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Google

Google Launches 'Google Trips' Personalized Travel Planner (techcrunch.com) 38

Google has an app for just about everything. Their latest application, called Google Trips, aims to help you better plan your vacations and other travels. TechCrunch reports: Called Google Trips, the iOS and Android app pulls in a combination of data from Google Maps and crowdsourced contributions from other travels, in order to offer a personalized travel guide that helps you keep track of your day trips, reservations, points of interest, tourist attractions, restaurants and more. The home screen includes a search box with a prompt "where do you want to go?" for planning new trips, and other cards let you keep track of your current and upcoming vacations and plans. What's helpful is that each city you plan to visit during one of your trips can each have its own tab within the larger "Trip" section, and with a simple toggle switch, you can download all the information about that destination for offline access. Meanwhile, on each city's screen, a variety of colorful cards help you jump into various sections like "Saved places," "Day Plans," "Food and Drink," "Getting around," "Things to do," "Reservations," and more. Google says Trips can show you the most popular day plans and itineraries for the top 200 cities worldwide. This information is actually based on historic visit data from other travelers, which Google has then assembled into lists that include the most popular sights and attractions. In addition to sightseeing, the app can also track flight, hotel, car and restaurant reservations, which makes the app something of a competitor to Concur's TripIt, and, to some extend, the new territory Airbnb is carving out with its own forthcoming Airbnb Trips app, which will focus on travel services. However, what makes Google Trips compelling is that it leverages Google's ability to tap into the data you have stored in your Gmail, as it automatically gathers your reservations from your email and organizes them into trips on your behalf. Google Trips is live now on Android and iOS.
The Almighty Buck

Religion In US 'Worth More Than Google and Apple Combined' (theguardian.com) 539

A new study says religion in the United States is worth $1.2 trillion per year. Not only is that equivalent to the 15th largest national economy in the world, but it's more than the combined revenues of the top 10 technology companies in the U.S., including Apple, Amazon and Google. The study, "The Socioeconomic Contributions of Religion To American Society: An Empirical Analysis," was conducted by Brian J. Grim from Georgetown University and Melissa E. Grim from Newseum Institute. The Guardian reports: The Socioeconomic Contributions of Religion to American Society: An Empirical Analysis calculated the $1.2 trillion figure by estimating the value of religious institutions, including healthcare facilities, schools, daycare and charities; media; businesses with faith backgrounds; the kosher and halal food markets; social and philanthropic programs; and staff and overheads for congregations. Co-author Brian Grim said it was a conservative estimate. More than 344,000 congregations across the U.S. collectively employ hundreds of thousands of staff and buy billions of dollars worth of goods and services. More than 150 million Americans, almost half the population, are members of faith congregations, according to the report. Although numbers are declining, the sums spent by religious organizations on social programs have tripled in the past 15 years, to $9 billion. The report points to analysis by the Pew Research Center which shows that two-thirds of highly religious adults had donated money, time or goods to the poor in the previous week, compared with 41% of adults who said they were not highly religious. The analysis didn't account for the value of financial or physical assets held by religious groups, or for "the negative impacts that occur in some religious communities, including [...] such things as the abuse of children by some clergy, cases of fraud, and the possibility of being recruitment sites for violent extremism."
Earth

The Sixth Mass Extinction Will Hit The Biggest Animals The Hardest, Says Stanford Study (gizmodo.com) 156

The sixth mass extinction will be an event triggered by people and will hit the biggest animals the hardest. "There is no past event that looks biologically like what's happening today," says lead study author Jonathan Payne of Stanford University. "Processes like warming and ocean acidification are not the dominant cause of threat in the modern ocean." Gizmodo reports: A paleontologist by training, Payne and his research group started compiling data on modern marine organisms several years back, in order to study how body size and ecological traits have changed over evolutionary time. Payne, who has studied the End Permian extinction event that wiped out more than 95 percent of all marine species 250 million years ago, soon realized that his dataset -- which included living and extinct members of nearly 2,500 marine genera -- could serve another purpose. By comparing the extinction threat faced by modern marine genera (as indicated by their official conservation status) with their ancestral counterparts, Payne and his colleagues discovered that modern extinction threat is more strongly associated with body size. Larger animals face a greater risk of disappearing than smaller animals. Today, the dominant driver of marine extinction is people, and people aren't terribly selective about which environments they pluck animals from. We go for the biggest game, fishing down the food web and removing top predators. Within species, too, we tend to hunt the largest individuals, which is why North Atlantic cod and Chesapeake oysters were historically much larger. "In a sense, we're driving evolution [toward smaller individuals]," Payne said. What's worth noting is that the Stanford researchers only looked at organisms whose extinction risk has been assessed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which creates a bias towards big, charismatic groups like fish, sea turtles, marine mammals, etc. The marine genera that were analyzed only had fossil counterparts, too. Gizmodo also notes that the study "excluded corals, which are currently in the midst of a catastrophic, global die-off."
Medicine

