Archive for November 18, 2008

Who Did He Kill That You Loved?

November 18, 2008

The medical miracle
Mother-of-two becomes first transplant patient to receive an organ grown to order in a laboratory

Claudia Castillo, who lives in Barcelona, underwent the operation to replace her windpipe after tuberculosis had left her with a collapsed lung and unable to breathe.

The bioengineered organ was transplanted into her chest last June at the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona.

Four months later she was able to climb two flights of stairs, go dancing and look after her children – activities that had been impossible before the surgery. Ms Castillo has also crossed a second medical frontier by becoming the first person to receive a whole organ transplant without the need for powerful immunosuppressant drugs.

Doctors overcame the problem of rejection by taking her own stem cells to grow the replacement organ, using a donor trachea (lower windpipe) to provide the mechanical framework. Blood tests have shown no sign of rejection months after the surgery was complete.

Emphasis added by me.

We’ve eight years of an ass in the White House. An ass who has no problem wiping out unarmed civilians in Iraq but gets all moral when the subject of stem cell research popped up.

How many people that you knew, how many people that you loved, have died these past eight years who might have been saved had stem cell research been allowed to proceed as it should have?

In 20 years’ time the commonest surgical operations will be regenerative procedures to replace organs and tissues damaged by disease with autologous [self-grown] tissues and organs from the laboratory. We are on the verge of a new age in surgical care.”

Professor Birchall said the technique could initially be extended to growing other hollow organs such as the bowel, bladder and reproductive tract but could later be extended to solid organs including the heart, liver and kidneys. “They have all got scaffolds [natural frameworks] on which new cells can be grown,” he said. “We will need units next to hospitals to generate the cells. The trick is turning it into a therapy for thousands of patients – [the process] will have to be automated.”

Emphasis added by me.

The worst irony is, that lame duck bastard will probably have his life saved years from now — thanks to stem cell therapies.

Professor Anthony Hollander, of the University of Bristol, said the advance had been achieved as a result of developments in stem-cell technology. “For stem-cell science, this is really exciting,” he said. “Without stem cells this procedure would not have been possible.”

Emphasis added by me.


Blog Notes: Short Day

November 18, 2008


Twitter is still dead as I type this.

I have an afternoon appointment. And I don’t know its length.

Since it’s in Manhattan, I might take the opportunity to wander around afterwards.

Don’t know if there will be any more blogging today.

When I return, I’ll check email at least and also see if Twitter is back to life.

Is It Time For Twitter To Start Charging?

November 18, 2008

I’m sitting here with my Twitterstream dead.

This is the second time in a week.

I’m one of those people who lambasted Twitter as a trivia-spewing service.

While it can be that, if you’re smart about who you Follow, it can be an important — if not vital — resource.

I don’t do RSS, so Twitter fills that gap.

Twitter has alerted me to news items well before they’ve been tweeted by major news outlets.

One Twitterer, top_book, has been a treasure chest of material that’s inspired posts here (go to Search and do “top_book” to see!).

With the economic catastrophe that awaits us, Twitter is going to be one of the most important ways for people to keep in touch and to exchange firsthand accounts of local situations.

In short, Twitter has possibly become one of the most important things on the Internet — not just to me, but for many, many people.

But these outages really flay my skin. I feel out of touch in a way I haven’t when there’s been a Time-Warner problem and the entire Internet has been removed from me.

I’ve read about the conundrum the Twitter people are having trying to “monetize” the service.

Let’s break that deadlock: Charge for it.

Start with a pittance, even a token-like fee: $25/year.

Perhaps that will help keep future outages at bay.

Perhaps that will indicate to those who run Twitter how important it’s become to users.

Perhaps that will keep Twitter going while other services on the Internet go dark (and they have been; several news aggregators in my Bookmarks seem to have gone under, with no announcement).

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #419: Gold 2

November 18, 2008


THERE’S a worldwide run on gold coins.

Even as the price of the precious metal itself comes under pressure along with commodities like oil and copper, people around the world are demanding so many of the valuable coins that government mints are having difficulty filling orders.

A spokesperson for the US Mint tells me that gold coins in this country, for the past month, “are being allocated because of an increased demand.”

And the price that the government charges coin dealers has recently been increased by as much as 10 percent for a 10-ounce coin.

Robert Mish, a coin dealer in Menlo Park, Calif., says customers who want to purchase 200 gold coins often have to wait up to two weeks. Six months ago, he said, a purchase that size could have been filled immediately.

Someone who recently tried to purchase 100 one-ounce American Eagle gold coins in the New York City-area was turned away, even though he’d uneventfully made purchases before through the same dealer.

And even when gold coins are available, dealers report that customers are paying a bigger premium than they would have just a few months ago.


Try to fill your belly with gold. Try to run your car or light and heat your home. Try to fill your car’s tank with it.

Whatever you’ve paid for gold, you’ve already lost. With what’s coming, you’ll see that investment disappear as the vultures pounce on you with especially-inflated prices Just For You.

Previously here:

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #409: Gold
Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #407: $2K/oz.
Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #248: Gold Coins