3.25.2005

redefinition of racialization in the post-genomic era.

a couple years ago i took a course at berkeley called "the problematic of miscegenation" (translation: identity crises of ppl with mixed descent). the basic premise of this ethic studies course was to contend that race was socially constructed. and that the criteria of using physical features to identify one race from another break down at the fringes because all racial features have gradients and you will always find exceptions to the rule (therefore the concept of different races was faulty if you have ppl that dont fit anywhere)

fast forward to the year 2000. newspaper headlines. human genome project completed. craig venter's team at celera genomics has successfully sequenced a rough draft of the human genome in a mere 3 years using gene myer's shotgun sequencing algorithm. the government funded team had a 10 year head start but got their ass kicked by venter. world enters the post-genomic era. now the real work begins with bioinformatics analyses.

so a thought occurred to me during my bioethics class yesterday. what if in these bioinformatics analyses, we find quantifiable genetic differences between different population groups (races)? ok now before you jump on me, i know differences in human genomes are small - usually SNPS (single nucleotide polymorphisms), meaning that 99.9% of the genome sequence between any two individuals on earth would be identical. in theory this should bolster the fact that race is socially constructed and science proves that we are all the same. but still. seems like a weak argument given that 99% of our genome is also identical to a fucking chimp. those who want to continue to enforce social constructed racialization will comb over that 0.1% to dig out all the scientific dirt that makes us different from each other. this is scary. genetic evidence supporting racialization and providing new grounds for disease-based discrimination. linkage studies have already shown certain racial groups to be more prone to certain diseases because that 0.1% difference in their genomes reflect certain environmental selection pressures. for example ppl of african descent are prone to sickle cell anemia because they have developed malaria resistance on the african continent. older asian females easily develop osteoporosis. tay-sachs in jewish subpops. cystic fibrosis in northern europeans. this used to be stochastic evidence but now we can isolate the actual sequences for these differences! you now have disease based genetic reasons to enforce racism against 'diseased' groups. hitler wouldve loved this, using it as a reason for why not to marry outside of the aryan race. in about 10-20 years all our genomes will be sequenced and stored on computer databases. the database is searchable by race, disease propensity, and annual income. life insurance companies can choose not to insure a black man cuz their analysis of his genome shows he will have an 80% chance of developing sickle cell by age 50 and he doesnt make enough money to afford treatment. imagine if the government had access to genetic race data during 9/11, you dont think they would've used it to print out a list of all middle eastern candidates? anyways my main point is genome data WILL lead to more justification of discrimination and perhaps will be used to keep minorities in america down even more.

im not sure what kind of research has been done on these developments. im gonna google the subject after this post (probably shoulda done that first before i wrote this). i know i havent covered all aspects of this issue (genome privacy, healthcare POV). but i think race is here to stay because science has just blown the problematic of miscegenation way out of the water and they dont even know it.

3.24.2005

even though im not the biggest fan of 50-cent and g-unit i really like this new song. its all over the radio. the beats are produced by dre and really evoke a relaxed old school feel. i picture a bigass obnoxious smoggy orange sunset over socal palm trees:



and then fade to credits.

50 cent - hate it or love it

3.23.2005

ive been trying to find HT through the internet. this is what i stumbled across:

[start]
1999 CSSF Category Winners
Pharmacology
Senior Division





From left to right are: Donna Susman (presenter), Erika N. Ebbel (First Place), Victoria Sheen (Second Place), Hee Tai Kim (Third Place), Vasu A. Sunkara (not pictured) (Honorable Mention), and Bill Taylor (presenter).

California State Science Fair / 1999 Category Winners / CalifSF@usc.edu
[end]

here's the reference:
cheggit, dont worry bout it yo. genome project, DTS bioinformatics

hahahaha. i also have the song he made about jon fong if anyone wants it. fun times. anyone know where i can get in touch with HT? this guy put me through some of most turbulent/crazy/fun months of my time at berkeley when we lived together summer after freshman year. he also introduced me to his high school friends who formed an underground rap group that are pretty good:

http://www.basement559.com

3.21.2005

social acceptance of online presence.

blogs and friendster seemed to have evolved into public social acceptance. ive overheard two college kids chatting at the ten ren's next to my house about having seen so-and-so last on a friend of a friend's xanga comment page. i'll be at white lotus down here or an element party up north and hear two asian young professionals discussing how hot their co-worker's picture is on friendster. ive even seen people trade AIM screen names instead of cell phone numbers. one of my lab partners told me about how she googled every guy before she goes on a date with them.

im not pointing this out because anything is wrong with it. its just an interesting progression of our "online" society. this sort of stuff used to be in the closet because people didnt want to be perceived as a net geek goggled into their computer. anyways, just my observation. not long before we have fully rendered avatars like in snow crash.

3.20.2005

[roughly translated from mandarin]

me: im going to visit alice. shes been complaining that i dont spend enough time with her. i'll be back sunday.

my dad: again?! you were just there a couple days ago and spent alot of time with her.

me: i know.

my dad: [points finger at me] ahahahahha. youre screwed!! hahahhahaa. shes got you in a cobra clutch. ahahhaa [makes choking motion at his neck with both hands and makes a gagging noise, then proceeds to tie an imaginary noose around his neck and hang himself with tongue sticking out]

me thinking to myself: what an ass! did he just really do that??

what i actually say: later dad, thanks for the advice.

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