‘Delusional’ Donald Doesn’t Understand a Pardon Is an ‘Admission of Guilt’



President Donald Trump’s niece, Mary Trump, said Tuesday on CNN’s “Tonight” her uncle was “delusional” and not capable of understanding a pardon is “essentially an admission of guilt,” so he will likely attempt to pardon himself.

Trump said, “We’ve heard about pardons he’s thinking of making. I have no doubt in my mind he’s going to toy with the idea of pre-pardoning people in his inner circle, even himself. We see what he’s doing with the Open Skies Treaty, which is putting Americans in danger. We see what Steve Mnuchin is doing, taking $440 billion that were earmarked to help small businesses and municipalities in COVID-19, and asking for the money to be returned, putting it out of reach of his successor, Janet Yellen. These are things that are continued attacks to our democracy and things that will make it even harder for the incoming administration to do the work that needs to be done to fix the mistakes of Donald’s administration.”

Lemon said, “You don’t think it would be beneath him to —I can’t believe I’m saying this, to pardon himself? Isn’t that some sort of tacit admission that he expects to be found guilty of something?”

Trump said, “Well, if he were a normal person, I suppose, but first of all, he probably doesn’t understand that a pardon is essentially an admission of guilt. And Donald is somebody for whom winning is the only thing that matters. It doesn’t mean you need to win fairly, just by any means necessary. Because he thinks he always deserves to win, cheating, lying, stealing are all perfectly legitimate means towards that end. We also saw by, as you pointed out, a truly bizarre 64 seconds that he’s delusional. So it makes perfect sense if he’s willing to take credit for a stock market gain literally caused by the fact that Biden won, and he’s finally being allowed to start his administration, he’s perfectly capable of pardoning himself. Or trying to.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN





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Why lawyers don’t understand software — the youtube-dl fiasco


The decision taken by Microsoft-owned Github last week to remove youtube-dl from its repositories has angered many in the software community.

The open-source software — which was hosted for free by Github — allows the download of content from websites like YouTube, even where such sites have erected barriers to prevent this — barriers that form part of DRM (digital rights management) measures that help prevent copyright infringement.

The incident was triggered by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), who issued a takedown notice to Github that stated the code had a “clear purpose” of providing users with a means to “reproduce and distribute music videos and sound recordings owned by our member companies without authorization […]”

In the past, the RIAA has issued such notices to prevent Google search results, including materials from sites that are clearly distributing protected content without due payments of royalties.

This notice, however, cites US law, U.S. Code § 1201 – Circumvention of copyright protection systems, a piece of legislation that is being challenged by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in the American courts.

While the takedown request mentions en passant an “issue in the Hamburg Regional Court,” it also describes itself as “a trade association whose member companies create, manufacture or distribute sound recordings representing approximately 85% of all legitimate recorded music consumption in the United States.”

To many observers, especially those not based in North America, it seems anomalous that an American trade association should seek to prevent the distribution of software in a way that affects the other 194 countries in the world negatively as well as its own domestic consumers.

The youtube-dl package is used extensively to capture and archive video and audio content for a variety of reasons: for offline consumption; where internet bandwidth is low; for archival of non-licensed media; and in all probability, in some cases, for the capture and redistribution of copyrighted materials.

On the last issue, the maintainers of the youtube-dl code have been undeniably short-sighted. In addition to the red flag of the package’s very name, the published documentation for the software also uses three pieces of copyrighted material hosted on YouTube as examples for its method of use — albeit only producing a 12-second capture of each.

It’s apparent that the team involved could probably have easily minimized their chances of hoving themselves into the RIAA’s view. Nevertheless, access to what is a highly valuable tool to many media creators, archivists, and administrators, has now been limited — at least theoretically.

Go forth and multiply

The nature of open-source software is such that the project, its many variations (or forks, in the FOSS terminology), and projects based on youtube-dl will continue to thrive in the wild.