Sugar Industry Bought Off Scientists, Skewed Dietary Guidelines For Decades (arstechnica.com) 526

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Back in the 1960s, a sugar industry executive wrote fat checks to a group of Harvard researchers so that they'd downplay the links between sugar and heart disease in a prominent medical journal -- and the researchers did it, according to historical documents reported Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. One of those Harvard researchers went on to become the head of nutrition at the United States Department of Agriculture, where he set the stage for the federal government's current dietary guidelines. All in all, the corrupted researchers and skewed scientific literature successfully helped draw attention away from the health risks of sweets and shift the blame to solely to fats -- for nearly five decades. The low-fat, high-sugar diets that health experts subsequently encouraged are now seen as a main driver of the current obesity epidemic. The bitter revelations come from archived documents from the Sugar Research Foundation (now the Sugar Association), dug up by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco. Their dive into the old, sour affair highlights both the perils of trusting industry-sponsored research to inform policy and the importance of requiring scientists to disclose conflicts of interest -- something that didn't become the norm until years later. Perhaps most strikingly, it spotlights the concerning power of the sugar industry. In a statement also issued today, the Sugar Association acknowledged that it "should have exercised greater transparency in all of its research activities." However, the trade-group went on to question the UCSF researchers' motives in digging up the issue and reframing the past events to "conveniently align with the currently trending anti-sugar narrative." The association also chastised the journal for publishing the historical analysis, which it implied was insignificant and sensationalist. "Most concerning is the growing use of headline-baiting articles to trump quality scientific research -- we're disappointed to see a journal of JAMA's stature being drawn into this trend," the association wrote. But scientists disagree with that take. In an accompanying editorial, nutrition professor Marion Nestle of New York University argued that "this 50-year-old incident may seem like ancient history, but it is quite relevant, not least because it answers some questions germane to our current era."
Google

Alphabet Partners With Chipotle To Deliver Burritos Using Drones (theverge.com) 105

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Google parent company Alphabet is teaming up with fast casual chain Chipotle to test drone delivery for Virginia Tech students, according to a report from Bloomberg. The pilot program marks a turning point for Alphabet's Project Wing division, giving the team ample room to experiment with airborne burrito deliveries in one of the first commercial programs of its kind to be green-lit by the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority. The drones, which will be hybrid aircraft that can both fly and hover in place, will make deliveries coordinated by a Chipotle food truck on campus. Project Wing drones will be guided predominantly by software, but human pilots will be on hand to assume control if necessary. The aircraft are also prohibited from flying directly over human beings. So active participants will be shielded appropriately, according to Alphabet. Project Wing chose to partner with Chipotle because it presented unique challenges: could a drone adequately deliver food using a winch system, and can the food remain hot throughout flight with special packaging? The program will be accessible to select Virginia Tech employees and students.
Microsoft

Microsoft Helps Develop Smart, IoT-Enabled Refrigerators (microsoft.com) 178

An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: Promising "intelligent food management" to help with shopping and meal planning, Microsoft is collaborating with household appliance manufacturer Liebherr to develop a refrigerator where stored groceries "can be monitored using internal cameras." The refrigerators will use Microsoft's object recognition technology to create a list of your groceries -- with photos -- accessible via an an Android or iOS app (or a Windows device).

"Microsoft is providing computer vision capability as part of this collaboration," says their web page, citing the deep-learning technology underlying the Microsoft Cognitive Services Computer Vision API, released in Microsoft's open source Computational Network Toolkit. "Using the deep learning algorithms contained within CNTK, Microsoft data scientists worked with Liebherr to build a new image processing system to detect specific food products present inside a Liebherr refrigerator..."

