Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The power and the glory

The next technology boom may well be based on alternative energy. But which sort to back?

EVERYONE loves a booming market, and most booms happen on the back of technological change. The world’s venture capitalists, having fed on the computing boom of the 1980s, the internet boom of the 1990s and the biotech and nanotech boomlets of the early 2000s, are now looking around for the next one. They think they have found it: energy.

Many past booms have been energy-fed: coal-fired steam power, oil-fired internal-combustion engines, the rise of electricity, even the mass tourism of the jet era. But the past few decades have been quiet on that front. Coal has been cheap. Natural gas has been cheap. The 1970s aside, oil has been cheap. The one real novelty, nuclear power, went spectacularly off the rails. The pressure to innovate has been minimal.

In the space of a couple of years, all that has changed. Oil is no longer cheap; indeed, it has never been more expensive. Moreover, there is growing concern that the supply of oil may soon peak as consumption continues to grow, known supplies run out and new reserves become harder to find.

The idea of growing what you put in the tank of your car, rather than sucking it out of a hole in the ground, no longer looks like economic madness. Nor does the idea of throwing away the tank and plugging your car into an electric socket instead. Much of the world’s oil is in the hands of governments who have little sympathy with the rich West. When a former head of America’s Central Intelligence Agency allies himself with tree-hugging greens that his outfit would once have suspected of subversion, you know something is up. Yet that is one tack James Woolsey is trying in order to reduce his country’s dependence on imported oil.

The price of natural gas, too, has risen in sympathy with oil. That is putting up the cost of electricity. Wind- and solar-powered alternatives no longer look so costly by comparison. It is true that coal remains cheap, and is the favoured fuel for power stations in industrialising Asia. But the rich world sees things differently.

In theory, there is a long queue of coal-fired power stations waiting to be built in America. But few have been completed in the past 15 years and many in that queue have been put on hold or withdrawn, for two reasons. First, Americans have become intolerant of large, polluting industrial plants on their doorsteps. Second, American power companies are fearful that they will soon have to pay for one particular pollutant, carbon dioxide, as is starting to happen in other parts of the rich world. Having invested heavily in gas-fired stations, only to find themselves locked into an increasingly expensive fuel, they do not want to make another mistake.

That has opened up a capacity gap and an opportunity for wind and sunlight. The future price of these resources—zero—is known. That certainty has economic value as a hedge, even if the capital cost of wind and solar power stations is, at the moment, higher than that of coal-fired ones.

The reasons for the boom, then, are tangled, and the way they are perceived may change. Global warming, a long-range phenomenon, may not be uppermost in people’s minds during an economic downturn. High fuel prices may fall as new sources of supply are exploited to fill rising demand from Asia. Security of supply may improve if hostile governments are replaced by friendly ones and sources become more diversified. But none of the reasons is likely to go away entirely.

Global warming certainly will not. “Peak oil”, if oil means the traditional sort that comes cheaply out of holes in the ground, probably will arrive soon. There is oil aplenty of other sorts (tar sands, liquefied coal and so on), so the stuff is unlikely to run out for a long time yet. But it will get more expensive to produce, putting a floor on the price that is way above today’s. And political risk will always be there—particularly for oil, which is so often associated with bad government for the simple reason that its very presence causes bad government in states that do not have strong institutions to curb their politicians.

A prize beyond the dreams of avarice

The market for energy is huge. At present, the world’s population consumes about 15 terawatts of power. (A terawatt is 1,000 gigawatts, and a gigawatt is the capacity of the largest sort of coal-fired power station.) That translates into a business worth $6 trillion a year—about a tenth of the world’s economic output—according to John Doerr, a venture capitalist who is heavily involved in the industry. And by 2050, power consumption is likely to have risen to 30 terawatts.

Scale is one of the important differences between the coming energy boom, if it materialises, and its recent predecessors—particularly those that relied on information technology, a market measured in mere hundreds of billions. Another difference is that new information technologies tend to be disruptive, forcing the replacement of existing equipment, whereas, say, building wind farms does not force the closure of coal-fired power stations.

For both of these reasons, any transition from an economy based on fossil fuels to one based on renewable, alternative, green energy—call it what you will—is likely to be slow, as similar changes have been in the past (see chart 1). On the other hand, the scale of the market provides opportunities for alternatives to prove themselves at the margin and then move into the mainstream, as is happening with wind power at the moment. And some energy technologies do have the potential to be disruptive. Plug-in cars, for example, could be fuelled with electricity at a price equivalent to 25 cents a litre of petrol. That could shake up the oil, carmaking and electricity industries all in one go.

