Archive for March, 2010


Posted by on Tuesday, 30 March, 2010

STELLATE CELL ACTIVATION (Hey! I needed a picture.)

Oncology: Pancreatic Cancer. Head/Neck Cancer

What’s your favorite cancer?

I bet it isn’t pancreatic cancer.

The request queue for cancer’s pretty short. But the least popular members of this rather unpopular group of diseases may be things like the oral cancers (head and neck), pancreatic, and lung cancer. Course I haven’t taken a survey, and I bet there’re plenty of others that aren’t big favorites either. But if you DO have the bad luck to have a tumor, you want it to be at an early stage and easy to get at.

The pancreas, when it goes bad, doesn’t send off early warnings and it isn’t easy to get at. Aesthetics aside, things would probably work out much better with the pancreas if it were located on your ear. Signs of disease would be easier to spot early and snipping off the bad thing would be an outpatient procedure.


Well Mark Howard (University of Kent, School of Bioscience) hasn’t figured out a way to rotate your pancreas to your ear but he seems to be onto something equally (some would say more) exciting than a pancreas hanging off of your right ear:  cancer bullets.

Dr. Howard’s “thing” is the shape of certain amino acids (peptides). He was able to figure out how to optimize their ability to lock onto (bind with) cancer cells. Hook the amino acids to the right drugs, and you have a delivery system,  a “cancer bullet”.


You WOULD ask!

MISTER ScienceAintSoBad’s beat is science and Mark Howard is, in every sense, a scientist. But this is early in the process. It’s a remarkable accomplishment and he gets himself a ScienceAintSoBadRating of 10 which, while not a Nobel Prize, isn’t pigeon crap, either.  But that doesn’t mean this’ll permanently eradicate cancers. And, if it does, it remains to be seen if it will work for everyone. Those studies haven’t been done yet.

ScienceAintSoBadFingers are crossed.

Image attribution: Artwork by Robert Jaster under a Creative Commons license.

Shoot! What A Smelly Landfill!

Posted by on Sunday, 28 March, 2010



Several cities are toying with changing their names to Google to see if that’ll land ’em ultrafast Internet.

Bejing, the Capital of China isn’t one of them.

But its good name IS being sullied by big piles of smelly garbage. Bejingers toss  out roughly 18,000 tons of garbage each day.

It’s out of space for garbage.

The 17 million neo-capitalists there are putting out 7,000 tons a day more than the dumps.. uh, ‘scuse moi!, .. the landfills can accommodate. It will be about 30,000 years before their garabage covers the whole land area of the earth, so we’re most worried about those of you who live nearby. Specially if you breathe.

One of the dump.. uh.. landfills is so bad that the social minded people of that area have, supposedly, taken to walking around holding each OTHERS noses.

Anyway, the government’s gonna do something about it.


According to Discover, they’re deploying a hundred specialized cannons to the site and the specialized cannons will be shooting out specialized deodorant which will, according to theory, mask, disguise, confound, and hide the odors from the landfill.

MISTER ScienceAin’tSoBad believes that this is science at its best. Creative, bold, AND public spirited. Sadly, the experts, say the leaders are a bunch of schmucks and that this little trick won’t work.

Oh well..

ScienceAintSoBadRating = 1


Posted by on Wednesday, 24 March, 2010




Hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy. Hundreds of billions of galaxies.  Lots of stars and lots of planets.

Lots .

How many restless alien souls are looking this way, wondering what’s over here?


Meanwhile, we’re looking for planets; we’re listening to signals; and we’re trying to figure out how to tell  if a planet has life on it from a long, long distance away.

If we keep at it long enough, won’t we come up with something?


MISTER ScienceAintSoBad knows it’s been a while since we started “the search” (in the 1980’s).  One of our first readers, BlaseBoy14 says: “If it were out there, we’d a heard by now.  If it was gonna happen, it woulda happened.

Well, yeah, MISTER ScienceAintSoBad‘ll fall of his chair about the same time you do if we do hear from the pickle brains in the Andromeda Cluster. But stay with me here.  You knew the Red Sox would never win the World Series, didn’t you? You knew an African American would never become President of the United States, right? And you knew those electronic book things would never catch on and replace real books. So let’s SAY you’re wrong this time. Let’s just SAY we get “pinged”. What do we do?

“We’re HERE! We’re HERE! We’re HERE! Whoopee! Oh BOY!


