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As voters become more aware of the stealthy implementation of a Maori separatist agenda, the political risks for the government will rise sharply, Graham Adams writes.

WHEN the Prime Minister claimed in her first term that her government was going to be “transformational” , many voters took her seriously — until it became apparent she was unlikely to transform anything much, whether it was unaffordable housing or inadequate public transport or introducing a capital gains tax.

Perhaps, however, we should have been listening more closely when a year ago — and only a few months into her second term — Ardern referred to “foundational change” .

The change in wording was quickly dismissed as a rebranding exercise dreamed up by Labour Party strategists to distance the government from its failure to be in any way transformational. But foundational change is certainly what we are getting in Ardern’s second term — even if most citizens remain unaware of the steady remaking of the nation’s constitutional arrangements via a radical interpretation of the Treaty as a 50:50 partnership.

When asked by David Seymour in Parliament last February to explainthe difference between “transformational” and “foundational” change, Ardern airily said she was “referring to a suite of policies — like the introduction of Matariki as a public holiday and the introduction of learning New Zealand history in schools that will make a long-term difference to how we see ourselves as a nation” .

Her response sounded harmless enough and it undoubtedly was designed to sound that way. Ardern certainly wasn’t about to expand on the “suiteof policies”her government was stealthily progressing in its push to remake the ship of state while the populace was preoccupied with battening the hatches against the winds of a pandemic.

“Foundational change” based on a particular view of the Treaty clearly wasn’t what most voters signed upfor when they voted for Ardern at October 2020’s election. Many thought they were rewarding her with their vote as a thank-you for navigating the nation through the initial round of Covid and encouraging her to continue her good work. As the Prime Minister said repeatedly in the run-up to the election as a justification for not campaigning on much else of substance: “This is the Covid election.”

The aftermath of her landslide victory, however, turned out to be not only about managing Covid but also fulfilling what appears to be the vaulting ambitions of Labour’s Maori caucus and its Cabinet allies, such as Andrew Little and David Parker.

Unfortunately for those pushing determinedly but quietly for Maori co-governance to be established inmany spheres of New Zealand’s national life — including in the conservation estate, local government, the health and education sectors, water infrastructure, and the Resource Management Act —the headwinds are getting stronger and heavier.

The iwi roadblocks in Northland fronted by former MP Hone Harawira — made legal by a late change to Covid legislation

— have been deeply unpopular, while opposition to Three Waters has been so vociferous that Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has delayed introducing the enabling legislation from December to the end of March to give her time to soothe the anger of voters and councils.

The debate over giving mataurangaMaori equal status with physics, biology and chemistry in theNCEA science syllabus — sparked by a letter in the Listener signed by seven eminent professors — has become so inflammatory that famous US and British public intellectuals, including scientists Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker and Jerry Coyne, have pitched into the fray and made it into an international cause celebre.

What voters have not been told clearly is that these three seemingly unrelated events — road blocks (as an expression of rangatiratanga over traditional territories); iwi co-governance in Three Waters; and giving matauranga Maori parity with science inthe education system

— are all part of an overarching programme to implement a radical view of the Treaty.

Call it a strange coincidence if you like but all three were foreshadowed clearly in the revolutionary document He Puapua that was presented to Nanaia Mahuta in November 2019 but kept from the public (and Winston Peters as Deputy Prime Minister) until after the 2020 election.

However, because nearly the entire political commentariat deny that He Puapua in any way informs, inspiresor predicts government policy, most voters are unaware that the cogovernance model outlined in that revolutionary document is being steadily implemented ina wide array of domains.

And the government is certainly not about to join the dots for them. Jacinda Ardern — and her senior ministers Nanaia Mahuta and Andrew Little — appear to have adopted the tactics of the Cuban revolutionary leader Jose Marti, who wrote in 1895: “I have had to work quietly and somewhat indirectly, because to achieve certain objectives, they must be kept under cover; to proclaim them for what they are would raise such difficulties that the objectives could not be attained.”

