I KNOW THE FANDOM IS DIVIDED ON ABBY BABY THEORY BUT STICK WITH ME.
@brittanias and I have been hashing this out and here are some thoughts. All the symptoms we have seen Abby show so far - sleeplessness, tremors,
anxiety, hallucination - could actually be symptoms of something completely
different. Such as, for example, pregnancy. When Abby’s on the radio with Kane, what we see of her does not actually
appear to present as a seizure; it presents much more like an anxiety attack.
She’s restless, pacing, her jaw is clenching, her hands are shaking, and then
when she hears Marcus she calms down. What we have NOT seen yet:
weakness, collapsing, fainting, sweating, bleeding from the nose or mouth,
foaming, rage/mania, or a scan of Abby’s brain.
THEORY: The reminder about Abby also getting fried with the EMP, just like
Raven was, and the link of Abby’s symptoms with Raven’s symptoms are a
narrative misdirect (perhaps its purpose is to give a reason why Abby’s contraception chip was fried and she didn’t know it); otherwise all the attention paid to the idea that this
brain thing could present very differently in different people wouldn’t
actually matter, unless it was so they could show us symptoms of something
that was not a brain tumor and convince us to believe it was a brain
tumor. So we see Raven hallucinate and then have a seizure, we have
Abby explain why, we have Jackson say “but the same thing happened to you, I
should check you,” and then we have Abby being stubborn and insisting she’s
fine and refusing to let him check her. So it’s possible that the reason
we see Abby’s first symptom - the hallucination (of her child, btw) in
the same episode as Raven’s is to make sure we, the audience, are going “oh
shit” and immediately assuming they are the exact same kind of
hallucination. Even though hallucinations are a very common symptom of
extreme sleeplessness and sleeplessness is a common symptom of a whole huge
range of things.
[Edited to add, per Brittany’s suggestion just now: we don’t even know that it was a hallucination. She was alone in the lab; she straight-up could have been dreaming. (In that fancy bed.) Just a regular ol’ extremely vivid dream - another common pregnancy symptom.]
Another, slightly more extra, possible indicator that pregnancy is a possibility: the editing of the sex scene. We didn’t see leadup/cut to black/afterglow like the show usually does; we saw Kane finish. It’s possible the writers and directors are just plain old Kabby trash like we are, but it’s also possible it’s plot-relevant in some way that we have concrete proof that Kane came inside her.
So this is my prediction. I don’t think either of them are going to
die. I think for Raven, the narrative purpose of the “oh no you have a
brain thing” is not the possibility of death, it’s the seizures. It’s to
put Raven in a situation where we know there is a danger she could completely
lose control of her physical body, with all of humanity on the line. They
made a big point of Raven having to switch the rocket to manual, which now
means only Raven can fly it. They made a big point of how they needed all
those barrels of hydrazine for the rocket and now they’re down one; what if
they can coast on only the remaining fuel as long as the rocket is only carrying
the weight of one passenger and they strip out all the unnecessary internal
workings to make it lighter? Then Raven is in space, alone, with all the
Nightblood, with brain that could go into seizure at any moment when she’s
over-stressed. We also have Luna’s ability to soothe Raven with her
words, and we have Murphy being in the room for every one of Raven’s failed
flight simulator drills (playing with a toy car whose controls are very similar
to the rocket). I don’t think it’s outside the bounds of possibility that
they’re setting us up for Raven to have a seizure as the rocket is landing and
even though it’s in manual, Murphy has to figure out how to land it himself
while Raven’s incapacitated and Luna is trying over the headset to soothe her out
of her seizure.
As far as Abby, I think the narrative purpose of “oh no you also have the
brain thing” could very plausibly be to set us up in the only conceivable
situation where Abby would have to consent to let Jackson give her a full
medical scan. If there wasn’t a chance she was seriously sick, she’d never
allow it. There’d be no point. But if she got pregnant in Polis,
then she’s less than 2 months along, which means she might not be showing and
most of her symptoms might easily look like something else, especially if she
already thought there was a chance she did have something else. So
my guess is that she’s going to end up pushing herself and pushing herself
until she has some kind of a meltdown or collapses from exhaustion or something
happens where she finally has to face the thing she’s been trying not to have
to face, her fear that she might also have what Raven has. But she’d
never say “sure go ahead give me a full physical” unless she had a very good
reason and Jackson had reached a point of no longer being willing to be talked
out of it. Exhaustion, anxiety/tremors, and lack of sleep could all very
easily be a combination of stress, overwork and pregnancy; hallucinations or
lucid dreams sometimes are as well. Especially given that the content of
the dream was her child, in danger.