It seems very unlikely that the RIAA will be able to throw its legal team at every one of those projects that have stemmed from youtube-dl, and the core project itself will naturally continue: the takedown notice was directed at Github, not the developers behind the software in question. youtube-dl itself will also continue, although without its Github repositories.

What the RIAA action has almost definitely ensured is that the command-line only (read: difficult for non-techies) youtube-dl is now much more widely known and sought-after than two weeks ago. That supposition seems to suggest a trend: the 1999 move by the RIAA against music piracy service Napster caused a huge boom in the distribution and awareness of pirated music until the recording industry found its feet in Spotify, Apple iTunes, Tidal and the like. That particular case was different from last week’s events in that this seems to be the first time the RIAA has used its legal weight against a software tool that may or may not be used illegally.

In that sense, we look forward to Microsoft being asked to stop distributing Word due to its continuous and persistent use in plagiarized high school essays.





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| Virtual “Friend” Can Help Men Understand Prostate Cancer Screening, RisksTalking About Men’s Health™


Prostate

Virtual “Friend” Can Help Men Understand Prostate Cancer Screening, Risks

If you have questions about prostate health, screening or options for prostate cancer treatment, just ask Nathan.

Created through a collaboration between the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), health simulation company Kognito, and the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD), Nathan is an interactive human simulation that walks people through a conversation about prostate cancer screening options. He also offers a guided conversation that answers questions about treatment options.

Men’s Health Network provided consulting services to the CDC in development of the program.

“Using simulations can help patients think about and take action on important medical issues,” says Dr. Sal Giorgianni, MHN’s senior science advisor. “This is particularly true during the COVID-19 pandemic, when health resources are stretched and in-office visits are potentially problematic.”

Nathan is easy to use. Visitors to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s prostate cancer page will find Nathan right on the front page. Click on the button to start the conversation with your new virtual friend. Each question’s answer is offered with a prompt to choose the next question.

Nathan can answer lots of questions about prostate cancer and health. Among the common questions:

  • What do I need to know about prostate cancer?
  • Do I need to get screened for prostate cancer?
  • How do I talk to my doctor about my diagnosis?

For health care providers, a similar simulation offers a road map of how to talk to a patient about screening, and about treatment.

During September, Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, men should consider screening for themselves, as well as discussing it with their friends and family who may also be at risk. Women may also want to provide a nudge to the men in their lives. Prostate cancer screening saves lives and takes only minutes. As we like to say here at Men’s Health Network, Get It Checked!

Author:

Robin Mather is a third-generation journalist with more than 40 years’ experience working at major daily newspapers and national magazines. A Michigan native, she now lives in Arizona





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How I hope to help science understand CTE


And in the wake of another former AFL player – this time St Kilda legend Danny Frawley – having been posthumously diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), it is a concerning finding for all who have ever crossed a white line.

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To anyone that has seen stars after a big hit, or woken up in the changerooms not knowing what has just happened and thought, “how did I get here?” – it makes you sit up and take notice.

CTE is the debilitating neuro-degenerative disease of the brain found in people with a history of repetitive brain trauma.

Besides the seven concussions I suffered throughout both my junior and AFL career, there were many more countless times I suffered concussion-like symptoms. Times I played with blurred vision and excruciating headaches.

That usually ended with me vomiting on the ground or – if I was lucky – in the toilet at home after the game.

Big hits have always been a part of the AFL and bravery will always be held in high regard by players and supporters alike. If winning a premiership is largely seen as the pinnacle, being respected and brave on the field is a close second.

But bravery comes at a cost.

Memory loss, sleep disturbance, changes in emotional regulation, depression and dementia-like symptoms are all associated with concussion and CTE.

It’s been identified posthumously in a number of NFL players, and AFL legend Graham “Polly” Farmer was one of the first to have it diagnosed here in Australia upon his passing.

Being brave on the footy ground comes in many ways. Running hard to defend. Putting your head over the ball. Playing sore. Going back with the flight of the ball into the unknown.

