Conspiracy Theorists Have A New Idea For Where The Zika Virus Came From

Another week, another ridiculous conspiracy theory. While perhaps not quite as outlandish as the idea that Earth is flat, which has somehow resurfaced much to the dismay of scientists, it has now been claimed that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are responsible for the outbreak of Zika virus.

According to media reports, critics have identified a suspicious trend that could implicate the release of GM mosquitoes, designed to reduce the burden of insect-borne diseases, as a possible cause of South Americas current epidemic. Namely, that where these insects were released in trial zones in Brazil coincides with the outbreaks epicenter.

Now, this is repeated a lot in science, because situations such as this call for it: correlation does not imply causation. If it did, then we could say that a reduction in the number of pirates caused global warming. Regardless, this claim is actually not true: Trial sites of these insects were in fact more than 400 kilometers (250 miles) from the centers of disease outbreak,British Biotech firmOxitec said in a response. In addition,this species of mosquito only flies a couple of hundred meters in its entire lifetime.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Zika Outbreak Epicenter In Same Area Where GM Mosquitoes Were Released In 2015 <a href=”https://t.co/0vvLWaueAx”>https://t.co/0vvLWaueAx</a> <a href=”https://t.co/38ZxhwBGgZ”>pic.twitter.com/38ZxhwBGgZ</a></p>&mdash; The D.C. Clothesline (@DCClothesline) <a href=”https://twitter.com/DCClothesline/status/693120001847357441″>January 29, 2016</a></blockquote>
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Zika is not a new thing weve known about this virus for more than half a century, while outdoor trials for Oxitec’s GM mosquitoes only began in 2009. First identified in a monkey in Africa back in 1947, Zika subsequently spread to Asia but gained little attention, presumably because symptoms are generally so mild that few cases were identified or reported. Things then stayed quiet until 2007 when it surfaced in the South Pacific and caused several large outbreaks.

While we dont know how Zika subsequently ended up in South America, its been speculated that it was brought over to Brazil during the 2014 World Cup by travelers coming from an affected area. The Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that spread Zika, alongside dengue and other serious viral fevers, are abundant in Brazil and throughout Latin America, so an infected traveler seems a likely route of entry.

But the idea is that somehow, GM mosquitoes exacerbated the situation. These insects have a gene that causes offspring to die before theyre mature enough to reproduce, so by releasing them in sufficient numbers, they successfully compete with males in the wild for females and ultimately end up significantly reducing populations.

To be able to raise these insects to sufficient numbers for release, scientists engineered a system whereby the lethal gene is switched off in the presence of an antibiotic called tetracycline. Sometimes used in agriculture to boost livestock growth, this drug gets excreted by animals and is known to be present in the environment in small amounts. There has therefore been concern that this could allow the modified mosquitoes to persist in the environment, but studies have shown that the amount the insects would be exposed to isnt enough to reduce the effectiveness of the system.

“Brazil actually banned the use of tetracycline in agriculture food additives in 2009,” Andy McKemey from Oxitec told IFLScience. “But even if it was present in the environment where mosquitoes lay eggs, it wouldn’t result in more mosquitoes than you would have otherwise. The offspring would still contain the gene, so the next generation would die. The efficacy of the gene is not lost.”

The modified mosquitoes also have fluorescent genes so that they can be monitored in the environment. Oxitec

Moreover, trials have consistently shown that releases result in local population suppression rates of greater than 90 percent. This is compared to traditional methods, such as insecticide spraying, which only dropnumbers by around 50 percent at best and also have negative impacts on the environment. And this is beginning to have demonstrable effects on disease transmission. Following a trial in the Brazilian city of Piracicaba, dengue cases dropped from 133 in 2014/2015 to just one in 2015/2016. To unjustifiably smear an approach that has real potential to safely make a difference and save lives is therefore extremely irresponsible.