Nevertheless, voters are starting to have their suspicions. And if anything is likely to have convinced them that something deeply underhand is going on, it was the revelation in November that Cabinet had agreed in July that Three Waters would be compulsory.

That, of course, made a complete mockery of the “consultation” period with councils — that culminated in a summary of their submissions being sent on October 22 to Mahuta’s office for appraisal.

The consultation had been sold as a democratic exercise to get councils’ feedback on whether they were likely to opt in or out of the new system. Now it is clear that opting out of a programme that would transfer ratepayers’ assets to four regional entities — and share governance equally with iwi — had never been a real possibility since at least July.

If that is not extraordinary and alarming enough, the Minister of Health, Andrew Little, is pushing ahead with the complete overhaul of our health system at a cost of $486 million — and in the middle of a pandemic, when our hospitals are short of ICU beds and the nurses to staff them.

An integral part of the reforms will be setting up a Maori Health Authority as an independent statutory entity. Again, such a body is recommended in He Puapua.

Just as Nanaia Mahuta is coy about why she believes making the nation’s water infrastructure more efficient requires cogovernance with iwi, Little appears not to want to admit that the only way to hand equal power to Maori in the health system is to abolish the 20 DHBs entirely — as his Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill proposes.

Nor does he want to admit openly that the Maori Health Authority will have a right of veto.

Earlier in the year, however, he made his intentions explicit in a Cabinet paper. OnApril 13, 2021, a memo put out under his name stated:

“My expectation is that the Maori Health Authority should have a co-lead role in relation to national planning and in designing the key operating mechanisms that the system will use. This would require the Maori Health Authority to jointly agree national plans and operational frameworks (e.g. the commissioning framework), with clear approval rights including an ability to exercise a veto in sign-off .

“Having such an approval mandate would ensure the Maori Health Authority is engaged early and constructively, and that critical operations are aligned with a clear hauora Maori vision, embed Maori priorities and matauranga Maori systems, and enable mechanisms that give life to local Maori leadership in the health system.”

After the Prime Minister had taken a hammering in Parliament from Judith Collins in early May over the right of veto, the Pae Ora legislation unveiled in October is less explicit.

Nevertheless, in an emailed reply to this writer asking about a veto, Little said: “Health New Zealand and theMaori Health Authority will work together in partnership to plan for a system that responds to all the people of New Zealand. They will have to agree on key plans and service arrangements.

“I wanted to be very clear in the [April] Cabinet paper that I expect the Maori Health Authority to be a decision-maker , rather than to merely be consulted. So they will have the ability to refuse to agree to something, as will Health New Zealand.

“If there is an intractable disagreement, the Bill provides that the Minister of Health will decide how to resolve the dispute. I do not anticipate many disputes reaching that point becausewe all have the same goal -— to achieve the best possible equitable outcomes for all New Zealanders.”

So, representatives of 16% of the population will wrangle on an equal footing with Health New Zealand, which will represent the other 84% of citizens, and with the right to refuse to agree to any proposal.

Given that the Minister of Health will stand back from the discussions between Health NZ and the Maori Health Authority, and there is a requirement for them to agree, the MHA will have an effective right of veto over policy, even if it is not explicitly called that.

The Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill is now at the select committee stage with a report due back on April 27 (after a short period for submissions ending on December 9). The law is expected to come into effect on July 1.

Unusually, the committee considering the bill is aspecial “Pae Ora Legislation Committee” made up of members from both the Maori Affairs Committee and the Health Committee rather than just the Health Committee.

In Parliament in October, Act leader David Seymour took issue with this set-up , arguing the government seemed to believe “some elected representatives were incapable of dealing with some matters based on their ethnic background” .

“The minister is asking Parliament to form a new committee to consider a piece of health legislation that is not the Health Committee because the legislation is about meeting Treaty obligations. Well, alot of people thought it was about healthcare, but he says it’s about Treaty obligations . .

