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    Dumbass NY Times Article: “The Elusive Big Idea”

    A recent article in the NY Times is getting buzz and making rounds.

    Its crap.

    Just off-hand, here are some big idea innovations that are and will change the world:

     

    The Evolution Machine [ref] == Radical Health and Biological Science driven advances

    It is a strange combination of clumsiness and beauty. Sitting on a cheap-looking worktop is a motley ensemble of flasks, trays and tubes squeezed onto a home-made frame. Arrays of empty pipette tips wait expectantly. Bunches of black and grey wires adorn its corners. On the top, robotic arms slide purposefully back and forth along metal tracks, dropping liquids from one compartment to another in an intricately choreographed dance. Inside, bacteria are shunted through slim plastic tubes, and alternately coddled, chilled and electrocuted. The whole assembly is about a metre and a half across, and controlled by an ordinary computer.

    Say hello to the evolution machine. It can achieve in days what takes genetic engineers years. So far it is just a prototype, but if its proponents are to be believed, future versions could revolutionise biology, allowing us to evolve new organisms or rewrite whole genomes with ease. It might even transform humanity itself.

    Thorium Powered  Vehicles [ref]  == Replacement of Fossil Fuels for mobile vehicles

    “Thorium, an abundant and radioactive rare earth mineral, could be used in conjunction with a laser and mini turbines to easily produce enough electricity to power a vehicle. When thorium is heated, it generates further heat surges, allowing it to be coupled with mini turbines to produce steam that can then be used to generate electricity. Combining a laser, radioactive material, and mini-turbines might sound like a complicated alternative solution to filling your gas tank, but there’s one feature that sells it as a great alternative solution: 1 gram of thorium produces the equivalent energy of 7,500 gallons of gasoline.”

    The Space Shaft [ref] == Cheap Orbital Lift Capacity

    A private European organization has a proposal for creating 100-300 kilometer high multipurpose towers. The towers would be composed of moveable lighter-than-air rings stacked upon each other. Modules would be added from the bottom up and filled with a light gas. Shuttles within the shaft could take people and payloads to the top, slowly but inexpensively. In an interview with Sander Olson, Patrick Vankeirsbilk describes how the first towers could become operational within a decade, and could be used both for tourism and for getting payloads inexpensively into space.

    Universal Anti-Viral[ref] == Better health and Quality of Life for all

    Too good to be true? You might think this is impossible.

    “Now, in a development that could transform how viral infections are treated, a team of researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory has designed a drug that can identify cells that have been infected by any type of virus, then kill those cells to terminate the infection.”

    It works against 15 viruses tested so far.

    Cure for Cancer via Applied Genetic Engineering [ref] == Increased Human Longevity and Quality of Life

    Cancer Cured By Injecting White Blood Cells that had been genetically altered by a modified/harmless version of HIV

     

    Applying Economic Thinking and Quantitative thinking to Everything!

     

    3D Printing [ref] Manufacturing only limited by our imaginations

    Think: 3D Printing + Semi-autonomous Robots + Interplanetary Internet + Cheap Space Launch/Lift Costs + off-planet atomic power

     

    Abundant and Cheap Energy for all should be our goal [ref]

    I want to drive an affordable electric or gas/electric or some sort of flex-fuel vehicle as a mobility device. I want to take a train once a month to Madison or the Fox River Valley. I want to see a new nationwide network of smart electrical grids powered by small scale nuclear plants, municipal plasma furnaces, wind and solar (where the make sense) or whatever else entrepreneurs can dream up and successively execute. I long for the day of orbital solar power.

    I love the idea of (and the change it will make) of Russia and Saudi Arabia and the others of their ilk being deprived of their ability to make mischief  and misery for the rest of the world. I welcome their fall. This will be a good thing for the world.

     

    Micro Robots For Health Care [ref] == Loner and Healthier Lives

    They look like spirals with tiny heads, and screw through the liquid like miniature corkscrews. When moving, they resemble rather ungainly bacteria with long whip-like tails. They can only be observed under a microscope because, at a total length of 25 to 60 µm, they are almost as small as natural flagellated bacteria. Most are between 5 and 15 µm long, a few are more than 20 µm.[…]

     

    What are your ideas?

    Bring on the SpaceShaft!

    Found via a tweetNextBigFuture introduces me to the Spaceshaft!!!!