There have also been genetic comments regarding genetic modification, stating that we don’t know all of the possible effects of the inserted genes. But McKemey points out that the system is highly controlled and well-understood, unlike previous sterile insect methods which involved blasting insects with radiation and causing random mutations. “The gene represents a tiny fraction of the total genetic makeup of the insect,” he adds.

With no proof to substantiate the claim that GM mosquitoes caused the Zika outbreak, its best to treat the idea as it is: a conspiracy theory. In addition, any websites that compare verified genetic techniques to “Jurassic Park” are probably best ignored.

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Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/gm-mosquitoes-caused-zika-epidemic-say-conspiracy-theorists

Train Derailment Cleanup Fail in Brazil (Video)

A train operated by Brazilian railroad company Ferrovia Centro-Atlantica derailed somewhere in the state of São Paulo (Cruzeiro?). The cleanup crew tried to remove derailed train-cars with another locomotive and a cable, but failed miserably.

Video found via Youtube. Spotted here.

Amazing Mouth Trumpet Guitar Lady (Video)

Musician Denise Reis can play a guitar while imitating the sound of a trumpet using only her lips and voice.

via The Awesomer

Little Kid Runs Onto The Field After Soccer Game And Becomes Best Friends With All Of Brazil

Neymar just became the nicest guy in soccer.

1. After Brazil’s 5-0 win versus South Africa, a little kid ran onto the field.

Little Kid Runs Onto The Field After Soccer Game And Becomes Best Friends With All Of Brazil

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Via youtube.com

2. Security tried to stop him.

Little Kid Runs Onto The Field After Soccer Game And Becomes Best Friends With All Of Brazil

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Via youtube.com

3. But, Brazil’s Neymar said “NOPE.”

Little Kid Runs Onto The Field After Soccer Game And Becomes Best Friends With All Of Brazil

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Via youtube.com

4. WHAT A GREAT GUY.

WHAT A GREAT GUY.

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Themba Hadebe / AP

5. He wanted the little South African fan to meet all of his friends.

Little Kid Runs Onto The Field After Soccer Game And Becomes Best Friends With All Of Brazil

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Via youtube.com

6. They had such a great time together.

Little Kid Runs Onto The Field After Soccer Game And Becomes Best Friends With All Of Brazil

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Via youtube.com

7. SO. MUCH. FUN.

SO. MUCH. FUN.

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Marco Longari / Getty Images

8. But, the fun wasn’t over yet. He needed proof.

Little Kid Runs Onto The Field After Soccer Game And Becomes Best Friends With All Of Brazil

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Via youtube.com

9. And he got it.

And he got it.

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Marco Longari / Getty Images

10. He definitely got it.

He definitely got it.

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Marco Longari / Getty Images

11. Watch the entire experience unfold.

Video available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=5QC0hFaYSHA&t=39. youtube.com

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/austinhunt/little-kid-runs-onto-the-field-after-soccer-game-and-becomes

FIFA Clears Mexican Fans In Investigation Of Anti-Gay Chants At World Cup

FIFA says reported incident “is not considered insulting in this particular context.”

1. UPDATE — June 23, 5:00 p.m. ET

2. FIFA has cleared Mexico in an investigation of its country’s fans allegedly chanting homophobic slurs during their matches against Cameroon and Brazil, the New York Times reports.

FIFA has cleared Mexico in an investigation of its country's fans allegedly chanting homophobic slurs during their matches against Cameroon and Brazil, the New York Times reports.

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AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo Andrew Das @AndrewDasNYT

FIFA clears Mexico in case of homophobic chanting. No punishment.

Andrew Das @AndrewDasNYT

In clearing Mexico for homophobic chants, FIFA says incident “is not considered insulting in this particular context.”

5. FIFA opened the investigation last week after it was reported that Mexican supporters were heard chanting “puto,” which is slang for “fag,” “man-whore,” or “coward,” during the team’s first two World Cup games.

FIFA opened the investigation last week after it was reported that Mexican supporters were heard chanting “ puto ,” which is slang for “fag,” “man-whore,” or “coward,” during the team's first two World Cup games.

