News | Strange Ideas
11/8/2004 Biology. Ovary Transplant to Arm a Success. Surgery to transplant a woman's entire ovary to her upper arm is feasible and can preserve fertility in patients undergoing radiation treatments that leave them prematurely menopausal, a new report says.
10/27/04 Anthropology / Biology New hobbit sized human species discovered. Ancient, Tiny Humans Shed New Light on Evolution (npr) "In a cave on the Indonesian island of Flores, scientists have unearthed the bones of a species of human never seen before. About three-feet-tall when fully grown, Homo floresiensis resembles some of our most primitive ancestors -- but lived as recently as 13,000 years ago. They made tools and hunted dwarf elephants ..."
Today, in 2004 we can discover new REAL human like species, but some people still think bigfoot is fake. Go figure.
10/20/04 Biology. (betterhumans) Human Genome Gets Smaller. Final product of Human Genome Project cuts number of genes to less than 25,000.
10/14/04 Biology How did a human ear get onto that mouse? Click pic to find out. Then, another mystery: How does sound get into our brains? Sound starts as a pattern of compression of, for example, air molecules. The pulsing pressure waves of the air move your eardrum and those physical movements are carried by bones in your inner ear to a snail-like structure known as the cochlea.
"Lining the cochlea's inward spiral is a very narrow and very long ribbon of hair cells. Scientists have named these hair cells for their tufts of up to 300 microscopic cilia that sway back and forth in response to vibrations, almost like sea anemones waving in the ocean. Tiny strings linking the hairs together loosen and tense in response to the movement, Corey said, effectively opening and closing small channels.
When open, the channels allow ions like potassium to rush in and create an electrical voltage, creating a signal that zips from connected neurons to the brain, which then perceives the signal as sound."
Researchers ( neurobiologist David Corey and 15 collaborators ) recently discovered that it is the protein TRPA1 which is the "agent of the transformation from sound vibrations to nerve impulses."
What happens after the nerve impulses from sounds reach your brain?
"The auditory fibers then synapse in the dorsal and ventral choclear (sic) nuclei of the brain stem. The connections from this point can go directly to the contralateral inferior colliculus, or relay in the superior olivary nucleus and from there project efferents to both inferior colliculi. The auditory neurons of the inferior colliculus project their axons to the ipsilateral medial geniculate nucleus of the thalamus, which in turn relay the information to the primary auditory cortex, just below the superior temporal gyrus in the temporal lobe."
9/24/04 Biology Rat-Machine Hybrids. According to a newscientist article, Rats' brain waves could find trapped people. "In a project funded by DARPA, the Pentagon's research arm, Linda and Ray Hermer-Vazquez of the University of Florida in Gainesville have used Rats equipped with radios that transmit (the rat's) brainwaves." A recognizable brain pattern shows when the target smell (humans, TNT, RDX, etc.) is located and the transmitter strapped to the rat's back tells where the rat is, so they can send in a rescue team. (Right. Or a bomb.)
What I found interesting is "The researchers trained the rats to search for human odour by stimulating the reward centre when it found its target smell." Can we directly stimulate the human brain's "reward center"? What would that be like? An orgasm? Feeling you were rich? A religious experience? It seems there are several important reward centers. The nucleus accumbens (NA) and the ventral tegmental area (VTA) are two significant ones.
No problem. Just by seeing what areas of my brain I need to activate, I'll energize my reward centers by will power and visualization. The experiment may be very rewarding. We have more control over our brains than you think.
"Some patients respond to electrical brain stimulation by spontaneous and often abrupt expressions of general pleasure , well-being, fondness of the interviewer, and general approval of their present situation (Higgins et al., 1956).
Others report "pleasant" sensations in various parts of their body that are not amenable to definition in terms of normal human experience (Heath, 1963).
Although casual reports of sexual arousal during brain stimulation abound in the clinical literature, one careful examination of human responses to stimulation of over 2000 electrode sites revealed only 2 that had unambiguous sexual content (Sem-Jacobsen & Styri, 1972).
... Patients typically cannot identify the reasons for their apparent well-being. One of the pioneers in this field has suggested that: "curiosity about the strange sensations that are aroused by brain stimulation, rather than pleasure per se, may be the dominant cause of human self-stimulation" (Sem-Jacobsen & Styri, 1972)"
9/24/04 Biology According to the 7 February 2001 New Scientist, "A machine that delivers an orgasm at the push of a button has been patented in the US." Dr Stuart Meloy has already tested the $10,000 spinal cord implant with success. "When the device was switched on, the patient reported being almost instantly aroused ..." The woman, who had not had an orgasm for four years, wore the device for nine days and had sex with her husband on seven occasions. Dr Meloy said that the woman had an orgasm every time - and even experienced her first multiple orgasm."
