The Argument Against Stem Cell Research and Why This Will No Longer be a Problem in the Future

The reason stem cell research is controversial for some is because it is viewed as damaging and harvesting from one life to help another. This argument may be obsolete in the future as scientists are now discovering ways to create stem cells from cells within the body (e.g. skin cells etc.). The traditional method to create a stem cell was to take a skin cell, remove the deoxyribonucleic acid from its nucleus, placing it into an egg which does not have deoxyribonucleic acid but is capable of changing deoxyribonucleic acid, turning it into a stem cell which has the patients genome ascribed unto it. The new method involves placing 4 genes into the nucleus of the skin cell and allowing time to pass, as the genes reorganize the deoxyribonucleic acid so that it begins to appear as stem cell deoxyribonucleic acid, which changes the skin cell and causes it to shrink, losing its outside, converting it into an embryonic stem cell with the only difference between this method and traditional embryonic stem cell creation method being that this technique contains the deoxyribonucleic acid of the patient it is being inserted into. The 4 genes inserted into the cell create 4 proteins which exist naturally within an egg. These proteins trigger the skin cell deoxyribonucleic acid to arrange itself identically to how it would within an embryonic stem cell. Scientists refer to this type of cell as “induced pluripotent stem cells”, commonly abbreviated as “IPS cells”. Ideally, scientists want induced pluripotent stem cells to function identically to natural embryonic stem cells, avoiding the creation of unwanted cells which can lead to cancer. Researchers have discovered that some laboratory created stem cells fail to carry out the task provided and worse yet, some cause cancer to develop. Scientists are currently pursuing 2 paths to alleviate this problem, the first being the attempt to develop induced pluripotent stem cells which function identically to natural embryonic stem cells and the second being to create a system to recognize which induced pluripotent stem cells will fail in an effort to exclude these cells from being inserted into the human body

The Myth of Python Snakes Strangling Prey

It is a myth that pythons suffocate their prey into submission and eventual death as they are technically causing obstructive shock of the circulatory system. This is performed by creating force pressure capable of exceeding the ability of the heart to compress, with this pressure focused tightly within the center of the heart, causing death as a direct result. As soon as pressure is elevated above what the heart utilizes to pump and eject blood throughout the circulatory system, the cardiac system becomes unable to eject blood causing prey to pass out within 10 – 20 seconds, similar in structure to how a headlock cuts off oxygen from the brain and causes a human opponent to pass out. As a python coils, it begins contracting its muscles to generate this tremendous crush pressure, referred to as “circumferential pressure”. To provide frame of reference, circumferential pressure is the type of pressure applied when a saturated cloth is rung out to expel all liquid. The blood pressure of prey typically doubles in stature after being constricted (e.g. moving from 120/80 to 250/160 to 300/200 over the course of 12.5 minutes), enough to cause syncope, a cerebral vascular accident, and death in most mammals. Sphygmomanometers typically exert 140 – 160 millimeters of mercury during a routine blood pressure examination, enough to cause blood perfusion to be cut off during measurement and pain to develop if the duration of the examination is extended for any reason. Python snakes are capable of applying 2x – 3x this rate of pressure, directly upon the neck or thorax of their prey. It is currently unknown if this ability can be increased when required (e.g. emergency situation of an animal escaping etc.)

The Coca Leaf Extraction Process to Manufacture Cocaine

The cocaine extraction process is complicated but begins with workers shredding the leaves of the coca plant into fine particulate with machinery (e.g. weed trimmer etc.) after which cement powder is added, then sulphuric acid dissolved in water, with the leaves then being placed into an oil drum and doused with gasoline. The mixture is left to sit for an extended period of time so that the cocaine itself can be extracted from the coca leaf. The oil drum mixture is stirred continuously using a large rod and then poured through a filter into another container where battery acid is introduced. The battery acid is sulphuric acid making it similar to the first few steps but it is slightly different as it is diluted with water to become no greater than a 37% concentrate. Battery acid helps to separate the cocaine liquid from the gasoline, with 90% of the barrel being gasoline and 10% at the bottom being pure liquid cocaine. Because the gasoline and liquid cocaine have different specific densities, plantation workers place a hose into the bottom of the barrel so that the liquid cocaine can be extracted, either using a pump or gravity by manually sucking on the hose until liquid cocaine starts flowing through. Pure liquid cocaine is clear like water, and has an acidic, bitter, strong taste. Sodium bicarbonate is then added as it helps to eradicate the excess gasoline and battery acid which remains and turns the liquid white. Once the liquid is dried, it begins to resemble cocaine but the process is not yet complete. The dried powder is then cooked on a stove top and stirred continuously to remove further impurities, the top layer is then removed the same way soup skin is removed with a brown colored liquid left remaining which is cocaine. The brown liquid is spread onto a baking pan and left to dry. It is this paste that is passed onto drug cartels to then be distributed internationally