Privacy

Whither Tor? Building the Next Generation of Anonymity Tools (arstechnica.com) 89

"Tor hasn't changed, it's the world that's changed," says Aaron Johnson, the lead researcher on a 2013 paper which reported that 80% of Tor users could be de-anonymized within six months, and that today's users may want protection from different threats. An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes Ars Technica: The most probable future we face is a world in which Tor continues to offer a good-but-not-perfect, general-purpose anonymity system, while new anonymity networks arrive offering stronger anonymity optimised for particular use-cases, like anonymous messaging, anonymous filesharing, anonymous microblogging, and anonymous voice-over-IP. Nor is the Tor Project standing still. Tor today is very different from the first public release more than a decade ago, [Tor project cofounder Nick] Mathewson is quick to point out. That evolution will continue.

"It's been my sense for ages that the Tor we use in five years will look very different from the Tor we use today," he says. "Whether that's still called Tor or not is largely a question of who builds and deploys it first. We are not stepping back from innovation. I want better solutions than we have today that are easier to use and protect people's privacy."

The article lists five projects that are "breaking new ground in developing stronger anonymity systems," including the Dissent Project, the Aqua and Herd projects (for filesharing and voice over IP), Vuvuzela/Alpenhorn (for anonymous chat), Riffle (filesharing), and Riposte (anonymous microblogging). Tor project cofounder Nick Mathewson is urging anonymity developers to begin using their own software. "What you learn about software from running it is like what you learn from food by tasting it... You can't actually know whether you've made a working solution for humans unless you give it to humans, including yourself."
Biotech

FDA Bans 19 Chemicals Used In Antibacterial Soaps (nbcnews.com) 248

The Food and Drug Administration has ordered "antibacterial" ingredients to be removed from consumer soaps, citing a lack of evidence that they are effective in making soap work any better and that the industry has failed to prove they're safe. The banned chemicals include triclosan, triclocarban and 17 others (PDF) typically found in hand and body soaps. Companies have until late next year to remove the ingredients from their products, the FDA said. "Companies will no longer be able to market antibacterial washes with these ingredients because manufacturers did not demonstrate that the ingredients are both safe for long-term daily use and more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of certain infections," the FDA said in a statement. NBC News reports: "In 2013 FDA gave soapmakers a year to show that adding antibacterial chemicals did anything at all to help them kill germs. It made the rule final Friday. The FDA started asking about triclosan in 1978. Environmental groups and some members of Congress have been calling for limits on the use of triclosan. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) sued and the FDA agreed to do something about triclosan by 2016. There's no proof that triclosan is dangerous to people, but some animal studies suggest high doses can affect the way hormones work in the body. The proposed rule only affects hand soaps and body washes. Triclosan is often used in toothpaste and it's been shown to help kill germs that cause gum disease."
Government

FDA Finds Flaws In Theranos' Zika Tests (techcrunch.com) 74

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: This past week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration mandated testing for the Zika virus at all U.S. blood centers. That juices demand for Zika-testing technology, but one company that isn't welcome to provide it yet is Theranos. The beleaguered blood analysis startup has run afoul of the FDA, yet again, The Wall Street Journal reports (Warning: may be paywalled). Specifically, regulators found that in developing and testing a new Zika-diagnostic technology, Theranos failed to use proper patient safety protocols, the type approved by an institutional review board. Such protocols are critical in ensuring the ethical treatment of patients involved in studies, and their safety. Theranos had sought the same FDA authorization, but voluntarily withdrew its request once regulators called the startup out, this time, on the safety protocols issue.
NASA

Isolated NASA Team Ends Year-Long Mars Simulation In Hawaii (bbc.com) 176

An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes the BBC: A team of six people have completed a Mars simulation in Hawaii, where they lived in near isolation for a year. Since August 29th, 2015, the group lived in close quarters in a dome, without fresh air, fresh food or privacy... Having survived their year in isolation, the crew members said they were confident a mission to Mars could succeed. "I can give you my personal impression which is that a mission to Mars in the close future is realistic," Cyprien Verseux, a crew member from France, told journalists. "I think the technological and psychological obstacles can be overcome."

