It’s Always Something

A loose ball bearing on a camera may prevent the shuttle Atlantis from making its last flight today.

For want of a nail…

[Update a few minutes later]

Guess they decided it wasn’t enough of an issue to scrub for, or they resolved it. Launch still on in a few minutes.

[Update shortly after lift off]

Sounds like everything’s going fine so far.

The “John Yoo Trap”

…that might await Elena Kagan.

This is a little off topic, but the author is guilty of one of my pet peeves:

[Ed Note: or will she be called “General Kagan”?]

I sure hope not. Because a solicitor general is not a general. An attorney general is not a general. I cringe whenever I hear a reporter or pundit talking about “General Reno,” or “General Holder” (of all the people to not call a general, Eric Holder should be at the head of the line — he wouldn’t even rate as a PFC).

The “general” part of the title is not a noun. It is an adjective, modifying “solicitor,” or “attorney.”

I understand the urge to come up with a shorter means of address than “Solicitor General Kagan,” but it’s important to remember that she is a solicitor, and not a member of the armed forces.

[Update late morning]

Separated at birth? Now that’s just mean. Funny, but mean.

Squaring The Decline Curve

Is real longevity treatment just around the corner?

People blessed with anti-ageing genes tend not to get seriously ill but die suddenly at the end of their lives, Prof Barzilai pointed out.

‘I’m seeing 100-year-olds who are not only 100 years old but in great shape,’ he said.

‘They’re driving and painting, and they say life is beautiful.

‘I have this bias that makes me believe we have the ability as a species to get to 100 if we prevent some of these age-related diseases.

‘The cost of treating 100-year-olds in their last two years of life is a third of what it costs to treat somebody aged 70 to 80. At the end of their life they die, basically, all of a sudden.

‘People who die between 70 and 80 are sick in the last few years of their life. Centenarians are dying healthy.’

Studies had revealed a strong association between reaching 100 years of age and very high blood levels of HDL, which appear to run in families, said Prof Barzilai.

Not only were HDL levels important, but also the size of the cholesterol particles. Centenarians with this HDL profile were powerfully protected against Alzheimer’s, one of the greatest causes of disability and death in old age. A similar effect was being sought by the drug companies targeting CETP.

Prof Barzilai described his “vision” as a once-daily pill which staved off the effects of old age and would probably be taken when a person reached their 40s or 50s.

Works for me. I hope, anyway.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!