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Comment Re:Bad phrasing (Score 3, Insightful) 458

'The real significance of this, in my view, is that this ice has reportedly been there for thousands of years. The same is true of glaciers that have recently disappeared in the Andes. These observations should dispel in one fell swoop any notion that recent global warming could be natural.'"

How's that saying go, past performance is no guarantee of future results. The Andes used to be under water for thousands of years; the continents used to all be one big land mass. If we lived back then I'm sure we'd be hearing about Anthropogenic Tectonic Drift.

Assuming this is not some pathetic attempt at humor which I am pathetically entirely missing, do you even have any idea of the timescales involved here or are you one of those 'the earth is 10000 years old' folk?

Comment Re:Why would that dispel anything? (Score 3, Informative) 458

Since you have no record of how fast ice shelves may have vanished in the past due to natural warming, it seems suspect to claim that this certainly proves the current rate of dissipation is due to unnatural warming...

Says who? At the very least, someone seems to have the idea that these particular ice masses have been around for thousands of years.

Yes there is warming, but it appears our activities are unrelated.

But then what would he know? He's only the chair of a climatology department...


Comment Re:Why has no one taken this thread seriously... (Score 2, Insightful) 520

Every nurse should physically trace each tube to its receptacle. If there are two tubes in the vicinity but not even in proximity, extra care should be taken to trace the tube tactilely.

Yes, indeed, that is how this is supposed to work. Those are the rules. You don't know how very relieved I am to know that if I ever get killed by this sort of human error someone has assigned responsibility right where it belongs!

OTOH, you'll never see me successfully hooking up a CO2 regulator unto a nitrogen tank or a helium tank. This is not because I'm a genius or because I never make mistakes but because the parts don't fit together.

The government-protectionist tone here ("Critics say the tubing problem, which has gone on for decades, is an example of how the FDA fails to protect the public.") is absurd and gives you NO excuse to shed the responsibility for your actions.

So you want to blame private industry, instead? Who gives a damn? Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

Seeing this as some sort of political statement is really not particularly productive. It is what it is and what it is is a problem with a trivial solution (design parts which are not supposed to ever be joined together so that they do not fit together) with no drawbacks and which has the potential to totally eliminate the grossest manifestation of the problem altogether.

The solution for this problem will, of course, not totally eliminate related problems of right tubes being connected together but having the wrong stuff or the wrong concentration of stuff (i.e. wrong IV drug in an IV line or too much or too little of the right drug). Such has to be dealt with by other means (changes in training, changes in working conditions, explicit checklists, etc.).

Comment Re:studies with "sham needles" (Score 1) 215

Yes, this always comes up (and indeed it has come up here a bunch of times, already). Whereas aspirin (or the latest psoriasis treatment tested in a double blind placebo controlled trial) works exactly the same for everyone all of the time under every conceivable condition, the "alternative medicine" treatment du jour is simply too special to be examined in any sort of an objective way.

Of course, this is, ultimately, bullshit.

What it really means is no one has ever demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of the "alternative medicine" treatment du jour and, dammit, we like it that way!


I'd also like to point out that the title of the post is sensationalistic and very highly misleading. Reading such a post, I would surmise that I'm about to read an article regarding the breaking of DNA strands which, though we have repair mechanisms to deal with such eventualities (which can have some curious effects in some non coding regions of our DNA, by the way), is a rather serious effect. I would not suspect from such a title that the article is talking about temporary strand separation of small stretches of DNA. You might just as well write the headline How not being cryogenically frozen tears apart DNA!!!!! because, as long as you have DNA replication, and RNA transcription (to express protein and for other functions) occurring, you are "tearing apart DNA" in the sense of this article.

Comment Re:EM radation affects matter? What?! (Score 1) 279

What illiterate i***t tagged this as being offtopic? "Terahertz waves" = Electromagnetic (EM) radiation. The microwave debate goes hand-in-hand with this. It's the single best example, known to everyone, of how EM has an effect on matter, and how there are obvious dangers associated with EM that need to studied rather than ignored.

I have no idea who tagged what but see my post above. This study is not so obviously linked to the "microwave debate" and, in fact, implies no "obvious dangers".

Comment All your mutants are belong to us --DON'T PANIC! (Score 4, Insightful) 279

Wait a moment, folk! We are talking about temporary separation of already uncoiled DNA (meaning, that it's probably under the process of being expressed, anyway) under very specific conditions as predicted by a computer model.

This is not even an empirical observation: we don't know that any of this happens in a cell free in vitro system and how significant the effect is (if any), we don't know if it happens in a cell culture in vitro system and how significant the effect is (if any) and we certainly don't know that anything like this happens in vivo.

Even assuming that you can create these precise conditions by an airport scanner (which seems rather doubtful), you certainly would not, in any way, be facilitating mutation in any appreciable sense*. All that you would be doing, theoretically, is to subtly alter patterns of gene expression for the few seconds it would take to walk through the scanner (basically, a very subtle regulatory effect). While you certainly can facilitate the development of cancer through such a mechanism (in fact, I'd argue that dysregulation of gene expression** at some points is simply required for carcinogenesis --yes, it can be caused by mutating proteins but these mutated proteins are almost invariably going to have direct or indirect regulatory functions***), such a dysregulation of gene expression would have be the prolonged, normal state of affairs of a cell for a cancer to actually happen. For this to be happening (in a worse case scenario) for as much as a few mere seconds can hardly even be called a dysregulation in any meaningful sense and much, much less have any effect, whatsoever, on carcinogenesis.

