Monday, December 30, 2013

[P] Perpetuating stereotypes both internal and external to our culture as a means of integration

I think this is an interesting premise for a thoughtful discussion on perpetuating stereotypes both internal to our culture and external to our culture. The verbiage in the piece has many feminine structured qualities to it such as let our hair down, while I do not think that has anything to do with your physical demeanor we must look at the language employed in our own culture before we can expect to understand how others react to the contact with that culture. The idea that a straight man treats a gay man a certain way is hard to define but the idea that a certain straight man or a certain group of straight men treat gay man a certain way is much more easily to understand in context.

I have often found myself trying to go the extra mile to make straight men comfortable with my presence not because the have asked for special dispensation but rather for me wishing never to have a misunderstanding. I use the bathroom stalls when I go into the restroom with my straight friends, even though my straight friends have offered to go skinny dipping with me, streaking, or generally have shown their comfort level of non sexual nudity around me. Its something perhaps I think of to much rather than they. Perhaps it is my desire to keep a very strict line between friend and sexual fantasy. I have made the mistake before and wish not to repeat a process that does more harm than good.

This article made me think about a great many things most of all, my role in how straight people react to my inherent queerness. I guess I can be seen as a passable straight person who is extra vocal about his queerness. I have felt it my responsibility to be an example of a fully rationalized gay male to my straight peers. I answer questions in the nature they are given, I invite straight people into the more understandable aspects of my queer identity and space and I hold my head up high as a proud gay man who respects his straight peers life styles as much as I wish them to respect mine.

I am 32 and when I came out at the age of 23 (although I had told my parent when I was 12 that I would fall in love with a gender not a person, and my friends most of my life viewed me as non sexual preferring neither men nor women, before I came out) my straight friends reacted with nonchalance. My best friend when I told him literally said, "Alright that's cool are you still coming to this party or not" as if it was a non issue (Most shockingly of all because he was an MVP football player and all around straight jock). Perhaps I grew up in the sweet spot of gay rights or perhaps it was the expression of my unique sexuality for all those years that allowed for a smooth transition and an accepting one. My friends ask me about my lovers or if I have settled down and found a boyfriend and its something I appreciate especially after hearing my friends talk about their old friends and family ignoring that subject matter entirely.

I would say this most people react to us how we show them they should react to us, baring that they take social queues that are rigidly defined by process. Fortunately and unfortunately the gay inclusion agenda has mainstreamed us but only a very rigid definition of homosexual behavior. Because we are trying to integrate by using heternormative tropes, straight people with the best intentions, have used our own PR movement to understand the context in which to share society with us. Because of this they have a very good reason to port their understanding of relationships through a heterosexual understanding onto us as modern gay and lesbian couples. Do straight men treat us at times as women because during the push for inclusivity and rights we have requested them to do so by our own adoption of standardized relationship structures? Is it because we have worked tirelessly to be understood and normalized that we have adopted within the movement the old idea of a male-female paradigm in context to relationships?(The old Butch Fem paradigm) It is part of the issue with a mono-cultured movement that seeks to elevate an ideal instead of an actuality. But thems' the breaks of that type of inclusivity. You can assimilate if you can be quantified, if you are something other than the standard definition then you are still struggling for that extra bit of understanding, as we see our trans* brothers and sisters going through every day.

Its a complex problem because we are new to the study and application of it. One thing can be certain though, until we can be accepted as individuals apart from our straight counterpart while still being equal we will continue to have to navigate the troubled waters of gender identity, the application of inherent maleness, and the confusion of a population told to accept us in one way but who by interaction knows us to be another way.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

[p] Veganism is gay response

A response to a post by a vegan blogger about veganism and gay rights

I think that it is a logical and ethical leap to move from gay rights to animal rights. The understanding of oppression as a form of abuse transcends the human animal barrier. You are absolutely correct in saying that if you have lived with a companion animal that you know they live emotional and social lives and as such can be damaged by the removal of their freedom or their social natures.

