Simple Equations are No Good When the Variables are Meaningless        
A few weeks back, I reflected on why mathematical biology can be so hard to learn—much harder, indeed, than the mathematics itself would warrant. The application of mathematics to biological evolution is rooted, historically, in statistics rather than in dynamics. Consequently, a lot of model-building starts with tools that belong, essentially, to descriptive statistics (e.g., … Continue reading Simple Equations are No Good When the Variables are Meaningless
          Reflecting on Confusion        
While I was writing Multiscale Structure in Eco-Evolutionary Dynamics, I found myself having a frustrating time reading through big chunks of the relevant literature. The mathematics in the mathematical biology was easier than a lot of what I’d had to deal with in physics, but the arguments were hard to follow. At times, it was … Continue reading Reflecting on Confusion
          Memo to all tech bros: Sexism, not biology, holds women back        
Women are not biologically predestined to be bit players in tech firms no matter what one (ex) Google engineer thinks of diversity programmes, says Lara Williams

Forty-one students participated in the 8-week summer research program, SCOPE, a student-faculty collaborative experience, conducting research in animal behavior, biology, chemistry/biochemistry, kinesiology, math/computer science, and physics.

          Kira McEntire ‘13        

Kira McEntire '13, a biology/environmental studies major and art minor is attending graduate school at the University of Georgia.

          a feeling of wanting to punch people when I heard them eating        
Researchers have discovered a biological basis for misophonia (previously): "Brain imaging revealed that people with the condition have an abnormality in the emotional control mechanism which causes their brains to go into overdrive on hearing trigger sounds." The full text of the study was published last week in Current Biology (open access): The Brain Basis for Misophonia.
          Science requires braiiiins        
A four part series on the science of zombies: ethics of the undead, how zombie biology would work, can you kill the undead, everything you ever wanted to know about zombies. From Discover Magazine's blog Science Not Fiction
          Calories are delicious        
The Neuroscience of McGriddles: Evolutionary biology offers hypotheses about why we enjoy eating. "When you eat at McDonald's, a big part of the pleasure comes from the fact that the food is sustenance, fuel, energy. Even mediocre food is a little rewarding."
           Predator percolation, insect outbreaks, and phase polyphenism         
Reynolds, Andy M., Sword, Gregory A., Simpson, Stephen J. and Reynolds, Don R. (2008) Predator percolation, insect outbreaks, and phase polyphenism. Current Biology, 19 (1). pp. 20-24. ISSN 0960-9822 (doi:10.1016/j.cub.2008.10.070 )
          Dombeck receives Ansel Adams Award for leadership in protecting National Forests        

WASHINGTON — Former U.S. Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck will receive the Ansel Adams Award from The Wilderness Society Thursday night for his major role in protecting the national forests.

"Mike was a game-changer,” said William H. Meadows, president of The Wilderness Society. “He restored balance to the management of our 155 national forests, making clean water, recreation, and fish and wildlife priorities, as the law requires. He was the main architect of the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which prevented logging and road building across 58.5 million acres of our national forests. It was the capstone of a quarter century of sterling public service with federal land management agencies.”

A native of Wisconsin with a Ph.D. in fisheries biology, Dombeck served three years as acting director of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management before President Clinton appointed him Forest Service chief in 1997. No other person has lead both of this nation’s largest land management agencies.

Since leaving the government in 2001, Dombeck has been a University of Wisconsin System Fellow and a professor of global conservation at the College of Natural Resources at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He also directs the Smith Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Conservation Biology.

“Mike was, in my view, the most independent chief that the Forest Service has had since Gifford Pinchot himself,” said Dr. Jerry Franklin, a University of Washington professor often described as “the father of modern forestry.” Pinchot was the first chief, serving from 1898 to 1910. “Mike broke out of the mold and did really innovative things. He did that by design and force of will,” said Franklin, a long-time member of The Wilderness Society’s Governing Council.

“As our country grows, we continue to chip away at our wild places, losing acre by acre, day after day,” said Dombeck. “Protecting the remaining roadless areas of our national forests is perhaps this nation’s last opportunity to keep our few remaining wild places intact.

“They are important habitats and anchor points for native plants and animals in the face of a changing climate. These remote areas provide some of the last best hunting and fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities with at least a measure of solitude. In today’s fast-paced society, these are the places where future generations might experience the land as their forefathers did. It has been a privilege for me to have a career working with people who care deeply about the health of the land. They are the ones who have earned this award.”

The award that Dombeck will receive is named for the celebrated photographer who, until his death, was an outspoken advocate for safeguarding the nation’s natural heritage. “It is noteworthy that Mike is the third winner from Wisconsin,” Meadows pointed out. The award was presented to Congressman David Obey (D) in 2000 and to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson in 1990. Nelson served the state as a governor and U.S. Senator and spent the final 24 years of his life as counselor of The Wilderness Society.

Other winners of the Ansel Adams Award include former Congressman Mo Udall (D-NM), former Interior Secretary Stewart Udall, President Jimmy Carter, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-ME), Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (D-CT), and former Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus.

The Wilderness Society is the leading public-lands conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than 500,000 members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 110 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands.

For a hi-res photo of Dombeck, contact

May 18, 2010

          Convocation 2012        

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September 4, 2012

Amherst marked the beginning of the 2012–13 school year with Opening Convocation at Johnson Chapel on Sept. 3. The first formal gathering of the first-year class, the annual ceremony enables the college’s president and the faculty, dressed in their academic regalia, to officially welcome the new students. Every year, it features a procession, music by the Choral Society and the awarding of master of arts degrees to faculty who have reached the rank of full professor but aren’t graduates of Amherst. (View photos of the entire event at the Amherst College Flickr set.)

In this year’s Convocation address, President Biddy Martin commended the members of the Class of 2016 for having the courage to learn, to be challenged by new ideas and to “combat our own willful ignorance.” “Critical thinking cannot be programmed, but it can be exemplified,” she explained to the audience of first-year students, faculty, staff and others. “It is our job to exemplify it by turning our analytical skills and our patience outward but also inward toward ourselves. The quality of this institution depends on the willingness of our students and faculty and everyone else who works to put their ‘taken-for-granteds’ at risk.”

She discussed the relationships the students would cultivate at college and reminded them of the value of their Amherst education as well. The latter, she told them, is “a launching pad or platform for the work that needs to be done to address the monumental challenges in the world—economic, political, cultural, environmental.… It’s an opportunity to learn not only how to think but [how] to relate to people from every conceivable background, how to engage the world and how to lead.”

Prior to speaking to the first-years, Martin conferred honorary master’s degrees on Catherine Epstein, professor of history and chair of her department; Jeffrey Ferguson, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Black studies and American studies; Caroline Goutte, professor of biology; Amelie Hastie, professor of English and film and media studies and chair of the film studies department; and Nasser Hussain, professor of law, jurisprudence and social thought. She also acknowledged Scott Kaplan ’95, professor of computer science, who was also promoted to full professor but already holds an Amherst degree.

President Biddy Martin’s 2012 Convocation Address


Good evening, and welcome once again. We are gathered to mark the beginning of the academic year, to celebrate teaching and learning and to affirm their importance. We are lucky to be learning and teaching in a community of smart, curious and creative people. By the very nature of this event and its rituals, we commit ourselves to one another and to a larger world that desperately needs its Amhersts. We are all eager just to get on with it, but it makes sense to dwell, even if only briefly, on our work, our relationships, and, perhaps, even our fun.

I know the faculty feels fortunate to be teaching a student body with your talent, curiosity and diversity. You, who are our new and continuing students, are lucky to study with faculty who are contributing to their scholarly fields, creating new knowledge across disciplinary boundaries and investing their creativity in the art of teaching. The Amherst faculty treats teaching with same seriousness they bring to original research. I know from experience that such seriousness is rare. 

In their senior survey, members of the Class of 2012 reported that their favorite teachers were the ones who had the highest expectations of them, who demanded their best work. This is a place that reveres the life of the mind and challenges us to continue a long tradition, a 191-year-old tradition of setting high standards.

In a meeting of Amherst alumni in the chapel last spring, I was asked by an alum what motivates serious scholars to spend their careers teaching undergraduates; “What’s in it for them?” I believe he asked. I had a response ready, based on my own experience as a teacher of both undergraduate and graduate students, but I caught sight of Professor Sarat, a political scientist, who happened to be standing in the back of Johnson Chapel; I asked him to come forward and give the audience his perspective—and he was glad to oblige. I want to read the summary account he sent me later, because what he said is representative of Amherst faculty as a whole. I cannot imagine any member of the faculty who would not agree. “Amherst classrooms at their best,” he said, “are places that combine love, challenge and hope. We want our students not just to learn, but to love ideas, images, mathematical equations.”

“Love,” he cautioned, “cannot be programmed, but it can be exemplified.” We want our students not only to learn, but also to love learning. He continued: “At our best, we try to put our students in a place of productive discomfort … we want to unsettle their taken-for-granteds. We want to challenge their moments of complacency. The return for those of us who teach, of seeing students take up the challenge, venture into that place of productive discomfort, is being inspired by their courage and reminded of what it is like to move beyond our own comfort zones.”

He concluded by saying, “I guess it is all about what they and we are willing to put at risk.”

I like the combination of challenge, love and hope. I like thinking about what it means to put our assumptions, even ourselves, at risk, within what is ultimately a pretty safe environment. If anyone among you doubts that it takes courage to question what we think we know or put our beliefs at risk, you need only look at the ideological rigidity in the world around us and consider the tenacious refusal in broad swaths of the public to accept scientific conclusions or listen to the views of others.

It takes particular courage to combat what we might call our willful ignorance, but we are here to do just that. By “willful ignorance,” I mean the active suppression of knowledge or truth, the kind of ignorance that cannot be changed by the mere addition of new information. In moments of uncertainty and fear, we are particularly prone to indulging our ignorance, and the times are nothing if not uncertain. Our resistance to change is purposeful, but often only at an unconscious level by virtue of our stubborn internalizations.

Last week, [DeMott Lecturer] David Nevins [’88] told you that the most creative periods in his career have often been the most anxiety-ridden; they have come when he was making the transition from one job to another, before he knew the rules and had not yet internalized them. He encouraged you to take advantage of the transition you are making, giving yourselves permission to think otherwise. Permission of that sort requires a fight, because we are largely unaware of the structure of our ignorance, and our prejudices can be forms of love for those from whom we learned or absorbed them. Critical thinking cannot be programmed, but it can be exemplified, and it is our job to exemplify it. The quality of our institution depends on the willingness of students and faculty, and everyone who works here, to put their “taken-for-granteds” at risk.

Amherst sometimes seems like a treasured island, a respite from the inanity or insanity or the ugliness in the world, but it is not an island, and we don’t want it to be. We want it to be a platform or a launching pad for the work that needs to be done if we are to address the monumental challenges we face—economic, environmental, political, social, cultural and psychological. Amherst provides an opportunity to acquire the skills and the quality of thought that is adequate to the problems; it is also an opportunity to learn how to engage and build relationships with people from all over the world; it is an opportunity to learn how to lead.

When I was in London visiting our alumni this summer, I asked some of my interlocutors how they accounted for their love of Amherst. “It’s a place,” said one, “where it was cool to be smart.” We are fortunate to be in a place where it is cool to be smart; cool to be different; cool to be an athlete who puts academics first or finds the right balance between the two; cool not to be an athlete; cool to sing, to dance, to stay up all night studying, even when there is no exam the next day; cool to grasp and appreciate the nature of reality and the complexity of our lives.

I have lots of wishes for you, but I will emphasize two: first, that you reject the substitution all around us of only dimly related bullet points for genuine analysis. I hope you will use your time here to hone your intellectual skills and use them to reach for an understanding of the world—one that integrates the different modes of thought to which you will be exposed; one that displays close reading, critical thinking, analytical reason, creativity and a commitment to clear, compelling exposition. I hope you take full advantage of Amherst’s commitment to great writing and to other forms of creative expression. I hope you go beyond scattered “bullet points” or decontextualized data to a working understanding, or an approach to understanding, that honors imagination, distinguishes between fact and fiction and remains open to new knowledge.

Second, I hope you find ways to let your leisure time be inflected by your intellectual development. It is popular here, as well as at other colleges and universities, to oppose play to work. “Work hard—play hard” becomes a kind of mantra, and sometimes a misguided one. I encourage you not to think of work and play as oppositions. Satisfying play is not the absence of work. It, too, takes cultivation and learning. And work is neither successful nor satisfying if it lacks experimentation, whimsy and fun. Play can be deadening when it is conceived only as an escape from thought. It is possible to relax and have fun, even to be a little oppositional, even a little bad, without suppressing all awareness and judgment.   

You are here to learn not only how to be successful at work but also at play, and much of your playing will occur in relationships with your peers. Indeed, relationships will be a significant focus of your experimentation and growth while you are here—the friendships, love relationships, sexual ones. At least some of you will take an interest in sexuality. Good experiences and relationships cannot be programmed any more than the love of learning can, but they can be exemplified, and they will benefit from the work of thought. I will close with a good example of thought when brought to bear on questions of love and sexuality. In the early part of the 20th century, the German poet Rainer Marie Rilke wrote a letter to a young poet offering advice about the relationship between love, sensuality and work. Rilke warns the young poet against the tendency of young people to abandon themselves in pursuit of love or of one another, and he offers an account of love and marriage that has been cited many times over the past hundred years:

Like so much else, people have also misunderstood the place of love in life, they have made it into play and pleasure because they thought that play and pleasure were more blissful than work; but there is nothing happier than work, and love, just because it is the extreme happiness, can be nothing else but work. For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks; the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation …

but young people fling themselves at one another, when love takes possession of them, scatter themselves, just as they are, in all their untidiness, disorder, confusion … And then what? Each loses himself [herself] for the sake of the other and loses the other and many others still to come. And loses the expanses and the possibilities, exchanges the approach and flight of gentle, divining things for an unfruitful perplexity…

Physical pleasure is a sensual experience no different from pure seeing or the pure sensation with which a fine fruit fills the tongue; it is a great unending experience, which is given us, a knowing of the world, the fullness and the glory of all knowing. And our acceptance of it is not what’s bad; the bad thing is that most people misuse and squander this experience and apply it as a stimulant at the tired spots of their lives and as a distraction instead of a rallying toward more exalted moments … In marriage [relationships] the goal is not to create a quick community of spirit by tearing down and destroying all boundaries. A good marriage [relationship] is one in which each appoints the other guardian of his [her] solitude.

This last sentence is one of the most frequently cited passages in the letter. “A good [relationship] is one in which each appoints the other guardian of his [her] solitude” or separateness. Use your leisure, your play, your relaxation and your relationships with one another as a rallying toward the project of becoming who you are and letting others be engaged in the same work. Respect yourselves, your own boundaries and the boundaries of others.

Take yourselves and your fellow classmates seriously. And, in the process, enjoy! Welcome and welcome back to Amherst.

           Secular trends in established and novel cardiovascular risk factors in Welsh 12-13 year olds: A comparison between 2002 and 2007         
Thomas, N. E. and Jasper, M. and Williams, D. R. R. and Rowe, D. A. and Malina, R. M. and Davies, B. and Siegel, S. R. and Baker, J. S. (2011) Secular trends in established and novel cardiovascular risk factors in Welsh 12-13 year olds: A comparison between 2002 and 2007. Annals of Human Biology , 38. pp. 22-27. ISSN 0301-4460
          Science Partnership May Lead to New Antibiotic        

WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Aug. 2, 2017 — West Liberty University provided a biomedical internship opportunity for alumna Kathy Loughman this summer in the biology laboratory of Dr. Joseph Horzempa, located in the Arnett Hall of Natural Sciences. The goal of her research was to identify extracts of natural products that inhibit the growth of the … Read More

The post Science Partnership May Lead to New Antibiotic appeared first on News & Media Relations.

The post Science Partnership May Lead to New Antibiotic appeared first on Academics.

          Biology Professor Digs New Species        

WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., July 28, 2017 — Summer can be a busy time for faculty as they dig into research and dig in is exactly what Dr. Zachary Loughman is known for. Selected as West Virginia’s 2014 Professor of the Year by the Faculty Merit Foundation, Loughman is well known for his crayfish research. This past spring … Read More

The post Biology Professor Digs New Species appeared first on News & Media Relations.

The post Biology Professor Digs New Species appeared first on Academics.

          Volunteering: Slovenia - Morigenos Dolphin Project!!        

Morigenos – marine mammal research and conservation society is seeking applications for:



Research assistants are required to assist with the ongoing long-term research and monitoring programme of the Slovenian Dolphin Project. The project focuses on the study, monitoring and conservation of the local population of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in Slovenian and adjacent waters in the north Adriatic Sea since 2002, collecting information on distribution, abundance, social structure, habitat use, fishery interactions and tourism impact.


The research base is located in Portoroz, Slovenia (EU). The fieldwork is carried out in Slovenian and adjacent waters (north Adriatic Sea).


20th June – 1st October 2010

Candidates are expected to committ to the project for a minimum of 1 month, but can also apply for the whole period.


The research assistant will be responsible for assisting the project leaders in all aspects of research and associated tasks. Duties include, but are not limited to:

· daily fieldwork (boat surveys on a 5.7 meter RIB, land-based watches with binoculars and theodolite tracking, photo-identification, behavioural sampling, data recording)

· database entry, database management, data analysis

· boat upkeep and maintenance

· research base upkeep and maintenance

· coordinating teams of participants in Morigenos research camps


This position is unpaid, but accommodation and food are provided. Successful applicants need to cover their own travel costs.



  • A background in biology, veterinary medicine, geography or related sciences
  • Previous experience in cetacean research
  • Nautical licence and experience in handling RIBs
  • Good IT skills (Word, Excell and Access are a must)
  • Ability and willingness to work long hours outdoors, in often hot weather
  • Ability to work well in a small international team
  • Good verbal and written communication skills

The following qualifications are not required, but one or more of the following will be considered an advantage:

  • Good knowledge of GIS
  • Previous experience and knowledge of photo-ID, distance sampling, habitat modelling, theodolite tracking or C-POD use
  • Experience in the use of software packages MARK, SOCPROG or R


Send a letter of interest and a CV, outlining why you are applying, your previous experience and qualifications, why you think you should be considered for the position and your availability in the given period. Include contact details of two references.

Send your application to tilen.genov(at) Please specify 'MORIGENOS RESEARCH ASSISTANT' in your subject title. Deadline: 3rd April 2010.

Applicants will be notified of the outcome by the 13th April 2010.

Morigenos team will be at the ECS conference in Stralsund, where we would be happy to talk to you. When you send your application, please let us know whether you are attending the ECS and we can possibly arrange a meeting.

Tilen Genov

Morigenos - marine mammal research and conservation society

Jarska cesta 36/a

SI-1000 Ljubljana

Slovenia (EU)

          Employment: UK!        

Head of Bioacoustics Technology, Aquatec Group, Hartley Wintney, UK

About Aquatec
Aquatec Group is a UK-based manufacturer of oceanographic and subsea instrumentation, sold throughout the world for use by research organisations, survey companies, fisheries and the oil and gas industry. Our product range includes a number of bioacoustics-related products, including the AQUAclick (a Static Acoustic Monitoring data logger) and various models of AQUAmark (acoustic deterrent devices) for bycatch mitigation.

About the Role
To support our growing bioacoustics-related business, we are currently recruiting at our UK office for a Head of Bioacoustics Technology position, reporting to the Managing Director.

Aquatec develops and manufactures solutions for marine mammal monitoring and bycatch mitigation, with an in-house engineering team that comprises acoustics, electronics and software engineers. Within the role, you will be expected to provide the interface between the engineering team and the needs of regulators, specifiers and end users of the technology. You will be in regular contact with marine mammal scientists around the world.

Within the role you will be expected to develop the bioacoustics arm of the business, take part in product development and testing, and support existing users of products. The role requires someone who has a well-rounded mix of personal, scientific, and business development skills.

About You
You will be degree qualified with a Masters or PhD in Marine Biology or similar. You will be a citizen of the European Community or will have a permanent right to work in the United Kingdom. You will have practical field experience in the use of static acoustic monitoring systems, and a good understanding of bioacoustics principles. You will be able to process and present bioacoustics data using Matlab, C or both. Ideally you will be in a similar position, or actively working in marine mammal research in the field, and looking for a new challenge. You will need to be competent and confident in the representation of Aquatec to potential customers as well as confident with Aquatec’s internal team to build and expand the company’s business.

The Reward

Aquatec is based in pleasant semi-rural surroundings in Hampshire, UK, approximately 40 miles or one hour’s train journey from London. You will be working with a highly motivated and dynamic team and a diverse range of clients and contacts around the world, with opportunities to travel. Salary will be competitive and will reflect your current experience. Assistance with relocation may also be available.

For more information or queries please send CV/Resume to Reva Perryman, Office Administrator at Aquatec Group, email

Aquatec Group Limited
Registered in England
No 2523284

Registered Address:
High Street, Hartley Wintney
Hampshire, RG27 8NY, UK

Tel: +44 (0)1252 843072
Fax: +44 (0)1252 843074

          Volunteering: Maine!        
Allied Whale, the marine mammal research lab of College of the Atlantic located in Bar Harbor, Maine, seeks 4 interns for the 2010 summer field season.

Two three-month positions (June-August) and two five-month positions (June-October)are available.

Individuals will assist in numerous research projects monitoring humpback, finback and North Atlantic right whales, including off-shore surveys, data collection on local whale watching boats, tower surveys on our remote off-shore research base,passive acoustic monitoring, and general logistics. Individuals will be able to earn limited income as deckhands. Research responsibilities include photo-identification
of whales and data collection/entry. Deckhand responsibilities include line handling, vessel cleaning, and passenger safety. Training will be provided.

The applicants should have a college background in biology and/or zoology. Some knowledge of research methods is an advantage. Knowledge of marine mammals and seabirds is an asset. Previous experience in photography (conventional and digital) is helpful but not required. Applicants must be positive, flexible, able to work independently, and comfortable working offshore on boats.

These are entry-level research positions designed to offer experience for individuals seeking to develop their professional careers in marine mammal research.

The positions begin June 1st and applicants must be able to work through with no other commitments (excluding COA students).

Please specify which position you are interested in.

Hours will vary depending on schedules, housing is provided and mandatory for a fee (~$100/wk).

Application deadline is March 22, 2010.

Please send a cover letter detailing your reasons for applying, a resume, and two letters of recommendation to:

Interns 2010
Allied Whale
105 Eden St.
Bar Harbor, Maine, 04609
Or e-mail to:

Leah M. Crowe
Allied Whale
(207) 288-5644

          Activities: Marine Mammal course in Belize!        

Ecology, Behavior & Conservation of Marine Mammals, A Unique Field Course in the Drowned Cayes, Belize

DATES: May 26 - June 8, 2010 (inclusive of travel)

Caryn Self-Sullivan, Ph.D., Bruce A. Schulte, Ph.D., Katherine S. LaCommare, M.S.
LOCATION: Spanish Bay Conservation & Research Center at HP Adventure Lodge,
COSTS: $2595 includes, housing, meals, field trips, ground & water transfer fees, research & materials fees; DOES NOT include airfare, books, tips, or credit hours
DEADLINES: Early Registration ($50 Discount) & and Deposit due March 1st, 2010

Want to be a Marine Mammal Biologist? Or a Behavioral Ecologist? Here's your chance to join our research team for two intense weeks of total immersion into the world of Animal Behavior, Antillean manatees, bottlenose dolphins in Belize! You will become totally immersed into island living, the study of ethology (animal behavior) and the biology of manatees and dolphins through lectures and learning activities, literature review, debate, projects, and field research. This unique field course combines an overview of the ecology, behavior, and conservation of sirenians and cetaceans with hands-on manatee & dolphin research in the Drowned Cayes, Belize. You'll spend 3-4 hours on the water each day learning about the environment as we explore a labyrinth of mangrove islands, seagrass beds, and coral patches searching for elusive manatees and charismatic dolphins. You'll collect behavioral and environmental data and learn about photo-id techniques; you'll develop a Fact Sheet or Activity Booklet about a related topic to be published by the Hugh Parkey Foundation for Marine Awareness & Education and/or Sirenian International. Extra-curricular activities include diving or snorkeling at Turneffe Atoll, and exploring an ancient Maya City.

This unique course has a work load equivalent to 4 university credit hours and is divided into 4 major components: lectures and learning activities (~1 hour per day), independent reading and assignments (~2 hour per day), data collection in the field (~4 hours per day), project development (~1 hours per day) and debate/group discussion of reading materials (~1 hours per day).

Want credit towards your degree? No problem! Sign up for independent study with an advisor at your school and pay the appropriate fees. The course has 70 contact hours and is comparable to a 4 credit university course. Just have you advisor contact Dr. Self- Sullivan ( to discuss the requirements for credit. Remember, if you are interested in getting independent study credit for this course at your school, you must make arrangements IN ADVANCE with BOTH your advising faculty and the course instructor. Credit hour fees must be paid directly to your school and you must fulfill any Study Abroad requirements at your school.

COURSE CONTENT OVERVIEW (Lectures & Learning Activities)

- The Order Sirenia: Manatees and Dugongs of the World
- The Order Cetacea: Whales and Dolphins of the World
- The Local Research Project: Manatee & Dolphins of the Drowned Cayes
- Animal Behavior: Ethology and Behavioral Ecology - The Scientific Perspectives
- Ecology - Interactions between Manatees, Dolphins, and their Environment
- Marine Mammals under Human Care in Zoos and Oceanariums
- Marine Mammal Science: Research Design, Data Collection Methods,
- Analysis of Data, and Interpretation of Results
- Marine Mammal Conservation and Advocacy: The Status of Extant Marine Mammal Species


We recommend two books (optional) as primary resources on manatees and dolphins:
- The Florida Manatee: Biology and Conservation, by Roger L. Reep and Robert K. Bonde, University Press of Florida
- The Bottlenose Dolphin: Biology and Conservation, by John E. Reynolds, Samantha D. Eide, and Randall S. Wells, University Press of Florida

A selection of primary literature will be sent to you in electronic format in advance of the course. Students are required to print out these articles and bring them with them to Belize.There is also a library of books and archived journals, including Society of Marine Mammalogy, Animal Behavior, and Conservation Biology journals, in our library onsite in Belize.


The course fee of $2595 includes all transportation, course, field trip, and living expenses from your arrival at the PWG airport in Belize on May 26th to your departure on June 8th. You are responsible for tips, insurance, and round-trip airfare to Belize (BZE).


To register for course, please visit

For more information on the course, please email or

For more information on the instructors, please visit and

For more information on the facilities, please visit

Download a Course Flyer at

Caryn Self-Sullivan, Ph.D.
President & Co-founder, Sirenian International
Visiting Assistant Professor, Georgia Southern University
Mobile: 540.287.8207 | Fax: 540.242.9196
Email: or

          Employment: photoID internship in North Carolina!        
Bottlenose Dolphin Photo-ID Internship Position for 2010

The Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research (OBXCDR)/Nags Head Dolphin Watch is currently accepting applications for the 2010 summer season. One internship position is available. The research season is May 15 -September 30. Successful applicants must be able to commit through the end of August.

The Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of bottlenose dolphins in the Outer Banks, NC. Our program´s goal is to gain an understanding of the population size, movement patterns, and behavioral ecology of coastal bottlenose dolphins in the sounds and coastal waters near the Outer Banks. The OBXCDR currently conducts a photo-identification monitoring study of bottlenose dolphins in Roanoke, Croatan, Albemarle, Pamlico and Currituck Sounds. Data is collected via dedicated small boat surveys as well as opportunistically from a local dolphin watch. This study is a continuation of the long-term study initiated by the Nags Head Dolphin Watch in 1997. Information from the current long-term study will provide a basis for initiation of studies involving habitat utilization, social associations, and anthropogenic effects on the dolphins. For more information about the OBXCDR, please visit:

The internship position will consist of field research, photo-identification, and environmental education. Responsibilities include:

- Assisting with boat-based photo-identification surveys of bottlenose dolphins, including operating small vessel during surveys, collecting environmental, location, and behavioral data for dolphin groups

- Photo-identification of dolphins in the lab, including photo sorting, sighting data entry, assist in maintenance of long-term photo-id catalog using the program FinBase

- Mate/naturalist duties aboard a local dolphin watch, including educating the general public on dolphins and the sound/marine environment, collecting opportunistic photo-id data, and additional mate duties

This internship is a paid position. Applicants will receive an hourly salary for performing ecotours on the dolphin watch. From May 15- June 11 and August 18- September 30, the intern will conduct mate/naturalist duties and opportunistic photo-id aboard the Nags Head Dolphin Watch for 4-5 days per week. From June 12- August 17, time commitment to the dolphin ecotours will be 2 days per week. During this time, the internship requires a minimum of 30 hours per week, consisting of ecotours, dedicated field surveys, and lab photo-id. The rest of the week, the intern may seek employment in the Outer Banks or have the time off.

Housing: A studio apartment is available for rent in Kill Devil Hills for the duration of the research season ($50 per week), however transportation to and from the Outer Banks as well as to and from the field site is not provided.

The successful applicant would ideally have the following qualifications:
- Minimum of 18 years of age and currently or recently enrolled in a college-level program in marine biology, biology, zoology, or related field
- Strong interest in the marine environment and conservation
- Ability to swim
- Basic computer proficiency in MS Office Access
- Enthusiasm, attention to detail, responsible, and works well on a team
- Field research/small boat operation experience preferred but not required
- First AID/CPR certification preferred but not required

NOTE: The United States Coast Guard requires all passenger vessels to be drug free work environments. In order to work aboard the dolphin ecotours, the intern will be required to pass a pre-employment drug test and to participate in random drug testing during the period of the research season.

Application Process:

Please submit cover letter, resume, and contact information for 3 references via email to: Use "Dolphin photo-id internship" in the subject line of the email. All applications will be reviewed; those received by April 1st will be given priority.

Jessica Weiss, M.E.M. Coastal Environmental Management
Scientific Advisor, Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research
7517 Virginia Dare Trail
Nags Head, NC 27959

          Volunteering: Stranding Department!        

The Stranding Department of The Marine Mammal Center is seeking applicants for internships working with stranded pinnipeds, cetaceans and sea otters. These positions are unpaid.

Internship Opportunities are available at the following locations.
- San Luis Obispo Operations in Morro Bay
- Monterey Bay Operations in Moss Landing
- Main Hospital in Sausalito

Program Description:

The Stranding Department Internship is an exciting opportunity for individuals who are interested in increasing their experience and knowledge of marine mammal behavior and the Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Interns will be responsible for answering the animal hotline and rotating the after hours on-call. Interns will coordinate rescue and triage response throughout the Center's 600-mile rescue range. Interns will have the opportunity to participate in marine mammal rescues and releases. In addition, interns will be required to assist with animal care duties (feed preparations, medical charting, and pen cleaning) for all on-site pinnipeds. Other duties may include: participation in training classes, data entry and tracking, maintaining rescue equipment and assorted miscellaneous tasks.

Intern Responsibilities & Qualifications:

The internship is open to all applicants 21 years of age or older, with an avid interest in marine biology, zoology, general biology, policy or a related field. If the intern intends to receive university credit for their internship, they are responsible for making all arrangements with their educational institution. Interns must be able to work for a minimum of 3 months, 5 days a week, at least 40 hours per week. Work schedule must be flexible and may include weekends and holidays. This is an unpaid position and all interns are responsible for obtaining housing and transportation. Applicants should demonstrate excellent communication skills and have practical computer knowledge with programs such as Word, Access, and Excel. This internship position involves a fair amount of physical activity, such as: lifting, restraining and moving animals.

Interested applicants are encouraged to submit a r?sum? that includes the names of three references, and a cover letter detailing interests, experience, housing accommodations, and availability. Please forward all application materials to the following address:

The Marine Mammal Center
Marin Headlands
2000 Bunker Road
Sausalito, California 94965
Attn: Erin Brodie

Or via email to:

There is some flexibility on the start date of each position, with the earliest start date of February 1 and the last available internship beginning June 14.

Internship Period


Internship Period: February 8, 2010
Application Deadline: February 12, 2010[justify]
Notification of acceptance: February 19, 2010[/justify]
Approximate Internship Time: April - June 2010


Internship Period: February 8, 2010
Application Deadline: February 19, 2010
Notification of acceptance: February 26, 2010
Approximate Internship Time: June - August 2010


Internship Period: June 7, 2010
Application Deadline: June 11, 2010
Notification of acceptance: June 14, 2010
Approximate Internship Time: August - Sept. 2010


Internship Period: July 19, 2010
Application Deadline: July 23, 2010
Notification of acceptance: July 26, 2010
Approximate Internship Time: Oct - December 2010

Celebrating its 35th year in 2010, The Marine Mammal Center is a non-profit hospital dedicated to the rescue and release of sick, injured or orphaned marine mammals, and to research about their health and diseases. Volunteers and staff have treated more than 15,700 California sea lions, elephant seals, porpoises, and other marine life. The Center uniquely combines its rehabilitation program with scientific discovery and education programs to advance the understanding of marine mammal health, ocean health and conservation. For more information, please visit our website at

          Volunteering: photoID in Cardigan Bay!        
The Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre (New Quay, West Wales, UK) is seeking a Voluntary Assistant Photo-ID Catalogue Officer for the 2010 field season.

The primary purpose of our ongoing research, supported by Environment Wales and the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, is to monitor the marine mammal populations found within Cardigan Bay´s Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and beyond. Using non-invasive photo-identification techniques, we are endeavouring to establish the size and health of the population as well as reproductive and survival rates.

We need a committed volunteer to work at the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre between April and October 2010.

Post description:

- Main responsibility will be to assist with the cataloguing of the bottlenose dolphin photographs for the photo-ID purposes of the CBMWC, including matching individuals to previous year?´ images.

- Giving talks on the photo-identification work conducted at the CBMWC to interested parties.

- Co-ordinate and organise other volunteers participating with the photo-ID work at CBMWC, to tie in with the daily rota.

- Be responsible for training new volunteers in the analysis of photo-ID images, transferring images from memory cards to the Photo-ID computer and ensuring that all images are stored in the correct folders on the computer, e.g. week, date and trip folder and encounter folder if there is more than one per trip.

- Production of up to date procedures for all aspects of the photo-ID work in order that other volunteers can use them in order to complete any photo-ID tasks required of them.

- Ensure that all 2010 images and data are backed up on a regular basis throughout the season (external hard drive, DVDs or CDs) so that there is more than one copy in existence in case of computer failure.

- At the end of the 2010 season help to compile a photo-ID catalogue that includes images from 2009 and 2010 and information and data on what, where and when animals were seen.

There will also be the opportunity to assist with the boat and land-based dolphin surveys and help in the Visitor's Centre.

Desired skills and qualifications:

- Fluency in English (essential)
- IT skills
- Able to work well in a small team and independently without supervision
- Willingness to work in a conscientious, responsible and reliable manner
- Enthusiastic and hard working
- An interest in wildlife and conservation
- Experience working with the public, and public speaking would be useful
- An interest and knowledge of British cetaceans would be an advantage
- A background in biology, particularly marine biology/environmental science would be useful
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills

Time commitment:

The Voluntary Assistant Photo-ID Officer role requires a commitment of at least four months, including July to October. Preferably you would be able to commit for the entire field season April-October. Volunteers living locally who are available on a part time basis are also welcome to apply.

Accommodation and expense arrangements:

Basic, shared accommodation can be arranged for approximately ?55 per week. Volunteers are responsible for their own food, travel and accommodation costs.

About the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre (Est.1996):

The Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre is a non-profit organisation
dedicated to promoting public awareness of the marine species, habitats and conservation of the marine wildlife in Cardigan Bay through research and education. The group is affiliated to the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales and supported by Environment Wales. The centre is in the heart of New Quay overlooking the beautiful beach and harbour. It is used as a base for our research and also includes our Visitor Centre.

Further information:

Contact Laura on 01545 560032 or
Visit our website

How to apply:

Please contact us by e-mail to request an application form and further details.

Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre
Patent Slip Building
Glanmor Terrace
New Quay
Wales, SA45 9PS
Ffon/Phone: 01545 560032

          Volunteering: Iceland!        
Assistant for Seal Research in Iceland

The Icelandic Seal Center in Hvammstangi, North West Iceland and the Institute of Freshwater Fisheries are looking for research assistants for the summer of 2010. The work will consist of assisting in research on ecology and ethology of seals. It is necessary that the applicant in concern has a driver's license and preferably has finished at least a B.Sc degree in biology.

For further information, please contact Sandra Granquist on

You are also welcome to visit and

          Sterilization and Microbiology Auditor / Expert - TÜV SÜD - Home Based        
Significant industrial medical device experience e.g. as Chemist / Biologist / Microbiologist / Sterilization Specialist / Biochemist....
From TÜV SÜD - Wed, 31 May 2017 17:08:35 GMT - View all Home Based jobs
          Biology: Assistant Professor of Biology - University of Richmond - Richmond, VA        
We seek a biologist who has expertise in analysis of big data, modeling, bioinformatics, genomics/transcriptomics, biostatistics, or other quantitative and/or...
From University of Richmond - Thu, 06 Jul 2017 23:17:18 GMT - View all Richmond, VA jobs
          Belonging Is About More Than Biology        
As an adoptee and adoptive mom, God is teaching me about his welcoming love.
          Qué es la medicina Ayurvédica?        

¿Qué es la Medicina Ayurvédica o Ayurveda?

Ayurveda, la "ciencia de la vida", es la medicina tradicional de la India.

La palabra Ayurveda tiene su raíz en dos vocablos sánscritos, "Ayus" que significa longevidad y "Ved o Veda" que significa ciencia, definiendo el AyurVed como la "ciencia de la longevidad".

De acuerdo a la Medicina Ayurveda, el organismo humano esta compuesto de tres principios fundamentales mente-cuerpo conocidos como principios metabólicos o Doshas.

Estos tres elementos- Vata, Pitta y Kapha- gobiernan todas las funciones psicologicas,fisiologicas y fisiopatologicas de la mente, el cuerpo y la conciencia de cada uno.

La proporción especifica de estos principios metabólicos en un individuo determinado al momento de la concepción, hace que esta persona tenga un estilo particular de funcionamiento mental y físico.

Los principios metabólicos son responsables de la manutención y desarrollo de los tejidos biológicos, y todas las actividades metabólicas incluyendo el anabolismo (kapha), catabolismo (vata) y metabolismo (pitta). También gobiernan funciones psicológicas y son responsables de emociones tanto negativas como positivas.

Tipos constitucionales mente-cuerpo

Cada individuo hereda una particular proporción de los tres principios metabólicos, lo cual determina la característica constitucional de cada persona. Un único principio metabólico puede predominar, pero comúnmente son dos los mas representados. Toxinas físicas y mentales Luego de años de rutinas diarias y estacionales incorrectas, de hábitos desarmónicos, y de la acumulación de residuos tóxicos que no podemos digerir apropiadamente y presencia de "radicales libres" , surge la base para los desequilibrios agudos y crónicos. Estos residuos tóxicos obstruyen el flujo de nutrición e información, creando la posibilidad de enfermedad física o mental.

Cuando los "radicales libres" a nivel mental obstruyen el flujo de sentimientos positivos y de claridad, surge el distress emocional y psicológico, ya que la buena salud depende de la habilidad de la unidad mente-cuerpo para metabolizar plenamente la información nutricional, emocional y sensorial que "ingerimos" diariamente.

Los síntomas tempranos de acumulación de "radicales libres" incluyen: dolor articular, anorexia, depresión, debilidad, mal aliento, fatiga profunda, arrugas, irritabilidad e indigestión; además son la raíz de todas las enfermedades incluyendo resfrio, fiebre, alergias, asma, problemas coronarios, artritis, formación de tejidos anormales, envejecimiento prematuro, perdida de capacidades intelectuales, etc.

La Medicina Ayurveda dispone de las terapéuticas para eliminar "radicales libres" de los órganos internos, por medio del Sistema de Adyuvancia Natural AyurVed (S.A.N.A.) ó Panchakarma.

El Panchakarma es altamente aconsejado 3 veces al año, después de tratamientos farmacológicos extensos, post-quimioterapia, luego de intenso stress ó como método natural de rejuvenecimiento para una recuperación más rápida de las funciones corporales, disminuyendo los efectos del embate del stress o efectos secundarios de los agentes químicos.

El programa Panchakarma incluye diversos procedimientos, entre los que podemos enumerar: Abhyanga - Rejuvenecimiento de la piel. Garshana - Activación de la piel. Vishesh - Masaje profundo para eliminar impurezas. Udvartana - Procedimiento especial con pasta de hierbas para celulitis. Nasya - Programa de Descongestión Nasal. Pizzichilli - Sofisticado baño de aceites tibios herbalizados. Shirodhara - Programa para tranquilizar la mente. Marma-terapia - Técnicas manuales sobre puntos de enlaces mente-cuerpo. Netra - Baño especializado de ojos. Basti - Fórmulas especiales de limpieza colonica, diseñadas para eliminar toxinas y nutrir la fisiología. Parishek - Baños de leche y hierbas para la belleza.

Es probablemente la medicina natural más antigua del mundo originándose hace más de 5000 años. Por este motivo fue llamada la Madre de Todas las Curaciones.

La Medicina Ayurveda es reconocida mundialmente por la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS), por la Organización Europea de Medicinas Complementarias (EHPA), por el Centro de Medicinas Alternativas y Complementarias de EEUU (NCCAM) y por todos los gobiernos como la primera medicina alternativa del mundo por su importante valor terapéutico.

En Occidente, Ayurveda es un sistema de medicina naturista y abarca todos los campos que se enseñan en escuelas médicas de Naturismo.

La Medicina Ayurveda trata solidariamente el cuerpo, la mente y el espíritu, considerando a cada persona única de acuerdo a su constitución física, mental y espiritual. Sus objetivos son proveer una guía acerca de la alimentación y estilo de vida (actividad física, técnicas respiratorias) para que las personas sanas se mantengan sanas y las personas con problemas de salud puedan mejorarla.

Incluye técnicas de purificación y rejuvenecimiento y tratamiento con hierbas. La medicina ayurveda se complementa e integra al tratamiento de la medicina convencional occidental. Pero, a diferencia de esta última, el tratamiento ayurvédico no trata el síntoma sino que busca eliminar la causa que lo produce.


J Transl Med. 2008 Sep 9;6(1):48

Prasher B, Negi S et al

Whole genome expression and biochemical correlates of extreme constitutional types defined in Ayurveda

J Transl Med. 2008; 6: 14.

Custer C Deocaris,1 Nashi Widodo et al

Merger of Ayurveda and Tissue Culture-Based Functional Genomics: Inspirations from Systems Biology


Did you hear about the doctor who wrote out a prescription
in the
usual doctor's fashion?

The patient used it for two years as a railroad pass.

Twice it got him into Radio City Music Hall, and once into

It came in handy as a letter from his employer to the cashier
increase his salary.

And to top it off, his daughter played it on the piano and won
scholarship to the Curtis Music Conservatory.

          Cornell Postdoc Found Dead in Adirondack Mountain River        
Matthew Miller, a postdoc in the Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology, died Monday in the Ausable river in the Adirondack Mountains.
          Arsenic-eating bacteria: fascinating, but not that surprising        
Last week, NASA announced a press conference that was hyped to the extreme. Some believed NASA would announce an alien life form, or perhaps an organism that used something other than DNA to store it’s genetic information. Sadly, what they announced was neither of these, but instead an interesting little quirk of biology. Writing in ...
          Degrading the Amazon harms us        
SUBHEAD: Deforestation of Brazil  and resulting climate change endangers humanity.

By Dahr Jamail on 7 August 2017 for Truth Out -

Image above: In 2014 Brazil refused to join pledge to end deforestation. Photo by Greenpeace. From (

Warwick Manfrinato, the director of Brazil's Department of Protected Areas, has a deep understanding of biological interdependence, as well as its importance.

"If we are of utter service to nature, then we provide the benefits to all other living things on the planet," Manfrinato told Truthout in his office at Brazil's capital city recently. "I have the same value as a human as a jaguar has in nature, and both should be protected, otherwise we all go extinct, no matter what."

Manfrinato, whose department falls within the Secretariat of Biodiversity in Brazil's Ministry of Environment, is working on a variety of projects, including the establishment of a whale sanctuary that will cover the better part of the entire South Atlantic Ocean between Brazil's vast coastal area all the way across to the west coast of Africa. And on June 23, he and his colleagues launched a national "Corridors Program," with the goal of fostering "connectivity and genetic flux."

"We know the flow of genetics in biomes [biological systems] in life is critical," Manfrinato said. "We have to re-establish this, so a jaguar that exists in Mexico should be able to come all the way here without being killed. Physical connectivity allows for genetic connectivity. A monkey should be able to travel from one part of Brazil to another, without having to pass through land that has been cleared, where there is no forest."

Manfrinato's colleague, Everton Lucero, who is Brazil's secretary for Climate Change and Environmental Quality, was blunt with Truthout about what could happen if dramatic action is not taken to address the impacts of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD).

"The worst-case IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projection] is 4.5C by 2100, but at local levels here we see very different impacts already, and are already even seeing an 8C increase in places," Lucero told Truthout.

Manfrinato echoes this: The crisis, he says, has already arrived.

"Everything that is bad has already happened," he explained. "We've come to terms with who we are, and we are those who destroy the planet. We've already destroyed it."

Because of this, Manfrinato believes we already know what needs to be done.

"If we're going to look for solutions, we have to look for the solution for the complexity, not one individual thing," he said. "If there is no connectivity, there is nothing. And that is why I'm busy with building corridors of biodiversity."

He has his work cut out for him. But he's not alone: Many people are working toward similar goals in the Amazon.

A Giant Water Pump

The Amazon is one of the most critically important ecosystems on Earth, and certainly the most biodiverse. It is the world's single largest rainforest, as it is larger than the next two largest rainforests -- the Congo Basin and Indonesia -- combined.

The Amazon River is by far the world's largest river by volume, and has more than 1,100 tributaries, 17 of which are each longer than 1,000 miles. The Amazonian water system is so massive and complex that it influences rainfall patterns as far away as the US, and 70 percent of South America's gross domestic product is produced in areas that receive precipitation influenced by the Amazon.

Brazil's role in protecting the Amazon is critical, given that two-thirds of the rainforest is located within Brazil's borders.

In order to get a sense of the connections between Amazon protection and water issues, Truthout met with Fabio Eno, the coordinator for the Natural Sciences Unit of UNESCO in Brazil, in his office in the capital.

Eno thinks it is more than timely that Brazil happens to be hosting the World Water Forum in March 2018.

"Water and drought are critical issues here now, which is so ironic since Brazil is hosting this huge event on water next year, and we are facing water crisis in some of the largest cities here," Eno told Truthout. "What we are seeing in Brazil is that climate change has been and continues to be very clearly visible."

He pointed out that in Brasilia, where there used to be very clearly demarcated dry and rainy seasons, they are now imbalanced: The dry season is starting earlier, and there is less rain during the rainy season. This is a reflection of the progression of climate-related changes in the country.

"In the south, well known for rice production, which has high water consumption, they are facing more droughts and this is affecting local farmers," Eno explained. "States in the northeast are now more intensely affected by the dry season, so we see clearly the effects of climate change in all portions of Brazil."

Eno noted that the impacts have been so intense that Brazil has been caught unprepared, and sees this shift in climate as having contributed to a major international health crisis: Zika virus.

"With the major drought recently in Sao Paolo, people were encouraged to store water in basins in their residence, and even in their toilets," he said. "Then, not coincidentally, we have Zika virus outbreaks that came about the same year Sao Paolo was storing so much more water. People were storing water in every way they could after what happened, but weren't taking necessary care for safeguards. This caused a major international health issue."

Manfrinato sees water-related problems as the biggest climate disruption impacts humans have had.

"What differentiates this planet from every other planet is liquid water," he explained. "It has taken Earth millions of years to find the right balance of liquid water, and people don't understand how important that is and are messing it up with their greed and ambition, of which awareness is far more important."

Manfrinato explains that as humans have "fooled around" with temperature, they have shaken the very foundation of biology.

"Fooling around with water is impossible, as that is the tree of the fruit of life," Manfrinato said. "You mess with it, you mess with everything ... and we've already messed with it."

Lucero also underscored the Amazon's critical role in the watery realms, especially regionally. The rainforest, he said, provides "flying rivers" -- massive amounts of air-borne moisture that develop above the canopy and move with the clouds and rainfall patterns across South America.

"If you remove the forest, you will cause extreme drought in other regions," he told Truthout.

But he says that biodiversity is the Amazon's biggest contribution to the world -- and is the most important reason to care for the rainforest.

"The forest itself is suffering from climate change, as are other biomes," he said. "Variability of climate is affecting the forest from increasing flooding and wildfires, which may, in a doomsday scenario, compromise the entire forest."

Manfrinato sees humans as part of the ecosystem, and an integral part at that, but most assuredly not the apex.

"What is required is a shift of awareness of our being part of nature," he said. "The apex is the complexity. Humans are not the apex, and the awareness that comes from this is how dynamic the system is that allows for all of life on Earth.... It'll do this as long as we allow it to do so."

Manfrinato is deeply passionate about his work, and in the discussion, sounds as much like a philosopher for the planet as Brazil's director of protected areas.

"We need to respect complexity in order to survive as a species," he said. "Everybody and everything wins, or everybody and everything loses if we hold onto this lack of awareness that the complexity is the most important thing. Your apex contribution is to be aware of the complexity, and then to protect it."

Brazil's Forest Code

Many people are acutely aware that there is a massive problem with deforestation in the Amazon. Beginning in 2004, however, deforestation started to decline in the Amazon, primarily because of better protection policies in Brazil. However, the last two years have seen a dramatic increase again. Brazil's government has been in crisis, and monitoring and enforcement have been stymied, allowing for a resurgence.

Fabio Feldmann served in Brazil's parliament for 12 years in the 1980s and 1990s. He is famous for helping to bring positive changes to the forest code -- protections for the Amazon -- into Brazil's constitution in 1988.

"The single most important issue facing Brazil is protecting all of the critical biomes," Feldmann told Truthout during an interview at his home in Sao Paolo. "If you destroy the Amazon region in Peru, you have a great impact in Brazil, and vice versa."

He explained that there is currently only weak collaboration between the countries in South America regarding the Amazon, and this is a problem.

"When I was elected, there was a radical change [in consciousness] about environmental areas," he said. "But this design has not been translated into effective public policies, so now our generation must reflect about what our legacy is to be because right now the deforestation rates in the Amazon are unbelievably high, after so many years."

Feldmann said he is optimistic, and cites heightened public awareness about the land today as compared to 30 years ago. However, he asked, "Do we have time to do what must be done?"

Clayton Lino is president of the Biosphere Reserve Association of Brazil and is a member of the advisory committee for UNESCO's Atlantic Forest Biosphere Reserve. Truthout interviewed him at his office in the Biosphere Reserve of the Mata Atlantica rainforest in Sao Paolo, a beautifully forested island in the middle of the sprawling polluted city.

"We are under attack daily, because we have laws in the process of being made that destroy other laws that were there to protect the land," Lino said.

This is important to understand, Lino said, because there is so much international pressure on the Brazilian government to continue deforesting. Cattle ranching accounts for roughly 70 percent of the total deforestation in Brazil, and the demand for Brazilian beef in the US and Europe is driving that ranching.

"While local NGOs are working to protect the Amazon and the Mata Atlantica, we do not see any light now," he explained. "There is no international help, and the culture of corruption has infected many Brazilians now because corruption has come from the top down, so more and more people are starting to not respect basic laws."

He is so concerned because his beloved Mata Atlantica, the second biggest rainforest reserve in Brazil, is the most threatened area of rainforest in the world, second only to the Madagascar rainforest.

"We have more biodiversity here than even in the Amazon," he said while pointing out the window. "The Amazon is far bigger, but in the Mata ... we have more endemism [species that live only in one area] than anywhere else in the world."

Lino explained that fragmentation (isolating sections of the forest) is the primary problem in the Mata.

"There is high biodiversity and fragility, because if you destroy something in one place, it cannot come back in another area of the Mata," he said. "So, fragmenting it causes a very big problem."

Today, only 8 percent of the Mata Atlantica remains.

Caring as Protecting

"Without connectivity for evolutionary movement, it cannot proceed," Manfrinato explained of the natural corridors he is striving to create across his country. "This adaptation process needs north/south corridors, because species in the southern hemisphere need to migrate south, and in the north, they'll need to migrate northwards as global temperatures continue to increase."

Image above: Warwick Manfrinato, Director of Brazil's Department of Protected Areas, is working to reconnect all of the biodiversity corridors across the Amazon. Photo by Dahr Jamail. From original article.

Previous to his current job, Manfrinato was a member of the University of Sao Paolo's Amazon research group, which bore the idea of ecological corridors. This is why he was given the position he has in the government: to implement these ideas on the ground.

"Protection is connection, and vice versa; it has to be both," he said.

Claudio Angelo is the head of communications for Climate Observatory, an NGO. A former journalist, he now runs a news website for a vast network of 41 Brazilian NGOs which produces annual estimates of the country's greenhouse gas emissions.

Angelo explained to Truthout that observable shifts in rainfall patterns are now becoming common across the country, along with a shifting of the timings of the wet and dry seasons. Plus, like much of the world, Brazil is seeing far higher temperatures than ever before. He points to some farming regions that have already seen 6C increases.

"Brazil has warmed faster than the global average, since we are in the tropics," Angelo said. "Since 1961, it is 1C hotter in Brazil, and it took us half the time to warm the same as the rest of the world."

Angelo noted that the Amazon has seen two 100-year drought events (extreme drought events that only happen every 100 years) in a five-year period -- the first in 2005 and then another in 2010.

"The feedback mechanisms that exist between deforestation and climate change are my biggest concerns," he said. "Deforestation was 46 percent of our emissions last year, so our main focus is on mitigation. Hence, we are advocating for zero deforestation in Brazil."

Like Feldmann, Angelo had grown hopeful that his country was finally getting the deforestation of the Amazon under control, until recently.

"Over the last two years we saw this not to be the case, as we had a 60 percent increase in deforestation in just the last two years," he said. "Because of this, Brazil ranks in the top 10 [countries, in terms of] global greenhouse gas emissions."

When trees are chopped down, all the CO2 they sequestered from the atmosphere is released. Angelo pointed out the window and discussed the obvious changes.

