“Our thinking then will be a hybrid of biological and non-biological thinking. We’ll be able to extend our limitations and think in the cloud. We’re going to put gateways to the cloud in our brains, We’re going to gradually merge and enhance ourselves. In my view, that’s the nature of being human – we transcend our limitations,” he said.
Kurzweil is known to make radical predictions like this, but many times he is actually correct. In 1990, he predicted that robots would beat humans at chess by 1998, an accomplishment made by IBM’s Deep Blue, against Garry Kasparov, in 1997.
Bill Gates has called Kurzweil “the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence”, and that may be why he was scooped up by Google in recent years and given a blank check to conduct his studies.
Last year, Kurzweil predicted that robots will be smarter than humans by the year 2029. Not only that but he also predicts that by 2045, computers will be a billion times more powerful than all of the human brains on Earth. According to him human beings will also become immortal in the year 2045.
Gospel singer Kelly Price has gone missing in Georgia, TMZ has learned — and it happened shortly after she was released from the hospital after battling COVID.
According to officials in Cobb County … Kelly has been listed as a missing person following a welfare check conducted at her home last Saturday.
We’re told the authorities found no evidence of foul play and spoke with Kelly’s boyfriend at the residence, BUT … she’s now listed as missing with the National Crime Information Center.
As for what led to this … Kelly posted a video July 29 revealing she had COVID and was struggling with symptoms. According to Kelly’s family … she was admitted to the hospital about a week later and ended up in the ICU because her condition worsened.
Her family tells TMZ … they were in touch with Kelly while she was in the hospital in early August, and her children visited her several times. However, 3 weeks after she was admitted … we’re told her kids got a call that she’d been discharged, which was surprising because she was apparently still not fully healthy.
The family says Kelly has not been heard from since, and they told cops her boyfriend is allegedly keeping friends and family members from visiting her home.
We’re told this concerned many people close to Kelly, and led to someone alerting the authorities to do a welfare check last week.
Now, she’s officially considered missing, and we’re told there’s an active investigation to find her.
The future of vaccines may look more like eating a salad than getting a shot in the arm. UC Riverside scientists are studying whether they can turn edible plants like lettuce into mRNA vaccine factories.
Messenger RNA or mRNA technology, used in COVID-19 vaccines, works by teaching our cells to recognize and protect us against infectious diseases.
One of the challenges with this new technology is that it must be kept cold to maintain stability during transport and storage. If this new project is successful, plant-based mRNA vaccines — which can be eaten — could overcome this challenge with the ability to be stored at room temperature.
The project’s goals, made possible by a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, are threefold: showing that DNA containing the mRNA vaccines can be successfully delivered into the part of plant cells where it will replicate, demonstrating the plants can produce enough mRNA to rival a traditional shot, and finally, determining the right dosage.
“Ideally, a single plant would produce enough mRNA to vaccinate a single person,” said Juan Pablo Giraldo, an associate professor in UCR’s Department of Botany and Plant Sciences who is leading the research, done in collaboration with scientists from UC San Diego and Carnegie Mellon University.
“We are testing this approach with spinach and lettuce and have long-term goals of people growing it in their own gardens,” Giraldo said. “Farmers could also eventually grow entire fields of it.”
Key to making this work are chloroplasts — small organs in plant cells that convert sunlight into energy the plant can use. “They’re tiny, solar-powered factories that produce sugar and other molecules which allow the plant to grow,” Giraldo said. “They’re also an untapped source for making desirable molecules.”
In the past, Giraldo has shown that it is possible for chloroplasts to express genes that aren’t naturally part of the plant. He and his colleagues did this by sending foreign genetic material into plant cells inside a protective casing. Determining the optimal properties of these casings for delivery into plant cells is a specialty of Giraldo’s laboratory.
For this project Giraldo teamed up with Nicole Steinmetz, a UC San Diego professor of nanoengineering, to utilize nanotechnologies engineered by her team that will deliver genetic material to the chloroplasts.
“Our idea is to repurpose naturally occurring nanoparticles, namely plant viruses, for gene delivery to plants,” Steinmetz said. “Some engineering goes into this to make the nanoparticles go to the chloroplasts and also to render them non-infectious toward the plants.”
