A new body part and the 50th Bite Sci-zed Video! Continue reading
This gallery contains 6 photos.
Steel wool and a nine volt battery create iron oxide is a sparkling reaction!
By: Myles Power Edited by: Peter & Hannah
I recently watched the AIDS denialist film ‘House of Numbers’ for a second time, to see if I had missed anything. As it turns out, I did miss something upon my first viewing. One of the people featured in the movie either has a super power, or is a time lord. Christine Maggiore (a prominent AIDS denier who died of AIDS before House of Numbers was released) has the ability to travel through time!!! She showed us an example of her using this power whilst talking about her experiences with various HIV tests.
She says that in 1992 she got tested for HIV as a matter of “social responsibility” and was “shocked and devastated and horrified when the results came back positive” – as we all would be. She later went on to say that a week later, she took the results of the test to an AIDS specialist who said, “This isn’t a positive test. I don’t know what this test means.” At the same time that she is saying this, we are shown her results, and we can see that samples were collected from Christine on 02/24/92 (24/02/92 for everyone in the UK who knows how to write a date correctly), and that she was tested using two different methods. The first was an ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) screening test for HIV antibodies – in which she tested positive. The second test was a Western blot, which looks for specific HIV proteins within a HIV-infected cell. Christine tested positive for P24 (HIV capsize protein) and gp120/160 (HIV envelope glycoprotein and its un-cleaved precursor) but not for any other bands. A possible reason for why no other bands were detected is that Christine could have been recently infected with HIV and this test was taken before the full range of antibodies had developed. I flat out do not believe that an AIDS specialist would not know what this means – especially considering directly underneath, it it tells you the criteria for a test result to be HIV positive.
Screen capture of Christine first HIV test (24/02/92)
Myles Power interviews Charlie Veitch about why he changed his mind about 9/11 and what happened to him after he did.
Look what I brought back from diving!
By: Myles Power Edited by: Peter
In this final instalment of ‘what the hell is Hank Green’s problem with genetic engineering?!?!’ I am going to discuss the final two minutes of the video ’Glowing Rats and Extreme Genetic Engineering‘.
The final portion of the video mostly consists of a Skype conversation with Eric Hoffman – the Genetic Technology Policy Campaigner for Friends of the Earth and one of the authors of the report ‘The Principles for the Oversight of Synthetic Biology’. Now, you are probably thinking that someone who has such an advanced position, not to mention a specialist in a specific scientific field, would have an advanced degree in that field. You would be wrong. Eric does not have a degree in chemistry, biology or any other scientific field. Instead, Eric has a bachelor of arts in political science and a minor in environmental studies from St. Mary’s College of Maryland ಠ_ಠ. Even though Eric is extremely under-qualified, the people at Friends of the Earth believe that he has the knowledge and skills to talk about a variety of genetic engineering topics. Eric also believes that he is “protecting people and the environment from emerging genetic technologies such as ownership and control of human genes, human genetic engineering, animal cloning, animal genetic engineering and synthetic biology”. I know a lot of people reading this will be thinking “Myles it does not matter about someones qualifications all that matters is the accuracy of their claims” and to you people I say “check out his blog which is solely about genetic engineering”. There you will find the uninformed ramblings of a man who does not understand the subject he is talking about. In the blog, Eric only talks about the applications of genetic engineering on a very superficial level, never discussing in detail what the scientists are trying to do and how they plan to accomplish it. He never gives links to peer reviewed literature that backs up his beliefs that genetic engineering is bad – instead he gives links to petitions against the technology as if that somehow counts as evidence against it. There is no beef; no substance; nothing to back up anything he says, and it is beyond me as to why Hank and others at SciShow would care what this under-qualified man thinks about synthetic biology.
Eric Hoffman – Genetic Technology Policy Campaigner for Friends of the Earth
Hank tells us that Eric believes that the “technology is outpacing the research that is needed to understand the risks of synthetic biology”. Fitting with the rest of the video, neither Hank or Eric reference anything to back up this claim and this is simply Hank passing off Eric’s opinion as fact. Eric later goes on to say that “Thankfully the field is still in its infancy, and we want to make sure that it is regulated from the get go”. Again, I must stress that most scientists think the term ‘synthetic biology’ is a buzz word, and therefore not a new technology. Regarding regulation, the fact is that synthetic biology products – like all genetically modified organisms – have to stick to strict guidelines regarding production, containment, ethics, etc. I am not saying that there’s no more room for regulating, but implying that it’s not regulated from the get go is extremely misleading. Also after reading Eric’s report (The Principles for the Oversight of Synthetic Biology) it is obvious that he is not interested in regulating the technology, but instead is trying to stop synthetic biology altogether. The report is nothing more than a propaganda fear piece, which states that synthetic biology WILL! disrupt eco-systems, farming, fishing, etc; that it WILL! threaten human health and undermine social, economic and cultural rights; all without explaining the mechanism of it’s action.
By: Myles Power Edited by: Hannah & Peter
I have previously discussed, in part 1, how Hank Green from SciShow is guilty of voicing his own biased and uninformed opinions on the subject of genetic engineering. In his videos, Hank is not representing the views of the scientific community and is instead voicing his own uninformed opinions on a branch of science he perceives to be dangerous. I have shown how Hank is more than capable of cherry-picking highly discredited research that backs up his own views, whilst ignoring the mountains of data that contradicts them. Hank also shows that he is not above fear mongering when he calls synthetic biology an “extreme form of genetic engineering”. In this article I am going to show more examples of Hank’s bias, as well as his lack of knowledge and understanding of synthetic biology in the video ‘Glowing Rats and Extreme Genetic Engineering‘.
Screen capture from the video ’Glowing Rats and Extreme Genetic Engineering‘
At around the one minute mark, Hank begins to talk about what synthetic biology actually is. He says, “We are talking about inventing new biological functions in systems; things not found in nature” and later goes on to say, “Scientists are now able to write a new genetic code from scratch and insert it into an organism.” As an example of this new technology, Hank talks about the first cell with a synthetic genome, created by John Venter in 2010. Here, unknown to Hank, he has contradicted himself and has also managed to get the definition of synthetic biology wrong. The truth is there is no black and white definition of synthetic biology, as it overlaps with many other arms of science and uses an array of well understood and researched techniques. As I have previously said, this has led some scientists into believing that synthetic biology is nothing more than a buzzword, and simply an extension of “normal everyday old school” genetic engineering. Synthetic biology however does not exclusively deal with new code that is not found in nature; nor does it exclusively use DNA that has been made by a DNA synthesiser.