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Paleontologist: We can resurrect dinosaurs

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While the film franchise “Jurassic Park” suffers from scientific lapses, some scientists believe its core premise could become reality through available technology.

Could dinosaurs one day walk among humans?

Absolutely, says Jack Horner, a famed paleontologist and consultant on all five “Jurassic Park” movies, who argues all kinds of biological modification tools are at the disposal of scientists, reports Popular Mechanics.

“The possibility of creating a dinosaur exists right now,” he says.

Popular Mechanics notes Spielberg’s classic franchise, which released a fifth movie last week, also ushered in a “golden age of dinosaur discovery” when it debuted in 1993.

In the decade prior to the first movie, NBC News reported, paleontologists discovered about new 15 species of dinosaurs per year. But over the last decade, about one species a week is discovered.

Popular Mechanics reported that while cloning from dinosaur DNA may be a scientific dead-end, “the idea of bringing back dinosaurs is far from extinct.”

In 2009, Horner co-wrote a book, “How to Build a Dinosaur,” in which he proposed genetically modifying a chicken embryo so that it hatched with a head, teeth, claws and tail like an ancient velociraptor, which evolutionary scientists commonly believe is an ancestor.

He calls the hybrid a “dino-chicken.”

“The question in my mind [back then] is, could we back the whole process up?” Horner told Popular Mechanics. “Could we start with a bird and retro engineer a dinosaur out of it? Yeah, I thought it could be done.”

Popular Mechanics said such out-of-the-box thinking would inspire some truly revolutionary research.

In 2015, researchers “showed that it was potentially possible to reverse-engineer evolution by using what we’ve learned over the last two decades and taking advantage of newly developed technologies.”

Horner insists creating a dino-chicken isn’t complicated: “It’s basically opening up one egg at a time and going in and retrieving RNA. And, then, opening up another egg and using a gene switch … and inserting back into each cell something that either turns on a particular gene or turns it off.”

The process of “turning off” a gene theoretically would cause certain parts of the anatomy to revert to its prehistoric state, Popular Mechanics said.

The magazine noted, however, some paleontologists and evolutionary biologists are not as enthusiastic about hatching a dino-chicken.

Mark Norell, chairman and Macaulay Curator in the American Museum of Natural History’s Division of Paleontology, is concerned that switching one or two genes will have an unknown effect on other cells in the organism.

The “engineering,” he concludes, will not make a dinosaur.

There also are ethical issues, warns biologist Mary Schweitzer, a former student of Horner’s.

“You got one chicken with a velociraptor head and tail. We’ve proven we can do it, so we are real cool, but it’s cruel,” says Schweitzer. “Bringing an organism back … just to prove you can, it’s a waste.”

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‘The Big One’: California on verge of mega-quake

San Andreas fault

San Andreas fault

A new “structure” has been discovered in the San Andreas Fault that could produce the feared “Big One,” a massive earthquake of magnitude 8 or greater in Southern California, according to researchers.

A geological study published in the journal Lithosphere provided details of a 15- to 20-mile-long stretch of the San Andreas fault’s southern tip, at the bottom of the Salton Sea, that could trigger a cascade of earthquakes that lead to a mega-quake.

The structure has been named the “Durmid Ladder” by Utah State University researchers because of its appearance — two master faults connected by hundreds of smaller, perpendicular rung-like faults.

“We now have critical evidence about the possible nucleation site of the next major earthquake on the San Andreas Fault,”said USU geologist Susanne Janecke in a statement.

Researchers at Arizona State University believe there is a 75 percent chance a mega-quake of magnitude 7 or greater will occur in California sometime over the next 30 years.

An article in the the journal Nature Geoscience recently found that a phenomenon called “slow earthquakes,” or slow-slip events, along the San Andreas Fault, could trigger more destructive quakes.

Janecke was joined in the Durmid Ladder study by Daniel Markowski, James Evans, Patricia Persaud and Miles Kenney.

The researchers said that if an earthquake were to occur causing both the Durmid Ladder structure and the San Andreas Fault to collapse, it would be felt across an area of 15 square miles.

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Philadelphia now wants Catholics to change beliefs

philadelphia-skyline

The city of Philadelphia now wants Catholics to change their beliefs.

As least those that collide with the LGBT agenda.

The point was made by a legal team challenging the city’s new demand that if Catholic Social Services wants to continue providing foster homes, as it has for many generations, it must allow same-sex couples to care for children.

“The city made clear that Catholic’s religious beliefs would not be an acceptable basis for Catholic’s unwillingness to provide a written certification regarding a [same-sex] couple’s relationship and to approve that couple for foster care,” said a new brief submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

“The city’s rhetoric further reveals that the goal of its actions is to force Catholic to change its beliefs such as the statements that it’s ‘not 100 years ago anymore’ and ‘times are changing’ and Catholic’s religious beliefs should change, too.”

The filing by Becket on behalf of Catholic Social Services follows a three-day court hearing where the request was made for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction that would allow the faith-based organization to continue helping children while the case develops.

