It’s Alive!

by: Sam Shead

Experiments with echoes of Frankenstein suggest electricity could one day be used to regenerate tissue and regrow lost limbs.

Scientists believe electric currents and fields hold the key to major advances in tissue engineering.

In the distant future they may even help people with severed limbs, such as victims of industrial accidents or soldiers, to grow new arms and legs.

 
Electric currents and fields could one day be used to grow tissue for soldiers with severed limbs
Electric currents and fields could one day be used to grow tissue for soldiers with severed limbs

Electrical stimulus has already shown some success in stimulating sensory nerve regrowth in people with damaged spinal cords.

There is also evidence that bio-electric fields play a role in regenerating lost fingertips, especially in children.

But the importance of electricity in wound healing and tissue repair has been largely overlooked because of its association with Victorian quackery and Frankenstein, according to Dr Ann Rajnicek.

‘Electricity is key; its something that has been under-appreciated,’ she said. ‘But people still think of Frankenstein and the Victorian age. Even when you try to sell the idea to a research funding agency, they say ‘oh no, I’m not sure about that’.’

In Mary Shelley’s novel, electricity provides the spark that brings Frankenstein’s monster to life. 

The idea of using electricity for tissue engineering has been dismissed due to the connotations it holds with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein novel.

 
The creature created by Frankenstein later went on to be called Frankenstein itself
The creature created by Frankenstein later went on to be called Frankenstein itself
 

During the Victorian era, when the novel was written, electricity and its biological effects gripped the public imagination.

Electrical devices were built that were supposed to treat all manner of ills, from depression to kidney disease and impotence.

Macabre stage experiments were also common in which the dead were apparently brought to life using electricity to make limbs jerk or teeth chatter, said Dr Rajnicek.

In a show conducted in Glasgow in 1818, the corpse of a man hung for murder suddenly sat up, causing members of the audience to flee in terror. One man fainted.

Dr Rajnicek’s research at the University of Aberdeen has demonstrated the effect of electricity on flatworms rather than human corpses.

‘We’re using flatworms that multiply asexually by spontaneous fission,’ she said. ‘The worm snaps itself in two like an elastic band so you have one end missing a head and other missing a tail.

Geckos have the ability to regrow their tails with a surplus of stem cells that migrate towards parts of the body that need healing

‘Each half reforms, and this is something that has perplexed scientists for hundreds of years. How does a tail know it needs a head or a head know it needs a tail?

‘We believe the natural electrical field that’s associated with the wounding process acts like a compass to tell cells where to migrate. You get a field that points towards the wound and directs cells there.

‘We’ve also found that there’s a gradient – the electrical field is positive but at the very tip of the head of the worm its much less positive, so the animal has natural electrical polarity. We think the stem cells are being directed to build either a head or tail because one end is more positive and the other end is more negative.’

When a flatworm is cut, electricity leaks out of the wound – and the same thing occurs in all other animals, including humans, said Dr Rajnicek. ‘The skin [is] like a battery,’ she said.

 
Earmouse: Scientists managed to graft a lab grown human-like ear onto the back of a mouse
Earmouse: MIT Scientists managed to graft a lab grown human-like ear onto the back of a mouse in 1995

In animals that regenerate limbs, such as flatworms and amphibians, the leakage produces an electrical potential that causes cells at the ‘stump’ to regress to an embryonic state. They can then mature into different kinds of new regenerated cells.

By reversing the polarity of the electric field at the wound site, Dr Rajnicek was able to produce worms with heads where their tails should be, and vice-versa. Manipulating the field led to worms with two heads or two tails.

The scientists know there is much more to the story because flatworms are not completely simple creatures. They have complex nervous systems with two parallel nerve cords and a brain, eyes, a gut, and around 40 different cell types.

‘We are still at the early stages, but we want to look at the genes that are switched on or off by the presence or absence of this field,’ said Dr Rajnicek, who gave a presentation on her work at the British Science Festival at the University of Aberdeen.

