Thursday, October 22, 2009

BBC NEWS | Health | Womb transplants 'a step closer'

BBC NEWS | Health | Womb transplants 'a step closer'

Researchers in the UK report on "successful" experiments to transplant wombs into rabbits. They lived 10 whole months after the operation.

This is just crazy. Why would anyone want a womb transplant? Presumably, because her womb was diseased and had to be removed, but she still wanted to experience pregnancy. Pregnancy is so risky with your own womb. There are A LOT of blood vessels in there. You could so easily die from a hemorrhage in a transplanted womb, even without getting pregnant. It's so risky, that the transplanted womb is only intended to temporary.

Don't do it-- the transplant or the research. The doctors have had difficulty finding funding for their work. I'm not surprised. I wouldn't fund this.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Oral History of the Bush White House | MetaFilter

Oral History of the Bush White House | MetaFilter

This was an amazing comment on the blue in MetaFilter. It was favorited by 130 people and I couldn't agree more.

I remember the moment I realized America has split into two countries, with two sets of facts, and how manipulative those facts were. I was at a party thrown by this older woman, an occasional actress in the Omaha theater community, who was conservative, and so was her family. And we got to talking about the Iraq war, which was about a year old at the time. Of course, no weapons of mass destruction had been found, because there were never any, but they were adamant that Saddam had moved the weapons by train into Libya, or something. There was no evidence of this, but they assured me that they knew this to be a fact, because some very high level military general had said so.

At some point I mentioned that Scott Ritter, the former chief United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998, had made the case that there were no weapons of mass destruction, even before we went to war. I had seen him speak, and he had mapped out how you keeps tabs on a country, and how you make sure they don't have weapons, and he pointed out that weapons of mass destruction don't magically appear. You have to buy certain things to make them, and there are only a small number of places that make those things, as you can keep tabs on those places, and what they are shipping, and who they are shipping to. According to him, it was impossible for Saddamn Hussein to have a program of weapons of mass destruction, because it was impossible for him to get the elements required to build such weapons. He said that Saddam was a braggart, and we should ignore him if he makes claims to having such weapons, because such claims are politically motivated. He also pointed out that inspections have worked, they effectively disarmed Hussein, and there was no reason to abandon them in favor of war.

As I discussed this, I saw the actress's face turn hard with anger. "Scott Ritter?" she asked. "The pederast?"

It took me several hours worth of digging around to figure out what she was talking about. Ritter had been arrested in 2001 a sting operation for arranging to meet with police officers posing as under-aged girls. He was never charged and the arrest records were sealed. This fact was not widely known, probably because he wasn't charged and it wasn't especially relevant to whether Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.

But this woman had a different pipeline of information that I did, and believed it to be as true -- or, generally, truer -- than the broad array of sources I was using, which I culled from researching things on the Web. It was an extensive whisper campaign that somehow was bypassing mainstream media and saying, oh, there are weapons of mass destruction, don't believe the Washington Post. The weapons are in Syria. Oh, don't believe Scott Ritter. He's a pederast.

And suddenly it seemed like this was America. A huge segment of the population had walked away from facts in favor of politically motivated spin, which they saw as truer than facts, and they had their own system for passing the facts on to each other that bypassed, not only the mainstream press, but also any sort of vetting system, where it could be determined whether something was true or not, or even relevant. That was Bush's real legacy. It's not just that the mainstream press sort of collapsed and didn't do their jobs -- to an extent this is true, but there was a lot of fact checking and exposure of misbehavior and all the other things the press is true. But I found myself in a time when people didn't care about the truth. They actively walked away from it. I mean, there have always been cranks who see the world through a cracked lens and you just can't talk to them, but suddenly half of America was a crank.

It's honestly made me afraid of ideologies, even my own. I don't want an ideologue in office. I want someone for whom the truth is more important than ideology, and for whom effective management is more important than a politically motivated agenda. I'm a liberal, but I am completely aware that lefties are capable of the same sort of blind self-delusion that the conservatives engaged in for the past eight years, of rejecting reality because it doesn't jibe with their notions of how things work. I suspect it is a very human experience, and you need people at the top who are willing to say, look, these may not be the facts that we want to hear, but they are the facts, and we have to address them as such. Bush and Co. have steadfastly refused to be those leaders, and that may me the greatest failure of their administration.

Karina's Kitchen- Recipes from a Gluten-Free Goddess: A Vegan Pumpkin Pie Worthy of Thanksgiving

Karina's Kitchen- Recipes from a Gluten-Free Goddess: A Vegan Pumpkin Pie Worthy of Thanksgiving

I made this today with a couple of substitutions. I used soy milk instead of hemp milk, because that's what I had. I used 1 tablespoon of egg instead of egg replacer.

My pie turned out darker than the one in the picture. (Maybe I used a darker brown sugar?) The texture was great. It set up into a silky custard. The skin of the custard was a nice texture too, but a bit dry in relation to the soft insides. The next time I try this, I will use Susie Linquist's modification of using two eggs instead of 1 tablespoon of egg replacer.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

What conservatives fear most in the first 100 days | BlogHer

What conservatives fear most in the first 100 days | BlogHer

This blog post was a bizarre diatribe against Barack Obama. It quoted lots of other blogs, but had virtually no content. It supposedly talked about what conservatives were worried about, but there's little more than innuendo in it.

The article criticizes Obama's proposals for change in education by saying that "his past, as usual, doesn't hold up under scrutiny." WTF? What does this have to do with anything?

Another blogger thinks that taxpayers should not be funding abortion, and the article implies that this is a possibility due to the bail out of Wall St. and the auto industry. WTF?

Some one else criticizes Obama for not immediately finding a new church in D.C. and going to the gym on Sunday mornings instead.

At last, a concrete concern about Obama being likely to pass "already-drafted bills on the assault weapons band and ammunition registration." Ah, yes, those second amendment rights must be protected, with guns.

And finally, a concern about "the possibility of a massive tax hike to rival those of Bill Clinton's tax increases - the biggest in our nation's history." Excuse me? He did not. And a tax hike would only be undoing the tax cuts that Bush put in place that the country could not afford in the first place. Besides, how are you going to be paying for all that lovely national defense?

I guess if you're determined to be a fear monger, you can succeed without facts and without having your brain in gear.