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Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

I had a post all ready to go the other day when I got read some amazing news.  And then some more news.  There was so much amazing news that if you took a minute to think about the implications of any one of the storeis below you’d be speechless. You’d sense that these ideas are on par with creating the Internet.  Researchers like to ask little kids to list how many different things they can do with a paper clip. As the children age, the list shrinks, our creativity shrinks, we become boxed in. But then you read these stories and suddenly you’re the little kid who can figure out 100 things to do with a paper clip, instead of an adult that can figure out only 5.

What’s so amazing? A few things (the coolest one is last)

1) Meet the Jetsons – The Terrafugia Transition flies like a plane and drives like a car. Long trip? Fly there. Traffic on the highway? Bypass it. And then drive. One day we’ll have one vehicle for all of our travel. Maybe.

2) It’s a good thing your car can fly and also drive because you can’t pack a Prius into your spaceshuttle for the flight to Mars. But when you get to Mars and need water, you’ll be able to recycle your urine a la Waterworld and turn it into a nice sweet soft drink.

3) But while flying on Mars (or to Costco a couple of continents away) you get into an accident and suffer severe organ damage. You’re an organ donor, but medical advances allow the doctors to save you from the organ harvesters. Alas, you still need a new windpipe. Well, you’re in luck! Today a patient in Sweden is being discharged after doctors created a trachea from scratch and implanted it into a cancer patient. A month later the patient is doing well. No rejection either because it’s using your own stem cells. What else can we replace? Well, need a new artery? Or heart? Liver or lung? Spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis become a thing of the past.

4) Last but not least, for $512 you can get a PCR machine. What’s that? Think of it like a bread machine. Throw in some flour and yeast and sugar and eggs and out comes a loaf of bread. The ingredients here are snippets of DNA. snippets can be bought at stores (ok, well, labs, and maybe you need to fly somewhere to get some in an emergency, but that’s ok because you have your flying car). Need some ketchup? Well we’ll be developing some strand of e. coli whose byproduct is Heinz ketchup. You name it, you can make it. These machines used to cost $10,000. Another 10 years and maybe they’ll be $50.

 

[crossposted at Barely Connected]

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Don’t Get It

Thanks to David and the rest of The Bennett for inviting me to blog here.  A little about me:  I’m an attorney, founded a startup company and love a ton of different things.  My posts won’t stick to a specific area or subject and I hope you’ll find some of them interesting.

Like parents who don’t understand Facebook and grandparents who can’t fathom computers, many friends of mine don’t understand Twitter or Foursquare.  One even put a poll in their gchat status asking who had Twitter accounts and whether people followed.  Ironic since the point of Twitter is for asynchronous conversation, not chat.  Conversations typically start with:

“I don’t understand why you want entire conversations held publicly (Twitter)”
“I don’t understand why people really need to know where you are all the time”
“I don’t understand why my students post crazy pictures publicly (Facebook)”
“I don’t understand why I need a smartphone”

Life experiences imprint us with beliefs and practices. I couldn’t know where everyone was before smartphones so having that information now is useless. Posting pictures publicly? Not after waiting a week for film to be developed.  We’re comfortable where we are, we lose our curiosity, we get stuck, and then we judge everyone else by our standards.  And so old people drive big cars, because that’s what they’ve always done.  It’s why you still have landlines and why teachers and parents are shocked to find that younger generations have different privacy norms than they do.

What don’t you understand?  That’s exactly what you need to understand.

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