Friday, August 19, 2005

Podcasts rock!!

Apple's newest version of iTunes provides a seamless interface to manage your subscriptions to podcasts. It's amazing for its simplicity and its built-in index of current podcasts. Everything from the President's Weekly Radio Address (formerly known as Podcast One) to some guy named Al Franken.

I subscribe to the Battlestar Galactica (presented by the executive producer), Halo 2 Podtacular, and a variety of other podcasts.

As a matter of fact, I have pretty much managed to recover the much-lamented loss of Tech TV's Call For Help and The Screen Savers, both of which did not survive the transition to G4 TV. It's called, "This Week In Tech" or "TWiT". (You can also access it from Leo's website--follow the link from his name, below.)
From the description:
Join Leo Laporte, Patrick Norton, Kevin Rose, John C. Dvorak, and other tech luminaries in a roundtable discussion of the latest trends in high tech. Winner of People's Choice Podcast and Best Technology Podcast in the 2005 People's Choice Podcast Awards. Released every Sunday at midnight Pacific.

In addition Leo LaPorte's KFI 640 AM (L.A.) radio show is available, commercial free and Kevin Rose and Alan Albrecht have two sets of podcasts. I say, "sets", because they have audio-only versions and VIDEO versions of both Systm and Diggnation. Check out their homepage Revision 3 which some people say refers to Tech TV being Rev One and G4 being Rev Two.

I'm even subscribing to a Chinese class and a French class, both via podcasts!

What has the Space Program/NASA/ISS/Space Shuttle done for us?

CNET has the goods on a new breakthrough in the production of stem cells that may eliminate the whole embryonic stem cell controversy.

(H/T Instapundit)

Microgravity technology developed by NASA can multiply stem cells from a newborn's blood in large enough quantities to be used to regenerate human tissue, London scientists have found.

Telomerase and Stem Cells

Via Instapundit.

By making mice grow furrier coats, researchers have discovered that an enzyme known to serve as a last-ditch defense against cancer also activates adult stem cells, which the body uses to repair its tissues.

The insight could lead to new treatments for certain diseases, possibly even promoting hair growth in animals other than mice.

The research, reported by Steven E. Artandi and colleagues at Stanford University in Nature today, shows that adult stem cells can be activated by an enzyme called telomerase.

The finding is surprising because telomerase is well known in a quite different context, protecting against tumors by limiting the number of times a cell can divide. The new findings put the enzyme astride two major biological pathways, one that promotes the growth of new cells for maintaining tissues and the other that prevents the excessive growth that leads to tumors.

Telomeres have previously been thought to play a role in aging. They are structures on a genetic level that seem to reduce with each successive generation. In other words, they may be the "timer" that determines how long a given cell will continue reproducing. Telomerase evidently is the enzyme that reduces telomeres. This newly discovered role (activating adult stem cells) may provide a solution to slowing or stopping aging at the cellular level.

When Dolly, the cloned sheep, was created, the scientists discovered that her cells' telomeres were lacking the length that an actual 'newborn' sheep has. This suggests that clones of adult cells inherit the length of telomere that the donor cell possesses at the time of donation. (Philip Dick may have been prescient in Blade Runner, otherwise known as "Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?".)