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It is somewhat ironic that it takes so much mental preparation and dedication to be fearless, when it is the brain that ultimately suffers when a player commits a courageous act on the field.

Modern day players are insanely brave. They run hard and fast. They tackle more than ever. They commit to the contest more than any other generation of player before them.

Given the innumerable TV camera angles and social media where everyone is a judge, there is no place to hide.

But there is some good news for players.

Western Australia’s Perron Institute is leading research into concussion and its effects on players in contact sports.

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The Australia-wide research – worth $50 million dollars in collaboration with Curtin University – has the aim of avoiding the crippling effects of CTE.

The Perron Institute’s Dr Lindy Fitzgerald says most people will recover quickly from a concussion but, “one in five people will go on and have continuing symptoms”.

“It’s not good to have multiple concussions,” Dr Fitzgerald says. “But there is no clear cut-off in terms of how many concussions will definitely lead to CTE, we just don’t know enough about that yet.”

Dr Fitzgerald would like more volunteer athletes – both professional and amateur – to come forward for future research.

“We’re looking at things like blood indicators, particular types of imaging using MRI’s and also things about the person – did they have pre-existing psychological symptoms for example, did they suffer from migraine – putting these altogether in a suite of factors that can potentially predict whether or not they are going to continue to have symptoms.”

Seven.

It has been worn by AFL legends Gary Ayres, Scott West, Lenny Hayes, Brett Ratten and Adam Simpson.

They were all brave.

I wonder if they now reflect on their brave acts on the field and the effects that may have in retirement.

I’m starting to.

But this ground-breaking research by Dr Fitzgerald and the Perron Institute is encouraging.

Encouraging enough for me to want to donate my own brain to help future generations better understand the issue.

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Scientists to Wall Street: You don’t really understand how COVID vaccine tests work


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Earlier this month, shares in Novavax, a small biotechnology company, jumped 10% when its COVID-19 vaccine candidate showed promise in an early stage clinical trial.

Among the results that most excited investors were the high level of antibodies researchers had found in blood samples of those injected with the vaccine. Comparing the antibody counts—known as quantitative serum titers, or often simply “titers”—between vaccine candidates has become a parlor game of sorts for stock analysts, investors and venture capitalists seeking an early indication of which of the more than 165 vaccine candidates currently under development might prove most effective, and become the preferred inoculation for much of the world’s population.

In one bullish assessment, Evercore ISI analyst Josh Schimmer noted that Novavax’s antibody levels were “well above” what Novavax’s competitors had reported. J.P. Morgan analyst Eric Joseph wrote that “it’s not too far a stretch to conclude the [neutralizing antibody] activity of [Novavax’s vaccine candidate] looks best-in-class.”

Differences in reported neutralizing antibody titers also explains why, during the third week in July, when both Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine team and startup BioNTech both reported positive results from Phase 1 clinical trials of their respective vaccines, shares in AstraZeneca, which is working with Oxford, slumped while those of Pfizer, which is working with BioNTech, leapt: the titer figures were higher in the BioNTech research.

But scientists who study vaccines say there’s a major problem with such comparisons: they are, at this stage, completely invalid.

No “meaningful value”

Currently, it is impossible to make an apples-to-apples comparison of immune responses in blood tests between Covid-19 vaccine candidates. So far, each vaccine candidate has been tested using a different procedure—known as an assay— conducted in different labs. And it turns out that tests conducted this way produce wildly different results, even for the same vaccine.

“I don’t believe the neutralizing antibody numbers being reported right now have any meaningful value,” says John Moore, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Cornell University medical school who has written about the difficulties of comparing COVID-19 vaccine research results. “We don’t even know what a protective titer actually is: is a titer of 100 good or bad? We don’t know.”

Wayne Koff, the chief executive of the Human Vaccines Project, a nonprofit that is trying to speed the development of vaccines for numerous, says that most research teams working on Covid-19 vaccines are testing them on assays of their own choosing, often in their own labs. “This provides every opportunity of hyping a candidate and making it appear that one vaccine is better than another vaccine, when actually we don’t have the data to reach those conclusions,” he says.

