Boondoggling the California Stem Cell Gold Rush? Journo lingo overload

boondoggleI am more and more surprised on how journalists are verbalizing the $6 billion California Stem Cell Situation. On the one hand California Institute of Regenerative Medicine has just got the first big, $181 million fund in state and private loans to scientists for realizing embryonic stem cell research out of the promised billions called Proposition 71 initiative but on the other hand journalists have already started to talk about boondoggling, $3 billion jug of snake oil and cash-starved scientists. Now we are sitting in the middle of the under simplified and over-conceptualized Bubbleboom concerning public opinion on the stem cell happenings at the West Coast.

Disclosure: According to Wikipedia Boondoggle is a North American term which has come to refer to the performance of useless or trivial tasks while appearing to be doing something important. In the United States, the key feature of this “art” is the waste of time and/or money involved. In Canada, however, the term has come to mean, more specifically, a government scandal involving the wasting or misallocation of public funds causing a project to be well over-budget, frequently more than double or triple the original cost.

John Schloendorn, the LysoSENS connection: chat on life extension

John SchloendornJohn Schloendorn has a master’s degree in biochemistry at the University of Tuebingen, Germany. Currently he is a graduate student at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute, USA. John is heavily involved in the LysoSENS project of the Methuselah Foundation, which aims to remove some intracellular waste products for example via microbe-derived hydrolases targeted to the lysosome. Yes, this is the aubreyesque way of thinking on and experimenting with life extension.

1. What is the story of your life extension commitment? Since I first learnt that everyone was going to fall apart brutally, it was my goal to help with fixing aging somehow. To do that I needed to learn as much about aging as possible, and also needed to learn what everyone in the field was doing, so it seemed straightforward enough to study biochemistry. By the time my graduation came closer, Aubrey was running around, telling everyone he had a plan to fix aging. The plan seemed to make sense (true to its name), or at least it seemed like by far the best plan I could find. So I contacted him a lot over the web, eventually met him and volunteered to do some basic proof-of-concept’ing of some of his ideas. LysoSENS seemed like the fastest way to do that, it had already taken some baby steps thanks to Mark Hamalainen whom you interviewed recently, and there was enough Foundation money to keep it going. One can hardly hit upon a more fortunate situation.

2. Is it a commitment for moderate or maximum life extension? LysoSENS by itself is meant to address only parts of the age-related damage we accumulate. Magically achieving all LysoSENS goals would not extend life greatly, because other exponentially rising causes of death should rapidly take over, most importantly cancer. Thus, LysoSENS by itself would presumably count as moderate life extension. Continue reading