"Brazil is still water rationing as we speak, after two record-drought years in a row," he explained. "2015 saw a 45-day heat wave. There is no way you can take off a huge chunk of some part of the planet and think it won't have a major impact on climate change."

As a climate journalist Angelo has reported from the Arctic, Greenland, Antarctica and deep into the Amazon. But right now, he is most struck by what he is seeing in his hometown of Brasilia. When he was a child, he remembers how cold it was in the evenings during the winter, and how summers were not as hot as they are now.

"The number of warm nights, when it is not below 20C, has increased 10 times more than it was 30 years ago," he lamented. "Most of the year here now it's just nasty. It's just hot, and it wasn't like this 20-30 years ago."

Personal experience plays a core role in Manfrinato's motivations, as well. He shared his experience from a recent long hike he'd taken that had a deep effect on his perception of the planet.

"It was in a newly protected area of Brazil and I came out of there feeling part of that place, meaning, that place is mine, and I'm going to protect it," he explained. "And so, we need everyone to start feeling that way about places ... about the planet. You belong to it because it belongs to you. You don't protect it because it belongs to everybody, you protect it because it belongs to you. The land belongs to me, because I belong to the land."

Manfrinato continues his work to reconnect wildlife habitat on the local levels. He aims to move it from local to regional connections, then regional to national, then across borders, then continental.

"We are promoting this internationally," Manfrinato said. "Because without reconnection, we will not survive."

          Lauren Yee's IN A WORD Gets SoCal Premiere at Chance Theater        

Chance Theater, Anaheim's official resident theater company, is pleased to announce the sixth show of our 2017 season... in a word. Written by former Chance Theater Resident Playwright Lauren Yee, in a word has received numerous awards and was recently named a New York Times Critic's Pick. Directed by Jocelyn A. Brown, in a word will preview from September 8 through September 15; regular performances will begin September 16 and continue through October 8 at Chance Theater @ Bette Aitken theater arts Center on the Fyda-Mar Stage.

Today is the two-year anniversary of Fiona's son's disappearance, and she still can't come to terms with reality. The case is cold as ice, and the once hopeful Fiona now grapples with sadness, grief, and -- worst of all - bad puns. Her blase husband has moved on, the inept detective has given up, and the neighborhood kidnapper keeps introducing himself at the supermarket. In this emotional and comedic look at how tragedy can distort our speech and reality, ordinary words and turns of phrase take on new meanings as Fiona relives one fateful day. Surreal, funny, and potent, in a word explores the complexity of language and how it can impact the ways we see and feel about the world around us.

This unique and innovative new play has been tantalizing audiences across the country. While speaking with Theatre Bay Area in San Francisco, playwright Lauren Yee said, "I'm really interested in narrative, and control of the narrative, and how different word choice dictates how you might feel about a certain topic. Throughout the play, you have Fiona desperately trying to use the correct words to describe what's going on in her life in a way that she thinks an audience will find palatable. And it's only when she is able to do that in more truthful, honest, [and] a little bit uglier words that she's able to exorcise some of those demons."

Lauren Yee (Playwright) was born and raised in San Francisco. She currently lives in New York City. She received her bachelor's degree from Yale University, and her MFA in playwriting from UCSD, where she studied under Naomi Iizuka. Lauren Yee's play King of the Yees is enjoying its premiere this season at The Goodman Theatre and Center Theatre Group, followed by productions at ACT Theatre and Canada's National Arts Centre. Other plays include Ching Chong Chinaman (Pan Asian, Mu Performing Arts), The Hatmaker's Wife (Playwrights Realm, Moxie, PlayPenn), Hookman (Encore, Company One), in a word (SF Playhouse, Cleveland Public, Strawdog), Samsara (Victory Gardens, O'Neill Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival), and The Tiger Among Us (MAP Fund, Mu). She was a Dramatists Guild fellow, a MacDowell fellow, a MAP Fund grantee, a member of The Public Theater's Emerging Writers Group, a Time Warner Fellow at the Women's Project Playwrights Lab, the Shank playwright-in-residence at Second Stage Theatre, a Playwrights' Center Core Writer, and the Page One resident playwright at Playwrights Realm. She has been a finalist for the Jerome Fellowship, the PONY Fellowship, the Princess Grace Award, the Sundance Theatre Lab, and the Wasserstein Prize. Her play Samsara has been a nominee for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and the L. Arnold Weissberger Award, and her play in a word won the Francesca Primus Prize and was a finalist for the ATCA/Steinberg Award. Her play The Hatmaker's Wife was an Outer Critics Circle nominee for the John Gassner Award for best play by a new American playwright. Her work has been published by Samuel French. Lauren is a member of the Ma-Yi Theatre Writers Lab. She is currently under commission from the Denver Center, the Geffen Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, Lincoln Center Theatre/LCT3, Mixed Blood Theatre, Portland Center Stage, and Trinity Rep.

Jocelyn A. Brown (Director) has been a resident artist since 2001 and has been serving as the Associate Artistic Director since 2011. Chance highlights include directing The Big Meal, spearheading and directing various new works through Chance's On The Radar series for four years, writing and performing in A Celtic Holiday with Craic in the Stone (Best Special Event, Best of OC Theater 2014 by, portraying Reggie Fluty and Dave O'Malley in The Laramie Project and Ten Years Later (Ovation Recommended), directing Evita (Chancie Award for Best Production), portraying Blitzen in The Eight: Reindeer Monologues, the Witch in Into the Woods (Back Stage Critic's Pick, Chancie Award for Best Actress), Cathy in The Last 5 Years (Back Stage Honorable Mention for Actor), directing Never In My Lifetime (Back Stage Critic's Pick), portraying Nancy in Closer Than Ever (L.A. Times Critic's Choice), Ann in Goodnight Children Everywhere (OC Weekly Award for Best Acting), directing The Cherry Orchard (OC Weekly nomination for Best Direction), and receiving the Outstanding Individual Artist nomination in 2003 by Arts Orange County. Outside of the Chance, Jocelyn teaches at Laguna Hills High School where she was an honoree for the California League of High Schools "Teacher of the Year" in 2012 for Orange County and served as the band leader and lead singer for Celtic folk band Craic in the Stone. Jocelyn double majored in Theatre and Biology at the University of California San Diego, studied theater abroad at the University of East Anglia in England, and earned a Masters in Education from Vanguard University.

In addition to Brown, the production team for in a word includes scenic designer Christopher Scott Murillo (Dogfight), costume designer Bruce Goodrich (Seminar), lighting and projection designer Lily Bartenstein (Chance debut), sound designer Darryl B. Hovis (The Little Prince), and dramaturg Jocelyn L. Buckner (OTR New Play Series).

in a word will feature Chance Theater Resident Artist James McHale (Middletown), as well as returning artist Chance Dean (Jesus Hates Me), and Amanda Zarr in her Chance Theater debut.

Rachelle Menaker and Eddie Schuller are Executive Producers, Steve Brown is an Associate Producer, and Bette & Wylie Aitken are the Season Producers for the entire 2017 production schedule.

Proud to be one of the leading ensemble-driven theatre companies in Southern California, CHANCE THEATER recently received a National Theatre Company grant from American Theatre Wing. The Chance has won six Ovation Awards, including two for Best Production of a Musical - Intimate Theater for its West Coast premiere of Triassic Parq - The Musical and Southern California premiere of Jerry Springer - The Opera, as well as four LADCC Awards, including the Polly Warfield Award for Outstanding Season. The Anaheim City Council named Chance Theater "the official resident theater company of Anaheim", and Arts Orange County has twice named the Chance as "Outstanding Arts Organization". Known for using bold and personal storytelling to promote dialogue and connection within the Southern California theatrical landscape, the Chance is committed to contributing to a more compassionate, connected and creative community. As a constituent member of Theatre Communications Group, Network of Ensemble Theaters, and the LA Stage Alliance, Chance Theater continues to bring national attention to the Southern California and Orange County theater scenes.

          Darwin's Theory Video        
Stream a short video on this theory. See the incredible advances we've made in molecular biology, biochemistry, and genetics since Charles Darwin.
          Darwins Theory of Evolution        
A theory in crisis in light of the tremendous advances we've made in molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics and information theory.
          Friday’s Featured Sermon: “Evangelicals, Evolution, and the BioLogos Disaster”        

How important are the first three chapters of Genesis—the creation and fall accounts? Does it matter if we allegorize the text to allow for billions of years rather than read it as a straightforward narrative? Does it matter if we allow for death prior to Adam’s fall? There are many—even in the Reformed camp—who argue that these are trivial issues in comparison to getting the gospel right. And while that may sound persuasive, it’s actually a misleading argument.

Driving a wedge between soteriology (doctrine of salvation) and our view of creation creates a dichotomy when there should be a dependency. The good news of the gospel is only good because of the bad news recorded in Genesis—that sin and death are intrusions on what was God’s glorious and perfect creation.

Moreover, if we are allowed to take subjective liberties with the first three chapters of the Bible, what’s stopping us from doing it elsewhere? And then there’s the question of biblical perspicuity—or clarity. Has God spoken clearly about the origins of the universe and man or has He spoken to us in metaphors that modern science can decipher? The stakes are infinitely high when it comes to God’s revelation of Himself in Scripture.

For that reason, Phil Johnson interviewed John MacArthur several years ago to discuss modern assaults on the veracity of the creation account in Genesis. In “Evangelicals, Evolution, and the BioLogos Disaster,” they take aim at the supposedly Christian organization known as BioLogos.

“BioLogos invites the church and the world to see the harmony between science and biblical faith as we present an evolutionary understanding of God’s creation.” That’s their mission statement and it’s a clear agenda. In recent years they have labored tirelessly to bring Genesis into conformity with Darwinian evolution. They argue that the scientific data is simply too compelling to ignore and Scripture needs to fall into line.

In the interview, John doesn’t hold back in stating the seriousness of their crimes, and those of anyone else who dares to tamper with the plain meaning of Scripture:

Is there a more deadly, more devastating, a more destructive, a more ungodly act than to openly and purposely and publicly denounce the veracity of the Bible? Is there a worse crime? Is not that the crime of all crimes? Because if you can’t believe what the Bible says, all is lost. And if you think because you have a Ph.D. in microbiology that you are the judge of all the earth and you have a right to edit what God has revealed by His Holy Spirit, then we better run over to wherever you are and bow down, because we need to worship you since you’ve got it right and the writers of the Scriptures, though inspired by the Holy Spirit didn’t get it right. I mean, there is no more serious crime than that. That is the ultimate crime, is to attack the veracity of Holy Scripture at any point.

And listen, this is not because there are alternate readings of Genesis. Let’s get that straight. This is not because we have some kind of manuscript diversity of Genesis. This is not because we’ve got five different accounts of Genesis and they’re all over the place. No. The manuscripts that we have of Genesis are all in absolute agreement, uniformity. This is exactly what Moses wrote and said, “This is the Word of the Lord.” This is a firsthand, eyewitness account by the Creator Himself.

So I don’t know that there’s a more heinous crime than destroying people’s confidence in Scripture. And if you start tampering in Genesis 1 and 2, where can we trust this book?

We should never treat our interpretation of the biblical creation account as theological hair-splitting. In “Evangelicals, Evolution, and the BioLogos Disaster,” John MacArthur and Phil Johnson show us that the inerrancy, authority, and clarity of Scripture is at stake. They show how the truth of the gospel stands or falls on the truth of Genesis. And they compel us to take up arms in the war against God’s truth.

Click here to listen to “Evangelicals, Evolution, and the BioLogos Disaster.”


          Faith and Science, Falsely So-Called        

[Editor’s Note: This article was first published in the earliest days of the GTY Blog. As we recently culled through the ministry archives in preparation for a new blog series on God’s work of creation—which coincides with the broadcast of The Battle for the Beginning sermon series on “Grace to You”—we believed this post deserved further consideration.]

The apostle Paul closed his first epistle to Timothy by urging the young pastor to guard the deposit of truth that had been entrusted to him, “avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge” (1 Timothy 6:20-21). In the King James Version, the text famously speaks of “science falsely so called."

Over the course of human history, all kinds of speculative ideas have been falsely labeled “science” and mistakenly accepted as true and reliable knowledge by otherwise brilliant people. The now-discredited dogmas of older scientific theories are numerous—and in some cases laughable. They include alchemy (the medieval belief that other base metals could be transmuted into gold); phrenology (the Victorian belief that the shape of one’s skull reflects character traits and mental capacity); astrology (the pagan belief that human destiny is determined by the motions of celestial bodies); and abiogenesis (the long-standing belief that living organisms are spontaneously generated by decaying organic substances). All those false beliefs were deemed credible as “science” by the leading minds of their times.

Consider just one of those—abiogenesis. Popularly known as “spontaneous generation,” this idea has long been, and continues to be, one of the archetypal expressions of “science falsely so called.” It is also one of the most persistent of all demonstrably pseudoscientific fictions. The notion that aphids arise naturally from dew on plant leaves, mold is generated automatically by aging bread, and maggots are spontaneously begotten by rotting meat was more or less deemed self-evident by most of humanity’s brightest intellects from the time of Aristotle until 1861, when Louis Pasteur conclusively proved that non-living matter cannot spawn life on its own.

Take for example Alexander Ross, an early seventeenth-century Scottish writer and intellectual who harshly criticized Sir Thomas Browne for questioning the dogma of spontaneous generation. Under the heading “Mice and other vermin bred of putrefaction, even in mens bodies,” he wrote:

He doubts whether mice can be procreated of putrefaction. So he may doubt whether in cheese and timber worms are generated; Or if Betels and wasps in cowes dung; Or if butterflies, locusts, grasshoppers, shel-fish, snails, eeles, and such like, be procreated of putrefied matter, which is apt to receive the form of that creature to which it is by the formative power disposed. To question this, is to question Reason, Sense, and Experience: If he doubts of this, let him go to Egypt, and there he will finde the fields swarming with mice begot of the mud of [the Nile]. [1]Alexander Ross, Arcana Microcosmi, (London: Newcomb, 1652), Book 2, Chapter 10, 156.]

It is one of the great ironies of scientific history that the first edition of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species was published exactly two years before Pasteur’s famous experiments proved that life cannot arise spontaneously from non-living matter. The publication of Darwin’s book marked the apotheosis of evolutionary theory, and it was rooted in the basic presupposition that under the right circumstances, life can spring on its own from non-living matter. In other words, two years before abiogenesis was scientifically debunked, it was in effect canonized as the central dogma of modern secular belief about the origins of life. The discovery that fleas don’t magically form out of decomposing dander on the backs of dirty dogs did not dissuade most in the scientific world from embracing the theory that all life in the universe arose by itself out of nothing. The belief that life spontaneously came from non-life remains to this day the great unexplained (albeit easily disprovable) assumption underlying the dogma of evolution.

The irony of that is utterly lost on many in the scientific community today, where evolution has become an article of faith—unshakable faith, it turns out.

Evolutionists have conveniently “solved” the problem of abiogenesis by repeatedly moving their estimates of the earth’s age backward toward infinity. Given enough time, it seems, anything is possible. Trying desperately to keep the biblical concept of eternity at bay, evolutionists have thus devised an alternative kind of infinitude. Every time a challenge to current evolutionary theory arises, geologists and astronomers dutifully tack billions and billions of eons onto their theories about the earth’s age, adding however many ancient epochs are deemed necessary for some new impossibility to be explained.

In the introduction to my 2001 book, The Battle for the Beginning, I suggested naturalism had become the dominant religion of contemporary secular society. “Religion is exactly the right word to describe naturalism,” I wrote. “The entire philosophy is built on a faith-based premise. Its basic presupposition—a rejection of everything supernatural—requires a giant leap of faith. And nearly all its supporting theories must be taken by faith as well.” [2] John MacArthur, The Battle for the Beginning, (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2001), 11.

Here, then, is a classic example of what I was talking about: the typical evolutionist’s starting point is this notion that life arose spontaneously from inanimate matter sometime in eternity past. That requires not merely the willful suspension of what we know for certain about the origins of life and the impossibility of abiogenesis—but also enough deliberate gullibility to believe that moving-target estimates of the earth’s antiquity can sufficiently answer all the problems and contradictions sheer naturalism poses.

Meanwhile, in the popular media, evolutionary doctrine and ever-expanding notions of prehistory are being promoted with all the pious zeal of the latest religious sect. Watch the Internet forums, programs on the Discovery Channel, interviews and articles published in the mass media, school textbooks, and books aimed at lay readers—and what you will usually see is raw assertions, demagoguery, intimidation, and ridicule (especially when the subjects of biblical theism and the Genesis account of creation are raised).

But question the dogma that all life evolved from a single spontaneously-generated cell, point out that the universe is full of evidence for intelligent design, or demand the kind of proof for evolutionary origins that would ordinarily pass scientific muster, and the ardent evolutionist will simply dismiss you as a heretic or a bigot of the worst stripe. What they are tacitly acknowledging is that as far as they are concerned, evolution is a doctrine that must be received with implicit faith, not something that can be scientifically demonstrated. After all, the claims of true science can always be investigated, observed, reproduced, tested, and proved in the laboratory. So to insist that evolution and so-called “deep time” doctrines must be accepted without question is really just a tacit admission that these are not scientific ideas at all.

Consider these quotations from typical evolutionist writers:

  • No biologist today would think of submitting a paper entitled “New evidence for evolution;” it simply has not been an issue for a century. [3] Douglas J. Futuyma, Evolutionary Biology, 2nd ed., (Boston: Sinauer Associates, 1986), 15.
  • It is time for students of the evolutionary process, especially those who have been misquoted and used by the creationists, to state clearly that evolution is a fact, not theory. . . . All present forms of life arose from ancestral forms that were different. Birds arose from nonbirds and humans from nonhumans. No person who pretends to any understanding of the natural world can deny these facts. [4] R. C. Lewontin, “Evolution/creation debate: A time for truth,” Bioscience (1981), 31:559.
  • Here is what separates real scientists from the pseudoscientists of the school of intelligent design. . . . One thing all real scientists agree upon is the fact of evolution itself. It is a fact that we are cousins of gorillas, kangaroos, starfish, and bacteria. Evolution is as much a fact as the heat of the sun. It is not a theory, and for pity’s sake, let’s stop confusing the philosophically naive by calling it so. Evolution is a fact. [5] Richard Dawkins, “The Illusion of Design,” Natural History (November 2005), 53.

But as those statements themselves show, evolution is a dogma, not a demonstrable “fact.” I stand by the position I took in The Battle for the Beginning: “Belief in evolutionary theory is a matter of sheer faith. [It is] as much a religion as any theistic world-view.” [6] The Battle for the Beginning, 12.

I’ll go even further: science cannot speak with any authority about when the universe began, how it came into being, or how life originated on earth. Science by definition deals with what can be observed, tested, measured, and investigated by empirical means. Scientific data by definition are facts that can be demonstrated by controlled, repeatable experiments that always yield consistent results. The beginning of the universe by its very nature falls outside the realm of scientific investigation.

To state the case plainly: there is no scientific way to explain creation. No one but God actually observed creation. It did not happen by any uniform, predictable, observable, repeatable, fixed, or natural laws. It was not a natural event or a series of natural events. The initial creation of matter was an instantaneous, monumental, inexplicable miracle—the exact opposite of a “natural” phenomenon. And the formation of the universe was a brief series of supernatural events that simply cannot be studied or explained by science. There are no natural processes involved in creation; the act of creation cannot be repeated; it cannot be tested; and therefore naturalistic theories purporting to explain the origin and age of the universe are unverifiable.

In other words, creation is a theological issue, not a scientific one. Scripture is our only credible source of information about creation, because God Himself was the only eyewitness to the event. We can either believe what He says or reject it. But no Christian should ever imagine that what we believe about the origin of the universe is merely a secondary, nonessential, or incidental matter. It is, after all, the very starting point of God’s self-revelation.

In fact, in its profound brevity, Genesis 1:1 is a very simple, clear, and unequivocal account of how the universe, the earth, and everything on the earth came to be: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” That is not an ambiguous statement.

Christians should not be intimidated by dogmatic naturalism. We do not need to invent a new interpretation of Genesis every time some geologist or astronomer declares that the universe must be older than he previously thought. Nor should we imagine that legitimate science poses any threat to the truth of Scripture. Above all, we must not seek ways to circumvent the clear meaning of God’s Word, compromise our trust in the Creator, or continually yield ground to every new theory of falsely-so-called science. That is precisely what Paul was warning Timothy about.

Sadly, it seems evolutionary thinking and qualms about the Genesis account of creation have reached epidemic levels among professing Christians in recent decades. Too many Christian leaders, evangelical schools, and Bible commentators have been willing to set aside the biblical account of a relatively young earth in order to accommodate the ever-changing estimates of naturalistic geologists and astronomers. They have thrown away sound hermeneutical principles—at least in the early chapters of Genesis—to accommodate the latest theories of evolution.

When I encounter people who think evolutionary doctrine trumps the biblical account of creation, I like to ask them where their belief in the Bible kicks in. Is it in chapter 3, where the fall of Adam and original sin are accounted for? In chapters 4-5, where early human history is chronicled? In chapters 6-8, with the record of the flood? In chapter 11, with the Tower of Babel? Because if you bring naturalism and its presuppositions to the early chapters of Genesis, it is just a short step to denying all the miracles of Scripture—including the resurrection of Christ. If we want to make science the test of biblical truth rather than vice versa, why would it not make just as much sense to question the biblical record of the resurrection as it does to reject the Genesis account? But “if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! . . . If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (1 Corinthians 15:17-19).



          Studying Stem Cells        
The study of stem cells is fast becoming a popular and specialised area of expertise; propelled forward with advancements in technology and further understanding of biology, stem cell research promises to hold the key to curing many seemingly incurable diseases and injuries. This article will aim to provide an introduction to this particular field of […]
          Film Review: GHOULIES II (1988, Albert Band)        
Ghoulies: A lot more than two.
Running Time: 89 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Directed by Albert Band (I BURY THE LIVING, PREHYSTERIA!). Produced by Charles Band (TRANCERS, TROLL, TOURIST TRAP) and Frank Hildebrand (ROBOT JOX, THE TREE OF LIFE). Written by Charlie Dolan and Dennis Paoli (RE-ANIMATOR, FROM BEYOND). Music by Fuzzbee Morse (DOLLS). Cinematography by Sergio Salvati (THE BEYOND, ZOMBI, CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD). Starring Damon Martin (PEE-WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE, NORTHFORK), Royal Dano (THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES, THE RIGHT STUFF), Phil Fondacaro (THE GARBAGE PAIL KIDS: THE MOVIE, WILLOW, RETURN OF THE JEDI), J. Downing (ROBOT WARS, VIPER), Kerry Remsen (PUMPKINHEAD, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2), Sasha Jenson (DAZED AND CONFUSED, HALLOWEEN 4).
Tag-lines: "Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the bathroom!"
Best one-liner(s): "Bon appetit, mutherfuckah!"

The question: What do you get when you combine the talents of Stuart Gordon's writer, Lucio Fulci's cinematographer, Terrence Malick's production manager, a composer named Fuzbee, and the Band brothers (of Full Moon Pictures infamy)? The answer: GHOULIES II, apparently.

GHOULIES is a franchise founded on two pillars. The first is a desire to make a quick buck off of the success of GREMLINS. The second is a profound enthusiasm to provide an audio-visual platform for little monsters who bite people's bums while they're trying to go to the toilet.

In lieu of a traditional review, I've decided merely to describe––with a minimum of editorializing––a dozen events that take place within the world of GHOULIES II. Possessing merely the facts, you will be free to engage in a your own personal evaluation of the picture. It's an exercise in objectivity, really.

 #1. The legendary Phil Fondacaro, playing a career carny, encounters his insufferable rich-kid boss (J. Downing)

He's sort of a Kushner-type

and counters by quoting KING LEAR:

"They know not how their wits to wear, their manners are so apish."

 #2. A cat-faced ghoulie gleefully rides the swinging blade of a pendulum, cackle-meowing all the while.


#3. A rat-faced ghoulie vomits green goo onto a child's shirt, prompting him to fling a ninja star at the ghoulie's face. The ghoulie proceeds to eat the ninja star, prompting the child's friend to exclaim:
"This place is better than Epcot Center!"

#4.  The cat-faced ghoulie and the rat-faced ghoulie give each other a righteous high-five while enthusiastically cheered by a crowd.

#5. Sasha Jenson essentially plays the exact same character he plays in DAZED AND CONFUSED,
thus proving that Richard Linklater is a closet GHOULIES II fan.

#6. This carnival employee (on the left, in the blue polka dots), explains to her friend that she will not be quitting the carnival despite the ghoulie infestation. She explains this decision by saying:
"Me? I can't do nothin' else but sling these old bones around!"

#7. Royal Dano attempts Shakespearean posturing, but he cannot hold a candle to Phil Fondacaro's, (though he does possess a certain old man charm).

#8. At one point our male lead (Damon Martin), in a moment of frustration, accuses his friend Phil Fondacaro of being "a second-rate hobgoblin!"

I believe this carries some form of meta-commentary, as in my mind, there is an ouroboros-like succession of little-monster-related activity throughout the 1980s. The GREMLINS series was ripped off by the GHOULIES who were ripped off by the CRITTERS who were ripped off by the MUNCHIES who were ripped off by the HOBGOBLINS. So perhaps this is a shot at the HOBGOBLINS series (which was launched in 1988), or perhaps it's just an excuse to show us more of Phil Fondacaro's "John Oates pathos face."

Naturally, Fondacaro responds to this by quoting more KING LEAR.

#9.  The cat-faced ghoulie shoves a red plastic boombox off of a table, breaking it into two pieces.

The cool kids––to whom it belonged––freak out, naturally:

"They broke my tunes!"

Later, another tunes aficionado discovers the broken boombox and, like Hamlet considering Yorick's skull, holds it aloft and says:

"Dude... your tunes!"

Much later, when all hell has broken loose, the owner of said busted tunes brings a policeman and explains the gravity of the situation:

"My tunes are still in there!"

 #10. Set in part to the wild hair metal strains of W.A.S.P.'s "Scream Until You Like It," the ghoulies run roughshod over the carnival. This includes––but is not limited to––the cat-faced ghoulie commandeering the shooting gallery:

A ghoulie playing hit-and-run driver with a bumper car (I'm not sure how that's possible):

And the dunk-tank clown being eaten by the ghoulie in what resembles a Great White Shark attack:

#11. Speaking of sharks, the latter half of this film has a very JAWS vibe, except it's the rich-kid owner of the carnival (J. Downing) who is fulfilling the role of JAWS' mayor, the guy who wants to keep the beach open at all costs. But don't you worry––in living up to the series' core premise, a ghoulie (inspired by THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON) gets this heartless capitalist in the end.

 #12. Finally, as is customary in every GHOULIES picture, the ghoulies can only be defeated by the summoning of a gigantic ghoulie who proceeds to eat the rest of them.

It's poetic biology

So happy 241st birthday, America––I can't think of a more appropriate present than a movie about selfish, accidentally-summoned mischief-making toilet monsters who lay waste to our carnival, threaten our collective "tunes," and who are destroyed by carnies and amateur Shakespeare enthusiasts. After, we survey the destruction the ghoulies have wrought, and declare with stoicism: "We can't do nothin' else but sling these old bones around."
           Mangroves and seagrasses         
Duke, N.C., and Larkum, A.W.D. (2008) Mangroves and seagrasses. In: Hutchings, Pat, Kingsford, Mike, and Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove, (eds.) The Great Barrier Reef: Biology, Environment and Management. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, VIC, pp. 156-170.
           Effects of Pleistocene sea-level fluctuations on mangrove population dynamics: a lesson from Sonneratia alba         
Yang, Yuchen, Li, Jianfang, Yang, Shuhuan, Li, Xinnian, Fang, Lu, Zhong, Cairong, Duke, Norman C., Zhou, Renchao, and Shi, Suhua (2017) Effects of Pleistocene sea-level fluctuations on mangrove population dynamics: a lesson from Sonneratia alba. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 17. pp. 1-14.
           Differential population history in the migratory catfishes Brachyplatystoma flavicans and Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum(Pimelodidae) from the Bolivian Amazon assessed with nuclear and mitochondrial DNA markers         
Coronel, J.S., Maes, G.E., Claus, S., Van Damme, P.A., and Volckaert, F.A.M. (2004) Differential population history in the migratory catfishes Brachyplatystoma flavicans and Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum(Pimelodidae) from the Bolivian Amazon assessed with nuclear and mitochondrial DNA markers. Journal of Fish Biology, 65 (3). pp. 859-868.
           Indications for a recent Holarctic expansion of pike based on a preliminary study of mtDNA variation         
Maes, G.E., Van Houdt, J.K.J., De Charleroy, D., and Volckaert, F.A.M. (2003) Indications for a recent Holarctic expansion of pike based on a preliminary study of mtDNA variation. Journal of Fish Biology, 63 (1). pp. 254-259.
           Insects on flowers: the unexpectedly high biodiversity of flower-visiting beetles in a tropical rainforest canopy         
Wardhaugh, Carl W., Stork, Nigel E., Edwards, Will, and Grimbacher, Peter S. (2013) Insects on flowers: the unexpectedly high biodiversity of flower-visiting beetles in a tropical rainforest canopy. Communicative & Integrative Biology, 6 (1). pp. 1-3.
           Population genetics in nonmodel organisms: II. natural selection in marginal habitats revealed by deep sequencing on dual platforms         
Zhou, Renchao, Ling, Shaoping, Zhao, Wenming, Osada, Naoki, Chen, Sufang, Zhang, Meng, He, Ziwen, Bao, Hua, Zhong, Cairong, Zhang, Bing, Lu, Xuemei, Turissini, David, Duke, Norman C., Lu, Jian, Shi, Suhua, and Wu, Chung-I (2011) Population genetics in nonmodel organisms: II. natural selection in marginal habitats revealed by deep sequencing on dual platforms. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 28 (10). pp. 2833-2842.
           Historical biogeography, diversity and conservation of Australia's tropical rainforest herpetofauna         
Moritz, Craig, Hoskin, Conrad, Graham, Catherine H., Hugall, Andrew, and Moussalli, Adnan (2005) Historical biogeography, diversity and conservation of Australia's tropical rainforest herpetofauna. In: Purvis, Andy, Gittleman, John L., and Brooks, Thomas, (eds.) Phylogeny and Conservation. Conservation Biology, 10 . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 243-264.
           Multi-marker estimate of genetic connectivity of sole (Solea solea) in the North-East Atlantic Ocean         
Cuveliers, E.L., Larmuseau, M.H.D., Hellemans, B., Verherstraeten, S.L.N.A., Volckaert, F.A.M., and Maes, G.E. (2012) Multi-marker estimate of genetic connectivity of sole (Solea solea) in the North-East Atlantic Ocean. Marine Biology, 159 (6). pp. 1239-1253.
           Biogeography of Burkholderia pseudomallei in the Torres Strait Islands of Northern Australia         
Baker, Anthony, Mayo, Mark, Owens, Leigh, Burgess, Graham, Norton, Robert, McBride, William John Hannan, Currie, Bart J., and Warner, Jeffrey (2013) Biogeography of Burkholderia pseudomallei in the Torres Strait Islands of Northern Australia. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 51 (8). pp. 2520-2525.
           Long-term panmixia in a cosmopolitan Indo-Pacific coral reef fish and a nebulous genetic boundary with its broadly sympatric sister species         
Horne, J.B., and van Herwerden, L. (2013) Long-term panmixia in a cosmopolitan Indo-Pacific coral reef fish and a nebulous genetic boundary with its broadly sympatric sister species. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 26 (4). pp. 783-799.
           Environment drives high phylogenetic turnover among oceanic bacterial communities         
Pommier, Thomas, Douzery, Emmanuel J.P., and Mouillot, David (2012) Environment drives high phylogenetic turnover among oceanic bacterial communities. Biology Letters, 8 (4). pp. 562-566.
           Phylogeographic divergence in the widespread delicate skink (Lampropholis delicata) corresponds to dry habitat barriers in eastern Australia         
Chapple, David G., Hoskin, Conrad J., Chapple, Stephanie N.J., and Thompson, Michael B. (2011) Phylogeographic divergence in the widespread delicate skink (Lampropholis delicata) corresponds to dry habitat barriers in eastern Australia. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 11. pp. 1-18.
           Coral reefs as drivers of cladogenesis: expanding coral reefs, cryptic extinction events, and the development of biodiversity hotspots         
Cowman, P.F., and Bellwood, D.R. (2011) Coral reefs as drivers of cladogenesis: expanding coral reefs, cryptic extinction events, and the development of biodiversity hotspots. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 24 (12). pp. 2543-2562.
           The influence of swimming speed on sustained swimming performance of late-stage reef fish larvae         
Fisher, R., and Bellwood, D.R. (2002) The influence of swimming speed on sustained swimming performance of late-stage reef fish larvae. Marine Biology, 140 (4). pp. 801-807.
           Phylogeography of the Indo-Pacific parrotfish Scarus psittacus: isolation generates distinctive peripheral populations in two oceans         
Winters, Kate L., van Herwerden, Lynne, Choat, J. Howard, and Robertson, D.R. (2010) Phylogeography of the Indo-Pacific parrotfish Scarus psittacus: isolation generates distinctive peripheral populations in two oceans. Marine Biology, 157 (8). pp. 1679-1691.
          Antibiotics Increase Availability of Nutrients in the Gut, Enabling Growth of Pathogens        

Research led by Andreas Bäumler, professor of medical immunology and microbiology at UC Davis Health System, has identified a new mechanism explaining how antibiotics change the gut microbiota, increasing nutrients that benefit the growth of pathogens, like Salmonella.

(PRWeb June 15, 2016)

Read the full story at

           Marine hybrid hotspot at Indo-Pacific biogeographic border         
Hobbs, Jean-Paul A., Frisch, Ashley J., Allen, Gerald R., and van Herwerden, Lynne (2009) Marine hybrid hotspot at Indo-Pacific biogeographic border. Biology Letters, 5 (2). pp. 258-261.
           Seagrasses of south-west Australia: A conceptual synthesis of the world's most diverse and extensive seagrass meadows         
Carruthers, T.J.B., Dennison, W.C., Kendrick, G.A., Waycott, M., Walker, D.I., and Cambridge, M.L. (2007) Seagrasses of south-west Australia: A conceptual synthesis of the world's most diverse and extensive seagrass meadows. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 350 (1-2). pp. 21-45.
           Global seagrass distribution and diversity: a bioregional model.         
Short, F., Carruthers, T., Dennison, W., and Waycott, M. (2007) Global seagrass distribution and diversity: a bioregional model. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 350 (1-2). pp. 3-20.
           Notes on the biology and distribution of Trapezites taori Atkins (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae)         
Johnson, Stephen J., and Valentine, Peter S. (2004) Notes on the biology and distribution of Trapezites taori Atkins (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae). Australian Entomologist, 31 (1). pp. 13-19.
           Post-hatchling sea turtle biology         
Boyle, Michelle C. (2006) Post-hatchling sea turtle biology. PhD thesis, James Cook University.
           Latitudinal variability in symbiont specificity within the widespread scleractinian coral Plesiastrea versipora         
Rodriguez-Lanetty, M., Loh, W., Carter, D., and Hoegh-Guldberg, O. (2001) Latitudinal variability in symbiont specificity within the widespread scleractinian coral Plesiastrea versipora. Marine Biology, 138 (6). pp. 1175-1181.
          Thermo Fisher: Clinical Account Manager - Northern CA territory        
Thermo Fisher: Job DescriptionResponsible for maintaining and growing the current business within the clinical segment of the Microbiology Division. This includes but is not limited to:Manual Microbiology products including media, reagents, stains, and other consumables Oakland, California (US)
          Thermo Fisher: Clinical Account Manager - Northern CA territory        
Thermo Fisher: Job DescriptionResponsible for maintaining and growing the current business within the clinical segment of the Microbiology Division. This includes but is not limited to:Manual Microbiology products including media, reagents, stains, and other consumables San Jose, California (US)
          Thermo Fisher: Clinical Account Manager - Northern CA territory        
Thermo Fisher: Job DescriptionResponsible for maintaining and growing the current business within the clinical segment of the Microbiology Division. This includes but is not limited to:Manual Microbiology products including media, reagents, stains, and other consumables Sacramento, California (US)
          Dana Spence        
Biomedical Engineering
Biomedical Engineering
B.S., 1992, Grand Valley State Univ.
Ph.D., 1997, Michigan State Univ.

Solving biological problems at the molecular level with the help of novel biotechnology method development is the primary goal in the Spence group. To accomplish this goal, our group blends a variety of methods found not only in the chemical sciences, but also bioengineering, pharmacology, and physiology. Our publication record is exemplary of this broad approach to solving problems; specifically, in the past 3 years, our group has published papers in journals whose primary focus is analytical chemistry, diabetes, pharmacology, and microfluidic devices, to name a few. We employ any measurement scheme necessary to find answers and make new discoveries. Therefore, it is not uncommon for students in the Spence group to be experts in cell culture and cell preparation, but also understand the basics behind laser-induced flow cytometry, chemiluminescence techniques, or how to prepare microfluidic devices from 3D-printing technology. During the past year or so, we have also used NMR, circular dichroism spectroscopy, absorbance spectroscopy, atomic absorption spectroscopy, gel electrophoresis, HPLC, amperometry, cyclic voltammetry, and scintillation counting in our efforts.

All of the work performed in the Spence group is problem-based and hypothesisdriven. Moreover, most of our work is centered around the bloodstream and complications that arise in, or from, the bloodstream during disease onset. For example, since 2006, our group has been interested in studying C-peptide, a 31 amino acid peptide secreted from the pancreatic beta cells with insulin. Recently, our group has discovered that C-peptide demonstrates activity on red blood cells (something insulin does not do), but only when bound to zinc. We are also in the process of determining how this zinc binds to C-peptide, and if it induces structure in the peptide that subsequently leads to its binding to the red cell. Our ultimate objective with this project is to prepare a correct formulation of Zn-bound C-peptide that can be re-administered to people with Type 1 diabetes, who no longer produce C-peptide in their bodies due to beta cell destruction.

In addition to our work in diabetes, we also have recently reported findings concerning hydroxyurea, the only proven therapy for people with Sickle Cell Disease. We also dedicate resources and time to studies involving platelets for Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke. Finally, a new branch of our laboratory efforts focus on improving stored red blood cells for Transfusion Medicine. Here we are formulating new, yet simple, storage solutions for the blood cells. Preliminary evidence suggests that some of the properties of our stored red cells are as fresh on day 35 of storage as they are on day 1! We hope to continue these efforts in the next few years to improve human health.

A new technique in our group involves 3D-printing. Nearing 30 years since its introduction, 3D printing technology is set to revolutionize research and teaching laboratories. With regard to research settings, 3D printing has been limited to biomedical applications and engineering, although it shows tremendous potential in the chemical sciences. The Spence group aims to utilize 3D printing technology to help us solve the problems listed above, especially those related to cell-cell communication, blood flow, and tissue-on-chip applications.

Research currently underway in the Spence group is focused on (a) platelets, (b) sickle cell disease, and (c) stored blood, in addition to our long-standing investigations involving diabetes.

Microfluidic evaluation of red cells collected and stored in modified processing solutions used in blood banking?, Wang, Y.; Giebink, A.W.; Spence, D.M., Integrative Biology 2014, 6, 65-75. (C&E News full page story, Feb 3, 2014 issue, page 30) Evaluation of 3D Printing and Its Potential Impact on Biotechnology and the Chemical Sciences, Gross, B.C.; Erkal, J.L.; Lockwood, S.Y.; Chen, C.; Spence, D.M. Analytical Chemistry 2014, 86, 3240-3253. (Cover Article) Endothelium Nitric Oxide Production is Increased by ATP Release from Red Blood Cells Incubated with Hydroxyurea, Lockwood, S.Y.; Erkal, J.L.; Spence, D.M., Nitric Oxide 2014, 38, 1-7. 3D-Printed Microfluidic Devices with Integrated Versatile and Reusable Electrodes, Erkal, J.L.; Selimovic, A.; Gross, B.C.; Lockwood, S.Y.; Walton, E.L.; McNamara, S.; Martin, R.S.; Spence, D.M., Lab on a Chip 2014, 2023-2032. 3D-printed Fluidic Devices Enable Quantitative Evaluation of Blood Components in Modified Storage Solutions for use in Transfusion Medicine, Chen, C.; Wang, Y.; Lockwood, S.Y.; Spence, D.M., Analyst 2014, 139, 3219-3226. (Cover Article)

          Sophia Lunt        
Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
Ph.D., Chemistry, Princeton University, 2010
B.S., Chemistry, Lebanon Valley College, 2005
2016 AACR-Incyte NextGen Grant for Transformative Cancer Research
2015 DoD CDMRP Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP) Breakthrough Award
2015 Mayo Clinic Metabolomics Research Core Pilot and Feasibility Award
2014 Best Oral Presentation Award, Michigan Physiological Society
2012 DoD CDMRP PRCRP Visionary Postdoctoral Fellowship Award
González-Reymúndez A, de los Campos G, Gutiérrez L, Lunt SY, Vazquez AI. Prediction of Years of Life after Diagnosis of Breast Cancer Using Omics and Omic-by-Treatment Interactions. European Journal of Human Genetics; 25 (5): 538–544; 2017.
Nault R, Fader KA, Ammendolia DA, Dornbos P, Potter D, Sharratt B, Kumagai K, Harkema JR, Lunt SY, Matthews J, Zacharewski T. Dose-dependent metabolic reprogramming and differential gene expression in TCDD-elicited hepatic fibrosis. Toxicological Sciences; 2016.
Young M, Suddard-Bangsund JD, Patrick TJ, Pajares N, Lunt SY, Lunt RR: Organic Heptamethine Salts for Photovoltaics and Detectors with Near-Infrared Photoresponse up to 1600 nm. Advanced Optical Materials; 4 (7):1028-1033; 2016.
Nault R, Fader KA, Kirby MP, Ahmed S, Matthews J, Jones AD, Lunt SY, Zacharewski TR: Pyruvate kinase isoform switching and hepatic metabolic reprogramming by the environmental contaminant 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD). Toxicological Sciences; 149 (2): 358-371; 2016.
Degree Programs: 
Chemical Engineering
Materials Science and Engineering

          Michael Lavagnino        
Mechanical Engineering
PhD Engineering Mechanics, Michigan State University, 2007
MS Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan, 1998
MSE Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, 1998
BS Biomedical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1996
T. David Sisk Award for Best Original Research Paper, Sports Health Journal, 2011 “Infrapatellar Straps Decrease Patellar Tendon Strain at the Site of the Jumper’s Knee Lesion: A Computational Analysis Based on Radiographic Measurements”
New Investigator Recognition Awards Finalist, Orthopaedic Research Society, 2011 “In situ deflection of tendon cell cilia in response to tensile loading: An in vitro study.”
Cabaud Memorial Award, The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, 2008 “Patellar tendon strain is increased at the site of the jumper’s knee lesion during knee flexion and tendon loading: Results and cadaveric testing of a computational model.”

Effective teaching, Curriculum development, Tendon mechanobiology, biomechanics, orthopaedics

Lavagnino M, Brooks AE, Oslapas AN, Gardner KL, Arnoczky SP. Crimp Length Decreases in Lax Tendons due to Cytoskeletal Tension, but is Restored with Tensional Homeostasis. 2016 Nov 23. doi: 10.1002/jor.23489. [Epub ahead of print]
Lavagnino M, Oslapas AN, Gardner KL, Arnoczky SP. Hypoxia Inhibits Primary Cilia Formation and Reduces Cell-Mediated Contraction in Stress-Deprived Rat Tail Tendon Fascicles Muscles Ligaments Tendons J. 6(2):193-197, 2016.
Rashmir-Raven AM, Lavagnino M, Sedlak A, Gardner KL, Arnoczky SP. Increased susceptibility of skin from HERDA (Hereditary Equine Regional Dermal Asthenia)-affected horses to bacterial collagenase degradation: a potential contributing factor to the clinical signs of HERDA. Vet Dermatol. 26(6):476-80, 2015.
Lavagnino M, Madison J, Williams MR, Arnoczky SP. The Equine Suspensory Ligament Exhibits a Heterogeneous Strain Pattern under Tensile Load. Vet Comp Orthop Traumatol. 28(5):306-11, 2015.
Lavagnino M, Gardner KL, Arnoczky SP. High magnitude, in vitro, biaxial, cyclic tensile strain induces actin depolymerization in tendon cells. Muscles Ligaments Tendons J. 5(2):124-128, 2015.
Lavagnino M, Malek K, Gardner KL, Arnoczky SP. Thermal energy enhances cell-mediated contraction of lax rat tail tendon fascicles following exercise. Muscles Ligaments Tendons J. 5(1):51-55, 2015.
Lavagnino M, Wall ME, Little D, Banes AJ, Guilak F, Arnoczky SP. Tendon mechanobiology: Current knowledge and future research opportunities. J Orthop Res. 33(6):813-822, 2015.
Lavagnino M, Bedi A, Walsh CP, Sibilsky Enselman ER, Sheibani-Rad S, Arnoczky SP. Tendon Contraction After Cyclic Elongation Is an Age-Dependent Phenomenon: In Vitro and In Vivo Comparisons. Am J Sports Med 42(6):1471-1477, 2014.
Brown S, Stubbs NC, Kaiser LJ, Lavagnino M, Clayton HM. Swing phase kinematics of horses trotting over poles. Equine Vet J. 47(1):107-112, 2015.
Clayton HM, Stubbs NC, Lavagnino M. Stance phase kinematics and kinetics of horses trotting over poles. Equine Vet J. 47(1):113-118, 2015.
Lavagnino M, Gardner K, Sedlak AM, Arnoczky SP. Tendon cell ciliary length as a biomarker of in situ cytoskeletal tensional homeostasis. Muscles Ligaments Tendons J 11;3(3):118-121, 2013.
Halley SE, Bey MJ, Haladik JA, Lavagnino M, Arnoczky SP: Three dimensional, radiosteriometric analysis (RSA) of equine stifle kinematics and articular surface contact: A cadaveric study. Equine Vet J 46(3):364-369, 2014.
Lavagnino M, Gardner K, Arnoczky SP: Age Related Changes in the Cellular, Mechanical, and Contractile Properties of Rat Tail Tendons. Connect Tissue Res 54(1):70-75, 2013.
Wintz LR, Lavagnino M, Gardner KL, Sedlak AM, Arnoczky SP: Age-dependent effects of systemic administration of oxytetracycline on the viscoelastic properties of rat tail tendons as a mechanistic basis for pharmacological treatment of flexural limb deformities in foals. Am J Vet Res 73(12):1951-1956, 2012.
Clayton HM, Kaiser LJ, Lavagnino M, Stubbs NC: Evaluation of intersegmental vertebral motion during performance of dynamic mobilization exercises in cervical lateral bending in horses. Am J Vet Res 73(8):1153-1159, 2012.
Clayton HM, Belock B, Lavagnino M, Kaiser LJ: Forces and pressures on the horse's back during bareback riding. Vet J 195(1):48-52, 2013.
Gardner KL, Lavagnino M, Egerbacher M, Arnoczky SP: Re-establishment of cytoskeletal tensional homeostasis in lax tendons occurs through an actin-mediated cellular contraction of the extracellular matrix. J Orthop Res 30(11):1695-1701, 2012.
Belock B, Kaiser LJ, Lavagnino M, Clayton HM: Comparison of pressure distribution under a conventional saddle and a treeless saddle at sitting trot. Vet J 193(1):87-91, 2012.
Fowlie JG, Arnoczky SP, Lavagnino M, Stick JA: Stifle extension results in differential tensile forces developing between abaxial and axial components of the cranial meniscotibial ligament of the equine medial meniscus: A mechanistic explanation for meniscal tear patterns. Equine Vet J 44(5):554-558, 2012.
Fowlie J, Arnoczky S, Lavagnino M, Maerz T, Stick J: Resection of Grade III cranial horn tears of the equine medial meniscus alter the contact forces on medial tibial condyle at full extension: an in-vitro cadaveric study. Vet Surg 40(8):957-965, 2011.
Clayton HM, Lavagnino M, Kaiser LJ, Stubbs NC: Evaluation of biomechanical effects of four stimulation devices placed on the hind feet of trotting horses. Am J Vet Res 72(11):1489-1495, 2011.
Clayton HM, Lavagnino M, Kaiser LJ, Stubbs NC: Swing phase kinematic and kinetic response to weighting the hind pasterns. Equine Vet J 43(2):210-215, 2011.
Lavagnino M, Dodds J, Arnoczky S, Elvin N: Infrapatellar Straps Decrease Patellar Tendon Strain at the Site of the Jumper's Knee Lesion: A Computational Analysis Based on Radiographic Measurements.. Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach 3:296-302, 2011
Lavagnino M, Arnoczky SP, Gardner K: In situ deflection of tendon cell-cilia in response to tensile loading: an in vitro study. J Orthop Res 29(6):925-930, 2011.
Gardner KL, Arnoczky SP, Lavagnino M: The Effect of In vitro Stress Deprivation and Cyclic Loading on the Length of Tendon Cell Cilia in situ. J Orthop Res 29(4):582-587, 2011.
Clayton HM, Larson B, Kaiser LJ, Lavagnino M.: Length and elasticity of side reins affect rein tension at trot. Vet J 188(3):291-294, 2011.
Degree Programs: 
Mechanical Engineering

          Harvard scientists discover protein GDF-11 that reverses heart disease in old mice        
old mice heart science

Harvard University scientists that were working with various aged mice and researching heart disease discovered a protein that could reverse aging in human organs.

Dr. Richard Lee, director of regenerative medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Amy Wagers, of the Department of Regenerative Biology at Harvard

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          Dave Goulson and Brigit Strawbridge        

Dave Goulson is Professor of Biology at Sussex University, founder of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and has published over 200 scientific articles on the ecology of bees and other insects. His published books include Bumblebees; their behaviour, ecology and conservation (2010, Oxford University Press) and A Sting in the Tale (2013, Jonathan Cape), and A Buzz in the Meadow (2017, Vintage Books.

Brigit Strawbridge is a campaigner on behalf of bumblebees and other wild bees and is currently working on her first book. 

Our conversation includes ways in which beekeepers can help support other pollinators; the impact of pesticides, habitat loss and diseases on wild bees; the dangers of neonicotinoids, and the current state of bee research.

Recorded at Brimpts Farm on Dartmoor during the Moor Meadows conference on July 1st 2017.


          Bees, Soil Fertility, Permaculture and Bees        
Caring for bees needs to start with a healthy soil. Modern agriculture uses a lot of chemicals just to grow our food, let alone the processing. That harms the soil, plants, and the pollinators. There is a different way, and we need more people educated to create that healthy environment. Daniel, who is the interviewer in this podcast is currently gathering funds to learn soil microbiology from the perspective of growing any kind of plant without chemicals, and guaranteeing maximum nutrition and yield. If you have a garden, some land, a crop, and wish to see the quality of the biology under your feet, consider taking his offer of soil testing once he finishes his course. As a thank you for believing in him, the cost is much reduced from what is currently available. See the link in the description, pledge your support, and pass it on.


Daniel's Permaculture Podcast 
Daniel's Crowdfunder

          Get almost any EBOOK for free.        

They say that reading book gives loads of fun. More oftenly, they are the best friends of any person. most reliable or trustworthy.Reading a book is fun, but when you forget it at home, are bored at work, looking to get ahead on your reading for your online bachelor degree class, or are just curious to get a sneak peek at whatever you ordered from Amazon, online book sites can be handy too. Below is a list of over 100 free (and legal) sites to find great literature for download.

  • The classics
          Browse works by Mark Twain, Joseph Conrad and other famous authors here:
Classic Bookshelf: This site has put classic novels online, from Charles Dickens to Charlotte 
The Online Books Page: The University of Pennsylvania inPhiladelphia hosts this book search and database.
Project Gutenberg: This famous site has over 27,000 free books online.
Page by Page Books: Find books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and H.G. Wells, as well as speeches from George W. Bush on this site.
Classic Book Library: Genres here include historical fiction, history, science fiction, mystery, romance and children’s literature, but they’re all classics.
Classic Reader: Here you can read Shakespeare, young adult fiction and more.
Read Print: From George Orwell to Alexandre Dumas to George Eliot to Charles Darwin, this online library is stocked with the best classics.
Planet eBook: Download free classic literature titles here, from Dostoevsky to D.H. Lawrence to Joseph Conrad.
The Spectator Project: This project at Montclair State University in New Jersey features full-text, online versions ofThe Spectator and The Tatler.
Bibliomania: This site has more than 2,000 classic texts, plus study guides and reference books.
Online Library of Literature: Find full and unabridged texts of classic literature, including the Bronte sisters, Mark Twain and more.
Bartleby: Bartleby has much more than just the classics, but its collection of anthologies and other important novels made it famous. has a huge selection of novels, including works by Lewis Carroll, Willa Cather, Sherwood Anderson, Flaubert, George Eliot, F. Scott Fitzgerald and others.
Free Classic Literature: Find British authors like Shakespeare and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, plus other authors like Jules Verne, Mark Twain, and more.

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If you don’t absolutely need to pay for your textbooks, save yourself a few hundred dollars by reviewing these sites.
Textbook Revolution: Find biology, business, engineering, mathematics and world history textbooks here.
Wikibooks: From cookbooks (handy for those enrolled inonline bachelor’s degree programs for culinary arts!) to the computing department, find instructional and educational materials here.
KnowThis Free Online Textbooks: Get directed to stats textbooks and more.
Online Medical Textbooks: Find books about plastic surgery, anatomy and more here.
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MIT Open Courseware Supplemental Resources: Find free videos, textbooks and more on the subjects of mechanical engineering, mathematics, chemistry and more.
Flat World Knowledge: This innovative site has created an open college textbooks platform that will launch in January 2009.
Free Business Textbooks: Find free books to go along with accounting, economics and other business classes.
Light and Matter: Here you can access open source physics textbooks.
eMedicine: This project from WebMD is continuously updated and has articles and references on surgery, pediatrics and more.
  • Math and Science
          Turn to this list to find books about math, science, engineering and technology. This site has "thousands of full-text free books,"  including a large                      amount of scientific essays and books.

Free online textbooks, lecture notes, tutorials and videos on mathematics: NYU               links to several free resources for math students, even those outside of New York!

Online Mathematics Texts: Here you can find online textbooks like Elementary                           Linear Algebra and Complex Variables.

