing cryonics research and to providing perfusion services for both Alcor and Trans Time.
By the 1980s acrimony between Trans Time and BACS caused the organizations to disassociate. BACS was renamed the American Cryonics Society (ACS) in 1985. Jim Yount (who joined BACS in 1972 and became a Governor two years later) and Edgar Swank have been the principal activists in ACS into the 21st century.
For 26 years from the time of its inception until 1998 the President of Trans Time was Art Quaife. The name “Trans Time” was inspired by Trans World Airlines, which was then a very prominent airline. Also active in Trans Time was Paul Segall, a man who had been an active member of the Cryonics Society of New York. Segall obtained a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley, studying the life-extending effects of tryptophan deprivation. He wrote a book on life extension (which included a section on cryonics) entitled LIVING LONGER, GROWING YOUNGER. He founded a BioTech company called BioTime, which sells blood replacement products. In 2003 Segall deanimated due to an aortic hemorrhage. He was straight-frozen because his Trans Time associates didn’t think he could be perfused. The only other cryonics patients at Trans Time are two brains, which includes the brain of Luna Wilson, the murdered teenage daughter of Robert Anton Wilson. When Michael West (who is on the Alcor Scientific Advisory Board) became BioTime CEO, the company shifted its emphasis to stem cells.
Aside from Trans Time, the other four cryonics organizations in the world which are storing human patients in liquid nitrogen are the Alcor Life Extension Foundation (founded in 1972 by Fred and Linda Chamberlain), the Cryonics Institute (founded in 1976 by Robert Ettinger), KrioRus (located near Moscow in Russia, founded in 2006), and Oregon Cryonics (incorporated by former CI Director Jordan Sparks, and beginning service in May 2014).
Fred and Linda Chamberlain had been extremely active in the Cryonics Society of California until 1971 when they became distrustful of Robert Nelson because of (among other reasons) Nelson’s refusal to allow them to see where the organization’s patients were being stored. In 1972 the Chamberlains founded Alcor, named after a star in the Big Dipper used in ancient times as a test of visual acuity. Alcor’s first cryonics patient was Fred Chamberlain’s father who, in 1976, became the world’s first “neuro” (head-only) cryonics patient. (Two-thirds of Alcor patients are currently “neuros”). Trans Time provided cryostorage for Alcor until Alcor acquired its own storage capability in 1982.
After 1976 the Chamberlains encouraged others to run Alcor, beginning with a Los Angeles physician, who became Alcor President. The Chamberlains moved to Lake Tahoe, Nevada where they engaged in rental as well as property management and held annual Life Extension Festivals until 1986. They had to pay hefty legal fees to avoid being dragged into the Chatsworth lawsuits, a fact that increased their dislike of Robert Nelson. In 1997 they returned to Alcor when Fred became President and Linda was placed in charge of delivering cryonics service. Fred and Linda started two companies (Cells4Life and BioTransport) associated with Alcor, assuming responsibility for all unsecured debt of those companies. Financial disaster and an acrimonious dispute with Alcor management led to Fred and Linda leaving Alcor in 2001, filing for bankruptcy and temporarily joining the Cryonics Institute. They returned to Alcor in 2011, and Fred became an Alcor patient in 2012.
Saul Kent, one of the founders of the Cryonics Society of New York, became one of Alcor’s strongest supporters. He was a close associate of Pearson & Shaw, authors of the 1982 best-selling book LIFE EXTENSION. Pearson & Shaw were flooded with mail as a result of their many media appearances, and they gave the mail to Saul Kent. Kent used that mail to create a mailing list for a new mail-order business he created for selling supplements: the Life Extension Foundation(LEF). Millions of dollars earned from LEF have not only helped build Alcor, but have created and supported a company doing cryobiological research (21st Century Medicine), a company doing anti-ischemia research (Critical Care Research), and a company developing the means to apply the research to standby and transport cryonics procedures (Suspended Animation, Inc).
In December1987 Kent brought his terminally ill mother (Dora Kent) into the Alcor facility where she deanimated. The body (without the head) was given to the local coroner (Dora Kent was a “neuro”). The coroner issued a death certificate which gave death as due to natural causes. Barbiturate had been given to Dora Kent after legal death to slow brain metabolism. The coroner’s office did not understand that circulation was artificially restarted after legal death, which distributed the barbiturate throughout the body.
After the autopsy, the coroner’s office changed the cause of death on the death certificate to homicide. In January1988 Alcor was raided by coroner’s deputies, a SWAT team, and UCLA police. The Alcor staff was taken to the police station in handcuffs and the Alcor facility was ransacked, with computers and records being seized. The coroner’s office wanted to seize Dora Kent’s head for autopsy, but the head had been removed from the Alcor facility and taken to a location that was never disclosed. Alcor later sued for false arrest and for illegal seizures, winning both court cases. (See Dora Kent: Questions and Answers)
Growth in Alcor membership was fairly slow and linear until the mid-1980s, following which there was a sharp increase in growth. Ironically, publicity surrounding the Dora Kent case is often cited as one of the reasons for the growth acceleration. Another reason often cited is the 1986 publication of ENGINES OF CREATION, a seminal book about nanotechnology which contained an entire chapter devoted to cryonics (the possibility that nanomachines could repair freezing damage). Hypothermic dog experiments associated with cryonics were also publicized in the mid-1980s. In the late 1980s Alcor Member Dick Clair who was dying of AIDS fought in court for the legal right to practice cryonics in California (a battle that was ultimately won). But the Cryonics Institute did not experience a growth spurt until the advent of the internet in the 1990s. The American Cryonics Society does not publish membership statistics.
Robert Ettinger, Saul Kent and Mike Darwin are arguably the three individuals who had the most powerful impact on the early history of cryonics. Having experimented with the effects of cold on organisms from the time he was a child, Darwin learned of cryonics at the Indiana State Science Fair in 1968. He was able to spend summers at the Cryonics Society of New York (living with Curtis Henderson). Darwin was given the responsibility of perfusing cryonics patients at the age of 17 in recognition of his technical skills.
Born “Michael Federowicz”, Mike chose to use his high school nickname “Darwin” as a cryonics surname when he began his career as a kidney dialysis technician. He had been given his nickname as a result of being known at school for arguing for evolution, against creationism. He is widely known in cryonics as “Mike Darwin”, although his legal surname remains Federowicz.
Not long after Alcor was founded, Darwin moved to California at the invitation of Fred and Linda Chamberlain. He spent a year as the world’s first full-time dedicated cryonics researcher until funding ran out. Returning to Indiana, Darwin (along with Steve Bridge) created a new cryonics organization that accumulated considerable equipment and technical capability.
In 1981 Darwin moved back to California, largely because of his desire to work with Jerry Leaf. In 1982 the Indiana organization merged with Alcor, and in 1983 Darwin was made President of Alcor. In California Darwin, Leaf and biochemist Hugh Hixon (who has considerable engineering skill) developed a blood substitute capable of sustaining life in dogs for at least 4hours at or below 9C . Leaf and Darwin had some nasty confrontations with members of the Society for Cryobiology over that organization’s 1985 refusal to publish their research. The Society for Cryobiology adopted a bylaw that prohibited cryonicists from belonging to the organization. Mike Darwin later wrote a summary of the conflicts between cryonicists and cryobiologists under the title Cold War. Similar experiments were done by Paul Segall and his associates, which generated a great deal of favorable media exposure for cryonics.
In 1988 Carlos Mondragon replaced Mike Darwin as Alcor President because Mondragon proved to be more capable of handling the stresses of the Dora Kent case. Darwin had vast medical knowledge (especially as it applies to cryonics), and possessed exceptional technical skills. He was a prolific and lucid writer much of the material in the Alcor website library was written by Mike Darwin. Darwin worked as Alcor’s Research Director from 1988 to 1992, during which time he developed a Transport Technician course in which he trained Alcor Members in the technical skills required to deliver the initial phases of cryonics service.
For undisclosed reasons, Darwin left Alcor in 1992, much to the distress of many Alcor Members who regarded Mike Darwin as by far the person in the world most capable of delivering competent cryonics technical service. In 1993 a new cryonics organization called CryoCare Foundation was created, largely so that people could benefit from Darwin’s technical skills. Another strongly disputed matter was the proposed move of Alcor from California to Arizona (implemented in February 1994).
About50 Alcor Members left Alcor to join and form CryoCare. Darwin delivered standby, transport and perfusion services as a subcontractor to CryoCare and the American Cryonics Society (ACS). Cryostorage services were contracted to CryoCare and ACS by Paul Wakfer. Darwin’s company was called BioPreservation and Wakfer’s company was called CryoSpan. Eventually, serious personality conflicts developed between Darwin and Wakfer. In 1999 Darwin stopped providing service to CryoCare and Wakfer turned CryoSpan over to Saul Kent. Kent then refused to accept additional cryonics patients at CryoSpan, and was determined to end CryoSpan in a way that would not harm the cryonics patients being stored there.
I (Ben Best) had been CryoCare Secretary, and became President of CryoCare in 1999 in an attempt to arrange alternate service providers for CryoCare. The Cryonics Institute agreed to provide cryostorage. Various contractors were found to provide the other services, but eventually CryoCare could not be sustained. In 2003 I became President of the Cryonics Institute. I assisted with the moving of CryoSpan’s two CryoCare patients to Alcor and CryoSpan’s ten ACS patients to the Cryonics Institute. In 2012 I resigned as President of the Cryonics Institute, and began working for the Life Extension Foundation. Dennis Kowalski became the new CI President.
Mike Darwin continued to work as a researcher at Saul Kent’s company Critical Care Research (CCR) until 2001. Darwin’s most notable accomplishment at CCR was his role in developing methods to sustain dogs without neurological damage following 17minutes of warm ischemia. Undisclosed conflicts with CCR management caused Darwin to leave CCR in 2001. He worked briefly with Alcor and Suspended Animation, and later did consulting work for the Cryonics Institute. But for the most part Darwin has been distanced from cryonics organizations.
The history of the Cryonics Institute (CI) has been less tumultuous than that of Alcor. CI has had primarily two Presidents: Robert Ettinger from April1976 to September2003, and Ben Best to June2012. (Andrea Foote was briefly President in 1994, but soon became ill with ovarian cancer.) Robert Ettinger decided to build fiberglass cryostats rather than buy dewars because CI’s Detroit facility was too small for dewars. Robert Ettinger’s mother became the first patient of the Cryonics Institute when she deanimated in 1977. She was placed in dry ice for about ten years until CI began using liquid nitrogen in 1987 (the same year that Robert Ettinger’s first wife became CI’s second patient). In 1994 CI acquired the Erfurt-Runkel Building in Clinton Township (a suburb northeast of Detroit) for about $300,000. This is roughly the same amount of money as had been bequeathed to CI by CI Member Jack Erfurt (who had deanimated in 1992). Erfurt’s wife (Andrea Foote who deanimated in 1995) also bequeathed $300,000 to CI. Andy Zawacki, nephew of Connie Ettinger (wife of Robert Ettinger’s son David), built a ten-person cryostat in the new facility. Fourteen patients were moved from the old Detroit facility to the new Cryonics Institute facility. Andy Zawacki is a man of many talents. He has been a CI employee since January1985 (when he was 19years old), handling office work (mostly Member sign-ups and contracts), building maintenance and equipment fabrication, but also patient perfusion and cool-down.