In terms of the narrative purpose to be served by Abby possibly being
pregnant, there are a couple possibilities. One important thing to
remember, which I had forgotten until an anon just reminded me of it, is that
all the Sky People are universal blood donors, while the Grounders are
not. It’s possible that the “disappointing
setback” the episode description for 408 mentions with regard to the experiment
on the Grounder redshirt is because maybe a Grounder can’t take another
Grounder’s blood if they aren’t type-compatible. So that means they can’t go to space to
manufacture Nightblood synthetically, and they can’t use Luna’s bone marrow to
save all the Grounders; they could save all the Sky People, and they could save
Grounders compatible with Luna’s blood type, but that’s all. But if they had, oh, let’s say, Nightblood
embryonic stem cells from a baby of two Skaikru universal-donor parents, then
by the magic of television science (I DON’T THINK ANY OF THIS IS REAL, I JUST
MEAN BY THE RULES OF HOW THIS SHOW WORKS), that could crack the code for a
vaccine that could save everyone, as
Clarke always intended – not just the Sky People.
Another factor is that a number of people have tossed around the idea of
long-term cryosleep and the theories about a five-year time jump in the finale
being connected; that is, maybe one of the “lifeboats” they come up with to
save some portion of the group is related to putting people in long-term
stasis. @knowlesian has a fantastic
theory I’ll be making her elucidate when she guest-hosts Meta Station next week
about how it’s possible that Cadogan’s secret “thirteenth level” was not merely
a fancier bunker, but pods for long-term space travel in cryosleep similar to
the ones we learned about in that story about the asteroid miners for whom
Becca invented Nightblood in the first place.
It was to protect them from solar radiation while in cryosleep for long
space journeys. (One factor to consider
here is the constant reiteration that Raven’s brain could heal itself if she
just took it easy, which of course she never fuckin’ does; however, a five-year
nap in cryostasis is probably enough time for her to wake up rested and ready
for the writers not have to keep writing seizures into her storyline for Season
5.) Again, using the magic of Television
Science, something something handwave handwave the Nightblood in the placenta
keeps the fetus safely in stasis while Abby goes under so they don’t have to
deal with the fact that she’ll still only be 2 months along when the death wave
comes. This also makes room for the most
crackpot of my crackpot Pregnant Abby theories, the idea that the season’s
continued thematic parallels of Abby with Bellamy (up to and including very
literal moments like Abby napping on the couch and dreaming of the 100 vs.
Bellamy napping on the couch while Clarke drafts the list of the new 100) are
actually clues as well. There were 100
spots on the dropship but 101 passengers, because Bellamy stowed away. If Cadogan left 100 cryosleep pods, there
would be 101 passengers if Abby’s pregnant.
On a thematic level, of course, a baby symbolizes hope and possibility and
the future; it’s a nice narrative device to tie the theme of hope which has
always been primarily centered on Kane and Abby’s relationship over the course
of the show and make it literal. The
first Skaikru baby being born to the Chancellors feels right, and it ramps up
the emotional stakes for both of them to stratospheric levels because
everything is more risky for a pregnant woman.
It’s also a nice way to set up a long-term possibility for Season 5
where we get to see Skaikru emerging from the wreckage, trying to rebuild a
home, and a radiation-immune Nightblood baby as a sign that the human race will
continue is a nice sort of thematic illustration of that sense of
I KNOW IT SOUNDS CRAZY AND I COULD BE LAUGHABLY WRONG
BUT IF IT TURNS OUT ABBY IS NOT DYING, SHE’S PREGNANT, I’M GOING TO BE SO
h/t again to @brittanias and @knowlesian, as well as to @reblogginhood who occasionally feeds my tin hat conspiracy theories with things like “Vesta was a fertility goddess I’M JUST SAYING”
President Trump addresses a joint session of Congress on Feb. 28, 2017. (Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP)
Approval rating: 43%*
Nominees formally submitted/confirmed by Senate: 24/22*
Major successes: Neil Gorsuch confirmed for Supreme Court; some Obama-era regulations repealed
Major setbacks: Proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act withdrawn from House; immigration orders blocked by federal courts; national security adviser Michael Flynn forced to resign
Of note: FBI confirmed investigation into whether Trump associates colluded with Russian meddling in election
Barack Obama (2009)
President Barack Obama is sworn in on Jan. 20, 2009. (Photo: Tim Sloan, AFP/Getty Images)
Approval rating: 65%
Nominees formally submitted/confirmed by Senate: 190/69
Major successes: Stimulus bill passed; children’s health care expanded; equal-pay protections bolstered; federal ban on embryonic stem-cell research lifted
Major setbacks: Nominee for key role of Health and Human Services secretary, Tom Daschle, forced to withdraw
Of note: Stock market bottomed out in March, a sign that the end of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression was in sight
George W. Bush (2001)
President Bush speaks to newly sworn-in White House staff members in an East Room ceremony on Jan. 22, 2001. (Photo: H. Darr Beiser, USA TODAY)
Approval rating: 62%
Nominees formally submitted/confirmed by Senate: 85/35
Major successes: House passed tax proposal, eventually signed in June, to slash income tax rates
Major setbacks: Failed to act on a blue-ribbon commission report urging changes in homeland security or on warning signs before the terror attacks on New York and Washington that would follow in September
Of note: U.S. spy plane flying over the South China Sea clipped by Chinese fighter jet and forced to land on Chinese soil
Bill Clinton (1993)
President Bill Clinton is sworn in on Jan. 20, 1993. (Photo: Ed Reinke, AP)
Approval rating: 55%
Nominees formally submitted/confirmed by Senate: 176/49
Major successes: Family and Medical Leave Act signed
Major setbacks: Furors over gays in the military, firing of White House travel office staffers
Of note: Hillary Rodham Clinton put in charge of signature health care overhaul, which eventually would fail.
