Abandonment Issues of Tomorrow

Posted by DesertFox on June 11, 2013, 1:53 p.m.

Welp. Sorry, Cocos2d, as much fun as you were, I'm moving on.

WWDC kicked off yesterday, and aside from the drool-worthy massive overhaul of the iOS operating system, another thing stood out to me. Apple now has a 2d game development framework! So, I'm pretty much going to drop using Cocos2d and begin using Sprite Kit. It looks like it will be much easier to use, and it will probably be faster/more efficient owing to under-the-hood optimizations. Apple is very good at that sort of thing. I also like that they chose an API implementation similar to Cocos2d, for multiple reasons. Familiarity, clarity, and effectiveness.There are definitely going to be people who claim it is a Cocos2d ripoff, completely forgetting that there were game engines with similar implementations before Cocos2d, but eh, whatever. People get so caught up in things that they forget that there is nearly /always/ prior art.

Anyhow, I have no idea what I am going to make with it, but since it is part of the iOS frameworks, it means I can screw with it at work a bit :D

Aside from that, aggravation at work. When one puts up a flag saying 'if we do this, things will be more difficult down the line', and then, down the line, everyone starts panicking, one tends to get annoyed. It was an issue that I'd brought up not once, not twice, but three times before. Each time it was said that it wasn't a problem, yet lo and behold here we are, and its a problem.

angryfaecz D:< D:< D:<

Other things are more interesting. I've always been a science buff, and I've been following several things as of late. One of my favorites is that bioengineering is taking off far faster than I thought it would. So what is some cool experimental stuff that shows promising results? Recently, some serious advances in stuff related to detecting and treating Alzheimers, a couple new tenative types of anti-biotics that act on completely new mechanisms (they attack different mechanisms that are incredibly difficult if not impossible for the bacteria to adapt to), advances in viral medicines, oh so many new methods to make stems cells from adult cells. Stuff like that.

The biggest stuff as of recent are really cool.

1) Tissue engineering has succeeded in the first bioneutral artificial blood vessel, which is massively important. Blood vessels are usually harvested from other parts of the body (usually the leg) but this can be dangerous, and obviously it means you lose a blood vessel elsewhere. So this is cool.

Thy used the same technique as some earlier cool stuff where they took a heart* (either cow or pig) stripped it of all the genetic material and cells leaving the collagen scaffolding, and then repopulated it with different (human, I believe) cells. Lo and behold, a the cells differentiated, and bam new organ! Obviously this is like pre-alpha, so it'll be a while before this can be used for organ transplant, and it might never be because…

2) Bioprinting. Woo! Exactly what it says on the tin. Printing out organs or organ replacements. They've recently implanted a bioprinted trachea into someone. They've also been able to bioprint small portions of a liver that appeared to function perfectly fine. Bioprinting still has its issues, mostly in that they can't print blood vessels yet**, and blood vessels are quite necessary for tissue to stay alive. However, given the rapidity at which bioprinting is advancing, it oughtn't be too long. In tandem with the above item, this could save many, many lives.

3) Teeth. Somehow, this seems to have not been noticed, but there are now not one, but two methods by which one can regrow teeth in-situ. Both experimental, obviously, but totally awesome. One of the methods uses ultrasound,and the other of course uses stem cells. When this hits dentistry and becomes available, I am getting a new full set of teeth.

4) Hair, they've figured out how to undo gray hair, and give people back their natural hair colors. Cool.

Medical science is very exciting. Remember, it wasn't so long ago that cessation of heartbeat was considered legal death. How barbaric. Now we at least have brain death as the standard, and even now that is beginning to be shown to not be true. Interesting…

*swishes tail*

Leave comments or face my wrath!

* or kidney, I can't remember. Quite possibly both.

** different from the above thing

Comments

firestormx 11 years ago

Quote:
a couple new tenative types of anti-biotics that act on completely new mechanisms (they attack different mechanisms that are incredibly difficult if not impossible for the bacteria to adapt to)
Shit, that's cool!