Throughout most of the history of cryonics glycerol has been the cryoprotectant used to perfuse cryonics patients. Glycerol reduces, but does not eliminate, ice formation. In the late 1990s research conducted at 21st Century Medicine and at UCLA under the direction of 21st Century Medicine confirmed that ice formation in brain tissue could be completely eliminated by a judiciously chosen vitrification mixture of cryoprotectants. In 2001 Alcor began vitrification perfusion of cryonics patients with a cryoprotectant mixture called B2C, and not long thereafter adopted a better mixture called M22. At the Cryonics Institute a vitrification mixture called CI-VM-1 was developed by CI staff cryobiologist Dr.Yuri Pichugin (who was employed at CI from 2001 to 2007). The first CI cryonics patient was vitrified in 2005.
In 2002 Alcor cryopreserved baseball legend Ted Williams. Two of the Williams children attested that their father wanted to be cryopreserved, but a third child protested bitterly. Journalists at Sports Illustrated wrote a sensationalistic expose of Alcor based on information supplied to them by Alcor employee Larry Johnson, who had surreptitiously tape-recorded many conversations in the facility. The ensuing media circus led to some nasty moves by politicians to incapacitate cryonics organizations. In Arizona, state representative Bob Stump attempted to put Alcor under the control of the Funeral Board. The Arizona Funeral Board Director told the New York Times “These companies need to be regulated or deregulated out of business”. Alcor fought hard, and in 2004 the legislation was withdrawn. Alcor hired a full-time lobbyist to watch after their interests in the Arizona legislature. Although the Cryonics Institute had not been involved in the Ted Williams case, the State of Michigan placed the organization under a “Cease and Desist” order for six months, ultimately classifying and regulating the Cryonics Institute as a cemetery in 2004. In the spirit of de-regulation, the new Republican Michigan government removed the cemetary designation for CI in 2012.
In 2002 Suspended Animation, Inc(SA) was created to do research on improved delivery of cryonics services, and to provide those services to other cryonics organizations. In 2003 SA perfused a cryonics patient for the American Cryonics Society, and the patient was stored at the Cryonics Institute. Alcor has long offered standby and transport services to its Members as an integral part of Membership, but the Cryonics Institute (CI) had not done so. In 2005 the CI Board of Directors approved contracts with SA which would allow CI Members the option of receiving SA standby and transport if they so chose. Several years later, all Alcor standby cases in the continental United States outside of Arizona were handled by SA, and SA COO Catherine Baldwin became an Alcor Director. Alcor has continued to do standby and stabilization in Arizona. Any Alcor Member who is diagnosed as being terminally ill with a prognosis of less than 90 days of life will be reimbursed $10,000 for moving to a hospice in the Phoenix, Arizona area. By 2014, over160 of the roughly 550CI Members who had arrangements for cryopreservation services from CI had opted to also have Standby, Stabilization and Transport(SST) from SA.
A Norwegian ACS Member named Trygve Bauge brought his deceased grandfather to the United States and stored the body at Trans Time from 1990 to 1993. Bauge then transported his grandfather to Nederland, Colorado in dry ice with the intention of starting his own cryonics company. But Bauge was deported back to Norway and the story of his grandfather created a media circus. The town outlawed cryonics, but had to “grandfather the grandfather” who has remained there on dry ice. After a “cooling-off period” locals turned the publicity to their advantage by creating an annual Frozen Dead Guy Days festival which features coffin races, snow sculptures, etc. Many cryonicists insist that dry ice is not cold enough for long-term cryopreservation and that the Nederland festival is negative publicity for cryonics.
After several years of management turnover at Alcor, money was donated to find a lasting President. In January 2011, Max More was selected as the new President and CEO of Alcor. In July 2011 Robert Ettinger was cryopreseved at CI after a standby organized by his son and daughter-in-law. In July 2012 Ben Best ended his 9-year service as CI President and CEO by going to work for the Life Extension Foundation as Director of Research Oversight. The Life Extension Foundation is the major source of cryonics-related research, including funding for 21st Century Medicine, Suspended Animation, Inc., and Advanced Neural Biosciences, and funds many anti-aging research projects as well. Dennis Kowalski became the new CI President. Ben Best retired as CI Director in September 2014.
In January 2011 CI shipped its vitrification solution (CI-VM-1) to the United Kingdom so that European cryonics patients could be vitrified before shipping in dry ice to the United States. This procedure was applied to the wife of UK cryonicist Alan Sinclair in May 2013. In the summer of 2014 Alcor began offering this “field vitrication” service to its members in Canada and overseas.
In 2006 the first cryonics organization to offer cryonics services outside of the United States was created in Russia. KrioRus has a facility in a Moscow suburb where many cryonics patients are being stored in liquid nitrogen. In 2014 Oregon Cryonics (created by former CI Director Jordan Sparks) began providing neuro(head or brain)-only services at low cost for cryopreservation and chemical preservation.
(For details on the current status of the different cryonics organizations, see Comparing Procedures and Policies.)
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Posted: at 7:44 pm
Our Vision: People living and working in thriving communities beyond the Earth, and the use of the vast resources of space for the dramatic betterment of humanity.
The Society publishes Ad Astra magazine and maintains an active global network of volunteers and local chapters. Membership and participation are open to all. Join the space movement, and help build a positive future for humanity!
Enterprise In Space: A Tutor for Every Child, video presentation for the MacArthur Foundation 100&Change Grant.
The President of the National Space Society describes how many children around the world lack access to a basic education and how ValueSpring Technology is developing an artificial intelligence that will be a tutor for each person, thus helping to bring about the world that Gene Roddenberry imagined, where everyone is able to contribute to his or her full potential. This project is being submitted in competition for a $100 million MacArthur Foundation grant to fund a single proposal that promises real and measurable progress in solving a critical problem of our time.
Elon Musk talk Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species to be webcast September 27
On Tuesday September 27, on the second day of the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Guadalajara, Mexico, Elon Musk will deliver a special keynote presentationonMaking Humans a Multiplanetary Species.
Musk will discuss the long-term technical challenges that need to be solved to support the creation of a permanent, self-sustaining human presence on Mars. The technical presentation will focus on potential architectures for colonizing the Red Planet that industry, government and the scientific community can collaborate on in the years ahead.
The presentation is scheduled for one hour beginning at 2:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 1:30 PM Central Daylight Time (Guadalajara), 12:30 PM Mountain Daylight Time, and 11:30 AM Pacific Daylight Time.
This and other IAC plenary sessions will be webcast on thisdirect link to IAC webcasts on livestream.com. For a schedule of other sessionssee theIAC website plenaries and highlight lectures page.
National Space Society Congratulates NASA, ULA, and Lockheed Martin on the Successful Launch of OSIRIS-REx
(Washington, DC — September 9, 2016) With the successful launch of a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 411 on September 8 at 7:05 PM EST, 2016 from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, NASAs mission to travel to a near Earth asteroid and return a sample got underway. NSS congratulates the team who made this happen. OSIRIS-REx stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer.
OSIRIS-REx has NSS members really excited, said Bruce Pittman, NSS Senior Vice President. The craft will provide a complete map of the chemistry and mineralogy of a carbon based asteroid. Such asteroids will be critical for both the economic development and settlement of space. The TAGSAM sample collection device may provide a foundation for the development of future asteroid mining robots. Dante Lauretta, the OSIRIS-REx principal investigator, and his team at the University of Arizona have put together a really impressive mission.
See full press release.
National Space Society Urges Renewed Commitment to Competition and Reusability Following Falcon 9/Amos 6 Incident
(Washington, DC — September 6, 2016) At about 9:07 AM September 1, 2016, during preparation for a routine static fire test of the SpaceX Falcon 9 on Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral, an explosion resulted in the loss of both the F9 and the satellite payload. At this time there are no reports of injuries in the incident. Although Elon Musk has reported that the explosion Originated around [the] upper stage oxygen tank the cause remains unknown.
Clearly this incident is a setback for SpaceX, said Dale Skran, NSS Executive Vice President. However, it emphasizes the wisdom of NASA in supporting multiple cargo and crew carriers to the International Space Station. NASA deserves the highest praise for holding fast to supporting multiple providers with dissimilar vehicles to provide both competition and redundancy. NSS looks forward to the return to flight of the Orbital ATK Antares rocket hauling cargo to the ISS later this year, and welcomes the addition of Sierra Nevadas Dreamchaser to the list of ISS cargo haulers.
See full press release.
National Space Society Book Project: Space 2.0
(Washington, DC — July 25, 2016) The National Space Society has contracted with space historian and author Rod Pyle to write a new book entitledSpace 2.0. This new book will embark on a compelling narrative about the future development, exploration and settlement of the final frontier. NSS plans to use the finished volume as a primary tool for outreach and STEM/STEAM educational efforts, as well as supporting the organization in the broader marketplace. See full announcement.
The National Space Society Applauds Alan Stern Winning the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal
(Washington, DC — July 19, 2016) The National Space Society congratulates Dr. Alan Stern on winning the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal. This award is the highest honor that NASA can bestow. NSS has also awarded one of our highest honors to Dr. Stern, the NSS Wernher von Braun Award, which he received at our International Space Development Conference last May in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Dr. Stern was Principal Investigator of NASAs New Horizons mission to Pluto. See full press release.
National Space Society Applauds SpaceX Launch of IDA to the ISS and successful RTLS of the Falcon 9 First Stage
(Washington, DC — July 18, 2016) With a successful launch on July 18 at 12:45 AM EST, 2016 from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, SpaceX achieved several dramatic milestones on the Commercial Resupply Services 9 mission (CRS-9). In addition to supplies and experiments in the pressurized part of the Dragon, an unpressurized trunk houses the 1,028 lb (467 kilogram) International Docking Adaptor (IDA), manufactured by Boeing. The IDA, once attached to the International Space Station (ISS) will be the connecting point for Boeings CST-100 Starliner and SpaceXs Crewed Dragon 2 spacecraft as they bring American astronauts to the ISS on American-built and operated vehicles for the first time since the end of the Space Shuttle program. See full press release.
The National Space Society Congratulates Boeing on 100 Years of Aerospace Excellence
(Washington, DC — July 16, 2016) NSS congratulates the Boeing Company on reaching its 100th anniversary, and doing so while continuing to be the world leader in the aerospace business. NSS was very happy to view the recent Boeing You Just Wait commercial (below), and to hear the words of Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, who said Friday, In another 100 years, we might make daily trips to space, fly across the globe in less than an hour, or receive unlimited clean power from solar satellites. See full press release.
The National Space Society Pays Tribute to the Space Policy Leadership of Former FAA Leader Patricia Grace Smith
(Washington, DC — June 14, 2016) The National Space Society celebrates the life and contributions of a visionary champion of the commercial space industry and human space settlement, the Honorable Patricia Grace Smith. Ms. Smith unexpectedly passed away on June 5th, after quietly fighting pancreatic cancer over the last year.
The commercial space industry owes a huge debt to Patti Grace Smith whose years of determined and well-reasoned advocacy combined with her natural charm and grace won over many converts in government and fostered the birth of a new industry. There might not be a commercial space flight industry were it not for Pattis leadership, said Bruce Pittman, Senior Operating Officer of the National Space Society.
See full press release.
Smithsonian Science Education Center and NSS Team Up for Next-Generation Space Education Program Enterprise In Space
(Washington, DC — May 11, 2016) Enterprise In Space (EIS), an international program of the National Space Society, is excited to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC). EIS and SSEC plan to collaborate on two projects dedicated to space education. The first is a mission patch design challenge in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education to present at Space Day at the National Air and Space Museum, tentatively set to occur this summer. The second is the development of a space science summer course for the Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers (SSEATs) that will enrich and enhance space education in the participating educators classrooms. See full press release.
