Your latest head transplant news

I’m sure you’re all wondering what’s happening with Sergio Canavero and his dangerous and unethical plan to transplant whole heads. Three new papers have been published claiming to have achieved partial regeneration of function of severed spinal cords in mice and rats and dogs.

Credible scientists do not believe it.

However, papers published today detailing the spinal cord repair technique applied to the dog have prompted other scientists to express concerns over the work. “These papers do not support moving forward in humans,” says Jerry Silver, a neuroscientist at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio.

Jerry Silver is so nice. I’m more likely to say that these are cases of scientific fraud and that they are so shoddily done that they shouldn’t have been published. Of course, the way that they got published is that Canavero was the editor of all three who allowed them into the journal.

The “breakthrough” that they’re promoting is that after severing the cords, they tried some additional experimental treatments that were supposed to promote regrowth: they injected the site with polyethylene glycol (PEG) and with graphene ribbons. I’ve used PEG to make hybridomas — it’s basically a membrane solvent that allows adjacent cells to fuse with one another. The graphene ribbons act as electrical conductors to allow current to flow across the lesion.

I gawp in astonishment that anyone would think this would work, and that any ethical review board would allow them to continue. I should belatedly warn you that the New Scientist link includes a video of dogs and mice intentionally crippled and struggling to move.

Here’s the problem restated in cruder terms. This is a fancy cable with multiple insulated strands running through it — of course, it’s nowhere near as complicated as the human spinal cord.

It’s cut.


Now a friendly electrician tells you he can fix it easily. He’s not going to splice each wire together to restore the proper connections, instead, he has an easier solution: he’s going to inject acid into the cable to dissolve insulation and encourage the copper wires to fuse, and he’s going to fill the cable with an electrically conductive goop that will allow signals to cross the broken end.

Does this sound like it will work to you? These are generic treatments that completely ignore the specificity of the necessary connections. He’s just claiming that anything to promote fusion will work, and that the cables will somehow sort themselves out.

Would you let him reassemble your home theater system with this technique? He’s happy to show you videos of his work, with a television flickering and fading and speakers sputtering and wowing, all for verisimilitude’s sake, but he’s not actually able to show you that these botched repair jobs used these techniques.

You might ask for some quantitative measures of the success of his technique, and he tells you that it works maybe half the time, and that all of the controls, in which he just cut cables and plugged them together, burst into flames and exploded. (of his experimental mice, 5/8 showed some degree of improvement, 3/8 died, and all of his controls died, which is really suspicious right there).

In another experiment with rats, all but one of the experimental animals was accidentally killed in a flood, but that one showed great improvement. One. This is nothing but a dubious anecdote. How could it get published at all?

Somehow, though, this shabby work is getting funded, is passing review boards, and is getting published. And Canavero is planning to try it on a human subject.

Apparently, if you put on a white coat and have a medical degree, you can get away with torturing small animals before planning the torture-murder of a human being.

Police doing it right

I know most of you heard about the explosion in New York that injured a score of people and led to Trump using it to foment fear and hatred to bump up his poll numbers. We also had an incident in Minnesota, in a St Cloud mall (I’ve been there many times!), where a man went on a stabbing spree, and shouted something about Allah. Eight people were injured, and the guy wielding the knife was killed — which goes to show that it is kind of helpful to get guns out of the hands of these bad people.

But here’s the thing…Minnesota does have a substantial population of Muslims, largely Somali immigrants. They don’t have a violent reputation. But when the St Cloud police chief went on Fox News, of course the Foxites assumed we had a terrible race/immigrant problem here, and tried to stir up some inflammatory racist assumptions and remarks. Chief William Blair Anderson would have nothing to do with it, and actually made a helpful reply.

“I can tell you that the vast majority of all of our citizens, no matter their ethnicity, are fine, hard-working people, and now is not the time for us to be divisive,” he said. “We already have a very cohesive community, and I expect that this will draw us even closer together. But at the end of the day, our job is public safety, period.”

Anderson then went on to say that developing relationships with Somalis in his community was vital to rooting out potential extremists.

“We actually work very well not just with our East African community, but all of our community,” he said. “We meet regularly with any number of people, whether they are advocates for a specific ethnicity or different cause. It’s one of things that makes St. Cloud a wonderful place to live, and I know that might sound corny, but it’s the truth. We have established and maintained a very good rapport with our East African community and our community at large.”

