#0038 RRS Newsletter for August 2, 2007
I would like to draw your attention today to the RRS news section, RRS MI, and the Religion section for the documentary by a British illusionist named Darren Brown. This film clearly shows how easy it is to convince people you are spiritually gifted.
Table of Contents
Dumbass of the Day AwardBack by popular demand we have awarded another Dumbass of the Day Award. The first was given to a comment on our youtube channel. Now, we're awarding the prize to a blogger who has flipped reality upside down. We'll be addressing and dissecting his blog on our show Thursday night 8-11 PM EST.
Between the time this was written and the time it get's posted, the author of that blog has blocked all non-friends from veiwing it or commenting on it. It is, however, already up on this site, along with Sapients reply, that got deleted from the original. Check it our here:
You can hang out with us anytime for our 24/7 radio stream free online. Join us on the website that myspace doesn't want you to know about S.T I.C K.A. M
Or join us here: http://www.rationalresponders.com/rrs_webcam_room
Local man tries to reach kids at risk of dropping out
I recieved this in a bulletin from Antonio and thought it was a worthy cause to promote!
Hey everyone, my father needs your help. My father recently retired from Detroit Public Schools and is in the process of becoming a motivational speaker for at risk students. His vision is to reduce the dropout rate nationwide. I am so incredibly proud of my father and I want to make sure that his idea and message makes its way across the nation.
You can see what he is all about by checking out this video below
Could you please click HERE to send an email to the producers of the Tyra Banks show. NOTE: When you contact the shows producers, there is an option to put your phone number in, this is totally optional. Although it might be helpful to have your phone number in there, and if they call you at some point, you can send me a message on myspace.
If you are not sure of what to send in the email, you can use this as a script (although I would rather you use your own words and write from the heart, as this will seem more credible):
"Hello my name is [your name], and I have come across a website by the name of www.atriskstoriesofhope.com. This website belongs to a person by the name of Hector Perez, a retired Detroit Public School teacher who is on a mission to reduce the dropout rate nationwide. I believe that he has a very important message and a way to reach at risk students across the nation. From what I can see from looking at the video on the front of his website, he was a high school dropout that overcame great obstacles to become a great teacher. He has mentored his students to rise to the occasion and to become success stories.
Also, I noticed that on his website he mentions that Nia Mora, who appeared on your show with her sister Naima, is going to be a part of their team that will be speaking to at risk students.
Here is a quote from his website:
"My former students must overcome the obstacles that confront them. Hopefully through a mentorship and graduation from high school and have a college chosen to be part of our team. They will have to meet certain criteria such as proof of outstanding community service or participation in an organization that serves at risk children or others."
I'm friends with his son, Antonio, who sent me an email asking me to help contact you guys, as he is very proud of the work that his father has been doing with his students
Mathematicians Propose New Model for Cancer Growth
Mathematicians Propose New Model for Cancer Growth
By Adriana Salerno
31 July 2007
What do zebras, bacteria, and cancer have in common? They all can evolve in response to pressures in their environment. This simple biological fact inspired researchers from the University of California, Irvine, to study cancer in a new light. They used the tools of mathematics (rather than biology) to test a theory that that tumors change their mutation rate "intentionally" throughout their development, in order to grow as quickly as possible. This research was published in the Royal Society's journal Interface.
For some time now, laboratory scientists have known that cancer cells behave very differently from normal cells, constantly changing their genetic makeup. As Natalia Komarova explains, a normal human cell has 23 pairs of chromosomes, "but if you look at the cancer cell it's a complete mess: some chromosomes are present only in one copy, some are missing, some are present in five or six or ten copies." This phenomenon of losing and gaining genetic material as cells divide is called genetic instability.
Komarova notes that everyone who studies cancer knows that genetic instability (and the mutations it causes) are important for cancer cells: cancer couldn't spread without it. It's not so clear why this mutation rate slows down in later stages of the tumor. She says that this has been observed experimentally, but researchers can't decide whether it's important for cancer growth or if it's just a side-effect of cancer.
To try to understand the process, Komarova and her colleagues turned to optimal control theory, a branch of mathematics used to determine the most efficient pathways, and they applied it to the mystery of cancer growth.
Their results showed that it was indeed advantageous for cancer to be highly genetically unstable in its earlier stages and to become more stable later on. "So it kind of pays off to change all the time," says the mathematician, "to lose chromosomes, to gain chromosomes, at the beginning; and then stop doing this and remain at the same level for the rest of the natural history of a tumor."