NSS Applauds SpaceX for Successful Drone Ship Landing and Launch of CRS-8/BEAM
(Washington, DC — April 8, 2016) With a successful launch on April 8, SpaceX achieved several dramatic milestones. In this mission it is hard to know what to be the most excited about, said Dale Skran, NSS Executive Vice President. SpaceX continues to break new ground in lowering the cost of going into space, and the drone ship landing is key to maximizing the amount that can be lifted into space by a first stage that is flying back to Earth. BEAM will pave the way for more affordable future commercial and deep space stations. See full press release.
The Space Exploration, Development, and Settlement Act of 2016
(Washington, DC — March 25, 2016) The Space Exploration, Development, and Settlement Act of 2016 (H.R. 4752) has been introduced by Congressman DanaRohrabacher to require the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to investigateand promote the exploration and development of space leading to humansettlements beyond Earth, and for other purposes.
The National Space Societyurges you to call or write your Congressional Representative today and request that he or sheco-sponsor H.R. 4752 (the Space Exploration, Development, and Settlement Act of 2016). Youshould specifically ask that the space staffer for yourRepresentative should contact Tony DeTora in Congressman Rohrabachers office to become a co-sponsor.
The full text of the bill can be found here:nss.org/sedsact. More information on the NSS Blog.
Space Solar Power Team Breaks Through at D3 Innovation Summit
(Washington, DC — March 7, 2016) The National Space Society congratulates the Space Solar Power D3 (SSPD3) team on sweeping the awards in a March 2 multi-departmental competition to find promising new technology ideas that could simultaneously advance diplomacy, defense and development (D3). The SSPD3 team proposal was titled Carbon-Free Energy for Global Resilience and International Goodwill. See full press release and video of the 11-minute presentation below.
The Gravity of the National Space Societys Vision
(Washington, DC — February 15, 2016) We are very proud and honored to congratulate the amazing achievement of our NSS member Dr. Kip Thorne for his leading involvement in the creation of the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory) project. LIGOs recent world-changing detection of the existence of gravitational waves predicted by Einstein a century ago in his General Relativity Theory.
Regarding the grand NSS vision, Dr. Thorne remarked, I think that its clear that it is attainable to colonize the solar system. Getting beyond the solar system is going to be exceedingly difficult. We are going to either require a lot of brute force over a period of several centuries or else a brilliant idea that none of us has grasped yet. The first thing is the solar system, but we have not been moving at anything like the pace that we could or we should. See full press release.
NSS Pays Tribute to Late NSS Governor Dr. Marvin Minsky, A Pioneer in Artificial Intelligence
(Washington, DC — February 11, 2016) The National Space Society pays tribute toDr. Marvin Minsky, who was very involved in early NSS activities and was part of many NSS space policy projects such as the 1981 Citizens Advisory Council on National Space Policy. He died on January 14 in Boston from a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 88. Hugh Downs, Chair of the NSS Board of Governors, said, Marvin Minskywas a bright light in the arena of accelerating knowledge in modern physics. Where many of us plodded along to keep up with these changes, he seemed to always manage tobe evenwith them. He will be sorely missed by those who worked with him and knew him well. See full press release.
Settling Space Is the Only Sustainable Reason for Humans to Be in Space
(Washington, DC — February 1, 2016) Dale Skran, NSS Executive Vice President, has published the following article in The Space Review:
As robotic and artificial intelligence technologies improve and enable increasingly robust exploration without a human presence, eventually there will be only one sustainable reason for humans to be in space: settlement. Research into the recycling technology required for long-term off-Earth settlements will directly benefit terrestrial sustainability. Actively working toward developing and settling space will make available mineral and energy resources for use on Earth on a vast scale. Finally, space settlement offers the hope of long-term species survival that remaining on Earth does not. SEE FULL ARTICLE.
National Space Society Congratulates Blue Origin on First Reflight of New Shepard Rocket
(Washington, DC — January 23, 2016) On January 22, 2016, two months after Blue Origins New Shepard rocket first successfully flew to the edge of space and returned to its launch site intact, Blue Origin again made history by re-flying the same vehicle. Jeff Bezos stated Though wings and parachutes have their adherents and their advantages, Im a huge fan of rocket-powered vertical landing. Why? Becauseto achieve our vision of millions of people living and working in spacewe will need to build very large rocket boosters. And the vertical landing architecture scales extraordinarily well.
Blue Origins successful re-use of the New Shepard booster after reaching the edge of space represents a major step toward a fully re-usable sub-orbital vehicle, said Bruce Pittman, NSS Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. SEE FULL PRESS RELEASE AND VIDEO on the NSS Blog.
National Space Society Applauds Selection of Dream Chaser, Dragon 2, and Cygnus for ISS Cargo Services
(Washington, DC — January 16, 2016) NSS congratulates Orbital ATK (Cygnus), Sierra Nevada (Dream Chaser), and SpaceX (Dragon 2) for being selected to provide cargo services to the International Space Station as part of the Commercial Resupply Service 2 (CRS-2) contract. The CRS contract covers the delivery of supplies to the ISS, disposal of ISS waste, and the return of scientific samples from the ISS. The new contract provides a minimum of six missions to each of the three winners during the period 2019-2024. A NASA spokesperson said, NASAs service contracts to resupply the space station have changed the way the agency does business in low-Earth orbit. With these contracts, NASA continues to advance commercial spaceflight and the American jobs it creates.
This announcement represents a major forward advance for NASA and the CRS program, said Dale Skran, NSS Executive Vice President. Both Orbital ATK and SpaceX added significant new capabilities over the first contract. In the new contract, the up-sized Cygnus with new solar panels will be used, and the Dragon 2 offers options for both berthing and docking, along with a rapid return to Earth capacity via propulsive landing. However, the selection of Sierra Nevada and the Dream Chaser means that for the first time since the retirement of the Space Shuttle reusable winged vehicles will be returning from space and landing at Kennedy Space Center.
NSS congratulates NASA on adding a third CRS provider, said Mark Hopkins, Chair of the NSS Executive Committee. The CRS-2 program now has triple redundancy in both orbital components and launch vehicles. NSS members look forward to the Dream Chasers first return from space. See full press release.
Interviews of NSS Chairman Mark Hopkins
Mark Hopkins, Chairman of the NSS Executive Committee, was interviewed on The Space Show on January 4 on the subject of space settlement in general and interstellar space settlement in particular. You can downloadthe 90-minute program here: thespaceshow.com/show/04-jan-2016/broadcast-2617.
You can hear other interviews of Mark conducted byDr. Karl Hricko on the show Contours on member-supported public radio station WNTIoperated by Centenary College in Hackettstown, NJ: Mark Hopkins interview August 23, 2015 (14 minutes) and Mark Hopkins interview May 28, 2015 (21 minutes).
Mark was also on a special edition of The Space Show in March 2007: thespaceshow.com/show/10-mar-2007/broadcast-683-special-edition.
National Space Society Partners with Voices From L5: A Space Settlement Podcast
(Washington, DC — January 6, 2016) The National Space Society is proud to announce its partnership withVoices From L5. This exciting new podcast will open new discussions on space settlement, focusing on the humanities and social sciences, and educate the public on the science of space settlement. Space settlement is the concept of humankind moving our economy into space, with people living and working in space.
NSS vice president for Public Affairs Lynne Zielinski said, We are thrilled to strengthen our online community and outreach by branching into the vibrant world of podcasts, and we are very excited to be working withVoices From L5. This podcast project will explore topics such as law, art, politics and sociology to generate excitement among a whole new generation of space settlement enthusiasts.
To learn more aboutVoices From L5visit: https://www.patreon.com/VoicesFromL5
For previous podcasts visit: http://www.podcastchart.com/podcasts/voices-from-l5
Made In Space Teams with Enterprise In Space to 3D Print First Space-Bound Airframe
(Washington, DC — December 18, 2015) Enterprise In Space (EIS), an international project of the non-profit National Space Society, is excited to announce a partnership with Made In Space, Inc. to extensively use 3D printed components in a spacecraft to be launched into Earth orbit. This educational spacecraft will be the first real spacecraft bearing the Enterprise name. Once in orbit, the NSS Enterprise will not only be the first 3D printed airframe in space, but it will also carry more than 100 passive and active student experiments into space and back to Earth.
See full press release.
The National Space Society Pays Tribute to Dr. Kalam One of Our Leading Lights Has Joined the Stars
(Washington, DC — July 31, 2015) On 27 July 2015, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, eleventh President of India and a friend and inspiration to the National Space Society (NSS), passed away. NSS would like to convey our condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Kalam, and to all of India. His death is a great loss not only to India, but to the whole of humanity, said Mark Hopkins, chair of the NSS Executive Committee. In his honor, a permanent part of the online NSS library will be dedicated to his visionary space legacy. He was a true friend to NSS giving his name to our shared Kalam-NSS Space-based Solar Power Initiative.
One of the true statesmen of our generation, Dr. Kalam was regarded as one of the greatest minds, visionaries, and peacemakers of the early 21stcentury. Dr. Kalam was a towering spacefaring advocate. His passing is a deep loss to NSS. Loved and admired by the masses of India, he was loved and admired by us as well. We were honored to work with him and to present him with our 2013 Wernher von Braun Memorial Award (photo) for leading India into space and for being a global leader in space development. He will be missed terribly by all around the world who share a common vision of humanitys future in space.
See full press release.
NASA-Funded Study Reduces Cost of Human Missions to Moon and Mars by Factor of Ten
(Washington, DC — July 20, 2015) The National Space Society (NSS) and Space Frontier Foundation (SFF) today announced their support for NASAs funding of the newly released NexGen Space study, illustrating how to cut the cost of human space exploration by a factor of 10. The study, Economic Assessment and Systems Analysis of an Evolvable Lunar Architecture that Leverages Commercial Space Capabilities and Public Private Partnerships, finds public-private partnerships are able to return humans to the Moon for approximately 90% less than the previously estimated $100 billion, allowing the United States to ensure national security in a new space age.
NSS congratulates NASA for funding the team at NexGen that discovered how such cost reductions are possible, said NSS Executive Committee Chair, Mark Hopkins. A factor of ten reduction in cost changes everything.
See full press release and video of press conference.
Read more here:
National Space Society
Posted: September 20, 2016 at 7:11 pm
What did a Quaker teacher, a Methodist preacher, a former slave, a former slaver, a ship’s doctor, a businessman, an African composer, a Baron, a scholar, an outspoken widow, a lawyer and awealthy politicianhave in common?
Theywere just some of the people whocampaignedto bring about the abolition ofthe Transatlantic Slave Trade. For a long time, not many people in Britain knew and understood the evils of the Slave Trade. Thosewho did, and campaigned against it,faced abuse and occasionally even violence. They eventually formed a fellowship to abolish the trade.
The abolistionists also included manyAfricanswho worked side by side with British abolitionists; they included Africans such as Olaudah Equiano, QuobnaOttobah Cugoano and Ignatius Sancho. Theyformed theirown group’The Sons of Africa’, to campaign for abolition. As Reddie says, the work of these African freedom fighters was important because it dispelled many of the misconceptions that white people held about Africans at the time’.