The team consisted of a French astro-biologist, a German physicist and four Americans -- a pilot, an architect, a journalist and a soil scientist... the six had to live with limited resources, wear a space-suit when outside the dome, and work to avoid personal conflicts. They each had a small sleeping cot and a desk inside their rooms. Provisions included powdered cheese and canned tuna.

Music

What Jonathan Coulton Learned From The Technology Industry (geekwire.com) 88

In a new article on GeekWire, Jonathan Coulton explains why he left a comfortable software development job in 2005 to launch a career as an online singer-songwriter. But he also describes the things he learned from the tech industry. "These guys were doing this thing they wanted to do, this thing they felt competent doing. They didn't chase after things, and they worked hard, but it was a business they created because they enjoyed it. They tried to minimize the things they didn't want to do. It wasn't about getting rich; it was about getting satisfied...

"I wanted to a set a good example to my children. I wanted to be the person I wanted to be, someone willing to take chances -- a person who didn't live with enormous regrets..." Within the first year, he had not replaced his software salary, but had enough success to cover his babysitter and to keep food on the table.

When he was younger -- in the pre-internet days -- "It was very unclear how to become a musician," Coulton explains. But somehow rolling his own career path eventually led to a life which includes everything from guest appearances on radio shows to an annual cruise with his fans (this year featuring Aimee Mann, Wil Wheaton, and Redshirts author John Scalzi).
Transportation

Domino's Will Deliver Pizza By Drone and By Robot (roboticstrends.com) 77

An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes CNN Money's report that "pizzas will soon be dropping from the heavens": Domino's demonstrated its ability to deliver food via a drone Thursday in New Zealand and plans to test actual deliveries to customers next month. "It doesn't add up to deliver a two kilogram package in a two-ton vehicle," said Scott Bush, a general manager for Domino's Pizza Enterprises, which is independent of the U.S. chain and operates in seven countries. "In Auckland, we have such massive traffic congestion it just makes sense to take to the airways."

A Domino's customer who requests a drone delivery will receive a notification when their delivery is approaching. After going outside and hitting a button on their smartphone, the drone will lower the food via a tether. Once the package is released, the drone pulls the tether back up and flies back to the Domino's store.

Robotics Trends has video from the flight, and reports that Domino's is also testing a pizza-delivering robot. Their Domino's Robotics Unit "has four wheels, is less than three feet tall, and has a heated compartment that can hold up to 10 pizzas. It can deliver pizzas within a 12.5-mile radius before needing to be recharged."
Biotech

Can Cow Backpacks Reduce Global Methane Emissions? (bloomberg.com) 190

Slashdot reader schwit1 shares an article from Bloomberg which argues "It's time to have a conversation about flatulent cows." "Enteric fermentation," or livestock's digestive process, accounts for 22 percent of all U.S. methane emissions, and the manure they produce makes up eight percent more, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency... Methane, like carbon, is a greenhouse gas, but methane's global warming impact per molecule is 25 times greater than carbon's, according to the EPA.
Cargill has tried capturing some of the methane released from cow manure by using domed lagoons, while researchers at Danone yogurt discovered they could reduce methane emissions up to 30% by feeding cows a diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids (mostly from flax seed). But now Argentina researchers are testing plastic "methane backpacks" which they strap on to the back of cows, and according to the article "have been able to extract 300 liters of methane a day, enough to power a car or refrigerator."
Bitcoin

Eleven Reasons To Be Excited About The Future of Technology (medium.com) 282

Chris Dixon, an American internet entrepreneur and investor in a range of tech and media companies including Kickstarter and Foursquare has written an essay on Medium highlighting some of the reasons why we should be excited about the future of technology. The reasons he has listed are as follows: 1. Self-Driving Cars: Self-driving cars exist today that are safer than human-driven cars in most driving conditions. Over the next 3-5 years they'll get even safer, and will begin to go mainstream.
2. Clean Energy: Attempts to fight climate change by reducing the demand for energy haven't worked. Fortunately, scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs have been working hard on the supply side to make clean energy convenient and cost-effective.
3. Virtual and Augmented Reality: Computer processors only recently became fast enough to power comfortable and convincing virtual and augmented reality experiences. Companies like Facebook, Google, Apple, and Microsoft are investing billions of dollars to make VR and AR more immersive, comfortable, and affordable.
4. Drones and Flying Cars: GPS started out as a military technology but is now used to hail taxis, get mapping directions, and hunt Pokemon. Likewise, drones started out as a military technology, but are increasingly being used for a wide range of consumer and commercial applications.
5. Artificial Intelligence: Artificial intelligence has made rapid advances in the last decade, due to new algorithms and massive increases in data collection and computing power.
6. Pocket Supercomputers for Everyone: By 2020, 80% of adults on earth will have an internet-connected smartphone. An iPhone 6 has about 2 billion transistors, roughly 625 times more transistors than a 1995 Intel Pentium computer. Today's smartphones are what used to be considered supercomputers.
7. Cryptocurrencies and Blockchains: Protocols are the plumbing of the internet. Most of the protocols we use today were developed decades ago by academia and government. Since then, protocol development mostly stopped as energy shifted to developing proprietary systems like social networks and messaging apps. Cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies are changing this by providing a new business model for internet protocols. This year alone, hundreds of millions of dollars were raised for a broad range of innovative blockchain-based protocols.
8. High-Quality Online Education: While college tuition skyrockets, anyone with a smartphone can study almost any topic online, accessing educational content that is mostly free and increasingly high-quality.
9. Better Food through Science: Earth is running out of farmable land and fresh water. This is partly because our food production systems are incredibly inefficient. It takes an astounding 1799 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef. Fortunately, a variety of new technologies are being developed to improve our food system.
10. Computerized Medicine: Until recently, computers have only been at the periphery of medicine, used primarily for research and record keeping. Today, the combination of computer science and medicine is leading to a variety of breakthroughs.
11. A New Space Age: Since the beginning of the space age in the 1950s, the vast majority of space funding has come from governments. But that funding has been in decline: for example, NASA's budget dropped from about 4.5% of the federal budget in the 1960s to about 0.5% of the federal budget today.

Government

Can We Avoid Government Surveillance By Leaving The Grid? (counterpunch.org) 264

Slashdot reader Nicola Hahn writes: While reporters clamor about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, NSA whistleblower James Bamford offers an important reminder: American intelligence has been actively breaching email servers in foreign countries like Mexico and Germany for years. According to Bamford documents leaked by former NSA specialist Ed Snowden show that the agency is intent on "tracking virtually everyone connected to the Internet." This includes American citizens. So it might not be surprising that another NSA whistleblower, William Binney, has suggested that certain elements within the American intelligence community may actually be responsible for the DNC hack.

This raises an interesting question: facing down an intelligence service that is in a class by itself, what can the average person do? One researcher responds to this question using an approach that borrows a [strategy] from the movie THX 1138: "The T-H-X account is six percent over budget. The case is to be terminated."

To avoid surveillance, the article suggests "get off the grid entirely... Find alternate channels of communication, places where the coveted home-field advantage doesn't exist... this is about making surveillance expensive." The article also suggests "old school" technologies, for example a quick wireless ad-hoc network in a crowded food court. Any thoughts?
Medicine

Soylent Coffee: Nootropics, Fat, Carbs, Protein -- But Will It Give You The Toots? (arstechnica.com) 148

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Ars Technica: Soylent has ventured in a new direction with its latest beverage: breakfast. Called Coffiest, the new offering has the same ingredient makeup, nutritional mix, and 47/33/20 percent fat/carb/protein calorie distribution as the 2.0 premixed version, but it also adds coffee flavoring, 150mg of caffeine per serving, and 75mg of the nootropic L-Theanine. According to Soylent founder Rob Rhinehart, a bottle of Coffiest supplies the drinker with about 400 kilocalories and about 20 percent of the daily recommended values for "all essential vitamins and minerals." "A lot of people are skipping breakfast," Rhinehart told Ars in a phone interview. "We wanted to provide a convenient and also really tasty option for them to enjoy in the morning." Additionally, the company will also be releasing a nutrition bar, called the Soylent Bar. This one will deliver 250 kilocalories per bar, and has a macronutrient breakdown of 38/43/19 percent fat/carb/protein. "Coffee flavor is extremely complex," Rhinehart told Ars. "The direction I gave was a little bit of a more darker, richer roast it's a little darker coffee. A little bit of cocoa powder, just a barely perceptible amount, but it rounds out the flavor nicely." "It was a huge challenge to develop a coffee flavor that would survive processing," he continued. "You can't take any risks with health or safety, so we have to eliminate any sources of contamination from the product and that involves heat. So we had some great food scientists and flavor scientists work out a flavor system that combines natural coffee extracts with an artificial flavor system. And it turned out pretty great." As for the toots, neither Coffiest nor the Soylent Bar will cause consumers to erupt with "horse-killing farts," a complaint made by many of Soylent's customers as well as Ars Technica writer Lee Hutchinson. For those interested in Soylent's latest concoction, Coffiest is available for purchase today at the Soylent site for about $40 for a pack of 12 servings (or $37.05 with a recurring subscription). The Soylent Bar will launch later for about $2 per bar. You can view Coffiest's nutrition facts here.
Earth

