While You Were Sleeping | General News & Politics | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

The woolly mammoth vanished from Earth 4,000 years ago, but scientists said are to be on the brink of resurrecting the ancient beast in a revised form, through an ambitious feat of genetic engineering. "Our aim is to produce a hybrid elephant—actually it would be more like an elephant with a number of mammoth traits," Professor George Church said. "We're not there yet, but it could happen in a couple of years." The creature would be partly elephant with features such as small ears, subcutaneous fat, long, shaggy hair, and cold-adapted blood. Scientists intend to engineer elephant skin cells to produce the embryo, or multiple embryos, using cloning techniques.

Source: Guardian (UK)

Despite suffering a diesel emissions scandal, German manufacturer Volkswagen became the bestselling automaker in the world for the first time in 2016, knocking off Toyota. A Professor of industrial strategy at Aston University, David Bailey, said: "It may seem odd that they've taken the number-one spot now, but they may have been further ahead; market share in Europe and sales in the US have dropped for VW. But its Audi brand is very powerful in China, selling more than half a million a year, and dieselgate is a nonissue there."

Source: Guardian (UK)

The Dutch government will have all ballots counted by hand in the March general election, in response to the role of hackers and false news in the United States election. This stark response, eschewing electronic counting is due to warnings of outside forces, including Russia, of potentially tampering with pivotal elections in the Netherlands, France, and Germany. Upon review of the election software in the Netherlands, it was found that there were flaws that could lead to the tampering of votes. In response, Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk said, "Voters will use red pencils to mark paper ballots, which will be hand-counted in each voting precinct and then tallied across the nation's 20 voting districts."

Source: New York Times

With a vote of 235 to 180, the House voted to repeal an Obama administration regulation that prohibited gun ownership to disabled social security recipients judged mentally incapable of managing their own affairs. The vote helped President Trump strengthen gun rights. Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Actions said that, "Congress's decision to review the Obama administration's back-door gun grab is a significant step forward in protecting a fundamental constitutional right for law-abiding gun owners." Cox continued in saying that "the NRA has been fighting this unconstitutional government overreach since it was first discussed."

Source: Guardian (UK)

A Nielsen report finds that Generation X is more addicted to social media than millennials. The report showed that adults 35 to 49 on average spent an additional 40 minutes on social media networks more than millennials. It also showed that 42 percent of Generation X would use their smartphones to post on Facebook or Twitter in regards to what they were watching on television, compared to only 40 percent of millennials.

Source: New York Times

UPS delivery van drivers are given a route that may not always be the shortest due to a policy stating that drivers should never turn through oncoming traffic unless absolutely necessary. For those who wouldn't know, that means no left turns in countries where drivers drive on the right and vice versa. By following this policy, UPS drivers reduce their chances of getting in an accident and cut delays caused by waiting for a gap in traffic, which also would waste fuel. By only having 10 percent of the turns being left turns, UPS claims it uses 10 million gallons less fuel, emits 22,000 tons less carbon dioxide, and delivers 350,000 more packages every year. "MythBusters" took on the responsibility to test these findings and were not able to prove UPS wrong.

Source: Quartz

The nomination of billionaire Betsy DeVos to head the Department of Education was one vote shy of failing in the Republican-controlled Senate. One thing that came to her aid was that she and her entire family were massive Republican Party donors who helped fund the election of the remaining senators who decided her fate. More than $950,000 had been received by Republican senators from the full DeVos clan since 1980; $8.3 million had been donated to Republican Party super PACs by her family over the course of the past two election cycles.

Source: Huffington Post

A new study of global air pollution showed that India's rapidly worsening air pollution caused about 1.1 million people to die prematurely last year and has surpassed China's as the deadliest in the world. India had registered an alarming increase of nearly 50 percent in premature deaths from particulate matter between 1990 and 2015. Robert O'Keefe, vice president at the Health Effects Institute said, "China's trajectory on deaths from air pollution had stabilized as a result of the country's efforts to reduce air pollution." Gopal Sankaranarayanan, an advocate at the Supreme Court of India said, "India, on the other had, had yet to undertake sustained public policy initiatives to reduce pollution."

Source: New York Times

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