Quote:
oh so many new methods to make stems cells from adult cells
princess sort of works with this stuff in her lab. =D

Quote:
Medical science is very exciting
It seriously is. =D

I stopped paying attention to bioengineering several years ago, because everything was "right around the corner", and it didn't interest me as much as just learning about the "existing" biology in the body. =P

Er, the brain, anyway. 'Cause fuck the rest of the body. Like you said, brain death is all that counts. >:(

Cesque 11 years ago

From my experience, medical science is a complete fucking mess, thousands of people running experiments they are asked to perform without any understanding whatsoever, taking directions established by funding agencies or corporations or recent fads in science and technology, vast majority of their results being totally useless to anyone, future researchers and patients included. The funding source tortures the researcher and the researches tortures the rat and and there is pain and pain and neither the funding source nor the researcher nor the rat understand their place in the machine.

Of course, the press and the Internet then get to pick a couple of cool things and market them as advancements for the future.

*sob* I'm sorry *sob* it's just the acquaintance with genetics and bioengineering grad students speaking *sob* I have seen the other side *sob*

(srsly though, if I google "bioprinting" and the top result is a website "ExplainingTheFuture.com", there's something fishy about it!)

P.S. fsx, I don't ever remember you using 4 smileys in a single comment. I know relationships make people retarded, but there are limits D:

DesertFox 11 years ago

@Cesque - agreed. It is a total mess. Also, I'm usually pretty skeptical about stuff as well, but I try to do my due diligence in researching if something is true or not. If we (specifically America but you can replace that with whatever fits) annually dumped into science even a 10th of what we spend on military, holy shit, we could do so many things. I think another issue is that when people see news about an experimental success, they expect a 100% functioning result, rather than a proof-of-concept.

Also on my search, the first result I get is this. That has some samples of the work they're doing in bioprinting, both in terms of printing living tissue which was my intended meaning, but also printing tissue-compatible items.

The third result, however, is exactly the one I was talking about when I mentioned the liver.

The explainthefuture site is really sketchy though - no disagreement from me.

Edit: Oh, and here's the heart thing, although I can't find the actual article I wanted. I wouldn't normally use Dailymail as a source, but I've seen it before and that article is decently accurate. And here's the same thing, applied to rat kidneys.

princess 11 years ago

because of the ethical issue with embryonic stem cells, i work with cells from the subventricular cortex of the brain from 4 day old rat pups

DesertFox 11 years ago

The ethical issue is quickly becoming a non-concern, considering how rapidly we're figuring out how to turn other cells into stem cells. Which is awesome, because stem cells are damn useful.

Cesque 11 years ago

Quote:
If we (specifically America but you can replace that with whatever fits) annually dumped into science even a 10th of what we spend on military, holy shit, we could do so many things.

Good luck with that!

Quote:
I think another issue is that when people see news about an experimental success, they expect a 100% functioning result, rather than a proof-of-concept.

Yep, this is the primary issue. In fact, I think the results so far are precisely that, a proof of concept. I'm not saying it's not a step in the right direction - it's quite impressive, and the intermediate stages, even without being able to grow transplantable organs, are very useful on their own - but it's going to take a while to arrive at results which are reliable.

Plus, unfortunately, a lot of early "breakthroughs" hit a glass ceiling - cold fusion and machine translation, anyone? I'm not talking about current MT, btw, which is quite impressive, but the fact that automatic translation had had promising results back in the 50's… and stopped being funded within ten years of that. This is just to explain my scepticism, nothing particularly bioprinting-related :p

As for the sources: ah, the "TM" sign, how I love seeing thee on technologies which can form a core component of life-saving research. Companies really think ahead these days.

I liked the kidney article (in part, maybe because it had "Harvard" on the title page rather than "Daily Mail"). Unlike Organovo's page and presentation, it kind of shows a straightforward way of "getting there". Don't get me wrong, I'm impressed with 3D liver cell structures, but that's something fundamentally different from growing an actual liver, isn't it? It's like learning the Greek alphabet versus learning Greek.

