“Monkey Selfie” case headed to U.S. Court of Appeals

‘In 2011 a crested macaque in Indonesia took a selfie using photographer David J. Slater’s camera. After Slater claimed copyright of the photo, PETA sued on behalf of the monkey, claiming it was the copyright holder. But in January a federal judge tossed out the lawsuit, ruling that non-human animals are not allowed to own a copyright. Earlier this week PETA filed an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit…’

Source: Boing Boing

This Man Will Get the World’s First Human Head Transplant Procedure

‘Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero is planning to perform the first-ever head transplant in December 2017. He will put the head of a terminally ill, wheelchair-bound Russian citizen Valery Spiridonov (31) on an entirely new body.  Spiridonov, a computer scientist, has Werdnig-Hoffman disease, a rare and incurable spinal muscular atrophy. As the disease is sure to kill him, Spiridonov sees the head transplant as his one shot to have a new body.

The controversial surgeon Canavero, dubbed by some “Dr. Frankenstein,” has been criticized for intending to do a possibly unethical and certainly dangerous operation. There are numerous things that could go wrong in such a medical feat that’s never been successfully carried out on humans. The main difficulty is seen in the fusion of the spinal cords. One positive precedent has been set earlier this year by a team of Chinese surgeons, who successfully transplanted a monkey’s head…’

Source: Big Think

We Need To Save Large Mammals From Extinction Before It’s Too Late

‘The species identified include elephants, gorillas, rhinoceroses, lions, tigers, bears (oh my), wolves, and other large mammals. And it’s a serious problem. According to the paper, 59 percent of the world’s largest carnivores and 60 percent of the largest herbivores are facing extinction, particularly in Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, where they are prey to illegal hunting, deforestation, human population growth and expansion, and other factors that we can control to an extent…’

Source: Gizmodo

The Arcane Rules That Would Kick In If Trump Drops Out

‘A presidential or vice-presidential candidate had never quit a race in modern history before the Eagleton affair, but this year might offer an even grander political spectacle, thanks to Donald Trump. In recent days, Republicans have been expressing increasing nervousness about Donald Trump’s candidacy, with many urging him to quit. Trump might also quit on his own volition, having done the math and decided that bowing out now is better than losing by a landslide in November.

Would Trump actually quit,,,[W]e’ve never seen a candidate like him, and for someone who seemingly entered the race on a whim it wouldn’t be outrageous to see him exit in a similar fashion. And from the standpoint of Republican Party rules, Trump quitting, while unprecedented, would, in fact be a reasonably easy problem to solve. That’s mostly because the party’s rules lay out pretty clearly what would happen next… The rules …define a simple process of replacement: another vote by members of the RNC that could happen at a second national convention or remotely. Whichever candidate gets a majority of the votes, wins the nomination. (The candidates, in this scenario, could come from anywhere—not just those candidates that ran in the primaries and caucuses, which is why some Republicans see House Speaker Paul Ryan getting the nod.)

A far trickier problem, however, are the actual ballots. And it’s that process, separate from the nominating process, that could be a bit messier, and is also where timing becomes important. In the U.S., each individual state controls the election process, from making and printing ballots, to counting votes on Election Day, to certifying election results.Election law in the U.S. is a 50-state patchwork. From voting machines to filing deadlines, each state has different rules. And it’s the deadlines in particular that might concern party officials should Trump quit. That’s because the closer it gets to the November election, the harder and harder it will get to keep Trump’s name from appearing on state ballots, as state deadlines for certifying nominees’ names come and go.

It’s already impossible, in fact, to keep Trump off all 50: according to the Daily Beast, Delaware’s deadline to certify names for the ballot has already passed, meaning that even if Trump quits today you’ll still be able to vote for him in Delaware in three months. Even so, most of these deadlines aren’t until September or October, meaning that, for the next few weeks at least, Republicans could likely still get another name on the ballot in most states by November.

State control of elections provides for other sources of potential mayhem, however, because of the Electoral College…’

Source: Atlas Obscura