Open Thread - 04-12-24 - The Side Show

Johnny was a young lad whose mind was stuck on puppies, fishing, baseball and teasing Jane, his little sister who lived to torment him. If Johnny didn't play the games she wanted to play she would make fun of him and ban him from her playhouse, pointing a wagging finger of superiority and haughty otherness. Johnny hated Jane and she hated him. They didn't see eye to eye on anything and Johnny had long ago decided that Jane was only good for harassing and teasing. Both gave no quarter to the other.

The freedom of the summertime filled Johnny's life with adventure, from sun up to sun down, with nary a thought of the wide world around him. School was a distant memory and he was going to make the best of it while the days were still long. The warm pie on the windowsill, kicking the tin can down the road and pulling Jane's pigtails were the things of a small boy's wonderment. But, the one thing, at the top of the list, that was even better than a birthday cake, even better than the Saturday matinee at the theater, and yes, even better than hitting that home run over the fence into the neighbor's window.

The circus was coming to town!


Cerebral Organoids

Science, in its quest for understanding the world around us, both within and without the human condition, has made great strides forward in developing techniques to better help us comprehend the complex structure and pathology of the human brain. One of these advancements are organoids.

Organoids are 3D cell cultures derived from pluripotent stem cells that mimic the structure, function, and cellular complexity of human organs. These in vitro, miniaturized versions of organs are especially well suited for studying complex multicellular organ structures, such as the brain, retina, kidney, and lungs, and are now widely used to study organ development and disease.


Recently scientists have for the first time grown mini-brains from fetal brain tissue that are about the size of a grain of rice. Tiny brains were previously grown from fetal stem cells but now, for the first time, from actual fetal brain tissue, opening exciting possibilities for the future.

mini brain.jpg
This close-up image shows one of the tissue-derived minibrains, with stem cells in blue and nerve cells color-coded from pink to yellow depending on how far they were from the outer surface of the minibrain. (Image credit: Princess Máxima Center, Hubrecht Institute/B Artegiani, D Hendriks, H Clevers)
More about mini-brains below the brain fold.

An assessment of the current situation

I wrote a diary titled 'Riley and Brenner's astonishing piece in NLR" which got into an assessment of the current situation which hasn't received publicity. Rather, each political faction operates on a different level of delusion, and very few people believe in a reality-based radicalism which would actually change the situation if it could attain some level of critical mass.

Sports politics for Thanksgiving

1) As we settle in for another settler-colonial holiday, it appears that the time is ripe for an intrusion of those ugly matters of politics into our entertainment fare. There will, as you all well know, be sports spectacle on your tee-vee screens today. For the purposes of this article we will be referring to "spectacle sports," namely, the sports you see on that tee-vee.

What is Joe Biden doing to end homelessness?


What is he doing to end poverty.

What is he doing to reverse inequality.

What is he doing to help struggling businesses and encourage innovative solutions for economic problems?

What is he doing to preserve decent jobs from outsourcing and offshoring?

What is he doing to encourage peace and stop militarism?

What is he doing to turn swords into plowshares?

What is he doing to end the division in our country?

Things I’ve figured out about politics

Politicians are effects, not causes
Radicalizing your base also radicalizes your opponents
Demonized people will, in time, act demonically 
Lumping opposition groups together will bring them together
Attempts to censor and silence the opposition always fail
Failure to engage in debate is the same as losing the debate
Lies have a short shelf life
Hope is a sustainable and effective motivator, anger is not