Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

“Graduating from an Ivy League university doesn’t necessarily mean you’re smart.”

Lakehead University in northern Ontario set up in a bid to attract potential new students.

It shows a picture of Yale graduate Mr Bush with the caption: “Graduating from an Ivy League university doesn’t necessarily mean you’re smart.”

“It was literally a tongue-in-cheek way of getting attention,” university president and vice-chancellor Frederick Gilbert told Reuters news agency.

The website had received more than 7,000 hits, he said on Monday, and online comments had been 95% positive.

But he acknowledged the university had received e-mails which were “running in the opposite direction”, which was a concern.

“Older generations” and some of Lakehead’s students considered the campaign inappropriate, he said.

Is it too late for me transfer???

Soccer Stars Saving Offspring Stem Cells to Treat Their Future Injuries

Top British footballers are storing stem cells from their newborn babies as a potential future treatment for their own injuries on the pitch.

Five professional footballers are known to have frozen cells taken from the umbilical cord blood of their babies, which could be used to treat cartilage and ligament problems, The Sunday Times reported.

“We decided to store our new baby’s stem cells for possible therapeutic reasons, both for our children and possibly for myself,” the paper quoted a Premier League player as saying.

“As a footballer, if you’re prone to injury, it can mean the end of your career, so having your stem cells – a repair kit, if you like – on hand makes sense.”

Um, you can only save the umbilical cord stem cells (hematopoetic) with the method described. Has this really been shown to repair cartiledge injuries? Leave a few for the “footballers” of tomorrow, yo.

And more on stem cells…….

Clinical Trials Beginning in Liver Regeneration Study

The three-year-old, Bangalore-based Cryo Stemcell Karnataka Private Limited has inked a pact with the Center for Liver Research Diagnosis, Hyderabad to conduct clinical trials using Autologous bone marrow stem cells for liver regeneration in chronic failure conditions. For the trial, expected to commence by the end of the month, 10 patients, suffering from liver failure due to cirrhosis, have been identified for the procedure.

“This is for the first time that clinical trials on liver regeneration process using bone marrow stem cells is being conducted in India. The initiative is a part of our stem cell banking efforts which will allow us to provide regenerative and cell-based treatment,” Dr S G A Rao, founder and director, Cryo Stemcell (Kar) Pvt. Ltd. and Raghavendra Biotechnologies told Pharmabiz.

Cryo has a franchisee network creating awareness on cord blood storage among maternal mothers. With a baby born every 3 seconds and with 25million births a day the market for umbilical chord blood banking is huge.

Prophetic Fish Screams Apocalyptic Warnings

A Jewish fish-cutter in New York was busy slaughtering a batch of carp when one of them started shouting apocalyptic warnings to him in Hebrew. ‘The fish shouted that everyone needed to account for themselves because the end is near,’ says Zalmen Rosen, the fish-cutter.
The fish told Zalmen to pray and study the Torah, before identifying itself as the soul of a local man who had died the previous year. After a moment of stunned silence all hell broke loose. Mr Rosen’s co-worker Louis Nivelo was convinced the talking fish was the work of Satan, and ran around screaming: ‘It’s the devil! The devil is here!’ before collapsing into a pile of packing crates.
Zalmen panicked and tried to kill the fish with a machete-sized knife. But the carp bucked so wildly that he succeeded only in slicing a huge gash in his own thumb, and had to be rushed to hospital. The fish flopped off the counter ­ still muttering in Hebrew – and was butchered by Louis Nivelo.

Mmmm, I’ll have my prophecies with a side of tartar sauce please.

“Deaf” Toddler Regains Hearing

A baby girl from Nottinghamshire who was born profoundly deaf has astonished doctors by gaining her hearing.
The parents of 14-month-old Emily Yeomans, from Newark, were told to learn sign language after their daughter failed to respond to noises.

But staff at Newark Hospital were astonished when the toddler started to recognise sounds.

Now, doctors have carried out further tests to discover her hearing has returned to normal.

Experts believe the recovery may be due to Emily’s hearing system not being fully developed at birth but growing during the first year of her life.