There is evidence that the leakage of electricity from wounds aids healing in humans, she added.

In the 1980s, researchers studied cases of children who regrew the tips of their fingers after having them sliced off in car doors.

They found that younger children healed better, and also leaked the most current from their wounds. When the wounds were sutured and sealed up, it prevented regeneration.

Another case in 2008 involved American Lee Spievak who chopped half an inch off the end of a finger in the propeller of a model aeroplane. The finger tip was lost, but Mr Spievak treated himself with a powder obtained from a tissue engineering lab at the University of Pennsylvania where his brother worked. The media described the regrowth of his finger tip as a ‘medical miracle’.

Mr Spievak put his recovery down to the powder, prepared from pigs bladder cells, which he called “pixie dust”. Dr Rajnicek believes growth factors in the powder may have worked in conjunction with the electrical effect of the open wound.

Covering up open wounds might help prevent infection, but could also hinder recovery, she suggested.

She added that early work had already shown that manipulating electricity can help repair damaged spinal cords.

A team from the University of North Texas improved sensory nerve function in 10 patients using electrical stimulus, although no effect was seen on motor function.

‘We’re not saying electricity is the only thing that matters, but it is one piece of the puzzle that has been neglected,’ said Dr Rajnicek.

The Volt needs a Jolt

Reuters: GM Is Losing Nearly $50K on Each Electric Volt

by:  at the Blaze

General Motors posts a $49,000 loss for each new Volt plug-in hybrid it produces, Reuters reports.

You know what this means, right? It means that for each new Chevy Volt, the taxpayer bailed out company loses what the average American makes in a year.

And on top of that, rock bottom lease offers made during the summer may have inflated the above number. According to the report, some motorists paid only $5K to drive around in a new $80K Volt for two years. Oh, yeah, and Volt production has been put on hold at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck plant.

What we’re trying to say is that it will be a very, very long time (if ever) before GM makes a profit on the Volt.

The problem with the car is that “the Volt is over-engineered and over-priced,” according to Dennis Virag, president of the Michigan-based Automotive Consulting Group.

But hey! If it’s any consolation to GM, Nissan, Honda and Mitsubishi are all having a hard time marketing their electric and hybrid models as well. But even that minor bit of consolation disappears when you consider the fact that Toyota has had great success with its Prius model (meaning it’s possible to have a successful electric-hybrid).

“GM’s quandary is how to increase sales volume so that it can spread its estimated $1.2-billion investment in the Volt over more vehicles while reducing manufacturing and component costs — which will be difficult to bring down until sales increase,” the Reuters report reads.

“But the Volt’s steep $39,995 base price and its complex technology — the car uses expensive lithium-polymer batteries, sophisticated electronics and an electric motor combined with a gasoline engine — have kept many prospective buyers away from Chevy showrooms,” the report adds.

But more than just steep prices, many Americans simply prefer a car that gets better mileage and has the infrastructure in place to help charge and maintain it.

“It’s true, we’re not making money yet” on the Volt, Doug Parks, GM’s vice president of global product programs and the former Volt development chief, told Reuters in an interview. The Volt “eventually will make money. As the volume comes up and we get into the Gen 2 car, we’re going to turn (the losses) around,” he added.

But some analysts disagree with Parks.

“I don’t see how General Motors will ever get its money back on that vehicle,” said Sandy Munro, president of Michigan-based Munro & Associates, which specializes in vehicular analysis.

It currently costs GM “at least” $74K to produce the Volt, including development costs, Munro added.

“That’s nearly twice the base price of the Volt before a $7,500 federal tax credit provided as part of President Barack Obama’s green energy policy,” Reuters notes.

Again, as stated earlier in this article, with these type of costs tied into the vehicle’s production, it may be a very, very long time (if ever) before GM sees a profit on the Volt.

