Friday, July 28, 2006

Point out the pathology and give a possible cause.

Exxon Profit

$1318 dollars last quarter. Per second! Here.

Democrats vs Republicans

Republicans have a pretty low standing in the USA right now. Democrats aren't doing a whole lot better because they don't seem to stand for anything. Carville and Greenberg are saying get off your asses and stand for something. Here are some of their ideas:

1. No congressional pay raises for the next 2 yrs until the minimum wage is raised.

2. No more debates about gay marriage and abortion or protect the flag/pledge amendments until congress does something about health care and jobs.

3. Congress must reclaim its oversight role. Find out what happened to the 'missing' 9 billion dollars in Iraq.

4. Repeal the orgy of corporate tax breaks and wasteful spending projects (like bridges to nowhere).

5. Give Medicare the authority to negotiate drug prices for seniors.

6. Restore the cuts in college loan programs.

7. Repeal the Bush energy bill and get one that actually addresses our energy problems.

They work for the few.
Corporate special interests.
Corruption and greed.
No end in sight in Iraq

They are for me.
American jobs.
Relief on gas and healthcare, tax breaks for the middle class.
New course in Iraq.
A congress that works for everyone.
An America that works for everyone.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Maureen made the final cut and is on the list to be on Jeopardy. Now we wait for the call. Do you think we will make millions if she gets on? I do. She is a walking treasure trove of minutia, trivia, trifle and frippery.

Meet Henrietta Lacks or Helacyton gartleri

The recent discussions over the stem cell research bill in Congress got me to thinking about human cell lines. And, you can't think about human cell lines without thinking about HeLa cells. I was under the common misconception that these cells were derived from a cervical carcinoma removed from Helen Lane by George Gey. Wrong. The woman's name was Henrietta Lacks. Because this cell line is immortal and has a different number of chromosomes from normal human cells, Van Valen considers it a new species which he has named Helacyton gartleri (Van Valen, Leigh M. and Virginia C. Maiorana, 1991. HeLa, a new microbial species. Evolutionary Theory 10: 71-74.) These were the cells in which polio virus was grown and used to distinguish different strains of the virus.

Read more about Henrietta, George Gey and HeLa cells in this article in Johns Hopkins magazine. It's a really interesting human interest story.
To this day, members of the Lacks family feel they've been passed over in the story of the HeLa cells. They know their mother's cells started a medical revolution and are now bought and sold around the world. They're pretty sure that someone, somewhere, has profited from their mother's death. They know that someone wasn't related to Henrietta. And their experience is not well-known. In cases like these, Faden agrees, a good way to begin addressing this problem is through the telling of a story from which everyone can learn. This story starts with Henrietta and the origin of the HeLa cells: They were not from Helen Lane or Helen Larson, as many publications have mistakenly reported, they were from Henrietta Lacks, wife of David, mother of five.

Now That's A Religion!


-The inherent worth and dignity of every person

-Justice, equity and compassion in human relations

-Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations

-A free and responsible search for truth and meaning

-The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large

-The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all

-Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Atheist Church

I guess this was on Mad TV so I don't feel too bad about posting it.

Science Is Hard

Congress has been 'investigating' why the college science 'pipeline' is drying up. InsideHighered has some ideas why this is the case. Science is hard. Science majors get lower grades than students in other majors.
Paul Romer, an economics professor at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University, who has studied the issue, wrote in an article for Stanford Business that “the grades assigned in science courses are systematically lower than grades in other disciplines, and students rely heavily on grades as signals about the fields for which they are best suited.” Thus, he concluded, students usher themselves out of the science track.
Some think it has to do with the 'culture' of science.
“The culture of science says, ‘not everybody is good enough to cut it, and we’re going to make it hard for them, and the cream will rise to the top.’ ”
Others believe the fact that many introductory science courses are large and impersonal which makes the grading more coldly quantitative out of necessity, unlike in say intro english courses which require small class size to enable discussion. Also, science classes tend to be taught vertically;
” meaning students are often made to slog through two years of large, formulaic introductory courses that teach fundamentals before they get any taste of the hands-on work that makes a career in science attractive to most scientists. In the process, students seldom form any bond with the scientists teaching the course.
I think all of those things come into play, resulting in fewer science majors. However, if you think science is hard in the classroom, just wait til you get out into the real world. Maybe that message is starting to filter down to students as well.

Oh yeah, and Jon Stewart of the 'Daily Show' evidently made the observation that science majors actually have to 'know stuff' versus just winging it.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006