Category: Science

Faith healing.

Do not click on this link unless you want to be enraged at the stories of parents who unconscionably refuse medical treatment for their children. Dr. Harriet Hall of SBM tells the story, of, among others, the incredibly courageous Rita Swan, a former Christian Scientist who quit the church after her son Mathew died of untreated bacterial meningitis. Swan then became a heroic campaigner for the rights of children to be treated even if their parents belong to faiths that prohibit “modern” medicine. She founded CHILD (Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty), which meticulously documented cases of deaths and suffering brought on by their parents’ neglect and misplaced faith.

Let me be clear: if these deluded shitwits want to end or shorten their own lives by avoiding medicine, I’ve got no problem with that. In fact, more power to them. But they DO NOT have the right to commit manslaughter.

I’d like to call for the laws that protect these monsters to be repealed, but I’m sanguine enough to know that it will never happen.

The link herein contains graphic photos, terrifying stories of unrelieved suffering, and infuriating tales of preventable deaths. Also various members of fringe sects trying to justify their homicidal actions.

I’m not Rand Simberg, and I don’t even play him on television…

Last February I posted on my blog the following musings on a manned mission to Mars. The central feature is a permanent space station that could leave Earth orbit and travel to Mars and other spots within a reasonable distance.
The space station (termed “Habitation Module”) would not move under its own power (except for maneuvering thrusters), but would be pushed by a second craft docked to the rear. The mission also involves a third craft, capable of landing on Mars, returning to the HM, and then landing on Earth.
Then there’s the matter of launching the “Interplanetary Launch Vehicle” and the lander. The latter would have to be launched from Earth every time a crew is sent up, obviously. Originally, I had the ILV leaving Earth every time there’s a mission; in retrospect, the feasibility of launching it only once and sending a “tanker” into orbit to fuel the ILV might be looked into.
So without any further ado…

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Impermeable barrier, colander, or something in between?

The Catholic Church came under fire recently when a BBC report quoted that “cardinals, bishops, priests and nuns in four continents of the church have been quoted as saying HIV can pass through tiny holes in condoms.”
Cardinal Alfonso Lopez appeared on the program stating, “The AIDS virus is roughly 450 times smaller than the spermatozoon…The spermatozoon can easily pass through the ‘net’ that is formed by the condom.”
Where did Lopez and others get this idea? Turn to Catholic.org’s apologetics section. Included in the page on Contraception is the following passage, taken from Briefing Paper No. 4, Bishops’ Conference of Scotland:

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Rabbits, cloning and China

Totally fascinating article by Tony Blankley about new Chinese advances in cloning. Blankley makes a point that may get him into trouble with his conservative brethren on many points:
[I]t is already known that the ASPM gene on human chromosome No. 1 regulates the number of times neuronal stem cells divide inside the embryonic brain about two weeks after conception, thus determining the number of neurons the adult brain will have. Assuming proper synapse, the more neurons, the higher the potential intelligence of the individual. Of course, environment also plays a measurable part in usable human intelligence — but if the genetic part can be manipulated upward on an “industrial” basis in a population — there will probably prove to be no reason why, within a few decades, a group of super intelligent people could not be formed. Moreover, bio-engineering may be able to physically improve man across the entire spectrum of our functions — yielding extraordinary economic as well as strategic advantages. (Neanderthal man was a magnificently successful early man. But when he met the more intelligent CroMagnon man, he quickly went extinct.)
Of course, mistakes will be made. Island of Dr. Moreau-like monsters may well be formed. God may punish a people who presume to tinker with his handiwork. But, as the Chinese push forward, hell-bent for industrial levels of genetic manipulation and cloning, supported by the massive bioengineering research they are now beginning to fund, American voters and congressmen will have to balance their strong ethical and religious revulsion of cloning against the danger of being surpassed by a gene-manipulated super-race. John Kennedy won the presidency in 1960 warning of a missile gap with the Soviets. Will some future president win on the warning of a brain gap with the Red Chinese?

Let’s get it on…

Didja see this article about the sound that black holes make?
Evidently, it’s a low moaning noise, about 57 octaves below Middle C.
It’s a couple billion light years from Earth, more or less. It’s such a low tone, most people can’t even hear it.
I guess now we know what happened to Barry White.
Update: Upon further review:

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