The talk of head transplants is completely nuts

New Scientist has an article titled 5 things you're dying to ask about head transplants. Yeah, someone said we can expect to be able to do head transplants in a few years, so the media are all wound up and asking stupid questions. Here are the questions New Scientist thought were really important.

What’s the difference between brain and head transplants?

Could the transplant technique work for a cryogenically frozen head?

Would the surgery be psychologically damaging?

I’m a registered organ donor. Could my body be used for this?

There’s one more. It’s so stupid and misleading that I had to single it out.

[Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

Friday Cephalopod: Winning!

This week, everyone has been sending me a link to that horrible series of photos showing a seal gnawing and dismembering an octopus (no, I will not link to it! I might cry.) So instead I’m showing you a happy movie of a successful octopus gnawing and dismembering a crab.

[Read more…]