A Beltway Moderate Speaks

By: Robert Bowen

With comments by the Common Constutionalist [ ]

Wall Street Journal columnist and former Reagan staffer Peggy Noonan said in a Wall Street Journal video released Thursday that Mitt Romney “looked Weak today.” She added, “At one point, he had a certain slight grimace on his face when he was taking tough questions from the reporters. And I thought, ‘He looks like Richard Nixon.’ ”

Noonan was referring to Romney’s news conference Wednesday morning were he doubled down on his attacks on President Obama after the killing of a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Libya.

On Fox News Wednesday Noonan said “I don’t feel that Mr. Romney has been doing himself any favors, say in the past few hours, perhaps since last night,” She added, “Sometimes when really bad things happen, when hot things happen, cool words or no words is the way to go.” [ And sometime things just have to be said, whether moderates recoil from it or not ]

She tried to give Romney some advice saying “I think… that in times of great drama and heightened crisis, and in times when something violent has happened to your people, I always think discretion is the better way to go,” Noonan said. “When you step forward in the midst of a political environment and start giving statements on something dramatic and violent that has happened, you’re always leaving yourself open to accusations that you are trying to exploit things politically.” [ Hey Peggy; news flash. Romney will not get a fair hearing from the press, no matter what he says or does not say, as plainly demonstrated by last weeks audio of reporters colluding against him. ]

Noonan knows what she is saying. She worked for Ronald Reagan. In 1980 when the effort to free the hostages in Iran failed because U.S. helicopters crashed in the desert, Reagan did not come out blasting President Carter. Instead, he said that “this is a time for all Americans to come together and mourn the dead Americans and pray for the hostages.” [ There is a difference. Carter was just wholly inept. Obama doesn’t care, nor, it appears, does Hilary Clinton.]

It was not until six full days later that Ronald Reagan made a political statement about how he disagreed with President Carter’s policies. Reagan is Romney’s hero but perhaps not a role model.

Romney came out Tuesday night with a political statement blasting Obama before he knew any of the facts. The next morning after he knew the identity of just one of the victims, he doubled down on his attacks. [ Yes, and it was much worse after just some of the facts were revealed. Frankly he should’ve heve triple-downed, if there is such a thing. ]

When asked about Romney’s statements, President Obama told CBS’s Steve Kroft “Governor Romney has a tendency to shoot before he aims, and as President I learned you can not do that.” [ Really Mr. President? Not like the time when you’re buddy, the professor from Cambridge was arrested, and before anything was known of the incident, you claimed the police acted stupidly. That was a calculated and thoughtful response.]  

Most Republican leaders and politicians have taken a muted posture on the Embassy killings focusing instead on sending condolences and prayers to the families of the slain. However, Romney’s and his running mate Paul Ryan have continued to double down on criticism of the President. [ Well goody for them. We all know, most of the republican leaders are afraid of their own shadows.]

Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, and Ann Coulter have come to Romney’s defense, however. The problem with that is that the people that listen to Coulter, Palin, and Limbaugh would vote for Romney over Obama even if Mitt were arrested nude on the Capitol steps for a sex crime, high on drugs, shooting at the police.

The people that listen to Peggy Noonan and other sane and thoughtful voices are independents and persuadable voters that Romney needs. He already has the anti-Obama far right wing and the anti-Islam faction. [ Ah yes. Here we go with the beloved independents. That’s where the election is won. NOT! If old Peggy was such an expert on Reagan she would know that’s not what Ronaldus Magnus did. He boldly proclaimed his

The Number of Great Moderates in History

conservative ideals and ideas and the people followed him, because they knew he meant it. He did not try to couch his speech or move to the beloved center. Ms. Noonan, you may have been a conservative once upon a time, but you’ve been inside the beltway for too long. You, my dear, are a moderate, which is simply a liberal without the courage to admit it.] 