Many research groups have been publishing comparisons of the antibody titers from the blood of people inoculated with their vaccine candidates to the antibody titers found in the blood of people who have recovered from Covid-19. The implication is that if the vaccine elicits a similar or higher antibody titer, and if people who’ve recovered from Covid-19 are immune from catching the disease again for some period of time, then the vaccine should also provide temporary immunity.

But even this analysis is flawed, Koff says. That’s because at the moment there is no standard panel of blood from recovered Covid-19 patients against which to assess the titers. The blood samples in some studies might have come from patients who were much more sick than in other studies and the level of antibody production can vary immensely between individuals depending on factors ranging from age to genetics.

A familiar problem

The problem of assay disagreement—that different tests produce different results—is well known among vaccine researchers. Moore and Koff, who both studied HIV/AIDS earlier in their careers, said that similar problems once plagued attempts to develop a vaccine for that disease. But, over the past decade, with encouragement and funding from the Gates Foundation, the field has agreed on a standard assay and designated just a few laboratories that are certified to carry out standardized testing for all vaccine candidates.

Some researchers want to replicate that system for COVID-19. Scientists at Oxford’s Jenner Institute, in publishing results of their Phase 1 human clinical trial, noted that they had tested blood samples on four different types of assay, and while the results correlated, the titers varied widely. In the paper, they called for a central lab to be set up to assess all Covid-19 vaccines.

Sarah Gilbert, one of the Oxford researchers, says a standardized assay and a central testing lab could accelerate getting multiple Covid-19 vaccines into production, something most analysts now think will be essential in order to distribute a vaccine to enough of the world’s population to end the pandemic. If one vaccine completed human safety-and-efficacy trials, and its neutralizing antibody titers were known, and a second vaccine showed the same or higher antibody titers on the same assay performed in the same lab, then this would be reasonable evidence that the second vaccine was also effective.

As a result, she says, the second vaccine might potentially be able to win regulatory approval without having to complete large scale Phase III testing. (The vaccine would still have to undergo human safety testing, of course.)  “You don’t want to have to do Phase III studies for every vaccine out there,” she says.

Operation Warp Speed

The U.S. government effort to accelerate development of an effective Covid-19 vaccine, known as Operation Warp Speed, has specified that all vaccines seeking a Food and Drug Administration license must be evaluated on the same neutralizing antibody assay in the same lab. That’s one of the reasons Operation Warp Speed’s findings will be so important to the global effort to find an effective vaccine.

John Mascola, the head of vaccine research for the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, who has helped set up Operation Warp Speed, says that the project is currently in the process of creating and validating standardized assays. This includes designing strict procedures for how a lab should conduct the tests. He says this work should be completed “in the next few months, or sooner.” He says the lab designated by Operation Warp Speed for assessing vaccine candidates should also be named in the next few months.

He says the Operation Warp Speed is also hoping to eventually see a standardized panel of blood from recovered Covid-19 patients that can be used to compare the immune response the vaccines elicit to the immune response the actual virus creates, but that creating this panel was a lower priority and was being worked on in collaboration with the World Health Organization and European health agencies.  

The issue of standardized antiboday assays is further complicated by the fact that different types of assays may be needed. True neutralizing-antibody assays, which are the gold standard, use a live SARS-CoV-2 virus, which means they have to be conducted in a specialized lab with heightened safety and security protocols. In practice, this often means a government facility. In the U.K., the neutralizing-antibody testing is being carried out at the Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research, which is housed within the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down, near the town of Salisbury. Porton Down is also where the U.K. conducts much of its biological and chemical weapons research.

The protocols needed to handle a live virus, Gilbert says, makes true neutralizing-antibody assays slow to run. “It is never going to be a high throughput assay,” she says. To speed up testing and make assays available to more labs, the U.S. and other governments are also working to create a standardized “pseudovirus neutralizing assay.” This uses a harmless virus, usually a retrovirus, that is modified to produce the same external envelope of carbohydrates and proteins as the SARS-CoV-2 virus. If the antibodies a vaccine induces can neutralize this modified retrovirus, it is a reasonable guess—although not a guarantee—that they will also be able to knock out the coronavirus itself.

