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Today in Bioprinting: A Dog Tests Out 3D Printed Bone Treatment for … – 3DPrint.com

In December, the University of Glasgow received2.8 million from Find a Better Way, a charity set up to help survivors of landmine blasts. The funding was granted to the university to develop a method of 3D printing bone that involves coating plastic scaffolds with stem cells and a growth factor called BMP-2, and placing them into a device called a Nanokick bioreactor, invented by a professor at the school. The bioreactor shakes the scaffold at a rate that stimulates bone tissue to grow faster.

Although human trials of the 3D printed bone wont be for several years, the university did get a chance to test it out recently on a dog named Eva. The two-year-old Munsterlander was hit by a car, badly injuring her right foreleg and leaving a 2cm gap in the bone. It looked like her leg would have to be amputated except that at Glasgow Universitys veterinary hospital, where Eva was taken, veterinarian William Marshall was familiar with the technique that Professors Matt Dalby and Manuel Salmeron-Sanchez were developing. He reached out to the team, which agreed to try a modified version of the technique on Evas leg.

[Image: STV]

This is an exciting development, said Professor Salmeron-Sanchez. During research and development, the use of PEA and BMP-2 to grow new bone tissue has looked very promising, but I was not expecting the treatment to be used to help a patient for several more years.We are delighted to have had the chance to help save Evas leg from amputation. If Im honest, we were not at all sure the treatment would work in such a complex infected fracture. Its been a very rewarding experience for everyone involved.

The Nanokick bioreactor

The success of the operation bodes well for the humans who will eventually benefit from the treatment.

We are absolutely thrilled with Evas recovery, said Evas owner,Fiona Kirkland. When we heard about an experimental treatment that might help her, we had no idea it was connected to such an important project. It is amazing to think that the treatment used to heal Evas leg will help researchers one day repair the bones of landmine blast survivors.

Although it will be a while, still, before the technique is tested on humans, the fact that it was able to repair such a complex injury means that theres hope forsurvivors who have encountered landmines, millions of which remain in place around the world.

In other hopeful bioprinting news, Kentucky software company Advanced Solutions has developed a new kind of bioprinter. The patent-pending BioAssemblyBotoperates on a six-axis robotic arm, and the company believes that it eventually could lead to 3D printed organs.

The BioAssemblyBot is connected to Advanced Solutions Tissue Structure Information Modeling (TSIM) software, which enables the user to create and print detailed 3D models, and is capable of 3D printing cell systems and 3D assays, experimental tissue models and microenvironments, organ models, microfluidic platforms, implant systems and more. It features as many as eight interchangeable tools that deposit bioink, pick and place, heat and cool, etc. The machine has a250 x 300 x 250 mm 3D printing build envelope.

The system allows users to Fail Fast, as the company calls it, or to identify and work through issues quickly. Theyre still some distance from being able to 3D print a working, transplantable human organ, and Advanced Solutions President and CEO Michael Golway states that the company could benefit from failing faster in order to make faster progress. The biggest challenge is in the development of bioinks but progress is being made.

We can print liver cells in a structure the size of a U.S. quarter and combine it with our vascularization technology in a 3D structure to get results that begin to mimic a functioning liver, Golway told CNBC. Were using raw material from the patient to actually create 3D structures outside the body. We happen to think the vascularization piece, i.e. the ability to get blood flow to the tissues, will be a really critical part and a foundational step to the long term advancements that well see in 3D printed organs.

In addition to liver tissue, the company and its customers are also 3D printing mimics for lungs, hearts, kidneys, pancreases, bones, and skin.

We believe in the next five years, youll start to see movement from the research side to the clinical side, where were starting to develop functional solutions for the patient, said Golway. I can only expect that there will be a lot of debate and discussion around the ethics, and I have great confidence that once we go to the clinical side, it will be a safe application for patients.

This video from Advanced Solutions shows the BioAssemblyBot in action:

Discuss in the Bioprinting forum at 3DPB.com.

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Today in Bioprinting: A Dog Tests Out 3D Printed Bone Treatment for … – 3DPrint.com

Human head transplant: Chinese researchers claim success with rats – Alphr

A quick glance at your calendar will reveal that we’re now in 2017. 2017, you may recall, is the year when contraversial surgeon Sergio Canavero has promised to perform the world’s first human head transplant.

But just how feasible is a human head transplant? Is it the stuff of science fiction, or does it have a basis in current scientific thinking? Read on for everything you need to know about 2017 most alarming scientific development.

The most recent news comes from the journal CNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics, where Xiaping Ren from the Harbin Medical University claims to have successfully repaired severed spinal cords in rats using the same principals that Dr Canavero wants to use on humans before the year is out.

Nine rats were treated with polyethylene glycol (PEG). Eight were still alive a month after the operation, and by day 28 they had regained the ability to walk two were described as being “basically normal”.

Canavero told Newsweek that this showed his critics were wrong: “Critics said the transected spinal cord is unrecoverable and thus a human head transplant is impossible…The scans show the reconstructed cord. No pain syndrome emerged over the duration of the study, again rebutting a critics worse than death remark.”

Time will tell the team plans to move onto dogs next. It shoud be noted, however, that even if this is right and even if it is applicable to humans, this relates to repairing severed spinal cords not attaching a new head. If the research is accurate, it is indeed a point for Canavero and his proposed methods but we’re a long way from it being anything close to the finished article.

A human head transplant is exactly what it sounds like taking one living head and putting it onto a new body.

But actually, thats a little misleading. In real terms, its a body transplant, as the head will be gaining a new body to control. However, as the term whole body transplant is already used to mean transferring the brain between bodies, calling it a head transplant makes it clear that the whole head is to be switched, brain included.

Until recently, a head transplant seemed totally implausible, but the Italian scientist Dr Sergio Canavero believes its possible, and intends to conduct the first surgery in 2017.

Canavero outlines the procedure in detail here, but these are the basics of the process. Remember: dont try this at home, kids.

The donor body and the head to be attached are first cooled down to 12-15C to ensure that the cells last longer than a few minutes without oxygen. The tissue around the neck is then cut, with the major blood vessels linked with tiny tubes. The spinal cord on each party is then severed cleanly with an extremely sharp blade.

“Post coma, Canavero believes the patient would immediately be able to move, feel their face and even speak with the same voice.”

At this point, the head is ready to be moved, and the two ends of the spinal cord are fused using a chemical called polyethylene glycol, encouraging the cells to mesh. This chemical has been shown to prompt the growth of spinal cord nerves in animals, although Canavero suggests that introducing stem cells or olfactory ensheathing cells into the spinal cord could also be tried.

After the muscles and blood supply are successfully connected, the patient is kept in a coma for a month to limit movement of the newly fused neck, while electrodes stimulate the spinal cord to strengthen its new connections.

Following the coma, Canavero anticipates that the patient would immediately be able to move, feel their face and even speak with the same voice. He believes physiotherapy would allow the patient to walk within a year.

He explains his suggested methods in the TED talk below.

Sceptical would be a nice way of putting it. Horrified would, in most cases, be more accurate.

Dr Hunt Batjer has attracted headlines for being particularly blunt: I would not wish this on anyone. I would not allow anyone to do it to me as there are a lot of things worse than death.

Dr Jerry Silver witnessed the 1970s monkey head transplant experiment more on which later and describes the procedure as bad science, adding that just to do the experiments is unethical. This is a particular blow to Canavero, as he states that Silvers own work in reconnecting rats spinal cords should give hope to the human head transplant. Silver dismisses this: To sever a head and even contemplate the possibility of gluing axons back properly across the lesion to their neighbours is pure and utter fantasy in my opinion.

Dr Chad Gordon, professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery and neurological surgery at Johns Hopkins University, agrees that Canaveros claims are scientifically implausible. He told BuzzFeed: Theres no way hes going to hook up somebodys brain to someones spinal cord and have them be functional.