The innovation lull of the past few decades also provides opportunities for technological leapfrogging. Indeed, it may be that the field of energy gives the not-quite-booms in biotechnology and nanotechnology the industrial applications they need to grow really big, and that the three aspiring booms will thus merge into one.

The possibility of thus recapturing the good times of their youth has brought many well-known members of the “technorati” out of their homes in places like Woodside, California. Energy has become supercool. Elon Musk, who co-founded PayPal, has developed a battery-powered sports car. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google, have started an outfit called Google.org that is searching for a way to make renewable energy truly cheaper than coal (or RE

Vinod Khosla, one of the founders of Sun Microsystems, is turning his considerable skills as a venture capitalist towards renewable energy, as are Robert Metcalfe, who invented the ethernet system used to connect computers together in local networks, and Mr Doerr, who works at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, one of Silicon Valley’s best-known venture-capital firms. Sir Richard Branson, too, is getting in on the act with his Virgin Green Fund.

This renewed interest in energy is bringing forth a raft of ideas, some bright, some batty, that is indeed reminiscent of the dotcom boom. As happened in that boom, most of these ideas will come to naught. But there could just be a PayPal or a Google or a Sun among them.

More traditional companies are also taking an interest. General Electric (GE), a large American engineering firm, already has a thriving wind-turbine business and is gearing up its solar-energy business. The energy researchers at its laboratories in Schenectady, New York, enjoy much of the intellectual freedom associated with start-up firms, combined with a secure supply of money.

Meanwhile, BP and Shell, two of the world’s biggest oil companies, are sponsoring both academic researchers and new, small firms with bright ideas, as is DuPont, one of the biggest chemical companies. Not everyone has joined in. Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest oil company not in government hands, is conspicuously absent. But in many boardrooms renewables are no longer seen as just a way of keeping environmentalists off companies’ backs.

Some people complain that many existing forms of renewable energy rely on subsidies or other forms of special treatment for their viability. On the surface, that is true. Look beneath, though, and the whole energy sector is riddled with subsidies, both explicit and hidden, and costs that are not properly accounted for. Drawing on the work of people like Boyden Gray, a former White House counsel, Mr Woolsey estimates that American oil companies receive preferential treatment from their government worth more than $250 billion a year. And the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations-appointed group of scientific experts, reckons that fossil fuels should carry a tax of $20-50 for every tonne of carbon dioxide they generate in order to pay for the environmental effects of burning them (hence the fears of the power-generators).

So the subsidies and mandates offered to renewable sources of power such as wind turbines often just level the playing field. It is true that some subsidies amount to unwarranted market-rigging: examples include those handed by cloudy Germany to its solar-power industry and by America to its maize-based ethanol farmers when Brazilian sugar-based ethanol is far cheaper. Others, though, such as a requirement that a certain proportion of electricity be derived from non-fossil-fuel sources, make no attempt to pick particular technological winners. They merely act to stimulate innovation by guaranteeing a market to things that actually work.

If the world were rational, all of these measures would be swept away and replaced by a proper tax on carbon—as is starting to happen in Europe, where the price arrived at by the cap-and-trade system being introduced is close to the IPCC’s recommendation. If that occurred, wind-based electricity would already be competitive with fossil fuels and others would be coming close. Failing that, special treatment for alternatives is probably the least bad option—though such measures need to be crafted in ways that favour neither incumbents nor particular ways of doing things, and need to be withdrawn when they are no longer necessary.

The poor world turns greener too

That, at least, is the view from the rich world. But poorer, rapidly developing countries are also taking more of an interest in renewable energy sources, despite assertions to the contrary by some Western politicians and businessmen. It is true that China is building coal-fired power stations at a blazing rate. But it also has a large wind-generation capacity, which is expected to grow by two-thirds this year, and is the world’s second-largest manufacturer of solar panels—not to mention having the largest number of solar-heated rooftop hot-water systems in its buildings.

Brazil, meanwhile, has the world’s second-largest (just behind America) and most economically honest biofuel industry, which already provides 40% of the fuel consumed by its cars and should soon supply 15% of its electricity, too (through the burning of sugarcane waste). South Africa is leading the effort to develop a new class of safe and simple nuclear reactor—not renewable energy in the strict sense, but carbon-free and thus increasingly welcome. These countries, and others like them, are prepared to look beyond fossil fuels. They will get their energy where they can. So if renewables and other alternatives can compete on cost, the poor and the rich world alike will adopt them.

That, however, requires innovation. Such innovation is most likely to come out of the laboratories of rich countries. At a recent debate at Columbia University, which The Economist helped to organise, Mr Khosla defended the proposition, “The United States will solve the climate-change problem”. The Californian venture capitalist argued that if cheaper alternatives to fossil fuels are developed, simple economics will ensure their adoption throughout the world. He also insisted that the innovation which will create those alternatives will come almost entirely out of America.

As it happens, he lost. But that does not mean he is wrong. There are lots of terawatts to play for and lots of money to be made. And if the planet happens to be saved on the way, that is all to the good.

Source : The Economist, June 19th, 2008

The future of energy

A fundamental change is coming sooner than you might think

SINCE the industrial revolution 200 years ago, mankind has depended on fossil fuel. The notion that this might change is hard to contemplate. Greens may hector. Consciences may nag. The central heating's thermostat may turn down a notch or two. A less thirsty car may sit in the drive. But actually stop using the stuff? Impossible to imagine: surely there isn't a serious alternative?

Such a failure of imagination has been at the heart of the debate about climate change. The green message—use less energy—is not going to solve the problem unless economic growth stops at the same time. If it does not (and it won't), any efficiency saving will soon be eaten up by higher consumption per head. Even the hair-shirt option, then, will bring only short-term relief. And when a dire prophecy from environmentalism's jeremiad looks as if it is coming true, as the price of petroleum rises through the roof and the idea that oil might run out is no longer whispered in corners but openly discussed, there is a temptation to believe that the end of the world is, indeed, nigh.

Not everyone, however, is so pessimistic. For, in the imaginations of a coterie of physicists, biologists and engineers, an alternative world is taking shape. As the special report in this issue describes, plans for the end of the fossil-fuel economy are now being laid and they do not involve much self-flagellation. Instead of bullying and scaring people, the prophets of energy technology are attempting to seduce them. They promise a world where, at one level, things will have changed beyond recognition, but at another will have stayed comfortably the same, and may even have got better.

This time it's serious

Alternative energy sounds like a cop-out. Windmills and solar cells hardly seem like ways of producing enough electricity to power a busy, self-interested world, as furnaces and steam-turbines now do. Battery-powered cars, meanwhile, are slightly comic: more like milk-floats than Maseratis. But the proponents of the new alternatives are serious. Though many are interested in environmental benefits, their main motive is money. They are investing their cash in ideas that they think will make them large amounts more. And for the alternatives to do that, they need to be both as cheap as (or cheaper than) and as easy to use as (or easier than) what they are replacing.

For oil replacements, cheap suddenly looks less of a problem. The biofuels or batteries that will power cars in the alternative future should beat petrol at today's prices. Of course, today's prices are not tomorrow's. The price of oil may fall; but so will the price of biofuels, as innovation improves crops, manufacturing processes and fuels.

Electrical energy, meanwhile, will remain cheaper than petrol energy in almost any foreseeable future, and tomorrow's electric cars will be as easy to fill with juice from a socket as today's are with petrol from a pump. Unlike cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells, of the sort launched by Honda this week, battery cars do not need new pipes to deliver their energy. The existing grid, tweaked and smartened to make better use of its power stations, should be infrastructure enough. What matters is the nature of those power stations.

The price is right

They, too, are more and more likely to be alternative. Wind power is taking on natural gas, which has risen in price in sympathy with oil. Wind is closing in on the price of coal, as well. Solar energy is a few years behind, but the most modern systems already promise wind-like prices. Indeed, both industries are so successful that manufacturers cannot keep up, and supply bottlenecks are forcing prices higher than they otherwise would be. It would help if coal—the cheapest fuel for making electricity—were taxed to pay for the climate-changing effects of the carbon dioxide produced when it burns, but even without such a tax, some ambitious entrepreneurs are already talking of alternatives that are cheaper than coal.

Older, more cynical hands may find this disturbingly familiar. The last time such alternatives were widely discussed was during the early 1970s. Then, too, a spike in the price of oil coincided with a fear that natural limits to supply were close. The newspapers were full of articles on solar power, fusion and converting the economy to run on fuel cells and hydrogen.

Of course, there was no geological shortage of oil, just a politically manipulated one. Nor is there a geological shortage this time round. But that does not matter, for there are two differences between then and now. The first is that this price rise is driven by demand. More energy is needed all round. That gives alternatives a real opening. The second is that 35 years have winnowed the technological wheat from the chaff. Few believe in fusion now, though uranium-powered fission reactors may be coming back into fashion. And, despite Honda's launch, the idea of a hydrogen economy is also fading fast. Thirty-five years of improvements have, however, made wind, solar power and high-tech batteries attractive.

As these alternatives start to roll out in earnest, their rise, optimists hope, will become inexorable. Economies of scale will develop and armies of engineers will tweak them to make them better and cheaper still. Some, indeed, think alternative energy will be the basis of a boom bigger than information technology.

Whether that boom will happen quickly enough to stop the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reaching dangerous levels is moot. But without alternative energy sources such a rise is certain. The best thing that rich-world governments can do is to encourage the alternatives by taxing carbon (even knowing that places like China and India will not) and removing subsidies that favour fossil fuels. Competition should do the rest—for the fledgling firms of the alternative-energy industry are in competition with each other as much as they are with the incumbent fossil-fuel companies. Let a hundred flowers bloom. When they have, China, too, may find some it likes the look of. Therein lies the best hope for the energy business, and the planet.

Source : The Economist, Jun 19th, 2008

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Districts Are Success Parameters for Accomplishment of MDGs

By Rofiqy Hasan from TempoInteractive, Jakarta

Emil Salim, a member of the President’s Consideration Board (Wantimpres), has said that the accomplishment of Millenium Development Goals (MDG) by 2015 is extremely dependent on initiatives from districts and cities that have regional autonomy rights. “The central government cannot follow Suharto's stye anymore and regional governments cannot only wait,” he said in a High Level Dialog on Population and MDG forum in Kuta, Bali, on Monday (5/5).

Some regions have succeeded in increasing their human development index as their leaders are able to use their regional potential for global and national needs. These are Bontang in East Kalimantan, Sragen in Central Java, and Jembrana in Bali. Because of this, Emil has rejected the proposal that all MDG policies be at the central government level.He said that the central government should empower regional leaders' capabilities in order to understand national interests.

Sugiri Syarief, Head of the National Family Planning Board (BKKBN), said he agreed with this statement. He went on to say that although regional autonomy has been running for almost ten years, officials at the central and regional level are still working in a centralization style. Therefore, program accomplishment is delayed. “Population control is the key for successful MDGs,” said Sugiri.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Food Crisis Can Start a War

By TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned about the critical situation of the world food supply. According to the FAO director general, Jacques Diouf, the food supply is five percent lower than last year. “This is also the lowest supply in the last 20 years,” he said in Rome, Italy, approaching a 13th FAO meeting in Brazil that will be held today until April 18th.Diouf said the crisis is due to the higher food demand in several countries.

The global climate change causing natural disasters like floods, drought, and storms has delayed food production. As a result, the price of staple foods like bread, wheat, rice, and milk, have increased. The price of wheat and rice is two times higher than last year while maize has gone up more than three times. “The world food price will be hard to decrease in the short term,” said Diouf. “The expensive price of world food threatens millions, especially those who come from a country with income less than US$ 1 a day,” he said.Diouf who comes from Senegal finds fault with the food policy of developed and developing countries. Since 1996, FAO has been warning about this food crisis situation. “No one wants to hear about it, now we have to pay for it.”Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Dominique Strauss-Kahn said the increase of the world food price can cause serious problems and effect the world.

It will create more poverty and starvation. “It can ignite riots and even war,” he said in Washington yesterday.In Jakarta, the Directorate General for Food, Agricultural Department, Soetarto Alimuso, said that the government is aware of this world food crisis. But he is optimistic that Indonesia will be secure because national supply and production, especially rice, is still sufficient. He mentioned that in 2007, Indonesia had a rice excess of one million tons. This is believed to be increased into 1.3 million tons this year. “So, we are optimistic that we will not have a food crisis,” he said to Tempo in Jakarta yesterday.The government will continue the food diversification program, especially for maize and all kinds of tubers. “So we will not depend on rice only,” he said. To minimize the world food crisis, agriculture minister, Anton Apriyantono, has been requesting that rice storage in the village be activated. Government is also encouraging the State Logistics Agency (Bulog) and regional governments to fill the food supply.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Indonesians are Thirsty of Biotechnology

Who said that the Indonesian students are not interested in science? Indonesian

Biotechnology Students Forum with supports from various institutions held

iBiotech 2008 successfully. This event had attracted more than 1500 junior and

senior high school students and more than 200 science teachers in four cities;

Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, and Surabaya, 3-10 March 2008. IBSF and

partner institutions introduced what and how biotechnology can be applied in

daily lives and its benefits through interactive ways; multimedia and 7 fun handto-

hand experiments. “I didn’t know that biotechnology is fun – usually we just

skip this subject during classes” Dimple, a student from Lab School Senior High

School Jakarta said.