“Why was it not possible for the Health Committee —the committee that has been appointed by Parliament to consider health matters — to do it? And this is what it comes down to —they are sayingthat if you’re not Maori, you maybe aren’t qualified to think about this Pae Ora Bill . . .because they have insights that other people don’t .”

Such a racialised view of the democratic process is now laced through much of this government’s legislative programme. As opposition to Three Waters continues to flare, the question of whether the public wants to venture further down the path towards an ethnonationalist state or fight to retain a democratic-nationalist one is set to inflame political passions and debate this year.

Ardern may decide she can ride out the storm by jettisoning some of the separatist agenda. However, whether such a tactical retreat would now steady the ship of state is an open question.

There is a real and growing risk that this year even bigger waves of opposition to Ardern’s co-governance agenda will swamp her administration and she will be swept overboard at 2023’s election. — democracyproject.nz

From the record of past earthquakes it is possible to predict a 75% chance the fault will rupture in the next 50 years. Also  it is calculated that there is an 82% chance the earthquake will be of magnitude 8 or higher.

The fault has disturbed this land in the past, but it is what makes the place so unique -- freshly minted by the forces of Nature. Between the Tasman Sea and the Southern Alps is this strip of land dotted with small townships and connected by Highway 6. No where else can you see snow capped mountains at sea level. The scenery is classic - the rivers run blue, the hillsides are all shades of green with a backdrop of white mountains.

It’s raw and beautiful and an obvious destination for tourists wanting to experience New Zealand’s wilderness. 

(Note: this blog post and simulation is an extract from the April ABC News article.)

(Click bottom right to expand video size)

There are numerous protests about Trump. I was impressed by Michael Moore's call to action on his Facebook page --  creative dissent at its best and a template for the organizing of any other  kind of public protest. (From the Huffington Post)

Do These 10 Things, and Trump Will Be Toast


1. THE DAILY CALL: You must call Congress every day. Yes - YOU! 202-225-3121. It will take just TWO MINUTES! Make it part of your daily routine, one of those five things you do every morning without even thinking about it:

1. Wake up.

2. Brush teeth.

3. Walk dog (or stare at cat).

4. Make coffee.

5. Call Congress.

It is impossible to overstate just how much power you have by making this simple, quick DAILY CALL. I know from firsthand experience the impact it has. These politicians freak out if they get just 10 calls on an issue. Imagine them getting 10,000! Holy crap - the dome will pop off that building!

NOTE: if you're saying to yourself, "I don't need to call because my rep is a Democrat!" -- that is NOT true. They need to hear from you. They need to know they have your support. Don't believe it? Our beloved Sen. Elizabeth Warren voted in favor of Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development! I'm sure no one in Massachusetts thought they had to call her. YOU DO! She and the other Dems need to hear from the boss -- YOU! They work for us - and what boss doesn't have daily contact with his or her employees?

It's easy to make The Daily Call. To call your U.S. member of Congress or Senators in D.C., dial 202-225-3121 (or 202-224-3121 if busy). It's even better to call their direct line. For Senators, find each of their numbers here: http://bit.ly/2kko0Ao. For the direct line to your member in the House of Representatives: http://house.gov/representatives

Here’s some great news: Someone has created an app to make this very easy: Go to the App Store and get "5 Calls". The app will dial the friggin' phone for you and give you talking points for when you speak to your reps!

Here's what a sample week of your DAILY CALL can look like:

On Monday, call your Congressman/woman and tell them you do not want them to repeal Obamacare. In fact, you want them to improve it so that we have single-payer universal health care like all other "civilized" countries.

On Tuesday, call the first of your two U.S. Senators and tell him to vote NO on Rick Perry for Secretary of Energy. He couldn't even remember there was a Department of Energy - or what it did!

On Wednesday, call your other U.S. Senator. Demand she do everything in her power to block the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.

On Thursday, call your local State House/Assembly representative in your state capital. Tell her you want the House to vote for legislation that prohibits the incarceration of nonviolent drug users.

On Friday, call your State Senator. Tell him you want him to support all efforts to reduce those activities which cause climate change.

If you’d rather to write to your reps, you can find the best way to do that for each of them here by typing in your address on: democracy.io.

I will post updates on the actions we're fighting for each day and week on my Twitter and Facebook pages. If you want to know what to call your reps about, I encourage you to follow me right now on Facebook at facebook.com/MMFlint and on Twitter at @MMFlint. All my social media sites are at my website www.michaelmoore.com.

Remember -- A call a day keeps the Trump away.

2. THE MONTHLY VISIT: To add even more pressure, SHOW UP! Your member of Congress has a local office in your town or somewhere nearby. So do both of your U.S. Senators (often in the nearest federal building). Go there and ask to speak to their aide about the issues we're facing (again, I will continually post them on my social media sites).

Also, don't forget to visit the local office (or the state capitol office) of your State Representative/Assemblyperson, and your State Senator.

And, if you're lucky to live within driving distance of Washington, DC, show up on Capitol Hill and pay an unannounced (it's legal!) in-person visit to your U.S. Senators and your Congressman/woman. They pay serious attention to this. It blows their mind that you'd drive that far to see them. Do it!

I know not everyone has the time to do THE MONTHLY VISIT -- but if you can, please do!

3. YOUR OWN PERSONAL RAPID RESPONSE TEAM: You and 5 to 20 friends and family members must become your personal RAPID RESPONSE TEAM. Sign everybody up so that when we need to leap into action (like we did at the airports the hour after Trump signed his Muslim Ban), you can email and text each other and make an instant plan. On other days, you'll share links to good investigative stories and TV news items. Come up with a name for your RAPID RESPONSE TEAM -- mine is called "The V for Vendetta Rapid Response Team" and it consists of myself, my daughter and son-in-law (and their new baby!); my two sisters, their spouses and adult children; my cousin; 8 friends; 6 co-workers; and my next door neighbor. That's 27 of us and we live from Seattle to Michigan to Maryland. And each of them are forming their own local Rapid Response Teams. So that means the 27 on my team are so far responsible 405 new Rapid Responders overnight! And each of those 405 are doing the same - they're recruiting their own 5-20 people - and BOOM! 4,050 more Rapid Responders tomorrow -- and growing!

4. JOIN! JOIN! JOIN!: We all know it's time for all of us to be part of a greater whole, so let's actually physically sign up online and JOIN some of our great national groups. I've joined Planned Parenthood, ACLU, Black Lives Matter, Democratic Socialists of America, and ERA Action. Some charge money to join, so if you don't have much, pick the lowest amount ($5 for ACLU for example) -- or join groups that don't charge anything (but if you can help them financially, please do). They will keep you informed of national actions and fight for us in court.

5. THE WOMEN'S MARCH NEVER ENDS: The historical, record-breaking January 21st Women’s March on Washington -- and the hundreds of other Marches that day across the US and the world, with over 4 million in attendance! -- brought massive numbers of people out who had never protested in their lives. It inspired millions of others and ignited so many local movements we still can't count them all. The day after the Women's March, another two dozen protests took place. The day after that, 2,000 Utahans jammed into their state capitol in Salt Lake City. Then, on the following Saturday, tens of thousands of Americans occupied their local airports to oppose Trump's Muslim ban. And on and on and on. Every day -- still! -- dozens of actions continue to take place as if the Women's March never ended. It hasn't. Join it!

I and a group of friends have set up THE RESISTANCE CALENDAR (www.resistancecalendar.com) that is updated daily, where you can find out what actions are taking place near where you live. All you have to do is type in your city or state in the search bar.

It's critical that large numbers of us continue to march, protest, sit-in, and be very visible -- to Trump, so he knows we are the majority; to put the Dems on notice that we expect them to grow a spine; to our fellow Americans who live in Boise or Tulsa or Grand Rapids and have been feeling alone and afraid since the election. Our mass presence reminds them the people didn't elect Trump. And it is good for each of us to operate in concert with each other, to feel the solidarity and the hope.