For Giraldo, the chance to develop this idea with mRNA is the culmination of a dream. “One of the reasons I started working in nanotechnology was so I could apply it to plants and create new technology solutions. Not just for food, but for high-value products as well, like pharmaceuticals,” Giraldo said.
Giraldo is also co-leading a related project using nanomaterials to deliver nitrogen, a fertilizer, directly to chloroplasts, where plants need it most.
Nitrogen is limited in the environment, but plants need it to grow. Most farmers apply nitrogen to the soil. As a result, roughly half of it ends up in groundwater, contaminating waterways, causing algae blooms, and interacting with other organisms. It also produces nitrous oxide, another pollutant.
This alternative approach would get nitrogen into the chloroplasts through the leaves and control its release, a much more efficient mode of application that could help farmers and improve the environment.
The National Science Foundation has granted Giraldo and his colleagues $1.6 million to develop this targeted nitrogen delivery technology.
“I’m very excited about all of this research,” Giraldo said. “I think it could have a huge impact on peoples’ lives.”SHARE THIS ARTICLE
The agency plans to cite a link to a small number of Guillain-Barré cases after vaccination but will say the shot’s benefits outweigh the risk
The Food and Drug Administration is preparing to announce a new warning for the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine saying the shot has been linked to a serious but rare side effect called Guillain-Barré syndrome,in which the immune system attacks the nerves, according to four individuals familiar with the situation.
About 100 preliminary reports of Guillain-Barré have been detected in vaccine recipients after the administration of 12.8 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement Monday. The cases have largely been reported about two weeks after vaccination and mostly in men, many aged 50 and older. Most people fully recover from Guillain-Barré.
The warning on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be the latest blow to a shot that had been eagerly anticipated because of its ease of use — it requires only a single dose, which makes it especially helpful in immunizing harder-to-reach populations and regions. But the vaccine has been plagued by problems, including massive stumbles at its U.S. manufacturing plant.
The latest development comes at an especially fraught moment, as the highly transmissible delta variant sweeps the country and fuels an increase in coronavirus cases in many states. And the new warning could complicate Biden administration efforts to ramp up inoculations in areas where skepticism regarding coronavirus vaccines remains high and the vaccine rate is low.
Available data do not show a pattern suggesting a similar increased risk of Guillain-Barré with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. More than 321 million doses of those vaccines — developed with a technology different than what is used to make the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — have been administered in the United States.
The Guillain-Barré cases are expected to be discussed as part of an upcoming meeting of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the agency said.
Guillain-Barré syndrome usually occurs at a rate of about 60 to 120 cases each week, according to CDC data. While the cause is not fully understood, it often follows infection with a virus, including influenza, or bacteria. Each year in the United States, an estimated 3,000 to 6,000 people develop the illness.
People older than 50 are at greatest risk. About two-thirds of people who develop the syndrome experience symptoms several days or weeks after they have fallen ill with diarrhea or a lung or sinus illness.
Federal health officials are expected to emphasize that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is safe and that its benefits clearly outweigh the potential risks, according to the people familiar with the situation.
Johnson & Johnson and the FDA declined Monday to comment.
Reports of Guillain-Barré in vaccine recipients are rare, the CDC said, “but do likely indicate a small possible risk of this side effect following” the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Reports of the syndrome were made to an early-warning safety network run by the CDC and FDA, the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System. It collects information about possible side effects or health problems after vaccination. The system looks for unusual or unexpected patterns that require a closer look. Anyone can report a reaction or injury.
Experts said the latest news about the Johnson & Johnson shot may complicate vaccination efforts, especially in parts of the country where rates remain under 50 percent.
Jeanne Marrazzo, director of infectious-diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said the absolute risk of Guillain-Barré remains so rare that “it should not deter people from getting vaccinated,” she wrote in an email. If people are concerned, they can still get a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine with no risk, adding: “This news does not provide an excuse to remain unvaccinated!!!!”
But the expected warning on the Johnson & Johnson shot “quite possibly” will make it harder for health-care providers to persuade people to roll up their sleeves, Marrazzo said.
