Friday, September 28, 2007

More Good News, If Only Bush Doesn't Fuck It Up

Who said writing letters and bothering congressmen gets you nowhere. Besides, its pretty fun even though you know those in Oklahoma pretty much won't vote for it, but I love the "official" letters I get back from their press team. Wanna join the action, join the HRC and they'll get you started. Make sure this goes through by supporting HRC on this issue. This is from a update I was sent.

Dear Timothy,

I've been waiting for months to write this.

With your help, the U.S. Senate has just passed the Matthew Shepard Act!

I want to thank you, personally, for everything you've done to help make this moment possible. HRC supporters sent 350,000 emails, made 30,000 calls to Congress, and wrote over 5,000 letters to local papers. Your commitment was inspiring. And even Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) acknowledged the work of the Human Rights Campaign during debate on the Senate floor.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your incredible support.

But even as we celebrate this victory – we know we face a tough road ahead. The bill has to survive final negotiations between the House and Senate before it gets to President Bush. Even then, he has threatened to veto it.

As you know, pressure from the radical right will be fierce the whole way. Our support must be fierce as well – so we will continue to ask for your support over the coming weeks.

It's been nine years since Matthew Shepard was senselessly murdered because of who he was. HRC stands firmly committed to this being the year we finally make sure every American is protected from this kind of violence.

We just made history. Thank you for getting us this far. Now, let's see it through to the end.

Joe Solmonese

More Cool Stuff From Those Crazy Japanese

Pretty freaking sweet. Wish this could have been around when I was in high school. It was either get an F or cut the little thing open. Let's just say I maintained my 4.0 GPA that semester :( . And I don't even like frogs!

No need for dissection as see-through frogs jump in

by Miwa Suzuki Thu Sep 27, 2:54 PM ET

TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese researchers have succeeded in producing see-through frogs, letting them observe organs, blood vessels and eggs under the skin without performing dissections.

"You can see through the skin how organs grow, how cancer starts and develops," said the lead researcher Masayuki Sumida, professor at the Institute for Amphibian Biology of state-run Hiroshima University.

"You can watch organs of the same frog over its entire life as you don't have to dissect it. The researcher can also observe how toxins affect bones, livers and other organs at lower costs," he told AFP.

Dissections have become increasingly controversial in much of the world, particularly in schools where animal rights activists have pressed for humane alternatives such as using computer simulations.

Sumida said his team, which announced the research last week at an academic conference, had created the first transparent four-legged creature, although some small fish are also see-through.

The researchers produced the creature from rare mutants of the Japanese brown frog, or Rena japonica, whose backs are usually ochre or brown.

Two kinds of recessive genes have been known to cause the frog to be pale.

Sumida's team crossed two frogs with recessive genes through artificial insemination and the offspring looked normal due to the presence of more powerful genes. But crossing the offspring led to a frog whose skin is transparent from the tadpole stage.

"You can see dramatic changes of organs when tadpoles mutate into frogs," said Sumida, whose team is seeking a patent.

Such frogs could theoretically exist in the wild but it is "virtually impossible" they would naturally inherit so many recessive genes, Sumida said.

The transparent frogs can also reproduce, with their offspring inheriting their parents' traits, but their grandchildren die shortly after birth.

"As they have two sets of recessive genes, something wrong must kick in and kill them," Sumida said.

While the researchers relied on artificial insemination, they said that genetic engineering could also produce transparent and even illuminating frogs.

Sumida said researchers could also inject into the transparent frogs an illuminating protein attached to a gene, which would light up the gene once it manifests -- for example, showing at what stage cancer starts.

Sumida said it would be unrealistic to apply the same method to mammals such as mice as their skin structure is different.