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Abuse Or Innovation? Genetically Modified Animal Fur

Lions, And Tigers, And Dogs–Oh No!

Animal lovers have long sought ways to add a little bit more pizzazz to their pets, from cutesy cat sweaters to the curious Chinese subculture that colors and shapes dogs’ fur to mimic other animals. Now, one professor is attempting to take animal glamour to a whole different—tattoo-like—level. Dr. James West of Vanderbilt University has found a way to make animal dye jobs permanent through his start-up AgGenetics, which is pioneering a genetic modification technique said to be the first-of-its-kind.


For better or worse, West has discovered how to tinker with nature in order to “paint” new fur colors and patterns onto animals, so far creating brown lab rats with black squares, stripes, and polka dots. His first goal is to market customized animal creation to the cattle industry, creating an all-white version of Angus cows that will be more heat tolerant than their naturally occurring counterparts, who sport black or red hides.

West isn’t the first to use genetic modification to change the color of animal fur. Scientists found a way to change the shade of mouse hair back in 2002, when researchers in San Diego gave unsuspecting rodents shocks of green fur. (“They’re punk mice, you could say,” their creator told New Scientist.) Humans aren’t so different—discussion surrounding a parent’s ability to create a “designer baby” in the womb by selecting traits like hair and eye color has become increasingly controversial in recent years as the concept moves ever closer towards reality.

But West’s technique differs from all those preceding it because, according to the patent, it is the first to truly create “customizable color or patterns in the skin or fur of animal species.” His start-up is currently attempting to raise $5 million using the online tool AgFunder, which matches budding agriculture entrepreneurs with investors.

West could not be reached for comment, but ultimately, if his project succeeds in a large-scale capacity, it’s not difficult to imagine a whole subset of well-funded (slightly nutty) pet owners latching on to a new-fangled “personalized pets” trend. A weasel tricked out to look like Strawberry Shortcake? What about a whole set of gerbils tinted the colors of the rainbow? The possibilities are endlessand terrifying.

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via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

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Politics
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.

Culture

In the category of "claims to fame nobody wants," the United States can now add "exporter of white supremacist ideology" to its repertoire. Super.

Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, made this claim in a briefing at The Washington Institute in Washington, D.C. "For almost two decades, the United States has pointed abroad at countries who are exporters of extreme Islamist ideology," Travers said. "We are now being seen as the exporter of white supremacist ideology. That's a reality with which we are going to have to deal."

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Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

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