“When a person is hesitant to get a vaccine, any additional safety signal, even if very rare, just adds to their own database that fuels their reluctance,” Marrazzo wrote.
Paul A. Offit, a pediatrician and director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania, said he did not think the latest news will make much difference because the U.S. vaccination effort has “hit a wall.” The Biden administration has already done “as good a job as we could possibly hope for on how to mass produce, mass distribute and mass vaccinate” the country, Offit said.
Now, Offit said, it’s time for the next step: the government needs to compel vaccination. The Supreme Court has already ruled twice that public health authorities can take these measures in face of outbreaks, he said. Without such a step, the virus is “going to continue to mutate, continue to create variants” and result in another surge in late fall and winter, he said.
The vaccine also has been hobbled by production problems at Johnson & Johnson’s subcontractor, Emergent BioSolutions, the only U.S. manufacturer of the vaccine. The Baltimore plant was shut down in April after federal officials discovered millions of doses had been contaminated with Astra Zeneca vaccine, which was also being made there.
Johnson & Johnson had to throw away the equivalent of about 75 million doses of the vaccine because of the problems at the Baltimore plant. About 40 million doses have been released for use. In response to the contamination, the Biden administration removed AstraZeneca manufacturing from the plant and put Johnson & Johnson in direct control of vaccine production there. But Emergent has not received authorization from the FDA to resume manufacturing the Johnson & Johnson product.
Other vaccines also have been associated with rare adverse events. The FDA in late June decided to add a warning to the Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccines about extremely unusual cases of myocarditis — heart inflammation — in some young adults and teens after vaccination.Federal health officials said there was “a likely association,” and that the problem appears most likely to occur in young men after they receive two doses of the vaccine.
The CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services, together with 15 of the country’s leading medicaland public health organizations, issued a joint statement in June saying they “strongly encourage everyone 12 and older” to get the Pfizer and Moderna shots because the benefit of vaccination far exceeds potential harm.
In June, the American Neurological Association reported that two studies published in the journal Annals of Neurology had found 11 cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome two to three weeks after vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine. The cases, which were from England and India, involved an unusual variant of the disease that caused severe facial weakness, the organization said. An accompanying editorial described a similar case involving a Boston man who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Vaccine safety officials in Europe have recommended that a warning be added about Guillain-Barré to the AstraZeneca vaccine. But the European safety committee said that while cases have been reported following vaccinations, “at this stage the available data neither confirms nor rules out a possible association with the vaccine.”
In 1976, there was a small increased risk of the syndrome after people received swine flu vaccine, which was a special flu shot for a potential pandemic strain of flu virus. A National Academy of Medicine review in 2003 found that people who received the 1976 swine flu vaccine had an increased risk of Guillain-Barré, with about one additional case for every 100,000 people who got the swine flu vaccine. The reason for the link remains unknown.
The CDC monitors for Guillain-Barré syndrome each flu season. The agency says the data on an association between seasonal influenza vaccine and the illness varied from season to season. When there has been an increased risk, it has consistently been in the range of one or two additional cases per 1 million flu vaccine doses administered. Studies also suggest it is more likely that a person will get Guillain-Barré after getting the flu than after vaccination, according to the CDC.
In a shocking incident, a COVID-19 infected woman, who was declared dead, woke up minutes before her cremation.
The 76-year-old woman’s family found her alive when they took her to a crematorium in Baramati, located in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.
The victim, identified as Shakuntala Gaikwad, had tested positive for COVID-19 a few days back and was in home isolation. Later, her symptoms became severe due to her age, News18 reported. Her family took her to a hospital in an ambulance but they were struggling to secure a bed for her. Gaikwad fell unconscious and the ambulance staff declared her dead. The incident took place on May 10 but it was reported Sunday.
The victim’s relatives were informed and she was taken back to her village. Gaikwad woke up when the family members were about to light the funeral pyre. They were shocked as the woman opened her eyes and began crying, Khaleej Times reported.
Gaikwad was immediately rushed to a local hospital for further treatment, local authorities said. The current condition of the woman remains unknown.
The incident takes place as most states in India continue to be under lockdown amid an increasing number of COVID-19 cases. Hospitals across the country have been reporting shortage of oxygen and beds. Early Monday, India recorded more than 280,000 COVID-19 cases.
