Archive for October, 2013


Posted by on Saturday, 5 October, 2013

Round trip to Mars


The United States is under pressure from Congress to to reduce costs wherever it can. Can we really afford a project to send humans to Mars? Is the payback worth the expense and the risk?

Lawrence Klauss is a  physicist from the University of Arizona. He’s great at the lecturn. I like to watch him debate.  He’s smart and funny. For some time now, he’s been pushing the idea of humans on mars. To get around the main objections (cost and risk) he says make the trip to Mars one-way. In an interview on NPR’s “Science Friday”, Klauss  discussed robots to assist human settlers. He said that robots will keep getting better and, by the time we are ready for a manned trip, they may be almost as good as the human astronauts.

So that’s what we should do, right? Send robots?

Well no. Instead of reaching the “obvious” conclusion, Klaus  feels Mars needs a human space colony.  Making it a one way trip would lower the overall cost of the project and the space ship could use less shielding against potentially deadly radiation since the total exposure to the passengers would be cut in half. Lawrence Klauss’ idea now has an organization behind it. The Mars One Project which has the goal of putting humans on Mars by 2023.

 ScienceAin’tSoBad respectfully doesn’t get it.

I don’t want to sound like a broken blog, but the idea of sending humans to Mars keeps coming up and I keep saying forget it. The idea is ridiculous! What about the unbelievable ethical implications of exposing a crew to HALF of a fatal dose of radiation? After the first joy-filled months will some of them get sick and die? How would you feel if that happened? Would the colonists that survive have kids? With two severely radiated parents, can you imagine what the first native Martians would look like?

The Mars colony idea is probably too expensive for congress. But what if it were to fund it? Would that justify putting people at such risk? Shouldn’t our focus be on building great robots that may someday  enjoy  watching the sun set over the earth?

Let’s go to Mars. But let’s go vicariously.

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The image is by me.



Posted by on Thursday, 3 October, 2013




Resveratrol is in red wine and in red  grapes. Supposedly, it is good for the heart and keeps cancer in check too. We see this in animal experiments.

What about human studies? Well, they are still a work in progress.  Researchers have been afraid to put too much into this kind of research because they don’t feel like they really understand what’s going on. Resveratrol changes into something else very quickly when it is in the body. How can you design a serious human trial if the thing you are testing goes away so fast?  Scientists call it the “Resveratrol Paradox’. The active ingredient disappears and yet seems to continue working. Does this remind you a little of my article on homeopathy?

Once in the body, resveratrol converts to resveratrol sulfate (and reveratrol glucuronide).  To see what happens after resveratrol becomes resveratrol sulfate  Dr. Karen Brown (University of Leicester) injected mice with resveratrol sulfate. What a surprise! After it gets into the cells, it converts back to resveratrol. It doesn’t really go away for good. Her study also showed the resveratrol  sulfate stops cancer cells from dividing – at least in animals.

This might not seem like a huge big deal to you. It just clears a roadblock that was in the way of scientists doing the right kinds of human research to help us know if we should keep encouraging the use of this promising natural substance. But, you know what? This is what science is about. Little steps.

Oh. Hey. By the way. Before you go? You should know that resveratrol in red wine isn’t the most brilliant way to guard against cancer. Resveratrol might help. But alcohol probably cancels out any benefit.

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Drawing is mine



Penis Science Takes A Giant Step

Posted by on Tuesday, 1 October, 2013


Penis science take giant step



You can live a perfectly fine life without a penis.

Unless you happen to be male.

It’s hard to exaggerate how important this multipurpose organ is for a guy. If you’re not up on how they feel about the thing, I suggest you start Googling. Or you could try asking someone without a technical background.

A guy’s genitals can be injured or destroyed by accident or disease. Some are defective from birth. To some guys, a penis can be a real disappointment even though there’s nothing much wrong with it really. And a penis, being a penis, the whole problem is further muddled by the embarrassment and the psychological stuff associated with it.

It isn’t fair, is it? Why should you feel less a man than that idiot next door?

The answer is that you shouldn’t. There are things that can be done although the options, so far, have been less than ideal.

Drugs such as Viagra have been a great help in restoring lost sexual function. But what if the organ is damaged or missing?

Surgeons can give you a finger, a hand, even a face. But sex organs are a challenge. Male organs have  to expand when things get interesting (female organs too) and they have to send the right sensations back to your brain so you can share in the moment. Until now, doctors didn’t know how to make that happen naturally. They couldn’t create erectile tissue. And connecting the nerves can be hit or miss.


Dr. Anthony Atala of The  Institute for Regenerative Medicine (Wake Forest) says he now  can make erectile tissue (Proceedings of the National Academy of  Sciences). He did this research using rabbits – a great choice  for this kind of work. Willing, able, and not very hard biters, rabbit reproductive biology is enough like ours to make a good model. Dr. Atala says he is encouraged by his results  and thinks that, after sufficient human testing,  it should be possible, for the first time, to grow custom made erectile tissue for humans.



Penises can be created surgically from transplanted body parts. One impetus for this has been transgender patients who want to become fully functional guys as much as possible. The surgery is tough for both the patient and the surgeon.There are several operations and lots of potential for complications.

The results are good enough for many. I’m not knocking it. But it’s not what the idiot next door has, okay?

Dr. Atala’s work may help in the creation of a more fully functional penis. This would help guys with a medical problem and women who want gender reassignment surgery.

That’s not all.

The penis isn’t necessarily on the table when scientific topics are discussed. This is definitely a first for this blog. But that doesn’t mean this area of research is a scientific backwater. There’s lots  going on.

For those males who need (or believe they need) more extension, there is, at long last, a safe and effective way.


Italian researchers have refined a method (not entirely comfortable, I would say) of adding about a third to the reach. The “highly motivated” subjects reported a very high satisfaction.  And, speak of the devil, work from Johns Hopkins shows very exciting progress (mice only, so far) for relieving that not-so-funny problem of “getting stuck” in an erection (priaprism).

Sex organs are as deserving as any other area of scientific research. And MISTER ScienceAintSoBad thanks the talented men and women who are willing to work for human progress in a field that’s hard to explain to their grandparents.


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The minimalist drawing is mine. I especially like it.