It was not only freed slaveswho fought against the trade. Enslaved peoplealsofought for their freedom.You can readmore abouttheir strugglein the’resistance section’. In Britain, the abolition movement gained in strength, despite setbacks and opposition from thosewho weremaking a great deal of moneyfrom thetrade. The movement brought together a wide range of different people (black, white, male and female) and each had something unique to offer the cause.
In this section:
You can find details of just some of the men and women who worked alongside Thomas Clarkson or were influential in the campaign.
Posted: at 7:08 pm
SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER WASHINGTONFor the first time in U.S. history, a federal appeals court on Friday struck down a federal gun-control law for violating the Second Amendment, meaning that next year the Supreme Court will hear a case that includes the opportunity to abolish citizens right to bear arms by overruling the Courts famous Heller precedent.
Clifford Tyler is a law-abiding and peaceful citizen living in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 1985, his wife of 23 years was having an adulterous affair. She ran off with the other man and took all of Cliffords money with her. His daughters found him so upset and depressed, banging his head on the floor, that they called the authorities, fearing he might harm himself.
Tyler was taken before a Michigan judge, who ruled there was sufficient reason to be concerned about the distraught man to commit him to a facility for psychiatric evaluation. A couple weeks later the doctors released him with a clean bill of health, saying that he was a perfectly normal person who had a really horrible day. Tyler continued to be a good citizen, a good employee, got remarried, has been a good father, and eventually even repaired his relationship with his unfaithful ex-wife.
Hes now age 74, and wanted to buy a handgun to keep at home for self-defense. But the government told him that federal law bars him from ever owning a gun, so he went to court to assert his Second Amendment rights.
In 2008, the Supreme Court inDistrict of Columbia v. Hellerone of the most famous decisions ever written by Justice Antonin Scaliaheld that the Second Amendment is an individual right, and as such does not allow the federal government to bar law-abiding and peaceable American citizens from keeping a handgun in their home. Heller was a 5-4 decision, and left other gun-rights questions for future cases.
Heller specified that it was not weighing in on certain issues, including laws that prohibit certain people from owning guns. Federal law in 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(4) is one of these gun-control laws, providing that no one who has been committed to a mental institution can own firearms.
In 1986 President Ronald Reagan signed an NRA-supported law advancing Second Amendment rights, including 18 U.S.C. 925(c), which empowers the Justice Department to restore gun rights if the attorney general finds a particular person to be safe and sane. But Congress stopped funding that program in 1992, canceling out that Reagan-era protection for Americas 90 million gun owners.
So in 2007 Congress passed a new law empowering states to set up their own review process to restore gun rights. Most states have established such a program, but some statesincluding Michigan, where Tyler liveshave not.
The federal district court in Michigan ruled against Tyler, but a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed. The Obama administration petitioned the Sixth Circuit to rehear the case en banc, meaning all the judges on the courtin this case, 16 judgeswould reconsider the case.
The petition was granted, and on Sept. 15, by a 10-6 vote in Tyler v. Hillsdale County Sheriffs Department the full Sixth Circuit struck down 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(4) as a violation of the Second Amendment, and remanded the case back down to the district court for more hearings. The court noted that Heller said laws that kept mentally ill people from getting guns were allowed under the Second Amendment, but held that Section 922(g)(4) went too far by mandating that any person who has ever been involuntarily committed to a mental institutioneven for a single daycan never own a gun for the rest of his or her life.
Writing the lead opinion for six judges of the en banc court (which is less than a majority, but still the controlling opinion in this case), Judge Julia Gibbons explained that similar to several other appeals courts, the Sixth Circuit had recently adopted a two-step process for Second Amendment cases. The first step asks whether the challenged law burdens conduct that falls within the scope of the Second Amendment right, as historically understood, she wrote. If it does, then the government bears the burden of justifying the constitutionality of the law under a heightened form of scrutiny.
Specifically, these judges decided that intermediate scrutinya term invented decades ago by the Supreme Courtshould apply to this type of gun-control law. As Judge Gibbons wrote, intermediate scrutiny requires (1) the governments stated objective to be important and (2) a reasonable fit between the challenged regulation and the asserted objective. This standard is less stringent than strict scrutiny, which is another judge-made test.
The lead opinion noted that the Justice Department in this case failed to cite historical material or other evidence supporting Section 922(g)(4). In the absence of such evidence, it would be odd to rely solely on Heller to rubber stamp the legislatures power to permanently exclude individuals from a fundamental right based solely on a past involuntary commitment.
Judge Gibbons continued, Some sort of showing must be made to support Congresss adoption of prior involuntary commitments as a basis for a categorical, permanent limitation on the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
The judges thought this principle applied with special force in this case. Tylers [lawsuit and evidence] suggest that Tyler is thirty years removed from a brief depressive episode and that he has no intervening mental health or substance abuse problems since that time.
None of the governments evidence squarely answers the key question at the heart of this case: Is it necessary to forever bar all previously institutionalized persons from owning a firearm?, the court reasoned. Then noting Congresss own restoration program in Section925(c) and the 2007 law allowing for state restoration programs, added, But the biggest problem for the government is Congresss most recent answer to this very question: No, it is not.
Thus, the court concluded that since the Obama administration presented no evidence supporting this statute, There is no indication of the continued risk presented by people who were involuntarily committed many years ago and who have no history of intervening mental illness, criminal activity, or substance abuse.
The Sixth Circuit thereby invalidated this federal law, holding, As we see it, the government may justify 922(g)(4) in one of two ways: (1) with additional evidence explaining the necessity of 922(g)(4)s lifetime ban or (2) with evidence showing that 922(g)(4) is constitutional as applied to Tyler because he would be a risk to himself or others were he allowed to possess a firearm.
Judge Jeffrey Sutton wrote a separate opinion, joined by several judges, as to why this federal law must be struck down.
Keep in mind that Tyler is not demanding a gun today, he wrote. He is demanding only what Congress used to permit and what most States still permit: an opportunity to show that he is not a risk to himself or others.
After a lengthy discussion, Judge Sutton continued, If there is one thing clear in American law today, it is that the government may not deny an individual a benefit, least of all a constitutional right, based on a sky-high generalization and a skin-deep assumption stemming from a long-ago diagnosis or a long-ago institutionalization.
Tyler has presented plenty of evidence that he is just fine, Judge Sutton concluded.
Judge Karen Moorea Clinton-appointed liberal who is a perfect example of the sort of judge Hillary Clinton would be expected to nominate to the Supreme Courtwrote an energetic dissent, joined by several other liberal judges. In it, she argued that Tyler should never be allowed to own a gun, and that Congress has all the power it needs to ban gun ownership by many other types of Americans as well.
Judge Moore also argued for the dissenting judges that Heller should be interpreted as saying that the Second Amendment does nothing to block federal gun-control power here, a reading that is utterly incompatible with what Justice Scalia actually wrote.
Although the Cincinnati-based appeals court reached the right result, it did not do so for the right reasons.
In fact, the only judge who followed Justice Scalias famous originalist approach in Hellerthe method of interpreting the Constitution and all laws according to the original meaning of their words, a method always followed by Justice Clarence Thomas, and often followed by Justice Samuel Alito as wellwas Judge Alice Batchelder.
Judge Batchelder faulted both the lead opinion and the dissenting opinion for failing to give adequate attention to the Second Amendments original public meaning in defining the contours of the mental health exception. And it is that meaning, informed as it is by the history and tradition surrounding the right, that counts.
She continued that the other opinions debate over strict and intermediate scrutiny gives little more than a nod to the originalist inquiry. This shortchanging of the Supreme Courts approach in Heller (and many other cases) thereby radically marginalizes the role played by the text, history, and tradition of the Second Amendment, and it replaces them with a thoroughly modern (and judge empowering) regime of heightened-scrutiny review.
The appeals courts taking such a course here is a forbidden peregrination from the actual meaning of the Constitution into the realm of judicial policymaking. Instead of fixating on strict or intermediate scrutiny with only a glance at history, the Supreme Court in Heller and McDonald put the historical inquiry at the center of the analysis, not at the margin.
Judge Batchelder then explored sources from the time of the Constitutions writing, examining what they said about mental illness, including the relevant factor here of when a person is unable to distinguish good from evil, and could be deprived by the law of certain rights.
She then noted that such deprivations were not once-for-all, and cited numerous sources from the time the Second Amendment was adopted to show that if a person regained their reason and sense of morality, they were no longer regarded as mentally ill.
Judge Batchelder then concluded:
As has been mentioned many times today, the dangers presented by guns are real, frightening, and obvious. Those realities will continue to factor heavily in the scrutiny analysis. Less obvious to the contemporary judicial mind are the Founding-era fears of tyranny and defenselessness that provided the impetus behind the Second Amendment. Whether the Founding generation struck a wise balance in ratifying that amendment is perhaps debatable. What is not debatable is that we federal judgesare neither philosopher kings empowered to fix things according to the dictates of what we fancy is our superior insight, nor rubber stamps, approving whatever laws the legislatures of this country happen to pass. We are bound, rather, by our oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, and we must therefore show restraint when that document restrains us and be active when it commands action.
As important as the Sixth Circuits Tyler decision is, that is not the most newsworthy aspect of this case. Because now a federal appeals court has struck down an Act of Congress on constitutional grounds.
That means the Obama administrations solicitor general will now petition the U.S. Supreme Court to grant certiorari to review this case. Under these rare circumstances, it is virtually 100 percent certain that the justices will grant review and hear the case.
That means that the Second Amendment will be back before the Supreme Court in 2017, after a ninth justice has been confirmed to replace Scalia. The Second Amendment has survived twice at the Supreme Court over the past decade, both by only 5-4 votes.
One of the ways that the justices could rule in favor of the federal government would be to overrule Heller, and hold that the Second Amendment does not apply at all to private citizens. [The leftist view of the Second Amendment is that its only meaning is that the federal government cannot stop state governments from arming their National Guard (i.e., militia) units with guns.]
So declarations from Donald Trump and Mike Pence that gun rights are in danger is no longer hypothetical. It is now certain. If Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, the Second Amendment can be effectively erased from the U.S. Constitution.
Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.
Posted: at 7:07 pm
Genetics is the scientific study of inherited variation. Human genetics, then, is the scientific study of inherited human variation.
Why study human genetics? One reason is simply an interest in better understanding ourselves. As a branch of genetics, human genetics concerns itself with what most of us consider to be the most interesting species on earth: Homo sapiens. But our interest in human genetics does not stop at the boundaries of the species, for what we learn about human genetic variation and its sources and transmission inevitably contributes to our understanding of genetics in general, just as the study of variation in other species informs our understanding of our own.
A second reason for studying human genetics is its practical value for human welfare. In this sense, human genetics is more an applied science than a fundamental science. One benefit of studying human genetic variation is the discovery and description of the genetic contribution to many human diseases. This is an increasingly powerful motivation in light of our growing understanding of the contribution that genes make to the development of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. In fact, society has been willing in the past and continues to be willing to pay significant amounts of money for research in this area, primarily because of its perception that such study has enormous potential to improve human health. This perception, and its realization in the discoveries of the past 20 years, have led to a marked increase in the number of people and organizations involved in human genetics.
This second reason for studying human genetics is related to the first. The desire to develop medical practices that can alleviate the suffering associated with human disease has provided strong support to basic research. Many basic biological phenomena have been discovered and described during the course of investigations into particular disease conditions. A classic example is the knowledge about human sex chromosomes that was gained through the study of patients with sex chromosome abnormalities. A more current example is our rapidly increasing understanding of the mechanisms that regulate cell growth and reproduction, understanding that we have gained primarily through a study of genes that, when mutated, increase the risk of cancer.
