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Next Via the Internet: Tailored TV To Suit Every Taste

 

By Mark Jewell May 16, 2005

AP Business Writer

 

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) -- Cable television often boasts that it can deliver esoteric fare suiting nearly any taste. But it could be rendered obsolete by the likes of Bill Eason's hog cooking class.

 

The North Carolina cook's program -- self-described as an "all-day, whole hog class edited down to 45 minutes on how to find, select, prepare and serve whole hog from the man who cooks several hundred per year" -- will be available for a $1.99 download as early as next month on something called DaveTV.

 

It's the type of show -- niche programming to please any taste or whim -- we'll be seeing much more now that broadband Internet has finally become a more reliable conduit for the delivery of broadcast-quality video.

 

A number of startups are promoting this sort of "narrowcasting."

 

Theirs is a vision of a video universe of endless variety that will dwarf traditional television and pay-per-view offerings even as new players -- regional Bell phone companies among them -- emerge to vie for viewers with cable, satellite and other providers.

 

Ken Lipscomb, chief executive of the Atlanta-based company, says DaveTV will offer more than 100 channels featuring 100,000 hours of licensed programming, much of it specialized fare such as illegal street racing and bedtime stories read by an on-screen narrator.

 

The hog video will be on the company's "bbq" channel, featuring more than 1,000 barbecue-related programs. Initially, DaveTV will only be available for viewing on a computer. But the company promises a set-top box for about $200 that will allow downloads to be played on televisions.

 

Also getting into the act is a company called Brightcove Networks Inc. that will let customers avoid buying a separate set-top box and instead link their TVs to newer computers that run Microsoft Windows Media Center software.

 

Led by Jeremy Allaire, former chief technical officer of Macromedia, the Cambridge-based firm says it plans to begin offering a platform to deliver all manner of programming -- supplied by everyone from traditional TV producers to video bloggers to video-on-demand startups -- sometime in the second half of the year.

 

"I deeply believe that over the next several years it will be this blend of very popular shows to kind of middle-of-the-road, down to you-happen-to-be-a-fly-fishing-guy, and you watch fly fishing videos made by some guy in Kansas, and you're paying him $10 to see it," Allaire said.

 

Startups like Brightcove are counting on revenue from consumers, advertisers and such content providers as small-time filmmakers looking to gain exposure. The latter can feed their masterpieces to a distributor and set terms for pricing and any ads that might accompany the show. Revenue from viewers who pay either a subscription or per-program fee could be split.

 

Other fledgling companies, such as San Mateo, Calif.-based Akimbo Systems Inc., offer a mix of traditional TV fare and more esoteric content. Akimbo charges $10 a month and offers about 1,600 programs, though 60 percent of them cost extra -- anywhere from 50 cents to a few bucks.

 

The History Channel, A&E, CNN and Playgirl TV are among more established players who are already latching onto the new distribution services even as they license their programming to traditional cable and satellite operators.

 

The shift in the video landscape is made possible by high-speed connections and increasingly fast microprocessors that typically allow a two-hour feature film to be downloaded in less than an hour.

 

For spur-of-the-moment viewing, a customer can begin watching a film in less than a minute and download the rest while the movie plays. Or, like TiVo, a download can be scheduled while a computer isn't in use, for later viewing.

 

Allaire and others expect that companies like his will bypass the copyright battles plaguing music downloads because distributors can choose to offer only copyright-protected content. And copy-protection technologies such as Microsoft's Windows Media Digital Rights Management system are expected to limit unauthorized copies.

 

Allen Weiner, a new-media analyst for the research firm Gartner Inc., says startups like Brightcove are "all going after the next generation of what television will look like."

 

Looking to nourish all this technology with programming are a host of new players in the movie business such as streaming video site iFilm.com and AmazeFilms, a partner that is among content providers to Akimbo.

 

They may not be the next Steven Spielbergs. But the new media offer promise for creators like Jonathan Caouette, who spent just over $200 assembling camcorder footage and other recordings into a personalized family documentary using movie editing software.

 

His 88-minute downloadable film "Tarnation" won critical acclaim at the Cannes and Sundance film festivals.

 

There also are free alternatives to the pay-to-view model, including the recently formed Open Media Network, a service for the online distribution of video and audio content whose founders say they won't allow it to traffic in pirated programming.

 

Meanwhile, traditional phone companies -- including Verizon and SBC -- are investing in so-called Internet Protocol Television, or IPTV, which involves converting a TV signal into small data packets.

 

New TV delivery systems such as IPTV are expected to accelerate fragmentation of TV audiences with more robust video-on-demand offerings and greater interactivity. A recent report on the future of television by Deloitte & Touche said cable subscription revenue has tripled since 1997 while revenue from DVD sales has risen by a factor of 15.

 

IPTV "has the potential to drive video content revenues higher still," the report says. "The bottom line is that television networks will have plenty of opportunities for rapid growth. They'll just be different than the ones companies rely on today."

 

Gartner's Weiner believes companies like DaveTV, Brightcove and Akimbo can thrive initially by drawing early adopters who are tired of traditional network fare. But the competitive landscape could quickly change if the likes of Google, Yahoo and Microsoft can leverage their Internet search muscle and provide portals for consumers to access video content, he said. All three tech giants are already developing video search engines.

 

Weiner says big companies may eventually take over, but not before lots of small players rush in.