Science and Engineering Books for free download: These books range in topics from nanotechnology to compressible flow. Find over 1800 math, engineering and science books here.

Free Tech Books: Computer programmers and computer science enthusiasts can find helpful books here.

  • Children's Book
Even children’s books are now available online. Find illustrated books, chapter books and more.
byGosh: Find free illustrated children’s books and stories here.
Munseys: Munseys has nearly 2,000 children’s titles, plus books about religion, biographies and more.
International Children’s Digital Library: Find award-winning books and search by categories like age group, make believe books, true books or picture books.
Lookybook: Access children’s picture books here.
Philosophy and Religion
For books about philosophy and religion, check out these websites. has music ebooks, cooking ebooks, and over 150 philosophy titles and over 1,000 religion titles. Here you’ll find works by Rene Descartes, Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, David Hume and others.
Free Books on Yoga, Religion and Philosophy: Recent uploads to this site include Practical Lessons in Yoga andPhilosophy of Dreams.
The Sociology of Religion: Read this book by Max Weber, here.
Religion eBooks: Read books about the Bible, Christian books, and more. This is especially useful for those pursuingonline bachelor’s degrees in Christian Studies.

          Beatrix Potter Syndrome        

When trying to understand something new, we automatically look for parallels in our previous experience: we seek examples from the familiar in order to better understand the unfamiliar. Often, this can be helpful, as when we learn a new language and we draw on our knowledge of another language with a common root.

Unfortunately, this strategy can also take us down a path that leads not to greater understanding, but to the confusion of fact with conditioned thought and to a form of distorted vision.

This can readily be observed in the interpretation of animal behaviour by reference to human behaviour, which is one form of what we call anthropomorphism. Myths and fables and children's tales are so suffused with the granting of human values and character traits to animals that it is hard to think of a creature that has not, in our imaginations, been stereotyped and imprinted with characteristics ascribed to it by someone with a particular point to make, or axe to grind. Thus the fox is 'wily and cunning'; the dog is 'faithful and obedient'; the elephant is a 'gentle giant' and the snake is 'sneaky and deceitful'. Aesop probably started the trend, but I prefer to call it the 'Beatrix Potter Syndrome', in recognition of her influence on the developing minds of 20th-century children, of whom I was one.

Beatrix Potter was an accomplished illustrator and observer of nature, who, had she been born a century later, may well have had a distinguished career in science. Sadly, she is now only remembered for her children's books depicting animals in human clothing who walk on their hind legs. From her stories, a direct line can be drawn to the emotionally charged portrayals of animals in many Disney films, while the brutal reality of the lives of wild animals is hidden beneath a veil of sugary sentimentality.

Potter's assignation of human attributes and behaviour to animals is only one form of anthropomorphism. There are at least two other ways in which we routinely corrupt our understanding of the non-human world by our choice of language: the use of words to name or describe an animal and the description of animal behaviour in human terms.

We can draw examples from the world of bees to illustrate both of these phenomena.

When we label the egg-laying mother of the colony as 'queen' bee, we impose on her by implication all the meaning with which that English word is loaded. Thus we may expect to find her as a monarch in charge of the colony, issuing orders and, perhaps, punishments for infringements of 'colony law'. The term 'queen bee' has passed back into the English language as a description of a woman with a controlling and manipulate nature, who likes to have people around her to serve her needs and give her attention. This reinforces the popular but inappropriate picture of a real 'queen' bee, which should really be more accurately thought of as the egg-laying servant of the colony and certainly not its ruler. While the queen bee does indeed have a retinue of attendants to feed and groom her, it is they who lead her around and prepare places for her to lay. When she begins to show any signs of a decline in her ability to provide eggs, she will be superseded, ignored and left to starve.

Likewise the male bee, or drone, which has inherited the popular meaning of its name as a parasitic loafer, or one who lives off the labours of others. While the male bees do no obvious and visible work compared to their sometimes hyper-active sisters, we know remarkably little about their day-to-day activities due to the comparatively small amount of research that has been conducted on them. I suggest it is highly improbable that a colony would deliberately encumber itself with a 'useless' 10-15% of its population at a time when gathering food is its primary concern. Simply because we have so far failed to study them with due care does not entitle us to label them as 'surplus to requirements', which is how they are regarded by most conventional beekeepers. In fact, research by Juergen Tautz at Wurtzburg University has shown that drones may indeed have hitherto unsuspected duties within the hive and may well have functions in the outside world that have so far eluded detection. As long ago as 1852, Moses Quinby (Mysteries of Beekeeping Explained) suggested that drones would likely have functions beyond mating with a queen, perhaps including helping to keep the brood warm. R.O.B.Manley noted that his best honey-producing hives generally had "a large number of drones" (Honey Farming, 1947).

When we come to bee behaviour, so much of it is alien to us that we struggle to make sense of it, so it is not surprising that we resort to attempts to explain aspects of their world in human terms. We talk freely of bees foraging for food, scouting for a nest site, communicating by means of the 'waggle dance', defending their home, mating and carrying out their dead because these are all activities that we can easily relate to and make practical sense in terms of day-to-day survival in a colony.

What is perhaps more surprising - and infinitely less helpful - is when people concoct mystical 'explanations' derived entirely from their imaginations and pass them on as if they had some scientific validity or foundation in fact.

Myths and legends, populated by gods and heroes, are poetic allegories through which we have conveyed information - both oral and written - from generation to generation and thus gained some understanding of our cultural history. Many myths are anthropomorphic in their personification of natural phenomena, but as long as we understand their origins and true nature, we can learn from them without confusing their content with objective reality.

However, as our scientific understanding of the natural world grew rapidly throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, there was a parallel growth of popular interest in such things as clairvoyance, telekinesis, telepathy, reincarnation, ghosts, out-of-body experiences and suchlike para-psychological phenomena that appear not to be subject to the known laws of physics, chemistry or biology. Despite the lack of verifiable evidence for such phenomena, they appear to occupy a nether region that stubbornly persists in popular culture.

In the context of this article, the consideration of whether or not such phenomena really exist is less relevant than the fact that they have, since Victorian times at least, been routinely presented as if they were genuine by people with a considerably greater talent for showmanship than for scientific rigour. Demonstrations of 'manifestations from the spirit world' were fashionable in late nineteenth century society, while Ouija boards and 'table-tipping' have floated in and out of fashion almost to the present day, despite the efforts of rationalists such as James Randi and Derren Brown to expose the trickery behind them. Variations on the 'clairvoyance' theme have been around at least since the days of the Delphic Oracle - probably the first example of a tourist industry built around a mystical cult - and show no signs of losing popularity, despite various myth-busting public exposures of fraud and trickery.

Rudolf Steiner, in his lectures on bees, delivered in November and December of 1923 at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland, sought to interpret the world of bees by means of 'Anthroposophy', a Christianized, version of the mystical 19th century eastern-derived 'religious philosophy' of Theosophy, whose best-known proponent, Helena Blavatsky, was also a performing clairvoyant. Both Steiner and Blavatsky claimed to derive their occult knowledge from outside the material world, by a process that would nowadays be called 'channeling'.

Steiner believed that mankind had existed on Earth - although not necessarily in material form - since its creation, and that bees (as well as other animals) were created for our benefit. This chronological reversal of the truth as revealed by fossil evidence - bees having certainly been around for more than 100 million years before Homo sapiens - sets the scene for further dubious assertions, such as when he talks of embryonic queens "giving off light" that somehow causes a colony to swarm from "fear that 'it no longer possesses the bee poison".

Anyone unfamiliar with Steiner's idiosyncratic cosmology and his other writings about the supposed history of the Earth may be surprised by passages such as:

"Our earth was once in a condition of which one could say that it was surrounded by clouds that had plant-life within them; from the periphery, other clouds approached and fertilised them; these clouds had an animal nature. From cosmic spaces came the animal nature; from the earth the essence of plant-being rose upwards." (Lecture VIII)

Back in the world of bees, Steiner makes much of the 21-day gestation period of a worker bee as being equivalent to "a single rotation of the sun on its axis" (Lecture II), apparently unaware that the equatorial regions of the sun perform a single rotation in 25.6 days, while polar regions rotate once in about 36 days (NASA).

He goes on to say that 'the drone is thus an earthly being' (because its completion takes longer than the sun's rotation - which in fact, as we now know, it does not).

He further elaborates on this thesis:

"The drones are the males; they can fertilize; this power of fertilization comes from the earth; the drones acquire it in the few days during which they continue their growth within the earth-evolution and before they reach maturity. So we can now say: in the bees it is clearly to be seen that fertilization (male fecundation) comes from the earthly forces, and the female capacity to develop the egg comes from the forces of the Sun. So you see, you can easily imagine how significant is the length of time during which a creature develops. This is very important for, naturally, something happens within a definite time which could not occur in either a shorter or a longer time, for then quite other things would happen."

As happens numerous times in the Lectures, Steiner makes a statement that is demonstrably erroneous, and then goes on to elaborate a sequence of specious arguments from it, which, being derived from false premises, must inevitably lead to false conclusions.

It would be tedious to cite every instance where Steiner is obfuscatory, unnecessarily mystical or just plain wrong. Suffice to say that, while not being totally devoid of interest, his Lectures are about as useful a source of insights into bees as a medieval book of medicinal herbs would be for conducting modern surgery. Indeed, Steiner even betrays his lack of basic understanding of the functions of the human body (Lecture VII) in saying that:

" is represented as though the heart were a kind of pump, and that this pumping of the heart sends the blood all over the body. This is nonsense, because it is in reality the blood which is brought into motion by the ego-organization, and moves throughout the body."

However, Steiner does make some non-mystical statements that must be considered, as they at least fall into alignment with observable reality. He warns against pushing bees for over-production, drawing a parallel with the dairy industry (Lecture V); he emphasizes that "... the bee-colony is a totality. It must be seen as a totality." (Lecture V); The one much-vaunted but often mis-quoted, 'prediction' made by Steiner, usually misrepresented as a 'prophesy' of the general demise of bees, amounts to a rather mild criticism of the then relatively new practice of artificial insemination: "...we must see how things will be in fifty to eighty years time...".

Right at the end of the final Lecture, we find clear evidence that Steiner's view of nature is actually highly anthropocentric:

'Thus we can say: When we observe things in the right way, we see how the processes of Nature are actually images and symbols of what happens in human life. These men of olden times watched the birds on the juniper trees with the same love with which we look at the little cakes and gifts on the Christmas tree. "...I have therefore spoken of the juniper tree which can truly be regarded as a kind of Christmas tree, and which is the same for the birds as the blossoms for the bees, the wood for the ants, and for the wood-bees and insects in general."

And so Steiner's personal mysticism, as well as his sentimentality, turns out to have a large component of anthropomorphism lurking within it.

Having reached this point in our analysis, we have to consider what is left to us: what would be a legitimate methodology for the study of bees, that would be free from the elephant traps of anthropocentrism, anthropomorphism, sentimentality and mysticism, yet can encompass the sense experienced by many who come into contact with bees that there is 'something else' present, beyond the purely material?

A rationalist would say, 'observe without interpretation: see what is there and describe it as accurately as possible, but without overlaying it with meaning. Be true to observable reality'.

And yet, many people report some kind of transcendental experience in the presence of bees en masse, so are their reports to be written off as mere whimsy?

Speaking from my own experience, I can say that while working with bees and maintaining a calm, unhurried demeanour, I have had moments of inner peace akin to that I have also experienced while meditating or engaging in certain martial arts practices that aim to 'still the mind'. Having one's unprotected hands in a hive containing 50,000 fully-armed bees has a way of focusing the mind very much in the moment, while any deviation from the 'now' is likely to be punished more rapidly and more severely than by a Zen master's staff.

Being present 'in the moment' is a rarer - and thus more precious - experience for the 21st-century Twitter-dweller than for our ancestors. For the opportunity to experience that sense of timelessness in the company of a wild creature so many millennia our senior is a privilege that beekeepers should celebrate and cherish.

Mysticism has had its day. We are grown-ups now: we have seen the atom bomb and the double helix and we need to come to terms with objective reality in all its wonderful forms without ascribing all phenomena just beyond our understanding to the work of gods, aliens, faeries or gnomes. We can appreciate nature without projecting our aspirations or values onto it. We can observe without always needing to know the 'hidden meaning' of what we see hear, smell and taste. We can be elevated by what is around us and enjoy all the sensations available in this remarkable, natural world. We can even compose poems and songs, myths and fables to entertain us and our children, but we no longer need to sit at the feet of all-too-mortal men who exert power over the ignorant by interposing themselves between us and authentic experience of the mysteries of life.

Philip Chandler

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          Researchers suggest existence of new Ebola-like strain        

Researchers from the University of Kent have published a new study that suggests the Reston virus may be capable of mutating into a virus with an Ebola-like impact.

The Reston virus is in the same biological family as Ebola, but in its current form is not known to cause death. It typically infects pigs in Asia, though it has been known to infect humans as well. The research, lead by Senior Lecturer in Computational Biology Mark Wass, Professor of Molecular Medicine Martin Michaelis, and Lecturer in Virology Jeremy Rossman, found that given a few mutations to a specific protein, the Reston virus could take on fatal characteristics.

The findings were recently published in the journal Scientific Reports.

          Pfizer to participate in Human Vaccines Project        

Pfizer has decided to play a part in the Human Vaccines Project, which seeks to develop vaccine protection for infectious diseases such as HIV, dengue fever and cancer.

“Over the last decade, we’ve seen unprecedented technological advances in our understanding of the biology of diseases -- and new tools in designing vaccines including therapeutic vaccines,” Kathrin Jansen, head of vaccines research and development at Pfizer, said. “Yet, the translation from preclinical to clinical vaccine research has often been hampered by a lack of understanding of the desired human immune responses required to obtain optimal vaccine protection. With our strong heritage of translating scientific findings into the development of medicines and vaccines, Pfizer is proud to contribute to the consortium’s research efforts.”

Public and private research groups are teaming up on the project. The groups seek to apply the latest in medical technologies and knowledge to fight infectious diseases.

“We look forward to Pfizer’s contribution to the Human Vaccines Project as we launch an unprecedented public-private partnership in human immunology discovery, to decipher the human immunome and principles of protective immunity, to usher in a new era in global disease prevention,” Wayne Koff, founder of the Human Vaccines Project, said. “The human immune system holds the key to preventing and controlling a broad spectrum of infectious diseases, cancers, autoimmune diseases and allergies. By bringing together leading vaccine researchers, institutions and biopharmaceutical companies -- and harnessing recent technological advances in molecular and cellular biology and bioinformatics -- the project may potentially enable accelerated development of vaccines and immunotherapies for some of the most devastating diseases of our time.”

          Five CSU Students Selected as Gilman Scholars         

U.S. Department of State initiative funds study abroad experiences around the world

Saida MarkovicFive Cleveland State University students have been selected as Gilman Scholars, by the U.S. Department of State. The initiative provides funds to assist college students in participating in study abroad and internship programs in nations around the world. The students, Alix Kosmala, Saida Markovic, Lakiel Wade, Sophie Warner and Erica Young, are spending the summer of 2017 in Japan, Spain, Serbia, Canada and Ghana respectively.

“The Gilman Scholarship program is one of the U.S. government’s top international education programs and offers students an incredibly unique opportunity to experience other cultures, develop new skills and improve our world,” notes Julie Good, manager for education abroad programs at CSU. “We are extraordinarily fortunate to have five individuals selected for the 2017 cohort, and this illustrates the tremendous drive and caliber of our students.”

Kosmala, who is majoring in environmental studies, is spending the summer studying at the KCP International Japanese Language School in Tokyo. She also received a Freeman-ASIA scholarship, sponsored by Institute of International Education, to assist in funding her study abroad experience. Markovic, a psychology major, is conducting Spanish language and cultural studies in Granada, Spain.

Wade, who is majoring in computer and information science, is conducting an International Engineering Internship at the University of Novi Sod in Serbia, sponsored by the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experiences. Warner, a biology major, is conducting conservation research on the Taku River in northwest British Columbia, Canada. Young, a black studies major, is studying at the University of Ghana in Accra.

“I'm honored and humbled to have been selected as a recipient,” adds Markovic. “This scholarship has lifted a financial burden and will allow me to focus on my studies in order to finish my minor in Spanish.”

The U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is a grant program that enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad, thereby gaining skills critical to our national security and economic competitiveness. The program is named in honor of Congressman Benjamin Gilman, the author of the legislation establishing the program.

Learn more about the Gilman scholars program.


          So Much Less Than The Great I Am        
If there is one single mental component which engenders the belief that one has, or is in possession of, humanity's longest held zeitgeist the 'immortal soul' it is a person's ego. Only via egotistical thinking can one conclude human consciousness(the 'person'/'self') is not engendered by the biology in which it manifests but instead is somehow independent thereof and can therefore continue to exist, intact, indefinitely and independent of the only location ever known for that 'person', its functioning biology.
While it's likely, after centuries of "slaughter the unbeliever" and elevated breeding levels among the doctrinally oppressed, some are born with an 'Id' that's genetically predisposed to believe the 'immortal soul' notion, I think one may suggest that the presence of such among the population is born of the existence of the egotistical notion triggering epigenetic changes over time.
Could one suggest then that it's the presence of Ego alone that engenders the ready acceptance of eternal life fantasies?

I think so; here's why.
I, one of the soulless, an unbeliever, consider the "I" that is me to be the current culmination of this biochemical genetic colony's life experiences and its current chemical state. The "I" that is me "exists"(has power in the cosmos) for only 1/40th of a second1, then is gone, lost forever, an imprint on the chronology of the cosmos. And is instantly replaced by a new version of "I" with 1/40th of a second more experience2, a new chemical state and responsibility for all this colony's prior acts. When, after a lifetime of about 100 trillion conscious moments, this genetic colony finally fails beyond the capacity for internal or external maintenance or repair, there will be one final "I" before the consecutive stream of "I's" that made up the "me" can no longer be generated. The memory of that recorded "me", who imprinted on the shape of the cosmos for the merest blink of the cosmological timescale, lingers in the consciousness of all or a portion of society then diminishes over a period of time relating roughly to the recorded accomplishments. For the "I" that is "me" the "I" does not extend beyond the single conscious moment and the recorded "me" cannot exist beyond the means which engendered it.

You, one of the soulful, a believer, consider the "I" that is you to be an eternal entity, able to live beyond the biochemistry, extending from before conception, way beyond the single moment and long past the death of the genetic colony stretching on into an distant, possibly unending, future. An "I" of such importance the cosmos will not allow it to expire.

So the question here is...
Which "I" has the bigger Ego?

This is one of the Too Many Questions

1 "1/40th of a second" : Supporting evidence/explanation here
2 "1/40th of a second more experience" : The nature and depth of the experience available in this time period is determined by the complexity of the "I" experiencing the moment. For more on this see Conscious Of Consciousness.

ego: Oxford Dictionaries
1. A person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance.
1.1 Psychoanalysis - The part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity. Compare with id and superego.
1.2 Philosophy (In metaphysics) a conscious thinking subject.

id: Oxford Dictionaries
Psychoanalysis - The part of the mind in which innate instinctive impulses and primary processes are manifest

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          Freedom Formula        
Ancient method
prevents any human becoming a religious extremist.

Now available
Ten part process, handed down from before recorded time,
completely eradicates any possibility of religious extremism.

1. Avoid baptism or any other religious branding.
2. Remove all religious text books from the home.
3. Do not visit any place of religious worship for the purpose of worship.
4. Do not teach the child to worship.
5. On the event of the death of a family member, loved one or friend, do not tell the child "they have gone to a better place" or "are with the angels" the child will accept they are gone; there's no need for that injection of fantasy.
6. Make it clear that the notion of 'immortal soul' is an utterly unsubstantiated wish.
7. Make it clear that never once in the history of all our discovery has that which we once thought natural, actually turned out to be supernatural.
8. Explain that All proponents of magic are merely tricksters and charlatans using a technique called Cold Reading, which is designed to rest money from you.
9. Explain that at the heart of the religious texts' and spiritual charlatans' ability to manipulate a person, is that person's own erroneous belief in immortal soul.
10. Explain that those who pretend they have this magical core are permanently susceptible to being manipulated into believe anything; even to the hideously corrupt extreme of wholeheartedly 'knowing' that killing another human because that human thinks differently is the most righteous thing a human can do!

For best results begin the method before any of the purveyors of magical thinking have cast their brand of spell over them. If you can prevent the child from ever learning to pretend they have an immortal soul, this ancient remedy guarantees the child will never become a religious extremist and may even avoid the seemingly inevitable supremacist attitude, which is the most common consequence for they who pretend in these magical concepts.

Deprogramming an adult religious sycophant who has already learned to pretend in immortal soul is more difficult because it depends on the sycophant's ability to assimilate a new way of viewing ancient trusted fables, which the sycophant may have relied upon to inform numerous life choices. As a consequence the adult religious sycophant must, in every case, find the will to choose to deprogramme themselves by accepting that the new information, supersedes the old. This more difficult process is not guaranteed because it is so heavily dependent on the adult religious sycophant having retained some semblance of a mind, which is still open.

1 Ask the religious sycophant in question "what is at the core of your beliefs?" Most will erroneously offer "God" in answer.
2. Explain that while 'god' is at the core of their religious text it's not the core of belief, and instead is only a symptom of the emotional desire which is at the core.
3. Explain that the core of most faiths is the pretence that humans have an immortal component, which allows the survival of biological death.
4. Illustrate by explaining that Heaven and Hell ONLY have meaning to those who pretend they have an immortal soul. And by extension God and Satan also have no meaning. The fable of the immortal soul, is the foundation of all supernatural pretending. They will likely sense the truth in the logic and deflect, claiming their book promotes otherwise and their book is true because it says it is.
5. Explain that it is not possible to judge the truth of a text by reading the text alone. Properly structured and unbiased investigation and experimentation is an absolute necessity in confirming the truth of a text.
6. Explain that as all the religious texts are written with immortal soul as an a priori accepted fact, it is immortal soul that must be investigated before anything any of the books' claims for that 'spiritual core' has even the potential for meaning.
7. Ask the religious sycophant in question to prove to you, without referencing their favourite fable's rule book, that human consciousness can remain an intact personality after biological death.
8. Ask the religious sycophant in question to prove to you, without referencing their favourite fable's rule book, that there is sufficient reason to assume human consciousness is not generated by the biology in which it evidently emerges.
9. If they cannot prove these but still proclaim "I have an immortal soul" explain they they are choosing to be dishonest.
10. Explain that, with the level of evidence for 'immortal soul', the only honest claim one can legitimately make is "I like the idea of immortal soul so much that I choose to pretend it is a fact."
11. Make it clear choosing to pretend one's wish is a fact, in no way moves the notion of the wish out of the 'unsubstantiated hypothesis' category.
12. Urge the religious sycophant to admit, for the good of their mental health and for the sake of society, in an homage to honesty, that when they say "I believe", what they are actually doing is pretending.

If the adult religious sycophant is so indoctrinated that they keep pretending after the above steps have been taken, there is nothing further you can do to inform them of their erroneous thought processes.

It is suggested that all those who fail to accept that they merely like to pretend they have, or are, an immortal soul, should be monitored for signs of supremacist hatred.
Use your best judgement to discern if you should distance yourself from what maybe an extremely dangerous magical thinker. It is highly likely that such a person, with such a disability, may go full warrior-of-god and inflict what they pretend are righteous acts against those whom their pretending ways inform the now psychotic sycophant are unrighteous.

All hate speech should be reported to the authorities.

So the question here is...
The Abrahamic texts are cram packed full of supremacist hate speech, it's arguably their raison d'être, so why have those texts not been hauled in front of the bench for hate speech?

Does anyone else smell religious privilege?

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           Weather and seasons together demand complex biological clocks         
Troein, Carl, Locke, James C. W., Turner, Matthew S. and Millar, A. J. (Andrew J.). (2009) Weather and seasons together demand complex biological clocks. Current Biology, Vol.19 (No.22). pp. 1961-1964. ISSN 0960-9822
          Connect Your Summer With Scary Movies        

Love scary movies? Use one to earn your eLectrified badge this summer! These horror flicks are available on DVD at the library or streaming through Hoopla. 

Animal Lover

A friendly St. Bernard named "Cujo" contracts rabies and conducts a reign of terror on a small American town.

A group of people unite in a fight against a great white shark that has come to terrorize the residents of a formerly peaceful summer community on the New York coast.

College students visit a friend's remote cabin on a lake, unaware that locals have imported sharks in hopes of filming their attacks.

Be Creative

Young Dorian Gray arrives fresh on the London social scene and is taken under the wing of corrupt, devilish Lord Henry Wotton who introduces him to the seedy pleasures of London life. Desperate to protect the youth and beauty captured in his portrait, Dorian swears he would give anything to stay as he is-- even his soul. Slipping deeper and deeper into a world of sin, sex and celebrity, his deeds grow ever more evil in an attempt to hide his secret.

Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born under his mother's table at the fish market, onto a pile of muddy fish guts, establishing from the beginning his repulsion for putrid scents. A childhood of neglect and, later, a job at a tannery, encourage Jean-Baptiste to develop his olfactory sense rather than his verbal skills. When an opportunity to prove his worth to Parisian perfumist, Giuseppe Baldini, it results in his immediate hire into a promising new career. His successes in perfume mixing are negated by a blinding obsession for capturing the sublime beauty of human soul, which in his twisted logic requires the killing of young women to reduce their body fats to essential oils for the ultimate perfume.

Late one night on a country road, Tun and Jane accidentally run down a mysterious pedestrian. Fleeing the scene, they return to their lives in Bangkok, but soon discover things have changed. Nightmares haunt Jane's dreams while Tun, a photographer, begins to see odd spectral figures at work. Returning to investigate the site of the accident, they find neither rumor nor report of the victim. When one by one, Tun's closest friends begin to die, he and Jane know they must unravel this mystery before it unravels their very lives.

Chow Down

A celebrity chef turns the tables on his harshest critic. Peter Grey (James Le Gros), an overly zealous television chef kidnaps J.T. Franks (Joshua Leonard), an influential and notoriously snarky food blogger after a particularly nasty review deals the final blow to Grey's already plummeting career. Grey keeps Franks chained up in a basement, presenting him with a series of deceptively simple cooking challenges - from preparing a perfect egg over easy, to grilling a steak precisely medium rare & accepting nothing less than total perfection. BITTER FEAST is a tense thrill-ride served up with wicked wit and culinary flair.

A young female FBI agent is sent to interview notorious killer, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, in hope of obtaining information that will help the Bureau catch another killer.

Returning to London after being wrongfully imprisoned, a barber seeking revenge upon those who sent him away provides a local baker with meat for her pies.

When the patriarch of a secretive cannibalistic family dies, his daughters are forced to hunt for food as a storm closes in and the local law enforcement officers investigate the family.

Explore History

During the Spanish Civil War, young Carlos is abandoned at a completely isolated orphanage. The tensions therein have been building for years, exacerbated by the unexploded bomb resting menacingly in the courtyard. Bullies scheme, tempers flare, and a ghost that visits Carlos's bed seems to be the key to it all.

The five Bennet sisters cope with the pressure to marry while fighting an increasing zombie presence in the English countryside.

"Greatest horror film of the year."--Entertainment Weekly.

While on business in Yorkshire, young lawyer and single father Arthur Kipps encounters the malevolent spirit of a woman.

Game On

Based on true events, The Ouija Experiment tells the story of five friends who decide to record their experiments with a Ouija board. This found footage film follows the five friends as they reach out to the spirits, but when they break the first rule of Ouija boards and leave without saying goodbye, they inadvertently invite the spirits into their lives. As the spirits hunt down them one by one, the remaining friends must uncover the truth behind the spirits' deaths and destroy the board before it destroys them.

Alice, joining forces with a group of survivors trying to get to a safe haven known as Arcadia, continues in her quest to destroy the Umbrella Corporation, fighting zombie hordes along the way.

Geek Out

When ghosts go on a rampage, only three men can save the world. Soon every spook in the city is loose and our heroes face the supreme challenge If you want your spirits raised, who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!.

A scientist, obsessed with perfecting a virtual reality computer, experiments on a slow-witted gardener, turning him into a superhuman, whom members of "The Shop" want to capture to create a war machine.

A group of young friends are rocked by the sudden suicide of one of their own and his subsequent ghostly reappearance in grainy computer and video images. More deaths follow as the world is slowly being drained of life.

A group of online chat room friends find themselves haunted by a mysterious, supernatural force using the account of their dead friend.

Great Outdoors

Five college friends head for cabin in a remote forest and through a tattered diary left behind by a former inhabitant, begin to discover the deadly truth behind their lodging.

On an annual extreme outdoor adventure, six women friends meet in a remote part of the Appalachians to explore a cave hidden deep in the woods. Far below the surface of the earth, disaster strikes when a rock fall blocks their exit and there is no way out. The women push on, praying for another exit, but there is something else lurking under the earth. The friends are now prey, forced to unleash their most primal instincts in an all-out war against an unspeakable horror that attacks without warning.

Susan and Daniel are a happily married couple who are taking a much needed vacation to the islands. They are hoping for a memorable trip. However, their vacation turns tragic when their scuba diving party leaves them in the middle of the ocean by the careless diving boat crew. As the reality of isolation sets in, they turn to one another for support. Unable to flag down passing boats, they begin to panic as encircling sharks begin to appear.

Jeff and Amy are an American couples who goes to Mexico for a vacation. They find themselves in the most brutal struggle when, on an archaeological dig into the jungle, they are ambushed by hostile Mayans and forced to the top of an ancient temple. There, a monstrous and diabolically clever entity awaits them among the ruins.

Hit The Road

Christine is an auto possessed by an evil vengeance that will destroy anyone in her way. She demands the unquestioned devotion of Arnie and attacks outsiders who try to interfere.

A deranged stuntman stalks his victims from the safety of his killer car, but when he picks on the wrong group of babes, all bets are off. He becomes involved in an automotive duel of epic proportions.

A tire named Robert, who has destructive telekinetic powers. becomes obsessed with a woman living in a desert town.

After zombies have overrun the world, a mismatched group of two men and two sisters head for an amusement park that is reportedly safe.

Keep It Real

Three student filmmakers set out into the forest to film a documentary on a legend known as The Blair Witch. As they become lost in the woods, an unseen evil begins to stalk and harass them. They soon realize that what they are filming is not a legend, but their own descent into a horrifying encounter with the supernatural.

A hard hitting docu-drama about two ex-cons who ruthlessly murder a Kansas family in 1959 in order to steal their non-existent stash of money.

From Rodney Ascher, the director of ROOM 237, comes a documentary-horror film exploring the phenomenon of 'Sleep Paralysis' through the eyes of eight very different people. These people (and a surprisingly large number of others) often find themselves trapped between the sleeping and waking worlds, totally unable to move but aware of their surroundings while being subject to frequently disturbing sights and sounds. A strange element to these visions is that despite the fact that they know nothing of one another, (and had never heard of sleep paralysis before it happened to them), many see similar ghostly 'shadow men.' This is one of many reasons many people insist this is more than just a sleep disorder. THE NIGHTMARE digs deep into not only the particulars of these eight people's uncanny experiences (through elaborate, sometimes surreal dramatizations), but it also explores their search to understand what they've gone through and how it's changed their lives.

In 1980 Stanley Kubrick released his masterpiece of modern horror, The Shining. Over 30 years later we're still struggling to understand its hidden meanings. Rodney Ascher's wry and provocative documentary fuses fact and fiction through interviews with both fanatics and scholars, creating a kaleidoscopic deconstruction of Kubrick's still-controversial classic.

Laugh It Up

It all starts with a meteorite falling to earth near Glen Canyon, Arizona. The next day, biology teacher Dr. Ira Kane and geology teacher Harry Block from Glen Canyon Community College go to investigate. While taking a sample, they discover a slimy blue fluid ozzing from the meteorite. Kane finds myriad single-celled life-forms in the fluid, evolving at an incredible rate, even while he's watching. What seemed like a sure ticket to Sweden for the Nobel Prize soon develops into a nightmare: by evolving and adapting at an unbelievably fast rate, the aliens start spreading out, and the military comes in. Will humanity save the day?.

"When flesh-eating zombies go on the hunt for a bite to eat, it's up to slacker Shaun (Simon Pegg) and his best pal Ed (Nick Frost) to save their friends and family from becoming the next entree"--Container label.

Sci-fi comedy about two country handymen who are about to leave their desolate Nevada town when they discover the town is infested with gigantic man-eating creatures that live below the ground.

Vulvus, Viago, and Deacon are vampires who live here, among us. They are real vampires; undead, immortal creatures who stalk the night and search for human blood, preferably virgins. Witness the many horrid, abominable aspects of vampire life, such as hunting and feeding, vampire rivalry and fighting with werewolves, as well as normal night to night aspects that make them not so different from us like keeping the flat clean, jobs, shopping, meeting people and trying to fit in.

My Mitten

In the much-anticipated remake of the 1981 cult-hit horror film, five twenty-something friends become holed up in a remote cabin. When they discover a Book of the Dead, they unwittingly summon up dormant demons living in the nearby woods, which possess the youngsters in succession until only one is left intact to fight for survival.

For nineteen-year-old Jay, the fall should be about school, boys and weekends at the lake. Yet, after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter she suddenly finds herself plagued by nightmarish visions; she can't shake the sensation that someone, or something, is following her. As the threat closes in, Jay and her friends must somehow escape the horrors that are only a few steps behind.

You Choose (Staff Picks)

"...squirm-inducing stuff."--Hollywood Reporter.

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Authors: Sackett SD, Rodriguez A, Odorico JS

Diabetes, type 1 and type 2 (T1D and T2D), are diseases of epidemic proportions, which are complicated and defined by genetics, epigenetics, environment, and lifestyle choices. Current therapies consist of whole pancreas or islet transplantation. However, these approaches require life-time immunosuppression, and are compounded by the paucity of available donors. Pluripotent stem cells have advanced research in the fields of stem cell biology, drug development, disease modeling, and regenerative medicine, and importantly allows for the interrogation of therapeutic interventions. Recent developments in beta-cell differentiation and genomic modifications are now propelling investigations into the mechanisms behind beta-cell failure and autoimmunity, and offer new strategies for reducing the propensity for immunogenicity. This review discusses the derivation of endocrine lineage cells from human pluripotent stem cells for the treatment of diabetes, and how the editing or manipulation of their genomes can transcend many of the remaining challenges of stem cell technologies, leading to superior transplantation and diabetes drug discovery platforms.

PMID: 28632820 [PubMed - in process]

          On 3D Printed Guns        
Dear Rachel Maddow and Staff:

Tonight's story about gun control, and the 3D printer component in particular, were interesting, but I have a lot of questions that perhaps you can explore in future discussions on the subject.

First, a correction: only the 3D printer you showed, a Makerbot Replicator 2, costs thousands of dollars. Saying they cost thousands of dollars or more is misleading. You can buy fully assembled and ready-to-use 3D printers for as little as $500. Most models on the market today, kit-wise at least, cost somewhere between $800 and $1,200. I can build a RepRap, which is a printer that makes most of the parts you need to make another printer, for around $400. And it's not like it was hard to do--I just followed the recipe there on the Internet, free to all.

I'm a teacher at an art school who teaches 3D printing and design, and so a lot of people--including my mother-in-law--have been talking to me lately about 3D printed guns, as you might imagine, so I've been giving it a lot of thought. So far I've tended to react in these discussions with my own questions, which I do sincerely wish will soon get some public consideration. They nibble around the edges of the BIG question, which is, how should society respond to the progress of technology itself?

1) Do you know that a 14 year old built a nuclear reactor in his garage? And if it's possible for a 14 year old genius to teach himself to do that, and do it without institutional resources, how much dumber can a 20 year old be and still get the same result? How about at 30?

2) Did you know there are hundreds of amateur bio-labs in the U.S.? Those are just the registered ones.

3) Do you have any idea what people are doing with home-built autonomous flying drones? How long until someone hooks a pipe bomb up to one (or a dozen) of those and flies them into a crowd five kilometers away?

4) So, if we're worried about crazy people using powerful weapons to commit heinous crimes, what do we do about the crazy people who will be building their own robotic, chemical, biological or even nuclear (dirty or thermonuclear, you pick) weapons in their basements?

Isn't the real problem not the availability of any particular technology or machine, but rather the availability and free exchange of information? To quote a favorite movie, "You can't stop the signal, Mel." The kid could build a nuclear reactor in his garage because of the Internet. Aspiring bio-engineers can learn just about everything they need to cook up lethal bacteria on YouTube. People with a common interest can find each other and collaborate from opposite sides of the globe, whether that interest is baseball cards or DIY rocket guidance systems. And you can't stop the signal.

The central thesis of your show's introductory essay tonight was, if I understood correctly, that people who think that a problem like gun control is impossible to address--even given a sticky wicket like 3D printed guns--are wrong because circumstances change and where there's a will there's a way. Perhaps that's true in the limited sense that for any single given societal problem there will eventually be a policy solution. That philosophy, however, neglects entirely one hell of a big paradox. 

It can take just one person to make a thing. It takes at least two people to have a culture of making a thing. It takes at least three people to make a law about the thing. The more people you have in the system, the slower the response. Information technology increases productivity in inverse proportion to the size of the system, so individuals can make bigger and better things, and spread the culture of making those things faster than a society can devise rules to govern the things individuals are making, and are being propagated by culture. By the time you have a rule for one thing, a dozen new things have popped up and need rules, and the knowledge of the things are already out there, being shared, multiplied, mutated.

As Ray Kurzweil (who was just hired by Google to build the world's first artificial intelligence, by the way) says, the pace of technology's progress is accelerating exponentially. If I'm right in my previous formulation, that means that the gap between innovation and effective societal response is growing exponentially too.

In short, we're fucked.

Because it's just a matter of time before it becomes trivial for an amateur to cook up some nerve gas in their basement and set off the canisters in some subways. Meanwhile we may have finally come up with some way to keep crazy people from printing up their own guns and going on a killing spree. Yay us!


If that seems kind of out there then let's address the problem of 3D printed guns directly:

How do you even approach regulation to prevent it? Are there any conceivable ways to get in at the issue at all? Isn't 3D printing a gun a different kind of problem altogether from any other problem we've had, not just in scope, but as an entirely different paradigm? Consider the following issues:

1) Short of a true AI, can you create a computer algorithm that will recognize the shape of all objects--however novel--that could be used as components to make a weapon? Ask a computer scientist. 

2) Even if there were such a program, how would you require all computers to analyze all potential 3D models to filter and recognize such objects? How do you prevent programmers from creating and surreptitiously sharing programs that circumvent the filter, or hobbyists who engineer computers from components or first principals so they don't obey the regulation at all? You'd have to hard-wire the filter into every computer chip allowed into the country, wouldn't you? Can we do that? Even so, won't we eventually have the capacity to personally design and manufacture our own chips?

3) Is it possible to prevent amateurs from creating their own designs (of whatever,) allowing only professionally produced and regulated models printed on 3D printers? How? Perhaps more importantly, do we want to, since it will come at the cost of so much innovation and progress?

4) Do we limit the sale and possession of 3D printers only to select, authorized, industrial, and regulated/monitored users? 

5) What is a practical, effective method or mechanism for preventing hobbyists from engineering and building their own 3D printers, which are after all, built using readily available consumer goods as materials.

I understand that 3D printed guns are a salacious, irresistible topic. It's a very sexy story. Beyond the gratuitousness, though, what is there really? Why worry about "weapons" instead of the "crazy" part of "crazy people using weapons" problem? Not to put too fine a point on it, but where does it take us--whom does it benefit. 

Considering the response of the music industry to the invention of the MP3, it is not too conspiratorial to suggest that patent holders are clear beneficiaries of stories that stoke fears about 3D printed guns. 3D printers break 600 years of patent law--they overturn the whole idea of the patent as a mechanism for the preservation and cultivation of wealth. 3D printers, and the whole micro-manufacturing movement in fact, threaten the last relatively safe domain of intellectual property, the making of physical goods. If you look deeply enough you see that the technology coming on line now challenges nothing less than…well...all of commerce. They disrupt scarcity itself. How can any economy function without scarcity. It can't. That freaks some people out.

Personally, I can't wait.

          Artifacts of Desktop Biotech        
BIOTECH PROTOTYPE POEMS + MIXED MEDIA IMAGES by Robert Bolton Artifacts of Desktop Biotech prototype poems + mixed media images  “Artifacts of Desktop Biotech” is an inventory of the recently possible; it documents emerging and possible manifestations of synthetic biology.  As the capabilities of biotech become increasingly democratized, we are seeing a shift from “lab […]
          Quality Lab Technician - Kraton Corporation - Savannah, GA        
Engineering, Biology, Microbiology, or other relevant field of study, or a high school diploma plus 8. Associates Degree in a technical discipline such as...
From Kraton Corporation - Mon, 15 May 2017 16:05:40 GMT - View all Savannah, GA jobs
          Microbiology at Bayalpata Hosptial         
The staff at Bayalpata are always busy trying to find ways to improve and become more efficient. The focus on improvement doesn't leave much room for reminiscence. For a newcomer like myself I was preoccupied with how far the hospital has come since its opened its doors four years ago. The progress is even more impressive considering the formidable obstacles that Nyaya Health has faced and continues to face. 

Not only has Nyaya Health succeeded in establishing a free hospital in Far Western Nepal that provides basic health services, but it also continuously tries to expand its services. Take for example Bayalpata Hospital's Microbiology Lab that is currently expanding to include a bacterial culture facility. 

Bayalpata's lab is the only one of its kind in the district of Achham. It is currently staffed by four lab technicians and is equipped with an I-stat machine, a QBC Hematology Analyzer and a number of important serology tests, including HIV, Malaria, TB, and Hep-B. Having an in-house laboratory with the ability to analyze patients blood, kidney, and liver functions has allowed the physicians to more quickly and accurately diagnose their patients. The lab technicians approximate that they run biochemistry tests on 50 patients a day, at times discovering patients that are HIV+ and unaware of their condition. These patients can then be referred to Bayalpata's Anti-retroviral Therapy program. The biochemistry tests at the lab also allow the technicians to spot unusually high white blood cell counts that may be diagnosed by the doctors as leukemia. 

In the next few days, the technicians hope to begin growing and preserving bacteria cultures which will allow them to increase their diagnostic capabilities as well as pursue academic research, particularly concerning antibiotic resistant bacteria. Bayalpata is currently treating two patients that are suffering from multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. The capability of testing cultures with antibiotics can allow drug resistant strains to be more quickly recognized.

When Nyaya Health was founded in 2006, it opened a clinic in an abandoned goat shed. Today it is operating one of the few microbiology laboratories outside of Kathmandu. Hopefully similar progress is made over the next four years.

Bishnu, one of the four lab technicians working in the renovated microbiology lab at Bayalpata Hospital

          currentsinbiology: Arctic and Climate: Permafrost Sample...        


Arctic and Climate: Permafrost Sample Contains 4 Giant Viruses

In less-than-comforting news, scientists recently isolated a fourth giant virus in a sample of 30,000-year-old Siberian permafrost and say that this shows that potentially pathogenic viruses could be regenerated in the Arctic by melting. The team recently reported their findings in the journal PNAS.

The new virus is called  Mollivirus sibericum. In the same permafrost sample, scientists previously found the following serious viruses: Mimivirus, Pandoraviridae, and Pithovirus, as a release noted.

Mollivirus is roughly spherical and has not seen before among the three virus families previously recorded. Finding four viruses within this one section of permafrost indicates that giant viruses aren’t unusual and have great variety. It also shows that several types of virus can remain alive in permafrost for long periods. These types of viruses also have a large range of means of replication.

One section of permafrost from the Arctic has been found to contain a fourth giant virus, and researchers say this means that there is a possibility that viruses will be released by melting.  (Photo : Flickr: Mike Beauregard) 

We are dead…

          currentsinbiology: Note-taking is a huge part of the learning...        


Note-taking is a huge part of the learning process!!! You engage with the material in ways that help you understand and retain the material.

Awesome. Could have used this in school

          The proteins that domesticated our genomes         

EPFL scientists have carried out a genomic and evolutionary study of a large and enigmatic family of human proteins, to demonstrate that it is responsible for harnessing the millions of transposable elements in the human genome. The work reveals the largely species-specific gene-regulatory networks that impact all of human biology, in both health and disease.

read more

          Snails' speedy insulin        

University of Utah researchers have found that the structure of an insulin molecule produced by predatory cone snails may be an improvement over current fast-acting therapeutic insulin. The finding suggests that the cone snail insulin, produced by the snails to stun their prey, could begin working in as few as five minutes, compared with 15 minutes for the fastest-acting insulin currently available. Biologist Helena Safavi, co-author on a paper describing the cone snail insulin published September 12 in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, says that studying complex venom cocktails can open doors to new drug discoveries.

read more

          Chinese investigators characterize the world of resistance gene exchange among bacteria        

Certain antibiotic resistance genes are easily transferred from one bacterial species to another, and can move between farm animals and the human gut. A team led by Chinese researchers has characterized this "mobile resistome," which they say is largely to blame for the spread of antibiotic resistance. They found that many antibiotic resistance genes that are shared between the human and animal gut microbiome are also present in multiple human pathogens. These findings are published September 9 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

read more

          Comment on October/November 2012 Marking Scheme by hans        
biology paper 1 is not opened
          A Female’s Guide: How to Optimize Your Sex Life        

The topic of female sexuality has progressively become more accepted in modern society, but there are many regions throughout the world where it remains heavily stigmatized. The sexual revolution of the Western world has primarily focused on female reproductive health and rights, but the topics of female sexual desire and pleasure have also steadily gained acknowledgement. Within the past decade, the feminist movement has gained strength in numbers and media exposure, leading to a surge in female sexual empowerment and increased opportunities for women to explore their sexual identity. Needless to say, there is still a great deal of work to be done in the female sexual empowerment movement. This is to be expected, as humans have primarily focused on the sexual urges and desires of men since the dawn of mankind. Mankind. The status of female sexuality and sexual health can be largely attributed to the uneven power dynamics between men and women.1 The female sexual revolution is a laborious process with challenging, long-term goals. However, there are numerous measures that you can take to increase your personal and sexual satisfaction. By living a happy and sexually fulfilling lifestyle, you can in turn educate your peers about the importance of awareness, knowledge and resources available in your community. This guide serves as a tool to help navigate females through the intricate and overlooked topics regarding their sexuality. Individuals like yourself can take part in the female sexual revolution by becoming educated and comfortable with your body, portraying your confidence and insight to the people that surround you and living a happy and healthy physical, mental and sexual lifestyle.


Step 1: Education

Education is the first step to improving the sexual health and rights of females because without an accurate understanding of their needs and desires, there cannot be progress. Educating yourself on the various methods and health practices that promote mental and physical health will not only help you to feel happier and more confident on a daily basis, but this positivity will also carry over into your sexual lifestyle. Female sexual health is often only discussed when it relates to sexual disease, dysfunction and child-rearing basis. Although these are highly important topics, this approach fails to consider a female’s romantic needs, sexual pleasure and mental health.  Ask your doctor about what resources are available for women in your community and engage in discussion with your peers. Asking questions about your sexual health and seeking help for any problems you may experience will allow you to gain knowledge, confidence, and an understanding of your body. This can also open the door for conversations with your doctor, family, friends and partners in the future.

Once you have educated yourself on how to improve your physical, mental, and sexual health, the next step is to make this process more personal to you. If you feel unfamiliar or uncomfortable with your anatomy, take a few minutes out of each day to explore your body. Become familiar with every part of your body and how it feels to touch different areas. Be curious! Don’t hesitate to use a small hand mirror to look at yourself. Or just close your eyes and explore the various erogenous zones of your body with your hands. This can help you to relax and become familiar with what areas are most sensitive and enjoyable to touch.

For women who experience negative body image, the education and self-exploration steps may be difficult. The media portrays the female (and male) body in extremely unrealistic ways, which can create impossible standards to live up to. If it is difficult for you to find pride in the way that  you look, try to find self-confidence through what you do and who you are. Whether you are great at your job, a fantastic mother, a reliable friend, or an attentive partner, recognize the aspects of your life where you succeed and give yourself some credit! It does not matter how much you weigh, how flat your stomach is or what size clothes you wear. The more you like yourself, the more others will want to be around you and enjoy your company. The more comfortable you feel in your own skin, the more you can relax and enjoy sex, whether it’s during masturbation or with your partner. You do not have to fit society’s standards to be and feel physically beautiful. Feeling good, beautiful and confident inside and outside is important. Everyone is beautiful. Make an effort to find the parts of your body that you love.

Step 2: Adopt a Healthy and Happy Lifestyle

An active lifestyle can contribute to a healthy weight, a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, and improved mental health and mood. It can also lead to more pleasurable sexual experiences.2 Exercise increases blood flow to the sex organs, in addition to boosting mood through the release of exercise-induced chemicals called endorphins, also known as the “feel-good chemicals.”3 Additionally, testosterone levels are heightened during the hour following exercise, which can lead to an increased sex drive.3 Daily exercise is incredibly important, but establishing a realistic and sustainable routine is even more crucial. Setting goals for yourself and working alongside your partner can be excellent motivators for sustaining your healthy diet and lifestyle. A healthy and balanced lifestyle can lead to increased fitness and confidence, in addition to helping you feel more sexy, playful and open to trying new things inside and outside of the bedroom with your partner.

Sex Enriching Foods: There are many foods that can increase libido by increasing blood circulation to the sexual organs:

  • Garlic, chili peppers, and ginger contain allicin, which dilates blood vessels and thins the blood.3
  • Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish also help to thin the blood and increase elasticity of the blood vessels, allowing for easier blood flow.3
  • Dark chocolate contains antioxidants in addition to phenylethylamine, which has a stimulating effect by releasing the neurotransmitter dopamine and serotonin in the brain.3 Dopamine is associated with feelings of pleasure and love, while serotonin helps regulate mood and memory.4


Stress has a profound effect on the functioning of the human body. When the body is under high levels of stress, this leads to a release of the hormone cortisol, which is known to suppress the sexual response cycle and cause low libido.3 Maintaining low levels of stress is important for cardiovascular, mental, and sexual health. Finding a balance between work, family, hobbies, your partner and your personal time can be difficult, but it is a key element for a healthy lifestyle.


Step 3: Communication

Maintaining strong, open communication is crucial in sustaining a gratifying personal relationship and sexual experience with your partner. Making assumptions about what your partner is thinking or feeling based on their body language alone is not a reliable way of communicating. Discussing any concerns or problems that you may have before engaging in sex is the best way to avoid unwanted situations and discomfort so your experience is not filled with worry or apprehension. Keeping the dialogue open throughout sex can also ensure that you have your partner’s consent and that you are both enjoying the experience. Sexy talk is a form of communication in which individuals discuss intimate scenarios together and this can be a great way to maintain communication during sex. Engaging in sexy talk before, during, or after sexual intercourse can heighten the excitement and connection between you and your partner by keeping you both in the moment, and allowing you to introduce specific sexual positions or scenarios that you would like to try. Sexy talk can also help reaffirm that you are both enjoying yourselves and make you both feel confident and empowered. 

If you feel uncomfortable discussing your sexual desires with your partner or find that it is difficult to bring up the subject in a conversation, try writing a letter or email to your partner. Writing down your thoughts, desires, or concerns is a great way to express yourself because you can take time to formulate your ideas and ensure that you address the subject in its entirety.

If you have suffered trauma in your past, this can put a strain on a relationship if you have refrained from sharing it with your partner, your partner has problems coping with it, or if your partner does not know how to provide you with all the support that you need. Although it may be a difficult subject to discuss, confiding in your partner can bring you closer together and provide you with an additional personal resource to help you navigate through the healing process. If your partner feels uncomfortable or unable to advise you on the trauma on their own, group or couple’s counseling is an excellent option to help move the dialogue forward in a useful way. Seeking help for any personal or relationship problems can allow you to let go of previous trauma, establish stronger relationships with individuals that you can confide in the future, and allow you to move forward with your life and pursue the things that make you the most happy.

Step 4: Address Any Sexual Difficulties  

It can be difficult to talk about sexual difficulties with your partner or your doctor, but sexual dysfunction is common (43 percent of women and 31 percent of men report some degree of difficulty during their lifetime).5 These problems can occur at any stage of a male of female’s life and it is not something that you need to be ashamed of. There are many resources on SexInfo to help navigate you through this process and educate you on the possible causes and treatments.

Vaginal Dryness

Insufficient lubrication can be caused by a number of factors including inadequate amounts of foreplay, poor body image or self-confidence issues, improper diet or exercise, menopause, anxiety and stress, lack of partner communication, or prescription medications.6 In addition, some female bodies just do not produce enough lubrication for a pleasurable sexual experience, even if they do not possess any underlying medical issues and they are sufficiently aroused.

A female’s body experiences a multitude of changes throughout the lifecycle. Vaginal dryness is typical during menopause due to changes in estrogen levels. This reduction in vaginal lubrication can lead to painful intercourse and a decreased libido. Fortunately, there are multiple over the counter remedies available for women experiencing vaginal dryness. Vitamins B, A and beta carotene are high in essential fatty acids and may be taken as supplements to increase vaginal lubrication.7 Vitamins E and A suppositories can also be inserted in the vagina to provide relief for vaginal dryness.7 Drinking plenty of water, decreasing alcohol and caffeine intake, and refraining from douching or harsh chemical soaps that interfere with the vaginal pH levels can all lead to an increase in vaginal lubrication.6Personal lubricants (also known as “lube”) can also be utilized during sexual intercourse to help reduce friction and irritation, thereby increasing sexual pleasure.

Estrogen is an important hormone that is responsible for keeping a female’s vaginal tissues healthy. This hormone helps to maintain the vagina’s normal lubrication, acidity levels, and elasticity.7 When estrogen levels decline, the lining of the vagina becomes thinner and less elastic, leading to a decreased production of vaginal lubrication. Estrogen levels drop during and after menopause, during pregnancy, and during periods of breastfeeding.7 Estrogen can also decrease in females who smoke cigarettes, who have had their ovaries removed, who have been previously treated for cancer, or who have certain immune disorders. Estrogen cream can help relieve vaginal dryness, but they are also notorious for causing a variety of other unpleasant symptoms.7 Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing vaginal dryness and discuss the best options pertaining to your medical history.


Low Libido

Low sexual desire can have large variety of causes including age, menopause, negative sexual experiences, depression, anxiety and stress, habituation to one’s partner, or relationship problems to name a few.7 Researchers are avidly searching for the “female Viagra,” but many drugs are still in the testing phase and include adverse side effects. If you are experiencing a lack of sexual desire, talk to your doctor about what might be causing this and whether there are any supplements or prescriptions that could benefit you:

  • ArginMax is a multivitamin with added ginseng, gingko and L-arginine, that has been clinically studied and shown to positively affect sexual satisfaction, orgasm ease and sexual desire in study subjects.8 The package suggests that it should be taken daily for four to eight weeks before results are noticed. As with any over-the-counter dietary supplement, it is important to check with a primary-care doctor to be sure that none of the ingredients are unsafe for an individual’s health and medication profile.
  • Intrinsia is currently under review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a testosterone therapy for women with low sexual desire.9 This drug has not been approved by the FDA yet because the effects of testosterone on women are not fully understood, but the hormone has been linked to issues such as liver damage and the development of male secondary sex characteristics (more body hair, deep voice, etc.).10
  •  Addyi is a non-hormonal prescription pill used to treat Hypoactive (low) Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) in women who have not gone through menopause and have not had problems with low sexual desire in the past.10 Addyi can cause severely low blood pressure, fainting, and sleepiness, so be sure to discuss the various side effects and risks associated with each alternative with your doctor.

Supplements and prescription drugs should be used as a last resort, if lifestyle changes are not leading to any noticeable changes in your sex life. Sexual desire is dependent not only on socio-cultural, psychological, and interpersonal influences, but also on each person’s biology. Because so many factors are involved, it can be difficult to pinpoint the source of the problem. Prescription drugs can also lead to adverse side effects that could possibly interfere with your sexual lifestyle more than it benefits it.


Step 5: Novelty

Partaking in a fun, new and exciting activity can lead to an increase in the brain chemical dopamine, which helps fuel sex drive.3 Adding some novelty to your sex life can increase pleasure and add excitement to the scenario:

  • Reflect and share your desires – Give yourself some time to reflect on your sexual desires and turn-ons. What is most exciting to you? What are you open to trying? Allow yourself to think about what you, and only you desire. Once you have an idea of what you might be interested in, share this with your partner in whatever way feels most comfortable to you. Whether this is writing them a note, or beginning a discussion together as a form of foreplay, share some of your new revelations with your partner and ask them about their fantasies. Do not feel obligated to engage in the entirety of the fantasy if you become uncomfortable at any point. Maintain an open dialogue with your partner, particularly during the experimental phases.
  • Try a new sex position – Do not be afraid to be adventurous! As long as you keep communicating and ensure that you and your partner are comfortable, sex positions can be a great way to add novelty to a relationship. See Sexpert Approved Sex Positions, Sexual Positions for Overweight Individuals and Sexual Positions for Pregnant Couples.
  • Buy a new sex toy or prop – A sex toy can add a lot of excitement to a sexual scenario by adding additional stimulation and novelty to a familiar sex position. You can use the sex toy on each other, through manual stimulation of yourself in front of your partner, or during your private masturbation time. A prop such as a blindfold can heighten the sense of touch by eliminating visual distractions. Picking a new toy or prop out together can ensure that you and your partner get something you both will enjoy. 

  • Boost your confidence and add some spice – Treat yourself to some sexy lingerie or a new outfit for your next encounter. Feeling beautiful correlates to feeling confident and confidence allows for an enjoyable sexual experience.
  • Your novelty does not have to be sexual – You and your partner do not have to directly make changes to your sex life to influence it. Trying something new like a couples yoga class, dance lessons, or an adventurous hike all lead to increases in excitement (dopamine), while simultaneously allowing you and your partner to spend quality time together and nurture your relationship.

Adding some novelty to your sex life can help rejuvenate a connection between you and your partner.  Check out the Spice Up Your Sex Life section on our website to learn more about Sexpert approved techniques.


Step 6: Masturbation

Masturbation can help you learn more about your body and determine what pleasures you the most. Masturbation is all about you. This practice can allow you to experiment with touch and determine what speed, pressure, intensity, or technique makes you feel the best. Many women enjoy incorporating a vibrator or dildo into their masturbation technique, because it can target the sensitive clitoris or g-spot. Check out the female masturbation article to learn more about different methods. 


Step 7: Intentions

When life becomes stressful, it can be difficult to find time for sex and intimacy, or even just a moment for oneself. Taking a moment to set an intention for the day or set an intention before engaging in intercourse with your partner can help to bring you back into the moment and gain more pleasure from the experience.  Whether your intention is to not think about work, to spend the evening with your partner without distractions, to be more mindful of your relationship with your partner, or to tell yourself that you are beautiful and you are doing the very best you can do, try to let go of unnecessary worries and live in the moment. A few moments of relaxation, deep breathing, meditation, or self-reflection each day can help you find some peace and clarity even on the busiest of days. Setting an intention before sex and resolving any conflicts with your partner beforehand can allow you to focus more on the experience and heighten the pleasurable sensations even further.

Female sexuality is incredibly complex and there is a lot that scientists still do not understand. Being confident in yourself and your sexuality as a female is an excellent way to not only live a happy and fulfilling life, but also to open up the conversation about the female population’s specific needs and rights as a whole.



  1. Bass, T. M. "Exploring Female Sexuality: Embracing the Whole Narrative." North Carolina Medical Journal 77.6 (2016): 430-32. Web. 28 Jan. 2017.
  2. "Physical Activity and Health." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 04 June 2015. Web. 28 Jan. 2017.
  3. Kotz, Deborah. "5 Natural Ways to Boost Sex Drive." U.S. News and World Report: Health. N.p., 6 Nov. 2008. Web. 28 Jan. 2017.
  4. "Depression: Dopamine vs. Serotonin: Which Is More Important?" Mental Health Daily. N.p., 11 Jan. 2017. Web. 28 Jan. 2017.
  5. "Sexual Dysfunction & Sexual Disorders." Cleveland Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2017.
  6. LeVay, Simon, Janice I. Baldwin, and John D. Baldwin. Discovering Human Sexuality. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, 2009. Print.
  7. "5 Ways To Naturally Increase Vaginal Lubrication." Lady Care Health. N.p., 10 Nov. 2014. Web. 28 Jan. 2017.
  8. "ArginMax For Women." Sexual Enhancement For Women | ArginMax For Women. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Jan. 2017.
  9. Streicher, Lauren. "Viagra for Women: Long Time Coming - Midlife, Menopause and Beyond." Midlife Menopause and Beyond. N.p., 22 Jan. 2014. Web. 28 Jan. 2017.
  10. "The Effects of Women Taking Testosterone." LIVESTRONG.COM. Leaf Group, 22 June 2015. Web. 28 Jan. 2017.
  11. "Addyi (flibanserin, 100mg Tablets)." Addyi (flibanserin, 100mg Tablets). N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Jan. 2017.


Last Updated: 11 February 2017. 

          NRCM Certifies Xiao-qun Zeng        
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Xiao-qun Zeng Certified NRCM Registrant WASHINGTON, DC—July 26, 2016—Xiao-qun Zeng, Project Team Lead, LexaMed, Ltd, Toledo, OH, is now a Registrant of the National Registry of Certified Microbiologists (NRCM). On June 27, 2016, she became certified as a Specialist Microbiologist in Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Microbiology. Ms. Zeng received her M.S. degree […]
          2016 RSC Prizes and Awards in Organic Chemistry & Chemical Biology now open for nomination        
Nominate someone you know who is an exceptional talent in chemical sciences
          Attacking dissent at Google        
An anonymous Googler is providing evidence at Gab that various employees at Google are openly attacking James Damore, the author of the document dissenting from the SJW diversity doctrine there, and actively lobbying the executives to fire him, despite the fact that more than one-third of Googlers surveyed tend to agree with his dissent.
Paul and Sitaram are managers. Colm is a director with 101 full-time employees in his organization. Dave is a director with 242 full-time employees in his organization. These posts are from the internal version of the Google+ social network, which is limited to Googlers only.

Dozens of managers emailed their teams to smear the document's author for raising his concerns in the paper. Subsequently, the author received all manner of hate mail and threats from thousands of other employees. It was a coordinated mob attack and numerous managers were deliberately stoking the flames in order to punish him.

The pie charts show that a large share of Googlers agreed with James' points on an anonymous survey.  Hence the grave importance of maintaining control over the Narrative.
Google Leak #1
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If anyone is going to be fired as a result of this, it should not be James Damore, who has a PhD in Biology from Harvard and therefore is unlikely to be opining in ignorance, but rather, the SJW co-workers who are demonstrating their complete lack of corporate professionalism. Nor is Damore alone in his rather mild criticism of the SJW excesses there. As always, the SJWs overestimate their strength, even in one of their most influential strongholds.

It should be mentioned, however, that at least up to this point, Google's response has been reasonable. The VP of Diversity has issued a statement that the organization stands by its insane SJW principles, which is a surprise to no one, but has also observed that "fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions". On the other hand, the caveat "that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws" does provide cover for anti-free speech action.

So, we'll see if Google wants to roll the dice by going full SJW while under fire from European governments and anti-trust scrutiny from the Trump administration. The smartest thing for them to do would be to do nothing, as they are not responsible for the personal or professional opinions of their employees, but their internal SJWs may not make that possible given the sheer number of them Google has collected.

UPDATE: More evidence that this is Best Timeline.

Julian Assange@JulianAssange
Identity politics 2.0 wars come to Google. Oh no. But mass spying is fine since its equal opportunity predation.

UPDATE: Welcome, Yes-At-Googlers

Welcome to the home of the Evil Legion of Evil.

I, Vox Day, the Supreme Dark Lord of said ELoE, am your humble host. Benvenuti. You need not worry about your physical safety being at risk, the Vile Faceless Minions are chained in their kennels, and muzzled, and have been provided sufficient SJW bones upon which to chew.

Let me assure you that as the bestselling author of SJWs Always Lie, I am perfectly aware that you have been lied to by your fellow Googlers about me and this site. This is not a site that incites harassment, quite to the contrary, as an American Indian who is regularly attacked and misraced and misrepresented and lied about, I am often a victim of SJW harassment.

Since I have been receiving death threats from your kind since 2001, when I first became a political columnist, you will forgive me if I am less than entirely impressed with your preening and posturing. And before you attempt to engage in the usual toothless social justice rhetoric, you may wish to keep in mind that I literally wrote the book on the subject.

As you were belatedly informed, your newsletter, of course, does not endorse the content here, so let this welcome serve as your trigger warning that here you will encounter people who:

  • do not agree with you
  • are actually more intelligent than you
  • are better-educated than you
  • and frankly find you to be tediously predictable and rendered functionally stupid, if not delusional, by your foolish social justice convergence.

But if you are polite and civil, I expect the Dread Ilk will treat you in a similarly polite and civil manner. And if you choose otherwise, well, as our guests, we are happy to permit you to establish the rules of engagement.

In certain confidence of the ultimate victory of the Legion, I am,

          Deciding what to take up as a Career? Here’s a guide to your Career Post 12th!        
Just gave your 12th boards? Waiting for results? Well, now starts the tougher task. Choosing your career wisely! While we talk about choosing a stream of specialization, the wide variety of options available, do confuse us. This decision isn’t about a day or a month or year, it’s about your life. Hence it needs utmost care and sufficient information. This article puts together all the information about the clichéd as well as unique courses, basically the Science courses after 12th. The courses can be classified based on whether you have Mathematics or Biology.  While the students with Mathematics, have a This article was originally published at Career Vendor Please refer to the...
          'Cikgu Tak Patut Denda Anak Saya Cuci Longkang'        

KUALA LUMPUR - "Saya beri amaran pada cikgu, jangan sesekali ulang perkara yang sama!" demikian amaran seorang ibu pelajar kepada guru biologi kelas anaknya. 

Cikgu Dhiya, 'diserang' oleh ibu pelajar Tingkatan 4 bernama Hazril Faizul, melalui applikasi WhatsApp. 

"Apa yang cikgu ajar anak saya? Tak nampak prestasi langsung. Awak sebagai cikgu seharusnya ambil tahu perkembangan murid. Jangan ambil mudah, saya tidak mahu anak saya tercicir dalam pelajar. 

"Saya dengar anak saya didenda oleh cikgu yang mengarahkannya mencuci longkang. Apa salah dia sampai didenda sebegitu? Saya beri amaran pada cikgu, jangan sesekali ulang perkara yang sama!" tegas wanita itu tanpa bertanya terlebih dahulu. 

Ekoran tiada sifat hormat pada guru, Cikgu Dhiya mendedahkan perangai anak wanita itu yang sememangnya bermasalah. 

"Anak puan memang bermasalah. Class Biology saya hanya 3 atau 4 kali sahaja dia hadir dalam sebulan. Datang sekolah, tetapi kelas saya, dia tak masuk. 

"Datang ke sekolah, siap bawa handphone. Tetapi homework yang diberikan tidak pernah nak disiapkan. Salah ke saya denda cuci longkang surau sebagai pengajaran?

"Saya tak sentuh pun anak puan. Kalau saya sebagai pendidik tidak boleh mendidik anak puan, lebih baik puan sajalah yang mendidiknya. SAya tak boleh dah nak menegur, nanti mak dan ayahnya serang, lapor polis dan sebagainya. Saya didik murid saya mengikut cara saya. Kalau tak puan tak suka, maafkan saya," jelasnya.

Tambah Cikgu Dhiya lagi, dia hanyalah manusia biasa yang banyak kekurangan. Namun dia telah cuba sedaya upaya mendidik anak muridnya menjadi yang terbaik. 

"Saya sayangkan anak-anak murid saya. Saya tidak mahu mereka rosak disebabkan fikiran kolot ibu bapa mereka. Puan sepatutnya hormat saya sebagai guru, bukan main terjah saya," katanya. 

Cikgu Dhiya juga turut menasihatkan wanita terbabit untuk duduk berbincang dengan anaknya itu bagi mengetahui apa masalahnya yang sebenarnya. - PIXEL MEDIA
          Hair of the dog wont cure that hangover        
There’s no scientific evidence that having an alcoholic drink will cure a hangover, according to Laura Veach, Ph.D., director of screening and counseling intervention services and training in the Department of Surgery. See the news coverage on U.S. News & World Report, The Daily Mail and the New York Post. Read the news release. Find out more about the Center for Neurobiology of Addiction Treatment.
          ORACLE Teaser: First Two Chapters        

 With the release of ORACLE only a week away, it seems like time to give folks a small taste of what to expect in this duology. Unlike most of my previous work, this story is told in multiple third-person points-of-view. There's no magic, but there is the magic of science and scientific theory, as well as some pretty nifty psi-abilities. Action, adventure, breaking-and-entering, sarcasm, and an android--what more could you want?

I hope you enjoy!

Chapter One

The straining engine of the approaching Ames moving van sputtered and hissed, barely making forty miles an hour on the winding mountain roads, and announcing its arrival long before white metal flashed in the trees below. Olivia Gellar braced her feet on the asphalt, adrenaline already spiking as the van drew closer, trundling its way up the mountain.

This job will be child’s play.

“Sixty seconds, Olivia.” Nick’s voice crackled in her ear. She’d left her partner higher up the west side of the mountain with binoculars and an excellent vantage point.

“Check,” she said. “Come on down.”

She took the earbud out, snapped it into an insulated case, and then tossed the case toward the side of the road. It hit the shoulder and bounced into a patch of grass, out of harm’s way. 

Time to work her magic. 

Olivia stretched her arms out to either side, palms forward, fingers splayed. She closed her eyes and concentrated. The orange behind-the-eyelid sun glare disappeared, replaced by a gray mist. She harnessed it to use with her unique talent. 

The short hairs on her arms and the back of her neck stood to attention, teased by the static field coalescing around her body. A sharp, familiar pain struck, as if a hypodermic needle had been shoved between her eyes. She pushed the pain and the gray mist forward, out in front of her like a negatively charged brick wall waiting for its opposing force on four wheels.

An engine roared and a horn blared. Scorching air blasted the bare skin on her neck, face and hands.

Olivia opened her eyes and saw the front end of the Ames van crumple as it hit the invisible wall, absorbing the brunt of its own kinetic energy. The van had barreled around the bend faster than Olivia expected and the remaining kinetic force slammed into her.. She flew backward several feet and struck the pavement ass first. The impact drove a shock up her spine, the air from her lungs, and the static field collapsed. 

The world tilted and looped, and she coughed until she could breathe again.


She forced her body to roll over so she could observe her handiwork. The wounded van stood sideways across the middle of the road, smoke rising from its mangled front end. The windshield had spider webbed, but not shattered. Acrid odors of burned rubber and motor oil tingled her nostrils and amplified the throbbing headache that only time would dispel.


Nick sprinted out of the woods with a handful of broken twigs stuck comically in his wavy brown hair. He paused briefly to snag her earbud case out of the grass as he dashed toward her, barely sparing a careless glance at the van.

“I’m fine,” she said. Sort of. “Check the driver.”

He jerked left and slowed as he approached the van. Olivia kept her eyes on him as she struggled first to her knees, then feet, blindly picking a piece of gravel out of her throbbing elbow. Her stomach lurched, and she willed it away. An impact like that deserved a little upchucking, but she had a job to complete. 

Work now, side effects later.

Nick peered inside of the open passenger window. “Driver’s unconscious. His mind is pretty deep inside. He won’t be bothering us.”

“Good.” Olivia approached slowly, a bit unsteady, as if she was walking underwater. She crouched and peered beneath the van. “No gas leaks, so just leave him there. He’ll be fine. Until Mitchell gets his hands on him, anyway.”

Nick grunted. 

They met at the back of the van. Olivia wrapped her hand around the padlock securing the rear door. Nick’s hand drifted to her lower back, the simple touch centering her addled mind. Through the haze of pain, she pulled from the mist and her own inner reserves. The metal lock heated. Hotter, hotter, until it snapped and hit the pavement with a soft clatter. Nick tugged the lever. The door scrolled up.

Unventilated air wafted out and sunlight poured in, illuminating the interior. Reinforced with aluminum sheeting the walls resembled a Jiffy Pop popcorn pan. A hospital gurney stood bolted to the floor in the center of the storage space.

Olivia climbed inside, pulse racing. McGreary’s information had been correct about the time and place of transport. She just wished that his knowledge of the cargo had been wrong.

A teenage girl was strapped to the gurney, her narrow body covered by a thin, white sheet. Shorn close, her hair color was impossible to discern. Cheekbones protruded sharply beneath translucent skin, an awkward contrast to her thick, overdeveloped brow ridge, giving her youthful face a hawk-like appearance. Her chest rose and fell in a steady, sleep-induced rhythm.

“Is she drugged?” Olivia asked. Her voice echoed painfully in the metal cocoon.

Nick stepped to the opposite side of the gurney. He touched her cheek, concentrating with his own unique talent. “Yes. She’s deeply unconscious, O, I can’t reach her.”

“God damn them.” Olivia unsnapped the buckles on the gurney. “Drugging her up and stuffing her into the back of a van for disposal. I guess Wilderness got tired of storing their mistakes and decided to start getting rid of them.”

“We don’t know that.” He tucked the sheet around the girl’s supine form, and then picked her up with little more effort than in years past. They both struggled a bit more these days. “McGreary knew she’d be here, but he didn’t know why. Maybe she was being delivered to a satellite lab.”

Olivia followed him out of the van. “Please. If this were a secured transport, there would have been at least one agent. They didn’t even have someone in the back guarding her.”

“Can we table the argument for now? Like after we’ve given McGreary his sister back and he’s paid us for our work?”


She followed him into the woods, to the short trail that would lead them up to their waiting SUV. Agents would be on the scene in a few hours. They likely already knew the van was compromised. No agents in the van did not mean there was no security measures in place. Olivia knew Wilderness, and she knew their tactics. If the girl, Brooke McGreary, was still an Active Project, they would put Mitchell on the case.
Gary Mitchell specialized in retrieving lost Projects. After all, he had been trying to retrieve Olivia and Nick for eighteen years.

Brooke remained unconscious for the two-hour drive to the rendezvous spot, a rest stop along I-77, just over the Ohio state line. She showed signs of waking during the last five minutes of the trip, so Olivia kept close watch. She didn’t know if the girl’s powers were dormant or active, and she didn’t want to find out the hard way. 

Been there, done that, with no intention of going there again.

Nick steered the SUV toward a wooded area a few hundred feet from the brick restrooms and information building. A blue pickup truck was parked in front of a cluster of picnic tables, and a figure emerged as Nick pulled into a neighboring space.

Olivia climbed out of the passenger side, her stiff back resisting movement after being still for so long. The ungraceful landing on her ass had definitely left its mark, and she wouldn’t be surprised to find some black and blue down there later. 

She joined Nick on the other side of the vehicle. Patrick McGreary approached them, hands at his sides, deep-set eyes wide with silent questions. His thick frame and sunburned appearance bore little resemblance to the girl in the back of their vehicle—not surprising given how Wilderness tended to treat their Projects. 

“Did you find her?” McGreary asked.

“Yes,” Olivia replied. “She’s still asleep, but we found her. Exactly as you said we would.”

McGreary expelled a deep breath. “Thank you both. You don’t know what this means to me. When they took her, I didn’t think I’d ever see her again.”

Nick opened the rear door. McGreary leaned inside and stroked Brooke’s bald head. His shoulders started to shake, and Olivia looked away. Gave him some privacy with his emotions.

“You’re lucky,” Nick said. “Most of the time, when Wilderness takes something, you don’t get it back. I just hope we weren’t too late to make a difference.”

“Look what they did to her,” McGreary whispered. “My pretty little sister.”

Olivia busied herself watching the small rest stop crowd, his genuine gratitude both overwhelming and embarrassing. This was why she hated meeting clients face to face. It made the jobs personal when she wanted them to remain professional. Getting emotional led to thinking about the past, and she couldn’t do that and remain objective.

Do the job and reap the rewards. 

Watching Wilderness occasionally take one up the ass was purely a bonus. 

Once McGreary regained his composure, they gently transferred Brooke to his truck and buckled her into the passenger seat. She stirred, but didn’t wake, and thank God for that. Olivia didn’t need to see their joyous reunion.

“I have a doctor friend who’s waiting for us,” McGreary said as he closed the truck door. 

“You should get going,” Olivia said. “Disappear before they start hunting for her.”

“If they hunt for her. But even if they try, being a precognitive has its advantages. I never have to ask who’s at the door, and I always know if the train’s running late.”

“Just keep her away from Wilderness. Get out of the country, move to Istanbul, I don’t care. Keep her safe. And yourself, too.”

“I appreciate the concern, but it’s not necessary. You did what I paid you to do, and I thank you for that.”

Olivia shrugged. They would take on any job that insulted or damaged Wilderness. A tenuous truce prevented her and Nick from attacking the scientific research organization outright, and they abided by those unspoken rules. But these sorts of odd jobs were fun. Something she would have done for free if the interested party couldn’t pay. Fortunately for them, McGreary had created his independent wealth betting on football games. 

Precognition definitely had its financial advantages.

“Our concern is free,” Nick said. “We’ve been dealing with Wilderness most of our lives. We know what they’re capable of, and we don’t take unnecessary risks when they’re involved.”

McGreary nodded. “I understand. At least let me read you. A sneak peek at your future.”

“I know my future, thanks.”

“How about this week then? What can it hurt?”

Olivia stole a glance Nick, whose gaze had shifted to the ground. She had a good idea of their future, as well, thanks to their biology, but that future was in three to five years. Not the events of the upcoming week. Moreover, McGreary seemed eager to provide them with some sort of parting gift.

“What the hell?” she said. “Give it your best shot.”

McGreary took her right hand in his and held it loosely. She expected him to close his eyes or start to hum or something equally cliché. Like television psychics who only pretend to have the kind of talent that truly existed in people like him. Instead, he stared at her. His dark brown eyes dilated and seemed to look right through her head. She visualized a hamster running on its wheel and couldn’t imagine what he saw in there. Seconds passed. He blinked and released her hand. His eyebrows furrowed into a knot.

“What?” she asked.

He tilted his head to the left, seeming to debate his reply, and that made her kind of nervous. “I saw two strangers coming into your life. I’m not sure who they are, but one is mundane and the other powerful. Unique. They’ll help unlock a secret.”

Olivia bit back a sharp retort. Two strangers had already come into her life this week, and she was staring at one of them. He’d tried, but perhaps his power went on the fritz occasionally.

Then again, he’d said one was mundane, and both McGreary and his sister had talents.

“Well, that was enlightening,” Nick said. “But seriously, you should get going.”

Patrick nodded, seeming distracted. 

They waited for him to drive away, hopefully taking Brooke as far from Wilderness and West Virginia as possible, before they climbed back into their borrowed SUV. 

Olivia pulled the safety belt across her lap. “Well, whoever this mystery pair is, I hope one of them’s cute.”
“What if they’re both girls?” Nick turned the key and the engine roared to life.

“Still hope one of them’s cute, because Nicolas, my friend, you have no sex life.”

He put the gear into reverse. “And you do?”

“Well, not at this very moment, but I hope to have one tonight. After a hot shower, some ibuprofen, and a long nap.” She settled against the seat, shifting until she found a comfortable position for the long ride home.

Chapter Two

“Dr. Frey! Open the door!”

The urgent, muffled voice spurred Dean Frey away from his chaotic desk. The computer’s hard drive lay smashed into dozens of pieces, the hardware inside completely exposed. He’d tossed in a handful of refrigerator magnets for good measure. His few remaining paper files and two thumb drives were secured in the pack strapped onto his back. 

His life’s work reduced to an old backpack. 

He darted to the lone sixth floor window. His already rolling stomach bottomed out at the sight of it. He rarely looked out the window; he never used the rusty fire escape. Living on the top story had never bothered his agoraphobia until the moment that three-by-five hole in the wall became his only escape route.
He would not go willingly with the men shouting outside his door. Doing so signed his own death warrant.

“Open it!”

Dean pulled, the window’s swollen frame squealing in protest. He managed a space of maybe nine or ten inches before it refused to rise further. He shoved the pack out first, and then squeezed through the tight space. It occurred to him in a mad panic that all of his middle school suffering, of being called “bean pole” and “arrow man” wasn’t so bad. His tall, skinny build had probably just saved his life. 

His hard landing on the iron fire escape rattled its entire frame. A wave of vertigo swept over him. The ground blurred and his head spun wildly. He gripped the rail, inhaled deeply, and then blinked hard.

I can do this. I have to do this.

He shouldered the pack, swung around and descended the ladder. Hand over hand, foot over foot, down the rusted rungs. One level at a time. Not thinking about how far down to the ground it was.

Wood crashed above, probably the front door being smashed in. Men were talking, some shouting, and the loudest of whom Dean recognized. He had a very distinctive voice. Gary Mitchell, head of security at Wilderness. 

The man had left the office just for him.

Guess that makes me special.

Dean hurried his descent, dropping floors as quickly as he could without looking down. Above him, the fire escape clattered with sharp squeals and clangs. Someone was following him, but Dean concentrated on going down and nothing else. Third story to the second. Almost there. 

He hit the ground and bolted toward the street. Men shouted his name. The building wall spat brick and mortar as he ran past. He registered that he was being shot at, but did not stop or slow down. If he did, he would be killed. Even running toward daytime traffic, he couldn’t be sure he wouldn’t be caught. He would not go gently. Not by a long shot.

Dean emerged from the alley and melted into the bustling lunchtime crowd. Pedestrians carried briefcases and takeout bags, rushing to meetings in their business suits and silk ties. Dean had thrown on a pair of blue jeans and an old sweater, and he carried a faded backpack on one shoulder. He was certainly the only one in the crowd running from the people he worked for. 

Used to work for.

He looked straight ahead, always searching. Public phone booths were insanely hard to find nowadays, but they still existed. His cell was in the apartment, as smashed to bits as his computer, useless even if he’d kept it. Wilderness could have traced the phone.

A block down, he spotted the Holy Grail attached to the side of a gas station. He clamped his hand down over the pack strap and made a beeline for the payphone. No one noticed him. Here he was anonymous for a while.

 â€œFor a good time, call Alice” was scrawled in black marker across the top of the pay phone, right above a number. Dean grabbed the grimy handset, then took a moment to look around, searching the faces of the passersby for anyone he recognized. 

No one. Not yet, anyway. 

He fished into his pocket for change and tossed a few coins into the phone. His fingers flew over the keypad; punching in the number he’d burned into his memory last night. Probably the only person who could help him out of this mess.

“The number you have dialed is not available,” a mechanical operator voice said. “If you require assistance—.”

Damn it.

Dean slammed the handset back into the receiver. His money clinked. He turned and looked back down the street toward his apartment building. Less than twenty feet away, he spotted a familiar face. Daryl Yates, a tall, thin man with a hooked nose who always reminded Dean of a younger, uglier Jimmy Stewart, was Mitchell’s second-in-command.

Yates met his gaze. Both men froze. Dean’s heart slammed against his ribs. Yates’s hand slid toward the front of his jacket.

Dean bolted, intent on running until he was hit by a car or was shot in the back. He raced toward the street, bolted through the nearest lane, and almost slammed right into a sheriff’s cruiser, paused in traffic in the far lane. Dean wasn’t sure if he wanted to cheer or weep.  

The deputy rolled down the window. Sunlight glinted off his nametag: Porter. 

“Problem, son?” Deputy Porter asked.

“Um, yeah.” Dean glanced behind him. Yates stood stiffly near the abandoned payphone. Mitchell approached, his eyes glued on Dean. Dean turned back to the officer. “Yes, sir. I really need to get to the bus station. You see, my wife is in Wheeling and she’s about to give birth to our first son, but I don’t have a car and—”

“Hop on in, son,” Deputy Porter said. “I’ll give you a lift. You’ll have to ride in the back, though. Rules and such.”

“Thank you so much. You have no idea.” He opened the door behind the deputy and slid inside, slamming it shut.

“You mind the siren? It’ll get us there faster.”

“The siren is fine,” Dean replied.

Porter flipped a switch on his dashboard and the cruiser’s siren wailed to life. Dean looked out the window at the street. Mitchell and Yates were gone. 

Thank God.

He leaned into the seat, shifting his pack around to rest in his lap, and tried to get his heart rate back under control. This was simply a diversion. A quick rest before the next sprint. They were being followed for sure, but there was no way to turn around and check without being obvious. A suspicious deputy was the last thing Dean needed.

“First kid, eh?” Porter asked. He adjusted his rearview for a better look, and Dean glanced up into curious eyes.

“Yeah.” Dean fidgeted a little. Lying was not something he did well. “It’s been hard, a lot of miscarriages. I had to come out here for business, and left poor Sally home alone. She isn’t due for two more weeks, but I guess you can’t plan these things.” 

Sally? Of all the names he could have picked, he came up with Sally? He didn’t even know a Sally, except for the blond girl in the Peanuts comics.

“I’ve got three kids myself,” Porter said, smiling broadly. “All girls and every one of them looks like their mama.”

That was probably a good thing. The deputy was chubby and balding, with mud-brown hair and a pointed chin. Not ugly, but not someone you’d want a girl to take after. 

“Wouldn’t have minded a son,” Porter went on. “But my wife decided three was enough and had that operation. Wouldn’t trade my girls for anything, though. You’ll know what I mean pretty soon, I think.”

Dean nodded along, content to let Porter do all the talking. Then he wouldn’t ask questions Dean didn’t want to answer. Thankfully, it wasn’t far to the bus station. He was half-afraid that the chatty deputy would start telling him stories about potty training and diaper rash, all subjects Dean had no interest in. Not today, and not anytime in the near future. 

Assuming he had a future. He’d heard stories about the security team at Wilderness, and the things that those men were willing and able to do. 

If Dean didn’t get real help soon, he would be dead.


Dean talked fast to prevent Deputy Porter from following him to the ticket window. The aged man seemed to take it upon himself to see to Dean’s welfare, concern that may have touched Dean if he wasn’t running for his life. The longer Porter was around him, the stronger the likelihood of him getting hurt. Or his family getting hurt. Either way, not something Dean wanted on his conscience.

The bus station bustled with life. Young couples searching for their buses, families juggling luggage of all sizes, single men off on business trips, one or two poorly dressed kids that might have been runaways. If Dean hadn’t been looking so hard for familiar faces, he probably wouldn’t have noticed any of them. They would have been as anonymous to him as he was to them.

Anonymity was a good thing. 

He was also in luck for a change. A direct route to Wheeling was scheduled to leave in less than ten minutes. Dean paid for a ticket, relieved he had enough cash in his wallet to cover the bill. Security tapes or not, he didn’t need his credit cards traced or attached to his destination. If they even worked. Wilderness knew people. It was likely that they were wiping out his entire life as he stood there, waiting for a young woman with blue-streaked hair to print out his bus ticket.

She slid the ticket under the glass partition and offered him a half-assed smile. “Have a nice trip,” she said with the enthusiasm of someone resigned to saying that ten thousand times a day for the rest of her life.

Dean mumbled a hurried thank you, grabbed the precious slip of paper and turned. He almost crashed into the man in line behind him. He muttered an apology and moved to the left, studying the station lobby, automatically searching for black suits. Anyone in a black suit was immediately suspicious, whether they were a lawyer, a tax attorney or one of Wilderness’s security agents. Spotting no one who seemed overtly interested in him, Dean walked toward the outer doors.

Once he exited the depot, he felt a fraction better. He inhaled the semi-fresh air, almost choking on the strong odors of oil and exhaust fumes. Six buses were lined up, in various states of readiness. Four had their sides raised, and uniformed men tossed luggage into the underside compartments with all the care of circus jugglers. The first two buses in line were loading passengers. Dean checked the numbers. His bus was first.

No way is this good luck going to keep up forever.

He glanced back at the depot, and his hand jerked. Yates and Mitchell stood at the ticket booth, only their profiles visible. The blue-haired girl snapped her gum, but didn’t seem terribly interested in answering their questions. Mitchell flashed a badge at her. Dean had seen those badges, identifying the wearer as part of a private security firm. They worked well as an intimidation tactic. 

In most cases. The ticket girl just shrugged.

Yates turned. His dark eyes met Dean’s, and Dean’s stomach churned. Yates nudged Mitchell. Dean didn’t wait to see how Mitchell reacted. He walked toward the row of buses, moving quickly without drawing too much attention. He went around the front of the fourth bus and back down along the other side. A chain link fence topped with razor wire prevented him from abandoning the bus station altogether. If more agents showed up, he was completely screwed.

Dean dropped to his knees and peered under the bus. Two sets of shiny leather shoes walked quickly in his direction. They paused, and then split up. One went left, the other right. Dean swallowed. They were going to trap him from either end of the bus.

His feet moved on their own, instinct carrying Dean to the luggage carriers. He looked inside, expecting it to be stuffed full. A clear path cut through to the other side of the bus. Only half loaded. He offered a silent thank you to whoever was looking out for him today and climbed inside. His hands slid on the surface of a leather suitcase, and he was certain he heard something crack. Strong cologne bit his nostrils. His left eye twitched, but he prevented the sneeze from escaping. 

He peeked out of the other side of the compartment in time to see Mitchell disappear around the back of the bus. Dean slid out, landed on his hands and pulled himself out the rest of the way, uncaring who saw or what they thought. His feet hit the pavement with a soft thump, and he ran toward his own bus. He didn’t stop until he was inside and up the three steps to where the driver waited to punch his ticket. Dean handed it over, amazed that his hand didn’t shake. The driver glanced at it, punched it absently and handed it back.

Dean found an empty seat halfway down the aisle, glad the bus was only half-full. He imagined he looked pale and scared, and he didn’t need a lot of people staring at him. He slouched low in his seat, hugging the pack to his chest, afraid everyone around him could hear his pounding heartbeat. The bus rumbled around him, that familiar, soothing engine sound. He vaguely registered the driver making an announcement, or the hiss of the closing doors.

I did it.

It wasn’t until the bus jerked forward that Dean dared sit up and glance out the window. As they pulled away from the station, he spotted a cluster of black-suited men standing amid the waiting buses. Dean flopped back into his seat, relief hitting him like a sledgehammer and leaving him boneless. His head lolled side to side in time with the lurching of the bus. The trip should take about three hours.

Three hours to try and plan the rest of his life, short though it might be.

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          Comment on California condors by Gustavo        
Can we use some information and pictures for a power point presentation in a biology from high school here in Phoenix, Arizona? Only to be shown for class.
          16 Science Projects Your Kids Will Love        

Spark scientific curiosity with these fun experiments and projects for kids that cover everything from engineering to biology. Witnessing milk turn to plastic or closing a circuit with a graphite pencil will liven up the weekend and inspire kids to … Continue reading

The post 16 Science Projects Your Kids Will Love appeared first on KiwiCo.

          2017 Kapp Lecture        
 David R. Liu  Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology Harvard University Title: Protein Evolution and Engineering to Enable Biotechnology, Genome Editing, and Novel Therapeutics 4:00-5:00 pm Reception Rodney’s in Shafer Dining Hall 5:00 pm Lecture Hibbs Hall room 403 David R. Liu is Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University, […]
          Misha Raffiee’s TEDx Talk: Engage And Embrace Your Natural Curiosity By Asking “Why?”        
Misha Raffiee is a budding scientist, musician, and STEM educator. She is currently a research fellow at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in biology and mechanical engineering. She is also a graduate of The Davidson Academy of Nevada. In this talk, Misha encourages us all to recognize and develop our natural curiosity about things. […]
          Letting Go of those that have a Problem For Every Situation        
Life Is a Banquet and More Poor Sons of Bitches are Starving To Death!
-Mame Dennis

Happy Sunday, July 16th, 2017!
Today is the 197th day of the year. There are 168 days remaining until the end of the year. As I sat down to begin my blog today, I was listening to Linda Kosut sing I Cover The Waterfront. It is a soulful rendition and really sums up where I am, where I've been, and where I desire to go.

The time has come to let go of things, and people, that are no longer of any real use to me. One of my horoscopes is telling me that new projects and new partnerships are coming into being when the Sun changes signs on the 22nd, so clear as much space in my life as I can...and I am! I believe that.
And I refuse to stop growing.
Life is boring if you never improve at anything.

Carleton Carpenter: One of the many players of Call on Dolly!

Trying to rigidly cling to an unmanageable agenda only makes matters worse now.  I am following the course of least resistance and allowing  EVERYTHING to fall like a house of cards.This way, I'm able to pick up those 'cards' that are going to benefit me on some level.   Once the stress of keeping up appearances is gone, I'm available to recreate my life to your liking. Sometimes it takes an unexpected breakdown to experience an undeniable breakthrough. That has been happening over the past few weeks!

I want to begin by telling you about the past two weeks. On July 1st, Danny and I drove up to Buffalo for our nephew's wedding (on Danny's side of the family). When Danny and I met 27 years ago, Joey was running around in diapers.
It was heartwarming to see him start out on the next chapter of his life with his wife after a few missteps along the way.
It was a beautiful wedding on a beautiful day.

Why did I gravitates toward Hello, Dolly! rather than Funny Girl? It starts with Carol Channing!
I flew back to New York the next morning so that I could devote a week alone to work on my book, Call on Dolly! :From Carol  Channing to Bette Midler and Beyond.
Jerry Herman!
A dear friend picked me up at JFK and I came home excitedly to focus on my book. I took a nap when I got home and woke in the afternoon to get going. I've spent seven years on this project.
That has included over 500 interviews and many trips and, thank you, Danny, sitting through MANY productions of Dolly on every level of the spectrum.
So on Monday of last week, I sat down at my computer, booted it up, and I could not access my data base!

I was desperately trying to figure out why I could not get in. Danny's brother, David, who is an IT guy was able to reconstruct it AND retrieve my data base!

 It didn't stop there. My external drive could not be detected.

My entire book project was there! As well as my head shots, family photos, friends, celebrities, interviews, everything! My heart stopped. It truly crippled me. Last week was a lost cause. It was the darkest place I think I have felt in a long time. It zapped my energy. I became lethargic and had no sense of direction and/or what to do next.

My best FRIEND, Russ Woolley, suggested calling a friend of his who is also an IT guy.
He came over and could not figure out the problem.

Another FRIEND, Lisa Egidi-Martinez, contacted a data retrieval company in
Jerry Herman and Lucille Ball as Mame
Stony Point, Rockland County Computer Repair, and they came and picked it up.

I received a text Monday AM of this week that it was looking good and that they were cleaning up some 'junk'.
I'm not exactly sure what that meant. I asked for prayers, positive energy, AND positive thoughts.
Yes! I do believe in that. Well, it worked.
It was returned yesterday and EVERYTHING is intact! Not only did he save all my files, they are now downloaded on to my computer and he even freed up space on my computer ensuring me that I still have plenty of space still on my computer and that I truly don't even need an external drive at this point, a fallacy I have carried around AND been taught for several years.

I am tired of taking one step forward, then two steps back!
Perhaps this is the Universe's way of telling me to step back and take a break.
Ginger Rogers
I was still cautiously optimistic but I breathed a little bit better. So my computer had a near-death experience!
I took the summer off from performing my show to focus on my book and regroup.

I started working on this project in 2011 when my career took an unfortunate turn.

I was trying to figure out what the next chapter would be for me. I had spent 20 years performing as Carol Channing.
It was TIME to move on.

Thus was born Call on Dolly!
Danny and I were vacationing in Palm Springs where the idea hit me like a bolt of energy. 

As soon as I announced on Facebook that I was going to write this book, a friend suggested I contact Roberta Olden, who was Ginger Rogers' personal assistant the last
10 years of Rogers' life. (Today, by the way is Ginger Rogers' Birthday)
I desired to become a writer, blogger and author.

It was never my dream. But it is NOW! I can see it clearly . . .
taste it, smell it, feel it.
I asked where she was and I almost plotzed when he said she was in Palm Springs! He said he would make the introductions.
She called me and told me that she was managing a country club and that would be the best place for us to meet.
Broadway's latest Dolly! Donna Murphy! A holy grail interview
Danny and I went there and I was shocked and  amazed to see she was my age. I expected a much older woman. We sat down to talk and I began to ask her questions. After about 15 minutes, she invited us back to her home.
There she shared so much including Rogers' mom's journal! This detailed an opening night and closing night account of Rogers' run on Broadway. She even had Roger's Harmonia Gardens gown hanging in her closet. It was a great interview and I was off and running!
So for the past seven years,
David Merrick's Bio in the Playbill of the current Broadway Revival

I've been churning out the work through my blogs and the CallonDolly website.
I also have a very big presence on social media. I'm feeling clear, energetic, courageous and that is resulting in
super productivity!
My fans are clamoring for my book to be released or my next blog post to be published based on the emails I receive. I am living my passion and purpose . . serving others . . . fulfilling my potential. Living the dream makes life great. I feel enthusiastic, joyous, and confident. But, so far, my dream of this book being published has remained just that . . . a dream. I haven't achieved my writing
goals or reached the level of success I desire - personally or professionally.

My horoscope today is telling me that I can’t prevent my schedule from falling apart today; random changes demand radical solutions.
I'm listening and making a LOT of changes in my life. The thought for the day is INNER PEACE . Think of this word as your mantra for the day. First apply the word to yourself, THEN apply this word to EVERYONE YOU meet. Think of this word as you respond to EVERY POST you see throughout the day. The thought for TODAY is INNER PEACE . Please pay it forward...
I've been doing a LOT of soul searching lately. Over the last year, I have really been putting together a SUCCESS team, a team of those that support my dream and are propelling me in the RIGHT direction.
Some have been added to that team that are now being removed as I move into the next season of Richard Skipper Celebrates...(the LIVE show).
Did they move me to a new level or bring me down? It is time for me to reevaluate most or there will be NO growth! The foundation of my plan is networking.

Believe nothing. No matter where you read it, or who said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.

Once you know the combination, the lock will open for you and I am finally figuring out that combination.

When I was in high school, my Biology teacher, Miss. Gerald, ended EVERY single class with, "Read, re-read, and take notes."
Doing the Red Carpet at The Bistro Awards (seen here with Dee Dee Bridgeater)
Even as I write these words, I can see her round tomato face
Who would have thought that my life path would have led me to Carol Channing!
pushing up her glasses and saying those words before we were able to get out of our seats and leave the room.
I had another mentor, Miss Florence Epps, who gave me a high regard and respect for ALL that has gone before me. I have written about Mss Epps many times and if you follow this blog, it may seem repetitious. To those of you who follow me, rather than apologizing, I believe it bears repeating.
Mame was my first show with a theater company and truly began to shape the entertainer I am today.  In Miss Epps' backyard, she had built a little playhouse, a mini-theater.
No one is going to rain on my parade
Miss Epps was called the Fairy Godmother of our local theater in Conway, South Carolina, The Theater of the Republic (TOR). She took me under her wing after my appearance in Mame.She saw opportunities in me and became the first to really believe in my ability.
And before I knew it, not only was I becoming my popular with TOR but other theaters started seeking me out.
The next company I became involved with was Coastal Carolina's Upstage Company. I recently wrote about the events that led up to my doing Marat/Sade with that company. To reiterate, I was given a whole new level of confidence that I truly never had with TOR. I had a great time with TOR, but looking back, I realize I always remained an outsider. I still feel that to a certain extent.

A few years ago, I used to still receive my hometown paper due to a gift from a now departed friend. One day while

reading the paper, I discovered that for the first time in the theater's history that they had hired an artistic director to elevate the status of the theater and elevate the theater to a new level. I went on to read that the theater had several fundraising efforts to raise money for the theater to reconstruct the balcony due to damage from a fire.
I called the lady who was always (and probably still is!) considered the 'first lady of our hometown theater.
She talked for 25 minutes about herself, never once asking me anything about my life since leaving Conway. I listened and then realized that in her life I was insignificant. At the end of the conversation, not once asking me about any other aspect of my life, she asked me if I was still performing! I told her to google me before ending the call!
It reminded me of an interview that Katharine Hepburn gave with Phil Donahue when her book, Me, came out. This interview was rare and a big deal for Mr. Donahue.
At the end of the interview, he asked her to autograph his copy of the book. She asked him whom she should make the book out to. He said to her, "You have no idea who I am, do you?" She did not! When he told her he was Phil Donahue, she didn't believe him! HERE.
She went on to say, "It's pretty humbling, isn't it?" I remember watching that incredulously as my jaw dropped!
No matter how big or important we are, there are MANY who have no idea who we are or what we have accomplished (and/or not). I once asked Carol Channing what advice she had for me. She imparted two important pieces of advice for me. I will share one with you.  She said to me to accept  that for every person who likes me, there are an equal number who don't. That was advice that was given to her by Anita Loos when Carol was slammed by Dorothy Kilgallen over Carol's performance in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes on Broadway. Carol was the toast of Broadway. She was on the cover of Life and Time magazines at the same time. She was only the second actress to have that accolade. The first was Tallulah Bankhead, who also shared a birthday with Carol, by the way. Kilgallen decimated Carol in print and it really brought her down. Loos assured Carol that it was ONE WOMAN'S opinion and who cared anyway? Broadway LOVED HER! Still does! The current revival of Hello, Dolly! never would have happened if Carol had not made it such an American institution!  
Some 'critics' think that because they can put pen to paper and make words come out, these words can be compelling, valuable, page turning.

To be continued...Remember, this is a stream of consciousness blog and I am a work in progress!

Let's Be Friends! I promise you a great experience! 

Today's blog is dedicated to Ginger Rogers. Ginger Rogers was born Virginia Katherine McMath in
Independence, Missouri on July 16, 1911

Life is so much better when you stop caring about what everyone thinks, and start to actually live for yourself!!

On June 18th, 2017,  I had the great good pleasure of singing in one of Richard Skipper’s
Celebrating Scott Barbarino in April 2017, Metropolitan Room
Extravaganzas par Excellence at the Laurie Beechman Theater. This one celebrated Father's Day. It was a  terrific show and Richard was, as always, a wonderful host and singer.   The show ran smoothly and professionally and the performance level was exceedingly high.  Upbeat and fun it reminded me of those wonderful TV variety shows of my youth.  But it isn’t an imitation of one of them, it is Richard’s own, unique creation.  If you have never been to one, I recommend it highly, if you are one of the regulars, you are already hooked.

 Mark Watson

With Rick McKay
Dearest Richard,
Thank you for organizing and producing such an amazing show to open our Rockland County Pride weekend. Everyone was blown away by the talent of all the performers! You truly made the weekend of Pride one to be remembered. Your continued support and affirmation of our LGBT Community and the Rockland County Pride Center is something we are eternally grateful for.
Thank you!!

Diana Wilkins,

 Dear Richard,
With the late great Tammy Grime, Sondra Lee, and Nancy Anderson

Thank you for the tribute to Judy Garland in honor of her birthday for the American Popular Song Society on Judy Garland's Birthday (6/10/17). The entertaining film clips, the guest performers and your interviews all made for a memorable afternoon.

Ann Dawson, NYC

Sit Back! A New News Cycle Is About to Begin!

Thank you, to ALL who are mentioned in this blog for showing me that it is up to ME to lead by example!

With grateful XOXOXs , 

With Peggy Eason: Please join us on Wednesday Night as Russ Woolley and I Present her at The Laurie Beechman Theater...Click HERE

Please visit


Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!  

Keeping America great through Art!     

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!

Please leave a comment and share on Twitter and Facebook

Keeping Entertainment LIVE!


Richard Skipper,   


          John Dewey on Religion        

The year was 1934. In his new book, A Common Faith, (1) John Dewey assured his readers that traditional religion was drifting into oblivion and that it would soon be a matter of interest only to history buffs. Given Dewey's stature, this assessment deserved attention. After all, Dewey was one of the world's leading philosophers and psychologists, he revolutionized the theory and practice of education, he published forty books and more than seven-hundred journal articles, and he served as president of both the American Philosophical Association and the American Psychological Association. Today, however, some four generations later, we can say with confidence that Dewey's crystal ball was cloudy.

Where did Dewey go wrong? He assumed that just as the automobile had supplanted the horse and buggy, so science would supplant religion. The writing was on the wall, so to speak. Astronomy had discredited "ascent into heaven." Geology had discredited creation in six days. Biology had dispatched the soul and the afterlife. Anthropology, history, and literary criticism had shown that revered religious figures and their deeds, if founded in fact at all, were embellished to the point of fiction. (p. 31) And psychology had shown that mystical and religious experience had a natural explanation. (p. 31) As a result, Dewey expected that more and more educated people would abandon religion and its supernatural cast (God, salvation, grace, prayer, heaven, hell, the sacraments, clergy, revelation, the devil, etc.). (p. 30) (2)

To help believers cope with their loss, Dewey proposed a secular makeover of religion. This involves two changes. The first change is that religious experience will no longer be a mystical encounter with a higher power but a courageous and persisting devotion to desirable social goals. Dewey writes:

Any activity pursued in behalf of an ideal end against obstacles and in spite of threats of personal loss because of conviction of its general and enduring value is religious in quality. (p. 27)

Thus, a saint will no longer be a hermit who mortifies the flesh but an activist who collaborates with others near and far to improve life on the planet. (pp. 27-28) The second change is that the term "God" will no longer apply to a deity but, in Dewey's words, to "the unity of all ideal ends arousing us to desire and action." (p. 42)

To some extent, Dewey was on target:

  • In the west religion has subsided.
  • In Europe and the United States, the percentage of believers has dropped while the percentage of seculars has grown, (3) and church membership and attendance has declined sharply, especially among the young, (4) and
  • Most scientists are atheists or agnostics.

At the same time, however:

  • Huge numbers of educated, scientifically literate people have not abandoned religion.
  • The loss in mainline Protestant churches in America has been offset by the gain in Pentecostal ones.
  • The principal beneficiary of charitable giving in America is our churches.The great majority of Americans report on surveys that they believe in God and that they will never vote for an atheist candidate for public office, (5) and
  • Religion continues to grow dramatically in most parts of the world outside Europe and America.

Thus, despite his brilliance, John Dewey, like many before and after him, severely underestimated the staying power of religion.

  1. It was published by Yale University Press in 1934, runs for a mere 87 pages, and is based on his Terry Lectures at Yale University.
  2. a) Dewey acknowledged, however, that some believers – "fundamentalists" - are immune to science. (p. 63)b) Dewey felt that the decline in religiosity in society was reflected in the increase in the role of secular institutions vis-à-vis religious ones. (pp. 61-62) (For example, Super Bowl XLVI, played on Sunday, February 5, 2012, captured a record TV audience of 111.5 million and produced billions of dollars in wagering. Super Bowl Sunday is not the only Sunday when religion takes a back seat to secular interests.)c) Dewey also rejected the view advanced by some believers that science and religion are not really at odds because they are distinct paths to truth, the former illuminating the natural realm, the latter illuminating the spiritual one. (p. 34) He wrote: There is but one sure road of access to truth – the road of patient, cooperative inquiry operating by means of observation, experiment, record and controlled reflection. (p. 32) For Dewey, the method of science is the only reliable path to knowledge and religious claims are no longer tenable. (p. 34) Dewey would have been highly critical of the late Harvard paleontologist, Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002), who supported the compatibility of science and religion in his book Rock of Ages, published in 1999. Gould referred to science and religion as "non-overlapping magisteria.
  3. The percentage of atheists in American may be as high as 20%, depending on which study one uses. Virtually all studies show that the percentage in Europe is much higher.
  4. The Pew Forum in recent years has published a series of studies which confirm these trends. Also, a Gallup poll in 1937 showed that 73% of Americans reported church membership; a recent one shows a drop to 63% to 65%. Of those claiming church membership, only one-third report regular church attendance.
  5. A March 2007 Newsweek poll reveals that 62% of Americans wouldn't vote for an atheist.

© 2012 Tom Shipka

          New Atheists        

In a book published in 2006, journalist and author Chris Hedges pilloried religious fundamentalists in America, charging them with corrupting Christianity, undermining the Constitution, and promoting American imperialism. (1). In his most recent book, I Don't Believe in Atheists, (2) Hedges shifts to the opposite side of the ideological spectrum to critique a group which he calls the "new atheists" and which he considers secular fundamentalists. According to Hedges, the new atheists, among them Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Daniel Dennett, are as "intolerant, chauvinistic and bigoted" as the Christian theocrats. (3) And what have these popular critics of religion said that Mr. Hedges finds so disturbing?

