烟蓑雨笠卷单行

      “没缘法转眼分离乍,赤条条来去无牵挂。哪里讨烟蓑雨笠卷单行,一任俺芒鞋破钵随缘化。”宝玉听了,喜得拍膝画圈,称赏不已。宝钗不幸一语成谶。
 
       踏上东京成田机场快速列车的月台,我知道身后留下的又是另个异国他乡。沉甸甸的行李中有几张J-pop光碟,几本日本经典漫画,更有两年的东瀛记忆。勤勉认真的同事,彬彬有礼的邻里,热情恭敬的服务员,安静整洁准时的列车和车站,祭日里的和服美女,当然还有精巧可口的日本料理。值得回忆的有太多太多。每次有人问道我对日本的印象,我总是说,如果世界上真有和谐社会,那日本恐怕是最接近的国家之一了。我相信这不是言过其实。
 
       跟朋友说,大学毕业都八年了,一直飘来飘去,高不成低不就,也怪累的。朋友回答,又有几个人不是这样,好歹你还是在全球最大的两个经济体里面混。想想也是,人往高处走,水往低处流,人总是向往更好的生活。何况对我而言,一方面,在南京上海混跟在日本美国混一样是背井离乡,没有本质区别;而在另一方面,在美国和日本的生活不仅让我学习了两门外语(虽然日语只是入门级),而且我的世界观也随之而变。生活质量的提高自然是重要因素,学习更优秀的文化和知识同样是驱动自己不辞辛苦辗转奔波的动力。发达国家并非简单的经济,军事强大,更在各个方面都要是走在人类文明的前沿。
 
       我是学生物的,从生物学角度讲,这个世界上的人都是一样的,同一个物种,相互之间的差异也就是肤色不同。可是尽管我们已经不再认为人种之间有高低之分(至少口头上很少有人会承认自己种族歧视),国家,国籍还是把人们分的界限分明。在信息时代之前,地域空间的分隔使得不同地区的人们创造出独具特色的文化传统。可是在全球化,资讯时代的今天,我们有可能超越国界,去学习自己最感兴趣的,最好的知识,最好的文化。何况很多人类文明是共通的,比如科学知识和技术,比如人道主义原则等等。或许有一天,国家,国籍会变得无关紧要,重要的是个人的自我选择和自我修养。可我也知道,在我有生之年,我仍然是中国人。人们还是会说中国人就是如何如何,中国人该如何如何,中国人需要如何如何。但我心里明白,这些都是毫无意义的废话。
 
       漂泊的日子有苦有甜,但都是属于我自己独特的体验。人世间少有便宜事,不经过一番挣扎和奋斗就没有收获。任何捷径,快钱往往都是自我堕落的开始。
    
       宝玉身在荣华之中,却想勘破红尘,“赤条条来去无牵挂”,虚无主义总给人懒惰的安慰。其实我想他最幸福快乐的日子还是跟他关爱,在乎的人们在一起结诗社,品酒,撕扇子的那些时光。
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国内还有哪些服务不能用

      虽然早就知道国内封锁facebook和youtube,但每次登录我的iGoogle还是习惯性的看看facebook和youtube两栏,每次都是无法显示。很快又发现google photo,google document也不能用,连搜索也时断时续。看来google真是把天朝惹毛了。幸好gmail还是可以用的。BBC中文还是封锁的,大概头头们认为多数天朝臣民不会上英文网站看新闻报道,所以反动的BBC英文,CNN还是很顺畅。维基百科总算可以用了,只要不查某些“敏感”条目,还算有点进步。新语丝还是无法登录,不过镜像站还是可以用的。真是奇怪,方舟子上中央台都上了几次了,他搞的这个不沾政治的网站却还是一直被封。
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漫画的天堂

 

 

宫崎骏先生名声太大,其他漫画导演就算有与之比肩的天赋也像是活在他阴影之下一样。押井守的东西也叫好却不叫座。但是好的作品实在太多。中央电视台就是闭着眼镜瞎选一个来剽窃也能做出个马马虎虎的山寨版来。

攻殻機動隊:イノセンス主题曲,宁静悠远的歌声。http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMSPhsGiXjc&feature=related

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personal genomics

Personal genomics, a medical revolution!