 

"My greatest fear is that once people begin to see these services, there will be so much excitement around this and so many companies moving into this space that there will be a bust," he said. "In the interim, people will just see an unbelievable opportunity ... You will see a huge rush into the space."

 

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Cloning gives new hope to ill

Adam Cresswell, Health editor

May 21, 2005

 

HUMAN embryos have been cloned to create stem cells, in a stunning scientific breakthrough that has opened the door to revolutionary treatment of spinal cord injuries and a wide range of incurable diseases.

 

In a process that scientists have now been able to repeat many times, stem cells can be created that match a patient's genetic profile.

 

This may lead to treatments where stem cells are grown outside the body and then re-introduced without triggering an attack by the body's immune system.

 

In a breakthrough by Korean researchers, skin cells were taken from people with spinal injuries or genetic disorders and used in a cloning process to extract embryonic stem cells for future therapy.

 

The scientists yesterday revealed they had succeeded in creating 31 cloned human embryos, and cultivated 11 embryonic stem cell "lines". The cell lines are cultures of "master" cells that can go on to become any type of cell in the body.

 

Their results - hailed by Australian experts as "terribly exciting" and "a major breakthrough" - promise to give researchers for the first time the ability to experiment under laboratory conditions on cells they know to be "programmed" with genetic diseases. All the donated cells used to make the cloned embryos were from volunteers with spinal cord injuries, Type 1 diabetes or a genetic immune system disorder called hypogammaglobulinaemia.

 

Graham Jenkin, professor of physiology at the Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories in Melbourne, said the technique would help researchers combat many diseases by giving them a much freer hand to test the effect of potential new drugs on cells, without risking harm to the patient.

 

"It's terribly exciting -- I think it's the way we should be going and the way stem cell research will be going," he said.

 

"Scientifically, I think it will be a major breakthrough, and the reason is that I think it will allow us to do a lot of basic research on many of these diseases using human cells that we haven't been able to do before."

 

The confirmation that it is possible to create embryonic stem cells that are a genetic match for an adult human also opens up the possibility that stem cells could be grown in a laboratory and then reinserted into a patient to repair or replace damaged organs.

 

As the DNA in the replicated cells would be identical to the patient's, there should be no danger of the injected cells being attacked by the body's own immune system.

 

However, Professor Jenkin said that while this was "good hype", the development of the technology to this level was "a long way off".

 

Another Melbourne stem cell expert, Megan Munsie, who was the first scientist to show it was possible to isolate embryonic stem cells from an animal embryo derived from an adult cell, said other genetic diseases that might benefit from such research included the blood diseases thalassaemia and sickle cell anaemia, as well as Parkinson's, Huntington's and Alzheimer's disease.

 

The latest Korean research -- published yesterday in the journal Science -- came as British researchers announced they had also succeeded in producing a cloned human embryo, using the same technique of injecting genetic material from a donor cell into a human egg cell that had had its own genetic nucleus removed.

 

Unlike the Koreans, the British scientists have yet to extract any stem cells.

 

Australia currently bans this "nuclear transfer" procedure altogether, and the US has withdrawn government funding for it.

 

Britain and Korea allow it, but only for "therapeutic" reasons where the resulting "blastocyst" - a young embryo of about 100 cells - is used for medical research or treatment.

 

Many countries, including Britain, have banned so-called "reproductive cloning" that would result in a cloned baby, and many scientists worldwide - including those behind the Korean and British results - oppose its use for this purpose.

 

The developments sparked criticism from some British right-to-life groups on ethics grounds.

 

Australia's Prohibition of Human Cloning Act 2002 is due for a federal government review by the end of this year. Both Professor Jenkin and Dr Munsie called for a relaxation of the current laws to allow therapeutic cloning in Australia.

 

from:

 

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/commo...255E601,00.html

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"This could be the biggest breakthrough in preventative medicine since the discovery of vaccination"

 

"... need about 500 micrograms folate or folic acid and 50 micrograms of vitamin B12 daily to help with the DNA rebuilding work."

 

"... largest reduction was in this type of damage which is actually pretty important because it's thought to create the genomic instability that leads to the genetic changes that initiate cancer."

 

"... it looks like the supplements you were taking have had an effect on the rates of DNA damage in your cells ... we observed about a 45% reduction."

 

"... we can see a 60% reduction in risk of a childhood cancer possibly as a result of folate in pregnancy."

 

"... in the not too distant future, busy people will be able to participate in this break through in preventative medicine with a simple blood test in a shop-front clinic."

 

http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/s1381311.htm

 

DNA Doctor

Reporter: Paul Willis

Producer: Stephen Burstow

2 June 2005

 

We all know that as we get older, we start to wear out. Even our most individual blueprint for life, our DNA, becomes progressively more damaged as we get older. And damaged DNA can be the starting point for several degenerative diseases and cancer. Now someone is looking out for the health of your DNA and the good news is, you can do something about it.

 

 

Transcript

 

Narration: Getting older means wearing out.

 

But it's not just muscles, joints and organs that suffer.

 

The older we get, the more damage we do to our own individual blueprint for life: our DNA.

 

And the consequences of a lifetime's DNA damage could be a range of degenerative diseases and cancers.

 

But now this man has made the health of your DNA his top priority.

 

Dr Michael Fenech: We should consider damage to the genome as a fundamental disease that can be diagnosed and treated.

 

Narration: And the good news is, we can all take simple steps toward a healthier genome.

 

Dr Michael Fenech: We know that to some degree it depends on the genes you inherit. However, we also know that you can actually reduce that rate of genome damage.

