Start-up raises money to resurrect woolly mammoth, Trump wants to resurrect Confederate general, and more

Sep 15, 2021 at 1:00 am
click to enlarge A start-up called Colossal raised $15 million to attempt to resurrect the woolly mammoth — well, sort of. - Mauricio Antón/Public Library of Science
Mauricio Antón/Public Library of Science
A start-up called Colossal raised $15 million to attempt to resurrect the woolly mammoth — well, sort of.

There’s no need to roll up your sleeve for a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccines just yet. According to a new review published in The Lancet journal, scientists say that booster shots aren’t needed for the general population. The Biden administration had proposed boosters eight months after initial shots, but the report found that even with waning immunity, the vaccines are still protective against severe illness after that time. (Only adults older than 75 saw weakening protection against hospitalization.) Instead, experts say the focus should be on getting those doses to the billions of people who have yet to get vaccinated.

Speaking of COVID-19 vaccines, the vaccine-skeptical sure get a lot of attention. However, consider the growing number of stories about people who regret not getting vaccinated. One of the latest: Dr. Nicole Linder of the Upper Peninsula said one woman who was skeptical of the vaccines changed her mind when she became terminally ill with COVID-19, and spent her final days calling friends and family and encouraging them to get vaccinated. Have you ever heard of anyone who regretted getting vaccinated? Neither have we.

It’s not even a dog whistle anymore, is it? Ex-President Donald Trump criticized officials in Virginia for removing a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee last week. “Robert E. Lee is considered by many Generals to be the greatest strategist of them all,” Trump wrote in his Trumpian way, adding, “He should be remembered as perhaps the greatest unifying force after the war was over … If only we had Robert E. Lee to command our troops in Afghanistan, that disaster would have ended in a complete and total victory many years ago. What an embarrassment we are suffering because we don’t have the genius of a Robert E. Lee!” To call a man who fought for slavery and lost a “unifying force” is certainly an interesting choice, and fact-checkers had a field day with the statement, which was later removed from Trump’s website.

A woman was arrested over the weekend for allegedly assaulting a Black Muslim passenger on a Spirit Airlines flight to Detroit. The arrest happened on Saturday — the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The incident occurred after Aicha Toure asked a white woman, who has not yet been identified, to stop harassing and intimidating an older woman who appeared to be of South Asian descent. The white woman then punched Toure and called her a “Muslim terrorist” and other insults, according to the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Are we ready to talk about America’s problem with white domestic terrorism?

A new start-up called Colossal raised $15 million to attempt to resurrect the woolly mammoth, creatures that went extinct about 10,000 years ago due to overhunting by early humans in the Siberian tundra. Well, technically these creatures would not be woolly mammoths per se. The scientists are trying to edit the DNA of elephants, which share a common ancestor with mammoths dating back about six million years ago, with mammoth-like traits like hair, fat, and a distinct skull shape. Scientists say that bringing back mammoths (or mammoth-like creatures) could help restore the ecosystem of the tundra, but aside from raising ethical questions about creating new organisms, the whole enterprise sounds a bit like a fuzzier version of Jurassic Park — and that didn’t exactly go well, did it?

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