     

    A private European organization has a proposal for creating 100-300 kilometer high multipurpose towers. The towers would be composed of moveable lighter-than-air rings stacked upon each other. Modules would be added from the bottom up and filled with a light gas. Shuttles within the shaft could take people and payloads to the top, slowly but inexpensively. In an interview with Sander Olson, Patrick Vankeirsbilk describes how the first towers could become operational within a decade, and could be used both for tourism and for getting payloads inexpensively into space.

     

    Yes Please!!  Read it all! Hey is this the cheaper 80% alternative to Space Elevators/Beanstalks?

     

    More:

    http://spaceshaft.org/

    https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/SpaceShaft

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Recent Space Stuff

    I would like to actually have the Science Fiction future I felt was come when I was young.

     

    Falcon Heavy links.

     

    A “Coast Guard for Space“…

     

     

    Over the years, analysts have proposed several alternative schemes for organizing the American space sector. Most of these proposals have related specifically to the nation’s military space activities. So, for instance, some proposals call for the creation of a Space Corps that would relate to the Air Force in much the same way that the Marine Corps relates to the Navy: autonomous, but under the control of the Secretary of the Navy, and relying on the Navy for various functions such as legal and medical services. Other proposals would adopt the model of the historical Army Air Corps or the later U.S. Army Air Forces, making space a quasi-autonomous service within the parent service.

    There is another proposal, however, that would restructure not just military but also civilian space activities. This proposal would create a U.S. Space Guard on the model of the U.S. Coast Guard, charged with carrying out a variety of infrastructure, support, constabulary, and regulatory tasks. The Space Guard would assume some functions now performed by the Air Force, NASA, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

     

     

    Zubrin: It’s time to build a transorbital railroad

     

    The core idea is simple. The space shuttle program is ending. So, instead of funding NASA to spend the next decade developing another white elephant to replace it, let’s just take a quarter of the shuttle’s budget and use it to set up a regularly scheduled launch service to orbit using the most cost-effective boosters on the commercial market.

    One-quarter of the shuttle program would provide a budget of $1.2 billion per year. Right now, the choice of most cost-effective launcher is a horse race…
    […]
    Having bought these launches for $80 million each, the NASA transorbital railroad office would then turn around and sell payload space on board at a steep discount price of $50 per kilogram. Thus, a 53-ton-capacity launch could be offered for sale at $2.5 million or divided into 5-ton compartments for sale at $250,000 each, with half-ton compartments made available for $25,000. While recovering just a tiny fraction of the transorbital railroad’s costs, such low fees (levied primarily to discourage spurious use) would make spaceflight readily affordable.

    As with a normal railroad here on earth, the transorbital railroad’s launches would occur in accordance with its schedule, regardless of whether or not all of its cargo capacity was subscribed by customers. Unsubscribed space would be filled with containers of water, food or space-storable propellants. These standardized, pressurizable containers, equipped with tracking beacons, plumbing attachments, hatches and electrical pass-throughs, would be released for orbital recovery by anyone with the initiative to collect them and put their contents and volumes to use in space. A payload dispenser, provided and loaded by the launch companies as part of their service, would be used to release each payload to go its separate way once orbit was achieved.

    As noted above, the budget required to run the transorbital railroad would be 25 percent that of the space shuttle program, but it would accomplish far more. The U.S. government could use it to save a great deal of money because its own departments in NASA, the military and other agencies could avail themselves of the transorbital railroad’s low rates to launch their payloads at trivial cost. Much greater savings would occur, however, because with launch costs so reduced, it would no longer be necessary to spend billions to ensure the ultimate degree of spacecraft reliability. Instead, commercial-grade parts could be used, thereby cutting the cost of spacecraft construction by orders of magnitude. While some failures would result, they would be eminently affordable and, moreover, would enable a greatly accelerated rate of technological advance in spacecraft design, because unproven, non-space-rated components could be put to the test much more rapidly. With both launch and spacecraft costs so sharply reduced, the financial consequences of any failures could be readily met by the purchase of insurance by the launch companies, which would reimburse both the government and payload owners in the event of a mishap.

    With such a huge amount of lift capability available to the public at low cost, both public and private initiatives of every kind could take flight.
    […]

     

    I want my Science Fiction Future.

    (old found draft post) Energy News

    Dec 16, 2008 @ 8:35

    This was just going to an energy links roundup.

    Wireless Power Transmission test have been successful. Yeah for Tesla!

    Suck it Al Gore: “Greenhouse Gas Comes from Solar Panels

    Bjorn Lomborg Says Cool It!: Getting our priorities right on climate change and the world’s top problems


    West Allis (Milwaukee news)
    : “Mini wind turbine proposal blows into council chambers”

    “Another potential big deal is the thorium breeder reactor.”

