JoNova

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The Stem Cell revolution: growing brain cells to repair damage

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This week in stem cell news one research group announced they’d accidentally figured out a way to easily convert human bone-marrow stem cells into brain cells which could in future repair spinal or brain damage.  Another group showed that if you happen to be a particular type of old mouse with memory problems, researchers can give you a transplant of stem cells that restore your learning and memoryand help you swim through water mazes faster. But seriously, these discoveries could help a lot of very needy people.

Meanwhile Australia, celebrated it’s one millionth roofing panel that provide expensive, irregular electricity.

Ladies and Gentlemen — there is a revolution going on, and it’s not the Green one. How much could $2 billion wasted dollars have achieved if it were spent wisely?

These two studies fit together quite well — the first shows it’s possible to use stem cells to restore brain function, the second suggests it might be easier to get the right stem cells than anyone thought.

Repairing damaged mouse brains

How’s this for odd, wierd, exciting and worrying at the same time, human embryonic stem cells were implanted into a strain of mouse that does not reject transplants from other species. The cells were cultured with chemicals that helps them develop into nerve cells, and they apparently went on to become functional and useful.

[University of Wisconsin-Madison] “After the transplant, the mice scored significantly better on common tests of learning and memory in mice. For example, they were more adept in the water maze test, which challenged them to remember the location of a hidden platform in a pool.

The study began with deliberate damage to a part of the brain that is involved in learning and memory.

Three measures were critical to success, says Zhang: location, timing and purity. “Developing brain cells get their signals from the tissue that they reside in, and the location in the brain we chose directed these cells to form both GABA and cholinergic neurons.”

These cells were placed at the hippocampus, and grew out to connect with the damaged part of the mouse brains (the medial septum). They specialized and connected the right cells together.

This is Big Medicine, and there are big risks. Often, stem cells grow into tumors. This time, the research team say they got it right by coaching the stem cells to differentiate before they were injected.

 [Science Daily] “Ensuring that nearly all of the transplanted cells became neural cells was critical, Zhang says. “That means you are able to predict what the progeny will be, and for any future use in therapy, you reduce the chance of injecting stem cells that could form tumors. In many other transplant experiments, injecting early progenitor cells resulted in masses of cells — tumors. This didn’t happen in our case because the transplanted cells are pure and committed to a particular fate so that they do not generate anything else. We need to be sure we do not inject the seeds of cancer.”

Brain repair through cell replacement is a Holy Grail of stem cell transplant, and the two cell types are both critical to brain function, Zhang says. “Cholinergic neurons are involved in Alzheimer’s and Down syndrome, but GABA neurons are involved in many additional disorders, including schizophrenia, epilepsy, depression and addiction.”

Though tantalizing, stem-cell therapy is unlikely to be the immediate benefit. Zhang notes that “for many psychiatric disorders, you don’t know which part of the brain has gone wrong.” The new study, he says, is more likely to see immediate application in creating models for drug screening and discovery.

Converting human bone-marrow into brain cells on demand

Ultimately, who wouldn’t prefer to stay outside the ethical quagmire, avoid embryonic stem cells, and generate your own perfect “transplants”, as needed? Our bodies won’t reject our own cells, but it is expensive and difficult to generate a personal cell-line for every patient — this discovery may change that. A group, directed by Richard Lerner at Scripps, discovered that an antibody can be injected into bone marrow cells and transform the cells into brain cells. They thought the antibody they were injecting would stimulate the growth of the stem cells, but did not expect it would set off sweeping changes and induce the formation of neural cells.  A serendipitous discovery.

[Scripps News] Current techniques for turning patients’ marrow cells into cells of some other desired type are relatively cumbersome, risky and effectively confined to the lab dish. The new finding points to the possibility of simpler and safer techniques. Cell therapies derived from patients’ own cells are widely expected to be useful in treating spinal cord injuries, strokes and other conditions throughout the body, with little or no risk of immune rejection.

“These results highlight the potential of antibodies as versatile manipulators of cellular functions,” said Richard A. Lerner, the Lita Annenberg Hazen Professor of Immunochemistry and institute professor in the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at TSRI, and principal investigator for the new study. “This is a far cry from the way antibodies used to be thought of—as molecules that were selected simply for binding and not function.”

Lerner says. “With this method, you can go to a person’s own stem cells and turn them into brain cells that can repair nerve injuries.

This group plans to work with another team who are trying to regenerate nerves in the eye.

What was especially ground-breaking about this was that a single type of molecule tranformed the cells instead of a long, risky, series of steps:

[Scripps News]  Changing cells of marrow lineage into cells of neural lineage—a direct identity switch termed “transdifferentiation”—just by activating a single receptor is a noteworthy achievement. Scientists do have methods for turning marrow stem cells into other adult cell types, but these methods typically require a radical and risky deprogramming of marrow cells to an embryonic-like stem-cell state, followed by a complex series of molecular nudges toward a given adult cell fate. Relatively few laboratories have reported direct transdifferentiation techniques.

“As far as I know, no one has ever achieved transdifferentiation by using a single protein—a protein that potentially could be used as a therapeutic,” said Lerner.

Current cell-therapy methods typically assume that a patient’s cells will be harvested, then reprogrammed and multiplied in a lab dish before being re-introduced into the patient. In principle, according to Lerner, an antibody such as the one they have discovered could be injected directly into the bloodstream of a sick patient. From the bloodstream it would find its way to the marrow, and, for example, convert some marrow stem cells into neural progenitor cells. “Those neural progenitors would infiltrate the brain, find areas of damage and help repair them,” he said.

Lerner is well known for his work with antibodies, and was president of The Scripps Research Institute for 25 years.