Likewise, the results of basic research inform and stimulate research into human disease. For example, the development of recombinant DNA techniques () rapidly transformed the study of human genetics, ultimately allowing scientists to study the detailed structure and functions of individual human genes, as well as to manipulate these genes in a variety of previously unimaginable ways.
Recombinant techniques have transformed the study of human genetics.
A third reason for studying human genetics is that it gives us a powerful tool for understanding and describing human evolution. At one time, data from physical anthropology (including information about skin color, body build, and facial traits) were the only source of information available to scholars interested in tracing human evolutionary history. Today, however, researchers have a wealth of genetic data, including molecular data, to call upon in their work.
Two research approaches were historically important in helping investigators understand the biological basis of heredity. The first of these approaches, transmission genetics, involved crossing organisms and studying the offsprings’ traits to develop hypotheses about the mechanisms of inheritance. This work demonstrated that in some organisms at least, heredity seems to follow a few definite and rather simple rules.
The second approach involved using cytologic techniques to study the machinery and processes of cellular reproduction. This approach laid a solid foundation for the more conceptual understanding of inheritance that developed as a result of transmission genetics. By the early 1900s, cytologists had demonstrated that heredity is the consequence of the genetic continuity of cells by cell division, had identified the gametes as the vehicles that transmit genetic information from one generation to another, and had collected strong evidence for the central role of the nucleus and the chromosomes in heredity.
As important as they were, the techniques of transmission genetics and cytology were not enough to help scientists understand human genetic variation at the level of detail that is now possible. The central advantage that today’s molecular techniques offer is that they allow researchers to study DNA directly. Before the development of these techniques, scientists studying human genetic variation were forced to make inferences about molecular differences from the phenotypes produced by mutant genes. Furthermore, because the genes associated with most single-gene disorders are relatively rare, they could be studied in only a small number of families. Many of the traits associated with these genes also are recessive and so could not be detected in people with heterozygous genotypes. Unlike researchers working with other species, human geneticists are restricted by ethical considerations from performing experimental, “at-will” crosses on human subjects. In addition, human generations are on the order of 20 to 40 years, much too slow to be useful in classic breeding experiments. All of these limitations made identifying and studying genes in humans both tedious and slow.
In the last 50 years, however, beginning with the discovery of the structure of DNA and accelerating significantly with the development of recombinant DNA techniques in the mid-1970s, a growing battery of molecular techniques has made direct study of human DNA a reality. Key among these techniques are restriction analysis and molecular recombination, which allow researchers to cut and rejoin DNA molecules in highly specific and predictable ways; amplification techniques, such as the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which make it possible to make unlimited copies of any fragment of DNA; hybridization techniques, such as fluorescence in situ hybridization, which allow scientists to compare DNA samples from different sources and to locate specific base sequences within samples; and the automated sequencing techniques that today are allowing workers to sequence the human genome at an unprecedented rate.
On the immediate horizon are even more powerful techniques, techniques that scientists expect will have a formidable impact on the future of both research and clinical genetics. One such technique, DNA chip technology (also called DNA microarray technology), is a revolutionary new tool designed to identify mutations in genes or survey expression of tens of thousands of genes in one experiment.
In one application of this technology, the chip is designed to detect mutations in a particular gene. The DNA microchip consists of a small glass plate encased in plastic. It is manufactured using a process similar to the process used to make computer microchips. On its surface, it contains synthetic single-stranded DNA sequences identical to that of the normal gene and all possible mutations of that gene. To determine whether an individual possesses a mutation in the gene, a scientist first obtains a sample of DNA from the person’s blood, as well as a sample of DNA that does not contain a mutation in that gene. After denaturing, or separating, the DNA samples into single strands and cutting them into smaller, more manageable fragments, the scientist labels the fragments with fluorescent dyes: the person’s DNA with red dye and the normal DNA with green dye. Both sets of labeled DNA are allowed to hybridize, or bind, to the synthetic DNA on the chip. If the person does not have a mutation in the gene, both DNA samples will hybridize equivalently to the chip and the chip will appear uniformly yellow. However, if the person does possess a mutation, the mutant sequence on the chip will hybridize to the patient’s sample, but not to the normal DNA, causing it (the chip) to appear red in that area. The scientist can then examine this area more closely to confirm that a mutation is present.
DNA microarray technology is also allowing scientists to investigate the activity in different cell types of thousands of genes at the same time, an advance that will help researchers determine the complex functional relationships that exist between individual genes. This type of analysis involves placing small snippets of DNA from hundreds or thousands of genes on a single microscope slide, then allowing fluorescently labeled mRNA molecules from a particular cell type to hybridize to them. By measuring the fluorescence of each spot on the slide, scientists can determine how active various genes are in that cell type. Strong fluorescence indicates that many mRNA molecules hybridized to the gene and, therefore, that the gene is very active in that cell type. Conversely, no fluorescence indicates that none of the cell’s mRNA molecules hybridized to the gene and that the gene is inactive in that cell type.
Although these technologies are still relatively new and are being used primarily for research, scientists expect that one day they will have significant clinical applications. For example, DNA chip technology has the potential to significantly reduce the time and expense involved in genetic testing. This technology or others like it may one day help make it possible to define an individual’s risk of developing many types of hereditary cancer as well as other common disorders, such as heart disease and diabetes. Likewise, scientists may one day be able to classify human cancers based on the patterns of gene activity in the tumor cells and then be able to design treatment strategies that are targeted directly to each specific type of cancer.
Homo sapiens is a relatively young species and has not had as much time to accumulate genetic variation as have the vast majority of species on earth, most of which predate humans by enormous expanses of time. Nonetheless, there is considerable genetic variation in our species. The human genome comprises about 3 109 base pairs of DNA, and the extent of human genetic variation is such that no two humans, save identical twins, ever have been or will be genetically identical. Between any two humans, the amount of genetic variationbiochemical individualityis about .1 percent. This means that about one base pair out of every 1,000 will be different between any two individuals. Any two (diploid) people have about 6 106 base pairs that are different, an important reason for the development of automated procedures to analyze genetic variation.
The most common polymorphisms (or genetic differences) in the human genome are single base-pair differences. Scientists call these differences SNPs, for single-nucleotide polymorphisms. When two different haploid genomes are compared, SNPs occur, on average, about every 1,000 bases. Other types of polymorphismsfor example, differences in copy number, insertions, deletions, duplications, and rearrangementsalso occur, but much less frequently.
Notwithstanding the genetic differences between individuals, all humans have a great deal of their genetic information in common. These similarities help define us as a species. Furthermore, genetic variation around the world is distributed in a rather continuous manner; there are no sharp, discontinuous boundaries between human population groups. In fact, research results consistently demonstrate that about 85 percent of all human genetic variation exists within human populations, whereas about only 15 percent of variation exists between populations (). That is, research reveals that Homo sapiens is one continuously variable, interbreeding species. Ongoing investigation of human genetic variation has even led biologists and physical anthropologists to rethink traditional notions of human racial groups. The amount of genetic variation between these traditional classifications actually falls below the level that taxonomists use to designate subspecies, the taxonomic category for other species that corresponds to the designation of race in Homo sapiens. This finding has caused some biologists to call the validity of race as a biological construct into serious question.
Most variation occurs within populations.
Analysis of human genetic variation also confirms that humans share much of their genetic information with the rest of the natural worldan indication of the relatedness of all life by descent with modification from common ancestors. The highly conserved nature of many genetic regions across considerable evolutionary distance is especially obvious in genes related to development. For example, mutations in the patched gene produce developmental abnormalities in Drosophila, and mutations in the patched homolog in humans produce analogous structural deformities in the developing human embryo.
Geneticists have used the reality of evolutionary conservation to detect genetic variations associated with some cancers. For example, mutations in the genes responsible for repair of DNA mismatches that arise during DNA replication are associated with one form of colon cancer. These mismatched repair genes are conserved in evolutionary history all the way back to the bacterium Escherichia coli, where the genes are designated Mutl and Muts. Geneticists suspected that this form of colon cancer was associated with a failure of mismatch repair, and they used the known sequences from the E. coli genes to probe the human genome for homologous sequences. This work led ultimately to the identification of a gene that is associated with increased risk for colon cancer.
Almost all human genetic variation is relatively insignificant biologically; that is, it has no adaptive significance. Some variation (for example, a neutral mutation) alters the amino acid sequence of the resulting protein but produces no detectable change in its function. Other variation (for example, a silent mutation) does not even change the amino acid sequence. Furthermore, only a small percentage of the DNA sequences in the human genome are coding sequences (sequences that are ultimately translated into protein) or regulatory sequences (sequences that can influence the level, timing, and tissue specificity of gene expression). Differences that occur elsewhere in the DNAin the vast majority of the DNA that has no known functionhave no impact.
Some genetic variation, however, can be positive, providing an advantage in changing environments. The classic example from the high school biology curriculum is the mutation for sickle hemoglobin, which in the heterozygous state provides a selective advantage in areas where malaria is endemic.
More recent examples include mutations in the CCR5 gene that appear to provide protection against AIDS. The CCR5 gene encodes a protein on the surface of human immune cells. HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, infects immune cells by binding to this protein and another protein on the surface of those cells. Mutations in the CCR5 gene that alter its level of expression or the structure of the resulting protein can decrease HIV infection. Early research on one genetic variant indicates that it may have risen to high frequency in Northern Europe about 700 years ago, at about the time of the European epidemic of bubonic plague. This finding has led some scientists to hypothesize that the CCR5 mutation may have provided protection against infection by Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that causes plague. The fact that HIV and Y. pestis both infect macrophages supports the argument for selective advantage of this genetic variant.
The sickle cell and AIDS/plague stories remind us that the biological significance of genetic variation depends on the environment in which genes are expressed. It also reminds us that differential selection and evolution would not proceed in the absence of genetic variation within a species.
Some genetic variation, of course, is associated with disease, as classic single-gene disorders such as sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis, and Duchenne muscular dystrophy remind us. Increasingly, research also is uncovering genetic variations associated with the more common diseases that are among the major causes of sickness and death in developed countriesdiseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disease (manic-depression). Whereas disorders such as cystic fibrosis or Huntington disease result from the effects of mutation in a single gene and are evident in virtually all environments, the more common diseases result from the interaction of multiple genes and environmental variables. Such diseases therefore are termed polygenic and multifactorial. In fact, the vast majority of human traits, diseases or otherwise, are multifactorial.
The genetic distinctions between relatively rare single-gene disorders and the more common multifactorial diseases are significant. Genetic variations that underlie single-gene disorders generally are relatively recent, and they often have a major, detrimental impact, disrupting homeostasis in significant ways. Such disorders also generally exact their toll early in life, often before the end of childhood. In contrast, the genetic variations that underlie common, multifactorial diseases generally are of older origin and have a smaller, more gradual effect on homeostasis. They also generally have their onset in adulthood. The last two characteristics make the ability to detect genetic variations that predispose/increase risk of common diseases especially valuable because people have time to modify their behavior in ways that can reduce the likelihood that the disease will develop, even against a background of genetic predisposition.
As noted earlier, one of the benefits of understanding human genetic variation is its practical value for understanding and promoting health and for understanding and combating disease. We probably cannot overestimate the importance of this benefit. First, as shows, virtually every human disease has a genetic component. In some diseases, such as Huntington disease, Tay-Sachs disease, and cystic fibrosis, this component is very large. In other diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, the genetic component is more modest. In fact, we do not typically think of these diseases as “genetic diseases,” because we inherit not the certainty of developing a disease, but only a predisposition to developing it.
