Science


“We didn’t, like, evolve from anything. That doesn’t make any sense. I mean, how can, like, an African American person evolve from a white person? We’re different skin.”

I’d like to make a joke about this, but Great Scott! – creationism has absolutely no place in the science classroom. If the school I taught at were to ever teach it in our science classes, I would fight it – while eagerly offering to teach a “World Religions” or “Religious Mythology” elective in its place – and if the fight were lost, I would resign without any hesitation. Teach the history behind Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. in a Global Awareness social studies class, and I’m fine with it, but there is no room for teaching mythology in a science class.

Dr. Irving Weissman: humankind's champion; lab rats' worst nightmare.

If you’re one of those weird parents who holds on to literal pieces of your newborn baby, like their umbilical cord, Dr. Irving Weissman, a leader in stem cell research in the United States, suggests you don’t pay thousands of dollars for someone to keep it on ice for you.

Recently, charlatan clinicians have been sweet-talking new parents into putting their neonate’s umbilical cords into ‘stem cell banks’ to the tune of $3,600+ in hopes of being able to use its cells later to cure potential illnesses.  As an insurance policy for your kids, you’re better off investing your money in a CD.  Dr. Weissman, an MD, scientist and all-around bad ass, has this to say on the matter:

“‘Umbilical cords contain blood-forming stem cells at a level that would maintain the blood-forming capacity of a very young child… They could also have derived mesenchymal cells — fiberglass-like cells that have a very limited capacity to make scar, bone, fat — but they don’t make brain, they don’t make blood, they don’t make heart, they don’t make skeletal muscle, despite what various people claim,’ he said.”

So, if you wanna hold onto those umbilical cords because you’re a weirdo, go ahead.  But if you think that one day it’s going to potentially save your child… well, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but we’re not there just yet.

It’ll be interesting to see over the next couple of months how the first FDA approved clinical trial turns out.  At the Medical College of Georgia, scientists will be evaluating the use of a child’s own cord blood stem cells as an intervention for cerebral palsy (Sources 5 and 6).  This study, however, seems to be (to the extreme layperson… me) conducted in a different context as people whose children are born with a preexisting condition could conceivably use their umbilical cords to immediately affect these types of brain disorders.  These parents are not paying thousands of dollars to have someone hold onto their child’s umbilical cords in hopes of using them later on for developing conditions.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Mr. Spangler has created quite the stir amongst my social circle about alternative energy.  This caused one of my friends to insult Leo, which made me incredibly angry.  He gets a bad rap for ‘Titanic’.  I’m telling you, he will go down in history as the best actor of our generation, and certainly the best actor to ever appear on ‘Growing Pains’.  Sorry, Kirk Cameron.

I’m not sure why people are so opposed to looking for alternative ways to create energy.  When you talk about it in the political sense, I guess I would assume that this issue is something that would bridge the partisan gap.  It creates revenue for the alternative energy companies and the people who are invested in them, which is good.  It saves the companies and communities that invest in alternative energy millions of dollars, which is also a good thing.  And while it happens to be creating jobs and be more cost effective, it’s also good for the environment (while I do not believe that there is enough evidence to support man-made global warming, I do believe that it doesn’t take a scientist to watch a sunset from Dodger Stadium in LA and realize that it’s probably not good to breathe in that air).

When I talk to people about this, the issue that they seem to not understand about alternative energy is that it can actually be incredibly cheaper than traditional fuel. Now, that being said, I don’t expect every house to have its own source of independent energy in its backyard.  When you’re talking about spending federal dollars, that’d be absolutely ridiculous.  No one was expected to own a computer when they first made their way onto the scene in the 40′s either (unless you were a millionaire and happened to own an entire city block).  I’m not saying we should all live like the Dutch.  Although that would be pretty sweet, it’s just not practical on a micro-level yet.

However, if businesses and communities invest in alternative energy projects like biomass technology or community digesters, it is significantly more cost effective than traditional fuel based energy (and simultaneously good for the environment).  Companies like Wilson Engineering provide clean, renewable, and significantly cheaper energy technology.

http://www.wilsonengineeringservices.com/index.html

When you can actually show the fiscal sense that projects that companies like this provide, I’m unsure as to why you wouldn’t want to invest in that technology.

While I certainly don’t believe that human beings are the cause of global warming, I do believe it’s fiscally and socially irresponsible to not look for alternative energy sources when the technology is readily available.

And while Leo may not be an authority on energy policy, I think he’s more knowledgeable than this ass-clown:

Jesus.

