Thought of the day

Who still doesn’t take debit? Honestly. It’s 2010.

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New Comedy Central show spurs outrage from poorly named organization

Comedy Central is mulling over a new show called “JC” that will be about Jesus living in modern day New York. It will probably be moderately funny and then get canceled in a couple of seasons (if it’s even that lucky). Unless, of course, the religious get their undue respect and prevent it from airing at all.

Yesterday, the newly-formed Citizens Against Religious Bigotry blasted the cartoon, charging the cable channel with a double standard. In April, Comedy Central censored a “South Park” episode that featured the prophet Muhammad in a bear costume after a radical Muslim group threatened the show creators online. The group of religious and conservative leaders also fired off letters to 250 advertisers, urging them not to buy time on “JC.”

It has apparently been lost on these respect-demanders that religion is the marketplace for bigotry. That may be because they don’t seem to have a definition of bigotry in the first place, but thought isn’t really the point of these groups. They just want to maintain the status quo where religion gets respect it has never earned.

And I love the so-called double standard issue. It’s a logical fallacy – “You weren’t mean to the other guy!” So what? Besides, the point of not showing Muhammad was so they wouldn’t get attacked by those motivated by the most violent religion in the world right now.

I look forward to this fall line up.

June 6

Promising skin cancer news

One of the oldest treatments for cancer in the modern era is to stimulate the immune system. William Coley was one of the pioneers in this technique, coming up with Coley’s Toxin in the late 19th century. This was a mixture that basically involved infecting patients with the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes. Coley claimed fantastic results, but he kept his records poorly. I don’t know if he ever lied – there is no direct evidence which says he did – but his results were almost always questionable. Besides that, he tended to lose patients to bacterial infections from time to time.

Cancer research lost some of its focus on the immune system in the early part of the 20th century, Coley’s toxin was reclassified into oblivion by the FDA, and governments really didn’t supply the funds for research they should have. Research, however, has long come back around to looking at the immune system and how it can help fight cancerous cells. One of the most recent results has to do with a new drug, Ipilimumab, which is for patients with melanoma

The results, reported Saturday at a cancer conference, left doctors elated.

“We have not had any therapy that has prolonged survival” until now, said Dr. Lynn Schuchter of the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, a skin cancer specialist with no role in the study or ties to the drug’s maker.

The drug, ipilimumab, (ip-ee-LIM-uh-mab), works by helping the immune system fight tumors. The federal Food and Drug Administration has pledged a quick review, and doctors think the drug could be available by the end of this year.

Ipilimumab is a T-cell potentiator. T-cells basically have antigens which help to regulate immune responses. These antigens inhibit ‘overreactions’ within the immune system. What ipilimumab does is block this inhibition. It says to the immune system, ‘Run wild, you’re free!’

The increased survival rate is great when measured by percentage – 67% – but the practical numbers only mean a few more months of life. That’s how a lot of cancer research goes, unfortunately, and it makes it all so much less of an elation. But this is still hopeful. It’s good progress on the cancer front. (But do keep in mind, this is just one study for one type of cancer, interesting and promising as it may be.)

Huh

Someone searched these terms to get to FTSOS:

bowel tumor fox terrier

It’s unclear just how that road leads to this site, but here we are, I guess.