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Ancestry lays off 6% of staff as consumer genetic testing market continues to decline

Excitement in the consumer genetic testing market continues to show signs of slowing down.

In the past two weeks layoffs have hit two of the biggest consumer genetic testing services — 23andme and Ancestry — with the latter announcing that it would slash its staff by 6% earlier today, in a blog post.

CNBC first reported the news.

In her blogpost announcing the layoffs, Ancestry chief executive Margo Georgiadis wrote:

… over the last 18 months, we have seen a slowdown in consumer demand across the entire DNA category. The DNA market is at an inflection point now that most early adopters have entered the category. Future growth will require a continued focus on building consumer trust and innovative new offerings that deliver even greater value to people. Ancestry is well positioned to lead that innovation to inspire additional discoveries in both Family History and Health.

Today we made targeted changes to better position our business to these marketplace realities. These are difficult decisions and impact 6 percent of our workforce. Any changes that affect our people are made with the utmost care. We’ve done so in service to sharpening our focus and investment on our core Family History business and the long-term opportunity with AncestryHealth.

The move from Ancestry follows job cuts at 23andMe in late January, which saw 100 staffers lose their jobs (or roughly 14% of its workforce.

The genetic testing company Illumina has been warning of softness in the direct to consumer genetic testing market, as Business Insider reported last August.

“We have previously based our DTC expectations on customer forecasts, but given unanticipated market softness, we are taking an even more cautious view of the opportunity in the near-term,” the company’s chief executive Francis deSouza said in a second quarter earnings call.

Consumers seem to be waking up to the privacy concerns over how genetic tests can be used.

“You can cancel your credit card. You can’t change your DNA,” Matt Mitchell, the director of digital safety and privacy for the advocacy organization Tactical Tech, told Business Insider earlier in the year.

And privacy laws in the U.S. have not caught up with the reality of how DNA testing is being used (and could potentially be abused), according to privacy experts and legal scholars.

“In the US we have taken to protecting genetic information separately rather than using more general privacy laws, and most of the people who’ve looked at it have concluded that’s a really bad idea,” Mark Rothstein, a law professor at Brandeis and the director of the University of Louisville’s Institute for Bioethics, Health Policy and Law, told Wired in May.

The investigation into the “Golden State Killer” and the eventual arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo thanks to DNA evidence collected from an open source genealogy site called GEDMatch likely helped focus consumers thinking on the issue.

In that case a relative of DeAngelo’s had uploaded their information onto the site and investigators found a close match with DNA at the crime scene. That information was then correlated with other details to eventually center on DeAngelo as a suspect in the crimes.

While consumer genetic testing services may be struggling, investors still see increasing promise in clinical genetics testing, with companies like the publicly traded InVitae seeing its share price rally and the privately held company, Color, raising roughly $75 million in new capital from investors led by T. Rowe Price.

 

Australian court rules an unsent text message on phone counts as a will

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An unsent message of a deceased man in Australia has been ruled as a valid will. 

It means he will leave his estate to his brother and nephew as opposed to his son and wife, who he apparently had a difficult relationship with. 

The decision was handed down by a judge at the Supreme Court of Queensland, following no evidence of any other will created by the deceased man.

The man, who tragically took his own life, was found with the phone by his widow in October 2016. The following day, a friend of the widow was asked to look through the deceased man’s contact list to see who should be notified of his death.  Read more…

More about Australia, Law, Text Messaging, Laws, and Tech

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Florida man in liquor store forklift rampage

A 32-year old man from Freeport, Florida, is in custody after a weekend rampage at the liquor store. But this was a liquor store rampage with a difference, reports WKRG: it was under construction, and he inflicted $100,000 damage with a forklift left on-site.

According to police, Jones allegedly broke into the fenced-in construction site on the north side of the Ferdon Boulevard South using a JCB extendable forklift parked at the job site.

The building under construction was destroyed. Additionally, the suspect damaged a city fire hydrant and a 2-inch water meter worth about $3,200. … When Crestview Police Officers arrived on scene, Jones aimed the forklift toward officers. The officers stopped Jones at gunpoint and were able to detain him.