Blinding assays

Finally, there are what are known as “binding assays.” These simply test whether antibodies produced by a vaccine can latch on to the spike protein SARS-CoV-2 has on its surface. They do this by mixing the appropriate chemical proteins—unattached to any kind of virus—with the antibodies. Binding assays are considered less reliable indicators of a vaccine’s power than the two types of neutralizing-antibody assays, but they are simpler, cheaper and faster to perform.

Many of the same issues that bedevil comparing neutralizing antibody assays, apply equally to assays for T-cell responses. T-cells, which hunt down and neutralize infected cells and also signal the immune system to ramp up its response to a disease, are thought to be able to remember certain pathogens they’ve battled before. Many of the groups working on COVID-19 vaccines believe their inoculations will elicit a strong and long-lasting T-cell response that could confer immunity on those vaccinated, even if the antibodies prove short-lived.

But Mascola says efforts to create standardized T-cell assays are, if anything, even more fraught than creating standard antibody assays. That’s because, he says, T-cell assays require a more complex blood sample that preserves both the serum—or fluid part of blood—and the individual blood cells. These blood samples then have to be carefully frozen and unfrozen, creating a trickier protocol for standardization. Despite these difficulties, there are plans to create a standardized T-cell assay, Mascola says, but it is likely to take more time than the antibody assays.

Mascola also emphasizes that while the assay titers are important and might one day allow the short-circuiting of full Phase III clinical trials that Gilbert hopes for, the data that will determine which vaccines initially receive licenses from the FDA, and probably from most other government regulators around the globe, will be the efficacy results from large, Phase III human trials. Those trials track an inoculated group of individuals against a control group and compare how many people get COVID-19 in each.

It is only after some vaccines have proven themselves in Phase III trials that the antibody titers and T-cell numbers, performed on standardized assays, will provide a way to judge the strength of subsequent vaccine candidates against those already licensed, he says.

“There’s really no substitute for a Phase III trial,” he says.

More coronavirus coverage from Fortune:



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Trump’s push to approve COVID-19 convalescent plasma treatment could delay efforts to better understand it


The Trump administration’s decision to authorize the use of a blood-plasma treatment for COVID-19 with no clear evidence it works could frustrate efforts to better understand the therapy’s benefits.

Several clinical trials are examining the use of so-called convalescent plasma for COVID-19, but none have been completed and results aren’t expected for at least several more weeks.

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Some of the studies are struggling to attract participants because of programs that give patients a more certain path to the therapy and a way to avoid the risk of ending up with a placebo in a clinical trial. Researchers fear that Sunday’s decision by the Food and Drug Administration to issue an emergency waiver will make it harder to get patients into clinical trials and get a more definitive picture on whether and how convalescent plasma actually works to treat COVID-19.

Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood. Convalescent plasma collected from those who have recovered from the coronavirus contains antibodies that some researchers say could help patients who have been newly diagnosed with COVID-19. President Donald Trump has called the therapy “something very special.”

Political Controversy

The emergency-use clearance followed accusations by Trump that U.S. regulators had held off in order to dim his chances of re-election. Some senior U.S. health officials had been reported to have cautioned against issuing a clearance until researchers could collect more data.

Antibodies are one of the main infection-fighting compounds produced by the immune system. They remain in the blood of patients who have recovered from disease, and using them to help another person fight infection is an old idea. Convalescent serum was used to fight the 1918 flu pandemic. The first Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Emil von Behring in 1901 for his work studying serum therapy for diphtheria.

However, there are many questions that remain about what convalescent plasma is and who should get it. People sickened by a pathogen produce their own antibodies; sorting out which antibodies actually fought off a disease is a complicated task for researchers. Doctors also want to make sure that introducing foreign antibodies won’t make people sicker.