The new atheists, Hedges charges, are prisoners to the myth of progress. (4) They see the flow of history through rose-colored glasses, expecting the march of reason and science to unlock all mysteries, solve all problems, and usher in a post-religious global paradise bereft of gods and miracles. They ignore the fact that science is a tool for good and evil and that the selfish, aggressive and destructive side of human nature is here to stay. Based on the historical record, Hedges insists, it is folly for the new atheists to believe in moral progress. In the Twentieth Century, for instance, with ever-more sophisticated weapons made possible by science, humans butchered 130 million other humans and maimed many millions more in various conflicts. (5).

Hedges sees other problems among the new atheists beyond their naïve optimism. "They misuse the teachings of Charles Darwin and evolutionary biology," he writes, "just as the Christian fundamentalists misuse the Bible." (6) They demonize the one billion plus Muslims in the world when only "a tiny subset (of them) are criminals and terrorists." (7) Their knowledge of the Bible and the Koran is "shallow and haphazard" and they "are blind to the underlying human truth and reality expressed through religious myth." (8) In their self-appointed roles as "the saviors of civilization," (9) they exhibit an arrogance and superiority that belies their human fallibility. (10) They fail to understand that religion is indispensable to ethics. (11) And, finally, like their religious counterparts, the new atheists hold up the United States as "the paragon of human possibility and goodness" despite the fact that it is, in his judgment, a nation in decline. (12)

In his book, I believe, Chris Hedges aims to remind seculars that they, too, are human, and to a considerable extent, he succeeds. Yet the book is not without its flaws. In the first place, the author's knowledge of atheism is limited. Most of his criticisms of the handful of new atheists he has studied don't apply to many of the most distinguished old ones, John Dewey, Sidney Hook, and Paul Kurtz among them, none of whom gets even a mention in the book. Next, his view of religion as the foundation of morality has been challenged by legions of philosophers, I believe successfully, since the time of the ancient Greeks. And, finally, he overlooks the fact that there has been moral progress, witness the abolition of slavery and the liberation of women in America and elsewhere.


  1. American Fascists: the Christian Right and the War on America, Free Press, 2006.
  2. Free Press, 2008.
  3. I Don't Believe in Atheists, p. 1. (All subsequent references are to this book.)
  4. Page 95.
  5. Page 114.
  6. Page 6.
  7. Page 16.
  8. Page 34.
  9. Page 39.
  10. Page 111.
  11. Page 92.
  12. Page 129. On this subject he writes: "The failed imperialist project in Iraq, along with the maintenance of a costly military machine and the arms industry that feeds off the American state, has likewise begun to take its toll. The United States is dependent on other countries, particularly those in the Middle East, for its natural resources. It is hostage to foreign states, which control the country's mounting debt. Its infrastructure is crumbling, its social services are in decline, and its educational system is in shambles. It is rotting from the inside out. And in the midst of this decline, our secular and religious fundamentalists hold our society up as the paragon of human possibility and goodness." (p. 129)

© 2008 Tom Shipka

          Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District        

Next month marks the second anniversary of the landmark ruling by Judge John E. Jones III in the U. S. District Court in Harrisburg in the case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. (1) Tammy Kitzmiller was one of eleven parents of students in the public schools of Dover, a township about twenty miles south of Harrisburg, who sued the school district after the Board of Education adopted a policy requiring the reading of a statement in ninth-grade biology classes which cast doubt on the scientific adequacy of evolution, said that "Intelligent Design" is a plausible alternative explanation, and referred students to an intelligent-design textbook entitled Of Pandas and People. (2) Intelligent Design, or ID, holds that "living organisms are so complex that they must have been created by some kind of a higher force." (3) In their lawsuit, the first challenge to ID in the federal courts, the plaintiffs asked the Court to stop the reading of the pro-ID statement because ID is a religious doctrine, not a scientific theory.
In his 139-page ruling on December 20, 2005, Judge Jones found for the plaintiffs. He said that ID is not science but a thinly veiled form of creationism and that it is unconstitutional to teach it in a public school. (4)
Judge Jones learned a lot during the trial about science and the relation of science to religion, thanks to the testimony of expert witnesses for the plaintiffs, including Kenneth R. Miller, a cell biologist from Brown University, and John F. Haught, a theologian from Georgetown University, both of whom are practicing Roman Catholics. They pointed out that scientists seek natural causes of natural events, a strategy called methodological naturalism, and that ID violates this because it posits non-natural or supernatural causes. For this reason, Dr. Miller said, ID is a "science stopper."
We can illustrate this point with an example. Suppose you visit your doctor to seek relief of pain in your right arm, your doctor examines you and reviews the results of an MRI, and then reports that a herniated disk is the cause, a problem correctible with surgery. Here your doctor followed methodological naturalism. But suppose that instead of doing this, your doctor tells you that your pain has no cause within your body but is due to an evil spirit. By hypothesizing a non-natural or supernatural explanation of a natural condition, your doctor, like the advocates of ID, abandons science.
Judge Jones took no stance on whether the cosmos has an intelligent cause, declaring, properly, that such matters are outside the province of science. His ruling was informed and brave. And who appointed this Republican church-goer to the federal bench? None other than ID enthusiast President George W. Bush in 2002!
You can learn more about this famous case on NOVA on your local PBS station at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 13, when a two-hour film entitled "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial" will be aired.

  1. Case No. 04cv2688.
  2. The vote was 6-3. The three Board members who opposed the ID policy resigned in protest. At the next election, all of the Board members who voted for the ID policy and sought reelection were defeated by candidates opposed to the policy.
  3., December 20, 2005.
  4. Judge Jones also lambasted the members of the pro-ID faction of the Dover Board of Education who, he charged, lied under oath "time and again" to camouflage the religious motives behind the ID policy. See page 132 of the ruling. Judge Jones awarded attorneys' fees to the plaintiffs, costing the school district over $1 million. The newly constituted Board declined to appeal Judge Jones's ruling.

© 2007 Tom Shipka

          Essay Crafting in Healthy Sciences        
Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Physics, Environmental Science. Although quite a few folks keep in mind essay creating a chore that is certainly only assigned inside the sphere of humanities, essays absolutely are a typical method of understanding evaluation for pure sciences also. Regardless, it goes with no need of stating, that in spite of [...]
          Symptoms Of Mild Anxiety Attack, Are They Dangerous?        
Since you are looking for information on symptoms of mild anxiety attack, I can only conclude that you are experiencing some physical symptoms that you are finding hard to explain to yourself. That being said, keep in mind that there are many symptoms of anxiety attacks and panic attacks that resemble other more serious conditions.

Anxiety attacks even though they may feel like you are going to die they are not life threatening by themselves alone. They are exceptionally dramatic . Panic attacks and anxiety attacks are still to be taken seriously howerver. Although you won't die from an attack your body still is having some serious physical responses.

Some of the more common symptoms of mild anxiety attacks are:

· The feeling that your throat is closing.
· · You might become emotionally upset.
· You might develop a feeling that you are detached from reality.
· The feeling or development of hot flashes or cold chills.
· You become physically ill and vomit.
· Development of the feeling of terror.
· The floor might feel like it is moving up or down.

These anxiety attack symptoms are just a partial list. There are well over 100 symptoms of a panic attack. You might notice that the symptoms mimic our body's "fight or flight" reaction. If you are not familiar with fight or flight, it is the way that our mind prepares our body for action when it is faced with danger. It is an elevation of your body's stress hormone level. The symptoms that you experience are sensations of the change in your body's biology.

What makes an anxiety attack precarious is that this elevation of the stress hormone level arises from seemingly nowhere. It happens out of the blue. Although it will end in time it is possible for the attacks to happen one after the other.

If you experience symptoms of a mild anxiety attack for example when you are in traffic the danger lies in the possibility of developing a phobia of driving. You might avoid driving all together, because you do not want an attack. Other phobias could develop also, a fear of public places, fear of flying just to name a few.

There are some really good programs and information to help you stop your anxiety and panic attacks on the Internet now days. I would suggest starting at this site for an overview and review of a couple of the top programs:

          Hey Probiotics! What’s Up?        
Danielle Morissette | Ph.D. Molecular Biology Nowadays, probiotics are everywhere. If I ask you if you know what probiotics are, you’ll probably answer yes, of course. But if I was to ask you to explain what probiotics really are and how they can contribute to...
          Interview of John E. Sater by Brian Shoemaker        
Interview of John E. Sater by Brian Shoemaker Sater, John E. Mr. Sater’s polar career began 1955 when he was in the Army as part of the First Engineering Arctic Task Force. This group studied methods of constructing snow compacted runways on the Greenland Ice Cap. Later he got a bachelors degree at Ohio State University under the tutelage of Dr Richard Goldthwaite. During the IGY he did surface motion studies on the McCall Glacier under a project funded by the Arctic Institute of North America. His career from this point on was centered about AINA and Arctic research although he had one tour in the Antarctic with the British. The interview was disjointed as he jumped around somewhat. There was some very revealing information, however. The following is pertinent: 1. While in the Army he was sent to Greenland (1955-56) as part of the First Engineer Arctic Task force that studied the construction of snow compacted runways on the central icecap. 2. Pointed out that the USAF was able to land C-124 Globemaster aircraft on the man-made runways and unload large Army tanks. Sater feels that the same type runways would be useful in Antarctica. Basically they used a heating device to melt the surface layer of snow and then sheep’s-foot construction roller to compact it. 3. During IGY he was part of the team that did motion studies on the McCall Glacier in the Romanzov Mountains, Alaska. Other team members included Dick Hubley (Station Leader), Bob Mason and Charles Keeler. Hubley committed suicide – he explains the details. 4. In 1960 Mr. Sater sailed to Antarctica on the Kista Dan as the U.S. Representative with the British Antarctic Survey. Sir Vivian Fuchs was in charge. The ship was frozen in “the ice” for a long period of time until the USS Glacier was able to free it. Scientific objectives were not met. 5. After IGY he returned to AINA where he helped to organize the Arctic Basin Symposium (1962) and to edit the Proceedings of the Arctic Basin Symposium (1963) – major work at that time. 6. Mr. Sater was the Station Leader on (Arctic Research Laboratory Ice Station II) ARLIS II from September 1962 to May 1963. Studies conducted Oceanography (?), Meteorology (Phil Church), Biology (John Moore), Acoustics (Beaumont Buck), Aurora (Vic Fisher). 7. Worked at Naval Arctic Research Laboratory as a supply coordinator from 1963 to 1964 8. Returned to AINA in 1964 and coordinated the North Water Project of Baffin Bay (polyna study). Used the Canadian Icebreaker St Laurent. Researchers included Larry Coachman, Robin Munch, Max Dunbar, Sven Orbin (McGill). 9. Discusses the aircraft crash in Arctic Ocean on the way back from ARLIS II. Plane took off with diesel fuel in the reserve tanks and when the tanks were switched the engines quit. Max Brewer, John Schindler and Zimmerman (pilot) were aboard. Aircraft put down in the dark on the ice pack. Air Force rescued them by landing on the ice. 10. Explains the Bi-national Status of AINA. There was a Canadian Directorate and U.S. Directorate. At first they were in Montreal and Baltimore respectively. It was incorporated on both sides of the border, but run by the same Board of Directors. Sater took over U.S. operation in 1970. AINA maintained itself by doing ice forecasts for the oil companies. It was closed in 1980 due to lack of money. Today the Canadian Directorate is at the University of Calgary and the U.S. Directorate is at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. Chairman of the two boards are ex-officio on the other nations board.
          Interview of Robert H. Rutford by Raimund E. Goerler        
Interview of Robert H. Rutford by Raimund E. Goerler Rutford, Robert H. (Robert Hoxie), 1933- Robert Rutford, prominent geologist and geographer, acquired an interest in the outdoor life from his parents and grandfather, and from certain outstanding professors at the University of Minnesota. He developed a strong interest in both geography and geology, and as a graduate student spent a year in Greenland. He also conducted research in Northern Ontario and Antarctica. In addition, he lettered in both track and football at the University of Minnesota, and learned many valuable lessons from his coaches. Rutford’s first trip to Antarctica was in 1959-1960. He spent one season studying volcanic rocks at the Jones Mountains. He returned to Antarctica in 1963-64. He was part of a six-man crew which mapped the entire range of the Ellsworth Mountains. Much of his work at the time was incorporated into his doctoral dissertation. He returned once again to Antarctica in 1967-1968 where his field work in the Jones Mountains helped prove that glaciations had occurred in Antarctica much earlier than previously believed. In 1969, Rutford got his Ph.D. in geology with an emphasis on the research he had conducted on the three trips to Antarctica. His dissertation postulated a history of glaciations in the Ellsworth Mountains. In 1970, Rutford agreed to return to Antarctica, initially as co-director with James Zumberg of the Ross Ice Shelf Project. However, after one year he became the sole director. A major goal of the research was to drill through the Ross Ice Shelf to ascertain if the ice shelf was melting on the bottom, or whether ice was freezing on the bottom. Many special precautions had to be taken to ensure there would be no pollution of the pristine water below the ice shelf. Initially the drill got stuck, and it had to be replaced by a jet drill used for drilling holes in rock. When finally they reached below the ice shelf, fish were found to be living there, and many other interesting facts were discovered. The project led to a much better understanding of the Ross Ice Shelf. Initially Rutford went to Antarctica out of economic necessity as a graduate student, but once there, he realized the enormous potential for significant scientific research. Little was known at the time about the frozen continent; most of it had not yet been accurately mapped. Although a successful scientist, Rutford was perhaps better known as an Antarctic administrator. He went directly from the Ross Ice Shelf Project to become Director of the Office of Polar Programs (OPP) in Washington, D.C. It was a period of major budgetary stress since the Navy was withdrawing from total support of the Antarctic program. He hired Dwayne Anderson as the new chief scientist, and retained Al Fowler as the Deputy Director. One way he saved significant funds for the OPP was to recover three C-130’s that had crashed on the ice cap. Despite such successes he left OPP after two years to become Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. In 1982 he became President of the University of Texas at Dallas. Rutford had not seen much potential for upward mobility at OPP, and so he returned to academic life. Yet he continued his interest in Antarctica, primarily as a consultant to various scientific agencies and groups. Rutford was associated for many years with the National Science Foundation (NSF). Initially he went there in his capacity as the Director of the Office of Polar Programs. In Rutford’s early years at NSF in the 1970s its budget was tiny. Over time its role became more political, and it became more and more isolated from the scientific community. Even so, the leadership at NSF was usually good. He also had regular contact with the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Research Council. The Polar Research Board was well supported by these various agencies during the period of Rutford’s involvement, from the 1960s through the early 1980s. The PRB sponsored research projects in both the Antarctic and Arctic regions. It also brought out a steady stream of publications. Since the mid 1980s financial support for the PRB has decreased, and its fund raising has “become an annual begging event.” Membership has also declined on the PRB. What was once a Board of 20 members has declined to 12 or 14. Some disciplines are no longer represented. It is now a “very, very different” sort of Board than it used to be in the past. Rutford has found the relationship in recent years between the NSF and the PRB to be “very, very discouraging.” Since 1970, Rutford has been involved with the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR). He was appointed U.S. delegate in 1986, and in 1998 was elected President. SCAR was established under the aegis of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), a huge scientific umbrella. Over the years, membership of SCAR has grown from 12 to some 50 members. The number of member countries has grown to 26. There are now eight different SCAR disciplinary working groups, including geophysics, Atmospheric Physics, Upper Atmosphere, and Biology, among others. At any one SCAR meeting you will have a minimum of about 350 people. The host country provides most of the funding. The annual budget approximates $300,000. All meetings are conducted in English. There are certain informal subgroups within SCAR, such as a coalition of Spanish-speaking countries from South America, and a group of English-speaking nations from the Southern Hemisphere, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India. In choosing a President it was necessary to rotate the office among various regional coalitions. In his long career as a scientific consultant, Rutford also worked with the Department of State in matters concerning the Antarctic Treaty. Once Rutford was elected President of SCAR he continued in the treaty venue, but no longer as an advisor to the State Department. In closing, Rutford offers observations about the interactions of various Antarctic participants, including the Navy, the National Science Foundation, SCAR, CAMLR, and other professional organizations. The Navy was very helpful in the early days, but today the military is almost completely out of Antarctica. The relationship between the Navy and the NSF was a “love-hate” relationship, although individual Navy personnel, all the way from pilots to Admiral Stockdale were very helpful. Rutford was honored for his years of service to Antarctica by designation of the Rutford Ice Stream, a major geologic feature. Major Topics: Long career of Rutford as a scientist and administrator Interactions between military and civilian personnel in Antarctica SCAR, Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research USARP, United States Antarctic Research Program COMNAP, Committee of Managers of National Antarctic Programs Creation and role of the Antarctic Treaty convention Environmental issues in Antarctic exploration and exploitation Anderson, Dwayne, Chief Scientist, OPP, p. 17 Borchert, John, geographer, pp. 2-3 Borheim, Orla, Chairman of the CEP, p. 48 Clarkson, Peter, Executive Secretary, SCAR, p. 39 Fesler, Wesley, football coach, Ohio State & Univ. of Minnesota, p. 4 Fletcher, Joe, Director, Office of Polar Programs, p. 16 Kelley, Jim, track coach, Univ. of Minnesota, pp. 3-4 Craddock, J. Campbell “Cam”, geologist, Antarctic explorer, pp. 3-6, 14, Elliot, David, geologist, Ohio State University, pp. 14, 58 Fowler, Al, Deputy Director, OPP, p. 17 Holgate, Martin, p. 50 Nash, Butch, football coach, University of Minnesota, pp. 3-4 Pewe, Troy L., geologist, p. 8 Wilkness, Peter, Director of the Office of Polar Programs, 1984-1993, pp. 25-26, 44 Wright, Herb, Professor, University of Minnesota, p. 3 Zumberg, James H. Antarctic explorer, pp. 9, 50
          Interview of John F. Schindler by Karen Nichols Brewster        
Interview of John F. Schindler by Karen Nichols Brewster Schindler, John F. John Schindler was born in Chicago to recent German immigrants and spoke German at home as a child. Both parents overcame obstacles, learned English, worked hard all their lives, and created a good life for John and his sister. Most of his higher education was at Michigan State University where he earned two degrees in botany. His Master’s focused on phycology, the study of algae. He spent two years in the army from 1955 to 1957. It proved to be a fortunate experience. He did scientific research on biological and chemical weapons. After discharge he returned to Michigan State with the intention of completing his Ph.D. His major professor, Jerry Prescott, had a research project underway at Point Barrow, Alaska, and when another student dropped out two days before departure, Schindler replaced him at the last minute. Forty-one years later he was still in Alaska. He never completed the Ph.D. Schindler lived in Barrow with his wife and daughter from 1960 to 1971. Max Brewer convinced him to stay there, and gradually trained him to later take over the Barrow Research Laboratory. In time he ran almost everything at the Lab, a huge responsibility since it received some 1000 visitors a year, had its own aircraft, vehicle fleets, and carpenter, mechanic, and welding shops. He learned from Brewer and others accurately how to predict ice conditions. On one occasion, in 1961, Schindler and Brewer crash landed on the ice, and were not rescued for nearly two days. No one was seriously injured, but the plane was lost. Over time Schindler and his family adjusted well enough to the cold, but the long Arctic months of near or total darkness were difficult. His wife, Erna, had been born and raised in tropical Mexico. Many people got despondent in the late fall as the long, dark winter months approached, and suicides increased during those times. Some married couples became “shack nasty” from spending all winter together in close, crowded quarters. January was the worst month of all. Still it was of some slight comfort to realize that Barrow was not as cold as some other places; Fairbanks and Umiat were always worse off. Even so Barrow sometimes experienced wind chills of 100 below zero. During his years at Barrow, Schindler worked on several versions of ARLIS (Arctic Research Laboratory Ice Station), numbers I – VI, all built on either ice or floe islands. An “ice island” is formed from glacial ice, i.e. fresh water, as opposed to an “ice floe” formed from frozen salty sea water. Ice islands were more stable than floe islands; the latter could develop cracks at any time. These large ice platforms drifted over a wide area of the Arctic Ocean in a vast gyre, or circular movement. ARLIS I, also known as Alpha, was built on an ice floe, lasted 10-11 months and had oceanography, marine biology, aurora studies, and sea ice physics. ARLIS II, also known as Bravo, was built on an ice island, and lasted from May, 1961 until May, 1965, and was even more diverse. It was set up on Fletcher’s Ice Island, also known as T-3, Radar Target No. 3. The ice on T-3 was over 150 feet thick, and five and one-half miles by four. This base was operated by the Air Force. ARLIS III, also known as Charlie, focused on auroral studies; IV on underwater sound; V and VI on ice deformation studies. The latter two were later merged into the massive AIDJEX project. Schindler also participated in AIDJEX I. In time the ice stations were shut down. They were expensive and it was difficult to recruit qualified staff. Another activity at the Barrow Research Lab was to launch meteorological sounding rockets for NASA. Since they must be launched in above freezing conditions, this was a challenge when the temperature outside the launching pad was sometimes 25 to 30 below zero. Over the years some 16 to 18 rockets were launched, all successfully. Another project was maintaining a small base on Banks Island. Schindler believes that perhaps his greatest contribution to the Lab was administrative. He hired, for the first time, Assistant Directors for Science, Operations, and Management. When the time came for him to leave there was excellent continuity at the Lab. Schindler was the 7th Director of the Lab. Three more would follow before the Navy closed it down. While serving at the Lab, President Wood of the University of Alaska arranged for faculty appointments for both Schindler (Assistant Professor) and Max Brewer (Associate Professor). This helped both personally and professionally. Schindler occasionally participated in Project Chariot, a base maintained by the Department of Energy, although he was not a formal member of its advisory committee. When Chariot shut down the Lab inherited it as a field station, and some of its equipment was moved to the Lab. At one time the Lab had 14 field stations, all over the North Slope. In determining the best locations for field stations the Lab tried to hit the various ecosystems – the foothills, the oriented lake systems, the Colville River, etc. Managing all of these areas -- the rockets, field stations, the 1,000 annual visitors, etc. -- was a huge responsibility. Max Brewer had been an excellent teacher, and became a lifelong friend. Betty Dickerson, his scheduler, and Jack High, his purchaser, both helped significantly. Fortunately the Lab had plenty of resources. Much of what visiting researchers required was kept on hand -- tents, clothes, sleeping bags, etc. Over time the Lab did not always receive the latest instruments, such as the more expensive microscopes. Max Britton’s rule was that all equipment purchased for a research project must whenever possible be left at the Lab for future use. All in all, as he looks back, Schindler is “very proud of what I did at the Lab.” In the early days of the Lab there was a lot of flexibility in procedures and purchasing, but in time regulations were tightened. When ARLIS II was built the only budgeted item for the base was \$10,000 for a generator. Yet the total cost for establishing an ice station, constructing buildings, finding the ice, and flying in supplies, cost \$180,000. Somehow President Wood of the University of Alaska worked this out. At the Lab every single purchase was recorded by hand in the so-called “black book.” The total budget for the base when Schindler was hired in 1960 was about \$400,000, but his last budget was for \$2,500,000. The total costs were actually much higher since the Air Force paid for many items, including food, power generation, and vehicle maintenance. The Navy paid for airplanes, equipment, food for the field, and staff salaries and science. Civilian contractors, hired by the military services, actually managed these programs. The Navy was responsible for building the new Barrow Research Lab. Max Brewer fought tenaciously with the Navy to achieve the best base possible. He had great support from Max Britton stationed in Washington, D.C. Brewer’s tenaciousness caused a lot of ripples in the Arctic, but he was liked by everybody. His arguments were never personal. It was agreed by all that he could get things done. When Max Brewer ran the Lab it was a “one man show,” and Schindler’s contribution was to create an effective chain of command. Max Britton, the “boss” in Washington, D.C., would show up at the Lab about twice a year, and was always tactful and helpful in his criticisms and suggestions. Dr. Wood, President of the University of Alaska, rightly viewed the Lab as an adjunct of the University, although the Navy always retained ultimate control. Operational matters were handled through the Navy, but administration, bookkeeping, paying bills, etc., was handled through the University. The Air Force also played a part. It was something of a “strange situation” but with rare exceptions all parties worked well together. Max Britton, in Washington, was shrewd in dealing with the Navy. He won support for a scientific study of lemming “suicides” by comparing the overcrowding of lemmings in their burrows with crew quarters on submarines. Max Brewer, at the Lab, was equally effective, but the vagaries of Arctic weather conditions, and the occasional unreliability of radio communications, caused some unavoidable problems and complaints. By the time that Schindler left the base in 1971 field radios had been obtained, although the tent camps never had them. Men in the field used collapsible canvas “fold boats” on the rivers, but they were unstable. More than once, one tipped over and food and supplies floated down the river. Brewer had an uncanny talent for juggling various responsibilities, and getting everything done “very, very well.” Ice stations typically had a minimum of 3 or 4 people, and sometimes 8 or 9. All had to be mechanically adept and able to function in cold and dark conditions. According to Schindler most of the staff were either seeking adventure, or fleeing a bad situation. One man, deeply in debt, spent a year on an ice island. In the late 1960’s there was a murder – some say it was an accident -- on ice station T-3. The culprit was convicted of manslaughter, and sentenced to time served. Ice stations ARLIS I and II were serviced by DC-3’s, Cessnas, and C-130’s. An entire pre-fabricated building could be packed into a DC-3, and assembled in just three hours. They could also carry Weasels and D-6 cats. Later ARLIS versions were only maintained for 3 or 4 months, and needed less heavy equipment. When an ice station was abandoned most of the equipment was removed, but the buildings were left. One of the abandoned stations drifted around the southern tip of Greenland, and others drifted into Russian waters. Some were stripped by Greenlanders or others. Schindler reports that personal and working relations were very good between the scientists and the local people, including the Eskimos. He was associated with development of the Barrow gas field, although it preceded and outlasted him. After he left in Lab in January, 1974, he went to work for Resource Science Corporation – Alaska, a holding company for Williams Brothers. Schindler served as a consultant, but did actual work as well. He hired over 180 quality control engineers as inspectors for the gas pipeline. Later Schindler worked for Husky Oil Corporation from 1976 to 1981. He wrote Environmental Impact Studies (EIS), and served as the right-hand man for Wes Westfall, the head of Husky. This was a huge operation with a budget of up to 120 million dollars for a single year. From 1982 to 1993 he worked in various capacities, including writing Environmental Impact Studies, for the Minerals Management Service (MMS) of the Department of the Interior. Looking back on his long Arctic career Schindler had some regret that his career evolved mainly into administration, and not the pure science he had envisioned early on. He regrets also that he had never finished his Ph.D. He takes great pride in his contributions to the Arctic ice stations; he was there from the beginning. He had excellent relations with the Navy, including Admiral Ralph Weymouth. Schindler feels also that he was instrumental in cultivating a respect for the environment within the Husky Oil Company. He values also the many pleasant experiences he had in Iceland, although he thought authorities there were unduly suspicious of NATO. The Arctic had been his entire career, and he was fascinated by the area. As his wife, Erna, put it “The Arctic is not a place. It’s a disease and my husband has it.” He recounts various personal experiences while working at NARL at Barrow. The experience could be tedious, and was especially difficult for the women. His wife Erna, worked as a bookkeeper mainly to escape from the Quonset Hut that was their home. There were instances of heated discussions, even arguments, with Max Brewer and others, but ultimately all were harmoniously resolved. Max Brewer and Max Britton served as mentors to Schindler. Scientifically, the Lab did very important research on permafrost, and biology as it related to the oil pipeline. Important discoveries were also made because of the Ice Stations, including discovery of the Barrow sea canyon. Major Topics Role and Significance of the Arctic Ice Stations, including ARLIS Contributions of the National Arctic Research Laboratory (NARL) at Barrow, Alaska Personal challenges for men and women living in the Arctic Environmental issues and challenges in the Arctic region Contributions of leading administrators at NARL, the Navy, and Washington, D.C. Growing recognition of the need for Environmental Impact Studies AIDJEX, Arctic Ice Dynamics Experiment AINA, Arctic Institute of North America ARLIS, Arctic Research Laboratory Ice Station BIA, Bureau of Indian Affairs Bitters, John, pilot, pp. 49-50 Brewer, Max, mentioned throughout Britton, Max, mentioned throughout Buck, Bo, underwater sound, p. 49 Champion, Chuck, p. 69 DEW, Distant Early Warning Line Dickerson, Betty, wife of Dick, assistant to Schindler at the Lab, p. 27 Dickerson, Dick, pilot, pp. 58, 79-80 EIS, Environmental Impact Study Fischer, Bobby, pilot, pp. 21, 58 Fletcher, Joe, p. 18 Girkin, Bill, Office of Naval Research, pp. 31, 44 Gottleib, Judy, MMS, p. 70 Gryc, George, naturalist, p. 89 Hessler, Vic, aurora studies, p. 49 High, Jack, purchasing agent at the Lab, p. 27 Husky Oil Corporation, pp. 68-69 Maher, Bill, pp. 46-47 McGregor, Ron, pp. 11, 77, 87-88 MMS, Minerals Management Service, Dept. of the Interior, pp. 69-70 NARL, National Arctic Research Laboratory NATO, North Atlantic Treaty Organization NPRA, National Petroleum Reserve, Alaska ONR, Office of Naval Research Pitelka, Frank. p. 42 Prescott, Jerry, Professor of Botany at Michigan State University, pp. 1, 3-4, Schindler, Erna, wife of John, pp. 3, 5, 78 Toovak, Kenny, Eskimo worker at camp, pp. 64, 79 Qualm, Louis, Britton’s boss in the Office of Naval Research, p. 22 USGS, United States Geological Service Westfall, Wes, head of Husky, p. 68 Weymouth, Ralph, Navy Admiral, p. 74 Wolfe, John, Director of Project Chariot, pp. 24-25 Wood, [?], President, University of Alaska, pp. 9, 12-13, 23-24, 41
          Libraries Transform Contest Winner!        

Danica Lee is the winner of the Libraries Transform National Library Week Contest!  Danica is a biology major in her junior year.  She is also the president of the Asian Student Association.

Congratulations Danica!

          Giveaway and interview : Pretty Momma Beauty        
Hi everyone!

I have a wonderful surprise for you today, a beauty giveaway!
I met Ekatrina in the Etsy forum and she was very kind in offering to send one set of her amazing Raspberry Black Bath Tea. I was very curious about her product, especially when she mentioned it is real tea mixed with magnesium, salts. The tea bad holds the leaves together so it will be an easy clean up after a relaxing, skin rejuvenating and soothing bath.

RaspBerry Black Tea Bath Giveaway by Pretty Momma Beauty

But, as amazing are her products, I wanted you to learn more about this impressive lady behind the small natural shop of Pretty Momma Beauty.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Ekatrina

Tell us about yourself and how all your Etsy adventure started :
I am a cell biology PhD student in the process of graduating and beginning my career as a professor. I started my first Etsy shop about halfway through my graduate career as a birthday present to myself. It has been a nice outlet for my creative energies in the midst of a demanding school load.

What pushed you to start your own beauty product line?
This shop began when I wanted to make bath salts for myself. I grew up in a home invested in natural and healthy products, so it was a short jump to combine that expertise with my scientific skills. The very first product I made was the mustard milk bath salts, which I formulated to combat muscle pain and tension. Once I got started, I just couldn’t stop, and I eventually opened this shop in order to share my products with a wider audience.

From the start, my products have been about providing tools to create a naturally healthy, beautiful you. Because of the demands on my time, I have been terrible about daily beauty upkeep. Once I started making my own products, I began to research and concoct products to help restore and repair my appearance. I formulated products that I found worked well, and so had to share those too. Because I need good value from the time I spend on myself, all my products are carefully formulated with high concentrations of active ingredients to maximize their effectiveness.

What inspires your collections?
My collections begin with an idea. For instance, I began my mud mask line in response to my search for something to reduce the appearance of my pores. Once I have an idea for a product type, my next question is “What other problems could this medium solve?”. So, in the mud mask example, I began expanding the concept to products that help maintain skin firmness, deal with inflammation, and provide deep-cleaning and detoxification benefits to help provide clear skin.

What is your process for your products?
When I start out to create a product, I begin by reading as much as I can about the process that produces the problem I want to solve and about how modern and traditional products go about addressing the problem. From that reading, I create a list of potential ingredients annotated with the mechanism of action of each. Then I research each ingredient intensively for safety and effectiveness, as well as to get an idea of which products would work well together. I create a prototype recipe designed to incorporate a diverse and synergistic ingredient list, then I go through repeated rounds of testing (on myself) and refinement for function and usability. The final product is what ends up in my shop. 

Are your products sold in boutiques or craft shows?
My primary outlet is online, although I have taken my products to a craft fair. I enjoyed the face to face interaction and direct feedback of the craft fair, so I hope to be able to do more of them after graduation. My products are not in a brick and mortar yet, but I am on the look-out for locations that would be a good fit. I’ve also been refining my packaging to reflect the professionalism and quality of my product, which is important in brick-and-mortar sales.

Can you tell us more about your Bath Tea Collection?
My bath tea collection is extensive, and primarily off-menu at this point. I have a wide variety of herbal and black teas, as well as a few more unusual options. My Roobios bath tea is especially refreshing, and my lavender mint bath tea is a favorite among returning customers. All of my bath teas are pre-packaged for easy clean-up and also contain magnesium salts to promote well-being. I will be working on bringing more of these teas into my regular offering once the craziness of my current transition period has passed. In the meantime, I am delighted to accommodate requests!

How long does it take you to develop a new serie of product?
The time it takes for me to develop a new product is directly proportional to how busy I am! :) Some products require minimal rounds of refinement and are ready to meet customers quickly. Other products, such as one particularly luscious conditioning treatment I have developed, require significant research to translate into a shelf-stable, easy-to-use product. (It’s been over a year since I made my first batch of that particular product, and it still isn’t ready to go to market. My hair, however, has greatly benefited from the research process.)

What’s next for PrettyMommaBeauty in 2015?
I have an extensive list of products to roll out in the next year. I have a very nice deep-conditioning moisturizer that is ready to go to market. It just needs final packaging decisions and photographs. I also want to elaborate on the idea and create a lighter moisturizer for those who live in warmer climates or who have more naturally moist skin. I also have an herbal detangling spray that has passed all my usage tests and needs to make its way into my shop. I have vegetable-based blush that will be ready once I standardize shades, and have initial recipes for complimenting lip products. I want to create liquid shampoos and bath gels from my bar soap recipes, which should be a fairly quick process once I obtain the necessary supplies. I also want to develop a magnesium-based deodorant, as I think that would work better than the salt crystal I currently use. What would you like to see in my shop??

If you weren’t making beauty products, what would you be making :
If I wasn’t running Etsy shops in my spare time, I’d be reading, embroidering, or tutoring. In addition to making bath and beauty products, I love doing graphic design and creating jewelry. I’m also an avid treasure-hunter at resale shops.

If you could live anywhere in the world...?
If I could live anywhere in the world….I don’t know. I like my current home, but would love to go someplace warmer in the winter. My favorite European country is Italy, but I want to visit China, and Spain, and Russia, and the Italian Alps, and see more of France… Home is where the heart is, but I love to learn about other cultures and meet new people too.

You can follow Ekatrina on Twitter here or on Tumblr
And, you can enter the giveaway at the top of the article! :)

EXAMPLES OF DUTIESDuties may include, but are not limited to the following:Conduct soil, groundwater and hazardous waste material investigations to determine compliance with Federal, State and local laws, rules and regulations. Identify and analyze hazardous waste materials through the use of scientific methods and application of chemistry, engineering, toxicology, biology, environmental science principles. Issues permits and regulates hazardous substance handlers, hazardous waste generators, disposal facilities, underground storage tank operators and biomedical waste. Conducts and evaluates environmental surveys and studies related to hazardous waste material storage, treatment, disposal, reduction and reuse. Prepares and packs hazardous waste materials for storage and transportation as required under Federal and State regulations. Provides consultation and conducts training programs in the area of specialization for staff, other departments, agencies, and the general public. Conducts complex or highly technical investigations, preparing cases for prosecution at the State or local level or scheduling an administrative hearing. Plans, organizes, and oversees the proper disposal of economic poisons, banned or outdated pesticides, fungicides and agricultural chemicals. Reviews and oversees the performance of emergency clean up of contractors and consultants. Assesses potential exposure to hazardous waste materials and selects appropriate safety and sampling equipment.
          (USA-CA-Merced) Clinical Lab Scientist - Clinical Laboratory Services - Full Time Days        
*Position Summary* Provides laboratory testing to inpatients and outpatients, quality control, and instrument maintenance and related record keeping and result reporting. May be assigned to or rotate to various areas such as: Microbiology, Chemistry/Special Chemistry, Transfusion Services, Coagulation, Hematology, Urinalysis and Immunology. Patients served are neonatal, pediatric, adolescent, adults, and geriatric age groups. *Qualifications Minimum* 1. Education level necessary to obtain required licensure and certifications: · A doctor of medicine, osteopathy, or doctor of podiatric medicine licensed to practice, osteopathy, podiatry in the state in which the laboratory is located, or have earned a doctoral, masters or bachelor’s degree in a chemical, physical, biological, or clinical laboratory science or medical technology from an accredited institution; or An associate degree in a chemical, physical, or biological l science or medical laboratory technology from an accredited institution; or · High school diploma or equivalent and have successfully completed an official military medical laboratory procedures course of at least 50 weeks duration, and have held the military enlisted occupational specialty of Medical Laboratory Specialist (Medical Technician); or · High school diploma or equivalent, and have such documentation of training appropriate for the testing performed prior to analyzing patient specimens. Such training must ensure that the individual has the skills required for the proper specimen collection, including patient preparation, if applicable, labeling handling, preservation or fixation, processing or preparation, transportation and storage of specimens etc., etc. 2. Must possess and maintain a current Clinical Laboratory Scientist (CLS) license within the state of California. 3. Computer literate *Desired* 1. One (1) year experience in an acute care facility. Mercy Medical Center , a Dignity Health member, has been building a rich history of care in our community for more than 100 years. We have grown from a small one-story wooden structure into a major healthcare provider with a new 186-bed main campus, offering the latest in facility design and technology. Mercy also operates Outpatient Centers, a Cancer Center and several rural clinics. Wherever you work throughout our system, you will find faces of experience with dedication to high quality, personalized care. Joining our 1,300 employees, 230 physicians and many volunteers, you can help carry out our commitment to providing our community with the excellence they have come to associate with Mercy Medical Center. Mercy Medical Center Laboratory offers the use of state-of-the art equipment in a fast-paced environment. You’ll enjoy working with laboratorians who care about their patients and the quality of their work. Merced is located in the San Joaquin Valley of California, and is home to the 10thand newest campus of the University of California. Considered the “Gateway to Yosemite”, Merced is the closest (just 69 miles away) large community to Yosemite National Park and its tremendous recreational opportunities. Other national parks, rivers and lakes are within close reach. Monterey, San Francisco, Sacramento are all within an easy two hour drive. On top of all that, Merced is a great place to raise your kids! **Job:** **Laboratory* **Organization:** **Mercy Medical Center Merced* **Title:** *Clinical Lab Scientist - Clinical Laboratory Services - Full Time Days* **Location:** *California-Central California Service Area-Merced-Mercy Merced Community* **Requisition ID:** *1700008446* **Equal Opportunity** Dignity Health is an Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, protected Veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law.
          (USA-CA-Merced) Clinical Lab Scientist - Clinical Laboratory Services - Full Time Nights        
* * *Position Summary* Provides laboratory testing to inpatients and outpatients, quality control, and instrument maintenance and related record keeping and result reporting. May be assigned to or rotate to various areas such as: Microbiology, Chemistry/Special Chemistry, Transfusion Services, Coagulation, Hematology, Urinalysis and Immunology. Patients served are neonatal, pediatric, adolescent, adults, and geriatric age groups. *Qualifications Minimum* 1. Education level necessary to obtain required licensure and certifications: · A doctor of medicine, osteopathy, or doctor of podiatric medicine licensed to practice, osteopathy, podiatry in the state in which the laboratory is located, or have earned a doctoral, masters or bachelor’s degree in a chemical, physical, biological, or clinical laboratory science or medical technology from an accredited institution; or An associate degree in a chemical, physical, or biological l science or medical laboratory technology from an accredited institution; or · High school diploma or equivalent and have successfully completed an official military medical laboratory procedures course of at least 50 weeks duration, and have held the military enlisted occupational specialty of Medical Laboratory Specialist (Medical Technician); or · High school diploma or equivalent, and have such documentation of training appropriate for the testing performed prior to analyzing patient specimens. Such training must ensure that the individual has the skills required for the proper specimen collection, including patient preparation, if applicable, labeling handling, preservation or fixation, processing or preparation, transportation and storage of specimens etc., etc. 2. Must possess and maintain a current Clinical Laboratory Scientist (CLS) license within the state of California. 3. Computer literate *Desired* 1. One (1) year experience in an acute care facility. Mercy Medical Center, **Job:** **Laboratory* **Organization:** **Mercy Medical Center Merced* **Title:** *Clinical Lab Scientist - Clinical Laboratory Services - Full Time Nights* **Location:** *California-Central California Service Area-Merced-Mercy Merced Community* **Requisition ID:** *1700008441* **Equal Opportunity** Dignity Health is an Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, protected Veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law.
          Crypto-Entomology Art Print by Brian Giberson - The Foglighter Fly by indigolights        

20.00 USD

8 x 10 photo print of the Foglighter Fly 1845

- The Foglighter Fly was native to the back alley's and riverfronts of London.

The insect image is from the files of a long defunct gentleman's scientific organization - The Society of Crypto-Entomology


The Society of Crypto-Entomology was founded in 1788 by
Hyperion Wells, the grand father of noted author H. G. Wells. The institute was created to study the life cycle and habitant of elusive insects previously thought to be the stuff of myth and legend.

After the first few specimens were found, the leading intellectual lights of the gilded age would meet monthly for lectures in the King's Head Public House in East London. Honorary members and lecturers included explorer Sir Richard Burton , authors Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Alister Crowley, and even a young Charles Darwin. Many other noted naturalists, mystics, spiritualists, and explorers of the time, often frequented these lectures.

As the industrialization of modern society advanced, some insects were found to have a decidedly technological flair. It was uncovered that many were man-made imitations made for wealthy patrons by watchmakers and jewelers. However, in a few rare examples these techno insects actually existed in unusual and rarified habitats.

Much of the debate surrounding these specimens were regarding the origin and purpose of such creatures. Several schools of thought were advanced. Some held that this was spontaneous divine creation. Others felt they were from the future, technology merged with insect biology, that somehow was scattered back through time. Mr. Darwin advanced the theory that these were examples of adaption to environmental forces. The more mystic minded thought they were reflections of the collective unconscious, spontaneously springing forth as man marched forward into the age of invention.

The Society was disbanded in 1925 after the “Cottingley fairy” scandal brought the entire field of Crypto-Entomology into disrepute. Many of the specimens presented here are now thought to be extinct, these prints being the last remaining evidence of their existence.

          Unfiltered Thoughts: Sarah Murphy and Andy Cutting on Teaching Science        


For the seventeenth episode of Unfiltered Thoughts, Jack sits down with Sarah Murphy and Andy Cutting to chat about teaching science to school children. Sarah is a high-school science teacher with a background in biotechnology and analytical chemistry, and Andy is a PhD student in developmental biology at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute. Both work for the Gene Technology Access Centre along with Jack, and he caught up with them on a high-school science outreach trip to Bendigo.
          Kittelson Wins Edgar M. Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching        
A member of the biology faculty since 1999, Kittelson was recognized with the award at the 2017 commencement ceremony.
          History and Biology Lead to Global Healthcare for Katie Schlangen ’14        
Just three years after graduation, Gustavus alumna Katie Schlangen is traveling the world... and helping people along the way.
          Stephen Soehnlen        
Subject area: 
Systematic Biology, Behavior, Perception

          The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business        
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
author: Charles Duhigg
name: Jeff
average rating: 3.90
book published: 2011
rating: 2
read at: 2017/03/14
date added: 2017/03/14
shelves: audio-collection, read-in-2017, probably-never-read-again, abandoned
This is one of the hardest sorts of books for me. The author is clever, clearly knows more than I do about neuro-biology and even habits, *and* I'm interested in the topic, but the book still rubs me the wrong way. There is a... sloppiness about the way that it forms and uses concepts. For instance, it conflates as "habits" things as diverse as complex, semi-automated procedural knowledge such as how to back a car out of a driveway and, you know, habits. He seems to use it cover anything the mind does to achieve unit economy (though doesn't extend it quite to concept formation as the book isn't that epistemological.) Don't get me wrong: I wouldn't rankle, whether I agreed or not, if an argument were made that there were similarities between these mental phenomena sufficient to regard them as types of the same thing. Instead, the author simply assumes it. This is an example, rather than my whole objection. Then after a period that should be establishing basic assumptions, definitions, etc., and starting to unfold discoveries, suggestions, etc., he builds on what for me is a hopelessly shaky foundation, so I'm having to go through everything he's saying and unfolding it in terms of the odd foundation he's laid.

I got what I can out of such a work. I traced through some useful frameworks on the examples he gave of habit patterns, and what changes to them look like. As long as you keep them tied to concretes, they're quite interesting. From there, I'll slowly extrapolate on my own what generalizations I can. That's no small thing, but confronted with someone who appears smart and better informed than I am, I wish for so much more.

          Milf Biology Teacher Gave Some Important Life Lesson To Young Student        
Watch Milf Biology Teacher Gave Some Important Life Lesson To Young Student on - free hardcore porn videos and amateur sex tapes.
          GEO LIB digital New Book Shelf: December 2015        
Alfred Wegener [electronic resource] : science, exploration, and the theory of continental drift Ammonoid paleobiology : from anatomy to ecology  Ammonoid paleobiology : from macroevolution to paleogeography  Chemical, Physical and Temporal Evolution of Magmatic Systems Deep-well injections and induced seismicity : understanding the relationship  Diverse excursions in the Southeast : Paleozoic to present  Elevating geoscience […]
          Flame Retardant Chemicals Weaken Frogs' Immune Systems and other wildlife health related news        

Avian flu hits penguins in Antarctica. Scientists wonder how virus reached the icy region

Antarctica may be too cold and remote but this has not, apparently, helped prevent pigeons living in the icy region to contract avian flu, which is basically transmitted when birds get in contact with infected animals or contaminated secretions and surfaces.

In a study published in the journal of American Society for Microbiology mBio May 6, a group of international scientists described a new strain of avian flu that they discovered in the Antarctic after conducting tests on Adélie penguins.

Tech Times; 05 May 2014


Cited Journal Article
Hurt AC, et al.  2014. Detection of evolutionarily distinct avian influenza A viruses in Antarctica. mBio 5(3):e01098-14. doi:10.1128/mBio.01098-14.

Investigation into walrus disease closes with no cause identified

An investigation into a mysterious disease afflicting Pacific walruses has been closed with no culprit identified, federal agencies said on Monday.

The investigation into what scientists call an "unusual mortality event" -- an unexpected die-off of a large numbers of animals -- was launched in 2011 when seals and walruses began showing up with bleeding skin lesions, labored breathing, lethargy and hair loss.

Anchorage Daily News;15 May 2014


Flame Retardant Chemicals Weaken Frogs' Immune Systems

Young frogs exposed to flame retardants have weakened immune systems, which could leave them more susceptible to diseases that are ravaging amphibians worldwide.

A new laboratory experiment is the first to link flame retardants to immune system problems in frogs, and adds to evidence that pollutants may contribute to global declines of their populations.

Scientific American; 13 May 2014


Cited Journal Article
Tawnya L. Cary et al. Immunomodulation in Post-metamorphic Northern Leopard Frogs, Lithobates pipiens, Following Larval Exposure to Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether. Environ. Sci. Technol., 2014, 48 (10), pp 5910–5919. DOI: 10.1021/es405776m

Other Amphibian Health Related News
>>> Potential cure for captive amphibians with chytrid fungus [Cited journal article HERE]


          Wildlife Disease Journal Digest        

Browse complete Digest publication library here

Sampling strategies and biodiversity of influenza a subtypes in wild birds
PLoS One. 2014 Mar 5;9(3):e90826. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0090826. eCollection 2014.
Olson SH et al.

Presence of the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Native Amphibians Exported from Madagascar
PLoS One. 2014 Mar 5;9(3):e89660. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0089660. eCollection 2014.
Kolby JE.

Leukocyte response to eastern equine encephalomyelitis virus in a wild passerine bird
Avian Dis. 2013 Dec;57(4):744-9.
Owen J et al.

Echinococcosis in wild carnivorous species: epidemiology, genotypic diversity, and implications for veterinary public health
Veterinary Parasitology. 2014; [Epub ahead of print 2014 Mar 14]. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2014.03.009
David Carmena and Guillermo A. Cardona

Is there a relation between genetic or social groups of mallard ducks and the circulation of low pathogenic avian influenza viruses?
Veterinary Microbiology. 2014; [Epub ahead of print 2014 Mar 12]. doi:10.1016/j.vetmic.2014.03.001
Maria A. De Marco et al

A current review of avian influenza in pigeons and doves (Columbidae)
Veterinary Microbiology. 2014; [Epub ahead of print 2014 Mar 12]. doi:10.1016/j.vetmic.2014.02.042
Celia Abolnik

Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia IVb Status in the United States: Inferences from Surveillance Activities and Regional Context
Preventive Veterinary Medicine. 2014; [Epub ahead of print 2014 Mar 06]. doi:
L.L. Gustafson et al.

Seasonal reactivation enables Cyprinid herpesvirus 3 to persist in a wild host population
Fems Microbiology Ecology. 2014 Feb; 87 (2):536-542. doi:10.1111/1574-6941.12242
Uchii, K; Minamoto, T; Honjo, MN; Kawabata, Z

The importance of temporal heterothermy in bats
Journal of Zoology. 2014 Feb; 292 (2):86-100. doi:10.1111/jzo.12105
Authors: Stawski, C; Willis, CKR; Geiser, F

Organic contaminants in bats: Trends and new issues
Environment International. 2014 Feb; 63: 40-52. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2013.10.009
Authors: Bayat, S; Geiser, F; Kristiansen, P; Wilson, SC

          Vermont bats begin white nose recovery and other wildlife health related news stories        

Crisis biology: Can bacteria save bats and frogs from deadly diseases?

As populations plummet, biologists race for a solution.

In 2007, Valerie McKenzie volunteered for a large study of human body bacteria. It was the dawn of the golden age of the microbe. Researchers were just beginning to understand how bacteria and other microbes in human intestines influence everything from obesity to allergies and infections. McKenzie, a University of Colorado-Boulder biologist, was mildly curious about her "microbiome." But she was more interested in the bacteria living on the skin of frogs and toads.

Amphibian populations worldwide are plummeting, and entire species are going extinct. The West's struggling species include boreal toads and mountain yellow-legged frogs. Invasive species and habitat degradation play a major role, but amphibians are dying even in places with good habitat. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, an aggressive fungus commonly known as chytrid, is often to blame.

McKenzie, who was studying the role of farmland conversion and suburbanization in the decline of leopard frogs in Colorado, suspected chytrid was also a factor. When she read a paper about a strain of bacteria found on red-backed salamanders that inhibited chytrid's growth, she began to wonder: What microbes lived on the skin of her frogs and toads? And could any of them fight chytrid?

High Country News
26 Feb 2014
Emily Guerin


Other Frog Health News 
>>> Does your pond host killer frog disease? Scientist at uni's Penryn campus wants to know [Cornwall, United Kingdom]

Infected Tasmanian devils reveal how cancer cells evolve in response to humans

Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD) has ravaged the world's largest carnivorous marsupial since it emerged in 1996, resulting in a population decline of over 90%. Conservation work to defeat the disease has including removing infected individuals from the population and new research explains how this gives us a unique opportunity to understand how human selection alters the evolution of cancerous cells.

DFTD is an asexually reproducing clonal cell line, which during the last 16 years has been exposed to negative effects as infected devils, approximately 33% of the population, have been removed from one site, the Forestier Peninsula, in Tasmania between 2006 and 2010.

Science Daily
18 Feb 2014


Cited Journal Article
Beata Ujvari, Anne-Maree Pearse, Kate Swift, Pamela Hodson, Bobby Hua, Stephen Pyecroft, Robyn Taylor, Rodrigo Hamede, Menna Jones, Katherine Belov, Thomas Madsen. Anthropogenic selection enhances cancer evolution in Tasmanian devil tumours. Evolutionary Applications, 2014; 7 (2): 260 DOI: 10.1111/eva.12117

Other Wildlife Health Related News
White-Nose Syndrome
One Health News Corner
Huh?! That's Interesting!

          Wildlife Disease Journal Digest        

Browse complete Digest publication library here

A look at lead poisoning in bald eagles
Conservationist. 2014 Feb; Epub
Kevin Hynes
[Hey! Digest readers are the best! A fellow reader told us about this one.]

Comparison of the White-Nose Syndrome Agent Pseudogymnoascus destructans to Cave-Dwelling Relatives Suggests Reduced 
Saprotrophic Enzyme Activity. 2014; PLoS ONE 9(1): e86437. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086437
Reynolds HT, Barton HA

Potential Intercontinental Movement of Influenza A(H7N9) Virus into North America by Wild Birds: Application of a Rapid Assessment Framework
Transboundary and Emerging Diseases. 2014; [Epub ahead of print 2014 Mar 04]. DOI: 10.1111/tbed.12213
R. S. Miller, S. J. Sweeney, J. E. Akkina, E. K. Saito

First Evidence of Amphibian Chytrid Fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) and Ranavirus in Hong Kong Amphibian Trade
PLoS ONE. 2014; 9(3): e90750. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090750
Kolby JE, Smith KM, Berger L, Karesh WB, Preston A, et al.

Abiotic factors affecting persistence of avian influenza virus in surface water from waterfowl habitats
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2014 Feb 28. [Epub ahead of print]
Keeler SP, Dalton MS, Cressler AM, Berghaus RD, Stallknecht D.

Experimental Infections of Wild Birds with West Nile Virus
Viruses. Feb 2014; 6(2): 752–781. [Epub ahead of print 13 Feb 2014]. doi: 10.3390/v6020752
Elisa Pérez-Ramírez, Francisco Llorente, and Miguel Ángel Jiménez-Clavero

Morphological and molecular characterization of a new species of leech (Glossiphoniidae, Hirudinida): Implications for the health of its imperiled amphibian host (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis)
Zookeys. 2014 Feb 7;(378):83-101. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.378.6545. eCollection 2014.
Hopkins WA1, Moser WE2, Garst DW1, Richardson DJ3, Hammond CI3, Lazo-Wasem EA4.

