Friday, March 26, 2010

ASC and Surgery

Exciting news from Science Daily:
"They stripped cells from a donated trachea, used it to replace the entire length of the damaged airway, and then used the child's own bone marrow stem cells to seal the airway in the body."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Global Warming

There is an elephant in the room when it comes to global warming. Science Daily has it in one:
"Even if all man-made greenhouse gas emissions were stopped tomorrow and carbon-dioxide levels stabilized at today's concentration, by the end of this century the global average temperature would increase by about 4.3 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 2.4 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels, which is significantly above the level which scientists and policymakers agree is a threshold for dangerous climate change" (emphasis added)
I should go over the technical details at some point, but he is right. If the models are correct, we are already too late. There is no hope.

Which brings us to the interesting question: if it is already too late, why bother? Why turn our economies upside down, repent and sit in ashes to Mother Earth (that is, drive electric cars and buy carbon credits)?

My personal opinion is that the models are wrong. They are largely based on an old earth, which is all junk data. But, even, if they are right, my hope is not in this life - I was never promised to have it easy, to have everything go my way. It will certainly be interesting.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

ASC Supply

Another article on Science Daily about increasing the supply of adult stem cells.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Intolerant Tolerance

An excellent article from Albert Mohler:
"At its heart, [tolerance] is a philosophy and moral commitment to accepting the rights of others to believe or behave differently from ourselves without excluding or penalizing. Don’t expect champions of tolerance to 'tolerate' acts of exclusion or bigotry that represent the very opposite of the principle they hold so dear."
This statement is self-refuting. If you can only be tolerant by accepting others who believe differently, then true tolerance cannot be intolerant of anyone - even those who are intolerant. Being intolerant of intolerance still makes you intolerant (which should then cause you to reject yourself).

The modern "tolerance" movement is not about tolerance at all (as shown by their intolerance). It is an alternative morality - one which rejects the Bible.

Monday, March 22, 2010

ESC Research

As I mentioned, most uses for ESC are in pure research (gaining understanding, not helping people).

Sunday, March 21, 2010

ASC Research

A lot of work going on in adult stem cells:
  1. One of the common uses of ESC is in pure research (finding out how things work), Science Daily has an article on similar research done using ASC.
  2. More work on building blood vessels from ASC

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Brain Optimizations

An interesting article at Science Daily:
"A study shows that it takes less effort for the brain to register predictable as compared to unpredictable images."
The article frames this in the context of the scientific method, however, I see things in terms of micro-architecture (design of microprocessors).

In an advanced microprocessor, there is a lot of what is called "speculation". This includes the branch predictor, caches (which are can be seen as a form of "reuse prediction"), and other structures (load-hit predictor).

When the predictions are correct, everything runs at maximum performance (which often uses max power). When a prediction is wrong, often power consumption goes down as structures get reset.
"If it is wrong, massive responses are required to find out why it is wrong and to come up with better predictions."
It's interesting that there is a nearly opposite effect in the brain. It's possible this is an interface issue. If a processor's caches suddenly stop being effective (due to "mispredicting" the access pattern), the memory bus will go from nearly idle to wildly active.

This property has been used in cryptography. A correct password uses less power to check than a wrong one. It can even take varying amounts of power, depending on how far off the password is.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Atheists in the Pulpit

Over at Albert Mohler's blog, an article that is both depressing and reassuring!

Depressing that there are churches without good leadership.

Reassuring, because this is exactly what the Bible says about such things!

We can start with Matthew 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." (also, Acts 20:29)

Then, let's fisk the article:
"Darryl is candid about the fact that he remains in the ministry largely for financial reasons."
I encourage you to read the whole article, before this, we saw several examples of pastors straying from orthodox doctrine (disobeying Titus 1:9 "Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers." and performing verse 10 "For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers"). Then we come to this point, which is verse 11 "Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake."

"Adam ... stays in the ministry because he likes the people and, 'I need the job still.' If he had an alternative source of income, he would take it. He feels hypocritical, but no longer believes that hypocrisy is wrong."

