It’s easy to yell at the news and find fault with anything that disagrees with your worldview. That’s not your fault. It’s a byproduct of evolution. We needed to stay with our tribes, support those around us, ensure our survival by any means necessary. Sadly, evolution hasn’t quite caught up with where we’re at now. We’re not sitting on the veldt hoping to find the next mammoth so dinner would be assured. We no longer need to hunt our food. Our community, thanks to electronic communications, is the world, not what’s just within our sight. And that’s difficult to grasp. It’s easy to say a million of this or a million of that. But what does that mean? The human brain isn’t built to conceptualize numbers like that, so it retreats into the familiar. The same applies to global concepts. What does global climate change mean? Can you sum it up in a quick blurb? If not the mind will try to do so anyway. What does rampant gun violence mean if you have to take action against members of your own tribe? More often than not it becomes something the mind shoves aside. [Read more…] about Narrowing Your Field
Archives for July 2019
Last week I wrote about how human limb regeneration research had hit a roadblock and wasn’t advancing at its projected pace. This was, and is, true. But, as several readers who are smarter than me, HI EVERYONE WHO READS THIS BLOG, pointed out, some stunning advances had still taken place. For those of you who haven’t followed my various articles over the last few years, I’ll just toss in a brief synopsis. Several invertebrates, such as worms, and some amphibians, including a variety of lizards, can regrow their limbs after they are lost. This renders a tragedy into a minor inconvenience. Humans, you may have heard, do not possess this ability. But, since we are all evolved from the same basic life forms, we do carry some of the genes other animals do which could allow this to happen in us. [Read more…] about This Could Grow On You
In 2018, Scientific Reports, a prestigious scientific journal, published the scientific equivalent of a fart in church. And I mean a loud one, that covered six rows in stink, that you may never live down. Or, so I’ve been told. Under the austere sounding title of Prominent exostosis projecting from the occipital squama more substantial and prevalent in young adult than older age groups they claimed that using digital devices caused horns in young people. Specifically millennials. Words can’t even begin to describe the many flaws in this mess, and most scientists ignored it when it first came out, but we’re now forced to give it a try. You see, someone in the “mainstream media” decided this was news, managed to not check a single claim and, WAH-LAH, the Washington Post reported “Horns” are growing on young people’s skulls. Phone use is to blame, research suggests. And we were off to the races. Somewhere between the evangelical freak out and toddler level humor, any semblance of truth got got mangled and ignored. [Read more…] about Do Cell Phones Make You Horny?
The path to medical cures is not a linear one. A couple of years ago scientists appeared to be on the verge of regrowing human limbs. That research has stalled. They haven’t quit trying, they just haven’t had replicable success. A few years ago helping paralytics walk was limited to cumbersome, and expensive, exo-suits. Now clinical trials are ongoing using stem cells and physical therapy. I could go on, but you get the basic idea. What seems promising one day suddenly isn’t, and what seemed like science fiction is suddenly real. But that’s how science works. You learn from failure and repeat success. As one scientist I know likes to say “I’ve never failed at a single thing, but I’ve learned more than anybody should.” She’s part of a team attempting to cure diabetes. The external pancreas, which does allow a person to live without insulin or food issues, works, but it’s not a true cure. What they want is a shot, or series of medicines or treatments, that heal the body, not just work around a part of it. [Read more…] about Nursing Back to Health