Romney does not look like he is ready for prime time. He looks amateurish and insensitive. He has an empathy problem and this just reinforced that. Obama is President and he is looking Presidential. Romney and Ryan look desperate, political, opportunistic, and unsteady. Romney has failed a test on national TV, in prime time, but he keeps on digging in deeper. [ Wow. Romney is one the most caring and sensistive people in public view that I know of. Here is just one example. From what I understand there are dozens more like it that the general public knows nothing of. ]

Romney’s statement was not a spur of the moment event. He and his campaign had over 12 hours to think it over before he issued the first statement. The reason is conservatives like Limbaugh, Coulter, Palin, and Laura Ingram have been screaming at Romney to “get ideological on Obama.” They want him to attack, attack, and attack–with gloves off. So, that is what he is doing. [ And good for him. Someone needs to call the president out for who he really is.]

Time will tell, but it looks like Romney is getting bad advice. A strong leader would get that advice, but have the wisdom to ignore it given the nature and gravity of the situation. It does not appear right now that Romney is winning hearts and minds with his approach.

[ Peggy, my advice to you is to check in at the nearest moderates nursing home and leave the real conservative thought to those of us that see this country is in real trouble and Romney is our best hope for possibly taking it back from radicals that have taken over.  Maybe the home will give you a group discount if you bring some others with you, like John McCain, John Boehner, Bill Kristol, Mitch McConnell, et al.]

Work vs. Redistribution

So Romney is in big trouble for telling the truth regarding the percentage of Americans on some sort of governmemnt assistance. How scandalous.

Yet, in present-day America the following audio is not scandalous.

Take it away Barack:

Oh, well that was a long time ago, 1998. People change you know.

Well then, if Obama has changed, prove it. Show me one time, where and when he has recanted the above audio. You can’t because he is still the same guy he was in ’98 or ’88 for that matter.

Secrets of the Sea

These fascinating underwater pictures reveal the full dazzling spectrum of life deep under the ocean.

The awe-inspiring photographs taken by Bob Cranston include a close encounter with a rare giant jellyfish that is twice the size of a fully grown man and a shimmering image of a five-foot-long jumbo Humboldt squid.

His collection also includes amazing pictures of an inquisitive northern elephant seal bull – which grows up to 14 feet in length – and the extremely rare southern right whale.

Dangers of the deep: The giant pelagic jellyfish grows to twice the size of a fully grown man with a nasty sting in its tentaclesDangers of the deep: The giant pelagic jellyfish grows to twice the size of a fully grown man with a nasty sting in its tentacles
 
 
Wondrous sight: Juvenile fish shelter among tentacles of a giant pelagic jellyfish, Channel Islands, California, East Pacific OceanWondrous sight: Juvenile fish shelter among tentacles of a giant pelagic jellyfish, Channel Islands, California, East Pacific Ocean
 
 
Glowing creature: A diver and a jumbo or Humboldt squid at night in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico, Pacific OceanGlowing creature: A diver and a jumbo or Humboldt squid at night in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico, Pacific Ocean
 
 

Mr Cranston began diving at the age of 13 and has lived on his own commercial fishing boat on the California coast for two years.

He has dedicated his life to underwater photography, while also working as a consultant to the US Military Special Forces, training military divers and developing specialized diving equipment.

The 56-year-old now focuses on underwater cinematography for television and Imax film companies.

He has an impressive seven Emmy awards for his stunning work.

 
Blue moon: A northern elephant seal bull, in kelp forest, California, East Pacific OceanBlue moon: A northern elephant seal bull, in kelp forest, California, East Pacific Ocean
 
Strange images: A rare southern right whale with divers, Patagonia, Argentina, South AtlanticStrange images: A rare southern right whale with divers, Patagonia, Argentina, South Atlantic

Speaking from his home in California, Mr Cranston recalled his incredible encounter with the terrifying-looking pelagic jellyfish, or Chrysaora achlyos.

He had been diving in the Pacific Ocean off the Los Coronados Islands, near Mexico, when he stumbled across a group of the monster stingers by accident.

He admitted he and diving friend Howard Hall, 58, who can be seen in the picture, got a little too close for comfort – and suffered a sting as a result.