Jones stated his name was “Alice Wonderland and he was told to commit the offenses by a hookah-smoking caterpillar.”

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GOP lawmakers snap up surging health insurance stocks as they gut Obamacare

Paul Ryan ally Rep. Mike Conaway [R-TX, @ConawayTX11, +1 (202) 225-3605] is the proud owner of $30,000 worth of stock in UnitedHealth, who stand to benefit enormously from Rep Conaway’s efforts to destroy Obamacare and replace it with a system that allows insurers to charge more and kick more than 22,000,000 Americans off their insurance.

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Timeline Of A Personal Injury Lawsuit

Understanding a personal injury lawsuit timeline can help a victim cope with the stress and emotional challenges that may arise with the processing of his case. Though the time and process may be different in some states, on the average, the process is complicated and time-consuming.

Unfortunately, a high percentage of Americans are unaware of the workings of the judicial proceedings both for civil and criminal cases. Because of this, it is extremely important that auto accident attorneys, for example, communicate the personal injury claim process to their clients before filing.

Regrettably, some lawyers fail to give clients the right information and instead promise to expedite action on the case to impress the victim to hire them. This practice is wrong and against legal ethics.

It is your right as a person who has a personal injury claim to know every step of the lawsuit. The right knowledge will help you prepare for any outcome since most personal injury cases are unpredictable.

This article will walk you through a step-by-step approach to understanding the personal injury lawsuit timeline so you’d know what to expect.

Seek Medical Attention

Immediately following an accident, it is paramount for the victim to seek medical care in order to minimize the severity of injuries. Whether it is a ‘slip and fall’ or ‘car accident,’ a hospital visit is necessary.

This single action will give you an edge if your insurance company tries to prove that there was no injury at all. Secondly, an immediate hospital visit will prove a point to the jury that you were hurt.

See Also: Personal Injury Claims After A Car Accident

Talk To A Lawyer

lawyer consultation

It is important to consult a lawyer if you suffer significant injury or other losses in an accident. If you are afraid of the cost, then take advantage of law firms who offer free consultations and discuss the situation with them.

It is necessary that you take this step because a lawyer can give you the right advice and help. He’ll guide you on how you can get a better settlement than the insurance companies initially offer.

Commencement Of Investigations

The investigation of the claims and medical records will start immediately once the lawyer agrees that your claims are worth filing in the law court. You can justify this by answering relevant questions from the solicitor and giving him access to your medical records.

Most importantly, you need to give out all pertinent information and be honest about the accident and your medical condition to avoid surprises in the courtroom.

Attorney Files An Insurance Claim

Most personal injury cases get settled out of court. However, it will still depend on the level of damage or loss suffered by the victim. Slip and fall accidents are mostly settled out of court. Auto accidents, on the other hand, are most likely resolved through the court process. An experienced attorney may get a reasonable settlement for his client from the insurance company.

In the case of a car accident, the lawyer should first submit the claims to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. After that, the claim will be investigated and compensation will be paid.

If the accident results in permanent disability, the lawyer will activate the Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) aspect of the law. This will help the victim get a resounding victory and much higher settlement in the case.

The Attorney Files A Lawsuit

Filing a lawsuit comes into play when the insurance company does not settle claims out of court, and your attorney sees no other option than to file a lawsuit.

The preliminary timeline for filing a personal injury lawsuit is as follows:

  • Serving appropriate documents to the defendant should take from 30 to 60 days.
  • The stipulated time for a response from the defendant, meanwhile, is within 30 days. In some cases, they may ask for additional days.

The parties will then exchange information related to the accident and this will involve complaints and counterclaims

Discovery

This stage of the legal process is meant to dislodge surprises that may arise during the main court sessions. At this juncture, each party (the plaintiff and the defendant) investigates one another using the documents and evidence submitted.

It has two major processes: interrogations and depositions. The first one requires parties to provide documents which will be useful during the court sessions. The latter, meanwhile, involves questions and answers from any witnesses.