On the conservative side, were about 100 years away from being able to figure this out, he continued. If hes saying two, and hes promising a living, breathing, talking, moving human being? Hes lying.

Dr Paul Myers, associate professor of biology at the University of Minnesota at Morris, puts it even more explicitly: This procedure will not work… Try it with monkeys first. But he cant: the result would be, at best, a shambling horror, an animal driven mad with pain and terror, crippled and whimpering, and a poor advertisement for his experiment. And most likely what hed have is a collection of corpses that suffered briefly before expiring.

Others wonder whether Canavero might simply be enjoying the limelight with a PR stunt, including Dr Arthur Caplan, director of ethics at the NYU Langone Medical Centre. Describing the doctor as nuts, he explained to CNN: Their bodies would end up being overwhelmed with different pathways and chemistry than theyre used to, and theyd go crazy.

“We’ll probably see a head on a robot before we see it on [another] body,” he told Live Science.

Dr John Adler of Stanford University’s school of medicine is slightly more optimistic… but not much more. “Conceptually, much of this could work, but the most favourable outcome will be little more than a Christopher Reeve level of function,” he told Newsweek.

Canavero is aware of this criticism, claiming that silently hes received a lot of support from the medical community. Of Dr Batjers comments that the surgery would be a fate worse than death, Canavero is scathing. Hes a vascular surgeon. A vascular surgeon of the brain, yes, but he knows nothing, he argued. How can you say such a thing? Its incredible.

“The world is moving, the critics are dwindling. Of course, there will always be critics. Science teaches us that when you propose something groundbreaking, you must be confronted by criticism. If no critics really step forward, you are saying nothing special,” he told Medical News Today.

Dr Canavero also believes that the operation could essentially be used to revive the dead, if brains were suitably frozen and stored. In an interview with German magazine Ooom, Canavero said: “We will try to bring the first of the company’s patients back to life, not in 100 years. As soon as the first human head transplant has taken place, i.e. no later than 2018, we will be able to attempt to reawaken the first frozen head.We are currently planning the world’s first brain transplant, and I consider it realistic that we will be ready in three years at the latest.”

No-one has ever attempted a human head transplant before, and attempts on animals have to put it charitably had limited success.

Image: from Motherboard, uploaded under fair use from a 1959 issue of Life

The photo above really does show a dog with two heads and its not a fake. This was the work of Soviet scientist Vladimir Demikhov, and for four days the hybrid of two dogs lived as normally as such a scientific horror could be expected to. Then they died.

Demikhov tried the experiment more than 24 times, but was unable to find a way of avoiding the dogs dying shortly after surgery. Although the results are horrifying to see, Demikhovs research did pave the way for human organ transplants.

“For four days this hybrid of two dogs lived as normally as such a scientific horror could be expected to. Then they died.”

But back to the topic of head transplants. The first time a straight swap was successful, was by Dr Robert White, in an experiment on a rhesus monkey in 1970. I feel the need to qualify the word successful with quotation marks, because although the monkey did live, he didnt live very long. Eight days, to be exact, and as the spinal cord wasnt attached to its new body, the monkey was paralysed for its remaining days. However, it could indeed see, hear, smell and taste before the body rejected the foreign head.

According to Canavero in his paper on human head transplants, the monkey lived eight days and was, by all measures, normal, having suffered no complications. However, Dr Jerry Silver who worked in the same lab as Dr White has more haunting memories. He toldCBS: I remember that the head would wake up, the facial expressions looked like terrible pain and confusion and anxiety in the animal. The head will stay alive, but not very long. It was just awful. I dont think it should ever be done again.

More recently, Chinese doctor Xiaoping Ren claims to have conducted head transplants on more than 1,000 mice. The Wall Street Journal reports to have witnessed a mouse with a new head moving, breathing, looking around and drinking. But, crucially, none of these mice have lived longer than a few minutes.

Still, Dr Rens studies continue, and the latest reports are said to be promising, offering a possible answer to the risk of severe blood loss (or brain ischemia) during transplantation. The experimental method that we have described can allow for long-term survival, and thus assessment of transplant rejection and central nervous system recovery, bringing us one step closer to AHBR in man, the researchers wrote.

Ren himself has not ruled out taking part in the first human head transplant operation, according to the Daily Mail. “A human head transplant will be a new frontier in science. Some people say it is the last frontier in medicine. It is a very sensitive and very controversial subject but if we can translate it to clinical practice, we can save a lot of lives,” he said.

“Many people say a head transplant is not ethical. But what is the essence of a person? A person is the brain not the body. The body is just an organ,” he added.

In January 2016, Canavero told New Scientist that a head transplant had been successfully completed on a monkey in China, although details were sparse. “The monkey fully survived the procedure without any neurological injury of whatever kind,” he said, although the article notes that the monkey only kept alive for 20 hours after the surgery for “ethical reasons,” limiting its use as a comparison somewhat.

In September 2016, Canavero revealeda further trial of the head transplant on dogs.New Scientisthas seen video footage of a dog appearing to walk three weeks after its spinal cord was severed, with Canavero claiming that the outcome is the result of the same techniques he plans to use on Spiridonov next year.

However, speaking to a number of scientists for their view on the new evidence, New Scientistcould find few sceptics converted. “These papers do not support moving forward in humans,” said Jerry Silver a neuroscientist at Cape Western Reserve University in Ohio.

“The dog is a case report, and you cant learn very much from a single animal without controls. They claim they cut the cervical cord 90 per cent but theres no evidence of that in the paper, just some crude pictures,” added Silver.

In May 2017, Canavero claimed success with another animal model: rats. Canavero and his team of Chinese surgeons claimed they were able to transplant the head of a donor rat onto the back of a larger one, creating a two-headed animal. The creature’s donor head was allegedly able to blink and respond after the operation, although it only lived for 36 hours, which may not inspire confidence even with rodents’ reduced lifespans.

You could say so, though Canavero doesn’t see it quite like that. In fact, controversially he sees it more as a failure of other types of medicine, telling Medical News Today, “It will be about curing incurable neurological disorders for which other treatments have failed big time, so gene therapy,stem cells- they all just came to nothing. We have failed despite billions of dollars being poured into this sort of research.”

“So actually, head transplant or body transplant, whatever your angle is, is actually a failure of medicine. It is not a brilliant success, a brilliant advancement to medical science. When you just haven’t tackled biology, you don’t know how to treat genes, you don’t really understand, and you really need to resort to a body transplant, it means that you’ve failed. So this must not be construed as a success of medical research,” he added.

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Human head transplant: Chinese researchers claim success with rats – Alphr

From Her Los Feliz Basement, Stephanie Miller Is Rallying Millions Against Trump – L.A. Weekly

Stephanie Miller’s lack of big-time name recognition beyond Los Angeles remains something of a paradox, given the stunning size of her audience.

Ted Soqui

At precisely five minutes before the crack of ass, or stupid o’clock, as it’s known in these parts which is to say a sylvan street of houses perched regally near the entrance to Griffith Park a Lululemon-clad whirlwind with a spinner-sinewed frame clatters downstairs two steps at a time. Uggs bumping carpet, she makes her way toward the hothouse warmth of a brightly lit, dorm roomsized basement space, a cup of coffee cantilevered in one hand against a page freshly printed with Donald Trump atrocities in the other, two polar bearwhite Great Pyrenees lumbering behind her like a furry snow front.

She stops short in the doorway, looks in wide-eyed astonishment at her two “stem cells” (her term for her millennial producers, Vanessa “Baby” Rumbles and Sean Comiskey) and issues her version of a morning salutation: “Did that motherfucker start a war while we were getting shitfaced?”

She’s referring to the evening before, when President Donald J. Trump, in the midst of hoovering up “the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake you’ve ever seen,” while meeting with Chinese President Xi at his Mar-a-Lago estate, ordered a showy but ultimately meaningless Tomahawk missile strike on a Syrian airfield.