Virtually all human diseases, except perhaps trauma, have a genetic component.
In still other diseases, the genetic component is very small. The crucial point, however, is that it is there. Even infectious diseases, diseases that we have traditionally placed in a completely different category than genetic disorders, have a real, albeit small, genetic component. For example, as the CCR5 example described earlier illustrates, even AIDS is influenced by a person’s genotype. In fact, some people appear to have genetic resistance to HIV infection as a result of carrying a variant of the CCR5 gene.
Second, each of us is at some genetic risk, and therefore can benefit, at least theoretically, from the progress scientists are making in understanding and learning how to respond to these risks. Scientists estimate that each of us carries between 5 and 50 mutations that carry some risk for disease or disability. Some of us may not experience negative consequences from the mutations we carry, either because we do not live long enough for it to happen or because we may not be exposed to the relevant environmental triggers. The reality, however, is that the potential for negative consequences from our genes exists for each of us.
How is modern genetics helping us address the challenge of human disease? As shows, modern genetic analysis of a human disease begins with mapping and cloning the associated gene or genes. Some of the earliest disease genes to be mapped and cloned were the genes associated with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, retinoblastoma, and cystic fibrosis. More recently, scientists have announced the cloning of genes for breast cancer, diabetes, and Parkinson disease.
Mapping and cloning a gene can lead to strategies that reduce the risk of disease (preventive medicine); guidelines for prescribing drugs based on a person’s genotype (pharmacogenomics); procedures that alter the affected gene (gene therapy); or drugs (more…)
As also shows, mapping and cloning a disease-related gene opens the way for the development of a variety of new health care strategies. At one end of the spectrum are genetic tests intended to identify people at increased risk for the disease and recognize genotypic differences that have implications for effective treatment. At the other end are new drug and gene therapies that specifically target the biochemical mechanisms that underlie the disease symptoms or even replace, manipulate, or supplement nonfunctional genes with functional ones. Indeed, as suggests, we are entering the era of molecular medicine.
Genetic testing is not a new health care strategy. Newborn screening for diseases like PKU has been going on for 30 years in many states. Nevertheless, the remarkable progress scientists are making in mapping and cloning human disease genes brings with it the prospect for the development of more genetic tests in the future. The availability of such tests can have a significant impact on the way the public perceives a particular disease and can also change the pattern of care that people in affected families might seek and receive. For example, the identification of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes and the demonstration that particular variants of these genes are associated with an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer have paved the way for the development of guidelines and protocols for testing individuals with a family history of these diseases. BRCA1, located on the long arm of chromosome 17, was the first to be isolated, and variants of this gene account for about 50 percent of all inherited breast cancer, or about 5 percent of all breast cancer. Variants of BRCA2, located on the long arm of chromosome 13, appear to account for about 30 to 40 percent of all inherited breast cancer. Variants of these genes also increase slightly the risk for men of developing breast, prostate, or possibly other cancers.
Scientists estimate that hundreds of thousands of women in the United States have 1 of hundreds of significant mutations already detected in the BRCA1 gene. For a woman with a family history of breast cancer, the knowledge that she carries one of the variants of BRCA1 or BRCA2 associated with increased risk can be important information. If she does carry one of these variants, she and her physician can consider several changes in her health care, such as increasing the frequency of physical examinations; introducing mammography at an earlier age; and even having prophylactic mastectomy. In the future, drugs may also be available that decrease the risk of developing breast cancer.
The ability to test for the presence in individuals of particular gene variants is also changing the way drugs are prescribed and developed. A rapidly growing field known as pharmacogenomics focuses on crucial genetic differences that cause drugs to work well in some people and less well, or with dangerous adverse reactions, in others. For example, researchers investigating Alzheimer disease have found that the way patients respond to drug treatment can depend on which of three genetic variants of the ApoE (Apolipoprotein E) gene a person carries. Likewise, some of the variability in children’s responses to therapeutic doses of albuterol, a drug used to treat asthma, was recently linked to genotypic differences in the beta-2-adrenergic receptor. Because beta-2-adrenergic receptor agonists (of which albuterol is one) are the most widely used agents in the treatment of asthma, these results may have profound implications for understanding the genetic factors that determine an individual’s response to asthma therapy.
Experts predict that increasingly in the future, physicians will use genetic tests to match drugs to an individual patient’s body chemistry, so that the safest and most effective drugs and dosages can be prescribed. After identifying the genotypes that determine individual responses to particular drugs, pharmaceutical companies also likely will set out to develop new, highly specific drugs and revive older ones whose effects seemed in the past too unpredictable to be of clinical value.
Knowledge of the molecular structure of disease-related genes also is changing the way researchers approach developing new drugs. A striking example followed the discovery in 1989 of the gene associated with cystic fibrosis (CF). Researchers began to study the function of the normal and defective proteins involved in order to understand the biochemical consequences of the gene’s variant forms and to develop new treatment strategies based on that knowledge. The normal protein, called CFTR for cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator, is embedded in the membranes of several cell types in the body, where it serves as a channel, transporting chloride ions out of the cells. In CF patients, depending on the particular mutation the individual carries, the CFTR protein may be reduced or missing from the cell membrane, or may be present but not function properly. In some mutations, synthesis of CFTR protein is interrupted, and the cells produce no CFTR molecules at all.
Although all of the mutations associated with CF impair chloride transport, the consequences for patients with different mutations vary. For example, patients with mutations causing absent or markedly reduced CFTR protein may have more severe disease than patients with mutations in which CFTR is present but has altered function. The different mutations also suggest different treatment strategies. For example, the most common CF-related mutation (called delta F508) leads to the production of protein molecules (called delta F508 CFTR) that are misprocessed and are degraded prematurely before they reach the cell membrane. This finding suggests that drug treatments that would enhance transport of the defective delta F508 protein to the cell membrane or prevent its degradation could yield important benefits for patients with delta F508 CFTR.
Finally, the identification, cloning, and sequencing of a disease-related gene can open the door to the development of strategies for treating the disease using the instructions encoded in the gene itself. Collectively referred to as gene therapy, these strategies typically involve adding a copy of the normal variant of a disease-related gene to a patient’s cells. The most familiar examples of this type of gene therapy are cases in which researchers use a vector to introduce the normal variant of a disease-related gene into a patient’s cells and then return those cells to the patient’s body to provide the function that was missing. This strategy was first used in the early 1990s to introduce the normal allele of the adenosine deaminase (ADA) gene into the body of a little girl who had been born with ADA deficiency. In this disease, an abnormal variant of the ADA gene fails to make adenosine deaminase, a protein that is required for the correct functioning of T-lymphocytes.
Although researchers are continuing to refine this general approach to gene therapy, they also are developing new approaches. For example, scientists hope that one very new strategy, called chimeraplasty, may one day be used to actually correct genetic defects that involve only a single base change. Chimeraplasty uses specially synthesized molecules that base pair with a patient’s DNA and stimulate the cell’s normal DNA repair mechanisms to remove the incorrect base and substitute the correct one. At this point, chimeraplasty is still in early development and the first clinical trials are about to get underway.
Yet another approach to gene therapy involves providing new or altered functions to a cell through the introduction of new genetic information. For example, recent experiments have demonstrated that it is possible, under carefully controlled experimental conditions, to introduce genetic information into cancer cells that will alter their metabolism so that they commit suicide when exposed to a normally innocuous environmental trigger. Researchers are also using similar experiments to investigate the feasibility of introducing genetic changes into cells that will make them immune to infection by HIV. Although this research is currently being done only in nonhuman primates, it may eventually benefit patients infected with HIV.
As indicates, the Human Genome Project (HGP) has significantly accelerated the pace of both the discovery of human genes and the development of new health care strategies based on a knowledge of a gene’s structure and function. The new knowledge and technologies emerging from HGP-related research also are reducing the cost of finding human genes. For example, the search for the gene associated with cystic fibrosis, which ended in 1989, before the inception of the HGP, required more than eight years and $50 million. In contrast, finding a gene associated with a Mendelian disorder now can be accomplished in less than a year at a cost of approximately $100,000.
The last few years of research into human genetic variation also have seen a gradual transition from a primary focus on genes associated with single-gene disorders, which are relatively rare in the human population, to an increasing focus on genes associated with multifactorial diseases. Because these diseases are not rare, we can expect that this work will affect many more people. Understanding the genetic and environmental bases for these multifactorial diseases also will lead to increased testing and the development of new interventions that likely will have an enormous effect on the practice of medicine in the next century.
What are the implications of using our growing knowledge of human genetic variation to improve personal and public health? As noted earlier, the rapid pace of the discovery of genetic factors in disease has improved our ability to predict the risk of disease in asymptomatic individuals. We have learned how to prevent the manifestations of some of these diseases, and we are developing the capacity to treat others.
Yet, much remains unknown about the benefits and risks of building an understanding of human genetic variation at the molecular level. While this information would have the potential to dramatically improve human health, the architects of the HGP realized that it also would raise a number of complex ethical, legal, and social issues. Thus, in 1990 they established the Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications (ELSI) program to anticipate and address the ethical, legal, and social issues that arise from human genetic research. This program, perhaps more than any other, has focused public attention, as well as the attention of educators, on the increasing importance of preparing citizens to understand and contribute to the ongoing public dialogue related to advances in genetics.
Ethics is the study of right and wrong, good and bad. It has to do with the actions and character of individuals, families, communities, institutions, and societies. During the last two and one-half millennia, Western philosophy has developed a variety of powerful methods and a reliable set of concepts and technical terms for studying and talking about the ethical life. Generally speaking, we apply the terms “right” and “good” to those actions and qualities that foster the interests of individuals, families, communities, institutions, and society. Here, an “interest” refers to a participant’s share or participation in a situation. The terms “wrong” or “bad” apply to those actions and qualities that impair interests.
Ethical considerations are complex, multifaceted, and raise many questions. Often, there are competing, well-reasoned answers to questions about what is right and wrong, and good and bad, about an individual’s or group’s conduct or actions. Typically, these answers all involve appeals to values. A value is something that has significance or worth in a given situation. One of the exciting events to witness in any discussion in ethics is the varying ways in which the individuals involved assign values to things, persons, and states of affairs. Examples of values that students may appeal to in a discussion about ethics include autonomy, freedom, privacy, sanctity of life, religion, protecting another from harm, promoting another’s good, justice, fairness, relationships, scientific knowledge, and technological progress.
Acknowledging the complex, multifaceted nature of ethical discussions is not to suggest that “anything goes.” Experts generally agree on the following features of ethics. First, ethics is a process of rational inquiry. It involves posing clearly formulated questions and seeking well-reasoned answers to those questions. For example, we can ask questions about an individual’s right to privacy regarding personal genetic information; we also can ask questions about the appropriateness of particular uses of gene therapy. Well-reasoned answers to such questions constitute arguments. Ethical analysis and argument, then, result from successful ethical inquiry.
Second, ethics requires a solid foundation of information and rigorous interpretation of that information. For example, one must have a solid understanding of biology to evaluate the recent decision by the Icelandic government to create a database that will contain extensive genetic and medical information about the country’s citizens. A knowledge of science also is needed to discuss the ethics of genetic screening or of germ-line gene therapy. Ethics is not strictly a theoretical discipline but is concerned in vital ways with practical matters.