Sources: 1, 2, 3

Regardless of where you stand on the topic of global warming, one cannot deny how devastating the Climategate controversy could be for those adamant supporters if this news proves true.  Apparently some e-mails were leaked/hacked into among a few of the higher ups who research and promote the theory of man-made global warming.  These e-mails  implicate said scientists with falsifying grandiose data about the effects of man on expediting the global warming process.

I’ve been hard-pressed to find any information about this on the World Wide Web and no legitimate websites that have posted any of the e-mails in their entirety.  Most of the websites, in fact, only speak of the scientists implicated and summarize some of these mysterious (and probably illegally obtained, if at all) e-mails.  I assumed this would be a great finger pointing moment for those opposed to the theory of man-made global warming.  Instead of hearing this on the news or radio, however, I first caught a whiff of this story on The Drudge Report, but I haven’t seen any major websites (CNN, Yahoo!, cbs, etc.) post any information in regards to it, which seems a tad fishy to me.  So, if anyone is able to find anymore relevant information pertaining to this scandal, please, feel free to post the links below.

I’d say fabricating data in regards to a billion or trillion dollar industry worldwide is probably cause for suspicion, so keep your ears to the ground, folks.

Links: 1, 2, 3

Are you a high school student looking for some inspiration? Perhaps a philanthropist who has a little extra cash to throw around, if only you could find a worthy cause? Why not pursue or support something genuinely worthwhile: science.

When one thinks of a scientist, they often picture a slightly eccentric man with frizzy white hair, a lab coat, and a social life comparable to a federal prisoner on death row. Perhaps they never encountered Doc Brown. There was a time though when young people of an entire generation dreamed of someday being scientists and didn’t scoff at the kid who worked hard in physics class, because he might be the kid that grows up to build a spaceship that takes them all to a distant planet and they didn’t want left out. Perhaps these dreams were fueled by an abundance of 1950s science fiction B-movies or the wonderment of the Apollo missions of the 1960s. Nowadays, it seems the study of science is becoming a dying interest among young people, which is frightening considering it is perhaps the most important vocation that humankind must pursue in order to continue our existence and prevent what would otherwise be our inevitable self-destruction.

If only people’s undying passion for religion could be replaced with a passion for science. After all, there have been wars in the name of a god or gods since the beginning of religion, but we’ve never seen a war waged because one group of scientists believed Pluto to be a planet and others did not (although it came close to a full-out riot amongst us unscientific folk who swear Pluto is still a planet, even if we’re not sure why in the slightest).

Science is knowledge. Knowledge is key to everything. Thankfully, while a decade ago, science-oriented majors had fallen dramatically, the numbers are now rising again worldwide – albeit slowly. Whether we as adults, parents, and educators instill a love for the stars, an interest in molecules, or even a fascination with human nature among young people today, science in the name of progress needs to make a comeback. Don’t let your child settle for being a communications major (no disrespect intended to communication majors out there, you get enough jabs from everyone, don’t you?) who may just go on to report on a celebrity gossip YouTube channel – get them engaged in a science fair while they’re young, make sure it is fun enough that when they are thinking about college, they think, “Gee, this would be fun, interesting, and beneficial to our world.” And indeed, that’s the first step to a better world.

lhc

We are fans of science here at Sickeningly Liberal. Well, ninth grade science class was pretty lame, but that was mostly because Mr. Wellman spoke in monotone and suffered from a severe case of halitosis. Still, we applaud scientists and the greats things that they do like creating Snuggies and those shoes that light up every time you take a step. In fact, I even cite Stephen Hawking, Peter Venkman, and Dr. Emmett Brown as major influences in my life.

With all of that said, I want to officially make it clear that we support the scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider and their vision, even if it could potentially create a black hole that swallowed our solar system. For those of you not familiar with the LHC, it is a particle accelerator (aka atom smasher) that uses electric fields to “collide opposing particle beams of either protons at an energy of 7 TeV per particle or lead nuclei at an energy of 574 TeV per nucleus.”

No, I don’t really know what any of this means – I am a wordsmith, not a scientist, after all – but I do know that it has had over ten-thousand scientists work on the project over the years, and that it has to potential unlock the answers to loads of questions that physicists have been working to answer for centuries. Most importantly though, it has the potential to open doorways to other dimensions of space.

Yes, we’re talking parallel universes and shit here, folks. From a recent article on the LHC from The Register:

A top boffin at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) says that the titanic machine may possibly create or discover previously unimagined scientific phenomena, or “unknown unknowns” – for instance “an extra dimension”. “Out of this door might come something, or we might send something through it,” said Sergio Bertolucci, who is Director for Research and Scientific Computing at CERN.

Here’s to hoping that one of these doors opens up our world to one of two things: dinosaurs… or crab people!

crabpeople

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