Monday, January 21, 2013



O wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, That has such people in’t.

 —William Shakespeare, The Tempest





These are some things we can do without, or at least without so much of them.

I know that I am quite overweight.

I know that I don’t exercise enough.

The good news is that I quit both smoking and drinking eleven and eighteen years ago, respectively.

What damage was done has been done, and time will tell whether really bad things result.

Actually, really bad things have already resulted:

1.Blocked arteries

2.    Decayed teeth

3.   Diabetes 2

And, of course, my fractured vertebra---and the “bulging discs”---that resulted from a traumatic fall---INTO my bathtub---of all places!

I hesitate to share these bad things, and I’m sure readers would rather not read or know about them, but at my age my life is an open book, and one that I suppose I am always writing about via my blogs. 

But it is a “book” less about me, and more about the crazy world we inhabit.

Two such examples of this world of craziness are a couple of articles that I recently read.

The second article is of a higher order of craziness than the first.

The first article is about obesity.

Obesity is not just mono causal (if that is a word).

There is more than one cause.

Or so it was indicated in the following (excerpted) article:

Bruce Blumberg, a developmental biologist at the University of California, Irvine, coined the term “obesogen” in a 2006 journal article to refer to chemicals that cause animals to store fat. Initially, this concept was highly controversial among obesity experts, but a growing number of peer-reviewed studies have confirmed his finding and identified some 20 substances as obesogens.

The role of these chemicals has been acknowledged by the presidential task force on childhood obesity, and the National Institutes of Health has become a major funder of research on links between endocrine disruptors and both obesity and diabetes.

Among chemicals identified as obesogens are materials in plastics, canned food, agricultural chemicals, foam cushions and jet fuel. For example, a study in the fall found that triflumizole, a fungicide used on many food crops, like leafy vegetables, causes obesity in mice.

There is more to fat than meets the mind or eyes.


The second article I found much more interesting, and it was definitely the better candidate for first prize under the craziness label.

There is a (crazy=mad) scientist, Harvard Medical School Professor George Church, who wants to create/clone a Neanderthal man.

But even crazier are his reasons:

“Neanderthals might think differently than we do. They could even be more intelligent than us,” he said. “When the time comes to deal with an epidemic or getting off the planet, it’s conceivable that their way of thinking could be beneficial.”

Professor Church is nothing if not a pessimistic realist with optimistic solutions in mind:

“It could even be that you want just a few mutations

from the Neanderthal genome,” he said.

 “Suppose you were to realize:
Wow, these five mutations might change the neuronal
pathways, the skull size, a few key things. They could
give us what we want in terms of neutral diversity. I
doubt that we are going to particularly care about their
facial morphology, though.”

Tell Hollywood and Washington D.C. that last part.
They will laugh until the clones come home.

I never published the following, and it's old news now.
I could swear that I was reading Aldous Huxley's Brave New World when I read this:
"British scientists will try to create human-animal embryos for the first time after receiving the go-ahead from the government's fertility regulator yesterday. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority said it had offered year-long licences to two teams of scientists... the HFEA has sought to clarify whether the creation of embryos by fusing animal and human tissues is legal and scientifically justified."
"...embryos must be destroyed after 14 days when they are no bigger than a pinhead, and cannot be implanted into the womb. In a statement, the authority said its licensing committee had "determined that the applications satisfied all the requirements of the law".

From The Guardian

Human-animal emyryos get the go-ahead

January 18,


You can't stop Progress.
You can't slow down the march of Time, or erase the footprints of Science.
But will what Science comes up with next be for the best?
"We are doing what we're doing with good intentions. We want to improve the human race and ease its suffering."
(And make billions while doing it!)









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