Mining the Moleskine

I have carried lots of notebooks over the years, and I only recently found the Moleskine.  It is my favorite by far.  From time to time, I will delve into the pages of my Moleskine for a blog entry.

So, with no further ado...

1 December 2004 :: Tokyo

Robot_goddessAfter getting lost once again in Shinjuku station, finally finding my way to the right subway line, and stumbling into the four story metal robot-ninjapuppet-goddessqueen, I am now sitting happily at Segafredo in the upper lobby of Mori Tower, Roppongi Hills.  There are vast numbers (relatively) of Westerners in suits here, as well as meandering the mall.  But for all their ex-pat spending power, they are out-yenned by the many Japanese patronizing all the Western shops and restaurants.  With equivalent lines at Segafredo and the Starbuck's just downstairs, I wonder how distinctly the concepts of "Western", "European", and "American" are differentiated in the Japanese (and more generally Asian) mind.  Does it make a difference?  Does the conception of the US as a place and culture distinct from Europe, perhaps as exemplified by foreign policy,  come into decisions about where to shop, or with which brands to self-identify?

2 December 2004 :: Approximately the Int'l Date Line

This I wonder -- as clocks (developed largely to assist with navigation) brought about a general  public concern for the precise passage of time, and a common means to accurately measure it, what other tools and concepts so momentously impact the zeitgeist and human condition?  Not relativity and quantum mechanics, I think, because these are neither commonly understood nor measured, and as yet neither find application in common technology.  Indeed, at least for the time being we avoid quantum mechanics in our computers and make little or no mention of the effects of relativity on travelers or satellites.

What will be the tool or concept that changes our conception of biology?  Will it have a polysyllabic name we already know; genomics, metabolomics, proteomics, transcriptomics?  We barely know how to define those terms, and are not yet proficient in measuring any of them.  Perhaps revolution will be found in "molecular medicine", the reduction of health care to understandable, describable interactions of compounds dispensed with a foreknowledge of their effects.

And how will the concept of "molecular medicine", with its reduction of biology to mechanistic interactions and its probable reliance upon stem cell therapies -- even those drawn from the patient -- be received in the context of an apparently resurgent Christian philosophy wherein every cell that possesses the capability of generating a new life, a new individual, is held to have a soul?  What happens when it is demonstrated that stem cells removed from an adult can be reprogrammed and used to generate a new human being?  Will opponents argue that the line is too easy to cross?  Or will the potential health care benefits overwhelm the desire for a self-consistent philosophy?