The Promise, the Hype, and the Reality: It's a Different Perceptual Era for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Over at the Knight Science Tracker, Charlie Petit has a round-up on news coverage of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine's first significant research grants for stem cell research. Though much of the focus in California and nationally has obviously been on the promise of embryonic stem cell research, only four of the 14 funded projects involve these type of stem cells. The emphasis is on projects that could lead to the most immediate clinical results, a strong if not "tacit acknowledgment that the promise of human embryonic stem cells is still far in the future" writes Andrew Pollack at the NY Times.

On Monday, in a keynote presentation at the meetings of the Canadian Stem Cell Network in Montreal, I will be reviewing how far we have come over the past decade in the framing of the stem cell debate and in terms of public perceptions. I will post a synopsis here next week and I will have several studies to report on this winter and spring.

In the meantime, readers will want to check out the Network's newly launched online Stem Cell Charter. The site opens to a powerful video. It's a testimonial by scientists explaining their belief in the promise of stem cell research. Yet it doesn't engage in some of the trademark hype that brands much of the past political debate. At the Web site, you can sign the stem cell charter, offering your support for research and endorsing a specific reason. I chose "the responsible advancement of stem cell research."

Ideology drives us apart. Neuroscience can bring us back together.

A guide to making difficult conversations possible—and peaceful—in an increasingly polarized nation.

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  • How can we reach out to people on the other side of the divide? Get to know the other person as a human being before you get to know them as a set of tribal political beliefs, says Sarah Ruger. Don't launch straight into the difficult topics—connect on a more basic level first.
  • To bond, use icebreakers backed by neuroscience and psychology: Share a meal, watch some comedy, see awe-inspiring art, go on a tough hike together—sharing tribulation helps break down some of the mental barriers we have between us. Then, get down to talking, putting your humanity before your ideology.
  • The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it. The foundation supports interdisciplinary research to overcome intolerance, new models for peaceful interactions, and experiments that can heal fractured communities. For more information, visit charleskochfoundation.org/courageous-collaborations.

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
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Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
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