In a world dominated by magical thinking, superstition and religion, give yourself the benefit of doubt. This is one skeptic's view of the Universe.

"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."

-George Carlin

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.

-Albert Einstein

“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”

-Carl Sagan

The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.

-Christopher Hitchens

 

The Obama administration still has not removed the most important impediments to embryonic stem cell research—allowing funding only for work on stem cells derived from surplus embryos at fertility clinics. Such delicacy is a clear concession to the religious convictions of the American electorate. While Collins seems willing to go further and support research on embryos created through somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), he is very far from being a voice of ethical clarity in this debate. For instance, he considers embryos created through SCNT to be distinct from those formed through the union of sperm and egg because the former are “not part of God’s plan to create a human individual” while “the latter is very much part of God’s plan, carried out through the millennia by our own species and many others” (Collins, 2006, p. 256) There is little to be gained in a serious discussion of bioethics by talking about “God’s plan.” (If such embryos were brought to term and became sentient and suffering human beings, would it be ethical to kill them and harvest their organs because they had been conceived apart from “God’s plan”?) While his stewardship of the NIH seems unlikely to impede our mincing progress on embryonic stem cell research, his appointment seems like another one of President Obama’s efforts to split difference between real science and real ethics on the one hand and religious superstition and taboo on the other.

Why Bogus Therapies [Could] Seem to Work

At least ten kinds of errors and biases can convince intelligent, honest people that cures have been achieved when they have not….


If we’re to figure out if therapies are actually working we must be prepared to apply rigorous skepticism, considering all of the possible ways we can be fooled by what we want to be true.

Ohio Amish begin vaccinations amid largest measles outbreak in recent U.S. history

(Amish) Paul Raber is skeptical and says he believes God won’t give him more than he can handle. Still, he did decide to get the measles vaccine for him and his family.

Science “journalism” is why we can’t have nice things.

Science “journalism” is why we can’t have nice things.

Terrifying Precedent: Woman to Be Tried for Murder for Giving Birth to Stillborn When She Was 16

bebinn:

ashkenazi-autie:

feministbatwoman:

bebinn:

Mississippi has one of the worst records for maternal and infant health in the U.S., as well as some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease, and among some of the most restrictive policies on abortion…

"It is tremendously, tremendously frightening, this case…There’s real fear for young women whose babies are dying early who [lack the resources to] defend themselves and their actions."

Rennie Gibbs’ daughter was stillborn with the cord wrapped around her neck, but when autopsy results turned up traces of a cocaine byproduct in her baby’s blood, Gibbs was indicted for “depraved heart murder,” with a maximum sentence of life in prison.

It should come as no surprise that Gibbs is a young, low-income black woman, a member of a demographic disproportionately targeted by the legal system in cases like this and others, and more vulnerable to stillbirths.

A committee for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists determined that “pregnant women who fear the legal system avoid or emotionally disengage from prenatal care - the very thing that might help assure they give birth to health babies. Drug enforcement policies that deter women from seeking prenatal care are contrary to the welfare of the mother and fetus.”

Until we stop pretending punishment and stigma is an effective deterrent, and work to address the underlying issues in maternal health, women will continue to be targeted for addiction, mental illness, and self-determination.

This is disgusting. It’s part of a trend - the idea that once a person is pregnant, their body belongs to society, and thus they are answerable to society for the outcome of their pregnancy. 

It’s disgusting. And sexist, and racist, and classist, and ableist, to name a few. 

Is there another source for this?

Google?

A Stillborn Child, A Charge of Murder and the Disputed Case Law on “Fetal Harm”

A Young Mother Could Face Life in Prison for Giving Birth to a Stillborn Child

Outcry in America as pregnant women who lose babies face murder charges

The Criminalization of Bad Mothers

Brief of the Appellant

The case has been ongoing since 2007.

science-junkie:

50 Incredible Facts About Skin

Did you know that your skin is considered an organ? Or that every 28 days the skin renews itself? These fact and more can be found on the 50 Incredible Facts About Skin infographic brought to you by Beautyflash. You can learn general facts about the skin as well as what you need to keep healthy skin.

Pretty cool, but let me say that my microbiology professor would not be amused to see a Staphylococcus aureus drawn that way ; )

The Most Unfortunate Design Flaws in the Human Body

Sometimes evolution is stupid, and the human body is proof. Here are the most problematic physical and behavioral “scars of evolution” we humans have to deal with.

The human body is, in many respects, a resounding tribute to the adaptive powers of natural selection. We’ve evolved gloriously large, complex brains capable of abstract thought and foresight. We’re bipedal, dextrous, and enjoy relatively long lives (lives that include a fairly generous fertility window), to list a few of the qualities that have allowed us to propagate and thrive across the planet.

