Jack Diehl

Gene Therapy Protects Against HIV

News of Note: Gene therapy can protect against HIV "The road to a vaccine against HIV has proved to be far longer than originally anticipated. More than 2 million adults are newly infected with HIV every year and, nearly three decades after the virus was first identified, researchers haven’t found a reliable way to prevent infection. The classic vaccine approach, which uses all or part of an inactivated virus to induce immunity, has yielded little success because HIV has managed to disguise most of the easily-recognised external structures that antibodies would target. Researchers have thus had a tough time ...

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Kentucky church bans interracial couples

News of Note: Kentucky church bans interracial couples "A small church in Pike County, Kentucky has voted to ban interracial couples from most church activities “to promote greater unity among the church body... “Parties of such marriages will not be received as members, nor will they be used in worship services and other church functions, with the exception being funerals. All are welcome to our public worship services. This recommendation is not intended to judge the salvation of anyone, but is intended to promote greater unity among the church body and the community we serve.” Harville told The Kentucky Herald-Leader that ...

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Occupy Foreclosed Homes

Looking for another way to fight back against big banks? OccupyOurHomes.org is calling for a national day of action on December 6, 2011. "Everyone deserves to have a roof over their head and a place to call home. Millions of Americans have worked hard for years for the opportunity to own their own home; for others, it remains a distant goal. For all of us, having a decent place to live for ourselves and our families is the most fundamental part of the American dream, a source of security and pride. In 2008, we discovered bankers and speculators had been ...

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For-Profit Private Prisons

News of Note: Private Prison Charges Inmates $5 a Minute for Phone Calls While They Work for $1 a Day

Last year the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation’s largest private prison company, received $74 million of taxpayers’ money to run immigration detention centers. Their largest facility in Lumpkin, Georgia, receives $200 a night for each of the 2,000 detainees it holds, and rakes in yearly profits between $35 million and $50 million.

Prisoners held in this remote facility depend on the prison’s phones to communicate with their lawyers and loved ones. Exploiting inmates’ need, CCA ...

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Is Sex For Pleasure Uniquely Human?

Talk Nerdy To Me: Is Sex For Pleasure Uniquely Human? "We have a lot of sex. In human culture, sex is so much more than a means of reproduction. Sex is emotional. Sex is communicative. Sex is fun. And when it comes down to it, for most of us, sex just feels good. We have sex for pleasure significantly more often than we have sex for reproductive purposes. Is this one of those things that makes us uniquely human? "One indication that animals enjoy sexual activity is the act of masturbation. We've all seen our dogs ...

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What We Can Learn From the Dutch About Teen Sex

What Mind Reading: What We Can Learn From the Dutch About Teen Sex  "Teen birth rates are eight times higher in the U.S. than in Holland. Abortion rates are twice as high. The American AIDS rate is three times greater than that of the Dutch. What are they doing right that we're not?... "Coming out of the sexual revolution, the Dutch really decoupled sex from marriage, but they didn't decouple sex from love. If the first piece is that there weren't these immediate associations of teen sex with danger, the second is that it remained anchored in the concept of ...

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Whitehouse.gov petitions: What the people really want

Earlier this month Whitehouse.gov (the official site of the White House) launched “We the People”: “Welcome to We the People on WhiteHouse.gov. This tool provides you with a new way to petition the Obama Administration to take action on a range of important issues facing our country. If a petition gets enough support, White House staff will review it, ensure it’s sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response.” Any petition created within the first 30 days, that reaches at least 5,000 signatures, will receive an “official response”. This has incredible potential. It gives the Internet ...

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Online gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle

Gamers solve molecular puzzle that baffled scientists” There is this website, Fold.it. People go there to play a video game about Protein Folding. Players can contribute to science by solving these puzzles. Wikipedia sums up the news nicely: “. . . online gamers used Foldit to decipher the crystal structure of M-PMV retroviral protease, which is linked to an AIDS-like virus. Players produced an accurate 3D model of the enzyme in just three weeks. The problem had thwarted scientists for a decade.”   This is significant: We haven’t hit the singularity yet, but the ...

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