[Scripps News]  In the late 1980s, Lerner and his TSRI colleagues helped invent the first techniques for generating large “libraries” of distinct antibodies and swiftly determining which of these could bind to a desired target. The anti-inflammatory antibody Humira®, now one of the world’s top-selling drugs, was discovered with the benefit of this technology.

h/t to Robert W

—————–

REFERENCES

Yan Liu, Jason P Weick, Huisheng Liu, Robert Krencik, Xiaoqing Zhang, Lixiang Ma, Guo-min Zhou, Melvin Ayala, Su-Chun Zhang. Medial ganglionic eminence–like cells derived from human embryonic stem cells correct learning and memory deficits. Nature Biotechnology, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nbt.2565

Xie, J., Zhang, H., Yea., K., Lerner, R. (2013) Autocrine Signaling Based Selection of Combinatorial Antibodies That Transdifferentiate Human Stem Cells, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Online early edition. [Abstract]

 Image: wikimedia Mouse cingulate cortex neurons Neurollero

*Edited – h/t to Ian “single type of molecule”

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133 comments to The Stem Cell revolution: growing brain cells to repair damage

  • #
    KinkyKeith

    Absolutely fascinating stuff and very worthwhile research.

    The only thing we have to worry about is if some megalomaniac running a country somewhere near you decides to upgrade his army by using this technique of memory enhancement.

    Western countries wouldn’t stand a chance after all the brain damage we have caused ourselves through overeating, excess alcohol and drug use and relentless mindless media feeds to confuse us.

    In the experiment described above it is obvious that it is more concerned with stuff like broken spines and so on than brain enhancement ie. reconnecting damaged conductors rather than building a bigger brain.

    The experimental detail involves first damaging the connective tissue between sections of the brain and then restoring the connection using stem cell technology. The neural equivalent of restoring a broken phone line.

    KK :)


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    • #
      KinkyKeith

      Nothing wrong with stem cell research as such, it’s just pure research trying to improve our understanding of the world and give us more options.

      We really do need to have pure research but these new areas are seen as a potential money maker by big pharma and after the giant con of Antidepressants* (*tm) how many would trust the combination of Big Pharma and pliant Government which seems equally able to see past dodgy data in both Global Warming and Pharmaceutical areas; if there’s enough money in it.

      KK :)

      Well if the above doesn’t make sense I can still go for a gold star for the world’s longest sentence.


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    • #
      martinX

      Alcolol dont brain my damage!


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      • #
        Rereke Whakaaro

        OMG! The first time I read that, it made sense. By brain automatically rearranged the words. Perhaps I need more alcohol (or alcholol). “Pass the Port …”


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        • #
          KinkyKeith

          The human brain is an amazing piece of gear.

          Basically we are on automatic pilot most of the time.

          The brain takes current impressions from your senses and mixes it with the templet for that situation and feeds it to you.

          Proportions maybe:

          Current input say 7 %

          Templet/ Past memories: 93 %

          Who says we aren’t in a dream state most of the time?

          KK :)


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      • #
        Mark D.

        I’m hoping that this research will ultimately permit vintners brewers and distillers to add some brain cells right into the bottles as a prophylactic measure.

        Patentable yes?


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      • #
        Dennis

        Churchill started drinking alcohol with breakfast, small nips increasing into the evenings. I believe that the key is moderation of intake, no binges.


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        • #
          Robert

          I still love the story where a woman confronted him saying “Mr. Churchill you’re drunk.” To which he replied “Yes madam and you are ugly but I will be sober in the morning.”

          Now those were the days when people understood how to insult one another with style.


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  • #
    john robertson

    Are you suggesting there will be a cure for being a bonehead?
    The wealth wasted and stolen in the CAGW fraud will haunt us for years.
    As with the solar panels,at a fraction of the cost we could have had cheap reliable electricity world wide, people could have had refrigeration to enable food and medicine storage, clean water, affordable heat in winter, labour saving devices and even leisure.
    So much real science to do, things that benefit us all, instead billions flushed in sanctimony, to appease false profits and a new cult, same as the old cult.
    In the UN Cult the prophets all seek profit, so the words are interchangeable.


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  • #
    cohenite

    Opportunity cost; every $ wasted on renewables means less for real scientific research.

    The AGW acolytes have a lot to answer for.


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  • #
    Andrew

    @Cohenite, the problem is not so much the money we wasted on renewables as the money we wasted on EVERYTHING. Computers for schools, of which $4bn was wasted. Set top boxes. Halls. Batts. Spin doctors. McTernan’s salary. Closing and then relenting detention centres.


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  • #
    Yonniestone

    So this work could be used to help people to live longer and fuller more productive lives?
    Quick demonise it and wrap it up in red/green tape before the public get wind of it.
    How are we supposed to “reduce” 90% of world population with this crap going on?
    Really!, using science to help people & not to scare, steal from, kill and rule them!
    Bloody do-gooders!
    (sarc off)


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  • #
    Streetcred

    Fantastic news … we can grow the warmist another brain cell so that the one they have between them isn’t lonely!


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  • #
    Speedy

    Morning all.

    This may be all well and good, but how do we know that these mice won’t evolve into hyperintelligent, pan-dimensional beings? (The white fur and cheese fixation being a front.)

    Douglas Adams was right. :)

    Cheers,

    Speedy


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  • #
    Keith L

    After we have ‘led the world’ on climate ‘science’ for a few years I wonder where we will be with everything else.


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    • #

      Keith – we are not leading the world in “climate science”, but we probably lead the world in per capita spending for chinese solar panels.

      Solar panels on roof tops is not about “science” — it’s supposedly about providing a profitable fake market so someone else can afford to do the science.


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      • #
        Streetcred

        LOL … I thought he was being sarcastic re ju-LIAR’s oft-made pronouncements about leading the world with our carbon dioxide tax amongst other ‘climate sciency’ claptrap :)


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    • #
      Speedy

      Broke. Same as Spain and California. Germany is heading there but has somebody called Schmidt still earning hard currency.


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  • #
    Fox from Melbourne

    Jo is right it is about a fake market’s and wasted taxpayers money. She is also right that the money could of been spend doing good for the may people that can’t be help today that need it. People like myself. The one point that i would like to make is that solar panels on roof tops actually enhance the urban heat island effect and so actually should heat up the world, not cold it. Yes that’s right the panels store up the heat from the sunlight, like a heat battery and then radiate more of it into the atmosphere as they cold down, so it worse for the environment. So why not put a million of them on peoples roofs and warm the world up by trying to stop warming up. Wow the silly way the mind of a greenie works hey. Maybe we should require greenie to be the subject of the human testing of this new stem cell technology. It mite, just mite make them smart enough to figure out how some of their ideas actually do the opposite to what you thing their do. Fingers crossed.


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    • #
      Speedy

      Fox

      I’d have to do the numbers on that but suspect heat absorbed by solar panels would be secondary interest compared to the energy cost of producing the silicon that goes into their manufacture.

      And, as Tony from Oz can tell you, the impact of the rooftop solar is minimal on power generation strategies. Firstly, there’s not much of it. Secondly, the supply is irregular and cannot be predicted, which means the base load suppliers can’t factor it into their production sequence.

      Cheers,

      Speedy


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      • #
        Fox from Melbourne

        Thanks Speedy for your input. Allot of people who pay attention to renewable power technology often have to point the environmental input cost as emissions and mining and the like as well as pay back period before this technology actually become clean and green. To the true believes that for some reason thing there clean and green from day one. I was just trying to point out the often forgotten point that they can and do add to the urban heat island effect. Both solar panels and windmills can do this. So just using this technology can have the opposite effect for the environment that the true believe claim that they have. I know in Melbourne Solar panels can became extremely hot. This heat then radiates into the atmosphere adding to the warming effect that the panels were installed prevent in the first place. When you add this the the payback time for all the emission and resources use in there construction and the habitat damage from the mining of the silicon and other materials. They aren’t anywhere as clean and green as they are claimed to be, now are they. Shame about that hey.


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  • #
    jorgekafkazar

    With all that wasted money, we could surely have eliminated the proctocraniosis epidemic that has attacked climate scientists and academics all over the world.


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  • #
    Ian

    Jo I’m not sure what you mean by “What was especially ground-breaking about this was that a single molecule transformed the cells instead of a long, risky, series of steps” Do you mean a single type of molecule (a particular antibody) as isolating and using a single molecule is definitely not realistic? Apologies for nit picking


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    • #

      Ian, I don’t know if one solitary antibody could effect this huge transformation. It seems unlikely, so probably a single type of molecule would be a more accurate way to phrase it. (Thanks) I was commenting on the summary below that which said “a single protein”. But point taken. I’ll update… Cheers, Jo


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  • #
    Andrew McRae

    Oh, biology. 8-s
    It’s probably a bit out of our collective depth for a crowd who are more familiar with physics.
    There’s still results, benefits, and risks to discuss, but as for the technicals I would be stuck even thinking of the right words to google.

    Well since someone already made the “bonehead” joke I have nothing original to contribute. :)
    So how about some inspirational biology copypasta…

    The importance of stupidity in scientific research (short essay) – Martin A. Schwartz.

    I remember the day when Henry Taube (who won the Nobel Prize two years later) told me he didn’t know how to solve the problem I was having in his area. I was a third-year graduate student and I figured that Taube knew about 1000 times more than I did (conservative estimate). If he didn’t have the answer, nobody did.

    That’s when it hit me: nobody did. That’s why it was a research problem. And being my research problem, it was up to me to solve. Once I faced that fact, I solved the problem in a couple of days. (It wasn’t really very hard; I just had to try a few things.) The crucial lesson was that the scope of things I didn’t know wasn’t merely vast; it was, for all practical purposes, infinite. That realization, instead of being discouraging, was liberating. If our ignorance is infinite, the only possible course of action is to muddle through as best we can.

    One problem with having such a highly educated workforce is that too many people can get away with playing the “know it all” game and so the rest of us appear lax if we dare to exercise some humility.
    It requires even more courage than usual to say “I don’t know” under such circumstances. Still, Schwarz’ insight seems oddly encouraging.

    There’s plenty of molecular biology research departments in Aussie universities. I recall there’s one at UQ in Brisbane that opened just a few years ago. They are even developing biofuels.
    I guess you could say UQ aren’t relying totally on Cooky and the Coral Whisperer to save the world and are instead hedging their bets. ;)


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    • #
      Ian

      Andrew Mol Biol Depts have been around for quite a long time. One of the early advances relevant to this blog was the invention of monoclonal antibodies in 1975. I wish I’d been bright enough to invent them but I did a lot of research in the that involved making and using them in a variety of projects. Many, well most actually, posting here are well above my level of expertise in climate science, physics, maths and particularly statistical analysis. My areas of expertise are Mol Biol, Biochemistry, Endocrinology and Immunology so its nice for once to see something that I can really get to grips with


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    • #
      Speedy

      Andrew

      I remember (not personally, of course) Lord Kelvin (as in degrees Kelvin) announcing that all of the significant discoveries in physics had already been made, and that all that remained was some physicists to tidy up the detail around the edges. He said that about 1890-1900 or so.

      Which is a good illustration of why we shouldn’t believe “experts” in favour of evidence.

      Einstein et al sort of cocked it up for Lord Kelvin, and I’d put a quiet tenner on him wishing to withdraw that statement in the light of subsequent events.

      Cheers,

      Speedy


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    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      Is there any room for an Engineer or two in this discussion or is it a formal white-coat function?


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    • #
      bananabender

      The discovery of the structure DNA is a classic example. None of the main protagonists knew much about genetics or biochemistry. They spent a lot of their time asking a lot of “stupid” questions.


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  • #
    Joe Lalonde

    Jo,

    What I worry about is…this technique is done in a totally sterile environment where only this process is introduced.
    In the real world, vast anomalies are the norm and if this technique were to mutate in society, Then we could be dooming ourselves into extinction.


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    • #
      KinkyKeith

      Joe, in brief I must say you are right.

      There are dangers if the exploration is not done properly, if politics interferes or if greed is allowed to prevail over and above the common good.

      Too often, new science is highjacked by spivs whose only aim is to make money and damn those who may be damaged as a result of premature confidence in basic research.

      On the other hand something else worries me.

      On a recent, previous thread there was some discussion about Intelligent Design and some of the comments there sounded very similar to your comment.

      My own, very limited, understanding of ID suggests to me that it is based on philosophical underpinnings,

      much like CAGW, and that neither are based on science. I may be wrong but it seemed that all of the strife

      in the US was due to the fact that it’s proponents tried to use ID as an excuse to demolish Darwin’s

      Evolution Theory.

      If we accept that we must never make a mistake, and so do not explore this new area of science, then we are

      going against every previous advance in science which tested our capacity to move into new ways of living.