Go away, race-baiters. The less we see of you, the better we’re doing.

That’s also the kind of responsible attitude I like to see in the police.

“Psychologist finds humans fickle and shallow” is probably not a click-baity enough title

A lot of my balding friends are sharing this story (in jest, I hope) that claims Bald men are sexier, more masculine, scientific study finds

A recent scientific study found that men with bald heads are perceived to be more masculine, dominant and stronger. So if you are bald don’t worry, embrace it by shaving your hair off and whatever you do, according to the study, do not wear a toupee, comb over or try hiding your baldness.

Females will in general perceive men with a shaved head as more confident.

This is obviously a worthless study, for several reasons I will expand upon.

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48°52.6’S 123°23.6’W

If ever I mysteriously disappear, here’s where to find me. If I ever retire (which seems unlikely), I have a destination. Point Nemo.


It’s the point on Earth farthest from any land mass. It sounds delightful.

Also, if ever sunken R’lyeh rises sometime after my vanishing, I’ll be the skeleton found on the slimy rocks of the beach, hagfish writhing in my ribcage and and crabs peeking out through my eyesockets. Just so you know.


Uri Geller is using his psychic powers to make an amazing prediction.

To all my dear friends,
Whether you like him or dislike him I have got news for you!
Donald Trump will become the 45th president of United States of America!

What is the basis for this prediction?

11 is a very powerful mystical number.
Barack Obama : 11 letters
George W. Bush: 11 letters
Bill Clinton: 11 letters
Jimmy Carter: 11 letters
John Kennedy: 11 letters
Donald Trump…. 11 letters!!

Barack Hussein Obama: 18 letters
George Walker Bush: 17 letters
William Jefferson Clinton: 23 letters
James Earl Carter: 15 letters
John Fitzgerald Kennedy: 21 letters
Donald John Trump: 15 letters

I think he was rigging the numbers to fit.

If you’re not convinced on the importance of 11, please see this page on my website:
More significant people with eleven letters in their name:

Sorry, I didn’t bother.

Jesus Christ
Antony Blair
Pope Francis
Colin Powell

“Jesus Christ” wasn’t his name. “Christ” was a title.

He had to leave a letter out of Tony Blair’s first name to make it fit! Besides, it’s Anthony Charles Lynton Blair.

That’s the latinized version. His name was Michel de Nostredame.

His first name is not “Pope”.

Again, Colin Luther Powell. He seems to have some funny rules for what names he’ll use.

There are so many other historically significant people, places and events that also include 11, or 11.11, read the article, it will blow your mind!
Please let me know your thoughts, and if you are unhappy – or happy at the thought of Donald Trump becoming President, please let me know why, it interests me to hear your perspective.
By the way, do you know of any other people or important events or places that are not on my page about 11.11, please comment to let me know.
Don’t forget to share!

I’ve shared. You’re an idiot, Uri.

Christian arguments are just as nebulous as their deity

Here we go again, another session of Christians complaining about atheists…specifically, these danged “New Atheists” who don’t show the proper respect that the old atheists did. And of course they start with an annoying definition.

I have a couple of friends who are New Atheists and have had conversations with several more. If you haven’t run across them, New Atheism is a sort of grassroots movement among atheists that has gone beyond holding the position that no god exists to the position that theism is actively bad for the world and that atheism should “evangelize” actively to move people away from theism and religion. The movement is spearheaded by the writings and stylings of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris.

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A good list of bad news sites

I agree with Ed Brayton: these so-called news sites truly suck.

Occupy Democrats
Bipartisan Report
Winning Democrats
Blue Nation Review
The Freethought Project
Addicting Info
Politicalo (almost anything that ends on lo; these sites specialize in taking accurate statements from politicians and then adding false quotes to them that are much worse than what they actually said)
Being Liberal
American Newsx
The Other 98%

There are others. I notice that he forgot to include the Fox network (anything owned by Rupert Murdoch, actually), Breitbart, and World Net Daily.

Every once in a while, they do say something interesting or newsworthy, but they’re so bad otherwise that you still need to check with other, more reliable news sites to verify…so maybe you should be linking to those, anyway.