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Games Workshop Goes After Fan Site 174

mark.leaman writes "BoingBoing has a recent post regarding Games Workshop's aggressive posturing against fan sites featuring derivative work of their game products. 'Game publisher and miniature manufacturer Games Workshop just sent a cease and desist letter to boardgamegeek.com, telling them to remove all fan-made players' aids. This includes scenarios, rules summaries, inventory manifests, scans to help replace worn pieces — many of these created for long out of print, well-loved games...' As a lifelong hobby gamer of table, board, card and miniature games, I view this as pure heresy. It made me reject the idea of buying any Games Workshop (read Warhammer) products for my son this Christmas. Their fate was sealed, in terms of my wallet, after I Googled their shenanigans. In 2007 they forbid Warhammer fan films, this year they shut down Vassal Modules, and a while back they went after retailers as well. What ever happened to fair use?"

Comment Re:Citation needed (Score 1) 106

Troll? I'm not the one comparing people who legitimate reasons against ESC with those who bomb abortion clinics. Who's flame-baiting here?

The first article you gave me showcased using IVF leftovers (which I addressed in my post). Using stem cells harvested in this way has the major problem that they are only suited to academic research where tissue rejection is not a problem, because their genetic material cannot match the patient. I covered this in my post already.

The second article you sent me showcases a modified form of standard SCNT, where they add the twist of crippling the embryo, because they think that people will object less to destroying a crippled human embryo rather than one that is created with normal SCNT.

Do you want to see how the public ethic responds to stuff like this? Imagine the KFC headless chicken scenario, only with humans instead of chickens. Yeah, that'll fly like a lead balloon.

But even on a practical level, the technique listed in the second article suffers from the issue that there are simply not enough IVF leftovers to fuel widespread ESC-based treatments. There just aren't enough eggs.

Neither of the articles you quoted address the criticisms referenced in my original post, and all of the arguments remain untouched.

ESC-based treatments remain as unviable as the Whitehead Institute's crippled embryos, and there are no answers on the horizon that solve both the issues of tissue rejection and human egg supply.

Comment Re:Is there? (Score 1) 106

If I've read the literature right, embryonic stem cells are, in general, readily available and easily manufactured. Also, they are the best at forming to any cell type we would want.

False. ESCs have trouble in that they differentiate _too_ much -- they are too unstable, and multiply without regulation (cancer). One of the markers used in detecting if ESCs "took" in rats is to measure tumor rates. While they theoretically have the most potential for forming different tissue types, they have the worst track record for actually behaving how we want them to.

That is to say that adult stem cells have been immensely helpful, but we think that embryonic stem cells may be better.

If that's true, then it's interesting that James Thomson, the father of modern ESC research has moved onto ASCs with IPSC. While some people may think that ESCs are "better", many of our top researchers (Thomson being of note) have changed direction to the more promising ASC line.

There are many research programs on embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells, and now induced pluripotent stem cells. All of these have many promising futures in science, yet only adult stem cells and IPSC are promising in the ever-so-influential and variable field of ethics/morality, especially those of fundamentalist origin.

ASCs are also the only ones that have any fruit, with IPSC being in the news most often, despite it being the youngest of the three fields that you listed.

You are correct about the easy manufacture of embryonic stem cells. Growing stem cells is actually not hard at all and you can make relatively infinite numbers from one discarded embryo.

I would like to note that there is a big difference between "stem cells" and "useful stem cells". Sure, you can take any discarded IVF leftover or abortion remains and get stem cells, but if you inject those into a patient, you will have severe tissue rejection issues. To obtain ESCs usable for treatment in a patient, the only avenue available for that is SCNT, which necessitates the destruction of one or many embryos.

For most adults, we don't have embryonic stem cells with our own DNA in it at all.

That's what SCNT solves, and why so many were anxious for the recent reversal of the Bush order to deny funding to SCNT ESC research.

Ultimately, I think it is way too soon to start determining which of these methods will serve best, though we can acknowledge the power of ethical values and the objection of many people to embryonic stem cells. You might find it interesting that many popular religions actually support embryonic stem cell research, though most interpretations of Christianity do not.

Of course the book is never closed. But there currently exist over a hundred treatments using ASC and IPSC, and (despite it being the oldest), zero treatments involving ESCs. There is no viable avenue for ESC treatments now, nor there is there any on the horizon that anyone can name. If you're the budget director for a large amount of scientific funding, at what point will you cull the fat and move on (as James Thomson has done) to things that have actually produced?

Comment Citation needed (Score 1) 106

Okay, I'll bite.

That first year textbook will also tell you that embryonic stem cells are now harvested just fine without causing any harm to viable embryos

Citation please. Maybe it's because IANA cell biologist, but I am not aware of any mechanism outside of SCNT that provides an avenue for ESC treatment that wouldn't result in severe tissue rejection by the patient.