If, on the other hand, some government agency is monitoring you 24/7 with these scanners, then you might have reason to worry****.

* I would speculate that there's an infinitesimal chance that DNA might be more susceptible to mutations from not being as protected as it would be when paired but you have to realize that active regions of DNA get unzipped like this all the time so this effect, if it might be real, would be a drop in the bucket and utterly swamped by the background.
** For purposes of this discussion, what I mean by dysregulation of gene expression is the production of various protein products at inappropriate times or in the wrong amounts (either too much or too little of a protein).
*** Whether the function is to induce cell division or stop cell division, or to induce cell death (apoptosis) or to evade cell death (and whether it is a direct or indirect effect on the preceding --such as mechanisms sensing DNA damage, loss of contact inhibition, etc.). While other factors which may not always be strictly regulatory do exist such as invasiveness, angiogenesis, telomerase function, etc (which often will also be regulatory by involving over or under expression); these factors need to happen together with a regulatory dysfunction for an actual cancer to happen because, basically, cancer happens when a lot of different sorts of things get screwed up at the same time.
**** About adjusting your medication dose, that is.

Comment Re:Acupunture points. (Score 1) 68

I sure don't see anything that says "littered with tattoos". Do you?

Whatever. You are talking about 11 tattoos and over 300 acupuncture points (and, actually, different sources almost double that number of acupuncture points). It would be remarkable if all the tattoos were not near some acupuncture point.

Comment Re:Acupunture points. (Score 1) 68

Dogs can detect molecules on the order of a couple parts per million, far below our level of detection. They can also smell cancer, and can tell the difference between different kinds of internal cancer just by smelling the skin. They have also been shown to be able to predict seizures, and hypoglycemic attacks.

Since when is a couple of parts per million below our level of detection? Anyway, at the "concentrations" at which homeopaths consider potency to be greatest (in other words, the most dilute concentrations) it's not so much a matter of the solute existing at infinitesimal concentrations as much as there being not solute molecules left whatsoever.

Not even homeopaths dispute this. Instead of this they make some up bullshit, ad hoc stuff up about vibrations being left behind in the to form a memory of what used to be there.

And I really have no clue as to why you are bringing dogs into it. That's an altogether different discussion.

Just because we cannot detect low levels, doesn't mean they are not there nor have any effect.

That's pretty much an oxymoron since any effect constitutes something we can detect.

However you seem to be misunderstanding why there might not be something in there at all in some homeopathic preparations. It has nothing to do with whether we can detect it or not. It has to do with atomic theory, a concept which has been with us in its crudest forms for at least two millennia and which modern science has confirmed. You see, stuff is made up of discrete chunks. Let's say you've got a volume of water with 10000 arsenic cations (that's a kind of chunk). If you dilute it ten fold you will only have, on average, 1000 arsenic cations in that same volume of water. If you dilute it a million fold, you will have on average zero arsenic cations in that volume simply because there were a lot fewer than 1000000 arsenic cations to begin with.

How does this relate to homeopathic preparations? The most dilute homeopathic preparations out there (in other words, the ones which homeopaths consider the most potent --ever hear the joke about the patient who forgot to take his homeopathic medicine and died of an overdose?) are prepared at 200C (sometimes also written as 200 CK depending on which nutty dilution protocol is used: that of Hahneman or that of Korsakov). What this means is that the original substance is diluted one hundred fold and then the resulting solution is diluted one hundred fold again another 199 times. That means the dilution factor is 100^^200. This is a 1 with 400 zeroes after it. Not only is this number much greater than the number which is a homophone to the name of a popular search engine, it is also greater than the estimated number of atoms in the whole universe (which http://preview.tinyurl.com/nypp6pWikipedia estimates to be a lot fewer than a googol).

What this means is that if you put the same number of solute molecules as there exists atoms in the universe into a container and performed a 200C dilution you would end up with no solute molecules by the time that you were done with your serial dilutions.

So basically, paraphrasing you, to say that "just because a homeopathic preparation is diluted beyond Avogadro's limit doesn't mean that it does not have any effect" is like saying that "just because distilled water doesn't have any salt in it it doesn't mean that it is not going to taste salty". It's true that I could convince you that some http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OscillococcinumOscillococcinum will help you with your flu just as it is true that I may convince you that distilled water is, in fact, salty. However, this fact is not due to any inherent curative properties of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OscillococcinumOscillococcinum just as distilled water tasting salty, if you are sufficiently suggestible and and in an appropriately receptive state of mind, has nothing to do with distilled water possessing a property of saltiness.

Comment Way to change the wording! (Score 4, Informative) 139

Nice, how the wording got changed so that it says the opposite of what is conveyed by the CNN article!

Slashdot article says:

The stem cells come from the existing lines Pres. Bush approved federal funding for in August 2001.

The source article actually states:

The tests will use stem cells cultured from embryos left over in fertility clinics, which otherwise would have been discarded.

And thus:

Okarma said Geron did not use any federal funding for its research, and that the Bush restrictions had "devastated the field."

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