Scientists Charged with Smuggling Contagious Germs

Via: Times Live

Sapa-AFP | 04 April, 2013 10:56

Canadian federal police on Wednesday charged two former government scientists with allegedly trafficking in dangerous and highly contagious germs.

Klaus Nielsen and Wei Ling Yu, former researchers at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), are accused of attempting to export harmful pathogens that could infect humans and livestock to China.

Nielsen was apprehended as he was heading to the Ottawa airport last October with 17 vials of live brucella bacteria, which can cause infections of bovine reproductive organs, joints and mammary glands, as well as infertility.

It mostly affects cattle, deer and horses, but can also be passed on to humans and cause flu-like symptoms. There is no vaccine and the only way to control its spread is to cull animals suspected of being infected.

Nielsen was reportedly praised in 2006 for helping to develop a quick test for detecting brucellosis in cattle.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said he and Yu were allegedly making “unlawful efforts to commercialize (the) intellectual property belonging to the CFIA and a private commercial partner.” US company Diachemix currently manufactures and licenses the test

Read more: here

CIA recruits?
-Moose

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DARPA Building Robots With ‘Real’ Brains

Via: National Defense Magazine

By Sandra I. Erwin

The next frontier for the robotics industry is to build machines that think like humans. Scientists have pursued that elusive goal for decades, and they believe they are now just inches away from the finish line.

A Pentagon-funded team of researchers has constructed a tiny machine that would allow robots to act independently. Unlike traditional artificial intelligence systems that rely on conventional computer programming, this one “looks and ‘thinks’ like a human brain,” said James K. Gimzewski, professor of chemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Gimsewski is a member of the team that has been working under sponsorship of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency on a program called “physical intelligence.” This technology could be the secret to making robots that are truly autonomous, Gimzewski said during a conference call hosted by Technolink, a Los Angeles-based industry group.

This project does not use standard robot hardware with integrated circuitry, he said. The device that his team constructed is capable, without being programmed like a traditional robot, of performing actions similar to humans, Gimzewski said.

Participants in this project include Malibu-based HRL (formerly Hughes Research Laborary) and the University of California at Berkeley’s Freeman Laboratory for Nonlinear Neurodynamics. The latter is named after Walter J. Freeman, who has been working for 50 years on a mathematical model of the brain that is based on electroencephalography data. EEG is the recording of electrical activity in the brain.

What sets this new device apart from any others is that it has nano-scale interconnected wires that perform billions of connections like a human brain, and is capable of remembering information, Gimzewski said. Each connection is a synthetic synapse. A synapse is what allows a neuron to pass an electric or chemical signal to another cell. Because its structure is so complex, most artificial intelligence projects so far have been unable to replicate it.

Read more: here

Oh this will be good….
-Moose

Wary of Attack With Smallpox, U.S. Buys Up a Costly Drug

Via: The New York Times

By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.
Published: March 12, 20

The United States government is buying enough of a new smallpox medicine to treat two million people in the event of a bioterrorism attack, and took delivery of the first shipment of it last week. But the purchase has set off a debate about the lucrative contract, with some experts saying the government is buying too much of the drug at too high a price.

A small company, Siga Technologies, developed the drug in recent years. Whether the $463 million order is a boondoggle or a bargain depends on which expert is talking. The deal will transform the finances of Siga, which is controlled by Ronald O. Perelman, a billionaire financier, philanthropist and takeover specialist.

Smallpox was eradicated by 1980, and the only known remaining virus is in government laboratories in the United States and Russia. But there have long been rumors of renegade stocks that could be sprayed in airports or sports stadiums. Experts say the virus could also be re-engineered into existence in a sophisticated genetics lab.

As part of its efforts to prepare for a possible bioterrorism attack, the government is paying more than $200 for each course of treatment.

Read more: here

Nothing to see here…move along…
-Moose

FIRST BRAIN-TO-BRAIN INTERFACE ALLOWS TRANSMISSION OF TACTILE AND MOTOR INFORMATION BETWEEN RATS

Via: Nicolelis Lab

A brain-to-brain interface (BTBI) enabled a real-time transfer of behaviorally meaningful sensorimotor information between the brains of two rats. In this BTBI, an ‘‘encoder’’ rat performed sensorimotor tasks that required it to select from two choices of tactile or visual stimuli. While the encoder rat performed the task, samples of its cortical activity were transmitted to matching cortical areas of a ‘‘decoder’’ rat using intracortical microstimulation (ICMS).

The decoder rat learned to make similar behavioral selections, guided solely by the information provided by the encoder rat’s brain.

These results demonstrated that a complex system was formed by coupling the animals’ brains, suggesting that BTBIs can enable dyads or networks of animal’s brains to exchange, process, and store information and, hence, serve as the basis for studies of novel types of social interaction and for biological computing devices.

Read more: here

Wow…Politicians and lawyers have demonstrated this ability for years…
-Moose

Black Death Genetic Code ‘Built’

Via: BBC


 
The genetic code of the germ that caused the Black Death has been reconstructed by scientists for the first time.

The researchers extracted DNA fragments of the ancient bacterium from the teeth of medieval corpses found in London.

They say the pathogen is the ancestor of all modern plagues.

The research, published in the journal Nature, suggests the 14th Century outbreak was also the first plague pandemic in history.

Humans have rarely encountered an enemy as devastating as the bacterium, Yersinia pestis. Between 1347 and 1351 it sparked the Black Death, an infection carried by fleas that spread rapidly across Europe killing around 50 million people.

Now scientists have uncovered some of the genetic secrets of the plague, thanks to DNA fragments drilled from the teeth of victims buried in a graveyard in London’s East Smithfield.

Professor Johannes Krause from the University of Tubingen, Germany, was a member of the research team. He said all current strains circulating in the world are directly related to the medieval bacterium.

 
“It turns out that this ancient Yersinia pestis strain is very close to the common ancestor of all modern strains that can infect humans,” he said. 

“It’s the grandmother of all plague that’s around today.”

Read more: here

Oh My God…How can my fellow human beings even work on this stuff..
Oh I know, for the good of mankind..Right…
-Moose

Black Death Genetic Code ‘Built’

Via: BBC


 
The genetic code of the germ that caused the Black Death has been reconstructed by scientists for the first time.

The researchers extracted DNA fragments of the ancient bacterium from the teeth of medieval corpses found in London.

They say the pathogen is the ancestor of all modern plagues.

The research, published in the journal Nature, suggests the 14th Century outbreak was also the first plague pandemic in history.

Humans have rarely encountered an enemy as devastating as the bacterium, Yersinia pestis. Between 1347 and 1351 it sparked the Black Death, an infection carried by fleas that spread rapidly across Europe killing around 50 million people.

Now scientists have uncovered some of the genetic secrets of the plague, thanks to DNA fragments drilled from the teeth of victims buried in a graveyard in London’s East Smithfield.

Professor Johannes Krause from the University of Tubingen, Germany, was a member of the research team. He said all current strains circulating in the world are directly related to the medieval bacterium.

 
“It turns out that this ancient Yersinia pestis strain is very close to the common ancestor of all modern strains that can infect humans,” he said. 

“It’s the grandmother of all plague that’s around today.”

Read more: here

Oh My God…How can my fellow human beings even work on this stuff..
Oh I know, for the good of mankind..Right…
-Moose