Adonis Diaries

Archive for April 10th, 2010

Your cells change by touch; (Apr. 5, 2010)

            Cells have no eyes or ears but they feel and smell and then they split and regenerate to all kinds of other cells according to the environment they are in.  Dennis Discher, a biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania soaked cells in varieties of gels. Human cells soaked in ultra soft gel produced nerve cells; in gel 10 times harder cells generated muscle cells; in yet harder gel cells split into bone cells.  For example, Clark Hung, a biophysician at the University of Columbia NY, is producing synthetic cartilage, as solid as human one, by mechanically pressing regularly biological materials, at pressures similar to what is generated by walking or running, while the cells are developing.

            Surgeons have realized that dead cardiac muscles healed their wounds but no new young cells where regenerated.  It appears that the scars on dead muscles are too hard for the cells to soften in order to split within the proper environment; in a way, cells just gave up attempting after a while. Thus, one way to regenerate cells is by acting upon its environment by softening the medium according to the kind of cells that are needed.

            So far, medical researches have been focused on the smell sense in cells by applying or sending chemical signals for cell regeneration. Thus, mechanical and physical characteristics around cells environment are alternative viable methods to work on cells production.

Note 1:  I cannot help but jump to a few deductions: first, gel or lotion applied on skin might have opposite effect if the softness is not appropriate to the skin type of cell in the applied area; for example, facial lotion should be targeting facial skin type.  Second, rough scars on skin might be the result of failing to applying the right gel while the scar was healing.  Third, in periods of severe itching bouts the skin might leave unsightly proofs of itching ailment if the proper gel or crème was not applied on the itching areas.       

Note 2:  I am not familiar with gel or lotions manufactured by beauty industries and pharmaceutical multinationals but I hope that the tactile factor in cells be already part of research methods for the proper type of gel medium to each kind of cells.

Mini nuclear reactors manufactured in series; (Apr. 6, 2010)

            The manufacturer Babcock and Wilcox in Virginia (USA) has readied a mini nuclear reactor kit that could be commercialized in 2018 and manufactured in series.  The mini reactor generates 150 megawatts (ten times lower than conventional reactors) with several advantages:

            First, the mini reactor can be installed and functioning within two years instead of five; thus, recouping investment faster than conventional reactors.

            Second, the cost of mini reactor is a fraction of traditional reactors that cost currently about $9 billions.

            Third, nuclear waste or refuse would be stocked in a water container integrated with the kit with a life span of 60 years.

            Fourth, the replacement nuclear combustion bars (69 in total) are available within the kit, replaced every 5 years instead of 2 years, and handled by crane systems attached to the kit.

            Fifth, vapor generator is integrated to the kit.

            Sixth, the whole kit does not need outside installations and can be buried in a hole 23 meters deep with less than 5 meters in diameter.

            Seventh, the kit can be transported by regular trains and installed as the construction well is ready.

Note 1: Toshiba is already at work on similar nuclear kits.

Note 2: I guess that the nuclear kit would remain where it is buried after its life span is over (60 years) with its inside waste. 

The problematic question remains: What if the mass of water containing the nuclear waste evaporates? 

Are there long term monitoring devices and alternative ready resolution for anti-contamination procedures?

Note 3:  This article was posted way before the Fukushima melt down.  Germany, Italy, and Japan have taken political decisions to cancel contracts for new nuclear power plants and to shut down the existing ones.

Plagiarism: Any problem to you? (Apr. 6, 2010)

            “Original “works in all fields (scientific or artistic) are extremely rare.  In fact, originality is constantly pending until antecedent works are discovered in other languages, other dying languages, very ancient languages and myths.  All works basically are borrowing processes of ideas, notions, imaginations, methods, or myths.  Goethe has written something to that effect: “We always talk about originality.  What would that mean?  As we are born, the world around us affects us and we interact with our environment and people till we die.  Then, what is my own particular world and my originality? If we could recall all that we owe to our family, relatives, community, teachers, mentors, the books we read, our predecessor and current influences, would anything remains of our knowledge and ideas that we could claim to be ours?”

            Charles Baxter in “The soul thief” wrote: “Note that he never claimed the paternity of any of his ideas. He is in a kind of Artaud’s state of mind: all ideas have no origins and no sources.  In applying this axiom, then anyone may claim other people’s ideas as his own.  The end result is adapting to or adopting the inner lives of everyone else.”

            For example, a young German girl of 18, Helene Hegemann published her first book “Axoloti Roadkill” and sold a lot of this good book; she was even nominated for the “Leipzig book fair” until the blogger Deef Pirmasens revealed that most of the content, context, and paragraphs were copied from an unknown novel “Strobo” that was published on internet by an anonymous blogger named Airen.  Airen said: “I was just recounting my life problems as a therapeutic exercise to demonize my delirious state of mind.”  Airen is no longer writing because he fell in love and is happily married.  Hegemann is unperturbed; she said: “Originality does not exist; what exists is authenticity.”  I feel that even authenticity does not apply to Helene’s case since she didn’t experience anything of the events in her novel.  Helene got rich and Airen got married!  Airen replied candidly: “Axoloti Roadkill would still be a super novel even without the plagiary process of texts”

            Thomas Jefferson once said: “Who receives from me an idea is receiving knowledge without diminishing mine; it is as if you lighted your candle off my lighted candle:  You got light and didn’t diminish my light.”  There are many books describing plagiarism over the centuries.  I will give a few examples.  Virgil claimed that he was plainly mining the pearls out of Quintus Ennius’ dung.  Brecht confessed that is was fundamentally lax in referring to authors he abundantly borrowed from. Goethe published “The divan (seat)” in 1819 that was composed of a variety of borrowed text mixtures. Elfriede Jelinek received the Nobel Prize for literature in 2008 though most of her citations were based on Holderlin, Kafka, and Heidegger.  Elaine Sturtevant got famous copying artistic works of unknown but promising artists such as Duchamp, Beuys, Warhol, Stella, and Gonzalez-Torres.

            In this age of internet everyone is heavily borrowing by the shovel full; we call this process “dissemination of culture and knowledge” or adopting alternative states of mind.  There is nothing wrong borrowing and adopting ideas if they are useful changing your life.  My problem is to not making what you borrowed part of your life, for example to making money as in marketing what is the customs or mode in order to be projected in the limelight or becoming a public figure: that would be total hypocrisy.  The great artist or author is the one who plugs in relentlessly until one day he feels that he became a true artist out of sheer will, work, and energy expenditure.

Note 1:  Current books on plagiarism are: David Shields in “Reality Hunger, 2007”; Marie Darrieussecq in “Police report, 2010”; Anne Fadiman in “Nothing new under the sun”; Jonathan Lethem has issued a long article on cut a paste works based on the works of Walter Benjamin “The book of passage”, Graham Rawle “Diary of an amateur photographer”, Eduardo Paolozzi “Kex”, David Shields, and Pamela Jackson.

Note 2:  The topic was inspired from “Courrier International” number 1012.




April 2010

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