 

Narration:This could be the biggest breakthrough in preventative medicine since the discovery of vaccination.

 

Working in the CSIRO's Health Sciences division, Michael has been looking at how a range of simple treatments can effect the health of our DNA

 

And I'm about to become a guinea pig to test Michael's theories.

 

He claims that one particular treatment can actually help repair damaged

DNA.

 

But the first step is to look at my DNA and see how much damage I've done to it over the last 40 years.

 

With a little persuasion my white blood cells are made to divide. In each cell's nucleus the strands of DNA are supposed to make nice neat copies - but sometimes things go wrong.

 

Dr Michael Fenech: We've been looking for abnormalities and the shape of those nuclei and then the formation of small nuclei called micro-nuclei where the aberrant DNA or the broken DNA tends to be located.

 

Narration: If the DNA is damaged, the nucleus doesn't divide cleanly into two equal parts. Michael counts the number of these bad copies from 1000

cells.

 

This gives him a rate for my personal DNA damage which he can then compare to typical rates of DNA damage in people my age. And the results are encouraging!

 

Dr Michael Fenech: Well we've had a look at your results and that yellow dot over there is you.

 

Dr Paul Willis, reporter: So I've actually got quite low damage.

 

Dr Michael Fenech: You are actually tracking not too badly for your age.

 

Dr Paul Willis, reporter: So there is actually one index on which I'm actually relatively healthy.

 

Dr Michael Fenech: You are actually doing quite well on this index, although not as well as an 18 or 25 year old.

 

Dr Paul Willis, reporter: Right.

 

Dr Michael Fenech: But that would be interesting to see whether it were possible to bring that rate down to somebody who's 20 years younger.

 

Narration: So, even though my DNA is already in a pretty healthy state, Michael thinks it's possible to undo some of the DNA damage I have already done to my genome.

 

That's a remarkable claim and I have to admit, I'm sceptical.

 

So I'm off to Professor Bruce Armstrong at the University of Sydney. He'll know if really is possible to undo some of my DNA damage.

 

Professor Bruce Armstrong: I think the answer to that is in principle, yes. We do know that there's a dynamic process going on here where DNA has been damaged, DNA is being repaired, damaged DNA is being eliminated from the body and so on and if you can slow down the rate at which DNA damage occurs then you will improve the state of your DNA.

 

Narration: So time to take the good Doctor's challenge. And the treatment is a pretty simple one.

 

According to Michael, DNA has its' own set of rebuilding tools built into it's structure but they can't do their job effectively unless there is plenty of folate and B12 around.

 

Alarmingly, around 9 out of 10 Australians do not have enough folate in their diets to provide for the basic cell functions of DNA replication and repair.

 

Dr Paul Willis, reporter: By far the best source of dietary folate are chicken livers, fried of course, but I have a cholesterol problem and so these guys are off the menu. If I want to go to vegetables, broccoli and brussel sprouts are great, but I'd still need to eat half a kilo a day to get the folate I need, and I think my wife and friends might complain about the side effects. So I've decided to take pills instead.

 

Narration: I'll need about 500 micrograms folate or folic acid and 50 micrograms of vitamin B12 daily to help with the DNA rebuilding work.

 

And, for three months I stuck to the plan. No matter where I went, I faithfully took my folate and B12 every day. And after three months, I'm itching to know if my DNA has improved!

 

Dr Paul Willis, reporter: Have I done anything?

 

Dr Michael Fenech: Yes well it looks like the supplements you were taking have had an effect on the rates of DNA damage in your cells.

 

Dr Paul Willis, reporter: What sort of impact?

 

Dr Michael Fenech: Well we observed about a 45% reduction.

 

Dr Paul Willis, reporter: 45%?

 

Dr Michael Fenech: Yes.

 

Dr Paul Willis, reporter: That sounds very good.

 

Dr Michael Fenech: It's pretty good. The largest reduction was in this type of damage which is actually pretty important because it's thought to create the genomic instability that leads to the genetic changes that initiate cancer.

 

Narration: This is great news for me - particularly seeing as there are some rather nasty cancers lurking in the family history.

 

But, once again, the news sounds almost too good to be true. So it's back to Prof Armstrong to put my results into context.

 

He's already found folate can have an amazing effect in children.

 

Professor Bruce Armstrong: If we can see a 60% reduction in risk of a childhood cancer possibly as a result of folate in pregnancy. Now your 45% reduction in DNA damage doesn't sound all that implausible.

 

Narration: Back in Adelaide Michael has big plans for his research findings.

 

He's proposing the establishment of Genome Health Clinics where people can fine-tune their vitamin consumption to suit their own individual DNA.

 

And such a clinic would not have to be buried away inside a huge hospital...

 

Dr Michael Fenech: You could go to the clinic, give your blood sample and after three months to find out whether the change you have made for your diet has actually caused you any benefit or might have caused you harm.

 

It could possibly be a shop front in Rundle Mall, definitely.

 

Narration: So in the not too distant future, busy people will be able to participate in this break through in preventative medicine with a simple blood test in a shop-front clinic.

 

And if my own experience is anything to go by, it will be a simple and painless process that could help prevent some serious illnesses down the track.

 

 

Story Contacts

 

Dr Michael Fenech

CSIRO

 

Prof. Bruce Armstrong

University of Sydney

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Stem cell therapy 'lessens' stroke-induced brain damage

 

South Korean researchers say they have successfully used stem cell therapy to treat brain-damaged stroke victims and others who have suffered similar organ damage.

