JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

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Australian Environment Conference Oct 20 2012


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GoldNerds

The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX



There goes another consensus. Crash diets solve diabetes in 3 weeks

Sometimes the consensus deniers are right, which is exactly why the term is so pointless and so profoundly unscientific.

The medical associations were unequivocal. Crash diets were a fad, unhealthy, and only slow sensible weight loss could work. So millions of people were fed expensive drugs for decades, monitored, and some even given risky bariatric surgery. Patients with Type II diabetes were expected to be treated for years, or possibly the rest of their lives. Nearly a tenth of the national health budget of the UK was spent managing diabetes. Fully 8% of the population have the condition in the US.

Now a new (albeit very very small) study cured diabetes in some cases in as little as a week with a diet that was thought to be bad.

In the trial the very low calorie diet was done for 8 weeks. Sticking to 600 calories a day is not easy (some reports say it was 800 cals). It’s about a quarter of what a normal guy would eat. But it shrinks fat in the pancreas and liver, and that seemingly returns insulin levels to normal. The really amazing thing is that the benefits turn out to stay around far [...]

Human body parts made to order (Windpipes, and bionic ears made from 3D printers)

Australia could be leading the world in research that will save lives and earn money. Instead we lead the world in gullible obedience to an absurd scheme to change the weather.

Making human body parts from off-the-shelf or customized cells is a vast improvement on waiting for healthy people to die and donate, and a lifetime of immunosuppressants. Any delay in developing these techniques will surely cost lives and prolong disability. Those who do develop and patent these techniques are bound to profit and be able to afford even more research, and will improve national productivity as well as the quality of life. For those on waiting lists, spending $3billion on solar panels to stop storms and hold back the sea is the cruelest waste.

This type of medical work could make waiting lists for organ-donation a thing of the past. The political vanity of supporting useless causes for the sake of symbolism has a ghastly price.

Read about what this poor little girl and her family have had to go through. She is two, and had never been home or tasted food until last month. She has not been able to speak, but might possibly one day. This is [...]

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, [...]

Some good news science – growing spare parts for people

With all the corruption and failures in climate science, sometimes it’s nice to read about how some areas of science are still working, and developing something that matters.

There are thousands of people working on a frontier of science that promises to revolutionize medicine. We are living in the last days of what we’ll come to know as the “old medicine” where surgeons do the unthinkable — cutting out healthy blood vessels to get spare parts for more important sites, or treating people with drugs that affect cells all over the body (with many unwanted side-effects) when what we need is a way to get the right molecules into a tiny percentage of cells. Then there is the devastating cost of using transplants from other people (deceased or not), and then having to use immune-suppressant drugs for life. Growing your own spare parts — customized and make to order — is the brilliant alternative.

Our lives would be so much better if the money used to install vast inefficient solar arrays, or bird-breaking windfarms was used instead on gene therapy. That doesn’t mean everything about this is unquestionably good, like any powerful tool, gene therapy can kill as well as [...]