Textile Pollution of the Citarum River in Indonesia

The Citarum River (pronounced “chit-ah-rum”) in Indonesia is considered to be the most heavily polluted river in the world with over 400 textile factories situated nearby which choose to dump their industrial waste directly into the river itself, treating the river as a sewer system which carries away waste. The problem is so intense that the Indonesian military has been implemented to help clean up the area but corporations have resorted to dumping their waste products at night and because the unseen chemicals are the real threat to those living near the river, these companies are permitted to continue dumping as no one can definitively prove their culpability without scientific measurements which are difficult to ascertain as Indonesia is a developing country. Corporations have even begun to strategically place their waste pipes under water so that they can pollute with impunity as no one can physically see the pollution being dumped. Water darker than its surroundings, steam, bubbles, and froth are all key signs which activists use to spot these illegal port systems. It’s difficult to pin point which factories produce textiles for western companies as western companies virtually always refuse to disclose which factories they work with. Some of the largest corporations in fashion (e.g. H&M, the Gap, Levi’s etc.) have revealed their sources but even with this disclosure, some of these companies have been linked to factories within this region. Indonesia isn’t a top 5 global producer of textiles, so to say that Indonesia is part of an even larger problem, is an accurate statement. Most people who live near the Citaum River use the river for bathing, drinking, and/or cooking, and noticeable dermatological effects have been noticed by those living within the area. The primary problem with the Citarum River is with heavy metals (e.g. mercury, cadmium, lead, arsenic etc.). Long term exposure to these substances can cause neurological problems as brain function becomes permanently damaged. These heavy metals are so dire that they can actually lower the intelligence quotient of children who are developing and attending their education. 28,000,000 (28 million) people rely upon the Citarum River daily and eat foods (e.g. rice) irrigated with its waters. Human rights activists have engaged these corporations by physically blocking piping and ducts which have caused the affected corporations to start hiring mercenary criminals to follow and attack those known to be a part of this resistance. Western consumers are the primary cause and possible solution for this problem because if there are no clients willing to purchase the garments, the industry as a whole will shift, not because of political pressure or governmental oversight, but rather because of sales. The problem is not centralized in Indonesia as other developing countries (e.g. India, Bangladesh, China etc.) are equally negatively impacted

The Rationale Why Pharmaceutical Organizations are Not Incentivized to Develop Antibiotics and Why This is Dangerous for the Worlds Next Pandemic

Within 5 short years of release, approximatly 20% of antibiotics become subject to resistance from bacterial pathogens which means that antibiotic proliferation is chronologically limited within its life expectancy. Coupled with this, if an antibiotic is highly effective, the scientific and medical community often rally against its usage so that such a tool can be saved in reserve for a global bacterial pandemic. In either scenario, return upon investment is less than what it would be with a different class of medication (e.g. selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor, statin, hypnotic etc.) which is why pharmaceutical organizations are less interested in research and development dedicated to antibiotic medicine in favor of other, more profitable medication categories. This lack of investment however is myopic and will inevitably backfire upon the pharmaceutical industry as a whole if new antibiotics are not developed because medications used to treat cancer will become less in demand due to the fact that cancer patients are highly likely to acquire an infection during treatment when their immune system is comprised, with this infection often killing the patient if antibiotic solutions are not available. This would expectedly lead to a sharp decline in cancer medication treatment and subsequently pharmaceutical sales of related medications as patients would be likely to adopt living the rest of their life as fully as possible and forgoing treatment as they would be damned if they accept the cancer treatment and develop an infection which kills them but also damned if they don’t accept the treatment and let the cancer run its course which is almost always fatal

To provide comparison of the research, development, and manufacturing contrast between oncology medications and antibiotics, as of 2020, there are currently 800 medications in development for cancer and hypertension whilst only 28 antibiotic medications undergoing that same research phase and development process, with 2 of these antibiotics expected to become fully developed and able to reach the market and patients. The last new antibiotic class, lipopeptides, were introduced in 1984 with a gap referred to as an “antibiotic void” occurring during the 1990’s, 2000’s, 2010’s, and now moving into the 2020’s. The urgency of this threat is projected to become dire within the coming decades, with scientists predicting that by 2050, medicine could potentially come full circle to the pre-antibiotic era, with microbes which are completely and totally resistant to every antibiotic known to medicine

A Revolutionary Breakthrough in Oncology Treatment

Cancer kills 9,000,000 (9 million) people each year and despite having searched for centuries, a cure has yet to be discovered by scientists. At the center of the immune system is the T cell, a type of leukocyte which respond against bacterial and viral infections alike in an effort to keep their host healthy and alive. T cells determine between threatening and non-threatening foreign and non-foreign bodies within a host by leveraging a molecule upon the surface of all cells referred to as the “T cell receptor”. Jim Allison was the first person to successfully isolate and purify the molecule which recognizes this lock and key model for infectious disease, auto-immune disease, and other innocuous substances within the body be they foreign or internally created. In 1987, French scientist Pierre Golstein and his team discovered a new protein upon the surface of T cells which he named “CTLA-4”. To study CTLA-4 in laboratory rats, Allison had to build and design a rat antibody, a Y shaped protein which would trigger a reaction by CTLA-4. Cancers are mutations and should in theory be visible to the immune system, which is why the scientific community has struggled with the paradox of why tumors go undetected by the immune system for decades. There is no discernible reason as to why the immune system can recognize and resist influenza or any other foreign or domestic body but not cancer. Allison theorized that tumors have evolved an ability to fool the immune system, engaging CTLA-4 which turns on the T cells response to halt its search and destroy measures. Allison hypothesized that if he inserted a Y shaped antibody to block the gap in between the tumor and T cells, the tumor would no longer have its ability to hide, a trait which has been evolved by tumor cells over hundreds of millions of years. This would allow the T cell to infiltrate, attack from within the tumor, shrink, and ultimately kill the growth. Allison spent the next decade trying to turn this revolutionary breakthrough discovery into a medication which could be provided to cancer patients. Allison found Alan Korman, a scientist creating medications for auto-immune disease which provided him with the expert he required to turn this idea into a reality. Korman was tasked with taking the CTLA-4 antibody which Allison and partner Max Krummell developed for laboratory rats, and turn it into a medication which could safely work within human beings with this medication subsequently being named “Ipilimumab” (pronounced “ipi-lim-ooh-mab”). Korman ended up collaborating with a friend from graduate school, Nils Lonberg to accomplish this task. Ipilimumab consists of an intramuscular injection into the leg and a 90 minute intravenous medication drip in comparison to chemotherapy and radiation therapy which take months of treatment to complete and have devastating effects upon overall health as both bad and good tissue are destroyed in an effort to eradicate all tumor cells. Allison’s work with laboratory rats demonstrated that with the help of this newly developed antibody, T cells gained the ability enter into tumors and expand their size in an effort to destroy them from the inside out. This means that the fact that tumors grow initially upon administration is a positive marker and indicative of the medication working as it demonstrates successful infiltration of the tumor cells themselves. Patients often report feeling better after a few treatment sessions, sometimes even a single session, despite computer tomography scans demonstrating that their tumors are growing larger, which under normal circumstances would make a patient feel worse. Some patients even noted increased improvement after having stopped the Ipilimumab treatment, with no further therapy required. On March 25, 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released approval for Ipilimumab. Ipilimumab and its successors have treated nearly 1,000,000 (1 million) patients worldwide with many of these patients achieving permanent remission which is essentially the definition of having been cured of cancer. Although these medications do not work in every single case, they have definitively demonstrated to be a miracle medication for hundreds of thousands of people thus far. After completing this revolutionary discovery, Allison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2018 for his series of discoveries related to T cells and their ability to halt cancer in its progression in perpetuity

The Ancient Greek Philosopher Thales 

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The Ancient Greek philosopher Thales, considered the world’s first philosopher by Aristotle, used geometry to calculate the distance of ships from the shoreline, the height of the Great Pyramids of Egypt, was the first person to predict a solar eclipse, and posited a cause for earthquakes. Thales perceived that the earth floated upon water like a giant raft which of course was wrong, but his scientific inquiry into the reasons as to why things occur rather than attributing it to the god’s was the first glimmering scintillation of a revolutionary way of thinking. Thales inspired more great minds like Pythagoras who developed the concept that numbers and mathematics could explain the universe, and Hippocrates who developed an ethical code for practicing medicine