US vs. UK: I’m beginning to think the revolution wasn’t such a great idea

Two households, both alike in dignity,
On fair Earth, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.

(From that great classic play, Romeo and Juliet and an Unnamed Egg Donor)

Let’s compare the scientific relevance of the British House of Lords and the Republican party of the United States.

There are currently concerns about nuclear transfer procedures in human fertility treatments — you may have heard some of the noise in the news about babies with three parents. Cases of mitochondrial disease are passed on from mothers to all of their children, but one way around it is to use donor mitochondria, so woman #1 provides the cytoplasm for a healthy egg, woman #2 provides the nuclear DNA, and a man provides the sperm that fertilizes the genetic material provided by woman #2. That’s three parents, one child.

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History ruins all the fun

I was prepared for an amusing story — let’s all laugh at the dumb rednecks! — in this tale of Americans getting outraged because someone in Puerto Rico won the powerball lottery (apparently, that money is supposed to go to real Americans.) I knew that Puerto Rico was a US territory and that the residents were US citizens, so I am clearly superior to those goofs, but then the author answered with a history lesson about Puerto Rico. I did not know most of this stuff.

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How to become a non-person

The behavior of the University of Minnesota keeps sinking to new lows. In the case of Dan Markingson, they recruited a mentally ill young man into an experimental pharmaceutical treatment, his condition worsened, and he committed suicide. He was a person who needed help, not to be roped into the position of a guinea pig, but you know there is big money behind clinical trials sponsored by pharmaceutical companies (but not enough, apparently, to cover adequate monitoring and care for test subjects).

My university has made a statement about another test patient.

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What’s right with Minneapolis?

The Atlantic takes a look at Minneapolis, which is an outlier in several ways: it’s doing relatively well economically (it’s no Detroit), but at the same time, it’s managed to avoid extreme disparities — there’s affordable housing without the overpriced real estate at the top (it’s no San Francisco, in a good way). How do they do it?

Among other factors, it’s all about…wealth redistribution.

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A hint for all politicians

OK, we all know you’re not a scientist. You might even be a college drop-out. You might have personal beliefs that are a little wacky. But when you’re running for office, any office, even the presidency, it is understood that you’re not going to micromanage every single detail, and one of the things we’re going to expect of you is that you’ll delegate responsibilities to qualified, intelligent underlings.

So when you’re asked a question like “Do you believe in evolution,” there is a good answer and a bad answer.

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Why Jon Stewart is the only news source worth listening to anymore

For all of his flaws, he’s one of those rare people in the media who is able to step back and provide an appropriate perspective. Here, he goes after the Brian Williams story, making the point that it is important for news sources to maintain their credibility…but then why are they going after this trivial Williams story and completely ignoring the major media lies that led to war?

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