The Mediation Stage

Following disclosure of the interrogations and depositions, attorneys may agree on certain terms. This can potentially lead to a peaceful settlement which is why this stage is also called as the ‘alternative dispute resolution’ stage.

Trial

personal injury trial

This is the last stage of the personal injury lawsuit timeline. All the parties must be present in court for the jury to go through the documents and interrogate the witnesses. The length of such cases can last for weeks or months.

 

The post Timeline Of A Personal Injury Lawsuit appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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First non-white judge at top UK court used to be mistaken for defendants

Anuja Ravindra Dhir, the first non-white circuit judge at the Old Bailey, says “she was often mistaken for a witness or defendant when she started working as a lawyer” in the 1980s.

The 49-year-old said at first, most clients did not want to be represented by a young Asian Scottish female.

She also said that, when she wanted to go to university in the 1970s, she was told to be a hairdresser instead.

Judge Dhir said she once had to produce her wig and gown before security allowed her into court.
“I got used to turning up at courts and people saying to me ‘Witness? – no – Defendant? – no’ and looking rather surprised when I said I was the advocate,” she said.

Now the youngest Central Criminal Court justice, she talks of the “incredible changes” over the last 30 years.

“There is one glass ceiling that’s in our minds, that’s what we think we can achieve so perhaps we impose our glass ceiling and that has happened to me several times.”

The Old Bailey houses 15 judges, of whom 10 are men and five are women, including one who is due to start soon. And of the recent intake of Old Bailey judges, three out of six are women.

Judge Dhir said: “Child-friendly policies I think are important. As a society we are better at raising that now than we ever have been before.”

She praised the Recorder of London, Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC, for his commitment to change at the Old Bailey, a building steeped in history and tradition dating back to medieval times.

She said: “I’ve been overwhelmed by the commitment to change that I have seen people here at the Old Bailey have.

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Best DUI Tips to Keep You Out Of Trouble

You get stopped by a police officer on one of those nights that you have been out with your friends having a good time. None of you expected to be charged with any offense- until the police handed the breathalyzer.

Driving while intoxicated is not condoned in any state. For this exact reason, knowing how you can defend yourself in case you get caught is extremely essential. One of the best DUI tips is to get a lawyer.

Here are 5 good reasons why:

• The law is too complicated

sobreirty test

Different states have different laws that govern them. A DUI lawyer knows those laws inside and out and can, therefore, find a good way to get you out of trouble.

• Lawyers are good negotiators

Until the questions start to get asked, it’s easy for you to feel relaxed and at ease. However, once the questioning begins, you’ll feel tense and in a turmoil. You might even find it hard to think of any clear answer.

If you have a lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will know exactly how to negotiate with the authorities. A good lawyer will keep things from getting out of hand. He/she will negotiate on your behalf and can increase your chances of the judge ruling in your favor.

See Also: How Long Does It Take A DUI To Fall Off Your Driving Record?

• Not hiring a lawyer is expensive

If you have ever been to a court proceeding, then you must know that there are court fees and charges that you need to pay as the case proceeds. In some instances, especially if you do not have a lawyer, you may end up spending a lot more than what you are supposed to-  and still be found liable.

Before going to court without a lawyer, make sure you’ve considered and reconsidered your options as going without a lawyer might prove even more expensive in the long run.

• The other party will have a lawyer

dui charges

Not having a lawyer to inform you about court procedures can leave you vulnerable during trials. When you are being charged against the state, that’s the last thing you would want to happen.

Keep the upper hand during trials by planning and preparing with your lawyer. He knows exactly what to do.

• You are more likely to win the case with a lawyer

Every person charged with DUI needs a great defense for his case. It isn’t easy to figure one out on your own and this is exactly why you need a DUI lawyer.

Those who are convicted of DUI must spend time behind bars. The amount of time varies depending on the number of times you’ve been charged with DUI. When there is a lawyer working on your case, he might be able to help keep you out of jail or, at least, lessen the time you’ll be required to stay there.

DUI has many laws surrounding it. Unfortunately, most people are unaware of those laws and it is what puts them at risk of getting convicted. If you don’t want to add to these people, hire a lawyer to handle your case. It’s one of the best DUI tips to follow.

