New research out of Brazil (also here and here ) has indicated that it might be possible to cure diabetes. In a experiement that involved 15 people under the age of 30 the research were able to use stem cells harvested from the bone marrow to create a treatment that was injected back into the patients. Of the 15, 14 were able to give up insulin completely.
While this is great news it must be tempered with caution. The research used a very small sample size and the researchers are not sure they understand the mechanisms involved. They suspect that the body is stimulated to produce new white bloods cells that either prevent further attacks on the pancreas or simply replace the existing errant ones.
Over on The Street, Jim Cramer has this to say about the Yahoo! Music Player made by SanDisk.
The morning paper gives you the best reason why. Check out this one for irony. On the front page of The Wall Street Journal’s B section, the headline is simple: “A New Wireless Player Hopes to Challenge iPod.”
That’s all well and good. Yahoo!’s got a big installed base. SanDisk (SNDK – Cramer’s Take – Stockpickr – Rating), its partner, has some clout.
But then turn to the back page. You will see something that tells you about the success, or lack thereof, of this new venture: A heart made up of iPods and two lines — “100 million iPods sold. Thanks to music lovers everywhere.”
It’s called “installed base.” It tells you all you need to know about where Yahoo! stands, which is nowhere.
I have to say I agree with Cramer. The iPod’s success is driven by great design, ease of use and access to an ever growing catalog of music, movies and television shows. This is what Rule #1 Investor, Phil Town, calls a durable competitive advantage or “moat”. Just like a castle moat presents challenges to invaders, the iPods installed base protects the iPod. The iPod has become the dominant platform and as such will be as difficult to unseat as Microsoft.
Dave Winer of Scripting News wrote a thought provoking post called Maybe we’re writing for Google?. Dave suggest that bloggers are actually writing for Google and the on-line news outlets.
Like the public radio stations, maybe we’re fooling ourselves if we think we’re not writing for Google, as they are fooling themselves into thinking they’re not creating for NPR. — Dave Winer
I think the central point of Dave’s thesis is sound. Many blogs are editorials; opinions on news items or other commentary found elsewhere on the web. We write our thoughts on the story and link back to the source material driving traffic to those sites. This increases their page rank.
PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. — Google Page Rank
As more blogs link to a story the more votes it receives and the more traffic driven to the site. It is this page ranking system that makes Google Search so useful. I can be very certain that the first 10 items in the search results are relevant to what I seek. This increase Google’s value to me making me come back to Google each time. This ensures Google a market for it’s advertising.
So, the question is, are bloggers really independent or just the “sucker fish” on the underbelly of the whale?