Grateful Dead

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Hal R's picture
Joined: Jun 13 2007
NFL suspends Vick indefinitely without pay

Yes! Quick karma for this cruel man.

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
Walt Whitman-Song of Myself

Golden Road's picture
Joined: Jun 5 2007
Dilated Pupil?

1 hour, 59 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Astronomers have stumbled upon a tremendous hole in the universe. That's got them scratching their heads about what's just not there. The cosmic blank spot has no stray stars, no galaxies, no sucking black holes, not even mysterious dark matter. It is 1 billion light years across of nothing. That's an expanse of nearly 6 billion trillion miles of emptiness, a University of Minnesota team announced Thursday.

Astronomers have known for many years that there are patches in the universe where nobody's home. In fact, one such place is practically a neighbor, a mere 2 million light years away. But what the Minnesota team discovered, using two different types of astronomical observations, is a void that's far bigger than scientists ever imagined.

"This is 1,000 times the volume of what we sort of expected to see in terms of a typical void," said Minnesota astronomy professor Lawrence Rudnick, author of the paper that will be published in Astrophysical Journal. "It's not clear that we have the right word yet ... This is too much of a surprise."

Rudnick was examining a sky survey from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, which essentially takes radio pictures of a broad expanse of the universe. But one area of the universe had radio pictures indicating there was up to 45 percent less matter in that region, Rudnick said.

The rest of the matter in the radio pictures can be explained as stars and other cosmic structures between here and the void, which is about 5 to 10 billion light years away.

Rudnick then checked observations of cosmic microwave background radiation and found a cold spot. The only explanation, Rudnick said, is it's empty of matter.

It could also be a statistical freak of nature, but that's probably less likely than a giant void, said James Condon, an astronomer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. He wasn't part of Rudnick's team but is following up on the research.

"It looks like something to be taken seriously," said Brent Tully, a University of Hawaii astronomer who wasn't part of this research but studies the void closer to Earth.

Tully said astronomers may eventually find a few cosmic structures in the void, but it would still be nearly empty.

Holes in the universe probably occur when the gravity from areas with bigger mass pull matter from less dense areas, Tully said. After 13 billion years "they are losing out in the battle to where there are larger concentrations of matter," he said.

Retired NASA astronomer Steve Maran said of the discovery: "This is incredibly important for something where there is nothing to it."

"All energy flows according to the whims of the Great Magnet. What a fool I was to defy him."

Joined: Jun 7 2007
in vitro ferilization


Yes, I am against the in vitro process, as well. But let me qualify that answer with my reasons why.

The problem is that life in the womb (or petrie dish) has no rights under the law. Only life that has passed through the birth canal, has any rights at all. So this premise in the law gives these "doctors" absolute liberty to create as many lives as they choose, but does not regulate the process beyond that, because these lives are not recognized as "life" under the law. So that is the slippery slope that has given us freezers full of little lives waiting for their growth cycles to resume. I would not be opposed to in vitro, if it was regulated (i.e., create eight lives, then implant eight lives). Of course that would mean implanting the other 6 or 7 into the wombs of infertile couples who would love the opportunity to have a child.

But if we were to toss out the law, as well as rights under the law, let's take a look at your previous statement:

"The embryos that are being tested would have been destroyed anyway."

Now on the surface it might sound reasonable, but let's extend that thought to a wider part of society who now (at this time) enjoy rights under the law:

1) Death row inmates: these are going to die anyway, so lets end it for them, and send their bodies off for scientific research.

2) People with terminal illnesses: these are going to die anyway, so lets end it for them, and send their bodies off for scientific research.

3) Etc., Etc., Etc.

The thing to consider is this: The same reason we use for justifying the destruction of these little lives, could be turned around, and used as the very reason (or philosophy) to save them. But how is that?

Well ...

These are little lives who are perfectly healthy (other than being frozen in a state of suspended animation), yet ... since they will likely be destroyed anyway (as our reasoning goes) then we should end it for them, take their body parts, and then implant these tissues into a multitude of sick persons (who will probably be dead anyway in a matter of months). So we are snuffing out the healthy, to save sick, who will most likely die anyway. Now we have 2 dead instead of 1. Boy that sound logical?? Why not just apply the above principle: let the sick die (they will die anyway), and let the healthy live. Sounds a little more like it.

Ah, I know this might not be very popular, but I think that everyone should be in charge of his/her own life. Let's let these little ones grow up first, then if they decide at some point to donate their living human lives to science, then , hey, they should then do it. But I myself do not see how any of us have the right to decide which innocent lives should live, and which innocent lives should die. That sounds like a job for Adolf Hitler.

