new drugs faster, rusty rain drops wallpaper, beam down the energy scottie

Seeking a Shorter Path to New Drugs

The M.I.T. project, called New Drug Development Paradigms, has gathered a powerful consortium of interested parties — including major drug makers and federal health authorities. One short-term goal is to identify, and rectify, the root causes of bottlenecks in the existing system. Longer term, the ambition is to create new prediction models, new ways to share information about the biology of diseases, and a new inclusiveness involving earlier participation of regulators, health insurers, health care providers and patients.

If that is to happen, some drug companies that have been fierce rivals will have to play nicer. Think of it not so much as swords into plowshares but as silos into platform-sharing.

The all powerful and perfect god – Free Market – somehow over looked a few things in the drug industry – retaining the trial and error method, spending lots of money on research that dead ended yet not letting other drug companies know so they too could waste money (ultimately paid by consumers in higher prices) duplicating the same research and coming to the same dead end. Probably a phenomenon that gave some drug executives a laugh until it came their turn to reach the point where it was their turn to R&D a miracle drug that was toxic. Now MIT via taxpayers will try and do what the great market god could not, get the pharma giants to be less insecure and stop flushing millions down the drain. While I have reservations about the wisdom of crowds mentality it does work when the information shared is grounded in collaboration with other people who are experts in the same field. Many great minds are generally better then one at solving complex problems associated with disease pathways. It pains me to say something nice about Merck, but they have started a virtual lab that encourages collaboration among researchers working for different companies. Better to have a percentage of a great patent then none at all.

rusty rain drops wallpaper

Japan eyes solar station in space as new energy source

It may sound like a sci-fi vision, but Japan’s space agency is dead serious: by 2030 it wants to collect solar power in space and zap it down to Earth, using laser beams or microwaves.

[   ]….The researchers are targeting a one gigawatt system, equivalent to a medium-sized atomic power plant, that would produce electricity at eight yen (cents) per kilowatt-hour, six times cheaper than its current cost in Japan.

The challenge — including transporting the components to space — may appear gigantic, but Japan has been pursuing the project since 1998, with some 130 researchers studying it under JAXA’s oversight.

So even in the far east the free market god might not be living up to its Randian perfection.


weathered but calm, happy birthday internet, forgetting to offend is the new sin

weathered but calm

I always thought that Philo Taylor Farnsworth, and Vladimir Kosma Zworykin for that matter, were two of the more under acknowledged inventors in history ( they invented the television – I lean toward giving Farnsworth most of the credit because he actually got something like the image transmission of modern TV to work). It is probably worse for the inventors of the internet, On the 40th anniversary of the first internet connection, a look back on how a flash of insight and a 20-minute meeting got it all started.

Forty years ago today, a team led by Leonard Kleinrock typed the “Lo” of “Login” into a Stanford computer, which promptly crashed before the command could be entered. But because Kleinrock’s team was sending this message from a UCLA machine, he had just taken part in one of the great milestones in communication history

The credit actually gets spread around: Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), which eventually morphed into Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). IPTO director Bob Taylor. Charlie Herzfeld, ARPA’s then-director.Larry Roberts from MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory. Leonard Kleinrock who did his  MIT PhD dissertation on solving the problem of data loss transmitted over phone lines. Engineer Paul Baran and Donald Davies. In 1969 they managed to work out a way for different computers to speak with one another. Because we or our parents and grandparents provided the funding we all deserve some credit – the internet as a communal project sounds nice anyway. Though it took a few decades before we could perform the all important task of friending or defriending someone while simultaneously buying crap on eBay via those pimps at Paypal.


When some of you inevitably set out to create your masterpiece – a movie, a novel, a research paper, a painting, some digital art, a wood carving – do not forget to offend as many groups of people as possible because leaving some group out will offend some group that was included. 2012 Offends Catholics, Dimwits, Ex-Cons

The huge new disaster movie 2012 opens this Friday. Everyone but HuffPost blogger John Cusack drowns, but not before a statue of Jesus crumbles, a crack opens in the Sistine Chapel roof — right between the fingers of God and Adam — and St. Peter’s Basilica falls over on a lot of Italians. These images have offended the usual people in the I’m Offended Industry, but not for the reason you’d think.

The offense takers are offended because 2012 forgot to offend any Muslims.

Producer Roland Emmerich makes great movies to accompany the consumption of pop corn. That he offended someone or forgot to offend someone is pure accident. So Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights is offended that some Christian icons are destroyed in a disaster movie. Bill has no official connection to the Vatican, though he frequently is pretentious enough to claim to speak for the entire Catholic faith. Now that seems offensive or at least delusional. When institutions or great architecture like St. Peter’s Basilica is destroyed in 2012 or almost destroyed in Angels and Demons, the audience is shocked and moved because even non-believers see St Peter’s as one of mankind’s greatest achievements. Movie’s mission to involve and manipulate the audience achieved. If a movie did not manipulate you, you just saw a bad movie.