George H.W. Bush (1989)
President George H.W. Bush is sworn into office on Jan. 20, 1989. (Photo: Bob Daugherty, AP)
Approval rating: 56%
Nominees formally submitted/confirmed by Senate: 95/50
Major successes: Submitted plan to bail out troubled savings and loans, eventually signed in August
Major setbacks: Nominee for Defense secretary, Texas Sen. John Tower, rejected by Senate
Of note: Worst oil spill on U.S. territory in history when Exxon Valdez supertanker ran aground in Alaska
Ronald Reagan (1981)
President Ronald Reagan in the Oval Office on Jan. 20, 1981. (Photo: Barry Thumma, AP)
Approval rating: 68%
Nominees formally submitted/confirmed by Senate: 128/80
Major successes: Proposed major cuts in taxes and domestic spending and an increase in military spending; Iran released U.S. hostages as he was inaugurated
Major setbacks: Fragility in the economy, which would head into recession in July
Of note: Survived assassination attempt by John Hinckley Jr.
Sources: Gallup Poll; Partnership for Public Service; USA TODAY research by Susan Page
Ever since Scowlofjustice put the idea in my head i’ve spent all day playing Cards Against Megamind with myself. Needless to say i’ve had a WONDERFUL day.
Here’s my day so far: Daddy issues , self loathing and a closed casket funeral
Still, things could be a lot worse. Oh, that’s right, I’m waking up half-naked in a Denny’s parking lot. Guess they can’t.
I was eight days old and still not contributing to society in any meaningful way
Here Is your Minion, he will take third base
You are destined for vehicular manslaughter
He bought their affections with showmanship and extravagant gifts of deliciousness. So I, too, will make vigorous jazz hands and win over Loki, the trickster god.
That’s when I learned a very hard lesson. Good receives all the praise and adulation, while evil is sent to The Make a Wish Foundation
While they were learning the Itsy Bitsy Spider I learned white privilege.
Some days, it felt like it was just me and Minion against fifty years of fanfic
Then it hit me; if I was the bad boy, then I was going to be the Former President George W. Bush
I decided to pick something a little more humble… Megamind: Incredibly handsome criminal genius and master of all poor life choices
You got a present in the mail. Is it chunks of dead prostitute?
His heart is an erection that lasts longer than four hours that’s inside the entire cast of Downton Abbey
The greatest honor you’ve given me is Cybernetic enhancements
I tell you Minion, there’s no place like Auschwitz
Is there some kind of nerdy supervillain website where you get a windmill full of corpses and embryonic stem cells?
Stop! She’s using her Menstrual Rage on your weak-willed mind to find out all our secrets!
It is with great pleasure that I present to Metro Man my collection of high-tech sex toys
Oh! I’m shaking in my extremely tight pants!
That is if Metro Man can withstand the full, concentrated power of my inner demons!
Your weakness is a gentle caress on the inner thigh? You’re kidding right?
What if tomorrow we could go ripping into a man’s chest and pulling out his still-beating heart, that always seems to lift your spirits!
Roxie, I’m having a party at my house, it’s gonna be like, off the hook, or whatever. You should come over. I got racially-biased SAT questions , Lance Armstrong’s missing testicle , A super soaker full of cat pee, It’s gonna be sick!
What are we supposed to do? Without you evil is the holy bible
I had so many evil plans in the works, interspecies marriage, teaching a robot to love, MechaHitler, battles we will now never have.
I kept thinking he was gonna do one of his last minute poorly-timed holocaust jokes . Yeah, he was really good at those.
Heroes can be made…. That’s it! All you need are the right ingredients… a lifetime of sadness, the token minority , the entire internet, and a smidgen of some really fucked-up shit. Oh! With that, anyone can be a hero!
Oh no, not you Roxanne… I was just yelling at…. not Satan, I promise
Minion! Code: Ethnic cleansing
Oh yes, I’m doing horrible things to that man. I don’t want to get into it but Graphic violence, adult language and some sexual content, you know the drill.
Well, in sh…school… none of the other kids really liked me. I was always picking up girls at the abortion clinic.
Just a few alterations sir and I will be done with your most terrifying cape yet! I’m calling it The Violation of our most basic human rights
I may not know much, but I do know this. The bad guy doesn’t get the mere concept of Applebee’s
My sole purpose in life is getting married, having a few kids, buying some stuff, retiring to Florida and dying.
Code: I’ll just pack my Dalek porn and go!
Not the only exciting development of the night! Megamind’s concealing a boner! And I know why!
Roxanne? Say I wasn’t so normal. Let’s say I was a gender identity that can only be conveyed through slam poetry and had the complexion of a mime having a stroke as a random, nonspecific example…
You there! Yeah you. Bring out my manservant, Claude
And the hero strikes the first blow! But evil returns with a cooler full of organs
Guess what, Buster Brown? It’s made from Harry Potter Erotica you’re powerless against it!
I began to realize, despite all my powers, each and every citizen of Metro had something I didn’t. Crystal meth
I was finally free to get in touch with my true power, Leaving an awkward voicemail.
I have eyes that can see right through heteronormativity
I’m the bad guy. I don’t save the day. I don’t fly off into the sunset, and I don’t get all you can eat shrimp for $4.99.
I want to talk to the real Hal. I want to talk to the guy who loved not wearing pants, and Doin’ it in the butt, and praying the gay away and being not as scary as the Tighten Hal.
And my best friend Minion, I treated like my ex-wife
You’re living a fantasy. There is no Darth Vader, there is no skeletor, and there is no Nicolas Cage!
“Oh you’re a villain all right! Just not a super one!” “Yeah? What’s the difference?” “Crippling debt!”
We’ve had a lot of adventures together, you and I. I mean, most of them ended in throwing a virgin into a volcano, but we won today, didn’t we sir?
Ladies and gentlemen! Megamind, defender of licking things to claim them as your own
N6-methyladenine: A Newly Discovered Epigenetic Modification
The majority of cellular functions are carried out by proteins encoded by specific genes present in cellular DNA. Genes are first transcribed to RNA which is then translated to proteins. The regulation of this process is important for maintaining correct cellular function. One of the ways that cells regulate gene expression is by epigenetic modifications to chromatin. The term “epigenetics” refers to reversible chemical modifications of DNA and histone proteins (DNA in the nucleus of eukaryotes is wrapped around histones) that affect the transcriptional status of genes. A number of histone modifications such as methylation and acetylation of lysine residues have already been discovered and characterized. Until recently; however, methylation of the 5 position of cytosine was the only known epigenetic DNA modification (A). Methylation of cytosine by DNA methyltransferases is associated with transcriptional silencing, while the removal of these methyl groups by TET enzymes is associated with transcriptional re-activation (B and C). In addition to controlling gene silencing, cytosine methylation also silences retrotransposons, a class of mobile genetic elements. If left unregulated, transposons can insert themselves into important regions of the genome and lead to mutagenesis.
Recently, N6-methyladenine, a new epigenetic modification, was discovered in mammalian cells. N6-mA had previously been discovered in prokaryotes and simple eukaryotes and was shown to function as a transcriptional activator. By contrast, a recent report published in Nature, has shown that N6-mA functions as a transcriptional silencer in mammalian cells, specifically in mouse embryonic stem cells. N6-mA primarily acts to silence the LINE-1 family of retrotransposons during early embryogenesis, which prevents genomic instability. The authors identified N6-mA by using a modified single molecule DNA sequencing technique. DNA bound to a specific modified histone protein was immunoprecipitated using an antibody against a specific histone modification (H2A.X), sequenced, and analyzed by mass spectrometry (D). This identified and determined the position of N6-mA. The authors then generated knockouts of the enzyme Alkbh1, which they believed may function as a demethylase for N6-mA. When Alkbh1 was absent from cells, they found an increase in the levels of N6-mA, showing that Alkbh1 functions as an N6-mA demethylase in vivo. This is important because epigenetic modifications are reversible. Genes can be turned off by methylation and then turned back on by removing the methyl group, so determining the enzyme responsible for the removal of N6-mA supports its role as an epigenetic modification.
Our hearts pump some 50 million gallons of blood in our lifetime, and our arteries take a beating because of it. Arteries have the critical task of withstanding the high blood pressure that comes with each heart stroke. To do this, arteries are lined with thick vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) that contract and relax to control blood pressure and secrete proteins to cushion against each and every heartbeat. In this image, human embryonic stem cells have been transformed into VSMCs as shown by smooth muscle-specific markers in red and green. Creating VSMCs will be useful to study vascular abnormalities found in several diseases, including muscular dystrophy.
In 2001, George W. Bush banned almost all human embryonic stem cell research. scientists were immediately forced to explore other avenues. But with their potential to take on the form of any cell in the body, stem cells had been (and still are) an enormously promising research avenue. So in 2011, Divya Nag started her own company focused on stem cells derived from skin cells. But she wasn’t done there.
Researchers make groundbreaking discovery, use skin cells to kill cancer
In a first for medical science, University of North Carolina at
Chapel Hill pharmacy researchers turn skin cells into cancer-hunting
stem cells that destroy brain tumors known as glioblastoma – a discovery
that can offer, for the first time in more than 30 years, a new and
more effective treatment for the disease.
The technique, reported in Nature Communications, builds upon the
newest version of the Nobel Prize-winning technology from 2007, which
allowed researchers to turn skin cells into embryonic-like stem cells.
Researchers hailed the possibilities for use in regenerative medicine
and drug screening. Now, researchers have found a new use: killing brain
“Patients desperately need a better standard of care,” said Shawn
Hingtgen, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the UNC Eshelman School of
Pharmacy and member of the Lineberger Comprehensive Care Center, who led
The survival rate beyond two years for a patient with a glioblastoma
is 30 percent because it is so difficult to treat. Even if a surgeon
removes most of the tumor, it’s nearly impossible to get the invasive,
cancerous tendrils that spread deeper into the brain and inevitably the
remnants grow back. Most patients die within a year and a half of their
Hingtgen and his team want to improve those statistics by developing a
new personalized treatment for glioblastoma that starts with a
patient’s own skin cells, with the goal of getting rid of the cancerous
tendrils, effectively killing the glioblastoma.
In their work, Hingtgen and his team reprogram skin cells known as
fibroblasts – which produce collagen and connective tissue — to become
induced neural stem cells. Working with mice, Hingtgen’s team showed
that these neural stem cells have an innate ability to move throughout
the brain and home in on and kill any remaining cancer cells. The team
also showed that these stem cells could be engineered to produce a
tumor-killing protein, adding another blow to the cancer.
Depending on the type of tumor, the Hingtgen’s team increased
survival time of the mice 160 to 220 percent. Next steps will focus on
human stem cells and testing more effective anti-cancer drugs that can
be loaded into the tumor-seeking neural stem cells.
“Our work represents the newest evolution of the stem-cell technology
that won the Nobel Prize in 2012,” Hingtgen said. “We wanted to find
out if these induced neural stem cells would home in on cancer cells and
whether they could be used to deliver a therapeutic agent. This is the
first time this direct reprogramming technology has been used to treat
Hingtgen’s team is also currently improving the staying power of stem
cells within the surgical cavity. They discovered that the stem cells
needed a physical matrix to support and organize them, so they will hang
around long enough to seek out the cancerous tendrils. “Without a
structure like that, the stem cells wander off too quickly to do any
good,” said Hingtgen, who reported this result in a separate journal
In that study, Hingtgen and his team added his stem cells to an
FDA-approved fibrin sealant commonly used as surgical glue. The physical
matrix it creates tripled the retention of stem cells in the surgical
cavity, providing further support for the applicability and strength of
Currently in the United States, there are over 4,500 clinical trails in progress testing the therapeutic benefits of stem cells. Just as Olympic athletes train to specialize in one sport, so too do adult stem cells: They are cells that can specialize to become specific cell types depending on their tissue of origin. In the brain, neural stem cells give rise to neurons and helper cells in the central nervous system. Clinical trials are now underway to either activate the small number of neural stem cells present in our brains or to supply neural stem cells that were cultured in a dish to repair damage due to injury or disease.
Image by Dr. Andrew Woolley and Dr. Aaron Gilmour, University of New South Wales.
Like so many Americans, for me, family comes first. When family values are undermined, our country suffers. All too often, parents struggle to instill character in their sons and daughters—only to see their values belittled and their beliefs mocked by those who look down on America. Americans try to raise their children to understand right and wrong—only to be told that every so-called “lifestyle alternative” is morally equivalent. That is wrong.
The gap between us and our opponents is a cultural divide. It is not just a difference between [being] conservative and liberal; it is a difference between fighting for what is right and refusing to see what is wrong.
…on behalf of family values, we’ve taken on Hollywood and the media elite—and we will not back down.
As such, the term “family values” is an inherently political one, and is not one representing any sort of eternal social order. When I speak out in support of “destruction of traditional family values”, that doesn’t mean that I want to see families torn apart or for society to become deprived of any values; it means that I want to see the elimination of the enforcement of many of the societal values promoted by traditionalist right-wingers.
What are these values? Let’s look at the 2012 Republican platform to get an idea to get an idea of the cultural and social positions and policies that are advocated for by the architects of “family values”. These include things such as:
Public display of the Ten Commandments
Support for school prayer
Government funding of faith-based charities
A federal investigation into attempts by same-sex marriage supporters to “to deny religious believers their civil rights” through “hate campaigns, threats of violence, and vandalism”
A Constitutional amendment defining marriage (which they call “the institution which, for thousands of years in virtually every civilization, has been entrusted with the rearing of children and the transmission of cultural values”) as between one man and one woman
Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell military policy
A Constitutional Amendment overturning Roe v. Wade
Opposition to federal funding of embryonic stem cell research
Opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide
Reverence of the American flag and the Pledge of Allegiance
Banning online gambling
“Vigorously enforc[ing]” current laws against pornography and obscenity
Eliminating “family planning” programs in favor of abstinence-only sex-ed
Opposition to “school-based clinics that provide referrals, counseling, and related services for abortion and contraception”
I would also argue that their cultural views are a notable factor in their positions on immigration and their “tough approach to crime” (to use another buzz phrase), though in a slightly more subtle way.
In other words, while they may avoid using language that makes it explicit, opting instead for dog-whistle terms like “family values”, they are calling for a culture of exclusion and a culture where people’s lives are dictated by archaic social norms that are now largely arbitrary (despite their claims that said norms are or should be nearly universal). They are calling for state enforcement of conservative Christian values, a culture that restricts civil liberties, civil rights, and effective political policy in favor of an enforcement of their deontological values.
I oppose this agenda, full stop. I oppose it both ideologically and in terms of policy. I want to see a liberal and inclusive society, a legally secular society without institutionalized patriarchy, cisheteronormativity, white supremacy, and all other similar barriers to full societal participation. I have no use for romanticization of the cultural norms of the past; I want to start the process of creating a culture that allows for the full development of human potential and for every individual to respectfully and peacefully present and express themselves as they wish.
Yesss, I love that, that’s also a really interesting thought that RC cells actually do have a function in humans. It gives a meaning behind the different range of RC levels humans have!
the other post I linked in the original here, they talked
about RC levels in humans before a kakuhou transplant and speculated that
high RC levels causes the person to become a ‘floppy’ half ghoul,
particularly in the case of Amon. We know that Amon’s strength and
fighting prowess was considered above and beyond that of the normal
investigator. There’s also Takeomi, who snapped a ghouls neck with his
bare hands, demonstrating that he was among the minority of the human
population who could match a ghoul’s strength which is around 4-7 times that of a human. If both of them have abnormally high RC levels, this could be a precedence for RC cells having a function in a human body. Perhaps human RC cells do
have some role in building muscle mass, increasing metabolism and the efficiency of respiration, etc. (all things that confer increased strength and stamina) and ghoul RC cells have regenerative power activated on top of that?
need to do a quick bio lesson here to help explain and give it context, I promise it’ll get
to the point eventually but it might get complicated along the way sorry! :P)
In my original post, I theorised that RC cells are a mutated form of human blood stem cells. Stem cells have different degrees of
‘stemness’, on a scale from ‘can regenerate one specific type of cell’
to ‘can turn into any type of cell’. For instance, the stem cells that regrow your
constantly shedding skin are programmed to only turn into a skin cell so you don’t accidentally end up growing something in the wrong place, like liver tissue on your arm.
They are more specialised for a specific purpose. Then there are embryonic stem cells in a growing foetus, which are said
to be ‘true’ stem cells. These grow from only a tiny bundle of cells in
the fertilised egg into an entire baby, turning into every type of tissue to do so (like RC cells when regenerating tissue).
also mentioned about how RC cells are like cancer cells in ROS (and I was kinda hinting that all RC cells are like cancer cells to set it up for a future ghoul biology post but I’ll talk about it here a little bit too :P). Well cancer
cells can turn on genes usually only used by stem cells to give them those
regenerative properties (my favourite is the sonic hedgehog gene and yes, that’s its actual scientific name, biologists are strange creatures). So in skin cancer for example, the abnormal skin cell will
turn on those genes, become more like a stem cell and be able to keep multiplying itself to grow into a tumour. Maybe something similar happens with RC cells when ingested by a ghoul?
In a human, the RC cell could still have a function but are slightly more differentiated, or specialised for one job. More like a Red Blood
Cell that delivers oxygen for energy. This could be the basis for why some humans may have super strength if they
have a high RC count. When a ghoul ingests these RC cells, they could maintain their ability to strengthen the ghoul’s body, like in humans, but could be de-differentiated by the kakuhou to give more stem cell-like properties to confer the quality to
There are chemical growth factors in the body which can switch on genes to make a cell more like an embryonic stem cell. This is a normal thing that happens during something like wound healing when you get a cut and skin cells need to quickly regrow to close the gash. Perhaps the chemical factor/hormone I said in the original post that kakuhous could secrete to activate RC cells is a growth factor that invokes stem cell properties?
Thanks for that addition, I love this stuff, so interesting the different ways in which ghoul biology could mirror human biology :D
A scientist in Sweden has started trying to edit the DNA in healthy human embryos, NPR has learned.
The step by the developmental biologist Fredrik Lanner makes him the first researcher known to attempt to modify the genes of healthy human embryos. That has long been considered taboo because of safety and ethical concerns.
Lanner is attempting to edit genes in human embryos to learn more about how the genes regulate early embryonic development. He hopes the work could lead to new ways to treat infertility and prevent miscarriages. He also hopes to help scientists learn more about embryonic stem cells so they can someday use them to treat many diseases.
The fear is that Lanner’s work could open the door to others attempting to use genetically modified embryos to make babies.
Making changes to the DNA in human embryos could accidentally introduce an error into the human gene pool, inadvertently creating a new disease that would be passed down for generations, critics say.
Clinical Trial Offers Hope to Restore Limb Function in Man with Complete Cervical Spinal Cord Injury
Physicians at Rush University Medical Center became the first in
Illinois to inject AST-OPC1 (oligodendrocyte progenitor cells), an
experimental treatment, into the damaged cervical spine of a recently
paralyzed man as part of a multicenter clinical trial.
G. Fessler, professor of neurological surgery at Rush University
Medical Center, is principal investigator for the Phase 1/2a,
multicenter clinical trial involving AST-OPC1 at Rush, one of six
centers in the country currently studying this new approach.
injected an experimental dose of 10 million AST-OPC1 cells directly
into the paralyzed man’s cervical spinal cord in mid-August. These
injected cells were derived from human embryonic stem cells. They work
by supporting the proper functioning of nerve cells, potentially helping
to restore the conductivity of signals from the brain to the upper
extremities (hands, arms, fingers) in a recently damaged spinal cord.
research results from the trial were announced at the
55th Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Spinal Cord Society
(ISCoS), which was held in Vienna, Austria, on September 14-16,
“Until now, there have been no new treatment options for the
17,000 new spinal cord injuries that happen each year,” says Fessler.
“We may be on the verge of making a major breakthrough after decades of
The next phase of the clinical research trial will
involve a dose of 20 million oligodendrocyte progenitor cells, which is
the highest dose being studied in this study involving patients who have
recently suffered a complete cervical spinal cord injury.
injuries can be devastating, causing both emotional and physical
distress, but there is now hope. In the 20 years of my research, we have
now reached a new era where we hope to demonstrate through research
that a dose of very specially made human cells delivered directly to the
injured site can have an impact on motor or sensory function,” says
Fessler. “Generating even modest improvements in motor or sensory
function can possibly result in significant improvements in quality of
Early research results from the trial were announced at the
55th Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Spinal Cord Society
(ISCoS), which is being held in Vienna, Austria, on September 14-16,
“Our preliminary results show that we may in fact be
getting some regeneration. Some of those who have lost use of their
hands are starting to get function back. That’s the first time in
history that’s ever been done,” says Fessler. “Just as a journey of a
thousand miles is done one step at a time, repairing spinal cord
injuries is being done one step at a time. And, now, we can say that
we’ve taken that first step.”
The clinical trial is designed to
assess safety and effectiveness of escalating doses of the special cells
(AST-OPC1) in individuals with a complete cervical spinal cord injury.
Thus far, three individuals have been enrolled in the study at Rush. The
trial has involved the testing of three escalating doses of AST-OPC1 in
patients with subacute, C5-C7, neurologically-complete cervical spinal
cord injury. These individuals have essentially lost all sensation and
movement below their injury site with severe paralysis of the upper and
lower limbs. AST-OPC1 is administered 14 to 30 days post-injury.
Patients will be followed by neurological exams and imaging methods to
assess the safety and activity of the product.
“In the future,
this treatment may potentially be used for peripheral nerve injury or
other conditions which affect the spinal cord, such as MS,” says
For this therapy to work, the cord has to be in
continuity and not severed, according to Fessler. The study seeks male
and female patients ages 18 to 65 who recently experienced a complete
cervical spinal cord injury at the neck that resulted in tetraplegia,
the partial or total paralysis of arms, legs and torso. Patients must be
able to start screening within 25 days of their injury, and participate
in an elective surgical procedure to inject AST-OPC1 14 to 30 days
following injury. Participants also must be able to provide consent and
commit to a long-term follow-up study.
The study is funded by
Asterias Biotherapeutics, which developed the AST-OPC1 (oligodendrocyte
progenitor cells) treatment used in the study, and also in part by a
$14.3 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative
AST-OPC1 cells are made from embryonic stem cells
by carefully converting them into oligodendrocyte progenitor cells
(OPCs), which are cells found in the brain and spinal cord that support
the healthy functioning of nerve cells. In previous laboratory studies,
AST-OPC1 was shown to produce neurotrophic factors, stimulate
vascularization and induce remyelination of denuded axons. All are
critical factors in the survival, regrowth and conduction of nerve
impulses through axons at the injury site, according to Edward D. Wirth
III, MD, PhD, chief medical director of Asterias and lead investigator
of the study, dubbed “SCiStar.”
Okay so explain to me developmental biology? Since I clearly don't know what I'm talking about.
well, first you thought that cells aren’t living simply because there’s no brain nor heart. It’ll be interesting to see your face when you find out that a plethora of organisms on earth don’t have brains nor hearts and yet are living. For example, every plant that has ever existed and will ever exist. Clearly a brain and a heart are not determinants of life. However, biology has conducted a check list for what constitutes as living.
1)Living things are made of cells.
2)Living things obtain and use energy.
3)Living things grow and develop.
4)Living things reproduce.
5)Living things respond to their environment.
6)Living things adapt to their environment
So, let’s go over what you said
>an embryo has no heart or brain. how is it considered a “living” being.
