Sciencebase has a short article on a potential new aphrodisiac. It’s called PT-141, or bremelanotide, or Ac-Nle-cyclo[Asp-His-D-Phe-Arg-Trp-Lys]-OH (“PT-141” is the useful search term if you want to hit up PubMed), and it’s a melanocortin agonist that works directly on the brain. It can be delivered as a nasal spray. It works on men, promoting erections, and it also seems to be effective on women, increasing sexual appetite.

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An argument for the kindness of the ungodly

Should the godless be a little more generous in dealing with believers? Here’s an argument that advocates a little more charity; that we ought to recognize that belief in the supernatural is a nearly universal human condition, that it’s a useful coping mechanism for dealing with the unknown, and that it’s a mistaken belief, not a moral failing.

I’m not entirely convinced. You can substitute the word “ignorance” for “supernatural belief/spirituality/religion” and it fits the whole argument just as well. Yet I don’t feel any desire to make excuses for ignorance, and I certainly don’t have sympathies for the promoters of ignorance.

Don’t hate me for this…

I’ve turned on the requirement to login and register with TypeKey in order to make a comment. Can’t stand it? Things not working? Leave a comment (if you can) or mail me (if you can’t).

This is a trial, we’ll see if it works. I’m willing to turn it off again if it causes more grief than it solves.

Ooops. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s the TypeKey page. It’s simply a centralized site where you register once, get a password, and then you can use that password to make comments on various sites, including this one. It doesn’t cost anything, it’s fairly easy to do.

Another hint: some people are having problems that seem to be traceable to their browser’s cache. Try reloading pages or clearing the browser cache so that it will display the version with the new TypeKey requirements.

Aaaargh, more commenting problems

I owe many people some apologies: this site has been quietly eating your comments. There are filters set up to catch and discard spam comments, and they work very well. I’m getting thousand or so junk comments a week that are not making it through to be displayed.

Unfortunately, about a 5% of the junked comments are false positives. I’ve gone through and tried to restore the ones I could find, but that represents a far too substantial loss of blameless comments.

I’ve set up the comments section now to optionally allow TypeKey registration. I’m hoping that the software is smart enough to realize that if you’ve gone through TypeKey, you are not spamming, and that that will improve the accuracy of spam detection—so use it, if you don’t mind TypeKey. I might go further still and require TypeKey at some point; I suspect most people would rather jump through a few more hoops and have better reliability, than type something up and have the mysterious and ineffable spam filter decide to quietly shuffle your words off to the holding pen before erasing them a few days later.

Let me know any objections or suggestions you might have.

This is not news

The Mirecki case is over.

The trail has gone cold in the investigation of a roadside beating reported late last year by a Kansas University professor.

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Lt. Kari Wempe said Thursday that detectives had finished their paperwork related to religious studies professor Paul Mirecki’s report that he was beaten by two unknown men on Dec. 5, 2005, on a roadside south of Lawrence.

The office has not identified any suspects and, unless any new leads come in, the investigation is finished.

At the time, Mirecki was under fire for comments he had posted online critical of organized religion.

It was simply absurd to think that good Christians might have resorted to physical violence, after all.