At the base of the city are the greenhouse aprons [southerly side] and orchard aprons [northerly side].Paolo Soleri will present this new concept of SOLARE during the event scheduled at Arcosanti this week-end, April. 23. [Image: Dennis Gerigk & text: sa]
May 12, 2008 Congratulations to the April 6. workshop participants upon their graduation on Friday, May 9. 2008: [from left] Shane Hayden, Gregg Elliott, Daniel Copperman, Yong Su Park and Antonio De Biase. [Photo & text: sa]
By Daniel Jepson, Guest Contributor and Chris Wood, Senior Analyst In last week’s article on epigenetics, we began with a brief discussion of the enormous expectations that were placed on the Human Genome Project (HGP)—such as, that its results would lead to the end of disease—and how those expectations ultimately went unfulfilled because of course, things are never that simple. More importantly, in this case, genes are only part of the story. To quote briefly from that article: “Little did the community know at the time that the project [i.e., the HGP] would only uncover a small portion of what’s really going on in our genome. They were only scratching the surface. What the architects of that project once dismissed literally as junk surrounding our genes is proving far more vital than anyone ever expected—in fact, it may hold the very keys to understanding evolution itself. When scientists began the HGP, they were expecting to find approximately 100,000 protein-coding genes to account for the complexity of our species. What they found instead was that humans only have about 25,000, about the same number as fish and mice. In fact, according to biologist Dr. Michael Skinner, “the human genome is probably not as complex and doesn’t have as many genes as plants do.” That’s sort of a problem, because if we humans are supposed to be the complex species we hold ourselves out to be, then why don’t we have as many genes as an oak tree? Maybe because genes are only part of the story.“ That article went on to discuss how our epigenome—the second layer of structure above the genome, comprised of methyl groups and histones, that changes throughout our lives—can turn our genes on and off and control the degree to which they are expressed. Cool stuff—and a very important budding area of science. But today we’d like to bring the focus back to the genome itself, more specifically to a study of the genome called ENCODE. When the HGP was finished, all scientists really had was a linear sequence of three billion DNA base pairs—in essence, just a set of boring letters consisting of As, Gs, Cs, and Ts. What was needed was something to bring those letters to life and translate them into an instruction manual for actually building a person; then we’d be better able to understand the roots of disease and generate treatments. It happened on September 5, 2012. That was the day when one of the most ambitious international science projects you may have never heard of revealed the fruits of its labor: a collection of 30 papers simultaneously published in the journals Nature, Genome Research, and Genome Biology. Taken together, they provided the results from a multiyear research endeavor—involving over 400 scientists from 32 labs around the world—known as the ENCODE Project. ENCODE, or the “Encyclopedia of DNA Elements,” was designed to pick up where the HGP left off. It sought to annotate the specific regions of the genome that are used in the various cells of the human body and to catalogue the biochemical products of this activity. A key takeaway from the ENCODE project is that even though our genes only account for approximately 2% of our genome, the bulk of the rest of our DNA—which used to be called “junk DNA” because it was thought to serve no real purpose—actually performs crucial regulatory functions. Think of them as switches attached to a particular gene that determine whether or not it will be expressed. Scientists have long been aware of such DNA configurations, but thought their number was on par with the number of genes. It turns out, however, that there are millions of such regions throughout the genome, linked to each other (and to the protein-coding genes) in an extremely complicated hierarchical network. (The metaphor of a “hairball of wires” was offered by one ENCODE scientist.) But the goodies from ENCODE don’t stop there. “It was one of those too-good-to-be-true moments.” That’s what Ewan Birney, a biologist and leading scientist from the ENCODE project consortium, had to say about one of the insights gleaned by the efforts of his team. Back to the HGP for a moment. Much of the excitement that followed the project’s completion a decade ago had to do with the notion that since we now knew how the genome was “supposed” to look, we could identify the genes whose mutations were responsible for certain diseases and devise an appropriate remedy. As noted earlier, however, things aren’t that simple. Genes are only part of the story. We know that from the results of studies that were designed to correlate genetic mutations with specific diseases (known as Genome-Wide Association Studies, or GWAS). In the majority of cases, it was found that disease-correlated DNA variants lay in the vast noncoding regions of the genome, rather than in the genes themselves. With limited understanding of the actual functional processes performed by this DNA, science has been largely unable to come up with an appropriate remedy in situations where the original DNA message has been altered. But thanks to ENCODE, we may be on the way to overcoming this obstacle. A key finding from the project—the one that caught Birney’s attention—was that many of the mutations associated with disease are located in DNA regions