Thursday, September 06, 2007

Big Lucy takes his final bow


Though his repertoire was not particularly large and he lacked the acting ability of Placido Domingo, "Big Lucy" will be remembered for his lavish aureate voice and for being one of the great popularisers of opera. A football obsessive, like so many of his compatriots, Pavarotti's rendition of Nessun Dorma for the 1990 World Cup hoisted the hefty divo into the megastar league.
But by the mid 90s he was past his best, as the merciless claque of La Scala were all too happy to remind him. Jonathan Miller's biting words about opera stars being "jurassic park performers" with "with shreds of primeval vegetation hanging from their jaws" might have been made with Pavarotti in mind.
Just two months ago, his spokeswoman Terri Robson dismissed one of his daughter's claims made in a German magazine that he knew he was going to "die soon". According to Robson, Pavarotti laughed out loud when told of the story. But death comes like a thief in the night.
Last night, the burghers of Modena reacted in a suitably operatic fashion to the news of their favourite son's demise. Crowds gathered outside Modena Cathedral, Pavarotti's most famous arias poured from restaurant and cafe sound systems and a special Pavarotti emergency hotline was set up for grief-striken locals in need of counselling. Some politicians have also called for September 6th to be made an annual remembrance day with concerts in his honour.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

As Predicted, HFEA consents to creation of human animal hybrids

Yep, as predicted. The Fertility industry's lapdog, the HFEA, has decided that scientists can use human animal embryos.
One question: Why did they bother to wait before affixing the rubber stamp and issuing the press release?

Adult stem cell success v Embryonic stem cell failure

While we're waiting for this non-event of a decision which isn't in any doubt. Let's remind ourselves of what embryonic stem cell research has actually achieved (nothing) compared to some of the very real successes of adult stem cell research:

Successfully rebuilding livers with cirrhosis,
Repairing spinal chord injuries
Putting Crohn's disease into remission
Putting lupus into remission
Treating sickle-cell anaemia
Repairing heart muscles in those with congestive heart failure
Restoring bone marrow in cancer patients
Restoring heart attack damage
Putting leukaemia in remission
Successfully treating bone fractures

Human Animal Embryo Decision Not In Any Doubt

So let's be done with this stupid farce.
Scientists want ... scientists want ... Evan Harris said ... A disease sufferer was wheeled on to emotionally blackmail the reader ... Who writes this miserable propaganda?
Let's stop pretending that the HFEA is anything more than a quango figleaf for the fertility industry's desires and instead declare that bored science dons can get to experiment on anything they like without justification. What Robin Lovell Badge wants, Robin Lovell Badge always gets. Let's save ourselves the farce of a "debate" and him the effort of lobbying and propagandising and openly admit that he has carte blanche.
But just for the record let's remind ourselves what the use of embryonic stem cells has actually achieved. Not the claims, not the predictions, just the actual outcome. Nothing. That's it nothing.
Note to Human Genetics Alert: Your intervention in the "debate" was too little too late. With a mere columns-worth of news buried on the inside pages of the Evening Standard you might as well shut up shop.