    (old found draft post) biz ideas X 2

    From Sep 26, 2008 @ 14:29


    What was I thinking?

    asisted Living Robotics
    http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/2008/09/a_billion_elders_by_2050in_chi.html

    bio-discovery driven engineering
    http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/2008/09/another_county_heard_from_on_a.html

    Thinking About Apollo 11

    I was too young to remember it, but I was inspired by it and the subsequent missions. I didn’t want them to stop. I wanted the Orbital stations, the moon colony, and the mars mission. I wanted my Science fiction future. I don’t want humans stuck on Terra Firma waiting for a natural or self-created extinction event. We need to get moving and get off this rock. The power of human imagination and ingenuity must be unleashed to fill the heavens. I still want a science fiction future for all of us.

    “…scientists in Australia have found a way to stop the body from attacking organ transplants…”

    This is awesome news if it works out.

    Now we just need to allow folks or estates to be compensated for Organ Donation to increase the supply/availability.

    Out-of-the-Box thinking on Pension and Social Security reform

    From that Instapundit guy:

    But even much more modest progress–extending healthy middle age from 60 to, say, 80–would permit significant shifts in retirement ages and allow for a longevity dividend that could go a long way toward preventing the looming pension meltdown. Greater progress might make the problem go away entirely. So perhaps it would make sense to steer some of the federal money currently going to research on treating the diseases of old age–an approach that leads to older, but frailer, people who are a drain on public resources and whose quality of life is iffy–to research on slowing or reversing the damage that aging does, leading to healthier old people who can work (and pay taxes) longer, while feeling better and enjoying life more.

    That sound pretty smart to me. We need to keep a future focus on policy ideas.

    “Malcolm Gladwell: What we can learn from spaghetti sauce”

    I have been running through all of the old Ted Talks via my iPod. It was a joy to hear this one again: “Malcolm Gladwell: What we can learn from spaghetti sauce”.

    Here is the video version from youtube:

    The US case for radical energy use efficiency and for switching to alternative energy sources

    I have been looking to blog on this for sometime, but it came out in a comment at TDAXP:

    The best case for the US to move to radical energy use efficiency and to switch a lot more to alternative energy (while sharing or selling the techniques and technology to the rest of the world to use as well) is that it will reduce the economic power and freedom of action of lots of bad actors in the world who tend to work against the interest of the US and other democratically inclined actors.

    To be clear: I am not a green, I am not a watermelon. I have not been sucked into the faux-science quasi-religion of Global Warming. I don’t secretly want to de-industrialize the west. I do not advocate lower growth or less industry.

    I want to drive an affordable electric or gas/electric or some sort of flex-fuel vehicle as a mobility device. I want to take a train once a month to Madison or the Fox River Valley. I want to see a new nationwide network of smart electrical grids powered by small scale nuclear plants, municipal plasma furnaces, wind and solar (where the make sense) or whatever else entrepreneurs can dream up and successively execute. I long for the day of orbital solar power.

    I love the idea of (and the change it will make) of Russia and Saudi Arabia and the others of their ilk being deprived of their ability to make mischief  and misery for the rest of the world. I welcome their fall. This will be a good thing for the world.

    I want the science fiction future promised to me as a kid, and I want it shared with the world.


    One day…

    The “I am too Lazy/Busy to post” Open Thread & Linkspasm

    I have been both too busy at work to post or read much and also too tired/lazy in the evenings to post, so here are a bunch of issues that might interesting. I will make updates in the comments.

    I will engage in comments here and elsewhere, but I most likely won’t post much if anything the rest of the week.

    Anyways, here we go:

    National Security / Global Security

    Positive side-effect from the US involvement in Iraq: “A top Iraqi official is calling for the formation of a regional economic security union to share water, energy and other resources, and mediate disputes among its members.”

    Newspeak example: Ayers and the Weathermen were not doing terrorism, they were doing “extreme vandalism”.

    The Greek Youth Riots: Leftists, not Muslims.

    Military Theory vs. Philosophy: “My point is that real benefit comes from focusing on real and testable change, not extravagant theories on the nature of warfare. An example of a testable hypothesis would be that direct and accurate portable HE projection could replace MG in the primary infantry support role. Best platform would be the XM-109 payload rifle with air-fuzed and HEAP rounds. This could be tested through computer simulation, modeling, field testing and historical review etc etc. While all those methods have there weaknesses and biases, they provide more feedback then is achievable is from the “nature of warfare” theories, so why are focusing on these non-productive concepts of 4GW and EBO etc. to define how we fight COIN?”

