David Kirkpatrick

December 26, 2009

2010 — a look back, a look ahead

The New York Times has an AP article today that looks back at the last ten years and makes a few projections for the next ten covering nine sectors: banking, real estate, retail, health, manufacturing, automobiles, energy, airlines and media/technology.

From the link, here’s what the article predicts for energy:

THE DECADE AHEAD: By 2019, many cars may get 50 miles per gallon or better. Improved gas mileage, rising prices for gasoline and more energy-efficient homes are seen keeping demand for oil and natural gas at moderate levels in the U.S.

Even so, nearly half of the nation’s electricity still will come from coal even with more wind and solar energy sources.

July 7, 2009

Ray Kurzweil on beating aging

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:05 am

Guest blogging at Technology Review, futurist Ray Kurzweil writes about combating the aging process.

From the link:

Entropy is not the most fruitful perspective from which to view aging. There are varying error rates in biological information processes depending on the cell type and this is part of biology’s paradigm. We have means already of determining error-free DNA sequences even though specific cells will contain DNA errors, and we will be in a position to correct those errors that matter.

The most important perspective in my view is that health, medicine, and biology is now an information technology whereas it used to be hit or miss. We not only have the (outdated) software that biology runs on (our genome) but we have the means of changing that software (our genes) in a mature individual with such technologies as RNA interference and new forms of gene therapy that do not trigger the immune system (I am a collaborator with a company that performs gene therapy outside the body, replicates the modified cell a million fold and reintroduces the cells to the body, a process that has cured a fatal disease–Pulmonary Hypertension–and is undergoing human trials).

September 14, 2008

The trick to living longer …

Filed under: Science — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 8:31 pm

… is really pretty easy. A National Institute of Aging study found emotional stability and physical activity leads to longevity. Who’da thunk it?

From the link:

After tracking more than 2,300 people for more than 50 years, researchers there found that calm and active people lived longer than their counterparts.

These findings came from data collected by the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging – the oldest running study on aging – and were published in the July/August issue of the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

The most recent findings looked at the link between personality traits of people and their lifespan. The data showed that certain personality traits were definitively linked to a longer life, including emotional stability, organization, discipline, conscientiousness and resourcefulness.

Certain other traits led to a shorter life: anger, emotional instability, anxiousness and depression, among them. The study concluded that “longevity was associated with being conscientious, emotionally stable, and active.”

This study is not new news. Most people know that happiness and an active lifestyle lead to good health. In a similar 2003 study, also published in Psychosomatic medicine, researchers found that men with Type A personalities – “competitive, impatient, uptight” – had heart attacks earlier than those who did not have a Type A personality.

January 15, 2008

Get good gut bugs from yogurt

Filed under: Science — Tags: , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:19 pm

Not a fan of yogurt, but maybe I should be. At least if this study is correct.

The idea is probiotics, stuff like yogurt containing live bacteria, actually add to the number and amplify the work done by your existing gut bacteria. And this increase and amplification helps your metabolism.

From the release:

Professor Jeremy Nicholson, corresponding author on the study from the Department of Biomolecular Medicine at Imperial College, explained “Some argue that probiotics can’t change your gut microflora – whilst there are at least a billion bacteria in a pot of yoghurt, there are a hundred trillion in the gut, so you’re just whistling in the wind.

“Our study shows that probiotics can have an effect and they interact with the local ecology and talk to other bacteria. We’re still trying to understand what the changes they bring about might mean, in terms of overall health, but we have established that introducing ’friendly’ bacteria can change the dynamics of the whole population of microbes in the gut,” he said.

The study is published in the journal Molecular Systems Biology.