Redefining a Cell

How the Internet of cells has biologists buzzing
Networks of nanotubes may allow cells to share everything from infections and cancer to dementia-linked proteins.

It’s pretty interesting. Here’s just a short excerpt:
“The work has captured imaginations. “It was a seminal paper,” says Okafo. “Prior to that there was still some scepticism about whether these phenomena existed in vivo.” But it’s not clear whether Winkler’s results apply to other scenarios. Various sorts of brain cell are known to send out cell protrusions as they grow and proliferate. The tubes that Winkler’s team reported are much larger than the ‘tunnelling nanotubes’ that were originally described by Gerdes, and, unlike most tunnelling nanotubes reported so far, contain microtubules — filaments that move components around in cells. However, Winkler thinks that his work provides evidence for a broad role for tunnelling-nanotube-like structures. He thinks they may not be able to reach full size in culture, and the tubes he does see vary considerably in length and thickness. Winkler recalls discussing his work with Gerdes before Gerdes’ death in 2013. “He said that this was what the field was waiting for. It was exactly the proof that he thought we could find.”

In other fields, too, the tubes are gaining traction. Eliseo Eugenin, who studies HIV at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark, suggests that HIV-infected cells send out multiple nanotubes filled with virus to reach uninfected cells. Circulation and one-on-one cellular contact would be too inefficient to cause the rapid amplification of the virus seen in newly infected patients. “The mathematics don’t work,” he says. He thinks that other researchers are sceptical of nanotubes because they are unable to reconcile themselves to the idea that cells are constantly exchanging materials, including genetic information. “Our definition of a cell is falling apart,” Eugenin says. “That is why people don’t believe in these tubes, because we have to change the definition of a cell.”

Battle lines
When the definition of the cell is at stake, it is little wonder that scepticism remains strong. Emil Lou, a cancer researcher at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, says his grant proposal to hunt for and characterize nanotubes in human cancers was pooh-poohed because a reviewer was not convinced that the structures existed.

Others argue that they do exist — but only in the rarefied world of the Petri dish. Michael Dustin, an immunologist at the University of Oxford, UK, says that he has seen cells in dishes form structures that would never occur in the dense tissue of an organism. For example, white blood cells primed to produce antibodies produce a “beautifully symmetric” bull’s-eye pattern in a dish, very different from the chaos and asymmetry they show in the body.”

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The Pursuit of Truth

Gilbert de Tournai in the 14th century: “Never will we find truth if we content ourselves with what is already known… Those things that have been written before us are not laws but guides. The truth is open to all, for it is not yet totally possessed.

Fra. Giordano in Florence in 1306: Not all the arts have been found; we shall never see an end to finding them. Every day one could discover a new art.”

Li Yen-chang in China around the same era, : If scholars are made to concentrate their attention solely on the classics and are prevented from sipping into study of the vulgar practices of later generations, then the empire will be fortunate indeed.”

From Rodney Stark’s Victory of REason

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Headlines here and there

Two homosexual men share how God reached out to them and made them leave the emptiness of same sex relationships behind.

http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/268238/mathematics-%E2%80%A6whiteness-jack-kerwick There was a time when I would carefully try to sift through articles like this and acknowledge any valid point that might be hidden amongst the pile of dog doo. That time is over. This is harmful stuff.
“Gutierrez laments that we regard mathematics “as if it is a natural reflection of the universe,” occurring “outside of human influence,” “encoding the universe with eternal truths, a natural order of things that should not be questioned.” Thus, “mathematics is viewed as a version of the world that is proper, separate from humans, where no emotions or agendas take place.”

Mathematics becomes normative, the benchmark of clear thinking, due to “its perceived purity [.]”

