WOW: Quit everything, study science to cure your own rare disease …

This story of a woman named Sonia Vallabh is remarkable. She lost her mother to a rare disease that causes insomnia, which killed her within a relatively short amount of time. Once Sonia found out she carried the same mutated gene, she quit her job, studied for her Ph.D., started research and is on her way to hopefully finding a cure. Wow. Yes, to science. Yes, to human intuition, resilience, determination and strength.

From Wired:

Not long after Sonia found out that she was a carrier of fatal familial insomnia, a scientist friend named Stevie Steiner gave her a thumb drive. It was full of research on prion diseases. Sonia had never imagined that so many people studied them, given their rarity. She and Eric became obsessed with learning more. Sonia had taken a few biology classes in college, but Eric, a Chinese language major, had avoided them almost entirely, satisfying his curriculum requirement with a course called Cropping Systems of the Tropics. “I had to go on Wikipedia to remember what dominant versus recessive meant,” he says. They sat in on classes at MIT, trying to pass as undergraduates, and started a blog, which they used to organize their thoughts and speculate on therapies.

Within a few weeks of the diagnosis, Sonia had quit her job to study science full time, continuing classes at MIT during the day and enrolling in a night class in biology at Harvard’s extension school. The pair lived off savings and Eric’s salary. Sonia had expected to take a temporary sabbatical from her real life, but soon textbooks and academic articles weren’t enough. “The practice of science and the classroom version of science are such different animals,” Sonia says. She wanted to try her hand in the lab. She found a position as a technician with a research group focusing on Huntington’s disease. Eric, not wanting to be left behind, quit his job too and offered his data-­crunching expertise to a genetics lab. The deeper they dove into science, the more they began to fixate on finding a cure.

the excellence of wringing hands in restlessness

The chorus of dissent will crescendo. Thank goodness.

The above tweet will eventually link you to this article. You’ll want to read that one.

The Washington Post reports:

Rudolph W. Giuliani claimed Wednesday night that he “never said there was no collusion” between President Trump’s campaign and Russia leading up to the 2016 presidential election. In a remarkable, at times contentious, interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, the president’s lawyer appeared to contradict his own past statements about collusion as well as what Trump and his supporters have repeatedly asserted.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

In early 2015, a man who runs a small technology company showed up at Trump Tower to collect $50,000 for having helped Michael Cohen, then Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, try to rig online polls in his boss’s favor before the presidential campaign.

NPR reports:

More than half of registered voters say they have made their minds up against supporting President Trump in 2020, according to a new poll. In a PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist Institute survey released Thursday, 57 percent of registered voters said that they would definitely not support Trump in 2020, and would instead “vote against” the president by supporting one of his announced opponents.

Axios reports:

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie settles scores in “Let Me Finish,” a memoir out Jan. 29 from Hachette Books, writing that President Trump “trusts people he shouldn’t, including some of the people who are closest to him.”

Christie asserts that Trump has a “revolving door of deeply flawed individuals — amateurs, grifters, weaklings, convicted and unconvicted felons — who were hustled into jobs they were never suited for, sometimes seemingly without so much as a background check via Google or Wikipedia.”

The Daily Beast reports:

Rick Gates, the former campaign aide to Donald Trump, is cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into whether individuals from the Middle East worked with the Trump campaign to influence the election, according to two individuals with first-hand knowledge of the investigation.

Gates has answered questions specifically about Psy Group, an Israeli firm that ex-employees say drew up social media manipulation plans to help the Trump campaign, according to sources familiar with the questions.

Mueller’s team also asked Gates about interactions with Psy Group’s owner, Joel Zamel, and Lebanese-American businessman George Nader, who worked as an emissary for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the sources said.

Gabriel Sherman reports at Vanity Fair:

The shutdown and related chaos has pushed Donald Trump’s approval rating to new lows, with even Rasmussen, his polling happy place, pegging him at 43 percent. But the White House believes this is only the beginning of his troubles.

In recent days, according to a source briefed on the conversation, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani has told people privately that he expects Robert Mueller to deliver the first installment of his report, dealing with obstruction of justice, “within the month.” “Rudy thinks it will be soon,” said a person who’s spoken with Giuliani. “It’s only a matter of time.”

The mounting pressure has also strained Giuliani’s relationship with Trump. “Rudy hates the job,” a Republican briefed on Giuliani’s thinking told me. “Trump is very hard to deal with.”

A friend of mine recently posted her profile picture. I’ll put it below the fold. I have absolutely no idea how she’s going to accept the news that her idol (and her sin of idolatry) will affect/change/ease her waining, absolutely bizarre system of belief.

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