Category Archives: Science/Engineering

Colonoscopy

Finished yesterday my sixth or seventh colonoscopy. Hard to remember as they’ve been coming at five-year intervals. This was the easiest by far, thanks to HyGieaCare, which obviates the necessity of drinking even 12 ounces (with lots of water) of awful, nauseating stuff I can only call motor oil.

An all-around shitty subject this, but a worthwhile alert if you have a first-degree relative whose death was due to or preceded by colon cancer. In my case they were my father and his father. If so, see a gastroenterologist and get on with it.

Five Four polyps were found this time, versus six last time (in 2013), but it’ll be a week or so until I find out if any of them were malignant. Never have found one such so don’t know what the protocol would be. Hope not to find out.

UPDATE: No cancer but two of the four were pre-cancerous so the doc has me down for another test in 2020—two-year interval instead of five.

Houston researcher wins Nobel

“The prize recognizes [M.D. Anderson medical researcher Jim] Allison’s basic science discoveries on the biology of T cells, the adaptive immune system’s soldiers, and his invention of [an] immune checkpoint blockade to treat cancer. Allison’s crucial insight was to block a protein on T cells that acts as a brake on their activation, freeing the T cells to attack cancer.”

A blues mouth harpist who, up to this point, had counted playing backup to Willie Nelson as the high point of his life.

Just a little (3 years on the 22nd) late to help Mrs. Charm. And so far the drugs made from his work don’t treat her non-Hodgkins lymphoma anyway.

Via University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Space Elevator Redux

The space elevator “games” of yore seem to have petered out, but here’s a new Japanese experiment that may lead to something more permanent.

“The ISS experiment, dubbed Space Tethered Autonomous Robotic Satellite–Mini elevator, or STARS-Me, was devised by physicists from Japan’s Shizuoka University. It will simulate on a small scale the conditions that the components of such a system would encounter. Cameras will examine the movement of a pair of tiny “cubesats” along a 10-meter tether in a weightless environment.”

Environmentalists probably would kill any American attempt to build one, but some other country (like Japan) might get it done.

Via Instapundit

Texas exports more oil than it imports

This report says it’s the first time ever, but I have trouble believing that. There were the early booms and World War II ramped up production as well.

“Meanwhile, however, Texas is on track to become the biggest oil producer after Russia and Saudi Arabia, according to production estimates by HSBC, quoted by CNN.”

Via ZeroHedge

Uber’s flying taxis

The daily reports that the Army and UT-Austin engineers will cooperate with Uber on developing “stacked rotors” for electric flying taxis. A scifi dream come true.

If all goes well, Uber plans to have a demonstration flight by 2020 and commercial operation in 2023.

“The technology exists,” said Rob McDonald, head of vehicle engineering at Uber Elevate. “It’s not science fiction. “It’s not a pipe dream…It’s such a compelling experience that people will want to experience it.”

Some might. Not me, thanks. Not after Uber’s self-driving taxi killed a woman pedestrian in Arizona.

Via 512tech

Mars landing too risky

“In “Not Close Enough, a team consisting of NASA and international astronauts sits in orbit around Mars but doesn’t get to go to the surface.  NASA has decided it’s too risky.”

The story is from a good new book Blue Collar Space by Martin Shoemaker. Wherein NASA’s fear of losing astronaut lives is explored. That fear has crippled our space program, space lawyer Laura Montgomery argues. And it makes sense. Such that our only hope to ever land on Mars or do anything else except at great expense is with commercial space, and blowhards like Elon Musk.

Via Ground Based Space Matters

That first moon landing…

…was actually today, Greenwich Mean Time, though to Americans it will always be July 20th. Me, I was patrolling in Viet Nam during the landing and so was too preoccupied to notice until the the next day.

Revulsion over the war and Watergate killed lunar exploration before its time. We keep hearing presidential promises to go back at some later date but we never have.

Via Instapundit