It is Tuesday, right? Easy to lose track when you’re off work for a month! Alas, the spring semester starts today and thus I am headed off to work in a few hours. Actually in some ways I am quite ready to go back to work! In other ways, not so much.
Christmas break this year was only semiproductive. I did write 100 pp or so (yay!), but not the 150-200 I sort of intended. Too many days where my attention was just pulled in too many different directions, plus a real dislike for Chapter, um, I guess that turned into Chapter 9, at least for now. This is Shadow Twin, incidentally, which is now 97,000 words and thus I sincerely hope kind of near-ish the beginning of the end. I have finally connected the beginning with the middle, which is satisfying.
Ah, it may be obvious at this point that there is zero chance I will bring Shadow Twin out in January. Since I definitely don’t want to publish it too close to one of the traditionally published books, I am now aiming for, like, June. That ought to give me time to finish the thing and let beta readers take a look at it and then revise it and so on and so forth.
Meanwhile, back to a brief roundup of a few items that caught my eye this past week:
Since the 1950s, ambitious researchers have tried to build artificial hearts but have always come up short. Now, four different companies think they’ve found the right technology, and they’re out to prove it. In 2017, clinical trials and animal tests could finally demonstrate that permanent artificial hearts are ready for the clinic.
About 5.7 million people in the United States alone are currently living with a diagnosis of heart failure, meaning their hearts are gradually becoming less effective at pumping blood. Some of the worst-off patients join the waiting list for a heart transplant, but donor hearts are scarce and many people die while waiting.
You know who else is currently living with some degree of heart failure? Zillions of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, who suffer from mitral valve defects at something like 14 times the average rate for dogs. While I am a big, big, big proponent of breeding away from this problem — which in fact is probably somewhat reduced in the breed by now because a lot of committed breeders have been working on this for decades — anyway, I am pretty sure researchers would find no shortage of Cavalier owners willing to volunteer their pets to try out really promising new therapies. Anyway, onward!
[W]hile there’s not a whole lot that can be done for scars that are already there, researchers have figured out how to make fresh wounds heal as normal, regenerated skin, instead of the usual scar tissue – something that was previously thought to be impossible in mammals.
Good, good. Nice start. Now let’s go on to figuring out how to regenerate limbs, eh?
Speaking of regenerating stuff:
Not personally relevant for me, since I inherited my mother’s excellent teeth. Thanks, Mom!
I only wish I had also inherited her metabolism. Sigh. Can’t have everything.
Anyway: Researchers have identified a drug that can regenerate teeth from the inside out, possibly reducing the need for artificial fillings.
The drug was previously used in Alzheimer’s clinical trials, and it now appears to improve the tooth’s natural ability to heal itself. It works by activating stem cells inside the tooth’s pulp centre, prompting the damaged area to regenerate the hard dentin material that makes up the majority of a tooth.
My Dad has terrible teeth. For him and the many, many people like him, this would be a blessing.
Here’s something that’s just interesting:
You know, the past couple years have brought in so much neat astronomical data.
…Pluto’s ice ridges are massive towers standing up to 500 metres in height – making them hundreds of times taller than the Earth-bound versions, which usually only extend about a metre vertically (although outliers reach up to 5 metres or 16 feet).
Snazzy pictures at the link.
Okay, that’s it for this week! Gotta go stop the boys from tearing up my old white sweater. I don’t care about the sweater, but I don’t want to anybody actually eating a significant portion of it.