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“Previously, some researchers and law-enforcement officials have raised red flags. In a paper published in Nature Biotechnology in 2007, a group of scientists and FBI officials called for better oversight of so-called synthetic DNA, an ingredient widely used by professional biologists and hobbyists, saying it could theoretically lead to the creation of harmful viruses like Ebola or smallpox, since their genomes are available online. ‘Current government oversight of the DNA-synthesis industry falls short of addressing this unfortunate reality,’ the paper said. Ms. Aull, who lives with a cat and three roommates who are ‘a little bit weirded out’ by her experiments, says the worries are overblown. DIY biologists are trying to ‘build a slingshot,’ she says, ‘and there are people out there talking about, oh, no, what happens if they move on to nuclear weapons?’”
“In California, the Hayward Area Planning Association is developing a… community called Quarry Village on the outskirts of Oakland, accessible without a car to the Bay Area Rapid Transit system and to the California State University’s campus in Hayward. Sherman Lewis, a professor emeritus at Cal State and a leader of the association, says he ‘can’t wait to move in’ and hopes that Quarry Village will allow his family to reduce its car ownership from two to one, and potentially to zero. But the current system is still stacked against the project, he said, noting that mortgage lenders worry about resale value of half-million-dollar homes that have no place for cars, and most zoning laws in the United States still require two parking spaces per residential unit.”
“This evening, the president and first lady will host what Michelle Obama’s press office describes as ‘an evening celebrating poetry, music and the spoken word in the East Room of the White House.’ That’s right: The first family is hosting a poetry jam… As White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers made clear in an email to Lynn Sweet, tonight’s event is not a poetry ‘slam’– which is different than a poetry ‘jam.’ ‘Slam is a competition,’ she noted. ‘There will be no competition.’”
Trudy Lieberman reports on the failed promise of the Affordable Care Act, Sarah A. Topol explores Ukraine’s struggle for a national identity, Dave Madden spends a week in Hollywood’s toughest comedy club, and more
Number of insect fragments allowed by the FDA in a standard jar of peanut butter:
It emerged that, in trying to count her rings, marine geologists had accidentally killed a 507-year-old clam named Ming.
A resident of Chalk Level Township in Missouri discovered the bodies of three dogs packed inside dog-food bags.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”