well, anon, an embryo has no heart and no brain, but as we can see above, that is not a condition for living things. An embryo is a multicellular diploid eukaryote that is usually before the 8th week of prenatal development (scientists may argue that it’s between the 3rd and 8th weeks and prior to the third, it’s the blastocyst). How does this mean it’s living though, you ask? Well, first off, it’s multi-cellular, meaning it’s made of cells, so condition 1 is met. Does it obtain energy and use energy though? considering that an embryo/blastocyst is made of cells (remember multicellular?) and are eukaryotes that use mitochondria, which generates and Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) for the cell to use, i’m almost certain these cells are obtaining and using energy. But what about the organism itself? yes, studies of other embryos (pig in this case) show the embryo uses glucose through the process of glycolysis. Human’s are probably extremely similar. Do they grow and develop? of course. The embryo itself is growing rapidly in the beginning stages of prenatal life. Does it reproduce? oh ho, you got me anon, this organism cannot reproduce, but mind you, no organism can reproduce in the early stages of development. Children cannot reproduce until puberty. This certainly does not mean that a child up to age 9-14 are not living. Mind you the embryo is the extreme early stages of human development and not an organism of a different species in it’s own right. Through human development, two haploid gametes come together to form a zygote. This zygote is of the human species and thus human. It is not a bacterium or some other eukaryotic cell, with some magic dust becomes a human. So, the embryo may not be able to reproduce, but fully developed, it can (fully developed is an adult human). But can the embryo respond and adapt to the environment? well, just as reproduction is more geared toward fully developed organisms, these two more so relate to organisms over time. The first is really responding to stimuli can be defined in many ways because of how organisms can respond. Single celled organisms can respond to an environment through homeostasis among other ways. An embryonic organism can respond in these ways. This is also similar to adapting.
So, yes, an embryo is living.
>if so, every time you have taken an antibiotic, you killed off cells of your own body. So what’s the difference in killing one of those cells and killing a germ cell or a stem cell?
Okay, my own cells are not humans. I do not have ~ 100,000 billion little humans that make up a big human. My skin cells, bone cells, T-cells, etc are simply just that. If they die, it’s not killing a human. The combination of everything is the result of a multicellular human organism (me). The killing of a few cells does not kill a human. It’s only the killing of a human that denotes ethical problems. Bacterium, on the other hand, are prokaryotic single celled organisms. These cells are, in their own right, full and separate organisms (as opposed to the different cells of a multicellular eukaryote). E. Coli, for example, is an entire organism that is one cell. Killing one cell of E. Coli is actually killing a full organism. Why isn’t that ethically wrong? It’s not a human. What about stem cells? These cells are unspecialized cells within a mulitcellular organism. They are not organisms of themselves being they are part of a larger organism. An embryo is not a stem cell. In order to obtain embryonic stem cells, you have to destroy the embryo. As we went over, the embryo is a living organism and also a human. Destroying a human to further science isn’t exactly ethical.
Cofounder of Stem Cell Theranostics and StartX MedDivya Nag is attacking one of medicine’s biggest problems: the fact that most types of human cells—like those in the heart or liver—die when you keep them in a petri dish. This makes testing new drugs a risky, costly and time-consuming business: 90% of medicines that start clinical trials turn out to be too unsafe or ineffective to market. But a new technology, the induced pluripotent stem cell, may help. Nag’s company, Stem Cell Theranostics, was created from technology funded by a $20 million grant from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine and is closing a venture round. It turns cells—usually from a piece of skin—into embryonic-like stem cells, then uses them to create heart cells. These cells can live in petri dishes and be used to test new drugs. Someday they might even replace heart tissue that dies during a heart attack. Three large pharmaceutical companies are customers, though revenues are small. Nag, who was already publishing in prestigious scientific journals when she was an undergraduate, dropped out of Stanford to pursue her dream. No regrets: “Our technology was so promising and I was so passionate about it that nothing else made sense to me,” she says. “It was very clear this was what I wanted to do.”
Omg she’s only 22, watch the interview, she dropped out of Stanford to pursue her dreams. Is it inappropriate for me to say I love her trousers?
I’ve been pretty quiet lately because I’ve been struggling with Season 3 as a whole and I think I’ve finally figured out why: it’s a structure issue.
Now, there were many things about this season I enjoyed, don’t get me wrong.
(For a quick list to prove I’m not lying, those things included: Helena’s entire arc in the military, the Castor/Leda sibling reveal, Boss!Delphine, Cosima as Alison, everything about Krystal, and Maria Doyle Kennedy’s singing intercut with a guy getting the pulp beat out of him. That was awesome).
But, as a whole, as a season, it was extremely structurally frustrating.
This is not to say that shows that are structurally frustrating can’t be enjoyable. Heroes was extremely structurally frustrating. I still enjoyed it to the very end. The latest Orange is the New Black season had a structure that just begged to be analyzed (and, indeed, I did). Warehouse 13 Season 4 had an impressively tight structure; that doesn’t mean I liked it or thought it was particularly good.
Enjoyment is subjective. Structure is not.
So, I’d like to take some time to explain why Orphan Black Season 3 was lacking in the structure department, and maybe we’ll all come out of this chat with some new perspectives about story structure and what makes a structure tight and smart and satisfying.
*pulls up well-loved and moth-eaten old couch in front of warm fire and offers you some babka cake*
Scientists reported Thursday they had figured out a way to make primitive human sperm out of skin cells, an advance that could someday help infertile men have children.
“I probably get 200 emails a year from people who are infertile, and very often the heading on the emails is: Can you help me?” says of Montana State University, who led the research when she was at Stanford University.
In a published in the journal Cell Reports, Pera and her colleagues describe what they did. They took skin cells from infertile men and manipulated them in the laboratory to become induced pluripotent stem cells, which are very similar to human embryonic stem cells. That means they have the ability to become virtually any cell in the body.