Friday Four

Friday, September 09, 2016

1. Three cheers for the University of Chicago, whose recent letter in favor of freedom of speech seems to have started a trend. According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE):

FIRE is seeing an encouraging uptick in pro-free speech statements by college administrators early in this academic year. In just a few weeks' time, administrators at schools like Columbia University, Brown University, and Claremont Mckenna College (CMC) have all made public statements committing to protect freedom of expression on campus.

The catalyst for this recent batch of speech-friendly statements seems to be the "academic freedom letter" the University of Chicago (UChicago) sent to incoming students last month, advising them not to expect "intellectual 'safe spaces'" when they arrive on campus. The letter was widely reported on, and reignited the national debate over campus speech restrictions. It also seems to have resonated with many other college administrators. [links in original]
I hope this trend continues, and gathers momentum.

2. My daughter, who is now in kindergarten, has hair that tends to tangle. One morning, she started to cry after her mother hit a particularly bad knot while combing it. Her little brother, who has always been protective of her, came over and wrapped his arms around her. "That's my sister!" he said, sternly, to his mother.

3. I think calling it a potential "cure" for cancer is hyperbole at best, especially since the subtitle to the news story admits it only applies to ninety percent of types of cancer. But still, it is interesting that some scientists have realized that an approach to protecting pregnant women from malaria can also be used to deliver drugs specifically to cancer cells:
The scientists have found that in both cases the malaria protein attaches itself to the same carbohydrate. It is the similarities between those two things that the cure could exploit.

The carbohydrate ensures that the placenta grows quickly. But the team behind the new findings have detailed how it serves the same function in tumours -- and the malaria parasite attaches itself to the cancerous cells in the same way, meaning that it can kill them off.
This is good news, tempered with the usual caveats about potential therapies, of course.

4. If you can't decide whether you like road trips or perfect weather more, someone has come to your aid:
... Meteorologist Brian Brettschneider mapped the route that's likely to keep a body exposed to daily high temperatures of 70 degrees, and it meanders for 13,000-plus miles from the southern tip of Texas up to Alaska and down again to San Diego.  [links dropped]
As a bonus for those who'd like the high to be a little warmer or cooler, Brettschneider kindly explains his methodology.

-- CAV


: Corrected a formatting error.

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