Friday, December 01, 2006
Monday, July 10, 2006
Bt or not Bt, that's the question
Saturday, June 03, 2006
Marcia Angell, Lady Warrior
And while I'm at it, a tip of the hat to the Republican legislators who so very consideratly protected these very same pharmaceutical companies' marketing budgets by forbidding drug price negotiation under the recent Medicare Part D (for Damned?) legistlation.
Friday, April 28, 2006
Hotter than ...
The plot may be fiction but global warming sure ain't. And IMHO there's not much we can do about it. The earth's profligate ways have contributed to the trend, but how much? The human race gobbles up fossil fuels and spits their byproducts into the atmosphere at a dizzying rate. Does that mean the warming trend will be reversed if we stop? I think not.
The Earth is getting hotter. Than Hell? Maybe not, but hotter. Take a gander at the Global Warming International Center's Extreme Event Index if you want to get a little shiver. Maybe it's time to pack up the surfboards and head inland. Denver anyone?
Monday, April 17, 2006
There's no biz like methane biz
Sunday, April 09, 2006
Massachusetts I want to love/hate/love/hate you
scheme to require all citizens to have some form of health insurance just like all drivers have to have accident insurance. I really want to adore Gov. Mitt Romney and Senator Ted Kennedy and all the pols who put the legislation together.
But this is what sticks in my craw: Under the guise of a wide, universal umbrella, the plan will be a crazy quilt of insurance plans, insurance premiums and insurance bureaucracies vying to make life more difficult for thousands of families.
Who, after spending an afternoon on hold with her own insurance company will rejoice at adding a whole bunch of other peoples' afternoons to the hold lines?
And will a bare bones insurance policy make a difference to the lower income mother who can barely afford the minimum?
There are no doubt some pluses. Insured people tend to get admitted to hospitals in our country. Uninsured are usually out of luck. But do we want to perpetuate the pluri-paper nonsystem we have today? Will the low-end premium payers get preventive health care? contraception? heart or liver transplants?
The Physicians for a National Health Program, and Health Care Now and Dennis Kucinich are on the side of right on this matter; Massachusetts is on the side of half-right. Or is is half-wrong?
Saturday, April 08, 2006
The protein folds
A scientific pessimist could say it's impossible to simulate this folding in the lab, but the gang a Folding@Home is trying using thousands of home computers around the world. Anyone can help.
Evolution you are so cool!
Slight-modification-wise, you can't get any slighter than a subcellular biochemical receptor changing affinity for the protein that fits into it. Researchers reporting in Science determined that an ancient hormone receptor existed tens of millions of years before the hormone it now fits even appeared on the evolutionary scene. Its original function was different, but it was "ready" when a brand new hormone evolved millienia later.
I think of that receptor akin to a human hand; it worked well enough in the mists of time to hold a club or even tools. Then one day the baseball came along, and the old receptor was ready to be, well, Jorge Posada.
A nod to the New York Times for the article on this research.