Good evening Mr. & Mrs. Catholic, and all you other Christians at sea. After a brief hiatus, the theater doors are open once again. We’ll kick things off with another Weekly Newsreel, sponsored as usual by the fine folks at Acts of the Apostasy, home of the 3 1/2 Time-Outs Tuesday. Now off to press.
DATELINE: WROCLAW, POLAND – The Daily Mail reports that “a dentist pulled out all her ex-boyfriend’s teeth after he dumped her for another woman – who has now left him because he is toothless.” While the jilted tooth doctor faces up to three years in prison for abusing the trust of a patient, the victim himself most likely faces a whole lifetime full of incredulous people wondering just what the hell he was thinking when he kept a dental appointment with a woman he had broken up with only three days before. After all, the old quote “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned / Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.” may not actually be from the Bible, but we’re betting there’s a whole lot of ladies out there who think that it should be.
DATELINE: SALEM, MASSACHUSETTS – The latest theory to surface regarding what may have caused the Salem Witch Trials comes from a thesis written by By economist Emily Oster who speculates that the whole ordeal was caused by climate change. According to Oster, “The most active period of the witchcraft trials (mainly in Europe) coincides with a period of lower-than-average temperature known to climatologists as the ‘little ice age’… The coldest segments of this ‘little ice age’ period were in the 1590s and between 1680 and 1730… The colder temperatures increased the frequency of crop failure… [and] people would have searched for a scapegoat in the face of deadly changes in weather pattern.” Danvers archivist Dick Trask isn’t convinced of this theory however, noting that people often use their present day concerns to interpret what was happening hundreds of years ago. Trask points out how, in the drug addled early 70s, a popular theory blamed the witch trials on the accidental ingestion of hallucinogenic fungi, while the socialist movement of the 60s advanced the notion of a greedy capitalist plot to seize land from poor farmers by accusing them of witchcraft. “These theories tell us more about the present than they do about the past.” Trask says. This same type of thing often happens in modern biblical scholarship where those predisposed to certain ideologies will often ‘discover’ their personal agendas buried (usually pretty deep) within Scripture, i.e. the recent ludicrous assertion by Anglican priest Paul Oestreicher that Jesus was gay. That’s why Pope Benedict XVI wrote that “If scholarly exegesis is not to exhaust itself in constantly new hypotheses, becoming theologically irrelevant, it must take a methodological step forward and see itself once again as a theological discipline, without abandoning its historical character. It must learn that the positivistic hermeneutic on which it has been based does not constitute the only valid and definitively evolved rational approach; rather, it constitutes a specific and historically conditioned form of rationality that is both open to correction and completion and in need of it.” Or in the simplest of terms, if the Church has taught something steadily for over 2000 years and you’ve amazingly just now discovered something that contradicts it, it’s probably best to go back and study a little bit more before you say something to embarrass yourself.
DATELINE: HIDDEN UNDER YOUR HAT – So you’re fond of Captain Picard and Lieutenant Ilia but would rather look more like a tribble? Well, there’s hope for all you chrome domes out there. ScienceDaily has the story of a group of Japanese researchers who have demonstrated functional hair regeneration utilizing adult stem cells. “Reporting in Nature Communications the group demonstrate that bioengineered hair follicle germ reconstructed from adult epithelial stem cells and dermal papilla cells can regenerate fully functional hair follicle and hair growth. Their bioengineered follicles showed restored hair cycles and piloerection through the rearrangement of follicular stem cells and their niches. The bioengineered hair follicle also developed the correct structures and formed proper connections with surrounding host tissues such as the epidermis, arrector pili muscle and nerve fibers.” In short, this appears to be the first step in creating a working treatment that will cure baldness for those who want one. And it is being developed using, ONCE AGAIN, adult stem cells rather than embryonic stem cells. Ethical science that respects human life, you gotta love it.
Oh, and scientists, if this hair growth thing does work out as planned, please do us all a favor and keep the formula away from the Catholic blogsphere. As LarryD points out, it’s already hairy enough out there as it is.
And on that note it’s time to bid adieu to another Newsreel, as is our custom, with the immortal words of the great Les Nessman. Good evening, and may the good news be yours.