31 January 2006

Today in the Science News: Part 2: Medicine

U.S. ignorant of the danger of biological weapons:
According to these guys, the U.S. intelligence agencies are too focused on bacteria, and not on emerging threats such as bioregulators.

And by the way: no, it's not the same Peter Singer. This is a totally different guy, who goes by Peter A. Singer to distinguish himself from the wacko. But Peter "Wacko" Singer's middle name is Albert, so I think we should all just feel very sorry for this poor man who introduces himself as Peter A. Singer and then has irresponsible bloggers get pissed off at him. (The Wikipedia talk page on Peter Singer mentioned the distinction. Fortunately, I happened to look at that before I published the post.)

Also, Stephen Block completely butchers Frost. It's "Before I built a wall I'd ask to know/What I was walling in or walling out," dumbass.

Prions are apparently the force behind adult stem cells' regenerative abilities:
Pretty interesting. Prions have been a mystery ever since they were discovered.

8 million children born with birth defects each year:
I don't know that I would have expected such a high toll. But (shades of Peter Singer, not Peter A. Singer) I can't say I'm exactly pleased with the implication that children found to have defects should be aborted so that they're not a burden on society. I understand the logical reasoning behind it, and acknowledge that Singer may be saying that euthanasia is morally acceptable rather than that it's required (I haven't read his work, so I can't say for sure), but the position makes me very uncomfortable.


Blogger Jack Michaels said...

Aren't prions also the supposed activators for diseases lke Mad Cow and it's human equiv. Crutchfeld-Jacobs?

4:30 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Peel said...

Creutzfeld-Jakob, and yes, but I thought that was common knowledge, so I didn't bother mentioning it. (I tend to think a lot of things are common knowledge that aren't really.) Regardless, prions are very mysterious little beasties. We're still in the dark about how they do what they do.

I'm sure everyone remembers that classic line from the X-Files episode about CJD: "Scully, I think the good people of Dudley have been eating more than just chicken."

4:45 PM  

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