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AP Photo/Francois Xavier Marit, pool

6. FIFA says it “takes a firm, zero-tolerance stance against any form of discrimination and racism.” FIFA’s disciplinary committee said Sunday it was opening an investigation against German fans who wore blackface to Germany’s match vs. Ghana.

instagram.com

Instagram user selma_slim, who attended the World Cup, uploaded the picture on Saturday with the caption: “So far I’ve counted 8 Germans in black face. Worst, people are lining up to take pictures with them. Poor form, #Germany. #racism #racists #worldcup”

8. ESPN said it would try to limit chanting being heard during its broadcast of Mexico’s final group stage match vs. Croatia on Monday.

ESPN said it would try to limit chanting being heard during its broadcast of Mexico's final group stage match vs. Croatia on Monday.

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YURI CORTEZ/AFP / Getty Images

9. UPDATE: Mexican fans are still chanting “puto” during the Mexico vs. Croatia match.

vine.co

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/mikehayes/fifa-clears-mexican-fans-in-investigation-of-anti-gay-chants

World Cup Celebration In Rio Turns Into A Clash Between Police And Argentina Fans

Police scattered about 3,000 Argentina fans with pepper spray and batons Saturday in the Copacabana area of Rio de Janeiro.

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AP Photo/Leo Correa

Argentine soccer fans in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday.

2. A crowd of about 3,000 Argentina soccer fans clashed with police Saturday in Rio de Janeiro. The conflict happened in the Copacabana area of the city, as the crowd massed on the wide sidewalks lining the beach, according to Argentine media.

Jerem໚s @Jerebeam

Final del himno en el banderazo. #Brasil2014

Jerem໚s @Jerebeam

Banderas y polic໚s = el banderazo argento en Río de Janeiro. #brasil2014

9. A video of the confrontation showed an officer walking among the fans but pointing his pepper spray below their faces.

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11. The crowd dispersed before there were any injuries or arrests. Argentina plays Bosnia and Herzegovina Sunday in its first World Cup match.

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AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano

Argentina’s World Cup team on Saturday.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/jimdalrympleii/world-cup-celebration-in-rio-turns-into-a-clash-between-poli

This Married Couple Apparently Found Out They Have The Same Mother

The half-siblings were reportedly abandoned as children. BF_STATIC.timequeue.push(function () { if (BF_STATIC.bf_test_mode) localStorage.setItem(‘posted_date’, 1407421574); }); BF_STATIC.timequeue.push(function () { document.getElementById(“update_posted_time_3410943”).innerHTML = “posted on ” + UI.dateFormat.get_formatted_date(1407421574); });

1. A woman has discovered during a live radio segment that her husband is in fact her half-brother.

A woman has discovered during a live radio segment that her husband is in fact her half-brother.

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Radio Globo / Via radioglobo.globoradio.globo.com

The pair, who have a 6-year-old daughter together, had both been searching for their mothers for years after being abandoned as children.

They both knew they had mothers with the same name but put it down to coincidence.

2. After an extensive search, the woman was finally able to speak to her mother on Brazilian Radio Globo’s The Time Is Now programme, a show that specialises in reuniting lost relatives.

In its report, the radio station changed the names, dates, and locations of those involved to protect the couple’s identity.

At the end of the segment, the mother, Maria, revealed to her daughter, Adriana, that she also had a son called Leandro with a different man than her father.

“I don’t believe that you’re telling me this,” the woman said. “Leandro is my husband.”

3. Regardless of the revelation, the pair, who were never legally married, have reportedly said they are going to stay together. The Mirror quotes Adriana as saying:

Only death is going to separate us. All this happened because God wanted it to happen.


At first we were really knocked by it all, but we had a family meeting and told everyone that we are going to stay husband and wife, whatever anyone might think.

We have so many plans together. Nothing is going to break us up. Nothing.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/richardhjames/this-married-couple-apparently-found-out-they-have-the-same