In a similar incident last month, a 72-year-old woman who was declared dead by doctors was found alive minutes before her cremation. The elderly woman was rushed to a hospital in the state of Chhattisgarh but she died on the way. The woman was admitted to a local hospital with some health issues. Doctors were unable to find her vital signs and declared her dead. The woman had tested negative for COVID-19. At the crematorium, the woman’s granddaughter found that the victim’s body was not cold. She decided to call another doctor to check her vitals. It was later found that the woman was alive.
The Chinese government has used anal swabs to test US diplomats for COVID-19 – but Beijing insisted to Washington that the butt checks were made “in error,” according to a report.
“The State Department never agreed to this kind of testing and protested directly to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when we learned that some staff were subject to it,” a State Department rep told VICE World News on Wednesday.
Washington complained that the rather invasive procedure was undignified, according to the report.
The State spokesperson said Beijing had assured Washington that the tests were given “in error” — and that diplomats were exempt from the test, which was required for incoming travelers in some parts of China.
“We have instructed staff to decline this test if it is asked of them, as was done in the past,” the rep told VICE World News, which noted it was unclear how many diplomats or their family members had undergone the procedure.
Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Thursday denied Beijing had even asked American diplomats to undergo the anal tests.
“To my knowledge…China has never required US diplomatic staff stationed in China to conduct anal swab tests,” Zhao told a daily news briefing in Beijing, Reuters reported.
In an email to Reuters, a State Department spokesperson said it was “committed to guaranteeing the safety and security of American diplomats and their families, while preserving their dignity.”
Officials in China have used anal swabs to test people it considers at high-risk of contracting the illness, including residents of neighborhoods with confirmed cases as well as some international travelers, according to AFP.
Tests using anal swabs can avoid missing infections as viral traces in fecal samples or anal swabs could remain detectable for longer periods than in those from the respiratory tract, Li Tongzeng, a respiratory diseases doctor in Beijing, told state TV recently.
Stool tests also may be more effective in detecting infections in kids as their waste carries a higher viral load than adults, researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong said in a paper published last year.
China’s National Health Commission said in an online post that in some cases, the deadly bug can be more easily detected in anal samples than in throat and nasal samples.
According to the commission’s instructions, the samples are collected by inserting a cotton swab about one to two inches into the rectum.
A traveler from Australia to China who was tested with anal swabs in September told VICE World News the procedure felt like having diarrhea.
A well-known US televangelist has become gravely ill from Covid-19, promoting a global outpouring of prayer for his recovery. Pastor Frederick K.C. Price, who founded the 28,000-strong Crenshaw Christian Center in Los Angeles, is thought to be battling heart, lung and kidney issues after being hospitalised with the virus.
In a statement posted to Facebook at the week, one of the church’s ministers, Baltimore Scott, called for prayer:
“This morning in prayer, I called on Father God to remember His faithful son and servant, Frederick K.C. Price and the beacon of light and truth in teaching the Word that Apostle has been to the body of Christ and to the world. I said that our church family, the Body of Christ and the world need Apostle Price more than ever to remain with us as that true beacon of the Father’s Word and example of integrity and truth the world needs so badly now.”
The 89-year-old Price and his wife, Betty, contracted Covid-19 more than a month ago, according to his son – Pastor Fred Price Jr – who is now the senior leader of the church.
“Happy 89th birthday Dad, I love you and honor you for the measuring stick of a man you’ve been my entire life,” Pastor Price Jr wrote in a post on January 4th. “As many of you know my parents both tested positive for Covid-19. Once the frustration and annoyance passed, I reminded myself of their faith and the many challenges they’ve overcome. Coronavirus is just another notch on their belts. Thanks for all your prayers; much love and appreciation to you all.”
Price Jr later revealed that the situation had become more “taxing”, but did not disclose any further details on his father’s condition.
“I figured I’d also use this as an opportunity to thank everyone for their prayers for Dad as we continue to stand and fight the good fight of faith,” he wrote. “I just haven’t been in a social media mood lately…I’ve honestly only felt like praying and studying the word with an occasional praise break these past few weeks.”