Experimental infection of Eurasian collared-dove (Streptopelia decaocto) with West Nile virus
J Vector Ecol. 2013 Dec;38(2):210-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1948-7134.2013.12032.x.
Panella NA, Young G, Komar N.

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health - Special Issue Epidemiology of West Nile Virus
One Health: The Human-Animal-Environment Interfaces in Emerging Infectious Diseases
The Concept and Examples of a One Health Approach
Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology. Volume 365 2013
Editors: John S. Mackenzie, Martyn Jeggo, Peter Daszak, Juergen A. Richt
  • Wildlife: The Need to Better Understand the Linkages
    One Health: The Human-Animal-Environment Interfaces in Emerging Infectious Diseases
    Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology Volume 365, 2013, pp 101-125
    Melinda K. Rostal, Kevin J. Olival, Elizabeth H. Loh, William B. Karesh
Novel Bartonella Infection in Northern and Southern Sea Otters (Enhydra lutris kenyoni and Enhydra lutris nereis)
Veterinary Microbiology. 2014; [Epub ahead of print 2014 Feb 24]
Sebastian E. Carrasco et al.

Francisella tularensis infection without lesions in gray tree squirrels (Sciurus griseus)
A diagnostic challenge

Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation. 2014 [Epub ahead of print 2014 Feb 20]. doi:10.1177/1040638713520541
Danielle D. Nelson et al.

The Role of the Toxicologic Pathologist in Academia [Commentary]
Veterinary Pathology. 2014; [Epub ahead of print 2014 Feb 19]. doi: 10.1177/0300985813519652
P. V. Turner et al.

Avian Pathology - January 2014
Volume 43, Issue 1
          Feds urge residents to report dead wildlife and more wildlife health related news stories        

Melting Arctic Ice Releases Deadly Seal Parasite

A photo of a parasite.
Sarcocystis pinnipedi (dark purple) infecting the diaphragm of a ringed seal.
There is no evidence of inflammation in the tissue, in contrast to infection in
gray seal livers. Photo credit: Stephan Raverty | National Geogaphic.
When wildlife pathologists arrived at Hay Island off the coast of Nova Scotia in March 2012, they met an eerie sight. Of the thousands of silver and black-speckled gray seals that lay on the rocky outcrop, roughly a fifth were dead, despite showing no outward signs of disease.

Necropsies revealed that 406 dead seals were infested with a crescent moon-shaped parasite that had destroyed their livers, but it wasn't clear what the organism was or how the seals had contracted the parasite. Researchers revealed the parasite's identity here today at the annual meeting of AAAS, which publishes Science. They also explained how melting ice in the Arctic Circle is helping such pathogens disperse throughout the world's oceans.

14 Feb 2014
E Underwood


More Arctic News
>>> Is Climate Change Increasing the Disease Risk for Arctic Marine Mammals? [includes slide images]
>>> Arctic biodiversity under serious threat from climate change

Oil spills cause heart attacks in fish

While it’s certainly not news that oil spills harm fish, exactly how the oil causes fish harm is a complicated question that ecologists have been trying to answer. A study published Thursday in Science presents an explanation, and it’s nothing less than heartbreaking: The oil makes the fish go into cardiac arrest. The researchers are considering the possibility that oil might cause similar cardiac impacts in other forms of life—including us.

The study authors, who are affiliated with Stanford University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), had been studying lingering damage around the site of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Tuna became their test subject, due to the spill have occurred within a major spawning ground for the Gulf’s Atlantic bluefin tuna populations. And the tuna had suffered for it: A 2012 assessment had counted a spawning population 64% smaller than the baseline population of 1970.

Science Recorder
16 Feb 2014
R Docksai


Cited Journal Article
Fabien Brette et al. (2014). Crude Oil Impairs Cardiac Excitation-Contraction Coupling in Fish. Science. 343(6172):772-776. DOI: 10.1126/science.1242747

Feds urge residents to report dead wildlife

With thousands of tons of coal ash in the Dan River, what are local nature lovers to do if they see dead or dying wildlife along the river? .... There have already been scattered reports of dead turtles in the Dan River, and the question of the spill’s affect on wildlife came up Tuesday night during a meeting with members of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s first responders.
14 Feb 2014
D Thibodeau


Coral bleaching makes fish behave recklessly

Fish on bleached coral reefs are fearless. Instead of staying hidden at home, they stray out, making them easy prey for predators.

Coral reefs are rich ecosystems, home to thousands of animals. But if the water gets too warm, the corals expel the algae that live in them, leaving them bleached and sometimes killing them. Climate change is making such bleaching events more commonMovie Camera.

Wondering how fish might be affected, Oona Lönnstedt of the Australian Research Council's centre for coral reef studies and her colleagues studied the behaviour of pallid damselfish (Pomacentrus amboinensis) on the Great Barrier Reef.

They released fish onto live and dead coral, and found that those on dead coral took more risks and moved further afield. And while the smell of an injured mate prompted fish on live coral to take cover, their counterparts didn't react. The death rate was 75 per cent higher on dead coral.

New Scientist
14 February 2014
S Sekar


Moose Health News
One Health News Corner

          What's killing all the starfish on the West Coast? and other wildlife health news stories        

White-nose syndrome confirmed in bats in Arkansas

White-nose syndrome, a fatal disease to several bat species, has been confirmed in Arkansas, the state Game and Fish Commission said Wednesday. The disease was documented in two northern long-eared bats found at a cave on a natural area managed by the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission in Marion County, according to a news release.

... Five bats were found to have the disease during a survey of the Marion County cave on Jan. 11. The fungus was confirmed by tests on two of the bats by the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center, according to an AGFC news release. The bats had damage to wing, ear and tail membranes consistent with white-nose syndrome.

Arkansas News Bureau
29 Jan 2014
Arkansas, USA


More White-Nose Syndrome News
>>> Bat fungus continues to concern biologists
>>> Winter cave surveys track bat numbers, health [Kentucky, USA]
>>> White Nose Syndrome May Be Unstoppable: Deadly Bat Disease Can Thrive in Caves Without Bats

What's killing all the starfish on the West Coast?

Starfish have been mysteriously dying by the millions in recent months along the West Coast, worrying biologists who say the sea creatures are key to the marine ecosystem.

Scientists first started noticing the mass deaths in June 2013. Different types of starfish, also known as sea stars, were affected, from wild ones along the coast to those in captivity, according to Jonathan Sleeman, director of the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wildlife Health Center.

... The most commonly observed symptoms are white lesions on the arms of the sea star. The lesions spread rapidly, resulting in the loss of the arm. Within days, the infection consumes the creature's entire body, and it dies.

Entire populations have been wiped out in Puget Sound off the coast of Washington state, in the Salish Sea off Canada's British Columbia as well as along the coast of California. The mortality rate is estimated at 95 percent.

... “What we currently think is likely happening is that there is a pathogen, like a parasite or a virus or a bacteria, that is infecting the sea stars and that compromises in some way their immune system,” Pete Raimondi, chair of the department of ecology and evolutionary biology, at the University of California, Santa Cruz, told AFP.

San Jose Mercury News
2014 Feb 02
Jean-Louis Santini
Washington, and California, USA, and British Columbia, Cananda 


Assorted South West parasites favour cleaner habitat

BIOLOGISTS investigating parasites on freshwater fish in the South West believe they have discovered at least 42 native parasite species that were previously undescribed...Murdoch University Associate Professor Alan Lymbery, who presented the research at the WA Freshwater Fish Symposium, says two known introduced parasite species were found.

In addition to the introduced species, 42 morphologically different native parasites appeared to be different species.... Dr Lymbery says 30–40 per cent of the parasites were only found in a single species of fish, which had serious implications for the parasite’s conservation risk if the fish was endangered.

“[Parasites] are probably at more risk than the fish host species because although some of the parasites we found have a direct life cycle, which means that the fish is their only host, a large number of them also had an indirect life cycle, which means they rely on other hosts as well,” he says.

... Dr Lymbery says the finding most fish biologists found interesting was that parasitism generally increased with improving water quality. He says parasites, particularly those with complex life cycles, are quite sensitive indicators of environmental quality....“Contrary to what most people think, which is that the worse the conditions are, the more disease or parasitism you have, you actually don’t find that,” Dr Lymbery says.

“What we found was that the better the quality of the habitat, the more fish were parasitised and the greater number of species of parasites you found.”

ScienceNetwork Western Australia
2014 Jan 13
M Wheeler


Some Good News Amid Bad News, for Hawai`i’s Endangered Honeycreepers

Warming temperatures due to climate change are exposing endangered Hawaiian forest birds to greater risk of avian malaria. But new research led by the U.S. Geological Survey holds out some hope that the birds may be able to adapt.

For decades, scientists have documented declines and extinctions among species of Hawaiian honeycreepers due to the spread of avian malaria and other diseases. At one time, the Hawaiian Islands had no mosquitoes—and no mosquito-borne diseases. But, by the late 1800s, mosquitoes were firmly established in the islands. Another invasive species—feral pigs—helped the mosquito population boom by creating larval habitat as they rooted through forests. The honeycreepers had no natural defense against a disease they had never before experienced.

"Honeycreepers are exquisitely sensitive to avian malaria," said Dr. Carter Atkinson, a USGS microbiologist based at the USGS Pacific Islands Ecosystems Research Center in Hawai’i. Atkinson is the lead author of two new research papers examining how climate change is increasing the honeycreepers’ risk of infection.

USGS Newsroom
31 Jan 2014


Cited Journal Article
Carter T. Atkinson et al. (2014). Changing Climate and the Altitudinal Range of Avian Malaria in the Hawaiian Islands - an Ongoing Conservation Crisis on the Island of Kaua'i. Global Change Biology; [Epub ahead of print]. doi:10.1111/gcb.12535

Carter T. Atkinson et al. (2014). Experimental Evidence for Evolved Tolerance to Avian Malaria in a Wild Population of Low Elevation Hawai‘i ‘Amakihi (Hemignathus virens). EcoHealth. [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1007/s10393-013-0899-2

One Health News Corner
It Ain't All Bad News

          Wildlife Disease Journal Digest        

Browse complete Digest publication library here

Prevalence and phenology of white-nose syndrome fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans in bats from Poland
Central European Journal of Biology. 2014 Apr; 9(4): 437-443. doi:10.2478/s11535-013-0280-z
Konrad Sachanowicz, Arkadiusz Stepien, Mateusz Ciechanowski

Changes in Capture Rates in a Community of Bats in New Hampshire during the Progression of White-Nose Syndrome
Northeastern Naturalist. 2013 Oct; 20(4):552-558. doi: 10.1656/045.020.0405
Paul R. Moosman, Jr., Jacques P. Veilleux, Gary W. Pelton and Howard H. Thomas

Hummingbird health: pathogens and disease conditions in the family Trochilidae
Journal of Ornithology. 2014 Jan; 155(1): 1-12. doi:10.1007/s10336-013-0990-z
Loreto A. Godoy, Lisa A. Tell, Holly B. Ernest

Genetic Structure of Avian Influenza Viruses from Ducks of the Atlantic Flyway of North America
PLoS ONE. 2014; 9(1): e86999. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086999
Huang Y, Wille M, Dobbin A, Walzthöni NM, Robertson GJ, et al.

Extended Viral Shedding of a Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus by Striped Skunks (Mephitis mephitis)
PLoS ONE. 2014; 9(1): e70639. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070639
Root JJ, Shriner SA, Bentler KT, Gidlewski T, Mooers NL, et al.

Selecting Essential Information for Biosurveillance—A Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis
PLoS ONE. 2014; 9(1): e86601. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086601
Generous N, Margevicius KJ, Taylor-McCabe KJ, Brown M, Daniel WB, et al. 

Two new species of Haemoproteus Kruse, 1890 (Haemosporida, Haemoproteidae) from European birds, with emphasis on DNA barcoding for detection of haemosporidians in wildlife
Syst Parasitol. 2014 Feb;87(2):135-51. doi: 10.1007/s11230-013-9464-1. Epub 2014 Jan 29.
Dimitrov D, Zehtindjiev P, Bensch S, Ilieva M, Iezhova T, Valkiūnas G.

Diverse inter-continental and host lineage reassortant avian influenza A viruses in pelagic seabirds
Infect Genet Evol. 2014 Jan 23. pii: S1567-1348(14)00017-3. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2014.01.014. [Epub ahead of print]
Huang Y, Robertson GJ, Ojkic D3, Whitney H, Lang AS.

Ocean warming and acidification have complex interactive effects on the dynamics of a marine fungal disease
Proc Biol Sci. 2014 Jan 22;281(1778):20133069. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2013.3069. Print 2014.
Williams GJ, Price NN, Ushijima B, Aeby GS, Callahan S, Davy SK, Gove JM, Johnson MD, Knapp IS, Shore-Maggio A, Smith JE, Videau P, Work TM.

Laridae: A neglected reservoir that could play a major role in avian influenza virus epidemiological dynamics
Crit Rev Microbiol. 2014 Jan 22. [Epub ahead of print]
Arnal A, Vittecoq M, Pearce-Duvet J, Gauthier-Clerc M, Boulinier T, Jourdain E.

Detection of mecC-positive Staphylococcus aureus (CC130-MRSA-XI) in diseased European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) in Sweden
PLoS One. 2013 Jun 12;8(6):e66166. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0066166. Print 2013.
Monecke S, Gavier-Widen D, Mattsson R, Rangstrup-Christensen L, Lazaris A, Coleman DC, Shore AC, Ehricht R.

Climatic variables are associated with the prevalence of biliary trematodes in otters
Int J Parasitol. 2013 Aug;43(9):729-37. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2013.04.006. Epub 2013 Jun 7.
Sherrard-Smith E, Chadwick EA, Cable J.

Evolution of a reassortant North American gull influenza virus lineage: drift, shift and stability
Virol J. 2013 Jun 6;10:179. doi: 10.1186/1743-422X-10-179.
Hall JS, Teslaa JL, Nashold SW, Halpin RA, Stockwell T, Wentworth DE, Dugan V, Ip HS.

Risk Assessment of H2N2 Influenza Viruses from the Avian Reservoir
 J. Virol. 2014 Jan; 88(2): 1175-1188. [Epub ahead of print 2013 Nov 13]. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02526-13
Jeremy C. Jones et al.

Emerging Infectious Diseases - February 2014
Volume 20, Number 2

          Fukushima Radioactive Fallout in Alaska. Wildlife Health Implications and more wildlife health news stories        

UA researchers trace bat killer's path

White-Nose Syndrome poses threat of extinction; potential impact on agriculture

... The UA research identifies cold-loving, cave-dwelling fungi closely related to WNS, and where and how they spread, and how they survive. These findings help predict the future of North American bats —among them — the common Little Brown Bat, first seen with WSN in Ohio in March 2011.

Led by Hazel Barton, UA associate professor of biology and recognized as having one of the world's preeminent cave microbiology labs, the research points to a group of fungi related to WSN, which appears as a white, powdery substance on the muzzles, ears and wings of infected bats and gives them the appearance they've been dunked in powdered sugar. Since it was first discovered in hibernating bats in New York in winter 2006-07, WNS has spread across 22 states, including Ohio. In Vermont's Aeolus Cave, which once housed 800,000 bats, WSN wiped out the hibernation den's entire population.

In their research paper, "Comparison of the White-Nose Syndrome agent Pseudogymnoascus destructans to cave-dwelling relatives suggests reduced saprotrophic enzyme activity," published Jan. 22, 2014 by the PLOS ONE, Barton and UA post-doctoral fellow Hannah Reynolds compare two closely related fungi species and reveal common threads, including the discovery that the related fungi share the same nutritional needs.

Originally satisfied by cave soil, the fungus' nutritional source has now transferred to bats. Barton and her colleagues are zeroing in on when the fungus transferred from environment to bat and the consequences of the fungus' relentless ability to survive solely in caves, uninhabited by bats.

29 Jan 2014


Cited Journal Article
Reynolds HT, Barton HA (2014) Comparison of the White-Nose Syndrome Agent Pseudogymnoascus destructans to Cave-Dwelling Relatives Suggests Reduced Saprotrophic Enzyme Activity. PLoS ONE 9(1): e86437. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086437

Three new feline viruses raise questions about transmission and disease

Pathogen researchers at Colorado State University have discovered a family of cancer-causing viruses in several U.S. populations of bobcats, mountain lions and domestic cats, raising questions about whether the previously undetected viruses could be transmitted between cat species – and whether they might be the root cause of some cancers found in housecats.

...Wildlife ecologists collected blood samples from the bobcats and mountain lions in the course of separate studies related to the wild cats; they shared samples for the CSU study. Likewise, animal shelters across the United States collected and shared blood samples from domestic cats.

... In analyzing blood collected from wild and domestic cat populations in these regions, researchers identified the novel gamma herpes viruses in three species – and further discovered the bobcat virus in some mountain lions. The route of transmission remains unknown, but could occur when the animals fight in the wild, Troyer said.

Medical Xpress
01 Feb 2014
J Dimas


Fukushima Radioactive Fallout in Alaska. Wildlife Health Implications

Scientists present links between unusual Alaska seal deaths and Fukushima fallout — Skin lesions, hair loss, lethargy — ‘Pulsed release’ when built-up radionuclides were set free as ice melted — “Wildlife health implications” due to radiation exposure discussed

...During summer 2011 it became evident to coastal communities and wildlife management agencies that there was a novel disease outbreak occurring in several species of Arctic ice-associated seals. Gross symptoms associated with the disease included lethargy, no new hair growth, and skin lesions, with the majority of the outbreak reports occurring between the Nome and Barrow region. NOAA and USFWS declared an Alaska Northern Pinnipeds Usual Mortality Event (UME) in late winter of 2011.

The ongoing Alaska 2011 Northern Pinnipeds UME investigation continues to explore a mix of potential etiologies (infectious, endocrine, toxins, nutritious etc.), including radioactivity. Currently, the underlying etiology remains undetermined. We present results on gamma analysis (cesium 134 and 137) of muscle tissue from control and diseased seals, and discuss wildlife health implications from different possible routes of exposure to Fukushima fallout to ice seals.

Global Research News
27 Jan 2014


Other Wildlife Health Related News
One Health News Corner
Huh?! That's Interesting!

          Eagle and grebe bird kills spur worry about West Nile mutation and more wildlife health news stories        

Bat-killing fungus lurks in the Kansas City area

A deadly fungus that has wiped out hibernating bats by the millions in its eight-year march west from a New York cave has finally crept into Jackson County.

The discovery of “white-nose syndrome” in three tri-colored (or Eastern pipistrelle) bats in a limestone mine marks the nation’s westernmost spread, federal officials said last week. Afflicted mammals were found last winter in east-central Missouri; before that it was seen in the cave colonies of Pike County near the Mississippi River.

22 Jan 2014
Kansas City Star
D Levings


Reassortment patterns of avian influenza virus internal segments among different subtypes

The segmented RNA genome of avian Influenza viruses (AIV) allows genetic reassortment between co-infecting viruses, providing an evolutionary pathway to generate genetic innovation. The genetic diversity (16 haemagglutinin and 9 neuraminidase subtypes) of AIV indicates an extensive reservoir of influenza viruses exists in bird populations, but how frequently subtypes reassort with each other is still unknown.

Here we quantify the reassortment patterns among subtypes in the Eurasian avian viral pool by reconstructing the ancestral states of the subtypes as discrete states on time-scaled phylogenies with respect to the internal protein coding segments. We further analyzed how host species, the inferred evolutionary rates and the dN/dS ratio varied among segments and between discrete subtypes, and whether these factors may be associated with inter-subtype reassortment rate.

7th Space
24 Jan 2014


Cited Journal Article
Lu LuSamantha J LycettAndrew J Leigh Brown. (2014). Reassortment patterns of avian influenza virus internal segments among different subtypes. BMC Evolutionary Biology. 14:16. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-14-16

Eagle and grebe bird kills spur worry about West Nile mutation

The mystery surrounding the deaths of 20,000 eared grebes along the Great Salt Lake shoreline has Davis County Mosquito Abatement District officials concerned, as a test is being conducted to determine if it is an existing West Nile virus strain or a mutated strain that killed the birds. Mosquito Abatement District Director Gary Hatch appeared before the Davis County Commission Tuesday expressing his concern. Hatch said he is not certain what effect the grebes infected with the West Nile virus may have on next summer's mosquito season, but there is the possibility the district could be facing a new strain of the virus in its effort to protect the public through its abatement sprayings.

Testing has confirmed that more than 50 bald eagles died in Utah after scavenging on dead grebes that had the West Nile virus, the National Wildlife Health Center said.... But now district officials are concerned about where the grebes initially contracted the virus, and how it spread so quickly among that bird population.

"We know what killed the eagles," Hatch said. "But what happened with the grebes is the concern." Local officials suspect based on the evidence of positive test results that the grebes likely contacted the virus somewhere else along their migratory route.

22 Jan 2014
B Saxton


Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds statement on: H5N8 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in poultry and wild birds in Republic of Korea January 2014

Current situation
The Republic of Korea reported its first of a number of outbreaks of H5N8 highly pathogenic avian
influenza (HPAI) at a duck farm in Gochang, Jeolla Province, 300 kilometers southwest of Seoul, on
16 January, 2014. Following these outbreaks a number of wild birds have been reported as having died from the infection. Dozens of Baikal teal (Anas formosa) and a smaller number of bean geese
(Anser fabilis) have died to date, some of which have tested positive for the virus. The H5N8 strain of influenza has since been identified on at least 17 other farms, with tests currently under way
for many other suspected cases. Over 640,000 poultry have already been slaughtered, with many
hundreds of thousands more set to be destroyed....

The Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds

The United Nations Environment Programme/Convention on Migratory Species (UNEP/CMS)and Food and Agriculture Organization Co-convened Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds was established in 2005 and works as a communication and coordination network and continues to review the role of wild birds in the epidemiology of AI and the impact of the disease on wild birds, promoting a balanced opinion based on currently available evidence. Task Force members and/or observers include WHO, OIE, FAO, CMS, Ramsar Convention, AEWA, Wetlands International, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Birdlife International, Royal Veterinary College, Ecohealth Alliance and International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation.


Related News Stories
>>> Migratory birds confirmed to be source of bird flu outbreak


A koala joey hangs on his mother Eola after a weighing procedure at the zoo
in the western German city of Duisburg. Photograph: Ina Fassbender/Reuters

One Health News Corner

Huh?! That's Interesting!

          Waterfowl poisoning halved by lead shot prohibition and more wildlife health news stories        

Micropredators dictate occurrence of deadly amphibian disease

An international team of researchers has made important progress in understanding the distribution of the deadly amphibian chytrid pathogen. In some regions, the deadly impact of the pathogen appears to be hampered by small predators, naturally occurring in freshwater bodies. These micropredators may efficiently reduce the number of free-swimming infectious stages (zoospores) by consuming them.

This natural behavior will reduce the infection pressure on potential amphibian hosts and a goes a long way towards explaining the occurrence of chytridiomycosis, at least in temporal climatic regions. These results were published in the renowned scientific journal Current Biology. The team of researchers state that their results raise the hope of successfully fighting chytridiomycosis, nowadays one of the most deadly wildlife diseases.
21 Jan 2014


Cited Journal Article
Dirk S. Schmeller et al. Microscopic Aquatic Predators Strongly Affect Infection Dynamics of a Globally Emerged Pathogen. Current Biology 2014.

Waterfowl poisoning halved by lead shot prohibition

Lead shot was forbidden in 2001 in Spanish wetlands on the Ramsar List of these areas of international importance. Ten years later, this prohibition -and the consequent use of steel shot by hunters- has started to bear fruit, according to a report in the journal 'Environment International'.

"The most important part of our work is that it shows that, despite it's still covering a partial area, the change of material from lead to steel shot has reduced waterfowl poisoning and the contamination of hunted meat," Rafael Mateo Soria of the Hunting Resources Research Institute (IREC) and co-author of the study, told SINC.

16 Jan 2014


Cited Journal Article
Mateo, R., Vallverdú-Coll, N., López-Antia, A., Taggart, M.A., Martínez-Haro, M., Guitart, R., Ortiz-Santaliestra, M.E. 2014. "Reducing Pb poisoning in birds and Pb exposure in game meat consumers: The dual benefit of effective Pb shot regulation". Environment International 63: 163. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2013.11.006

White-Nose Syndrome News
One Health News Corner

          Stuff The Internet Says On Scalability For August 4th, 2017        

Hey, it's HighScalability time:

Hands down the best ever 25,000 year old selfie from Pech Merle cave in southern France. (The Ice Age)

If you like this sort of Stuff then please support me on Patreon.


  • 35%: US traffic is now IPV6; 10^161: decision points in no-limit Texas hold’em; 4.5 billion: Facebook translations per day; 90%: savings by moving to Lambda; 330TB: IBM's tiny tape cartridge, enough to store 330 million books; $108.9 billion: game revenues in 2017; 85%: of all research papers are on Sci-Hub; 1270x: iPhone 5 vs Apollo guidance computer; 16 zettabytes: 2017 growth in digital universe; 

  • Quotable Quotes:
    • Andrew Roberts: [On Napoleon] No aspect of his command was too small to escape notice.
    • Jason Calacanis: The world has trillions of dollars sitting in bonds, cash, stocks, and real estate, which is all really “dead money.” It sits there and grows slowly and safely, taking no risk and not changing the world at all. Wouldn’t it be more interesting if we put that money to work on crazy experiments like the next Tesla, Google, Uber, Cafe X, or SpaceX?
    • @icecrime: The plural of “it’s not a bug, it’s a feature” is “it’s not a bug tracker, it’s a backlog”.
    • Jeff Darcy: When greater redundancy drives greater dependency, it’s time to take a good hard look at whether the net result is still a good one.
    • uhnuhnuhn: "They ran their business into the ground, but they did it with such great tech!"
    • Anglés-Alcázar: It’s very interesting to think of our galaxy not as some isolated entity, but to think of the galaxy as being surrounded by gas which may come from many different sources. We are connected to other galaxies via these galactic winds.
    • @ojiidotch: Main app now running Python 3.6 (was 2.7 until yesterday). CPU usage 40% down, avg latency 30% down, p95 60% down.
    • Nemanja Mijailovic: It’s really difficult to catch all bugs without fuzzing, no matter how hard you try to test your software. 
    • SandwichTeeth: a lot of companies have security teams solely to meet audit requirements. If you find yourself on a team like that, you'll be spending a lot of time just gathering evidence for audits, remediating findings and writing policy. I really loved security intellectually, but in practice, the blue-team side of things wasn't my cup of tea.
    • jph: security is needed to gradually escalate a user's own identity verification -- think of things like two-factor auth and multi-factor auth, that can phase in (or ramp up) when a user's actions enter a gray area of risk. Some examples: when a user signs in from a new location, or a user does an especially large money transfer, or a user resumes an account that's been dormant for years, etc.
    • @hichaelmart: So while Google is doubling down on gRPC it seems that Amazon is going all in with CBOR. DDB DAX uses some sort of CBOR-over-sockets AFAICT
    • Wysopal: I’d like to see someone fixing this broken market [insecure software and hardware market]. Profiting off of that fix seems like the best approach for a capitalism-based economy.
    • Matthias Käppler: Microservices are often intermediate nodes in a graph of services, acting as façades where an incoming request translates to N outgoing requests upstream, the responses to which are then combined into a single response back downstream to the client.
    • Jack Fennimore: EA Play 2017 was watchable the same way Olive Garden is edible.
    • erikb: [On SoundCloud] TL;DR Top Management started too late to think about making actual money. They also hired an asshole for their US offices. When they got an opportunity to be bought by Twitter they asked for way too much money. And the CEO is basically on a constant holidays trip since 2014, while not failing to rub it in everybody's face via Instagram photos.
    • Jennifer Mendez: If you don’t have the games people want to play, you can wave goodbye to return on investment on a powerful console. Does hardware matter? Of course it does! But it doesn’t matter if you don’t have anything to play on it.
    • Alex Miller: The utility of a blockchain breaks down in a private or consortium setting and should, in my opinion, be replaced by a more performant engine like Apache Kafka.
    • Krish: most of the multi-cloud usecases I am seeing are about using different cloud for different workloads. It could change and I would expect them to embrace the eventual consistency model initially
    • Ian Cutress: Then there is the Ryzen 3 1300X. Compared to the Core i3-7300/7320 and the Core i5-7400, it clearly wins on performance per dollar all around. Compared to the Core i3-7100 though, it offers almost 5% more performance for around $10-15 more, which is just under 10% of the cost.
    • throw2016: Just from an year ago the cpu market has changed completely. The sheer amount of choice at all levels is staggering. For the mid level user the 1600 especially is a formidable offering, and the 1700 with 8 cores just ups the ante.
    • danmaz74: the main reason Rails is declining in relevance isn't microservices or the productivity (!) of Java, but the fact that more and more development effort for web applications is moving into JS front-end coding.
    • Rohit Karlupia: we can deal with [S3] eventual consistency in file listing operations by repeating the listing operation, detecting ghost and conceived files and modifying our work queues to take our new knowledge about the listing status into account.
    • tboyd47: It's the end of an era. From 2005 to 2007, the "Web 2.0" craze, the release of Ruby on Rails, and the rise of Agile methods all happened at once. These ideas all fed into and supported each other, resulting in a cohesive movement with a lot of momentum. The long-term fact turned out to be that this movement didn't benefit large corporations that have always been and usually still are the main source of employment for software developers. So we have returned to our pre-Rails, pre-agile world of high specialization and high bureaucratic control, even if Rails and "Agile" still exist with some popularity.
    • @reneritchie: Only beginning to see the advantages of Apple making everything from atom to bit. Everything will be computational.
    • Vasiliy Zukanov: switching to Kotlin will NOT have any appreciable positive gains on the cost, the effort or the schedule of software projects
    • visarga: Over the years I have seen astronomy become more like biology - diverse both in the kinds of objects it describes and their behavior.
    • Jaana B. Dogan: I think the industry needs a breakdown between product and infra engineering and start talking how we staff infra teams and support product development teams with SRE. The “DevOps” conversation is often not complete without this breakdown and assuming everyone is self serving their infra and ops all the times.
    • David Rosenthal~ Does anybody believe we'll be using Bitcoin or Ethereum 80 years from now?
    • Richard Jones: There is a physical lower limit on how much energy it takes to carry out a computation – the Landauer limit. The plot above shows that our current technology for computing consumes energy at a rate which is many orders of magnitude greater than this theoretical limit (and for that matter, it is much more energy intensive than biological computing). There is huge room for improvement – the only question is whether we can deploy R&D resources to pursue this goal on the scale that’s gone into computing as we know it today.
  • Don't miss all that the Internet has to say on Scalability, click below and become eventually consistent with all scalability knowledge (which means this post has many more items to read so please keep on reading)...

          Readers’ wildlife photos (including paleobiology!)        
I’m pleased to feature some paleontology today from reader John Scanlon.  In case you didn’t know, stromatolites are layered accretions of microorganisms, usually cyanobacteria (“blue-green algae”), and they represent some of the oldest fossils on earth: about 3.5 billion years old—only about a billion years after the Earth was formed. But these accretions are still formed today by living bacteria, […]
          Biology lesson        
          (NW) Bulgarian Team Brings Gold, Silver and Bronze from International Biology Olympiad in Coventry        
August 1 (BTA) - Bulgaria's biology team participating in the International Biology Olympiad in Coventry, Great Britain, has brought home a set of gold, silver and bronze medals from the event. This is the greatest success so far in the history of a Bulgarian team at a biology Olympiad, the Association of Olympic Teams in Natural Sciences said.
          Account Manager - Life Science        
Due to continued expansion this highly recognised and regarded company, who are the leading laboratory liquid handling specialist in the UK, requires an Account Manager to cover the Midlands/ Oxford area. An excellent package is on offer for the right candidate. Title Account Manager, Sales Representative, Sales Specialist, Sales Account Manager, Territory Sales Manager, Field Sales, Business Development Manager Location Suitable candidates will need to live in The Midlands ideally Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, Leicestershire Salary The Account Manager will receive a base salary between £32-34k, dependent upon candidate capabilities, plus a bonus of approx £8k subject to targets being achieved. Also on offer is an exceptional benefits package including company car, laptop, pension, health care, generous holidays etc Skills / Qualifications As a prospective Account Manager the more of the following "boxes" you can tick, the better is your chance of being selected for interview:- • Educated to degree level preferably in a Life Science subject (Molecular Biology / Genetics) • Completed laboratory work experience, preferably in life sciences • Proven track record within a Sales role • Ambitious, target driven, self reliant and show determination to succeed • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills with the ability to present and sell to all levels • Professional, organised, show attention to detail and have excellent IT skills • Keen to learn and has a hunger to sell and grow in a successful organisation • Hold a full and current driving licence and live within the specified territory Role You will be taking over a territory that has been well maintained with some very loyal customers. The role would be to sell liquid handling products (pipettes, tips, lab consumables etc.) into Academia, Pharma/Bio and Testing/Clinical labs predominantly. There is a great potential for further growth within the area. Applications Please send your current CV and salary details quoting our job reference number 913457HH
          Technical Assistant        
Job Title: Technical Assistant Location: Redditch Hours: 8am-5pm Monday - Friday Salary: ?8 per hour Our client is looking to recruit a laboratory technician, to get hands on experience in the Industry with a contract manufacturer of Personal Care products based in Stratford upon Avon. To support the Technical Team in the three separate sections of Development Chemistry, Microbiology and Regulatory compliance. Day to Day duties will include the following: . Initiate the setting up, monitoring and recording of stability and compatibility records. . Pack off products for trials, consumer tests and customers . To work with the Development and Production Teams in following the principles of GMP. . Ensure that the laboratory is maintained in a clean and tidy condition. . To carry out development testing in accordance with GLP and ensure full and accurate records are prepared and retained. . Product development - to work with the Development Team to assist in the day to day operations in the laboratory and receive training in the development of cosmetics and toiletries. . Understand and follow SOPs and work instructions. . Routine Microbiology TVC testing. . Assisting with Environmental Monitoring program. . Technical administration tasks. . Assisting with PIF's. . Raw Material paperwork reviews. . At the request of the Technical Manager, carry out any other work as directed As a person you will need the following qualities and experience: . Must be fluent in spoken and written English. . Mathematics, English and Chemistry/Biology qualification to a minimum of GCSE level. . Basic Computer literacy skills with a working knowledge of Word and Excel . Laboratory experience desirable but not essential as full training will be provided. . Enthusiastic to learn . Team Player . Takes direction well, and applies own initiative . Methodical mind and attention to detail . Good analysis and numerical skills . Prioritising and Time Management ability . Problem solving capabilities . Ability to communicate at all levels . Ability to liaise effectively with a variety of internal networks . Self-motivation and the ability to be flexible to change. Office Workforce are responsible for thousands of temporary, temp-to-perm and permanent vacancies across the Midlands. We operate from several prime locations in the area, and are likely to have an office right near you. Our team offer a unique service tailored to match your precise needs, and can assist you with the following job categories; Clerical and Administration, Call Centre, Customer Services, Sales and Business Development, Secretarial and PA, Professional and Management. We are always on the lookout for the very best talent, so if you know anyone, refer them to our professional and friendly team who will be more than happy to help.
          Technical Assistant        
Job Title: Technical Assistant Location: Redditch Hours: 8am-5pm Monday - Friday Salary: ?8 per hour Our client is looking to recruit a laboratory technician on a temporary basis, to get hands on experience in the Industry with a contract manufacturer of Personal Care products based in Stratford upon Avon. To support the Technical Team in the three separate sections of Development Chemistry, Microbiology and Regulatory compliance. Day to Day duties will include the following: . Initiate the setting up, monitoring and recording of stability and compatibility records. . Pack off products for trials, consumer tests and customers . To work with the Development and Production Teams in following the principles of GMP. . Ensure that the laboratory is maintained in a clean and tidy condition. . To carry out development testing in accordance with GLP and ensure full and accurate records are prepared and retained. . Product development - to work with the Development Team to assist in the day to day operations in the laboratory and receive training in the development of cosmetics and toiletries. . Understand and follow SOPs and work instructions. . Routine Microbiology TVC testing. . Assisting with Environmental Monitoring program. . Technical administration tasks. . Assisting with PIF's. . Raw Material paperwork reviews. . At the request of the Technical Manager, carry out any other work as directed As a person you will need the following qualities and experience: . Must be fluent in spoken and written English. . Mathematics, English and Chemistry/Biology qualification to a minimum of GCSE level. . Basic Computer literacy skills with a working knowledge of Word and Excel . Laboratory experience desirable but not essential as full training will be provided. . Enthusiastic to learn . Team Player . Takes direction well, and applies own initiative . Methodical mind and attention to detail . Good analysis and numerical skills . Prioritising and Time Management ability . Problem solving capabilities . Ability to communicate at all levels . Ability to liaise effectively with a variety of internal networks . Self-motivation and the ability to be flexible to change. Office Workforce are responsible for thousands of temporary, temp-to-perm and permanent vacancies across the Midlands. We operate from several prime locations in the area, and are likely to have an office right near you. Our team offer a unique service tailored to match your precise needs, and can assist you with the following job categories; Clerical and Administration, Call Centre, Customer Services, Sales and Business Development, Secretarial and PA, Professional and Management. We are always on the lookout for the very best talent, so if you know anyone, refer them to our professional and friendly team who will be more than happy to help.
          Health Hints: Start a Container Garden with Your Family        
Start a Container Garden with Your Family Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics If you want to eat local, know where your food is coming from, save money and reap healthy rewards, start a home garden. There’s a harvest of benefits when you involve kids in the process, too. A study published in The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology found that children who lived in a home with a garden ate significantly more vegetables than a group that did not have access to... Read More →
          Laboratory Technician with immedidiate start        
We are looking for Biologists, microbiologists or biomedical scientist to work in a busy microbiology Lab. The role is Tuesday to Saturday 4.p.m to midnight OR Mon-Fri midnight to 8.a.m. The role is temporary possibly upto 12 weeks. Salary is £9.27 per hour including a 15% shift bonus. We require candidates who are available to start within a week, and who have no major holidays booked. Full training will be provided. Due to the quick start we are only looking for candidates already based in the Coventry area. OWN CAR REQUIRED
          Senior Microbiologist Validation Specialist        
Senior Microbiologist Validation Specialist - Northampton Opportunity : Are you currently working within the pharmaceutical industry managing a microbiology lab? Does your experience include IQ, OQ, PQ of instruments cleaning validation? Want to work for a growing company? Yes then this is the role for you. Your role as a Senior Microbiologist Validation Specialist based in Northampton will involve managing the site microbiology. Duties and responsibilities include: Responsible for the instrument procurement and supplier assessment. SOP preparation and review. IQ, OQ, PQ of instruments cleaning validation. Preparing protocols and reports for cleaning validation, water system, calibration, IQ, OQ, PQ of instruments. Validation of microbial limit test. Microbiological analysis. Writing and reviewing Microbial validation protocols and reports. Aseptic area qualification by environmental monitoring of new manufacturing facility. Preparation of COA for microbial analysis. This is a full time permanent job opportunity paying between £28,000 - £30,000 per annum and great benefits. There is a lot of career development as the company has set up a brand new production site so it is a great time to join a growing business and be able to play a key role in the success of the company and become a pivotal team member for the future. Skills: To apply for the Senior Microbiologist Validation Specialist role you will have the following: Degree or equivalent qualification in a scientific subject. 8-9 years experience in Microbiology. Experience of GMP, GDP and FDA CFRs. How to Apply: To apply for this one off opportunity, please send a word copy of your CV to me now by clicking on the Apply button or call me for a confidential chat. If this sounds like the role for you or a colleague then please don’t hesitate to contact us. If we manage to successfully fill a permanent placement from your recommendation then we will send you a cheque of £300. We also have many incentive schemes for referring contractors/temp staff so please contact us with the referral and we can provide you with more information. For a list of our current vacancies, please visit If you do not hear from Quality Start within 2 weeks your CV has not been short listed for this role. Quality Start are acting as a specialist recruitment consultancy for this role.
           Tissue-engineered oral mucosa to study radiotherapy-induced oral mucositis         
Colley, Helen E. and Eves, Paula and Pinnock, Abigail and Thornhill, Martin H. and Murdoch, Craig (2013) Tissue-engineered oral mucosa to study radiotherapy-induced oral mucositis. International Journal of Radiation Biology, 89 (11). pp. 907-914. ISSN 0955-3002
           Multi-taxa benefits of a targeted single-species agri-environment option         
Dunn, Jenny and Hartwell, Vivien and UNSPECIFIED and Morris, Antony (2013) Multi-taxa benefits of a targeted single-species agri-environment option. Aspects of Applied Biology (118). pp. 137-143. ISSN 0265-1491
           Snapshots in ants? New interpretations of paradigmatic experiments         
Wystrach, Antoine and Mangan, Michael and Philippides, Andrew and Graham, Paul (2013) Snapshots in ants? New interpretations of paradigmatic experiments. Journal of Experimental Biology, 216 (10). pp. 1766-1770. ISSN 0022-0949
           Protein–DNA electrostatics         
Barbi, Maria and Paillusson, Fabien (2013) Protein–DNA electrostatics. In: Dynamics of proteins and nucleic acids. Advances in Protein Chemistry and Structural Biology, 92 . Elsevier, pp. 253-297. ISBN UNSPECIFIED
          This Aint Type Of Extra Biology Class These Coed Teens Applied For        
Watch This Aint Type Of Extra Biology Class These Coed Teens Applied For on - free hardcore porn videos and amateur sex tapes.
           Sex-specific interaction between arbuscular mycorrhizal and dark septate fungi in the dioecious plant Antennaria dioica(Asteraceae)         
Vega-Frutis, R. and Varga, Sandra and Kytöviita, M.-M. (2013) Sex-specific interaction between arbuscular mycorrhizal and dark septate fungi in the dioecious plant Antennaria dioica(Asteraceae). Plant Biology, 15 (3). pp. 558-565. ISSN 1435-8603
          IEEE Vis 2008 Keynote – Margaret Livingstone        
What Art Can Tell Us About the Brain Margaret S. Livingstone, Professor of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School I knew the keynote talk at the IEEE Visualization conference was going to be interesting when the student volunteer at the door handed me stereo glasses before the talk. The talk was focused on introducing concepts about color and […]
           MUS81 promotes common fragile site expression         
Ying, Songmin and Minocherhomji, Sheroy and Chan, Kok Lung and Palmai-Pallag, Timea and Chu, Wai Kit and Wass, Theresa and Mankouri, Hocine W. and Liu, Ying and Hickson, Ian D. (2013) MUS81 promotes common fragile site expression. Nature Cell Biology, 15 (8). pp. 1001-1007. ISSN 1465-7392
           Atypical panmixia in a European dolphin species (Delphinus delphis): implications for the evolution of diversity across oceanic boundaries         
Moura, Andre and Natoli, A. and Rogan, E. and Hoelzel, A. R. (2013) Atypical panmixia in a European dolphin species (Delphinus delphis): implications for the evolution of diversity across oceanic boundaries. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 26 (1). pp. 63-75. ISSN 1010-061X
           Evolution of functional genes in cetaceans driven by natural selection on a phylogenetic and population level         
Moura, Andre E. and Natoli, Ada and Rogan, Emer and Hoelzel, A. Rus (2013) Evolution of functional genes in cetaceans driven by natural selection on a phylogenetic and population level. Evolutionary Biology, 40 (3). pp. 341-354. ISSN 0071-3260
           Recent diversification of a marine genus (Tursiops spp.) tracks habitat preference and environmental change         
Moura, Andre E. and Nielsen, Sandra C. A. and Vilstrup, Julia T. and Moreno-Mayar, J. Victor and Gilbert, M. Thomas P. and Gray, Howard W. I. and Natoli, Ada and Moller, Luciana and Hoelzel, A. Rus (2013) Recent diversification of a marine genus (Tursiops spp.) tracks habitat preference and environmental change. Systematic Biology, 62 (6). pp. 865-877. ISSN 1063-5157
           Feather-damaging behaviour in companion parrots: an initial analysis of potential demographic risk factors         
Kinkaid, Heather McDonald Y. and Mills, Daniel S. and Nichols, Steve G. and Meagher, Rebecca K. and Mason, Georgia J. (2013) Feather-damaging behaviour in companion parrots: an initial analysis of potential demographic risk factors. Avian Biology Research, 6 (4). pp. 289-296. ISSN 1758-1559
          Midday open thread: Dead Indian children returned to their homeland; broken US economy in one chart        

Today’s comic by Matt Bors is Obama couldn't have done this crap: 


• Remains of three Arapaho children who died at assimilationist school returned to their homeland: Capt. Richard H. Pratt, the founder of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, infamously said the solution for dealing with the Native population of America was to “Kill the Indian ... and save the man.” And he set out to do so by taking Indian children from their parents, from their tribes and indoctrinating them at Carlisle in Pennsylvania. Among those were the children taken along with Geronimo when the Apache leader surrendered his band of Chiricahuas for the last time in 1886. The school sought to take everything from them, their religions, their cultures, their mode of dress, even their names. All of them had their hair cut short. Over the years, children abducted and taken to the school to have the Indian in them killed included three Northern Arapahos: Little Chief, 14, who was renamed Dickens Nor; Horse, 11, renamed Horace Washington; and Little Plume, 9, renamed Hayes Vanderbilt. Within two years, they were all dead and buried in a small cemetery that eventually included nearly 200 Indian children who died there from 1879-1918. On Monday, with 15 relatives of the three as witnesses, the Army began excavating their graves preparatory to returning their remains to the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming that the Northern Arapaho now share with another tribe, their traditional enemies, the Eastern Shoshoni. The Rosebud Sioux of South Dakota have requested the remains of their children grabbed by Carlisle be returned.

The photo on the left shows Chiricahua Apache children taken to the Carlisle Indian Industrial School when Geronimo surrendered his band in Arizona for the last time in 1886. The photo on the right are the same children four months later. The school did to their insides pretty much what it did to their outsides. Of the 112 Apache children sent to Carlisle, 27 died in the first three years. Of the 12,000 children of 140 tribes forced into the school, only 158 reportedly graduated. Carlisle was the model for 26 BIA (and later the Bureau of Indian Education) boarding schools in 15 states and hundreds of private religious ones.

• David Leonhardt on Our Broken Economy in One Chart:

Many Americans can’t remember anything other than an economy with skyrocketing inequality, in which living standards for most Americans are stagnating and the rich are pulling away. It feels inevitable.

But it’s not.

A well-known team of inequality researchers — Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman — has been getting some attention recently for a chart it produced. It shows the change in income between 1980 and 2014 for every point on the distribution, and it neatly summarizes the recent soaring of inequality.

You can see a larger version of this by clicking on the bulleted link above.



• July was the hottest on record for parts of Alaska and the Western United States:

The northernmost city in the United States just had its hottest July on record, as other spots in Alaska had their hottest month overall. Heat records also fell in a few western cities, as well as the fearsomely hot Death Valley, where July was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth.

Those hotspots stood out in what was the 10th hottest July on record for the Lower 48 states, topping off the second hottest year-to-date for the country by a hair, according to data released Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Three states are having their hottest year on record more than halfway through the year, while several more are running in second or third place.

• Google employee (now ex-), who wrote that women’s brains are inferior, removes PhD reference from his Linked-In site: Geez. Isn’t this just perfect? 

The Wired writer Nitasha Tiku confirmed with Harvard on Tuesday that Damore had not completed his Ph.D.

Damore's biology studies became a crux of a right-wing argument that he had credibility in claiming that biological differences between men and women explained a lack of gender diversity at Google. However, he cited shoddy data from Wikipedia and various journal articles to back up some of those claims, and Business Insider's Dana Varinsky was able to debunk many of them.

           Lipid-dependent GPCR dimerization         
Goddard, Alan D. and Dijkman, Patricia M. and Adamson, Roslin J. and Watts, Anthony (2013) Lipid-dependent GPCR dimerization. Methods in Cell Biology, 117 . pp. 341-357. ISSN 0091-679X
           Applied aspects of aerobiology         
West, J.S. and Burt, Peter (2008) Applied aspects of aerobiology. Aspects of Applied Biology, 89. i-88. ISSN 0265-1491
           Embryonic growth and antioxidant provision in avian eggs         
Deeming, D. Charles and Pike, Thomas W. (2013) Embryonic growth and antioxidant provision in avian eggs. Biology Letters, 9 (6). p. 20130757. ISSN 1744-9561
           Male coalitions and female behaviour affect male mating success independent of dominance rank and female receptive synchrony in wild Barbary macaques         
Young, C. and Hahndel, S. and Majolo, Bonaventura and Schulke, O. and Ostner, J. (2013) Male coalitions and female behaviour affect male mating success independent of dominance rank and female receptive synchrony in wild Barbary macaques. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology . pp. 1665-1677. ISSN 0340-5443
Thank God I'm Home.

There was a terrible chapa (mini-bus) accident in Gaza province yesterday that injured three volunteers and killed two others.  One of the volunteers that died was going to fill my position teaching biology in the Chimundo secondary school.

It's so tragic, I can hardly believe it.  It's just sickening that in Mozambique, car accidents kill more people than AIDS and malaria combined.  I am grateful to have made it home safely, and almost feel guilty that this happened to the young woman that was going to replace me, that she was robbed of that experience and the innumerable others that happen throughout a lifetime.  I ask that you keep these volunteers and their families in your thoughts and/or prayers.

Much love, and happy holidays.

          My Extraterrestrial Mozambique        
Suddenly, I have just three months left in Mozambique, and I once again have to borrow from Kurt Vonnegut, once again from Slaughterhouse-Five, to best describe the feeling. This passage comes from the extraterrestrials’ description of their reading experiences, and aside from the context, it relates pretty well to how I feel while looking back at my time here.

… There isn’t any particular relationship between all the messages, except that the author has chosen them carefully, so that, when seen all at once, they produce an image of life that is beautiful and surprising and deep. There is no beginning, no middle, no end, no suspense, no moral, no causes, no effects. What we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at one time.
I’ve been feeling nostalgic for the last two weeks, caught in a wash of moments and memories. I am typically awakened from my reverie either by an inquisitive cockroach edging towards my glass or by a small neighbor child hollering for candy or crayons in a shrill voice at our door. So while I am seeing my time in Mozambique slip away, day by day, part of me is also racing towards my imminent return home. I’ve learned and enjoyed many things here, but I’m looking forward to going home and feeling like a whole person again, a fully-functioning member of society, back in the comfort of my familiar cultural context, back in the company of family and friends.

Things are going just fine here. The second trimester is wrapping up—the exams have been given, the averages have been calculated, and we’ll have our conselhos in another two weeks. We’ll have our provincial science fair this weekend and start planning for the national fair, coming up on its heels in August. My Geração Biz students have been presenting at school events and will do their theater pieces and lectures during their biology lessons next week. When we’re not doing something with our projects or schoolwork, we’re typically just trying to keep warm—this winter has been downright chilly! Fifty degrees Fahrenheit feels much colder when it’s damp and windy and there’s no insulation or heating. I’m going to be in for a brutal shock when I face the first Midwestern winter in 3 years. Good thing I’ll be too busy soaking up everything America to notice.

          The Amber of June        
Now that electricity is a fairly constant aspect of my daily life, I occasionally find myself looking at photos on my computer of my past life, and although I am happy, healthy, and doing well here, I sometimes am grasped by the sudden feeling of what-the-hell-am-I-doing-here?  I have now completed 9 months in Mozambique, which is encouraging and feels good, but it is inevitably followed by the requisite recognition and mathematics of the 18 remaining months, which seems daunting and impossibly long.  But when I feel trapped in the amber of this moment and there is no why (Vonnegut—I cannot take credit for that pretty turn-of-phrase), I think about the few things in my life right now with forward momentum.  In case you were wondering where the momentum of life is blowing me at present, here are some of the details.
My sitemate and I are putting together a Science Fair at her school, which is rapidly approaching.  Her school has had volunteers and Science Fairs in the past, so this year, I just invited students from my school to participate in a joint fair at her school.  I’d had my doubts about the project, but seeing my handful of favorite students get excited about their lung models and physics demonstrations is a winning experience.  There won’t be any earth-shaking scientific discoveries coming from my 8th graders this year at the fair, but what’s wrong with reinventing the wheel?  The wheel is still lookin’ good.
In other news, as of last weekend, the Chimundo PCV household has increased by one, consisting now of two American women, two Mozambican kitties, one chicken, and (new addition) one adorable puppy.  Puppy’s name is Shingove, Shangana for “cat.”  We think it’s an ironic little joke, but for people around here, it’s just more evidence that we’re not quite right, that we're weird Americans who talk to animals and what’s more, feed and bathe them.  Shingove is a tubby little squirt, waddling around and trying to initiate play with Bea and suspicious Rocksteady (Erica’s kitty, who is not terribly receptive to these antics as of yet).  We heart Shingove.  The cats are reserving judgment.
Speaking of our domesticated animals, Clucka has finally settled in, roosted, and started producing eggs.  After wandering through the house and trying out the spare bed, our beds, and our clothing-filled shelves, she decided to roost inside of the bag of charcoal on the porch.  Maybe this would be a good time for me to explain that Erica and I do not have a TV; most of our entertainment comes from our pets.  But I have to say, it’s pretty funny to be on the receiving end of a death stare from a maternal chicken guarding eggs in a sack of coal.  (Come to Mozambique if you want to give it a try!)
School is going just fine; at my school, we’re already getting ready for our final exams (“final” meaning 4 weeks before the actual end of the trimester to give teachers time to grade and students a few weeks to slack off).  In July, I should have a week off, which should be a welcome opportunity for a bit of travel and a change of scenery.  In the meantime, I’m keeping myself occupied by going to my homeroom’s soccer games.  While they can be little stinkers who skip out on biology on Tuesdays when it’s their last class of the day, I have to admit, they are soccer superstars.  Maybe because they are, on average, one to two years older and 6 to 8 inches taller than the other players, but they do me proud regardless.
Oh, and no news on the robbery.  I have no hopes or expectations of recovering any of my lost items at this point.  But I do have my new passport, which is complete with a badass-looking stamp saying “THIS PASSPORT IS A REPLACEMENT FOR A STOLEN PASSPORT.”  Don’t you know it.
Erica's family was here for a week in May, which was a lot of fun.  It was nice to see Chibuto through fresh eyes and be reminded that while America may feel like another world away, family and friends are only a few plane rides away, continuing their lives until we next meet again.

