The moment citizens in scrubs confronted fools


Click to enlarge — Alyson McClaran

People protesting against the stay-at-home orders in Colorado were confronted by a man and woman dressed in medical uniforms – apparently issuing a silent rebuke to participants…

Now the photojournalist behind the images tells the BBC what happened that day when “two worlds collided”…

They “stood their ground“, Ms McClaran said, even as some demonstrators shouted and hurled racist comments at the pair.

“It was honestly heartbreaking to see,” she said…

Yes, I’m aware the ignoranus brigade that fronts for Trump’s idiocy represents a small percentage of Americans. That doesn’t make their mob mentality any less dangerous.

A couple of brave folks.

Homeless man ran to fiery crash – to help people – instead of worrying about his own safety


Click to enlargekdsk.com

❝ A man who was panhandling before the fatal crash and fire in Lakewood Thursday is being recognized as a hero for rescuing people from the wreckage.

❝ Darin Barton was holding a sign asking drivers for help at the Denver West exit of Interstate 70 when he heard the crash…

“As soon as it rolled over, it just caught on fire. And I just dropped my sign, took off running,” Barton said.

❝ As Barton ran down the embankment toward the freeway, people escaping the flames were heading the opposite direction.

❝ …I headed under the bridge, grabbed three or four people out of a couple cars,” Barton said.

He said he was in good company; there were other good Samaritans working to rescue people.

“I didn’t do this all myself. There were other people in traffic that helped,” Barton said.

A brave act, an act of good will deserves recognition regardless of circumstances. RTFA. There’s a link there to help this man out.

Photos from September — Reuters

As much as I criticize editorial content at Reuters since the takeover of this historic firm by the conservative Thomson organization – bespoiling a tradition of fairly neutral reporting on life and events around this small planet of ours – they haven’t yet screwed up the companion thread of collating great photography by some of the bravest and most talented folks working with camera graphics.

These are a few of what the editors feel were the best of September.

Palestinians commute along a road between ruins of houses, which witnesses said were damaged or destroyed during the Israeli offensive, in Beit Hanoun
Palestinians commute in ruins of Israeli invasion in GazaREUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Anti-war protesters hold up signs as U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel takes his seat to testify at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the U.S. policy toward Iraq and Syria and the threat posed by the ISIL on Capitol Hill in Washington
Anti-war protesters confront Secretary of War Chuck HagelREUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. Air Force pilots with the Thunderbirds perform the calypso pass maneuver at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho
Pilots with the Thunderbirds perform the calypso pass maneuverREUTERS/Tech. Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez

Pennsylvania State Police salute as they line the streets outside St. Peters' Cathedral in Scranton, as the casket carrying slain Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Corporal Bryon Dickson is carried into the Cathedral for his funeral service
Police salute at the funeral of slain State Trooper Bryon DicksonREUTERS/Mike Segar

Click through and reflect upon civilization, this past month.

The brave new world of three-parent IVF

In August 1996, at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, N.J., a 39-year-old mechanical engineer from Pittsburgh named Maureen Ott became pregnant. Ott had been trying for almost seven years to conceive a child through in vitro fertilization. Unwilling to give up, she submitted to an experimental procedure in which doctors extracted her eggs, slid a needle through their shiny coat and injected not only her husband’s sperm but also a small amount of cytoplasm from another woman’s egg. When the embryo was implanted in Ott’s womb, she became the first woman on record to be successfully impregnated using this procedure, which some say is the root of an exciting medical advance and others say is the beginning of the end of the human species.

The fresh cytoplasm that entered Ott’s eggs (researchers thought it might help promote proper fertilization and development) contained mitochondria: bean-shaped organelles that power our cells like batteries. But mitochondria also contain their own DNA, which meant that her child could possess the genetic material of three people. In fact, the 37 genes in mitochondrial DNA pass directly from a woman’s egg into every cell of her offspring, including his or her germ cells, the sperm or eggs that eventually produce the next generation — so if Ott had a girl and the donor mitochondria injected into Ott’s egg made it into the eggs of her daughter, they could be passed along to her children. This is known as crossing the germ line…In May 1997, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl…

Two months later, her doctors published her case in the journal Lancet; soon, at least seven other U.S. clinics were doing the injection. Because the amount of donor mitochondria added to Ott’s egg was small, it was unclear how much third-party DNA would be present in the cells of her daughter. Ott says her doctors ran tests and did not find any, but it has been found in two other children born from the procedure. Although IVF drugs and devices are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, IVF procedures (like all medical procedures) are generally not. But what media outlets came to call “three-parent babies” compelled the agency to take action. In 2001, the FDA informed IVF clinics that using a third person’s cytoplasm — and the mtDNA therein — would require an Investigational New Drug application…

Now, more than a decade later, two research groups in the United States and one in Britain each believes it has nearly enough data to begin clinical trials for a new technique based on the transfer of mitochondria — only in this case, researchers want to pair the nuclear DNA of one egg with all the mitochondria of another. Their aim is not to cure infertility. Rather, they hope to prevent a variety of devastating diseases caused by mutations in mtDNA. The new technique, which they call mitochondrial-replacement therapy, is far more advanced than the cytoplasm injection — and the researchers have studied the procedure’s impact on animals and human cells up to a pivotal point: They have created what appear to be viable three-parent embryos. They have yet to implant one in a woman, though…

Is our fear of crossing the germ line causing us to block a technology that could improve people’s lives, and if so, is the fear itself a thing we should also be afraid of?

