Daily Archives: April 14, 2013

Can medical companies patent human genes? Supreme Court hears key case

The US Supreme Court is scheduled on Monday to take up a case with widespread implications for scientific innovation and health care in the US. The question: Are human genes patentable?

The issue arises in a challenge to patents held by Myriad Genetics, a Utah-based diagnostic testing and research firm that developed a way to detect genetic mutations (called BRCA1 and BRCA2) that scientists associate with a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

The process is described by the company’s lawyers as akin to locating a particular grain of sand in a space the size of the Empire State Building. The tests have helped over a million patients identify risks and develop treatment strategies….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Science & Technology, Theology

(NY Times) Building a Better Tech School

If all the hopes and hype are warranted, a nondescript third-floor loft in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan offers a glimpse of the future, for New York City and for Cornell University. In truth, it doesn’t look like much ”” just cubicles and meeting rooms in space donated by Google. But looks deceive; here, with little fanfare, Cornell’s new graduate school of applied sciences is being rolled out.

The sparkling, sprawling new campus on Roosevelt Island filled with gee-whiz technology ”” still just ink on paper. The thousands of students and staff, the transformative effect on the city’s economy, the integration with the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology ”” those all remain in the future, too.

But just 13 months after being awarded the prize in Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s contest to create a new science school, Cornell NYC Tech got up and running. Eight students enrolled in January in what is being called the beta class, a one-year master’s program in computer science. And Cornell has made it clear that, in many ways, this is not the usual university program.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Science & Technology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Reuters) Pope Francis: Hypocrisy 'undermines Church's credibility'

“Inconsistency on the part of pastors and the faithful between what they say and what they do, between word and manner of life, is undermining the Church’s credibility,” the pontiff said in his homily.

“Those who listen to us and observe us must be able to see in our actions what they hear from our lips, and so give glory to God!”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Francis, Preaching / Homiletics, Roman Catholic

PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly-Twitter’s Outreach to Religious Leaders

In 2011, a researcher for Twitter discovered that bible verses, inspirational messages, and other tweets from religious leaders were incredibly popular among Twitter users. That discovery led the company to begin actively working with members of religious communities. Claire Diaz-Ortiz, who leads social innovation at Twitter and who spent many years abroad working with nonprofits, travels the world helping religious leaders get started on Twitter and offering advice on how to use the technology more effectively. In 2012, she worked with the Vatican to create the “@Pontifex” Twitter account for Pope Benedict XVI. We spoke with Diaz-Ortiz as she met with former White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships executive director Joshua Dubois and National Community Church lead pastor Mark Batterson in Washington, DC about Twitter’s work with religious leaders, the popularity of religious tweets, her experience working with the Vatican, and her advice on the best ways to use Twitter.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Religion & Culture

([London] Times) The Bishop of Grantham criticises Thatcher funeral

The Bishop of Grantham has criticised the scale and cost of Baroness Thatcher’s funeral, describing it as a “mistake” which may play into the hands of extremists.

The Rt Revd Dr Tim Ellis said the ceremonial event at St Paul’s Cathedral on Wednesday, costing up to £10 million, was “asking for trouble” amid divisions about the late prime minister’s legacy….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Death / Burial / Funerals, Economy, History, Parish Ministry, Politics in General

Bach – Ricercare à 6

More Sunday Worship here

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Liturgy, Music, Worship

(Christian Post) Bishop of new TEC in S.C. Diocese Sends Letters to Various Ordained Ministers

The Rev. Canon Jim Lewis of the South Carolina Diocese told The Christian Post that he personally received one of vonRosenberg’s letters and took issue with whom the letters were sent to.

“The Episcopal Church has every right to update its roster of clergy. However, it is disturbing that letters were sent to retired clergy, many of whom have no need or interest to be embroiled in these matters,” said Lewis.

