To Democrats

Now THIS is the kind of ad that will get you a donation from me.

September 16, 2010 Posted by | 2010 election, Ad, Barbara Boxer, Democrats, economy, Political Ad, political/social, politics, politics/social | Leave a comment

23 June 2010

I’ll use this time to blog; I’ll swim at 11 and get my teeth cleaned at 12:45. The fun never stops. 🙂

Update: 2200 yard swim; 500 in 9:3x, 10 x (25 3g, 25 free) on 1:10, 10 x 100 free on 2: 1:43, 44, 41, 43, 43, 41, 39, 38, 38, 37, 4 x 50 back.
It took me a while to get on track.
Later: after my dentist appointment, I went to Glen Oak Park and walked for 1 hour (4+ miles) in Springdale Cemetery; I did the big hill twice.

Posts of the day

Where has the TARP money gone and who has paid it back? Here is a running list.

Harry Reid is running this ad:

Interestingly enough, what she says doesn’t sound all that bad to me; she never calls the unemployed “spoiled” but makes the statement that Americans are spoiled (in some sense, yes, in others, no; I’d argue that it is the wealthy in our country that act the most entitled and spoiled).

Science Gut bacteria: responsible for triggering rheumatoid arthritis?

Gut microbes deserve a lot of credit: They not only help digest our food, produce some nutrients, detoxify harmful substances, and protect us from pathogens—they are also important for the development of the immune system. Disturbances in the gut microbiota have been linked to allergies as well as disorders of the digestive and immune systems. Although intestinal organisms’ impact on the digestive system’s functioning is generally accepted, how they influence pathologies elsewhere in the body has remained a mystery.

New research has begun to address this enigma. Diane Mathis, professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School, and her colleagues have found that one species of naturally occurring gut bacteria can set off arthritis in mice, in part by manipulating cells of the immune system. Their study appears in the June 25 issue of the journal Immunity.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, incurable disease characterized primarily by painful joint inflammation. Although its precise cause is unknown, RA is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakes the body’s own substances and cells for foreign invaders and releases friendly fire on them.

To study how gut microbes affect the development of RA, the researchers made use of a specific strain of mice that naturally develop severe inflammatory arthritis. They raised the mice under germ-free conditions and found that the animals developed RA significantly more slowly than the controls that were naturally colonized with diverse, nonpathogenic microorganisms. […]

Alexander Chervonsky, professor of pathology at the University of Chicago who was not involved with this study, notes that one significant outcome of this research is the finding that particular microbes, in this case SFB, can determine the outcome of an autoimmune disease. He points out, however, that even in germ-free conditions these mice still develop arthritis although they do so much more slowly. He says this suggests that the development of arthritis does not require the presence of SFB, but that exposure to the microbes may accelerate disease progression.

I know; “mice to humans” sometimes doesn’t always work.

Witch trials clog the court system!
Really…though not in the US:

Snaking around the outer wall of the courthouse in Mbaiki, Central African Republic, is a long line of citizens, all in human form and waiting to face judgment. It’s easy to imagine them as the usual mix of drunks, reckless drivers, and check-bouncers in the dock of a small American town. But here most are witches, and they are facing criminal punishment for hexing their enemies or assuming the shape of animals.

By some estimates, about 40 percent of the cases in the Central African court system are witchcraft prosecutions. (Drug offenses in the U.S., by contrast, account for just 12 percent of arrests.) In Mbaiki—where Pygmies, who are known for bewitching each other, make up about a tenth of the population—witchcraft prosecutions exceed 50 percent of the case load, meaning that most alleged criminals there are suspected of doing things that Westerners generally regard as impossible.

I went to the front of the witch line and asked Abdulaye Bobro, the chief judge, what the punishment was for casting spells. Bobro spoke in an articulate French baritone so rich with authority that I could imagine him flourishing as a crafty small-town defense lawyer, a Central African Atticus Finch, if he were not on the bench.

Bobro’s magisterial bearing was undiminished by his inglorious chambers, which are roughly the size of the reinforced-glass cubes gas-station clerks inhabit in bad neighborhoods. I asked him if he could explain how he reached judgments in witchcraft cases, and he cracked open his filthy, plastic-bound copy of the penal code. Without consulting the table of contents, he found the section on PCS, or the “practice of charlatanism and sorcery,” and let me read along as he quoted from memory the section that dictates a decade or more in jail and a nominal fine for engaging in witchcraft. In practice the penalties were significantly less, because the town had insufficient funds to maintain a jail. But Bobro supported the law’s preservation, perhaps because it gave him so much authority.

At least this hasn’t happened in the United States…yet. But put the Republicans in power and give them enough time….

The God of the Right Wing:

June 23, 2010 Posted by | 2010 election, Ad, biology, Democrats, economy, evolution, humor, nature, Political Ad, politics, politics/social, religion, science, social/political, superstition, swimming, training, walking | Leave a comment