And the official Women's March on Washington -- they've called for a national Women's Strike on March 8th. Let's join them!

6. TAKE OVER THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY: The old guard of the Party has twice in 16 years presided over the majority of Americans electing the Democrat to the White House -- only for us all to see the losing Republican inaugurated as President. How is it that we have won the popular vote in SIX OF THE LAST SEVEN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS -- the Republicans have only won ONCE since 1988 -- and yet, we hold NO power in any branch of government?! That, plus losing 1,000 local seats in this election that the Dems use to hold -- plus watching many Dems in Congress unwilling to stand up to Trump -- PLEASE, the old leadership has to go. God love 'em for their contributions in the past, but if we don't enact a radical overhaul right now, we are doomed as far as having a true opposition party during the Trump era. And that, more than anything, will help to usher in the vice-grip of a totalitarian culture.

You must do two things:

1. Let the DNC know that THIS SATURDAY, February 25th, the Democratic National Committee MUST elect reform and progressive candidate, Congressman Keith Ellison, as the new DNC chair. Keith is a former community organizer, the first Muslim elected to Congress, and a key backer of Bernie Sanders. He not only has Bernie's support --and mine--but he's also backed by Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid, Gloria Steinem, John Lewis and many others. Sign his petition of support at www.keithfordnc.org/howyoucanhelp. Let the DNC know how you feel.

And locally, you need to start attending your county Democratic meetings. If possible, organize your friends and others and take over your local Dem organization. More on this at a later date.

7. HELP FORM BLUE REGIONS OF RESISTANCE: People keep saying to me, "Mike - I live in a Blue State - what can I do?" If you live in a Blue State, you have one of the MOST important tasks to complete: Show the rest of America what it looks like when Trump isn't in charge! Blue States and Blue Cities must do an end-run around Trump and create the America we want to live in. That means New York goes ahead and offers Free College for All. California can create its own Universal Health Care. Oregon can stop mass incarceration of African Americans. Hawaii can enact its own climate change laws. Blue States can show the rest of country how much better life can be. Important historical note: Before Roe v. Wade made abortion legal, California and New York passed their own state laws to make it legal. This greatly helped pave the way for CHOICE being the new normal -- and the enactment of Row v. Wade.

8. YOU MUST RUN FOR OFFICE: I know, that's the LAST thing you want to do. But if we keep leaving the job up to the dismal, lame, pathetic political hacks who have sold us all down the river, then what right do we have to complain? This is only going to get fixed when you and I decide we are willing to put in our time -- even if it is a brief time -- and run for office. I ran when I was 18 and got elected. You can, too. We need good candidates for the 2018 elections -- and not just Congress and State Houses, but also school boards, city councils and county commissions. Why not take out a petition today and run next year? Heck, I'll bet I'll even support you!

I realize most of you can't do this -- but there is one office every one of us can and SHOULD run for next year: PRECINCT DELEGATE. Every precinct, every neighborhood can elect x-number of Dems to the county Democratic Convention. It's on the ballot and it's usually blank - no one runs for it. So the precinct delegates end up being appointed by the party hacks. And that's who ends up eventually at the national convention to pick the next presidential candidate. So this is an important position to run for. The time commitment is just 3 hours a year! You attend the county convention -- that’s it. Call your city or county clerk and find out how to get on the ballot. If you'll do it, I'll do it. It's the first step to making sure we put a candidate on the ballot who can win.

9. YOU MUST BECOME THE MEDIA: Stop complaining about the media, stop wishing they were something they're not, find the ones who are doing a good job and then start your own "media empire" by sharing their work and your work on the internet. Use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and other social media sites to spread news and information. Make sure all your friends and family are signed up. Yes, I'm talking to you, Baby Boomers. Get over it, put down your postage stamps and your "TV clicker" and find a six-year old to show you how to start tweeting. You can be your own reporter, your own editor. You can curate the news for your friends. And now Facebook lets you have your own network with Facebook Live! It's all free. Get on social media now. Imagine, your own CNN is in the palm of your hand...

