What’s this? A recurring feature? I’m as surprised as you are. Without further ado, I present this weeks winners and losers.

First, the winners:
AIDS Patients – A Berlin man who suffered from HIV and leukemia shows no signs of either disease after an experimental gene therapy in which he received a bone marrow transplant from an HIV resistant donor. As with any good news about treatments for terminal diseases, this news needs to be taken with a grain of salt, and the results may eventually turn out be a total fluke. But they may also be a big step toward saving a lot of lives the world over. So what’s the harm in being guardedly optimistic and giving this one three cheers?

Adolescent Thugs – Why are kids so cruel sometimes? Turns out, the answer may be astonishingly simple: because it feels good. A recent University of Chicago study of aggressive youths showed that, when the subjects were shown video footage of people being hurt, the parts of their brain that reacts to rewards lit up like a Christmas tree. The same results were not repeated in non-aggressive subjects, suggesting that these results do demonstrate some neurological difference rather than a ‘Three Stooges effect,’ in which subjects feel rewarded by watching people have a piano lid closed on their fingers because… well, it’s sort of hilarious.

Astrozeneca – The pharmaceutical giant with the coolest name was a big winner this week when a study suggested that popular cholesterol reducing statin drugs like AZ’s Crestor could dramatically lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes, even in people who don’t have high cholesterol. With sites like ABC practically wetting themselves over the study (which, by the way, was sponsored by Astrozeneca and was ended early), sales are bound to skyrocket as doctors are deluged with patients demanding they be fed a drug designed to treat an ailment they don’t suffer from. And if history is any teacher, these people will get it. The only question is whether the coming drastic over-prescription of statin drugs will have any negative effects. I mean, what could go wrong?

And now for the rest of the story – this weeks losers:

Stupid America Hating Whales – The Supreme Court of the United States has issued a decision this week stating that national security trumps environmental protection. National security here is represented by Navy sonar testing that was halted by a lower court earlier this year after the sonar noise was proven detrimental to the health of local whales. According to SCOTUS, though, the whales, who have been known to suffer from decompression sickness after being driven too swiftly to the surface by the cacophony produced by sonar, are on their own. The Navy, by the same token is now free to keep broadcasting the sweet sounds of pure, uncut sonar freedom into the ocean, and you can bet they’re cranking those speakers this week as they train to detect the latest generation of silent running submarines almost certainly destined for our shores right now, using pods of communist gray whales for cover.

Russian Churches – Now, I’m an avowed agnostic, if you can be such a thing. I’m also a fairly morally bankrupt guy. But even I have to draw the line somewhere, and it seems like stealing an entire church is just a bit much. I mean, really, you have to be incredibly fucking certain that there is no God to pull something like this, which is becoming more and more common throughout Russia.

The Maldives – And while a few Russian villages might have to invest in new churches, that really does pale in comparison to having to buy an entire new country. That’s the situation that the Maldives, the lowest nation in the world, finds themselves in. With climate change pushing sea levels further and further upwards, residents of the island nation are experiencing a distinct sinking feeling. The solution – buy a new country and move the Maldives there! Not to be flippant about a serious situation, but, well… Simpsons did it.

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