 

The Future

 

“I was sitting in front of my brand new iMac, anxiously clicking mouse.  My 6-month-old daughter just stopped crying, only after Elizabeth finally came home and started breast-feeding her. Suddenly, a new message popped out. It was from YourGenome@565.com. I opened it immediately.

 

       Thank you for choosing YourGenome Annotation version 4.0 from YourGenome565. Inc. The report contains the complete genome sequence of your daughter. For this matter, you have signed the legal statement that confirms the tissue sample, from which the following sequence was derived, is from a minor who you have complete custody. Hence you will take all responsibility for any legal consequence if the sample was not from the stated donor. We analyzed 5 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP), micro-satellites, inversions, insertions, duplications and translocations with phenotypic associations…

 

Subject: YourGenome Annotation report version 4.0

Name: Shelly Murphy

Genome ID: 01USANY0F0004222301AUG20ShellyM20150222

Aptitude

Estimated IQ: 135

Analytic and reasoning ability: 95 percentile

Artistic ability: 92 percentile

Personality

 (Estimated genetic tendency)



Appearance

BN4 mutations (cartilage development related): negative

Disease predisposition

1. Cancers

BRCA1 mutations (breast cancer related): negative

overall risk for breast cancer: 15% of general population

3. Immune disorders

TREX1 mutations (systemic lupus erythematosus related): negative

overall risk for systemic lupus erythematosus: 9% of general population

10. Age-related diseases

β-amyloid precursor protein (APP) mutations (Alzheimer’s disease related): negative

overall risk for Alzheimer’s disease over 60 years old: 11% of general population 

 

       The report was supposed to arrive one month ago, but YourGenome.Inc had informed me that their staffs were overloaded with recent spike on the demand of genome analysis of newborn babies. Such a service had been a private healthcare option for babies for 3 years. But New York state government had made it mandatory 3 months ago after years of legislation on the financial support, database management and legal/ethics regulation. From now on, all new-born New Yorkers would have their unique genome IDs for life. Their health related genetic risks would be regularly updated. The information was encrypted and readily available through a secured government network.

 

       Nevertheless, I was very pleased and relieved. It seemed that my little angel would grow into a smart, beautiful girl and she would unlikely be struck down by breast cancer, heart strike or any nasty autoimmune diseases, nor would she get Alzheimer’s disease, despite of a mildly increased diabetes susceptibility. What if the schools and insurance companies knew some of this information? ‘Quite something…’ I thought. But I knew this could be risky. I need to counsel a lawyer before passing any of her personal genome information to public school or insurance company …” (based on(1))

 

Personal Genomics- an introduction

 

Will this fiction become a reality in 2015? Will we predict (to certain extend) a man’s future even before he can speak? Can everyone have his own life decoded and ready at his finger-point? With the blisteringly fast-paced advancement of the biotechnology industry, the answer to these questions seems to be a big YES. Now we all know that DNA is the physical carrier of genetic information. The genome is full set of genes encoding our hereditary information.  Wikipedia defines personal genomics as a “branch of genomics where individual genomes are genotyped and analyzed using bioinformatics tools”. Therefore, personal genome is a person’s personal life book, a magical recipe directing two tiny cells, a sperm and an egg, develop into a 50 trillion-cell man with burgeoning intelligence, sensitive emotion and complex social behavior. 2007 saw the birth of personal genomics, which was hailed as the No.1 scientific breakthrough of the year.(2) The huge cost and labor hours of sequencing on large genome used to be the biggest hurdle. But with sequencing technology evolves rapidly, the hurdle is set to be overcome. In 2007, James Watson became the first man who had his entire genome, that is 6 billion nucleotides, sequenced at a cost of US$1.5million in two months, compared to Human Genome Project’s US$2.8 billion over 10 years.(3) Now National Human Genome Research Institute has targeted to sequence a human-sized genome for US$100000 in 2009 and US$1000 in 2014. It is reasonably optimistic to expect that personal genomics, at least the raw sequence, should be within ordinary folk’s means in the near future. Four companies – 23andme, deCODEme, Navigenics and LifeCode have launched commercial personal genome information service (not complete genome sequence though) for as low as US$399. The only private company offering full genome sequencing is Knome based in Cambrige, Massachusetts, which obviously targets a few very rich “elite” clients(4, 5). Now how to efficiently and accurately interpret this 6-billion-letter gene book remains to be a big challenge. Scientists are confident that we are slowly but steadily advance our understanding of human genetics and biology. The above story might seem to be pure fantasy 50 years, now it is becoming a realized miracle. This has been brought about by the advancement of molecular genetics and molecular diagnosis as well as rapidly development of sequencing technology.

