Since 2007, 23andMe has invited its customers to spit into a tube, send it back to the company and thus learn the secrets of their genome--or, at least, the aspects of it that 23andMe tests. The company is a Silicon Valley favourite, led by Anne Wojcicki, wife of Sergey Brin, one of Google’s founders. Its backers include Google and Yuri Milner, a billionaire investor in Facebook and Twitter. Ms Wojcicki maintains that people have a right to their genetic information. The FDA is more cautious.
I’ve been a member of 23andMe for almost a year. The service has provided valuable ancestry and health risk information for only $99. In a letter to 23andMe, the FDA demanded the company to stop marketing its service because inaccurate or misinterpreted test results could result in dangerous medical decisions. The FDA stated in its letter that inaccurate information about a gene linked to breast cancer could lead a woman to have unnecessary surgery. This is a weak argument--mastectomies are not available over the counter. Doctors would order more extensive tests and interpret the results before performing surgery. By prohibiting 23andMe’s tests, the FDA is denying people genetic information useful in promoting their health. The FDA is trying to protect Americans from potential harm, but banning health information because it may not be 100% accurate is not the answer. People have a right to choose the sources of medical information they believe to be trustworthy, whether its a medicine man, WebMD, or 23andMe’s DNA test.
Since 2007 I’ve been using the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 at both home and work. The 4000′s spacious palm rest, curved key bed, ergonomic arc, and reversed slope make it more comfortable than traditional keyboards. I spend a lot of time in front of a computer, so spending $35 for the 4000 six years ago was a wise investment. Yet while I’m mostly satisfied with the 4000, it’s not perfect. Its keys feel mushy, and its large size leaves little space for my mouse on the undersized keyboard tray at the office. Over the years I’ve looked at other keyboards, but I haven’t liked any of them as much as the 4000--until now.
Microsoft’s new Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard addresses my complaints with its predecessor. The Sculpt’s laptop-like scissor keys have a short travel distance and satisfying click. It’s an improved typing experience over the 4000. Additionally, the numeric keypad (which I never use) is now a separate unit. I left the numeric keypad in the original packaging, which leaves plenty of space for my mouse alongside the Sculpt keyboard. The Sculpt’s only drawback is that it ditches the 4000′s USB cable for a wireless USB dongle. While most people probably prefer a wireless keyboard, I’d rather not hassle with battery replacements. This is nitpicking though--the Sculpt is a worthy successor to the 4000. I highly recommend the Sculpt keyboard for people who spend a lot of time using desktop computers.
By the way, even though the Sculpt is a Windows-based keyboard, it works fine with my Mac without drivers. I just swapped the Command and Option keys under System Preferences, Keyboard, Modifier Keys. Also, I created a key binding file to change the behavior of the Home, End, PageUp, PageDown, Delete, and Insert keys.
My last stop on the Peruvian coast was Puerto Inca, where I spent the night camping on the beach after exploring the ruins and grave sites of this Inca port.
Close to Nazca is the Chauchilla Cemetery, which contains open tombs dating from 100 AD to 700 AD. The dead are well preserved because of the dry desert air.
Cahuachi, a sacred center of the Nazca people, overlooks some of the Nazca lines. The archaeologists excavating the site have uncovered over 30 hills topped with adobe structures.
My next stop on the Pan-American Highway was Nazca to see the Nazca Lines. The Nazca Lines are large figures cut into the desert by the Nazca people around 400 BC. I saw around a dozen figures from a Cessna, including a monkey, hummingbird, and whale. Can you spot the whale under the plane’s wing?
I left Lima and headed south down the coast to the Paracas National Park, which is widely regarded as one of the most important marine reserves in the world. I took a boat tour to the Ballestas Islands and saw sea lions, Humboldt penguins, and Peruvian boobies. Also from the boat I also saw the Paracas Candelabra, which is similar to the Nazca lines, but smaller and carved more deeply in the rock. Later in the day I arrived in Huacachina and went on a sandboarding tour that included an afternoon of sandboarding down steep sand dunes, and then overnight camping in the desert.
I spent my second day in Lima exploring the historic center, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Unlike my first day, the weather was beautiful, making for a great day of sightseeing.
Early in the morning my flight arrived in an overcast Lima. I took a taxi to my hostel, which was located near Central Park in Miraflores. After dropping off my backpack and eating breakfast, I explored the parks and beaches in this upscale part of Lima. I also bought an alpaca jumper to keep me warm for the rest of my travels in Peru.
In 2013 I traveled to Peru and realized my dream of hiking the classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. In addition to hiking in the Andes, I spent a few weeks traveling to other amazing places in Peru and Bolivia. See the featured 2013 Peru and Bolivia Trip for all the trip posts.
The places I visited are mapped and listed below. Clicking on a linked destination will display the posts for the place.
||29 Jun 2013
||01 Jul 2013
||01 Jul 2013
||02 Jul 2013
||Puerto Inca, Peru
||03 Jul 2013
||04 Jul 2013
||06 Jul 2013
||08 Jul 2013
||09 Jul 2013
||11 Jul 2013
||Aguas Calientes, Peru
||15 Jul 2013
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||17 Jul 2013
||18 Jul 2013
||La Paz, Bolivia
||20 Jul 2013