This is a beautiful point. Many atheists complain about how Christians are hypocrites, but why (assuming atheism) is hypocrisy wrong?

"John ... stays in the ministry because of finances."

The blame cannot be wholly placed on these men.
"Many churches and denominations have adopted such fluid and doctrineless identities that determining who is a believer and who is an unbeliever has become difficult ... the churches must muster the integrity to eject them."
Which brings us to 2 Timothy 4:3
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears"
Bad rulers are a form of punishment for bad citizens. Bad pastors are judgment for bad church members.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Healthcare and Abortion

Albert Mohler has uncovered some shocking statements by our politicians:
“If you pass the Stupak amendment, more children will be born, and therefore it will cost us millions more. That’s one of the arguments I’ve been hearing,” Stupak says.
I'd like to know who said that.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

ASC Supply

We have seen there are many sources of adult stem cells.

From Science Daily:
"amniotic fluid skin cells formed stem cell colonies in about half the time and yielded nearly a 200 percent increase in number"

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Abortion and Birth Control

A disturbing study from Science Daily:
"women ... were offered free hormonal contraception for a year. The result was that the abortion rate in the trial cities was halved."
Sometimes people argue whether or not abortion is used as birth control, here is some data.

Monday, March 15, 2010

ASC and Blood Vessels

Interesting news from Science Daily:
"The study is an important step in identifying methods to build a tissue-engineered vascular graft."
There is a lot of work on this going on.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

ASC and Stroke

Encouraging news from Science Daily:
"Within two days of suffering ischemic stroke, patients were put on a nine-day treatment course, starting with three once-daily injections of beta-hCG, a hormone that triggers the growth of neural stem cells. They then received three once-daily injections of erythropoietin, a hormone that directs these neural stem cells to become neurons."
"No safety concerns were noted, and a majority of treated patients had minimal or no disability after three months."

Friday, March 12, 2010


An insightful article by Al Mohler:
"Amartya Sen estimated that 100 million baby girls were missing — sacrificed by parents who desired a son."
I've mentioned before that abortion targets women.

The horror of this atrocity is worth considering on its own.

I would also like to bring in the theological and technology aspect:
"even as the spread of ultrasound technology has greatly aided the pro-life movement by making the humanity of the unborn baby visible and undeniable, among those determined to give birth only to baby boys, in millions of cases the same technology has meant a death warrant for a baby girl in the womb."
Technology makes us more powerful (more work per time). It can be used for evil or good. Sometimes, it can shine light on bad idea - other times, the bad ideas are immune to the light.

Monday, March 8, 2010

ASC Supply

One of the promises of ESC is that they can (possibly) provide a never ending supply. We have seen that there are potentially many sources of ASC. Now, from Science Daily:
"the researchers discovered the means to manufacture an unlimited supply of blood-related stem cells"

Thursday, March 4, 2010

ESC Research

A disappointing article from Science Daily:
"Despite the promise of iPS [reprogrammed adult stem] cells, scientists are still struggling to understand whether their developmental potential is equivalent to that of embryonic stem cells. Some studies have suggested that iPS cells have more fragile genomes or are more prone to DNA abnormalities than embryonic stem cells. This fragility could make them unsafe to use therapeutically. The bottom line, says Daley, is that research on both types of stem cells must continue, because it's too early to predict where the safest and most effective cell-based therapies will come from."
This one just takes the cake. Adult stem cells are being used now, in adult therapies. ESC is being considered in one case. ESC repeatedly has problems with rejection and tumor formation.
"we as a scientific community are relieved to have a more rational scientific policy, which allows us to focus almost exclusively on the science" (says Daley)
Must be nice to just ignore ethics.

Monday, March 1, 2010

ESC and Vision

Add one potential treatment to the first I have seen:
"used mouse embryonic stem cells to replace diseased retinal cells and restore sight in a mouse model"
Looks like the scary parts of ESC are still present (haven't seen this issue in ASC...):
"complications of benign tumors and retinal detachments were seen in some of the mice"