What makes things even worse is most of the population know that places such as Huntington life sciences, routinely experiments on companion animals, and still most humans cannot make the leap from their pre-programed understanding of their pets as opposed to other animals needs. Perhaps it is because they see animals still, even in love, as property.

Property is only valuable when we have a claim to it, a vested interest in seeing it maintained. While its true rationally we can understand someone elses property as an elusive value it is not the same as actualized value of ownership. Vested interest in this case is the emotional bond or connection we create with our companions verses perhaps the monetary value of someone elses property.

I think one thing should be stated. As gay men and women every day we wake up as we are, without the ability to change what nature intended. So everyday we awake we are politicized and grouped into the LGBT umbrella and all of the connotations that this entails. The culture of protest was born out of the oppression of our fore-fathers, and as such, it is the acculturated ideal to stand up, oft times loudly, for our rights. Sadly being compassionate and standing up for all beings that are mistreated is not what we are taught is valuable nor socially viable.

One thing that i feel must change is the culture of the LGBT community. we need to understand that the fight for equality is but one fight, but the fight to reclaim our humanity from the clutches of brutality is a universal fight. Each being that is subjugated to the needs of the masses, who is looked at as less than ourselves, is by its very definition, deserving of our protections.

Those that have need will always find a helping hand to steady the pain from me. Unfortunately i am unsure that the current 'Me' culture of gay rights coupled with American idealism can sustain the notion of help to all in need, with the current power structures that feed into that selfish cycle.

I am hopeful for the future because compassion is becoming more and more commonplace, however first we must learn to accept people within our hard won movement before we can even hope to reach out further. This involves bisexual, transgendered/cisgendered individuals.

When one is left behind we all stray.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Animal studies paint misleading picture

Unpublished negative results may explain limited translation of promising treatments to the clinic.

Janelle Weaver

White ratsOnly animal trials with positive results tend to be published.Nikolay Suslov/

Published animal trials overestimate by about 30% the likelihood that a treatment works because negative results often go unpublished, a study suggests.

This is a surprisingly strong bias, says the study's lead author, Malcolm Macleod, a neurologist at the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, UK. The work, published today in PLoS Biology1, analyses the effect of publication bias in animal models of disease.

Macleod and his collaborators turned to a stroke database called the Collaborative Approach to Meta Analysis and Review of Animal Data from Experimental Stroke (CAMARADES). An international team established the database in 2004 in response to poor translation of animal findings to clinical trials. Macleod's team combed through 525 studies, which encompassed 1,359 experiments testing a total of 16 different stroke treatments.

The team first estimated the magnitude of publication basis. A given treatment would be expected to result in a balanced range of effect sizes, but they found that the literature included many reports of a large effect, but few reports of a small effect. The team then calculated the number of missing studies and came up with an estimate of the 'true' effect of the treatment. In addition to the large overestimate of treatment's efficacy, Macleod and his team found that as many as 16% of experiments remain unpublished.
Lost in translation

A little more than a third of highly cited animal research is reproduced later in human trials2, and although about 500 treatments have been reported as effective in animal models of stroke, only aspirin and early thrombolysis with tissue plasminogen activator work in humans3. The lack of negative results in the literature may explain why so few drugs tested in animals are effective in humans.

“If the research is not published, it doesn't contribute to our knowledge of human disease.”

Some say that these findings add to the evidence that animal models are not particularly useful in predicting whether a treatment is effective in humans. "What you really want in drug trials is an animal model that can predict human responses, and that just violates the rules of evolutionary biology," says Ray Greek, an anaesthesiologist and president of Americans for Medical Advancement, a non-profit organization in Goleta, California, that opposes the use of animal models of disease.

