FRC Blog

Talk to the Arm

by David Prentice

April 15, 2009

Third-Ear-on-arm2.jpgAustralian performance artist Stelios Arcadiou, known as Stelarc, has a third ear implanted on his arm. The ear was grown in the lab using human cartilage and cells, and then surgically implanted. Next he’d like to implant receivers and transmitters so others can listen in over the internet to what the ear hears. Some have criticized the extra ear as not clinically necessary and potentially offensive to those who have lost an ear in an accident. Supposedly he wouldn’t hear the criticisms if he wore a long-sleeved shirt…

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Al Gore Supports Ethical iPS Cells Over Embryonic

by David Prentice

April 15, 2009

Al Gore has thrown his considerable weight (and his support, too) behind ethically-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells.) Gore is part of a $20 million venture capital investment to develop iPS cells for drug development and basic research. The funding will support collaboration between iZumi Bio, Inc., and Kyoto University’s Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, who was the first in 2006 to develop the iPS cell reprogramming technique; the technique was named “Breakthrough of the Year” by Science for 2008. While iPS cells are virtually identical in characteristics to embryonic stem cells, they are made without the use of embryos, eggs, or cloning. Gore’s support for iPS cells is a welcome counterweight of priority for real stem cell science against the over-exaggerated hype for embryonic stem cells and cloning.

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More Diabetic Patients Treated with Adult Stem Cells

by David Prentice

April 14, 2009

Another success for adult stem cells, again treating Type I (juvenile) diabetes patients. As reported in a study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 20 of 23 patients became insulin-independent after treatment with their own bone marrow adult stem cells. This report is a follow-up to the previous report by Voltarelli & Burt in 2007, and includes new patients as well as a longer period to follow the patients. Some of the patients have gone for four years insulin-free. The authors note in the paper that this adult stem cell treatment “remains the only treatment capable of reversing type 1 diabetes in humans.”

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Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

April 14, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

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Happy Birthday, Mr. Jefferson

by Robert Morrison

April 13, 2009

Today is Thomas Jefferson’s birthday. Born in 1743, Jefferson was described at age 32 as a young man who could “could calculate an eclipse, survey an estate, tie an artery, plan an edifice, try a cause, break a horse, dance a minuet, and play the violin.”

Jefferson referred to his election as President as “the revolution of 1800.” It was even more hazardous than the famous “hanging chads” of the Florida recount in 2000. His two terms as President were followed by two terms for his closest friend and political lieutenant, James Madison. These two terms were followed by two terms-almost uncontested-for Jefferson’s second closest political ally, James Monroe. By the time John Quincy Adams was elected President in 1824, this son of an old political rival also counted himself a Jeffersonian.

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Did ABC Show “The Ten Commandments” a Week Late?

by Chris Gacek

April 13, 2009

Working under the assumption that a movie ought to be shown before the event it is meant to commemorate, I wondered this weekend if the folks at ABC mistimed their showing of a classic film.  But then again - maybe not. 

This past Saturday, Easter Eve (4/11/2009), ABC broadcast the much-beloved film by Cecil B. DeMille, The Ten Commandments.  The film is a classic.  Here is an excerpt from ABC’s press release:

Starring Charlton Heston as Moses, this dramatic Biblical epic is presented with an all-star cast, including Yul Brynner as Pharaoh, Anne Baxter as Queen Nefretiri, Edward G. Robinson as the overseer of the slaves and Yvonne DeCarlo as Moses’ wife.
 
The Ten Commandments won the 1956 Academy Award for Best Special Effects and received nominations for Best Picture, Best Art Direction/Set Decoration, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing and Best Sound.

Unfortunately, the movie was trounced at the Oscars by Around the Word in 80 Days (Best Picture) and The King and I ‘s Yul Brynner (Best Actor).  Heston was not even nominated for an Academy Award.

Since the weeklong celebration of Passover began last Wednesday night (4/8/2009), I probably would have shown The Ten Commandments before the beginning of Passover on the previous Saturday.  In that way, the events of the Jewish captivity in Egypt and the Israelite’s deliverance from bondage would have been retold before the entirety of the holiday.

That said, ABC may have had the far better approach - whether by accident or design.

From a Christian perspective, there is a beautiful Old Testament-New Testament flow in showing a film about Moses and the giving of the Law at Sinai on the eve of the Resurrection Sunday.  Jesus observed in Matt 5:17 (ESV):  “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”  A central promise made by the Lord and delivered through one those prophets is found in Jeremiah 31:33 (RSV):

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Jeremiah’s declaration and its fulfillment seems to be echoed in this writing by Paul to the church in Galatia, “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’”  (Gal. 4:6 ESV).

All praise and glory to you, Lord.

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Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

April 13, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

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More from Honduras

by Tony Perkins

April 9, 2009

Yesterday was a rainy day, but a very productive day! We received a warm reception from the local officials in Tela this morning as we inquired into the local government process that we would have to go through in order to construct an orphanage. I’ll be honest; I was prepared for a more “involved” process that might require campaign contributions - but that didn’t happen. They seemed to be genuinely appreciative of our humanitarian efforts to address what they recognize as a very serious problem - children with no parents.

While officials in Tela have certain jurisdiction over Tornabe, the Garifuna who live in the village operate with a lot of autonomy. In fact, from what we gathered the Garifuna refused to recognize the outside government, at least when it comes to paying taxes.

Ray, a friend in a local church that my home church helped establish here, also operates a taxi, so he drove us around. While it is not more than seven or eight miles to Tornabe (on the Caribbean), the condition of the roads and paths-along with the stray animals-make the trip somewhat of an adventure. In fact, at one point near the village, the taxi got stuck in the sand on the road and we had get out and push.

When we arrived, Pastor Marvin, the pastor of the local evangelical church was out picking up food for the orphanage. We had not spoken to him since we were in the village last summer and he was not expecting us. We had not been able to communicate with him regarding our desire to work in his local community until today. When we shared with him what we would like to do his eyes began to tear up and he said “glory.” He then told us they had taken the first steps toward establishing an orphanage but did not have the resources and had been praying that God would some how intervene on behalf of these children give them the ability to feed them three meals a day and provide a safe place for them to live.

After looking at what they have already started the process will go much quicker than we had originally thought. In July we planned to return to complete a kitchen, dining area, and a small sleeping area. Plans will then be made for a much larger dormitory divided into two areas: one for boys and one for girls.

It is certainly rewarding to serve the “least of these” who have been orphaned by parents who died of AIDS, but as we walked and drove through the village, seeing the children run in the midst of the trash that was strewn throughout, I was reminded of why we do what we do at FRC. Deny as we might, there are consequences for a community or a country that rejects the proper nature of human sexuality within the context of marriage. Unfortunately, far too often it is children who pay the price for the “sexual liberties” of adults.

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Who are you going to Believe, Me or your own Eyes?

by Robert Morrison

April 9, 2009

An unnamed White House aide has tried to stifle criticism of the President for his deep and low bow before Saudi King Abdullah at the recently concluded G-20 summit in London. That anonymous fellow seems to giving us Groucho Marx’s line: “Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?” The aide claims that the tall President was merely taking both hands of the diminutive desert monarch in his and had to bend down.

That set off another round of Internet speculation. Queen Elizabeth II is also much shorter than the President, and you can see him giving a short, sharp bow of the head to her. The point of our previous criticism is not that Barack Obama showed greater deference to the king of a despotic regime that persecutes Christians while slighting the Head of State of our leading ally, Britain. The point was simple: Americans do not bow to anyone.

 

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