RTFA. I’ve barely introduced the topic. You can presume my personal opinion would not be acceptable to any flavor of the FDA. Crass politics aside – unlikely in the USA – science moves ahead in tiny conservative steps. Bodies like the FDA are more conservative than that.

I think consenting adults have the right and freedom to participate in an unlimited range of experiments excepting those designed to destroy humans, individually and as a species. Our government and military already have that market cornered, anyway.

Like I said. RTFA. Think about what you think.

7th Grade student steers school bus to safety after driver collapses


 
A young 7th grade student steered a school bus to safety after the driver apparently had a heart attack while driving.

Jeremy Wuitschick, 13, took control of the wheel and steered the bus to the side of the road in Milton, Washington, before starting CPR on the driver.

Another student, Johnny Wood, trained in first aid, also helped him, while others phoned emergency services.

Police said all 12 students on the bus were unhurt, but the driver was in a “grave condition” in hospital…

Footage from a surveillance camera on the bus showed the driver fainting, and Jeremy running up to steer the bus and remove the keys from the ignition…”I was just thinking ‘I don’t want to die’,” he told KING-TV.

Other students on the bus called the emergency services, while Jeremy and Johnny started chest compressions on the driver…

Police praised the students for their quick thinking and stopping the bus safely.

Students are trained in emergency procedures, including what to do if a bus driver is incapacitated, Deputy Schools Superintendent Jeff Short told The News Tribune. “It’s just for this type of situation,” he said. “I think they did an outstanding job.

Bravo.

Thanks to Jeremy and Johnny. They remembered their training. Thanks to the school for providing it.

Three women receive Nobel Peace Prize


Liberia’s Leymah Gbowee, Yemen’s Tawakkol Karman, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Three women who have fought against injustice, dictatorships and sexual violence in Liberia and Yemen have received the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in Oslo, the Norwegian capital.

Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, compatriot Leymah Gbowee and Tawakul Karman of Yemen collected their diplomas and medals at Oslo’s city hall on Saturday.

Thorbjoern Jagland, the chairman of the Nobel peace prize committee, said that the three women represented the struggle for “human rights in general and of women for equality and peace in particular”…

“The leaders in Yemen and Syria who murder their people to retain their own power should take note of the following: mankind’s quest for freedom and human rights can never stop,” he said in comments before giving the prize to the three laureates…

“No dictator can in the long run find shelter from this wind of history. It was this wind which led people to crawl up onto the Berlin Wall and tear it down. It is the wind that is now blowing in the Arab world,” he said…

The three laureates, he said, represented each in their way “the most important motive forces for change in today’s world, the struggle for human rights in general and the struggle of women for equality and peace in particular.”

The speeches have it right. They sound through the world because of the strength, dedication and courage of these women.

How many people in our daily lives will not hear them, will not hear the voices of women speaking out for justice – because they are deaf to the sounds of change?

Inside look at first human trials of malaria vaccine

The first clinical trial for a vaccine against the most widespread strain of malaria, Plasmodium vivax, is now under way at the Walter Reed Army Institute for Research, near Washington DC. The BBC’s Jane O’Brien speaks with those heading the trial and individuals who are being bitten by infected mosquitoes to help further the research.

US army medic Joseph Civitello admits that becoming deliberately infected with malaria – one of the world’s deadliest diseases – is “definitely nuts”. But without such volunteers, it would be almost impossible to test a new vaccine aimed at protecting the military overseas and preventing some of the estimated 300 million cases of malaria that occur every year.

First Sgt Civitello is part of the world’s first clinical trial of a vaccine against Plasmodium vivax – the most widespread strain of malaria…

It was weird because I did this knowing I was going to get sick,” says Sgt Civitello. “Fortunately I’m in a hotel room with doctors and nurses nearby and not out in the woods somewhere.”

Unlike most of the other volunteers in this unique trial, Sgt Civitello wasn’t given the test vaccine.

He’s part of a small control group – a human yardstick – needed by doctors to confirm that all the study participants have been infected. And as predicted, about 10 days after being bitten by mosquitoes in a laboratory, he displayed all the symptoms of malaria…

Twenty-seven other volunteers in the study had been given varying doses of the vaccine for several months prior to infection…

Then, at the beginning of November, they were bitten by mosquitoes imported from Thailand and infected with Plasmodium vivax malaria…

He adds: “What we do here plays a critical, pivotal role in the fight against malaria. Without this model of challenging the human body with malaria, we would be unable to effectively develop and figure out whether a vaccine works or not…”

RTFA for the details, the methodology, the human story of the volunteers for this first trial.

Regardless of assurances, knowledge of the history of precedent testing, you never feel quite confident of the outcome especially when – as in this study – you’re assured you are part of the control group. The last human trial I volunteered for was a double blind; so, none of us knew who was part of the control and who was getting the vaccine for the disease under test.