But Macleod says that animal studies can help to pave the way to useful therapies. He advocates strategies for making animal studies more efficient and effective, such as randomizing treatment conditions or keeping experimenters blind to treatment assignments3. Not reporting the negative results of animal trials is unethical, says Macleod, because it squanders animals and leads to premature human trials. "If the research is not published, it doesn't contribute to our knowledge of human disease," he says.
Positive slant

The prevalence of publication bias illustrates the tendency of journals to report positive results, which are often viewed as more interesting and citable than negative findings. "If a result is negative, the investigator doesn't want to go through the work of writing it up and publishing it, because they know it won't get into a good journal and it won't really enhance their career," says S. Tom Carmichael, a stroke researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Click here to find out more!

Macleod hopes that the study will convince scientists to publish all of their findings and encourage publishing groups to launch pre-print archives, like Nature Precedings, which include negative studies. Journals such as the Journal of Negative Results in BioMedicine explicitly focus on the problem. Neurobiology of Aging has a special section on negative results, and the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism (JCBFM), part of the Nature Publishing Group, is launching a section that reports negative results from rigorously conducted studies. "I'm very positive that over the next few years, such measures will become standard for scholarly journals," says Ulrich Dirnagl, editor-in-chief of JCBFM. "I hope the study convinces professional societies and funding bodies to value negative data more and support its publication."

But journals alone can't solve the problem, Macleod says. The effect of publication bias on clinical research has driven the development of registries such as in which clinical trials are logged before they begin. Macleod hopes that similar registries for animal studies will be introduced in future. "When you're trying to make up your mind whether it's worth taking a drug forward," he says. "It's important to get access to all the information about the drug, not just a subset of that information that was published in scientific journals."

1. Sena, E. S., van der Worp, H. B., Bath, P. M. W., Howells, D. W. & Macleod, M. R. PLoS Biology 8, e1000344 (2010). | Article
2. Hackam, D. G. & Redelmeier, D. A. J. Am. Med. Assoc. 296, 1731-1732 (2006). | Article | ChemPort |
3. van der Worp, H. B., et al. PLoS Medicine 7, e1000245 (2010). | Article

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

[R] Pan seared veggies in agave and vinegeratte on bread

I just made this the other night after being inspired by a macrobiotic dish in Los Angelas.

I purposely left out the quantities because its all according to taste and easy to make
-sweet peppers
-agave nectar
-Bread (paninni works best but i used wholewheat slices)
-Vegan butter
-hummus (optional)

Set a non stick pan on medium heat. Place asparagus and sweet peppers in the pan. Pan sear the vegetables until sides becomes slightly blackened and cooked through. Lower heat add vegan butter. let veggies absorb butter.

Mix together agave nectar and vinaigrette. Once combined sufficiently pour the mixture over the vegetables stiring the veggies so that they are constantly being turned. It is important to do on lower heat so that the mixture does not smoke. Once coated and absorbed removed the veggies from the pan.

Place two pieces of break into the pan to absorb the rest of the mixture and to toast the pieces. Once the bread is toasted remove bread ad a layer of hummus (preferably one that is flavored well with garlic and lemon) then add veggies.

Eat. enjoy. share.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Their Calling Is Defending Rats, Yet These Folks Aren't Lawyers


In her fight for the rights of some of the smallest creatures, Stephanie Ernst offers a video of a frolicking, fluffy mammal snuggling up with a pet cat.

"Rats don't get a fair shake," she writes in an introduction to the video on her animal-rights blog. "This one is quite adorable and may lead you to see rats a little differently."

Unfortunately, stripped along the bottom of the video is an ad for an exterminator automatically generated by the service hosting the online clip.

"Immediate rat solutions!" it reads. "Free inspection the day you call."
Says Ms. Ernst: "It's horrible."

to view video click these words

One Woman's Fight for Rodent Rights

Amber Allinger is working to shed prejudices against rats. She's even doing her dissertation on the rodents, which she calls sweet and nice. WSJ's Dionne Searcey reports.

