Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Coming to You Soon as “Soma”

13 March 2012

According to The Daily Beast, there’s now a pill to cure racism.

…Writing in the medical journal Psychopharmacology, British investigators found that a veteran heart and blood pressure pill, propranolol, which acts to lower our fight-or-flight response to anything by dialing down adrenaline production, reduced “implicit racial bias” significantly. They ran their study in 36 white 22-year-old volunteers and distinguished implicit associations from explicit racial prejudice. … (H/T: JCM)

While some question whether or not thirty-six people is enough of a sample size to make such an announcement (it’s not), I have to question the fact that only white people were included in the sample. Apparently, the “implicit racial bias” of the investigators, who might want to consider taking some of their own medicine, is that only white people can be racist. Physicians, heal thyselves.

Impossible to Hide the Decline

11 October 2011

(H/T: The Weekly Standard)

Yid with Lid — …Great Britain, which just went through two record cold winters is in store for some more. Scientists are predicting that Britain may be facing a mini-ice age that may last for decades. It’s partly the fault of the La Nina weather pattern… The real cause for this prediction is the Sun. It has been emitting few ultra violet rays (not that you would know by looking at Snooki). …the news about the arctic ice cap may be just as depressing. So far it has been very cold in the arctic this fall, in fact it has been coldest autumn the arctic has seen in over a decade. Because of this cold the arctic has added a Manhattan-sized chunk of ice to the ice cap every 30 seconds for the last 30 days… As our President, the EPA and many other progressives work to slow down the economy with crippling regulations to reduce “greenhouse gasses,” it seems that mother earth does not want to cooperate. …

Old News, Unless You Only Watch the MSM

1 August 2011

Pajamas Media — Sophisticated stem cell medicine — in which a patient’s own fatty tissue is harvested and processed for the patient’s own adult (autologous) stem cells, then reinjected for regenerative healing — is available in the United States and Canada, but only for animals. Elsewhere in the world — the Regenerative Medicine Institute at Tijuana’s impressive Hospital Angeles, for example, just 20 minutes outside San Diego — adult stem cells have been shown to have remarkable efficacy in treating a variety of diseases. … the MSM carefully avoids the subject of stem cells — unless, that is, you’re talking embryonic stem cells. These are the controversial cells, harvested from dead human fetuses, that most people presume to be the foundation of all cell medicine. For the MSM, embryonic stem cells are not voodoo nonsense; they are cool, cutting-edge, sexy. They are headline-grabbers. They have the highly mediagenic property of “pluripotency” — the ability to morph into any type of cell in the body. But adult stem cells are proven more effective and less risky than embryonic cells. Yet only embryonic stem cells and their supporters merit coverage in the MSM, despite the fact that fetal cells do not perform successfully in clinical trials.

I’ve seen this reported a number of times over a number of years: The only stem cells that regularly show any promise are adult stem cells (which can be harvested from fat), but the only stem cells that the media (and the government pork-barrel spenders) show any interest in are embryonic stem cells harvested from aborted fetuses. That above the referenced article doesn’t really speculate deeply on the cause of this dishonest discrepancy, but it’s fairly obvious that the obsession with embryonic stem cells is based at least in part of justifying the continued availability of abortion on demand in America, with government funding. And if they can convince the public that they stand to reap personally benefit from the endless health benefits from endless abortions, then with any luck the voters will be swayed away from pro-life policies and politicians. When the subject of stem cell research comes it, it’s surprising (OK, not really) how many people are unaware that there even exist other types of stem cell research about from the embryonic type, much less the fact that the other types of research are the ones actually showing promise. But then again, it should be fairly obvious to anyone who spared the time to rub two brain cells together that, if embryonic stem cell research were the gold mine that everyone claimed it was, then it wouldn’t need massive government subsidies. People would be lining up to invest in it.

But, maybe someday after adult stem cell research reaches its potential, it may actually gain some acknowledgement for its successes (while the government-funded embryonic boondoggles continue to waste money with little result), we can all go down to the nearest Red Cross center to donate a pint of fat in order to provide the stem cells to cure our fellow citizens. Given how much liposuction is done on the stars in Hollywood, they might actually (for the first time in decades) actually be doing something to contribute to society in a positive way.