Trump did so, he tweeted, as payback for the country’s leader gassing his own people. But to those like her, who (along with many others, including a recent panel of psychiatrists gathered for a conference at Yale University) consider him a sociopathic liar, the real reason was less noble: He was desperate to stop his tanking poll numbers and cauterize the metastasizing cancer of Russia revelations spreading through the press.

At the time the Syria story broke the evening before, she and her friends were several glasses deep into a chardonnay haze, watching the images flashing on her flatscreen default-tuned to MSNBC images of the “expert” panels, of the silly Chryon crawls and of the man she calls (take your pick) Blotus, Cheetolini, Agent Orange, Hair Furher, Mango Mussolini or Fat Donny Two Scoops. Anything but president.

Now, in the predawn darkness, Rumbles and Comiskey barely pause to respond. They simply shake their heads and, with seconds to go before the first power chords of the radio show’s theme song Christina Aguilera’s girl-power anthem “Fighter” rip into the morning, return to the task of preparing the daily menu of Trump tweet storms and head-exploding sound bites.

At 6:06 a.m., the crew assumes battle stations swivel chairs, computer screens, dial- and button-filled boards and Aguilera begins to belt: “So I want to say thank you, cuz it makes me that much stronger …”

Stephanie Miller, host of The Stephanie Miller Show, pulls on her headset, chair-dances up to her mic and launches the day’s first salvo.

“Pardon me, Baby Rumbles?” she says over one of her go-to sound drops, a round of polite applause. “But did that mother[bleeeeep] start a war while we were drinking our faces off last night at happy hour?”

“Yeah,” Rumbles says, shaking her head.

“Yeah. OK, just checking in with you. … Good morning, everybody!”

At her Los Feliz home, Stephanie Miller has hosted “resistance dinners” with guests such as Nancy Pelosi and Rob Reiner.

Ted Soqui

Over the next three hours, Miller does what she does seamlessly blends a mlange of fart jokes, bleeped-out profanities, morning zoo slide whistles, harp tinkles, parody songs skewering Trump (Bob Dylan’s “Tangerine Man” repurposed as a Trump diss) and Ginsu-sharp wit into what may be the smartest, sharpest, funniest, fiercest progressive political comedy souffl on the planet.

Miller does not boast the name recognition of, say, a Samantha Bee or John Oliver or, ahem, Bill Maher. Her shows are unlikely to generate the kind of water-cooler chat borne of, say, Melissa McCarthy rampaging through a press gaggle on a weaponized lectern or Alec Baldwin as Trump blowharding “believe me” in a Saturday Night Live cold open. She doesn’t break bombshells the way Rachel Maddow does, or make Trump lose his shit over a particularly blue zinger la Stephen Colbert.

Miller is perhaps the underground’s answer to those celebrities if someone belonging to the underground can host Hollywood A-listers for dinner and reach millions of households (and cars) across the country. In the last six months, she has emerged as one of the nation’s most influential radio personalities, conservative or liberal (and yes, that includes Rush Limbaugh), certainly the most consequential to be operating without mainstream fame.

“I listen to Steve Colbert every night, and I love what he’s doing,” says Lily Tomlin, the comedic icon and Miller’s mentor, who currently stars in the Netflix dramedy Grace and Frankie. “But there’s something about Stephanie’s show, the fact that it’s longer format and they can talk in a different way, like a conversation. I just see it as having compassion and being a true person and being a true human being and being able to relate to everything in a more sensitive, human way. I just wish we had so much more.”

Among the cognoscenti, in fact, the 55-year-old Miller has become something of a lodestar, with her home, she jokes, serving as a sort of “resistance central.” Since Trump’s election, she has held regular “resistance” dinners, with a highly curated guest list that includes everyone from political heavy-hitters like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, to Hollywood celebs like Tomlin and Rob Reiner, to high-level operators such as Malcolm Nance, intelligence analyst for NBC, and Lisa Bloom, the lawyer largely responsible for taking down Fox’s Bill O’Reilly.

“There’s no bullshit,” Reiner, the director of This Is Spinal Tap and When Harry Met Sally, says of Miller. “She doesn’t mince words and she doesn’t throw out lies.

“People (on the right) will say, ‘Well, Stephanie is just as ridiculous as Infowars and Alex Jones,” Reiner adds. “No. Alex Jones says that Sandy Hook was a made-up thing. Stephanie doesn’t say anything insane like that. You may not agree with her politics, but she doesn’t make shit up.”

Lest there be doubt about Miller’s influence, no less than Rachel Maddow whose nightly MSNBC show now boasts the highest ratings in all of cable news bestowed her imprimatur on Miller a few years back: She is, Maddow said on her show, “the high priestess of excellent liberal talk.”

In addition to Miller’s stable of regulars a collection of political comics that includes John Fugelsang, host of SiriusXM’s excellent Tell Me Everything; Angela Shelton and Frances V. Callier, better known as “Frangela”; Dean Obeidallah, a regular CNN and MSNBC contributor who also has a SiriusXM show; and two out-lesbian stand-ups, Suzanne Westenhoefer and Dana Goldberg she routinely counts as guests on her show the same heavyweights who attend her dinners.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters, for example, whose fierce opposition to Trump includes calls for his impeachment, has made several appearances. California Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, also is a friend of the show. Nance counts himself among Miller’s biggest fans and credits her show with helping launch his analyst career.

Miller’s lack of big-time name recognition beyond Los Angeles, where her face appears on buses and billboards, remains something of a paradox, given the stunning size of her audience. Michael Harrison, publisher of the influential trade publication Talkers Magazine, estimates Miller’s weekly listenership, including terrestrial radio, online, satellite radio stations and Free Speech TV, to be nearly 6 million.

That number huge for any talker but mammoth in the wasteland that is liberal radio routinely lands her on the magazine’s “Most Listened to Talk Show Hosts in America,” a list that includes ratings behemoths Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

Behind the scenes at The Stephanie Miller Show

Ted Soqui

Most impressive to Harrison, Miller has boldly gone where even the Hannitys and Limbaughs have not. Her ability to generate “nontraditional” revenue industry-speak for creative ways to reach audiences and make money beyond her core talk show has made her a trailblazer in the broadcast industry, he says.

“It’s an amazing feat. She’s a major player in American talk radio, one of the biggest stars in internet talk and one of a handful of progressive hosts who have developed a large following of listeners from coast to coast,” he says. “She’s a pioneer in the evolution of radio from the 20th to the 21st century.”

Miller’s Sexy Liberal comedy tour (now known as the Sexy Liberal Resistance Tour) packs big-city venues across the country. Her autobiography, Sexy Liberal: Of Me I Sing, sat atop Amazon’s comedy memoirs list for weeks. Both of her comedy albums debuted at No. 1 on Amazon, iTunes and Google Play. In addition to her online subscription, which has more than 5,000 subscribers at just under $60 annually, she offers a weekly “Happy Hour” show, a far more personal (and, loosed from FCC strictures, profane) one-on-one interview with celebrities and comedians that adds yet another revenue stream.

Miller’s success, of course, has made her a target of the political right, particularly in the tin-hatted reaches of the roiling internet. In an interview with Miller for Breitbart News, writer Larry O’Connor called her show “mostly fiction and vitriol” (although he also called her a “big media mogul” whose show he found “entertaining”). She is a favorite object of derision for Newsbusters.org, another far-right outlet, which bills itself as a website dedicated to “exposing and combatting liberal media bias.” (One headline, over a Miller bit about how her Republican mother’s bird masturbates to Fox News, tsk-tsk’d at the “kooky libtalker” and stated that her “sad, bizarre attempt at humor reveals [her] as Seriously Unfunny.”) Miller includes such jabs and her frequent “hate stack” of emails and mean tweets on her show.

In one sense, she is lucky. The advent of Trump has united the notoriously disparate factions of the left in a way unprecedented in modern politics. Saturday Night Live just wrapped a banner season. Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel are regularly thumping the once seemingly invincible Jimmy Fallon in the late-night ratings wars. Maddow has ascended to the ratings summit.