      Earlier I mentioned premature use of “new science” and on the previous thread had briefly mentioned the abuse

      by Big Pharma and Government of the pharmaceuticals labeled “Antidepressants”.

      It seems like the forerunner of CAGW in its set up. Serotonin is involved in one part of a mechanism in the

      brain that is related to Depression and Anxiety and it is this association that has been misused by money

      makers to have SSRI’s widely distributed around the world, with as Roy says, very short use by dates, which

      mean that the big companies also get paid to produce stock to throw away.

      How much better could it get for them. Shades of Global Warming.

      I don’t think that SSRI’s actually work and they have simply used the Serotonin association to justify its use in a very complex neurological disorder where there are other much more relevant factors than Serotonin.

      Not only do SSRI’s provide little different to placebo response but are actually harmful to young people who are given them “to fix them up”.

      So yes, Joe, I agree that we must be very careful about messing with the brain and I knew there was a big noise about Stem Cell research in the US but I have a question.

      Why did stem cells get so much attention when the bigger problem of distribution of unproven Antidepressants as a cure has gone unchallenged?

      I understand that US soldiers are routinely fed Anti’s to help them “get by”.

      What the hell is going on in our societies? Where is the public outcry?

      Is there a religious base to ID that is intent on demolishing Evolution?

      KK


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      • #
        Yonniestone

        KK, I saw that previous thread discussion on ID and I’ll say it went about the same way every other debate on this subject goes LOL, except the more rational skeptics here came to a respectful agreement, thumbs up.
        There was only one person ever whom I could discuss the big three (politics, religion, sex) with as they had an open inquiring mind which I think is essential to anyone researching anything.
        Aristotle – “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
        I agree about using SSRI’s and the need for more research into mental health issues, I think they are more of a band aid fix so people can at least function until more discoveries are made about these problems, like stem cells!
        But trying to cure every individual’s mental issues on the planet, what a tin of worms! LOL, something that stands out in this post is the term “functional and useful” this is the proverbial double edged sword where a person becomes an intelligent, hands on, contributor to society or an unquestioning, hands on, contributor to company’s, government, military etc…
        Just a small subject for a Sunday morning :)


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        • #
          KinkyKeith

          Hi Yonnie,

          The SSRI problem.

          As a mature age student of psychology I was able to put my Metallurgy training in systems and processes to good use.

          When examining Antidepressants it became obvious that only one small part of the system at fault was being scrutinized: the role of Serotonin.

          The closest analogy I can think of to explain the stupidity of topping up serotonin as a cure for depression/ anxiety involves a car.

          Imagine a car, your most expensive possession after your house.

          The car has two problem; First it is getting low on fuel (serotonin) which is no big problem.

          Next it also has a leaky radiator (other brain circuitry involved in Depression-Anxiety) that is now

          empty and heating up the engine to near breaking point.

          Now , apparently, the worst thing happens; you run out of fuel and the car stops.

          Your engine is saved.

          The human equivalent is that you collapse and go to sleep and withdraw from the environment that is creating the anxiety in the first place.

          Now, big Pharma and the Governments which protect us say that it is good to put more fuel in the car and keep driving.

          For the car, it will fuse the bearings and stop; for people, they can, after a top up of Serotonin, go back out to be more stressed by the environment that sent them over the top in the first place.

          Don’t ever believe that Governments don’t respond to inducements.

          Depression is only cured by altering your perception of the threats around you and taking appropriate action, which may include getting away from the stressor.

          KK


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          • #
            Roy Hogue

            Very perceptive analysis, KK.


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          • #
            Yonniestone

            KK, good analogy with the car.
            As any other shade tree mechanic like myself will tell you many a story of trying to fix something only to find more problems!
            Interesting is the idea of improving one area to only discover a weaker one down the drivetrain so to speak.
            Maybe we could upgrade better performance parts, a whole new performance industry.
            Or maybe I’ve watched one too many sci fi movies?


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    • #

      Silliest comment ever. You are basically saying that because you have no understanding of stem cells that therefore there are these potential problems – problems that you created from a the vacuum in your head. Why not read up on it first and ask some informed questions of people who can give you an answer.


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  • #
    cedarhill

    The key paragraph from the Scripts link is

    “Current cell-therapy methods typically assume that a patient’s cells will be harvested, then reprogrammed and multiplied in a lab dish before being re-introduced into the patient. In principle, according to Lerner, an antibody such as the one they have discovered could be injected directly into the bloodstream of a sick patient. From the bloodstream it would find its way to the marrow, and, for example, convert some marrow stem cells into neural progenitor cells. “Those neural progenitors would infiltrate the brain, find areas of damage and help repair them,” he said.”

    Antibodies are relatively cheap to make. Inoculations are, to say the least, very common.


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  • #
    DaveA

    help you swim through water mazes faster

    Too bad this treatment wasn’t available for Shelley Winters in The Poseidon Adventure.


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    • #
      Robert

      A true classic, I found it on Blu-Ray in a discount bin at Wallyworld for $5 a few weeks back. Haven’t seen the remake, perhaps we should give this treatment to those in Hollywood so they can create something original rather than the stream of remakes we see these days.


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  • #
    Peter

    While this research is interesting and offers some promise, it is still very early days. One of the problems with modern science is the funding model – researchers are apt to release optimistic outlooks to shore up their funding. There is much more water to flow under the bridge here before we get too excited.


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  • #
    Rocky

    Good work this is where our cash needs to be spent.

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/pyrgeometers-untangled/#more-12601

    More Real Science


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  • #
    Tim

    Sorry, but there can also be a dark side to all this. Globalisation and free trade is increasing Illegal human organ trafficking. Some say the trade is actually bigger globally than drug trafficking. Eighteen people in the US have so far been charged with offences linked to the collection bones, skin and tissue without consent.

    Example: When poor old Alistair Cook (host of the BBC’s “Letter from America”) died, his bones were taken by a criminal gang trading body parts and sold to a New York company supplying biomedical tissue.


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    • #
      Dennis

      I read some time ago that China executes condemned prisoners who are healthy in a special truck that has an operating theatre in the back, they are given a needle and wnen dead their body is harvested.


