The Holy Grail of the nuclear industry

I note with interest that Lockheed Martin’s experiments with nuclear fusion technology are moving right along. Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works is building a new, more capable test reactor as it continues to move ahead with its ambitious Compact Fusion Reactor program, or CFR. Despite slower than expected progress, the company remains confident the project can produce practical results, which would completely transform how power gets generated for both military and civilian purposes. . . . “The work we have done today verifies our models and shows that the physics we are talking about – the basis of what we are trying to do – is sound,”

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I wish we’d had this when I was injured

Back in 2004, I suffered a work-related injury that necessitated two spinal surgeries.  It left me with permanent partial disability, a fused spine, and in pain 24/7/365.  Sadly, once the injury had been suffered, there was nothing that medical science could do but treat its resulting symptoms (rather than their cause), and prop up the damaged spinal structure around the affected nerves.  The nerve injuries themselves, and their permanent effects, could not be healed. Now comes news that future such injuries might be treated in a whole new way. When your body suffers trauma, its fierce army of immune cells go

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Political correctness gone mad, yet again

A Christian doctor in England has apparently lost his job because he refused to acquiesce to politically correct nonsense. Dr David Mackereth, 56, claims he was sacked as a disability benefits assessor by the Department of Work and Pensions over his religious beliefs. The father-of-four alleges he was asked in a conversation with a line manager: “If you have a man six foot tall with a beard who says he wants to be addressed as ‘she’ and ‘Mrs’, would you do that?” Dr Mackereth, an evangelist who now works as an emergency doctor in Shropshire, claims his contract was then terminated over

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Yes, you really can compare apples to oranges

Old NFO sent me a link to an article proving that the old “apples to oranges” comparison is actually not as silly as it might seem.  It’s from Improbable Research, the people who bring us the annual Ig Nobel awards. … it is not difficult to demonstrate that apples and oranges can, in fact, be compared (see figure 1). Materials and Methods Both samples were prepared by gently desiccating them in a convection oven at low temperature over the course of several days. The dried samples were then mixed with potassium bromide and ground in a small ball-bearing mill for two minutes. One hundred milligrams of

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I think the Vatican – and chromosomes – have the right of it

Speaking the truth, in the face of popular rejection of it, has never been easy or safe;  but if one wants to be honest, it has to be done.  I commend the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education for doing precisely that. The Vatican condemned gender theory on Monday as part of a “confused concept of freedom”, saying in a new document that the idea of gender being determined by personal feeling rather than biology was an attempt to “annihilate nature”. LGBT rights advocates denounced the 30-page document, called “Male and Female He Created Them”, as harmful and confusing, saying it would encourage hatred

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Sunscreen may not be as harmless as we thought

Wired reports: Today, researchers at the FDA revealed the results of a small clinical trial designed to test how four of the most common sun-filtering molecules on the market behave after they’ve been sprayed on and rubbed in. The results, published in the journal JAMA, show that contrary to what sunscreen manufacturers have been saying, UV-blocking chemicals do seep into circulation. Now, don’t panic and toss your tubes. There’s no evidence yet that they’re doing anything harmful inside the body. But the revelation will have serious impacts on sunscreen manufacturers going forward, and may change what options you’ll find on drugstore

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HIV as a way to cure other diseases???

I was astonished to read this report. US scientists say they used HIV to make a gene therapy that cured eight infants of severe combined immunodeficiency, or “bubble boy” disease. . . . The babies, born with little to no immune protection, now have fully functional immune systems. Untreated babies with this disorder have to live in completely sterile conditions and tend to die as infants. The gene therapy involved collecting the babies’ bone marrow and correcting the genetic defect in their DNA soon after their birth. The “correct” gene – used to fix the defect – was inserted into an altered

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Debunking a so-called “scientific” study

Karl Denninger points out – scathingly – that a recent study of fine particulate matter air pollution is fundamentally flawed in its recommendations, because it doesn’t take the whole picture into account.  The study claims that there are up to 100,000 “premature” deaths every year due to such pollution. 100,000 dead people in a year is 0.03% of the American population.  A real number, to be sure. But….. all those trucks, trains, cars, boats, agriculture and industry —the source of that fine particulate emission — is why we have: Food. Energy. Warm houses in the winter. Cool houses in the summer (A/C, to be

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IQ, countries, and coping skills

Readers who’ve been following my series of articles on the current Ebola crisis in Congo will recall that one of the biggest problems is cultural blindness to the seriousness of the problem.  This article sums up the local cultural approach.  The root of the problem is, one’s dealing with a very low local level of average intelligence.  I’m not being racist or discriminatory in the least by saying that;  it’s a scientific, measurable fact.  That lack of intelligence overall makes it very, very difficult to educate the locals into a healthier, more rational approach to the problem. (That doesn’t only apply to

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Another medical mishap from Max Gergel

On Monday I posted Max Gergel‘s account of how a doctor mended his (romantically) broken heart in an unusually prosaic way.  Here’s another tale from his book “Excuse Me Sir, Would You Like to Buy a Kilo of Isopropyl Bromide?” – this one describing an abortive truth serum. We had a visit from a Dr. Johns, who was an exponent of the “ModernCoué Method of Self-Hypnosis” (“every day in every way I am getting better and better“). Johns was, himself, a hypnotist, and I learned that his visit to Columbia was sponsored by a wealthy family whose head had a drinking problem. He was

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