See Also: 5 Seriously Easy Ways to Get Home Safe from Your Holiday Party

The post Best DUI Tips to Keep You Out Of Trouble appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Parliament ponders letting US immigration strip-search Canadians in Canadian airports, force them to explain immigration withdrawals

The current pre-clearance rules for Canadians being processed through US immigration at Canadian airports limit the powers of US immigration officials, preventing them from strip-searching Canadians (they can ask Canadian border guards to do it, but if the Canadian guards refuse, they’re out of luck) and giving Canadians the ability to turn around and leave the immigration area, returning to Canada, if they don’t like the way they’re being treated by the US guards.
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How to legally cross a US (or other) border without surrendering your data and passwords

The combination of 2014’s Supreme Court decision in Riley (which held that the data on your devices was subject to suspicionless border-searches, and suggested that you simply not bring any data you don’t want stored and shared by US government agencies with you when you cross the border) and Trump’s announcement that people entering the USA will be required to give border officers their social media passwords means that a wealth of sensitive data on our devices and in the cloud is now liable to search and retention when we cross into the USA.
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South Dakota lawmaker blocks workplace protection for pregnant workers: “It's not prison. You can quit.”

South Dakota state Rep. Wayne H Steinhauer [R-9] (Phone: 605-526-4269/ 605-773-3851/ 605-359-6298); Email: Wayne.Steinhauer@sdlegislature.gov, never-used Twitter account) was part of a group of eight male, GOP reps who killed a bill that would have guaranteed workplace accommodations to pregnant South Dakotans. During the hearing, Rep Steinhauer told women “It’s not prison. You can quit.”
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How LSD microdosing made a mega difference in one woman's mood, marriage, and life

Ayelet Waldman is a novelist, non fiction author, and former federal public defender. Her latest book is called A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life. I interviewed her this morning.

Why did you start microdosing?

I started microdosing because I was profoundly and dangerously depressed. I have a mood disorder and for many, many years my medication worked great. I took it, I did what my doctor told me and everything was fine. But at some point my medication stopped working. I tried all sorts of different things. And nothing helped. I was getting worse and worse and more and more full of despair and more and more full of rage and more and more unstable and I became suicidal. I started doing things like googling the effects of maternal suicide on children and I was so terrified that I was going to do something to myself, that I was going to hurt myself, that I decided to do something drastic and something that some people might think is crazy — I decided to try microdosing with L.S.D.

Did it work?

Oh absolutely. It worked for sure. It’s sub-perceptual. In fact, if I told you right now, “Hey Mark, I slipped a microdose of LSD. in your coffee,” you wouldn’t even know the difference. The effect for me was instantaneous. My depression lifted right away. The book is called A Really Good Day because at the end of that very first day, I looked back and I thought, “that was a really good day.” It wasn’t like everything was perfect. It wasn’t like I was happiness and sunshine. I was still me, I was still cynical, I was still occasionally irritable, I would still sometimes make rash decisions, but I was stable and I was experiencing the kind of contentment and stability that people without mood disorders feel, and that really was quite nearly instantaneous.

My wife and I fought each other over who got to read your book at night. We just tore through it. One thing I noticed was that as time went on, on the days you microdosed, it became a little tougher for you to deal with the physical sensations.

Yeah, I got a little more irritable. I think if I were to continue I would probably take a smaller dose, maybe a five microgram dose every other day, rather than ten micrograms [every three days], because it made me a tiny bit irritable. Nothing like the way I was before I was using it, when I would fly off the handle and send rage-filled tweets and that kind of thing, but it definitely made me a little irritable, a little grumpy, a little agitated sometimes. Once I even told a physical therapist who was treating my frozen shoulder that I was microdosing. That was an impulse control moment. So there’s definitely that side effect.

The best day is the second day, the first day after you microdose. The protocol that Jim Fadiman, who kind of popularized microdosing, came up with is you dose one day, you don’t dose for two days, and then you dose the fourth day. The second day is the day that I (and most people) felt the most positive results. There was less irritability and there was more equilibrium — equilibrium, Mark, that’s what I experienced that was so glorious.

