Wednesday, 16 November 2022
Written by Pitt Dickey
What the world needs now more than love sweet love, are smarter, more socially attuned rats. Mr. Science has developed a method to put human brain cells into rats. What could possibly go wrong with this interesting development?
Today we enter the door that opens into this brave new world of improved rats. Quoting the The New York Times: “Scientists have successfully transplanted clusters of human neutrons into the brains of new born rats…” As Flounder said in “Animal House” — “Oh Boy! Is this great!”
Let us ponder the how, then the why, and the what this might mean for ratkind and humankind. Like many occasionally startling trends, poking human brain cells into rat brains originated in California. Our friends at Stanford not only left the cake out in the rain at McArthur Park but found the recipe again.
First, you put a bunch of human skin cells into a petri dish. Gently mix in some chemicals to cause the skin cells to morph into embryo cells. The newly hatched embryo cells can grow into almost anything except a Mercedes Benz. Fold in some more chemicals that cause embryo cells to develop into nerve cells, AKA neurons. Put the neurons into a commercial grade Commando 1500 E Class 10,000-watt Food Processor. Add Stanford’s secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices. Spin for two hours until the cells form large clumps of neurons called progenitor brain cells.
These brain cells become three types of nerve cells called Organoids. These new improved brain cells do not develop into regular or extra crispy Organoids, but come in three delicious flavors: brain cortex cells, spinal cord cells and muscle cells.
Now comes the fun part. Mr. Science implants the human nerve cells into the brains of volunteer two-day old baby rats to see what happens next. The Organoids are put into the part of the rat brains that understands pain, touch and bodily signals. Rats get a lot of information about the outside world from their whiskers. Human Organoids can speak Rat Whisker. Once at home in the baby rat brain, the Organoids flourish and grow to take up about 1/3 of the rat’s cortex.
Party on, Organoids! Mr. Science discovered the rats with human Organoids learned much more quickly than mere rat brained rats. We now can produce intellectually gifted rats who will require private schools.
Why do we want better rat brains? By Mr. Science studying the new improved rat brains, medical advances may be made into understanding autism, brain injuries and other neurological disorders. Some soreheads have ethical questions about implanting Organoids into rats. At this point, apparently Organoids have not been implanted into chimpanzees or border collies. But if winter comes, can blizzards of new improved animals be far behind? Stay tuned.
Eventually PETA is likely to object to the biological downgrading of rats by diluting their rodent identity through injecting human brain cells. Rats will become less than fully rat, declining into mere Ratoids adulterated by human brain cells. Humans have done a lot of things, and not all of them were good. Introducing human brain cells into rats is species colonialism. The insertion of human brain cells into rats is the first step on a slippery slope of cultural appropriation of rat history.
Will Ratoids become addicted to following the latest antics of Kardashians or the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills? Will Ratoids become influencers on social media? Will Ratoids become Democrats or Republicans, or form a new Party of Ratacrustians?
Not everything must be bleak in the coming Ratoid future. What is sauce for the rat, is sauce for the human. If human brain cells can be injected into rats, then rat brain cells can be injected into humans. The insertion of rat brain cells into humans would improve a lot of humans.
Consider Putin with a new improved rat brain. Vlad would be a kinder, gentler, murderous dictator. There are some things that even rats won’t do. Putin has shown there is nothing he won’t do. Rat Brain Putin would be an upgrade. Rat brain cells would improve Kanye West by slowing his spew of antisemitic comments, thereby allowing him to focus on finding cheese instead of vomiting hatred. Elon Musk clearly would benefit from rat brains. Former Dook Coach K’s disposition could be upgraded to almost semi-catatonic with an infusion of rat brains. Coach K already resembles a rat. His transformation from almost human to rat would not be a stretch. In a display of almost superhuman restraint, I will refrain from suggesting whether an infusion of rat brain cells would improve the Former Guy.
So, what have we learned today? Who put the rat in rational and irrational? Who knows? Boys will be boys. Rats will be rats. Until now, never the twain shall meet. Once humans comingle their brain cells in rats, we will end up with a nation of Dook fans. As Colonel Walter E. Kurtz in “Apocalypse Now” once said, “The Horror. The Horror.”
Tuesday, 08 November 2022
Written by Cynthia Ross
A trip to Holden Beach took us through the country with beautiful views of farms and fields. We rounded a curve and there was a field of cotton so beautiful it looked like it had been painted.
Even in that passing moment, I could see the open blossoms a bright white against the landscape and sky. Thus, my inspiration for this week’s article.
The word cotton comes from the Arabic word “quton”. The earliest production was in India dating back to 5,000 B.C. Arab merchants brought cotton cloth to Europe around A.D. 800, and when Columbus discovered America in 1492, he saw cotton growing in fields on the Bahama Islands and along the east coast.
The history of cotton spans more than 7,000 years. About 3000 B.C., cotton was cultivated in the Indus River Valley, and about 2500 B.C., Chinese, South Americans and Egyptians began wearing cotton fabrics. Cotton spread west to Egypt, Turkey, Central America and the Caribbean.
Cotton is soft and fluffy, and the United States is the largest producer of cotton as an export. The production is a lengthy and involved process from planting to picking. It is not easy to grow and prefers warm and humid climates.
Historically, cotton was picked by hand, which took hours to process and separate. Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1794, which revolutionized the process.
Today, cotton pickers are machinery that picks the entire plant, and a cotton stripper is used for separation. After it is picked it is baled and stored before going to a gin. At the gin it is cleaned and fluffed to separate the cotton from seeds and lint, then it is compressed and ready to ship to textile mills.
When it is cleaned and fluffed it is put into a carding machine which cleans the material again and forms short fibers into long untwisted rope for spinning and weaving
There are four types of cotton.
Pima is the finest because the fibers are extra soft and long. Egyptian cotton has similar qualities but is grown in the Nile River Valley in Egypt. Upland cotton makes up about 90% of the world’s total cotton production in Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean and southern Florida. Organic cotton is cotton grown without chemicals.
Cotton is indeed the fabric of our lives, and its uses are in the hundreds. There are some traces of cotton in almost everything we wear or use daily. Cotton is used to make all types of clothing because of its versatility and comfort, and it is used in making industrial products. It is used in making fabrics such as flannel, velvet, velour and corduroy. It is used to make fishnets, book bindings and coffee filters. It can be used as food for cattle because it is edible, and cottonseed oil is in high demand as an alternative to vegetable oil. It is used in the production of cosmetic products and soaps. It is a key ingredient in beauty products such as sheet masks, makeup remover wipes and cottonseed oil to nourish the skin.
When purchasing sheets 100% cotton is always a go-to for comfort and durability. Thread counts should range from 200 to 500 and anything above that is not necessarily better quality. Labels that read cotton rich are less than 100% cotton. Bamboo sheets become rayon once they are processed with chemicals that change the composition and texture. The Oeko-Tex certification on a textile signifies that all the product has been tested for toxins.
Live, love, life and cotton.