But that doesn’t mean we’re perfect. Far from it, in fact. Not only did evolution create a species that’s “good enough,” it also produced some distinctly negative traits. Back in 1951, the biologist Wilton Krogman referred to these as the “scars of human evolution.”

In some respects, these “scars” can be seen as vestigial traits, but that’s not quite accurate. Rather, they’re examples of the various trade-offs and side-effects of evolution. They’re also not physical or psychological limitations per se (like our poor sense of smell or inability to grasp large numbers — those traits weren’t adaptive in our recent evolutionary past). Also, I left out aging and age-related disorders; those aren’t so much “flaws” of evolution as they’re an indelible and insurmountable limitation of biological evolution. Lastly, I decided to include some characteristics that evolution designed rather poorly.

X

persephoneholly:

personhoodusa:

Over 300,000 children are murdered inside Planned Parenthood clinics every year. http://ift.tt/ITL4iD

BULL FUCKING SHIT.
My mother was three months pregnant with me when she waltzed into Planned Parenthood. But she didn’t get an abortion. Not because she had a ‘sudden change of heart’ nor because someone ‘lead her Jesus’ but because she went there to make sure I was and would be born healthy.
My parents were two poor young adults in their late teens and early twenties when I was conceived. They lived in a tiny apartment and had no insurance, but they wanted me. My mom drove herself to Planned Parenthood from the third month of pregnancy to the fifth (until she finally got medical insurance.) There she got the ultrasound screenings, found out I was a girl, got the prenatal vitamins and were referred to see the physician I’ve been going to from my birth to now. 
Thanks to Planned Parenthood, I was born healthy at six pounds, seven ounces. I had no malformations, no preventable disorders and no preventable health issues. The only thing that occurred was I was in ‘fetal distress’ and was born a week before the due date.
I ‘made it out alive’ and thanks to Planned Parenthood I ‘made it out’ healthy.
Take this bullshit elsewhere.
TL;DR?: Read the bold.

persephoneholly:

personhoodusa:

Over 300,000 children are murdered inside Planned Parenthood clinics every year. http://ift.tt/ITL4iD

BULL FUCKING SHIT.

My mother was three months pregnant with me when she waltzed into Planned Parenthood. But she didn’t get an abortion. Not because she had a ‘sudden change of heart’ nor because someone ‘lead her Jesus’ but because she went there to make sure I was and would be born healthy.

My parents were two poor young adults in their late teens and early twenties when I was conceived. They lived in a tiny apartment and had no insurance, but they wanted me. My mom drove herself to Planned Parenthood from the third month of pregnancy to the fifth (until she finally got medical insurance.) There she got the ultrasound screenings, found out I was a girl, got the prenatal vitamins and were referred to see the physician I’ve been going to from my birth to now. 

Thanks to Planned Parenthood, I was born healthy at six pounds, seven ounces. I had no malformations, no preventable disorders and no preventable health issues. The only thing that occurred was I was in ‘fetal distress’ and was born a week before the due date.

I ‘made it out alive’ and thanks to Planned Parenthood I ‘made it out’ healthy.

Take this bullshit elsewhere.

TL;DR?: Read the bold.

skeptv:

The Invisible Universe Of The Human Microbiome

The next time you look in a mirror, think about this: In many ways you’re more microbe than human. There are 10 times more cells from microorganisms like bacteria and fungi in and on our bodies than there are human cells. But these tiny compatriots are invisible to the naked eye. So we asked artist Ben Arthur to give us a guided tour of the rich universe of the human microbiome.

via NPR.


You are an ecosystem.

rasputin:

Portuguese designer Susana Soares has developed a device for detecting cancer and other serious diseases using trained bees. The bees are placed in a glass chamber into which the patient exhales; the bees fly into a smaller secondary chamber if they detect cancer. 

Scientists have found that honey bees - Apis mellifera - have an extraordinary sense of smell that is more acute than that of a sniffer dog and can detect airborne molecules in the parts-per-trillion range. 

Bees can be trained to detect specific chemical odours, including the biomarkers associated with diseases such as tuberculosis, lung, skin and pancreatic cancer.

 

scienceyoucanlove:

A brand new approach to developing an HIV vaccine may be about to bear fruit. Phase 1 human clinical trials have already been cleared to start. This first phase will provide the vaccine to just 40 subjects who already have HIV in order to verify that it doesn’t make things worse or trigger any unwanted responses. Phase 2 testing will have a larger group of 600 subjects, all HIV-negative. This test will be to verify that the vaccine does not actually cause any of the subjects to contract HIV. Finally, Phase 3 of testing will have a group of 6000 HIV-negative subjects at high risk of contracting the virus, in order to test its effectiveness.If all three phases go well, there could be a safe and effective vaccine available in as little as five years. Read More: http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/obr/?p=995
source 


Then the parties of God and the anti-vaxers can get to work demonizing it and convincing people that it’s an evil conspiracy.

scienceyoucanlove:

A brand new approach to developing an HIV vaccine may be about to bear fruit. Phase 1 human clinical trials have already been cleared to start. This first phase will provide the vaccine to just 40 subjects who already have HIV in order to verify that it doesn’t make things worse or trigger any unwanted responses. 

