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NEWS: HIV-Killing Stem Cells, Soul-Killing Websites, Southern States, And South Paws

Virus Road 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.

Miami Road A huge and hugely interesting New Yorker article about myth-making and the Titanic.

Road Kim Jong-un makes first speech to North Korean people; boasts of military supremacy.

Road Illinois legislators unlikely to pursue marriage equality in 2012.

Road Chaz and a cast of thousands celebrate Pride in Miami.

Road Laurel Snyder dares to ask: Do I get to be religious if I give up my religion?

Road Peterson Toscano's long journey from reparative therapy -- and Zambia.

Road 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.

Road 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.

Leftorium_400 Road 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.

Road 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.

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  1. Why are you reporting on a cohabitation study from 2001? I don't believe it, and it's dated.

    Also, who is surprised that Zuckerberg would be isolated? He's a jerky genius. Those types don't tend to do well socially. It's clear from the first scenes of the movie. Facebook is doing pretty well for being under a supposed cloud of suspicion.

    Posted by: Paul R | Apr 15, 2012 7:31:59 PM

  2. It's funny how the most conservative southern states are the most broke.
    keep voting against your own best interests because the politicians talked about "the gays" when they came to visit you, rather than anything to do with how they're screwing you financially.

    broke, uneducated, in need but voting GOP because of Jeebus.

    yeah. that makes sense.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Apr 15, 2012 7:59:12 PM

  3. and thoroughly encouraging news on the stem-cell front. truly.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Apr 15, 2012 8:02:58 PM

  4. Funny, I was reading the Atlantic article on social media just minutes ago. I've been saying to people for years that Facebook is a great way to limit relationships. In the age of Twitter and the character limit; of limited attention spans and sound bites; of caller ID and texting rather than talking; our relationships are becoming more shallow and more about the control of interactions rather than learning how to deal with opposing viewpoints and personalities different from our own. Just yesterday, I was called out by someone I consider a friend and not an acquaintance on Facebook for disagreeing with something she posted. Facebook etiquette, she informed me, is that one only comments when one agrees; otherwise, say nothing. Certainly, we all like being agreed with, but one would think it would be okay to disagree with a friend. Facebook is a great way to ignore people rather than deal with any dissonance. Or if there is dissonance, as there often is on these message boards, we "stand our ground" and shoot to kill. A lot of talking at and not with.

    Posted by: TJ | Apr 15, 2012 9:02:15 PM

  5. Nailed it TJ. Again.
    There's no substitute for face to face conversation. And in the age of instant online interaction, we can all have an opinion, which is good, but we can also take our time in rebuttal. Which does nothing to sharpen up our thinking. Conversation in real time, face to face, is where we're challenged, and where we rise up, if we can.

    Posted by: scotsyank | Apr 15, 2012 9:25:55 PM

  6. and remember this: the future President of the United States of America is currently a teen on facebook.

    it's literally changed the game.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Apr 15, 2012 9:44:17 PM

  7. SCOTSYANK: In the interest of acknowledging another human being, and not take too much time to respond, I'll just, genuinely, say, "hey, thanks for reading." ;)

    Posted by: TJ | Apr 15, 2012 10:39:45 PM

  8. I've been too busy Facebooking to watch the movie :P

    Posted by: REF | Apr 16, 2012 6:54:33 AM

  9. The findings from the NMP/Rutgers/UofV survey are so misleading in the most crucial way. It's laughable, actually.

    Posted by: JD | Apr 16, 2012 6:54:37 AM

  10. Little Canadian,

    There are a few southern states in the deep south like Mississippi and Alabama good examples, that have cheesy economies. But places like Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, are prosperous states with big populations that continue to grow. Texas [a western/southern state] is a huge powerhouse economically, politically, and socially. Florida, a quasi-southern state, has 20 million people [2/3rds the population of Canada] and is not a 'poor' state.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Apr 16, 2012 9:43:51 AM

  11. Well Ratbastard, that depends on what Little Kiwi was referring to. The economies of several Southern states are healthy and on the rise.

    But when you look at poverty rates, Southern states are disproportionately high. Which is what I think he was referring to by saying people were voting against their own self-interests. And as a Southerner who grew up in the Southern Baptist church, I can confirm that tons of people do in fact vote Republican because the church tells them to.

    Posted by: BEAHBEAH | Apr 16, 2012 10:03:38 AM

  12. The evangelicals are going to really hate stem cells if they could save the lives of gay men.

    Re: Left-handedness - baseball is a one-on-one sport?

    Posted by: Craig | Apr 16, 2012 1:49:13 PM

  13. So why, TJ, considering what you write, are you aiding and abbetting the decline of decent human communication and relationship by having an account on Facebook?

    Posted by: Sqqueak | Apr 16, 2012 3:29:21 PM


    Actually, I ask myself that question quite frequently. Then, a real friend comments, reaches out, acknowledges. Almost makes it worth it. But then those are generally people with whom I have flesh and blood relationships with as well, so there's that. I even thought, in the last week, to message the people I care about with a reminder of my email address and say, "you know where to find me"

    I've received a great deal of genuine support and interaction. And I have gotten nada when, had I spoken the words face-to-face, there would have been nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. One friend posted a fundraiser for children afflicted with the same developmental disorder his daughter has. After contributing, i posted the link on my page. Crickets. Sadder still, he has hundreds more "friends" than i have. Yet, he fell short of his goal.

    But I'm not just pointing fingers. I am guilty of relying on "like" to show support rather than taking the few extra seconds to make a personal response. It makes being a "friend" so easy, when being a true friend is anything but. And shouldn't be. I like that I can message friends. I so seldom do. Because Facebook gives me the easy option. I can "like," or even when posting, limit my post to few enough words. Because that's what you do.

    Facebook also lowers my expectations.. If I can't be bothered, why should I expect bother from others? If I can be lazy, can I expect more from others? It's a slippery slope.

    And that's basically my point. Facebook is a slippery slope to the shallow, the facile, the cursory in relationships, when the greatest joys in life are gained through effort, engagement, and vulnerability.

    Posted by: TJ | Apr 17, 2012 2:58:10 AM

  15. And more to the point: Unless one has followed this thread and has an interest, and is moved to respond, my last post falls on blind eyes. And even if is read, unless you respond, I'll never know. It's a chance we all take (because we all want to be read, and heard). My expectation of validation through this forum is limited. But on Facebook, with friends, I wish I could expect more. Yet the medium makes less so damn easy.

    Posted by: TJ | Apr 17, 2012 3:15:01 AM

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