          Boa tarde, Senhora Professora!        
As I write this blog post, it’s hard to believe that I’ve been teaching for a month already. Whereas I have given and corrected my first biology test, I’m still working on the names of my students. That could have something to do with the fact that teaching 11 classes of eighth graders with 55 students each, I have about 600 students. But I have learned my favorite students’ names, which is a start. (It doesn’t help that I’m not terribly familiar with Portuguese names like Boaventura, Moisés, and Calado). The students only have biology twice a week, so I end up teaching the same two lessons 11 times each during the week. It’s nice that I don’t have to do much lesson-planning, but I start to feel a little crazy after teaching the osseo-muscular system for the eleventh time. And repeating myself over and over, I’ll be darned if I remember any biology vocabulary in English by the end of these two years.
Yet all in all, things are beginning to gel. I’m getting to know my colleagues a little better and getting to know the ropes. The living situation is challenging at times, being the odd person out in terms of culture and language (the roomies typically speak in Shangana to each other), but improving. I have begun doing my share of the cooking, and although black pepper is too spicy and vegetable skins are widely distrusted, French toast was a hit (syrup, however, is too sweet). You win some, you lose some.
My cat Bea is in good health and keeping me sane; I identify with him a lot, as we both share language and cultural barriers with our housemates. And although he has the habit of lying in the grass and ambushing my ankles while I’m walking back from the latrine or carting water (on my head, I might add), he’s a good cat.
My PCV sitemate is also a great help in maintaining my sanity. We are thinking of going to the beach this weekend for the first time since Christmas, and I think it will be a well-deserved break from school, Portuguese, awkward living situations, and… oh, so many more things that I don’t have the time or space to write about in this blog—things like marriage proposals, the surprising difficulty of procuring bread, days with precious little water—things to ask me about in two years. Or when you come visit me in Mozambique.
Então, ate já—passa bem, nada mão, e beijinhos!

           Late to the table: diversification of tetrapod mandibular biomechanics lagged behind the evolution of terrestriality         
Anderson, Philip S. L. and Friedman, Matt and Ruta, Marcello (2013) Late to the table: diversification of tetrapod mandibular biomechanics lagged behind the evolution of terrestriality. Integrative and Comparative Biology, 53 (2). pp. 197-208. ISSN 1540-7063
           Coping with the cold: predictors of survival in wild Barbary macaques, Macaca sylvanus         
Mcfarland, Richard and Majolo, Bonaventura (2013) Coping with the cold: predictors of survival in wild Barbary macaques, Macaca sylvanus. Biology Letters, 9 (4). ISSN 1744-9561
          Lima Buku Pembuat Pusing        
ehm... Met MALEM Semua... ni mau sekedar share,, kenapa sih Banyak diantara kita yang ngerasa kuliah sulit (khususnya Yang di FISIKA) bayangin aja,, sesulit apapun. Orang Sebodoh (plus Se-Gak Penting) daku pun mampu Lulus dengan BAIK Plus.. 158 SKS. emangsih Aku juga gak pernah ngerasa aneh, sulit dan APAPUN yang menjadi Kendala Di Kampus. Coba Bayangin... DULU waktu AKU kuliah.. TEST LESAN Ma DOSEN dengan 9 Pertanyaan Ku JAWAB dengan Sempurna.. eh TemenQ yang JAWAB amboradol (baik secara teoritis Mau Praktikum dengan sangat TAWUR) ternyata dapat NILAI B dan AKU cukup dengan Nilai C yang Berarti COK...
tapi aku SUANTAI POUL menghadapi Hal Tersebut,, Ngapain?? Susah2,, Toh.. Tuhan Gak BAKAL tanya IPK waktu Di SURGA entar,, ATAU orang BAKAL tau TUH nilai Bisa dipertanggung JAWABkan apa Gak!!

Bayangin DOSEN yang kasih nilai tersebutpun bangga dengan se-enak Udelnya Nge-BANGGAIN dia, dan AKU dihina Disana-sini.. So WHAT??!!

WAKTU aku LULUS si DOSEN TANYA,, MASIH nempuh Kuliah apa MAS??
dengan SANTAI juga aku balas,, MAAF ANDA SIAPA yAH??

sebenarnya TULISAN diatas SANGAT gak PENTING bANGET kan.. tapi ada nih Yang PALING penting.. APA COBA??
DONLODTAN buku.. BIAR teori KITA makin MANTAP dan Praktiknya Kita BUktikan dengan PERTANYAAN dan BUAH PIKIRAN CEKIDOT

  2. Phylosofisika
Oke.. deh.. Terserah Para Pembaca Yang Budiman yang mau download apa GAK??!!
Mau BODOH macam AKU monggo.. Mau REBEL macam AKU juga SILAHKAN.. karena AKu juga bukanlah ORang pentingan.. Cuman di Pentingkan Oleh beberapa Kelompok dan ORANG.
Yang Jelas Bukan ORANG-ORANGAN
           Towards real-time VMAT verification using a prototype, high-speed CMOS active pixel sensor         
Zin, Hafiz M. and Harris, Emma J. and Osmond, John P. F. and Allinson, Nigel M. and Evans, Philip M. (2013) Towards real-time VMAT verification using a prototype, high-speed CMOS active pixel sensor. Physics in Medicine and Biology, 58 (10). pp. 3359-3375. ISSN 0031-9155
           Invertebrate biodiversity within the grassy and woody elements of farmland hedgerows: snapshots from Lincolnshire         
Bennett, Sophie and Eady, Paul and Deeming, Charles (2013) Invertebrate biodiversity within the grassy and woody elements of farmland hedgerows: snapshots from Lincolnshire. Aspects of applied biology, 118 . pp. 253-258. ISSN 0265-1491
           Effects of female body size and phylogeny on avian nest dimensions         
Deeming, Charles (2013) Effects of female body size and phylogeny on avian nest dimensions. Avian Biology Research, 6 (1). pp. 1-11. ISSN 1758-1559
           Mechanisms of high-frequency song generation in brachypterous crickets and the role of ghost frequencies         
Robillard, T. and Montealegre-Z, F. and Desutter-Grandcolas, L. and Grandcolas, P. and Robert, D. (2013) Mechanisms of high-frequency song generation in brachypterous crickets and the role of ghost frequencies. Journal of Experimental Biology, 216 (11). pp. 2001-2011. ISSN 0022-0949
           Evolution of parental incubation behaviour in dinosaurs cannot be inferred from clutch mass in birds         
Birchard, Geoffrey F. and Ruta, Marcello and Deeming, D. Charles (2013) Evolution of parental incubation behaviour in dinosaurs cannot be inferred from clutch mass in birds. Biology Letters, 9 (4). pp. 1-5. ISSN 1744-9561
           An intercontinental analysis of climate-driven body size clines in reptiles: no support for patterns, no signals of processes         
Pincheira-Donoso, Daniel and Meiri, Shai (2013) An intercontinental analysis of climate-driven body size clines in reptiles: no support for patterns, no signals of processes. Evolutionary Biology, 40 (4). pp. 562-578. ISSN 0071-3260
           Regulation of neurite growth by tumour necrosis superfamily member RANKL         
Gutierrez, Humberto and Kisiswa, Lilian and O'Keeffe, Gerard W. and Smithen, Matthew J. and Wyatt, Sean and Davies, Alun M. (2013) Regulation of neurite growth by tumour necrosis superfamily member RANKL. Open biology, 3 (1). p. 120150. ISSN 2046-2441
          Comment on How to Become an Expert Gum Taster: My Experience as a Sensory Scientist at Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company by friedmansprout        
Hi Klevene, many universities offer degrees in Food Science! The applied science attracts experts in engineering, biology, and physical science to the study of food, causes of deterioration, and principles underlying food processing and improvement for consumers. This website lists some institutions that offer Food Science degrees: <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a>. --<em>Friedman Sprout editors</em>
          UK's Hemp Field Day Sept. 9        

hemp LEXINGTON, Ky. (8/10/17) — The University of Kentucky industrial hemp agronomic science group will present its annual field day Sept. 9 in conjunction with the 2017 Hemp Industries Association’s Hemp Conference Sept. 8-11 at the Lexington Convention Center.

The field day is from 9 until 11 a.m. CST at UK’s Spindletop Research Farm and is open to the public. Preregistration is not required for the field day.

Various researchers and specialists from the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment will discuss their research projects including work on hemp agronomy, microbiology and diseases. The stops will have information related to ...

           A small molecule inhibitor of the BLM helicase modulates chromosome stability in human cells         
Nguyen, Giang Huong and Dexheimer, Thomas S. and Rosenthal, Andrew S. and Chu, Wai Kit and Singh, Dharmendra Kumar and Mosedale, Georgina and Bachrati, Csanad Z. and Schultz, Lena and Sakurai, Masaaki and Savitsky, Pavel and Abu, Mika and McHugh, Peter J. and Bohr, Vilhelm A. and Harris, Curtis C. and Jadhav, Ajit and Gileadi, Opher and Maloney, David J. and Simeonov, Anton and Hickson, Ian D. (2013) A small molecule inhibitor of the BLM helicase modulates chromosome stability in human cells. Chemistry & Biology, 20 (1). pp. 55-62. ISSN 1074-5521
          Marine Engineering        
Marine engineering is a division of engineering that deals with the nautical architecture and science.
Marine engineers are skilled individuals involved in the design, construction and maintenance of vehicles and structures used on or around water. Marine engineering technology and techniques are used to create cruise ships, oil platforms and harbors.
Marine engineering often refers to the engineering of boats, ships, oil rigs and any other marine vessel or structure, but also encompasses oceanographic engineering.

Marine Engineers are responsible for the design and connstruction of seagoing vessels and structures, focusing primarily on their internal systems. Simply put, they design the onboard electrical, environmental and propulsion systems aboard everything from oil platforms to cruise ships.

Marine engineering basically is meant for research conducted in oceans and coastal or inland waters connected to the sea. Marine engineers have the entire responsibility of the ship's technical management. The construction, operations and maintenance of the engine room are the main obligation of a marine engineer. Marine engineering also comprises of anthropology, engineering, archaeology, sociology and other related studies of human relationships with the sea.

Eligibility :

UG: 4 Years

For admission into bachelor’s degree, the candidate must have passed intermediate in science(10+2) examination with subjects biology, maths and chemistry. For IITs, It is mandatory to clears JEE - Advance.

PG: 2 Years

For admission into master’s degree, the candidate must have passed bachelor's degree in (B.E/B.Tech) or any other equivalent branches of engineering.

          Mechanical And Automotion Engineering        
Mechanical & Automation engineering is focused towords future. When there'll shortage of workers in factories or in order to reduce cost & time of manufacturing, robots will replace workers. All that is automation. Even some of factories are completely automated. Mechanical and automation engineers are mainly focus on designing and manufacturing of machines. Engineers design and assemble engines and power plants, structures and vehicles of all sizes and deals with use of machines, control systems and information technologies. The future of mechanical and automation engineering certainly offers a variety of opportunities for professionals entering the field. Students studies the principles of mechanics, materials and energy to design as well as manufacture machines and devices of all kinds.
Eligibility :

UG : 4 Years

For admission in a bachelor’s degree, the candidate must have passed the higher secondary school certificate (10+2) examination with science subject such as biology, maths and chemistry. For IITs, It is mandatory to qualify in the Joint Entrance Examinations (J.E.E).

PG : 2 Years

The eligibility criteria for pursuing a master’s degree are holding a bachelor's degree in (B.E/B.Tech) or any other equivalent branches of engineering.

In reply to Myxoid inflammatory fibroblastic sarcoma

Hi Pauline,

My diagnosis is Myxoid MFH, although the Mayo consulting service called it myxofibtosarcoma. The first surgery was January 18, 2010 when a general surgeon thought they were removing a cyst from my trapezius (which was initially thought to be a lipoma). The wide local excision was on Feb 15, 2010 where I had 20% of the trap removed. I opted out of radiation as I had studied radiation biology in a early postdoc. Now I will go on surveillance. I have however, begun, phenotyping my tumor for cancer stem cell content and metastasis markers such as ezrin, stc-2, etc. Results from these analyses will provide some guidance to the level of continued surveillance.

PS I should also mention I have working hard in physical therapy as I have found loss of the trapezius more of an issue than first expected.

          Please advise the Singularity Institute with your domain-specific expertise!        
Submitted by lukeprog • 18 votes • 33 comments

The Singularity Institute would benefit from having a team of domain-specific advisors on hand. If you'd like to help the Singularity Institute pursue its mission more efficiently, please sign up to be a Singularity Institute advisor!

If you sign up, we will occasionally ask you questions. You may be able to answer our questions or at least point us in the right direction. We may also request to schedule a quick chat with you.

Domains of expertise we especially need:

  • Nearly all subfields of economics, maths, computer science & AI, statistics, cognitive science, physics, biology, and naturalistic philosophy.
  • U.S. & California law
  • Non-profit development and tax compliance
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  • U.S. government and military processes (lobbying, security, infrastructure, etc.)
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  • Nuclear security, bio-security, disease control

          Wikileaks. Authoritarianism. The Ever-Braver New World in Biology. The Election.        

As we prepare this episode each week, we usually remind ourselves that you're under no obligation to listen to it. The pressure is on us to make it worth your time -- which is how it should be. To know that you can move on with a simple mouse click or screen tap makes us work harder.

So, thanks for your time. And please do read on for our unique perspective on the 2016 election, Wikileaks & authoritarianism, and the ever-braver new world in biology.

Let's get started.

          Cracking the Mysteries of Biology with Big-Picture Social Mood         

High school science teachers like to say that biology helps us understand ourselves. Clearly so. But, some recent news stories about biology in the lab -- plus other news stories about biology "on the street" -- describe biology-related outcomes in ways that many people find scary, and/or downright perplexing...

          Houston hackspace's open-house month, with BBQ!        
Calling all Houstonites! The Tx/Rx Labs hackspace is hosting a series of BBQ-infused open houses through the month of March:
What's a Hack-B-Q? Think free B-B-Q with the added bonus of getting to share knowledge with TXRX Members who have expertise in exciting DIY technology projects. And that's just for starters: There are tons of exciting projects in progress and members with expertise in chemistry, electrical engineering, biology, physics, programming, mechanical engineering, and many others, all of whom are interested in sharing that knowledge for the benefit of the community. Oh yeah, and did we mention FREE TI LaunchPad Dev Kits? (while supplies last)
Tx/Rx Labs (Thanks, Rtavk!)
          Re: The Biology of Love: Dr. Helen Fisher at TEDxEast        

If you can make the time, read her books! They are FLY!!!!

          The Batons of Christopher Hitchens; The natural underpinnings of social conservatism; Jordan Peterson's work        
Recently I engaged in a debate with a muckety muck in the Church of Sam Harris regarding Jordan Peterson. The man is highly upset at my 'slander' regarding Harris.

Some people fancy themselves as the quintessential sons-of-Christopher-Hitchens. They have their profile photos permanently set as a cartoon of a cigarette smoking Hitch, and they never change that photo to something else, ever.

From my perspective the batons of Hitch have passed to several people, and several of those people are on the current right-side of the political spectrum, much the chagrin of fervent Church of Harris believers.

Partial list of people who've been the recipients of a Hitchian baton: Andrew Breitbart, Douglas Murray, Mark Steyn, Gad Saad, and even Dinesh D'Souza.

List of people who're traitors to the legacy of Hitch: Sam Harris; Church of Sam Harris priests who get upset at 'slander' against Harris; and all atheists who voted for Her.

One person interviewed by Saad is Jordan Peterson. Peterson recently engaged in a discussion with Harris, and Harris could not wrap his brain around what Peterson was saying. Understandable for more reasons than one.

Peterson speaks valuably against social constructivism and Marxism (as does Saad). He also speaks valuably regarding the nuclear bomb level impact of artificial birth control upon the human animal. And even before I heard of Peterson, I wrote the exact same type of thing.

Regarding Peterson's religiospeak, it's important (and mostly required) to interpret the totality of it within an enlightened naturalistic framework.

Dennett's 'dangerous' idea regarding religion being natural cuts several ways. One way it cuts is that fully evolved human moral codes are couched within religious contexts. Another is that every single syllable emitted from the vocal orifice of Jordan Peterson needs to be interpreted within context.

A highly valuable project: more accurately (and without leftist SJW prejudice) describing the inherent, evolved, and high value to enlightened social conservatism, and naturalistically articulate evolutionary psychology.

Peterson approaches such a merging more than Gad Saad, in his own way Petersonian way.

Thus a great thanks to Peterson for opposing Marxism and social constructivism, on campus and off. And thanks to him for revolutionarily speaking the truth regarding one specific concern of social conservatives (widely available artificial birth control).

Valuable and fully natural scientific work.


The Harrisian (Sam Harris and his aficionados) brain has problems grasping many things. For example:

1.) That free will fully exists within the human animal, in a natural, reasonably adequate, and compatiblist sense. Dennett is right. Harris is a myopic hack on this front.

2.) That consciousness is not an ineffable humming glow.

3.) That male circumcision is highly abhorrent.

4.) That there was high utilitarian value to voting for Trump.

5.) That voting for Hillary was a huge betrayal to the legacy of Hitch. The crooked racketeering Team Rape versus a pro-American and thus pro-Enlightenment good-hearted businessman who used His Own Money to block the raping racketeering Clintons.

Also Harris engaged in malpractice regarding his psychological diagnosis of Trump, one which was petty, shallow, moronic, analy retentive, boring, stupid, and obtuse - and fully on par with most Harrisian projects and pronouncements.

So thanks to Peterson, Gad Saad, and others.

Saad is a social liberal. Peterson seems to be a moderate. When more scientists get some balls and brain cells, and finally see value to fully evolved social conservatism, then there'll be progress. But until then, the pro-eugenics pro-death nihilistic hacks aren't scientists but rather they're just worse than worthless nihilists.

At least Saad is willing to entertain conservative ideas without becoming an utter nutter. And Peterson is closer to the truth of the evolved situation, in his own Petersonian way.

What evolutionary process is involved when decidedly childfree denialist abusively permissive SJW leftists just want want want to import admittedly also abusive Muslims to breed on their behalf?

The SJW children of let-it-all-hang-out 60s hippies love forcibly-hijabbed women and abusive Islamic Puritanism and Islamic large families.


Yes Islam warps natural evolved processes in highly wrong headed ways.

A better course would be for children of the Enlightenment to wake up, reject baby killing and artificial birth control, and breed themselves rather than to import rapey barbarian savages to breed on their behalf.

In any case Harrisian logic is rather like a weak cog in a half baked pie, to mix a metaphor. Krausian logic isn't any better by the way.


Excerpts from an exchange with a Church of Harris priest (COHP) on all the above:

"Peterson's ideas are only valuable inasmuch as one is willing to take his epistemologically foolhardy presuppositions for granted."

My response:

Hardly. No more than one must assume the god believer does everything in his life >because< his god is a 100% actual fact, as opposed to a perceived fact - one which exists within the required/knowledge support structure of the meme-gene system in which he exists.

Why do people do the things they do? A combination of biology, biological history, genes and memes, which all inseparably play off each other.

Biology, evolution, life, and ideas which are rooted in various aspects of being alive, and a processing machine which can (by happenstance and not) be used for other purposes also. But even those other purposes tie into the fundamentals of existence.

For example the mathematician and physicist usually want humanity to survive, and they can be driven to use their realms of knowledge for fully biological-imperative type purposes.

How does the world work, and thus by extension how do humans work.

Peterson is concerned about what happens when humans toss the baby of morality with the bath water of religion.

Since religion is a fully natural memetic-encasement of evolved morality, it's reasonable to add 'evolved' as a preface word to the terms 'religion' and 'morality.'

COHP: "Again, his epistemology is predicated on an exceptionally precarious conceptual foundation"


It's a fundamental fallacy and also myopic to assume that expressed-views are only valid if the person expressing them can articulately state a reasonable fully-scoped foundation for those views.

Peterson uses religiospeak which must be taken within a naturalistic context. There's no other context which is reasonable. And a lack of understanding on the part of the naturalistic evaluator can lead to fundamentally flawed conclusions.

Aside from the terms he uses, Peterson has concerns about the state of humanity, concerns which do directly relate to Dennett's dangerous idea regarding religion being natural, Peterson's concerns are highly relevant, telling, and apparently factual.

The baby of evolved human morality tossed with the bath water of evolved and fully natural mysticism.

There's big costs and impacts.

COHP: "His entire philosophy collapses beneath the weight of its own incoherence."


He seems pretty coherent to me. His concerns are highly valid and valuable to make note of.

The memetic bathtub he's in is interesting and nuanced, and must and can only be understood within an enlightened naturalistic context.

COHP: "an epistemology anchored to an ontological fact is conceptually unsustainable."


How does the world work.

How do humans work.

What is human nature.

Why do humans do what they do.

Why are we here.

How can we survive.

The noob atheist, the rebellious leftist and weed smoking libertarian, all assume that without (the concept of) a god everything is permitted. Such people, and their abusively permissive and denialist meme sets, simply do not understand how the world and humans work.

COHP: "It's based on essentially circular logic"

You're stuck in the weeds of philosophical word games and forced paths which fully fail to understand what's going on, with Peterson and with religious believers in general.

Idea sets which are inadequately contextualized need not be 100% self consistent nor 100% 'reasonable' to be 'valid.' 'Valid' meaning having naturalistic causes, and meme sets which can result in reasonable naturalistically-rephrased ideas and natural material useful facts.

As for circularity, humans are evolved animals, and many aspects of human nature circle back to this fact and the general facts of how the human animal works.

COHP: "any truth claim he makes atop that foundation instantly fails."


...only for those who lack a fully contextualized and enlightened materialistic understanding of what's going on.

COHP: "It's important that one's conception of truth can at least sustain itself."


Religions do sustain themselves via and for natural reasons.

COHP: "Peterson's truth eats its own tail in a million different ways."


Not that I've seen. And the truths within religions need to, and can only be, properly understood within natural contexts.

COHP: "If his definition of truth ultimately leads to the extinction of the human race..."


He wants us to survive, and rightly so.

COHP: "...does that mean that it was never true?"


Properly contextualized truth, yes.

COHP: "It makes absolutely no sense."


He makes sense to me.

Marxism: Peterson observed highly negative impacts. He doesn't like what he saw. He doesn't want a repeat.

One of Peterson's points is that rejecting traditional religion can lead to errors in thinking, and to incredibly high levels of abusiveness, denialisms, and moronity, as was and is the case with Marxism. The utter stupidity continues on campus today.

COHP: "The soviet union"


...was an anti-human-nature identitarian leftist utopian totalitarian evil corrosive human spirit destroying dead-end endeavor. Peterson knows this.

COHP: "It was the result of disillusionment in the church..."


...which led to something far worse. And the Soviet Union was a de facto religion, as is Marxism.

Visit most any atheist (or humanist or Unitarian Universalist) group in America.

State to them that you enjoy Duck Dynasty, and that you're a pro-life anti-gay-"marriage" atheist. See how long it takes for them to boot you: faster than a Mormon Bishop. A de facto religion with dogma, doctrines, heresy trials, and excommunication.

COHP: "Most Nazis were devout Christians."


Fascism is a left spectrum endeavor. National Socialism.

There is identitarianism in both Marxism and fascism. Group rights and group blames. Utopianism. De facto eugenics. Racism. Dogmas. Doctrines. Heresy trials.

Yes I see that Communism/Marxism and fascism all have corrosive tribalistic elements and religious ones too. Peterson rightly points out negative impacts.

COHP: "You've COMPLETELY misconstrued Dennett..."


Many hours listening to Dennett.

COHP: "Sam's positions."



Harris is a myopic hack.

...on many fronts.

No Hitch-honoring Hitch-appreciator could or ever would vote for a Clinton.

The micro differentiations between spandrels and other effects are weedy sticky mud, regarding arguing about differences between what's one and what another. False choices based on myopathy. Why? Because here's the situation as previously noted:

Religion is a natural phenomenon which couches evolved traits.

There's synergies between memes and genes.

Not all religions are equal regarding positive and negative impacts.

Harrisian woo (Chamlers and Harris):

Harris didn't learn from:

Gad Saad.
Jordan Peterson.
Me, whom he censored.

------------------------------------------------------------ end of quote of direct exchange

Am I a quintessential 'son of Hitch?' Hitch isn't more important than my family & I don't claim he was correct on all issues. During his tenure I was partially swayed to the pro-Iraq-war side, but now I'm much more skeptical regarding the value of it. Moron Bush and even-worse moron Obama screwed up the place big time.

Time for Trumpian pragmatism now. But Hitch did free many brains from dogma, especially from leftist dogma.
          The Problems with Hillary Clinton        
The problems with Hillary Clinton:

Like racism? In a Democrat controlled world, your race equals your identity, and your views, and what rights you have and don't have, what you get to say or don't say, whom you get to criticize and not criticize.

Identity politics, and nothing else.

Racist racism, from the regressive left - which is *all* the left is nowadays, regressive.

So Vote For Her, if you want this, permanently, in America. And if she wins, well I just be joinin' all the other white folk so we can be in the "White Wing" of the Democrat party. We'll be down the list quite a bit, on the list of group-rights. Down toward the bottom, just above ex-Muslims.

There is argumentum ad hominem. Sometimes the shoe fits and thus argumentation to the person isn't always a fallacy as such, especially when the person in question is slimy repeated rapist & etc. Recently my views on the value of Alex Jones & his network & presence have changed mostly completely.

There's people in power, people who want to stay in power. They'll do pretty much anything to stay in power.

The Europe of the 70s - more nice.

The Europe of today: a disaster, nor a clarion of freedom. If you speak your mind, you will be ejected from your job & polite society, and you may be jailed. Also low birth rates in Europe are essentially a form of slow motion suicide. Europe is importing a medieval savage culture into their midst. Rape gangs in Cologne. Mass rape elsewhere. And if you're a 'native' European and you complain, you risk loosing your job & being otherwise slimed by everyone, and possibly jailed. Tell the truth, go to jail. This is Europe today. Geert Wilders. But now just the common Joe Schmoe can get locked up for speaking the truth. Not an idea society in several ways.

In my past naivete I saw socialism as ideal - but to get there you basically need a type of totalitarianism. The Mommy State which knows all & which does all. The Mommy State which replaces family & personal responsibility. And the Mommy State which decides which speech & thought is appropriate, and which speech & thought must be banned.

MSNBC has a constant drum beat. But it's a drum beat also taken up by banal & boring sites like the BBC & the PBS Newshour. The 'status quo' drumbeat which serves to keep the establishment cronies in power.

When a President is/was a rapist, and all the Newshour & CNN & MSNBC can do is engage in sociopathic evaluations which treat politics like a football game & so on, and when they show their clear bias by not addressing stories which cast shadows on their favored leaders - that's a problem.

There is a new phenomenon called the 'regressive left.'

Most of the left, the type which calls out people for being Islamophobic & so on, they *are* the cultural left nowadays. The types which have setup social hierarchies based on every imaginable category, with Caucasian males being near the bottom of that list. The current perceived & apparent hierarchy:

1. Muslims, and especially hijab/burqa wearing Saudi style Muslims.
2. "Childfree" third wave feminists with blue hair.
3. The gender dysphoric (transexuals).
4. The sexual orientation dysphoric (aka gays).
5. Mexicans.
6. 'Native' Americans AKA Amerindians.
7. Leftist black women.
8. Leftist black men.
9. Leftist white women.
10. Conservative black women.
11. Conservative black men.
12. Asian men & women.
13. Conservative white women.
14. Leftist white men.
15. Conservative white men.
16. Ex-Muslims.

What prompted me to change from a liberal socialist Democrat to an alternative-conservative:

Step 1, while still a leftist: Exposure to the ideas of Christopher Hitchens, a guy who spent much of his life questioning dominant paradigms. Eventually his basic human morality came at odds with the relativism of the left. So, he supported the war in Iraq & the Kurds, because he thought it was simply the moral thing to do, leftist peacenik politics be damned. He for his heresy, he was ejected from the 'polite society left.'

Step 2, while still a leftist: Exposure to intriguing info from Richard Dawkins (about memes), Daniel Dennett (how meme sets called religions are fully natural phenomena), and Steven Pinker (how humans are not 'blank slates.').

Step 3, viewing leftist Islamophilia and outright lies about Islam.
...but the UU position is fully illustrative of how the entire left acts, except for a few lonelies like Sam Harris.

"The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam." incredible betrayal of the ideals of the Enlightenment which helped to found America.

Step 4, marrying a socially conservative atheist from China who has zero connection to the Bible, Quran, or Book of Mormon. Where does rural Chinese social conservatism come from? From human nature. From evolution. Evolved traits.

Hippie 'scientists' love the permissive traits, but they then fully discount ingrained natural conservative ones.

Dawkins wrote a book about how Darwin had a 'dangerous idea.' Dennett had one also, regarding religion being a natural phenomenon - a fact which cuts several ways. One way it cuts is that fully natural & sometimes highly useful evolved moral codes can be and are couched within religious contexts. Hard thing for an ex-Mormon with a chip on his shoulder to admit.

Step 5, after taking an Alice in Wonderland style social journey through much of what the left has to offer (eg: nudist clubs, polyamory clubs, gay bars & parties, general over-permissiveness & relativism) I came to conclude that the cultural left basically denies human evolutionary history and basic biology just as much as the right does, and probably more - because at least the cultural right f-ing breeds.

Step 6, observing what happened with Hebdo (cartoonists killed) & Garland (winning ex-Muslim cartoonist almost killed), and with Obama and the establishment left's basic lying about Islam, I finally started to check out 'the right.' Not the religious right, but rather the libertarian and intellectual right - as currently portrayed and represented by people who're here today.

Douglas Murray, essentially a gay neocon. Tells the truth about Islam. A questioner of dominant paradigms.

Mark Steyn, who occasionally subs for Rush Limbaugh -
Tells the truth about Islam & other topics. A questioner of dominant paradigms.

I already knew about Ayaan Hirsi Ali & Theo Van Gogh. But it's worth making note that Ayaan is hosted in America by the American Enterprise Institute. Which leftist organization has the back of Ayaan & people like her? None, and that's telling.

Bosch Fawstin, the ex-Muslim winner of the Draw Mohamed Cartoon Contest in Garland, Texas, the one where two Muslim people tried to kill people there. Bosch is an appreciator of Ayn Rand. The people who hosted the event also like Rand: Pam Geller and Robert Spencer.

Step 7, checking out more libertarian and conservative thought & news & views. For the first time ever opening myself up to the entirety of what's out there on the right. I was raised as a Democrat by a Democrat Mormon father. He loved Bill Clinton & Carter. He hated Reagan & Nixon. And I followed in his footsteps. But for the first time I stopped assuming that everything on the right was inherently bogus.

Step 8, finding Milo Yiannopoulos, a gay conservative who sees high utilitarian value in Trump. Before encountering Milo I believed the basic establishment conservative (National Review) lie about Trump, that he's supposedly a shill for Hillary - a way to block other Republicans & to ensure that Hillary gets elected.

The interview that first swayed me to Trump's camp, between Milo & Dave Rubin:

Step 9, I allowed to fall away the last vestiges of being a leftist, by allowing myself to see high value in Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.

The only reason Rush has a voice & is popular, is because most of the establishment media aren't acting like fair journalists.

Wouldn't it be good if everyone thought like 'the left?' Such a result does not allow for proper selection within human societies. Single party rule excludes healthy selection (selection as is in natural selection). And when journalists are essentially shills and tools & propagandists for everything leftist, they cease being journalists. This is why Rush is so popular, because he can spend 3 hours every day making note of example after example.

As for Fox News, I particularly enjoy Sean Hannity's program, and also his talk radio show.

Step 10, don't forget about Andrew Breitbart, a man who stated that Christopher Hitchens helped make him the man he became:

To actually see if our suppositions are correct, there's needs to be a cogent and coherent and powerful opposition. Not every idea that pops into the head of a 'childfree' blue haired third wave feminist lesbian will help humanity survive & thrive & be happy.

What is the 'alt right?'

Part 1: A response to the big-money big-bank crony-whore-rooted betrayal of people who're on the right.

Part 2: Former leftists who've had it with the slow motion suicide policies of the left, the anti-freedom, anti-science, anti-intellectual inquiry, lies, deceptions, Islamophilia, 'childfree' status worshiping, and cronyism on the left.

Cackling Hillary thinks the 'alt right' is, well, I don't know what she really thinks because she's got as many faces as Sybil. Her pandering politician side claims the 'alt right' is fully equal to the ideas of David Duke. And Bill Clinton thinks that the core of Trump supporters are 'red necks.' Either they don't know, or they're just trying to virtue signal to get votes.

No one ever hears about David Duke, until every 4 years Republicans must disavow him. But when shall leftists be required to disavow their outlier nuts?

The near entirely of Milo's channel is a great trove of info regarding why exactly intelligent young people, and some older ones, see high utilitarian value in overturning the apple cart of the crony left & the crony right - AKA electing Trump & doing other related tasks.

Bathing in pigs blood.

Showing up as Ivanna Wall (I wan't a wall) drag queen.

Stating exactly why 'feminism is cancer,' and why 'Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy.'

What if some precepts in leftist doctrine are in fact incorrect & hurtful. When we claim that our beliefs are not falsifiable, we're in a religion.

Wife of Bill called Milo & Breitbart out for the above quoted headlines. But, the left appears to have no tolerance for a.) nuance, and b.) ironic comedy, and c.) actually bothering to check why a person would say such a thing, and d.) are the roots of such claims based in science?

Sloganeering, and sliming people who spout views which don't tow the leftist party line. That's what a religion does, and it's what the left & the Clintons do. The basket of deplorables. Argumentum ad hominem - in a bad way which is a fallacy.

As for the Clintons, they have plenty of self generated slime.

Only Breitbart recently & fully interviewed the victims of Bill:

Hannity did follow up more recently though:

Trump has honorably given these victims of Bill & Hillary a proper voice:

Milo's main concern, and mine, are that Wife of Bill will reduce key freedoms in America. Vanderbilt talking about this:

Who's got the back of gays in America, threatened with death by Muslims? The politicians who lie & claim that such attacks have nothing to do with Islam?

I know Sam Harris doesn't like Trump nor Milo. Harris is essentially a very lonely leftist, and he's also rather myopic. Sam wishes the left would be honest about Islam, but it won't be.

Nuance from Milo:

1. The achievements of feminism were generally good, but third wave feminism is evil & abusive.

2. The achievements of civil rights campaigners in the past were good. But now that all the victories have been one, the left still has the righteous desire to keep fighting. To do so they must invent new categories of groups which 'need rights.'

Hillary and her drones will never understand the above points though.

Islam generates ruin. When will Bernie & Obama be stating that fact?

The schemers scheme in their back rooms & think tanks. They use one face in public & another in private. They use 'virtue signaling' as a means of claiming to be a great crusader for 'social justice,' while really being vacuous plastic wastrels (and real rapists) in reality.

Trump doesn't do that, from what we can tell - and that's another reason why some highly appreciate his tone & value.

Journalism is dead. You have to pick your side. I decided to stop listening the side which sides with the Islamic death cult, and the side which loves slow motion suicide, and the side which has an abusive hierarchy of group-rights which puts people like me near the bottom. 'Native' Amercians would never be allowed to be invaded & destroyed in today's world. But 'Native' Europeans? No problem. And there's many other problems with group-rights hierarchies and identity politics.

I probably aspire to the conservatism Jonathan Haidt mentions, with more equal alliance to Care, Fairness, Liberty, Loyalty, Authority, and Sanctity. The Sanctity of life, not the Sanctity of sacred cows. Loyalty to the Enlightenment and Enlightenment principles. The Authority of the Rule of Law. Care, but not through the Dole because the Dole helps no one mostly. Fairness, but not 'social justice.' Fairness through a fairness of opportunity - but not opportunity at the cost of group rights hierarchies nor identity politics.

A further summary I wrote:

Back to Sam Harris: I think he's a poor quality scientist, a hack at philosophy, myopic on politics, a drug addled wannabe Buddhist-style guru, and a new vegetarian who's fully placed himself on the road to probable Parkinson's (Robin Williams RIP). And I disagree with Harris on circumcision:

The fact that Glenn Beck hates Trump, makes me want to vote for Trump.

The fact that the regressive left hates Trump, makes me want to vote for Trump.

The fact that the establishment right hates Trump, makes me want to vote for Trump.

The fact that Bill Clinton is a rapist and that his wife slimed Bill's victims, makes me want to vote for Trump.

Reference materials, perhaps a library near us:

Clinton Cash:

Clinton Cash Graphic Novel - now at the City library thanks to my suggesting that they buy it:
...the pay to play schemes of the Clintons makes me want to vote for Trump.

Hillary's health issues, makes me want to vote for Trump.

Milo speaking after the Orlando massacre:
...makes me want to vote for Trump.

The writings of Roger Stone
...prompt me to be inclined to vote for Trump.

Oh, and Asians rank lower than Mexicans and blacks on the hierarchy:
          Opening the Doors of Justice is Critically Important        

Should people affected by federal agency actions that impose over ten billion dollars of costs and impact tens of millions of acres for no benefit (and likely cause harm to the intended beneficiaries of the actions), be able to challenge such decisions in court? It’s a matter of simple fairness: the doors of justice should be open to citizens so they can challenge government regulations, especially those that have significant costs and impacts.


In a just-filed amicus brief, in support of Pacific Legal Foundation’s petition to the Supreme Court to hear a case, Reason Foundation, Cato Institute and the National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Legal Center examined this issue as it pertains to the designation of “critical habitat” under the Endangered Species Act. Yet the federal agencies that administer the Act maintain otherwise by claiming the agency actions under which critical habitat for species are designated, included which habitat is excluded from designation, are immune from legal challenge.


For a sense of the massive costs, illusory conservation benefits, and even environmental harm, designation of critical habitat entails consider the following from the Reason-Cato-NFIB amicus brief:


Examining the data associated with the designation of critical habitat for 159 species—out of the 793 so treated as of May 1, 2016—reveals the enormous costs and amount of land and water involved in habitat designation. Brian Seasholes, The Critical Nature of Critical Habitat Decisions, Reason Found. (June 1, 2016), The effects are:

  • Total economic impact of up to $10.7 billion (usually over 20 years, following designation);
  • Annual economic impacts of up to $1.3 billion;
  • Hundreds of lost jobs per species;
  • Regulatory burdens affecting 60,169,546 acres of land (11,261,054 privately owned), 83,372 miles of streams/creeks/rivers, and 68,846,720 acres of lakes/oceans/estuaries;
  • Regulatory burdens associated with designating privately owned land adjacent to 27,851 miles of critical habitat streams and rivers.
  • Designations in 37 states and two territories.


Despite these extraordinary costs and impacts for just 20% of the species with critical habitat, “a number of studies have found that critical habitat designation has no discernible influence on whether a species’ status is declining, stable, or improving,” according to the brief.


And here is what the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has to say about the conservation value of critical habitat:


In 30 years of implementing the Act, the Service has found that the designation of statutory critical habitat provides little additional protection to most listed species, while consuming significant amounts of available conservation resources. The Service’s present system for designating critical habitat has evolved since its original statutory prescription into a process that provides little real conservation benefit, is driven by litigation and the courts rather than biology, limits our ability to fully evaluate the science involved, consumes enormous agency resources, and imposes huge social and economic costs. 70 Fed. Reg. 46924 (Aug. 11, 2005).


Yet the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service routinely ignores the costs of designating critical habitat, to the extent of even omitting them from the Federal Register (which is where the official agency decisions for such designations is recorded), as the Reason-Cato-NFIB brief documents:

For example, in 2015, when the USFWS designated 1,429,551 acres of critical habitat—of which 614,707 was private land—for the Gunnison sage grouse (a chicken-sized bird in Colorado and Utah), it estimated that doing so would have an impact of $6.9 million over 20 years. 79 Fed. Reg. 69347 (Nov. 20, 2014). The agency’s commissioned analysis provides separate estimates of annual impacts of the designation to the oil and gas industry: $160 million and 44 jobs in Colorado and $210,000, 5 jobs, and $62,000 in lost tax revenue in Utah.


In addition to the enormous costs imposed by critical habitat designations, “[m]ounting evidence suggests that some regulatory actions by the Federal government, while well-intentioned and required by law, can (under certain circumstances) have unintended negative consequences for the conservation of species on private lands.” 75 Fed. Reg. 78460 (Dec. 15, 2010).


Or, as the federal government succinctly describes the issue:

"Many private landowners are wary of possible consequences of encouraging endangered species to their property . . . . Many landowners fear a decline in their property value due to real or perceived restrictions on land-use options where endangered or threatened species are found. Consequently, harboring endangered species is viewed by many landowners as a liability. . . . This perception results in anti-conservation incentives because maintaining habitats that harbor endangered species rep- resents a risk to future economic opportunities. . . . We attempt to ease these concerns through communication and outreach withlandowners; however, we recognize that these efforts are not always successful." 75 Fed. Reg. 78460 (Dec. 15, 2010)


This is the outcome of conservation-by-hammer, instead of carrot, as the amicus brief notes:

The unfortunate but predictable result of the ESA’s punitive approach to conservation is that species protection is connected to economic liabilities, and landowners seek to lessen these liabilities by denying species habitat.



The harm caused species by the ESA is especially damaging on private lands because they are the linchpin of species conservation; 78 percent of endangered and threatened species depended on private land for all or some of their habitat. U.S. General Accounting Office, GAO/RCED-95-16, Endangered Species Act: Information on Species Protection on Nonfederal Lands 4, 5 (1994). Ninety-one percent of all endangered and threatened species have at least some habitat on nonfederal land. Id. And while 50 percent of endangered and threatened species do not exist on federal land, only 12 percent of them exist solely on federal land. Bruce A. Stein et al., “Significance of Federal Lands for Endangered Species,” in Dep’t of the Interior, Our Living Resources 398-401 (Edward T. LaRoe et al., eds. 1995). “Most federally listed species in the United States will not recover without cooperation of non-Federal landowners,” according to the USFWS. 75 Fed. Reg. 78460 (Dec. 15, 2010). 


If all this wasn't bad enough:


Critical habitat designation also harms the environment because “by reducing the density of development in areas deemed to be critical habitat, [it] can change the shape of urban areas and squeeze growth into more remote locations.” Sunding et al., The Economic Costs of Critical Habitat Designation, supra, at iii. “This effect of designation is costly for potential homebuyers and business owners as they are forced to locate to less desirable areas. . . . By encouraging sprawl, critical habitat designation can also lead toregional problems of road congestion and air pollution, in addition to the problem of housing affordability already mentioned.” Id. Yet sprawl is identified as a major threat to wildlife, including endangered species. See generally, e.g., Reid Ewing & John Kostyack. Endangered by Sprawl: How Runaway Development Threatens America’s Wildlife (2005).


So to sum up: critical habitat imposes billions of dollars of costs, across tens of millions of acres, for no discernible conservation benefit, and causes widespread environmental harm, including to the very species that are supposed to be helped. While this may be business-as-usual for the federal government, it cries out for review by the Supreme Court.








          CRISPR: The end of Malaria and Zika and Mosquitoes        
[+6] Discussion by rosborne979 on 05/12/16 7:18 PM Replies: 36 Views: 2,794
Tags: Science, Evolution, Biology, Crispr, Gene Editing
Last Post by rosborne979 on 07/13/17 12:03 PM
          Are we alone in the universe?        
[+14] Discussion by Jpsy on 12/03/13 3:45 AM Replies: 77 Views: 20,495
Tags: Science, Evolution, Universe, Life, Biology
Last Post by Goliathus on 11/19/16 9:15 AM
          Did Australopithecus africanus evolve into Homo habilis?        
[+9] Question by Jenb914 on 10/21/16 12:02 PM Replies: 22 Views: 1,063
Tags: Evolution, Human Evolution, Evolutionary Biology
Last Post by farmerman on 10/23/16 6:40 AM
          An Embarassment to Science        
[+11] Discussion by Leadfoot on 02/18/16 8:27 AM Replies: 55 Views: 3,520
Tags: Science, Physics, News, Evolution, Biology
Last Post by farmerman on 08/11/16 4:02 PM
          Matric / Inter Teachers Required in Karachi - Pearl HR Consultants - Karachi        
Teachers are required for Matric &amp; Intermediate (IX,X,XI and XII) Science subjects (Physics, Computer, Biology, Chemistry, Maths, English) on a part-time...
From Indeed - Thu, 03 Aug 2017 04:58:45 GMT - View all Karachi jobs
          An Unquiet Mind        
In the Spring I joined my local psychological association with the idea of getting to know my professional colleagues and maybe networking a bit. One group I've been very involved with is our Psychological Book Club. We meet every 2 months after reading a book that is in one way or another associated with psychology. Previous entrants have included Couple Skills, Oh the Glory of it All, and (my choice) Crazy.

For today's meeting we are reading Dan Siegel's The Mindful Brain. I was initially really excited to read this, as Dr. Siegel's work in interpersonal neurobiology is pretty exciting stuff. However... This book blows. I mean, hard. In a major way. In fact, we are meeting at 7pm tonight and I have finished less than half of it. Not because I couldn't, but because I can't, if you understand the distinction. I will at some point this afternoon skim the rest and perhaps force my way through the last chapter, but I am accepting defeat on this one.

The book proposes to explore the psychobiology of how mindful awareness increases personal well being and can be so effective at treating certain disorders, such as pain, ADHD, and anxiety. I am all for this! Don't get me wrong! However... What I am not on board with is Dr. Siegel's sweeping statements, such as how he equates mindfulness with "good" and mindlessness with "evil". Or how he makes that particularly infuriating statement to the effect that "in the past" people were more mindful and thus happier, while now we are all living in a cesspool of mindless shit. This I cannot abide, nor can any student of history. People who make the current society out to be the worst ever, or the wellspring of all evils, have read neither fiction nor historical research about older societies than our own, all of which faced their own evils, and all of which felt that theirs was the dawn of the apocolypse for some foolish reason or other. It is such a myopic argument that it completely spoiled the rest of the book for me, appearing as it did early in the first chapter.

I'm so disappointed in this book, particularly because Seigel's other work is so noteworthy. I keep trying to see if there is something in me that is resisting the message, or otherwise questioning my judgement. Why am I more interested in reading Dorothy Sayers' fictionalized accounts about how admitting women to Oxford was considered by some to be the end of the world? Perhaps because her work captured the Zeitgeist, rather than trying to create it.

Ultimately, the good news is that I passed my last exam, so, mindful or not, the state of California has no excuse but to license me forthwith!
          Debunking the "Terrible Teen" Myth: I Love Teenagers        

If every parent of cherubic toddlers had a nickel for every time some well-meaning person chuckled and said, "Just wait until they're teenagers!," those parents would still be annoyed, but they'd also be filthy rich. For whatever reason, there is nothing more-seasoned parents love to do to new(ish) parents than warn them that someday, their beautiful babies will be teens -- and the implication is that this is a fate worse than death.

Our culture perpetuates this, both explicitly and tacitly. Children are adorable! But teenagers are difficult. "Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems!" And of course there's the oft-repeated moan, "I am not looking forward to the teen years."

I'm just going to say it -- right here, right now, in front of God and everyone -- I love teenagers. Teenagers are fantastic and fascinating. My whole life, I've been the person who loves babies; I still love babies, and I will still swoop right down on you and commence with the babytalk and steal your infant from your arms because I need a cuddle, but I have come to adore the creature that is the modern teenager now that I have two of them. Don't believe the hype that teenagers are terrible and parenting teens is so much harder than younger kids. Teenagers are not terrible and every phase of parenting has its challenges. But if you're tired of tongue-clucking admonitions about the horror that supposedly lies ahead, sit down with me for a minute.

Teenagers sleep. And then they sleep some more. My daughter never went to bed without first screaming for at least twenty minutes for the first two years of her life. My son had colic for his first four months and screamed pretty much non-stop. Babies are cute and all, but they're not a recipe for a good night's sleep. And both of my children spent their first decade of life springing out of bed at o'dark thirty and coming to stand over me and demand ridiculous things (like that I get up immediately and feed them). Teens, on the other hand, love to sleep. They may agitate to stay up a little later at night, sure, but once they're down, they're out. I can't yet lay claim to a perfect night's sleep every single night, but I can tell you that the last time I awoke to "Mom! Mom! Mom! MOOOOOOOOM!!!!" was a long time ago.

Teenagers can cook for themselves. Oh, sure, this doesn't mean the whine of, "I'm huuuungry, what's for dinner?" doesn't still happen -- it does! -- but a hungry teenager can actually forage, and a motivated one can learn how to cook and then actually do it. We went so far as to assign dinner nights when the kids would cook for the whole family -- something that used to be an expected part of life back in the "olden days" but has somehow gotten away from a lot of us. It's nice for us grown-ups to have a break from meal prep, and it's great practice and a dose of autonomy/service for them.

When teenagers help, it's actually helpful. Remember back when you were advised to let your kids help whenever they wanted to, because "soon enough they won't want to" and this was about forming good habits? I sure do. I also remember going back over the half-dusted room, rearranging the dishes in the dishwasher so that they'd get clean, and waiting until the kids were in bed to scrub the bathroom that had been proudly coated in Windex and left to harden. Sometimes little kids can accomplish household tasks, but more often, they're practicing and their "help" makes twice as much work for the adults. Now, I'll freely admit that teenagers may grumble a bit when you request their assistance, but more likely than not, once they do what you've asked, it's done. Not only that, but if you play your cards right, they often take care of stuff without you even asking.

Teens are funny
Credit: symic.

Teenagers are hilarious, both intentionally and not. Remember that phase when every other sentence out of your kid's mouth was "Knock knock!"? And then the jokes didn't even make any sense, because the punchline was always "Poop!" or some other "forbidden" thing? Yeah, you don't have to deal with that with teens. Their jokes make sense, and their developing understanding of the world makes for excellent jokes and humor in places you'd never expect it. (Don't believe me? The next time your teen quips, "That's what she said!" furrow your brow and say, "I don't get it. Can you explain to me why that's funny?" The ensuing blushing and shuffling of feet will be even funnier than the initial joke.) Most teenagers I know are just plain entertaining.

Teenagers have big emotions and big compassion. The number one complaint I hear about teens is that they bring excessive drama to everything. This is a fair observation -- hormones and increasingly complex peer and school circumstances do tend to make emotions run high. This can be wearing on those of us with older, cooler heads. But the gem in the midst of the ZOMG ALL THE FEELS emotion-storm is that they're only this way because they truly care about all sorts of things, in a way that society has yet to beat out of them. It may sometimes seem like they only care about themselves, but that's probably not the case. Ever seen a teen run with a cause that mattered to him? Ever seen a teen display startling empathy for a friend in crisis? It happens. It's pretty incredible to observe.

Little kids love you just because. Teenagers love you a whole new way. I'm not going to lie; it's true that teens are more likely to hurl the dreaded, "I hate you!" as a dagger, in the heat of the moment. But they don't really hate you (not for long, anyway), and as they grow and evolve, so does your relationship with them. For the first time, maybe, they start glimpsing their parents as people. The first time you see your teen truly appreciate you is fantastic. And it never gets old, seeing them just a little surprised to realize that you're kind of okay to hang around with, and stuff.

Teenagers are in the process of becoming, and you get to bear witness. There's a reason that we find watching a caterpillar transform into a butterfly captivating. It's biology, sure, but it's also just a little bit magic. You never really know what happens in that cocoon, not really. With teenagers, the cocoon is the skull, and the processes in their brains aren't quite as linear, but nevertheless, I'll take watching a teen find her footing over a baby's first wobbly steps any day of the week. Babies work to grasp objects, to move, to understand object permanence, to form words. Teenagers work to understand their place in the world, who they really are, and what matters to them most. If you get caught up in the Sturm und Drang of rules and curfews and limit-testing you might forget that all of that is merely the window-dressing to the transformation of a dependent child into an independent adult. Don't let the annoyances convince you that they're the process; they're not. Yes, set the limits, hold firm to reasonable boundaries, and don't stop the hard work of parenting... but don't forget to watch them fly. Because they do.

Let's stop talking about teenagers like they're flesh-eating zombies. I adore teens! Who's with me?


BlogHer Contributing Editor Mir Kamin believes that parenting teens is the toughest job she's ever loved. She blogs near-daily about issues parental and otherwise at Woulda Coulda Shoulda, and all day long about the joys of mindful retail therapy at Want Not.

          Can Autism Be Outgrown?        

I am a parent to a teenager with Asperger's. Er, wait, excuse me -- thanks to the recent DSM revisions, I'm not supposed to say that anymore (even though my son strongly self-identifies as an "Aspie"). I am a parent to a teenager with high-functioning autism. As you might expect, I read a lot of articles about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), the various quackery that runs amok in the autism world, etc.

So it was with great interest (though perhaps greater trepidation) that I saw this article in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry titled, "Optimal Outcome in Individuals with a History of Autism". The title itself is benign enough, but the article is being circulated through social media channels with attached comments like "Autism is curable!" and "See, some kids do outgrow autism!" And then my interest quickly turned into a great big, "Oy!"

Before we look at the article, let's all be clear on what autism is. The new criteria for an Autism Spectrum diagnosis in the DSM-V was a matter of hot debate (for a quick overview of the differences between the DSM-IV and DSM-V differences, here's a good comparison), but the two main areas of impact are Social Communication (which includes things like language delays/disorders and broader issues like social difficulties) and Repetitive Patterns (of interests, movements, habits, etc). In the old DSM, there were three areas, and in the new one, there are these two (the Social area having enveloped the language piece which was formerly separate). In order to meet the criteria for an ASD, currently, a diagnostician has to assess a patient as having significant impairment in both areas. But within the umbrella of ASDs, of course, there is a wide spectrum of abilities and levels of impairment.

Credit: bike.

My son, for example, is often termed as having high-functioning autism because his level of day-to-day impairment is relatively minor. (The opposite of this, by the way, is often called low-functioning autism, which is a term I really dislike. I've taken a cue from fellow BlogHer Editor Shannon Rosa and prefer her term of "high-octane" autism, instead.) There's no question that he meets diagnostic criteria for an ASD diagnosis; he experiences social difficulties, pragmatic speech impairment, and has repetitive and intense interests and all of the "quirky" behaviors that my fellow ASD parents know and love. But on a good day, my son can "pass." That is, he can appear, to the untrained eye, to be completely neurotypical. If he's happy and nothing unexpected has happened and he's in a situation where he's comfortable, for an hour or two or maybe even a whole chunk of a day, his behavior could appear indistinguishable from that of his "normal" peers.

