Suggested last year: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/openvirgle/QukA-eEPXVg/_7XkmJ1iHA8J
I just posted this comment to that page:
For some health advice on how to reduce the risk of further illnesses making this worse, please search for my post to the OpenVirgle Google group from 2012-06-23 entitled "Larry Page & Sergey Brin hopefully getting enough sunlight and vegetables?"
An excerpt: "I can wonder if, like so many indoor-types people in the technology field, those two hard working guys are both at risk from sunlight (vitamin D3) deficiency and vegetable deficiency disease? Or possibly some other nutritional issues (omega 3 deficiency, iodine deficiency, etc.) that can be caused by "The Pleasure Trap" and easy access to "Supernormal Stimuli"? (Both the names of good books BTW related to 20th and 21st-century health challenges.)"
Good luck with your new initiative. Google could someday become a leader in health sensemaking.
Our work from fifteen years ago: https://github.com/pdfernhout/PlantStudio
A user comment: "Plant Studio is the best 3d plant creator/animator that I have seen. Very nice job."
The idea can be used to design almost anything, even music (also by us):
Richard Dawkins had the idea first though (or others before him), as shown by his "Blind Watchmaker" software which we had seen before PlantStudio.
So, basically, for most people, 3D is hard because the dominant 3D software paradigm of assembling shapes via splines and meshes and such is too hard to use.
However, Minecraft (and Infiniminer before it) show another easy to use 3D design paradigm (assembling blocks).
Some satire I wrote five years ago when Google created Knol, reposted here: http://lists.alioth.debian.org/pipermail/freedombox-discuss/2011-February/000401.html
Gold Leader: Pardon me for asking, sir, but what good are semantic wikis and desktops going to be against [that]?
General Dodonna: Well, the Empire doesn't consider a small cgi script on a shared server or desktop to be any threat, or they'd have a tighter defense.
Commander #1: We've analyzed their attack on Knol, sir, and there is a danger. Should I have your Golden Parachute standing by?
Governor Schmidt: Evacuate? In our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances.
Maybe the same goes fro private drones in the balance between meshworks and hierarchies?
"Indeed, one must resist the temptation to make hierarchies into villains and meshworks into heroes, not only because, as I said, they are constantly turning into one another, but because in real life we find only mixtures and hybrids, and the properties of these cannot be established through theory alone but demand concrete experimentation."
Interesting ammendent suggestion. Also related by me: http://pcast.ideascale.com/a/dtd/The-need-for-FOSS-intelligence-tools-for-sensemaking-etc./76207-8319
All that said, I think Eric Schmidt has done a lot of great things, and we could have much worse at the heart of Google. Anyone in that position would face a lot of constraints about what he could say or do; it's amazing anyone could do as well as he has. As Langdon Winner wrote about, the systems (including bureaucracies) we create shape the nature of what components are allowed to exists in them. If the components (including people) act too far out of expectations, they are replaced.
"You can support "basic income" OR you can support everything else Hatta said. It simply makes no sense to support both."
AC, you present a false choice between two economic extremes. You can have a free market system where, say, 50% of the GDP is distributed as a basic income and the other half is earned. Further, there are many activities often outside the exchange economy (like the gift economy, the participatory planned economy, and the subsistence economy) where people might show initiative even if they have the material basics from the exchange economy via a basic income. Raising children well is another activity mostly outside earning money, even if in our society someone may need to earn money in a family to raise children well because we don't yet have a basic income.
"Median income has increased a thousand fold because a farmer on tractor produces FAR more than a farmer with a rake. The rest of your logic flows directly from this utterly false premise, so you end up with conclusions that are exactly wrong."