Even Miller, who in a 30-plus-year broadcasting career has always logged solid ratings, stands in awe at her success and others’. “We’ve sold out the Chicago Theater three times,” she says along with Hollywood’s historic Pantages and New York’s Beacon. “People in the stand-up field are like, ‘What the fuck?”’ she says, curled on the couch of her elegant, multistory home. “When the first Sexy Liberal Tour album hit No. 1 on Amazon, iTunes and Billboard magazine, industry folks called me and were like, ‘Who the fuck are you guys? You don’t have a record company, you don’t have a publicist. How are you No. 1 on Billboard?'”

The answer is, on one level, simple. She’s good a polished pro who has honed what she does through stints as a music deejay, a talk show host, an actress, a stand-up; in the 1990s, she even had her own late-night network talk show, going up against Jay Leno and David Letterman.

She’s also willing to share the most intimate aspects of her own life. In 2010, Miller came out as a lesbian on air a disclosure that, earnest as it was at the time, is now just another part of her shtick.

And she goes where the mainstream media can’t or won’t. Whereas NPR loftily debated the propriety of using the word “liar” to describe Trump, Miller screams it hourly with lusty delight. She railed daily against the breathless coverage of Hillary Clinton’s email server by The New York Times and others. While pundits tiptoe around the “I”-word impeachment and hem and haw over whether Russian interference actually affected the 2016 election outcome, Miller flatly asserts, “This was a stolen election” often evoking affirmative responses from serious guests who might demur on any other show.

“Stephanie Miller was the first person I know of in radio to take that wacky zoo format rife with impressions and inappropriate sound effects and wacky inserts and use it for something smart, political and moral,” says Fugelsang, who credits regular appearances on Miller’s show with helping him land his SiriusXM gig. “Most of the guys that do wacky morning zoo formats are insufferable boobs. Stephanie actually decided to use that kind of format toward helping working people in America, oppressed minorities, LGBT people, people at risk.”

She does so by using the show “as a delivery system for truth and empathy,” he says. “She’s doing a show that’s entertainment first, informative second and preachy last.”

Bob Cesca, another progressive political comedian whose podcast is a semi-spinoff, says: “It’s an extraordinarily unique show that draws this amazing balance between political conversation and saying some things that aren’t very PC, which I love.”

Cesca, whose podcasting partner, Chez Pazienza, died suddenly in February, was astonished, to say nothing of grateful, at how Miller handled the awful news: with a heartfelt, tear-soaked tribute. The point, he says, is that “she doesn’t always have to have a punch line.”

“She can do segments that are extraordinarily emotional and poignant, as well as hilariously funny, and sometimes are both.”

“I am the chick who cries on radio,” Miller admits. “I cried about Chez. I cried when my dog died. … Oh, it’s just not having a grip on life. It’s called being a hot mess.”

Still, for all her success, there has remained a nagging sense that Miller has never fully received the recognition she deserves. Ironically, the rise of her biggest nemesis, Trump, may be precisely the thing that changes that.

It was still dark out when I pulled up in front of Miller’s house one Tuesday morning in March, stifling a yawn as I checked my watch yup, crack of ass trying not to spill one drop of my jumbo-sized, gas station coffee. I didn’t want to be late, but we hadn’t exactly worked out whether I should knock, ring a buzzer or hoist a boom box over my head, Say Anythingstyle.

The place was dark except for a small square of light from a tiny window at the base of the house. I knocked and one of the “stem cells,” Comiskey, motioned me to a side gate, which creaked open.

Getting to the little studio and it is little, especially compared with the rest of the house requires navigation through an exercise room filled with ellipticals and stationary bikes. When I entered the studio itself, the other stem cell, Rumbles, looked up with a puzzled smile. Just then Miller trundled down the stairs: “Oh yes, this is Bryan. He says he’s a reporter, but he may be a Russian assassin, I’m not sure yet.”

Lesson one: Anyone, at anytime even a reporter/assassin cringing in the corner can be turned into an on-air bit. Rumbles, who previously produced Tavis Smiley’s show, and Comiskey are used to it by now, having their personal lives regularly laid bare.

“There’s a reporter in here,” Miller said on-air, shortly after the show’s opening. “He’s lurking over there in the corner. He’s here in my basement, to talk about my media empire. It’s going to be a whole expos.”

“I let him in not realizing,” Comiskey says.

“Can I just say I would be really easy to kill?” Miller interrupts. “I don’t even know if he’s really a reporter. I was just like, oh, publicity for me? Come on in! Here lies Stephanie Miller, killed by her own ego.”

Stephanie Miller: “I thought that’s how it worked. I’m like, you come out to L.A. and work weekends at KFI, and then you get your own talk show against Leno and Letterman.”

Ted Soqui

It is with heavy doses of self-deprecation that Miller describes her upbringing. She was, she says, either raised by wolves who abandoned her when she was a “furry little cub” (explains the unibrow in childhood photos, she says) or raised by Gypsies (again, unibrow) or was taken in by a kindly Republican couple before going on to find fame as a featured pole dancer at the Itchy Kitty in Reseda.

All of that is fake news, of course, including, sadly, the fictional Itchy Kitty, though the part about the kindly Republican couple comes close.

Miller was raised not as a wolf child but in a comfortable suburban home in Lockport, New York. She wasn’t taken in by a kindly Republican couple but born to one, including a pretty famous father.

William “Bill” Miller was the running mate of Barry Goldwater, the five-term conservative stalwart famed for his campaign as the 1964 Republican nominee for president. Goldwater lost the election by the most lopsided popular vote in U.S. history but is at least as well known for the dignified and honorable way he and Miller ran it. Miller’s father, a lifelong conservative, also was an assistant prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials.

Her now94-year-old mother, also named Stephanie, is, to Miller’s everlasting and public chagrin, a Trump supporter, someone she believes has been “Foxified,” duped by Fox News and other conservative media outlets. “It makes me the saddest,” Miller says. “It’s hard to have a conversation with her, because I have to constantly say, ‘Well, Mom, that’s just not true. I know you saw that on Fox News, but it isn’t true.'”

On the other hand, it qualifies her to comfort those in her audience who face similar dilemmas with family and friends. “I will give her credit,” Miller says of her mother. “She finally called me a few days after the election to see if I was OK, and I was crying when I spoke to her. I was like, ‘Mom, you know this is personal. I wanted you to see me get married before I die. Are they going to take away my right to get married? I just feel like this man [Trump] has ripped this country apart.'”

Miller describes her actual upbringing as mostly idyllic other than being tormented by an older brother, Bill, who turned out to be another Republican Trump backer. “It was sort of ironic,” she writes in Sexy Liberal, that her father was an assistant prosecutor at Nuremberg and “most of what my brother was doing to me in our own home could technically be categorized as war crimes, and yet it seemed to escape his attention entirely.”

After high school Miller moved to Los Angeles, where she earned a theater degree from the University of Southern California with a plan, she says, laughing, to be “the next Carol Burnett.” Her idol later offered a better idea. In a phone call arranged by Burnett’s daughter, Miller’s friend, the comedy legend told her: “There’s only one Stephanie Miller. You don’t want to be Carol Burnett. You’re the Carol Burnett of radio.”

“Of course I cried,” Miller says, laughing at the recollection.

After graduation, she writes in Sexy Liberal, she “quickly landed a highly promising position in L.A. selling customized pens over the phone. ‘How do you sell pens over the phone?’ you might ask. The short answer: You don’t.”

She landed a gig at a choice spot Hollywood’s famed Laugh Factory but with less-than-choice duties, which included answering phones, cocktail waitressing and “changing the names of the famous comedians on the marquee with a giant pole.”

A few months after her graduation, her father suffered a major stroke. He died in 1983 shortly after she returned to Lockport. Miller resumed her career there, this time answering phones at Yuk Yuk’s in Buffalo (“center of the white-cold Upstate comedy scene,” she says), living in a $125-a-month apartment over a pizza parlor near the club.