Natalia Komarova is a mathematician, not a medical researcher. But Dr. Andrew Pierce, of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, says her results make sense because they parallel what many living organisms do to thrive in their environment. He points to the way bacteria develop resistance against an antibiotic, "and so the idea is 'OK, my current genetic solution isn't a very good solution anymore, so let's mix it up and try a bunch of random stuff and see if something can be come up with randomly that just happens to work better.'"
Dr. Pierce explains that this fits with the current theories on evolution. He says that the stress from the environment is reduced once the right genetic mutation has been found. "It perfectly fits with their result", he concludes, "that now that a new solution has been acquired what you don't want to do is keep on messing with it, you know? If it's not broken, don't fix it."
Knowing the reason for a tumor's genetic instability, mathematician Komarova says, might affect the development of cancer treatment strategies. She explains that some treatments are mutogenic, that is, they make cells mutate. Chemotherapy, she says, is very mutogenic, and small molecule inhibitors are not.
Although her research is not at that point yet, Komarova says she would like to incorporate treatments and their mutogenic properties into her model.
She says mathematical tools can enhance medical research. Their work is not experimental notes Komarova, they don't work in a lab, but they believe that their work could help create theories for laboratory researchers. "We kind of provide ideas or explanations to the medical community", she adds.
Dr. Neal Meropol, from the Fox-Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, agrees that a multidisciplinary effort might help find the best alternatives. He says it's good that researchers from other disciplines, like mathematicians, are coming up with new ideas. "We are certainly learning the hard way," he says, "to some extent, through our failures, that a team approach to solving the cancer problem is required if we're going to achieve our holy grail of eliminating death from cancer in the future."
University of California mathematician Natalia Komarova hopes that her research will give the medical community food for thought during their quest for new approaches to fighting cancer.
Patterns Of Excitation Waves Found In Brain's Visual Processing Center
For The First Time, Patterns Of Excitation Waves Found In Brain's Visual Processing Center
Science Daily — Neuroscientists have long believed that vision is processed in the brain along circuits made up of neurons, similar to the way telephone signals are transferred through separate wires from one station to another. But scientists at Georgetown University Medical Center discovered that visual information is also processed in a different way, like propagating waves oscillating back and forth among brain areas.
“What we found is that signals pass through brain areas like progressive waves, back and forth, a little bit like what fans do at baseball games,” said the study’s corresponding author, Jian-young Wu, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Georgetown. Just as the stadium wave is coordinated and travels through the crowd, a collective pattern emerges from the activities of millions of neurons in the visual areas, he said, explaining, “It simply makes sense that brain function is the result of large numbers of neurons working together.”
This challenges longstanding notions about how the brain processes sensory information, Wu said. “One traditional model theorizes that neurons are hooked together into specific circuits. However, new imaging methods tell us that there are more than just circuits.”
Wu and his colleagues visualized wave-like patterns in the brain cortex using a new method called voltage sensitive dye imaging. They used a special dye that binds to the membrane of neurons and changes color when electrical potential passes along active neurons.
Traditionally, scientists have studied brain activity by placing electrodes in the brain and measuring the electrical currents that are related to neuronal activity. Because it is difficult to put many electrodes into the brain, the spatiotemporal pattern of the neuronal activity has long been ignored. “Now, with optical methods, we can watch sequential activation of different sectors of the visual cortex when the brain is processing sensory information," Wu said.
Wu believes wave patterns play an important role in initiating and organizing brain activity involving millions to billions of neurons. A few years ago, Wu's imaging group uncovered spiraling waves resembling little hurricanes in animal epilepsy models. Wu thinks that through this hurricane-like spiral pattern, a small area of damaged neural tissue can generate a powerful storm that invades large normal brain areas and starts a seizure attack. This hypothesis would mean that disorders such as epilepsy could be viewed not just as mis-wiring in the brain, but as an abnormal wave pattern that invades normal tissue.
Finding waves during visual processing is an important step toward understanding how the brain processes sensory information, explained Wu. This understanding has the potential to help scientists understand the abnormal waves that are generated in the brains of patients with Parkinson's disease and epilepsy, and how the mind fails when the brain of an Alzheimer’s disease patient cannot properly organize population neuronal activity, he said.
Wu believes that additional research is needed in order to understand both normal and abnormal waves in the human brain. “Understanding how the brain handles these waves will provide further insight into the functioning of one of the most complex systems in the universe,” he said.
