Homo homini rodentius est

Prayer 0, Stairmaster 1

In one of the dumbest uses of $2.5 million EVER, a group of white coats have just [determined] that saying prayers over sick people doesn’t help them. Well there’s news. I was debating about whether to file this under Lab Life, but decided against it because it really has nothing to do with science as such. It might as well have gone into the politics section because that’s what it stinks of. Not just exemplifying the constant drumbeat of religion that goes on in this faith-soaked country — something else. It’s one more effort by the scientists to wrest priesthood away from the priests and put it where it now belongs — in the hands of physicians.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Trouble with Dick

Last night I watched a [documentary] on PBS about Watergate that went over the entire timeline of those days. It was scary how similar some things were to today. So much of what led to the cover up grew out of the dirty tricks campaign against Nixon’s perceived “enemies”. And today the Washington Post has a [front pager] describing Cheney as the force behind leaking classifed info in an effort to “discredit, punish or seek revenge against” opponents of their Iraq policy. We’ve been here before…

Nixon saw dissent as treason. Sounds very close to “You’re either with us or against us.” Will Libby will turn out to be their Dean?

UPDATE 5/14: Andrew Sullivan [comments] on news that Cheney is our (badly aimed) smoking gun…

Nixon Cheney

Carpe Diem, forever

Frank Bruni in the NYT offers some [rare wisdom] about the plethora of contradictory findings from the lab on how to live to be old. Really old. He makes perfectly intelligent comments that hinge on the how of “how to live” — namely, that quality of life is more important that quantity — but his cogent comments will count for naught with his Baby Boomer readership because he overlooks the why of all these studies: people today are panicked about getting old and infirm.

Science, like any other human endeavor, is subject to market forces, and what people are in the market for thesedays is a guarantee that they won’t decline and whither into a miserable existence. It’s not hard to understand what’s going on — this is what happens when the idea of extended family becomes a quaint artifact of a culture based on mobility and consumption. Back in the day there were time-honored roles for people at every stage of life from cradle to grave and they centered around the mini-society of relatives. Not so much anymore.

Call it a failure of imagination. The rapidly aging Boomers have no models for successful aging. Facing a future warehoused in retirement communities or, worse, assisted-care facilities who wouldn’t be battering down the doors of the lab looking for a preventive. But they won’t find it there. All the white coats can do is provide more time. They can’t fill that time with meaning or happiness. Rats are social animals. And the society is sick.

I am born.

Now is the time for all good rodents to come to the defense of the pack. Read the rest of this entry »

  Next Entries »