Bracing against the wind  

Friday, October 15, 2004

Stem Cells and Hasidic Wedding

So we were walking down the street in Willimasburg when two Hasidic men in a van started arguing loudly. The lady in front of us said, "Did that man just say 'f**k, f**k f**king f**k?'". Her friend replied, "I don't think so. I think it just sounded like that."

Later in the day we were suddenly overwhelmed with a mob of men dressed in black hats and coats rushing down the street. A 4x4 grid of city blocks were blocked off by police to make room for the 50,000 guests expected to be attending the wedding of Roza Bilma Teitelbaum and Yoel Glantz. That's definitely the biggest wedding I've ever even heard of - let alone witnessed.

Finally, it looks like the stem cell debate may be over. A company called TriStem may have developed a method to de-differentiate stem cells so that embryonic stem cells are not needed. They have already cured four people of aplastic anaemia - a fatal blood disorder. Sadly, it looks like Christopher Reeves may have died a couple of months too soon. The de-differentiated stem cells produced by CR3/43 could be injected into a spinal injury site directly following an epidurolysis and during consistent applied ultrasound to prevent immediate reformation of scar tissue.

Another fun development is BrainGate, a microchip that allows someone to use the computer without a keyboard or mouse. The microchip is implanted in the motor cortex of the brain. After some training (about as hard as learning how to touch-type), a user can then play games and check email using pure thought. So far the chip has only been implanted in people who are paralyzed and cannot use conventional computer interfaces.

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