New Age



Today I turn 34.

Like most of my birthdays I’m not entirely sure what to make of it.

A lot happened in the last year, most of which was the birth of my daughter. She was born a month after my 33rd birthday last year.

No doubt life has changed. It’s changed a lot actually. Every day is a routine from the moment she has her first bottle to the time she eats breakfast, then she eats lunch, then she naps, then she eats dinner, then she takes a bath and then she gets her night bottle before going to bed. We’ve developed a pretty well-oiled machine.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s much more magical than that. Watching her grow up and learn new things every day like crawling, laughing, making noises or giggling at feeling a dog’s whiskers on her cheeks, has been fun and of course for me, enlightening.

Every day I come home, she looks toward the door at me and grins. Then I pretty much can’t do anything else until I pick her up or get on the floor with her to play.

The whole thing has hit me on a gut level. I can’t even explain it. A new facet of my being has been created and every day is becoming a discovery.

So now it’s my birthday and I look at this shift in my life. I am still John but at the same time my identity has expanded to my daughter. While she has part of my DNA, she still is influenced by me and her mother through our behavior and mannerisms, all of which she absorbs.

Why do I think about this on my birthday? Maybe it’s because for so long I looked at my birthday as a milestone in my life. Now I know it’s not just my life that my actions affect anymore.

I wonder if I’m a good father and if I’m doing enough to enrich her life. As a philosophy-driven person, I am always looking at who I am as a person and what I can do differently to be fulfilled. Now I look at both our lives and how far we’ve come in just a year.

I can’t even imagine what I’m going to be like on her first birthday.


Your Own Life

Politics, Uncategorized

Well, not long after I wrote about the absurdity of a company’s efforts to patent DNA locations and that Big Agriculture owns modified genes in seeds, the Supreme Court came out with a decision today saying a corporate entity cannot stake claim to naturally existing DNA.

For once, someone agreed with me.

Clarence Thomas, who wrote the majority opinion in the Big Agriculture case, wrote the opinion for the court issued today.

“We merely hold that genes and the information they encode are not patent eligible… simply because they have been isolated from the surrounding genetic material,” he wrote.

The company CAN hold patents on DNA that it has changed, which is very much akin to the previously-mentioned, genetically-modified seed case.

Click on the pic below to read the full decision:

Own life

Own Life


DNA money

Who owns life?  Simple question. We’d all like to think that we are our own owners. It’s my hand, my face, my eyes, my legs. Even when we die our organs can be donated only if we agree to it beforehand.

A few medical research companies are begging to differ though. They are arguing to the Supreme Court that they can patent specific genes in our genome, something we all have in our DNA.

Their position? Because these specific genes, which are linked to breast cancer, have been isolated and identified, they therefore are intellectual property. They are preventing other companies from pursuing treatments for these specific genes. They are also holding these gene locations hostage by not allowing doctors to view a patient’s DNA to determine if they have a gene for breast cancer.

It’s kind of like saying, ‘I found gold in a national forest, therefore it’s intellectual property and anyone who owns gold owns patented material.’

Let’s also keep in mind that the Human Genome Project actually mapped the entire human DNA sequence, not pharmaceutical companies.

Kind of bold I think. But they can’t own something we already own. If the Supreme Court buys this absurd notion then I won’t be able to take Tylenol for my headache because Advil has already patented my brain. If I have carpal tunnel syndrome, I can’t wear a brace because a surgeon has perfected some treatment.

It’s not like life hasn’t been patented before. Big Agriculture owns patents to products that they’ve genetically modified to be resistant to pesticides, endure tougher weather and grow in abundance. I disagree with those SCOTUS positions as well.

But at least in those cases, the genes were modified by the company, not simply discovered.

It’s yet another case of business vs. public good. If money can be made off of something, we suddenly see our rights restricted.

If the Supreme Court sides with the pharmaceutical companies, I guess I need to go down to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and file an application to patent knees. This way I can take Aleve when they hurt after a run.

Take that Ben Gay.