After your 30 day experiment, your supply of LSD was used up and you stopped. Did you look into continuing using something like morning glory seeds or Hawaiian baby woodrose seeds that contain psychedelics similar to LSD but aren’t Schedule 1 substances?

I’m not real chemist by nature. I’m not an experimenter by inclination, though I realize that I did try this experiment. So I’m not really comfortable trying things like that because I don’t know what the effects are. I think that if I sink into that kind of depression I’ll be willing to try anything, including those things.

I’m hoping that we have a dramatic change in the law. My hopes for that are somewhat less than they were before November 8. But I think that as microdosing becomes more popular, and people start experimenting with those kinds of legal substances, then I might feel comfortable trying them.

You know, anytime people come up with a medication regimen or a drug regimen that makes him feel better, the government tends to quickly criminalize it. So don’t say “morning glory” too many times or the next thing you’ll know you’ll find it on Schedule 1.

Yes, and you’re speaking as a former federal public defender.

And as someone who taught a class for seven years at the University of California Law School on the legal and social implications of the War on Drugs, and I was a consultant for the Drug Policy Alliance so when it comes to drug policy and drug law I know my stuff.

You also did a great job sharing anecdotes about drug policy and harm reduction in your book. One of the most infuriating and heartbreaking anecdotes you included was about defending a woman who’d been entrapped by a Drug Enforcement Administration informant.

This was a mother who never committed a crime in her life. She thought she had fallen in love with someone, and he was this vicious, vile person. He had been found not guilty by reason of insanity for the attempted murder of his wife. He’d escaped from prison. He became a CIA informant in Central America afterwards, and then the DEA hired him. He had stolen money from the DEA and failed a lie detector test. So they shifted him over to work in a different jurisdiction and that was the person who was busily setting up first time offenders. It was madness.

The institutional sociopathy of the DEA and the CIA is really horrible and it makes me wish that, especially where we are right now, that you’d go back to being a federal public defender. We need people like you.

A few months ago I thought, “What am I going to do next? Maybe I’ll write a nice light hearted novel about something.” Now I realize that what I’m going to do next is a book that is more policy focused. I think that the times call out for social activism, and I’m really glad that I have this book out now because this book isn’t just about an experiment with LSD. It’s about the drug war and the racist underpinnings of the drug war. And about the history of psychedelic drugs and other drugs and the problems with mass incarceration and the neurochemistry of psychedelics. It is a kind of social activism, and I feel like that’s where we all need to spend our time in any way that we can, especially those of us who come from a place of privilege. An African-American who lives in Detroit and who is suffering the way I was suffering wouldn’t be able to write this book and be so public because the risks to him would be so great. So people like me who benefit from white privilege have an obligation to use that privilege to help others, and that’s what I’m trying to do.

Image of LSD Blotters: Wikipedia

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Wyoming bill prohibits power companies from using renewables

A group of Wyoming legislators in the state’s House and Senate — all representing coal country and all avowed climate deniers — have introduced a bill that would ban Wyoming power companies from using solar or wind power by 2019, and requires non-renewable power to account for 95% of the state’s power by 2018.
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How a law prof got a judge to rule that speeding cam tickets are unenforceable

Adam MacLeod is an associate law prof at Faulkner Christian University in Montgomery, Alabama: when he received a speeding ticket generated by a traffic camera for a time when he knew he hadn’t been driving his car (he’d been lecturing at the moment when the picture was snapped), he decided he would fight it to the bitter end.

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Judge rules that winning casino baccarat by taking note of asymmetries in card-backs is cheating

In July 2012, professional poker-player Phil Ivey won $4.8M from the baccarat tables at Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in 17 hours; on other occasions, he took a total of $9M out of the Borgata: he did it by asking the house to deal Gemaco Borgata cards, whose backs contained minute asymmetries in their patterns. By asking the dealer to turn some cards upside down, Ivey’s partner, Cheng Yin Sun, was able to track them as they moved through the deck.
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