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Archive for the ‘Whatever’ Category

Minorities

Liberals (myself included) often complain about how minorities are treated in the United States – and they are correct to complain, minorities are ill-treated in this country and deserve better.  Nevertheless, it is worth recognizing that many minorities have had significant success in the United States, and far better than in our European counterparts.
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The Cancer Flu

I’m in middle of reading and really enjoying The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee. I highly recommend it.

Cancer research made the same mistakes made over and over. First surgeons figure out how to operate and  surgery becomes the cure-all for cancer. An estimated 500,000 women had radical mastectomies, many unneeded.  The few who questioned surgery were silenced and those inventing more radical surgical techniques lauded. The techniques helped in other areas, but in cancer not so much. Chemo is the next big thrill and suddenly everyone’s convinced that chemo will cure all cancers. Except it doesn’t.

Today we’re looking at the cellular level. We’ve recognized that cancer isn’t a disease – it’s a category of diseases. What works for one doesn’t automatically work for another and we’re beginning to understand why. Some cancers are caused by viruses (HPV), others are genetic or environmental (smoking and lung cancer).

So two scary questions:

1) If they were so smart why did it take surgeons so long to reject surgery as a cure all? Why, year after year, decade after decade, of doing surgery and then having patients return and die, did most surgeons just continue on? Why did they try sidelining the chemo people? Maybe they weren’t so smart, they were just good body mechanics.

2) How do we know that today’s obsession with cellular level cancer research is any different than yesteryear’s obsession with surgery? How do we recognize the next advance in research without sidelining the researchers?

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While studying for the bar I attended a conference in Las Vegas.  Wide open roads, large sidewalks, and not just on the Strip.  Why couldn’t New York, London, Jerusalem or Rome be like that?  And what does that mean for us?

You can’t remake NYC.  I might love a Cross Bronx with twice the number of lanes, but we’d need to destroy hundreds of buildings and displace tens of thousands of people, something Vegas didn’t have to worry about.  Because so much is baked in, New York will never have the wide open character of a newer city, instead we make changes inch by inch.  A pedestrian mall here, a new bridge there, change is slow but the underlying character remains.

We get caught up in our assumptions.  We construct two lane roads and build structures in our mind which we’re afraid to tear down.  Consequently we don’t re-examine assumptions, opinions become entrenched, complacency rules the day.  We stick with the old air conditioner because it never enters our mind to buy a new one which is better and saves more money.  We stick with an old computer because our two lane mind doesn’t want to go onto a highway.  We assume others use that same road and travel in the same direction.

Tear down the mental structures, get rid of the Cross Bronx in your head and build new roads.

 

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“Another week, another earthquake. A 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck southeast of Taiwan at 10:59 a.m. Monday morning. According to U.S. Geological Survey the epicenter “was centered 269 km (167 miles) east of T’ai-tung county.” According to AP, Buildings swayed for about 20 seconds and then stopped. There were no reports of injuries or damages. No tsunami warnings have been issued.”

UUUUUUUMMMMMMM???????
Isn’t today the day of that Boobquake test?

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