Science: October 2005 Archives

Roundup

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Sam has posted more pictures of the kids.

Christian Carnival XCII is up at World of Sven.

New evidence has been unearthed about the political context of Jefferson's infamous "wall of separation" language. [HT: SmartChristian]

There's a new article in Nature about two new techniques for deriving stem cells. These both sound pretty interesting. Some people are claiming that they get around the ethical objections. If they're successful and do get around the ethical objections, we might expect less pressure from those who want to destroy embryos for stem cell research. I doubt it, though. Alternative techniques in the past haven't stopped those who are single-minded in getting this one so far unsuccessful area of research to be federally funded. See Sun and Shield for discussion by someone who understands the science better than I do.

A little while back, Eugene Volokh had an extended disussion of the New York Civil Liberties Union's attack on military recruiting. Most of his post is great, but I think one element is especially worth highlighting. The general sort of approach he's criticizing has an "Any Stick is Worth Beating the Military With" sort of approach. Normally, they'll complain when affirmative action in its two main forms is not applied. The two main forms are lowering requirements for getting in and going out of your way to try to increase the representation of underrepresented groups by targeting those groups and appealing to them in specially designed ways. If someone isn't doing that, then they aren't pursuing diversity. Yet now they're complaining that military recruiters are targeting minority students, as if that's somehow bad.

Wired News has a fascinating article on face transplants. It contains an interesting statement. Some doctors have suggested that the novelty of the surgery and the lack of certainty on what risks even are make informed consent impossible. I commented on Jonathan Ichikawa's post about this, pointing this out, wondering what they might have meant by that, and his response struck me as equally unusual. He thinks this is an attempt to make a philosophical argument out of an ick factor. Is that really what's going on? What does this statement about informed consent amount to? I have some thoughts, but I really wanted to see what people think about this without my suggesting anything.

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