2015年7月31日 星期五

Howard W. Jones Jr., a Pioneer of Reproductive Medicine, Dies at 104

Howard W. Jones Jr., a Pioneer of Reproductive Medicine, Dies at 104


Dr. Howard W. Jones Jr. in 2010 at the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine in Norfolk, Va., which he founded with his wife, Georgeanna. CreditBill Tiernan/The Virginian-Pilot, via Associated Press

Howard W. Jones Jr., a physician who pushed the boundaries of gynecologic surgery, opened the first sex-change clinic in an American hospital and helped achieve the first birth through in vitro fertilization in the United States, died on Friday in Norfolk, Va. He was 104.

His family confirmed his death, of respiratory failure. Dr. Jones, who remained productive into his centenarian years, publishing his final book last fall, died at Sentara Heart Hospital, on the same medical grounds as the hospital in which the historic birth had occurred.

His success in fertilizing a woman’s egg outside the womb, after 41 tries, was achieved alongside his wife, Dr. Georgeanna Jones, one of the nation’s first reproductive endocrinologists. Working together at the Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, they accomplished the feat when Judith Carr gave birth to Elizabeth Carr, America’s first “test-tube baby,” by cesarean section at 7:46 a.m. on Dec. 28, 1981, at what is now Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. 


Dr. Jones was productive into his centenarian years, and published his final book, about the in vitro birth of Elizabeth Carr, in October.

The birth came two days before Dr. Jones’s 71st birthday and three years after Dr. Robert G. Edwards and a colleague had opened a new era in medicine with the birth, in England, of the world’s first baby conceived through in vitro fertilization, Louise Brown. That achievement, for which Dr. Edwards was awarded a Nobel Prize in 2010, enabled millions of infertile couples to bring children into the world and women to have babies even in menopause.

In the United States, baby Elizabeth’s birth helped launch the fertility business. Infertile couples from all over the world flocked to get treatment at a facility the Joneses founded at Eastern Virginia in 1979, the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine. Doctors came to train there. The couple had a long professional partnership that was so close, they shared a desk. They were the only American gynecologists invited to the Vatican in 1984 to advise Pope John Paul II about reproductive technology.

Dr. Jones and his wife had joined Eastern Virginia together, accepting positions soon after he retired from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore at 65, its mandatory retirement age.

Dr. Alan DeCherney, director of reproductive and adult endocrinology at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, Md., said that after retiring, Dr. Jones had “reinvented himself” to become “a world leader in in vitro fertilization and fertility problems, almost equivalent to Edwards.”

At Johns Hopkins, Dr. Jones pioneered gynecologic surgery, particularly in operating on babies with ambiguous genitalia — without the typical appearance of either a boy or girl. In 1965 he helped found the Johns Hopkins Gender Identity Clinic, the first sex-change clinic in an American hospital. While at Johns Hopkins one of his most notable patients was Henrietta Lacks, a black woman whose extracted cancer cells contributed to medical breakthroughs but who contended that they had been removed from her, by other doctors, without her permission.

He continued to write almost until his death. At 102, he self-published the book “Personhood Revisited: Reproductive Technologies, Bioethics, Religion and the Law,” an exploration of the legal and ethical implications of fertility treatments and a critique of legislative efforts to define the union of a sperm and egg as a person — a formulation he did not accept. Dr. Jones would have shopped for a publisher, he said, but he feared that at his age he might have run out of time. He had said the same thing when he was 94, when he self-published “War and Love: A Surgeon’s Memoir of Battlefield Medicine With Letters to and From Home.” The book is a collection of love letters exchanged by him and his wife when he served overseas as chief of an Army mobile surgical team.

His last book, “In Vitro Fertilization Comes to America: Memoir of a Medical Breakthrough,” was published in October by Jamestowne Bookworks.

Dr. Jones met Georgeanna Seegar when they were students. But he had encountered her father, Dr. J. King Seegar, much earlier, on Dec. 30, 1910, at the Jones’s family home in Baltimore. Dr. Seegar had been called there to deliver Howard Wilbur Jones into the world.

