Thursday, May 27, 2010

ESC Research

Another article from Science Daily on the state of ESC research:
"This discovery has the potential to transform our understanding of the development and evolution of the human neocortex"
"In the current study... using new labeling and tracking techniques to follow individual cells and their progeny over time in cultured tissue slices from fetal cortex tissue that had been donated for research."

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

ASC and Teeth

An interesting article from Science Daily:
"An animal-model study has shown that by homing stem cells to a scaffold made of natural materials and integrated in surrounding tissue, there is no need to use harvested stem cell lines, or create an environment outside of the body (e.g., a Petri dish) where the tooth is grown and then implanted once it has matured. The tooth instead can be grown "orthotopically," or in the socket where the tooth will integrate with surrounding tissue in ways that are impossible with hard metals or other materials."

Monday, May 24, 2010

Evolution Success Story

An informative article at Science Daily:
"In some regards, this is one of the best demonstrations of evolution ever carried out in a laboratory"
It's always funny how bacteria producing bacteria, or dogs producing dogs is "success for evolution". If I ask to show mud-to-men, I'm told that would take too long.
"Over the three-year study period, the bacterial population remained diverse and appeared to adapt significantly well to the environment"
In three years, one strain of bacteria diversified. So evolution is fast: fast enough to explain all the current species descending from pairs on the Ark - which is not "science". But mud-to-men, which can't be demonstrated, is science.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Kagan Again

An interesting report from Ignatius Insight.
"Rep. Louise Slaughter, a New York Democrat and co-chair of the House Pro-Choice Caucus, on Tuesday warned that the next Supreme Court justice must be "unwavering" in support of abortion rights."
I like the irony in her name...

There are two aspects to this. One, if Democrats are sending letters to encourage other Democrats, perhaps there is some doubt. Two, is there really any doubt where these people stand?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

ESC Research

Another post at Science Daily on the details of ESC research.

Choice quotes:
"Mitalipova created six new human ES cell lines -- two male and four female. Half of the cells isolated from each embryo were cultured in 20% oxygen, while the other half were created and maintained at 5% oxygen...female human ES cells exposed to 20% oxygen had one X chromosome permanently inactivated"

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


President Obama faces a moment of judgment. He probably doesn't realize it. Up until this point, he has been innocent of the evil of abortion taking place in this nation.

As President there is nothing he can do about it (not that he seems particularly interested in doing anything).

But, when he appoints a Supreme Court justice, now he is liable. If that judge votes in favor of abortion the next time it comes up (and it is always being pressed to test the mood of the Court), then Obama takes on some of the guilt. He knows (or at least, should know) where his candidate stands. If it is not a priority, then that is judgment too.

It is important to know that judgment rarely comes about in a timely fashion. God is working things out in His time, and His greatest priority is not our time lines. Everything is worked out in eternity future.

I haven't seen any documentation of Kagan's stand on abortion. As an academic and litigator, it has little opportunity to show. This CNN article (and other places) describes her as "trailblazing", which is not really encouraging.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

ESC Research

Further insight into the state of embryonic stem cell research, from Science Daily.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Is Technology Evil?

I like technology. I grew up reading Golden Age Science Fiction. Stories of a future where technology and knowledge are our salvation (yes, there is soteriology in there).

When it came time to work, I wanted to do everything related to computers. I snarfed up everything technology related.

But, now that I am a Christian, I must examine everything Biblically.

There is an interesting account of the fate of Cain (and his descendants) in Genesis 4.
  1. Cain was a farmer (Seth kept sheep, which is a pretty simple task)
  2. Cain built the first city
  3. Jabal started keeping cattle
  4. Jubal started playing the harp and organ
  5. Tubalcain started working in bronze and iron
No innovations are credited to the sons of Seth.

Numbers 3 and 4 are interesting. Cattle are clean animals, used in many of the sacrifices of the old covenant. And David played the harp (and many instruments were prescribed by God for use in temple worship).

Of course, I should have known this before starting this exercise. Technology is not good or evil, it is the heart that counts. We can use technology to serve God, or we can use it to please ourselves - and distract us from God's hold on us.

I think that second part is the big point. Men seek distraction from the reminder of God's judgment on sin. The development and use of technology can play a very big role in that.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Pill

CNN is doing a special on the 50th anniversary of the the pill. They have quotes from thirteen women, and one man. I will group them according to the tone of their response.

  1. Solidly Against - two of the women: Notare, a Catholic; and Matalin, a Republican strategist. Matalin, I think, captures a lot of the anti-sentiment: "And how did they manifest their superiority? Their freedom? Thanks to The Pill, by casual, drive-by sex."

  2. Mixed reaction - only two (I was somewhat surprised): Welch, and Walker. Welch is grasping at the problem, although she cannot truly identify it: "I'm ashamed to admit that I myself have been married four times, and yet I still feel that marriage is the cornerstone of civilization, an essential institution that stabilizes society, provides a sanctuary for children. Strong family-orientated communities save us from anarchy."

  3. Solidly for - the other ten.
Among the ten, it is interesting how much of the focus is on jobs (or "careers"). The key words are all about "control", "freedom", and "planning" (or the converse, "derail"). Sometimes "equality".

The man selected for comment was Hugh Hefner. A choice quote: "I always felt, quite frankly, that the notion that sex was just for procreation was just wrong."

Medically, there are two effects of the pill: to prevent ovulation, and to prevent implantation.

There is nothing wrong with preventing ovulation (although one may question if the cost of side effects of the pill are worth this effect).

The problem is that preventing implantation kills the embryo in cases where ovulation still occurs. I have not seen any numbers on how often this occurs. The medical community is mostly concerned with preventing pregnancy, and the pill is very effective at that.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

ASC and Parkinson's

Interesting article at Science Daily on using adult stem cells to increase dopamine levels in mice.

Friday, May 7, 2010

ESC Research

An interesting article at Science Daily. Again, ESC is primarily used for information gathering.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

ASC and MS

Promising news from Science Daily:
"completed a small trial in patients with MS to begin translating these findings from the laboratory to the clinic."

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Star Data

I posted a link to an online star catalog earlier. I haven't had a chance to make use of it.

Science Daily has another (this in infared).