Expanding Access

The Mayo Clinic is running a program that has helped expand access to convalescent plasma in the pandemic. So far, almost 70,000 people have been infused at more than 2,700 sites around the U.S., according to its website. Data show that patients were 35% less likely to die if they received a high dose of convalescent plasma, compared with those who got lower doses.

All of those enrolled, however, were given the plasma and the antibody levels weren’t checked before it was administered, making it difficult to determine exactly how much benefit patients would get over current care.

The results have been posted online but not yet published in a medical journal, and theydon’t have the same rigor as a clinical trial, which typically compares a treatment to the standard of care. The FDA asked Mayo Clinic for more data, which the clinic said in an e-mailed statement it has shared with agency reviewers.

“We agree on the need for randomized clinical trials as a scientifically sound approach,” the Mayo Clinic said in the statement. Data from the expanded-access program “is significant and could be used to provide evidence” to conduct trials in the future.

Enrollment Issues

National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins recently held a Zoom meeting with scientists conducting plasma clinical trials, according to Mila Ortigoza, an infectious-disease specialist at New York University who is leading a study on the use of plasma as a treatment in hospitalized patients. She said in an interview that Collins wanted to know how NIH could help. Her team has since been sending NIH enrollment updates daily, and she said she will share data with NIH as it becomes available.

The trial that NYU is conducting with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine recently expanded to three states outside of New York when researchers were only able to enroll 190 patients out of the 300 they’re seeking. Ortigoza said many hospitalized patients want to be guaranteed they will get plasma and choose to go through the Mayo Clinic’s program instead of enrolling. She fears an emergency authorization by the FDA could exacerbate the situation.

“We don’t want to go through another pandemic 100 years from now not knowing if this therapy works,” she said.

Ortigoza hopes her trial will enroll enough people to start producing data on whether convalescent plasma works by the end of September. An effort to pool trial data on hospitalized patients led by NYU could have data sooner, she said.

Data Delay

Two trials by Johns Hopkins University researchers have also had trouble attracting patients to participate, which has pushed back the delivery of results. Researchers there are investigating plasma’s potential to prevent contracting the virus and its ability to help in the early stages of infection.

The studies may produce preliminary data in October, Shmuel Shoham, an expert in oncology infectious diseases who is co-leading the studies, said in an interview.

“Initially, I was thinking we’d have information by now,” he said.

The Johns Hopkins researchers would like to enroll 1,100 people total in the trials but so far have enrolled 60, Shoham said. Recruitment has been difficult at some of the 30 sites around the country. The virus has disproportionately affected Black and Latino people, who often either aren’t sought after or don’t participate in clinical trials.

“I believe that progress happens at the speed of trust,” Shoham said. “We’re trying, in a very compressed timetable, to gain the trust of communities where there is a trust deficit.”

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ACT Government agencies don’t understand data security and put privacy at risk, auditor-general says


ACT public servants lack understanding of how to protect Canberrans’ personal information and are using “high-risk” services to store it, a watchdog says.

The territory’s auditor-general, Michael Harris, released a strongly critical review of data-security practices yesterday.

On the same day, Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed Australia was the subject of ongoing and wide-ranging cyber attacks targeting government agencies. China was reportedly coordinating the attacks.

Mr Harris catalogued significant failures in the way ACT agencies managed private data, including staff in some directorates being unaware of the risks of sending sensitive information by email or storing it on USB drives.

His audit also found agencies relied on unauthorised cloud services to store and convert images and documents.

The security measures used by these services were often unknown, and some of the data stored was at “high risk” of exposure and theft.

The report said 89 per cent of the Government’s “critical” IT systems lacked a security-risk-management plan. There were “significant delays” in completing these plans — eight months on average.

Agencies had also failed to document the security classification of about two-thirds of the Government’s IT systems.

It was the second auditor-general’s report in two months that criticised flawed cybersecurity practices in the ACT Government.