    Michael Yon on Afghanistan: “But Afghanistan is a different story. I write these words from Kandahar, in the south. This war here is just getting started. Likely we will see severe fighting kicking off by about April of 2009. Iraq is on the mend, but victory in Afghanistan is very much in question.”. His blog should be in your RSS feed.

    Cyberwar? “The report calls for the creation of a Center for Cybersecurity Operations that would act as a new regulator of computer security in both the public and private sector. Active policing of government and corporate networks would include new rules and a “red team” to test computers for vulnerabilities now being exploited with increasing sophistication and frequency by identity and credit card thieves, bank fraudsters, crime rings, and electronic spies. “We’re playing a giant game of chess now and we’re losing badly,” says commission member Tom Kellermann, a former World Bank security official who now is vice-president of Security Awareness at Core Security.”. This should be a big money hole. I think the threat is overblown (and I am a IT Security guy). The real problem is that the approaches to information security at the Macro level seem pretty immature and need to be rethought. That is where the money should be spent.

    – …and yet: “They propose that botnets should be designated as ‘eWMDs’ — electronic weapons of mass destruction.”

    – Podcast to Listen to: Covert Radio


    Economics & “On The Bailout”

    – [Forbes] Makes the case to cut taxes across the board instead of increasing Government  spending. Here was my “stimulus” idea. So does Human Events.

    – The interference into Bank business by politicians has begun.

    Heh: “Practically speaking, however, public works involve long start-up lags. Large-scale construction projects of any type require years of planning and preparation. Even those that are “on the shelf” generally cannot be undertaken quickly enough to provide timely stimulus to the economy” and “Some of the candidates for public works, such as grant-funded initiatives to develop alternative energy sources, are totally impractical for countercyclical policy, regardless of whatever other merits they may have. In general, many if not most of these projects could end up making the economic situation worse because they would stimulate the economy at the time that expansion was already well under way.” Check out who said that.

    Oops: “These finding are not consistent with standard Keynesian theory”

    Amity Shales: “The idea is to revive the economy and create jobs for America’s unemployed. But huge public works projects often fail to revive national economies. Consider the example of Japan in the 1990s.”

    – BTW, Real Clear Markets is a nice roundup web page.

    Dissing (rightfully) Macroeconomics

    – “One new reality is the imperative that our government modernize America’s aging energy, water and transportation infrastructure.

    Also: “It’s important that the elected officials view public works investment not as a short-term stimulus for stimulus’ stake, or a vehicle for politically driven job creation. The goal should be to create the best and broadest necessary and permanent infrastructure for the most responsible minimal price needed to build it. Being careful here is necessary because this is borrowed, finite money; it could become prohibitively expensive for the feds to borrow as debt levels skyrocket. Spending is not investing.” and “Similarly, funding regular maintenance work that states and cities should pay for isn’t a wise investment. Federal money should pay for replacing obsolete assets and making well-thought-out improvements.”

    Blamestorming the Crisis: “Free markets did not bring the world’s financial system to the edge of collapse. Rather, the epicenter of the crisis was a massive dose of state capitalism. By state capitalism, I mean that the state, in this case the federal government, used its vast powers to intervene in, and distort capital markets in a manner that led directly to the creation of trillions of dollars in bad loans. Moreover, in the pursuit of a social policy to increase affordable housing and home ownership, the federal government engaged in policies that disrupted the financial market’s ability to be self-regulating; that is to attenuate if not avoid the crisis we are in.”

    – “Buffet U

    – I am not surprised: “Recent data suggests that many borrowers who received help with mortgage modifications earlier this year tended to re-default on their payments, a top U.S. banking regulator said Monday.” […] Dugan said recent data showed that after three months, nearly 36% of borrowers who received restructured mortgages in the first quarter re-defaulted.

    – Podcast to listen to: Econtalk and Planet Money

    Detroit and the Auto Industry

    Truth to power:  “GM, Chrysler, and Ford are failing in part because of their foolish attempts to manipulate the government into protecting them from the market”

     – The (first) Detroit handout bailout will be $15billion. Morning Joe (a pretty good morning news show) was saying that the House Speaker didn’t want anybody with business experience to be the Car Czar. Also, no chapter 11 for GM.

    – FYI…that $70/hr figure for UAW workers is just current workers. Retirees cost are above that.