“I am impressed by how much Indonesian students know about Biotechnology. I

have never discussed in such high level with students their age”, praised Terry

Vrijenhoek, Chairman of Genomic Networks of Young Scientists (GeNeYouS) in

Netherlands, who was invited in this event to contribute in challenging

discussions with the Indonesian students. Therefore, we have to be proud to

boast future potential human resources in the country.

Positive and warm welcomes to this successful event have been received from

many people as it was also given by Prof. Suhartono Taat Putra from Medical

Faculty, University of Airlangga. He was pleased with the initiative from the

iBiotech committee to communicate science to young students in such a way.

This is in line with the dialogue of Kusmayanto Kadiman, Minister of Research

and Technology with Prof. Abdul Kalam, President from India 2002-2007 few

months ago in National Science Congress 2007 in Jakarta. He said,” Nothing I

can suggest better than you start introducing science to the youths, the earlier,

the better…” dan we make it happened through iBiotech as a first step!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Creating New Life a Little Like God

When you are sealed God gives you new life. He creates you anew as if you were a new variation of your old self. That is what scientist Craig Venter is doing--creating new species of life to solve the world's problems.

Craig Venter is known as a pioneer in human genome mapping and he is the first person to have published his own genetic code on the internet. He has also published an autobiography.

But what Craig Venter is doing now is something remarkable. He has created an organism that is basically a new species. It is a single-celled organism, certainly nothing so complex as a human.

He has not created any life forms from scratch. That is left to God to do. What he has done is created an alteration in the genetics of the organism so distinct that the resulting living creature could be considered a new and different species.

Venter and his team created a chromosome to put in the cell of an organism already living. When the cell divided, the resulting parts were a new breed, a new chemically altered life form.

And he has big dreams for what his created organisms could do for people. These organisms could be bred in great amounts and used to rid the sky of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.
Other organisms could become an energy supply, heating your home and fueling your car. That would be quite an accomplishment--cleaning up pollution while giving you a renewable form of energy.

In an interview with ABC TV, Craig Venter says he envisions the ability to produce electricity and clean water with his organisms. What would you use to "fuel" the production of electricity and water? Human waste!

This could be one way the poor people of the world are lifted out of poverty. All the poor have an abundance of certain kinds of resources like human waste wherein is locked a great amount of energy waiting to be released.

Of course this all comes with a caveat. "Knowledge," Venter said in the interview, "can be dangerous in the wrong hands." Someone will always come along and pervert breakthroughs meant to benefit people.

One of the concerns with genetic mapping is health insurance. Some people have a predisposition to certain medical conditions they inherited in their genetics. If the insurance people could know a person was likely to get sick they could deny them coverage.

And many companies are now privately insuring their employees. So people could qualify or disqualify for employment according to their genetic code. Venter calls for protection against abuses like these that come with knowledge of the genetic code.

God knows what is in your genetic code. And He is willing to make you a new creature. Then you can be used for the benefit of mankind. You may not fuel their home or clean their skies but you can be a blessing to them.

When God puts the Seal on your forehead He calls you by His own Name. When God refers to you as Himself, the boundaries between you and Him are blurred. You have attributes of the Divine just by reason of association.

And you may not become a new species. But when you are sealed you will become new. And you will see yourself as a completely different person. It will not all happen overnight but you will change as years go by when you receive the Seal.

And now Jason invites you to get your FREE report Are You Making These Mistakes as a Christian?And visit to learn about being sealed here.
Jason Witt
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jason_Witt

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Algae -A Solution to the End of Oil?

End_of_oil "All countries must take vigorous, immediate and collective action to curb runaway energy demand. The next ten years will be crucial for all countries... We need to act now to bring about a radical shift in investment in favor of cleaner, more efficient and more secure energy technologies."

~Nobuo Tanaka, head of the International Energy Agency (IEA)

Big oil had better start worrying. Common algae from ponds and waste-water treatment plants has been found to produce vast amounts of burnable oil, say researchers at the University of Minnesota, algae produces an astounding 5,000 gallons of oil per acre. Corn, by comparison, produces a measly 18 gallons. Soybean yields 48 gallons. An acre of palm trees yields 635 gallons.

Algae has a clear advantage in other ways as well. Land crops use up more resources and require more manpower to grow. Algae, on the other hand, is so hardy that it grows all by itself in conditions that require little to no management.Researchers Roger Ruan and Paul Chen will start with 200 gallons of waste water, but see the potential as enormous. The only liability they have to deal with now is how to produce the fuel cheaply. They believe it will be able to be made affordable as the technology improves and starts to catch on.

Exxon claims “We're not gouging US citizens,” after raking in record breaking $39.5 billion in 2007, the largest ever profit in the history of the US.

As society gets increasingly fed up with big oil, opportunities for new energy sources are opening up.The algae production process can also take advantage of excess heat, nitrogen, carbon and phosphorus produced by coal-burning plants and waste-water incinerators, making algae pond farms a possibility for both northern and southern states.

Posted by Rebecca Sato.

If you liked this article, please give it a quick review on Digg, Reddit, or StumbleUpon.Thanks!



Laeder of Pioneering Cosmetics Firm

By Ari Satriyo Wibowo
Published at The Jakarta Post on January 30, 2008

While the UK has Anita Roddick, an ordinary housewife and environmentalist who set up The Body Shop, Indonesia should be proud of having Dr. Retno Iswari Tranggono, SpKK who is a housewife, dermatologist, established cosmetics scientist and producer of well-known cosmetics brand Ristra.

Retno's interest in the cosmetics industry started when she, as a fifth-year student of the University of Indonesia's School of Medicine, was asked by a neighbor to become an instructor at her skin care school Viva Health and Beauty Institute. The neighbor, Bo Tan Tjoa, better known as Ibu Antari, was the co-owner of skin care firm Viva Kosmetic in Semarang.

After completing a specialized program in dermatology at the University of Indonesia's School of Medicine in 1968, she proposed setting up a department specifically dedicated to handling cosmetics and beauty problems. She received support from the school's head of the dermatology and venereology department, Prof. M. Djoewari, who said: "If you believe doctors will be interested in this science and that it is important to the public, go ahead and set up."

On April 1, 1970, the sub-department of cosmetics and skin surgery (now called the cosmeto-dermatology sub-department) was officially set up with Dr. Retno as the head. Within a short time, this sub-department became a favorite. Many doctors have taken this sub-specialization because many patients want beauty treatment.

Before the establishment of the sub-department, the dermatology and venereology department was not popular and dermatologists were considered "poor doctors". "Doctors were reluctant to join this department because of the additional label of venereology. So, when I applied for this department, I was readily accepted. At that time, there were only three females, including myself," said Dr. Retno, who was born in Jakarta on Nov. 17, 1939.

After practicing for quite a long time as a dermatologist, it became clearer to Dr. Retno that there were problems in the skin treatment applied in Indonesia. The treatment method was based on knowledge dating back to colonial times while the pharmaceutical world did not support skin treatment as not many drugs for skin treatment were available. Also, imported products did not necessarily suit skin in the tropics. In short, there were problems in skin treatment in this country. Even the medicine available to fight acne was ineffective. "I often ask my patients how they clean their faces. They never used soap to clean their faces because their beauticians prohibit it. If they consult a doctor, they are advised to stop using cosmetics and are referred to a beauty salon," said Retno, who has three children and six grandchildren.

Even at a beauty salon, the practice was wrong as soap was not allowed to be used. "That is the principle prevailing in Holland, where the climate is cold and dry. In Holland, for example, you shouldn't wash your face but instead use cold cream. In a tropical country, if you apply cold cream and powder to your face, acne will appear," she added.

According to Retno, there are four factors affecting the use of cosmetics that have good or bad results. These are human beings, cosmetics, the environment and the correlation between human beings, cosmetics and the environment. Dr. Retno calls this knowledge "The Science of Beauty".