Gutierrez maintains that this value-neutral, normative conception of mathematics has had “lasting” and negative “effects” on legions of people who are “not viewed as mathematical”—which is another way of saying that they are not viewed as intelligent. “So many people,” Gutierrez continues, “have experienced trauma, microaggressions from participating in math classrooms where the idea of being a successful person, being an intelligent person, is removing oneself from the context, not involving emotions, not involving the body, and being judged by whether one can reason abstractly.” But read it all. It’s time to stop ceding ground to people who have so little respect for the minds of students and others.

NPR editor on leave after accusations of sexual harassment. Was this one another ‘open secret?’

Democrat group runs a nasty ad depicting conservatives trying to mow down children in a truck. They pulled it the day after an actual immigrant did mow down and murder several people with a vehicle, while yelling Allahu Ackbar. More here.
The killer is a Muslim immigrant from Uzbeki who came here in 2010 because he won a green card in the diversity lottery which is a think which should have stopped being a thing some years ago. 8 people are dead, nearly all of them also foreign born (several were tourists). I’m sure their survivors are proud of our diversity program.

http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/268265/illegal-alien-voting-lloyd-billingsley Yes, there is plenty of evidence of voter fraud. IT’s not that hard. Democrats consider that a feature, not a bug. Incidentally, identity theft is a huge part of illegal immigration. Illegal immigration is not a victim free crime.

https://www.apnews.com/fa3b81a105f34aaf9ad325a0ace63f0a/Power-of-anti-Trump-resistance-in-question-in-Virginia-race
” Virginia’s gubernatorial election stands as a test for the anti-Donald Trump resistance, and whether it can energize voters and donors for the less glamorous races featuring traditional Democratic politicians.”
“Northam bested former Rep. Tom Perriello, a populist favorite of the resistance who was backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, in the Democratic primary. Sanders’ political operation, Our Revolution, recently endorsed six Democrats running for the state House of Delegates, but did not endorse Northam. Diane May, a spokeswoman for the group, said it can only endorse candidates recommended by local members and none in Virginia recommended Northam.

Some activists say it’s obvious that the liberal wing of the party isn’t as engaged in the governor’s race.”

“Michael Casentini, 41, a small business owner in Los Angeles, was devastated by Trump’s election and desperate for ways to fight back. In May, he wrote a $215 check to Ossoff as that race became a rallying cry for the anti-Trump resistance.

Casentini obsessively follows the news, so he knows there’s a tight race for Virginia governor next month. But he didn’t know the name of the Democratic candidate.

“People are tired, people are exhausted,” Casentini said in an interview.

But after talking about the Virginia race with a reporter, he said he realized he should make a donation to Northam. “That’s another one we liberals need to jump on,” Casentini said.”

Wait. What? After talking with a reporter he realized he needed to make a donation to Northam? That smells fishy to me. Who put this reporter in touch with Casentini? What was it the reporter said that made him realize he needed to donate to Northam? Why and how?

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4806082/north-korea-nuclear-base-collapses-killing-at-least-200-people-local-reports-claim-amid-fears-of-massive-radioactive-leak/amp/
“A TUNNEL at an underground North Korea nuclear site has reportedly collapsed killing up to 200 people.
The disaster happened at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site in the north-east of the country on October 10, according to Japan’s TV Asahi.”
Experts are worried about radioactive spills, a disaster like Chernobyl. I am not remotely an expert but I do wonder if it was really an accident or was it sabotage or some sort of attack to hinder the insane leader of North Korea nuclear program. There might be another reason besides mere diplomacy that China and South Korea have agreed to work together on denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23231001-400-the-world-in-2076-the-population-bomb-did-go-off-but-were-ok/
The Population Bomb- it was a dud. We were lied to. Nobody is going to be called to account for those lies. Meanwhile, we have a birth dearth, an aging population that didn’t bother to replace themselves and now want to impose a great deal of debt on other people’s children for their care.

I do not trust the internet of things.

New meaning to junk food. Corals eat plastic because they like it.http://www.nhregister.com/news/article/Corals-eat-plastic-because-we-ve-made-it-tasty-12317049.php

Special forces capture leader of Beghazi attack.