No reason not. They’re gonna be too far away to hurt us. Plus they’ll be wise and kindly.  Maybe they’ll tell us how to end wars.

Nuh uh.  We have an agreement. I’m sure you never heard about this, but there’s to be NO talkin’. At least not till we’ve checked around with all concerned parties (which would be, more-or-less, the occupants of this particular rock).

paper by Michael Michaud, written back in 1991, talks about what’s to be done before answering a signal received from ANY non-Earthians but, basically, it consists of some careful checking around to make sure us Earthians are on the same page about accepting the tiny risk that off-Earthers we’re chatting with, turn out to be the North Koreans of Andromeda.



Then there this:

We’re wasting money looking for intelligent life “out there” when we should be spending it on our own people right here on earth. At 10 billion dollars a month, this stupid diversion of funds is more expensive than a major war. And what good is it? How’s it going to help us to hear the a-m-a-z-i-n-g opinions of some slithery space creatures? I say close down the programs and concentrate on poverty in this country.  – Proud2BeLiberal14

Aw Proud. You should be ashamed.  Here’s the cost of war . And, anyway, your numbers are all wrong. Searching for intelligent signals is cheap, cheap, cheap and the funding is private.


science ain’t so bad’s t-shirts and mug’s and such

Google’s Evil Meter

Posted by on Wednesday, 24 March, 2010



Have you been watching the ins and outs, ups and downs, backs and forths of Google/China?

If you have, you know that Google’s modest experiment in self-censorship’s resulted in a sour magnesium taste for the “Do no harm” guys who don’t like all the ropes ‘n chains ‘n blindfolds that seem to be the cost of doing business in China. So they said – I think the word was..  tryin’ to think here.. I think it was “NO“.

Unless China took the gag off.

And China, always, nimble in these kinds of negotations said “Uh.. Jeez. But we ALWAYS censor.” And stuck to its idiotic guns.

Without an acceptable response from China, Google’s decided to move its operations to Hong Kong where it’ll get itself out of the censoring business and back to the search business. And the map business. And the phone business. And.. well.. like that.

MISTER ScienceAintSoBad has no standing here since this is politics. But just in case you want my opinion? I think the huge, powerful, fast growing nation of China will lose and the funny li’l guys with the search engine’ll win.

But it’ll take awhile.

Anyway, now that Google, itself, isn’t censoring (with some temporary exceptions till contracts expire), Google felt it would be useful for its readers to have a visual indicator of how much censoring is being done by the Chinese authorities. So they developed a nice “status page”, called by some, its “Evil Meter”

ScienceAintSoBadRating = 10 (for Google)

ScienceAintSoBadRating = -1 for China

Science Ain’t So Bad t-shirts and mugs and stuff

Cure For Colorblindess

Posted by on Thursday, 18 March, 2010

No More Colorblind Monkeys

Ophthalmology: Colorblindness


You always wondered, didn’t you? What’s it like to be colorblind? That word – blind. Very dark and murky. But, if you’re colorblind, it’s colors you can’t see. It’s not like yer gonna wump into a wall or anything.

So is it such a bad thing?

The answer’s kinda yes and kinda no.

Some people are only a LITTLE color blind. They see a lot of colors. But not all of them. And some people (with monochromasy) are flat out colorless – like a “black and white” movie. Just black, white, and a bunch of grays.

Minochromasy isn’t common. But if you’ve got it, I wouldn’t plan a career around painting or photography or even police work (“Watch  for a guy wearing a blue cardigan”). And try not to take stuff like “Those SOCKS! What’re you, colorblind?” to heart.

Whether it’s a disability or just a disadvantage, it is one a those imperfections that makes life richer (one might even say, more colorful) if, sometimes, a little tougher.


So. Guess what Jay Neitz (University of Washingon) just cured?

You’re GOOD!

That’s right. Fixed it right up. In monkeys. (Which, at least in your case, isn’t SO far removed.) And he seems optimistic that homo sapiens isn’t too far down this path as well as other vision disorders.

Good one, Dr Neitz.

ScienceAintSoBadRating = 9

Toyota Owner Saved By MISTER ScienceAintSoBad

Posted by on Sunday, 14 March, 2010

QUICK! Turn off the Ipod!


