Senate says yes to stem cell research; Bush to veto

The bill passed 63-37, four votes short of the two-thirds majority that would be needed to override Bush’s veto. The president left little doubt he would reject the bill despite late appeals on its behalf from fellow Republicans Nancy Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The sticking point in the bill is the use of embryonic stem cells as opposed to adult stem cells. The latter are less ethically ambiguous but the former so much more likely to garner useful science. Wired has an excellent stem cell to buff up on the details.

I think it’s good that ethics are at the heart of modern scientific research, or at least that bit that’s in the public. There has been no similar debate or legislation of pharmaceutical nanotechnology, primarily because people don’t understand it, hence it’s not in the headlines. But you just can’t beat anything that might, in some tiny way, be in some way connected to babys to evoke a public reaction.

My own opinion? Well, it’s already illegal to create embryos for research purposes, which is a good thing. In other words the embryonic stem cells would be harvested from biological material that would otherwise be destroyed and hence would best be used for furthering science as long there is independent, objective ethical oversight.

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New Scientist Breaking News – Invention: Spy-diver killer: “If you are scuba diving, be sure not to swim anywhere near any ship or installation that has been protected by the Raytheon Corporation’s new ‘swimmer denial’ system. Otherwise you will very quickly feel extremely sick and probably drown.


Raytheon’s underwater sensors detect any unwelcome presence and trigger an underwater sound system that emits extremely powerful pulses of low frequency audio. The pulse rate and audio frequency are chosen to make human organs resonate like organ pipes, causing swimmers to vomit into their masks or suffer internal ruptures.”

Eww! That’s just messy! I hope they send out warning buoys or something!

German inventor denies cats-for-fuel story | The Register: “Animal rights campaigners were up in arms yesterday over reports that a German inventor was making diesel from dead cats.
Wolfgang Apel, president of the German Society for the Protection of Animals, told Reuters that using dead cats for fuel was outlawed in Germany.”

The rest of the story is somewhat interesting, reagrding home-made bio diesel, but I was tickled by the idea of using dead cats (and only dead cats) as fuel for your car.

“We’re running low! Aim for that one over there!”