Monthly Archives: February 2011

What if it doesn’t work???

The experiment was a failure. The hypotheses do not hold, back to the drawing board…And the cycle continues. This is a very real part of daily research.

Should negative results be published? This is a very important question pertaining to the advancement of Science that is  addressed in this editorial of Nature. Depending on the field of science however, it would certainly have different impacts in the overall perception of things should the “dirty work” be allowed to be published. One thing is for sure and many of my colleagues might agree, it is the experiments that do not work that guide you, and in the long run, end up being the most valuable.

The biggest compromise you get when you  “air your dirty laundry” however,  is you mitigate competition for the sake of science. Is it worth it? You decide.

Theology of the Body – mathematically speaking

We all know multiplications of nines are the ones we dread the most….
Today a nine-year old showed me a trick.

Fold the n’th finger and read the answer i.e.

9*8 … Would mean that u fold ur 8th finger . Then count the numbers of fingers before the folded finger (7) and after it (2)

And there ya have it . Multiplication of nines made it easy.

Besides being a great tool for teaching elementary kids how to tackle the monster of multiplication timetables (the nines), it provides a great insight into how intelligently we were designed. Indeed the theology of the body, of Pope Johannes Paulus II takes on a new meaning, and for me that’s awesome.

#FindingGodinAllThings

GK Chesterton on Nanotechnology?

I recently attended the filming of an upcoming series, Saints Alive . It was done at the Basilica of the Immaculate conception, this past week end ( What an amazing edifice, beauty in essence). The show was basically the coming back of Saints who were asked rather contemporary questions…(St Augustine, St Gemma and St Gregory the Great were the ones who graced us with their presence – literally-)

One of the ones that made my night was a little girl in her early teens, came up asking St Gregory  his thoughts on modern feminism. After a brief and very reflective pause, the peaceful and undeterred man answered :

“When a girl ceases to blush, she looses the charm of her beauty” 

I was blown away by that answer that was so concise yet with such a conscious level of depth that transcends the world we live in.

So I began to ask myself what would some men and women that I admire would think about “nano”. Thus I took my mic and with the help UCONN home-grown Professor Ronald Mallet, I travelled back into TIME… to question the minds of whose shoulder we stand on. 

So When I asked Gilbert Keith Chesterton 

What do you think about the progress and vision that Nanotechnology potentially puts forth for humanity?

With the wit that is so characteristic of him, GK Chesterton answered: 

hahaha, Darlington, you never cease to amaze me.. what is progress??? Progress is a comparative of which we have not settled the superlative.Progress should mean that we are always changing the world to fit the vision, instead we are always changing the vision.

On nanotechnology, Men invent new ideals because they dare not attempt old ideals. They look forward with enthusiasm, because they are afraid to look back. My attitude toward progress has passed from antagonism to boredom. I have long ceased to argue with people who prefer Thursday to Wednesday because it is Thursday. Besides none of the modern machines, none of the modern paraphernalia. . . have any power except over the people who choose to use them.

Looks like my dear friend GK Chesterton doesn’t quite buy the hype around nanotechnology. After a few attempts of me trying to make a case for the science of the 22nd century, GKC persisted: 

“The modern world is a crowd of very rapid racing cars all brought to a standstill and stuck in a block of traffic. Darlington, shall i remind you that whatever it is that you do you must remember this, young bloke, to have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it – Be careful and I pray that God smiles on you.”

On those kind words, my time was up…Prof Ron Mallet couldn’t squeeze any more seconds out of his time machine. I was back ……at UCONN(relatively unfortunate). Still that wasn’t enough to dissolve the perpetual smile I had.

Perhaps I belongeth in the 20th century.

 

Early Sex messes up with your Brain….literally.

Have you ever heard something that sounds like this  said to you before… “Stay away from girls, ___insertnamehere___, because all sex does is mess up with your brain”.  Well there may be some truth to it.

Medical Practitioner, Mike Iroezindu,  has said that exposure to sex before the age of 18 increases the risk of cervical cancer. He further explains

“Having sex before the age of 18 increases the risk of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which is the causative factor for cervical cancer,” he said. “Immature cells seem to be susceptible to it.” He said that cervical cancer was among the most common cancers that affect a woman’s reproductive organ. “When a woman is exposed to HPV, her immune typically prevents the virus from doing harm, however, in a small group of women, the virus survives for years before it eventually converts some cells on the surface of the cervix into cancer cells. [1]

Well, regardless of the strife this may cause to the best of us, there is much to this story that I would want to highlight. And that is the approach by which scientific research with ethical repercussions can significantly affect the way we live our lives with the level of moral consciousness we ought to in a world that is becoming increasingly empirical.

What do i mean by that?

Which would be more effective? Your pastor telling you to save yourself for marriage, or your molecular biology professor teaching that early sex increases risks of cervical cancer?

You decide for yourself?

Would it be the first time where morality is linked with disease? I am reminded of the passage in the bible where Jesus juxtaposes his act of forgiving the sins of a certain paralytic with curing him of his paralysis. [Lk 5:23 Mt 9:5] We could peel off many layers of theology associated to that passage, but the core remains the same. There is an intrinsic link between the scientific and the moral. Jesus just happened to have the luxury to be able to shuttle back and forth, and press “UNDO” in both worlds.

Our society today has a dichotomy. On one hand, and rather unfortunately, it has the adequate delusion of a pharisaic hypocrisy, enabling it [society] to reject nearly everything that puts the individual out of its comfort zone. Whenever you hear ‘you’re free to believe what you want .

On the other hand, we have been blessed with the curse of a certain Thomas Dydimus: remember him, the fellow who does not believe lest he sees the risen Christ, lest he felt his wounds, and etc etc etc… .Well perhaps, scientific research such as these done by Mike Iroezindu could provide the holes big enough to quench our skepticism in the face of immorality.

Thus I am appealing to science, and scientist. To paraphrase Alice Von Hildebrand when she said that there are two kinds of people, only two: those who have lost a sense of the supernatural, and those who have kept it. Can we , with a humble heart, extrapolate that to Research…?

“Laborare est orare” – To work is to pray