Earth's Resources Used Up at Quickest Rate Ever in 2016 (france24.com) 323

An anonymous reader writes: In just over seven months, humanity has used up a full year's allotment of natural resources such as water, food and clean air -- the quickest rate yet, according to a new report. The point of "overshoot" will officially be reached on Monday, said environmental group Global Footprint Network -- five days earlier than last year. "We continue to grow our ecological debt," said Pascal Canfin of green group WWF, reacting to the annual update. "From Monday August 8, we will be living on credit because in eight months we would have consumed the natural capital that our planet can renew in a year."
Security

Data Breach At Oracle's MICROS Point-of-Sale Division (krebsonsecurity.com) 33

Brian Krebs reports: A Russian organized cybercrime group known for hacking into banks and retailers appears to have breached hundreds of computer systems at software giant Oracle Corp., KrebsOnSecurity has learned. More alarmingly, the attackers have compromised a customer support portal for companies using Oracle's MICROS point-of-sale credit card payment systems. Asked this weekend for comment on rumors of a large data breach potentially affecting customers of its retail division, Oracle acknowledged that it had "detected and addressed malicious code in certain legacy MICROS systems." It also said that it is asking all MICROS customers to reset their passwords for the MICROS online support portal. MICROS is among the top three point-of-sale vendors globally. Oracle's MICROS division sells point-of-sale systems used at more than 330,000 cash registers worldwide. When Oracle bought MICROS in 2014, the company said MICROS's systems were deployed at some 200,000+ food and beverage outlets, 100,000+ retail sites, and more than 30,000 hotels.
Medicine

Banner Health Alerts 3.7 Million Potential Victims of Hack (bannerhealth.com) 30

New submitter Netdoctor writes: Apparently Banner Health is the latest victim of a cyber attack, with the Health conglomerate reporting on two incidents in July. While not all Banner customers were affected, payment details as well as customer information were leaked, according to their news brief. Some 3.7 million people are potentially affected by the attack, including patients, health plan members, healthcare providers and customers at its food and beverage outlets. Card payments for medical services appear to be safe. The company is offering a free one-year membership in monitoring services to those who are affected by the breach. Banner Health said in a statement: âoeThe patient and health plan information may have included names, birthdates, addresses, physiciansâ(TM) names, dates of service, claims information, and possibly health insurance information and social security numbers, if provided to Banner Health."
Science

Scientists Argue the US Ban on Human Gene Editing Will Leave It Behind (vice.com) 183

Alex Pearlman, reporting for Motherboard: As the biotech revolution accelerates globally, the U.S. could be getting left behind on key technological advances: namely, human genetic modification. A Congressional ban on human germline modification has "drawn new lines in the sand" on gene editing legislation, argues a paper published today in Science by Harvard law and bioethics professor I. Glenn Cohen and leading biologist Eli Adashi of Brown University. They say that without a course correction, "the United States is ceding its leadership in this arena to other nations." Germline gene modification is the act of making heritable changes to early stage human embryos or sex cells that can be passed down to the next generation, and it will be banned in the US. This is different from somatic gene editing, which is editing cells of humans that have already been born. The ban, added by the House of Representatives as a rider to the fiscal year 2016 budget, could have far-reaching implications if it continues to be annually renewed, according to the authors. It "undermines ongoing conversations on the possibility of human germline modification" and also affects "ongoing efforts by the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] to review the prevention of mitochondrial DNA diseases," including some kinds of hearing and vision impairments, among other serious illnesses that tend to develop in young children.

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