The legal team explained the city “barred one of the best foster agencies, Catholic Social Services, from placing children with foster families, solely because of the agency’s religious beliefs about marriage.”

“The city’s actions are denying children homes and preventing loving foster parents from caring for kids,” the group said.

“[The] hearing revealed that the city’s policy is directly motivated by religious hostility toward Catholics. This discriminatory policy has caused devastating problems for at-risk children. Although Catholic Social Services has 35 open homes available right now, city officials won’t allow any children to be placed in them because they think the agency’s religious beliefs, which drive its mission to help children, are ‘outdated’ and ‘need to change.’”

WND reported last month that even though the city issued an urgent call for 300 new foster parents to provide loving homes for some of the more than 6,000 children in Philadelphia foster care, they rejected the Catholic organization because of its beliefs.

“What justice is there in taking stable, loving homes away from children? If the city cuts off Catholic Social Services from foster care, foster moms like me won’t have the help and support they need to care for special-needs kids,” said a foster parent bring the lawsuit, Sharonell Fulton. “I have relied on Catholic Social Services for support for years, and the city is taking away this help and causing harm and heartache to countless families like mine.”

Lori Windham, senior counsel at Becket, said that for a city with so much history, the people in charge have a pretty short memory.

“For a century, Catholic Social Services has been serving children in Philadelphia. Those children are the ones hurt by the city’s actions,” she said.

The complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania charges the city was guilty of deciding to “prioritize political grandstanding over the needs of children.”

“Unsurprisingly, the city’s actions are creating a severe human cost. Available foster homes are sitting empty,” the filing said. “On an average day, Catholic Social Services serves more than 120 children in foster care, and it supervises around 100 different foster homes. Through its combined programs, Catholic Social Services served more than 2,200 different at-risk children in Philadelphia last year.”

It continues: “The city is penalizing Catholic Social Services, in violation of its contract and state and federal law, because the agency has Catholic beliefs about same-sex marriage. … The city has decided to penalize the agency because the city disagrees with its religious beliefs.”

It points out that no same-sex couples have been denied the ability to become foster parents because of CSS, nor have any same-sex duos filed complaints.

And it appears to be personal.

“The city has targeted Catholic Social Services because of its religious beliefs. City officials have been open about their disagreement with Catholic teaching on marriage and their personal animosity toward the archdiocese,” the lawsuit states.

The newest filing explains the city is unable to point to anything but “theoretical” harm from allowing Catholic to continue to operate, while the social services group reveals children are being deprived of loving homes by the city’s decision.

“The city’s decision to discriminate against CSS constitutes a paradigmatic irreparable harm, as it is well settled that the ‘loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury.’”

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Middle East official: We want dictator like Kim

Kim Jong Un

Kim Jong Un

Fatah is the political organization that governs the West Bank while Hamas governs Gaza, the two entities under the Palestinian Authority.

Now a spokesman for Fatah says his constituencies should be longing for a dictator like North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, who has blown up political opponents and ordered the execution of family members in his tyrannical rule.

“There is no doubt that [every] Arab who examines the depths of his heart prays to Allah to send him an authoritative dictator like North Korea’s, who can at least force the world [to recognize] the honor of his country and of his people, and can force himself into partnership with the arrogant Washington,” wrote ‘Atef Abu Saif, a Gaza resident and Fatah spokesman, in a recent article in the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam.

“In effect, with few exceptions, our Arab world is full of tyrants – but these tyrants are not motivated by the interests of their peoples, have no interest in pushing their countries forward, and make no effort to develop the capabilities of their lands. Instead, they continue to repress, to strip away the freedoms of the individual and of the general public, and to shatter the people’s will,” the opinion column said. “[We don’t] even have a decent dictator. Of course, the North Korea model is nothing to imitate, particularly with regard to freedoms and to political rule, but it presents an opportunity to recall the most important lesson of history and politics – that the world understands nothing but the language of force and that there is no room for the weak except in the archives of sorrow and the rivers of tears.”

His comments were spotlighted by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

MEMRI said Abu Sayef stated “the most important lesson from the June 12, 2018, meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea ruler Kim Jong Un, and from history in general, is that the world understands only the language of force, and that there is no room for the weak.”

He wrote that the influence of force is not a new insight.

“This is practically a university student’s first lesson in an introductory class on international relations. It is not that the world is addicted to power, or that violence is the basis for relations between countries – but that human history is in fact the history of wars of the human race and of humans fighting each other for survival.”

The writer explained: “The American-North Korean summit in Singapore was a manifestation of challenge and of free will, since Pyongyang, which had for decades stood against American policy and had issued many warnings and positions that constituted threats, did not find itself forced to sit with the stupidest man in the world, but rather sat with him as an equal among equals.”

Fatah, founded in 1959 by Yassar Arafat, has been known for its terrorist attacks, beginning with a 1964 mission to blow up a water pump in Israel.

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City accused of regulating property to make it worthless

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A property-rights fight that is being escalated to the U.S. Supreme Court revolves around some technical issues for courts, such as when is a government decision “final” and permitting timelines and various development application options.

