Daily Archives: December 5, 2008
Clinics exploit hope with unproven stem cell therapies
Planned Parenthood is offering gift certificates for the holidays
Scientists snatch supernova echo from the 1500’s
Inebriated Press \ Division of Rant (with Pretzels)
December 5, 2008
Reuters reported yesterday that rogue clinics around the world are exploiting hope and ignorance by offering unproven stem cell therapies, a group of stem cell experts said in a new report. And the Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday that Planned Parenthood is offering gift certificates in $25 increments during the holidays, to be used for buying contraceptives or paying for abortions. Meanwhile, Scientific American reported yesterday that scientists at the Subaru Telescope say they’ve traveled into the past and seen echoes of an event witnessed by astronomer Tycho Brahe in 1572. Pundits are debating whether society is going forward, backward, or if it’s just more of the same, but with a high tech flavor.
“‘Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account’ — Solomon wrote that in Ecclesiastes, and he knew what he was talking about way before snake-oil salesmen plied their trade with unproven elixir they said would heal all your ills — the same as the stem cell people are doing today,” said Rachael Ray-Fiberglass, a part-time chef and full-time auto-body repair expert, who likes cooking up fun in old Chevy’s. “There’s nothing new about what’s going on in today’s world. It’s as old as human nature itself. I have little doubt that the Aztec’s handed out certificates that gave benefits to citizens who sacrificed their children for the holidays, and we know scams of all kinds have been going on forever. People elected Obama for his change mantra and now he’s stocking the cupboards with Clintonites. Nothing new is going on here. Sure the country has moved further left and we’ll get higher taxes and a weaker military, but that’s been a Democrat thing for years. Everything is the same, only the trappings are different.”
Not everyone agrees with Ray-Fiberglass. “Today’s civilization has advanced well beyond the barbaric days of snake oil and artery bleeding for healing, and no free woman should have to carry an unwanted child to term; we’ve outgrown old modalities. For crying out loud get over it,” said Angel Golden-Rapunzel, who looks like her first name and frequently makes men drool but never notices. “We should be using every tool and technology at our disposal to advance medicine and social enjoyment, by altering our genes, relaxing our beliefs about genocide and the value or devaluation of human life, and get on with the creation of a new age and a master race. Hitler was pretty aggressive and probably should have toned it down a little, but he made significant advancements toward improving humanity through proper breeding and casually getting rid of undesirables. There’s nothing to fear here. Some old things might be new again, but they’ve been updated for the better, with a modern approach and progressive philosophy. If we could go back in time and get Adolph’s views on things, you can bet most of today’s true scientists would do it. The guy had foresight.”
Reuters reported that rogue clinics around the world may be exploiting hope and ignorance by offering unproven stem cell therapies, a group of stem cell experts said in a report released on Wednesday. The International Society for Stem Cell Research released guidelines for researchers and regulators, and a guidebook for patients that criticized some clinics. “The International Society for Stem Cell Research is very concerned that stem cell therapies are being sold around the world before they have been proven safe and effective,” the guidelines said. “The direct-to-consumer portrayal of stem cell medicine is optimistic and unsupported by published evidence,” Timothy Caulfield of the University of Alberta and colleagues wrote. For researchers and regulators, the group advises tough oversight and independent review. “Regulators have a responsibility to prevent exploitation of patients in their jurisdictions, and where necessary, to close fraudulent clinics and take disciplinary action against the doctors involved,” said Dr. George Daley of Children’s Hospital Boston.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Planned Parenthood is offering gift certificates in $25 increments available online and at 35 Indiana clinics, which can be used for health services, contraceptives and abortions. Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, characterizes the response to the gift certificates as “pretty robust, and generally very favorable.” She estimates that “about a dozen” certificates have sold since they became available Nov. 25. Planned Parenthood of Illinois plans to sell similar gift certificates starting Monday. PPIN’s move has enraged various anti-abortion organizations. Jim Sedlak, vice president of the American Life League and executive director of Stop Planned Parenthood, a group based in Stafford, Va., condemns the certificates as a continuation of Planned Parenthood’s “annual attacks on the Christian community at Christmastime.”
Scientific American reported that it’s not every day we get a chance to time travel. But astronomers say they’ve done a little traveling into the past. In November of 1572, legendary astronomer Tycho Brahe peered up at the night sky. He saw what looked like a strangely bright star in the constellation Cassiopeia. It was brighter even than the nearby planet Venus. He studied that bright new star for five months, until it faded away. But what Brahe saw wasn’t a new star. It was actually an old star undergoing the brilliantly bright death of a supernova. Scientists at the Subaru Telescope in Japan recently analyzed what could be called echoes of this more than 400-year-old event. Light from the original supernova bounced off dust particles in the interstellar clouds and eventually reached us here on earth more than four centuries later. They published their research in the December 4th issue of the journal Nature.
Some people say that whether light is old or new, shedding some of it on current trends with a bit of common sense gleaned from history, is the best way to advance society.
“We need to use caution when we begin to protect heinous killers on death row, and terrorists who indiscriminately behead those they disagree with, because we call ourselves civilized; but then create human embryos and destroy them for the stem cells, or destroy them because they are inconvenient or imperfect,” said a passing troll, often mistaken for a Republican right-winger. “I’m not saying there isn’t a time and place to consider this, but when we become casual about it, and we shuffle genes and weak or powerless members of society like so many playing cards, we begin to walk a path where taking the lives of the innocent to benefit those in control leads to oppression and an authoritarian version of utopia. Protection of the sick and the weak is what makes society what it is. It’s where we derive compassion and understand unconditional love. Improvement through change can be made, but costs and tradeoffs are always present. Abandoning love of life with both its strengths and weaknesses, and replacing it with economic or socially engineered efficiency and design, ultimately becomes oppressive and totalitarian. Oh what the hell, hand me the Jack Daniels, I’ve had enough of this shit for one day.”
In other news, Sweden’s The Local reported Wednesday, that a Swedish woman injured in a car accident has had her disability benefits withdrawn after the country’s social insurance agency determined her large bust was to blame for the pain. “My breasts have been large since I got them. But I didn’t have any problems with pain before the car accident,” Jessica Andersson said. Andersson learned last week that the Swedish Social Insurance Agency was cancelling disability payments for whiplash injuries she suffered in a car accident six years ago. The agency’s decision comes following an assessment from a doctor suggesting that Andersson could return to work if she had breast reduction surgery. Andersson is currently considering an appeal of the ruling to have her payments withdrawn. No word on whether she got her boobs naturally or from a rogue clinic, but sometimes personal change, just like society’s, hurts as much as it helps.
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