The human beings factor is concerned with the difference in skin color. Asians generally have olive skin while European have fair skin. People from different races also have different beauty behaviors. As a result, the effects of cosmetics will also differ. Insufficient knowledge about cosmetics will lead to mistakes in their usage. As for the cosmetics factor, this is related, for example, to poor raw materials, formulation not suiting skin type and the environment and an unhygienic and unsophisticated manufacturing process that may lead to irritation, allergies and acne. The third factor is the environment. In tropical countries like Indonesia, people perspire more and their skin may be oily. That's why when Asians use cold cream and creamy moisturizer made specifically for the European climate, the moisturizer can clog the pores and cause acne.

In 1983, Retno was at a crossroads: continue teaching and pursuing her studies to be a professor or go into the industry to produce quality cosmetics. Retno and her husband, Dr. Suharto Tranggono, SpKJ, SpKP, a psychiatrist working for the Indonesian Air Force, eventually opted to build their business. This business, now under the flagship of PT Ristra Indolab, began in the garage of their house in the Air Force compound on Jl. Rajawali Selatan, North Jakarta, in 1983.

As Indonesia has a tropical climate with a lot of sunshine, Indonesians characteristically have brown skin. To the majority of the public, however, beautiful skin is fair. That's why special cosmetics are needed that suit Asian's olive complexion and tropical environment. All Ristra's products, ranging from skin treatment, hair treatment to makeup, are produced to suit the characteristics of the skin of Asians.

In the late 1990s, Ristra produced as many as 82 items. Every Ristra product must reflect its scientific quality. That's why in 1983 Retno set up a research and development laboratory, PT Ristra Indolab, which is headed by a pharmacist who graduated in Germany, Dr. Rosali Setiawan. Retno is involved in the laboratory's activities to produce new formulas. She introduces concepts for new products, tests the technical feasibility of these products and guarantees the effectiveness and security of the products.

Sometimes, Retno herself leads the R&D activities. One outstanding achievement is the finding of PH Balanced and Radical Protection Factor concept, which has won recognition from the international world. Her latest finding, which is based on nano technology, is the formulation for PCO (Proanthocyanidin Oligimer) as the main material for Platinum Skin Care, which, when combined with Nanotope, can go through the epidermic layer so that active substances work effectively. With this achievement, Ristra has become Indonesia's first cosmetics company to apply nanotechnology.

In order to ensure a re-generation in the company's management, Retno asked her son, Krisna Nindita Tranggono, a master graduate of several American universities, to join the company.

As cosmeto-dermatology leans more toward instant beauty, Dr. Retno took the initiative to set up the Ristra Institute of Skin Health and Beauty Science in 2006 to ensure that cosmeto-dermatology will not deviate too much from its original track. The people who attend this institute are doctors and medical personnel dealing in beauty matters. "For one whole week they are taught the principles of medical cosmetics. These principles must be understood so that they will not be duped by a quick and instant way to make them rich," she said.

In appreciation of her outstanding achievements in the cosmetics industry, BRI Platinum Card conferred on Dr. Retno the "Life Time Achievement Award" on Dec. 5, 2007. When asked about her ideals, Dr. Retno simply said, "I would like Indonesians to have clean and healthy skin. It is not beauty that comes instantly but beauty that will be long-lasting." (Ari Satriyo Wibowo)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

How to Kill Your Mother in Law

A long time ago in China , a girl named Li-Li got married & went to live with her husband and mother-in-law.

In a very short time, Li-Li found that she couldn't get along with her mother-in-law at all.

Their personalities were very different, and Li-Li was angered by many of her mother-in-law's habits. In addition, she criticized Li-Li constantly. Days passed, and weeks passed. Li-Li and her mother-in-law never stopped arguing and fighting.

But what made the situation even worse was that, according to ancient Chinese tradition, Li-Li had to bow to her mother-in-law and obey herevery wish. All the anger and unhappiness in the house was causing Li-Li's poor husband! great distress.

Finally, Li-Li could not stand her mother-in-! law's bad temper and dictatorship any longer, and
she decided to do something about it
! Li-Li went to see her father's good friend, Mr. Huang, who sold herbs.

She told him the situation and asked if he would give her some poison so that she could solve the problem once and for all.

Mr. Huang thought for awhile, and finally said, "Li-Li, I will help you solve your problem, but you must listen tome and obey what I tell you." Li-Li said, "Yes, Mr. Huang, I will do whatever you tell me to do."Mr. Huang went into the back room, and returned in a few minutes with a package of herbs. He told Li-Li, "You can't use a quick-acting poison to get rid of your mother-in-law, because that would cause people to become suspicious. Therefore, I have given you a number of herbs that will slowly build up poison in her body.

Every other day prepare some delicious meal and put a little of these herbs in her serving. Now, in order to make sure that nobody suspect you, when she dies, you must be very careful to act very friendly towards her. "Don't argue with her, obey her every wish, and treat her like a queen." Li-Li was so happy. She thanked Mr. Huang and hurried home to start her plot of murdering her mother-in-law. Weeks went by, and months went by, and every other day, Li-Li served the specially treated food to her mother-in-law. She remembered what Mr. Huang had said about avoiding suspicion, so she controlled her temper obeyed her mother-in-law, and treated her like her own mother. After six months had passed, the whole household had changed. Li-Li had practiced controlling her temper so much that she found that she almost never got mad or upset. She hadn't had an argument with her mother-in-law in six months because she now seemed much kinder and easier to get along with.

The mother-in-law
's attitude toward Li-Li changed, and she began to love Li-Li like her own daughter. She kept telling friends and relative that Li-Li was the best daughter-in-law one could ever find. Li-Li and her mother-in-law were now treating each other like a real mother and daughter. Li-Li's husband was very happy to see what was happening.

One day, Li-Li came to see Mr. Huang and asked for his help again She said, "Dear Mr. Huang, please help me to keep the poison from killing my mother-in-law. She's changed into such a nice woman, and I love her like my own mother. I do not want her to die because of the poison I gave her." Mr. Huang smiled and nodded his head.

"Li-Li, there's nothing to worry about. I never gave you any poison. The herbs I gave you were vitamins to
improve her health. The only poison was in your mind and your attitude toward her, but that has been all washed away by the love which you gave to her." HAVE YOU REALIZED that how you treat others is exactly how they will treat you? There is a wise Chinese saying : "The person who loves others will also be loved in return." God might be trying to work in another person's life through you. Send this to your friends and spread the POWER OF LOVE

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Actual Embryonic Stem Cells Derived Without Killing The Embryos

When you receive the Seal you will understand the value of human life. Now (Jan 12 2008) human embryo stem cells have been produced from embryos without destroying the embryos.

In the last few months of 2007 there were breakthroughs in producing cells that were very much like human embryo stem cells (hESC) from ordinary skin cells. That was a tremendous breakthrough itself.

But hESC is still considered the "gold standard" for research and is still considered highly valuable and even necessary for research. Now thanks to this new research, it is possible to create hESC without killing embryos.

In 2006 a study showed that hESC could be derived from a single blastomere. A blastomere is the kind of cell created by the embryo in the very first week following fertilization when the embryo begins to divide.

But in that first study in 2006, many cells were taken out of each embryo so that they could not develop anymore. In this study, researchers derived five hESC lines without destroying the embryos, including one without co-culture.

Co-culture is the growth of distinct cell types in a combined culture. This meant that stem cells were needed from other embryos that ended up being destroyed. Co-culture is not a necessary part of this new procedure.

In this procedure, single blastomeres were taken out of the embryos using a process similar to preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD.) PGD is a procedure whereby embryos are made free of disease before implantation.

The "biopsied" embryos were further grown until they became blastocysts and then were frozen (instead of killed.) A biopsy is the removal of cells from the embryo, and the blastocyst stage is right after the zygote stage and before the embryo is known as an "embryo."

The blastomeres were cultured with a technique that was comparable in efficiency to "whole embryo derivations" which destroy the embryos. This is important--the high level of efficiency makes it a viable procedure.

And the derived stem cell lines had the same kind of pluripotency as whole embryo derivations. Pluripotency is the ability of the stem cell to become a cell of any of the three germ layers--ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm.

The White House still needs to approve this new technique as a way to get stem cells without destroying the embryos. But this is a major advancement in science--a step forward for the sanctity of life.

This is a solution to the ethical problem of stem-cell research, since embryos can now "share" their life-giving cells with researchers who desperately need them, and still grow up to be healthy adults.

When you are sealed you will begin to understand the sanctity of life. You will understand how God gave Life to people in the beginning and continues to give Life to them.

Of course, the greater kind of life is spiritual Life. The life in this world is a gift from God but the spiritual Life for eternity in Heaven is the ultimate gift and much better than the short and miserable opportunity in this world.

When you are sealed God will give you new life. He will give you a second chance. And He will give you the chance to live forever with Him in Heaven when you receive the Seal.