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  • #
    michael hart

    Interesting. Curious that the abstract appears to claim several antibodies have the described effect. Pity that the paper is paywalled.


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  • #

    Marvelously exciting science, which could have a huge impact from spinal injuries to Alzheimers.

    Pointman


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  • #

    Jo, a couple of typos. Doh! Hipppocampus s/b hippocampus and REFERNCES s/b REFERENCES. Zap this comment.

    [Thanks Pointman - Mod]


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  • #
    Jaymez

    The Federal Government’s 2X multiplier RET scheme for solar PV installations (which they closed off early on January 1st 2013), saved me $14,000 off my top-of the -range installation of solar pv panels and inverters connected to the grid. I don’t have the system because I am ‘green’ and believe in the value of renewable energy and saving CO2 emissions. Quite the opposite really, I work from home and insist on a climate controlled environment for my comfort.

    The Government has artificially increased the cost of electricity, so I have now artificially reduced it by having taxpayers of Australia subsidise my solar system and electricity bills (with the ongoing feed-in tariffs), which are roughly half what they would be without the system. I think it is criminal really that our Government has forced us into this wasted expenditure, much of it going off shore. Australians and the world would have been far better off if taxpayer’s money were spent on this kind of research which will truly improve and save lives. But human life isn’t very high on the priority list of the enviro-nuts who are pushing the unscientific climate alarmism.

    [SNIP]


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    Sonny

    Professor Lewandowsky discusses conspiracy ideation as currently being applied to Boston Bombings by crazies and Internet cranks.

    He makes connections to the climate change conspiracy theory.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/04/25/boston-bombing-conspiracies-and-what-s-behind-the-false-flag-crazies.html

    I’m actually starting to come around to his line if thinking. Questioning climate change is just paranoid behavior by people with serious mental problems.


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    • #
      Sonny

      Full article:

      [Snip - the link above is sufficient Sonny - Mod]


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        Sonny

        Well done Prof Lewandowsky.

        It’s time that we stopped tolerating dangerous nut job conspiracy peddlers and their legions of morally deranged followers. The truth can be found on the evening news and the daily papers.
        That’s why we have experts and journalists: to independently investigate the truth and report on it in a reliable and trustworthy forum.


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        • #
          Robert

          That’s why we have experts and journalists: to independently investigate the truth and report on it in a reliable and trustworthy forum.

          Think for yourself much? Didn’t think so.

          That is NOT why we have experts nor is it why we have journalists. Who determines it is a reliable and trustworthy forum? How many times in how many countries can we find cases where they did not investigate the truth because the truth was the last thing they wanted anyone to know? How many times in history have the experts been wrong?

          You really should start thinking for yourself instead of letting others think for you. It does require more effort but the results are far more satisfying.


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          Rod Stuart

          Here is what some “experts and journalists” are saying.
          And they aren’t alone. There are a significant number of people to which this is old news.
          Would your nutty professor Luigidowsky say they are “deniers”?
          A bit of snow in Perth and poor old Lew will become the “denier”!


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        Mark D.

        No Sonny, he’s talking about you. You see, he’s lumped sane and rational AGW skeptics into the pot of nutso “black helicopter” “everything is a government coverup plot” idiots.

        It is Lewandowsky making AGW skeptics look bad and Sometimes, Sonny, you are responsible.

        Thanks much.


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          Sonny

          Sounds like a very well substantiated ad hom attack against yours truly. (Sarc)

          Funny how you believe and defend one conspiracy theory which involves government (climate change), yet dismiss out of hand others. Bet you haven’t even taken the time to look into it.


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      • #
        Speedy

        Sonny

        Are you sure that Prof Lew isn’t looking into a mirror when he writes this stuff? Sounds like projection to me – he’s developing a conspiracy theory on conspiracy theorists…

        Still, it must be wonderful to be like him, knowing everything…

        Cheers,

        Speedy


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      Jaymez

      I couldn’t believe that one of Lewandowsky’s quotes about so called conspiracy theorists about the Boston bombings could so easily be describing himself:

      “But there is a lot of suggestive evidence that people say crazy things sometimes just to be noticed. I know this from my work on climate-change denial—because if no one is listening to these guys, or fewer people are listening to them, the more over the top they go, and the crazier their pronouncements become. I think they’re watching themselves being ignored, and that’s the one thing they hate. So they just crank up the volume and spread their falsehoods and nonsense—and that might be some of what’s going on here as well.”

      So suggesting that maybe ‘Climate Change skeptics believe the moon landing was faked would be considered a pretty crazy pronouncement, especially since it was based on statistically insignificant data and questionable methodology.

      He then goes on to say:

      “So they just crank up the volume and spread their falsehoods and nonsense”

      You mean like he and his team did after the outrageous Moon Landing Paper? They didn’t think that was crazy enough. So Lewandowsky cranked up the volume with his Recursive Fury paper (which is currently withdrawn), but you can read about here and here and here.


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        Rod Stuart

        Perhaps Lew has a psychosis called “Borderline Personality Disorder”.
        People with this affliction tend to deflect guilt for their own shortcomings onto someone else. One can’t help but wonder if old Lew has the other symptoms as well.


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        • #
          Sonny

          Another crazy university “conspiracy” professor:

          http://www.inquisitr.com/633882/boston-marathon-bombings-might-be-a-hoax-by-play-actors-conspiracy-professor-claims/

          I’m honestly disgusted that this guy is allowed to say these things.
          We should all accept the prevailing media accounts of the event and not even dare thinks out the possibility that the government and media could lie so infamously.

          Sometimes thinking is dangerous.


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          • #
            Ace

            … Lewandowsky that is.


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            Robert

            We should all accept the prevailing media accounts of the event and not even dare thinks out the possibility that the government and media could lie so infamously.

            Sonny, you can accept whatever you want without questioning it, please do not speak for the rest of us. Just because you haven’t developed the skills to reason and determine whether someone such as the above has a clue or not does not mean the rest of us can’t. He is allowed to speak his mind due to a little thing called freedom of speech. Those of us that are adults can determine whether what he is saying is or is not worth listening to. We do not need you to decide that for us.


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            • #
              Sonny

              Ability to reason…

              Hmm let’s see..

              Would you expect that a pressure cooker bomb filled with nails and ball bearings can cause someone to lose both of their legs with no apparent loss of blood?

              Have you looked at any of the images in question or do you simply reject the message based at face value?


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                Robert

                No I reject your poor reasoning, appeals to authority, blind faith in the media, and similar laziness. That you are content to let others think for you and hand you your opinions is pathetic, that you expect the rest of us to do so is ludicrous. This has nothing to do with your links, based on your comments so far I wouldn’t visit any link you posted as I can find out things for myself and formulate my own opinions of them. This has to do with a persons right to speak their mind whether I, or you, agree with it or not. If we behaved like you your posts would have been censored just as you would censor those with whom you disagree.

                If you could think for yourself you just might have understood that without my having to spoon feed the explanation to you.


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                Sonny

                Robert,

                Thanks for biting! I often use sarcasm as a method to convey a message that would not be as effective if I spoke to the point directly.

                You and I are in agreement.


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              • #
                Robert

                The quoted line above smacked of sarcasm but these days one never knows until it is admitted. Without a /sarc tag, given some of the strange reasoning we’ve seen from those supporting the AGW or whatever it’s called this week meme, it makes it even more difficult to determine. Unfortunately some of them really are serious when they say what they say so…


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          Ace

          Its not a psychosis. Its a neurosis. And Lews not got it, hes just a jerk.


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            Rod Stuart

            Psychology is far from an exact science (is it “science” at all?)
            Some folks refer to BPD as “neurosis bordering on psychosis”.
            Perhaps many mental disorders could be defined as a neurosis bordering on psychosis, such as certain types of OCD. The term “neurosis that borders on psychosis” is used because in some cases the behaviours are far from the reality of the situation, but they don’t constitute a full-blown detachment from reality.
            When one watches that video of Lewandowsky on youtube, one could easily conclude that the turmoil in his head is well detached from reality. But then, should he be the psychiatrist, or the patient? If it were possible to be diagnosed from appearance, he’s nuttier than a bloody fruitcake!


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              Ace

              Go careful Rod. I get called those things by complete strangers in the street.

              Psychology isnt psychiatry and the psychosis / neurosis distinction is on;y susceptible to query as far as the existence of the conditions themselves are accepted.

              That given the critical distinction is whether the ….sorry, I have to say it…”ideation” is ego-dystonic or ego-syntonic. Ie, whether the person attributes their thoughts to others putting them in their head (psychosis) or whether they realise however mad their thoughts may be they are their own (neurosis).

              This is a useful distinction but does not refer to a necessarily basic biological schism. Therefore it means nothing to say we are dealing with an inexact science, as this is not discovered knowledge but an administrative tool.

              If we start playing their game of cod-pathologising the opposition we are lost. We must stick to objective statements of fact. Ie, he is an asshole.


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    Roy Hogue

    I’m sure politicians from around the world will be the first in line to get a few of those brain cells. They certainly need them more than anyone else.


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      Joe V.

      It’s not generally the want of brain cells, at their age, but the nonsense they’ve been filled with since an early age.
      By the time we are old enough to have triumphed over our education and start thinking for ourselves, is not so long before the brain cells start failing us.


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    Ace

    Somehow as I get older I dont find things like this exciting anymore.

    Richard Lerner…any relation to C.J.Lerner?

    Now that WOULD be fun!


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    Bruce

    Terrific post.

    The climate scare game is all over, save for the lingering resistance by the free-loaders and rent seekers.

    Fortunately, the incompetent clowns in climate science are incapable of retooling into stem cell research.


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    Eddy Aruda

    It is good to see medical progress.

    I read an article about a potential cure for HIV/Aids See http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/06/07/doctors-turn-to-cord-blood-transplants-in-hopes-curing-patients-with-hiv/

    They are taking cells from placentas and using them to prevent T cells from becoming infected with the virus. What is amazing to me is that I never have read or heard about it before. This week, they performed the surgery on a boy and if it works it will save lives and probably lead to a cure.

    Perhaps this pandemic will finally run its course.

    I wonder how many have died, particularly the poor, because the money and resources that could have saved their lives were squandered fighting a faux apocalypse whose promoters knowingly perpetrated the CAGW scam without the slightest concern for cost in lives and treasure?

    Ironically, it was the far left that called for Nuremberg style trials for skeptics! Although it is probably a fool’s prayer I pray that God lets me live to see the day when the climate criminals receive the punishment for their crimes that justice rightfully demands!


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    David, UK

    Jo, we can all argue about what more-worthy cause than Green BS our infinitely wise Governments should be spending our money on. But this is the wrong mindset.

    The real counter-position, surely, should be to leave the earnings in the pocket of the person who earned it. If I want to donate my own cash to stem cell research, the fine cause that it is, then I will. Or (call me a selfish b@st@rd) I might even decide to spend my money on my mortgage, or travel, or something equally beastly and self-centred. But let me decide. And if zealous believers in pseudo-scientific causes want to donate their own cash to those things, then that of course should be their choice too.

    Too radical, I know.


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      Roy Hogue

      Too radical, I know.

      Maybe radical to some but to me it’s a core value by which human society should be governed. I would not rule out spending tax dollars on research. But there needs to be a strict limit on how much and the people need to have the vote on where to spend it.

      The basic problem here is a simple one. The one universal human dream we all have is to make our own decisions and govern our own lives. Keeping the fruit of our labor is the cornerstone of that dream. Without that ability we’re serfs in our own bodies. The ability to tax without limit is the ability to destroy.


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        KinkyKeith

        Well said Roy.

        KK :)


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        Rod Stuart

        Throughout history, that which we know and understand as “government” has eventually morphed into power hungry autocratic narcissists who rob the populace both physically and psychologically.
        It is for that reason that “government by the people for the people” or democracy has been started and restarted, (usually at great sacrifice in blood) again and again since Athenian times.
        The only way to prevent that is to severely limit the actions government can take, hence the concept of the “legitimate role of government”. Allowing government to interfere via the delusion of the provision of goods and services of any kind leads only to power exercised by the few over the many. The entrance of the State into education leads to the ability of the power brokers to brainwash generation after generation. The entrance of the State into the ream of health care leads to the power brokers having power over the very lives of individuals. The entrance of the State into the field of medical research can only lead to the development of drugs and chemicals for the purpose of controlling the population.
        the events of the last sixty years bear witness to all of this.