Pastor Price is known for his “Ever Increasing Faith Ministries” broadcast, which dates back to 1978. He is a proponent of the prosperity gospel.
Doctors in the health system estimate that in practice the number of cases is higher.
Some 13 people have experienced mild facial paralysis as a side effect after taking the COVID-19 vaccine, the Health Ministry reported, and estimates are that the number of cases could be higher.Health officials have raised questions about whether or not to administer the second dose to these individuals, but the Health Ministry is recommending that the second dose be given. “For at least 28 hours I walked around with it [facial paralysis],” one person who had the side effect told Ynet. “I can’t say it was completely gone afterwards, but other than that I had no other pains, except a minor pain where the injection was but there was nothing beyond that.”As for receiving the second dose, he admits he is undecided, but says that “it is important to note that this is something rare, and I don’t want people to avoid getting vaccinated. It’s important.””I recently came across, for example, someone vaccinated who was dealing with paralysis, and decided not to give her a second dose,” Prof. Galia Rahav, director of the Infectious Diseases Unit at Sheba Medical Center stated, told Ynet. “It is true that it can be given according to the Health Ministry, but I did not feel comfortable with it.”She added that, “No one knows if this is connected to the vaccine or not. That’s why I would refrain from giving a second dose to someone who suffered from paralysis after the first dose.”The Health Ministry stated, however, that the second dose should of course be only provided if and when the paralysis passes, Ynet reported.
A New York state lawmaker has introduced a bill that would allow the government to detain people deemed a potential public health risk, amid concerns that the Covid-19 crisis is being allegedly used to usher in authoritarianism.
Authored by a Democratic member of the New York State Assembly N. Nick Perry, Bill A416 calls for the “removal and/or detention” of individuals who are identified as a “case, contact or carrier” of a contagious disease.
Such person or group of persons shall be detained in a medical facility or other appropriate facility or premises.
The sweeping powers would be employed in the event of the state government declaring a health emergency due to an epidemic of any communicable disease, the bill proposes. The legislation states that the government must provide “clear and convincing evidence” that the health of others is in danger before ordering a person or group to be detained. People being “removed” will have the right to legal representation and are allowed to supply the telephone numbers of friends or family to receive notification of the individual’s detention.
The law apparently allows the governor or health official to unilaterally approve such detentions but a court order is required within 60 days of confinement, and judicial review is also required if the individual is still in detention after 90 days.
Citizens that are placed in detention will be released once health authorities determine that they are no longer contagious, the proposed law states.
The bill also allows the governor or relevant health authorities to require people deemed potential health risks to submit to medical examinations as well as undergo a “prescribed course of treatment, preventative medication or vaccination.”
The law does not specifically mention coronavirus. On his website, Perry says A416 “Relates to the removal of cases, contacts and carriers of communicable diseases who are potentially dangerous to the public health.”
In fact, the Democratic lawmaker introduced a nearly identical bill during the 2015-2016 legislative session, but it appears to have gone nowhere.
The current iteration of the proposed law will be reviewed by the assembly’s health committee next week.
Although the legislation is still a long way off from adoption, it caused considerable consternation on social media.
“I knew Cuomo was a bit of an authoritarian anti-Semite but I never thought the state would go literal Nazi,” Conservative commenter Ian Miles Cheong wrote, referring to New York governor Andrew Cuomo. The governor has previously been accused of imposing draconian crackdowns on New York City’s Jewish community, which has resisted many of the Covid-19 restrictions imposed across the state.
“This was a conspiracy theory, like many other things, 9-10 months ago,” noted a similarly outraged Twitter user.
This was a conspiracy theory, like many other things, 9-10 months ago.— Wakey Wakey 🇺🇲 (@Wak3yWak3y) January 2, 2021
This isn’t the first time that New York state lawmakers have been accused of promoting naked authoritarianism. Last month, Manhattan Democrat Linda Rosenthal introduced legislation that makes Covid-19 vaccinations compulsory “in certain situations.” It was specified later that any such mandate would apply to “all individuals or groups of individuals who, as shown by clinical data, are proven to be safe to receive such vaccine.”