Archive for March 2009

Making the Hard Choices for Energy

Mar 19th, 2009 | By | Category: Environmental, Nukes

We’re well past the point of being able to consider only the most pleasant energy sources. Looking at the number of people on the planet, and the increasingly dire reports of damage caused by the burning of fossil fuels, we need to be realistic. These steps, by the scientific community and the Obama administration, are heartening steps in what seems the right direction.

The Mammalian Cell Fate Map

Mar 18th, 2009 | By | Category: Embryonic Stem Cell Research

As a part of writing up my PhD thesis, I adapted this figure from Gilbert’s Developmental Biology, Fourth Edition: (This figure is my own. Click for a much larger version–suitable for printing on an 8.5×11 sheet of paper.) When I write about embryonic stem cells, I’m often saying something like this: Making a new mammal […]

The Ethics of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Mar 13th, 2009 | By | Category: Embryonic Stem Cell Research

What happens when a part of our body gets injured–or just wears out? The ideal response would be to replace the tissue and cells lost with new, full-functional replacements–regeneration. For the parts of our body that are constantly turning over–skin, blood, and to a lesser extent bone for examples–this is exactly what happens. Since the […]

Evolution of Cascades

Mar 13th, 2009 | By | Category: Evolution

Regulated cascades pop up all the time in biology–particularly in complex organisms. Whether coagulation, development or differentiation of specific cell types, they all follow the same general pattern.

Some new work, in the field of skeletal muscle differentiation, points to another way beyond the divine to generate a cascade.

Responses to Dire Warnings of Imminent Danger

Mar 12th, 2009 | By | Category: Economics, Science and Society

1. In the best way we can, in the face of no viable alternatives beyond doom. From NOAA: NOAA’s National Weather Service has issued a report that analyzes forecasting performance and public response during the second deadliest tornado outbreak in U.S. history. The report, Service Assessment of the Super Tuesday Tornado Outbreak of February 5-6, […]

Which Doll is the Nice Doll?

Mar 6th, 2009 | By | Category: Science and Society, Your Rights

Preventing “children from being taught in public schools that ‘same-sex marriage’ is the same as traditional marriage” however does cause demonstrable harm. Kenneth B. Clark’s “Doll Test” tells us that letting proposition-8 stand will damage children who are biologically determined to be attracted to the same sex–telling them their capacity for love is wrong and beneath that of the heterosexual majority.

Voyager 2, How I Miss You

Mar 2nd, 2009 | By | Category: Scientific Disciplines

Early in 1986, I snuck out of bed and turned on the ancient black-and-white television set close to my bedroom. Only eight years old, I sat down to watch a PBS special. The Voyager 2 spacecraft was about to send back the first close-up pictures of the planet Uranus. Even at that young age, I […]