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+ - Researchers fully 'delete' HIV from human cells for the first time

Submitted by mrspoonsi
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "So far, HIV has eluded a cure because it installs its genome into human DNA so insidiously that it's impossible for our immune system to clear it out. While current treatments are effective, a lifetime of toxic drugs are required to prevent its recurrence. But researchers from Temple University may have figured out a way to permanently excise it using a highly-engineered HIV "editor." Here's how it works: the team analyzed a part of our immune system that fights infection and built a "guide RNA" strand consisting of 20 nucleotides (RNA building blocks). Those strands were then injected into cells typically infected with HIV, like T-cells. There, they targeted the end parts of the virus's gene and snipped out all 9,709 nucleotides that made up its genome. Since the guide RNA strand contained no human DNA sequences, it left the host cell intact — but free from HIV."

+ - Why are the world's scientists continuing to take chances with smallpox?->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "MIT's Jeanne Guillemin looks at the recent blunders with smallpox and H5N1 at the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health to chronicle the fascinating history of smallpox eradication efforts and the attempts (thwarted by Western scientists) to destroy lab collections of the virus in order to make it truly extinct. 'In 1986, with no new smallpox cases reported, the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO, resolved to destroy the strain collections and make the virus extinct. But there was resistance to this; American scientists in particular wanted to continue their research.' Within a few years, secret biological warfare programs were discovered in Moscow and in Iraq, and a new flurry of defensive research was funded. Nevertheless, Guillemin and others believe that changes in research methods, which no longer require the use of live viruses, mean that stocks of the live smallpox virus can and should finally be destroyed."
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Comment: Re:Gentlemen, start your engines. (Score 1) 700

by bunratty (#47506681) Attached to: Favorite "Go!" Phrase?
I went on to watch a debate between Denning and Roy Spencer. I found Spencer's talk to be intriguing, but too optimistic:
1) He says that by his calculations, climate sensitivity is about 1.3 degrees Celsius, and could be lower. But he doesn't mention is could be higher, also.
2) He says that there has been no warming in the past decade or so, but doesn't address recent sea level rise and ice melt that does indicate warming.
3) He says he believes carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will not triple and may not even double, but offers no reasoning to support his beliefs.
The truth is that no one knows exactly what will happen, and Dr. Spencer could turn out to be right. But he gives no reason to be so optimistic. He just is. What if he's wrong? I remain skeptical of his beliefs.

Comment: Re:The crackpot cosmology "theory" Du Jour (Score 1) 214

by bunratty (#47474803) Attached to: Cosmologists Show Negative Mass Could Exist In Our Universe
Science is about generating hypotheses, then determining which are incorrect. Many things we take for granted in science now sounded too fantastic to believe when they were proposed. Quantum physics, plate tectonics, and ulcers caused by h. pylori are three examples that come to mind. On the other hand, you shouldn't blindly believe any new hypothesis just because you like it -- you should demand evidence before you accept a new idea.

Comment: Re:So SSL is nothing more than an honor system? (Score 5, Insightful) 107

by bunratty (#47423581) Attached to: India's National Informatics Centre Forged Google SSL Certificates
Everything is nothing more than an honor system. You trust the operating system to accept only the password you chose when someone tries to log in to your account. You trust the compiler not to secretly install backdoors into software. You trust the hardware manufacturers not to implement secret knocks to allow backdoor access. You trust your browser to handle SSL certificates appropriately. If you don't like it, you can build your own hardware and software from scratch and feel safe in the knowledge that it's secure. That is, if you trust that you didn't make a mistake.

Comment: Re:"...technological paths available..." (Score 1) 389

by bunratty (#47420971) Attached to: Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis
I don't think they have agreed it's the most cost-effective solution. I think the bottom line is that they agree that the effects of a warming of 2 degrees Celsius are so bad that we should try hard to avert it. We don't have the technology to remove enough carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to meet that goal, so the only option is to reduce emissions. Now, if you have a better idea, please speak up!

Memory fault -- brain fried