Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Stem Cell Breakthrough

Something extra to be thankful for this year is yesterday's announcement of a recently discovered way of obtaining stem cells with embryonic properties without destroying any embryos. Father Thomas Berg discusses the significance of this breakthrough and he concludes:
Like the unexpected climax of a romance novel, these historical paradoxes foreshadow a culmination to the ten-year tale of human embryonic-stem-cell research that is remarkably unlike anything we could have imagined. To be sure, a new day has dawned in the world of stem-cell research, thanks to the intellectual honesty and scientific acumen of researchers like Thomson, Wilmut and Yamanaka. The best part, of course, is that, for advocates of embryonic-stem-cell research, as well as for those opposed to embryo-destructive research, and especially for those millions of potential beneficiaries of stem-cell related therapies, the advent of the age of somatic cell reprogramming marks an enormous victory for all of us.

Meanwhile, Wesley Smith points out that W deserves some of the credit for this turn in the whole stem cell issue:
I believe that many of these exciting “alternative” methods would not have been achieved but for President Bush’s stalwart stand promoting ethical stem-cell research. Indeed, had the president followed the crowd instead of leading it, most research efforts would have been devoted to trying to perfect ESCR and human-cloning research — which, despite copious funding, have not worked out yet as scientists originally hoped.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Off to a Sputnik Celebration

Yeah, the actual anniversary was last month, but some people I know are putting on an event Thursday evening in DC, where I'm looking forward to a good time. If you're in the area, come join the fun.
War? What War?

Remember the war in Iraq? Curious how now that things seem to have turned for the better, much of the media doesn't seem so interested in covering what's happening there. Ralph Peters comments further.
Far fewer Iraqi civilians are dying at the hands of extremists. U.S. and Coalition casualty rates have fallen dramatically. The situation has changed so unmistakably and so swiftly that we should be reading proud headlines daily.

Where are they? Is it really so painful for all those war-porno journos to accept that our military - and the Iraqis - may have turned the situation around? Shouldn't we read and see and hear a bit of praise for today's soldiers and the progress they're making?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Return to Earth

Shuttle Discovery and its crew returned to Earth today following its crucial assembly and daring unplanned repair activities at the International Space Station.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Weekend Away

I got back earlier today from a relaxing weekend in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. There was time for good fall hiking and some good eating. I timed the trip to include a public observing session Friday night at the Morgan County Observatory, where a number of objects including the visible expanding Comet Holmes were observed in the starry mountain skies.
Job Well Done

The crew of Shuttle Discovery is preparing to depart the International Space Station (ISS) for home after a challenging repair of an ISS solar array was successfully accomplished on Saturday.