October 20th, 2005

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Korean Cloning

Slate ran an article about why south korea excels in cloning. It seems that every few months we hear about some other breakthrough from the labs there about how they've cloned some new animal or otherwise mucked with the genetic goop of life. The head honcho there a theory of why koreans seem to do so well in this field despite the fact that the US outspends them on research on the order of 20 to 1 when it comes to stem cells.

The Chopstick Theory of Scientific Supremacy goes like this: Koreans eat with narrow, metal chopsticks. Nabbing grains of rice with slippery, steel sticks requires a surgeon's dexterity. That's why Koreans have mastered extraordinarily precise "micromanipulation" of eggs and embryos required for stem-cell and cloning research. Westerners with their clunky forks—and even other Asians with their thick, grippy wooden chopsticks—can't hope to compete with the dexterous Koreans.

The Chopstick Theory is how Hwang Woo-suk, the world's greatest cloner, accounts for his nation's stem-cell success.

These labs were the first to clone human embryos, the first to extract stem cells from the, the first to clone a cow, a cat, and just a few months ago a dog. I have my own theory of why koreans might excel at cloning technology. All this work up to now has obviously been to hit the pinnacle they reached this past july of cloning a dog. I figure Hwang Woo-suk is really trying to create himself the world's best tasting dog, and then mass produce it. It'd be like our equivalent of kentucky fried chicken once he manages to work out the details. Welcome to Woo(f)-suk down dog, a one stop culinary buffet of pooches.

Really though, with these scientists able to do so much more with so much less, maybe we should just consider outsourcing our R&D too.
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Porn and Churches, kept apart for too long

National Porn Sunday October 9

LOS ANGELES, October 7, 2005 – Hundreds of churches across the US plan to participate in National Porn Sunday, a one-day event designed to start the conversation about the issues surrounding pornography, “America’s ‘dirty little secret,’” according to Porn Sunday creators, xxxchurch.com.

The focus of Porn Sunday is to get churches and pastors talking about the issue of pornography and sexual addictions, according to its founders, California pastors Mike Foster and Craig Gross. The two founded xxxchurch.com in 2002, which they dub “the No. 1 Christian porn site.”

“Churches in the past have been accepting of drug abuse, alcohol abuse and these types of addictions ... but porn in the church is like ... the scarlet letter on you,” said Foster. “We hope it allows people to discuss it in a graceful, non-threatening way.”

Statistics reveal that 40 million people regularly visit internet porn web sites daily, while 47% of Christians said pornography is a major problem in the home; 10% of adults admit to internet sexual addiction – 65% are male, while 35% are female. Porn revenue is larger than all combined revenues of all professional football, baseball and basketball franchises, and exceeds the combined revenues of ABC, CBS, and NBC at $6.2 billion.

Find out more about Porn Sunday, at http://www.pornsunday.com

Shame on all of you out there who didn't observe national porn sunday this year. Now you're going to burn in heck. When I first saw the title, I thought it was going to be like that national comic day where all the comic stores hand out free comics. I can just imagine the lines if every single porn shop handed out free porn. Maybe that's an advertising gimmick that would work, though based on the profit numbers there, it seems porn pretty much sells itself.

I'm also sorta surprised that the male-female ratio has dropped to less than 2 to 1. I always assumed it would be higher for some reason, though when I think about all those teenage girls on sissyfight reading and writing incest and harry potter sex stories, I have no clue why. I guess it's due to the fact that the internet is the ultimate brown paper bag and anonymity lets you pretty much do whatever the heck you want.
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Battlestar Galactica

A couple of near empty harddrives and nothing to fill it with. Isn't one of those zen sayings about emptiness calling fulfillment or something along those lines. Anyway, what filled the space were a bunch of stargate sg1 and atlantis episodes as well as some things I always meant to snag and watch. Now that stargate is on hiatus until march or thereabouts, I ended up downloading the entire last season of family guy that I missed and both of battlestar galactica. I'm in the middle of watching the opening movie and it looks like it's going to be a good one.

The only complaint I have so far is there's too much bumping uglies. Maybe it's just me but I figure if you're going to have lotsa people boinking one another you should either go all out or just have the opening scene and then move along. After all, this is supposed to be an action/suspense science fiction show, not melrose place in space. Other than that it seems like an excellent show so far with a real eclectic slew of characters. You can scrape the conflict and drama off of the episodes to come with a spoon.

Overall, I also think that it's a good thing that I never saw the original battle star galactica when I was a kid. I have no clue what the original plot, characters, or anything were so I don't have to obsess about the changes they've made. It is pretty interesting how they managed to explain why the technology is so backwards, even by the standards set a couple decades ago. I also really like the whole political situation. I mean...just think of it. The head of the department of education becomes president. It's like one of those doomsday contingency situations that we heard planned about after 9/11. The freaking head of the department of education....it's amazing they didn't just give the job over to the equivalent of a cafeteria worker at the capital building. Oh wait, they pretty much did. It's amazing that there would even be a discussion about who would take command in a situation like this. If there's ever been a case to be made for martial law, this is it.

The special effects are also a nice balance. With the exception of babylon 5, this is the only sci-fi series where I've seen any attempt to hold to what the actual movement of ships in space would be like. In the case of star trek and the like, the ships always seemed to be moving through liquid or air without the effect of inertia. This show will likely never have the budget of B5, pity that, but it looks like they're making the best of what they've got.
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