UNC needs volunteers for Coronavirus vaccine trials


It's a strangely attractive offer, but that could just be a brutal case of cabin fever:

The vaccine trial at UNC will be a Phase 3 clinical trial of a vaccine against COVID-19 developed by Moderna, a private research company.

Moderna’s vaccine is based on taking genetic material, known as mRNA, from the coronavirus. When a person gets the vaccine, their cells will make viral proteins from this mRNA, just as they would if they were infected by the coronavirus. Their immune system should learn to detect these proteins to fight off future exposure to COVID-19.

While I'm trying to decide if I want to be one of UNC's little Outbreak monkeys, here's some stuff on genetics that flies over this primate's head:

Thursday News: Causey & effect

STATE FIRE MARSHAL BLAMES FIREMEN FOR HIM NOT WEARING MASK: Harnett County removed a handful of pictures from its official Facebook page this week after a cavalcade of comments criticizing officials who weren't wearing masks. The post showed state Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey visiting the Coats Grove Fire and Rescue station. A number of others, including state Sen. Jim Burgin, R-Harnett, posed for a photo outside, in front of a fire truck. The post also included images from an indoor meeting. Causey and others were standing apart from each other, but they weren't wearing masks. Causey, who is also the state fire marshal, said he tends to follow the firefighters' lead on such visits. "Most of these firefighters are not wearing masks just around the fire station," he said. "I stand with the firefighters, so whatever they say."

Trump's EPA has been corrupt since day one


Completely subservient to the industries it's supposed to regulate:

Not long after President Trump’s inauguration, the head of a fossil fuels industry group requested a call with the president’s transition team. The subject: Barack Obama’s requirement that oil and gas companies begin collecting data on their releases of methane. That outreach, by Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, appeared to quickly yield the desired results.

“Looks like this will be easier than we thought,” David Kreutzer, an economist who was helping to organize the new president’s Environmental Protection Agency, wrote of canceling the methane reporting requirement in an email to another member of the transition team on Feb. 10, 2017. Three weeks after that email, the E.P.A. officially withdrew the reporting requirement — and effectively blocked the compilation of data that would allow for new regulations to control methane, a powerful climate-warming gas.

This isn't just willful ignorance (burying your head in the sand), it's a concerted effort to conceal information that's vital to the public and its institutions. Among many other things, it allows fossil fuel cheerleaders like John Hood to write glowing Op-Eds about natural gas to a public that is kept ignorant on purpose. Just as methyl mercury once was for coal, fugitive methane is the dirty secret of the natural gas industry, and Trump's kakistocracy has been working overtime to maintain that secret:

Wednesday News: Make it stop

BUDDHIST MONK IN HIGH POINT KILLED IN DRIVE-BY SHOOTING: High Point police responded to the temple around 8 p.m. Saturday after another monk discovered Tam Dinh Tran kneeling in a praying position with blood coming out of his nose, the department said in a statement. The monk reported that he thought Tran was suffering from a medical condition, but first responders determined Tran had a traumatic injury resembling a puncture wound to his right side, the agency said. He was pronounced dead at the scene. During a search, detectives discovered what appeared to be two bullet holes to the exterior of the building and a bullet lodged in a wall, officials said. Detectives also found two handgun bullet casings near the road, which were sent for analysis, according to the statement.

Tuesday News: High stakes


NC DEMOCRATS OUT-RAISING GOP IN LEGISLATIVE CONTESTS: Since Republicans have for the last decade had control over the legislature — and thus have overseen redistricting and the shape of the state’s political districts — flipping the legislature will be a tall order for Democrats. But if campaign money is any sign, Democrats are in good shape to make gains. Since February, Democrats running for legislative seats have raised more than $6 million. That’s more than 150% of what Republicans raised. “This is by far the best financial position we’ve been in for a decade,” Meyer said. The trend of Democrats out-raising Republicans has also cropped up in higher profile races like those for U.S. Senate, governor, attorney general and N.C. Supreme Court, The News & Observer reported. But Republicans say not to count them out yet.


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