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Archive for June, 2009

23andMe not-a-BLIMP! (apparently it’s a Zeppelin)

23andMe Blimp! Just look at it!

23andMe Not-a-Blimp! Just look at it! (not my pic)

So on my way to work today, driving across from 880 to Westbound 80, avoiding the Bay Bridge toll plaza, I saw a pair of chromosomes from my onramp in oakland that I knew immediately belonged to the 23andMe logo. Nevertheless, these were on a not-a-blimp! I tried to take a snapshot on my phone, but sadly, resolution wasn’t so great and  the not-a-blimp was out of my driving trajectory, but a quick search online and lo and behold, there definitely is a 23andMe not-a-blimp!

Talk about aggressive marketing! This is taking the DTC part of personal genomics waaayyyy beyond what I had expected. Sure, trendy spit parties at fashion week that make the Times is one thing, but a not-a-blimp to harass SF commuters? C’mon. Personal genomics is not something that can be sold as a simple commodity. The procedures, risks, and implications of it can be serious, and by advertising the service as though it was a movie or typical commercial product is tricking those that are less genetically literate (unfamiliar in complex genetics) into thinking that this is just  for fun.

According to Alex Hall, CEO of Airship Ventures, via ChubbyBrain

While blimps can also do advertising, the Zeppelin is 50ft larger than any of them and can provide unique promotional opportunities…

I can only speculate how much this costs in advertising. Sure, the previous contract was with Disney-Pixar promoting UP, very appropriate, especially in the Bay Area. But personal genomics?

http://www.airshipventures.com/tours-promos.php

Airship Ventures even has a time-lapse Youtube video they just posted of the application of the 23andMe logo that was uploaded yesterday.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mho_x9Z1Na8

UPDATE:

After a bit more digging, and not to be offensive, there’s something strangely incestuous about the relationship between Google, 23andMe (which you already knew), and this Airship Ventures company. A relationship that involves founders, mothers, board members (i.e. 23andMe cofounder’ s mother, back in october of last year, writes a travelogue promoting Airship Ventures (links below). Airship Ventures’ major investor is 23andMe’s first listed board member, which for once, isn’t all that surprising… So that’s where this is coming from..

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/esther-wojcicki/the-return-of-the-zeppeli_b_138961.html

via:

http://valleywag.gawker.com/5071678/google-founders-journalist-mother+in+law-writes-blimp-infomercial

Update:

Apparently the difference between a Zeppelin and a Blimp is whether or not there is a rigid, internal structure. The former, which is the case mentioned here, is rigid, wherease a blimp is, well.. floppy ( that word’s for you, Beth).

YETANOTHERUPDATE:

you can track the zeppelin!!! in case you actively wanted to be visually spammed by the zeppelin….

http://www.airshipventures.com/tracking.php

via 23andme’s facebook page: which is.. having a contest for best picture of the zeppelin to get fifty-buck discounts? really, whatchu gonna do 23andme when its some 15 year old kid that wins the contest? oh yeah, they don’t have restrictions on age, despite established NSGC positions about childhood testing

Prenatal and childhood testing for adult-onset genetic conditions should always include genetic education and counseling. Genetic counseling for clients considering such testing should include exploration of the psychological/social risks and benefits of early genetic identification from both the parents’ and child’s perspectives. When possible the child should be involved in the decision about whether or not to be tested. Other issues discussed should include the possibility of discrimination in insurance, education and employment for the child or family in both the immediate and more distant future.

Categories: publicity, Uncategorized Tags: , ,

check-in

my research is taking the unfortunate turn away from an asian-american focus and looking more broadly at racially/ethnically diverse populations. okay, maybe that’s not unfortunate, but not what i’d initially envisioned at least. most importantly, i’m trying to decipher what the cultural and personal values are that influence the racial/ethnic disparities that we see in prenatal screening and testing uptake. but in designing this study, it really looks more at more broadly, what these values are, and how they influence a woman’s perceived severity of prenatal screening outcomes (the conditions that are screened for). rarely have the women themselves been asked “hey, what do you want screened on prenatal screening if it were your decision, how good/bad of an outcome would you consider those things, and would you consider screening or terminating over it?”. that’s the general gist. asking the client/patient themselves, what do they see as valuable Read more…

a sad day for the frugal student traveller

i just received the following email from Southwest Airlines that tugs at my financial pursestrings, infuriates the i-want-the-best-deal aspect of my existence, and is deprivilegizing my travel choices:

As an active participant in the College Rapid Rewards program, we wanted to make you aware of some changes effective July 15, 2009.

The College Rapid Rewards program will be discontinued, and new enrollments will not be processed. However, as a current Member, you will continue to earn bonus credit through October 15, 2009.

Beginning October 16, 2009, all former College Rapid Rewards Members will earn Rapid Rewards credit at a standard rate, consistent with the general program.

Despite this change, there are still lots of ways to earn credit as a Rapid Rewards Member, both in the air and on the ground! Just visit RapidRewards101.com for information about Rapid Rewards Preferred Partners and ways to get to an Award faster than ever.

