Category Archives: Science

Intellectual Love

I found this via Terra’s blog and thought it was quite funny. Hope you enjoy it too!

Tim Minchin — If I Didn’t Have You


Happy New Year!

I guess I’d better make my New Year’s post before the clock rolls over.

I’ve been a bit preoccupied lately. School starts next week and I’m trying to put together a workable homeschool curriculum. There’s no shortage of sources, but reviewing them and finding the right ones can be very time consuming.

Of course, I also have to work, keep up with the housework, make sure we’re both fed and still make time to relax and laugh with my sweet pea. It’s a challenge, but we’ll work together and get it done.

We’re very excited about homeschooling! I believe I’ve found the perfect science curriculum; it’s from Evolution and the Nature of Science Institutes (ENSI). We’ll start with a unit called Nature of Science. It teaches what science is and is not, discusses the limits of science and corrects misconceptions about it, and eventually leads to a study of human evolution.

I’m really looking forward to this course of study.

My son also wants to study the American Revolution. I’m pretty sure I’ll use BBC History as a guide, but if anyone knows of other good sources for teaching this subject, please post a link in comments. I need to put the lesson together over the weekend, so I’ll take all the help I can get.

Everything else is coming together nicely. This year is going to be great!

  • We’ll get Mike’s immigration taken care of and we can finally live as a family on the same continent!
  • I have made a wonderful friend who is more like the big sister I never had, and I look forward to the continued growth of that relationship.
  • Barack Obama will be sworn in as President of the United States.
  • We’re happy, healthy and loved.

Happy New Year, readers, friends and loved ones. May we continue to grow, learn, share and laugh together.

Peace and happiness to you all!

Sincerely,
Lottie

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2009 Rambling On


Marijuana Treats Fibromyalgia

Since I’m always looking for ways to manage pain, I wonder how I missed this:

Marijuana-based Drug Reduces Fibromyalgia Pain, Study Suggests

ScienceDaily (Feb. 18, 2008) — Patients with fibromyalgia treated with a synthetic form of marijuana, nabilone, showed significant reductions in pain and anxiety in a first-of-its-kind study, published in The Journal of Pain.

Fibromyalgia syndrome has no cure, is difficult to diagnose, and effective pain management strategies are a must to help patients cope with the disease. An estimated 12 million Americans have fibromyalgia, which is characterized by widespread muscle and joint pain and myriad other symptoms.[…]

The drug was well tolerated by treated patients, which the authors characterized as reassuring since fibromyalgia patients are sensitive to most medications and have difficulty tolerating side effects. The downside, however, is cost. In Canada, nabilone would cost about $4,000 for a year’s supply.

SceinceDaily

Kind of makes me wish pot was legal. Wonder how much it goes for these days.

I should probably say, just so there’s absolutely no misunderstanding about this: I would never use an illegal substance! Not even if it would take away my pain, and not even if I thought said substance should be legal. I simply would not risk losing my child over it.

Interesting article, though.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On


Abstinence Or Orgies: The Eternal Dilemma

The subject of abstinence-only-until-marriage “education” seems to be rearing its ignorant little head again.

In Abstinence-Only: Stop The Madness! I wrote about my reasons for opposing abstinence-only programs. One of my reasons is that they are thinly-veiled religious programs to promote an ideology which encompasses ignoring and even lying about the facts regarding condoms and other forms of contraception.

I said it then, and I say it now, aside from religious ideology, there is no basis for teaching abstinence only until marriage. I invited readers to enlighten me; to give me one measly little logical reason to reserve sex for marriage.

To date, no one has been able to do so.

I’ve been given reasons to abstain which I agree with. I’ve been given reasons to abstain until adulthood which I agree with. And yet, despite efforts both here and on other forums, no one has been able to explain the mystical power of marriage contracts that allegedly protects against unwanted pregnancy or STDs.

Before you decide to take me on and show me the error of my ways, I recommend reading the comments section under the above-linked post. It could very likely save us both a lot of time.

While I want to avoid getting too long-winded and repeating every point I’ve posted on the subject, there are a few things I would like to address again.

The first is the apparent confusion towards those of us who want to provide comprehensive sex education for our children. You see, there are a lot of people who seem to think that it’s the same thing as telling our children to go and have all the sex they possibly can as if it’s all or nothing, abstinence or orgies, with no other possibilities.

Some people seem to sincerely believe that there are only two options we can give our children in regard to having sex: to have none at all, not ever, or to have indiscriminate sex any time, any place, with anyone at all. It’s really a rather bizarre and disturbing train of thought, isn’t it?

This subject seems to generate some pretty weird questions, too: “So, when you’re telling your son how wonderful sex is, do you plan to also tell him that sex can lead to pregnancy and STD’s? Huh? Huh? Do you? Huh?”

Well, garsh! I don’t know. I mean, in the context of talking to my child about sex, it hadn’t actually crossed my mind to mention pregnancy and STD’s. Good thing I’m surrounded by geniuses who can remind me that I might want to mention that little tidbit somewhere between buying his condoms and taking him to cruise the red-light district.

Engage your brains, people! You’re posing this ridiculous and redundant question to someone who consistently emphasizes the importance of teaching kids about condoms and other forms of contraceptives! In what context would these things be discussed, if not in the context of discussing pregnancy and STD’s?

“Look at these pretty red condoms, Honey! This should really put her in the mood!”

“Oh, let’s get these pills! They look just like smarties! And be sure and tell all the boys! They’ll start beating down your door!”

