2 May 2010
Hello fellow Sun Worshippers!
Tangled Web #1) The Great Sun
Please meet the NEW object-of-our-desires…
… she has just stepped out onto the catwalk…
… and is now 10 times more beautiful than before:
“NASA on 11 Feb 2010 launched Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, is returning early images that confirm an unprecedented new capability for scientists to better understand our sun’s dynamic processes …Some of the images from the spacecraft show never-before-seen detail of material streaming outward and away from sunspots… SDO is the most advanced spacecraft ever designed to study the sun. … Now fully operational, SDO will provide images with clarity 10 times better than high-definition television and will return more comprehensive science data faster than any other solar observing spacecraft.”
These solar flares look like a tangled web of irridescent orange gossamer threads … wonderful.
or … watch the movie! 🙂
Want more? … well here is the whole lot
Tangled Web #2) The Great Sunbed Scare
… down here on Planet Earth …
… what a worriesome warp and weft we weave …
“Oh what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive.” – Sir Walter Scott (Marmion, 1808)
How so ???
Let’s put cancerous myths to bed
There’s no causal link between sunbed-use and cancer, so why are politicians clamping down on teens tannning?
First, let’s have a look at the scientific evidence:
UK – scientists at the dermatology department of Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital:
“… the claims of a melanoma epidemic are based not on a real increase in cases but rather on a ‘diagnostic drift which classifies benign lesions as stage 1 melanoma’. In the past these cases would have been diagnosed as benign melanocytic nevi, not melanoma.”
Report author Dr Nick J Levell says:
‘The main message is to be cautious about overstating messages about a melanoma epidemic to the public and media. Such behaviour will tend to induce unnecessary anxiety and behaviour that may cause distress and harm.’
IARC report – Exposure to Artificial UV Radiation and Skin Cancer (2006)
The report references 24 cohort and case-control studies on the association between use of indoor tanning facilities and melanoma risk. Of these only four show a small statistically significant relationship. None of the four have a relative risk greater than 1.50, indicating an extremely weak and unlikely relationship… the report authors admit that the evidence for a positive association between indoor tanning and melanoma is ‘weak’. It might be suggested that this statement is in itself misleading since the relationship is, in fact, practically nonexistent.
Norway – a team of researchers headed by Marit Veierød at the University of Oslo.
They followed more than 100,000 Norwegian women (the largest study of this type ever done) over an average eight-year period and found no statistically significant association between sunbed-use and melanoma in those aged 10 to 19 who used a tanning facility more than once a month.
Britian-study from 2004:
” … did not find a statistically significant association between use of sunbeds and melanoma.”
Ban sun beds for teens!
” 29 January 2010 – MPs heard today as a bid was launched to ban under-18s from tanning salons. Labour’s Julie Morgan warned that youngsters were putting themselves at increased risk of cancer by using the devices…. And she said: “Opposition MPs were right when they said we shouldn’t do things because they are popular. We should do things because they are right.”
Very moral thoughts … and popular too 😉
“… Public Health Minister Gillian Merron said … “We cannot continue to allow children and young people to burn. The evidence is clear: sunbeds are a health risk and the risk is greater for young people.
… and another health myth enters society.
A good book:
“You may be surprised to find that many ‘scientific’ truths that have come to be circulated as fact would be better compared to urban myths and don’t have the backing in the scientific community that is often claimed for them…”
(2006) – Professor Stanley Feldman is a Professor of Anaesthetics at London University and appointed to the Imperial College School of Medicine.
Tangled Web #3) The Great Sun Scare
Another good book:
Who is this quack doctor anyway, saying that (horror of horrors) … sun exposure is good for you!?
Michael Holick – Professor of Medicine, Physiology and Biophysics at Boston University
But surely he must be a lone wolf?
“… backed by 120 citations to papers in peer-reviewed journals … Dr. Holick is no outsider, having published over 200 peer-reviewed papers, and with a lifetime of research in dermatology and endocrinology.”