 

The Health Ministry, which has funded the research, says the stem cell treatment has had a "remedial effect" on 64 of the 74 patients suffering from cerebral infarction and other conditions caused by blood circulatory disorders.

 

It says it is the first successful stem cell therapy in South Korea involving a group of patients rather than an individual.

 

"This clinical success for patients in a larger group clears away doubt about stem cell therapy, and also paves the way for the early and common use of stem cell therapy," it read.

 

The clinical research team made up of six medical doctors from the country's Catholic and Chonbuk universities report no side effects such as immunity rejection during the therapy.

 

The team says it has extracted stem cells from the bone marrow of the patients, whose condition was caused by clogged blood vessels leading to brain or other organ damage.

 

They then injected the damaged organs with the stem cells.

 

"The function of those (impaired human) organs was found to improve significantly after they were injected by the stem cells," it said.

 

It says that three of five cerebral-infraction patients who have been treated "improved significantly in terms of linguistic impediment and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)".

 

The other two have improved "slightly" after the therapy.

 

"It is the first case... that the direct injection of stem cells into damaged brain parts has put a remedial effect on the patients," Na Hyung-Kyun, a neurologist who joined the team, said.

 

"Some patients were unable to communicate before the (stem cell) therapy, but they have now gotten better enough to communicate with their spouses."

 

Stem cells derived from cord blood or bone marrow can develop into replacement cells for damaged organs or body parts.

 

But research on embryonic stem cells has triggered ethical problems as critics say it is unethical and dangerous to produce embryos - regarded as living humans by some people - for scientific use.

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"... new evidence supporting earlier findings by other scientists who designed an inexpensive "tabletop" device that uses sound waves to produce nuclear fusion reactions."

 

"Nuclear fusion reactors have historically required large, expensive machines, but acoustic cavitation devices might be built for a fraction of the cost."

 

"A cubic kilometer of seawater would contain enough heavy hydrogen to provide a thousand years' worth of power for the United States."

 

"Whereas conventional nuclear fission reactors make waste products that take thousands of years to decay, the waste products from fusion plants would be short-lived, decaying to non-dangerous levels in a decade or two.

 

For the same unit mass of fuel, a fusion power plant would produce 10 times more energy than a fission reactor"

 

http://www.terradaily.com/news/energy-tech-05zzzu.html

 

Purdue Findings Support Earlier Nuclear Fusion Experiments

West Lafayette IN (SPX) Jul 14, 2005

 

Researchers at Purdue University have new evidence supporting earlier findings by other scientists who designed an inexpensive "tabletop" device that uses sound waves to produce nuclear fusion reactions.

 

The technology, in theory, could lead to a new source of clean energy and a host of portable detectors and other applications.

 

The new findings were detailed in a peer-reviewed paper appearing in the May issue of the journal Nuclear Engineering and Design.

 

The paper was written by Yiban Xu, a post-doctoral research associate in the School of Nuclear Engineering, and Adam Butt, a graduate research assistant in both nuclear engineering and the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

 

A key component of the experiment was a glass test chamber about the size of two coffee mugs filled with a liquid called deuterated acetone, which contains a form of hydrogen known as deuterium, or heavy hydrogen.

 

The researchers exposed the test chamber to subatomic particles called neutrons and then bombarded the liquid with a specific frequency of ultrasound, which caused cavities to form into tiny bubbles.

 

The bubbles then expanded to a much larger size before imploding, apparently with enough force to cause thermonuclear fusion reactions.

 

Fusion reactions emit neutrons that fall within a specific energy range of 2.5 mega-electron volts, which was the level of energy seen in neutrons produced in the experiment. The experiments also yielded a radioactive material called tritium, which is another product of fusion, Xu and Butt said.

 

The Purdue research began two years ago, and the findings represent the first confirmation of findings reported earlier by Rusi Taleyarkhan. Now at Purdue, Taleyarkhan, the Arden L. Bement Jr. Professor of Nuclear Engineering, discovered the fusion phenomenon while he was a scientist working at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

 

"The two key signatures for a fusion reaction are emission of neutrons in the range of 2.5 MeV and production of tritium, both of which were seen in these experiments," Xu said.

 

The same results were not seen when the researchers ran control experiments with normal acetone, providing statistically significant evidence for the existence of fusion reactions.

 

"The control experiments didn't show anything," Xu said. "We changed just one parameter, substituting the deuterated acetone with normal acetone."

 

Deuterium contains one proton and one neutron in its nucleus. Normal hydrogen contains only one proton in its nucleus.

 

Taleyarkhan led a research team that first reported the phenomenon in a 2002 paper published in the journal Science.

 

Those researchers later conducted additional research at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Russian Academy of Sciences and wrote a follow-up paper that appeared in the journal Physical Review E in 2004, just after Taleyarkhan had come to Purdue.

 

Scientists have long known that high-frequency sound waves cause the formation of cavities and bubbles in liquid, a process known as "acoustic cavitation," and that those cavities then implode, producing high temperatures and light in a phenomenon called "sonoluminescence."

 

In the Purdue research, however, the liquid was "seeded" with neutrons before it was bombarded with sound waves. Some of the bubbles created in the process were perfectly spherical, and they imploded with greater force than irregular bubbles.

 

The research yielded evidence that only spherical bubbles implode with a force great enough to cause deuterium atoms to fuse together, similar to the way in which hydrogen atoms fuse in stars to create the thermonuclear furnaces that make stars shine.