“In fact, my first notice of these letters came through a phone call from a medically disabled, retired member of the clergy, who was concerned about losing his benefits.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, Theology

(AP) Theater in Nigeria eyed for renewal

Nigeria’s iconic National Theatre rises out of the brackish swamps of Lagos near its islands, a massive concrete and marble structure that is a reminder of when the West African nation had seemingly endless oil dollars to spend.

Today, the theater and its surrounding marshlands have become known more as a good place to dump corpses than to catch the latest play.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Economy, Nigeria, Politics in General

(LA Times) At one Army base, an aggressive campaign against suicide

Army Pvt. John Jeffery stumbled into Kyle Boswell’s barracks room at Ft. Bliss before dawn one day in February, his eyes glassy.

“I’ve done something,” Jeffery mumbled to his buddy. “I can’t tell anyone. It’s going to happen.”

He had just learned his girlfriend was cheating on him. The Army had decided to kick him out for using heroin. Now the 21-year-old veteran of Afghanistan had downed more than two bottles of Vicodin and Oxycodone, powerful prescription painkillers. Boswell rushed him to the emergency room, and he remains in the hospital psychiatric ward.

The case is a success of sorts ”” a soldier treated, a suicide prevented ”” and it reflects an encouraging shift at Ft. Bliss….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Stress, Suicide, Theology

Majority support for modern Cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand

The ”˜”˜overwhelming majority’’ of Anglican leaders are in favour of a new, modern Christ Church Cathedral with not a single person voting for restoration.

The church held its synod yesterday where more than 220 Anglican representatives across the diocese expressed their views on the design options for the earthquake-damaged cathedral.

Last week the church revealed three designs for the Christchurch icon ”“ restoration, a reinterpretation of the original cathedral in modern materials, or a completely new building with a sculptural spire.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * General Interest, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

A Prayer to begin the day

O God our Father, who hast taught us that our citizenship is in heaven, and hast called us to tread a pilgrim’s path here on earth: Guide us, we pray thee, on our journey through this world to the Celestial City; defend us from the perils that await us in the way; give us grace to endure faithfully to the end; and at the last bring us to thy eternal joy; through the mercy of thy Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens, praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his host! Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the LORD! For he commanded and they were created. And he established them for ever and ever; he fixed their bounds which cannot be passed. Praise the LORD from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command! Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars! Beasts and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds! Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth! Young men and maidens together, old men and children! Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven. He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his saints, for the people of Israel who are near to him. Praise the LORD!

–Psalm 148

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

UK Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks–Professor Sir Robert Edwards RIP

While much of the world’s attention has been focussed on one famous person who died this week, I’d like to reflect on another, Professor Sir Robert Edwards, who died two days ago. Edwards was the pioneer of in vitro fertilisation, of what, slightly inaccurately, came to be called “test tube babies.” It took immense dedication: ten years from the first breakthrough, a fertilised embryo created in the laboratory, to the first child born from the technique, Louise Brown in 1978.

And though towards the end of his life Edwards received the recognition of a Nobel Prize, he had to face a barrage of criticism at the time. People conjured up fears of Aldous Huxley’s brave new world and the manufacture of human beings as if they were machines. There were also some religious groups who saw him as trespassing into the sacred mystery of life itself, of “playing God.”

As Jews we saw things differently. We didn’t see it as the sin of playing God. To the contrary we saw it as responding to God’s invitation to become, in the ancient rabbinic phrase, “God’s partners in the work of creation” and in a particularly moving way.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Science & Technology

(Independent) Outgoing Bishop of Liverpool wants ban lifted on same-sex partnership blessings

One of the country’s most senior Anglican bishops came a step closer to endorsing gay marriage after he called for the ban on same-sex partnership blessings to be lifted.

The outgoing Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Rev James Jones, said it was time for the church to consider the blessing of civil partnerships. “We’ve come to a time now that if we believe that civil partnerships are just then we can’t withhold the blessing of God from that which we believe to be just,” he said.

Although the remarks fell short of endorsing gay marriage they will nonetheless embolden campaigners. The Church of England has previously ruled out offering blessings to same-sex couples.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture