IT WAS A GENOCIDE “For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.”

wildebeest-2  “Genocide is the responsibility of the entire world.”

 

 

“My people are few. They resemble the scattering trees of a storm-swept plain…There was a time when our people covered the land as the waves of a wind-ruffled sea cover its shell-paved floor, but that time long since passed away with the greatness of tribes that are now but a mournful memory.”

 

“It is not what you can do for your country, but what you can do for all of mankind.”

Grieving. The Sad Loss Of Robin Williams

Originally posted on Endless Light and Love:

Flubber-robin-williams-30952881-2048-2560

How will we deal with grief and the loss of a loved one?

Imagine yourself sitting on the deck of a beautiful white yacht, the sun shining its warm rays on your skin and the wind filling the sails speeding you along a beautiful deep blue ocean. You are watching dolphins playing nearby. They jump out of the water one after another, they spin gracefully through the air in an arc before diving back into the sea.

The arc is not unlike the cycle of life and death for human beings. We appear in this world like the dolphin jumping out of the water, visible for a short time. Before long, we return to mother nature like the dolphin diving back into the ocean, to complete the circle of life that began there.

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When a dolphin disappears beneath the waves, we feel no need to grieve because we know it is…

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Snowden can stay in Russia for the next 3 years, government decides

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Originally posted on Gigaom:

Russia has granted Edward Snowden a 3-year residency permit, after his temporary asylum expired. That means the NSA leaker can stay in Russia, where he has been stranded since the U.S. cancelled his passport a year ago while he was in transit to Latin America.

Activists across Europe have been pleading for their countries to let Snowden in to give testimony about mass surveillance in person, but not one government has agreed to do so, even those that have launched official inquiries over his revelations.

According to RT, Snowden’s lawyer said on Thursday that the leaker hadn’t applied for political asylum. He said Snowden would be able to apply for Russian citizenship in 5 years, and that in the meantime he is free to travel outside Russia for up to 3 months at a time.

It’s good for Snowden that he isn’t going to be forced to return to…

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These Amazing Colourized Photographs Bring World War I To Life

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Soldiers could spend the majority of their deployments in the trenches. Here, a soldier receives a haircut from a barber on the Albanian front. 

 

In honour of World War I’s centennial this year, The Open University has “colourized” a sample of select photos from the conflict with the help of a photograph restoration expert. 

 

The photos, which were originally in black and white, feel jarringly current when colourized. World War I began 100 years ago, but these photos remind us one of the worst and seemingly most inexplicable conflicts in history isn’t quite as far off as it might seem.

 

The conflict, which killed over nine million people and affected almost ever corner of the globe, began on July 28, 1914. Thought of as the “war to end all wars,” World War I marked a number of firsts in military conflict, including the use of planes, tanks, and chemical weapons. 

Trenches provided no protection against the deployment of chemical weapons. Here, a Canadian soldier poses with his horse while wearing a gas mask at the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps Headquarters. 
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Fearing a gas attack, Indian infantry soldiers don their masks while taking position in a trench.
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World War I was truly a global conflict. These soldiers were members of the 1st Australian Imperial Force, and are pictured here at a military base in their home country. 5-australian-imperial-force-ww1-colour

Trench warfare was one of the hallmarks of World War I. 7-soldiers-advance-from-trench-ww1-colour

Soldiers from the Canadian infantry pose with their unit’s animal mascot. The pets were a common means of boosting morale in the midst of an unimaginably violent conflict.8-canadian-infantry-with-mascot-ww1-colour

 

Colour Photography from www.openuniversity.edu

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Russian Hackers Steal 1.2B Internet Passwords

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Originally posted on CBS San Francisco:

NEW YORK (CBS SF/AP) — Russian hackers have stolen 1.2 billion user names and passwords in a series of Internet heists affecting 420,000 websites, according to a report published Tuesday.

The thievery was described in a New York Times story based on the findings of Hold Security, a Milwaukee firm that has a history of uncovering online security breaches.

Hold Security didn’t immediately respond to inquiries from The Associated Press.

The identities of the websites that were broken into weren’t identified by the Times, which cited nondisclosure agreements that required Hold Security to keep some information confidential.

The reported break-ins are the latest incidents to raise doubts about the security measures that both big and small companies use to protect people’s information online.

Security experts believe hackers will continue breaking into computer networks unless companies become more vigilant.

“Companies that rely on usernames and passwords have to develop a sense of…

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Tobacco-derived ‘plantibodies’ enter the fight against Ebola

Volunteers lower a corpse, which is prepared with safe burial practices, into a grave in Kailahun

By Sharon Begley

Reuters – ‎Wednesday‎, ‎August‎ ‎6‎, ‎2014
 

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Drugmakers’ use of the tobacco plant as a fast and cheap way to produce novel biotechnology treatments is gaining global attention because of its role in an experimental Ebola therapy.

The treatment, which had been tested only in lab animals before being given to two American medical workers in Liberia, consists of proteins called monoclonal antibodies that bind to and inactivate the Ebola virus.

For decades biotech companies have produced such antibodies by growing genetically engineered mouse cells in enormous metal bioreactors. But in the case of the new Ebola treatment ZMapp, developed by Mapp Pharmaceuticals, the antibodies were produced in tobacco plants at Kentucky Bioprocessing, a unit of tobacco giant Reynolds American.

The tobacco-plant-produced monoclonals have been dubbed “plantibodies.”

“Tobacco makes for a good vehicle to express the antibodies because it is inexpensive and it can produce a lot,” said Erica Ollmann Saphire, a professor at The Scripps Research Institute and a prominent researcher in viral hemorrhagic fever diseases like Ebola. “It is grown in a greenhouse and you can manufacture kilograms of the materials. It is much less expensive than cell culture.”

In the standard method of genetic engineering, DNA is slipped into bacteria, and the microbes produce a protein that can be used to combat a disease.

A competing approach called molecular “pharming” uses a plant instead of bacteria. In the case of the Ebola treatment, Mapp uses the common tobacco plant, Nicotiana benthanmianas.

The process is very similar. A gene is inserted into a virus that is then used to infect the tobacco plant. The virus acts like a micro-Trojan Horse, ferrying the engineered DNA into the plant.

Cells infected with the virus and the gene it is carrying produce the target protein. The tobacco leaves are then harvested and processed to extract the protein, which is purified.

ZMapp’s protein is a monoclonal antibody, which resembles ordinary disease-fighting antibodies but has a highly specific affinity for particular cells, including viruses such as Ebola. It attaches itself to the virus cells and inactivates them.

APPROVAL PROCESS

The drug so far has only been produced in very small quantities, but interest in it is stoking debate over whether it should be made more widely available to the hundreds of people stricken with Ebola in Africa while it remains untested.

“We want to have a huge impact on the Ebola outbreak,” Mapp CEO Kevin Whaley said in an interview at company headquarters in San Diego. “We would love to play a bigger role.”

Whaley said he was not aware of any significant safety issues with the serum. He would not discuss whether the company has been contacted about providing the drug overseas.

But he did note the novel manufacturing process carries its own risk, and would have to be cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as part of the approval process.

The FDA would, for example, have to be satisfied that the plant extraction process had not led to contamination of the resulting drug.

The tobacco plant grows quickly, said Reynolds spokesman David Howard, and “it takes only about a week (after the genes are introduced) before you can begin extracting the protein.”

He declined to say how much medication each plant can yield or whether Kentucky Bioprocessing is in a position to produce ZMapp in significant quantities.

Scripps’ Saphire said it can still take anywhere from one to three months to produce the ZMapp serum for wider use given the complexities of the process.

PENTAGON FUNDING

In 2007, Kentucky Bioprocessing entered into an agreement with Mapp Biopharmaceutical and the Biodesign Institute of Arizona State University to refine the tobacco-plant approach. The approach attracted funding support from the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

For all the hope, however, the plant technique has delivered few commercial products. In 2012 the FDA okayed a drug for the rare genetic disorder Gaucher disease from Israel’s Protalix BioTherapeutics and Pfizer. Called Elelyso, it is made in carrot cells, and is the only such drug to reach the market.

Other companies have fallen far short, though it is not clear if the technique was to blame. Calgary-based SemBioSys Genetics Inc, which used safflowers to produce an experimental diabetes drug, folded in 2012 before it finished clinical trials.

Even Kentucky Bioprocessing, which at one point was developing monoclonal antibodies against HIV (the virus that causes AIDS), C. difficile bacterial infection, and the human papillomavirus, has dropped the last two projects, Howard said.

Last year Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corp acquired a majority share of Quebec City-based Medicago, which is developing influenza and other vaccines using the tobacco-plant technology. The other 40 percent is owned by tobacco giant Philip Morris International.

(Reporting by Sharon Begley, Toni Clarke and Deena Beasley; Editing by Michele Gershberg and Martin Howell)

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