He said: ‘These are wonderful, big, colorful jellyfish.

Years of exploration: A black or giant pelagic jellyfish, Chrysaora achlyos, drifts over reef and is attacked by Garibaldi in the Channel Islands, CaliforniaYears of exploration: A black or giant pelagic jellyfish, Chrysaora achlyos, drifts over reef and is attacked byGaribaldi in the Channel Islands, California

‘We dived with them for around two hours until we had no more air in our tanks.

‘They are very rare, appearing near California only every ten years, and scientists were surprised and happy to see our photographs.’

He added: ‘We were all very happy to get these rare photographs but sorry to discover they have a painful sting in their tentacles.

‘There were many jellyfish and three divers in the water that day – we got stung.’

Attribution: Emma Reynolds

We Must be More Sensitive

Obama’s Pentagon Blames U.S. Troops For Afghan ‘Friendly Fire’ Murders: Orders ‘Muslim Sensitivity’ Training

from: Rat’s Right

Why do more and more reports about the Regime continue to sound like something right off SNL’s Weekend Update? I guess some things just can’t be made up. Still – this one would be hysterical – if it weren’t so tragic.

In response to the continuing slaughter of American troops by their Afghan “partners” – 33 this year alone – the Pentagon has responded, by blaming our troops. 

Yes, America, top officials in Obama’s Pentagon believe culturally offensive behavior is the motivation behind the killings. So, it’s done what any weak-kneed, apologetic liberal Regime would do – stepped up Islamic sensitivity training for our troops. From the New York Post:

“If you don’t want to be shot in the back by your Afghan training partners,” the Pentagon advises, “don’t offend their religious sensibilities.”

As one might imagine, General. Sher Mohammad Karimi, the Afghan National Army’s chief of staff, echoes the Pentagon’s assessment – arguing earlier this month that both sides need to do more to “teach” foreign troops Islamic traditions and values to reduce the chance of violent reactions to “cultural slights.” Excuse us Mohammad, but we’re not used to being shot, blown up or beheaded over “cultural slights.” Perhaps you could teach Afghans about the cultural habits of the civilized world.

To avoid offending our high-strung fanatical “partners,” U.S. commanders are now putting troops through intense Muslim sensitivity training. Among other things, troops have been ordered to:

  • Wear surgical gloves whenever handling a copy of the Koran. (You can’t make this stuff up.)
  • Never walk in front of a praying Muslim. (You might get shot or beheaded – on the spot.)
  • Never show the bottom of boots while sitting or lying across from a Muslim, which in Islam is considered an insult. (Of course, it’s perfectly acceptable for maniacal Muslims to jump up and down on burning American flags.)
  • Never share photos of wives or daughters. (Even if they’re wearing burqas?)
  • Never smoke or eat in front of Muslims during the month of Ramadan fasting. (As opposed to “Never set a church on fire in Africa while parishioners are inside praying.”)
  • Avoid winking, cursing or nose-blowing in the presence of Muslims – all viewed as insults in Islam. (It is acceptable, however, to scream “America go to hell!” at the top of your lungs – particularly in large crazed groups.)
  • Avoid exiting the shower without a towel. (You know, because these sexually-angry lunatics can’t help but stare at your junk.)
  • Avoid offering and accepting things with the left hand, which in Islam is reserved for bodily hygiene and considered unclean. (Obviously, the majority of U.S. troops murdered by these clowns were left-handed.)

Military officials who have done tours in Afghanistan are outraged that the Pentagon would even suggest US troops are partly to blame for their own murders – saying their Muslim “partners” would still resent them even if they followed Islamic protocol to the letter.

“The cultural affronts excuse is a bunch of garbage,” a senior US Army intelligence official said. “The Afghans that know we’re doing all this PC cultural sensitivity crap are laughing their asses off at our stupidity.”

He continued: “They’re killing us because we’re ‘infidels occupying Islamic lands.’ It’s what the Koran and every imam over there is telling them, and no amount of cultural sensitivity is going to stop that or change the fact that we’re ‘infidels.’”