 

Nuclear fusion reactors have historically required large, expensive machines, but acoustic cavitation devices might be built for a fraction of the cost. Researchers have estimated that temperatures inside the imploding bubbles reach 10 million degrees Celsius and pressures comparable to 1,000 million earth atmospheres at sea level.

 

Xu and Butt now work in Taleyarkhan's lab, but all of the research on which the new paper is based was conducted before they joined the lab, and the research began at Purdue before Taleyarkhan had become a Purdue faculty member.

 

The two researchers used an identical "carbon copy" of the original test chamber designed by Taleyarkhan, and they worked under the sponsorship and direction of Lefteri Tsoukalas, head of the School of Nuclear Engineering.

 

Although the test chamber was identical to Taleyarkhan's original experiment, and the Purdue researchers were careful to use deuterated acetone, they derived the neutrons from a less-expensive source than the Oak Ridge researchers.

 

The scientists working at Oak Ridge seeded the cavities with a "pulse neutron generator," an apparatus that emits rapid pulses of neutrons. Xu and Butt derived neutrons from a radioactive material that constantly emits neutrons, and they simply exposed the test chamber to the material.

 

Development of a low-cost thermonuclear fusion generator would offer the potential for a new, relatively safe and low-polluting energy source.

 

Whereas conventional nuclear fission reactors make waste products that take thousands of years to decay, the waste products from fusion plants would be short-lived, decaying to non-dangerous levels in a decade or two.

 

For the same unit mass of fuel, a fusion power plant would produce 10 times more energy than a fission reactor, and because deuterium is contained in seawater, a fusion reactor's fuel supply would be virtually infinite.

 

A cubic kilometer of seawater would contain enough heavy hydrogen to provide a thousand years' worth of power for the United States.

 

Such a technology also could result in a new class of low-cost, compact detectors for security applications that use neutrons to probe the contents of suitcases; devices for research that use neutrons to analyze the molecular structures of materials; machines that cheaply manufacture new synthetic materials and efficiently produce tritium, which is used for numerous applications ranging from medical imaging to watch dials; and a new technique to study various phenomena in cosmology, including the workings of neutron stars and black holes.

 

The desktop experiment is safe because, although the reactions generate extremely high pressures and temperatures, those extreme conditions exist only in small regions of the liquid in the container - within the collapsing bubbles, Xu said.

 

Purdue researchers plan to release additional data from related experiments in October during the Nuclear Reactor Thermal Hydraulics conference in Avignon, France.

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http://www.spacedaily.com/news/energy-tech-05zzzzzb.html

 

"The sun produces in a single second enough energy to meet the needs of all humanity for 2,000 years. ... A square meter of silicon solar cells cost approximately $300. Nano sheets are based on much thinner cells and cost about $30 for the same surface."

 

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/commo...5E30417,00.html

 

"The Buckingham Palace scheme will cost up to pound stg. 50,000 ($120,000), but is expected to pay for itself in three to seven years. It could then provide free heat energy for a century with almost no maintenance."

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Clippings from the latest newsletter http://www.johnmauldin.com :

 

"Last month, researchers in Dallas, not far from me, announced they were able to extend the life of a mouse by 30%, and not just 30% longer, but functionally younger through what was formerly old age. They simply were adding a normal hormone to the mouse, which seems to increase his life span. Interestingly, we humans have this same hormone."

 

"Dr. Michael Roizen ... one of the premier anti-aging doctors in the world. (He wrote the RealAge book series and the recent blockbuster best-seller (1,000,000+ sold) called

"You - The Owner's Manual." ... Mike is pretty sober-minded ... he thinks it is quite possible we stop the aging process in 10 or at least 15 years."

 

"Researchers at a firm south of Dallas, now allied with Texas A&M, have figured out how to turn off the fat gene in mice. They can eat 3 times what they normally eat and not gain weight."

 

"... as science moves past using stem cells from the usual sources and creates their own from your cells. They are now growing functioning neurons! Scientists there are suggesting that within five years, there may be amazing progress with Alzheimer's and other brain related illnesses. As an aside, if things progress the way Ray thinks, human cloning will be a mute point within 40 years. Who would want to clone an old inferior body? Ray is not talking about designer babies, but Designer Baby Boomers."

 

"As we get to the 2030s, the nonbiological portion of our intelligence will predominate."

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In reply to: cso1 on Saturday 16/04/05 04:42pm

< "In this case [in Sellafield], it represents a way of restraining plutonium so that it can't escape into the environment and can't be separated for any weapons use," he said.

 

"Over the past two years, ANSTO has worked to develop a tailor-made glass-ceramic matrix to imprison the Sellafield waste ready for long-term storage and eventual permanent disposal," Dr Smith added in a statement. >

 

I've no idea of any further progress made since this info was posted. But I do feel that an investment NOW in a resourse we here in Australia do have our share of, may ensure a better future for Australia and generations to come. IMHO.

 

IF we can push IR & Terrorist Bills through in record time surely we can 'FAST TRACK' an (ALL facets, including disposals) commitment to the future of a world energy solution. One that would prove that "special" kind of investment ensuring a certain line of employment growth here in Australia surrounding the many future developing aspects, associated with Uranium Energy.

 

Spend $50M "selling" the benefits and bring on a referendum to determine an outcome, if that's even necessary. No conscience vote would be required for what would be a democratic decision, for the people, by the people.

