#48: Don't Waste Your Love On Somebody Who Doesn't Value It

It's unfortunate and frustrating when people vote against their self-interests. Maybe they don't fully understand the issues. Or they've been lied to by #fakenews. Or they're ignorant. But what are you gonna do? It's their vote, and they have the right to do whatever they want with it, whatever their reasons may be. So even if they've got their facts wrong, I can't tell them their opinionis wrong. We just happen to disagree. That's why we vote.

But when they vote for their self-interest, and elect people who then use theirvote against all of our best interests, well -- that's where I draw the line. Because now they've helped endanger all of the rest of us, and that's makes them either selfish or foolish; regardless, it's just not cool.

On to the news!

1. The CDC - that's right, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that place that just barely saves everyone in every disease-disaster movie - will lose hundreds of millions of dollars with Obamacare repeal. - STAT

"Representative Tom Cole, a Republican from Oklahoma, loves the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When he’s asked about public health funding, he often recites a favorite factoid: “You’re much more likely to die in a pandemic than in a terrorist attack.”

But before the House passed the American Health Care Act on Thursday, Cole — who chairs the appropriations subcommittee that oversees health spending — would not say how Congress would replace the nearly $1 billion in grants the bill would strip from the CDC and other federal agencies if it becomes law. Those grants, from what’s known as the Prevention and Public Health Fund, made up one-eighth of the CDC’s funding in 2016."

+ MY NOTES: That's right, it's not just your closest family members with pre-existing conditions, or black people, or rape victims, getting torched by yesterday's events. It's everyone. Because you know who gets it when the killer bug comes? Everybody. 

2. China racing ahead of the US for chance to cure cancer with CRISPR, create super soldiers, really hot babies - Gizmodo

"The aim is to use CRISPR, which allows scientists to snip out pieces of DNA with greater ease than older gene-editing techniques, to suppress the activity of a gene preventing the patient’s body from effectively fighting the disease. On Friday, the university announced that the first patient had received an infusion of altered cells, which are taken from their body and altered in a lab before being injected back in. 

In all, 20 patients with gastric cancer, nasopharyngeal carcinoma and lymphoma are expected to participate in the trial. Its first phase is expected to conclude next year.

The other Chinese trial, in which scientists modified immune cells to attack lung cancer in 11 patients, expects to release results this year, according to the Journal.

The first US human CRISPR trial is slated to begin this summer at the University of Pennsylvania."

+ MY NOTES: You'd think this is one of those ground-breaking new technologies that should be tested at relatively safe speeds, but then again -- there's a lot of folks coming off a chemo binge today that would disagree. 

3. SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Scientists Could Survey a Million Star Systems by 2037, Lawmakers Are Told - Space.com

"How likely is it that scientists will find signs of life in those million star systems? Shostak's response reflected both an optimistic and a realistic outlook: "I bet everyone a cup of coffee that we will find something," he said, before quickly adding, "I may have to buy a lot of coffee."
Shostak has said previously he thinks signs of intelligent life will be found by 2040. 

The improvements that will so greatly advance scientists' ability to search for signs of intelligent beings in the universe are largely twofold, Shostak said. First, as computer processors continue to follow Moore's law, computer processors will steadily get smaller, cheaper and faster.
The second improvement Shostak noted is that SETI scientists are working on using machine learning in their search for extraterrestrial communication signals. "

+ MY NOTES: Fun story! All of the potential systems have universal health care. Weird!

4. Personalized medicine is here(ish) - WSJ

"For the first time, patients don’t have to go through a physician to learn about potential risks related to their genetic makeup. As long as 23andMe meets the FDA’s “special controls” for subsequent tests, they won’t have to get premarket clearance from regulators. Other companies will benefit from the same regulatory pathway after they receive their first approval for similar types of tests. 

We applaud the decision. Consumers’ right to know their own genetic health risks will become more important as sophisticated diagnostics like whole-genome scans, artificial intelligence, and targeted drug and gene therapies reach doctors’ offices in the years to come. Together, these tools can empower patients to become co-directors of their own medical destinies. In fact, the right to know the risks contained in your genetic code will likely become the most fundamental medical right of the 21st century.

Already, companies and researchers are studying massive databases that combine genetic information with information from electronic medical records, wearable devices, and patient survey data on diet, exercise and even mood. Mining data from tens or hundreds of thousands of patients helps companies and doctors explore, test and develop tailored interventions to treat or even prevent serious chronic diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The day may come when physicians are able to intercept these diseases at their molecular or genetic roots, halting their progression before they inflict irreversible damage on critical tissues and organs."

+ MY NOTES: It's very early, but as long as we keep standardizing health data, we're on our way. 

5. Scientists spit fire at new NYT columnist's climate change column - Gizmodo

"While acknowledging that human-caused global warming is a settled matter, Stephens argued that the risk climate change poses is not. As a Times push notification sent out to millions of subscribers on Friday summarized, “reasonable people can be skeptical about the dangers of climate change.”

Responses to this (admittedly small, and self-selected) sampling of experts revealed a near-unanimous disagreement with the premise that it is reasonable to be skeptical about the dangers of climate change. As several scientists contacted by Gizmodo explained, it is reasonable to be skeptical about the exact magnitude, timing and breadth of the impacts of climate change, and the appropriate societal response. In fact, few in the scientific community would claim certitude about the impacts, as Stephens suggests.
But the existential threat itself? That’s undeniable."

+ MY NOTES: Why is this article vital to the survival of our species? Well, because, every human is entitled to their opinion. Especially on the actual, designated opinion pages. I wouldn't call this piece "climate change denialism" nor the response "self-righteous", but we do have an issue with it, and it's mostly in the misrepresentation of the current progress of climate science and future modeling. This quote sums it up pretty well for us:

"There is no substantive, reasonable, evidence-based argument that climate change is not a substantial danger. To suggest otherwise is to misrepresent the current state of knowledge.”

6. The Oatmeal on listening, and change.

"You're not going to believe what I'm about to tell you."

+ MY NOTES: Perfect. Please check out the accompanying podcasts, as well. The issues we cover here can, often times, be relatively unbelievable. You might even disagree with the assumptions. And that's great. The more discussion the better. But a discussion goes both ways -- we've gotta talk, and listen.


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Calling bullshit on the superhuman AI

Holy grail of cancer cure remains distant hope - but there is hope.