9/24/04 Biology Why stop at just stimulating the human pleasure center? If we can keep from destroying ourselves and the planet for a few more years we will reach an amazing new level of control. We will soon control our own evolution by purposefully manipulating our own genes.
According to paradise-engineering, "... our genetically enriched descendants [can] be animated by gradients of immense well-being - in contrast to our animalistic mix of pleasure and pain. In the new reproductive era of "designer babies", gradients of innate bliss can form the bedrock of invincible mental health." Imagine a world of super happy people. Would they still be industrious?
"As for manipulating intelligence or athletic ability," according to Dr. Marvin Frazier, who fields human genome questions as director of the Life Sciences Division of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Biological and Environmental Research, "it will take scientists many decades to figure out how to do it."
Are secret genetic labs already growing mutant humans in an attempt to create super strong super smart creatures? Probably. Anything you can think of has been thought of and acted upon.
"Starfish gene could be key to regenerating lost limbs ... The human genome has about 3 billion letters [of genetic code]. All the variation amongst humans is only one-tenth of 1 per cent of the genome. We are 99.9 per cent similar to each other." conflicts with this:
Scientists at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School discovered huge variations in DNA among 55 healthy people. That challenges conventional science that says 99.9 percent of DNA between unrelated people are the same.
``There is at least 10 times more variation than what was previously thought,'' said Charles Lee, a gene researcher at Brigham and senior author of the study published in Nature Genetics.
Another study by geneticist Stephen Scherer says our DNA is 99.9% similar, but differences in the rungs of the DNA ladder are what make us different.
They are joined end-to-end with the spine in a straight line.
Four arms, a variable number of legs, and in general, a single external genitalia and a single anus. Accounts for about 6% of all conjoined twins."
7/1/04 Biology | Odd Happenings | Evolution (MSNBC | CNN) German Super baby born. Proof of human Evolution. Genetic mutation turns tot into superboy. 4-year-old is first documented human case, scientists say. A German boy, seen here at seven-months old, has a genetic mutation that boosts muscle growth.
BOSTON - Somewhere in Germany is a baby Superman, born in Berlin with bulging arm and leg muscles. Not yet 5, he can hold seven-pound weights with arms extended, something many adults cannot do. He has muscles twice the size of other kids his age and half their body fat.
DNA testing showed why: The boy has a genetic mutation that boosts muscle growth.
The discovery, reported in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine, represents the first documented human case of such a mutation.
Many scientists believe the find could eventually lead to drugs for treating people with muscular dystrophy and other muscle-destroying conditions. And athletes would almost surely want to get their hands on such a drug and use it like steroids to bulk up.
The boy's mutant DNA segment was found to block production of a protein called myostatin that limits muscle growth. The news comes seven years after researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore created buff mighty mice by turning off the gene that directs cells to produce myostatin.
... Researchers would not disclose the German boy's identity but said he was born to a somewhat muscular mother, a 24-year-old former professional sprinter. Her brother and three other close male relatives all were unusually strong, with one of them a construction worker able to unload heavy curbstones by hand. ... The boy is healthy now, but doctors worry he could eventually suffer heart or other health problems.
... Internet marketers have been hawking myostatin-blocking supplements to bodybuilders, though doctors say the products are useless and perhaps dangerous.
Since this trait is seen as desireable ("superman" is a very positive thing to call someone) and if it is passed on to the boy's offspring, and then to his children's children, gradually making humans stronger over the years, this can be used as a clear example of a positive genetic mutation contributing to human evolution.
7/13/04 Odd Happenings. Here is an interesting scientific oddity that is really creepy. Even the doctor's glasses give me the creeps. Is this story real? I think so.
"Lina Medina (born September 27 1933 in Paurange, Peru ) is the youngest confirmed mother in medical history.
Originally thought to have a tumor, Lina was brought to a hospital by her parents at the age of 5 years; a month later, on May 14 1939, she gave birth to a boy through a caesarian section performed by Dr. Lozada and Dr. Busalleu (operators) and Dr. Colretta (anaesthesiologist). Dr. Lozada also took her to Lima , the capital of Peru, prior to the surgery, to have other specialists confirm that Lina was, in fact, pregnant."
