Monday, January 28, 2008

May We Please Just Enjoy The Moment Together?

No, seriously. I couldn't even get past the headline.
Don't you want to just cry from the joy of it?
The end is nigh.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pardon My Accidental Blood Type

This was a featured story in Yahoo! News this morning, and I was so intrigued I just wanted to share it.

A nine-year-old girl dying of liver failure received a liver transplant, and, after some minor complications, including a post-transplant infection, seemed to recover fully. It turns out that she recovered more fully than any of her doctors had anticipated. Seems some of her donor's stem cells found their way into her bone marrow and began replicating. Now the girl has switched blood groups and adopted her donor's immune system. This has reduced the odds of her body rejecting the new liver considerably. The now-healthy 15-year-old is seen by her doctors only occasionally on an outpatient basis. This, for a girl who spent the better part of her childhood in hospitals.

The reason this is so fascinating to me is that it is the best possible transplant outcome that anybody, doctor or patient, could hope for. Back in the days when organ transplantation was a pie-in-the-sky, theoretical pipe dream, this is what doctors imagined, before they ever considered the hazards of angry immune systems that would treat the new organ as an invading enemy. Transplant pioneers dreamt of a host body that not only fully accepts the new organ, but adapts to it and allows itself to become one with it to the point where the organ and body become something entirely new and apart from both the original donor or the recipient.

This could be the precipice of something really amazing and spectacular in science of organ transplantation. If researchers can find a way to replicate this girl's post-transplant scenario in a more controlled manner (like, minus the post-surgical infection, for instance), it could open a whole new door to people -- especially kid-type people -- who must endure the ordeal of organ transplantation to live. Instead of being forever trapped on powerful immunosuppressant drugs (some of which have some nasty side effects*), cultivating this post-surgical scenario could lead to patients having near-normal lives, free of the ill effects of their original disease and the complications following transplant surgery. People, this could be HUGE!

And it happened completely by accident.

Because, for all of our self-congratulatory brilliance and creativity, for all of our cleverness and ingenuity, every now and then, nature comes along and likes to teach us a thing or two about all the things we have left to learn, and everything we don't know yet, and that maybe we're not as smart as we think we are. Because this is the Planet Earth, and right now, it's just a weird and wonderful time to be alive.


* lists the following as potential side effects of immunosuppressant drugs:

"Increased risk of infection is a common side effect of all immunosuppressant drugs. The immune system protects the body from infections; when the immune system is suppressed, infections are more likely. Taking such antibiotics as co-trimoxazole prevents some of these infections. Immunosuppressant drugs are also associated with a slightly increased risk of cancer because the immune system plays a role in protecting the body against some forms of cancer. For example, the long-term use of immunosuppressant drugs carries an increased risk of developing skin cancer as a result of the combination of the drugs and exposure to sunlight.

Other side effects of immunosuppressant drugs are minor and usually go away as the body adjusts to the medicine. These include loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, increased hair growth, and trembling or shaking of the hands. Medical attention is not necessary unless these side effects continue or cause problems."

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Stop It, George... You're Killin' Me!!!

In order to end Isreals occupation of Palestinian land, George Bush... that's George W. Bush... our current President... has offered what teh White House is referring to as a "peacemaking checklist." Oh, don't fall on the floor laughing just yet, my lovelies.... wait til you get a load of what he had to say at the press conference today.

He said that now was the time for the Israelis and Palestinians to "make difficult choices," and that lasting peace in the Middle East would require "painful concessions" on both sides. Bush even gives his opinion of the scenario that will need to take place before talks can even begin (sit down now, please, we can't have you all falling down and hitting your heads on something sharp, can we?):
"There should be an end to the occupation that began in 1967. The agreement must establish Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people, just as Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people. These negotiations must ensure that Israel has secure, recognized, and defensible borders. And they must ensure that the state of Palestine is viable, contiguous, sovereign, and independent."

I'm not making this up. Read the article.

The part that kills me is, why are the Israelis and Palestinians even letting him in their country to talk about it. Why don't they just say, "Go away, MoFo, til you can figure out how to run your own country"? I can't figure it, unless they're all still scopin' for the big weapons deal, which they're not getting because, haven't they heard we're in a war at the moment?

We really just need to take the country away from this dull, thoughtless, spoiled little boy. God, will January 21, 2009 EVER get here?


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

A Sense of Irony... Who Knew?

It appears I've underestimated President Bush's capacity for higher level thought processes, particularly with regard to irony.

Today, he concocted a perfect example of the form by declaring that Iran was a threat to world peace.

World peace? Which world would that be then? That the peace is in? Cuz, uh, that's the world I'd like to be in, thanks much.

Bush... what a jokester, huh? That guy just slays me....


They'll Get Right On That, I'm Sure

Oh, sure, it's all fun and games, until somebody gets a magistrate to issue an order....

This time the White House has gone too far, I tell you. They've kicked sand in the face of the wrong 90 pound weakling. Now, by golly, somebody's gonna have to pony up and pay the piper, because this time, the White House has pissed off...

The National Security Archive.

Yep, that's right. After defying orders to turn over documents pertaining to the political firings of federal judges to the United States Congress, after flying in the face of direct orders of a federal court to preserve and hand over thousands of hours of CIA interrogation tapes (and, instead, destroying those tapes), the White House has finally gone and done tangled with the big, bad... librarians.

After all, if anybody should know how dangerous a wounded, cornered librarian is, it should be George W. Bush. Yessirree, Bob, I tell ya. Those librarians don't take kindly to people deleting their archivable materials, especially prior to the microfiche/Dewey decimal assignment process. They're quiet, sure (and they want YOU to be quiet as well), but once riled, those horn-rimmed be-spectacled, red-lipsticked guardians of the public record are forces to be reckoned with.

And these folks are SECURITY librarians, so you know how militant they probably are. If you're two weeks late returning your checked out archives, I'm pretty sure there's a waterboarding in your future.

So, my advice to the White House would be as follows:

Dudes... do not fuck with security librarians. Turn over the e-mails, keep your hands in sight at all times, make no sudden movements, and back away slowly. I say that for your own good.

Hell hath no fury....