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        • #
          KinkyKeith

          I like the idea of “severe Limitation of Government”.

          KK :)


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        • #
          john robertson

          Savagely pruned back every 5th year.
          No one should be employed by govt for more that that time period.
          The only way to limit the political bureaucracy is fire them.
          Government is a form of cancer that feeds on society.
          Necessary, but always clumsy, it will always seek to grow and unchecked it will bring productive society grinding to a standstill.
          We are living this last stage in most English speaking countries.

          The lies will continue as long as they work, but there is no hiding the ratio of taker/maker is approaching one.


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        David, UK

        But there needs to be a strict limit on how much and the people need to have the vote on where to spend it.

        Agreed. It’s a difficult one though. As libertarians (assuming you are one like me – you talk like one anyway) we recognise that freedom over one’s own life and property should be absolute. Sacrifice a little freedom and you’re on the road to Hell. Thin end of the wedge, and all that. And yet at the same time we’ve come to accept that Government – albeit a limited one – is necessary. So that means giving up at least a little of the fruits of one’s labour to keep things going. And that has also proved to be the proverbial thin end.

        I like the idea of a Protectorate, as opposed to a Government. Given that language guides our thoughts and how we view our world, it must be more healthy to be protected rather than to be governed. The act of Governance is too close to that of enslavement for my liking. Of course they would still think up endless foes that we must be protected against at great financial cost, a la the “War on Terror” or Environmentalism, so maybe I’m being naïve. As I said: it’s a difficult one.


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        • #
          Rod Stuart

          A duty of care for one’s neighbour is sine qua non of liberty.
          Liberty, as Ayn Rand pointed out is for the most part selfishiness.
          However, it is that love of self that drives one to provide for those less fortunate.
          Having lost appreciation for liberty, we have gone down the route of Socialism, or “the road to Hell” as you put it. All people in a community cannot be at the top of the heap. The logical prescription for this condition is to try harder. However it is all too easy to support a “Protectorate” that will steal it for you. This quote from Le Bon might be appropo:
          Quoted from Gustave Le Bon’s Psychology of Socialism, where he wrote: “This multitude of incapable or degenerate persons is a grave danger to civilization. United in common hatred of the society in which they can find no place, they demand nothing but to fight against it. They form an army ready for all revolutions, having nothing to lose and everything to gain – at least in appearance. Above all, this army is ready for all works of destruction.”


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    handjive

    Wipin’ out brain cells by the millions
    But I don’t care
    It doesn’t worry me
    Even though I ain’t got a lot to spare

    The nips are gettin’ bigger…


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    Joe V.

    OT. As Marcott et al. continues to keep hope alive in the Alarmosphere that all is not yet lost, I notice that the oft quoted phoney consensus of 97% is rather only of 95% , as another 2 of the already highly selected just 79 qualifying respondents answered neither yes nor no to the central question :-
    Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures ?

    Near the end of Page 1.


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  • #

    On the previous thread, Wally mentioned “Oh, and cadmium, lead, and selenium are banned by the European RoHS legislation, and are not allowed to be used in electronics any more. I doubt you will find them in modern solar panels. (The lack of lead in solder causes all manner of other problems in electronics, we’re barely seeing the start of the mess caused by that decision.)”

    What a complete waste of money that was, typical of decisions made by those without a clue. I’ve seen one time cost estimates of billions of dollars and huge ongoing costs.
    The funny thing is that lead in electronics accounted for about 1% of lead use. Around 80% was in lead acid batteries, 5% was ammunition, the rest in various industrial uses.
    Unleaded solder is much more brittle and less shock resistant than tin/lead solder (about 5% as good), the pure tin on IC leads grows whiskers up to millimeters long(may as well be a meter in modern electronics), the alloy melts at considerably higher temperature costly more in energy and stressing components more causing unreliability and generally means that the product will have a shorter working life. It is also very difficult to tell the difference between a good joint and a bad one as they ALL look dull and crystalline. All this to solve a recycling problem. Europe deserves to be laid to waste for this alone as the decision was effectively imposed on the whole world.

    Interestingly, military uses, aviation, ABS systems in cars and medical devices were exempt which tells you all about expected reliability. There is talk of now removing some exemptions. Also interesting is that some Chinese consumer goods recently, meant to be lead free, are clearly using leaded solder (personal experience).


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    KuhnKat

    Don’t get too carried with how much COULD HAVE BEEN ACCOMPLISHED IF ONLY they had spen those billions on medical research or space travel or…

    We have seen with renewable/Green energy just what happens when we throw enormous amounts of money at anything. It is stolen, wasted, or simply does NOT do what is expected as we cannot determine ahead of time who is going to be ultimately successful.

    10 years ago it would have been IMPOSSIBLE to accomplish what is being done now because the groundwork leading up to it was not completed yet. Again, it is impossible to determine ahead of time which direction to go in doing research that ultimately pays off!!!

    If we knew we would just do it and not need the huge amounts of cash. Since we don’t know it will only be by accident that the cash makes a real difference as you are MORE LIKELY TO FUND THE LOSERS AND NOT THE ONE THAT PAYS OFF!!! Then there is the whole inefficient and corrupt gubmint structure that redirects much of our modern research funds…


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    • #
      Ace

      I think we should build a five million foot tall statue to something.


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      Streetcred

      Since we don’t know it will only be by accident that the cash makes a real difference as you are MORE LIKELY TO FUND THE LOSERS AND NOT THE ONE THAT PAYS OFF!!! Then there is the whole inefficient and corrupt gubmint structure that redirects much of our modern research funds…

      Obummer is expert at that ;)


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      Roy Hogue

      Good argument, KuhnKat.

      We’ve wasted the present for the sake of the future. It’s time to stop researching just because we can. I don’t think we owe the future such an all out effort to fix every problem and discover every new device by which life might be made a little easier. When the money flows so freely it’s soon co-opted by the likes of Lewandowsky (just a handy example, there are many).


