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HUMANITY DOOMSDAY CLOCK - Moves forward to 2125 due to election of US President trump.

Estimate of the time that Humanity will go extinct or civilization will collapse. The HUMANITY DOOMSDAY CLOCK moves forward to 2125 due to US President trump's abandonment of climate change goals. Apologies to Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists for using the name.

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Thursday, December 3, 2015

UPDATE National Security Threat from CRISPR/Cas9 Gene Splicing Tool

In a recent article, James Clapper identified the potential threat to the United States from the CRISPR/Cas9 gene splicing tool [http://thebulletin.org/how-genetic-editing-became-national-security-threat9362]

This space discussed this concept earlier, as below:

New technology will make gene splicing quick, easy and highly successful.

It is called CRISPR/Cas9 (an acronym for “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats”).

Using this new technology, scientists can 'End the scourge of insect-borne diseases? Check. Inoculate endangered amphibians against killer fungi? Yes. Pluck invasive species from environments where they don’t belong? As you wish.' [Per article here https://www.sciencenews.org/article/gene-drives-spread-their-wings]

The mere existence of this technology raises serious questions about the future of humanity.

On the one hand, it can be used to do many good things as mentioned above.

Used properly this technology could reduce significantly human deaths from many communicable diseases.

For example, a new study suggests that this technology can be used to modify plankton to increase the production of oxygen and thus reduce the effects of temperature increase in the oceans; the study is reviewed here http://nextbigfuture.com/2015/12/gene-drive-one-of-many-ways-to-prevent.html

However, since the cost of this project would be significant, it is unlikely to attract funding.

On the other hand, that prospect raises at least two questions.

First, this technology WILL be acquired by terrorists and used to create death on a mass scale. The question is this: How can we limit those actions?

The second question is this: After many serious diseases have been eradicated, how will nature respond? It is likely that new diseases will evolve to infect a population with little or no disease resistance.

On balance then, this new tool poses an existential threat to humanity if it is allowed to be used by whomever and wherever chooses to do so.

The rational response to this threat is to limit its dispersal immediately and drastically by placing all of its uses under the strict control of the National Institute of Health and the World Health Organization.

Both these organizations should be tasked with the twin objectives of securing control of all this technology which exists currently and also creating a protocol and standards for who can apply to use this technology in the future.

Any other action or non-action is inconceivable.



COMMENT FROM BEV BARNES

Bev Barnes Don't believe that the WHO is our best friend. Seems like they get swayed by big industry and really will stop studies and research or go with poor research on items that unsavory corporations want approved. Could be just a rubber stamp for industry.