Chinese scientist gets jail for rogue gene editing

A punishment is handed down for performing shocking research on human embryos.

Image source: vchal/arek_malang/Shutterstock/Big Think
  • In November 2018, a Chinese scientist claimed he'd flouted ethics and the law to edit genes in human embryos.
  • Other Chinese scientists call He Jiankui's research "crazy."
  • Three gene-modified babies are now living in China, future uncertain.
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Cops make ‘quilt’ out of homeless signs. Is panhandling free speech?

A photo showing two Alabama police officers bragging about a "homeless quilt" made from confiscated panhandling signs raises questions about the constitutionality of panhandling.

  • In a photo posted to Facebook, two Alabama police officers can be seen holding a collection of signs that police had ostensibly taken from homeless people.
  • By Monday afternoon, the photo had been shared thousands of times on social media, where some people were calling for the officers to be fired.
  • The incident raises questions over an unclear legal question in the U.S.: Is nonviolent panhandling a form of protected speech?
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Trump's been impeached — here's what Harvard scholars believe will happen next

For the third time in U.S. history, the House of Representatives voted to impeach a sitting U.S. president.

The Washington Post
  • The House vote means the Senate will hold a trial to determine whether President Donald Trump is guilty of either or both of the two articles of impeachment.
  • One article of impeachment alleges the president abused his power for personal political gain, the other alleges he obstructed Congress.
  • The Senate is widely expected to acquit the president.
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Supreme Court signals homeless people have a constitutional right to sleep in public spaces

It's a victory for homeless advocates on the West Coast, who say criminalizing homelessness is cruel and ineffective.

Image source: Portland Press Herald
  • The Supreme Court let stand a ruling from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which deemed homeless anti-camping laws unconstitutional.
  • Opponents of the ruling argue that local governments need more power to manage homeless populations, which are growing, especially on the West Coast.
  • Homeless advocates argue that criminalizing homelessness does not solve the root issue.
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China tightens its grip on freedom in academics

Scholars often debate risking their livelihoods and personal safety in order to conduct research in certain areas.

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  • Authoritarian governments that rely heavily on coercion must be more intrusive about how education shapes the personality and character of its members.
  • In China, there are topics that scholars know to avoid — especially, the Three Ts: Taiwan, Tibet, and Tiananmen Square.
  • While the majority of scholars are likely toeing the party line when it comes to their research, some are working toward encouraging academic freedom in the country, often at significant risk to themselves and their families.
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