Thursday, January 02, 2014

Who Owns the Code of Life?; Biblical Archaeology discoveries of 2013; Global persecution 2014...more

Who Owns the Code of Life?
...In Myriad, all nine justices agreed that merely being the first to isolate a “naturally occurring” gene or other “product of nature” doesn’t entitle you to a patent. That came as no surprise. A year earlier, in Mayo v. Prometheus Labs, the Court had rejected a patent for a way to prescribe appropriate doses of certain drugs by tracking their metabolites in the patient’s blood, reaffirming long-standing rules that patents may not lay claim to a “law of nature,” “natural phenomenon,” or “abstract idea.” Previous rulings by the federal circuit court that decides patent appeals had reached similar conclusions in addressing attempts to patent all drugs that might be designed to control specific biochemical pathways. A description of a biological “mechanism of action” without a description of a new device or method to exploit it in some useful way is merely a “hunting license” for inventions not yet developed. A patent must describe “a complete and final invention”—a drug, for example, together with a description of the disorder that it can cure...

Biblical Archaeology's Top Ten Discoveries of 2013
Biblical Archaeology discoveries made in 2013 have given us new information about biblical events and people. This list is subjective, and based on news reports rather than peer-reviewed articles in scientific publications.

These discoveries illustrate the important work that goes on at excavations across Israel every year, and just scratch the surface of what has been found in 2013. Quite possibly a decade from now, with added perspective and more digging, the most important discoveries of 2013 may look different than this list...

Global persecution outlook for 2014
Islamist persecution is set to rise in 2014 ahead of elections in Nigeria and Afghanistan. Communism remains a potent oppressor of Christians, with North Korea maintaining its reputation as the worst persecutor of Christianity in the world.

"2014 looks set to be a turbulent year for Christians – especially ahead of elections in Nigeria and Afghanistan," says Colin King, the UK director of Release International, which serves the persecuted Church worldwide...  Related: End the Silence

Doctor: New Jersey Assisted Suicide Bill is Dangerous
...The bill is dangerous. Under A3328/S2259, once the lethal dose is prescribed, there is no requirement for medical oversight or psychological screening to eliminate the possibility that a patient is acting out of depression or dementia. The administration of the drugs is left to the patient or possibly a family member or friend, leaving the door wide open for abuse. Without accountability, the pressure on the patient is sharply accentuated. What if that patient is feeling pressure from the family to ask for that lethal dose of medication? Or worse yet, what if the lethal drugs are used for something more nefarious?...

Ruling by Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor sets off another battle over Obamacare
Advocates for a Denver-based congregation of Catholic nuns on Wednesday applauded an eleventh-hour order by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to temporarily block a requirement under the Affordable Care Act to insure birth control procedures, but attorneys and analysts agreed the fight is far from over.

The complicated politics of Obamacare  were on full display on the first day of the year as a key component of President Obama’s health care law was put on indefinite hold at the last moment by a Catholic court justice whom Mr. Obama himself named to the high court...


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