Gerardo, her son, was 6½-pounds at birth. He "was raised believing that Lina was his sister, but found out that she was in fact his mother at the age of ten; he died in 1979 following a disease attacking the bone's marrow, but no connection has been established with the young age of his mother when she gave birth to him. It is not know who the father of the child is, nor is it known whether Lina became pregnant after being raped; Lina, who later on married Raul Jurado, with whom she had another son in 1972, ... has not spoken out on the issue, and refused an interview with Reuters in 2002 .
6/9/04 Earth. What can you do to help endangered species? Get rid of Bush for starters. In Bushspeak, to "free" a people means to kill them. To protect something means to destroy it.
"the Bush administration launched a new initiative to encourage hunters, circuses and the pet industry to kill, capture and import animals on the brink of extinction in other countries.
Orwellian conservation theory
Bush's radical "Conservation" theory is this: Giving Americans access to endangered animals would feed the huge U.S. demand for live animals, skins, parts and trophies. Opening this endangered animal skin trade would generate profits that would encourage poor nations to pay for conservation of the remaining animals and their habitat."
6/4/04 Biology. Giant Snails. Blech. "MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- Louis Volpe, acting regional supervisor of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's safeguarding intervention and trade compliance program, holds two Giant African Land Snails in the USDA's Milwaukee office. Federal health officials have seized several of these dangerous pests from Wisconsin classrooms and have started a national search for the creatures. Many of the snails, which are illegal to possess in the United States, were being used as teaching tools in some classrooms where school officials don't know they are dangerous, said Willie Harris, eastern regional director of the USDA's intervention and trade compliance bureau. (04/21/04 AP photo)"
5/26/04 Science. (guardian) Face Transplants. Recall that it was only this January 2004 that doctors were able to give a living guy the hand of a dead guy. Now scientists are preparing to turn fiction into fact with first full-face transplant. Can it be done? They think so. A full-face transplant would include "not just the donor's skin - from hairline to jawline and from ear to ear - but also the nose, mouth and lips, eyebrows and eyelids, subcutaneous fat, some of the muscles, the nasal substructure and the nerves." Should we take the face of a dead person and put it on a living person (burn victim, etc.) so the living person can live a more normal life? Sorry to be insensitive, but wouldn't it be more creepy to kiss a face that had expired than one that was disfigured somehow? Last november (2003) some surgeons opposed face transplants. According to the BBC, "Professor Sir Peter Morris, ... said: "The micro-surgical skills and anatomical knowledge required to carry out facial transplantations are already well established. But facial transplantation is not only a question of technical achievement. We must also take into consideration the psychological impact on the recipient and on the donor family, and the considerable long-term risks of the need for lifetime immunosuppression drugs." I'd be more in favor of some technology that would grow a new face from the person's own DNA instead of using a dead face.
5/20/04 Biology. Giants. Someone wrote to me to ask about giants. Any truth to them? Yes, there certainly is. The tallest living woman is reputed to be 7 feet 8 inches tall. Meet De-Fen Yao from China who supposedly stands 7'8 1/2" at tallwoman.org.
The tallest living man (that I could find) is also easily considered a modern day giant. PODOLIANTSI, Ukraine (AP) -- At age 33, Leonid Stadnik wishes he would stop growing. He's already 8 feet, 4 inches. ... His weight of about 440 pounds aggravates a recently broken leg, and he suffers from constant knee pain. ... Despite his aches, he tries to keep himself busy with the usual routine of country life. He works in the garden, tends the family's cows and pigs, and helps neighbors with their animals. ... Bronyslav, a neighbor who refused to give his last name, described Stadnik as the "most unselfish, diligent man of a pure soul." - kron4
Yes, some giants are nice guys. Actually, the person who wrote asked me about the bones of giants. I suppose that all of these large people have large bones. Since they exist today, there is no reason to believe that there were not also giants in ancient times.
One big question is (excuse the pun) can largeness be inherited so you get a population of giants in a particular area? I think so. You just need the right combination of certain genes from your parents. "Height is probably a combination of many genes, each acting in different ways." In the past, selective breeding may have resulted in populations of giants. If the larger people had more kids for any reason (seen as more attractive, were better fighters) then over many generations the overall size of people would increase up to a certain limit set by genes. Selective breeding for physical traits works. Ask anyone betting on a horse race.
