lovehate: The Internal Organ Printer... Yes You Read That Right

picture via The Economist

Since we've recently discovered that, using crazy polymer plastics, printer-like devices can actually "print" objects (including the parts to reproduce themselves), I suppose we shouldn't be surprised that they'd make printers that could produce other things. I was kind of hoping for world peace or a cure for cancer. I suppose I was closer to the latter than the former. Now there's a printer that prints body parts and internal organs.

And what brilliant tech-sounding, intimidating name could we use for such a device? Surely the most appropriate moniker would contain a bunch of obscure letters, hyphens, and numbers with a word that justified the device's $200,000 price tag. I would think the best approach would be the "ExoHyperTron 4XGi".

Instead may I present the amazing technical marvel that is the Organovo!?!

In an tepid tribute to the unimaginative mind that created the elusive "Unobtainium" in Avatar, Organovo sounds more like a mastabatory device than a medical marvel. From a recent article in The Economist:

"Dr Atala... is experimenting with inkjet technology. The Organovo machine uses stem cells extracted from adult bone marrow and fat as the precursors. The cells are formed into droplets 100-500 microns in diameter and containing 10,000-30,000 cells each. The droplets retain their shape well and pass easily through the inkjet printing process. A second printing head is used to deposit scaffolding—a sugar-based hydrogel. Some researchers think machines like this may one day be capable of printing tissues and organs directly into the body."

How frustrating is it when your print cartridge runs out in the middle of the an essay that's due that afternoon? Can you imagine a surgeon sending out an attending down to the kiosk in the local mall to wait for your local Warcraft Guild leader to drill a hole and use a syringe to refill the unit with stem cells?

We've heard for years how printer ink is the most expensive substance in the world (how a few milliliters cost between $20 and $70). I would imagine the value might grow a bit if you threw stem cells into the mix. Would your new cartridge have to be CYMK-SC? One way or another, I have a feeling this will be a package option with a new Dell tower in five years... hell, I suppose one could buy the printer, print out a Dell tech and the parts, and have him build the PC for me.

thinglets: 16 lovehatethings Anti-Smoking Slogans

smoking kills

  1. See ya soon, but probably not.
  2. You are what it sounds like when lungs cry.
  3. Nick O'Teen is the cancer leprechaun chasing a pot of tar at the end of the rainbow.
  4. The filter is to protect the cigarette from your breath.
  5. Smoke menthol. Like lacing your shit with mint.
  6. You are Darwin's proof.
  7. You can't spell "tobacco" without your lungs.
  8. You know all those oldtime movie stars that made smoking sexy? All dead.
  9. Worried about your teeth and fingers turning yellow? Your lungs are dreaming of yellow.
  10. Stop kissing ass. Get the butt from your mouth.
  11. Cancer's cool... if you're a zodiac symbol.
  12. If they put cigarette package warnings on milk, would you pour it on your cereal?
  13. Every cigarette shortens your life by ten minutes. Light up. I want your job.
  14. Light up. You're in my dead pool.
  15. How many roads must a man walk down? Don't worry, we've got oxygen masks.
  16. When someone calls them Cancer Sticks, let's not argue over the semantics of them being "sticks". You don't have time to waste. I'd rather spend our remaining time basking in your asphyxiating musk.

thinglets: Hamburger Health Hazards

Alright, I know it's from "Woman's Day", but any compilation of crazy-looking burgers gets me interested. Of particular interest is the "1UP Mario Burger" that looks cool, but I would never eat, the "Luther Burger" which uses donut halves for buns and should be nailed to door of a church, and the "Butter Burger" which scared my heart into a new zip code just reading about it.

thinglets: The Procrastination Formulation

Leave it to a Canadian to figure out a mathematical formula for why we leave 'til tomorrow what we could do today.

The equation is U=EV/ID. The 'U' stands for utility, or the desire to complete a given task. It is equal to the product of E, the expectation of success, and V the value of completion, divided by the product of I, the immediacy of the task, and D, the personal sensitivity to delay.

Given the fact that the esteemed Prof. Piers Steel (sounds like a soap opera name) has written an entire book on the formula called The Procrastination Equation: Today's Trouble with Tomorrow, I remain a bit skeptical for a couple of reasons.

