In a world dominated by magical thinking, superstition and misinformation, give yourself the benefit of doubt. This is one skeptic's view of the Universe; natural wonders and supernatural blunders.
"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."
“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.
“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”
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.
Sam Harris - The Strange Case of Francis Collins
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.