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October 1st, 2009:

GM Tomatoes Don’t Taste Bad

Spear Thisle

Photo Dalboz17, Flickr

I can’t count the number of times I’ve run into someone either online or in person who is convinced genetic engineering makes food taste bad. “Just try an organically grown heirloom tomato,” they will say, “it’s so much juicier and tastier than those GM tomatoes you buy at the grocery store.” It is a great way to win support since many people listening to or reading those words will have had a similar experience tasting a oddly shapped and colored heirloom tomato and barely believing it to be the same fruit* as the perfectly shaped ones lining the aisles of every grocery store. Heck, even I agree they taste better, and I never grew out of not liking tomatoes in the first place. Score one for the opposition to genetic engineering. Or it would be if the tomatoes down at your local grocery store weren’t completely untouched by genetic engineering. GM Tomatoes don’t taste bad and you’ve probably never eaten one in your life (more…)

Continuous pumps and artificial hearts

Now for a brief detour into the animal world, which includes humans. A story recently went up on slashdot describing a new generation of artificial hearts that are less bulky, last longer, and are suitable for more people. The reason it makes a website like slashdot is that it accomplished all that by using a continuous pump. Normal artificial hearts mimic our biological ones, pumping blood in in pulses. Think of it like waves crashing against the shore. The continiouspump is more like the water flow in a river, constant in both direction and pressure. Whyam I mentioning this? Because it is an example of what is natural and what saves peoples lives being very different. And if the continuous pump doesn’t sound that unnatural to you, consider that people with these new artificial hearts have no pulse. Nothaving a pulse might substantially reduce the risk of strokes (my own speculation). Strokes are caused by blood vessels bursting open in the brain, and a low constant pressure is going to put less strain on the walls blood vessels than high pressure pulse. It’s the different between pushing a wall and punching one.

Now for a brief detour into the animal world, which includes humans. A story recently went up on slashdot describing a new generation of artificial hearts that are less bulky, last longer, and are suitable for more people. The reason it makes a website like slashdot is that it accomplished all that by switching to a continuous pump.

Normal artificial hearts mimic our biological ones, pumping blood in in pulses. Think of it like waves crashing against the shore.

The continuous pump is more like the water flow in a river, constant in both direction and pressure.

Why am I mentioning this? Because it is an example of what is natural and what saves peoples lives being very different. And if the continuous pump doesn’t sound that unnatural to you, consider that people with these new artificial hearts have no pulse.

Not having a pulse might substantially reduce the risk of strokes (my own speculation). Strokes are caused by blood vessels bursting open in the brain, and a low constant pressure is going to put less strain on the walls blood vessels than high pressure pulse. It’s the different between pushing a wall and punching one.

On a less serious note, leaving aside the real issues with artificial hearts, consider the potential of marketing these pulseless hearts as elective surgery. One long and expensive surgery, a couple of months de-tanning, and all sorts of cheesy pick-up lines become available to a guy interested in seducing the vast numbers of vampire obsessed women in America. Something about checking for a pulse and femoral arteries suggests itself.

September Stats

Helped by a huge final day, September is now my second highest traffic month on record.* Coming after a record low in August. And almost all this month’s traffic came in the past two weeks.

I’ve also managed to keep up an update rate of at least one per day for fourteen days now**, (though I’m not sure how much longer I can keep it up). Adding further weight to the idea that readership and frequency of updates are positively correlated (who’d have guessed?). And this while getting zero search engine traffic. I’m still waiting for their indexes to purge the data on my link-contaminated hacked pages.

Thank you to all my readers, keep doing what you’re doing, and I’ll try to keep updating.

*First place goes to January of this year, which was helped by dating a girl at the time who was using this site as her main way to check my twitter feed throughout the day. I was so excited at the upward trend until I figured out what was going on.

**Not counting this post, but I already have one written for later in the morning.