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    pat

    lots of info in here:

    27 April: UK Daily Mail: Big brother to switch off your fridge: Power giants to make millions – but you must pay for ‘sinister’ technology
    Computer chips will take control of home appliances when energy is low
    Sensors will detect spikes in demand for power and when grid struggles to meet it, will temporarily shut off appliances
    Can shut down supply without warning – or your consent
    By Russell Myers and Martin Beckford
    The National Grid is demanding that all new appliances be fitted with sensors that could shut them down when the UK’s generators struggle to meet demand for electricity…
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2315863/Big-brother-switch-fridge-Power-giants-make-millions–pay-sinister-technology.html


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    • #
      Dennis

      Smart meters enable electricity companies to cut off supply by remote control, parts of Australia already have them, not that the householders are all happy about it.


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      • #
        Rereke Whakaaro

        But who, has them, in those parts of Australia already have them?

        When they were first introduced into New Zealand (some ten or twelve years ago), smart meters were used to differentiate between day and night-time use.

        Industry using power at night, when it is plentiful, are charged less than similar industries using power during daylight. Companies, like bakeries, and canning plants, were shouting out to be in the trial group, since they run night shifts anyway. The meters are also used in distribution networks surrounding essential services, so that power can be restricted to those services if there was a brown-out condition. Nice to know that you will not always be cut off if you are on a dialysis machine or respirator.

        They also allow the power company to shut off power if you haven’t paid your bill by the due date. That saves them billing you the cost of sending a service truck to pull the supply fuse, and then sending it back again, once you have paid, but the intent is still the same.

        So, tell me, which of these situations are householders unhappy about in Australia?


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        • #
          Dennis

          I am not certain of what the complaints are about, I just recall comments on boards from people who have smart meters, I do not. Fear of the unknown maybe, technology worries them, and possibly concern that smart meter technology will end up increasing their already inflated electricity bills that contain according to government $9 in every $100 carbon tax and $10 renewable energy surcharge.


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          Rod Stuart

          This is a submission made by the company that employs me Rereke. It might or might not answer your concerns.


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        Roy Hogue

        The smart meter is certainly an opportunity for abuse. But I’ve no doubt they would have been developed even without man made energy shortages because they can transmit your monthly usage to the utility company without anyone having to walk from home to home reading the meters. The economic justification here is legitimate.

        We had nothing but trouble for a year or more because a lazy meter reader was making guesses about our usage. The bills were wild. I had to check the meter reading on each bill and then fight with them several times over the ridiculously inflated number. Finally we asked for a smart meter to be put in. The usage is now correct every month.

        Ironically, for all the years we’ve lived here they managed to get the meter read correctly until just recently. I wonder what suddenly changed. Could it be their attitude by any chance? :-(

        I expect the smart meters to be put in all across the area at some point. Then they’ll undoubtedly start charging everyone a different rate/kWh based on time of day. It’s this kind of abuse that we should fight. But the smart meter is inevitable because it makes good economic sense for the utility. Our problem happens when the politicians get control of things.

        An interesting aside — I’ve seen evidence that the smart meter’s signal interferes with my cordless phone. Nice of them to use the same citizen’s band (2.4 GHz), huh? Haven’t been able to prove it yet though.


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        • #
          kuhnkat

          Roy,

          just to test your hypothesis, drop a faraday cage around the unit when you think it is interfering.


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          • #
            Roy Hogue

            With the meter mounted on an outside wall I could cover only 5 of the 6 directions it can radiate. The one I can’t cover points directly to my office where the phone is — probably less than 3 foot separation (< 1 meter).

            But you've made me wondering how long it would take them to come investigate if I could block it completely. Interesting test to try if you don't mind getting your electricity cut off or possibly fighting a criminal charge.

            But for now I'm happy with it, all things considered.


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      Roy Hogue

      Instead of all this BS about smart appliances, why not just build more generating capacity?

      Oops! Sorry! :-( That’s too obvious a concept for our brilliant leaders to get their heads around. They seem to be spending most of their time looking for larger hats as their heads swell up — swelling I’m sure must be caused by the heat from global warming because I can’t think of any other reason.

      Funny thing though, the heat only seems to bother those with political power, influence or ambition. The rest of us are getting colder.

      Come to think of it, that’s a rather remarkable phenomenon and I suspect that we should allocate a couple of trillion $$$ to find out what’s going on — yes, at least a couple of trillion, just to make sure we get the right answer.

      I’m sure you’ll all want to donate, say 95% of your family income to this important task. I’ll arrange for this to be tax deductible so you shouldn’t feel it too much.

      Please mail your checks immediately to the address I’ve set up. I’ll issue receipts for tax purposes.

      .
      .
      .
      The Ultimate Research Project, Inc
      1000000000000666 Drainpipe Road
      The Big Suite
      Sacramento, Taxifornia, 99999-9999
      USA

      Since Sacramento is so good at spending money and combating global warming I set up our offices there to take advantage of the pool of well qualified money wasters. I took a lease on something as far down the drain road as I could in keeping with our objective.

      My grant applications are being prepared and I can hardly wait to get started.

      Please send money at once. :-)


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    Dave

    .

    The Stem Cell Revolution.

    Should be renamed to:

    The Stem Cell revolution: growing brain cells to realise that CO2 is not a poison.


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    janama

    I heard a program on Radio National about researchers at a WA University that had created a heart attacks in mice then repaired the hearts back to full efficiency using stem cell technology. As someone who is half hearted after a serious attack back in 2008 I’m still waiting ;)


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    Catamon

    The Stem Cell revolution: growing brain cells to repair damage

    Craka’s, there is hope after all!! :)


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    Catamon

    The Stem Cell revolution: growing brain cells to repair damage

    Craka’s, there is hope after all!!

    (Sorry, just built new whiz bang box (aren’t SSD’s luverly) and typed the email in wrongly. Please delete 36)


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  • #

    Jo, still seeking out life eternal I see.


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    [...] tests are falling back to evidence-based Earth. Good!             So, how about some more brain cells for our stone age cortexes (courtesy of Dr Lerner) to keep us from, so often, slipping back to our [...]


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    Jacqueline

    I was put on SSRIs at age 13 and now am looking into Stem Cells because I can no longer have an orgasm, feel emotions, my personality is gone, and no imagination. I lost my life because of SSRIs, I am now 23.

    -Jacqueline


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