Science and Technology Links 3/9: The Color of Magic Laser Bubbles

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Oscar Gordon

A Navy Turbine Tech who learned to spin wrenches on old cars, Oscar has since been trained as an Engineer & Software Developer & now writes tools for other engineers. When not in his shop or at work, he can be found spending time with his family, gardening, hiking, kayaking, gaming, or whatever strikes his fancy & fits in the budget.

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39 Responses

  1. Avatar Kolohe says:

    It’s bred sivoy kobyly that the casino scam they pulled (in the way they pulled it) is a federal crime, and not just a lifetime disbarment from premises monitored and enforced by the industry itself.Report

  2. fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

    I know I’m in a crappy, angry-at-the-world mood, but: it seems like the future of dietary health is going to amount to “walk around hungry a lot of the time.”

    (The fasting thing. Which is relevant to my interests as I have a weak family history of type II. I am right now restricting carbohydrates to try to lose weight and it is making me frustrated, sad, and angry. Can’t tell if psychosomatic or if it’s actually mucking with my serotonin)Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      Probably both.

      Let’s remember that throughout our evolution, walk around hungry a lot of the time was the normReport

      • fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

        I think of the comedian – Jackie Mason, maybe? Who said he didn’t go camping because historically, his people were made to wander in the desert for 40 years.

        I feel kinda the same way about voluntarily subjecting myself to excessive hunger: my cavewoman ancestors weren’t gored by a mastodon for this!Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      Basically, the progressive ideal is for us to all starve in the cold, dirty darkness, just like our fathers and our forefathers and so on did, because only through adversity can we be truly connected to Society, or to Gaia, or to Buddha, or to God, or to whatever transcendent concept we worship this century.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        DD,
        We could wish you humble, under a ledge
        With a mind that burns through the skull’s thin edge
        Better so in the sleety rain,
        Than plump and cozy in belly and brain.
        For there’s work to be done and all’s not well —
        The giants we fostered are yours to fell

        Not Samsara, not enlightenment. Tikun Olam. Be unsettled, be the person that strives, that hungers for something better.Report

      • fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

        I dunno; in my tradition, Jesus seemed to enjoy a lot of meals with his friends.

        well, maybe not that last one so much….Report

      • Avatar Francis says:

        Don’t forget atheist schools and mandatory Benedict Option communities for anyone who wants to express faith outside of home and church.Report

  3. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    RE: Hearing Regeneration.

    I think this is going to be as interesting for how we buy it as it is for the technology itself (which is amazing, by the way, hearing loss is one of the things that strongly affects quality of life–and it affects people of all ages, not only older persons or those exposed to loud noises.)

    Like, will this be seen as Baseline Medical Treatment that any insurance program should be required to pay for? Or will it be seen as a boutique extravagance, like Lasik or cosmetic surgery, that you should just pay for out-of-pocket if plain old hearing aids aren’t good enough for you? (And will we end up, like those things, in the usual weird situation where the ear-regeneration therapy has a lower price tag than hearing aids but more people have hearing aids because insurance pays for them?)Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      This is very similar to what they did to my knee, and the cost of that treatment was only $6200. A total knee replacement is almost 10 times as much.

      I am willing to bet, as we get better and harvesting stem cells and encouraging them to differentiate as desired, regenerative therapies will be the first thing tried on a cost basis alone, before we attempt more invasive procedures, or resort to hardware fixes.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck says:

        ” regenerative therapies will be the first thing tried on a cost basis alone…”

        Oh, regenerative therapies will absolutely be preferable in every way.

        The question is, who’s going to pay for them?

        My nightmare world is one where the administrators of the government-mandated health plan are required to go through a lengthy bureaucratic review in order to allow coverage of “novel, experimental therapies” and they don’t have the budget to do that (or the motivation, because in the end it’s not their knees) so they’ll only pay for the “established practice” full replacement. Meanwhile, rich people who can pay cash get regenerative therapy because they can pay for things in cash. And even though the full replacement is a major surgery and the regenerative therapy is an injection, they both cost the same, because the government-covered full replacement puts a floor on the cost of fixing your knee.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          That I’ll give you. As I mentioned in one of the posts about my knee, the procedure isn’t FDA approved because there hasn’t been a double blind study yet, and the FDA wants double blind data out to 7 years.

          Gonna be tough to find enough people willing to go through that .