We apologize for any inconvenience and look forward to seeing you onboard soon!

Your Friends at Rapid Rewards

no more are the days where, because of interviews, i can rack up a free round trip in a matter of months! no more are the days where i feel like just cause i’m young and have to fly home for breaks, am i getting treats (like free drink tickets and the occassional free flight). no more are the days when..
oh. now i’ll just be like everyone else and earn my free flights more slowly. i’m almost out of the age range anyway, so perhaps this is a timely notice.

forget i started ranting 😉

(btw, a recommendation to people going on GC or job interviews.. DEFINITELY sign up for flight rewards programs before you make your trips – so you can start building up your miles! in my 6 years of school away from home, i’ve already received three round-trip rewards flights!)

as the Sequenom wheel turns.. o

so subscribing to GenomeWeb Daily News on my fancy shmancy Google Reader is awesome because I get to hear all the updates right away! on that note, things about Sequenom always seem to catch my eye. today, apparently…

Shares of Sequenom soared in Tuesday trade, even though there appeared to be no news that would create such a surge in both its price and trading volume. Sequenom finished Tuesday up 58 percent at $5.30 on the Nasdaq. More than 53 million shares traded hands on the day — nearly 10 times its average daily trading volume.

makes you wonder, what’s going on dudes?

http://www.genomeweb.com/dxpgx/sequenom-shares-rise-sharply

Categories: publicity Tags: ,

one of these days…

someday, I hope I have the courage to send out senseless surveys to the professional genetic counseling community asking them things like “what shoes did you wear to work today” or “how many journal articles, would you say, are currently piled on top of your desk”, then in an Onion-like format (in a medium such as this blog), make some pseudo-science comments like, prenatal genetic counselors are more likely to wear flats, but have an association with a large number of journal articles sitting on their desks, which is perhaps due to the stressful environment that their clients create, an enviornment that is not conducive to heels. this oppression of …

just a thought.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

GC hx via GOOGLE

I just discovered Google Labs’ News Timeline. it was recently introduced, but I stumbled across it when trying to research a timeline of when the different GC programs were formed (i.e. order of creation). In the search term of “genetic counseling program history”, there was a module in the search that included a timeline. while distinctly separate from what i’m next goign to touch on, this timeline is a pretty useful tool and provides loads of media articles (many from NYTIMES archives). you can click on the blue bars in the timeline to bring up in closer detail what those citations are. this would be an immensely interesting research project for someone interested in the history of GC. unfortunately, history, for the most part, makes me yawn.

upon further investigation of Google, another tool, the News Timeline showed up. just search for “genetic counseling” in quotes, and look by decade, year, month, etc., and it’s so cool, you can see some old, scanned-in newspaper articles everywhere the terms show up.

granted, the search functions and displays are a bit obscured by the barrage of TIME covers and articles that are not relevant, but it’s still a fun little tool to look at how the field of GC in the eye of the media has evolved.

I guess I got so distracted that I completely forgot to look for a timeline of GC programs…

Dr. Tiller and his critics

the news of Dr. George Tiller’s murder is absolutely chilling. all the commentary out there, while completely respectful, still sends shivers down my spine and I have trouble acknowledging the extremes that some individuals go to in trying to make a point. it is reassuring to hear the very vocal condemnations of this event. although, statements like the following perhaps shouldn’t be quite so defensive in a time where individuals may need the space to absorb the facts:

Kansas Coalition for Life

The Kansas Coalition for Life Unequivocally Condemns the Shooting of Abortionist George Tiller.

Although at the time of this writing, it is not known who killed Abortionist Tiller, we do know for certain that this crime was NOT the work of any true proLife person. A true proLife person respects human life as a gift from God, and leaves all life and death decisions to God Himself.

This killing — if it is in any way connected to a genuine proLife group, has the potential to set back the proLife movement by 20 years or more.

The Kansas Coalition for Life asks all reporters and commentators to make a clear distinction between lawless thugs who act on their own accord, and the good proLife people who obey the law, seeking a change in abortion laws via peaceful means and the legislative process.

It is completely misleading, for the media to imply, in any way that this is the work of the proLife movement. We urge the media to report responsibly and truthfully in this regard.

KCFL would have much preferred that Abortionist Tiller follow the footsteps of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a former abortionist who is now one of America’s most prominent and effective proLife leaders.

In 1993 Shelly Shannon, who had no connection whatsoever to any proLife organization, brought shame on all proLife groups by her stupid action, when she attempted to kill abortionist Tiller as he entered his abortion facility on East Kellogg Drive at Bleckley Street in Wichita.

Tiller’s death comes at a time when all recent polling data shows that the peaceful proLife message has the support of a majority of American voters. We hope this terrible news does not hurt the steady progress that the proLife movement has made by peaceful legal means over the years.

source: http://www.kansas.com/news/local/story/834437.html

Categories: people, publicity Tags: ,