Stem cells transformed into HIV killers:
In this current study, the researchers similarly engineered human blood stem cells and found that they can form mature T cells that can attack HIV in tissues where the virus resides and replicates. They did so by using a surrogate model, the humanized mouse, in which HIV infection closely resembles the disease and its progression in humans.
In a series of tests on the mice's peripheral blood, plasma and organs conducted two weeks and six weeks after introducing the engineered cells, the researchers found that the number of CD4 "helper" T cells — which become depleted as a result of HIV infection — increased, while levels of HIV in the blood decreased. CD4 cells are white blood cells that are an important component of the immune system, helping to fight off infections. These results indicated that the engineered cells were capable of developing and migrating to the organs to fight infection there.
A huge and hugely interesting New Yorker article about myth-making and the Titanic.
Kim Jong-un makes first speech to North Korean people; boasts of military supremacy.
Illinois legislators unlikely to pursue marriage equality in 2012.
Chaz and a cast of thousands celebrate Pride in Miami.
Laurel Snyder dares to ask: Do I get to be religious if I give up my religion?
Peterson Toscano's long journey from reparative therapy -- and Zambia.
Couples who cohabitate before marriage are more likely to get divorced (and apparently, it's not just because non-cohabitators are hyper-traditionalist:
In a nationwide survey conducted in 2001 by the National Marriage Project, then at Rutgers and now at the University of Virginia, nearly half of 20-somethings agreed with the statement, “You would only marry someone if he or she agreed to live together with you first, so that you could find out whether you really get along.” About two-thirds said they believed that moving in together before marriage was a good way to avoid divorce.
But that belief is contradicted by experience. Couples who cohabit before marriage (and especially before an engagement or an otherwise clear commitment) tend to be less satisfied with their marriages — and more likely to divorce — than couples who do not. These negative outcomes are called the cohabitation effect.
CNN on Southernness:
... Davis, a native of Butler, Georgia (population 2,000), observes the word "Southern" has come to be associated with opposition to the American norm. He teaches Southern studies, so students often ask him, "What is Northern studies?"
"'Northern studies' is American studies. 'Southern' is the opposition to that," he says.
The Times on left-handedness:
only a handful of facts about hand preference warrant the epithet “well-established.” Left-handers do have an edge in one-on-one sports like tennis, boxing and baseball, and left-handedness clearly tends to become less pronounced with age. We also know that twins are roughly twice as likely to be left-handed as singletons and that men are slightly more likely to be left-handed than women. Beyond that, most “common knowledge” about left-handedness consists of myths — myths that, curiously, even left-handers themselves believe in, like the notion that left-handers always smear their writing. Solid research has shown that the writing of left-handers in third grade is indistinguishable from that of right-handers, in both speed and quality.
The loneliness of the Facebook friend:
Despite its immense popularity, or more likely because of it, Facebook has, from the beginning, been under something of a cloud of suspicion. The depiction of Mark Zuckerberg, in The Social Network, as a bastard with symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome, was nonsense. But it felt true. It felt true to Facebook, if not to Zuckerberg. The film’s most indelible scene, the one that may well have earned it an Oscar, was the final, silent shot of an anomic Zuckerberg sending out a friend request to his ex-girlfriend, then waiting and clicking and waiting and clicking—a moment of superconnected loneliness preserved in amber. We have all been in that scene: transfixed by the glare of a screen, hungering for response.
What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country saying, 'Well, you know my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues and when I listen to my wife that's what I'm hearing.' Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She's never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and why do we worry about their future.
Of course, Ann Romney has raised five sons, and Rosen's remarks have been taken to mean that Democrats are under the impression that stay-at-home motherhood is somehow not full-time work. Which is wrong. Hilary Rosen promptly apologized.
Except -- maybe Mitt should apologize, too, because he's under the impression that even single motherhood isn't full-time work. Or at least he was in January. Watch AFTER THE JUMP ...
On April 15th, 1912, the Titanic sank in the icy north Atlantic. Some 1,500 human beings lost their lives to drowning and hypothermia. On April 15, 2012, hundreds of other human beings take to the oceans to pay their respects.
At the same time, thousands of North Koreans take to the Pyongyang streets to mark the 100th birthday of Kim il-Sung in Mangyeongdaeguyeok. Though it made fewer headlines at the time, hindsight has proven the birth of Kim il-Sung a far crueler tragedy than the Titanic's sinking; Kim and his progeny have killed well over a thousand Titanics' worth of human beings through starvation, war, and political oppression. Nevertheless, the commemorations of the birth are rather less somber than those of the sinking. Watch an excerpt from North Korean TV AFTER THE JUMP ...
Seattle's Archbishop J. Peter Sartain is one of the worthies who spoke out against the legalization of same-sex marriage in Washington state. It didn't matter: Governor Christine Gregoire signed marriage equality into law earlier this year. (Incidentally, Gregoire is a Catholic.) Now the Archbishop is circulating petitions through the state's parishes to get the issue on a November ballot. From Reuters:
A bulletin from Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain, who testified against the gay marriage bill, and the Washington State Catholic Conference has asked parishes to participate in the signature-gathering effort and "do everything you can to uphold the traditional definition of marriage in our state."