As is the case with the Regime’s laughable spin on the attack on the consulate in Libya which resulted in the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and three other brave Americans, to suggest that our troops in Afghanistan are somehow partially responsible for their own deaths at the hands of their Afghan “partners” is to disrespect not only their memory, but their service to our country as well.

Concealed Banking

Firearms are welcome at the Chappell Hill Bank in Texas.

The Chappell Hill Bank located just north of Houston may be the oldest continuously operated bank in America. It didn’t close on President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s bank holiday in 1933.

It’s been robbed five times in its 100-plus year history, most recently in March 20101. Bank President Ed Smith didn’t want it to happen again. To send this message to would-be robbers, he took down the “No Firearms” sign posted on the bank’s front and posted the new policy2 on the front door:

Lawful concealed carry permitted on these premises. Management recognizes the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as an unaliienable  right of all citizens. We support and encourage the carrying of licensed concealed weapons.

The policy applies to his tellers as well as customers. Seven women tellers are licensed to carry.

“No damn Yankee is going to tell us what to do,” Smith said. He means what he says. He had to stand up to regulators over the new policy. It’s not the first time he’s had to do so. An examiner once tried to get him to remove paintings of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson from the bank’s walls.

“You don’t know that (customer) Mrs. Middlebrooks doesn’t have a .38 in her purse right there,” Smith said. “And, if you try something nefarious in the bank, you might wind up in a horizontal position. Come in here, and you might leave feet first.”

The policy seems to work. The bank hasn’t been robbed since. A number of new customers have come on board in response to the policy.

Attribution: Bob Livingston

It’s Over, Obama Wins

 CBS: Obama Leads in Our D+13 Poll

by Mike Flynn

Anyone following the presidential campaign through the prism of media polls is doing themselves a serious disservice. Virtually every one of them uses a polling sample that is so heavily-skewed towards Democrats that it distorts the actual state of the campaign. Of course, that is a feature, not a bug of the polls. The polls are specifically designed to drive a narrative that Obama is surging and Romney is struggling. Increasingly, though, the polls are having to go to ridiculous efforts to support this meme. Friday’s CBS/New York Times poll, for example, uses a D+13 (13% more democrats polled) sample of registered voters. That’s registered, but not likely voters. This is absurd. 

In 2008, an historic election wave for Democrats, the electorate was D+7. In 2004, when George W. Bush won reelection, the electorate was evenly split. In other words, D+0. Repeat after me; the Democrat share of the electorate is not going to double this year. Given the well-noted enthusiasm edge for Republicans this year, the electorate is going to be far closer to the 2004 model than 2008. Any poll trying to replicate the 2008 is going to artificially inflate Obama’s support. 

CBS does apply a Likely Voter screen to the head-to-head match up. The LV sample is D+6, similar to the make up of the 08 election. In that, Obama leads Romney by just 3 points, 49-46. In the RV sample, which more than doubles the proportion of Democrats to D+13, Obama leads by 8 points, 51-43. See the simple relationship there? 

Let’s try a simple thought experiment. Imagine if, for a week, all media polls decided to use a sample that replicated the 2004 electorate–a D+0 model. Given the GOP’s enthusiasm edge–even the CBS poll found Republicans voters with a double-digit lead on enthusiasm for the election–the electorate is going to look a lot more like 2004 than 2008. Imagine how the narrative of the campaign would change. The CBS poll found Romney beating Obama among Independents by 11 points. With a balanced partisan sample, Romney would likely post consistent leads against Obama. 

A week of this and Politico would run out of fuel for its daily “Romney is struggling” theme. Which is why the media will never adjust its samples. This election, it isn’t so much about polling as propaganda. The polls are simply a tool being used by the media to try to depress GOP turnout and give a powerful lift to Obama’s obviously lackluster campaign. 

The polls confirm that the media aren’t really biased. Rather, they are active players for the other team.