Howard Sr. was also physician, and as a child Howard Jr. would go on house calls with him in their horse and buggy.

His father died when Howard was 13, and his mother’s identical twin sister moved in to help raise him. (His mother’s name was Ethyl Ruth; her twin, Ruth Ethyl.) Howard Jr. attended the Friends School in Baltimore and Amherst College in Massachusetts, where he took an English course with the poet Robert Frost before graduating cum laude in 1931.

He was a first-year medical student at Johns Hopkins when he met his future wife at a lecture in 1932. She was a senior nearby at Goucher College.

After she also went on to Johns Hopkins Medical School, to focus on endocrinology, then a new specialty, Dr. Jones, who was in his residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital, sought her out and began studying with her. They were married on June 22, 1940.

Dr. Jones started his career at Johns Hopkins, initially working part-time while also working in the private clinic of the gynecologist Dr. Howard Kelly, who had pioneered radium therapy for cancer patients. Dr. Kelly was one of the so-called Big Four who had founded Johns Hopkins Hospital. In the 1950s, Dr. Jones collaborated on landmark studies with Dr. Richard Wesley TeLinde, proving that cervical cancer in situ — in which tumors have not invaded the cervix’s surface — was more dangerous than previously thought. They found that the tumors become deadly invasive cancers if left untreated.

Dr. Jones encountered Henrietta Lacks in 1951. The 30-year-old wife of a Baltimore steelworker, she showed up at Johns Hopkins Hospital — the only one near her that would treat blacks — complaining of a “knot” in her abdomen. Dr. Jones discovered a lump in her cervix and performed a biopsy, which led to a cancer diagnosis. Cancerous cervix cells that were subsequently removed from Ms. Lacks were the first to grow in culture.

The continued use of Ms. Lacks’ “immortal” cancer cell line, as biologists call it, led to breakthroughs in research on the polio vaccine, chemotherapy, cloning, gene mapping and in vitro fertilization. She died later, in 1951.

In her best-selling 2010 book,“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” Rebecca Skloot contended that the cancerous cells had been removed from Ms. Lacks without the patient’s knowledge. (Oprah Winfrey’s production company has said it is adapting the book for an HBO film.) Dr. Jones, who did not perform the biopsy that yielded the immortal cells, maintained that Ms. Lacks had signed the permit “that all patients signed that was inclusive of doing everything we did.”

“There was no controversy,” he said. “That was something that was created later on.”

Dr. Jones began studying genital anomalies in the 1950s and became an authority in the field, collaborating with Dr. William Wallace Scott in writing the textbook “Hermaphroditism, Genital Anomalies and Related Endocrine Disorders,” published in 1958. He then moved away from that area of study as he became immersed in cancer research and did not return to it until the 1970s, when he began focusing on intersex teenagers, whose sexual anatomy does not fit typical definitions of female or male.

He began studying the chromosomes involved in the phenomenon at a lab he had started at Johns Hopkins. His clinical team of surgeons, endocrinologists and psychologists began treating patients with genital abnormalities from around the world.

The thinking at the time was that before the age of 18 months, children who underwent sex-change surgery would adapt psychologically to the sex in which they were reared. In other words, a baby could be switched from a boy to a girl or vice versa as long as the surgery was done early enough and the parents raised the child with, for example, gender-appropriate clothes and toys.

Among Dr. Jones’s patients was David Reimer, a newborn who was badly maimed during a botched circumcision. Following the parents’ wishes, Dr. Jones removed the remnants of the boy’s genitals and created a vagina. David was later given estrogen during puberty to promote secondary female sex changes. (David’s story was told in John Colapinto’s best-selling book “As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl,” which portrayed the child as always feeling like a boy despite having a girl’s name, clothes, and toys.)