Are you hinging the weight of your statement here on "viable"? If so, how is a SCNT embryo not "viable"? If so, those embryos are quite viable, and the usefulness of the stem cells largely depends on their viability. Who wants to take stem cells to cure a disease if the stem cell has bigger problems? I mean, seriously -- whole companies are founded based on cloning dead pets through SCNT. Your statement is false, and you're spreading mis-information. Citation, please.

and are otherwise acquired from ALREADY DISCARDED and nonviable embryos

You word this as if it's such a slam dunk. If it's a point not worth debating, then would any reasonable person object to the non-consentual harvesting of organs from death-row criminals? I mean, they're already discarded anyways.

So no, it doesn't require the destruction of an embryo any more than recycling newspaper's people have already thrown out requires the destruction of trees.

So what happens if you run out of newspapers? You give a faulty analogy, because newspapers are fairly common -- IVF leftovers, while they do have a surplus supply of tens of thousands, is a supply that has built up over the last thirty years. And as we have gotten better at IVF, we create and save fewer and fewer embryos with every treatment. If ESC with SCNT reaches the point of actually having a viable treatment available, we would burn through our IVF reserves incredibly quickly. A simple look at the numbers will show you that the demand for embryos will far outstrip the supply, and we will have to start farming human eggs.

All that to say, I'll call your bluff. Citations, please.

Comment Re:Another success. (Score 1) 106

Uhm, citation please? How in the world can someone use aborted fetuses for stem cell treatment without extremely severe tissue rejection issues? Last I heard, that sort of stuff hadn't been done since the 90's, and hasn't been repeated since.

All of the arguments that you gave supporting ESCs in the name of research are satisfied by using animal life, rather than human life.

Comment Re:Is there? (Score 1) 106

Is there really a use now for embryonic stem cells now that we can do just about everything with adult stem cells?

There are. Basic research on cell biology for one. One of the best ways to study how a cell commits to whatever fate it's going to take, and maybe find ways of correcting that when it goes wrong, is to study the actual cells. Another is studying how to turn one cell into another, again by studying how cells do it normally.

I think by "use", he was talking about treatment uses, not just biological study.

One of the successes of ESC research is induced pluripotent stem cells. They were first made based off work done in embryonic stem cells.

Definitely -- but let the record show that this pioneering IPSC research was done with mice, not with humans. I think we're really in a great place right now -- for human treatment, we can use IPSC, and for destructive research, we can use non-human life.

It looks like IPSC is going to be the technology that will allow us to replace tissues as needed, not ESC, but that might turn out not to be the case. With no cell technology having proven itself capable of replacing every tissue in patients without causing cancer or other problems, the race isn't over, and we should avoid the temptation to call it too early.

Now you're talking about treatment, rather than research? Even if we solve the problems of tissue rejection through a foreign ESC donor, where is one supposed to get enough donated human eggs to make this a viable avenue of treatment? If anyone is still holding onto the idea of ESC providing widespread treatment, I don't think that they're opening their eyes to the reality of the oncoming brick wall that there simply would never be enough donor embryos. Some of our greatest minds and heroes of pioneering ESC research (James Thomson being one such example) have left ESC for the more promising fields of IPSC.

I'll say my thesis succinctly. Destructive human embryonic stem cell research (as practiced today) is barbaric and unnecessary, and should not be given safe harbor in the scientific community of a civilized society.

Science

First Black Hole For Light Created On Earth 244

An anonymous reader writes "An electromagnetic 'black hole' that sucks in surrounding light has been built for the first time. The device, which works at microwave frequencies, may soon be extended to trap visible light, leading to an entirely new way of harvesting solar energy to generate electricity. A theoretical design for a table-top black hole to trap light was proposed in a paper published earlier this year by Evgenii Narimanov and Alexander Kildishev of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Their idea was to mimic the properties of a cosmological black hole, whose intense gravity bends the surrounding space-time, causing any nearby matter or radiation to follow the warped space-time and spiral inwards."
Toys

Wikipedia In Your Pocket, $99 412

An anonymous reader notes the announcement by Sean Moss-Pultz (Openmoko, Inc.) of a new geek device: The $99 WikiReader. All of Wikipedia in your pocket with no Internet connection required. Works in bright sunlight. 3-button interface. You can update the information in the WikiReader either by mail (they ship a microSD card) or by downloading a 4+ GB file.

Comment Re:2% by 2012? (Score 2, Insightful) 240

Yes, you are wrong.

The only reason we are tied to Uranium-235 is because of restrictions that make it illegal to recycle (reprocess) nuclear fuel in this country, hence we have a surplus of "waste" (that can still be used in a breeder reactor -- we're just legally prevented from doing so) that we either bury (stupid) or sell to France (who isn't so ignorant when it comes to nukes).

In short, there is plenty of nuclear fuel -- we're just not allowed to use it because Carter thought that recycling nuclear fuel could lead to proliferation of arms-grade plutonium -- we of course have long since now known that it doesn't, but that hasn't done anything to remove these laws outlawing nuclear fuel recycling.

Here is a link for further reading.

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