At least for the moment, scientists need to get permission from the parents before using any of their blastocysts for destruction and research. And since parents realize that these are their children, they are typically reluctant to hand over their little ones for research, as they would be reluctant to hand over their 2 year old for research.

Greg SC

Joined: Jun 23 2007
stem cells


Although I agree with your statement that our society lacks a moral conscience and that this is a problem, I also agree with leadbelly that the stem cell debate has been largely misrepresented in American society to create the appearance of some great moral crisis--which I think diverts us from some of the other moral crises in the world.

Just curious, are you also against in vitro-fertilization? Because as part of this process numerous eggs are fertilized, then frozen--and once the parents get pregnant, the zygotes are held for a few years then destroyed. And of course, during the process it is assumed that most of the zygotes created will fail (die). According to your analogy parents are freezing and then killing some of their own children in order to increase the odds of having one healthy birth.

Joined: Jun 7 2007
stem cells

I do not agree. Actually, the only real successes achieved with stem cell research has been achieved with non-embryonic stem cells. The embryonic research has achieved nothing (aside from cancerous growth).

But all in all, we have become a society with a dead conscience. Every one of us were zygotes at one time. Before we offer up someone else's kids for research, we should consider whether we'd give up our newborn, or even our own fertilized eggs for research. If we can say yes to that statement, then that would be the easiest solution. And those who checked "yes," can drop their children off at the nearest lab.

Greg SC

Joined: Jun 4 2007
Stem Cells

The argument over stem cells is stupid. Essentially the people running the debate have no idea what they are talking about, except for their outdated and superstitious outlook on the world.
A human embryo, correctly called a BLASTOCYST (see how language works?), is a collection of 150 cells. The brain of a fly has over 100,00 cells. Do you have a moral quandary every time you kill a fly? Another argument made is that human embryos' have the "potential" for life. Well, given what we now know about human engineering, every cell in your body has the potential for human life. Every time you scatch your nose, you are killing hundreds and hundreds of cells, essentially committing a holocoust of epic proportions.
The bottom line is that the opposition to stem cell research is morally indefensible. Millions upon millions of people are suffering because an uneducated vocal minority has essentially poisoned the well.
I don't normally get worked up, but this "debate" really makes me angry. Everyone's entitled to their opinions, but this stem cell argument is stupid.

Yo Soy Boricua!

Joined: Jun 23 2007
on the stem cell thing

The relationship between medical testing and ethics is always a precarious one. Specifically, regarding stem cells, I am not opposed to it because the potential positive outcomes are immense and I think the harm is largely misrepresented. First, there is a big difference between embryonic stem cells and other stem cells in their research potential--it is like apples and oranges--and embryonic stem cells have already demonstrated much more potential.

There is also a false perception that stem cells are coming from aborted babies or from embryos specifically fertilized for such a reason. This is not true. The stem cell lines which have been tested on already have come from embryos fertilized for invitro-fertilization but then went unused. More testing would come from the same source. The embryos that are being tested would have been destroyed anyway. Why not use them for medical research rather than throwing them away?

I do think, however, we need to tread lightly with regards to the impact of such research.

Joined: Jun 7 2007

Yes, stem cells need not be taken from human embryos that have been destroyed for that purpose. There are so many sources of stem cells, that I am beginning to wonder if some of these scientists do not have some wacky obsession with doing experimentation on living human embryos! Some of these people are pretty sick.

So, yes, let the stem cell research continue, but only with stem cells that are taken from humane sources (i.e., umbilical cords, fat cells, etc). I find it amazing that some people will gasp in horror when Michael Vick gets caught mistreating dogs, but turn a blind eye to our fellow humans getting the shaft by our government in the name of scientific progress. I think that all politicians wishing to offer up flesh for the cause, should turn him/her self in to the lab, and let them do the experimentation on him or her. Only then would these golden tongue fools see what it is like to be on the receiving end of their nonsense.

Greg SC

Joined: Jul 21 2007
Stem Cells

We will eventually be growing new body parts as general medical practice. Let's not think of stem cells as the rape of the unborn...In fact, stem cells can likely be obtained from a source other than embryos. I have heard that these precursers to all human body cells can be found in the gumline of newborns. So does anybody think that it is possible that one day we won't equate stem cells with abortion?
I'm tellin' you, our grandkids will be living to 150.

Joined: Jun 23 2007
In other news...

The winner of today's stage in the Tour de France?

Robert Hunter from the Barloworld team.

strange, eh?


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I turn on Channel Six, the President comes on the news...