Think through the implications of your very point. Lets say we have 1000 farmers with rakes feeding a community, and someone invents a tractor. Now one farmer can do the wok of 1000. That farmer probably now earns more, true (depending on market issues, claims about patents on the tractor, fuel prices, etc.). But the other 999 farmers now have their labor devalued, because there is only so much people in the community can eat. Most of them can no longer be farmers economically. Granted, the quality of food may raise some, or farmers might feed food to animals to produce meat, or advertisers may convince everyone to become obese or to burn corn for fuel, so some extra demand for farm products may be created, but probably not 1000X more. And a few years later, with a super new robotic tractor or better seeds or better weather reports or better soil science understanding, that one farmer may become even more productive, even if demand increases some. Farmers are down from 90% of the US workforce to about 1%-2% over the past 200 years, but we produce more food than ever (so much it is exported and we eat lots of meat -- with various health implications as we now suffer from diseases of affluence like gout and heart disease), So, most farmers must try to find other jobs.
So, they became factory workers. But the same thing happened in manufacturing (that human labor is replaced by machines and improved know-how), so they can't do that anymore. US manufacturing employment has dropped about in half over the past few decades from about 35% to about 15% while total output has grown, with no end in sight to that trend. So, we will likely soon see manufacturing employment down to 1%-2% same as farming.
So, then these ex-farmers and ex-factory workers need to become "service" workers (like waiters or hairdressers or CPAs or plumbers or doctors) in order to earn the right to consume in our society via wage income. But robotics and AI and better design is now replacing most services. Examples include eating frozen dinners instead of going out to eat, alternatives to paid hair services like special shampoos or YouTube videos on home hair cutting, or using tax software via the web instead of using a CPA, new types of pipes that last longer or can be assembled by snapping them together as DIY purchased from big home improvement stores or the web, or IBM's Watson to do medical diagnosis. That leaves fewer and fewer service jobs (which often did not pay well anyway, and most were not as independent as being a farmer). So a race to the bottom for the wages starts for most people as the unemployed compete with each other.
Deny it if you want, as do most mainstream economists, but most of the economic trends in the USA reflect what I am saying. We have seen flat real wages for decades (yes some compensation increase goes to a dysfunctional medical sector), no job growth for a decade, an increasing rich-poor divide with come having skills still in value or having capital, and so on. Mainstream economists, in part to protect their own jobs and egos, keep saying we will get back to "normal" some year, and that we can increase demand infinitely, as if the last few decades, especially the last decade, was some anomaly, not the new normal.
See also Marshall Brain's writings:
A new political party worth supporting will be one which addresses the needs from this new normal. (Sadly, the Greens don't really get the potential of decentralized productive technology even as they may understand something about social and environmental justice...) A basic income is one approach. Improving the gift economy (Linux and Wikipeida), the subsistence economy (home 3D printing and solar panels and gardenign robots), and the democratically planned economy (open government through the internet) can be other aspects of that as well. See my website for related ideas abut a post-scarcity economic transition.
"[in response to: Basic income guarantee] and you want government to be your mommy."
Recently the right to consume has been linked for most people to earning wages through paid labor. The value of most human labor is declining with the rise in robotics and other automation, relatively cheaper energy, better design, voluntary social networks, and other factors. All material goods are based on resources taken from nature, where the original ownership of those seeking rent from the land is always questionable morally. All intellectual goods are the product of thousands of years of collective thought and information sharing, even if individuals may add their own twist to that. After centuries of hard-work, cultural progress, and the accumulation of physical infrastructure, why should s many people have to work so long and hard just for a basic existence? That is part of the moral reasoning behind a "basic income".
Consider an analogy. You and your daughter live on a productive tropical island together. You tell her you own 99% of the island because you got there first, and she can only live on a barren rock in the middle with no access to water or food. What is she supposed to do? How should she feel about that? See also:
"The Mythology of Wealth"
All great points. You may also have distant relatives or old friends who may still be interested in your life either now or later. At the very least, historians may be interested in your life, including in your local historical society. See for example:
"Why do historians value letters and diaries"
"Thus, the historical value of reading diaries and letters involves understanding the significance of how individual writers employed, experimented with, or altered the conventional forms alive in their time. Perhaps more than any other kind of historical text, the personal writing we are considering reveals how people both embraced and resisted the time and place in which they lived. Their personal motives for employing either form -- the emotional and intellectual energy infusing the form with life each time it is written with a new subjectivity -- suggest much about how people in the past made their cultures, but made them from the materials at hand."