 

< Beyond owning no controlling stakes, Mr. Minchin said, the government will not impose restrictions on where the Future Fund should invest, or what it should or should not invest in.

 

"We're not going to have a 'you can't buy this,' or 'you can't buy that,' " he said. "We're just saying, 'Have regard to the Australian government's reputation.' " >

 

A Secure Old Age in Australia From Investments Abroad

 

By WAYNE ARNOLD

Published: November 30, 2005

 

It is the kind of problem most governments could only wish for: After several years of budget surpluses, debt is headed to zero and a huge privatization next year will add billions of dollars more to the treasury.

 

How to spend it: On public works? Tax cuts? A rainy-day fund?

 

The Australian government, faced with just such an embarrassment of riches, has elected to plow roughly $15 billion in surpluses, together with the $18.5 billion it expects to earn from the sale of the rest of its former phone monopoly, Telstra, into a professionally managed investment fund.

 

Called the Future Fund, this national nest egg would also absorb future budget surpluses and invest it in world financial markets. The goal is to raise the $103 billion that the government estimates it will need by 2020 to pay pensions owed to its employees.

 

Finance Minister Nicholas Minchin, referring to money held in the central bank, said by telephone from Canberra, "We're satisfied that a diversified and well-managed investment fund will be able to earn over the longer term considerably more, and build up to the requisite size in a much more likely fashion, than just leaving it with the reserve."

 

Having proposed the investment fund last year, the government plans to introduce legislation in the next two weeks to create it. The fund would soon become one of the largest in Australia and, at its peak, is likely to number among the world's largest public investment funds - joining the ranks of the $100 billion Government of Singapore Investment and the nearly $200 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, or Calpers. And like them, analysts say, the Future Fund is likely to have a proportionate influence in global financial markets.

 

There was no immediate indication how its portfolio would be divided between Asian and other world markets. Officials, though, want the Future Fund to avoid buying so much stock in any company that it becomes a controlling shareholder. That means it would seek its opportunities outside Australia. "There simply aren't enough large equities that would allow significant liquidity without the fund having a significant shareholding," said John Edwards, chief economist at HSBC in Sydney. "It will have to look offshore."

 

Once overseas, big funds cannot help but exert influence - on prices and politics. Calpers, for example, has influenced markets in developing countries, many with total value smaller than the pension fund.

 

In 2002, it roiled Asian markets by declaring that it would pull out of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand because these countries did not meet new investment standards for political stability, labor rights, a free press and credible accounting. The Filipinos and Thais sent senior aides to California to persuade fund officials to change their mind. Calpers has since reapproved all those markets except Indonesia.

 

Beyond owning no controlling stakes, Mr. Minchin said, the government will not impose restrictions on where the Future Fund should invest, or what it should or should not invest in. "We're not going to have a 'you can't buy this,' or 'you can't buy that,' " he said. "We're just saying, 'Have regard to the Australian government's reputation.' "

 

All this presents officials with another riddle: How can a government become a market player when it also serves as referee, and how does it ensure that its investment decisions do not become extensions of government policy? Placing the Future Fund under an independent agency that farms it out to professional managers is one possible solution.

 

Not surprisingly, the government's plans are running into opposition from critics, like Wayne Swan, the opposition Labor Party's shadow treasurer, who said, "This is a de facto tightening of fiscal policy, which is inhibiting the ability of the government to invest in the productive capacity of this country."

 

Few doubt that Australia needs to save more to ensure public-worker pensions. Like most industrial nations, its population is aging, and while a commodity-driven economic boom has kept the government flush, the public's savings rate is relatively low and paying for pensions will put a growing burden on working-age Australians.

 

The government has taken steps to head off this problem by requiring all workers to put 9 percent of their income into private pension funds. Public employees are no exception, but those who were part of the previous pension plan will retire eventually, posing a 91 billion Australian dollar liability ($67 billion), the government's largest obligation.

 

So analysts and economists generally support programs like the Future Fund. "It's certainly a positive development in the sense of doing something about their pension obligations," Sharad Jain, government debt analyst at Standard & Poor's in Melbourne, said. And Moody's recently extolled Australia's solution as a good alternative to the system in the United States, where the government pays retirement benefits from commingled general revenue.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/30/business...?pagewanted=all

 

http://www.sharescene.com/html/emoticons/smile.gif

LC

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QUOTE (cso1 @ Saturday 16/04/05 04:42pm)

 

< "In this case, it represents a way of restraining plutonium so that it can't escape into the environment and can't be separated for any weapons use," he said.

 

"Over the past two years, ANSTO has worked to develop a tailor-made glass-ceramic matrix to imprison the Sellafield waste ready for long-term storage and eventual permanent disposal," Dr Smith added in a statement. >

 

I've no idea of any further progress made since this info was posted. But I do feel that an investment NOW in a resourse we here in Australia do have our share of, may ensure a better future for Australia and generations to come. IMHO.

 

IF we can push IR & Terrorist Bills through in record time surely we can 'FAST TRACK' an (ALL facets, including disposals) commitment to the future of a world energy solution. One that would prove that "special" kind of investment ensuring a certain line of employment growth here in Australia surrounding the many future developing aspects, associated with Uranium Energy.

 

Spend $50M "selling" the benefits and bring on a referendum to determine an outcome, if that's even necessary. No conscience vote would be required for what would simply be a democratic decision, for the people, by the people.

 

< Beyond owning no controlling stakes, Mr. Minchin said, the government will not impose restrictions on where the Future Fund should invest, or what it should or should not invest in.