Ooops Oooops …
OK , what does he say:
‘They have vilified the sun – and me’
Holick notes that where the sun was once seen as a source of health and vitality, it now tends to be viewed as a mortal threat lurking in the skies, potentially poisoning our skin. ‘Over a couple of decades the sun has been vilified’, he says. Children’s outdoor school activities, like sports days and outings, can now be called off if the wicked sun is out.
“He says the sunscreen industry took out a paid advertisement in US newspapers the month before his book came out, personally attacking his reputation… Holick groans that the sunscreen industry is a major funder of the dermatology community in the US”
Doesn’t sound good either … anybody else complaining?
“… in the 1990s Professors Sam Shuster and Jonathan Rees of Newcastle University accused some of their academic colleagues of ‘making a living out of perpetuating the skin cancer scare’. But the sunlight scare also speaks to a broader climate of health panic today, where the authorities increasingly seek to police personal behaviour in the name of public health.”
Hmmmm …. sounds historically familiar.
Lets have a listen to Sam Schuster (10 years later)… shall we:
“The loss of collagen with age is genetic; it has absolutely nothing to do with UV irradiation and occurs equally in skin that has spent its life covered or exposed. And, contrary to the advertising blurb for anti-ageing creams – which simply irritate the skin producing inflammation that swells the skin and conceals the wrinkles – nothing is known that reverses this loss of collagen. Ageing of the skin is not due to UV and it cannot be overcome by the products of the cosmetic industry.
But what about all that Aussie skin cancer ?
“The misunderstanding has been inappropriately talked up by the Australian experience. The high incidence of skin cancer in Australia is the product of a high UV exposure in a population whose ancestors included many with pale, freckled skin and red hair. It should not be extrapolated to different populations living in sun-deprived climates.”
But surely a suntan must be bad thing?
Excessive avoidance and UV screening is a danger because it does not allow a tan, nature’s own sun block, to develop and as a result exposure is likely to cause sun-burn. The dogma, now fossilised in print, is that any tan is a sign of skin damage. Tell that to Darwin. Pigmented melanocytes in the skin are a system that protects it from excessive UV, which evolved long before the advent of sunscreens. Even if there was hard evidence that melanoma was UV-induced it would be all the more important to keep a protective tan.
Go to it Sam!
“It must now be evident that the effect of the sun on the skin is in desperate need of illumination, and that the prophylactic message, particularly on melanoma, is unreliable. By presenting the fragility of the case against the dangers of UV I hope I will provoke consideration of real cause of melanoma.”
“…the Great Sun Scare impacts on all of us. The sun shines on everyone, not just on modern-day sinners like smokers or fast food eaters, and so morality lessons around the dangers of exposing yourself to supposedly poisonous rays apply to us all. In this context, those who choose to bronze on beaches, in parks or at tanning salons are viewed as morally compromised. They are held up as bad examples, as carcinogenic individuals who must be lectured through hectoring government health advice.”
Morally Compromised … hmm … that has a nice ring to it …
Let’s be morally compromised … shall we?
So … I say …
… lets enjoy our view of The Sun …
… both from space…
… and down here on our (sometimes 😉 worried Earth
… and lets end with a song:
Catchy (Astronomers) Classic – “Speak to the Sky Everynight” 🙂
Rick Springfield 1971
or … for the ladies in our audience 😉
maybe you would prefer the “heart-throb” version from fond 70s memories 😉
Even the lyrics can be taken in an astronomical (non-religious) vein.
Speak to the sky whenever things go wrong
And you know you’re not talking to the air – to the air
And the world will look better from up there
Speak to the sky and tell you how I feel
And you know sometimes what I say ain’t right – it’s alright
‘Cause I speak to the sky every night.
Maybe Pantheism should be the new Astronomical Professional Belief System?
Is it just my … Ancient Australian Aboriginal Ancestory shining through ?
In any case, I hope this Snappy Spring Song gets you though the Valborg Weekend and out into The Sun soon 🙂
Sun-Worshipping, Sunbed-Friendly & Sun-Tanned (naturally, and soon … I hope) …
… & “morally compromised” Brady 🙂