Critical Mass: My Other Blog Life
I won't be posting any less here -- I'll just be posting there too, as will several great writers. So check it out, spread the word (and look at how cute our new mascot is!) ...
Labels: Personal Updates
Rebecca Skloot's blog on Science, Writing, and Life.
Labels: Personal Updates
"Dana and Gary Ganyer said they cried while watching what they thought was the death of Annie ... But Annie was not euthanized ... Instead, the lawsuit says, the dog was given a sedative to make it appear she was dead. The clinic then gave Annie to a new owner, Gene Rizzo of northeast Philadelphia, who cared for the dog until he had her euthanized Nov. 2, the lawsuit says. "When I heard she was still alive I literally screamed and went into hysterics," Dana Ganyer said. The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, accuses Mill Pond Veterinary Clinic, Mill Pond Kennels and three of its employees of fraud, negligence and defamation" (AP).I completely understand the temptation to fake a dog's death. I was a veterinary technician for more than ten years -- I worked in regular clinics, emergency rooms and animal morgues. I've euthanized many many animals. In most cases, this was actually a beautiful thing -- a peaceful end to suffering. But every once in a while, people turn to euthanasia for wrong reasons ... the dog is too much work, it sheds too much, they don't have time for it. When that happened, we'd try to convince owners not to do it. If we had kennels in the clinic, we'd take it and find it a home. If we didn't have kennels, we'd call an animal rescue group to take it. If the owner insisted on euthanasia, we simply refused to do it. No vet I worked for would ever fake a dogs death, but we talked about doing it every time.
If you're an NASW member, I urge you to read the tributes to her on the NASW site. Her obituary and the many responses to it are there:
There's also a wonderful detailed obituary in the Boston Globe.
"An independent book editor, Laura spent many years as a senior editor with Houghton-Mifflin, where she specialized in books related to science, technology, medicine, and health. She worked with authors including Natalie Angier (Woman: An Intimate Geography), Daniel Schacter (The Seven Sins of Memory), J. Richard Gott (Time Travel Through Einstein's Universe), and Steve Olson (Mapping Human History, a National Book Award finalist) ... Laura served as a senior editor with the MIT publication Technology Review and as a newspaper reporter.
She is survived by her husband, Howard Saxner, and son, David Saxner. A memorial service is planned for Sunday, April 30, at 2 p.m. at the First Parish Unitarian Church, Harvard Square, Cambridge, Mass. Donations may be made in Laura's name to the Pappas Center for Neuro-Oncology c/o Massachusetts General Hospital, Development Office, 165 Cambridge St., Suite 600, Boston, MA 02114."
"Mr. Talese, who has compared writing both to passing a kidney stone and to 'driving a truck at night without headlights, losing your way along the road and spending a decade in a ditch,' is a painfully slow worker - a tinkerer and reviser, an obsessive typer and re-typer."All I can say is: Me too. But Talese goes much further than me in that department: "He keeps track of his progress, or lack of it, with memos and exhortations to himself that he posts on white foam panels on the wall." Things like: ""GT, what other stories - and when are you going to get back into print!?????????" Or "Where am I going???" A long time ago, I blogged about his bizarre revision practices, which sometimes involve scraps of paper and binoculars.
"The man ... went to an Oregon hospital complaining of a headache. Doctors were surprised when they took X-rays and found the nails - six clustered between his right eye and ear, two below his right ear and four on the left side of his head ... He became short-tempered and hostile when OHSU staff asked him how the injury occurred ... The man at first told doctors he had had a "nail gun accident." It wasn't until later that the patient admitted he'd used meth and the injury was a suicide attempt ... Surgeons were able to remove the nails with needle-nosed pliers and a drill because the nail heads did not penetrate the skull."Apparently, there's a study looking at this sort of thing: This man is the first to survive "intentionally fired so many foreign objects into the head," but nail gun injuries aren't unheard of: "Nail gun injuries are often accidental. But more than 65 percent of the time, a nail gun injury to the head is associated with an intentional discharge, a psychiatric disorder or both, the study said."
Labels: Weird Science
"Allowing [a research participant] to choose who can have the sample, where the sample will be storied, and/or how the sample can be used is tantamount to a blood donor being able to dictate that his/her blood can only be transfused into a person of a certain ethnic background, or a donated kidney being transplanted only into a woman or man."I find that absurd: Giving patients the right to determine what's done with their tissues and which scientist does research on them does not equal discrimination and determining who receives the benefit of that research. Preventing patients from controling their tissues doesn't change the fact that someone decides who gets the sample, how its stored and used, and who benefits from it -- it just leaves those decisions to scientists, universities and biotech companies instead of patients. And there's no evidence that they'll make better decisions about tissues use than patients who, on the whole, want to see medicine advance (in fact, there's plenty of evidence that patient involvement can help advance science, just look at Ted Slavin, or the story of Sharon Terry -- how and why she became a co-patent holder on the gene found in her childrens' tissues, and the positive impact that had on research).
Some makers of these tests are making the argument that regulation of their products would "make it uneconomical to develop many tests, which have smaller sales than drugs. " But when there's this kind of money involved, and people are relying on these tests to decide whether they should bypass chemotherapy, somebody better make sure those tests actually do what they claim to do.
"A study of university scientists who received financing from the U.S. National Cancer Institute ... found that the scientists generated patents at a rapid pace and started companies in surprisingly high numbers. The study, the authors say, suggests that the commercial payoff for the government's support for basic research and development in the life sciences is greater than was previously thought."
Labels: Bioethics: General