Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Tolerating the Deploreable

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 23, 2015 by neandergal

I’m an atheist and the screenshot of a Facebook discussion thread below is what some people would like to do to me and other atheists. Is it representative of all Christians? No, of course not. The point is though that there are tenets of the Christian religion that do call upon this type of bile and venom towards non-believers. It’s like how ISIS and Islamic countries respond to some other Muslims, infidels and those who have committed apostasy. The point is that apologists of Islam, will excuse similar sentiments below by saying, “Oh that isn’t representative of Islam”. Well let’s just ask those who express such sentiments towards non-believers and ask if they are representing Islam. They would say, “Yes.” Let us ask the people below in this screenshot and ask if they are representing Christianity, and without a shadow of a doubt, they would say in resounding unison, “Yes!”

Here is the difference: The people below are mute compared to their Islamist counterparts. They are mute because I am safe from people like this because I live in a democratic Western nation that guarantees my rights — especially as a woman. Where people like this would not be mute is in countries that subscribe to such bile and venom and would condemn people like me to death for apostasy and non-believers. Those would be Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, Nigeria, and many other Islamic nations. The order of magnitude is phenomenal and that is the clear difference — order of magnitude. The kind of extremism we speak of is the norm in those countries. And many excuse it time and time again in the threads of internet discussions, mainstream news outlets and the politically correct mealy mouths of celebrities.

Anyone condemning Islam and its extreme elements is a bigot or intolerant. There is little defense for the very tolerant standing up towards the very intolerant. The irony is that most of the criticism towards criticism of Islam is from the left. Next time someone bleats about the Crusades and other such events of times gone centuries by, remind them of the difference and how we should look at what we are faced with now. Point out how these religions have diverged rather than converged. These are our times and we own them. Speak up and speak out against those who want to crush how you think and what you think. And that includes the apologists. What you see below is lame chicken feed compared to what is going on in other parts of the world.
Facebook

Facebook “discussion” tread.

Want to help fact-check breaking news like the Malaysian airplane disaster? Here’s how and where you can do it

Posted in Uncategorized on October 5, 2014 by neandergal

Excellent article on fact checking the proliferation of information and separating mis/disinformation that can often litter our social-media news feeds.

Gigaom

By now, anyone who spends much time on social media has gotten pretty used to the deluge of information that occurs whenever there is a breaking-news event like the destruction of Malaysian flight MH17. Photos, videos and news reports about the details all go flying past in our streams, many of them from reliable sources — and yet a staggering proportion of them are wrong, either accidentally or in some cases deliberately. Photos are doctored, quotes manufactured and numbers invented.

One of the most crucial journalistic skills is sorting out what’s true and what’s not in such situations, and while many professional journalists may not like it, thanks to the internet anyone can do this job if they have the inclination, the tools and the time. No one illustrates that better than British blogger Brown Moses, also known as Eliot Higgins, who has gone from being an unemployed office…

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Ask a Scientist : “What is a Parasite” Featuring the Tapeworm

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 6, 2013 by neandergal

Tapeworm Specimen

Tapeworm Specimen… Click the image to view the segments (proglottids) that contain testes and ovaries.

This is a continuation of the lecture on parasites by Dr. Jim McKerrow from the Department of Pathology at the University California San Francisco. Jim presented his parasites, or rather his lecture on them, at the StrEAT Park in the Mission District in San Francisco.

The diners absorbed details of the the tapeworm over their Mexican food and beer from the various food trucks in the food park. Warmed by the overhead gas lamps in the tent, we learned how we can become infected with tapeworms from eating undercooked pork or beef.

These parasitic helminths, Taenia saginata (beef Tapeworm), or Taenia solium (pork tapeworm), reside in the intestines of its definitive host by hooking their four heads (or scolex) into the walls of the intestines and absorbing nutrients intended for the host. It can reside there for up to 25 years.

SEM tapeworm

The scolex of the tape worm. Note the four suckers.

This not so little flat worm reaches lengths of up to 6 meters… The strange sexual beast contains both reproductive organs. Each segment or proglottid making up the length of the worm contain ovaries and testes. There may be up to a 1000 proglottids making up the length of this flat worm. Remember; this creature is approximately 6 meters long. That’s a lot of balls. This parasite can create many more tapeworms as each mature poglottid breaks down and releases eggs which end up in feces of the definitive host.

The eggs make their way into the next host (intermediate host) when it consumes infected food from the feces, or eggs from the feces. The eggs hatch in the intestines and the larvae make their way to the liver, lungs and or, brain and develop a cyst. One cyst produces many scoleces (heads) or larvae. When these cysts are consumed by the unsuspecting human or animal, the scoleces (singl. Scolex) will embed into the intestinal wall of its host and the cycle continues.

Fettuccine anyone…? 

Additional sources:
Introduction to Microbiology, 9th Edition, Tortora, Gerard.J, Funke, Berdall R., Christine L. Case. Publisher: Pearson Benjamin Cummings. 2007 print.
CDC Taeniasis (Tapeworms)
Ask a Scientist website
Dr. Jim McKerrow page at UCSF