    Chrysler should open its books: “Chrysler LLC says it’s almost broke and needs federal aid to survive. Perhaps that’s true. Yet taxpayers should be asking: How do we know? Sure, we can surmise from all the awful vehicles Chrysler makes that it’s losing mountains of dough. Really, though, we have no idea. We don’t even know who sits on the company’s board of directors. That’s because Chrysler and its owner, Cerberus Capital Management LP, won’t disclose the information”. I suggested this sometime back.

    Milwaukee and “Fixing Milwaukee”

    – The City can’t even do the basics right: “Up to $780 million more needed to fix worst residential roads“:

    The audit from Comptroller W. Martin “Wally” Morics’ office found that 214 miles of residential streets, or nearly 21% of the total, were in the worst shape, as measured by a city Department of Public Works scale.

    Auditors also found that the department is taking an average of 106 years to repave or replace local streets as of this year. That’s down from the 2005 peak of 163 years, but it’s still more than twice the streets’ expected lifespan.

    To deal with the problem, auditors recommended shifting from a policy of working on the worst streets first to a strategy of keeping the best streets in good shape while catching up on the backlog of poor streets.

    Retro Milwaukee

    – The County Board chair wants to forgive the debt a do-gooder organization and let them be a county contractor again.

    Entrepaunership Stuff

    – “Bathroom for Rent

    – Podcast to checkout: Struggling Entrepreneur

    Science, Technology and Gadgets

    Bad news for future Potential Space Elevator: “n a report on NewScientist.com, researchers working on development of a space elevator (an idea we have discussed numerous times) have determined that the concept is not stable.”

    – “The 10 big energy Myths

    “Ten ways the world could end”

    Tech Dirt has Doug Engelbart’s 1968 demo. “That demo was the first time the world saw an awful lot of things that are common today: from the mouse (and, yes, he talks about naming the mouse), to a graphical user interface, to hyperlinks, among many other things (including a few computer bugs).”

    – Podcast to check out: Talk of the Nation’s Science Friday.

    Pop Culture

    – Podcast to check out: All Songs Considered

    Other / General

    The Chicago Way! How disgusting.

    Hmmm: “Joe Wurzelbacher says he felt “dirty” after “seeing some of the things that take place” on the campaign trail.” It is not fun to see how sausgage is made.

    More evidence the Football Playing skill and Gun Safety are negatively correlated (sample size=2): “Mississippi Football Star Shoots Self During Traffic Stop”

    Please add your thoughts and links in the comments.

    Bonobos news

    At Corrupt.org “Make Love, Make War”:

    Bonobos are apes famous mainly for their sex lives. Because females are dominant in bonobo society and everyone engages in plenty of very casual sex, bonobos are much admired by feminists, hippies and pacifists as “the peaceful apes”. For years we’ve heard that unlike their chimpanzee cousins, they do not hunt and kill other primates. However, bonobos have now been observed hunting and killing monkeys. Science kills another stupid myth.

    The entire web site is interesting and worth checking out.

    Robot News: “Robotic Surgery On a Beating Heart “

    The exciting news is at SlashDot!

    Kludge: The Science?

    My blog’s tag line is “The Future will be kludged”. Life is full of good kludges and bad kludges.

    Here is an academic take on it:

    Is there reason to believe that our brains have evolved to make efficient decisions so that the details of the internal process by which these decisions get made are irrelevant? Or can we understand the persistence of behavioral anomalies as the consequence of specific imperfections in the decision-making circuitry that remain despite evolutionary pressure? I develop a formal model which illustrates a fundamental limitation of adaptive processes: improvements tend to come in the form of kludges. A kludge is a marginal adaptation that compensates for, but does not eliminate fundamental design inefficiencies. When kludges accumulate the result can be perpetually suboptimal behavior. This is true even in a model of evolution in which arbitrarily large innovations occur infinitely often with probability 1. This has implications for traditional defenses of both positive and normative methodology and provides a foundation for behavioral theories built on the methodology of constrained optimal design.

    The whole paper is here.

    Future Closer: Space Solar Power

    Solar Power generated from orbital satelites and then beamed down to earth is one of the 2 great future energy sources (the other being fusion) – and the most likely.

    It is one step closer:

    A former NASA scientist has used radio waves to transmit solar power a distance of 92 miles (148 km) between two Hawaiian islands, an achievement that he says proves the technology exists to beam solar power from satellites back to Earth. [Link]

    The test was a proof-of-concept, but all great things have to start somewhere.