Ms. Ernst, a resident of St. Louis, is most concerned about the welfare of lab rodents. Animal advocates say rats and mice make up 90% of animal testing conducted in university laboratories and other research facilities in the U.S. In 2002, the Animal Welfare Act was amended to exclude rodents from protections offered to bigger lab animals including dogs, monkeys and even guinea pigs.

"Rats and mice tend to get a bad rap" that influences people from the time they are children, says Ms. Ernst. "We just have these biases built in that are not really representative of who they are."

Animal-rights advocates in the U.S. have scored coups in recent years for an assortment of uncuddly animals. A new law requires bigger cages for egg-laying chickens in California. Foie gras, a delicacy made from the livers of fattened geese and ducks, has been banished from some restaurant menus.

But public sympathy for rats and mice hasn't grown much in three decades since the animal-rights movement first organized in the U.S. Viewed as pests and greeted with shrieks, rats are much less likely to attract public sympathy than, say, the furry bunnies that serve as the poster critters for cutting back on animal testing.

So, rat lovers have a tough job. Researchers who use federal funds are asked to adhere to basic guidelines for rodents, such as avoiding overcrowded cages. But privately funded research labs are legally bound by no rules in their testing of rats and mice.

to view video follow link

"I used to see rats and think, 'Ew.' Now I see rats and think, 'Those rats have probably got a family somewhere.'" -- Chad Sandusky
Chad Sandusky
Chad Sandusky

"You see people shut down if you talk about how a rat can suffer," says Chad Sandusky, director of toxicology and research at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group that fights for animal rights and advocates vegetarianism.

Years ago, during his doctorate research on allergic reactions in humans, Mr. Sandusky experimented on and euthanized many rodents. The 64-year-old pharmacologist and toxicologist now works to persuade chemical and pesticide companies to carry out effective experiments using computerized tests or other means that don't involve animals.

"I'm working off my bad karma," he said.

Mr. Sandusky's transformation came gradually as he reviewed studies involving rodents and other animals for the Environmental Protection Agency. He concluded animal studies were too expensive and time-consuming, and the results didn't merit the sacrifice.

"I used to see rats and think, 'Ew,' " Mr. Sandusky said. "Now I see rats and think, 'Those rats have probably got a family somewhere.' "

Mr. Sandusky and other activists have succeeded in getting companies to listen to their concerns about using rodents in experiments. But rarely does anyone actually stop using rats and mice altogether. So activists are left to seek a better quality of life for the rats and mice in the lab.

"These animals are in full view 24-7, and they don't have any ability to do anything other than drink water and eat pellets and, well, you can imagine," says Mr. Sandusky.

Activists at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who say they want "empty cages not bigger cages," nevertheless have come up with a list of guidelines they shop to private companies in hopes of changing their treatment of caged mice and rats.

The 15-page "environmental enrichment" document calls for nesting materials that rodents can shred for stress relief. It also advocates fresh bedding (but not too fresh because some male rodents like the familiar smell of home), and elevated wire lids, a sort of cathedral ceiling, for cages.

Some activists point to research detailing how toys such as the Translucent Small Animal Shoe, the Toob-a-Loop and the Mouse Igloo can keep the animals happy. Opaque plastic structures provide "a modicum of privacy," for the rodents, as described in the PETA document.

When Jessica Sandler, director of PETA's regulatory testing division, engages companies to push for better treatment of laboratory rodents, she talks about "animals" instead of "rodents."

"I certainly don't emphasize the fact that they are mice and rats," Ms. Sandler says. "A lot of these tests are also done on rabbits and guinea pigs, so I lump them in. I know a lot of people will empathize more with a cute rabbit."

At a meeting a couple of years ago with representatives at General Electric Co., which contracted with companies that use rodents for safety tests in GE's plastics division, activists laid out their simple request: a solid surface for rodent cages.

"To a layperson like me and you, you may think, 'Well, do we really need to do something like that for these animals?' But our scientists certainly thought it was important and relatively easily done," said Gary Sheffer, a GE spokesman. "It wasn't something we dismissed as being ridiculous."

