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Musk Start-up Neuralink Seeks People for Brain-Implant Trial

BBC | Science & Technology

Musk Start-up Neuralink Seeks People for Brain-Implant Trial

“Elon Musk’s brain-computer interface (BCI) start-up Neuralink has begun recruiting people for its first human trial. The company’s goal is to connect human brains to computers and it wants to test its technology on people with paralysis. A robot will help implant a BCI that will let them control a computer cursor, or type, using thoughts alone.”

From BBC.

The Guardian | Scientific Research

Genetics of 500,000 Volunteers to Be Released for Science

“Health researchers from around the world can now apply to study the whole genomes of half a million people enrolled in UK Biobank, a biomedical research project that has compiled detailed health and lifestyle records on individuals since it began 20 years ago.

The move on Thursday amounts to the largest number of whole-genome sequences ever released for medical research. The sequences will be used with UK Biobank’s records and other data to delve deeply into the genetics of everything – from people’s risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other conditions, to individuals’ sleep and exercise patterns.

Researchers believe the new data will allow them to calculate people’s individual risk scores for a raft of cancers and other diseases, and so work out who could benefit most from early screening.”

From The Guardian.

Blog Post | Infrastructure & Transportation

For the Time It Took to Get One Mile in 1980, You Get 2.29 Today

The time price per mile has fallen by 54 percent.

The top-selling car in 1980 was the Oldsmobile Cutlass. Gas mileage on this vehicle averaged 20 miles per gallon (17 city/23 highway). By 2023, the Honda CR-V claimed the title as the most popular two-wheel drive vehicle. The CR-V reported mileage at 31 miles per gallon (28 city/34 highway). This represents an increase of 55 percent over this 43-year period. Mileage has been increasing at a compound rate of around 1 percent a year.

Back in 1980, gasoline was selling for $1.19 per gallon, and blue-collar hourly compensation (wages and benefits) was $9.12 per hour. This indicates a time price rate of around 7.83 minutes per gallon.

Today, gasoline is selling for around $3.37 per gallon, and blue-collar hourly compensation (wages and benefits) is up to $36.50 per hour, indicating a rate of around 5.54 minutes per gallon. While the nominal price of a gallon of gasoline has increased by 183 percent, the time price has dropped by 29 percent.

But how much does it cost to travel a mile? That depends on the time price of gasoline and the car’s mileage. In 1980, at 20 miles per gallon, the time price per mile on the Cutlass would be around 23.5 seconds. By 2023, with the CR-V getting 31 miles per gallon, the time price per mile would be around 10.7 seconds. The time price per mile has decreased by 54 percent.

You can look at mileage from the perspective of how many miles you get per minute of time. The 1980 Cutlass gave you 2.55 miles per minute of your time, while the 2023 CR-V gives you 5.6 miles. Gas mileage abundance from your time perspective has increase by 119 percent. For the time it took to get one mile in 1980, you get 2.29 miles today.

There are other differences to consider. The National Automobile Dealers Association reports the price of a new Cutlass in 1980 at $6,735. At $9.12 per hour, it would take a blue-collar worker 738 hours to own this new car. Honda listed the 2023 CR-V for $28,410. At $36.50 per hour, it would take the blue-collar worker 778 hours to buy one. So, while the time price of the top-selling car has increased by 5 percent, the mileage, safety, reliability, and comfort have all increased by much more.

Yes, nominal gas prices are higher than 1980, but it’s not the money that counts; it’s your time. Time prices are the true prices.

A version of this article was published at Gale Winds on 11/14/2023.

The Atlantic | Science & Technology

The CRISPR Era Is Here

“Four years ago, [Victoria Gray] joined a groundbreaking clinical trial that would change her life. She became the first sickle-cell patient to be treated with the gene-editing technology CRISPR—and one of the first humans to be treated with CRISPR, period. CRISPR at that point had been hugely hyped, but had largely been used only to tinker with cells in a lab. When Gray got her experimental infusion, scientists did not know whether it would cure her disease or go terribly awry inside her. The therapy worked—better than anyone dared to hope. With her gene-edited cells, Gray now lives virtually symptom-free. Twenty-nine of 30 eligible patients in the trial went from multiple pain crises every year to zero in 12 months following treatment.”

From The Atlantic.

The Economist | Health & Medical Care

The World’s First Pathway for Individually Designed Drugs

“The Medicines and Health-care products Regulatory Agency is working with Genomics England, Oxford University and Mila’s Miracle Foundation, a charity, to develop a regulatory pathway to allow one-off drugs to be designed and approved for use in individual patients in less than a year.”

From The Economist.