But the bottom line in the case brought by Pacetta LLC and its owners, Simone and Lyder Johnson, against the Town of Ponce Inlet is whether government officials are allowed to deliberate drive the value of property to nothing by imposing extraordinary limits – all in the hope of snapping up the land for themselves when the price bottoms out.

It is the Pacific Legal Foundation, a many-times winner at the highest court, that is move the case forward.

Attorney Christina Martin explained the manipulation that occurred after the Johnsons, who had set out with the simple goal of building their dream home in Florida, were encouraged by city officials to buy up millions of dollars worth of additional land and design an entire waterfront for the town.

“The story behind this case began many years ago, when Simone and Lyder Johnson set out to build their dream home, along with some other possible residential development, in the town of Ponce Inlet, Florida. Government officials for the town saw the Johnsons’ interest in the area as a potential boon, and they recommended the couple expand their project into a large, multi-use development that would benefit the community. At these officials’ insistence, and through their company Pacetta, LLC, the couple spent millions of dollars to purchase additional land, and then they began work on this new planned development that included everything the town wanted: a public pier, long public river walk, public parking, preserved trees, and more,” the foundation reported.

But then, as happens, the makeup of the town council changed and its new members opposed the development.

“Rather than just require a more modest plan for the land, the town council went further. It set out to devalue Pacetta’s waterfront property, because it hoped to later purchase the same property at a discount. The town imposed heavy regulations on the property, and passed several years of moratoria to stop any development of the land,” the foundation said.

A lawsuit followed and a trial court called out the town for its misbehavior, awarding the development company some $30 million in damages. Its conclusion was that the town had deliberately deprived the company of “all economically beneficial use” of four of the very expensive parcels of land earlier officials had convinced the couple to buy.

But an appeals court, Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal, jumped in, demanding to know whether the conflict was “ripe” for court review. It essentially suggested that the developers could perhaps in some other way plead with the town to let its work go forward.

The higher court also complained that it wasn’t sure whether the loss of use of four of 10 parcels really was a big deal, since there might have been – eventually – some sort of work approved on the other six.

“This case raises two important issues for the Supreme Court to consider. First, how many applications and how far must a property owner go before he can seek to enforce the protections of the Takings Clause in court? In this case, the trial court found that after six years of attempting to appease the town, the town rejected Pacetta’s development plans and would block all economically viable development of Pacetta’s property,” the foundation said.

The appeals court wanted to know whether the developers should have been required to apply for even more permits.

“It was not enough for the appellate court that the town would block all economically viable development of the property; the town would have to block all development, including impractical and unprofitable developments too,” the explanation continued.

Associated with that is the question of “whether government must pay an owner just compensation when it intentionally devalues property with the intent of later buying it at a discount. The trial court found that the town intended to devalue the land and drive Pacetta into financial distress to force a discounted sale of the vacant waterfront land desired by the town.”

The argument to the Supreme Court lays out plainly the requirements in federal law: “Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any state … subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding….”

The Constitution itself, requires “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

The project involved 10 different parcels that covered 16 acres. Besides the many millions the couple spent – one parcel alone was $8 million – they also spent $2.2 million for architets and engineers, and $1.5 million for initial improvements.

Then, the town “revised its town charter to specifically prohibit Pacetta’s development project.

“That the regulation caused economic harm should be sufficient to find a taking – regardless of whether the ‘parcel as a whole’ was all 10 parcels, or only the four vacant parcels … Any contrary holding would empower any government to avoid the ‘just compensation’ mandate of the Takings Clause by intentionally devaluing land for cheaper subsequent acquisition,” the foundation said.

 

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Eric Holder: ‘It must stop’

(Gateway Pundit) On Friday, former Attorney General Eric ‘Fast and Furious’ Holder demanded “unprincipled” House Republicans halt their investigations into FISA abuse and Spygate, warning the probes “must stop.”

House Republicans held two hearings this week, demanding answers from Peter Strzok, FBI Director Wray and DAG Rosenstein about government surveillance during the 2016 election.

GOP lawmakers grilled Peter Strzok Wednesday in a closed-door deposition. According to Chairman Goodlatte, FBI counsel instructed Strzok not to answer many of the questions.

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‘Girl from the Bronx’ Ocasio-Cortez called out in fact check

(ZeroHedge) The Democratic Party’s rising socialist icon – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has been on an intense media junket since her upset primary victory over establishment Democrat Joe Crowley this week – doing her darnedest to project her “girl from the Bronx” working-class image.

“Well, you know, the president is from Queens, and with all due respect — half of my district is from Queens — I don’t think he knows how to deal with a girl from the Bronx,” Ocasio-Cortez told Stephen Colbert during an appearance on The Late Show.

The socialist phenom also told the Washington Post “I wasn’t born to a wealthy or powerful family — mother from Puerto Rico, dad from the South Bronx. I was born in a place where your Zip code determines your destiny.”

Except Ocasio-Cortez isn’t quite the blue-collar champion she’s branding herself as. Breitbart’s Josh Caplan is out with a “fact check” on the Democratic Socialist’s background – only to find she grew up in one of the richest counties in the United States.

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