GE complied with the request. It has since sold off its plastics division.

Amber Alliger is writing her dissertation for a doctorate in psychology at Hunter College in New York on the benefits to science from improving animal welfare in laboratories.

View Full Image
Karen Borga
Dionne Searcey/The Wall Street Journal

"Inside my shirt they feel secure... That's how they get really used to their human." --Karen Borga
Karen Borga
Karen Borga

Once they get to know their handlers, rats are so gentle that some people let them lick their eyelashes clean -- and even their teeth, Ms. Alliger says.

"It's amazing how gentle they are," she says. "You get nipped a few times and if you say 'Ow' loud enough, they're like, 'Oh, that hurts' and will stop biting."

Mr. Alliger has found homes for dozens of rodents she has used in her experiments.

A friend, Karen Borga, adopted seven of them -- black "hooded" rats so named because they look like they're wearing black hooded coats on their white bodies. Ms. Borga totes them in a blue portable cat carrier she has outfitted with a rat hammock and a Schweppes Ginger Ale box to create an extra bedroom.

As she explained the accommodations, three of the rats, named Seven, Eight and Eleven (Ms. Borga kept their laboratory names) scuttled across a couch. Seven hopped over a hurdle created out of plastic tubing, then crawled up Ms. Borga's sleeve.

"Inside my shirt they feel secure... That's how they get really used to their human," she says. "They love it."

Write to Dionne Searcey at

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Animals using tools

For videos check this link:

Clever Critters: 8 Best Non-Human Tool Users
By Brandon Keim EmailJanuary 16, 2009 | 5:45:22 PMCategories: Animals


Tool use was once thought to distinguish humans from animal — until, that is, so many animals proved able to use them.

Granted, the fine folks at Leatherman aren't about to be undercut by cheap chimpanzee-manufactured multitools. But it's hard not to feel a species-level déjà vu when seeing a gorilla using a walking stick or capuchin monkey thoughtfully selecting an ideal nut-cracking stone.

Below is a compilation of some of the most interesting animal tool use yet observed. Much more likely remains to be found: until Jane Goodall watched chimpanzees fishing for termites with sticks, scientists had been reluctant to credit animals with such sophisticated behavior — perhaps because, as Charles Darwin noted, “Animals, whom we have made our slaves, we do not like to consider our equal.”

Darwin himself was quite intrigued by animal tool use, suggesting that it allowed them to overcome biological shortcomings. In On the Origin of Species, he noted that elephants snap off tree branches to swat away flies; in honor of Darwin's interest, elephants are the first on our list of animal tool use.


Elephant canteens. Cute YouTube videos of elephant painters show their amazing dexterity, but even more impressive is this peculiar habit: after digging a water hole, elephants will strip bark from a tree, chew it into a ball, then use it to fill the hole. Once the top has been covered with sand, the elephant has an evaporation-resistant canteen.

Image: Flickr/Paul Shaffner

Mole rat masks. The naked mole rat's powerful, protruding teeth are great for burrowing — but digging with their mouths makes it easy to inhale dirt. To keep their lungs clear, the mole rats have been observed placing wood shavings behind the teeth but in front of their lips — a simple face mask. (As an aside, the naked mole rat's better-known cousin has been taught to use a raking device in captivity. A word to raking rat trainers: keep an eye on them! New York City is bad enough without tool-using rodents.)

Video: YouTube/Bh41

Egyptian vulture hammers. Some say that seagulls who crack open shellfish by dropping them onto rocks are using tools, but that's generally dismissed on a technicality: The seagulls aren't actually manipulating their environment. No such ambiguity surrounds Egyptian vultures, who use rocks to break open ostrich eggs.

Video: YouTube/Gary9209


Burrowing owl bait. In order to attract its favorite beetle prey, burrowing owls collect mammal dung, then spread it around the entrance to their homes. As with many animal tool behaviors, it's not clear whether the owls are acting out an instinctive sequence of actions, or consciously deciding to collect the dung. Either way, though, those dung balls are tools.