I personally have seen pictures of very large bones found in a cave in California that are reputed to be those of a giant. In fact, the photos I saw may be one of the biggest archaeological finds ever in the state. The authoritites were notified years ago, but for some reason it was hushed up. As far as I know, those bones are still in the cave. Perhaps old giants frighten people or disturb established ideas about our history.
Eight feet is amazing. The tallest person known ever to have lived was Robert Pershing Wadlow, who was 8 feet 11 inches tall. That's an inch short of 9 feet tall!
Could members of our species ever reach 10 feet to 13 feet tall? In all of human history I would think so.
5/10/04 Biology Founded in 1988, Waterbirth International was created to facilitate maternity care reform by helping parents and practitioners institute policies for the use of warm water immersion during labor. There have been over 100,000 documented cases of water birth to date.
"... practicioners usually bring the baby out of the water within the first ten seconds after birth. Physiologically, the placenta is supporting the baby with oxygen during this time though it can never be predicted when the placenta will begin to separate causing the flow of oxygen to baby to stop. The umbilical cord pulsating is not a guarantee that the baby is receiving enough oxygen. The safe approach is to remove the baby, without hurrying, and gently place him into his mother's arms." What keeps the newborn from breathing in the water? Among other things, the Dive Reflex which aids newborns with breastfeeding, prevents them from taking a breath while underwater. This reflex is present until about the age of six to eight months when it mysteriously disappears.
Proponents of the Aquatic Ape Theory think humans went through an aquatic or semi-aquatic evolutionary stage and that this accounts for the Dive Reflex as well as other aspects of our anatomy and physiology.
4/29/04 Biology. On Feb 28 1953, "Francis Crick walked into the Eagle pub in Cambridge, UK, and announced something for which he would later share a Nobel Prize. "We have found the secret of life," his collaborator and subsequent fellow Nobel laureate James Watson later quoted him as saying. " - bbc
As of Jun. 26, 2000, 90 percent of the chemical units making up a human's genetic heritage had been mapped. - wired
As we become more and more the masters of our own DNA, incredible new variations on our basic biology will be possible. Why not add a few genes from another animal and see what happens IIf morals and laws prohibit open experimentation, it will happen in secrecy. Indeed, some believe this has been going on for some time underground. What do you think? If you could have an extra arm, would you go for it?
4/26/04 Biology. DUBLIN, Ireland -- The Dublin Zoo's female Brazilian Tapir baby takes some exercise. The calf was born on Dec. 19, and is the twelfth offspring of mother Harriet. Found in low lying forests, Brazilian Tapirs give birth to a single young after a 13 month gestation period, with the animals loosing their distinctive striped pattern - which acts as camouflage on the forest floor - after around a year. The baby has not yet been officially named. (01/13/04 AP photo) Oh, come on. That's so fake.
4/24/04 Biology This is a great photo (right). A ten-day old marmoset clutches the finger of zoo keeper Manuela Werner in the zoo in Wittenberg, eastern Germany. The little Red Bellied Tamarin (Sanguinus labiatus) is being hand-fed as his mother rejected him. He gets about 1.5 milliliters of baby food every two hours. (AP Photo/Eckehard Schulz)
Facts about Marmosets: Tree vampires:"They use their sharp incisors (which are as large as their canines!) to gouge little holes in trees. They then lap up the sap. Their stomachs have special adaptations to digest these gums, resins and saps." They are quick, agile jumpers. "Some can leap 4 m ( 13 ft ) with hind legs longer than their front limbs. Marmosets are active in the daytime, although they tend to snooze during the hottest part of the day. Common Marmoset eats the most sap of all the marmosets, spending up to 70% of their foraging time in sap collection. From szqdocent.
4/23/04 Biology (cnews) Scientists Create Mice With Two Genetic Moms Experts Say Mouse Procedure Can't Be Done in Humans for Technical, Ethical Reasons. "Some lizards and many other animals reproduce with only maternal genes, but mice and other mammals don't." Until now... " The achievement is reported in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature by Tomohiro Kono of the Tokyo University of Agriculture in Japan, with colleagues there and in Korea. They say they produced two mice, one of which grew to maturity and gave birth. Kono said this mouse, named "Kaguya" after a Japanese fairy tale character, appears to be perfectly healthy. "
University of Michigan Medical School is still mobile, sexually active, and "looking good" at the equivalent of 136 human years old. "The average life span of a laboratory mouse is just over two years. Yoda is the first to make it to four years on a diet that was not calorically restricted. Yoda, like other dwarf mice, has a genetic mutation that chokes off production of growth and thyroid hormones. Dwarf mice tend to grow to only about a third the size of normal mice, which helps them live longer."
4/7/04 Biology (Science.exeter) Check out the super close ups on this science page!
4/13/04 Biology (gophergas ) Holy crap, I am NOT going to Iraq. I'm not even going after blissful democracy and years of peace are enforced upon the natives. Why? Camel Spiders!!! "This photo reportedly comes from a soldier, stationed in Baghdad, who was bitten by a camel spider that was hiding in his sleeping bag. Fortunately, these critters aren't venemous... but they're BIG and FAST (they can run around 10MPH). The photo shows two spiders attached together, and the camera angle makes them look a tad larger than they really are (they're about the size of an adult's hand). They also tend to seek out shade during the daytime, so it's not terribly unusual to see them charging across the desert at you -- only to come to a screeching halt when they reach your shadow." Here is a video. To be fair, they are also found in the southwestern United States and in Mexico but I don't think the North American version gets this big.
3/29/04 Biology. (CNN) Four eared cat. GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (Reuters) -- A four-eared German kitten has been given a new home after a German animal shelter was deluged with requests to adopt the animal born six months ago with the genetic defect. "We wanted to make sure the people were looking for a normal cat and not a gag to make an exhibition out of her," Enrico Schlag, a worker at the Garmisch-Partenkirchen animal shelter, said on Thursday. "We've found a completely normal family for her that has already adopted cats from us in the past." The shelter in the foothills of the Alps in southern Germany received dozens of calls after local media published pictures of Lilly. Reuters, which reported the kitten's search for a home on Wednesday, also received numerous offers from readers around the world eager to adopt her or make donations to the shelter.
This is the biggest I've ever seen. Trick photography?
3/11/2004: Human Eggs Not Fixed in Number: (WebMD, Wired ) Women May Not Have Fixed Number of Eggs. "The current thinking on how ovaries are formed and how they fail is wrong," says study author Jonathan Tilly, director of the Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "The number of oocytes (egg cells) is not fixed at birth, but is renewing during adults' life." Study was done with mice. More research needed on humans.
3/10/2004: New Frog Species : (BBC) New species of purple frog discovered. " The chubby, seven-centimetre-long, purple amphibian with a pointy snout was found hopping around in the Western Ghats, a range of hills in western India. Scientists have given it the name Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis , from the Sanskrit word for nose (nasika); batrachus, meaning frog; and Sahyadri, the name for its mountain home. (Click for larger photo)
DNA analysis suggests the common ancestor of the animals lived 130 million years ago, when the planet's landmasses were joined together into a giant supercontinent called Gondwana." Does this thing hide among eggplants?
3/8/2004: Biology: (ABCOnline ) "US researchers who found homosexual rams in a herd of sheep say they have found changes in the brains of the "gay" animals. ... about 8 per cent of domestic rams display preferences for other males as sexual partners. ... (The) ovine sexually dimorphic nucleus ... in the hypothalamus of the sheep brain ... in rams that preferred females was "significantly" larger and contained more neurons than in male-oriented rams and in ewes." Well, that answers three questions. 1. Yes, there are homosexual animals. and 2. Yes, there is a biological component to sexual orientation, and 3. Yes, 8 percent of "Ram Tough" Dodge trucks may prefer to drive on the other side of the road.
3/7/2004: Biology: (Howstuffworks | ABCNews | Nationaldefensemag ) Speaking of genetic manipulation, remember when scientists at Nexia Biotechnologies along with scientists at the U.S. Army's Soldier Biological Chemical Command ( SBCCOM) in Natick, Mass., injected spider cells into a goat's egg? The goat incorporated the silk genes and produced milk with super strong spider silk proteins that could be used to make better bulletproof vests. Spider silk's tensile strength is such that it can withstand weight of up to 300,000 pounds per square inch.
In January, Nexia announced the birth of two "BioSteel Goats" named Webster and Peter, the first goats confirmed to carry a single spider silk gene. On June 19, 150 of these genetically altered goats arrived at a former Air Force base in Plattsburgh, N.Y., where they will be housed in 15 old weapons-storage buildings that have been converted to holding pens, reports the Plattsburgh Press-Republican.
Funny, I remember something biblical about a many-eyed ram. It's all fun and games until those goats start laying eggs and millions of little goat spiders hatch all over the army base. (PS. For a million dollars, you can have the movie rights to my idea: The Spider Goats that Ate Massachusetts.)
