Steve Jobs and new Nobelist Ralph Steinman both died of pancreatic cancer, a killer that’s hard to spot until it’s very far advanced. But fundamental differences in their diseases made Steinman’s survival more miraculous than Jobs’. Katherine Harmon at Scientific American has a great explanation of this, starting with the fact that the pancreas is made up of two different kinds of cells:
The pancreas itself is essentially two different organs, which means two distinct kinds of tissue—and two very different types of cancer, points out [Leonard Saltz, acting chief of the gastrointestinal oncology service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center]. The most common kind of pancreatic cancer[s] [the kind Steinman had] originate in what is known as the exocrine portion of the pancreas. This is the main mass of the organ, which makes digestive enzymes that get shuttled to the gastrointestinal tract via specialized ducts.
“Scattered in that larger organ are thousands of tiny islands,” Satlz explains. “These are islands of endocrine tissue,” which makes hormones that are secreted into the blood. It was a cancer of these islet cells that Jobs had.
For people with Jobs’ cancer, which is quite rare, survival is measured in years. For those with Steinman’s cancer, it’s measured in months.
Steinman’s survival for four years after diagnosis may be due in part to his use of experimental immunotherapies, which were being developed by his colleagues and sometimes incorporated Steinman’s own discoveries. Jobs’ liver transplant to replace an organ riddled with metastases, on the other hand, may or may not have helped him, says Saltz—having to take immunosuppressants to prevent rejection of the new organ weakens the immune system’s abilities to fight off the cancer.
Read more at Scientific American.
The Internet’s cup runneth over with elegies for the Apple cofounder, who died yesterday at 56. People around the world are pouring out their stories of how Jobs, via the company’s products, changed their lives.
Many have a frankly religious tone, like the middle-aged mom who spoke in a breathless voice about the iPhone’s “grace” and the architect Jobs hired in the mid-80s who told how Jobs “put his hand on mine” when teaching him to use a mouse (both were on NPR member station WNYC this morning). Other testimonials focus more on when the teller first encountered an Apple product, back in the days when mice were the big new thing. People are even setting up shrines in Apple stores, a move that strikes some as fitting tribute, others as cultish (“If you needed any more proof that brands are our new gods…” one person tweeted in response to the news). Though the blog “Steve Jobs is God” appears to be defunct, its message is on many lips today, in some form or another. It’s simply astounding how much of a connection many felt to Jobs, whom they see as the architect of a significant portion of their lives.
The best tribute that we’ve seen, though, isn’t part of this sometimes-saccharine thicket. Read More
Earlier today on Apple’s Cupertino campus, Steve Jobs held a press conference regarding the iPhone 4 reception saga, which he said is not “antenna-gate.” The overall gist: Jobs says the iPhone 4’s reception isn’t perfect, but not any worse than other phone’s, and Apple will give out a free “bumper” case to iPhone 4 phone buyers.
The cases are meant to reduce the dropped reception problem that can occur if a person’s hand covers a crucial bit of the antenna. The bumpers will be free until September 30th, and buyers can return their phones for a refund if still unhappy.
We’ve rounded up opinions of Jobs’ conference, which you can catch a video of through Apple’s site, here.
Jobs started the meeting by showing other phones (BlackBerry Bold, Droid Eris…) also dropping signal strength depending on how they’re held. But some think that comparing the iPhone 4 to other devices isn’t a valid excuse when you have a brand built on exclusivity (and expense).
“Stop me if you’ve already seen this.” So joked Steve Jobs today at the official rollout of the iPhone 4, which will be available June 24 in the United States. Back in his native habitat of a product reveal, the be-turtlenecked one made light of the multiple iPhone 4 leaks (including the famous incident of the lost phone prototype) as he demonstrated the phone’s new features.
The iPhone 4 is sleeker and more advanced than the original iPhone that came out in 2007. Like the iPhone 3GS, it comes in black or white, though it has a more angular look. Its front and back are covered with glass, and it is rimmed with stainless steel that acts as part of the phone’s antenna. It is about three-eighths of an inch thick; the iPhone 3GS is nearly half an inch. It can shoot high-definition video, catching up to some other smart phones. It has a gyroscope in addition to other sensors, to enable more advanced motion-sensing applications, such as games and mapping services [AP].
The Retina display is what’s really turning heads.
It has been one of the world’s worst kept secrets, but that hasn’t make the waiting any easier. Now, after years of whispers, rumors, speculation, and leaks, people can finally gawk at Apple’s latest offering–a new device the company refers to as the iPad. The thin and elegant tablet device was officially unveiled today by Apple CEO Steve Jobs in San Fransisco. The iPad “is so much more intimate than a laptop, and it’s so much more capable than a smartphone with its gorgeous screen,” Mr. Jobs crowed. “It’s phenomenal to hold the Internet in your hands” [The New York Times].
So what exactly is this tablet? The iPad, it seems, looks and acts a lot like a giant iPhone or iPod Touch. You can get your apps, play your games, store your pictures, watch your videos, and browse the Internet–but on a bigger screen and in higher definition. One addition to the tablet is that now you can read books online with Apple’s new iBooks.
At the launch, Jobs described the iPad as featuring a 9.7-inch, full capacitive multi-touch IPS display that weighs 1.5 pounds and measures just half an inch. “Thinner and lighter than any netbook,” according to Jobs [PCMag]. There’s also an on-screen keyboard for you to jab at. The tablet’s starting price is $499 for a 16 gigabyte device and goes up to $699 for the 64 GB version. If you throw in an extra $130, you’ll get 3G capability. Apple linked up with AT&T for its two 3G data plans: You can choose between paying $14.99 a month for 250 megabytes (which you could burn through pretty quickly by downloading multimedia) or $29.99 for unlimited data. In both cases, you don’t need a contract. All models feature built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, an accelerometer, speaker, and microphone. It is expected to start shipping in March.