Today, some doctors in the field — now called disorders of sexual development, or D.S.D. — and many advocates for intersexual individuals oppose sex-change surgery on infants as well as surgery to correct ambiguous genitalia, in which the parents choose one sex or the other. The opponents believe that the patient should be given the choice at a later age.

Dr. Jones bridled at being criticized, long after the fact, for performing such surgery. “You are doing what the conventional wisdom around that time said to do,” he said. “Which doesn’t mean if the situation arose today you would necessarily do the same thing.”

After learning about Christine Jorgensen, an American who became widely known for having a male-to-female sex change operation in Denmark in 1951, Dr. Jones said that if the Europeans can do it, he could, too. He helped found the Johns Hopkins Gender Identity Clinic in 1965, the first sex-change clinic in an American hospital.

“There was a lot of discussion of the appropriateness of doing it — if it would really solve the problem” of a person’s feeling uncomfortable as a man or woman and wanting to change, he said. But the questions about sex-change surgery were not moral or psychological ones, he said — “not what reaction it would have with the general public but, from a medical point of view, if it would really be helpful.”

“We said we had to find out,” he said.

Dr. Jones, who lived in Portsmouth, Va., across the Elizabeth River from Norfolk, is survived by his two sons, Howard III, who is chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, and Lawrence, a Denver financial adviser; a daughter, Georgeanna Jones Klingensmith, a professor of pediatrics and a former director of the Barbara Davis Diabetes Center for Childhood Diabetes at the University of Colorado, Denver; seven grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

Dr. Georgeanna Jones died in 2005.

Well into his last years Dr. Jones continued to go to his office at the Jones Institute to read and write and to attend lectures, though he stopped working with patients in the early 1990s, when his wife contracted Alzheimer’s disease.

“When she stopped seeing patients, I decided to stop, too,” he said. “Without her, it wasn’t fun anymore.”

Pacific Research Platform, Research Scientists to Use Network Much Faster Than Internet

Research Scientists to Use Network Much Faster Than Internet


SAN FRANCISCO — A series of ultra-high-speed fiber-optic cables will weave a cluster of West Coast university laboratories and supercomputer centers into a network called the Pacific Research Platform as part of a five-year $5 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation.

The network is meant to keep pace with the vast acceleration of data collection in fields such as physics, astronomy and genetics. It will not be directly connected to the Internet, but will make it possible to move data at speeds of 10 gigabits to 100 gigabits among 10 University of California campuses and 10 other universities and research institutions in several states, tens or hundreds of times faster than is typical now.

The challenge in moving large amounts of scientific data is that the open Internet is designed for transferring small amounts of data, like web pages, said Thomas A. DeFanti, a specialist in scientific visualization at the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, or Calit2, at the University of California, San Diego. While a conventional network connection might be rated at 10 gigabits per second, in practice scientists trying to transfer large amounts of data often find that the real rate is only a fraction of that capacity.

The new network will also serve as a model for future computer networks in the same way the original NSFnet, created in 1985 to link research institutions, eventually became part of the backbone for the Internet, said Larry Smarr, an astrophysicist who is director of Calit2 and the principal investigator for the new project.

NSFnet connected five supercomputer centers with 56-kilobit modems. In the three decades since, network speeds have increased dramatically, but not nearly enough to handle a coming generation of computers capable of a quintillion operations per second. This week the Obama administration announced that the United States is committed to creating what is known as the “exascale” supercomputing era, with machines roughly 30 times faster than today’s fastest computer, on what is called the “petascale.”

“I believe that this infrastructure will be for decades to come the kind of architecture by which you use petascale and exascale computers,” Dr. Smarr said. Increasingly digital science is generating torrents of data. For example, an astronomy effort called the Intermediate Palomar Transient Factory, at the Palomar Observatory in Southern California, continuously scans the dark sky looking for new phenomena. Over all, the Palomar observational system captures roughly 30 terabytes of data per night. By contrast, a Library of Congress project that archives the entire World Wide Web collects about 5 terabytes per month.