Her first radio gig was doing impressions of Katharine Hepburn at Hot 104 in Buffalo. “Radio was a complete accident for me,” she recalls (she still harbored dreams of being a TV star), but it proved a perfect fit for her emerging comic voice. She rose rapidly in the next few years, landing on stations in Chicago and, in 1989, on her own morning drive show at HOT 97 New York City, becoming a ratings smash in both cities.

She traveled West again in 1989, when Warner Bros. offered her a sitcom, but “the moment I moved to Los Angeles, everyone from Warner Bros. got fired, including all the people who had made my sitcom deal,” she writes. As luck would have it, however, her old manager at Yuk Yuk’s in Buffalo knew the program manager at KFI, the 50,000-watt mega-station in Los Angeles. She started there with a weekend show in 1994. “It was the first time I had done talk radio, and I was like, ‘Oh, you mean just me talk, with no music?'” she recalls. “I was like, blah, blah, blah. Oh, I still have 10 minutes left. That’s when I guess I started to get political, and I started to realize more of my liberal leanings.”

The turning point came in August 1992, when she heard Pat Buchanan’s now-notorious gay-bashing “culture wars” speech. “It was just so mean,” she says. “It changed everything for me.”

In short order she was offered a five-day-a-week gig at KFI and then, a year later, a shot at the real big time: a chance to host a late-night network talk show, going up against Letterman and Leno. “I thought that’s how it worked,” she says. “I’m like, you come out to L.A. and work weekends at KFI, and then you get your own talk show against Leno and Letterman.” The show, critically acclaimed but a ratings flop, was canceled after 13 weeks.

She returned to radio and, for a time, television, via the airing of her show on Current TV, the network Al Gore founded and then sold to Al-Jazeera, where Miller logged the top ratings of any original programming. She continued to score well in the ratings. She had also, by that time, picked up a group of regulars, including Fugelsang, Frangela, Cesca and Obeidallah, who made his name as a Muslim stand-up and now, thanks largely to Miller, hosts his own three-hour SiriusXM political comedy show.

In early December 2013, however, came the blow that drove her to the basement studio. Clear Channel (now iHeartRadio) announced that it was flipping KTLK, its flagship 50,000-watt “blowtorch” station in L.A., from progressive talk to conservative. The bloodbath, brought on by “floundering” ratings (Miller was actually No. 1 in the market at the time) deep-sixed her show, as well as those of progressive talk stalwarts Randi Rhodes and Bill Press, and replaced them with Limbaugh, Hannity and Glenn Beck. Miller lost both her show and the Los Angeles studio from which she broadcast it.

Conservative talkers pounced: “Anyone who knows Stephanie Miller, and there aren’t many, knows she has no audience she’s been up and coming for 20 years,” right-wing host Mark Levin jabbed on his show. “She’s sarcastic and ultra left-wing.” Today, Miller gleefully uses the sound bite. Still, she admits, the moment was devastating, enough to make her wonder whether to continue.

“Boy, nevertheless she persisted,” says Miller, referencing the words U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell used to silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s objections during the confirmation hearings of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, now a feminist rallying cry.

“We found out right before Christmas that they were pulling the plug on KTLK, and I was like, ‘Fucking dammit, really?'” Miller recalls. First, her dreams of TV stardom were all but dead. Now, radio too? “Certainly that would have been a time when a lot of people would have just quit, just would have gone, ‘Fuck it.’ I had to take an almost 50 percent pay cut. We all had to take huge pay cuts.

“That’s when the rubber hits the road. You either go, ‘I quit,’ or it makes you more determined. It made me more determined.”

First, Miller and her business partner, Ron Hartenbaum, decided that relying for studio space on a corporate broadcast entity was untenable. The solution was to build the basement studio.

Doing so would not be easy particularly around the holidays, and on a tight deadline. Miller would have to pay for the construction, a major outlay given what was required to create the kind of high-tech required. “This was not a Clear Channel building. It’s my home, so there was all the extra construction and handyman stuff that had to be done phone lines, power, ISDN.”

Because the show would be simulcast on Free Speech TV an independent nonprofit network that reaches, according to its website, 40 million U.S. homes she had to mount cameras and install studio lighting.

In the end, the studio with its walls crammed with posters and photos and odds and ends (a Goldwater/Miller campaign placard, a peace sign pillow, a bronze bust of Miller’s butt sharing a table with mics and laptops), and with her two dogs, Max and Fred, loping in and out fit perfectly with the show’s spirit and personality.

“It’s really true what they say: Sometimes your dreams turn out differently than you thought,” Miller muses. “Or as I say sometimes: When God shuts a door, he shuts a window, too, and then you’re fucked.”

After Clear Channel cut Miller’s show, she rebuilt it at home.

Ted Soqui

It’s Friday, mercifully, the end of the week, third hour of the show, time for one of Miller’s and her audience’s favorite segments, announced by the rising tide of the Laura Branigan song “Gloria!” (sung by comedian-actress Tichina Arnold and reworked by show regular Rocky Mountain Mike, who creates a variety of parody songs and guest jingles).

As the song soars, Frangela (motto: “Get your back up and get your black up!”) chair-dances, arms waving, butts shaking, heads weaving. Simultaneously, the pair pull referee flags from their back pockets and toss them onto the table in front of them.

“Good morning, Frangela!” Miller says. “Well, no news to talk about.”

“Nooooooooo,” Shelton answers.

“Really dull week,” Callier agrees.

Then, the conversation suddenly turns serious.

“So, anybody else wanna call some bull[bleep]” on the Syrian attacks? Miller asks.

“I’m throwing a flag,” Shelton says. “If you care about Syrians, why did you renege on the deal to let refugees come here? We can’t feed and shelter the people, but we can bomb the country they’re in?”

The conversation continues, somber and thoughtful. But this is The Stephanie Miller Show, which means the lure back to laughs is irresistible.

“We are not stupid,” Shelton screams. “We are not Boo-Boo the Fool up in here! Fat meat is greasy!”

“That’s right,” Callier chimes in. “You can’t wax a pony twice.”

“No you can’t,” Miller says. She pauses, trying to catch her breath. “I think I’m starting to speak Frangelese.”

The dogs lumber in. Aguilera’s “Fighter” pounds the basement studio.

And the woman in the baseball cap and “Herr Twittler” T-shirt, the high priestess herself, leans in, uttering a few words that offer at least some small assurance that the world will continue to turn for her anti-Trump congregation:

“See you Monday, on The Stephanie Miller Show.”

Continued here:
From Her Los Feliz Basement, Stephanie Miller Is Rallying Millions Against Trump – L.A. Weekly

Scientists are testing the political waters – Reading Eagle

They have built careers isolating cells, designing integrated circuits and mastering computer languages. Now they are knocking on doors, being interviewed on TV and asking perfect strangers to give them money.

Across the country, scientists card-carrying members of an elite that prizes expertise are exiting their ivory towers to enter the political fray. Theres the cancer researcher from Mississippi, the integrated circuit designer from New York, the physician from Utah and the stem cell biologist from Southern California, among dozens of others.

Its a move that appears to defy the first principle of their profession: logic. Unlike a law degree, a Ph.D. does not provide a well-worn path to politics.

And while 79 percent of Americans believe that science has made life easier, their esteem for the scientific enterprise has been on a steady decline, according to the Pew Research Center.

But even amid signs that science is losing its power to persuade, a new crop of office-seekers is anything but discouraged. In districts blue and red, working scientists are putting two hypotheses to the test.

First: Their facility with facts and data will make them better policymakers than the politicians in office.

Second: Their professions reputation for pragmatism and problem solving will mobilize and unify voters around them.

Our skill set works: We analyze complex information and make it understandable to people, said Dr. Kathie Allen, a family physician who is running for the Utah congressional seat soon to be vacated by Republican firebrand Jason E. Chaffetz.