 

"We're not going to have a 'you can't buy this,' or 'you can't buy that,' " he said. "We're just saying, 'Have regard to the Australian government's reputation.' " >

 

A Secure Old Age in Australia From Investments Abroad

 

By WAYNE ARNOLD

Published: November 30, 2005

 

It is the kind of problem most governments could only wish for: After several years of budget surpluses, debt is headed to zero and a huge privatization next year will add billions of dollars more to the treasury.

 

How to spend it: On public works? Tax cuts? A rainy-day fund?

 

The Australian government, faced with just such an embarrassment of riches, has elected to plow roughly $15 billion in surpluses, together with the $18.5 billion it expects to earn from the sale of the rest of its former phone monopoly, Telstra, into a professionally managed investment fund.

 

Called the Future Fund, this national nest egg would also absorb future budget surpluses and invest it in world financial markets. The goal is to raise the $103 billion that the government estimates it will need by 2020 to pay pensions owed to its employees.

 

Finance Minister Nicholas Minchin, referring to money held in the central bank, said by telephone from Canberra, "We're satisfied that a diversified and well-managed investment fund will be able to earn over the longer term considerably more, and build up to the requisite size in a much more likely fashion, than just leaving it with the reserve."

 

Having proposed the investment fund last year, the government plans to introduce legislation in the next two weeks to create it. The fund would soon become one of the largest in Australia and, at its peak, is likely to number among the world's largest public investment funds - joining the ranks of the $100 billion Government of Singapore Investment and the nearly $200 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, or Calpers. And like them, analysts say, the Future Fund is likely to have a proportionate influence in global financial markets.

 

There was no immediate indication how its portfolio would be divided between Asian and other world markets. Officials, though, want the Future Fund to avoid buying so much stock in any company that it becomes a controlling shareholder. That means it would seek its opportunities outside Australia. "There simply aren't enough large equities that would allow significant liquidity without the fund having a significant shareholding," said John Edwards, chief economist at HSBC in Sydney. "It will have to look offshore."

 

Once overseas, big funds cannot help but exert influence - on prices and politics. Calpers, for example, has influenced markets in developing countries, many with total value smaller than the pension fund.

 

In 2002, it roiled Asian markets by declaring that it would pull out of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand because these countries did not meet new investment standards for political stability, labor rights, a free press and credible accounting. The Filipinos and Thais sent senior aides to California to persuade fund officials to change their mind. Calpers has since reapproved all those markets except Indonesia.

 

Beyond owning no controlling stakes, Mr. Minchin said, the government will not impose restrictions on where the Future Fund should invest, or what it should or should not invest in. "We're not going to have a 'you can't buy this,' or 'you can't buy that,' " he said. "We're just saying, 'Have regard to the Australian government's reputation.' "

 

All this presents officials with another riddle: How can a government become a market player when it also serves as referee, and how does it ensure that its investment decisions do not become extensions of government policy? Placing the Future Fund under an independent agency that farms it out to professional managers is one possible solution.

 

Not surprisingly, the government's plans are running into opposition from critics, like Wayne Swan, the opposition Labor Party's shadow treasurer, who said, "This is a de facto tightening of fiscal policy, which is inhibiting the ability of the government to invest in the productive capacity of this country."

 

Few doubt that Australia needs to save more to ensure public-worker pensions. Like most industrial nations, its population is aging, and while a commodity-driven economic boom has kept the government flush, the public's savings rate is relatively low and paying for pensions will put a growing burden on working-age Australians.

 

The government has taken steps to head off this problem by requiring all workers to put 9 percent of their income into private pension funds. Public employees are no exception, but those who were part of the previous pension plan will retire eventually, posing a 91 billion Australian dollar liability ($67 billion), the government's largest obligation.

 

So analysts and economists generally support programs like the Future Fund. "It's certainly a positive development in the sense of doing something about their pension obligations," Sharad Jain, government debt analyst at Standard & Poor's in Melbourne, said. And Moody's recently extolled Australia's solution as a good alternative to the system in the United States, where the government pays retirement benefits from commingled general revenue.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/30/business...?pagewanted=all

 

http://www.sharescene.com/html/emoticons/smile.gif

LC

 

PS: I do hold a small parcel of GGY on behalf of my 17 yr old son & the future.

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  • 1 month later...

 

Future Fund may receive Telstra stock .... (Thanks to tps216)

 

The Future Fund, which has been set up by the federal government to cover public services superannuation liabilities, could receive shares from the full sale of Telstra if the securities can't be sold, the head of the fund has confirmed.

 

Future Fund chairman David Murray said the government was still formulating its strategy for the sale of its remaining 51.8 per cent stake in Telstra, which is likely to occur in late 2006.

 

But if the government can't sell all of the six billion or so shares expected to be offered in a public float, the Future Fund might have to be set up a separate fund to manage any leftover securities.

 

"Clearly, the fund will either get cash from sale and/or shares," Mr Murray, the former head of Commonwealth Bank of Australia said in an interview with independent online financial news service Eureka Report.

 

"If there's a lot of shares there that don't match a normal weighting of investment in the market, then clearly a separate mandate is needed to characterise that brief from the main one to invest the cash.

 

"So yes, there would have to be separate mandates and what's in the mandate for any Telstra shares will come right back to the sales strategy of the government, so I can't predict that until they determine it."

