Science

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Two mentally challenged individuals had been having a bit of a spat with raised voices about which of one or another alien races had been exterminated in some futuristic interplanetary war.  They had obviously been emotionally involved.  It could have been truly ugly if they had let go and started beating each other.

There were a lot of things wrong with this picture. Read more on Alien Warfare — True Or False?…

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Okay, let me get this straight.

A study, done by people who at least in part are employees of the CVS pharmacy chain, has established to a wildly impressive level of significance that prescriptions for (cheaper) generic drugs are more likely to get filled than prescriptions labeled “brand name only.”

Brand-name only prescriptions are 50 to 60% less likely to get filled.  This is the summary of the article on CVS website.

Of course there is a little more info in the first article linked above — like specialists being more likely to write “dispense as written,” and such. Read more on Brand Name vs. Generics — Again and Again…

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The Yahoo coverage says two Americans and one German American won the prize.

My bet for the most accurate reporting is the New York Times article that says three Americans won the prize.

This is mainly because I remember I wanted to leave France and return stateside with a French citizenship as a souvenir.  I found out from American authorities that if I wanted to take any kind of oath of allegiance to any country that was not the U.S. of A., then the U.S. of A. would consider it a renouncement of citizenship. Read more on You May Shut Down The Government, But Don’t Shut Down Science!…

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First, let us establish who Callista Gingrich is.  She is the current wife of Newt Gingrich, which news reporting at least suggests is a temporary employment. She is a former Washington intern who has created documentaries and media stuff with her husband.

He has a history of finding his next wife before finishing with the last, so if she were my buddy I would tell her that I hope she has a good prenup — or maybe she wants a postnup.

This being said, I agree with this woman on the thesis of this article — assuming she actually wrote it. Often, people in the public eye let someone else “do the paperwork” when they blog, write essays, etc. Ms. Newt says that today’s young kids have an appalling lack of knowledge about the basics of the history of this country, such as why the pilgrims came or who George Washington was. Read more on Knowledge Of History Means National Pride…

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Like most folks who have not only hung around in academics but venerated scholarship, I am a little circumspect about applied scientists.  I wonder if they do not get bored, repeating the same procedures.  I will admit the closest I have gotten to forensic science is television shows about crime scene investigations.  And I mean the rare times that I watch.

There’s an evolving story out there about an analyst in a state drug lab in Massachusetts who knowingly mishandled evidence in tens of thousands of cases.  And this thing is only going to get deeper. I remember in the fall, when the story hit.  It made no sense to me and I cannot imagine it would to anyone else.  A young woman falsifies evidence that would put people in jail and let people out of jail and nobody knows why or how.  All she says on the record is that she “messed up.”

This case intrigues me mainly because I know that falsifications of results, at least in research science, are at an all time high.  This has been correlated with the horrible pressures in research careers with obtaining funding, maybe even with some sense of competition for success.  In reviewing that data, I did not find a single female perpetrator. Read more on Why Would a Forensic Scientist Run Amok?…

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When I lived in Boston, I remember walking by the reflecting pools of the Christian Science Monitor building.  My parents said it was a wonderful newspaper but it was somehow “heavy” or scholarly, so they did not want to dig into it every Sunday. Although, they seemed happy to skim the issues I would bring home after my journeys to downtown Boston.

Recently, they ran a piece about how New York is going underwater.  Not that New York City is alone; there are plenty of cities that are slowly drowning.  There seems to be no sense of urgency whatsoever.  On the travel website above, for example, there is only a go-visit-it-before-it-is underwater kind of feeling.  I suppose it would be really nice to get some views under your eyelids before they disappear. If nothing else, this situation ought to serve to confirm that global warming is real science and not a political construct.  The polar icecaps are melting and sea level communities are sinking.  It might sound slow, but it is really quite fast, and things need to be done.

First, we need to applaud Mayor Bloomberg of New York City.  Last I heard, he was a Republican, and most Republicans believe that global warming is more Democratic propaganda than science.  All these storms upon the earth are sinking us pretty fast.  Bloomberg has appointed a commission to look at what this will do to New Yorkers.  I don’t necessarily believe that commissions actually work, but he is at least trying to do something.  That gets him points in my book. Read more on They Should Only Sink…

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Putting scientists in prison because they did not accurately predict the danger of an earthquake and communicate it to the people is without precedent – at least as far as I can find.  And it’s probably not a terribly good idea. I guess the lawyers will appeal this one, but there is something else going on.

Junior High geography was pretty colorful at my prep school.  We studied the world, particularly the modern world, with a teacher who held us completely spellbound.  She had used all of her summers for traveling and showered us with rich discussions of the Mediterranean.  She painted a picture of a sun-drenched Italy that I found hard to connect to the ancient stories I heard about in Latin class. Read more on Legal Punishment When Scientists Fail to Warn of Earthquake…

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In the National World War II museum, it is easy and even triumphant and pride-generating to look back and see some of the scientific advances made during World War II.  There’s no doubt that science is advancing.  But I wonder if our ethics can keep pace.

I am fairly proud of Teflon.  And synthetic cortisone is widely used and may have saved plenty of lives. It’s a steroid that knocks down the action of the immune system.  When a medical substance becomes cheaper and easier to use and known to the public, then it runs a real danger of getting overused.  Most concern about overuse is focused on illegal steroids taken by athletes.  Nevertheless, everything that can be helpful and fast may make things worse. One example would be the over-prescribing of steroids to kids with allergies.

Penicillin had been invented before WWII, but its use did not become widespread until WWII.  Of course, it took people awhile to find out about the ability of bacteria to develop resistances to antibiotics.  This has led to newer and stronger antibiotics, which would not be the worst thing in the world. Unfortunately, the excessive use of antibiotics has led to untreatable infections, such as methicilline-resistant strep and an untreatable strain of tuberculosis. Read more on Science and War (and Ethics)…

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Maybe the folks who continue to argue against stem cell research are just afraid their own stem cells could beat them at a game of checkers.

Listen, I want to live forever.  Not like in the song “Fame,” but like in the way that most of us would do anything to live.  Or like the guy who had to leave the country to get life-saving treatment for cancer of the trachea.  Now he is alive when everyone thought he wouldn’t be. It’s a treatment he couldn’t get in the States.  In the States, stem cell benefits are masked by misinformation and fear.

Okay, so I had a metabolic disease that threw me into a coma and nearly killed me a few times.  But here I am to talk about it.  I think about it every blessed day and I find myself grateful to this universal intelligence.  Yes, I am a theist. But I still live in a personal world where I would do anything to live. Read more on Stem Cell Benefits Masked By Fear and Misinformation…

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I have no use for “science vs. religion” debates.  They are artificially created to get people angry at each other, when there is absolutely no reason.

Whatever divine entity you believe in — whatever “universal intelligence” — is not a stupid being.  Any Deity would simply reveal to people what they can understand.

Such a Deity has given humans a marvelous mind that can question and search for the truth.  Much has been learned — and many miracles are possible — because of the hard work of people who advance science and technology. Read more on Want To Waste Time? Argue Science VS Religion…

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