Scientists are waging an under-the-microscope battle to determine how weaponized chemical and biological agents behave inside cells to kill their victims.
Teams of specialists are roughly six months into a five-year dash for technologies capable of determining how a biological or chemical invader acts on a molecular level to assault the human body, the project’s top Defense Department overseer told Global Security Newswire. The initiative — dubbed “Rapid Threat Assessment” — would ideally yield techniques capable of providing a full readout of an unconventional weapon material within 30 days, allowing for fast preparation of new medical treatments.
“It’s a little early to make any predictions of future success,” said Barry Pallotta, who is heading the project for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Project participants are acting on their own timelines to pursue various visions for analytical systems capable of determining exactly when, where and how foreign invaders acts inside of human cells, Pallotta wrote in an e-mailed response to questions.
He said the goal is to develop methods of revealing the molecular blow-by-blow of an unconventional weapon’s course of attack “with 95 percent accuracy.”
“Each project team … is currently focused on meeting the milestones that come due at the end of the base period about a year from now,” Pallotta wrote.
His agency said inventors would then face a test where they will have 30 days “to detect, identify, reconstruct, and confirm the mechanism of a demonstration compound.”
Proposals deemed to show enough promise could see their funding renewed for up to three additional 14-month cycles, according to a DARPA broad agency announcement from last year.
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Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
“We haven’t seen a true leftist since FDR, so many millions are coming out of the woodwork to vote for Bernie Sanders; he is the Occupy movement now come to life in the political arena.” So says Bill Maher in his Hollywood Reporter cover story (more a stream-of-consciousness riff than an essay, actually). Conservative states may never vote for a socialist in the general election, but “this stuff has never been on the table, and these voters have never been activated.” Maher saves most of his bile for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, writing that by nominating Palin as vice president “John McCain is the one who opened the Book of the Dead and let the monsters out.” And Trump is picking up where Palin left off.