Not Boring and Cell-Free DNA
Your weekly newsletter from the mind of Miles Lasater
Happy Saturday! Here is your weekly dose of the world of Miles, learning, techno-optimism, business thoughts, and ways to be a better human.
Geothermal is Not Boring. I’m amazed by the rapidly declining cost of solar. And I’ve heard geothermal is a sideshow. But what if we could dig deep enough to make almost any location work for geothermal power generation? Then we could reuse the existing drilling workforce, equipment and supply chain from the oil & gas industry. And we could use heat from the ground to drive existing power plants. Redeploying existing infrastructure means we could move much faster to a lower-carbon, more energy-independent future. I recently heard about Quaise. They are commercializing MIT technology to replace mechanical drill bits with frickin’ laser beams - I mean - microwaves. If it works they can make 20 k deep holes in a few weeks. That’s not boring. It’s hot.
Cancer DNA. Liquid biopsies sound amazing! Turns out that you can find DNA from cancer cells circulating in blood and you can even sequence it. But the hard part is knowing that you found cancer DNA rather than normal DNA. Apparently, all happy cells are alike but each mutated cancer is mutated in its own way. Seems like a data problem which we should be able to solve. I mean people figured out the 3d folding of 200M proteins. So let’s tackle this next?
Why Not Get Tested? A new medical test that could save my life? What’s not to love? Well… review your definition of sensitivity and specificity (BTW, can someone think of better names?). Or for a more accessible summary check out the Number Needed to Treat. For example, a CT scan for lung cancer doesn’t necessarily help you. If you have a false positive that prompts unnecessary treatment and worry, you can be worse off. Plus if you’re in treatment, you expose yourself to medical error. How do you decide which tests to get?
Until next week,
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