3/4/2004: (washpost) New creature. A short, small-brained pre-human species with self-sharpening teeth found in Ethiopia. "Ardipithecus kadabba may also represent the first species on the human branch of the family tree just after the evolutionary split between lines leading to modern chimpanzees and humans," said Yohannes Haile-Selassie, curator and head of physical anthropology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in Ohio, who led the study." These creatures, it is believed, where our oldest human ancestors. They walked on two legs as early as 5.2 to 5.8 million years ago. Small brains don't make you less intelligent. What species on Earth has the largest brain? Answer: the sperm whale with a brain six times the size of a human brain.
3/1/2004: Bugs at over 100 MPH?: A reader who checked out our article on RODS writes:
"Your website comments that dragonflies are the fastest insects at 35 mph. FYI. Most entomologists consider tabanid flies to be among the fastest insects around. They are hard to see in flight, because they travel faster than the "refresh rate" of the human retina. Females will cruise for groups of hovering males during mating season at about 50-60 mph. A male spotting a potential fertile female will leave the group of males, accelerate to 100-120 mph and intercept the female, knock her to the ground, mate and fly back to the pack. No kidding. This has been documented by high speed camera by researchers at LSU and other institutions. So, the idea that something could fly fast enough not to be seen easily is not entirely impossible. You can only catch sight of flying female tabanids, which are black and the size of a small grape, when the slow slightly to change flight direction. They appear briefly as just a black "blip" in the air, although you can hear their low-pitch hum. Just a bit of trivia. Enjoy. - Michael"
Thanks! Found a photo of one of these things. Photo by: Richard W. Merritt. If you have a comment or correction, feel free to write in and let me know. I also learned tonight that these suckers bite, drink blood and can spread anthrax. Perhaps I could start selling fly swatters with a big green X on them. Luckily, an adult lives only 3-4 weeks and can be deterred by regularly turning your compost heaps. Which is why I will also be selling shovels with a big green X on them.
3/1/2004: Girl Feels No Pain: (Kare11). "Gabby Gingras has a disease so rare she's the only person her parents and doctors can find in the U.S. suffering from it. Like any other three-year-old, Gabby takes her share of slips and falls. Her reaction to each is predictable at least for her family. For no matter how hard Gabby hits the ground, she will not shed a single tear. Hard as it is to fathom Gabby Gingras feels no pain. There is no cure, nor will she outgrow it. ... Gabby was born with a genetic defect called "Hereditary Sensory and Autonomic Neuropathy Type-5. " Feeling no pain is bad. Pain protects us. While feeling no pain Gabby scratched one of her eyes so badly that her family is discussing its removal with doctors. It is now swollen and blind from glaucoma brought on by the scratching. "The teeth she didn't break off while biting toys were removed by an oral surgeon after Gabby chewed up her mouth and tongue so badly she had to be hospitalized." Her jaw was broken and she suffered second-degree burns. What a strange and horrible genetic curse. "Little tiny nerve fibers, the smallest of the nerve fibers, that are supposed to record pain, send that signal to the brain, so you can interpret what it is. Those fibers are not working" When someone asks you which sense you'd like to be born without, don't say your sense of pain.
2/19/2004: Panspermia: (Unisci) Panspermia is the idea that life on Earth came from space. Is there evidence? Yes! See our article on panspermia and check this out: First Evidence Of Life Coming From Space Reported.
... The first positive identification of extraterrestrial microbial life was reported on Sunday (July 29) at the Astrobiology session of the 46th Annual SPIE meeting in San Diego, by Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe of Cardiff University in Wales. He spoke on behalf of an international team led by Professor Jayant Narlikar (who says SARS is from outer space?) Director of the Inter-Universities Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Pune, India.
Samples of stratospheric air were collected on January 21 under the most stringent aseptic conditions by Indian scientists using the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) cryogenic sampler payload flown on balloons from the Tata Institute Balloon Launching facility in Hyderabad. ...
Commenting on the results, Professor Wickramasinghe said, "There is now unambiguous evidence for the presence of clumps of living cells in air samples from as high as 41 kilometers, well above the local tropopause (16 km), above which no air from lower down would normally be transported."
The detection was made using a fluorescent cyanine dye which is only taken up by the membranes of living cells. The variation with height of the distribution of such cells indicates strongly that the clumps of bacterial cells are falling from space. The daily input of such biological material is provisionally estimated as about one third of a ton over the entire planet. ......
We have argued for more than two decades that terrestrial life was brought down to Earth by comets and that cometary material containing microorganisms must still be reaching us in large quantities, Professor Wickramasinghe said. ...
Pretty big news, right? Life from space! Did you hear about it? I didn't. It was announced July 30, 2001. Is this research flawed, or is it too threatening to certain groups to announce widely? Uncomfortable facts are ignored when possible.
2/16/2004: Aging: Here is a nice on-line tutorial about why and how we age.
2/11/2004: Cloning: (NYTimes ) Scientists Create Human Embryos Through Cloning. The work was led by Dr. Woo Suk Hwang and Dr. Shin Yong Moon of Seoul National University and will be published tomorrow in the journal Science. The paper provides a detailed description of how to create human embryos by cloning. "The paper provides a detailed description of how to create human embryos by cloning. ``You now have the cookbook, you have a methodology that's publicly available,'' said Dr. Robert Lanza".
2/11/2004: Biophotonics: (tripod ) If I told you that we are beings of light, that we have bodies of light, that we communicate with light, that we create light, would you think I was talking about a new age theory lacking scientific proof? Tonight I found this remarkable claim:
"EVERY living cell transmits and receives energy across the electromagnetic spectrum from radio waves through infrared, visible and ultraviolet wavelengths. Biophotons provide the means for near instantaneous communication throughout our bodies, and create an intricate web of energy within ALL living systems.
In 1923, Russian biologist Alexander Gurwitsch first detected this non-thermal, electromagnetic energy. He called it "mitogenetic radiation" to describe it's effect of stimulating growth. Laboratories throughout Europe and the U.S. confirmed his discovery. By the early 1970s, biophysicist Fritz-Albert Popp and others had developed extremely sensitive equipment, which made it possible to quantify this energy.
Popp advanced a revolutionary theory of startling simplicity and power. According to his calculations, whatever controls our biological processes must operate at the speed of light. Anything LESS would be far too SLOW to account for the pace of cell-to-cell communication necessary to sustain life. Popp showed how an organism, depending upon biochemical or molecular means of control, must inevitably fail to regulate metabolism and growth. He proposed that biophotons activate and direct MOST, if NOT ALL, physiological processes!
Another site claims that per square centimeter of surface area from every living system under investigation, "biophotons" can be registered from a few photons per second ... up to some hundred photons per second. They come from a coherent (or/and squeezed) photon field within the living organism, its function being intra and intercellular regulation and communication.
There is much controversy about this topic and I didn't have time to form an independent opinion based on the facts yet. Much reading to do.
2/11/2004 Microdoses / Homeopathic Med: See this chat board. This article on skepticism says the conventional idea "that the human body is nothing but chemistry, [has been] falsified for at least 20 years by the discovery of biophotons and Benveniste's research."
In 1988, Jacques Benveniste published a paper in Nature claiming that water remembers that some agent was once dissolved in it. The skeptic known as the Amazing Randi found the Benveniste lab produced no phenomena which do not yield to present-day science, yet he is a legitimate scientist with previous publication in Nature in 1988. The Nature team deemed that there is no evidence that the microdoses have biological action, yet others say the debunking ignores key facts. Here is a page that calls Benveniste a fraud, yet many cite his work as proof that homeopathic medicine works and is a threat to the establishment.
2/9/2004: Human Genetic Anomalies: (ananova | dailyrecord | cbsnews ) Some will find this disturbing, but the fact is, somewhere in our DNA is the code to grow human ears, a nose, a mouth, a head: See this same story with pictures.
Craniopagus parasiticus: 7-month-old Rebeca was born in the Dominican Republic on December 17, 2003 with the undeveloped head of her twin attached to her own normal head.
[ New option: . Here's how it works. Just say, "I don't want to get involved with this two headed baby thing. It can't be true." ]
Twins are born conjoined at the head when an embryo splits to make identical twins and then stops growing, leaving them fused. Such twins are rare, accounting for one of every 2.5 million births. Parasitic twins like Rebeca are even more rare. They occur when one stops developing, leaving a smaller, partially formed twin dependent on the other.
The second head had a partially formed brain, ears, eyes and lips that would move when she breast fed.
Wow, that is really interesting. You can see eyes, a nose, a mouth, and an ear on the second head.
Initially, reports said the 11-hour operation went well. "The closure of the cavity went very well, and the grafting of the bone onto the baby's head was successful, and the baby is even now moving her legs." Sadly, the baby died 12 hours after the surgery. She lost a lot of blood during the operation, which apparently caused a heart attack, said Dr. Jorge Lazareff, the lead brain surgeon.