Dear MISTER ScienceAintSoBad: I gotta write fast because my car’s gone CRAZY! The things goin’- uh- 85 mph – well, faster, I think. An’ I can’t stop it cause it’s made by a fureign company so what do I do?  I tried the brakes but I’m afraid I might ruin ’em if I press TOO hard. PLEASE answer quick! – KnuckleHead31

Dear Knucklehead:

You don’t mention if  you’ve already prayed, but I’m gonna assume you tried that and it didn’t work, OK?

Now here’s the interesting thing. In addition to the foot brake and the accelerator, many cars have several ADDITIONAL controls. If you look down and to the right you fill find a thing called a SHIFT LEVER and, a little up and to the left of that, an ignition switch (activated by either a key or, in some new cars, a big fat button).  Hopefully, you are already aware of the purpose of that big decorative wheel that you rest your hands on.

Bob Byrnes, a nice highway patrol trooper from Missouri (thanks, Springfield, News-Leadersays to: Shift into neutral,  step on the brake,  steer to the side of the road, shut off the engine. Which seems to make a LOT of sense.

MISTER ScienceAintSoBad probably would have flipped off the ignition (if it’s a button, you gotta hold it down  for a few seconds). That should turn off the engine, but there could be some control issues. Better to do what Trooper Byrnes says if you have a sudden acceleration. At least you’ll be mad at HIM if you bash up your new car.

ScienceAintSoBad t-shirts, mugs ‘n stuff

Migraine Science: Drugs, Devices, And Dark Rooms

Posted by on Wednesday, 10 March, 2010

She's got a MIGRAINE, you nitwit!

I had a rental car with a broken radio. You couldn’t lower the volume or turn it off and it only got one station which had Rush Limbaugh, ranting and raving. What could be worse? – BizWhiz59


My wife says migraine headaches are worse than a date with MISTER ScienceAintSoBad . But she’s probably exaggerating.  A musician who gets migraines almost weekly says they’re “The worst thing that can happen to you that doesn’t kill you permanently”.


About 30 million Americans get migraines ; they (the headaches) usually don’t hit till the teens or later.

The “classic” migraine’s a funny guy. You get visual or auditory “auras”. You’re thinking “wow! I bet there’s a spiritual relevation coming.” and, POW!, the top of your head blows off.


The “common” migraines don’t have explicit auras although you might feel kinda “weird” or sluggish before the pain, itself, hits. The head pain varies but it can get pretty bad. It’s normally one-sided and, in case you’re not miserable enough with just pain,  there’s often nausea/vomiting too.

Far as is known, migraines are probably kicked off by some signal in the brain stem which causes arteries  (including those in the dura which encase the brain) to contract and then dilate abnormally while local levels of dopamine and serotonin (neurotransmitters) go off script too.  This is all sustained by a runaway condition in the temporal artery (a blood vessel near the temple).


Other kinds of headaches.

But it can be kinda hard to tell the difference. The Headache Center (Springfield, MO) says that 97% of people who thought they had sinus headaches had migraines.

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?


I think, somewhere in here, I’m supposed to tell you to check with your Doc first and (seriously) you should because a bad headache may be a manifestation of a tumor or an intra-cranial bleed or God-Knows-What. It’s hard ENOUGH to get readers, in the first place, I don’t wanna lose one over a missed doctor visit.

However, as a matter of general information, you might like to know the best way to minimize the discomfort and to move on with your life:

1. Take the pain meds your Doc prescribed.

2.  ice packs, cold water, etc to your head/face.

3. Don’t be a hero. Don’t read. Don’t do anything. Lie down in a dark room. Meditate, listen to music, think about ScienceAintSoBad.. restful stuff.

An article on Health Square has more detail and  goes on to describe common triggers and ways to, maybe, dodge some headaches. Worth reading if you’re cursed with this syndrome.


From a scientific standpoint, there’s still plenty of work to be done here. I won’t bog you down, overly, with long, long shots.

Some of the newest stuff that’s currently on the market: zolmitriptan, Amerge, and a nasal spray version of  Migranol .  (Ask your Doc).

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: Uses a dynamic electromagnetic field to knock down the “cortical spreading” waves at the onset of the headaches. It seemed to work about 50% of the time. It’s still very much an experiment.

Wanna go under the knife? If you do, surgical removal of certain trigger sites seems surprisingly good and may even be a surgical “cure” for many.  This is from a joint study led by Bahaman Guyuron, Chairman of Plastic Surgery at Case Medical Center.

Archives of Dermatology offers a small study with  a particularly tough form of the headache which got decent results using botulinum toxin injections. MISTER ScienceAintSoBad wishes there were more data.

A fair sized study done in Philadelphia with a “snorter” (an inhaled drug) called Levadex sounds interesting. According to the (only slightly puffy) description, patients had “significant” relief from symptoms. This was just the study that proves “safety”. Good one to keep an eye on though. Levadex.

Naturally, there are homeopathic “cures” for migraine. Make what you will of my quotation marks.

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(If you want the above cartoon on a t-shirt go here. )

The Happiness Pill

Posted by on Monday, 8 March, 2010

Take Your D

A Home Kit For Cancer Detection?

Posted by on Saturday, 6 March, 2010

And The Cut-It-Out-Of-Myself Kit?

BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH: Do-It-Yourself Medicine


My dad was SO proud that he was one of the first to drive an automobile. But, you know what? He got to drive a car his entire adult life. The cars got better and better. But he never had to learn how to drive a rocket ship.

It never even came up.

Now we have ALL this new STUFF comin’ at us.  More and more every day. And that stuff engenders even more stuff. Digital devices make it easier to design even more digital devices and nano systems.. well, that’s THIS story.

What do you know about micro/nanoelectromechanical systems?

Me neither.

But a professor at the University of Missouri has an NSF grant to develop an “Instant” cancer detector, taking advantage of the special properties of exquisitely sensitive “M/NEMS” based sensors (which MISTER ScienceAintSoBad hopes to tell you ALL about. As soon as he figures it out, himself.)

Dr. Jae Kwon believes this technology will lead to home based test kits that people can use to figure out whether they have certain diseases like breast or prostate cancer.

Which brings me back to my original point about runaway technology and the way it shapes our daily lives: I’m gonna test myself for cancer? What do I do then? Go to the Doc and explain that I have Glioma and what are “we” gonna do about it? It’s taken a while, but I’ve gotten used to pumping my own gas. Will I mind diagnosing my own cancer?

At least we should have time to get used to this one. It doesn’t sound imminent.

ScienceAin’tSoBadRating = 5 .

A Phone App That Steals Your Soul?

Posted by on Thursday, 4 March, 2010

The End Of Anonymity?

Phone Apps: A Scary App That Matches Your ID To Your Photo


ShyGuy1 writes:

Mister ScienceAintSoBad: I am smart and I am nice. I bet I would be a great boyfriend.

If I had a girlfriend.

But I’ll probably die a male old maid because when I see a girl who has the “right look”, I freeze.

Instead of telling her how much I love her slobbering Doberman or giving her my “Get lucky with me” calling card (I still have every single one of them after 14 months), I respectfully lower my eyes and try not to be obvious. Which, apparently, works pretty well.

So, Mister SASB, my question is this. Is there some kind of technology that lets guys who just aren’t suave, bridge the introduction gap? Maybe a small robot that he could pull out of his valise which would stride confidently toward his future fiance and make the introductions?

Please answer because this is important to my future kids.

Funny you should ask, ShyGuy1, I’m just finishing up my Intro1 Robot which does exactly what you want.  I can offer it to you for $19.95. PLUS you will get this roof trimming attachment ABSOLUTELY free. BOTH products, a combined value of $39.95 for ONLY $19.95.

Except the shipping and handling charge is $43,000,012.85 .


if you’re looking for a more cost effective solution (no WONDER you never meet anyone you lousy CHEAPSKATE!), you may be interested in TAT’s new Recognizr app for Android phones.

With Recognizr loaded, you snap a picture of your future bride and then you let the app go figure out who she is from her online presence on sites such as Facebook, Linkedin, and GetLostNerdyOne.

Recognizr’s intriguing integration of existing technologies to achieve a new result is a nice example of the “unexpected consequences” phenom .

It’s also a little troubling.

Is it really OK to snap someone’s photo and find his.her identity that way? Is it an invasion of privacy to use photo based matching?

TAT’s approach was to make sure the info can only get assembled for other users of Recognizr. Which seems fair enough to MISTER ScienceAintSoBad since, I guess, there’s a kinda “OK With Me” built into joining the club.

But it also limits the usefulness of the product unless Recognizr takes off. And, why does Mister ScienceAintSoBad think the women ShyGuy1’ll REALLY want to meet’ll be the last to join Recognizr?

Maybe we’ll be lucky though and terrorists will register with Recognizr.

ScienceAintSoBadRating = 6 (which is an average of 10 for a technological tour-de-force and 2 for software that won’t change any lives)