Thursday, August 11, 2005

Ignorance Is Not Bliss

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Ignorance Is Not Bliss
A Poem By JeromeProphet

The flags draped upon your coffins flutter softly in the summer breeze.
You brave souls were vanquished, leaving a pain that will not ease.
Your families hold their memories of you within their hearts so strong.
Their love for you can not be shattered by bullet, mine, or bomb.
While I did not know you, I think of you this way.
My words betray the pain I feel, there's little more to say.
Another Sister, another Brother, came home to us today.
Another Father, another Mother, for your valiant souls we pray.
Thank you for your sacrafice, our freedom to you we owe.
Our pledge is to understand your deeds, to care, to remember, and to know.
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Casey Sheehan

Learn more about Casey, and Casey's Mother Cindy Sheehan, who has been attempting to speak with President Bush here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Fight Against Cancer! Did I Mention Prizes?

I invite everyone to check out the following site:

First Some Background

Many years ago I downloaded a small unobtrusive program associated to the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Life (SETI) Project. The program remains resident in your systems memory using spare CPU cycles when it can, without really making itself a nuisance.

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The small program doesn't slow your computer down in any noticable way. It automatically downloads small encrypted data files from SETI@Home, then runs the data through various processing, and then uploads the results back to SETI@Home. The program is designed to identify radio signal patterns which are deemed intelligent in design, and the result of technology. The data is collected from a radio telescope in Puerto Rico which collects large amounts of data that would otherwise take decades to process using even very fast computers.

The SETI@Home "Grid" consist of millions of computers, such as mine, which have been put to use to assist in the number crunching. These computers collectively form a parallel processing grid which has contributed millions of cpu hours effectively allowing the SETI@Home project to scan vast amounts of radio signal data in a short period of time. If your computer is the one(s) which helps to find extra-terrestrial life SETI has promised to include you in any presentation ceremonies for the Nobel Prize which would surely result due to the discovery.

The Grid

The idea of parallel processing isn't new, but SETI@Home was one of the first such projects which employed the vast untapped computing power available only since the development of the Internet. SETI@Home's success directly led to the development of a company called United Devices.

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United Devices has developed a flexible platform for research facilities which need vast amounts of computing power on the cheap. The solution? The GRID, which is based upon the same approach as the SETI@Home project, as it depends upon millions of volunteers to install United Devices' distributed processing software.

Like the SETI@Home software United Devices' GRID software is unobtrusive, uses spare CPU cycles so you don't notice a system slowdown, and cost nothing. It has a screensaver mode, and it will graphically display the part of a molecule your computer is working on - which is neat for all you chemistry geeks out there!

Past, and ongoing GRID projects include assisting in the development of a treatment for smallpox. The treatment should not be confused with the smallpox vaccine which already exist. The GRID was assisting in the development of a drug which would be used to treat people who already have smallpox. Since smallpox has been irradicated you might wonder why a need for such a treatment? The project was associated with the department of defense in the fight against bio-terrorism.

There's also an ongoing GRID project seeking to identify best candidates for drugs suitable for treating cancer. Most recently, a new project has been added which is assisting in research on the function of human genes. This too will assist in developing drug treatments for any number of human diseases.

While United Devices is a for profit company, the GRID is a non-profit project associated with Oxford University.

For those skeptics out there, this is real world science, not fringe science. The results of these projects are slicing decades off of research time in helping to develop suitable drugs to treat diseases which afflicts millions.

I invite everyone reading this post to check out the GRID website. Dave at The11thHour did over a year ago, and I haven't heard any complaints yet!

There's even an incentive program, which I've never really looked into because I don't care about trading in "points" for prizes - I just wanted to cure cancers!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Dana Reeve Fighting Lung Cancer

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I have admired Dana Reeve for years. I always thought she was such a remarkable woman for staying totally dedicated to her husband, the late Christopher Reeve, despite his paralysis, and other health problems. She shows that beauty is, as beauty does, and has dedicated her life to her children, and toward helping others.

Sadly, as has been reported today, she has now been given an additional cross to bear, as she is fighting lung cancer. She is one of the minority of those fighting lung cancer who never smoked. I extend my prayers to her, and her family. Dana also lost a close family member this Spring to cancer.

I'm including a speech which she gave last Fall in which she endorsed John Kerry. John Kerry supported stem cell research. Kerry endorsed a less supersticious-religious approach, favoring instead a more rational-scientific means of dealing with the nation's problems - including the issue of funding for stem cell research.

Speech by Christopher Reeve's wife, Dana Reeve

24 Oct 2004

“Hello, I am Dana Reeve.

Thank you for your warm welcome. I know we all wish Christopher could be with us today, he would be honored as I am to introduce our long-time friend and ally, Senator John Kerry.

Chris and Senator Kerry's relationship goes back to a time when they worked together to advance this country's commitment to preserving the environment. Today, as an advocate and also as a wife, mother and caregiver I stand next to John Kerry to do my part to help advance this country's commitment to medical research.

One of the last calls Chris made was to John Kerry - I think he was going to give you some additional talking points on the promise of stem cell research - forever the director.

Eleven days ago, a light went out in my life. When Chris died, the world lost a truly inspirational leader. I lost my best friend. I have been grieving privately the past week and a half, surrounded by close friends and family, trying to help the children start to piece together life without their dad.

My inclination would be to remain private for a good long while. But I came here today in support of John Kerry because this is so important. This is what Chris wanted.

Although our family feels Chris's loss so keenly right now, today is the right moment to transform our grief into hope. Chris is the beacon guiding me.

Almost a decade ago, Christopher also made a bold decision, to choose life and to fight for every single day he had with us. He always fought for his beliefs, and that's what gives me so much personal strength today.

