Abortion, Stem Cells No Longer Too Hot To Handle

There was a brief moment when it seemed like our perilous red state-blue state divide was closing. It was back when all those gun owners crossed the aisle to vote for Obama. But the hot-button issues are rearing their ugly heads again.

Obama made it out of Notre Dame this weekend with his characteristic poise and humor, but abortion opponents voiced their ire at his suspected desire to overturn Roe Vs. Wade.

The president responded by understating his pro-abortion rights position in favor of his more middle ground proposals like reducing the number of women seeking abortion, supporting women who carry unwanted pregnancies to term and enforcing a concience clause for health care workers opposed to abortion.

A full analysis of Obama's statements ran in US News' God and Country.

Stem cells rank just behind abortion on the divisiness scale with a slim majority of Americans supporting Obama's lifting of a ban on using federal dollars for stem cell research.

Four in ten Americans maintain that stem cells should not be used in medical science under any circumstances. Curiously, Catholics rank slightly above non-Catholics in their support of the stem cell research.

Big Think's stem cell expert is fifteen-year old Kyle Loh who is currently manipulating cell cultures at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. He remembers the day Obama lifted the federal ban and has come comments on the importance of federal funding for stem cell research.

Further Reading:

Salon considers the economic and political dichotomies of the stem cell debate.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

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Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

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Brain study finds circuits that may help you keep your cool

Research by neuroscientists at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory helps explain how the brain regulates arousal.

Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP/ Getty Images
Mind & Brain

MIT News

The big day has come: You are taking your road test to get your driver's license. As you start your mom's car with a stern-faced evaluator in the passenger seat, you know you'll need to be alert but not so excited that you make mistakes. Even if you are simultaneously sleep-deprived and full of nervous energy, you need your brain to moderate your level of arousal so that you do your best.

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34 years ago, a KGB defector chillingly predicted modern America

A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
  • The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
  • According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
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How pharmaceutical companies game the patent system

When these companies compete, the people lose.

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  • When a company reaches the top of the ladder, they typically kick it away so that others cannot climb up on it. The aim? So that another company can't compete.
  • When this phenomenon happens in the pharmaceutical world, companies quickly apply for broad protection of their patents, which can last up to 20 years, and fence off research areas for others. The result of this? They stay at the top of the ladder, at the cost of everyday people benefitting from increased competition.
  • Since companies have worked out how to legally game the system, Amin argues we need to get rid of this "one size fits all" system, which treats product innovation the same as product invention. Companies should still receive an incentive for coming up with new products, he says, but not 20 years if the product is the result of "tweaking" an existing one.