Stem Cell Debate Provides Lens into Waning American Influence

The contrast is sharp. There are two important stories about stem cells today. The first, from FoxNews is entitled "States Consider Harder Line on Stem Cell Research." It's about how state legislators are moving to block expanded stem cell research following Obama's move to loosen restrictions. Smart!

The second, from GlobalPost's Patrick Winn, highlights Thailand as "the future home of stem cell research."


"Worlds away from the political din surrounding stem cells in America, more and more parents are choosing to bank the cord blood of their newborns to use, perhaps, in future medical treatments," writes Winn. "Thailand could be well-positioned to cash in on the trend, as the business of storing stem cells relies on two factors: high birth rates and a class of moneyed parents. Thailand, already a regional healthcare mecca, has both." In response, "a handful of start-ups — Thai StemLife, Cyroviva Thailand, Cordlife and others — are now vying to store stem cells from the roughly 800,000 babies born each year in Thailand."

Compare that with the progressive minds coming out of Georgia and Oklahoma who "are considering bills that would limit, if not outright prohibit, scientists from working with human embryonic stem cells in their research to cure or reverse medical conditions, including diabetes, paralysis and Parkinson's disease," according to James Osborne at FoxNews. And, "in Texas and Mississippi, lawmakers are considering blocking state funding for that research, mirroring existing laws in other states."

If the United States is going to thrive in a global economy, everyone--even lawmakers in the American South--are going to have to embrace technology and medical innovation. Let's hope that if any of these legislators, or their families, are struck with any of the fatal diseases potentially cured by stem cells, they are able to afford the trip to Thailand. It is becoming increasingly difficult in a nation that punishes innovation.

Cambridge scientists create a successful "vaccine" against fake news

A large new study uses an online game to inoculate people against fake news.

University of Cambridge
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Researchers from the University of Cambridge use an online game to inoculate people against fake news.
  • The study sample included 15,000 players.
  • The scientists hope to use such tactics to protect whole societies against disinformation.
Keep reading Show less

Are these 100 people killing the planet?

Controversial map names CEOs of 100 companies producing 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

Image: Jordan Engel, reused via Decolonial Media License 0.1
Strange Maps
  • Just 100 companies produce 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.
  • This map lists their names and locations, and their CEOs.
  • The climate crisis may be too complex for these 100 people to solve, but naming and shaming them is a good start.
Keep reading Show less

5 facts you should know about the world’s refugees

Many governments do not report, or misreport, the numbers of refugees who enter their country.

David McNew/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs

Conflict, violence, persecution and human rights violations led to a record high of 70.8 million people being displaced by the end of 2018.

Keep reading Show less