Third, discussions of ethical issues often lead to the identification of very different answers to questions about what is right and wrong and good and bad. This is especially true in a society such as our own, which is characterized by a diversity of perspectives and values. Consider, for example, the question of whether adolescents should be tested for late-onset genetic conditions. Genetic testing centers routinely withhold genetic tests for Huntington disease (HD) from asymptomatic patients under the age of 18. The rationale is that the condition expresses itself later in life and, at present, treatment is unavailable. Therefore, there is no immediate, physical health benefit for a minor from a specific diagnosis based on genetic testing. In addition, there is concern about the psychological effects of knowing that later in life one will get a debilitating, life-threatening condition. Teenagers can wait until they are adults to decide what and when they would like to know. In response, some argue that many adolescents and young children do have sufficient autonomy in consent and decision making and may wish to know their future. Others argue that parents should have the right to have their children tested, because parents make many other medical decisions on behalf of their children. This example illustrates how the tools of ethics can bring clarity and rigor to discussions involving values.
One of the goals of this module is to help students see how understanding science can help individuals and society make reasoned decisions about issues related to genetics and health. Activity 5, Making Decisions in the Face of Uncertainty, presents students with a case of a woman who is concerned that she may carry an altered gene that predisposes her to breast and ovarian cancer. The woman is faced with numerous decisions, which students also consider. Thus, the focus of Activity 5 is prudential decision making, which involves the ability to avoid unnecessary risk when it is uncertain whether an event actually will occur. By completing the activity, students understand that uncertainty is often a feature of questions related to genetics and health, because our knowledge of genetics is incomplete and constantly changing. In addition, students see that making decisions about an uncertain future is complex. In simple terms, students have to ask themselves, “How bad is the outcome and how likely is it to occur?” When the issues are weighed, different outcomes are possible, depending on one’s estimate of the incidence of the occurrence and how much burden one attaches to the risk.
Clearly, science as well as ethics play important roles in helping individuals make choices about individual and public health. Science provides evidence that can help us understand and treat human disease, illness, deformity, and dysfunction. And ethics provides a framework for identifying and clarifying values and the choices that flow from these values. But the relationships between scientific information and human choices, and between choices and behaviors, are not straightforward. In other words, human choice allows individuals to choose against sound knowledge, and choice does not require action.
Nevertheless, it is increasingly difficult to deny the claims of science. We are continually presented with great amounts of relevant scientific and medical knowledge that is publicly accessible. As a consequence, we can think about the relationships between knowledge, choice, behavior, and human welfare in the following ways:
One of the goals of this module is to encourage students to think in terms of these relationships, now and as they grow older.
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The following glossary was modified from the glossary on the National Human Genome Research Institute’s Web site, available at http://www.nhgri.nih.gov.
One of the variant forms of a gene at a particular locus, or location, on a chromosome. Different alleles produce variation in inherited characteristics such as hair color or blood type. In an individual, one form of the allele (the dominant one) may be expressed more than another form (the recessive one).
One of 20 different kinds of small molecules that link together in long chains to form proteins. Amino acids are referred to as the “building blocks” of proteins.
Gene on one of the autosomes that, if present, will almost always produce a specific trait or disease. The chance of passing the gene (and therefore the disease) to children is 50-50 in each pregnancy.
Chromosome other than a sex chromosome. Humans have 22 pairs of autosomes.
Two bases that form a “rung of the DNA ladder.” The bases are the “letters” that spell out the genetic code. In DNA, the code letters are A, T, G, and C, which stand for the chemicals adenine, thymine, guanine, and cytosine, respectively. In base pairing, adenine always pairs with thymine, and guanine always pairs with cytosine.
Defect present at birth, whether caused by mutant genes or by prenatal events that are not genetic.
First breast cancer genes to be identified. Mutated forms of these genes are believed to be responsible for about one-half the cases of inherited breast cancer, especially those that occur in younger women, and also to increase a woman’s risk for ovarian cancer. Both are tumor suppressor genes.
Diseases in which abnormal cells divide and grow unchecked. Cancer can spread from its original site to other parts of the body and can be fatal if not treated adequately.
Gene, located in a chromosome region suspected of being involved in a disease, whose protein product suggests that it could be the disease gene in question.
Mutation that confers immunity to infection by HIV. The mutation alters the structure of a receptor on the surface of macrophages such that HIV cannot enter the cell.
Collection of DNA sequences generated from mRNA sequences. This type of library contains only protein-coding DNA (genes) and does not include any noncoding DNA.
Basic unit of any living organism. It is a small, watery, compartment filled with chemicals and a complete copy of the organism’s genome.
One of the thread like “packages” of genes and other DNA in the nucleus of a cell. Different kinds of organisms have different numbers of chromosomes. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, 46 in all: 44 autosomes and two sex chromosomes. Each parent contributes one chromosome to each pair, so children get one-half of their chromosomes from their mothers and one-half from their fathers.
Process of making copies of a specific piece of DNA, usually a gene. When geneticists speak of cloning, they do not mean the process of making genetically identical copies of an entire organism.
Three bases in a DNA or RNA sequence that specify a single amino acid.
Hereditary disease whose symptoms usually appear shortly after birth. They include faulty digestion, breathing difficulties and respiratory infections due to mucus accumulation, and excessive loss of salt in sweat. In the past, cystic fibrosis was almost always fatal in childhood, but treatment is now so improved that patients commonly live to their 20s and beyond.
Visual appearance of a chromo some when stained and examined under a microscope. Particularly important are visually distinct regions, called light and dark bands, that give each of the chromosomes a unique appearance. This feature allows a person’s chromosomes to be studied in a clinical test known as a karyotype, which allows scientists to look for chromosomal alterations.
Particular kind of mutation: loss of a piece of DNA from a chromosome. Deletion of a gene or part of a gene can lead to a disease or abnormality.
Chemical inside the nucleus of a cell that carries the genetic instructions for making living organisms.
Number of chromosomes in most cells except the gametes. In humans, the diploid number is 46.
Technology that identifies mutations in genes. It uses small glass plates that contain synthetic single-stranded DNA sequences identical to those of a normal gene.
Process by which the DNA double helix unwinds and makes an exact copy of itself.
Determining the exact order of the base pairs in a segment of DNA.
Gene that almost always results in a specific physical characteristic (for example, a disease) even though the patient’s genome possesses only one copy. With a dominant gene, the chance of passing on the gene (and therefore the disease) to children is 50-50 in each pregnancy.
Structural arrangement of DNA, which looks something like an immensely long ladder twisted into a helix, or coil. The sides of the “ladder” are formed by a backbone of sugar and phosphate molecules, and the “rungs” consist of nucleotide bases joined weakly in the middle by hydrogen bonds.
Particular kind of mutation: production of one or more copies of any piece of DNA, including a gene or even an entire chromosome.
Process in which molecules (such as proteins, DNA, or RNA fragments) can be separated according to size and electrical charge by applying an electric current to them. The current forces the molecules through pores in a thin layer of gel, a firm, jellylike substance. The gel can be made so that its pores are just the right dimensions for separating molecules within a specific range of sizes and shapes. Smaller fragments usually travel further than large ones. The process is sometimes called gel electrophoresis.
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Understanding Human Genetic Variation – NIH Curriculum …
Posted: September 18, 2016 at 8:30 am
by Edoardo Albert
Lars Caron had only taken over as mission commander because Pete Boardman had died. We were the most scanned, checked, and examined group of human beings in history–after all, on the first mission to Mars, you don’t want someone falling ill or freaking out on the way–and Pete had checked out clearer than any of us. Then, seven days before departure, he went and died. The autopsy said his heart gave out, but I knew, from speaking to the doctors, that they could not find anything wrong with him. Dead, he presented as perfect a physical specimen as he had when alive. Me, I think he collapsed under the burden of hope that was placed upon him; mission commander, new world, new beginning. So, I grant Lars Caron had some big shoes to fill. But three months into the voyage, we were all getting thoroughly sick of the chip on his shoulder, the unspoken assumption that we had caused every problem laid in front of him. Space is like that: stuff happens. So, the slight sigh and the lowering of his head when he saw me approaching came as no surprise. “Now what’s wrong?” he asked.
Published on Aug 7, 2014
by J.W. Alden
They tell you not to wear the uniform in public these days. Folks don’t like to be reminded of the war. Not long ago, things were looking grim. Defense exercises lit up the night sky every other week. The skirmishes drew nearer to home with every engagement. Doomsayers were out in force everywhere you looked, screaming about imminent invasion. Things are different now. The enemy is on the run. We’re winning. But the war has shaken the public’s sense of security, maybe for good. I feel the eyes on me as the hostess leads me to my table. I’m used to it. Half of them are regulars, but they still gawk like they’re surprised to see me. The war had just begun when I first started coming here. People used to stare back then too, but the expressions were different. They didn’t turn their heads when I looked. They smiled. Some of them would even shake my hand and thank me for my service. That doesn’t happen anymore.
Published on Dec 26, 2013
by Leslie Jane Anderson
It was only an affair because he was the captain and Maria was a cadet. If they had been the same rank it might just be a mistake. The other cadets will probably call her a slut now. She hides in her room and the computer pours her a cup of tea. She looks out her window at the earth, spinning. Spinning. She dreams. The concrete basement of her parent’s home has flooded, and the racks of their old clothes have fallen under the water. Wires fall from the ceiling and the electricity skitters across the surface like angry white spiders. There was no way to fix this. No way. Everything was ruined. She dreams she is bleeding into the secret caverns of herself.
Published on Dec 20, 2012
by Helena Leigh Bell
Year Zero Pilot Martha Stevenson could not bring her mother’s piano, its keys yellowed and stained. Her husband chided her as she brushed away the dust, telling it goodbye.
Published on Jun 20, 2014
by Annie Bellet
The boys lay on their backs side by side staring up through the open roof of the abandoned building. Dylan clutched Meek’s hand in anticipation as the ground shook and a roar filled the air. Tiny pebbles danced up from the ground around them and dust ran like water off the crumbling walls. “Ten nine eight seven six five,” Dylan whispered, “four three two one.”
Published on Dec 17, 2010
by Nicky Drayden
***Editor’s Note: Be forewarned: the imagery may be unsettling, some language would not fit at an elegant tea.*** With a fine bone knife I make my incision, cutting back the sticky membrane of Our Tjeng’s hull. I slip my hand inside and carefully widen the tear until it’s big enough for me to step through. Our Tjeng has blessed Kae and me with gills to breathe within his walls. The viscous liquid is clear and burns my eyes, tart and slick on my tongue.
Published on Aug 16, 2011
by M. E. Garber
Jandara’s famed purple-red plains swelled in the antiquated pleasure cruiser’s windscreen as the ship lurched downward. The explosion that killed Seema’s husband, Arun, had damaged the steering mechanisms of his beloved antique, and Seema fought the craft as shudders wracked it. Vibrations from the steering gears tingled, throbbed, and finally shook her arms. In the passenger compartment, Natesha, her seven-year-old daughter, wailed, echoing Seema’s fear: Without Arun, I cannot survive. The ship’s belly bumped the ground, rose up, and dove hard. Tearing metal shrieked louder than Natesha. Seema buffeted in her restraints as a series of booms shook what remained of the ship. Then it settled, hissing, to the ground.
Published on Aug 25, 2014
by JT Gill
They hug for what will be the last time.
Published on Sep 15, 2015
by Richard E. Gropp
I stood on the deck of the ship and watched as my planet fell dark, receding into the distance. “This is certainly the long way ’round,” the ship whispered in my ear. “We have stations on both sides–you could have stepped right through. We could have folded you all the way.”