Jews in Space (Coming in 2012)

31 March 2011

Forbes — If all goes according to plan, by December 2012 a team of three young Israeli scientists will have landed a tiny spacecraft on the moon, explored the lunar surface, and transmitted live video back to earth, thereby scooping up a $20 million prize (the Google Lunar X Prize), revolutionizing space exploration, and making the Jewish State the third nation (after the U.S. and Russia) to land a probe on the moon. And they’re doing it in their spare time. The three engineers – Yariv Bash (electronics and computers), Kfir Damari (communication systems), and Yonatan Winetraub (satellite systems) all have high-level day jobs in the Israeli science and technology world, and also both teach and study. They all had heard of the Google Lunar X Prize independently, before being introduced by mutual friends who, as Yonatan puts it “thought we were all crazy enough to do it, so we should meet each other.” By the end of November 2010 they had sketched together a novel plan to win the prize and submitted it to organizers. Only on December 21 (10 days before the December 31 deadline) did they set about raising the $50,000 entry fee. “Like good Israelis we left it to the last minute,” Yonatan laughs. … As to why they got involved? “Three reasons,” say Yonatan, “Creating national pride, really putting Israel on the map as a start-up nation by doing something only the superpowers have done, and reigniting Israeli interest in science.” …

“So Much for NASA’s Muslim Outreach,” commented WeaselZippers, linking to this article. (I have my own comments about NASA’s muslim outreach.) I don’t see any muslim team names in the contenders to probe the Moon God; but then, there’s already widespread “knowledge” in the Muslim world that Neil Armstrong heard the Muslim call to prayer on the (airless and soundless) Moon (in Mohammed’s own voice, according to some) and converted to Islam on the spot. So, I suppose they can still claim to have been there first…

It’s All Fun And Games Until Gojira Arrives

18 March 2011

From Japan, in their own inimitable style, comes the video “Nuclear Boy” by media artist Kazuhiko Hachiya providing commentary on the status of the Fukushima nuclear reactor.

British columnist James Delingpole provides some numbers for comparison. (H/T: I Hate the Media)

Nuclear fatalities in the last ten years: 7
Wind farm fatalities in the last ten years: 44.

In those ten years nuclear provided thirty times the energy of wind. This means in the last decade, nuclear has been around 200 times safer than wind on an energy produced/accidents basis.

Soylent Green reminds us that Japan’s biggest worries right now are cholera, plague, and dysentery; not neutrons.



14 March 2011

Given all the panic and hyperbole in the media about the nuclear plants in Japan (I’m expecting CNN to report, with a straight face, the increased likelihood of Godzilla attacks caused by the radiation), here’s an explanation from someone who knows whereof he speaks:

I have been reading every news release on the incident since the earthquake. There has not been one single (!) report that was accurate and free of errors (and part of that problem is also a weakness in the Japanese crisis communication). By “not free of errors” I do not refer to tendentious anti-nuclear journalism – that is quite normal these days. By “not free of errors” I mean blatant errors regarding physics and natural law, as well as gross misinterpretation of facts, due to an obvious lack of fundamental and basic understanding of the way nuclear reactors are build and operated. I have read a 3 page report on CNN where every single paragraph contained an error. …
Josef Oehmen PhD., MIT

(H/T: Soylent Green, which also has another piece entitled “Because the Greens Will Further Demonize Nuclear Power” about different types of reactors, and why we should be using thorium for nuclear fuel.)

Update: Some Democrats want the USA to “put the brakes” on nuclear power. (H/T: C2) (more…)


23 November 2010

“Based on a back of the envelope calculation with a 50 KVp Bremsstrahlung spectrum and the standard mass absorption coefficients for soft tissue, X-ray backscatter machines will, if widely deployed, almost certainly kill far more people than the terrorists they are supposed to protect us from.
TJ Radcliffe

My song didn’t even get into the radiation hazards of the new TSA regimen. Perhaps that’ll be in the sequel…

I’ve Got a Little List

16 November 2010

Scientists propose one-way trips to Mars:

AP — Two scientists are suggesting that colonization of the red planet could happen faster and more economically if astronauts behaved like the first settlers to come to North America – not expecting to go home. “The main point is to get Mars exploration moving,” said Dirk Schulze-Makuch, a Washington State University professor who co-authored an article that seriously proposes what sounds like a preposterous idea. … Schulze-Makuch and Paul Davies, a physicist at Arizona State University, argue that humans must begin colonizing another planet as a hedge against a catastrophe on Earth. They believe the one-way trips could start in two decades. … Mars is a six-month flight away, and it has surface gravity, a thin atmosphere, frozen water, carbon dioxide and essential minerals. The two scientists propose the missions begin with two two-person teams, in separate ships that would serve as living quarters on the planet. More colonists and regular supply ships would follow. The technology already exists, or is within easy reach, they wrote. By not taking the extra fuel and provisions necessary for a return trip to Earth, the mission could cut costs by 80 percent. … Both men contend that Mars has abundant resources to help the colonists become self-sufficient over time. They write that the colony should be next to a large ice cave, to provide shelter from radiation, plus water and oxygen. … “We are on a vulnerable planet,” Schulze-Makuch said. “Asteroid impact can threaten us, or a supernova explosion. If we want to survive as a species, we have to expand into the solar system and likely beyond.”

But whom shall we send? Well, I’ve got a little list…