People are really tired of falsehoods, she added. With careers grounded in facts and evidence, she said, scientists offer a compelling alternative for voters fed up with career politicians.

That may sound like the wishful thinking of a political newbie, but some longtime campaign strategists agree.

Joe Trippi, who has worked with Ted Kennedy, John Edwards, Jerry Brown and Howard Dean, said scientists are a double threat in the current political moment.

For voters dismayed by the Trump administrations attacks on climate science and proposals to slash federal funding for biomedical research, a scientist turned office-seeker offers a direct antidote to the status quo. And for voters craving an alternative to politics as usual, these unconventional candidates feed into a compelling insurgent narrative.

If youre a scientist, your background is perfect for the time were in, Trippi said.

The ranks of scientists, engineers and medical professionals in Congress have grown from 24 two decades ago to 33 today. But those members are still dwarfed by people with backgrounds in law or business, who fill roughly three-quarters of the 535 seats in the House and Senate, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Theres no official tally of how many scientists have run for office. But anecdotal evidence for a surge is widespread.

Rush Holt, a plasma physicist who served eight terms in the U.S. House of Representatives before retiring in 2014, has seen it firsthand. People who were once wary of political participation have been pushed off the sidelines and into the public square by a sense that science is too relevant and important to be downgraded or ignored, he said.

Over the years, Holt has counseled a thin trickle of scientists pondering a run for public office. Now, he said, its a stampede.

Im getting more interest by far than Ive gotten in previous election cycles, said Holt, who is now president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He calls it a remarkable moment.

Like Allen and Holt, many of the scientists eyeing a run for office are Democrats, keen to challenge a president who has questioned the value of vaccines and dismissed global warming as a Chinese hoax. Whether they come from chemistry labs or radio astronomy observatories, they can channel the frustration and anger that prompted more than 1 million people to attend the March for Science this spring.

But theyre quick to point out theyre not ideologues.

Is there a better way to create policy? asked Patricia Zornio, a biomedical researcher at Stanford University who is contemplating a 2020 challenge to Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican. You take large amounts of information and distill it, and come up with a conclusion. It has nothing to do with partisanship.

If that faith in science sounds like it could easily veer toward sanctimonious bromides, the would-be candidates have been warned.

We are so naive as scientists, said South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard, who happens to be an expert on the evolution of animal communication on the faculty of Florida International University. We think the truth carries and that science always matters.

The corrective, he told a group of prospective candidates recently, is to find a coach that knows more about the business than you do.

Since shortly after the inauguration of Donald Trump, training sessions and webinars have cropped up to coach Democratic office-seekers with a scientific bent. Among the most visible have been sessions organized by 314 Action (314 refers to the value of pi).

So far, the group has had inquiries from roughly 6,000 scientists and science advocates, from all 50 states. Nearly 100 gathered in Washington, D.C., two days before the March for Science for the biggest training event to date.

There, would-be candidates learned how to craft a message (Make science local.), recruit and organize an army of volunteers (Present it as an opportunity.), and canvass voters (Bring dog biscuits!). They learned what to wear, how to sit for a TV interview, and how to hit up potential donors.

Among the scientist dos: Introduce yourself as a different kind of politician. Mine data to find and target your districts voters. Change things up if your message isnt working. (Youre an experimentalist! Stoddard reminded them.)

Scientist donts included reading your curriculum vitae, using PowerPoint slides, and appending footnotes to position papers. (Footnotes! said political communications specialist Chris Jahnke, who has coached Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama. God bless you, please dont!)

Do scientists have an advantage in the current political environment, with the Democratic Party awash in volunteers eager to run against the GOP?

Absolutely, Democratic campaign strategist Martha McKenna told a 314 Action session. Voters think that politicians talk and nothing gets done, she said. As scientists, you find solutions.

(EDITORS: STORY CAN END HERE)

Its a message that resonates with Patrick Madden, a professor of computer science at Binghamton University in New York. In May, he announced a bid to challenge Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., in New Yorks 22nd congressional district.

Madden holds up his cellphone, a device more powerful than the computer that sent men to the moon. His work on integrated circuits has helped make such devices faster, better and more fun to own.

Were not full of crap, he said. Things like this got better because we make stuff thats real. If we were a pack of liars, the jig would be up.

Madden calls himself a firm believer in the scientific method, the engineering mind-set.

These principles of being honest, being truthful and looking for solutions: Its a radical idea, he said. But I think we ought to try it.

2017 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at http://www.latimes.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

_____

Topics: t000026911,g000065556,g000362661,g000066164

More here:
Scientists are testing the political waters – Reading Eagle

Glaciers Edge Winery to hold benefit for death row dogs Saturday – Topeka Capital Journal

A local winery will hold a benefit Saturday for sheltered dogs.

From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Glaciers Edge Winery, 1636 S.E. 85th in Wakarusa, will host Sip N Slurp to benefit Saving Death Row Dogs, a dog rescue in Topeka.

Saving Death Row Dogs will have dogs available for adoption at the event, and there also will be speakers on dog-related subjects, wine tasting, door prizes and The Hot Dog Dude food truck.

Bottles of wine will be for sale with 10 percent of the profits going to Saving Death Row Dogs.

Speakers include:

At 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Midge Grinstead, Kansas State Director for the Humane Society of the United States, on the Puppy mills and the Pet Animal Act.

At 10:30 a.m. Stephanie Avila, a dog trainer, pet tracker and owner of New Leash on Life will present Lost pet recovery and understanding lost pet behavior.

At 11:30 a.m. an animal control officer from the Topeka Police Department will talk.

Following at noon Patricia Thomblison will talk about the importance of year-round parasite control.

At 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Tracy Paige, Saving Death Row Dogs adoption coordinator will present on volunteering and fostering.

At 1 p.m. Bryan Stancliff of the Animal Clinic of North Topeka will talk about stem cell therapy and allergies.

At 4 p.m. Carol Myers, of Memory Makers Photography, Quick tips for recording your pets history.

At 5 p.m. The Dirty Dog will present The importance of socialization for happy, balanced pets.

Read the original:
Glaciers Edge Winery to hold benefit for death row dogs Saturday – Topeka Capital Journal

Band, Baaja, Donation: 2 Mumbai Couples Used Their Weddings as a Platform to Raise Funds for NGOs – The Better India (blog)

Bhavin Bhatt is a 28-year old senior consultant at an MNC who graced the pages of newspapers early this year, when he helped a paralyzed stray dog drenched in the Mumbai rains on Manchubhai Road and helped it walk again. As a testament to his dedication to the cause, his wedding card had a friendly disclaimer:

We seek only your blessings for us. Else gift us only in cash payable at the NGO desk (set up at venue)

Bhavin married his fianc Jahnavi last month.

In the same city of dreams you can find Bilal Babji, who not only shares Bhavins year of birth, but also the desire to make his wedding into a meaningful experience for the attendees. However, unlike Bhavins wedding cards, Bilal had invite forms which had information about the NGO Datri that deals with blood stem cell donation.

Bilals NGO desk at his wedding asked people not to donate money, but blood stem cells to help patients diagnosed with blood cancer, Thalassemia, Aplastic Anemia and other life-threatening diseases. He encouraged the attendees to register themselves as blood stem cell donors. Bilal himself has been a blood donor since 2010.

Speaking to DNA, Bilal said:I follow certain Twitter handles to see who needs blood in Mumbai and the Navi Mumbai region. From other volunteers I learnt about blood stem cell donation and decided to make it a part of my wedding.

He added that his fianc too appreciated the idea and agreed to make it a part of their wedding. It is not yet clear whether Datris donor base was increased by Bilals thoughtful gesture.

At Bhavins wedding, guests seemed to be more than eager to part with their money for the welfare of stray dogs. An elated Bhavin said, My entire family appreciated the gesture and decided that even they would contribute. Some guests even told me that since it was a special gift they did not mind putting in more money as it was for a good cause.

Hopefully, we will get to see more of such conscientious gestures at weddings, as young India seems to increasingly respond to the problems the nation faces. And thats a step in the right direction for now!

Read more from the original source:
Band, Baaja, Donation: 2 Mumbai Couples Used Their Weddings as a Platform to Raise Funds for NGOs – The Better India (blog)

What happens when scientists leave their labs to experiment with politics? – Los Angeles Times

June 15, 2017, 6:00 a.m.

Washington, D.C.

They have built careers isolating cells, designing integrated circuits and mastering computer languages. Now they are knocking on doors, being interviewed on TV and asking perfect strangers to give them money.

Across the country, scientists card-carrying members of an elite that prizes expertise are exiting their ivory towers to enter the political fray.Theres the cancer researcher from Mississippi, the integrated circuit designer from New York, the physician from Utah and the stem cell biologist from Southern California, among dozensof others.

Its a move that appears to defy the first principle of their profession: logic. Unlike a law degree, a Ph.D. does not provide a well-worn path to politics. And while 79% of Americans believe that science has made life easier, their esteem for the scientific enterprise has been on a steady decline, according to the Pew Research Center.

But even amidst signs that science is losing its power to persuade, a new crop of office-seekers is anything but discouraged. In districts blue and red, working scientists are putting two hypotheses to the test.

First: Their facility with facts and data will make them better policymakers than the politicians currently in office.

Second: Their professions reputation for pragmatism and problem-solving will mobilize and unify voters around them.

Our skill set works: We analyze complex information and make it understandable to people, said Dr. Kathie Allen, a family physician who is running for the Utah congressional seat soon to be vacatedby Republican firebrand Jason E. Chaffetz.

People are really tired of falsehoods, she added. With careers grounded in facts and evidence, she said, scientists offer a compelling alternative for voters fed up with career politicians.

That may sound like the wishful thinking of a political newbie, but some longtime campaign strategists agree.

Joe Trippi, who has worked with Ted Kennedy, John Edwards, Jerry Brown and Howard Dean, said scientists werea double threat in the current political moment.

For voters dismayed by the Trump administrations attacks on climate science and proposals to slash federal funding for biomedical research, a scientist-turned-office-seeker offers a direct antidote to the status quo. And for voters craving an alternative to politics as usual, these unconventional candidates feed into a compelling insurgent narrative.

If youre a scientist, your background is perfect for the time were in, Trippi said.

Rush Holt, a plasma physicist who served eight terms in the U.S. House of Representatives before retiring in 2014, has seen it firsthand.People who were once wary of political participation have been pushed off the sidelines and into the public square by a sense that science is too relevant and important to be downgraded or ignored, he said.

Over the years, Holt has counseled a thin trickle of scientists pondering a run for public office. Now, he said, its a stampede.

Im getting more interest by far than Ive gotten in previous election cycles, said Holt, who is now president of the American Assn. for the Advancement of Science. He calls it a remarkable moment.

Like Allen and Holt, many of the scientists eyeing a run for office are Democrats, keen to challenge a president who has questioned the value of vaccines and dismissed global warming as a Chinese hoax.Whether they come from chemistry labs or radio astronomy observatories, they can channel the frustration and anger that prompted more than 1 million people to March for Science this spring.

But theyre quick to point out theyre not ideologues.

Is there a better way to create policy? asked Patricia Zornio, a biomedical researcher at Stanford University who is contemplating a 2020 challenge to Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican. You take large amounts of information and distill it, and come up with a conclusion. It has nothing to do with partisanship.

If that faith in science sounds like it could easily veer toward sanctimonious bromides, the would-be candidates have been warned.

We are so naive as scientists, said South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard, who also happens to be an expert on the evolution of animal communication on the faculty of Florida International University. We think the truth carries and that science always matters. The corrective, he told a group of prospective candidates recently, is to find a coach that knows more about the business than you do.

Since shortly after the inauguration of President Trump, training sessions and webinars have cropped up to coach Democratic office-seekers with a scientific bent. Among the most visible have been sessions organized by 314 Action (314 refers to the value of pi).

So far, the group has had inquiries from roughly 6,000 scientists and science advocates, from all 50 states. Close to 100 of them gathered in Washington, D.C., two days before the March for Science for the biggest training event to date.

There, would-be candidates learned how to craft a message (make science local), recruit and organize an army of volunteers (present it as an opportunity)and canvas voters (bring dog biscuits!). They learned what to wear, how to sit for a TV interview, and how to hit up potential donors.

Among the scientist dos: Introduce yourself as a different kind of politician. Mine data to find and target your districts voters. Change things up if your message isnt working. (Youre an experimentalist! Stoddardreminded them.)

Scientist donts included reading your curriculum vitae, using PowerPoint slidesand appending footnotes to position papers. (Footnotes! cried political communications specialist Chris Jahnke, who has coached Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama. God bless you, please dont!)

Do scientists have an advantage in the current political environment, with the Democratic Party awash in volunteers eager to run against the GOP?

Absolutely, Democratic campaign strategist Martha McKennatold a 314 Action session. Voters think politicians talk and nothing gets done, she said. As scientists, you find solutions.

Its a message that resonates with Patrick Madden, a professor of computer science at Binghamton University in New York. In May, he announced a bid to challenge Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.) in New Yorks 22ndCongressional District.

Madden holds up his cellphone, a device more powerful than the computer that sent men to the moon. His work on integrated circuits has helped make such devices faster, better and more fun to own.

Were not full of crap, he said. Things like this got better because we make stuff thats real. If we were a pack of liars, the jig would be up.

Madden calls himself a firm believer in the scientific method, the engineering mind-set.

These principles of being honest, being truthful and looking for solutions: its a radical idea, he said. But I think we ought to try it.

See the original post here:
What happens when scientists leave their labs to experiment with politics? – Los Angeles Times

‘Butterfly Boy’ heads home after months in US hospital – CTV News

For Jonathan Pitre, its finally time to head home.

The Ottawa-area child, known as the Butterfly Boy because of a rare skin disease that leaves him with blistering sores all over his body, was discharged from a Minneapolis hospital Thursday.

Pitre underwent a potentially life-changing stem cell transfusion from his mother, Tina Boileau, in April. Hed been under doctors watch ever since.

Boileau tweeted a thank-you message to the U.S. hospital Thursday, adding, We are moving on to bigger and better things.

Pitre was born with epidermolysis bullosa (EB), an incurable genetic disorder that causes him to continuously break out in painful blisters. The stem cell treatment aimed to allow him to grow his mothers own cells.

The childs condition has steadily improved since the complicated procedure, which involved intense chemotherapy, radiation and a second attempt at the transfusion. His mother wrote on Facebook that hes excited to return home to Russell, Ont.

“Through this roller coaster ride, he has never given up and has been determined to get healthier and back home to take his dog Gibson for a walk without his wheelchair,” Boileau wrote.

“He has been doing physical therapy every day in order to reach his goal.”

Pitres story is well-known in the Ottawa region, and local media has closely followed his medical journey and praised his positive attitude.

See the original post here:
‘Butterfly Boy’ heads home after months in US hospital – CTV News

Entest BioMedical’s Subsidiary Zander Therapeutics, Inc. Reports on Preliminary Canine Experiments Testing New Anti … – PR Newswire (press release)

Based on the license agreement, Zander is able to benefit from the progress Regen BioPharma, Inc. makes in developing NR2F6 small molecule modulators for humans by testing the same drugs in animals. In partnership with Chem Div, Inc., an internationally recognized contract research organization, Zander has tested some initial compounds that act on human cells in suppressing the immune system in a small amount of dog blood. The results indicate that at least one of the compounds suppressed IL-17a expression in activated peripheral blood mononuclear cells in a non-toxic manner.

Zander is continuing similar experiments testing other compounds and will also begin to test anti-cancer small molecule compounds in the coming months.