Now let's get back to this article that has everyone wondering if you can "outgrow" autism. My knee-jerk response to that question is not just, "No," but more like, "Hell, no!" Although research is ongoing, autism is largely understood at this point to have underlying genetic and neurological differences. Studies like this one on gene expression differences in autism continue to support the understanding that autism starts with biological, unchangeable differences.

But is this what the study in question is asserting, that autism can be outgrown? To the researchers' credit, they are very careful never to say it quite that way. And their question for exploration seems reasonable enough:

Although autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are generally considered lifelong disabilities, literature suggests that a minority of individuals with an ASD will lose the diagnosis. However, the existence of this phenomenon, as well as its frequency and interpretation, is still controversial: were they misdiagnosed initially, is this a rare event, did they lose the full diagnosis, but still suffer significant social and communication impairments or did they lose all symptoms of ASD and function socially within the normal range?

Later, they conclude, "Although possible deficits in more subtle aspects of social interaction or cognition are not ruled out, the results substantiate the possibility of OO [optimal outcome] from autism spectrum disorders and demonstrate an overall level of functioning within normal limits for this group."

Let's start with the study methodology. In this experiment, the researchers used 34 participants who appeared to fall into the Optimal Outcome (OO) group (that is, they had previously been diagnosed with an ASD but appear to no longer meet diagnostic criteria), 44 participants with high-functioning ASDs (HFA), and 34 participants determined to be Typically Developing (TD). All participants ranged in age from 8 to 21. On the face of it, this sounds like a reasonable sample size. Not huge, but not terrible. On the other hand, when you consider the span of development that happens between the ages of 8 and 21, it suddenly feels a lot smaller if you're a little skeptical of lumping together all of those age ranges (which, in case it's not abundantly clear, I am).

Next, participants were assessed via "two or three sessions" and self-reporting (or parent reporting). Full details of the assessments used can be found within the article itself. While there's nothing wrong with these tests -- indeed, they can lend valuable insight -- when you're talking about things like social difficulties, even the best test is no substitute for field observation. There's a reason that an individual cannot be diagnosed as having an ASD through testing alone -- interaction and observation are a crucial part of the process.

Let's look at some of the conclusions drawn in this study.

Thirty-four OO participants had a clear documented history of ASD, yet no longer met criteria for an ASD as per the ADOS and clinical judgment. Sex, age, nonverbal IQ, and handedness did not differ among the three groups. VIQ was 7 points lower in the HFA group than in the TD and OO groups, which were virtually identical and in the high average range. OO Communication and Socialization ADOS scores did not differ from the TD scores, although seven OO participants were judged to have social functioning mildly affected by nonautism conditions, such as anxiety, depression, or impulsivity [emphasis mine]. The number of OO and TD subjects who showed total social and communication ADOS algorithm scores above zero were not significantly different.

The first place I take issue here is with the assertion that anxiety/depression/impulsivity are somehow completely unrelated to ASDs. I mean, yes, those are not part of the autism diagnostic criteria. But all of those conditions are considered associated symptom domains, meaning that you are highly likely to find them along for the ride with ASDs. So noting that "Hey, this group that is supposedly no longer autistic does still show social impairment due to these things we know to often occur in conjunction with autism, but it probably doesn't mean anything" feels a bit disingenuous to me.

Let's go back to my own HFA-labeled son for a moment. I wouldn't bet you a huge sum of money, but I'd probably bet you $10 or so that he could've gotten through this testing and been assessed as having only mild social impairment. I would make that bet because 1) he often experiences little or no social impairment under optimal circumstances (such as knowing exactly what to expect and what is expected of him) and 2) this is a child who has had years of targeted therapies to help him manage his emotions and behavior in socially acceptable ways. See, that's what happens when you get an ASD diagnosis, if you're lucky -- you commence appropriate treatment, and things get better. That doesn't mean my son no longer has autism or that he's never going to experience difficulty because of it, it just means that he is less severely impacted than he was before he began working on his toolbox of coping skills. Time, maturity, therapies, and a careful curation of what circumstances he's forced to navigate, all combine to make for a life more manageable. That's not magic or outgrowing, that's just... progress.

So even though this particular study concludes:

The purpose of the current study was primarily to demonstrate the existence of a cohort who had clear autism at a young age and no longer demonstrated any significant autistic impairments. The data clearly support the existence of this group. The possible presence of subtle limitations or differences in social behavior, social cognition, communication, or executive functions remain to be elucidated in further analyses, as do many other crucial questions, such as the biology of remediable autism, the course of improvement, and the necessary and sufficient conditions, including treatment, for such improvement.

... I feel like saying "the data clearly support the existence of [a group once diagnosed ASD but no longer clinically autistic]" is a stretch. Maybe some of the subjects in that group were incorrectly diagnosed in the first place. (There's certainly a number of other conditions which can mimic autism's symptoms, and some -- like certain food sensitivities -- can indeed be outgrown.) Undoubtedly some of those subjects have improved via any number of channels -- maturity, therapies, medications -- and may now be "flying under the radar" in limited situations. And quite probably a conclusion this broad-sweeping is a bit premature when the methodology utilizes a relatively small sample size, no field observation, and nothing even remotely longitudinal to back it up.

I worry that studies like this change the focus from helping our kids live full and happy lives in a world that values their neurodiversity back to the old "Cure Autism Now!" battle-cry, one that doesn't make any sense if you embrace the current research showing autism to be biologically-based.

What do you think of this study? Interesting, foolhardy, incomplete? Did it make you bristle the way it did me?


BlogHer Contributing Editor Mir Kamin thinks her kids are awesome just the way they are. She blogs near-daily about issues parental and otherwise at Woulda Coulda Shoulda, and all day long about the joys of mindful retail therapy at Want Not.

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任何曾讀過劍橋大學物理學家史蒂芬霍金(Stephen Hawking)所撰寫《時間簡史》的人都知道,這是一本講述關於宇宙起源和命運的暢銷科普書籍,他用一般大眾可以了解的詞句和概念,來介紹天文物理學的 重要議題,包括黑洞和大爆炸等。

同樣的,杜克-新加坡國立大學認知科學家謝伯讓所撰寫的《大腦簡史》也用輕鬆詼諧的筆調,來介紹腦科學中的許多重要觀念, 包括大腦的演化、意識的產生等。


演化生物學家多布然斯基(Theodosius Dobzhansky)曾經說:「缺少演化的洞見,生物學將失去其意義(Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.)」。

神經生物學家謝潑德(Gordon Shepherd)也曾說:「缺少行為的洞見,神經生物學將失去其意義(Nothing in neurobiology makes sense except in the light of behavior.)」。


今年剛好是英國演化生物學家理查道金斯(Richard Dawkins)的生物學科普巨著《自私的基因》出版 40 週年紀念,許多人都在討論這本書對生命科學所產生的影響。之所以這本書會成為當代生物學家必讀 的經典書籍,就誠如作者所述,道金斯指出了一個演化的核心概念,那就是:



就在你覺得大腦無論再厲害仍是自私基因的傀儡時,作者提出了意識的概念來為自私的大腦解套。雖然意識到底如何產生仍是眾說紛紜,人類有無自由意志也還在持續爭辯,但不可否認的,意識是由神經活動所產生的突現現象(emergent property),因此若是自私的大腦演化出意識與自由意志,那自私的基因恐怕就不能在演化的過程中主導一切了,所以作者認為,(生物)經過四十億年的演 化,(其大腦)的確是有可能已經超脫自私基因的掌控。

在最終章,作者帶我們進入一個類似由哲學家希拉里普特南(Hilary Putnam)在《理性、真理和歷史》一書中提出的「缸中之腦」的思想實驗,若是我們有一天可以「上傳意識」,那是否大腦就可從此跳脫生存繁衍的輪迴宿命呢?當那一天來臨時,是否生命就結束了?生命的開始或許是宇宙中的一個偶然,但生命的終止是否就是演化的宿命!


          Milf Biology Teacher Gave Some Important Life Lesson To Young Student        
Enjoy Milf Biology Teacher Gave Some Important Life Lesson To Young Student at - best free hardcore pornotube videos and homemade sex movies.
          Each Hour Counts: The Clinical and Economic Case for Rapid Sepsis Diagnostics, New Webinar Hosted by Nanosphere and Xtalks        

Live webinar July 17 features leading experts in microbiology, infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance.

(PRWeb June 26, 2014)

Read the full story at

          What is the Difference between a Business Management and an Entrepreneurship Degree?        
From anthropology to zoology, the choices you have for selecting a college degree program does not always come easy. For students interested in a career in the world of business the choices can sometimes be even less clear. While identifying the differences between studying humanities or animal biology typically isn't a difficult choice, the choice between business management and entrepreneurship certainly can be.
          Thermo Fisher Scientific Improves Protein Research With Seven Steps        

LabRoots will host the virtual event September 7, where attendees will learn from a panel of industry experts on how to improve and optimize protein biology research and results.

(PRWeb August 08, 2017)

Read the full story at

          Thermo Fisher Scientific Demonstrates Improved differentiation of Stem Cell-derived Neurons and Downstream Applications        

LabRoots will host this eventMay 17, where participants will gain a better understanding of the reduction of progenitor proliferation with CultureOne™ Supplement. This is the first in a series of neurobiology webinars hosted in partnership between Thermo Fisher Scientific and LabRoots.

(PRWeb May 11, 2017)

Read the full story at

          Elif K. Class of 2014, Phage Hunter        
AMSR So Far  Science is a game. Anyone who seeks answers to questions about life, earth, and universe is a player. The rule is simple: Think about a possible answer, test it, accept if you cannot disprove. Biology is a … Continue reading
          Unleash the Dragons! Secrets of Seadragon Biology with Josefin Stiller - The Jeffrey B. Graham Perspectives on Ocean Science Lecture Series        
          What does the Qur'an say about shooting stars? Is there a clash in The Heavens?        

V. Tunniclife was quoted in The Fountain, Jan.-Mar. 1996, No 13, p.36:

Startling discovery of modern biology

All life requires energy, nearly all life on earth looks to the sun as the source. But solar energy is not the only kind of energy available on the earth. Consider the energy that drives the movement and eruption of the planet’s crust. When you look at an active volcano, you are witnessing the escape of heat that has been produced by radioactive decay in the earth’s interior and is finally reaching the surface. Why should there not be biological communities associated with the same nuclear energy that moves continents and makes mountains? And why could not whole communities be fuelled by chemical, rather than, solar energy?. . Most of us associate the escape of heat from the interior of the earth with violent events and unstable physical conditions, with extreme high temperatures and the release of toxic gasses—circumstances that are hardly conducive to life.

The notion that biological communities might spring up in a geologically active environment seemed fantastic. And until recently, few organisms were known to survive without a direct or indirect way to tap the sun’s energy. But such communities do exist, and they represent one of the most startling discoveries of 20th-century biology. They live in the deep ocean, under conditions that are both severe and variable.

This ‘startling’ discovery of modern biology contains clues to some other realities, which sciences should consider. The Qur’an declares:

Surely, We have adorned the world’s heaven with lamps, and We have made them missiles for the devils. (al-Mulk, 67.5)

The ‘startling’ discovery of biology suggests that just as the earth does, the heavens should also have inhabitants of their own. Indeed, reality also requires it to be so, for, as Said Nursi writes (The Words 1, Izmir, 1997, pp. 233–42), despite its small size and relative insignificance, the earth being alternately emptied and filled with living and conscious beings suggests—rather, it shows evidently—that the heavens too, which have magnificent constellations and are like decorated palaces, must also be filled with conscious and percipient beings. For the Creator has embellished and ornamented the universe with innumerable decorations, beauties, and inscriptions, and this evidently requires the existence of contemplative and appreciative eyes that will observe and be delighted. Certainly, beauty requires a lover, and food is given to the hungry. Men and jinn are able to perform only a millionth of this boundless duty, this glorious viewing, and this comprehensive worship. This means that countless sorts of angels and spirit beings are necessary to perform these infinite and diverse duties and acts of worship.

The Creator Who continuously creates subtle life and enlightened, percipient beings from dense earth and turbid water, must certainly have created conscious beings from light and even from darkness which are worthier to have a higher life and spirit, and created them in great abundance. In the language of Islam, those inhabitants of various kinds are called angels.

The earth and the heavens are connected to each other like two countries under one government

The earth and the heavens are connected to each other like two countries under one government. There are important relations and transactions between them. Things necessary for the earth like light, heat, blessings, and forms of mercy like rain, come, rather, are being sent, from the sky. Also, as unanimously confirmed by all the heavenly religions, which are founded on Revelation, and as is agreed upon by all the saintly scholars who unveil the secret truths of creation on the basis of what they have witnessed, the angels and spirit beings descend to the earth from the heavens. From this, it may be concluded almost as certainly as if it were directly sensed that for the inhabitants of the earth there is a way to ascend to the heavens.

Indeed, everyone can always travel to the heavens through his mind, vision and imagination. So too, freed from or purified of the gross heaviness of their carnal and material being, the spirits of the Prophets and saints travel there by God’s leave, and the spirits of the ordinary people do so after their death. Since those who are ‘lightened’ and have acquired ‘subtlety’ and spiritual refinement travel there, for sure, certain inhabitants of the earth and the air who are clothed in an ‘ideal’ body or energetic envelope or immaterial form, and are light and subtle like spirits, may go to the heavens. Since there is journeying between the earth and the heavens, and important necessities for the earth are sent from the heavens; and since pure spirits travel to the heavens, for sure, imitating the pure spirits, the evil spirits too will attempt to travel to the heavenly abode. For, physically, they are light and subtle. However, they will certainly be repulsed and repelled, for by nature they are evil and unclean. Again, as the silence and tranquility, the order and serene regularity of the heavens, and their vastness and radiance, show, their inhabitants are not like those of the earth; they are all obedient to God and do whatever He commands them. There is nothing to cause quarrels or disputes among them because they are innocent, their realm is vast, their nature is pure, and their stations are fixed. So, when devils or evil spirit beings attempt to ascend the heavens, the pure inhabitants of the heavens are mobilized to repel them from the heavens.

There must be a sign or reflection in the visible, material world of whatever takes place in the kingdom of heavens

Without doubt, there must be a sign or reflection in the visible, material world of this important interaction and contest. For the wisdom of the sovereignty of Divine Lordship requires that the Lord should put a sign, an indication, for conscious beings, particularly for man, whose most important duty is observing, witnessing, supervising, and acting as a herald to, His significant disposals in the realm of the Unseen. This is just as He has made rain a sign for men to explain, in physical terms, His countless miracles in spring, and also made apparent (natural) causes the pointers to the wonders of His art, so that He may call the inhabitants of the visible, material world to witness them, indeed to attract the attentive gaze of all the inhabitants of the vast heavens and the earth to that amazing exhibition. That is, He displays the vast heavens as a castle or city arrayed with towers on which sentries are posted, so that those inhabitants of the heavens and earth may reflect on the majesty of His Lordship.

Since wisdom requires the announcement of this elevated contest, there will surely be a sign for it. However, other than some stars being used as ‘missiles’ against the devils, no event among those of the atmosphere and heavens seems to be appropriate to this announcement. For it is evident how suitable for the repulsion of the devils are these stellar events, which resemble missiles and signal rockets fired from the formidable bastions of high castles. Further, unlike other events taking place in the heavens, no other function is known for such stellar events. In addition, this function has been known widely since the time of Adam, and witnessed by those who know the reality of things and events.

Like angels and other creatures, stars also have many different varieties. Some are extremely small, and some are extremely large. Everything that shines in the sky can be called a star. One sort of stars the Majestic Creator, the Gracious Maker, has created as a sort of jewels on the face of the sky or like the shining fruits of a vast tree. He has also made them the places of excursion or mounts or dwelling-places for His angels. He has made one sort of small stars missiles to drive off devils and kill them. Thus, firing these shooting stars to repulse devils may have three meanings:

• It is a sign that the law of contest is in force also in the most vast sphere of existence.

• It indicates that in the heavens there are watchful guards and obedient inhabitants, Divine forces, who do not like the earthly evil-doers to mix with and eavesdrop on them.

• The spying satans, who are the representatives of the foulness and wickedness on the earth, attempt to soil the clean and pure realm of the heavens inhabited by pure beings, and spy on the talk of their inhabitants in the name of evil spirits [unbelieving jinn and their human companions trying to mislead people especially through sorcery, mediumship and soothsaying]. Shooting stars are fired to prevent them and repulse them from the doors of the heavens.

What does the meteor shower signify?

The Perseid meteor shower observed in almost every year suggests that those meteors are shot for certain, important purposes. For they surprise the observers by showing great diversity. The observations made in, for example, 1993, demonstrate the fact that the structure of the shower is yet poorly known.

According to information given by the International Meteor Organization about the events of the 1993 shower (Astronomy, October 1993), the first results posted for the night of 11/12 August came from Japan. Up to 20:30 (all times UT), 11 August, the meteor rates were found to be normal. A zenithal hourly rate (ZHR) of 40 meteors per hour (m/h) was tentatively assigned to the shower at this time.

Preliminary data from European observers indicated that the rates had gradually increased to ZHR of order 100 m/h between 20:00, 11 August and 01:00, 12 August. Observers in France reported a noticeable increase in rates after 00:30, 12 August, with the rate being about twice that of ‘normal’. The rates continued to climb between 01:00 and 03:00. A preliminary ZHR of 200-250 was ascribed to this period. The rates appeared to reach a maximum between 03:00 and 03:30. The ZHR at maximum was estimated to be of the order of 500. Observations from the Canary Islands indicated that the rates began to decline after 04:00.

Higher than normal rates were also reported from many observers in the United States and Japan. As commented by Martin Beech in Astronomy, p.11, the results clearly indicated that the shower did not behave as predicted. Speculation about a possible meteor storm proved incorrect. Another unexpected feature in 1993 was the high number of bright fireballs observed. Observers reported something like five times the normal level of Perseid fireballs on the night of 11/12 August. The Perseid shower once again demonstrated how difficult it is to predict meteor shower activity.

A. Cressy Morrison (Man Does Not Stand Alone, New York, 1945, p.100) mentions, as a typical human characteristic, the reluctance to give up fixed ideas, the stubborn resistance to accepting unfamiliar truths. The early Greeks knew the earth was a sphere, but it took two thousand years to convince men that this fact is true. New ideas encounter opposition, ridicule and abuse, but truth survives and is verified. Neither scientific studies nor developments in science can offer any excuse not to accept God. What we observe in nature and what we obtain from it must encourage us to know Him more closely and see the strong bridge between science and religion, the world and the Hereafter, and between the reason and the spirit.

          What is the meaning of existence?        

There are two ways to explain how a seed germinates under earth, then grows into a human being; either each of the innumerable particles operative in the process of growth individually knows its place, functions and environment, and its relations with all the other particles, cells and larger wholes within the organism, or one who has that vast knowledge employs them in the growth process, as indeed in the formation of all living or non-living entities.

The following simple scientific experiment, reported in Discovery, 20 August 1993, will help in understanding this significant argument:

There is no ‘trial and error’ in nature

Overbeck and his co-workers at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston were trying to practice some gene therapy techniques by seeing if they could convert albino mice into coloured ones. The researcher injected a gene essential to the production of the pigment melanin into the single-cell embryo of an albino mouse. Later they bred that mouse’s offspring, half of which carried the gene on one chromosome of a chromosome pair. Classic Mendelian genetics told them that roughly a quarter of the grandchildren should carry the gene on both chromosomes —should be ‘homozygous’, in the language of genetics—and should therefore be colored.

But the mice never got a chance to acquire color. ‘The first thing we noticed,’ says Overbeck, ‘was that we were losing about 25% of the grandchildren within a week after they were born.’ The explanation:

The melanin-related gene that his group injected into the albino mouse embryo had inserted itself into a completely unrelated gene. An unfamiliar stretch of DNA in the middle of a gene wrecks that gene’s ability to get its message read. So in the mice, it seems whatever protein the gene coded for went unproduced, whatever function the protein had went undone, and the stomach, heart, liver, and spleen all wound up in the wrong place. Somehow, too, the kidneys and pancreas were damaged, and that damage is apparently what killed the mice.

Overbeck and his colleagues have already located the gene on a particular mouse chromosome and are now trying to pin down its structure. That will tell them something about the structure of the protein the gene encodes, how the protein works, and when and where it is produced as the gene gets ‘expressed’, or turned on, ‘Is the gene expressed everywhere, or just on the left side of the embryo or just on the right side?’ Overbeck wonders, ‘And when does it get expressed?’

These questions will take Overbeck far from the gene-transfer experiment. ‘We think there are at least 100,000 genes,’ he points out, ‘so the chances of this happening were literally one in 100,000.’

It will take many thousands of tests therefore, and cost the lives of many thousands of mice, for this type of experiment to be carried out with success. However, there is no such trial and error in nature, and any seed under earth, unless some impediment like lack of enough moisture intervenes, germinates and ultimately becomes a tree. Likewise, an embryo in the mother’s womb grows into a living, conscious being equipped with intellectual and spiritual faculties.

The human body is a miracle of symmetry, as well as of asymmetry.

The human body is a miracle of symmetry, as well as of asymmetry. Scientists know how an embryo develops in the womb to form this symmetry and asymmetry, but they are completely ignorant of how the particles—the particles that reach the embryo through the mother and function as building blocks in the formation of the body—can distinguish between right and left, how they are able to determine the place of each organ, how each goes and inserts itself in the exact place of a certain organ, and how they understand the extremely complicated relations among cells and organs, and their requirements. This is so complicated a process that if a single particle which should be placed in, for example, the pupil of the right eye, were to go to the ear, it could lead to malfunction or even death. Another point relevant here is that all animate beings are made from the same elements coming from earth, air and water, and similar to one another with respect to the members and organs of their bodies, yet they are almost completely different from one another with respect to bodily features, visage, character, desires and ambitions. This uniqueness of the individual is so reliable that one can be identified absolutely by one’s finger prints.

There are only two alternatives to explain creation: either each particle or atom possesses almost infinite knowledge, will and power or One Who has such knowledge, power and will creates and administers the whole existence

How do we explain this? There are the two alternatives we mentioned at the beginning: either each particle possesses almost infinite knowledge, will and power or One Who has such knowledge, power and will creates and administers each particle. However far back we go in an attempt to ascribe this to cause and effect and heredity, these two alternatives remain valid.

This argument, frequently emphasized in the writings of Said Nursi, lost its appeal when I objected: ‘Everything takes place according to a certain program and the principle of cause and effect. Why, then, need a particle possess the knowledge of its place and functions, its relations with all other particles with which it must combine and co-operate?’ However, it soon dawned upon me that I was trying to find an explanation for existence from within existence, seeking the Creator in that which was created.

Materialistic science, whether biology or physics, reflects upon existence from within it and is dazzled, tangled by the apparent self-organization in the universe.

Materialistic science, whether biology or physics, reflects upon existence from within it and is dazzled, tangled by the apparent self-organization in the universe. It is true that everything appears to happen according to certain principles and the law of cause and effect. Empirically based and having adopted the method of doing tests in laboratories, modern science attempts to discover the Creator in laboratories. This means regarding the Creator as of the same kind as the created—finite and material—which implies for the scientist a rank over the Creator. If the scientist is not seeking to deify himself over creation, what is the rationale, the sense, of looking for the Creator among the created?

As everybody knows, science advances on the feet of theories. That being so, would it not be legitimate to approach, at least for once, existence and the act of coming into existence from the perspective of the existence of God?

In the past, Muslim theologians argued the necessity of God from the unacceptability of an unending chain of causes. Everything in the universe is finite, transient, it begins and ends. Also, anything that begins and ends needs a cause or originator to bring it into existence since nothing can originate itself. (Even man, despite being the most conscious and powerful of creatures, has no part in his coming into existence, in the time and place of his birth, in determining his family, his race, his bodily features, nor has he much control over the workings of his body.) In short, as every existent needs an originator and the chain of originators cannot regress for ever, there must be an absolute originator, self-originating, self-existent, self-subsistent. This is God, without beginning and end, eternal.

Even if the existence of the universe is attributed to some entity other than God—to evolution or causality or nature or matter or coincidences and necessity—no one can deny that everything displays, though its coming into existence, its subsistence and death, an all-comprehensive knowledge, and an absolute power and determination. As we saw in the experiment referred to above, a single misplaced or misdirected gene, may suffice to ruin or prevent life. The interconnectedness of everything, from galaxies to atoms, is a reality into which every new entity enters and wherein it must know its unique place and function. And is there not a further demonstration of the existence and free operation of an all-comprehensive knowledge, and absolute power and will, that particles made up of the same bio-chemical constituents should be able to produce through the subtlest adjustments in their pattern of mutual relationships, entities and organisms which are unique? Is it satisfactory to explain this as heredity or coincidence, seeing that all such explanations again rest upon the same all-encompassing knowledge, absolute power and will?

We must not be misled by the apparent fact that everything happens according to a certain program or plan or process of causes.

We must not be misled by the apparent fact that everything happens according to a certain program or plan or process of causes. This process of causes is a veil spread over the flux of the universe, the ever-moving stream of events. The ‘laws of nature’ which may be inferred from this process of causes have a nominal, not a real and concrete, existence. Unless we attribute to nature the attributes we would normally attribute to the Creator of nature, we must accept that it is, in essence and reality, a printing mechanism, not a printer, a design, not a designer, a passive recipient, not an agent, an order, not an orderer, a collection of nominal laws, not a power. The same argument holds if, in place of ‘nature’, we choose the terms ‘matter’ or (the preference of French biologist Jacques Monod) ‘coincidence and necessity’.

One of the points which entangles, and brings down, materialist scientific explanations is ‘eternity’. In order to perceive eternity, science must first acknowledge the inevitable limitations of its being a product of human reason. Man is a part of existence or creation, and therefore a finite being, and it is impossible for a finite being to comprehend the Infinite:

• The Infinite cannot be of the same kind as the finite.

• Man is enveloped by time and space which are two of the dimensions of existence, that is, they are not there before, but there together with creation. So, unless one goes beyond the limits of time and space, it is impossible for one to comprehend eternity. This can be attained, not by, in the terminology of Kant, the theoretical reason, but by the practical reason, by spiritual experience or enlightenment, or by one’s inner conscience.

• God is not dependent on time. Possessing absolute Will, He is not compelled to do or not do anything. He created the universe.

The universe is like a book each sentence, each word and each letter of which is interrelated with every other.

The universe is like a book each sentence, each word and each letter of which is interrelated with every other. By manifesting His Names, God gets this book to ‘speak’, to be listened to or read by man. The original or essential meaning of this book originates in the Knowledge of God. In other words, before coming into material existence, the universe existed in the Knowledge of God. Through manifestation of Will and Power in the sphere of Knowledge, the meanings in the Knowledge appeared as the letters, words and sentences of the book of the universe. The universe which God fastened to the ‘string’ of time is the result of Divine manifestation of Will and Power in the sphere of His knowledge. For an existent being, coming into existence means transference from the sphere of Knowledge to the sphere of Power. By dying, it is transferred to the sphere of Knowledge again, but after it has acquired a new state proper for a new, eternal life in the other, eternal world. This can be made more understandable through the following analogy, which was explained before in this book:

The meaning of a book exists in the mind of its author before he writes it. Even though he does not write it, the article or the book has an ‘essential’ existence in the form of meaning. In order to make this meaning visible in the material world, the author should ‘mould’ it into letters. Readers can know the author through the book. The book’s being there to be read indicates its having an author with the ability to write it. Likewise, the universe points to all the Names of God, including the All-Powerful, the All-Knowing and the Possessor of Will. These Names are indicative of the Attributes of Knowledge, Power and Will, which, in turn, demonstrate the One Who has them.

God has many other Names or Attributes and therefore many kinds of manifestations. As the manifestations of, primarily, His Will and Power in Knowledge brought the universe into existence and still originate new lives incessantly, so His manifestation of Speech in the same Knowledge gave visible existence to the Qur’an, the last and the most perfect form of the Divine Scriptures. The present, revealed form of the Qur’an is, in one way, a counterpart of the universe in letters. In the same way as a magnificent building and the booklet describing it indicate the architect who produced them, the Qur’an and the universe, being two different forms or kinds of Divine manifestation, are signs of the Creator. The Qur’an came from the Divine Attribute of Speech, while the universe originated from the Divine Attributes of Will and Power. Both have their sources in the same Knowledge, the Knowledge of God. For this reason, any science—whether biology or physics or chemistry or astronomy or psychology—which studies the universe or man can never be contradictory with the religion of Islam. If there is a contradiction, it is either in the mind or intention or quality of the scientist or in a misrepresentation of Islam.

The first revelation in the Qur’an and its relevance with the meaning of existence

The first revelation to the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, was:

Read: In and with the Name of Your Lord Who created, created man of an embryo suspended. Read: And your Lord is the most Munificent, Who taught by the Pen, taught man that he knew not. (al-’Alaq, 96.1-3)

It is quite significant that the first command of God to His Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, was ‘read’, when there was not yet the Book to read. This means that there is another book or, rather, there are two books, counterparts to the Book which was to be revealed. These two books are the universe and man. A believer should approach the study of universe and man without prejudice. It is also significant that the verses of the Qur’an and the phenomena in the universe and in man—material and psychological—are both called ‘signs’. The imperative ‘read!’ is followed, not by a direct object or an adverbial, but by ‘in and with the Name of your Lord Who created’. This signifies:

• ‘Reading’ the universe—studying it—has principles of its own, like, for example, observation and experiment.

• The word translated as Lord is Rabb, among whose meanings are ‘educator, upbringer, giver of a certain nature’. God created the universe and man on a certain pattern, and gave each entity a particular nature. Man’s nature includes free will, every other entity acts according to the primordial nature assigned to it. This is what modern science refers to in the words ‘nature’ and the ‘laws of nature’. What man is commanded to do is to discover these ‘laws’.

• Every act of man, including his scientific studies, should be done in the name of God, and therefore be an act of worship. That is the only limit which the Qur’an or Islam has put on science. Any act so performed cannot be against God’s Commandments. For example, in the pursuit of scientific knowledge as worship, no one could harm mankind, nor put that knowledge in the form of a deadly weapon in the hands of an irresponsible minority. If done only in the name of God, by people conscious of always being supervised by God and who will be called to account before a Supreme Tribunal for all their actions in the world, science could change the world into a garden of Eden.

In sum: The meaning of existence is from the existence of God. That is what gives their true meaning to all things, all events, all efforts to live and acquire knowledge. Consider that the smallest thing like an apple costs the whole universe, seeing that for its formation the sun, earth and water must co-operate, something that the whole world population working together could not provide. Whether for the universe as a whole or a simple life within it, a great expenditure has been made in creation. In spite of this, many living things die at birth, and many others after a few moments of life. The average life span of man, who is the ‘cream’ of creation, to whom much of the existence has been subjugated, is about 60 years. You may, therefore, ask why such a vast expenditure is made for so short a life-span. If there is not an eternal life in an eternal world, will life and every existent thing have been pointless, in vain? However, God has not created anything for vanity. Every existent is infinitely meaningful, displaying an infinite knowledge, will and power. Each is directed to a particular aim. Each, whether its term is short or long, is a ‘sign’ pointing to God and is directly related to Him.

Without that relation of itself to God, every entity would mean nothing—zero; and the universe would be a huge zero. If God is not recognized, if the meaning His existence and creativity provide for existence is not understood, the zeros would be, each one, a sort of ‘black hole’ absorbing all the Divine manifestations and beauties. It is belief which removes the dark veil from creation and manifests the meaning it carries. Through belief, each of the ‘black holes’ changes—according to the degree of its refinement—into a shining sun, moon or star which manifests the meaning, aim and beauty it has been given by its Creator.

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          Orgasms! Sex! Biology!        
(Somewhat NSFW) Virgie Tovar, the writer, blogger, sexuality educator and academic looks at UC Berkeley's Female Sexuality class and asks whether one class can change the way women see their bodies and their educational experience. More on DeCal at UC Berkeley.
           Science Journal Retracts Stem-Cell Research Studies; Head Researcher Held Accountable         

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law The scientific journal, Nature, retracted two high-profile stem-cell research studies due to signs of inadequate data and plagiarism. According to Tech Times, researchers from the RIKEN Center for Development Biology in Kobe, Japan, published results on January 30, 2014, claiming that scientists of the institute had successfully reprogrammed mature cells into young stem-cells. The stem-cells, a type of cell capable of differentiating into any human cell type, were allegedly created using an innovative, never-before-seen technique....

          Biology teacher        
Here is one of my best Taiwanese friend, Courtney. She was trying to explain the unique character of the Taiwanese maple leaves on a trip to visit a national park in Taichung.
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          Revolutionary Love        

Today when my daughter Alaina gets home from high school I will hand her a new devotional book by my P31 teammate Lynn Cowell. It's called â€œDevotions for a Revolutionary Year; 365 Days of Jesus’ Radical Love for You.” I asked Lynn to write Alaina a letter to accompany the book, and I'm posting that letter here today because I think it's good advice for all of us.

Dear Alaina,

I bet you can’t believe you’re in school already! Summer was so fun and free! Days of pony tails and swimsuits; every day carefree. No worries about make-up. No concerns about your wardrobe.

But now that school is back, the fight is on to hang on to your carefree self. You can probably feel the pull to worry about other people’s opinions, and other people’s pressures.

I want to encourage you to do one thing: pre-decide.

Pre-decide who you are and what you’re going to do.

Now, at the beginning of the school year, make up your mind that you are going to live a life that honors God. A life that stays true to who you are and who God has created you to be: a girl He is wild about (Psalm 45:11).

Pre-decide how you will honor God. Where you will go, what you will do, and who you will be with.

See, when you pre-decide, it takes the emotion out of it. The guy in Algebra that is so cute but definitely not someone you should be crushing on is not texting you about Friday night right now. The group of girls you hang with are not at this moment deciding what to do after the football game. You’re not sitting in Biology right next to the class brain while you are struggling for the answers on the test. You’re not in any of those situations right this moment. So this is a good time to pre-decide how you will handle them.

Decide right now that you won’t look to any guy to fill the love gap in your heart; only Jesus can do that.

Decide right now that at/after football games you’ll only do things you wouldn’t be ashamed for your parents to know about.

Decide right now that you would rather take the F on the test than an A you don’t deserve.

Then, when the situation arises, just stick to that decision you already made, and with the power of the Holy Spirit, live it out.

I don’t mean to make it sound easy; it is anything but. But I will say it is worth it.

I pre-decided. I pre-decided to save my body for my husband one day. That was worth it. I pre-decided not to get involved in things I would be ashamed of later, and my life has had very few regrets. Tests scores? Sure, I could have gotten better grades, but the grades I got were the grades I earned and I felt no guilt about them.

I’m not saying my life is perfect, but it is a blessedlife. And I love it!  This is what I want for you, your friends, and the girls of your generation.

Alain, if you want a little encouragement to help you stick to what you pre-decide each day? I’ve got just the tool! I created a 7 Day Faith Builder. For 7 days you can get just what you need to remind yourself of whose you are and why you are making wise decisions each day. Just sigh up online (click here:

 Have a terrific year, Alaina! I know that Jesus will be with you all the way!

 ~ Lynn

Note:  To celebrate the release of Lynn's new book, we are giving away over $75 in free content with each purchase of the book. Simply purchase Devotions for a Revolutionary Year for a girl or young woman in your life before October 1st and email your receipt to You will receive an email with a link to this special free content on Lynn’s website at Pop over to her site today and check it out all the good stuff she has to offer.

Happy Weekend, Everyone.


          Girls Prep Announces 3-Year Partnership with BioBus Mobile Science Labs        

Girls Prep Announces Landmark Three Year Partnership with BioBus to Develop the Next Generation of Female Engineers, Scientists and Mathematicians


Partnership to Cultivate an Early Love of Science to be Featured at the Advancing Girls in STEM Conference at the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia's Premier Science Museum


New York, NY (March 1, 2017): On the first day of Women’s History Month, two premier all-girls public charter schools in New York City - Girls Prep Lower East Side and Girls Prep Bronx - announced an innovative, three-year partnership with BioBus, a non-profit that engages PhD and Masters-level scientists to share their expertise and knowledge by creating hands-on learning experiences that can inspire young women’s interest and passion for STEM-related careers.

Founded in 2005 and 2009, respectively, Girls Prep Lower East Side and Girls Prep Bronx now educate nearly 1,500 almost exclusively low-income, African-American and Hispanic female scholars in grades PrePrep through 8th grade. Girls Prep has distinguished itself in cultivating an early love of math and science among girls, especially with its unique math and science structure in elementary school. Beginning in Kindergarten, Girls Prep scholars attend science class, taught by science-only instructors; and a daily Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) class to develop their mathematical thinking. Girls Prep has also departmentalized, with math-only teachers, starting from third grade. In 2016, 99% of Girls Prep Bronx and Girls Prep Lower East Side fourth graders passed the 2016 NY State Science Exam.



Ian Rowe, CEO of Public Prep said, “By establishing a strong foundation in math and science, Girls Prep and BioBus will help young girls develop a lasting love of inquiry, critical thinking and problem solving. This will in turn ignite a curiosity of STEM related pathways by young women, which is ultimately what's needed to bridge the race and gender gap in STEM fields.” 

Over the next three years, Girls Prep and BioBus will have a multi-faceted partnership that includes the following components:

  • Beginning in 2017-18, BioBus and Girls Prep will launch an afterschool science program for Girls Prep Lower East Side and Girls Prep Bronx middle school scholars.

  • BioBus scientists will develop the curriculum and the class will be led by Girls Prep staff.

  • BioBus will provide Professional Development for facilitators, visits to Girls Prep from BioBus scientists, and host field trip visits to BioBase community labs for girls to conduct experiments using state-of-the-art equipment.

  • BioBus mobile labs will make site visits at each of the four Girls Prep elementary and middle school campuses, which will provide hands-on lessons aboard the BioBus in subjects such as comparative anatomy, micro-biology, ecology and cell biology.  

  • A BioBus Living Environment Regents Prep Course will be offered at Girls Prep middle school campuses, providing scholars with the opportunity to use advanced, compound video microscopes while working alongside research scientists in preparation for the Living Environment Regents Exam.


Sarah Weisberg, Chief Scientist at BioBus, said “I am thrilled that Girls Prep is embarking upon a multi-year collaboration with BioBus. I imagine a future in which all students, regardless of background, can access opportunities to do authentic science research and in-depth, hands-on experiments outside of school - and become prepared for a lifetime of engagement with science.”

As part of a unique collaboration between district and charter schools, girls in District 1 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan will be invited to participate in the Girls Prep/BioBus partnership. Daniella Phillips, District 1 Community Superintendent said, “Whether it is the District 1 Middle School Regents Academy in which Girls Prep scholars were invited to participate, or this wonderful BioBus/Girls Prep collaboration in which District 1 female scholars will do hands-on science, it is important that public charter and district schools find ways to partner in service to our students."

On March 17, The Agnes Irwin School and its Center for the Advancement of Girls will feature the Girls Prep/BioBus partnership at Sharing Solutions: Advancing Girls in STEM, a two-day think tank and conference, held at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Given that the theme of the conference is "Partnering for Impact," BioBus and Girls Prep are being featured to help identify the key ingredients for what makes a sustainable partnership.


Girls Prep Lower East Side was founded in 2005 as the first and only all-girls public charter school in New York City; and Girls Prep Bronx was founded in 2009 to serve female scholars in the South Bronx. Girls Prep alumnae have now been accepted into some of the nation’s most prestigious colleges, including Yale University, Stephens College, St. John’s University and Howard University. Girls Prep is part of Public Prep, the nation’s only non-profit network that exclusively develops exceptional, tuition-free PreK and single-sex elementary and middle public schools. We are determined to graduate 8th grade scholars who thrive in “right-fit,” high-performing public, private, or parochial high schools, and ultimately earn a degree from a four-year college or university.

Founded in 2008, BioBus works towards a future in which all people can fulfill their scientific potential. BioBus cultivates this vision by creating immersive laboratory environments in which scientists join students for hands-on scientific exploration. This new kind of laboratory space is accessible and unintimidating, facilitating scientific engagement even amongst populations historically underrepresented in science professions. Within this space, scientists share their expertise and knowledge through direct, hands-on experiences, allowing participants to reshape their view of science through participation in the discovery process.

          Sex and Gender: What We Know and Don’t Know        

Several years ago historian of medicine Alice Dreger found herself in a room full of intersexed people, individuals with reproductive or sexual anatomy that is neither typically female nor male. Dreger noticed something strange: many of them had teeth that were in bad shape. She soon learned that many of them had endured such traumatic experiences with doctors that they wouldn’t go near anyone in a white coat, including dentists.

We were astonished by this story, so we asked Dreger to tell us more. She joined us for our December podcast alongside Eric Vilain, a medical geneticist and director of the Center for Gender-based Biology at UCLA. While intersex, transgender, and transsexual issues have recently entered the mainstream, our guests explain that there have always been those whose anatomy or identity prevents them from fitting neatly into the categories of male or female. And even with this newfound exposure, tensions continue to exist for them all.

But first we’ll hear about the experiences of a transgender couple desperate to conceive a child, but who struggled to find a willing doctor. Mariel Carr visits them at home in Philadelphia, where they’re adapting to life with an infant.

Show Clock:

00:03 Introduction
01:26 Feature story: "The Pregnant Man" 
14:48 Interview with Alice Dreger and Eric Vilain


Hosts: Michal Meyer and Bob Kenworthy
Guests: Alice Dreger and Eric Vilain
Reporter: Mariel Carr
Producer: Mariel Carr
Associate Producer: Rigoberto Hernandez


Music courtesy of the Audio Network. 

           One pot direct hydrothermal growth of photoactive TiO2 films on glass         
Vernardou, D, Stratakisc, E, Kenanakis, G, Yates, HM, Couris, S, Pemble, ME, Koudoumas, E and Katsarakis, N 2009, 'One pot direct hydrothermal growth of photoactive TiO2 films on glass' , Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A Chemistry, 202 (2-3) , pp. 81-85.
           Multi-functional self-cleaning thermochromic films by atmospheric pressure chemical vapour deposition         
Evans, P, Pemble, ME, Sheel, DW and Yates, HM 2007, 'Multi-functional self-cleaning thermochromic films by atmospheric pressure chemical vapour deposition' , Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry, 189 (2-3) , pp. 387-397.
           The role of nitrogen doping on the development of visible light-induced photocatalytic activity in thin TiO2 films grown on glass by chemical vapour deposition         
Yates, HM, Nolan, MG, Sheel, DW and Pemble, ME 2006, 'The role of nitrogen doping on the development of visible light-induced photocatalytic activity in thin TiO2 films grown on glass by chemical vapour deposition' , Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry, 179 (1-2) , pp. 213-223.
           Highly bioactive silver and silver/titania composite films grown by chemical vapour deposition         
Brook, LA, Evans, P, Foster, HA, Pemble, ME, Steele, A, Sheel, DW and Yates, HM 2007, 'Highly bioactive silver and silver/titania composite films grown by chemical vapour deposition' , Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry, 187 (1) , pp. 53-63.
          Another busy day or two        
Boy, I am surprised at how much I get done in a day or two and how much I don't.

First, I finally finished the painting of the Echo Park Lotus complete with the Great Blue Heron. I call it "In the

Heart of LA - Lotus with Heron". I think it worked out reasonably well, so it is time to start the next project. I

have several things in the works, a watercolor of California Poppies with Gillias (another native flower), a painting

of my daughter as a Goddess in oils, a painting of the San Gabriel Mountains. All this will take a while.

Painting just done! Not even signed yet

Last night Phil and I went to see one of the Watson Lectures at CalTech's Beckman Auditorium. Presented by David J. Anderson, who is the Sperry Professor of Biology at CalTech, he spoke about genes, neurons and emotional behavior in Mice and Flies. It has become rather amazing what can be done with special mutant genes that can alter the way various neurons behave in the brain and can result in behavior changes that can be quite dramatic. If you really must see this lecture, you may be able to get a copy of it from CalTech - they do make some of their lectures available on DVD, but I don't know if this one will be available.

As an aside, some years ago, Caltech was looking for an artist to paint some portraits of Sperry and some other luminaries to install in their new Biology building. I sent them a portfolio of work - but I must admit I had very little to show in oil painting at that time. I sorta made the mistake of letting a fellow artist know about what was happening, and she got the commission. They even lost my portfolio - at least it never was returned, and that was expensive at the time. However, I never knew if they actually installed her painting, as she had a lot of problems pleasing the powers that be. Her name is Lynette Williams, and I don't think she paints a lot any more - having her hands full with other challenges. So every time I see the name Roger W. Sperry, I am reminded that I never got to meet him, and I think I would have loved to have that opportunity, even though Lynette said he was a bit of a curmudgeon.

And now it is on to a Christmas Party hosted by Half City Productions, located just down the street from us in beautiful Altadena.

          Searching for Life Where the Sun Don’t Shine (part 6) Explorations to the Seafloors of Earth and Europa        

The thought that alien fishes, sharks and squids could be chasing each other in the pitch black waters of Jupiter’s moon Europa has astrobiologists like Steve Vance itching to get a good look below the ice.

The post Searching for Life Where the Sun Don’t Shine (part 6) Explorations to the Seafloors of Earth and Europa appeared first on Astrobiology Magazine.

          Searching for Life Where the Sun Don’t Shine (part 5): Explorations to the Seafloors of Earth and Europa        

This series follows an oceanographic expedition to the Mid-Cayman Rise and NASA’s efforts to plan a future mission to Jupiter’s moon, Europa. In part five, scientists use high-tech submersibles to explore the seafloor and bring intriguing samples up to the surface.

The post Searching for Life Where the Sun Don’t Shine (part 5): Explorations to the Seafloors of Earth and Europa appeared first on Astrobiology Magazine.

          Searching for Life Where the Sun Don’t Shine (part 4): Explorations to the Seafloors of Earth and Europa        

When the Voyager and Galileo spacecraft visited Jupiter’s moons Io and Europa, scientists were faced with the exciting possibility that these strange worlds might host exotic forms of life.

The post Searching for Life Where the Sun Don’t Shine (part 4): Explorations to the Seafloors of Earth and Europa appeared first on Astrobiology Magazine.

          Searching for Life Where the Sun Don’t Shine (part 3): Explorations to the Seafloors of Earth and Europa        

The chemosynthetic life that thrives at hydrothermal vents might give us clues to how life arose in the first place. They also might be the same sort of life that could possibly exist on Jupiter’s icy moon, Europa.

The post Searching for Life Where the Sun Don’t Shine (part 3): Explorations to the Seafloors of Earth and Europa appeared first on Astrobiology Magazine.

          Going Home        

As his mission comes to an end, Expedition 31 crew member, Don Pettit, reflects on the view of Earth and beyond from the International Space Station.

The post Going Home appeared first on Astrobiology Magazine.

          Searching for Life Where the Sun Don’t Shine (part 2): Explorations to the Sea Floors of Earth and Europa        

Before 1977, textbooks claimed that to sustain a living ecosystem, you needed energy from the Sun. Then the deep sea submersible Alvin discovered life teeming at hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor. This led scientists to wonder if similar life could be found on Europa.

The post Searching for Life Where the Sun Don’t Shine (part 2): Explorations to the Sea Floors of Earth and Europa appeared first on Astrobiology Magazine.

          An Astronaut's Guide        

Don Pettit, member of the Expedition 31 crew, continues his documentation of life on the space station. In this installment, he talks about how astronauts maintain their health and the etiquette of a dinner with friends in microgravity.

The post An Astronaut's Guide appeared first on Astrobiology Magazine.

          Searching for Life Where the Sun Don’t Shine (part 1): Explorations to the Sea Floors of Earth and Europa        

This series follows an oceanographic expedition to the Mid-Cayman Rise, and NASA’s efforts to plan a future mission to Jupiter’s moon, Europa.

The post Searching for Life Where the Sun Don’t Shine (part 1): Explorations to the Sea Floors of Earth and Europa appeared first on Astrobiology Magazine.

          Diary of a Space Zucchini, Part 5        

Don Pettit, member of the Expedition 31 crew, continues to document the life of a zucchini grown in orbit on the International Space Station. Studying how plants grow in space can help astrobiologists understand how Earth life adapts to the space environment.

The post Diary of a Space Zucchini, Part 5 appeared first on Astrobiology Magazine.

          Slicing Up Time on the Space Station        

Astronaut Don Pettit continues his diary from Expedition 31 on the International Space Station. In this installment he talks about how astronauts spend their time on the ISS - from performing experiments to simply trying to stay alive.

The post Slicing Up Time on the Space Station appeared first on Astrobiology Magazine.

           Lymphocytopenia and the overwinter survival of Atlantic salmon parr, Salmo salar L.         
Pickering, A.D.; Pottinger, T.G.. 1988 Lymphocytopenia and the overwinter survival of Atlantic salmon parr, Salmo salar L. Journal of Fish Biology, 32 (5). 689-697. 10.1111/j.1095-8649.1988.tb05409.x
           The effect of acid mist on the frost hardiness of red spruce seedlings.         
Cape, J.N.; Sheppard, L.; Leith, I.D.; Murray, M.B.; Deans, J.D.; Fowler, D.. 1988 The effect of acid mist on the frost hardiness of red spruce seedlings. In: Environmental aspects of applied biology. Wellesbourne, Association of Applied Biologists, 141-149. (Aspects of Applied Biology, 17).
           The breeding biology of guillemots Uria aalge on the Isle of May over a six year period         
Harris, M. P.; Wanless, S.. 1988 The breeding biology of guillemots Uria aalge on the Isle of May over a six year period. Ibis, 130 (2). 172-192. 10.1111/j.1474-919X.1988.tb00969.x
           Calcium carbonate precipitation by the marine cyanobacterium Trichodesmium         
Conference -Invited talk Kranz, S. , Wolf-Gladrow, D. , Nehrke, G. , Langer, G. and Rost, B. (2011) Calcium carbonate precipitation by the marine cyanobacterium Trichodesmium , Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology Bremen, Seminar. . hdl:10013/epic.37112
          Biology's Biggest Mystery: The Origin of Life        
Journey back 3.7 billion years to the young earth, as we try to find out how life first began. Was it in a soup of colliding chemistry, a deep-sea hydrothermal vent or did life rain down on the earth from the cosmos? Plus, the microbial meal that changed the world.
          Alive and Shine with Aadil and Savitri!: Encore Ignorance May Not Be Bliss Afterall        
GuestDr. Klinghardt is a world renowned physician. His research on neuro-biology and the effect our environment has on our nervous system is legend. Aadil will interview Dr. Klinghardt who is also the founder and chairman of the German and Swiss Institute for Neuro Biology.
          Alive and Shine with Aadil and Savitri!: Alive and Shine with Aadil and Savitri Ignorance May Not Be Bliss Afterall        
GuestDr. Klinghardt is a world renowned physician. His research on neuro biology and the effect our environment has on our nervous system is legend. Aadil will interview Dr. Klinghardt who is also the founder and chairman of the German and Swiss Institute for Neuro Biology.
          David Willetts AAAS Audio Blog        
UK Universities and Science Minister, David Willetts, becomes his own radio presenter; here, on a tour organised by the UK's Science and Innovation Network, he charts his meetings with scientists and entrepreneurs in Chicago, including discovering how researchers are trying to develop new batteries, he meets MIRA the Argonne supercomputer, attends a synthetic biology convention, talks to technology start-up CEOs, addresses the AAAS fellows forum and talks in depth to his travelling companions, Nottingham chemist Martyn Poliakoff and Edinburgh Vice Prinicipal Mary Bownes...
          Unravelling Epigenetics        
Epigenetics controls the activity of genes inside cells and holds the key to new treatments for old diseases. We explore the impacts of epigenetics on embryonic development, cancer, and stem cell biology, and find out how epigenetic changes during pregnancy can even affect your grandchildren! Plus, why parenthood extends your lifespan, and the genetic recipe for the red blood cell.
          Bed Bug Biology        
Bed bug cases are on the rise after a 50 year absence from much of the Western world. But why now? We explore the genetics and bizarre biology of these parasitic pests. In the news, we examine the fungal disease killing Ash trees across Europe that may decimate up to 40% of British woodland...
          Getting Inside your Genes        
This week, we're introducing the new Naked Genetics podcast - This time, Kat Arney takes a look at the world of top models - not the kind that won't get out of bed for less than ten grand, but the model organisms used by researchers all over the world to answer some of the most challenging questions in biology. We'll also be hearing about the origins of polar bears, the extinction of Tasmanian tigers, fitter frogs with faster-changing genomes and promiscuous bees. And move over Beyonce, because our gene of the month is the curvaceous Callipyge - Greek for beautiful buttocks.
          Redefining Human: How Microbes Influence Who We Are        
Thursday, March 7, 2013 - 7:00pm
The City Library - 210 East 400 South, Salt Lake City, Utah

Nature of Things Lecture

June Round

Click Here for the podcast of Dr. June Round's Lecture

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Location: The City Library, 210 East 400 South, Salt Lake City 
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Free event -- tickets are not required

Humans are home to vast consortium of bacteria that outnumber our own cells by a factor of ten.  Recent research shows that the microorganisms living on and in our bodies are essential to immune system development and protecting us from a vast array of diseases.  Moreover, these bacteria have likely influenced the evolution of the human species in unexplored and unappreciated ways. Given the importance of bacteria to our health and development, we might begin to redefine ourselves to include the microscopic creatures that inhabit our bodies.

Join Dr. June Round for a discussion of who these organisms are and where they live on your body, what developmental and disease processes they influence, and how scientists are trying to utilize these organisms to treat various ailments. Dr. Round is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology, Division of Microbiology and Immunology, at the University of Utah.  Her lab studies how symbiotic bacteria shape the development and responses of the mammalian immune system. Using germ-free mice raised in a completely sterile environment, she is examining the mechanisms by which a single microorganism prominent in the human microbiome communicates with its host and protects it from disease.  Her work on this communication pathway was published in Science in May 2011.

Complete Nature of Things 2013 Information

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Presenting Partner:  JPMorgan Chase

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          Storytelling: Clear Proof Scientists Descended from Humans        
Thursday, February 9, 2012 - 7:00pm