Leave this laying around for your kiddies to pick up and play with!

About a week ago, a company in Utah that makes custom modifications to firearms debuted what it described as a fun new product: a kit that encases Glock handguns in red, yellow and blue Lego blocks, refashioning lethal weapons to look exactly like children’s toys…

“There is a satisfaction that can ONLY be found in the shooting sports and this is just one small way to break the rhetoric from Anti-Gun folks and draw attention to the fact that the shooting sports are SUPER FUN!” the site proclaimed, exuding a bravado that would prove to be short-lived. “Here’s the thing. Guns are fun. Shooting is fun. 30 rounds full auto is fun.”

As word of the new product spread on the Internet late last week, the idea struck many people as so profoundly misguided that it would inevitably cost children their lives…

Dumb, yes, but legal in at least most of the country, said David Pucino, a lawyer at the Giffords Law Center. Although federal law prohibits toys from being manufactured to look like guns, no such law prohibits guns from being made to look like toys. Pucino noted that New York state bans people from disguising firearms as something else, which could make the Lego-crusted Glock illegal there, but he doubted that many other states had passed similar regulations.

Of course, it’s legal. We are a nation of stupid, first. Education, thoughtful regulation, are the last items on the good sense shopping list.

Great Salt Lake is shrinking fast

Great Salt Lake is also known as America’s Dead Sea — owing to a likeness to its much smaller Middle Eastern counterpart — but scientists worry the moniker could soon take new meaning.

Human water consumption and diversion have long depleted the Utah lake. Its level today is inches away from a 58-year low, state officials say, and Western drought conditions fueled by the climate crisis have exacerbated conditions…

…Left alone, the lake’s footprint would span 2,100 square miles — more than three times the area of Houston. An analysis published last year showed that water siphoned off the rivers that feed the natural wonder had reduced its level by 11 feet, depleting the lake area by more than half…

Despite the warning bells, water meant for Great Salt Lake continues to be diverted to farms, ranches and cities — the latter of which enjoy some of the cheapest water in the nation…

Unfortunately, farmers, subdivision developers, own many more politicians than do scientists, environmentalists.

mRNA technology promises to revolutionize future vaccines

More than 80 million Americans have been vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — using the game-changing possibilities of mRNA technology. And while some people worry that the technology has been “rushed,” for more than 25 years university labs have been exploring the use of RNA, rather than viruses, to build the body’s immunity against diseases…

Messenger RNA (mRNA) — the basis of the first two vaccines cleared for public use by the Food and Drug Administration — induces cells to set off an immune response against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Vaccine researchers believe the success of these inoculations will usher in the most radical change to vaccine development since Jenner tapped a cow virus two centuries ago.

mRNA emerged as an alternative to traditional vaccine development in the early 1990s, building on research involving RNA injections into mice at the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. mRNA is a molecule that essentially delivers instructions to cells to build specific proteins. Proteins are key to the success of a viral infection, because they enable a virus to replicate after it attaches to a cell. The coronavirus, for example, attaches to a cell with a so-called “spike” protein, which triggers the viral replication that turns the infection into COVID-19.

The theory behind the vaccines is that mRNA will tell a cell to make a protein that’s used by a certain virus, which would set off an immune response that builds the body’s ability to fend off the actual virus.

“It’s essentially biological software,”…says John Cooke, MD, PhD, medical director of the RNA Therapeutics Program at the Houston Methodist Research Institute.

Yes, it really is that simple to explain. That simplicity is part and parcel of time saved, costs lowered, for the design of production-ready vaccines.