to which the ENCODE project was able to assign a specific functionality. In particular, many mutations were found to be located in areas of our DNA known as “promoter” and “enhancer” regions—sequences that, while not coding for protein themselves, are responsible for turning genes on and off within a cell. “[This] is a really big deal,” said Bradley Bernstein, an ENCODE scientist. “I don’t think anyone predicted that [this] would be the case.” So now a whole host of new possibilities for gene therapy will begin to open up. When we can identify the biological processes in the cell that result from a mutation, it becomes much more likely that we can formulate an effective treatment. ENCODE has already identified several hundred regions of DNA that should be of interest to researchers studying specific diseases, and this number will only increase over the next few years as the huge amounts of data generated by the project continue to be analyzed. The project has also identified the function of many noncoding RNA molecules (i.e., RNA molecules other than messenger RNAs, which are an intermediate step in the creation of a protein). Casey Extraordinary Technology subscribers need no introduction to RNAi, an extremely exciting therapeutic technology that’s based on a particular type of noncoding RNA known as small interfering RNA (siRNA). But you may not have heard of a new approach that’s appeared on the scene in recent years: microRNA therapeutics. MicroRNA (miRNA) is a close cousin of siRNA, and its implications for the biotechnology landscape are no less significant. Since their discovery little more than a decade ago, these little molecules have already been widely implicated in the development of several types of cancer: some miRNAs are overexpressed in cancer cells, while others are missing entirely. Not surprisingly, there has been a widespread effort to leverage this insight into therapeutic remedies, and some miRNA-based products have already entered Phase II trials. As biotech investors, we must remember that tomorrow’s breakthroughs will result from events taking place around us today. In order to stay ahead of the market, we must be vigilant in identifying these causes before their effects have been fully brought to light. The ENCODE project, with its “too good to be true” moments, provides a good starting point. While it has received considerably less public fanfare than the Human Genome Project, for the alert investor it points the way toward a whole host of potential new breakthroughs. To stay up to date with all the fascinating new developments in the world of biotechnology, give Casey Extraordinary Technology a risk-free trial run today.
You’ve made this mistake before—sometime between the age of 15 and 25. I can almost guarantee it. And it probably involved a good-looking girl… or boy. Whatever your preference. You took someone for granted and chased after someone new. Then they both dropped you. One big bank is making a similar mistake. Only it’s not chasing tail. It’s chasing customers. A few years back Bank of America began buying every “Bank of Your Little Town” it could. With some 5,000 retail branches across the US, it seemed serious about retail banking. If not, why bother operating all those branches? Meanwhile, it put the moves on Merrill Lynch. Problem is, retail customers just don’t like Bank of America. J.D. Power ranked it dead last in four of 11 regions across the nation this year. And as Bloomberg Business reported, “Bank of America Corp. ranked worst among its peers in retail customer satisfaction in states where it has the most branches, California and Florida….” Part of the problem is that is behaves like an investment bank toward its customers. Back in 2013, Bank of America began phasing out its drive-through windows. A retired bank executive shared a rumor with me: it’s closing drive-through windows to force customers into the branch so they can sell Merrill Lynch products. I’m inclined to believe him. In March, we made a rare trip into a Bank of America branch in Florida to deposit a large check from the sale of our home. The branch manager swooped us into his office and began pitching investment products the minute we walked in. I know; it’s just one example. But they’re hassling long-term customers every day. People don’t like it. But they don’t know there’s a simple, easy-to-execute alternative. First, keep enough cash at your bank to pay your bills. Nothing more. A small local bank that will cover ATM fees when you travel is your best bet. That takes care of your administrative needs. Second, take the remainder of you cash and start your own Bank of Me. This cash should earn a robust return with minimal risk and no hassles. I stand firm in my belief that about one-third of your portfolio should sit in low-risk, liquid, cash-like instruments. But near-negative interest rates negate any safety offered by FDIC-insured accounts. Your cash is just sitting there, withering away. Now is the time to start your own bank. You might be thinking, “This guy is nuts. I’m an engineer (or teacher, fireman, dentist… insert your profession). I don’t have the time or the know-how to start my own bank.” Rest assured, it takes minimal time, and you can bring yourself up to speed right now by reading one special report: Bank of Me. We lay out the process and the specific investments for you. My wife and I took our cash out of Bank of America’s claws. Now we have enough at our local bank to meet monthly expenses. No hassles there, and they call us by name. There’s even a drive-through. And the rest of our cash is carrying its own weight once again. I’d love to show you how to do the same. Click here to learn how to fire your bank.