10. JOIN THE ARMY OF COMEDY: Trump's Achilles heel is his massively thin skin. He can't take mockery. So we all need to MOCK HIM UP! Not just the brilliant people at SNL or Colbert, Seth Myers or Samantha Bee -- but YOU. Use your sense of humor and share it with people. Get them to do the same. Keep sending around the SNL links spoofing Sean Spicer, Trump and Kellyanne -- there's no such thing as watching them too many times! Hahaha. I truly believe the final tipping point for Trump will be when he implodes from all the laughter -- the mocking, the unbearable ridicule of tens of millions of Americans that will discombobulate him and force him out of the White House. I know this seems like Mike’s fever dream, but I believe it can work. I don't know what happened to Trump in boarding school at 13 and I don't care. Whatever it was, let's use it. He's used all the other things he picked up over the years - misogyny, bigotry, greed - against the powerless and the unfortunate. It's time to laugh him outta town. And if there's one thing we all could use right now is a good laugh -- AND the possibility of a much-shortened presidential term.

So, there you go! The 10-Point Action Plan to Thump Trump. Something for everyone. And every one of us needs to do them. Please share this and spread the word. We can stop him. We can nonviolently block and obstruct halt the damage he's doing. But it's going to need -- and take -- ALL HANDS ON DECK!

Let's make Trump toast again.

-- Michael Moore

Jennifer Doudna - co-inventor of the CRISPR technology talks about the need for 'ethics of CRISPR'.

Following on the issues raised in a previous post, Jennifer and numerous colleagues have called for an international meeting to discuss the safe use of CRISPR and the ethics of being able to create "engineer humans" as well as other genetically modified organisms (GMO's)

It is important that all stake holders (excuse the jargon), which includes you and me, understand the potential and risks of this technology and to have an informed discussion in accordance with the principles of a pluralist democracy. For more , click here.

For an elegant explanation of the CRISPR-Cas9 system watch the video.

A groundbreaking experiment on quantum entanglement puts the final nail in the coffin of our ordinary view of the universe, settling an argument that has raged for nearly a century.

(from the NewScientist | 5 September 2015 pp 8-9)

To understand the experiment, we have to go back to the 1930s, when physicists were struggling to come to terms with the strange predictions of the nascent science of quantum mechanics. The theory suggested that particles could become entangled, so that measuring one would instantly the measurement of the other, even if they were far apart.

Einstein famously proclaimed that God does not play dice with the universe and called entanglement "spooky action at a distance". He and others favoured the principle of local realism, which broadly says that only nearby objects can influence each other and that the universe is "real" - observing it doesn't bring it into existence by crystallising vague probabilities.

They argued that hidden variables at some deeper layer of reality could explain quantum theory's apparent weirdness. On the other side, physicists like Niels Bohr insisted that we accept the new quantum reality, because it explained problems that classical theories of light and energy couldn't handle.


In this set-up, Alice and Bob sit in two laboratories 1.3 kilometres apart, far enough to close the locality loophole. Each laboratory has a diamond containing an electron with a property called spin. The team hits the diamonds with randomly produced microwave pulses. This makes them each emit a photon that is entangled with the electron's spin. These photons are sent to a third location, C, where a device clocks their arrival time. If photons arrive from Alice and Bob at exactly the same time, the two electron spins become entangled with each other. The result was clear: they detected more highly correlated spins than local realism would allow. (For the Abstract, click here). The weird world of quantum mechanics is our world.

This raises the bar for other possibilities; Is the brain a quantum computer?