The NR2F6 nuclear receptor has been identified as a potentially extremely important immune cell inhibitor and cancer stem cell differentiator. Molecules which function as immune cell inhibitors are called “immune checkpoints” and basically act as an “on or off switch” to an immune response. Cancer cells sometimes find ways to use these checkpoints to avoid being attacked by the immune system therefore therapies that target these checkpoints demonstrate tremendous potential as cancer treatments. The NR2F6 program at Zander Therapeutics focuses on identifying antagonists of NR2F6 in an effort to unleash the cancer-killing potential of a dog’s own immune system as well as identifying agonists which should suppress the immune system in diseases where the immune system is over-activated, such as autoimmunity.

About Zander Therapeutics Inc. and Entest BioMedical Inc.:

Zander Therapeutics is a subsidiary of Entest BioMedical Inc. (OTCPink: ENTB), a publicly traded biotechnology company focused on veterinary medicine. The Company seeks to develop small molecule and immune stimulating therapies for veterinary applications.

Currently, the Company’s major interest is in developing small molecule therapies for treating cancer and autoimmune diseases in animals, which include arthritis.

Zander Therapeutics Inc. is the exclusive licensee for veterinary applications of Regen BioPharma Inc.’s (OTCQB: RGBP) (OTCQB: RGBPP) intellectual property and technology relating to NR2F6. NR2F6 is a molecular switch known as a “orphan nuclear receptor”, which controls genes associated with the immune response. Zander Therapeutics is solely focused on veterinary applications.

David Koos serves as Chairman and Chief Executive officer of Regen BioPharma, Inc. (OTCQB: RGBP), Entest BioMedical Inc. (OTCPINK: ENTB) and Zander Therapeutics Inc. (subsidiary of Entest BioMedical Inc.).

Disclaimer: This news announcement may contain forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties, some of which cannot be predicted or quantified. Future events and actual results could differ materially from those set forth in, contemplated by, or underlying the forward-looking statements. The risks and uncertainties to which forward looking statements are subject include, but are not limited to, the effect of government regulation, competition and other material risks.

CONTACT INFORMATION Zander Therapeutics Inc. and Entest BioMedical Inc. David R. Koos, Ph.D. Chairman & Chief Executive Officer +1-619-702-1404 Phone +1-619-330-2328 Fax http://www.zandertherapeutics.com/ info@zandertherapeutics.com

SOURCE Entest BioMedical Inc.

Read more:
Entest BioMedical’s Subsidiary Zander Therapeutics, Inc. Reports on Preliminary Canine Experiments Testing New Anti … – PR Newswire (press release)

What foxes tell us about how animals become tame – Bend Bulletin

A-A+

We humans have been domesticating animals for at least 10,000 years, and weve done so for a plethora of reasons. Pigs, cows and sheep give us food. Horses, yaks and water buffaloes provide transportation. Dogs and cats offer companionship and, sometimes, protection.

Something strange has happened along the way: Many of our domesticates, especially the mammals, share an unusual combination of characteristics. They tend to have curly tails, floppy ears, mottled coats and childlike faces featuring rounded snouts. Their skulls are generally smaller than their wild ancestors; their hormone profiles are markedly different, and their reproductive seasons are longer. These traits are clumped into what has come to be known as the domestication syndrome.

Why should domesticated species share these characteristics? Pig farmers would not have cared whether animals had curly tails. Early cattle breeders had nothing to gain from producing cows with black- and-white spotted hides. And yet the domestication syndrome is very real.

Whats going here?

One way to answer this is to turn to an unusual, six-decade-long experiment involving the domestication of silver foxes in Siberia. Recently, my Russian colleague Lyudmila Trut and I have told the story of that study in our book, How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog). As Lyudmila, who has been leading this work every day since 1959, and I explain, the experiment was launched in part to understand the domestication syndrome.

That label, of course, was not in use in the 1950s, when the Russian geneticist Dmitry Belyaev conceived of and started the project to figure out how domestication happens.

He hypothesized that the process was driven by our distant ancestors selection of animals according to one critical trait that they were less aggressive and fearful toward humans than was typical for their species. This tameness, Belyaev proposed, would have been crucial to breeding animals for other things we wanted, such as meat or a ride. It just would not do to be trampled by our food source, maimed by our protectors or kicked by our vehicles.

Belyaev knew about the traits that make up the domestication syndrome, because he had spent a great deal of time working with domesticated animals. He surmised that somehow or another, all the components the floppy ears, mottled coats, smaller skulls and more were genetically correlated with tameness. And so when we select based on tameness, these other traits just come along for the ride in a kind of genetic hitchhiking.

He and Lyudmila began to test this idea in 1959. Every year they assessed hundreds of foxes and selected only those with the most prosocial interactions with humans the ones that licked peoples hands, wagged their tails and whined sadly when interactions with humans were over. These were the foxes chosen to parent the next generation.

They would then assess whether subsequent generations became tamer over time, and equally important, whether traits associated with the domestication syndrome began popping up. They did, and quickly remarkably quickly, given the thousands of years it took for our ancestors to domesticate dogs, cows and other creatures. Within the first decade of the fox domestication experiment, the animals were not only markedly tamer, offering up their stomachs for belly rubs, but some of them had curly tails and mottled fur.

Lyudmila remembers one fox in particular from this time. In 1969, the 10th generation of foxes was born, and among them was a pup that she named Mechta, the Russian word for dream. In wild foxes, a pups ears are floppy until it is about 2 weeks old, at which point its ears take on the ramrod-straight look we tend to picture when we think of foxes. When Mechta was 3 weeks old, her ears had not yet straightened. They still hadnt at 4 weeks, nor at 5. Mechta looked exactly like a dog pup.

Lyudmila desperately wanted to show Belyaev, but he was so busy that spring that he couldnt come to the experimental farm outside the city of Novosibirsk until Mechta was 3 months old. To Lyudmilas surprise and delight, however, Mechtas ears remained as floppy as ever when he showed up. When Belyaev saw the pup, he exclaimed, And what kind of wonder is this?!

By this time in the study, the domesticated foxes also had dramatically reduced stress hormone levels, indicating they were more comfortable around humans than their wild brethren, and the females had slightly longer breeding seasons. In the decades to follow, the frequency of these characteristics increased, and the foxes also developed juvenile facial features, smaller skulls and increased levels of neurotransmitters such as the happiness chemical, serotonin.

Belyaev was right: Select animals based on tameness and only tameness, and many of the traits that make up the domestication syndrome come along for the ride.

That answers the question at one level, but why does selection for tameness also lead to all of the other characteristics that make up the domestication syndrome? A promising new idea proposed by a trio of scientists may help answer that question. In a paper published in 2014 in the journal Genetics, these researchers suggested that the key may be changes in the development of neural crest cells, a type of stem cells. When vertebrates are still tiny embryos, neural crest cells migrate to different parts of the body including the brain, skin, jaws, teeth, larynx, ears and cartilage.

The researchers think that choosing animals based on tameness also selects for a reduced number of neural crest cells, and that the floppy ears, curly tails and other traits associated with domestication result directly from these mild neural crest cell deficits. Changes to neural crest cell development, the argument goes, may be the mechanism that allows the domestication syndrome to hitch a ride with tameness. Time will tell whether this hypothesis holds up, but if it is correct, it provides the missing link in how domesticating based on tameness also produces the domestication syndrome.

There are exceptions to the domestication syndrome, as well as many mysteries surrounding it. German shepherds, for example, have erect ears.

Its possible that selective breeding for rather aggressive behavior may have tinkered with components of the domestication syndrome.

And at this point, you may be wondering about Americas other favorite pets: cats. Why they possess some traits of the syndrome but still have pointy ears, we dont know. One speculative possibility is rooted in the idea that cats bond to humans, and their reliance on us, is weaker than in dogs, and that even during the domestication process, cats probably had to fend for themselves more than dogs. Natural selection, according to this idea, may have strongly favored pointed ears for the benefits they provide during hunting.

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What foxes tell us about how animals become tame – Bend Bulletin