vavelta is people!

For years, an epic battle has raged between old people with too much money and the incessant plague of wrinkles in their skin. Not satisfied to appear older than 30, these puckered spendthrifts have employed various tactics to flatten their faces, including everything from lasers to silicone fillers to deadly neurotoxins. One solution, Botox, is short for botulinum toxin, a protein produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, the spores of which produce a paralyzing compound that is lethal in doses of 1 nanogram/kg.

Wary of sticking the deadliest natural substance known to man into the saggy skin around your eyes? Have no fear, science comes to the rescue! Vavelta is a new wrinkle-relief technology on the market in the UK. Vavelta is a solution containing millions of little fibroblasts, cells found in human connective tissue that create collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid, three proteins that promote strong, elastic, and moist skin. But whence do these fibroblasts come?

Well, let's see. Fibroblasts occur naturally all over the human body, but as people age, the quality and abundance of their tissues decline, and the loss of cells means that their skin loses its elasticity, giving them wrinkles. In that case, we'd want to find a source of human skin that is relatively young and healthy, full of fibroblasts, but that nobody would miss...

I know! How about the discarded foreskins of circumcised boys?!

Yes indeed, ladies and gentlemen, the latest victim of the ongoing wrinkle war is the leftover former tips of little Jewish and Muslim boys all over the world.

A British company, Intercytex, takes the former foreskins of circumcised penises, isolates the fibroblasts, allows them to grow over the course of a few months in cellular incubators, and then ships them off to select physicians in the UK. Each treatment, which is good for about 4 sq. cm. of your old face, contains about 20 million fibroblasts. The cost? An absolute steal of 750 GBP, or $1,000 USD, much less than a pound of flesh, an arm and a leg, or your first born child (not all of him, anyway).

It's not FDA approved for use in the US, so you'll have to fly to the UK to get it done. But you can rest comfortably on the flight home thinking of all the little boys' penises that went into taking away those pesky crow's feet.


From sciam


happy birthday chahlie!

Okay, so I'm a couple days early, but I just found something I'm really excited about.

Charles Robert Darwin (known as "Chahlie Dahwin" to his friends) was born on February 12, 1809. He grew up, went to medical school, didn't pay attention, did some other stuff, then died. (Truthfully, I hope you know a little bit more about him than that... if you don't you can always look him up on the omniscient Wikipedia.)

On his famous trip around the world aboard the HMS Beagle, Darwin served as the resident naturalist/geologist and man-companion to the captain, kinda like Paul Bettany in Master and Commander (booby shot at 1:42!). On that trip, he catalogued those wonders of the natural world he encountered, including many of them in his subsequent publications, including numerous parts of The zoology of the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle.

The entirety of Darwin's writings, including all of his drawings, are now available online for free, at http://darwin-online.org.uk. Feel free to read the text of his works (the first edition of Origin of Species is the least watered-down), but don't miss the numerous plates of everything from bones to fossils to live animals he encountered, all in high resolution, perfect for printing and framing, if I do say so myself).


And here's a great example of old-school science:
"In doubling the point, two of the officers landed to take a round of angles with the theodolite. A fox, of a kind said to be peculiar to the island, and very rare in it, and which is an undescribed species, was sitting on the rocks. He was so intently absorbed in watching their manœuvres, that I was able, by quietly walking up behind, to knock him on the head with my geological hammer. This fox, more curious or more scientific, but less wise, than the generality of his brethren, is now mounted in the museum of the Zoological Society."

-- From Darwin, C. R. 1839. Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle between the years 1826 and 1836, describing their examination of the southern shores of South America, and the Beagle's circumnavigation of the globe. Journal and remarks. 1832-1836. London: Henry Colburn.


beartrek (not the large, hairy, gay men version)

Last year I met a guy named Chris Morgan, a wildlife biologist in Alaska making a movie about the bears of the world. He's a great guy, and I dream of one day doing the things he is now (If only I can get my girlfriend as interested in cinematography as I am... I may have to go the Les Stroud route). Here's a few clips from his film, stil in production:

Six minutes, no narration:

Twenty minutes, narration: