Thursday, September 07, 2006

One down, one to go

1) So the Micro comp went pretty well yesterday, or at least it felt like it did. One more day of nuts-to-the-rafters studying (which is like balls-to-the-wall studying on amphetamines), and I'm done until January.

2) I read in the paper that a bunch of political groups, led mostly by Christian Right Conservatives and Catholics, are up in arms about the claims of a scientist that said they can generate stem cells without destroying an embroyo by removing one of the 8 cells in the early stages of life. This is done regularly for in-vitro fertilization to test for major genetic flaws or other problems (like Gattaca light). This process would allow for new stem-cell cultures to be produced. Fantastic news, right? The scientist and society are pleased because they can actually work on curing diseases, and the crazies are happy because there is still another voter on the way. Everybody is happy, yes?

Well, you can imagine that nothing will ever be that simple. In the study, the scientists actually harvested all 8 cells and coaxed them into stem-cell cultures, rather than taking one and preserving the embryo. All the article said was that using a process that is already done on most test-tube babies as a matter of course, their results could be replicated. They didn't say they had actually made stems-cells from an embryo that survived, nor was that the goal of their study. Now all these jackasses who had one of their 22-year-old staffers read the paper's abstract and give them the gist are accusing the scientist of fraud, misrepresentation, and telling them they are "on the ropes" (Alren Spector) and that it is "a big black eye if scientists are making fake and inaccurate representations" (Washington Post, today's issue).

Hello? Is anybody awake? All they said was, "look, here's an idea. We already do this process which doesn't hurt an embryo to harvest cells. We have created stems cell cultures using that same material. We might be onto something here that could cure your alzheimers without pissing any right-wingers off." Now, apparently, they were making false claims that they not only grew stems cells in the lab from an embryo that wasn't destroyed, but that the embryo has grown into Jesus who has come to fix the medicare and social security problems in this country. I hate politics. I really do. How else can, "here's an idea that might satisfy your ethical crisis while allowing scientific progress to continue" turn into "you, sir, are a liar. Liar, liar, and your pants are on FIRE!"

The world will be so much better when I am dictator.


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