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Hacking the President’s DNA

Hacking the President’s DNA. "The U.S. government is surreptitiously collecting the DNA of world leaders, and is reportedly protecting that of Barack Obama. Decoded, these genetic blueprints could provide compromising information. In the not-too-distant future, they may provide something more as well—the basis for the creation of personalized bioweapons that could take down a president and leave no trace."
posted by homunculus on Oct 26, 2012 - 45 comments

The Avian Flu: Transparency vs. Public Safety

"Experimental adaptation of an influenza H5 HA confers respiratory droplet transmission to a reassortant H5 HA/H1N1 virus in ferrets." After an extensive, months-long debate, one of two controversial papers showing ways the H5N1 "avian" influenza virus could potentially become transmissible in mammals with only 3 or 4 mutations was published in Nature today. The journal included an editorial on the merits and drawbacks of "publishing risky research" with regard to biosafety. The debate included an unprecedented recommendation by The US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) to block publication -- a decision they later reversed. (Via: 1, 2) Nature's special report has additional articles, including interviews with the teams behind both papers.
posted by zarq on May 3, 2012 - 37 comments

The Science is on a Need-to-know Basis, and You Don't Need to Know

The committee took the unprecedented step of recommending that some details of these biological studies [be] kept from the public, so that no one could use them as recipes for new bioweapons. [more inside]
posted by gauche on Feb 13, 2012 - 30 comments

Chicken Pox, Lollipops?

A Facebook post reads, "I got a Pox Package in mail just moments ago. I have two lollipops and a wet rag and spit." Pox parties not in your town? "non-vaccinating parents who despair of finding a way to infect their children with chicken pox (intended to create natural immunity) are joining Facebook groups to acquire the virus through the mail." The science based community reacts.
posted by pianomover on Nov 7, 2011 - 325 comments

I am not a Rajneesh

"The tale is stranger than fiction." begins the opening line of The Oregonians retrospective "Rajneeshees in Oregon The Untold Story." The cult, began by sex guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh came to a self-rule a rural part of Oregon that battled with the native residents of the area. The conflict lead to a bio-terror attack on the residents of The Dalles to sway the outcome of a local election, global manhunts, and jail. [more inside]
posted by wcfields on Apr 18, 2011 - 97 comments

Amerithrax case closed

The investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks (dubbed "Amerithrax" by the FBI) is now closed. Yesterday, the Department of Justice released a 92-page summary [pdf] of their investigation. Their conclusion -- that USAMRIID scientist Bruce Ivins was the culprit -- was backed by an impressive amount of evidence, including microbiological detective work (p. 23 ff). But some of the investigation was downright bizarre.... [more inside]
posted by cgs06 on Feb 20, 2010 - 46 comments

Ricin Vaccine Saf

Human trials show ricin vaccine is safe. For those that don't know ricin is a very potent poison that can be made from castor beans. Details of medical effects are available on Emedicine. Ricin was famously used in the murder of Georgi Markov. Research was done at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX.
posted by reverenddrjice on Feb 1, 2006 - 13 comments

U.S. bioterrorism research leaps past defensive tactics

U.S. bioterrorism research leaps past defensive tactics - Scientists are now able to explore creating genetically engineered superbugs, plus the means to mass-produce and spread them ... 'If any other country set forth a program like this, U.S. intelligence undoubtedly would call it an offensive program,' said Edward Hammond, head of the Sunshine Project, a group in Austin, Texas, that tracks bioweapons and biodefense issues.
posted by eraserhed on Jun 9, 2004 - 34 comments

Artist detained for, well, art.

Got art supplies? The police would like a word with you. Steve Kurtz, a member of the Critical Art Ensemble and a professor at the University of Buffalo, called 911 when he discovered that his wife had died of cardiac arrest. When the police saw his art supplies, however, he was detained on suspicion of being involved in bioterrorism.
posted by jennyjenny on May 27, 2004 - 45 comments

Amazabombed?

Would you call Googlebombing on Amazon Amazabombing? Ask Bill Frist, since whatever you call it, it just happened to him.
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Mar 28, 2004 - 28 comments

fleet owner of a tanker companies = the new evil doers

"fleet owners of a tanker companies" = the new evil doers?
what kind of questions do yesterday's discovery of ricin in the capitol, and the january 9th article ask about our "war on terror"? [ initial link via TPM ]
posted by specialk420 on Feb 3, 2004 - 28 comments

Are they spraying for more Medflies?

If it happened here. A lengthy, reality-based scenario of a bioterrorism attack on Los Angeles (and its aftermath). Like a horror movie.
posted by xowie on Feb 20, 2003 - 39 comments

Anthrax,

Anthrax, its been done before. It just doesn't do the job: "the cult attempted to release anthrax spores from its mid-rise Tokyo office building laboratory. At that time, police and media reported foul smells, brown steam, some pet deaths, and stains on cars and sidewalks." 2, 3. "Many view the cult Aum Shinrikyo as a group seeking to bring on the end of the world." and "an estimated $1.5 billion in assets" (thats more than Usama). me=alarmist, today.
posted by tomplus2 on Oct 17, 2001 - 5 comments

"Bioterrorism: An Even More Devastating Threat"

"Bioterrorism: An Even More Devastating Threat" Here's a link to an article that appears in today's Washington Post. It details an "easier" way to eliminate "80 percent of people infected by inhaled spores". The print version includes a map with the best flight plan and release point to effect the best results. Is this Responsible Journalism? Is it necessary to publish this sort of weakness in America's country's defenses? I don't disagree that Bioterrorism is a threat to be concerned about, just the presentation & the flip attitude of how easy it will be to pull this off. Or do we need this kind of "the-sky-is-going-to-fall" reporting to shock us into action?
posted by bhmwks on Sep 17, 2001 - 24 comments

Are we sure it's over?

Are we sure it's over? I don't mean to play the role of doomsday prophet here, but as happy as I am to be alive (I watched the buildings fall from my office on 23rd St), I feel utterly trapped on Manhattan and completely vulnerable to an attack which would dwarf today's tragedy as much as today dwarfed the previous WTC attack. Anyone want to allay my fears?
posted by Sinner on Sep 11, 2001 - 27 comments

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