Total Pageviews

Saturday, February 18, 2012


1.  Peter Diamandis (below left) and Steven Kotler (right) have a new book out, entitled ABUNDANCE:  the Future is Better Than You Think.  Diamandis helped found Singularity University with Ray Kurzweil and others, and I have participated in their Singularity Summits.  While most of those associated with these singularity programs tend to be polyannaishly optimistic, heck, why not approach the future with hope instead of brooding abandonment with a wish to inform the world that they should better be prepared for this relative doom.  The theme clashes with the attitude portrayed by a couple of my internet fora:  these groups mostly think that the world is coming to--no, not an end--but somewhere between a precipitous and hopelessly incessant decline. 

 Well, according to ABUNDANCE, during the past century, human life expectancy doubled and groceries today cost 13 times less than 1870 (not sure, though, if they accounted for the real value, as a dollar in 1870 would have a value somewhere between $16 to $2000 today).  However, accounting for inflation, incomes tripled over the past half century.  There is much less poverty in the USA today, and even then, those below that amorphous line still almost all have access to a telephone (mostly cellular, incidentally), television, air conditioning and a car.  The very rich 150 years ago had so much less to enjoy.  Diamandis and Kotler say that, worldwide, violence is at an all time low and personal freedom is at a historic high, and, further, with artifical intelligence, robotics (including nanobots to someday hunt and destroy cancer cells in you body), infinite computing and synthetic biology, over the next two decades, we will exceed our gains of the past two centuries.  ABUNDANCE for all is within our grasp!  The next force, will not be government, but those philanthropic billionaires.

2.  Because of Jeremy Lin, I'm into the NBA these days.  However, guess who said:

I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games.  Twenty-six times I've be trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed.  I've failed over and over and over again in my life.  And that is why I succeed.

Michael Jordan.

3.  The history of Viagra says something about medical science.  Originally synthesized by Pfizer in the UK as sildenafil in 1989, it was first tested to treat heart problems, then to counteract high blood pressure.  In 1996 it was patented for erectile dysfunction, and thanks to Bob Dole and Pele, these pills (with Cialis and Levitra) have annual sales in the range of $5 billion/year, with Cialis over-taking Viagra last year as #1.
Supposedly, two-thirds who take them find success.  Many publications list the cost/pill in the range of $10-$15, but Canadian mail order houses seem to suggest prices a tenth that range.  Can't vouch for one or the other as I have no experience at buying them.  However, the latest is that Viagra might be useful to treat lymphatic malformations in children.  Who knows what else will be next.


No comments: