Archive for 4 months ago
Leave our DNA alone

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Dr Kozubek said a world without depression, autism, schizophrenia or Asperger’s might also mean one without the likes of playwright Tennessee Williams… Thomas Edison was ‘addled’ and kicked out of school… Scientists tend to think of variations in life as problems to be solved, deviations and abnormalities outside of a normal curve….

Before we begin modifying our genes with gene editing tools such as Crispr-Cas9, we’d be smart to recall that genetic variants that contribute to psychiatric conditions may even be beneficial depending on the environment or genetic background.”

We risk killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

Let’s celebrate our eccentrics. Heaven forbid we should become some grey pastiche. It’s not just the genius/madness line. It’s more fundamental than that. It’s about the worth of human life. About decency being far more than intelligence or appearance. Then there are the unexpected costs. Who knows what the broader cultural consequences will be of accepting the editing of our offspring? I suspect they will not be much fun. The government will soon start mandating intervention to save later health costs. It’s only a small step from there to trying to create happy drones rather than discontented citizens. For their own good, of course.

We need to maintain the diversity of the human genetic code. Putting ethical, moral and second order consequences aside, the survival of our species could depend on it.

 
Jim Chanos on our times

Astute thoughts from Jim Chanos on Naked Capitalism:

“If we look at the events of 2016 — Brexit, the Italian referendum, Trump, and the rise of nationalist China — are these the harbingers of something bigger? Or are they just a coincidence?  The ground seems to be fertile for things to change globally. If so, does this give rise to a more nationalistic, protectionist, statist scenario?  Are labor prices going to go up again? Are we going to tax capital and emphasize wages?”

and

“If we’re in one of those periods now, if 2016 is like 1932 or 1979 — then you not only have to change your portfolio, you have to change your lifestyle. That’s one of the things we’ve been telling clients. If this is a major shift to populism, nationalism, greater state involvement, and less globalism, then you really have to rethink almost everything in your life.”

and

“I think Greece was sort of the Spanish Civil War to what’s about to be the EU’s WWII in that it was the opening preview of all of the problems that are going to come to the fore if Catalonia wants to become independent, if Italy wants to leave, if France wants to leave. The EU is being held together by chewing gum and string right now.

With this rise of nationalism  — if that’s what it is and it continues — the EU is going to find itself increasingly a victim of people wanting self-determination in northern Europe. That’s the first thing. Second is something I’m much more concerned about which nobody’s paying attention to, and that’s the continued rise of Erdoğan in Turkey. He has not only consolidated his power through a series of purges —thousands and thousands of journalists and academics have been thrown in prison since the aborted coup — but increasingly he is becoming more militant and Turkey is becoming a pro-Islamic state that is part of NATO. He’s throwing wild monkey wrenches into the whole Middle Eastern situation by making claims on land that was owned by the Ottomans, pre-WWI, like modern-day Iraq, modern-day Syria, and modern-day Greece and Bulgaria. He’s warned the EU that he will open Turkey’s borders to undocumented immigrants if EU membership talks are frozen.  Like Xi Jinping, he’s putting out these old maps and saying: this is our real land.”

and

“Both Eric Holder and Lanny Breuer of Obama’s Justice Department said in TV interviews and testimony that they factored in non-judicial aspects as to whether to mount prosecutions. I think that this had political costs to the Democrats. The crony capitalism still bothers people — the idea that Wall Street got off scot-free and they are still struggling. That lack of justice applied equally under the law was corrosive, not necessarily for Obama personally, but certainly for the party following him.”

and

“In modern times, the only two presidents that I can think of who really got their ideas and platforms enacted wholesale were FDR and Reagan. Everybody else has gotten compromised, or has had events overwhelm them.”

 

 
Germany’s increasing Jihadi attacks

Did Berlin jihadi previously kill 16 year old German boy and terrify his 15 year old girlfriend?

“Islamic State claimed responsibility for the October 16 knife attack which claimed the life of a 16-year-old called Victor E.

Murder squad detectives are probing the similarities between Amri and the photofit picture issued following the murder of 16-year-old Victor E.

ISIS news agency Amaq stated: ‘A soldier of the Islamic State stabbed two individuals in Hamburg on the 16th of this month. He carried out the operation in response to calls to target the citizens of coalition countries.’

Victor’s girlfriend, aged 15, was with him at the time and not stabbed but pushed into the waters of the Outer Alster Lake.

When she made it to dry land she called the emergency services but her boyfriend died shortly afterwards in hospital. She is currently under psychiatric care.

If the group was responsible it would be its first lethal attack on German soil. An Afghan refugee who pledged allegiance to Isis attacked people with an axe on a train in July and was killed by police but his victims survived.

And an Isis suicide bomber a week later killed himself with a DIY bomb outside a cafe in Ansbach, injuring 19 people with no fatalities.”

What hath Angela Merkel wrought?