Published on Oct 3, 2012
by James E Guin
You stand there watching me try on this blouse. “It looks nice,” you say, and this time you’re actually paying attention.
Published on Dec 4, 2013
by Amber Hayward
I… am. I suppose I am. I have words waiting to awaken. I see something in front of me. I say, “hand,” and so it is.
Published on May 11, 2015
by Benjamin Heldt
The flickering light of the television cast Henry’s shadow across the darkened room, and across me. Through the speakers a steady voice called time to t minus zero. The rockets fired. Henry gasped, though he didn’t move. He was too close, as always, sitting cross-legged on the floor not two feet from the screen. Huge sheets of ice cracked, and fell from the scaffolding and fuel tanks, vaporizing in the blanket of smoke and fire blooming out from the launch site. “Buddy,” I said, trying to keep my voice from breaking, “come sit with dad on the couch.”
Published on Mar 4, 2013
by Miriah Hetherington
In the shadow of SciCorp’s Public Relations building, Kai leaned on his cane and waited for the press conference to end. A sea of reporters separated him from his daughter Suukyi, standing proudly on a podium with the other twelve colonists. Twelve brilliant, highly trained, and fertile Eves; earth’s Adams would be represented on the colony ship by a sperm bank.
Published on Jul 10, 2015
by Rebecca Hodgkins
The Rocketeer leans against the chrome bar, nursing a drink. She has a few choices of scenery–bad choices, in her opinion. Like always, the Rocketeer picks the best of the worst; the view out the window of the space station orbiting Mars. She looks down at the red surface polka-dotted with rockets, shiny silver spears pointing back at her, at the station, at the stars beyond. Just a quick jump down, then into a rocket, and back out into the Black again. And none of these bucks taking up the rest of the bar know what they’re in for, she thinks.
Published on Sep 9, 2014
by Brian Lawrence Hurrel
Jump flash, blinding but brief. Alpha Centauri A swims into view. It takes only a few minutes after our emergence into realspace for the receiver to align itself with Earth. A long burst of static roars, fades. A voice mutters indistinctly, distorted as if bubbling up from deep under water, then suddenly rings out in shrill clarity. ” and this so-called Daedalus drive is not only a scientific impossibility, but a perfect example of misappropriated resources.”
Published on May 3, 2011
by K.G. Jewell
“Fifty-Nine, baby! Fifty-Nine!” Ted chortled, chipping a chunk of rock off Fenrir’s surface and dumping it into the sample bag clipped to the hip of his spacesuit. He looked up at Saturn hanging overhead and flashed two fingers. Two moons to go. He was that close. He deactivated his ground anchor and stepped his aging, creaky bones towards the boxy tangle that was his ship.
Published on Jan 13, 2012
by Rachael K. Jones
My best friend LaToya was utterly fearless. In middle school she could jump farther than any kid. We’d compete for hours after school on the playground, waiting for our dads to pick us up, she in her green-soled Nikes and me in my Reeboks, digging our heels into gravel as we counted down together: “Three–two–one–go!” Then a cloud of dust. We raced three steps and launched heels-first into the sand, ploughing long ditches, stretching our gangly adolescent legs to hit the farthest mark. LaToya usually won. “Best of three,” I’d say, and then amend it: “Best of five?”
Published on Jun 23, 2015
by K T
It took tens of thousands of engineers ten million man-hours and over a trillion dollars spread over the course of ten years. There had been political sacrifice, financial sacrifice, even marital sacrifice. Five people died, including a mother, a teacher, and a grandfather of twenty-five. Perhaps, by diverting the same resources, we could have finished the war in Afghanistan twenty years ago. But at last, and not without luck, a man stood atop Olympus Mons. To be that man required years of study in physics, math, chemistry, biology, geology, and languages; including English, Russian, Chinese, and C++. At minimum. It required the eyes of an eagle, the muscles of a Navy SEAL, and the brain of Deep Blue. No TV, no hobbies, no girlfriend, no family. Just blood, sweat, tears, and neurons to live the dream of every bright young male since 1957. Only the brightest, most athletic, most determined polyglot autodidactic polymathic genii could even enter the competition against one thousand equally infallible candidates from every continent.
Published on May 12, 2011
by Will Kaufman
***Editor’s Note: Adult language in the story that follows*** Chapter One
Published on Apr 25, 2014
by Sara Thustra
“Now you stop it,” snapped the sister. “You sit there and you smile and you tell him you miss him, damn you. Space exploration is a hard job, and one we should be proud of. It’s not his fault this seems so often to us.” The camera came on. The warble of great distance and stranger forces, too, played with the image. The man it showed was quite old, and dressed in a uniform from decades ago. “…Sally?” he said hesitantly.
Published on Jan 2, 2012
by Brynn MacNab
We deployed on February 14, Saint Valentine’s Day, named for the saint who performed forbidden marriages. I stood in line next to a guy named Wallace Ault. Around us was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, a lot of people sobbing on each other’s necks. Wallace and I weren’t falling apart. He had a girl, a nice lean thing with good legs in a swirling brown knee-length skirt. She kissed him goodbye real quick and ran. I figured maybe they were secretly married themselves.
Published on Aug 5, 2014
by Caw Miller
Fleet Commander Yazle picked her way through the debris of a destroyed city on the planet Unlivil. Beside her walked the High Grasper, the leader of the largest hive on the planet. Commander Yazle wondered why she had been invited to go on this perambulation with the pale, octopus-like being. She had expected hatred, possibly a murder attempt; not grateful politeness. The High Grasper flashed three tentacles at a small winged scavenger, which took flight. The High Grasper picked up the mostly eaten carcass of a hexipod and placed it in a pouch.
Published on Aug 12, 2016
by Devin Miller
“My job as a father, Jalel,” he told me one morning, “is to leave you better off than I was.” It was a cold morning. On this planet, called Apella, the winters lasted years. Frost clung to some of the heartiest vegetation ever studied, and in their shadows, small animals sent up puffs of white dust in their quest for buried food.
Published on Mar 18, 2013
by KC Myers
The year EarthFed discovered hyperspace sickness was the year Jace McCallister’s father never came home from outer space. They brought him back Earthside wrapped up in cotton and gauze so he wouldn’t hurt himself, but his mind was still out there, caught in that strange between-place that nobody really understood, but into which spacegoers were expected to fling themselves so they could traverse the otherwise non-traversable distances between solar systems. No one knew how to treat him; no one knew why the jump had affected him that way in the first place. Jace was six. She was too little to understand why Daddy had gone out into the black, or why she couldn’t visit him in the hospital now that he’d returned. She didn’t understand that he hadn’t returned at all. Not really.
Published on Apr 29, 2016
by Bridget A. Natale
***Editorial Advisory: Yes, there’s adult language in the story that follows*** “I can’t go to Bellingham with you. Not right now.”
Published on May 1, 2013
by Ruth Nestvold
Published on Feb 2, 2012
by Jonathan Fredrick Parks
This is Tomorrow speaking. The voice came from the Eleven O’ Thirty radio. The left bar flashed painting the storage room a green color. Are you listening? I turned the dial two clicks to the right. You are me from the future, right?
Published on Sep 2, 2011
by Ernesto Pavan
To those who were called and replied “I’ll go” To those who filled the void between the stars with dreams of hope
Published on Nov 27, 2014
by Craig Pay
Something blue. Celeste: 25, Joseph: 26, Susie: 5
Published on Nov 15, 2011
by L.L. Phelps
We’re falling fast through the atmosphere, what’s left of the station shaking violently as it breaks apart. “We have to get to the escape pods,” Natayla screams at me. I can barely hear her over the roar around us, but I can read the words on her lips as fear dances wild in her eyes. “Now!” she screams, shaking me.
Published on Mar 24, 2014
by Cat Rambo
Day One After the men in dark sunglasses ushered Djuna outside, spring’s chill chased her up the steps into the bus’s welcome heat. She wavered on the last step, suitcase in front of her like a wall, thinking, “My fiftieth spring on Earth, can I really leave that?” Someone pushed at her and she went in.
Published on Feb 24, 2012
by Stephen V. Ramey
Stardate 2025:325. We touch down on Mars. Flesh-colored dust settles around the capsule as the creaking, cooling fuselage ticks down to silence. Your face is pale inside the helmet; your hand grips the armrest between us. I think of your fingernails digging into my back, a shock of pain-pleasure distantly penetrating a mind preoccupied with release. The window onto this world is so small, yet the vista is endless. I breathe into my helmet until the visor fogs.
Published on May 6, 2015
by Stephen V. Ramey
Our paranoia is infinite today. And not without reason. We have just endured a journey to and from Mars orbit in full view of the world. Areas of the ship that were supposed to be off-limits were not. Every bowel movement, every wet dream and dry heave, a veritable sampler of trysts–it has all been broadcast, sprinkled across the globe like so much Hollywood glitter. The ultimate Reality Show, with our crew of six as unaware actors. Jimmy found the first pinhole camera. He brought it to me, pinched between his fingers like an insect with overlong legs. A frown fixed on his blocky face. His blue eyes blinked and blinked again.
Published on Apr 17, 2012
by Shane D. Rhinewald
Jerry sits in his favorite chair–the one with the red, plastic back. He says the others just don’t feel right. His eyes dart around the room with boyish wonder, but they’re a man’s eyes, milky with cataracts, edged with wrinkles. He looks at the black and white pictures on the wall depicting historic events and gives me the date (down to the time of day in some cases) for everything from the Kennedy assassination to the shooting at Columbine. “Jerry, how do you feel today?” I ask, tapping my pen. Every session starts with a similar line of questioning; Jerry likes the routine. “Do you know how you feel?”
Read the original here:
Posted: at 8:30 am
Original Dune This article or section refers to elements from Original Dune.
Space travel played a major role in the evolution and expansion of humanity throughout the known universe. Two forms of space travel existed: faster than light space travel, and conventional space travel.
For several thousand years, faster than light travel (or space-folding) was conducted exclusively by the Spacing Guild, using Spacefolder vessels piloted by Guild navigators that folded space-time and moved almost immeasurable distances in the blink of the eye.
This form of travel, while extremely expensive, was also not safe as one in ten ships that used space folding engine disappeared, at least during the early years of the technology’s use before the advent of Navigators. It was utilized for both commercial and military purposes. Space-folding made use of two key factors:
Eventually, at some point between the fall of the Atreides Empire and the discovery of the Dar-es-Balat hoard, Ixian navigation machines broke the guild monopoly on foldspace by providing a means of safely navigating foldspace without a navigator.
The old FTL conventional space travel was used mainly for travel within the confines of a star system (not for interstellar travel). However, before the discovery of the new faster-than-light travel method, it was also used for long-distance space travel. The old method was described as “outraceing photons”. Even after space-folding became the primary means of interstellar travel, many Imperial warships still kept their old FTL drives as an alternative to the much faster but less reliable Holtzmann engines.
The connection between faster than light travel and the Holtzman Effect is not explicitly mentioned by Frank Herbert. It is a connection made in the prequel novels by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.
In the ‘Legends of Dune’ trilogy, the pair describe the time shortly before and during the discovery of space-folding. In these works the discovery of space-folding is attributed to Norma Cenva, who goes on to become the first prescient folded space navigator. Prior to this, although described in ‘The Machine Crusade’ as “outracing the old faster than light method”, vessels still took weeks or months to cross between even the closest stars.
Posted: at 8:06 am
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