The Humble Fly & TWA 800

Researchers looking into the possibilities of expanding the life span of human beings recently extended the life span of the humble fly, over and over, by giving it a human gene that enhances its ability to remove wastes from its cells. The result was quick: a 40% longer-living fly (that would expand your expected life span to roughly 112 years or more). Now the biology of flies is such that this almost-instant result, also passed along to subsequent generations, is truly phenomenal. It offers the clear and promising potential to stem the ravaging effects of aging and disease in humans. The gene was injected into the insect's neurons that control "motor movement." "We were really surprised," stated Garbielle Boulianne, a professor of molecular biology at the University of Toronto. "We never expected this." The findings indicate that the aging process and the means to control it might be much simpler than scientists have ever suspected. So, if you're considering your own rate of aging, you might consider ways to ease the elimination of wastes from your system while you wait for the scientists' prescription. Eat right. Exercise. Avoid (1) things that are difficult to digest, and (2) toxins and other substances that are clearly tough on you. You deserve a break today. Go get one.

Remember TWA 800? Well, a Federal District Court judge ruled that the law that limits damages in high seas accidents will not apply to lawsuits filed on behalf of the passengers and crew that were killed in that crash, two years ago. The decision could have a significant effect on the 145 cases filed. The Death On The High Seas Act, enacted in 1920, states that plaintiffs can recover damages only in proportion to monetary losses caused by a person's death, typically including lost income and financial support provided to a spouse or children. TWA had asked the judge to limit the amount of damages. He declined. The explosion that killed all 230 people on board is said to have been caused by the failure of systems surrounding the center wing fuel tank, but the reason for the explosion is still undetermined. A lawyer for the plaintiffs stated, "In a child's case, where the child is not contributing any money to the parent, there is little pecuniary loss, but with this ruling all the nonmonetary losses can be recovered." In other words, the death of those children will be accounted for. The Warsaw Convention still limits all damages on International flights to $75,000 per passenger ($17,250,000 total for TWA 800) but the legal fights go on and on.