Of course I’m talking about pregnancy and STDs! Good grief! The fact that you’re even asking this only serves to confirm what I’ve suspected all along: that you’re not reading all the words, or you can’t or won’t comprehend them.

And people always seem so earnest in their questioning. Why, just this morning I logged in to find this little gem:

Are you going to teach your son also, that if he gets a woman pregnant to make sure he is a father figure in that child’s life for the rest of his own life? Are you going to teach him to take responsibility for one night stands? Are you going to have these discussions with him?

I hope you will.

Nah, I thought I’d just hand him a box of condoms, point him toward the nearest brothel and wish him the best of luck.

You really should read the rest of that comment as well as my response, if only for the entertainment value.

Once again, for the record: I have no intention of encouraging my son to have sex. I have consistently stated that I will encourage abstinence, first and foremost. But I will not treat sex like it’s something shameful, and I absolutely refuse to promote the lie that marriage contracts are more effective than condoms in guarding against STDs or unwanted pregnancy.

I can guarantee you that when the time comes for my son to make the decision of whether or not to have sex, he will be able to do so based on complete and accurate information. And you know what else? If he has doubts or questions, or just needs to talk, I’ll betcha he comes to Mike or me. Unfortunately, those parents who shut the door on the communication with their No sex, end of discussion mantra won’t be able to say the same.

I wonder where their kids will go looking for information.

Posted by Lottie – Copyright © 2008 Rambling On


Body-Swapping Experiments

I feel absolutely terrible today. I don’t know what I’ve come down with, but I’m totally miserable. I’ve sent an email to my boss requesting a sick day. While waiting to hear back from her, and cruising around the intertubes, I came across this interesting article under Strange News at Live Science.

What an odd coincidence for someone who wishes she could switch bodies with someone today:

Strange Experiments Create Body-Swapping Experiences
Robin Lloyd, Senior Editor

Scientists now have manipulated people’s perceptions to make them think they have swapped bodies with another human or even a “humanoid body,” experiencing the sensations that the other would feel and giving the illusion of being inside the other’s body.

The bizarre achievement hearkens to body swaps portrayed on numerous TV shows and movies such as “Freaky Friday” and “All of Me.”

In real life, the cognitive neuroscientists at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet succeeded in making subjects perceive the bodies of mannequins and other people as their own. The illusion also worked even when the two people differed in appearance or were of different sexes. It also worked whether the subject was immobile or was making voluntary movements. However, it was not possible to fool the subjects into identifying with a non-humanoid object, such as a chair or a large block.

Full Article

No problem — I already feel like a large block. Or something.

Maybe my boss has written back by now.
Update: Sick day approved. I’m going to back to bed.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On


The Brilliance Of Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin, so-called advocate for the disabled and children with special needs, doesn’t seem to know a whole heck of a lot about the cause she’s supposedly so committed to.

Am I in the middle of a nightmare that won’t end, or did this idiot just mock fruit fly research in the context of discussing how to help special needs children?

Good Gawd! Does this woman read anything besides bibles and teleprompters?

Fruit Fly Research Illuminates Human Health, by Alison Davis

Decades of study have revealed that the tiny insects, which bear little resemblance to people, nevertheless share much of our genetic heritage. Fruit flies possess strikingly similar versions of the genes that promote normal human development and, when altered, contribute to disease.

The NIH Record

And there’s more:

Fruit Fly Research Set To Revolutionize Study Of Birth Defects

ScienceDaily (Nov. 22, 2005) — A Queen’s University study of fruit flies that may revolutionize the way birth defects are studied has identified the genes affected by a widely prescribed drug known to cause birth defects.

Science Daily

But it gets even better:

Specific Brain Protein Required For Nerve Cell Connections To Form And Function

[S]cientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have shown that a protein called neurexin is required for these nerve cell connections to form and function correctly.

The discovery, made in Drosophila fruit flies may lead to advances in understanding autism spectrum disorders, as recently, human neurexins have been identified as a genetic risk factor for autism.

Science Daily

After saying that “no bureaucracy should stand in the way of special needs kids” she mocks the very research that benefits special needs kids and suggests that funding for it be cut or eliminated. According to Palin, it’s money wasted on a “political pet project that really [doesn’t] make a whole lot of sense” and “has little or nothing to do with the public good”.

Fucking brilliant!

Richard Wolfe, says to Keith Olbermann:

Keith, I’m going to be as restrained and measured as I possibly can about this. This is the most mindless, ignorant, uninformed comment we have seen from Governor Palin so far, and there’s been a lot of competition for that prize.

Please watch this short clip to hear Richard explain precisely why this is Palin’s worst blunder to date:

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On


Postcard Withdrawal

My favorite Postman is on vacation, so I haven’t had my daily dose of Gawd’s word in nearly a week. Postman said that regular delivery would resume on October 14th (that’s tomorrow!) and I certainly hope it does.

At least he left us with a few interesting things to read and ponder in his absence. As the parent of an eleven-year-old boy, I found this one particularly interesting and wanted to share it with my readers:

Learning From Mistakes Only Works After Age 12, Study Suggests

ScienceDaily (Sep. 27, 2008) — Eight-year-old children have a radically different learning strategy from twelve-year-olds and adults. Eight-year-olds learn primarily from positive feedback (‘Well done!’), whereas negative feedback (‘Got it wrong this time’) scarcely causes any alarm bells to ring. Twelve-year-olds are better able to process negative feedback, and use it to learn from their mistakes. Adults do the same, but more efficiently.

Read more at Science Daily


Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On