Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
1. Our economy will recover by next year. Tourists will return and all will seem well. Unfortunately, in five to ten years will come $150+/barrel oil, and the price of jet full will make travel to Hawaii prohibitive. My daily blog of July 21 provides the gory details, but emphasizes one point: if we want to minimize the length of the predicted local depression, we must work together and we must do it NOW!
1. Sonia Sotomayer will easily be confirmed as the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice within the week.
2. A medical reform package will pass by December, but it will not be an optimal plan. Obama will annually attempt to improve the program.
3. The Congress will pass a cap and trade carbon dioxide measure to provide the Obama Administration an air of progressiveness for the upcoming December Copenhagen climate change conference. The problem is that the package will be so useless that the world will set it aside for something hopefully better. China and India will remain recalcitrant. Copenhagen will be nice but hardly sufficient.
1. America will leave Iraq by 2012.
2. I would recommend that we declare victory in Afghanistan and leave by 2012, also.
3. Iran will begin to develop a nuclear capability and Israel will overreact by bombing likely sites. They have no other choice.
4. There are only two solutions to peace in the Middle East. Israel is totally decimated by nuclear weapons or, over the next century, democracy prevails.
5. Since I seem to be focused on the Year 2012, President Obama will host the G9 countries that year (G8 plus China). In any event, 2012 will be an interesting year, which is a kind of Chinese curse. Oh, THE VENUS SYNDROME will predict the end of life as we know it in 2012. We hope to publish by 2010.
1. The world will not come to an end in 2012. Hey, that will be a novel.
2. There will be a hot summer before 2015 when devastating hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones will cause half a trillion dollar in damages (Katrina alone was tabbed at $125 billion), plus millions will perish from global heating. Only then will the world take serious steps to minimize the Global Warming.
Have a great rest of your life.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
The following continues the serialization of Chapter 2 from SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity:
While the term, artificial life, coined in 1987 by Christopher Langton at his first “International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems,” seems more linked to computer systems, I will focus only on the bio-option. In Chapter 4 on Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, we will return to the matter of what is intelligence and whether life on Earth is all that there might be.
J. Craig Venter—high school dropout, surfer, and Navy veteran of Viet Nam, who went on to gain a PhD from the University of California at San Diego and become head of Celeria Genomics, a private group that sequenced the human genome in a dead heat with the international, government-supported project—announced a new partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy in 2003, this time, to create a new type of bacterium using DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) manufactured from basic chemicals. They also had hoped to produce hydrogen, sequester carbon dioxide and clean up the environment, like of nuclear wastes. This organization, the Institute for Biological Energy Alternatives, includes Nobel laureate Hamilton O. Smith, an expert on genetic science. Their engineered microbe could well be dual purpose: make hydrogen and absorb carbon dioxide. They are dealing with the matter of creating life itself
Venter’s team selected Mycoplasma genitalium, whose habitat is in the genital tract of humans, not because this is where life begins, but more for the microorganism’s simplicity and fragility. They don’t want a super bug to escape into the environment and eat up the world. Emblematic is that the very first attempt at formulating artificial life will be a genetic microorganism to produce hydrogen.
Success was attained in 2003 with the creation of an artificial virus. Venter said they only took two weeks to accomplish this task. What they did was fashion a synthetic genetic map, or genome, of an existing virus and implanted it into a cell. The virus supposedly became biologically active and reproduced. But is a virus alive? No.
In October of 2006, Venter filed an application to patent this first artificial microbe. The U.S. Patent Office published on May 31, 2007, the application (#20070122826). This man-made organism was called Mycoplasma laboratorium. But, almost predictably, the field went somewhat berserk with challenges from those worried that God now had a competitor to others with scientific and ethical concerns. A more apt tag was also stated regarding Venter’s venture: the Microsoft of synthetic biology.
The Dow Jones Industrials slipped 12 to 9097, while, except for Japan, world markets all dropped. Early in the day, the DJI sunk nearly 100, but recovered. One of my stocks, Microsoft, showed a gain because a deal is anticipated tomorrow with Yahoo on an internet search/advertising partnership. Google sunk 5, about 1%. Crude oil decreased into the mid-$66/barrel range and gold fell $14/toz to $939.
Monday, July 27, 2009
My Huffington Post article on the swine flu about seven weeks ago indicated that, worldwide, there were 500 new cases and 3 deaths each day. Turns out that is exactly the situation for the USA today. The global statistics are 1500/day with 9 deaths/day. Compare this with 1,000,000 flu cases/day and 1000 deaths/day from the “common” flu, and there are three points that can be made:
1. Relative to the flu, then, swine flu remains in the noise level.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Pearl was born in Hilo on 11July39 and left us on 19July09. Friends and family celebrated her life today.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
There is no scientific meaning for germs, which are single-celled and commonly thought of as bacteria. Also add archaea, only discovered in the ocean in 1977. Even if viruses are supposedly not alive, throw this group of microorganisms into the germ pot. There are single-cell fungi and protozoa, so they can be added, too.
These microscopic life forms appeared as long as 4 billion years ago, represented the only life for up to 2 billion years, and, actually, still rule Planet Earth, as it is reported that there is more mass in “germs” or micro-life than all the macro-life (humans, other animals, trees, whatever you can see that lives). There are studies showing that there is about the same amount of plant biomass as bacteria (about 2 billion tons each), but there is very roughly the same mass in archaea and viruses compared to bacteria, so germs still dominate. For the record there are 700 million tons of domesticated animals, 500 millions tons of krill (those small shrimp-like creatures eaten by whales and fish) and 250 million tons of us humans.
Every time you go swimming, consider that just in a liter of seawater live more than 20,000 different kinds of bacteria. Or everytime you kiss, don't think about the 40 million bacteria in a milliliter of saliva. There are about a billion different kinds of bacteria. If a virus had the shape of a baseball, a bacterium would be the circle around the pitcher’s mound and a human cell would be in the range of the ballpark. As a virus requires a host, it has to invade a microorganism, human or any life form, to survive.
Most of you don’t realize that:
o You harbor 100 trillion bacteria in and on you, but have only around 10 trillion cells of your own, thus, you host many times more germ cells than your own. Before you get too revolted, per above, your cell is much larger than a bacterium.
o You have probably up to four pounds of bacteria in your gut, and could have nine pounds total. Yes, this is most disgusting.
o Some of your personal cells have formed a symbiotic relationship with these germs, and, there are growing theories that they, in fact, now affect the nature of genes.
I've recently been writing about BOOP and MRSA, but, 99%+ of germs are good. While viruses exist only by attacking and nourishing themselves on living cells—thus, they are the natural predator for bacteria and you—there are no known pathogenic archaea. Some viruses, though, are used in gene therapy, so there is some good here. You will more and more see these beneficial germs in your diet. From baby food to yogurt, there are now more than 150 probiotic and prebiotic products in your supermarket.