Aaalso, I'm pissed off to no end about "science journalism" (sorry, that's the grad school having soaked into me) and the fact that no one ever feels the need to link to the original paper or at least give author names. Instead, they link to the Daily Mail article… and its very first sentence has so many things wrong with it I shouldn't even get started.

Quote:
The ethical issue is quickly becoming a non-concern, considering how rapidly we're figuring out how to turn other cells into stem cells. Which is awesome, because stem cells are damn useful.

Fun fact: when I was in Catholic school (don't ask), the priest who taught Religion classes (one of those "meanwhile in Poland…" things) seriously told us stem cell research had not produced any actual useful results, it had just been invented by doctors trying to gain fame via immoral means.

10 years later, it's the main line of medical research (to the detriment of everything else, I may add*). Actually, I'm pretty sure it already was back in his day.

* Oh yeah, that's another thing. Stem cells and organ transplantation are widely researched because they are useful for the widest demographic and they get money thrown at them. Medicine has indeed progressed ridiculously, but really, take a drink every time you see "causes of X are not fully known" on a Wikipedia article about various medical conditions. And may never be known, because figuring out causes of unknown medical problems is not a solid line of research - historically, it depended simply on doctors being familiar with patients with certain issues, but no one really works like this any more (medical practitioners can't diagnose a "new" disease and researchers pick other subjects of inquiry, also because they're not familiar with something that isn't taught… because the doctors are not familiar with it… and the circle closes).

Seleney 11 years ago

I'm not sure how many of you know what stem cells actually are, but I'm guessing at least a few of you do. For those of you that don't, they are pretty amazing. They are cells that have yet to differentiate and thus have the possibility to become anything; they are merely waiting for direction for which of the thousands of different kinds of cells they are to become. My last semester of college I took Histology which is the study of all of the specific cells in the body and I mean down to the specifics. I could still probably tell you how many of the body's cells work and I barely got a C. The information that is known is astounding but the more we discover the more we find that needs to be understood. It is not a problem but just how science works.

Anyway to my point, don't be too hard on scientists for what they don't know yet, instead look at what they DO know. What you will find is astounding. Like did you know there are two different cell in you bones the are either building or dissolving your bones. Depending on hormone signaling these cells control the amounts of calcium and phosphate ions in your blood. Past a certain age the osteoclasts (dissolvers) tend to be more active than the osteoblasts (bone builders) and thus bones are more brittle in old age. I find that fascinating.

DesertFox 11 years ago

@Cesque - I think you've hit it on the nail squarely. To get from A to Z, you have to go through all the letters in between (although sometimes you get to skip a few), and we're still near the beginning of the alphabet. People need to appreciate advances for what they are - steps in the right direction. Also, very much agreed with the lack of links to the original source. Highly irritating when trying to validate a news article.

I'd argue that we hit a glass ceiling with machine translation owing to resource constraints rather than funding - language is a difficult and potentially unbounded problem, and in the 50's we had nowhere near the CPU power to do it. However, it is entirely apt here.

@Seleney - 64digits is made up of fairly intelligent people. I'd wager that a decent portion of the community here knows what they are. And bones are pretty cool, aren't they?

Cesque 11 years ago

Quote:
I'd argue that we hit a glass ceiling with machine translation owing to resource constraints rather than funding - language is a difficult and potentially unbounded problem, and in the 50's we had nowhere near the CPU power to do it. However, it is entirely apt here.

Oh yeah, when I said "stopped being funded within ten years", that was my mental shortcut for "stopped being funded because it didn't progress in any way over the years" (I didn't mean the progress had stopped because it hadn't been funded).

And since you mention it, it has indeed been for the main part due to resource constraints, but there are also some interesting "approach issues" at work:

The original glass ceiling in MT was overcome when the original idea of extracting meaning from language A (based on A-ish grammar) and turning it into meaning in language B (based on B-ish grammar) was itself thrown out of the window, and replaced by a statistical approach using parallel corpora (databases of translations between A and B) to find relevant corresponding fragments and string them together using Markov chains (e.g. this is how Google Translate works). Of course, now the statistical approaches have hit their own, albeit higher, glass ceiling…