"We bishops have already made known our strong opposition to the redefinition of marriage, and we will continue to do so," the letter said. "Because we believe that this issue is critically important, we ... have approved the gathering of signatures in our parishes over the next few months."
As things currently stand, same-sex couples will be able to marry in Washington this summer. But if equality's opponents collect 120,577 signatures before a June 6th deadline, those marriages will be delayed until after the November elections. If Washingtonians should vote to roll back equality, the state will continue to offer civil unions, though full marriage will be delayed indefinitely.
But Archbishop Sartain may not get as much help as he hoped from his signature drive, as several Catholic parishes have refused to circulate his petition.
Reverend Michael Ryan of St. James Cathedral, which opted not to take part in the petition drive, told church members in an email: "Doing so would, I believe, prove hurtful and seriously divisive in our community."
Using similar language, the pastoral life coordinator at St. Mary's Church, Tricia Wittmann-Todd, said collecting signatures would be "hurtful and divisive" to her parish.
"I am particularly concerned about our youth who may be questioning their own sexual identity and need our support at this time in their lives," she said in a statement.
The dissenting parishes have received considerable moral support from pro-equality members of the laiety. Among them is Barbara Guzzo, a 62-year-old woman who co-founded Catholics For Marriage Equality In Washington:
"There are Catholics who clearly aren't going to move off the position of marriage as only between one man and one woman, but this is about civil marriage," she said, adding that some Catholics dislike the idea of circulating legislative petitions in church, which has not been done since the late 1980s.
Seven Catholic parishes have so far refused to participate in the signature drive. There are 300 Catholic parishes in Washington altogether.
On Friday, the BBC publshed an extraordinary human interest story about a young Indian man named Saroo, who was once a little boy who became very, very lost.
In 1986, Saroo was five years old, working as a "sweeper" on commuter trains with his older brother. After a day of toil, he nodded off on a train station bench, expecting his brother to wake him when it was time to catch a train home. When he awoke, he saw no sign of his brother. But a train sat at the platform, and Saroo assumed his brother was aboard. Saroo boarded and promptly dozed off again. When he awoke it was 14 hours later, and he was in desperately poor Calcutta. He was five, and didn't know the name of his own small hometown. He could tell no one where he was from.
From the Beeb:
"I was absolutely scared. I didn't know where I was. I just started to look for people and ask them questions."
Soon he was sleeping rough. "It was a very scary place to be. I don't think any mother or father would like to have their five year old wandering alone in the slums and trains stations of Calcutta."
The little boy learned to fend for himself. He became a beggar, one of the many children begging on the streets of the city. "I had to be quite careful. You could not trust anyone." Once he was approached by a man who promised him food and shelter and a way back home. But Saroo was suspicious. "Ultimately I think he was going to do something not nice to me, so I ran away."
Saroo eventually found his way into an orphanage, and was adopted by a couple in Tasmania. He settled into a new life, but was understandably intrigued by the mystery of his past. And that past would likely have stayed mysterious were it not for the advent of Google Earth. Saroo still didn't know the name of his hometown, but he remembered its landmarks well enough. From the Beeb:
"[Google Earth] was just like being Superman. You are able to go over and take a photo mentally and ask, 'Does this match?' And when you say, 'No', you keep on going and going and going."
Eventually Saroo hit on a more effective strategy. "I multiplied the time I was on the train, about 14 hours, with the speed of Indian trains and I came up with a rough distance, about 1,200km."
He drew a circle on a map with its centre in Calcutta, with its radius about the distance he thought he had travelled. Incredibly, he soon discovered what he was looking for: Khandwa. "When I found it, I zoomed down and bang, it just came up. I navigated it all the way from the waterfall where I used to play."
Saroo eventually visited Khandwa, where he found both heartbreak and something like closure. Read the Beeb for details. Meanwhile, movie producers and publishers have apparently taken an interest in Saroo's story -- as it seems likely will Google, whose Google Earth always seemed semi-miraculous anyway, though never so much as now.
Now he's a mayoral candidate again -- as ever, with the Liberal Democrat party -- and at a forum on LGBT issues with his fellow major party candidates, he opened up about having been bullied for his sexual orientation when he was a student, and decried homophobia in the police force.
Mr Paddick said: "When I was in school I remember being manhandled, about to be thrown into a freezing pool of water fully clothed because I was gay, until a teacher intervened.
"I also remember boys trying to strip me naked and luckily my brother found out and came to rescue me."
Mr Paddick, a former Metropolitan Police officer, said: "There needs to be an absolute culture change in the police. I will put that pressure on to deal with racism and homophobia within the police."
The other candidates on-hand -- including incumbent Boris Johnson of the Conservative Party and ex-mayor Ken Livingstone of the Labour Party -- spent their time on the dais trying to out-gay-friendly each other. Livingstone said that London is "gay-friendly" already, but not nearly gay-friendly enough; Johnson boasted of walking "every mile" of the city's annual pride parade, and promised to put out an honest-go-goodness "gay manifesto" before election day.