South Korea is flashing warning signs of a global recession… South Korea is known as a “canary in the coal mine” for the global economy. The country is a major exporter of cars, mobile phones, and personal computers. It’s also the 11th-largest economy in the world. It has a bigger economy than Australia, Russia, Spain, or Mexico. Last month, South Korean exports plummeted 15.8%. It was the country’s largest monthly drop since 2009. It was also the tenth month in a row that South Korean exports dropped from the previous year. Many South Korean companies blame the huge drop in exports on China’s slowing economy. China is, by far, South Korea’s largest trade partner. The country sends 25% of its exports to China. • China’s slowing economy is dragging down the entire region… Last year, China’s economy grew at its slowest pace since 1990. And last month, China’s services sector grew at its slowest pace in seven years. China’s factory output also fell for the eighth straight month in October. Yesterday, Bloomberg Business said China’s manufacturing activity hasn’t been this slow since the global financial crisis. Factory orders in Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan are shrinking as well. The bad economic data pushed Asia’s major stock markets down on Monday. China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.7%. Japan’s Nikkei Index fell 2.1%. • U.S. investors also got bad news yesterday… Last month, the ISM Manufacturing Index fell to its lowest level in three years. This index measures the health of the U.S. manufacturing sector. It was the fourth straight month that U.S. manufacturing activity fell. Manufacturing makes up 12% of the U.S. economy. Economists and investors watch the manufacturing sector for clues about where the broad economy is headed… Casey readers know manufacturing profits are falling. Two weeks ago, machinery manufacturer Caterpillar (CAT) reported awful third-quarter results. The company’s quarterly sales were 19% lower than a year ago. Caterpillar expects sales to drop again in 2016. It would be the fourth year in a row the company’s sales have dropped. That’s never happened before in Caterpillar’s 90-year history. Caterpillar sells the tractors, bulldozers, and cranes that build the “real” economy. Like South Korea, many investors consider Caterpillar a bellwether for the global economy. Caterpillar’s customers aren’t buying much right now, which points to trouble. • A weakening global economy is bad for U.S. stocks… Since bottoming in March 2009, the S&P 500 has gained 211%. At 80 months and counting, the current bull market is 30 months longer than the average bull market since World War II. However, E.B. Tucker, editor of The Casey Report, says the mini stock market crash in August was the beginning of the end of the bull market. He explained why in a recent issue of The Casey Report. We believe the era of asset prices soaring on a wave of easy credit is over. Last month’s major stock market decline is the start of a very tough time for stocks and the economy… The market has recovered in the past two weeks. But we think it’s only temporary. In other words, we’re in the middle of a “dead cat bounce.” It’s looking a lot like 2007. To fight the global financial crisis, the Fed cut its key rate to effectively zero in December 2008. It has left rates at effectively zero ever since. This has made it extremely cheap to borrow money… Seven years of easy money has caused prices to soar. Prices for commercial property, bonds, and stocks have all hit record highs, thanks to the Fed. At some point, the U.S. stock market will fall back down to Earth. When that happens, everything from blue chips to penny stocks will plummet. But overpriced stocks will probably fall the hardest… “They’ll do everything they can to push the price of gold down”… This statement was made by keynote speaker and trend forecaster Gerald Celente at the 2015 Casey Research Summit. Find out what Mr. Celente has to say about gold manipulation… the Federal Reserve’s hidden scheme… and how you can protect yourself from it right here. Regards, Justin Spittler Delray Beach, Florida November 3, 2015 We want to hear from you. If you have a question or comment, please send it to [email protected] We read every email that comes in, and we’ll publish comments, questions, and answers that we think other readers will find useful. Double Your Money Guarantee Right now Steve Sjuggerud is urging folks to buy 3 tiny gold stocks with 10X potential. And he’s so certain, that he’s giving a “Double Your Money Guarantee” until MIDNIGHT TOMORROW. Learn more here. Recommended Links
— A Young Woman on Her Way to Lunch… (What Happens Next Is UNBELIEVABLE) She was on her way to lunch… Walking down the street in plain daylight. And then… THIS happened. If you do one thing today, please take a look at this outrageous video. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Bill Editor’s note: When this $60 trillion credit bubble pops…it’ll be more devastating than anything America has ever seen. This crisis will not only hit stocks, but also your credit cards, checkbook, bank account…even the cash in your wallet. Watch Bill’s warning now to understand and protect yourself from this looming economic collapse. Find full details here. – Misbegotten Bubble We have been connecting dots; we want new readers to see what we see, so we can all look at some more dots together. Like everything else in economics and the markets, credit is cyclical. At the beginning of an expansion, people borrow more and more. Then, when they have borrowed too much, they cut back, they default, they trim their expenses… and they trim their debt. The expansion phase – like the bull market on Wall Street that usually accompanies it – is a happy time. People feel richer and smarter; they feel their hair grow and their private parts swell. Then comes a less happy time, full of blame and regret… “You should never have bought that boat,” says the nervous wife. “I told you we didn’t need that extra warehouse,” says the worried business partner. “I thought a degree would increase my income,” says the college graduate, as he takes your order. The EZ money is supposed to beget an asset boom… which is supposed to beget an economic boom… which is supposed to beget the wealth that will pay off the extravagant borrowing that the credit expansion begat. “Higher stock prices will boost consumer wealth and help increase confidence, which will also spur spending,” said an earnest, but perhaps dim, Ben Bernanke in 2010. “Increased spending will lead to higher incomes and profits that… will further support economic expansion.” Six years later, all we see is a misbegotten credit bubble and $60 trillion more, worldwide, of debt. To be continued… Regards,