Image: Ronald G. Wolff / Nature

Woodpecker finch, green jay and New Caledonian crow bug-fishing sticks. All these birds use twigs to forage for insects, but the New Caledonian crow is famed for its cleverness, seen here in a captive bird's fashioning of a food-fetching hook from straight wire.

Video: YouTube/Kivirtual

Chimpanzee clubs. Since Jane Goodall's pioneering observations, chimpanzees have been observed using sticks to spear bush babies, smashing nuts open with stones (which, apparently, they've done for thousands of years) and making straw toothpicks. But their most striking tool may be the club.

Video: YouTube/Everything is Pointless


Gorilla walking sticks. Any hiker knows the value of a good walking stick — and so, apparently, do gorillas. In a swampy forest clearing in the northern Congo, this gorilla used a stick to test the depth of a pool of water, and then to keep its balance as it walked across.

Image: Wildlife Conservation Society/PLoS Biology


Dolphin fishing sponges. An extended family of Indian bottlenose dolphins in Shark Bay, Australia are the first known marine mammal to use tools: sponges with which they stir ocean-bottom sand, uncovering and disorienting prey. “It’s hard to get inside their heads because their brains are constructed differently and it’s very hard to analyze their language, but they do seem very intelligent,” said Georgetown University marine biologist Janet Mann to the Times.

Let's just hope dolphins don't develop opposable thumbs.

Image: Ewa Krzyszczyk / PLoS ONE

Multitool image credit: Flickr/Frostnova

Monday, November 3, 2008

Crucell's Swiss Affiliate Berna Biotech to Cease All Animal Testing

LEIDEN, NETHERLANDS, Sep 26, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) ----- For several years the vaccine producer Berna Biotech a Swiss affiliate of Crucell N.V. has been working rigorously on the 3R program, which has a goal to Reduce, Refine and Replace all animal testing. The development of in-vitro alternatives as well as the strategic imperative of Berna Biotech to eliminate animal testing has resulted in the company announcing, that it will cease all animal testing and therefore close the animal house in Bern in 2008. Crucell's Swiss affiliate Berna Biotech whose goal is to fight infectious diseases and save lives by bringing innovation to global health has reached another important milestone in the production of modern vaccines.

About Crucell

Crucell N.V. (Euronext, NASDAQ: CRXL; Swiss Exchange: CRX) is a global biopharma company focused on research, development, production and marketing of vaccines, proteins and antibodies that prevent and treat primarily infectious diseases. Its vaccines are sold in public and private markets worldwide. Crucell's core portfolio includes a vaccine against hepatitis B, a fully-liquid vaccine against five important childhood diseases and a virosome-adjuvanted vaccine against influenza. Crucell also markets travel vaccines, such as the only oral anti-typhoid vaccine, an oral cholera vaccine and the only aluminum-free hepatitis A vaccine on the market. The Company has a broad development pipeline, with several product candidates based on its unique PER.C6(R: 39.78, +0.16, +0.40%) production technology. The Company licenses its PER.C6(R: 39.78, +0.16, +0.40%) technology and other technologies to the biopharmaceutical industry. Important partners and licensees include DSM Biologics, sanofi-aventis, Novartis, Wyeth and Merck & Co. Crucell is headquartered in Leiden, the Netherlands, with subsidiaries in Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Korea and the US. The Company employs over a 1000 people. For more information, please visit

Forward-looking statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve inherent risks and uncertainties. We have identified certain important factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in such forward-looking statements. For information relating to these factors please refer to our Form 20-F, as filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on May 7, 2008, and the section entitled "Risk Factors". The Company prepares its financial statements under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

For further information please contact: Crucell N.V. Oya Yavuz Director Corporate Communications & Investor Relations
Tel. +31-(0)71-519 7064