[2008.01.17] Snow place like home 冰天雪地 宾至如归

Antarctic science

Snow place like home
冰天雪地 宾至如归

Jan 17th 2008 | THE SOUTH POLE
From The Economist print edition

America’s new research station at the South Pole is officially opened

MOVING house is always traumatic, and the odd tear would have been forgivable as the flag came down over America’s old base at the South Pole. It was handed from person to person along a line of scientists and support staff like an egg being passed between penguins. Slowly, it made its way past the marker that represents the exact point of the Pole, and then on to its new staff outside the third incarnation of the Amundsen-Scott station that is the home of America’s scientific effort at the Pole. This new station, which formally opened for business on January 12th, took almost 20 years to design and build, and cost $174m. It will house researchers from fields as diverse as neutrino astronomy, cosmology, seismology and atmospheric physics.

继续阅读“[2008.01.17] Snow place like home 冰天雪地 宾至如归”

[2008.01.03] How to live forever 长生不老 青春永驻

Abolishing ageing 阻止衰老

How to live forever
长生不老 青春永驻
Jan 3rd 2008 写于2008年1月3日
From The Economist print edition 译自:《经济学家》印刷版

It looks unlikely that medical science will abolish the process of ageing. But it no longer looks impossible     医学阻止衰老进程似乎是不太可能。但也看到了一丝希望。
Stephen Jeffrey斯蒂芬•杰佛里(图)

“IN THE long run,” as John Maynard Keynes observed, “we are all dead.” True. But can the short run be elongated in a way that makes the long run longer? And if so, how, and at what cost? People have dreamt of immortality since time immemorial. They have sought it since the first alchemist put an elixir of life on the same shopping list as a way to turn lead into gold. They have written about it in fiction, from Rider Haggard’s “She” to Frank Herbert’s “Dune”. And now, with the growth of biological knowledge that has marked the past few decades, a few researchers believe it might be within reach.

继续阅读“[2008.01.03] How to live forever 长生不老 青春永驻”

[2007.3.15]Evidence-based ethics: Logical endings

Evidence-based ethics

Logical endings

Mar 15th 2007
From The Economist print edition

Computers may soon be better than kin at predicting the wishes of the dying

IN 1947 a psychologist called Theodore Sarbin made a controversial suggestion to a medical conference. He proposed that a doctor is really just a machine whose purpose is to make actuarial judgments about the best treatment for a patient. And not a very good machine, at that, for Sarbin also suggested that medicine would benefit if “we could replace [the doctor’s] eyes and brain with a Hollerith machine”.
在1947年的一次医学大会上,心理学家西奥多•沙宾(Theodore Sarbin)的意见引起了争论。他提出,医生不过是一台机器,其目的是为了对患者获得最优治疗方案作出保险精算的判断,而且还不是一台很好的机器。沙宾指出,如果“我们能够用一台霍勒里斯机器换掉(医生的)眼睛和大脑”,医学才会让人获益。

继续阅读“[2007.3.15]Evidence-based ethics: Logical endings”

[2007.3.8]Cancer screening: Seeing is not always relieving

Seeing is not always relieving

Mar 8th 2007
From The Economist print edition
Screening for lung cancer may do more harm than good

SOMETIMES you can know too much. The aim of screening healthy people for cancer is to discover tumours when they are small and treatable. It sounds laudable and often it is. But it sometimes leads to unnecessary treatment. The body has a battery of mechanisms for stopping small tumours from becoming large ones. Treating those that would have been suppressed anyway does no good and can often be harmful.

继续阅读“[2007.3.8]Cancer screening: Seeing is not always relieving”

[2008.01.24] Nearly there

Artificial life 人造生命

Nearly there 即将到来

Jan 24th 2008
From The Economist print edition

The penultimate step towards the creation of artificial life has just been announced    通向人工生命的倒数第二步公诸于众

LIKE a striptease artist in front of an eager audience, Craig Venter has been dropping veils over the past few years without ever quite revealing what people are hoping to see: the world’s first artificial organism. He has been discussing making one since 1995, when he worked out the first complete genetic sequence of a natural living organism. And, after a lot of hard graft and blind alleys, he and his team have almost got there. As they report in this week’s Science, they have replicated the genome of Mycoplasma genitalium, the species that was the subject of that original sequencing effort. It is not actual life, but it is surely the tease before the last veil finally falls away.
就像热切观众面前的脱衣舞“表演艺术家”一样,克雷格·文特(Craig Venter)正在揭去——世界第一个人造组织——这一过去几年人们翘首以盼而又不为人知的神秘面纱。自1995年以来他就一直在讨论制造人造组织这一话 题,其间他破解出第一份自然活组织的完整基因序列。经过大量艰苦工作和碰壁,他和他的小组几乎达到了目标。根据他们在本周《科学》杂志上发表的报告,他们 复制了尿道支原体的基因组,最初基因测序工作就是利用这种支原体进行的。它们还不是真正的生命,但这就像最后一件衣服落下之前的挑逗一样。

继续阅读“[2008.01.24] Nearly there”