A pressing matter

We know the public are not getting their science knowledge from the classroom, so how exactly are they making decisions and forming opinions on health and science issues Simple they are getting it from their religious and political leaders to some extent, but the majority get their information from the press, and even more specifically from television. It is easy to criticize television for reporting watered down science that builds up false expectations for viewers and generally over-hyping...

All the kings horses

An interesting idea cropped up in fall of 2004 that aimed to bridge the moral divide between embryonic stem cell research advocates and their opponents - define when an in vitro fertilized embryo is technically dead for implantation purposes and use only those for research. Don Landry and Howard Zucker, both scientists at Columbia University, published their idea in the Journal of Clinical Investigation and presented it to the President's Council on Bioethics. Basically, they call for a...

All children left behind

Unfortunately, attempts to correct the situation at the federal level have resulted in lower curriculum standards and have provided little guidance for schools to use to actually improve curriculum. Current federal policy has fueled neglect of science education and has added lemon juice to the overall education cuts in the US. In January 2002, President Bush signed 'No Child Left Behind' into law. The law is fairly complicated, but in essence the goal is to raise the academic standards of all...

Were number

The US consistently ranks well behind most other industrialized nations in science education, but it is clear that the situation is getting worse. All survey results on comparative education for high school science education place the US behind at least 16 other countries in the world. According to most surveys, we are even worse off than that. (The Third International Mathematics and Science Study placed the US at 16, but did not include many countries that are far ahead of us in science...

Mommy Whats a stem cell

Most cells in your body are not actively dividing. They have matured into a specialized type of cell, a liver cell for example, and will do their job and die. Stem cells have an important job - they make more cells. They do this by continually dividing and replacing both those cells in your body that have kicked the bucket and themselves at the same time. When they divide, one of the two cells stays a stem cell while the other matures, does a job and dies. Simple enough. There are many kinds of...

Mea culpa

Pointing out the importance of the doctor-patient relationship is a clich , and a cursory look at medicine today will tell you that its value has been warped over time to an unrecognizable tangle. At the heart of this relationship is trust. Patients are inherently vulnerable because of the uncertainty felt when asking another person for help with their physical welfare. The psychological game that gives patients the feeling that their autonomy has been stripped begins the very moment a patient...

Evolving controversy

The best modern example of unfounded fear and hatred of science, the most clear-cut example of ignorance of science in action, is the hubbub over teaching evolution as 'just a theory' in schools, alongside 'alternatives.' Before we get into details, let's be absolutely clear on this there is no controversy over the scientific principles of evolution by natural selection within the scientific community. It is the foundation of modern biological sciences, including the study of genomes, molecular...

Attack of the cloners

I have already explained how stem cells lines are made, but what about cloning Are biologists really doing something that we will all regret Most people have a high opinion of what scientists do, even if they don't understand it. When the public are polled about their opinion on the performance of different government institutions, they answer that they favor the job being done by the CDC and NIH over just about every other agency. In modern history, there is only one movement in biology that...

A natural conspiracy

You've been to your doctor over and over again, and you feel great frustration because your GAD has only gotten worse and it seems to be spreading. You suspect that you might be developing GTD, but cannot be sure. You feel desperate and will try anything to cure it. Since Lipopaxia was taken off the market you have felt rather hopeless. Dreams of being able to fit in an airplane seat without the seat belt extender have slowly faded. One night, you are up late polishing off a pint of Ben and...

Contraception misconception

Preventing pregnancy is one of the most bizarre issues in America today. The rhetoric is full of ridiculous hypocrisy and religion-based stupidity about human reproduction. It is common to hear people say that poor people should stop having children that they can't afford to pay for and also say that they are against the distribution of birth control products or the teaching of sex education in school. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of our biology, and simplistic solutions like teaching...

Hiv

4 children are infected every minute 1 child dies every minute 40.3 million people living with HIV in 2005 2.2 million children are infected 25 million people have died since 1981 2000 by President Clinton that requires that the FDA provide language for manufacturers to put on condom labels that indicates their effectiveness for preventing sexually transmitted diseases. On the surface, this sounds like a good idea. But for most diseases we do not have very accurate numbers on the efficacy...

Info

Forget everything you think you know about science and scientists. It's a bunch of crap. Before we dive into the controversies that surround science, I am going to give you a peek into the making of a typical modern biologist. This is important because without some context of what scientists do, it is hard to understand how they must feel about the current denial and misuse of science to push social and political agendas. I will focus shamelessly on the US for one simple reason the US is a...

Oak Trees In The Northeastern United States Have Survived For Hundreds Of Years In Spite Of Attacks By Native Insects.

Different structures are and know what they do. I guess the link between the cell membrane and the kidney is supposed to be that they both filter material, but this is neither a useful nor relevant comparison for understanding what either really does or for understanding comparative anatomy, if that is in fact what they were trying to test. The point is that the comparison is kind of stupid and a student who knows the diagrams and all of the components well might get it wrong. Let's take...