Professor Stuart Hameroff

On the face of it the weirdness of quantum mechanics and biology would seem to have nothing to do with each other. Quantum mechanics deals with the subatomic world and biology with much larger things like cells. Any quantum effects in cells would be cancelled out by the multitude of noisy biological processes. But not so. Quantum biology refers to the many biological processes that involve the conversion of energy to usable chemical transformations and are quantum mechanical in nature.

Examples are photosynthesis, vision, magnetoreception in animals, DNA mutation, and the conversion of chemical energy into motion. Any process that involves the transfer of electrons and protons in chemical processes uses quantum mechanical effects. In photosynthesis it has been shown that the wave and particle conundrum occur simultaneously. The wave spreads uniformly to potential receptors, while the particle follows the path of least resistance through the field of potential created by the wave. This makes for a 95% efficiency in energy transfer.

Many important biological processes taking place in cells are driven and controlled by events that involve electronic degrees of freedom and, therefore, require a quantum mechanical description. An important example are enzymatically catalyzed, cellular biochemical reactions. Here, bond breaking and bond formation events are intimately tied to changes in the electronic degrees of freedom. For more quantum biology examples, click here.

Finally in neuroscience there is a debate as to whether the brain is a quantum computer -- that the microtubules within neurons have the capability to perform quantum computation . Stuart Hameroff  believes that the tubulin subunits which make up a microtubule are able to cooperatively interact in a quantum computational sense.


Recent accounts of Ebola in West Africa are terrify particularly since some cases have now spread to the US and other Western countries. At the end of the 3rd year university course in molecular virology I used to teach, the students were asked which viruses could be weaponised for bioterrorism. The usual three viruses that come up were influenza, small-pox and Ebola. All these viruses required a high degree of technological expertise and state-of-the-art laboratory containment facilities with personnel trained in molecular genetics and DNA technology. Influenza had the advantages of being an air-borne infection — the question was how easily could you reconstruct the Spanish flu of 1914 from published sequences of the virus into a current influenza virus. For small-pox, there are presumably deep freezers in the US and Russia that still have samples of the virus or one could use a close relative like camel-pox and reverse engineered it to contain the known published sequence of virulence genes of small-pox. Both of these viruses could be produced but were probably beyond the capability of your common variety terrorist.

Similarly Ebola would be difficult to produce in a laboratory due to its highly contagious nature. Ebola was initially thought to have a short incubation period of 2-3 days so the possibility of someone from a West African village boarding an airplane on an international flight seemed remote. With the incubation period now being as long as 21-days this changes everything. With the outbreak in West Africa the question of virus supply is no longer an issue — all you need is a bucket of vomit or vials of infected blood.  Also recent events have shown that a few cases of Ebola can be contained and quarantined but the health systems can not cope with hundreds or thousands of cases.

To put Ebola into perspective, it was thought to be a rarely occurring exotic virus disease in distant jungles in West Africa. Not something we in the West need concern ourselves with  — compare this to the response to SARS when it spread in Western countries. Now some 38 years later we are scrambling to understand more about Ebola. We live in a global world and need a massive global effort to get on top of this problem.

I don’t think anyone in my virology class was a potential jihadist terrorist but the world has just become more complicated.

Edward Snowden, appearing by a telepresence robot at TED2014 speaks about surveillance and Internet freedom. In the summer of 2013 The Guardian published a series of leaked documents about the American National Security Agency (NSA), starting with an article about a secret court order demanding American phone records from Verizon, followed by an article on the NSA's top-secret Prism program, said to be accessing user data from Google, Apple and Facebook. His leaks continue to have a lasting impact on the American public's view of the government, and but has also raised the hopes for both open government and individual privacy — a Magna Carta for the Internet.

Hear his views and download it so that you can show it to your grandchildren one day.

If you care about how you use Facebook — either to connect with friends, or gather information — this video is well worth watching. It clearly lets you know that Facebook is controlling your social media experience, when it should be you. Facebook is using filtering algorithms that create online ‘echo chambers’ that parrots your own views and beliefs and restricts the posts from other friends.

See more from Derek Muller, the curator of science video blog Veritasium