          But, surprisingly enough, my insurance covered the cost of the procedure to harvest the cells, but not the cost of the stem cell treatment itself. So the $5200 surgery was covered, but the $1000 injection wasn’t. Although there is still the possibility it was a medical coding error. We’ll see.Report

  4. Avatar Francis says:

    I love these. At a time where our political systems appear unusually dysfunctional, it’s great to read about the incredible feats of science and engineering that humanity is capable of.Report

  5. Avatar Hoosegow Flask says:

    I would seriously consider swearing off steaks for a lab-grown reasonably ground-beef-like substance.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      Comrade Wesson is still in prototype phase, sadly.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      No way I’m giving up a good steak anytime soon, but lab grown ground beef could entice me away, even if the price was still above actual cow. I rarely eat just plain ground beef, it’s almost always well seasoned or eaten with other foods.Report

      • fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

        It could entice me away if it was more consistently good or at least more consistent than “actual” cow. Too much of the beef I’ve bought recently has been tough, tasteless, or both. And these aren’t the cheap cuts! I think the restaurants are siphoning off all the good beef, and the grocery stores (at least the ones in my area) are getting the beef from the “athletic” cattle.

        Alternative: buy a parcel of land outside of town and raise my own steers, and feed them marshmallows and beer so they’re maybe at least tender.

        I will say I can get grass-fed ground beef and that does seem to consistently be better than the average Kroger steak.Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          costco gets the best choice money can buy.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck says:

          What vat-grown is going to do is squeeze out the middle–the “you know, this isn’t really that good, but it’s less expensive than a restaurant” level of purchase.

          Because right now, “good but not great” is not a big price premium over the cheap stuff. But with vat-grown, the cheap stuff will be so cheap that the extra cost to get to “good but not great” is now a big jump in supplier cost, making it much less attractive to stock and sell. The good stuff doesn’t actually change in price, but now it has to work harder to justify paying for it–it’s now “triple my meat-purchase budget to get good stuff” rather than “twenty percent increase”.Report

          • fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

            Sigh. So maybe I become a vegetarian, then.

            Or I buy a big plot of land and raise my own cattle, and have a butcher on call.Report

            • Avatar Michael Cain says:

              I’ve been jotting down notes of things I remember from my childhood for a project. One of them was about the butcher’s shop in the small town where my Grandparents Cain lived. In the back of the building was a vast freezer. For a modest fee — at least my grandmother said it was modest — you rented a wire-basket drawer to keep all the cuts from the quarter- or half-beef you bought.

              Where I live now there’s a thriving supply chain from ranches that do grass-fed beef, to small slaughter houses, to local butchers who will cut, package and quick-freeze anything up to a whole beef. No rental freezer space, though.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Lack of freezer space is one reason I don’t go for a quarter or half cow or pig. It would be useful, especially in my neighborhood, if the local storage unit had a walk in freezer with rentable space.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        Don’t worry. Soon enough, real meat will be phased out for “your own good”.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          Ya know, once upon a time I found some soy/vegetable protein ground beef that was actually pretty good, texture wise (taste was one of those sins proper seasoning handles well). And, of course, it immediately disappeared from store shelves. Everything I’ve found since has been as far removed from the taste and texture of actual meat as possible. Not that some of those options didn’t have charms all their own, but no one was going to confuse them with actual meat.

          I doubt actual animal muscle will be phased out in my lifetime, but the source of that muscle might change dramatically, because let’s face it, ranching is hard to do, and if anyone is paying attention to places like Texas, lots of that ranching land has value far and above cattle grazing.Report

        • Avatar North says:

          Hah, the left wing food restrictionists can’t even consistently take on a cup of sugary soda in their strongest redoubts. Vegetarians/Vegans are an even smaller constituency/movement; I don’t think meat has much to worry about.Report

          • Avatar greginak says:

            Yeah leftie food patrols are a nifty boogieperson but they are largely ineffective. Their messaging is about as good as PETA which is one of the harshest insults i can think of.Report

  6. Avatar Pinky says:

    Robots may not be as skilled as surgeons, but they’re more compassionate.Report

  7. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Looking at the diabetes and anti-fat links, this makes me wonder exactly how much crap the “use *OUR* product” lobbies have screwed up and how many people have been harmed by following the directions given by “authorities”.

    Drives me nuts.Report

    • Avatar gregiank says:

      People have consistently followed the advice of brands then they blame the paid for authority. Maybe people should be a little more cautious about claims made by people trying to sell them stuff. But that isn’t really news.Report