Thursday, October 07, 2004

Eternal Youth, Anyone?

Today I read two articles that got me thinking about repairs to the ravages of old age. One is about how Ray Kurzweil anticipates that nanobots will one day flow through our bodies repairing DNA. With good nutrition, supplements and exercise we might live to that day. And then we will live much longer.

The other article about research published in Science tells how the injection of embryonic stem cells have been shown to replace missing genes in the hearts of genetically engineered gene deficient mice. Two specific secreted molecules send signals that cause the cells to be repaired. It is hoped that the molecules could be isolated to create drugs.

Now I don't know how easy it is to clone embryonic stem cells. But it does sound very promising for Ray Kurzweil's hopes of repairs for aging. I bet it won't be long before people fly off to less regulated countries for a shot of stem cells. Any why not? Like oxygen bars it might even become a fad. . . . that is if the UN doesn't ban it first (as they have been debating).

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Repartee on Taxes

In 2001 John fowarded this email about the tax cuts George Bush had proposed:

If you think the Bush tax cut plan is unfair, read this rebuttal [by Don Dodson] that appeared in the Sunday, March 4, Chicago Tribune. By the way, the ratios are roughly accurate:

A.. 10% of the taxpayers pay about 60% of the taxes collected,
B. 30% pay 37%, and
C. 60% collectively pay only 4%.

If every night, 10 men met at a restaurant for dinner. At the end of the meal, the bill would arrive; they owed $100 for the food that they shared. Every night they lined up in the same order at the cash register to pay the bill.

A.. The first four men paid nothing at all.
B.. The fifth, grumbling about the unfairness of the situation, paid $1.
C.. The sixth man, feeling a little put out, paid $3.
D.. The next three men paid $7, $12 and $18, respectively.
E.. The last man was required to pay the remaining balance, $59; He realized he was paying for not only his own meal but the unpaid balance left by the first five men.

The 10 men were quite settled into their routine when the restaurant threw them into chaos by announcing that it was cutting its prices. Now dinner for the 10 men would only cost $80.

A.. This clearly would not affect the first four men; they still ate for free.
B.. The fifth man announced he would now pay nothing either.
C.. The sixth man lowered his contribution by 1/3, and paid only $2.
D.. The seventh man deducted $2 from his usual payment and paid only $5.
E.. The eighth man paid $9 instead of his usual $12.
F.. The ninth man paid $12, $6 less than before.
G.. This left the last man with a bill of $52, $7 less than before.

Outside of the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings, and angry outbursts erupted.

The sixth man yelled: "I got only $1. out of the $20 in cost reduction, and he got $7," pointing at the last man.

The fifth man joined in: "Yeah! I only saved $1 too. It is unfair that he got seven times more than me."

The seventh man cried, "Why should he get a reduction of $7 when I only got $2?"

The nine men formed an outraged mob, surrounding the 10th man.

The first four men followed the lead of the others: "Even though we weren't paying anything in the first place, we didn't get any of the $20 reduction in cost; where is our share?"

The nine angry men then carried the 10th man up to the top of a hill and lynched him.

The next night, the nine remaining men met at the restaurant for dinner. But when the bill came, there was no one to pay it.

Then I replied:

Let's revisit this dinner....

10 men got together for dinner. They had all been invited by the owner to share a meal in a restaurant called Earth (just a coincidence, folks).

Four of the men were served one pea each by the very gracious waiters. The fifth man got a quarter glass of beer in addition to wash down the pea. The sixth got a side order of mashed potatoes on top of the pea and the quarter glass of beer.

The seventh man got his beer refilled. The eighth man was served a hamburger and fries, a pint of beer and a pea, but no mashed. The ninth man got a steak with vegetables instead of the burger and fries. The tenth man received a scotch before the meal, an antipasto salad, some oysters, a steak with vegetables, a choice of wine, champagne, beer (or all three).

Then they were offered some dessert. The tenth man said, "I think I should have almost all the dessert because, after all I have already had a scotch before we ate, a delicious antipasto salad, some very fine oysters, a tender steak with vegetables, and a bottle of Chateau Mouton Rothschild Premier Grand Cru Classe - Pauillac from 1990 (which was an excellent vintage), while many of you only ate a single pea."

But then the tenth man reconsidered and said, "Why don't you all share some of this dessert with me, even though you have such poor appetites. I'll offer you all half of this dessert, so you may share it amongst yourselves."

After finishing her half of the strawberry shortcake, the tenth man smiled contentedly, wondering how the others would manage without her, took off her man's bald-spot wig, and then Ayn Rand left the dining room.

Kevin responded:

That's pretty good, but Ayn Rand would have made them earn the 10% ofthe dessert...