The story failed to mention that the toddler’s mother often listened to Kenny G whilst pregnant, and hence induced spontanous deafness in her progeny which took years to recover from the trauma.

New Pope Prepares to Embrance Intelligent Design

There have been growing signs the Pope is considering aligning his church more closely with the theory of “intelligent design” taught in some US states. Advocates of the theory argue that some features of the universe and nature are so complex that they must have been designed by a higher intelligence. Critics say it is a disguise for creationism.

Last December, a US court sparked controversy when it ruled that intelligent design should not be taught alongside evolution theory. Cardinal Schönborn said: “The debate of recent months has undoubtedly motivated the Holy Father’s choice.” But he added that in the 1960s the then Joseph Ratzinger had “underlined emphatically the need to return to the topic of creation”.

The Pope also raised the issue in the inaugural sermon of his pontificate, saying: “We are not the accidental product, without meaning, of evolution.”

A few months later, Cardinal Schönborn, who is regarded as being close to Benedict, wrote an article for the New York Times backing moves to teach ID. He was attacked by Father George Coyne, director of the Vatican Observatory. On August 19, Fr Coyne was replaced without explanation.

UPDATE: As noted (see comments), and reported at Stranger Fruit Coyne was not replaced due to beliefs regarding ID, but rather as a normal retirement.

(Hat tips to somnilista, FCD, Bob Abu, and Jayson “Magical Panties” B)


  1. #1 tonyl
    August 30, 2006

    Weclome to the club of sciencebloggers running the wild and incorrect rumor that Coyne was fired because he was against intelligent design! (this club iclude Pharyngula, The Island of Doubt, and Dynamics of Cats) You might also notice that the meeting talked about in the linked article is just an annual gathering of former students and a few others. The only source in the article that claims the pope is considering doing a 180 on the evolution issue is a creationist (now that’s a reliable source). For more up to date info on the retirement of Coyne, check out stranger fruit:
    I think its a bit silly to start claiming that the Catholics are about to embrace creationism when the only evidence is the wishfull claims of a handful of creationists.

  2. #2 darius
    August 30, 2006

    I think its a bit silly to start claiming that the Catholics are about to embrace creationism when the only evidence is the wishfull claims of a handful of creationists.

    Uh, maybe I’m missing something here, but I’m pretty sure the Pope and other higher-ups in the Catholic Church are creationists regardless of their stance on ID.

  3. #3 DV8 2XL
    August 30, 2006

    This is great news – should the Church declare for I.D. then I.D. will be confirmed as a religious belief. This will undermine the claims of those that are trying to pass it off as science.

  4. #4 Shelley Batts
    August 30, 2006

    Thanks for the correct info Tony (updated).

  5. #5 Alon Levy
    August 30, 2006

    Why does everyone reference the same he-said-she-said article about the issue? Surely there must be article that quote real scientists rather than just creationist hacks.

  6. #6 Bram Cohen
    August 30, 2006

    When my kids were born we considered banking cord blood, but all the places which do it only do it for the kid’s own benefit, which can be a bit dubious because if the kid has a genetic defect, the stem cells won’t help. We wanted to donate the blood to a bank which was devoted to pulling out stem cells whenever there was a match with someone who needed them, but could find no such thing.

  7. #7 romunov
    August 30, 2006

    Luckily, Vatican is but an isle of fuckupness in Europe. Can’t say the same for you guys. 😛

  8. #8 386sx
    August 30, 2006

    The fish flopped off the counter still muttering in Hebrew – and was butchered by Louis Nivelo.

    I think I probably would have kept that fish alive. But that’s just me I guess.

  9. #9 Bob Abu
    September 1, 2006

    I remember a few years ago a mounted fish, that sang. I didn’t cut it open. I just assumed it was a hidden microprocessor and not the hand of G-d. My theory, consistent with the known facts, is that it was either a microprocessor or my drinking. I guess you could say, if you wanted to, the fisheth do work in mysterious ways. This fish just repeated the same over and over again. Go figure. Me? I’m going back to my drunken Torah study.

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