While the article says he has spent ten years studying procrastination, I would have much rather heard that he spent nine years thinking about it and then one year actually doing it. That said, his writing of a book on the subject totally invalidates his expertise as an expert in procrastination. In fact, by not writing a book on procrastination, I would say I'm actually a more valid source of procrastinary insight than Steel.

I further intend to prove my procrastination skills by announcing my first novel called Ulysses 2: My Trip to the Jameson Distillery in 1000 pages or More. I expect to be done eventually and dedicate my efforts, or lack thereof, to my good friend, the Chief Eventualist Officer, Mike Vardy at


lovehate: The Pains of Iodine

There was one word that scared the living hell out of everyone who skinned a knee or elbow as a child: iodine. Iodine hurt like hell. It was a combination of pain as well. Most types of pain can be described as searing for a minute and then it's okay, or a long-term irritation that never makes you tear up, but can cause you major discomfort with the occasional wincing. I always remember iodine as a "take no prisoners" new ring of Dante's Inferno.

Now, admittedly, I can't remember many of the details of iodine pain as a child except for the fact that I would have rather hacked my limb off than have iodine applied. Hell, there were plenty of times I may have accepted amputation and cauterizing as long as it was not followed by venom-like sting of iodine.

I can honestly say that the most intense pain I've ever felt in my life was when, in my early 20s, I had minor surgery on my back and, instead of stitching the wound, they advised letting it heal while keeping it bandaged and packed with gauze. Some of you may be feeling faint at the concept of an open wound, yet, those of you who have even a minor experience in surgery at all may know that this method can prevent future infection... anyway... back to my back, and my pain. Before leaving the hospital, as a means of disinfecting, and what I'm guessing was a standard wound dressing practice, they placed an iodine-coated dry strip in the incision.

I cannot describe the plummeting depths of pain that I went through. The only thing I could've imagined as worse was if Rod Stewart had tried to ressurect his career by remaking three CDs full of R&B hits and those songs being the only ones on your iPod, which was stuck in shuffle mode so the pain (like any good torture) was fresh and unexpected each time, while you were stuck on a desert island with the earbuds sutured into your ears, the headphone jack welded into the Shuffle, and the iPod battery on some freaky new solar battery technology, which, due to the island's location, kept the batteries fully charged.

This pain seemed to go on for hours, although it was more like a minute before I was able to convince the nurse to remove the strip and find some other way that wouldn't have me looking for the nearest upper floor window. While I can't claim to be traumatized by the event, it has become the standard by which all other pain is measured... ergo the complete parallel of the Rod Stewart example.

And I bring you through all of my personal hell to introduce the following... (ironically enough) pointed to a story about a Canadian initiative that claimed the deficiency of iodine in food and drink can lead to a 13 point deficiency in IQ. The Micronutrient Initiative has introduced more iodine in the diet of developing countries and gathered evidence to show how IQ has increased. I think that few would be surprised to accept a link between nutrition and intelligence. I daresay that one of the numerous reasons children from lower income socio-economic areas have problems in school is a result of a healthy and consistent diet. I'm not saying iodized salt will solve the world's ills, but it's good to have a long-known piece of the puzzle has another piece of empirical data.

There must, however, be a growing fear in many of these developing countries. Many of people are overworked, underpaid, impoverished and hopeless. Woe to be the government that actually has a growing populace that can start to think of a way out of their positions and consider change. Woe to be the western conglomorate exec. who has a shoe or clothing factory that pays pennies on the dollar for a 12-16 hour day of work when their workforce suddenly feels inspired with thoughts or evolution and revolution. Poverty and malnutrition has always been a more powerful tool than any gun or army in keeping a class subdued. Are governments ready, willing and able to face the full impact and pains of social change that a nutrient as simple as iodine can bring?

And I introduced that just to bring you back to this...

I fully believe that the pain I felt from my iodine hell was in fact the knowledge of the world trying to flood into my limited brain, and that, had I the fortitude to withstand the pain, I would now be the smartest person in the world.

iodized salt