this week i

listened to lukas sommer with marcie at millenium stage, she stirred tomato stew while i roast coffee beans.

met scott and nicole at bindaas then a formal something or other at the french embassy.  unlimited wine and macarons means one full day recovery.

read being mortal..

if our genes explain less than we imagined, the classical wear-and-tear model may explain more than we knew.  leonid gavrilov, a researcher at the university of chicago, argues that human beings fail the way all complex systems fail: randomly and gradually.  as engineers have long recognized, simple devices typically do not age.  they function reliably until a critical component fails, and the whole thing dies in an instant.  a windup toy, for example, works smoothly until a gear rusts or a spring breaks, and then it doesn't work at all.  but complex systems - power plants, say - have to survive and function despite having thousands of critical, potentially fragile components.  engineers therefore design these machines with multiple layers of redundancy: with backup systems, and backup systems for the backup systems.  the backups may not be as efficient as the first-line components, but they may allow the machine to keep going on even as damage accumulates.  garilov argues that, within the parameters established by our genes, that's exactly how human beings appear to work.  we have an extra kidney, an extra lung, an extra gonad, extra teeth.  the dna in our cells is frequently damaged under routine conditions, but our cells have a number of dna repair systems.  if a key gene is permanently damaged, there are usually extra copies of the gene nearby.  and, if the entire cell dies, other cells can fill in

in general, the younger the subjects were, the less they valued time with people they were emotionally close to and the more they valued time with people who were potential sources of information or new friendship.  however, among the ill, the age differences disappeared.  the preferences of a young person with aids were the same as those of an old person..when they were asked how they would like to spend half an hour of time, the age differences in their preferences were again clear.  but when asked simply to imagine they were about to move far away, the age differences again disappeared.  the young chose as the old did.  next, the researchers asked them to imagine a medical breakthrough had been made that would add twenty years to their life.  again, the age differences disappeared - but this time the old chose as the young did

to help people in the state of dependence sustain the value of existence

arriving at an acceptance of one's mortality and a clear understanding of the limits and the possibilities of medicine is a process, not an epiphany