How many souls would my religious friends say left this unfortunate body? Two? One? Zero? If Rebeca had survived, could this be considered a murder, since the second head might have become a thinking individual? As you can see from this last picture, twins can survive joined at the head. Obviously, there are two individuals here. I assume the both have names. If one was missing arms and legs, you'd still have two names. What about a head and half a torso? So, why didn't anyone give Rebeca's second head a name and consider that it was a human life that would be killed by the operation?
When two fully formed heads grow side by side, they do each get names. "Egyptian twins Huda, top, and Manal Abdel Nasser Mohammed Mahmoud, in their incubator at the neo-natal surgical intensive care unit in Abu el-Reesh hospital in Cairo. Photo: AP"
Let's hope Rebeca's mother didn't use Misoprostol.
ILLEGAL ABORTION DRUG LINKED WITH BIRTH DEFECTS
A minor epidemic of birth defects is occurring in developing countries, where poorer women are turning to an ulcer drug called misoprostol to try to end their pregnancy because abortion is banned or restricted, a report says. Misoprostol is being used to carry out clandestine abortions in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Nigeria, South Africa and the Philippines... Misoprostol is very cheap, being available for as little as 35 US cents, and can often be bought over the counter, making it "the poor person's method" of abortion, it adds.
2/5/2004: World's Largest Living Organism: ( abc | bbc | xna | factmonster ) The world's largest fungus, discovered in Oregon's Blue Mountains, is up to 8,500 years old. Depending on the source you read, this beastie covers an area between 1,220 and 1,800 football fields, making it most likely the largest living organism on Earth. Genetic tests show the Armillaria ostoyae fungus was spawned by the sexual recombination of two different mushrooms as long ago as 6000 B.C. It has been weaving its black shoestring filaments through the forest for thousands of years, killing trees as it grows. Says Catherine parks, head of the research team, "with a little garlic and butter, the golden spores are quite delicious." Right. Let's hope it hasn't grown a brain at the center in all this time. Recall from Biology 101 that fungi are neither plants nor animals. Have there been any strange events in Malheur National Forest in eastern Oregon?
1/26/2004: Dead Hand Transplanted: ( Wave3 | Pilly | whas11 ) Remember the 1981 movie The Hand? Fast forward to this medical miracle: For the last 5 years, Matthew Scott has had the hand of a dead guy attached to his body. During a 14-hour surgery a human hand from a brain dead person was transplanted.
.He has had a few "rejection episodes," in which his transplanted left hand swelled and reddened, and doctors adjusted his dosage to stem the problem. The hand doesn't function as well as a normal one, but he can pick up coins, open doors and wrestle with his two young sons. ... Many insurers won't cover it, and even if nothing goes wrong, a "ballpark figure" for the cost of a hand transplant over a lifetime is at least $300,000, including surgery, drugs and physical therapy.
"The transplanted hand also has gained nerve sensation, allowing Scott to feel hot, cold, pain and, to an extent, discriminate between rough and smooth surfaces."
"I've returned to doing a lot of the everyday tasks I was not able to do with the prosthesis," Scott said. "I do use my left hand for an awful lot of things."
1/13/2004: Mad Cow: Tests show that prions, proteins which cause mad cow disease, can survive and can emerge from the ashes of diseased animals destroyed by incineration. There is a better way: "In the digester, a big stainless steel container, a solution of sodium or potassium hydroxide is poured over the carcass. Heat is applied and the chemical reaction, which also produces heat, then reduces the mass into a slurry for tests. Through this method, proteins, nucleic acids and infectious microorganisms are converted into a sterile solution of sugars and small peptides, which are chains of amino acids that in turn form proteins. Operating costs for the digesters, about 25 cents per pound of carcass, is lower than that of incinerators, which can cost 80 cents to a $1 a pound due to high fuel costs." - yahoonews
1/12/2004: Human Genetic Anomalies: Is it possible that a human could be born with two complete brains but just one body? Yes, here is an example. If this combination had survived outside the womb, would we say this was one individual or two? "Diprosopus twinning is an extremely rare, symmetric type of conjoined twinning that is seen in less than 1% of cases. ... characterized by a single body and a spectrum of duplication of craniofacial structures. ... In the most extreme form of diprosopus twinning, two complete faces are seen, whereas the mildest form may demonstrate only an isolated duplication of the nose."
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