Phil and Stephen kick off a special series of shows for Thanksgiving week. We’re calling it the good-news-a-palooza. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of this week the World Transformed will be a No Buzzkill Zone as we explore tremendously encouraging news that is breaking all around us.
A team of scientists at the Boston Children’s Hospital have invented what is being considered one the greatest medical breakthroughs in recent years. They have designed a microparticle that can be injected into a person’s bloodstream that can quickly oxygenate their blood. This will even work if the ability to breathe has been restricted, or even cut off entirely.
This finding has the potential to save millions of lives every year. The microparticles can keep an object alive for up to 30 min after respiratory failure. This is accomplished through an injection into the patients’ veins. Once injected, the microparticles can oxygenate the blood to near normal levels. This has countless potential uses as it allows life to continue when oxygen is needed but unavailable. For medical personnel, this is just enough time to avoid risking a heart attack or permanent brain injury when oxygen is restricted or cut off to patients.
The microparticles used are composed of oxygen gas pocketed in a layer of lipids. A Lipid is a natural molecule that can store energy and act as a part of a cell membrane, they can be made of many things such as wax, vitamins, phospholipids, and in this case fat is the lipid that stores the oxygen.
These microparticles are around two to four micrometers in length and carry about three to four times the oxygen content of our own red blood cells. In the past, researchers had a difficult time succeeding as prior tests caused gas embolism. This meant that the gas molecules would become stuck trying to squeeze through the capillaries. They corrected this issue by packaging them into small deformable particles rather ones where the structure was rigid.
Is this the first step towards becoming Aquaman? Or maybe just the first step towards creating respirocytes?
Zapata estimates that SpaceX launches cost NASA around $89,000 per kilogram of cargo delivered to the space station. There’s no telling what precisely would have come from a cargo spacecraft developed by NASA, but Zapata estimates that it would be $272,000 per kg.
For future commercial crew missions sending astronauts into space, Zapata estimates that it will cost $405 million for a SpaceX Dragon crew deployment of 4 and $654 million for a Boeing Starliner, which is scheduled for its first flight in 2019. That sounds like a lot, and it is, but Zapata estimates that its only 37 to 39 percent of what it would have cost the government.
Stephen: A routine criticism of SpaceX (or perhaps Elon Musk’s entire modus operandi with all his companies) is that it’s built on the back of public dollars. Perhaps that reflects positively on the US government more than negatively on Musk.
LPP Fusion is trying to make a 5 megawatt dense plasma focus fusion generators. Their current WeFunder crowdfunding equity is going well with over $147,000 raised toward a fund raising goal of $1 million.
From the LPP site:
We’re on a near-term path to achieving practical nuclear fusion energy at a low enough cost to replace all fossil-fuel based energy sources. While our generators will be powered by nuclear fusion, a fundamentally different process than all current energy sources, we’re not inventing a new reaction. Rather, we harness the energy source powering the sun to create clean, safe energy. If we secure the funding to complete our project, this will be the most fundamental change in technology in decades.
- Achieved the highest confined temperature of any fusion generator device, over 2 billion degrees, which is sufficient for hydrogen-boron fusion.
- Raised a total of $6 million from 90 investors since 2008.
- Patents issued in the U.S., China, Australia, and Canada, with patents pending in the European Union and India.
- Achieved the highest fusion energy output per unit input of any private fusion experiment in the world.
- Raised $180,000 through donations on Indiegogo in 2014.
- Research published in leading peer-reviewed journals documenting the LPP Fusion device as the most advanced, privately funded fusion experiment in the world.
Question asked: how much good can a couple hundred thousand crowd funding dollars do in a field that has billions to see the limited results to date?