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Dick Gregory, Groundbreaking Comedian and Civil Rights Activist, Dead at 84

Dick Gregory, Groundbreaking Comedian and Civil Rights Activist, Dies Aged 84

According to Variety, Gregory’s death was confirmed by his family in an Instagram post.

“The family appreciates the outpouring of support and love and respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time,” read the post from son Christian Gregory.

Gregory was active on the standup and public speaking circuit on and off for more than a half-century. He had been making comedy appearances until he was hospitalized on August 9.

Gregory recently released a new book, “Defining Moments in Black History: Reading Between the Lies,” and he penned a guest column for Variety on how communities can band together to end police brutality. In June, Gregory was the subject of a lengthy profile on “CBS Sunday Morning.” Actor Joe Morton explored the ups and downs of Gregory’s standup career in the one-man show “Turn Me Loose,” which ran in New York last year.

Gregory made his mark in the early 1960s as a rare African-American comedian who was successful in nightclubs geared to white audiences. One important break famously came in 1960 when he was invited by Playboy founder Hugh Hefner to perform at his Playboy Lounge in Chicago.

Gregory was known for his folksy delivery and for incorporating commentary about segregation and discrimination into his routines. During this period he released a number of successful spoken word albums, notably 1961’s “In Living Black and White,” 1962’s “Talks Turkey,” 1964’s “So You See … We All Have Problems,” and 1968’s “The Two Sides of Dick Gregory.” In 1964, he published an autobiography with the provocative title: “N—-: An Autobiography.”

A prolific writer, Gregory’s other books included “Up From N—–“, “No More Lies,” and “Callus on My Soul.” He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2015.

Gregory is survived by his wife of 58 years, Lillian, and 10 children.

Scientists Edited Human Embryos To Prevent Heart Disease

Scientists Edited Human Embryos To Prevent Heart Disease
  • Aug 2, 2017
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The US scientists used CRISPR to genetically edit human embryos to remove a disease gene, which is the basis for trying to create the first gene-modified people, according to the MIT Technology Review.

According to the report, Shoukhrat Mitalipov and colleagues at Oregon Health and Science University successfully used the gene editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 to fix a disease-causing DNA error in dozens of early-stage human embryos.

The scientists corrected a mutation in a gene that causes a deadly familial heart condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

The scientists said the procedure was surprisingly effective and that clinical trials could eventually be considered. “With this particular mutation, we’ve already done the groundwork, so we’re probably much closer to clinical applications,” Mitalipov said during a conference call with journalists. “Clinical trials would mean actually implanting some of these embryos with the goal of establishing pregnancy and monitoring births of children and hopefully following up with children.”

The dramatic advance will deepen the debate over whether to use editing technology to intervene in the human gene pool. Critics have raised concerns that modifying embryos creates unknown risks to children and would be a slippery slope toward genetically enhanced “designer babies.”

Mitalipov says he believes gene editing could be used as a preventive tool to lower a newborn’s lifetime risk of a wide range of diseases, including cancer.

The scientists say their research held several surprises. One was that the editing process occurred in an unusual fashion. Embryos injected with CRISPR appeared to use the healthy maternal gene to guide the correction of the mutation but ignored a DNA template provided by scientists.

Mitalipov argues this means that the procedure should not actually be called gene editing, but that it is more of an assisted form of natural DNA repair. The argument means that children born from such embryos might not, strictly speaking, be considered genetically modified.

The detailed report of the research was published today in Nature magazine.

Trump Fires Communications Director Scaramucci, Just Ten Days After Appointment

Trump Fires Communications Director Scaramucci, Just Ten Days After Appointment
  • Aug 1, 2017
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U.S. President Donald Trump ousted his new communications director Anthony Scaramucci just 10 days after he was named to the post, according to Reuters.

According to the report, Trump was annoyed about Scaramucci’s lewd comments to The New Yorker magazine published last Thursday, which included a profanity-laced attack against then-White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon.

A new chief of staff of the Trump administration, retired Marine Corps General John Kelly, has reportedly summoned Scaramucci to his office on Monday morning and fired him on the spot, the official said. It was one of Kelly’s first acts as chief of staff.