Phase 2 testing will have a larger group of 600 subjects, all HIV-negative. This test will be to verify that the vaccine does not actually cause any of the subjects to contract HIV. 

Finally, Phase 3 of testing will have a group of 6000 HIV-negative subjects at high risk of contracting the virus, in order to test its effectiveness.

If all three phases go well, there could be a safe and effective vaccine available in as little as five years. 

Read More: http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/obr/?p=995

source 

Then the parties of God and the anti-vaxers can get to work demonizing it and convincing people that it’s an evil conspiracy.

thenewenlightenmentage:

Gelatin-Based Bio-Ink Allows Tissue And Organ Printing
German researchers have developed a new gelatin bio-ink that can be used by 3D printing technology to produce various tissue types, a breakthrough that brings the world one step closer to being able to print tissues and organs.
Scientists have long been working to improve methods and procedures for artificially producing tissue. In the current work, researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology (IGB) in Stuttgart, Germany, developed a suitable bio-ink for 3D printing that consist of gelatin-based components from natural tissue matrix and living cells. Gelatin is a well-known biological material derived from collagen that serves as the main constituent of native tissue.
Continue Reading

thenewenlightenmentage:

Gelatin-Based Bio-Ink Allows Tissue And Organ Printing

German researchers have developed a new gelatin bio-ink that can be used by 3D printing technology to produce various tissue types, a breakthrough that brings the world one step closer to being able to print tissues and organs.

Scientists have long been working to improve methods and procedures for artificially producing tissue. In the current work, researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology (IGB) in Stuttgart, Germany, developed a suitable bio-ink for 3D printing that consist of gelatin-based components from natural tissue matrix and living cells. Gelatin is a well-known biological material derived from collagen that serves as the main constituent of native tissue.

Continue Reading

Can Slug Glue Make Stitches Obsolete?

txchnologist:

image

by Michael Keller

When it comes to sealing up surgical cuts and deep wounds, stitches are so last century.

Though suture thread is now made of synthetic materials like nylon or absorbable polymers, stitching someone up is a rudimentary medical technique that has been with humanity for eons. The problem is that it comes with a number of shortcomings. When a wound is closed, for instance, the points where thread meets tissue undergo significant stress from pulling and twisting. This can lead to tears, leaking and, eventually, scarring.

“It’s a millennia-old technology that hasn’t really changed much and is really quite crude,” says Andrew Smith, a biology and biochemistry professor at Ithaca College. “It works, but I think we might be onto a big improvement here.”

The ingredients behind that improvement might strike some as odd. But Smith has long held a fascination with how certain invertebrates stick to things. Over the past couple of decades, he has investigated the structure and mechanics of octopus suckers, and the way that sea snails can stick to a rock with amazing attachment force. 

Now he believes that the slime slugs and snails use to stick to surfaces could revolutionize modern wound care.

Read More

jtotheizzoe:

mucholderthen:

A ROGUES GALLERY
of UNTREATABLE ANTIBIOTIC-RESISTANT ORGANISMS
Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]
Microorganisms with names in bold are shown in illustrations above, in the order listed.

Microorganisms with a Threat Level of Urgent

  1. Clostridium difficile
  2. Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae 
  3. Drug-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae 

Microorganisms with a Threat Level of Serious 

  1. Multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter 
  2. Drug-resistant Campylobacter 
  3. Fluconazole-resistant Candida (a fungus)
  4. Extended spectrum β-lactamase producing Enterobacteriaceae (ESBLs) 
  5. Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE)  
  6. Multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa 
  7. Drug-resistant non-typhoidal Salmonella 
  8. Drug-resistant SalmonellaTyphi 
  9. Drug-resistant Shigella  
  10. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  11. Drug-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae 
  12. Drug-resistant tuberculosis  

Microorganisms with a Threat Level of Concerning

  1. Vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VRSA)
  2. Erythromycin-resistant Group A Streptococcus
  3. Clindamycin-resistant Group B Streptococcus 

Source: CDC Drug-Resistant Health Threats

So, kids, the next time someone says to you, “You might as well take an antibiotic, it can’t hurt,” just say no!

Pretty.

Pretty dangerous.