EVEN AS THE Luftwaffe pounded London to rubble and the Japanese fleet prepared its devastating attack on Pearl Harbour, Dr Francis Pottenger dared not believe the horror his experiments predicted. Wars would end, civilisation would continue, but the analysis spread out across his desk suggested a more insidious enemy than the Axis, and this one burrowed deep into human behaviour.
He picked up the bakelite phone and dialled, straightening the front of his waistcoat as he did so.
“Morning, George. Yes, it's Frank. The civil defense board met last night and we've agreed to go forward with plans for the mobile hospitals. But I have a favour to ask.”
“They’re all infertile, George. It shakes me to the bones. In just four generations. I want to repeat the experiments with a control group. The implications are unfathomable.”
Continue reading "Why our children are degenerating" »
GENETIC MODIFICATION has been a horror in literature and the media for a generation; from Wyndham's Triffids to Knight's Zombies, Herbert's Rats to Boulle's Gorrillas. Yet grey ooze has failed to devour the countryside, and GM corn can actually be quite tasty. Does that mean our fears are groundless?
In 2001 the New Scientist reported that researchers had isolated a gene for regenerating damaged organs from the DNA of a South American flatworm - Planarian schmidtea mediterranea.
Like other planarians, Schmidtea mediterranea exhibits an extraordinary ability to regenerate lost body parts. For example, a planarian split lengthwise or crosswise will regenerate into two separate individuals.
Continue reading "Man-worm super human created in laboratory" »
WE ARE deeply social beings. Challenging ideas crawl through webs of like minded people, they are discussed and refined, and are finally accepted or denied, based on a build up of evidence. Or so we hope. But there is not a more sickening or pointless horror than that of arrogance.
In the hot spring and summer of 1847, Josef Semmelweis worked as assistant gynaecologist at the First Obstetrical Clinic of the Vienna General Hospital. “Your patients’ deaths are avoidable,” he declared, entering the rooms of his eminent superior, Professor Klein.
Continue reading "The horror of arrogance will kill again - Climate Change" »
GENERATIONS have been sold a wholesome, nutricious food that's great for children's bones. But is the milk we drink damaging our health from the very first sip?
At some time in 1993 Dr Jeremy Hill, expert at milk-protein biochemistry for the New Zealand Diary Research Institute (NZDRI), accepted a telephone call from Professor Bob Elliott researching the incidence of diabetes in pacific island children growing up in New Zealand.
Elliot was curious at the ten-fold increase in diabetes in children on the mainland and had narrowed his search for a cause down to environmental or dietary factors. He suspected a link to the increased consumption of dairy produce in New Zealand. He knew Samoan children drink the white stuff far less often.
Continue reading "Is milk a silent killer?" »