Trump Bans Transgender People From Serving in US Army

Trump Bans Transgender People From Serving in US Army
  • Jul 26, 2017
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“The United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” he announced today in three tweets, Joinfo.com reports with reference to News Monkey.

Of course, the decision is getting a lot of criticism.

“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail,” President Trump wrote in his tweets, concluding the statement with a dry “Thank you”.

 

Donald Trump’s decision does not come as a surprise, as James Mattis, his former minister of defense, had previously postponed the transgenders permission in the US Army for six months. Normally, transgenders who have been “stable in their gender for a year and a half” should be admitted to the US Army this year. The decision was approved last year by the Obama government, but is now being abolished. It’s not the first time Trump shows little understanding for transgenders.

By the end of February, he had already agreed on a measure that weakened the protection of transgenders in public schools.

In July last year, he had written on Twitter that he was the best presidential candidate for the LGBT community, unlike Hillary Clinton.  

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer Resigns

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer Quits
  • Jul 21, 2017
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“It’s been an honor & a privilege to serve @POTUS @realDonaldTrump & this amazing country. I will continue my service through August,” Spicer tweeted.

 

According to CNN, Spicer’s resignation came after New York financier and former Trump campaign fundraiser Anthony Scaramucci was appointed as White House communications director, a move Spicer adamantly opposed. His resignation came in spite of President Donald Trump’s request that he remain in this position, a White House official and top GOP advisers said.

Dog Saves Baby Deer From Drowning

Dog Saves Baby Deer From Drowning
  • Jul 19, 2017
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It seemed to be a normal Sunday walk for Freeley and his dogs until Storm suddenly jumped into the water. He saw a helpless baby deer drifting about ten meters off the shore and did not hesitate.

The video Freeley posted on Facebook shows the dog dragging the deer to the shore.

The dog “plunged into the water and started swimming out to the fawn, grabbed it by the neck, and started swimming to shore,” said Freeley, according to USA Today.

“Good boy, Storm,” Freeley says in the video before the deer darts off, with Storm following close behind.

According to the report, Freeley called the wildlife experts to attend to the fawn. But when they arrived on the beach, the deer darted back into the water again. It took some rope and a few minutes to wrestle the fawn back to safety again.

The young deer is currently being taken care of in a wildlife shelter until it is in a better condition.

Man Revives After 40 Minutes With No Pulse

Miracle: Man Revives After 40 Minutes With No Pulse
  • Jul 18, 2017
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John Ogburn, 36, suffered a heart attack while working on his laptop in Charlotte, North Carolina on 26 June, according to the BBC.

Two police officers who happened to be nearby began CPR on the father-of-three within a minute of the 911 call.

They took turns resuscitating Mr Ogburn for around 42 minutes until his pulse returned.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers Lawrence Guiler and Nikolina Bajic’s lifesaving efforts are all the more praiseworthy given that emergency workers are not required to perform CPR after 20 minutes without any vital signs.

After Mr Ogburn was brought to hospital, doctors placed him in a medically induced coma to help him recover for the rest of the week.

He has been advised not to drive for six months and is easing back into work.

But for the most part, he says he feels completely fine, apart from a sore chest.

“My energy level hasn’t been what it was before, but that might be because my routine changed a bit,” he told the BBC.

“The combination of [the chest compressions and an internal defibrillator] is a little sore, but if that’s all I got to complain about, then I’m doing really well.”

Mr Ogburn said he is still figuring out how to make the most of his second chance at life.

Above all he feels indebted to the first responders who went above and beyond the call of duty to make each new day possible for him.

“In certain time frames they’re supposed to call it, and they didn’t, they continued to try to save me,” he said. “And I am just so grateful for that and for them.”

Revolutionary Cancer Treatment Approved By US Drug Watchdog

Revolutionary Cancer Treatment Approved By US Drug Watchdog
  • Jul 13, 2017
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A new treatment called a “living drug” modifies immune cells of the patient and ‘teaches’ them to attack cancer cells. The drug known as CAR-T cell immunotherapy was approved by FDA to be used for children and young adults with a common form of leukemia, according to NPR.

This achievement is the most important breakthrough in the research for a cure for cancer in decades. The drug genetically modifies the patient’s cells, that’s why this treatment is considered as a “gene therapy product,” according to the edition.

“This is the most exciting thing I’ve seen in my lifetime,” said Dr. Timothy Cripe, an oncologist at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

It works by removing key immune system cells known as T cells from the patient so scientists can genetically modify them to seek out and attack only cancer cells. That’s why some scientists refer to this as a “living drug.”

Doctors then infuse millions of the genetically modified T cells back into the patient’s body so they can try to obliterate the cancer cells and hopefully leave healthy tissue unscathed.

Read also: Personalized Cancer Vaccine Test Show Promising Results

Woman Saved Money For Travelling By Eating Leftovers From Office Bin

Woman Saved Money For Travelling By Eating Leftovers From Office Bin
  • Jul 13, 2017
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The 32-year-old financier Amanda Holden from the USA decided that office work is not what she wanted in her life. She had a dream to go on a trip to South America in search for the meaning of life. A small salary and a lack of prospects made this dream almost inaccessible, but Amanda found a way out.

I wanted a better life

She has found a great way to save money. The thrifty woman stopped spending money on food, coffee and parties. Instead, she asked her colleagues to give her their leftovers.

“I worked at an office with lots of dudes so there was always extra food. I ate their leftovers,” Amanda told Mirror, “I told my close friends at work. I talked about it openly and most people embraced it. If someone is going to eat half a pizza, I would just ask them to toss it over. There were some times when I couldn’t find any scraps to and I would have to buy food.”

The dream came true

Friends and colleagues of the girls joked about her and nicknamed her “Dumpster Dog” but Amanda took no offends, did not frighten and did not stop. In eight months, Amanda Holden saved $30,000, wrote a resignation letter and went on a journey in search for her new self.

Now Amanda Holden is a business coach, she travels a lot, shares the secrets of saving money and about her way to happiness through her Dumpster Dog Blog.

Fidget Spinners Are Exploding Now

Fidget Spinners Are Exploding Now
  • Jun 29, 2017
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After transitioning from an obscure curiosity to a ubiquitous annoyance in record time, fidget spinners finally completed the 21st century novelty toy cycle this month, becoming something that could potentially burn down your house, according to Gizmodo.

Mothers in Michigan and Alabama shared remarkably similar stories about the toys, both of which had internal batteries to power bluetooth speakers (because of course they have those now). In each case, the device was plugged into an outlet when it caught fire, melting the spinner and scorching the surface below.

“We were about five or 10 minutes from leaving the house for the day. [My son] noticed it burst into flames and he started screaming,” Kimberly Allums of Gardendale, Alabama, said. “I was downstairs and all I heard was, ‘fire, fire.’ The fidget spinner wasn’t smoking, it was in flames.”

Allums said the spinner had been charging for less than 45 minutes. When she tried to identify the manufacturer of the faulty spinner, the mother only found the words “Made in China” on the box it came in.

Like hoverboards (and really all unregulated devices with batteries) before them, electronic fidget spinners’ rush to market and lack of safety standards have almost certainly increased the risk of dangerous failures like these. Unlike hoverboards, the tiny spinners could easily be mistaken for harmless trinkets—but fire is fire.

“They’re just simple, little things you spin and I love to play with them,” Michelle Carr, the other mother whose fidget spinner exploded, told WEYI. “I know there are tons of kids who want to go get them, but if you plug them in, just stay by and make sure it’s charged and it doesn’t catch.”

In a statement to Gizmodo, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission said that it is investigating these incidents and recommended users “stay with products that have batteries when they are charging”:

Never charge a product with batteries overnight while you are sleeping. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the charger from the manufacturer that is designed specifically for your device.

CPSC is also investigating reported incidents involving children and fidget spinners. We advise parents to keep fidget spinners away from young children, because they can choke on small parts. Warn older children not to put fidget spinners in their mouths.

US consumers who experience safety issues with fidget spinners are urged to report the incidents at SaferProducts.gov.