    (The future to be: Space Elevators and Orbital Solar Power)

    Nifty Weather Tracking Site: www.stormpulse.com

    I like it – http://www.stormpulse.com/

    It has google-maps like functionality, and Ican track how bad weather is going to hit my remote sites.

    US News: “Generation We’s Apollo Project”, Me: “What a dumb idea”

    I saw this in the online version of US News:

    …he’s urging both presidential campaigns to focus on one mega-idea the kids endorsed: an Apollo-style approach to the energy crisis. His plan is to create a department of new energy and give it $30 billion to $40 billion a year to invent the next best energy source. And put a 15-year cap on the department’s life. “They need votes, and 70 percent of gen we-ers want this,” says Greenberg, an Obama backer eager for either campaign to adopt his plan.

    To which I responded (first!):

    What a dumb idea. Governments are no good at “inventing” anything. The Apollo project and the Manhattan project are the exceptions (and they had clearly defined goals).

    The same thing could be accomplished by:

    1) Increase basic science research grants through the Dept of Energy and NSF.

    2) Sponsor prizes to be awarded when certain energy producing threshold are met.

    3) Get government regulations out of the way of the entrepreneurs who will make this happen.

    This is simple. It does not require dozens of “deputy assistant under secretaries” and the like.

    Also, little public money (e.g. current taxes or debt obligations) is spent without success being incurred.

    Green “Scientist” Exposed

    At the Guardian:

    James Hansen, one of the world’s leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer.

    This guy get quoted all the time in the media. He is also the guy who miscalculated the “hottest years”. He is a fucking watermelon.

    And he lives off the taxpayers as a federal employee.

    This rules out Jindal in my mind for VP or future President

    From HotAir:

    Qualified by the usual caveat, of course. He [Jindal] won’t say which theory he favors (beyond acknowledging some unknown role of the creator), but clearly he’s sufficiently sold on ID that he thinks it merits being laid in front of kids as an alternative to evolution. Which is a dodge, really, in the same way that the Truthers’ irritating “just asking questions” defense is a dodge: It uses the spirit of free inquiry as a way to avoid the threshold question of how credible any theory has to be to end up in the curriculum. Doubtless there are far left parents (and far right, per the Paulnuts) who wouldn’t mind seeing competing theories of 9/11 taught in history class so that kids can “make up their own minds,” but that ain’t likely to happen.

    I can’t vote for somebody who is anti-science.

    Youtube: Sexpelled: No Intercourse Allowed (Expelled parody)

    I found this via http://counterknowledge.com/?p=100 . It is good satire/ridicule.

    Link: Space Shuttle Processing PhotoGallery

    Here.

    Scientist Think That Alzheimer’s Might be a Type 3 Diabetes

    Found via Slashdot:

    Now scientists at Northwestern University have discovered why brain insulin signaling — crucial for memory formation — would stop working in Alzheimer’s disease. They have shown that a toxic protein found in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s removes insulin receptors from nerve cells, rendering those neurons insulin resistant. (The protein, known to attack memory-forming synapses, is called an ADDL for “amyloid ß-derived diffusible ligand.”)

    With other research showing that levels of brain insulin and its related receptors are lower in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, the Northwestern study sheds light on the emerging idea of Alzheimer’s being a “type 3” diabetes. [Source: Science Daily]

    I don’t want to go down with Alzheimer’s. That stuff scares me.

    The Futurist Covers “The Top Ten Transhumanist Technologies”

    It is worth reading.

    Link to Photos – “25 Worlds Weirdest Animals”

    Here is the link.

    Oops – The Biofuel Problem

    In the New Scientist:

    It sounds counterintuitive, but burning oil and planting forests to
    compensate is more environmentally friendly than burning biofuel. So say scientists who have calculated the difference in net emissions
    between using land to produce biofuel and the alternative: fuelling
    cars with gasoline and replanting forests on the land instead.

    They recommend governments steer away from biofuel and focus on
    reforestation and maximizing the efficiency of fossil fuels instead.The reason is that producing biofuel is not a “green process”. It requires tractors and fertilisers and land, all of which means burning fossil fuels to make “green” fuel. In the case of bioethanol produced from corn – an alternative to oil – “it’s essentially a zero-sums game,” says Ghislaine Kieffer, programme manager for Latin America at the International Energy Agency in Paris, France…

    Of course being environmentally friendly is really about the person being green. They need to feel they are doing good, rather then actually doing good. This is Universalism in action.