Tag Archives: Scientists

Charlotte Parent: We Can Rebuild Him

Ever wonder what Col. Steve Austin would look like today without inflation? My guess? Dead, most likely.

In 1973, scientists were able to put astronaut Steve Austin back together after a catastrophic crash for a mere $6 million and make him “better, stronger, faster.”

He worked as a superhero/secret agent. I wonder how he would have done as a dad.

Today at Charlotte Parent, where I’ll be blogging under our Stay-At-Home Dudes column name, I’m considering what machines it would take to replace a parent in the life of a child.

His name isn't Frankenstein, nor is it Franky. It's simply the monster.
painted by Dick Bobnick

No, I’m not talking about the wire mommy. I’m just having a little fun.

And maybe wondering if I could go that Victor Frankenstein dude one better.


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Stinky Breath Or Stroke: How’s That For A Choice?

Staying under the covers is the only thing that makes sense some days.

Take, for instance, the day I got out of bed and started reading the paper while I was walking Buzz, The Garbage Disposal That Walks Like A Dog. That was when I learned that my daily habit of keeping my teeth clean and my breath minty fresh was about to kill me.

Scientists branded the products . . . a health “disaster” claiming they raised blood pressure by killing off vital bacteria which helps blood vessels to dilate.

Using Corsodyl, which contains a powerful antiseptic and widely available in stores across the UK, can push up blood pressure within hours, the team discovered after testing it on a group of healthy volunteers.

Professor Amrita Ahluwalia, who led the study, said: “Killing off all these bugs each day is a disaster, when small rises in blood pressure have significant impact on morbidity and mortality from heart disease and stroke.”

Seriously, dudes, I have got to stop reading the news. It’s getting quite depressing.

The differences in blood pressure were apparent “within one day” of the mouthwash being used, the study published in the journal Free Radical Biology And Medicine revealed.

A two-point rise in blood pressure increased the risk of dying from heart disease by seven per cent and stroke by ten per cent, according to separate research.

Prof Ahluwalia, from Queen Mary University of London, said: “We are not telling people to stop using antiseptic mouthwashes if they have a gum or tooth infection – but we would ask why anyone else would want to.”

Apparently the bugs in your mouth produce nitrite, which is needed to promote the healthy dilation of blood vessels in the body. Without the nitrite, the vessels don’t dilate and your blood pressure goes up.

I wouldn’t say I’m shocked — because lately it seems that everything we do, eat, drink, or watch is bad for us and it’s only a matter of time before the study announcing these sad facts comes out — but I am disappointed. I wouldn’t have thought that scouring my mouth of the germs that cause bad breath would be anything but good.

No matter how hard you try, you’re going to miss some food particles in your teeth and those food bits will decompose and that will have a deleterious effect on your breath. I’d used mouth wash as a mid-day breath cleanser, but that’s right out after this.

It looks like I’ll be going back to gum from now on.

Oh, wait.

Never mind.

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How Bigfoot Fits Into His Genes

Bigfoot still is a mystery, dudes. I know. It’s a bit shocking.

Especially considering all the hoo-ha a couple of months ago when a researcher claimed she had a some viable Bigfoot cells and was on the cusp of being able to sequence the entire Bigfoot genome.

You might recall, reputable scientists did just that a number of years ago, under the aegis of the Human Genome Project. We know where every single AGCT goes in our randy little genes. That knowledge should enable us, in the years to come, to delicately craft designer medications that will work best for you, or for that guy over there. Or maybe that dudette in the front row.

Handy thing, knowing yer entire genome.

Imagine my excitement when I learned that Dr. Melba Ketchum, a Texas-based forensic scientist and the face in front of the genome-sequencing effort, announced to a disbelieving world that she was getting ready to map the elusive possibly-primate’s genetic sequence.

Of course, the disbelieving LAME-stream science community poo-pooed the idea. So Ketchum and the others in her group, took their paper describing the Bigfoot genome and got it published in a scientific journal: the online De Novo . In case you don’t keep up with the scientific literature and find you don’t know the name of this journal, that’s because, prior to this paper being published, it didn’t actually exist. And the only paper that the De Novo ever printed was Ketchum’s paper on Bigfoot.

That’s right. Ketchum and her group purchased an existing journal, renamed it De Novo and then published their paper. A paper which: conclusively proves that the Sasquatch exist as an extant hominin and are a direct maternal descendant of modern humans.”

According to Ketchum and her group, the DNA shows a distinct speciation effect, showing that Bigfoot is not human, but a mix of human and something else.

So, yeah. That’s that. Case closed. Bigfoot exists and is the product of relatively recent intermingling between humans and some other primate. By relatively recently, of course, we’re talking tens of thousands of years. Geologic time, you see. Unfortunately for Ketchum and the rest of her group, there’s a whole bunch of scientists who don’t see it the same way she does, including John Timmer, the science editor for Ars Technica.

Timmer and other biologists looked at the samples and saw contamination of the sample, bad science and decomposition of the supposed DNA sample. In other words, it wouldn’t work. Period.

My initial analysis suggested that the “genome sequence” was an artifact, the product of a combination of contamination, degradation, and poor assembly methods. And every other biologist I showed it to reached the same conclusion. Ketchum couldn’t disagree more. “We’ve done everything in our power to make sure the paper was absolutely above-board and well done,” she told Ars. “I don’t know what else we could have done short of spending another few years working on the genome. But all we wanted to do was prove they existed, and I think we did that.”

Timmer has a fantastic article that goes through Ketchum’s research, talking with the good doctor herself, step by step and points out where things got a little wonky.

This is a great example of public science journalism. He’s not out there to make fun of Ketchum. He’s not some sort of rabid disbeliever out to debunk the “TRUTH” (notice the all-caps. Yeah, it’s that kind of truth.). He’s a scientist, a journalist and a curious man.

Go check it out. It makes for a fascinating read.

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