In any case, whether pictures or writings remain, you've made ripples in the world in all the lives you've interacted with. What is the universe quantum physicists describe but the sum total of all those sorts of waves?
Probably too late, but might give you a bit more time to make a few more ripples:
"For example lung cancer patients, the median survival rate after the cancer diagnosis was 5.3 months for patients with low vitamin D levels, whereas it was 22.6 months for patients with high levels."
More about other cancer options in this thread:
You might find parts of this book by Thomas Moore "Dark Nights of the Soul: A Guide to Finding Your Way Through Life's Ideals" of interest, or at least, just the summary:
"Our lives are filled with emotional tunnels: the loss of a loved one or end of a relationship, aging and illness, career disappointments or just an ongoing sense of dissatisfaction with life. Society tends to view these "dark nights" in clinical terms as obstacles to be overcome as quickly as possible. But Moore shows how honoring these periods of fragility as periods of incubation and positive opportunities to delve the soul's deepest needs can provide healing and a new understanding of life's meaning. Dark Nights of the Soul presents these metaphoric dark nights not as the enemy, but as times of transition, occasions to restore yourself, and transforming rites of passage, revealing an uplifting and inspiring new outlook on such topics as:
* The healing power of melancholy
* The sexual dark night and the mysteries of matrimony
* Finding solace during illness and in aging
* Anxiety, anger, and temporary Insanities
* Linking creativity, spirituality, and emotional struggles
* Finding meaning and beauty in the darkness"
Although it sounds like you have already found a way to honor and respect the dark night you are facing. So, I link to that more by way of honoring what you say.
A key point he makes is that in mainstream Western culture, we usually see "growth" as about like a caterpillar getting bigger, but ignore growth as "transformation", like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. "Groundhog Day" is a favorite funny movie that connects with that.
I wrote about my mother's last days here:
" I'm glad I had the "free" time every once in a while to visit with my mom. One metaphor came to me as I would sit with my Mother (after probably having done more medical intervention than we should have for her
We came back to thank her caregivers after she died, but had trouble finding them all as there was a big "Elvis" event happening right on that court, with loud music and lots of happy sounds and much of the staff. We didn't want to bring them down. I wish I could remember what song we heard as we pulled away in the car, but I remember it was an uplifting and appropriate one:
My wife thinks it might have been "Love Me Tender":
In some sense, we are all terminally ill from the day we are conceived.
Thanks for your great post. One of my favorite cartoons is of a person who has fallen off a cliff, hanging on a branch about to break, but still taking a moment to enjoy a rare flower growing out of the cliff side. Sounds like you have been making the most of your last days. As you say -- life is short.
I also found inspiring what Valerie Harper (Rhoda on TV) said about her terminal brain cancer:
"I don't think of dying. I think of being here now."
"we simply don't have the tech to make going to the moon worth doing right now"
From the Carter years: http://www.islandone.org/MMSG/aasm/
Also look up Gerard K. O'Neill and SSI.
Besides, the challenge of making a habitat work on the Moon would be a way to learn a lot about how to live more environmentally sustainably on Earth. Exploration can mean new things are learned and imagined and that learning can be more valuable to bring back than any physical resource. One of the biggest successes of Europe putting colonies in North America is that centuries later they could stop a devastaing war in Europe and Asia and reconstruct the most problematical social institutions there:
"How did Germany become such a great place to work in the first place? The Allies did it. This whole European model came, to some extent, from the New Deal. Our real history and tradition is what we created in Europe. Occupying Germany after WWII, the 1945 European constitutions, the UN Charter of Human Rights all came from Eleanor Roosevelt and the New Dealers. All of it got worked into the constitutions of Europe and helped shape their social democracies. It came from us. The papal encyclicals on labor, it came from the Americans."
"The constitution was drawn up under the Allied occupation that followed World War II and was intended to replace Japan's previous militaristic and absolute monarchy system with a form of liberal democracy. Currently, it is a rigid document and no subsequent amendment has been made to it since its adoption."
Aren't ideas and examples for a better way of living worth more than physical stuff or energy? See also James P. Hogan's sci-fi novel "Voyage from Yesteryear".
Interesting points, but we are very close to both dirt cheap solar panels and hot and cold fusion, so peak resources is unlikely to be much of a problem anytime soon. The USA could be out of debt with an act of congress anytime to just print money instead of borrow it -- the big issue is who gets newly created money first -- the government or the banks. However, the social consequences of people fighting over what they think are peaking resources using abundant resources (including abundant computing resources) is indeed a big potential problem.So is the falling relative value of most human labor compared to intelligent machines and related social unrest as the income-though-jobs link underlying the right to consume in the USA gets stretched further and further for more and more people. A "basic income" is one possible resolution to that, as is a gift economy, improved subsistence, and better participatory democratic planning. Again though, people may fight for ideological reasons over notions of fairness in distributing the right to consume. "Interesting times" indeed.
I'd be curious if you have a citation for the FBI/OWS claim.
Yet another funny one from 1980: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Government_(Yes_Minister)
I feel part of what is happening at the big picture level is that examples like Debian and Wikipedia and Linux and GNU are reminding us that people can govern themselves in various ways. Example:
We are also seeing how people can improve things by participating in a "gift economy" related to those sorts of projects and others. Government making free stuff for everyone (like public domain code from NASA or your local government staffers) is a potential big win for society, where a relatively small investment can yield big dividends by avoiding using "artificial scarcity" as a business model for important software tools or data sets.
As Lawrence Lessig writes in Code 2.0, behavior can be shaped through norms, rules, prices, and architecture. Government bureaucracies can affect all of those, but so can individuals, civic groups, and businesses. Maybe the internet is letting some of the lines blur a bit more these days?
We're also seeing that exchanging emails and IMs and twitters can replace some of the movement of monetary currency to signal "demand".
The internet has also made a lot of alternatives, if not easier, than at least "discoverable":
"The Dictionary of Alternatives: Utopianism and Organization"
"This dictionary provides ammunition for those who disagree with the early twentieth-first century orthodoxy that 'There is no alternative to free market liberalism and managerialism'. Using hundreds of entries and cross-references, it proves that there are many alternatives to the way that we currently organize ourselves. These alternatives could be expressed as fictional utopias, they could be excavated from the past, or they could be described in terms of the contemporary politics of anti-corporate protest, environmentalism, feminism and localism. Part reference work, part source book, and part polemic, this dictionary provides a rich understanding of the ways in which fiction, history and today's politics provide different ways of thinking about how we can and should organize for the coming century."
A Knight News Challenge on Open Government is just ending ($5 million to be given out). My wife and I put together one of the 828 entries (did not make the final cut though):
There are many other interesting suggestions there:
The O'Reilly book on open government is online, and I put up a link to it as an "inspiration" part of that challenge:
Anyway, as you imply, we have yet to see how all these visions of "open government" play out.
An indirectly related book:
"Unlike most texts, which treat policy analysis and policy making as different enterprises, Policy Paradox demonstrates that "you can't take politics out of analysis." Through a uniquely rich and comprehensive model, this revised edition continues to show how real-world policy grows out of differing ideals, even definitions, of basic societal goals like security, equality, and liberty. The book also demonstrates how these ideals often conflict in policy implementation."
I guess she should add "open" to the list.
"Grad school provides exciting new road to poverty": http://www.villagevoice.com/2004-04-20/news/wanted-really-smart-suckers/1/
"Here's an exciting career opportunity you won't see in the classified ads. For the first six to 10 years, it pays less than $20,000 and demands superhuman levels of commitment in a Dickensian environment. Forget about marriage, a mortgage, or even Thanksgiving dinners, as the focus of your entire life narrows to the production, to exacting specifications, of a 300-page document less than a dozen people will read. Then it's time for advancement: Apply to 50 far-flung, undesirable locations, with a 30 to 40 percent chance of being offered any position at all. You may end up living 100 miles from your spouse and commuting to three different work locations a week. You may end up $50,000 in debt, with no health insurance, feeding your kids with food stamps. If you are the luckiest out of every five entrants, you may win the profession's ultimate prize: A comfortable middle-class job, for the rest of your life, with summers off."