In April, Mr Harris highlighted agencies’ weak controls over access to IT systems.

‘No known successful cyber attacks’ on ACT Government

Chief Minister Andrew Barr acknowledged ACT agencies were subjected to cyber attacks “all the time” and said fixing the problems was crucial.

“The advice I’ve had … is that there have been no known successful attacks on ACT government systems,” he said of the latest wave of cyber warfare.

“But clearly there is a risk for all.”

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr speaks to the media.
Andrew Barr says organisations in Canberra are high-value targets for cyber attackers.(ABC News: Ian Cutmore)

Mr Barr said Canberra might be a priority target of a large attack because of the high-value institutions in the city, such as government agencies and defence-related businesses.

“The auditor has highlighted areas for improvement,” Mr Barr said.

Opposition Leader Alistair Coe said the Government had failed to do this.

“As more of our information is shifting online, it’s absolutely vital that we have a proper digital plan for the protection of the ACT’s assets but also [of] the privacy of Canberrans,” Mr Coe said.

“It has to be a priority for the ACT Government and today’s report suggests that it’s not currently under ACT Labor.”

The Government said it would implement Mr Harris’s nine recommendations.



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Now’s the Time to Understand Intergenerational Trauma 


Intergenerational trauma refers to trauma that has been carried from one generation to another. The trauma rides along our genes like an anxious passenger. Wanting truths to be told. Wrongs to be righted. Justice to be served. 

It’s a heavy load for each new generation to bear. For when you survive with your ancestors’ trauma inside of you, there’s no escaping it. 

Intergenerational trauma doesn’t always show itself — doesn’t always make itself clearly known — but it’s there. Waiting to be acknowledged.

Any kind of trauma has to be acknowledged before you can begin to heal from it. But when intergenerational trauma goes unacknowledged, then the pattern repeats into the next generation. And into the next. And like any pattern, it is repeated until it is acknowledged. Until it is understood. Only then can we begin to let it go.

I’ve been spending the majority of my adult life hunting down the intergenerational trauma that has influenced the things that have happened to me. The things I’ve been a victim of. The things I have survived. They are the same things that my ancestors had to survive. The intergenerational trauma that lives in my genes. That had to be acknowledged in order for me to begin to understand it. 

Unacknowledged intergenerational trauma is what I hear Black Americans speaking about right now. In their discussions on social media. In the findings of their research. Their trauma is not acknowledged. And their trauma must be acknowledged. Especially by the country who created it. 

Intergenerational trauma doesn’t just need to be acknowledged, it needs to be understood so it can be properly dealt with. This means we need research, training and education about what intergenerational trauma is and how it is affecting current generations. In schools. In public institutions. In the privacy of our own homes.

It means instituting trauma-informed practices and pedagogies. Understanding that what happens to many of us is far beyond our current life circumstances. It is trauma that resides within us. Taking up space. And screaming to be released. 

It also means seeing all of the neurological and personality disorders that are a result of it. Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and narcissistic personality disorder to name a few. Understanding how trauma has shaped our neurological pathways. Creating a constant fight-or-flight response. Forcing those of us who suffer to live in fear. 

It means seeing how it is plaguing our nervous systems. Causing autoimmune diseases and chronic pain. Destroying our digestive systems. Leading to disease and illness. Fear. Anger. And to more trauma. 

Each of us who suffers from intergenerational trauma needs access to psychotherapy to unpack the trauma we carry. To occupational therapy to regulate our nervous systems. To healthcare to assist with the havoc intergenerational trauma has wreaked on our bodies. To affordable help. 

Now is the time to understand intergenerational trauma.

We need to listen and learn from those whom it is affecting in order to form a collective understanding of what it means. To understand how the lives and circumstances of our ancestors are affecting us. Our minds and our bodies. The way we treat ourselves and others. Our ability to survive. Only then, when intergenerational trauma is acknowledged and understood, can we all begin to heal. And hopefully, finally, be able to let it go. 

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