This is fun- last NOvember’s big anti Trump rally organized by Russian group.

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About the Little Boys

A few long time readers have asked, and I haven’t answered because I haven’t been sure what to say. I still am not sure what to say.

The barest bones: Their mother made some horrible choices that put them in an untenable situation. We kept the boys for the holidays the year before we moved here, and then scraped together the funds to get the family into their own apartment and get the power turned on. Their mom had a job. The boys had less and less interest in seeing us or spending time with us and she never contacted us at all.
We moved here. A few months after we got here she was not working and quit paying the rent or the bills. Our deposits (on rent and utilities) are gone, which, honestly, we knew would happen but it’s not something I’m overjoyed about anyway. Worse, they were evicted and the oldest boy called our oldest girl and was asking when we were coming back.

You can insert a world of heart-ache and tears here. The mother did want us to give her another place to live, but we cannot do that and don’t think it would help her anyway.

They have moved to another state and are staying with a relative. Both the HM and I are still in touch with the oldest boy via social media. He’s not happy.

Add more heart-ache and tears.

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Crossing the Street in the Philippines

I should say, rather, crossing the street in Davao. I don’t know what it’s like elsewhere in the country. I know this. There are, I am told, laws about jay-walking. They are almost never enforced. Periodically there will be a kind of a crackdown and in that case there will be an announcement, word of mouth will spread the announcement and people will be more careful. But mostly, this is how it works:

I am told that a couple years ago all of the children in one of the lower classes missed the same question on an American normed standardized test- whether they were American or not. The question was: Where do you cross the street?

You stand wherever it is you need to cross the street, corners are favored, particularly the busier the road and possibly if there are streetlights you would go to the corner, but otherwise, they are not required. You look for, not exactly a gap in traffic, but a vehicle that will have time to stop when you cross the road. You do not wait for traffic to stop! That is important. You don’t wait for them to stop, you just look for the gap you trust will give them time to stop. Then you hold up your hand facing the driver you wish to stop for you while simultaneously getting some quick eye contact as you go ahead and step into the road and through the traffic in a very slightly bowed posture, and you cross the street- that arm up, or rather out, most of the time. It doesn’t have to be over your head. Your arm could be bent at the elbow. It’s a gesture of thanks, supplication, acknowledgement, intention, I am not exactly sure which of these or maybe all of them. What it is not, is a command. Your hand out, head slightly bowed and feet moving through, traffic will stop. Nobody will honk at you for crossing the street without a crosswalk. (if you are walking down the road sometimes a motorcyclist or driver *behind* you will give a quick tap to the horn, not in anger or disdain, but to let you know of his presence so you can move over to the side of the road and make sure you’re safe).

If you have a child like the Cherub, slower and clearly unable to help it, sometimes a driver in the front might even maneuver a bit diagonally so as to block passing cars (not always, just sometimes), or another bystander will step out to hold up a hand for traffic for you, since both hands may be occupied with keeping your Cherub upright and on the move.

NOw, this may take you only to the middle of the road- traffic coming the other direction will not stop until you get to the halfway point. A couple of times, not often, but on very, very busy traffic days, I’ve had to stand in the middle of the road another minute or so before I feel confidant about stopping traffic with just my supplicatory hand.

Here’s the other thing that amazes me- if there are puddles in the road, you will *not* be splashed. There is a short stretch of the busy main road we have to walk between school and home where there is no sidewalk. We have to walk on the road. There are often deep puddles there because of the nearly daily rains and the bad drainage. I braced myself the first dozen times we had to walk there, expecting to be sprayed by the wake of passing traffic. They slow down and swerve a bit to avoid the puddles when there are pedestrians nearby.

Now think about what this means for people who move from here to any country with western style traffic laws and patterns.
And think about what it means for standardized testing at international schools.

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