The most dad thing

It’s too late for this, I’ve got to get some sleep — I have to go catch a plane in the morning. It’s a list of the most “Dad thing” people’s fathers have ever done, and it just made me sad. It’s all these embarrassing or old fashioned or idiosyncratic stupid quirks from their fathers. There’s a depressing tendency to treat older fathers as behind-the-times dopes, Homer Simpson on the way to becoming Grandpa Simpson.

So I had to think of the most Dad things my father ever did.

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Stem cell treatment of spinal cord injuries

I have to admit that my first response to these reports out of Britain that stem cells had been successfully used to repair a complete spinal cord transection was skepticism — incredulity even. They’re reporting that a man with a completely severed spinal cord at level T10-T11 is able to walk again! The Guardian gushes! The Daily Mail gets in the act (always a bad sign)! When I read that the patient had an 8mm gap in his spinal cord that had been filling up with scar tissue for the last two years, I was even more doubtful: under the best of conditions, it was unlikely that you’d get substantial connectivity across that distance.

So I read the paper. I’m less skeptical now, for a couple of reasons. They actually did this experiment on 3 people, and all showed degrees of improvement, although the newspapers are all focusing on just the one who had the greatest change. The gradual changes are all documented thoroughly and believably. And, sad to say, the improvements in the man’s motor and sensory ability are more limited and more realistic than most of the accounts would have you think.

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A brief #gamergate roundup

I have never seen an own goal as dramatic as GamerGate — it has exposed a whole vast collection of unpleasant characters. Here’s a list of the “bad apples” of gamergate, who are categorized as a ridiculous mob of d-list right-wingers. In particular, take a look at Mike Cernovich, who we’ve encountered before — what a piece of work. What we’re learning is that it has always been this way, and i’s alway been a misogynistic movement with a lot of overlap with the same harassing atheists.

They’re an ugly bunch. It’s good to see them expose themselves like this.