 

      Molecular diagnosis utilizes molecular biology technique such as polymerase chain reaction, DNA array, DNA hybridization, etc. to predict disease predisposition, classify clinical diversity and identify the genetic cause for symptoms. It helps physicians prescribe targeted therapy and assess prognosis. With the herald of personal genomics, we are able to gain insight from an individual’s entire genome to find any genetic feature or abnormality. At the same time, molecular genetics studies have provided us ever more detailed knowledge on genetic basis of human biology and disease. From diabetes, hematological leukemia, arthritis(2) to once intractable diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease(6), Alzheimer’s disease(7)  have been traced to their genetic basis. Even more remarkably, most of our mental and behavioral trait, including all five basic human personalities have their molecular underpinning(8) and we are finding more and more genetic variants associated with both human physiology and psychology. What’s more, genome information also provide our ancestral information over millions of years. Therefore, we may not only obtain long-dreamed personalized medicine, but also gain a glimpse of our individual biological blueprint and a broad vista encompassing past, present and the future. The impact on human society must be enormous. By early prevention and highly effective treatment, we can dramatically reduced disease prevalence and mortality. Similarly, we can consciously modify our education and social environment to correct, improve or avoid certain propensity, or better fit our personality and talent. Thus, personal genomics has the capacity to greatly benefit us physically as well as mentally by better exploring our potential and also fulfilling our curiosity about ourselves.

 

Current approaches

 

As for now, at a price tag of US$300000 to 1million, complete sequencing is still out of reach for most common people. Therefore the services provided by 23andme, deCODEme, Navigenics and LifeCode may be viewed as the precursors for truly personal genomics. Instead of direct sequencing, they all rely on SNP DNA chips to scan up to 1million polymorphism across the entire genome. 1 million SNPs are not limited to just 1 million single nucleotides since certain consecutive SNPs on one chromosome are associated and they normally transmit together. Such an SNP set is called a haplotype.  Therefore by identifying limited number of signature SNPs, scientists can cover a relatively larger range on chromosomes by their associated haplotypes. Then they can find disease or any physical and mental trait related polymorphism or haplotypes according to published scientific literature. LifeCode is dedicated to scan cancer related SNPs. The other three also calculate one’s ancestral history from both maternal (mitochondrial DNA) and paternal (Y chromosome DNA) lineage. Among the three pioneering companies, deCODEme provide more disease-specific scan options. Navigenics has the most comprehensive health related analysis and it also offers professional genetic counseling as well as continuous updates for new health predispositions, thus more expensive; whereas 23andme has the most cost-saving choices (as low as US$399).  All three set up a customer forum to communicate and share their genetic information at their will.

 

       SNPs don’t account for all the genome variations. Larger changes, such as DNA duplication, translocation, inversion, deletion, insertion, can profoundly change human physiology. For example, certain DNA copy number variations (CNV), which are caused by DNA duplication or deletion, have been shown to correlate with some complicated psychiatric disorder, such as autism and schizophrenia. (9) Given its increased importance, CNV analysis may soon appears on the commercial service lists.

 

       In order to most efficiently utilize this genome information pool, it can be argued to have a government sponsored program to have a large population sequenced. New-born babies could be a candidate.  By sequencing their complete genomes, we can gain all genetic information relevant to their future physical and psychological development so that precautions can be implemented accordingly. We can more efficiently obtain new insight about human genetics by cross-examine their genotype and phenotype. These babies will have their genetic book ready for their lifetime. We may expect this will dramatically improve healthcare efficiency and reduce cost. If the National Human Genome Research Institute’s 2014 target can be met, it will be realistic to start such a massive program.

 

  

Recreational genomics? Pandora’s box?

