Americans Have Grown Liberal on Most Cultural Values

❝ Americans continue to express an increasingly liberal outlook on what is morally acceptable, as their views on 10 of 19 moral issues that Gallup measures are the most left-leaning or permissive they have been to date. The percentages of U.S. adults who believe birth control, divorce, sex between unmarried people, gay or lesbian relations, having a baby outside of marriage, doctor-assisted suicide, pornography and polygamy are morally acceptable practices have tied record highs or set new ones this year. At the same time, record lows say the death penalty and medical testing on animals are morally acceptable.

On many of these topics, public acceptance of legality – beyond morality – is even more acceptable. Another giant step. The kicker remains the current power of the gerrymander-kings, the Republican Party, whose viewpoints variously reflect the Confederacy or, say, any Pope before the 20th Century. Tom Price, Jeff Sessions, Betsy DeVos and their fellow Trumpkins will continue to try their best to outlaw contraceptives, legal weed and public schools. Along with every progressive step into reality ever accompanied by an elevted official in the last 100 years.


3-D bioprinter can print human skin

Working prototypeUniversidad Carlos III de Madrid

❝ …A team of researchers has demonstrated, for the first time, that, using the new 3D printing technology, it is possible to produce proper human skin. One of the authors, José Luis Jorcano…head of the Mixed Unit CIEMAT/UC3M in Biomedical Engineering, points out that this skin “can be transplanted to patients or used in business settings to test chemical products, cosmetics or pharmaceutical products in quantities and with timetables and prices that are compatible with these uses.”

❝ This new human skin is one of the first living human organs created using bioprinting to be introduced to the marketplace. It replicates the natural structure of the skin, with a first external layer, the epidermis with its stratum corneum, which acts as protection against the external environment, together with another thicker, deeper layer, the dermis. This last layer consists of fibroblasts that produce collagen, the protein that gives elasticity and mechanical strength to the skin.

❝ Bioinks are key to 3D bioprinting, according to the experts. When creating skin, instead of cartridges and colored inks, injectors with biological components are used. In the words of Juan Francisco del Cañizo, of the Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón and Universidad Complutense de Madrid researcher. “Knowing how to mix the biological components, in what conditions to work with them so that the cells don’t deteriorate, and how to correctly deposit the product is critical to the system.” The act of depositing these bioinks, which are patented by CIEMAT and licensed by the BioDan Group, is controlled by a computer, which deposits them on a print bed in an orderly manner to then produce the skin…

❝ Currently, this development is in the phase of being approved by different European regulatory agencies to guarantee that the skin that is produced is adequate for use in transplants on burn patients and those with other skin problems. In addition, these tissues can be used to test pharmaceutical products, as well as cosmetics and consumer chemical products where current regulations require testing that does not use animals.

I wish folks who rail against technology would look first at the intended use of the tech they hate. Nothing has to be solely useful as weapons of mass destruction. A guy named Alfred Nobel proved that for us.

NASA Satellite Camera records Flashes of Light From Earth

Click to enlarge — Sun glints off stmospheric ice crystals – circled in red

❝ One million miles from Earth, a NASA camera is capturing unexpected flashes of light reflecting off our planet. The homeward-facing instrument on NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory, or DSCOVR, launched in 2015, caught hundreds of these flashes over the span of a year. As keen observers from outside NASA wrote in, questioning the source of these lights, scientists deciphered the tiny cause to the big reflections: high-altitude, horizontally oriented ice crystals…

Investigating the flashes, Alexander Marshak and his colleagues found that similar reflections from our pale blue dot caught the attention of astronomer Carl Sagan in 1993. Sagan was looking at images taken by the Galileo spacecraft, which launched in 1989 to study Jupiter and its moons. During one if its gravitational-assist swings around Earth, Galileo turned its instruments on this planet and collected data. Sagan and his colleagues used that to test a key question: Whether spacecraft could detect signatures of life from afar…

But when the scientists took another took a look at the Galileo images, they saw something Sagan and his colleagues apparently missed — bright flashes of light over land as well as over water. And those flashes appeared in the EPIC images as well. As the contact listed on the website that posts all EPIC images, Marshak started getting emails from people curious about what the flashes were.

❝ Instead, he and his colleagues Tamas Varnai of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and Alexander Kostinski of Michigan Technological University, thought of water elsewhere in the Earth system: ice particles high in the atmosphere. The scientists conducted a series of experiments, detailed in a new paper published in Geophysical Research Letters, to confirm the cause of the distant flashes…

Another feature of the EPIC data helped confirm that the flashes were from a high altitude, not simply water on the ground…”The source of the flashes is definitely not on the ground. It’s definitely ice, and most likely solar reflection off of horizontally oriented particles,” Marshak said.

Gotta love science. Though, I imagine any of the flavors of conspiracy nutball might have explanations more titillating than high altitude ice crystals.