In addition to moving data between laboratories, the high-speed network will make new kinds of distributed computing for scientific applications possible. For example, physicists working with data collected by the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland initially kept duplicate copies of files at many different computer clusters around the world, said Frank Wuerthwein, a physicist at the University of California, San Diego. More recently, he said, as high-speed links have become more widely available, experimental data is often kept in a single location and used for experiments by scientists running programs from remote locations, at a significant cost savings.

Further, the new network has been designed with hardware security features to protect it from the attacks that routinely bedevil computers connected to the Internet. Recently, one server at the University of California, San Diego, that was connected to the open Internet counted 35,000 false login attempts in one day, said Dr. Smarr.

The new network is an extension of an existing intra-campus effort by the National Science Foundation to create islands of high-speed connectivity for campus researchers. In recent years the agency has invested more than $500,000 dollars on each of roughly 100 campuses nationwide.

2015年7月29日 星期三






這封信的簽署有科學巨擘史蒂芬·霍金(Stephen Hawking),企業家埃倫·穆斯克 (Elon Musk),以及蘋果公司共同創辦人斯蒂芬·沃茲尼亞克(Stephen Wozniak)。


「殺人機器人」 近期在聯合國委員會上成為辯論的主題之一,討論是否要禁止某些有潛在威脅的自動化武器。



美國麻省理工學院(MIT)教授喬姆斯基(Noam Chomsky)和谷歌人工智能首席Demis Hassabis,以及意識學專家Daniel Dennett都認可了這封信。

信件內容由未來生命研究院(Future of Life Institute)在網絡上發佈,而紙本將在布宜諾斯艾利斯舉行的國際人工智能聯合會議(International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence)上提交。


他在本周會挑出要回答的問題,但現在還沒開始回答。在去年11月BBC科技新聞記者凱蘭—瓊斯(Rory Cellan-Jones)獨家專訪霍金,在訪談中,霍金提出了人工智能可能終結人類文明的擔憂。


然而,另一位簽署這封信的微軟研究首席Eric Horvitz也上傳了一段為人工智能辯護的影片。





(編譯:劉子維 責編:葉靖斯)

E O Wilson, "The world's most evolved biologist."


"The world's most evolved biologist."

E O Wilson has been described as the "world's most evolved biologist" and even as "the heir to Darwin". He's a passionate naturalist and an absolute world authority on ants. Over his long career he's described 450 new species of ants.

Known to many as the founding father of socio-biology, E O Wilson is a big hitter in the world of evolutionary theory. But, recently he's criticised what's popularly known as The Selfish Gene theory of evolution that he once worked so hard to promote (and that now underpins the mainstream view on evolution).

A twice Pulitzer prize winning author of more than 20 books, he's also an extremely active campaigner for the preservation of the planet's bio-diversity: he says, "destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal".
Ants, altruism and evolution

Professor Charles H. Townes

UC Berkeley 分享了影片
We fondly remember Professor Charles H. Townes and his legacy today, the 100th anniversary of his birth. ‪#‎BerkeleyNobel‬ ‪#‎Townes100‬

46,908 次觀看
Charles Hard Townes, a professor emeritus of physics at UC Berkeley, who shared the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics for invention of the laser and subsequently pioneered the use of lasers in astronomy, died at the age of 99 on January 27, 2015. This video was produced on the occasion of his 99th birthday on July 28, 2014.
Townes' career highlights include a 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering the laser, ground-breaking astronomical research, wide-ranging admiration for his efforts to reconcile science and religion, 31 honorary degrees and 38 awards.

2015年7月27日 星期一

折紙 Origami 工程學

[2015.07.28]其它語言:ENGLISH | 日本語 | 简体字 | FRANÇAIS | ESPAÑOL | العربية | Русский |


有一種說法認為,第二次世界大戰結束後不久,一位英國工程師從折紙做的七夕裝飾品中受到啟發,開發出了蜂窩結構芯材(Honeycomb Core)。它是將六角形筒整面排列呈蜂窩形而成的。這種材料在我們身邊比比皆是,最常見的有瓦楞紙做的緩衝材料。新幹線的地板使用了鋁製的蜂窩結構芯材來減少震動,搭載衛星的火箭上,為了防止空轉時的轟鳴震動對衛星音響造成破壞,在壁面上貼有蜂窩狀芯材。




折紙技術之所以如此受矚目,與1990年以後出現的折紙相關軟體不無關係,它們當中有支持折紙設計的軟體和模擬折疊變形狀況的軟體等,促進了「計算折紙」研究的發展。2012年,美國國家科學基金會(National Science Foundation,NSF)還為折紙技術研究項目提供了1,600萬美元的研究開發經費。
同是在美國,還展開了一系列全新的研究,其中,麻省理工學院的計算機科學家德曼(Eric Demaine)教授發表了用形狀記憶高分子膜製作「折疊式機器人」的論文,受到了有關方面的矚目。


事實上,對航空宇宙工程學和機械工程學的研究者們而言,貝、昆蟲翅膀以及向日葵果實的排列方式等自然界存在的折疊構造中,潛藏著許多意味深長的研究主題。2014年11月,《美國國家科學院院刊(Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America,PNAS)》刊登了東京大學助教齊藤一哉的論文《昆蟲界「最難」的折疊,揭開隱翅蟲後翅藏匿法之謎》。這項研究如果能夠繼續深化,有望廣泛影響到工業產品的製造,大到人造衛星太陽能電池翼的展開結構,小到雨傘、扇子等日常用品。


美國國家航空暨太空總署(NASA)噴氣推進實驗室(JPL)與楊百翰大學(Brigham Young University)的研究者們正在進行了一項共同研究,應用折紙技術研發一種能夠伸展至折疊狀態10倍面積的太陽能電池板(圖片為試製品,提供:楊百翰大學/NASA)


而明治大學荻原教授的研究小組,則正在研發一種「桁架夾心板(Truss core panel)」(亦稱「鑽石夾芯板」)。這種板材也很容易彎曲,且防火性強。形狀相同的板材的凹凸面用夾心三明治的方式搭配組合後,其剛度大約是平板的7到8倍,而且成本僅為普通蜂窩構造板材的三分之一。目前正在研究其在太陽能板定日鏡、鋰電池充電器、列車地板構造等方面的應用。
(Nippon Communications Foundation編輯部根據2015年1月在明治大學研究與智慧財產權戰略機構尖端數理科學研究科的採訪整理編輯而成。標題圖片:明治大學荻原一郎教授,攝影:山田慎二)


Scientists like to think of science as self-correcting. To an alarming degree, it is not. There are errors in a lot more of the scientific papers being published, written about and acted on than anyone would normally suppose, or like to think http://econ.st/1JLlKU5

In the nascent “internet of things”, security is the last thing on people’s minds

Modern cars are becoming like computers with wheels. Diabetics wear computerised insulin pumps that can instantly relay their vital signs to their doctors. Smart thermostats learn their owners’ habits, and warm and chill houses accordingly. And all are connected to the internet, to the benefit of humanity. But sceptics now worry that an insecure internet of things might bring dystopia http://econ.st/1CUQvZX

In the nascent “internet of things”, security is the last thing on people’s minds

2015年7月23日 星期四

Pneumatic Tube System

19世紀歐美的系統 (銀行或辦公室之鈔票。文件氣壓管道傳輸系統)

 Pneumatic Tube System

    Pneumatic tube - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    In the United States, drive-up banks often use pneumatic tubes to transport cash ...Most hospitals have a computer-controlled pneumatic tube system to deliver  ...

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  1. Pneumatic Tube System Basics - YouTube

    Dec 6, 2010 - Uploaded by UMHealthSystem
    Video about the Pneumatic Tube System at the UMHS.