I don't think it is a secret that my husband was a strong advocate for medical research. He had every plan to walk again, and he never once slowed down in his pursuit to forward the most promising and cutting edge science.

He was tireless in his efforts to further understand each new scientific breakthrough. Chris made it a point to speak with researchers almost every day. He challenged scientists to make the necessary leaps to translate basic science to therapies, to move from the lab to the patient's side.

Chris was an extremely vocal proponent of embryonic stem cell research. Chris joined the National Academies of Science, the National Institutes of Health, over 80 Nobel Laureates, every scientific mind he could ask, and most importantly the majority of Americans in believing the promise of embryonic stem cell research to unlock life saving treatments and cures.

There are currently researchers working across the country transplanting embryonic stem cells into rats. The rats, once paralyzed, are now walking. Chris was fond of saying, “Oh to be a rat.” He knew human studies were a long way from these animal studies, but they gave him and thousands more real hope.

I am here today because John Kerry, like Christopher Reeve, believes in keeping our hope alive.

Chris struggled for nine and a half years. But it was essential to him that every day bring some kind of forward progress, either personally or globally. Despite the enormous challenges he faced each morning, he awoke with focused determination and a remarkable zest for life. Chris was able to keep going because he had the support of his loved ones and dedicated nursing staff, the belief of his fans and members of the disabled community, and because he had hope - hope that one day science would restore some of his function. Chris actively participated in clinical trials. He was on a strict exercise regimen and was recently in a clinical trial right here in Ohio to breathe on his own. Chris could breathe off his ventilator for hours at a time thanks to science and scientists taking bold steps.

Chris understood that all journeys begin with a single step and to take that first step one needs hope. His vision of walking again, his belief that he would reach this goal for himself and others in his lifetime, was central to the way he conducted his life.

Chris's unyielding support of stem cell research transcended spinal cord injuries and paralysis. Chris believed learning more about disease and disease development, how the body works, and how it can repair itself, would help all individuals suffering from a disease or disorder. He saw benefits in finding treatments and cures for people with cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, cardiovascular disorders, autoimmune diseases, and a host of other medical conditions which rob people of the quality of life that we all deserve.

While Chris led the crusade for research, I poured my energy into improving the quality of life for people living with diseases, inspired by individuals who could still benefit from research on the horizon. Right here in Ohio, the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation has funded a number of programs that keep people healthy and active despite the challenges of living with a disability: Dancing Wheels, Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center, Assistive Dogs of America, the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center - all of which keep people hopeful about their lives and their future.

Chris imagined living in a world where politics would never get in the way of hope. So I am here today to honor my husband as I proudly introduce our friend and to declare my vote for the next President of the United States, John Kerry.”

Monday, August 08, 2005

Duck, Duck, Goose!

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Who wants to be it?

Here's a list of interesting projects:

Map the human genome (done).
Determine human gene functions (15-25 years).

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Identify all genes which play a role in causing cancer (5 years).

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Analyze how cancer, and other genetic diseases work on a molecular level (50-100 years).

Develop treatments for all major forms of cancer, and genetic disease (100 years).

Develop treatments for all major viruses, and bacterial infections (never ending).

Significantly slow aging, and thus extend lifespans to hundreds of years (50-100 years).

Dave of The11thHour questions why American tax dollars are being wasted on the Carlyle Group-Haliburton War when it could be used to research cures for disease? Good question!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Peter Jennings Dies

When I heard that Springfield's local NBC affliliate WICS Channel 20 was switching with Decatur's WAND to become the ABC affiliate in this Central Illinois television market I thought, "No problem I like Peter Jennings".

With Tom Brokaw gone, then Dan Rather, it left just Peter Jennings as the last of the three familiar broadcast network anchors. Now to see Mr. Jennings taken from us so quickly, so unmercifully by lung cancer it just seems so shocking.

We just lost Johnny Carson a few months ago to cigarettes, and now Peter Jennings. With him goes a great deal of real journalism experience, he was not a pretty face talking head. He spent time as a foreign correspondent, and earned his place at the helm as a ABC's anchor.

I'll miss his measured approach, and his careful delivery. You could tell, but just barely when he considered some excuse given by a politician to be an insult to the American people.

He was very professional, but he did what he could, under the circumstances, to bring important news to us in a way that delved below the surface.

Sadly, network news isn't a place for that kind of journalism anymore, but he did host several news specials every year - probably part of his contract.

He had just become an American citizen too.

Another great I'll never forget.

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News anchor Jennings dies

Peter Jennings, who was a news anchorman for ABC America for more than two decades, has died of lung cancer at his home in New York.

He was 67.

The Canadian-born Jennings, host of World News Tonight since 1983, announced in April that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer.

"Peter died with his family around him, without pain and in peace," his family said.

"He knew he'd lived a good life."

Jennings had not been on air since telling his audience about the cancer.

"For four decades, Peter has been our colleague, our friend, and our leader in so many ways," ABC America president David Westin said.

"None of us will be the same without him."

Mr Westin says Jennings, a former smoker, had undergone an aggressive chemotherapy treatment.

"He knew that it was an uphill struggle," he said.

"But he faced it with realism, courage, and a firm hope that he would be one of the fortunate ones. In the end, he was not."

In the course of his career, Jennings was honoured with 16 Emmys, two George Foster Peabody and many other awards.

ABC television interrupted its regular programming late Sunday US time to bring its viewers the news of Jennings' passing.

Jennings is survived by his wife, Kayce Freed, his two children Elizabeth, 25, and Christopher, 23, and his sister, Sarah Jennings.

- Reuters

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