DAILY DOSE: Florida backs off demands for teenage girls’ menstrual data; Scientist who created bioengineered babies pisses off his peers again.


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Hot-button issues in Florida politics is making authorities make some seriously creepy decisions. As part of the push to limit abortion and transgender surgeries, the state attempted to have teenage girls officially report their menstrual cycles to their schools for record keeping. Per the Associated Press,

Florida has backed off its effort to force athletes to give their high schools information about their menstrual cycles after the debate sparked opposition nationwide, and now, the state is facing questions about whether the plan was based on politics or policy.

Doctors often ask students about their periods to figure out whether they are healthy enough to compete. But the issue exploded when the Florida High School Athletic Association proposed using a form that called for providing that information directly to schools, rather than just to health providers.

Critics questioned whether there were political motives as Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis weighs a run for the presidency. Opposition to abortion and transgender female athletes are core GOP tenants, and DeSantis has signed bills on both issues.

Like I said, creeeeepy. http://bit.ly/3XAs5io

It’s hard to keep track of the reports of unidentified flying objects over North American airspace. Aside from the initial Chinese balloon last week, officials have kept tight lips about the nature of the more recent ones. Per the New York Times,

If the truth is out there, it certainly is not apparent yet.

Pentagon and intelligence officials are trying to make sense of three unidentified flying objects over Alaska, Canada and Michigan that U.S. fighter jets shot down with missiles on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The latest turn in the aerial show taking place in the skies above North America comes after a helter-skelter weekend involving what at times seemed like an invasion of unidentified flying objects.

The latest object had first been spotted on Saturday over Montana, initially sparking debate over whether it even existed. On Saturday, military officials detected a radar blip over Montana, which then disappeared, leading them to conclude it was an anomaly. Then a blip appeared Sunday over Montana, then Wisconsin and Michigan. Once military officials obtained visual confirmation, they ordered an F-16 to shoot it down over Lake Huron.

There are two big questions around the episodes: What were the craft? And why does the United States appear to be seeing more suddenly, and shooting down more?

Very odd indeed. http://bit.ly/3jUCjME

The sudden identification of numerous unknown objects in North American airspace is so random it even has some speculating about alien visitors, in the mainstream press, no less. While it’s probably more a case of protocol, Air Force officials have even refused to comment on whether extra terrestrial creatures have been shot down. Per Reuters,

The U.S. Air Force general overseeing North American airspace said on Sunday after a series of shoot-downs of unidentified objects that he would not rule out aliens or any other explanation yet, deferring to U.S. intelligence experts.

Asked whether he had ruled out an extraterrestrial origin for three airborne objects shot down by U.S. warplanes in as many days, General Glen VanHerck said: "I'll let the intel community and the counterintelligence community figure that out. I haven't ruled out anything."

"At this point we continue to assess every threat or potential threat, unknown, that approaches North America with an attempt to identify it," said VanHerck, head of U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command and Northern Command.

VanHerck’s comments came during a Pentagon briefing on Sunday after a U.S. F-16 fighter jet shot down an octagonal-shaped object over Lake Huron on the U.S.-Canada border. http://bit.ly/3YJY5S3

Sometimes, it’s really hard to understand people’s behavior. That’s certainly the case with the researcher who created the world’s first bioengineered babies. Per Nature,

He Jiankui, the Chinese biophysicist who shocked the world by creating the first children with edited genomes, says research must accept moral and ethical constraints, but is otherwise refusing to speak about the work that landed him in jail for three years. He’s silence is frustrating some scientists, who say he should answer questions about his past research before publicizing his latest plans to use genome-editing technology in people.

On Saturday, He spoke at a virtual and in-person bioethics event that was promoted as “the first time that Dr. He has agreed to interact with Chinese bioethicists and other CRISPR scientists in a public event”. But during the talk, He did not discuss his past work and refused to answer questions from the audience, responding instead that questions should be sent to him by email.

“This meeting has been very disappointing, notably the failure of He Jiankui to answer any questions,” says Robin Lovell-Badge, a developmental biologist at the Francis Crick Institute in London, who attended the event.

“A publicity stunt like today shows he doesn’t have much credibility at least in the eyes of his peers,” says Eben Kirksey, a medical anthropologist at the University of Oxford, UK.

You also have to wonder about all the scientists in the audience. Exactly what did they expect? https://bit.ly/3E4HQqD

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

IMAGE CREDIT: Greg Skidmore.

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