 

Despite of such a promising prospect, not everything is rosy about personal genomics. Immediately following its inception, people have raised practical, ethics and legal concerns.  At present, a large number of SNPs have no known disease correlations. Most of customers for the above three companies are well-off persons with strong curiosity to know more about themselves. They are happy to pay to learn some “fun” facts, curly hair, wet ear wax, body odor, male baldness, maverick disposition and so on. Thus, some people dubbed it as “Recreational genomics”(10), a not-very-useful game. But we can argue that even if it mostly gives you such “fun” facts, isn’t it awe to study your characteristics by reading your own genetic book? (Besides, all these are paid by your own money) Just like gazing through your amateur telescope to see the deep universe doesn’t cure your disease or make you a living, but it can be an intellectual inspiration.   In addition, with the ever- accelerated medical research advancement, we can expect more and more disease-associated variants will be discovered. So, personal genomics can be an investment for the future. Maybe today’s seemingly useless genome data may turn out to be critically relevant in the future.

 

     Some disease-associated variations only slightly raise risks. In addition, many diseases are determined by multiple factors, so it may be hard to reliably calculate disease susceptibility based on limited number of variants. But one may still get panic once he find he has a SNP related to some horrible diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, even though that SNP has a weak statistic association. Similarly, genetics heritability for behavioral traits varies wildly, from 65% for dutifulness down to 25% for competence.(11) For example, if someone finds his daughter has several DNA variations associated with neurotic tendency, he might get very upset and overly worried. But the fact is any human social character is molded by both genetic and environmental factors. Education and social interaction can modify or improve any particular trait. In this example, information pointing to neurotic tendency can prompt him to actively device or find relevant programs and social activities for his daughter to avoid such undesirable personality. Therefore, a better public education on human genetics is imperative. On the other hand, we also need oversight on the personal genomics companies to prevent them of misinterpreting the data or overstate their service.  

 

     A more serious concern is about people’s privacy and civil right(5, 10).  First, we have to ensure any tissue samples submitted are from the one who submits or from a people who he has complete authority. It’s easy to imagine someone may submit his political opponent’s sample to sequence and disclose some unfavorable or embarrassing genetic traits to the public. It will be a severe infringement of privacy. Currently, there is no existing specific law to regulate this identity issue. We need to call on the genome information service industry to beef up self-regulation and expect government legislation body will soon address it.  Second, how to address the issue of ownership of the sequence (or any genome analysis data) and how to safeguard it? We have to ensure the customer has the ownership of their genome data and prevent any unauthorized transfer or disclosure of their private information. This, again, awaits new government regulation. Lastly, we need precaution against any discrimination based on genetic screening. The newly enacted Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act (GINA) in the US provides protection from employment and insurance discrimination based on genetic tests. More countries are expected to follow suits. Still we need more vigorous regulation to safeguard people’s privacy. With more people expected to have their personal genome analyzed, a dedicated genomic information agency will be necessary to oversight the personal genomics industry and coordinate the medical utilization of this massive information database. Collaboration and coordination between different countries will also be necessary to ensure people’s private information will not be misused.

   

    In all, without a robust regulation, this nascent discipline risks to become a Pandora’s box. But we can’t afford to throw out the baby along with the bath. We have confidence that we can manage all these potential risks and reap the benefit from decades of scientific research.

 

Conclusion

 

Since the birth of molecular biology in 1953 following the discovery of DNA double helix structure, half a century’s biological research culminates in the birth of personal genomics (hence personal medicine is made possible). This is surely a celebration of our scientific achievement. We can envision that in the future, everyone will have his complete genome information at his disposal. A vast personal genome database will be established and managed by government agency to facilitate scientific data mining, medical reference as well as safeguard their holder’s privacy. Invaluable information about his ancestral history, genetic variations will be readily available through internet. Disease prevalence will be dramatically reduced. Social illness due to people’s character defects will also be vastly alleviated. Our intellectual desire to know the nature of life will be greatly satisfied.  Hence we may live a longer and happier life. Surely this is the ultimate goal of our science enterprise. 

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おくりびと、悲しくも美しい

发表在 电影 | 2条评论

如何进行垃圾分类(注射器和电池回收筒另置)

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韩寒是个不错的孩子。

虽然偶尔会说些浑话,但瑕不掩瑜,总的来说是个很有个性,才智和独立人格的人物。上《时代》年度人物也不算夸张。以前以为他也是那种虚张声势,哗众取宠之人,看来是错怪了。
http://edition.cnn.com/2010/TECH/web/06/03/han.han.china/index.html

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