 

Mr Murray also said the Future Fund's investment strategy would be based on a long term horizon that would aim to generate real rates of return of 4.5 per cent to 5.5 per cent per annum.

 

Amongst similar funds around the world, Mr Murray said he particularly admired the strategies of American university endowment funds, which invest to maintain income flows to support campuses and student education.

 

"So there are some fantastic examples around the world but the university endowments in America, I think, are probably the best example of what we've got to try and achieve," Mr Murray said.

 

As the fund's strategy evolves - and Mr Murray hopes to see it up and running by mid-year - it would likely take a balanced approach to onshore and offshore investment.

 

"That would be a matter for the board to determine but generally this fund should be viewed as a long-term pension fund in style and one that would have a proportion of its assets offshore and a proportion onshore, so the best lead to take is a balanced superannuation fund approach," he said.

 

The Future Fund will begin with seed capital of $18 billion and be topped up with another $25 billion or so upon the full sale of the government's Telstra stake.

 

It's expected to build up assets to $140 billion by 2020 to pay public sector superannuation liabilities falling due in ensuing years.

 

Telstra shares currently trade around $4, valuing its listed equity at $24.29 billion.

 

The Future Fund, which has been set up by the federal government to cover public services superannuation liabilities, could receive shares from the full sale of Telstra if the securities can't be sold, the head of the fund has confirmed.

 

Future Fund chairman David Murray said the government was still formulating its strategy for the sale of its remaining 51.8 per cent stake in Telstra, which is likely to occur in late 2006.

 

But if the government can't sell all of the six billion or so shares expected to be offered in a public float, the Future Fund might have to be set up a separate fund to manage any leftover securities.

 

"Clearly, the fund will either get cash from sale and/or shares," Mr Murray, the former head of Commonwealth Bank of Australia said in an interview with independent online financial news service Eureka Report.

 

"If there's a lot of shares there that don't match a normal weighting of investment in the market, then clearly a separate mandate is needed to characterise that brief from the main one to invest the cash.

 

"So yes, there would have to be separate mandates and what's in the mandate for any Telstra shares will come right back to the sales strategy of the government, so I can't predict that until they determine it."

 

Mr Murray also said the Future Fund's investment strategy would be based on a long term horizon that would aim to generate real rates of return of 4.5 per cent to 5.5 per cent per annum.

 

Amongst similar funds around the world, Mr Murray said he particularly admired the strategies of American university endowment funds, which invest to maintain income flows to support campuses and student education.

 

"So there are some fantastic examples around the world but the university endowments in America, I think, are probably the best example of what we've got to try and achieve," Mr Murray said.

 

As the fund's strategy evolves - and Mr Murray hopes to see it up and running by mid-year - it would likely take a balanced approach to onshore and offshore investment.

 

"That would be a matter for the board to determine but generally this fund should be viewed as a long-term pension fund in style and one that would have a proportion of its assets offshore and a proportion onshore, so the best lead to take is a balanced superannuation fund approach," he said.

 

The Future Fund will begin with seed capital of $18 billion and be topped up with another $25 billion or so upon the full sale of the government's Telstra stake.

 

It's expected to build up assets to $140 billion by 2020 to pay public sector superannuation liabilities falling due in ensuing years.

 

Telstra shares currently trade around $4, valuing its listed equity at $24.29 billion.

 

The Future Fund, which has been set up by the federal government to cover public services superannuation liabilities, could receive shares from the full sale of Telstra if the securities can't be sold, the head of the fund has confirmed.

 

Future Fund chairman David Murray said the government was still formulating its strategy for the sale of its remaining 51.8 per cent stake in Telstra, which is likely to occur in late 2006.

 

But if the government can't sell all of the six billion or so shares expected to be offered in a public float, the Future Fund might have to be set up a separate fund to manage any leftover securities.

 

"Clearly, the fund will either get cash from sale and/or shares," Mr Murray, the former head of Commonwealth Bank of Australia said in an interview with independent online financial news service Eureka Report.

 

"If there's a lot of shares there that don't match a normal weighting of investment in the market, then clearly a separate mandate is needed to characterise that brief from the main one to invest the cash.

 

"So yes, there would have to be separate mandates and what's in the mandate for any Telstra shares will come right back to the sales strategy of the government, so I can't predict that until they determine it."

 

Mr Murray also said the Future Fund's investment strategy would be based on a long term horizon that would aim to generate real rates of return of 4.5 per cent to 5.5 per cent per annum.

 

Amongst similar funds around the world, Mr Murray said he particularly admired the strategies of American university endowment funds, which invest to maintain income flows to support campuses and student education.

 

"So there are some fantastic examples around the world but the university endowments in America, I think, are probably the best example of what we've got to try and achieve," Mr Murray said.

 

As the fund's strategy evolves - and Mr Murray hopes to see it up and running by mid-year - it would likely take a balanced approach to onshore and offshore investment.

 

"That would be a matter for the board to determine but generally this fund should be viewed as a long-term pension fund in style and one that would have a proportion of its assets offshore and a proportion onshore, so the best lead to take is a balanced superannuation fund approach," he said.

 

The Future Fund will begin with seed capital of $18 billion and be topped up with another $25 billion or so upon the full sale of the government's Telstra stake.

 

It's expected to build up assets to $140 billion by 2020 to pay public sector superannuation liabilities falling due in ensuing years.

 

Telstra shares currently trade around $4, valuing its listed equity at $24.29 billion.

 

http://www.sharescene.com/html/emoticons/smile.gif

LC

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