An Interesting Idea

I was reading this when an interesting thought hit me:

On my paternal side, all the blood relatives from my grandparents down to my daughters’ second cousins, are currently alive and reasonably healthy.  My grandparents (now nearing their nineties) suffer from any number of age-related afflictions, but they show no signs of going anywhere any time soon.

On my maternal side, all the blood relatives from my mother’s generation down to my daughters’ second cousins are all currently alive and healthy.

To my knowledge, neither my grandparents nor their decendants has had cancer problems.  Not a single one.  There are several instances of diabetes, but none so bad that it’s permanently debilitating.  It’s possible that it contributed to my paternal great-grandfather’s death, and I know it was worse for my maternal grandfather than other family members.

On my ex-wife’s side of the family, she has access to no grandparents.  Her grandmother and mother died of cancer.  Her mother’s siblings and their descendants are alive and healthy. I’m not sure who’s available on her father’s side.  I believe that at least two generations (my daughters and their second cousins) are available.  That may extend another, to my wife’s generation.  I believe that there have been instances of diabetes, but I’m not sure.  In either case, it’s a double jackpot because you still have a pool whose distribution may give you clues about where to look for the gene sequence.

I continue to assure my daughters my fervent belief that medical science is progressing so rapidly that new breakthroughs occur at an alarmingly rapid pace.  No physician of one hundred years ago could have possibly dreamed the reality of today; our physicians will be utterly incapable of comprehending the combination of science and technology used by physicians of 2100.

Then I read items like this that only reaffirm my conviction.

What I’m thinking should seem obvious.  I can think of no way to put this that doesn’t make me sound cold-hearted and tactless, so I’ll just say it:

With the genomes currently available in my family — particularly my daughters’ — it should at least be possible to determine specific gene sequences for some kind of cancers, if such exists.  As a bonus, maybe diabetes.

Like I said, cold-hearted and tactless.  But, as the brilliant The Young Ones episode “Bambi” clearly illustrated so long ago:

Come now, Dr. Noththenineoclocknews, we’re men of science.  We fear no Earthly terrors!

(Which only sounds like I’m being pompous if you don’t know what I’m referencing.  Go on, you ignorant little frak-tards — off to YouTube to learn that your elders were just as big a bunch of cutting-edge ignorami as you think you are.  Yes, that is Hugh Laurie as Lord Monty.

(You’re not impressing anybody — especially not us, you pathetic, pretentious twits.  Build the next Internet and then maybe we’ll be impressed.  Of course by then, you’ll realize as we did:  we had nothing on our elders in the telecom and micro-miniaturization fields.  Without them, we’d’ve never been able to do what we did.  Hell, some of them are still at work — we’ve still got catching up to do.

(It’s all part of the Great Circle of … Stuff.  Trust me, you’ll get it.  Until then, frak off.  But I digress …)

If gene sequences can be isolated, the potential for treatment skyrockets.  All my close and extended family currently alive would almost certainly benefit from any kind of treatment that might be applied at the genetic level.

And yes, I’m totally aware that my daughters would benefit the most.  I’m not above admitting I want them to live as long, happy, healthy lives as possible.  If anybody else happens to benefit, the more the merrier.  But my daughters being able to live without worrying about cancer or diabetes because they can get it treated at a genetic level?  Damned straight.  And having grandkids who’ll never worry because the specific gene sequences in question can be restructured following conception but before the cells have divided beyond some critical mass.  Hell yeah!  And having great-great grandchildren who will never worry about it because no living human being retains the gene sequences in question?  Frakking-A!

I know, genetic-level treatment isn’t possible now.  But it will be.  Again, it will involve combinations of science and technology that will baffle the finest minds of today — but it’s coming.

It’s just a question of taking samples, freezing them, waiting for the technology to arrive to adequately examine them, unfreezing them, and doing tests.  Take a big enough sample from each person to do this a few times so you don’t run out.

While you’re waiting, take more samples, from any descendant of William and Sylvia Stone and … well, I’m sorry, I don’t know my ex-wife’s grandparents’ names.  I’m probably an ass, but they were long gone by the time I met her.  They were just shadowy sketches of someone else’s description.  The names didn’t stick.

But their genetic legacy does.  If we work reasonably fast on my grandparents in particular.

Please, some private firm with appropriate resources contact me.

And appropriate security.  I have an IT security background and certifications: you have no idea what I’m going to require before I’ll turn over my genome to somebody.  All us Stones seem to be that way — and yes, it did occur to me to imagine that you’d think being uppity about authority might be a genetic trait, you ethical cripple.  Educate yourself and reconsider what you’re asking for.

Hence the security requirements.  We keep the data, you pay us to to study it.  We decide when and if you get to poke your nose into our genomes.  The physical security alone will involve redundant dead-man switches to completely obliterate all samples and their non-public data in the event of unauthorized access.

Oh, and one more thing:  anyone may sign a waiver and their genome must be published under the GNU Free Documentation License.

I’m dead serious.  We either make history, get all get our hometown high schools named after us (and in your case, a prestigious university or two), and get fabulously wealthy no matter how hard we try avoid it …

… or you let it slip through your fingers and humanity suffers for generations more.  Starting with my daughters.

Clock’s ticking, get to work.  Don’t frak it up now.

Hey, Al, How’s All That Global Warming Working Out For You?

This is the most awesome thing I’ve seen:

This past week, I was having lunch at a restaurant in midtown Manhattan when my colleague noticed Al and Tipper Gore dining across the room with another couple. It was a frigid day, with record-breaking temperatures keeping most people indoors, and we were the last two tables in the restaurant.

As the Gore party started walking out of the room, my colleague called out, “Hey, Al, how’s all that global warming working out for you?” Gore turned around and stared at us with a completely dumbfounded look on his face. He was speechless. With a smile, my colleague repeated the question, again to a hapless look of dismay.

Finally, Gore mumbled under his breath, “Wow, you sound awfully angry.” I responded with a thank you, explaining to him that we were actually extremely amused. The encounter concluded with Gore’s friend mouthing a very animated “f— you” at us, and they skulked away. My only regret is that no one at the table asked Gore, “What’s the matter? The polar bear’s got your tongue?”

What struck me the most about this meeting was Gore’s complete inability to utter a sentence addressing his life’s work. The former Vice President, Nobel Prize laureate, and Academy Award-winning producer standing before us was a moron, unable to articulate a simple comeback to address all that he has stood for since leaving office. He could have simply ignored us and kept walking, as he does with reporters, but by stopping and standing there dumbstruck, he looked like a fool.

Would that everyone who saw him would do the same.