These findings are published in the July 5 issue of the journal Neuron. The study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Epilepsy Foundation, and Whitehall Foundation. Co-authors include Georgetown post-doctoral fellow Weifeng Xu and two Georgetown graduate students, Xiaoying Huang, and Kentaroh Takagaki.
Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by Georgetown University Medical Center.
Religion and the brain
An Outdated View: The Theory of Evolution (creationist crap)
An Outdated View: The Theory of Evolution
The idea that life is the product of an uncontrolled, purposeless process of coincidence is a 19th century myth. Looking at the matter from the primitive level of the science of the period, evolutionists assumed that life was very "simple".
There are more than a million species living on the earth. How did these creatures with entirely distinct features and perfect designs come into being? Anyone who uses his reason would understand that life is the work of a perfect and supreme creation.
However, the theory of evolution denies this explicit truth. It holds that all species on earth evolved from one another through a process based on random occurrences.
The first person to seriously take up the issue of evolution – an idea which originated in Ancient Greece – was the French biologist Jean Baptiste Lamarck. Lamarck's theory, which he postulated in the early 19th century, maintained that "living things transferred the traits they acquired during their lifetime to subsequent generations." In Lamarck's view, for instance, giraffes had evolved from antelope-like animals who extended their necks further and further as they tried to reach higher branches for food. The advent of the science of genetics, however, refuted Lamarck's theory once and for all.
The second important name to defend the theory after Lamarck was a British amateur naturalist, Charles Darwin. In his book The Origin of Species, published in 1856, he claimed that all species descended from a common ancestor through coincidences. According to Darwin, for instance, whales evolved from bears that tried to hunt in the sea.1
Darwin had serious doubts as he put forward his assertions. He was not so confident of his theory. He confessed to there being many points which he was unable to explain in the chapter titled "Difficulties On Theory". Darwin had hoped that these problems would be solved in the future with the progress of science, and made some projections. 20th century science, however, disproved Darwin's claims one by one. The common point of Lamarck's and Darwin's theories was that both rested on a primitive understanding of science. The absence of various domains of science such as biochemistry and microbiology at the time led evolutionists to think that living things had a simple structure that could form by chance. Since the laws of genetics were not known, it was supposed that creatures could simply evolve into new species.
The progress of science overthrew all of these myths and revealed that living things are the work of a superior creation.
Derren Brown - Messiah
Derren Brown - Messiah (1/5)
Derren Brown - Messiah (2/5)
Derren Brown - Messiah (3/5)
Derren Brown - Messiah (4/5)
Derren Brown - Messiah (5/5)
Hate-crime arrests in Quran desecrations
NEW YORK (AP) _ A 23-year-old man was arrested Friday on hate-crime charges after he threw a Quran in a toilet at Pace University on two separate occasions, police said.
Stanislav Shmulevich of Brooklyn was arrested on charges of criminal mischief and aggravated harassment, both hate crimes, police said. It was unclear if he was a student at the school. A message left at the Shmulevich home was not immediately returned.
The Islamic holy book was found in a toilet at Pace's lower Manhattan campus by a teacher on Oct. 13. A student discovered another book in a toilet on Nov. 21, police said.
Muslim activists had called on Pace University to crack down on hate crimes after the incidents. As a result, the university said it would offer sensitivity training to its students.
The school was accused by Muslim students of not taking the incident seriously enough at first. Pace classified the first desecration of the holy book as an act of vandalism, but university officials later reversed themselves and referred the incident to the New York Police Department's hate crimes unit.
Ibrahim Hooper vs. Christopher Hitchens pt 1
Ibrahim Hooper vs. Christopher Hitchens pt 2
Impeach The Bastard!
Video: Tillman evidence was destroyed
Kucinich grills Rumsfeld on 'cover up' at Tillman hearing
Atheist Blood Drive
In an attempt to show the world that atheists are every bit as charitable as the religious of society, and that we need no "divine warrent" to be so, the RRS has set up a daughter organization called Atheist Volunteers. We hope you will all chip in. The most prominent of it's projects is the Atheist Blood drive.
Henry Rollins tees off on Intelligent Design
Only Comedians can get away with telling the Truth
Saint my ass!
Hi there! I'm God!
I appologize in advance for the androgeny, but it's still pretty funny!
The darkness of godlessness lets wisdom shine.