Not that science is much better:
"This is how things are likely to go for the smartest kid you sat next to in college. He got into Stanford for graduate school. He got a postdoc at MIT. His experiment worked out and he was therefore fortunate to land a job at University of California, Irvine. But at the end of the day, his research wasn't quite interesting or topical enough that the university wanted to commit to paying him a salary for the rest of his life. He is now 44 years old, with a family to feed, and looking for job with a "second rate has-been" label on his forehead.
"After completing my PhD in 2001 I worked as a post-doc researcher in biological sciences in two different labs until 2006. Despite best efforts, the second post-doc didn't work out research wise and after two years of negative results my funding ran out. Even though I applied for other positions, by the time my contract ended I was officially unemployed. To save money I decided to move back in with my parents and claim jobseekers allowance, a galling process when you are 33 and have three higher degrees."
All that to become:
"Who are you going to be? That is the question. In this riveting book about the world of professional work, Jeff Schmidt demonstrates that the workplace is a battleground for the very identity of the individual, as is graduate school, where professionals are trained. He shows that professional work is inherently political, and that professionals are hired to subordinate their own vision and maintain strict "ideological discipline." The hidden root of much career dissatisfaction, argues Schmidt, is the professional's lack of control over the political component of his or her creative work. Many professionals set out to make a contribution to society and add meaning to their lives. Yet our system of professional education and employment abusively inculcates an acceptance of politically subordinate roles in which professionals typically do not make a significant difference, undermining the creative potential of individuals, organizations and even democracy."
As part of an enterprise increasingly lacking in integrity as competition over relatively decreasing funding per-capita in academia swamps reflection and truth-seeking and education:
Why this happened starting in the 1970s as exponential growth of academia hit a wall:
"Actually, during the period since 1970, the expansion of American science has not stopped altogether. Federal funding of scientific research, in inflation-corrected dollars, doubled during that period, and by no coincidence at all, the number of academic researchers has also doubled. Such a controlled rate of growth (controlled only by the available funding, to be sure) is not, however, consistent with the lifestyle that academic researchers have evolved. The average American professor in a research university turns out about 15 Ph.D students in the course of a career. In a stable, steady-state world of science, only one of those 15 can go on to become another professor in a research university. In a steady-state world, it is mathematically obvious that the professor's only reproductive role is to produce one professor for the next generation. But the American Ph.D is basically training to become a research professor. It didn't take long for American students to catch on to what was happening. The number of the best American students who decided to go to graduate school started to decline around 1970, and it has been declining ever since.
In the meantime, a surprising phenomenon has taken place. The golden age of American academic science produced genuine excellence in American universities. Without any doubt at all, we lead the world in scientific training and research. It became necessary for serious young scientists from everywhere else either to obtain an American Ph.D, or at least to spend a year or more of postgraduate or postdoctoral study here. America has come to play the role for the rest of the world, especially the emerging nations of the Pacific rim, that Europe once played for young American scientists, and it is said, that Greece once played for Rome. We have become the primary source of scientific culture and learning for everyone. Almost unnoticed, over the past 20 years the missing American graduate students have been replaced by foreign students. In addition, these years have seen the burgeoning of postdoctoral research positions, a kind of holding tank for scientific talent that allows young researchers to delay confronting reality for 3 or 6 years or more. These are the changes that have permitted the American research universities to pretend that nothing changed when The Big Crunch came, 25 years ago. "
More comments by me on all that and possible ways to make it better by rethinking aspects of academia and socioeconomics:
As well as this excellent essay from summer 2008 by William Deresiewicz on the Ivy League and alienation; an excerpt:
"If one of the disadvantages of an elite education is the temptation it offers to mediocrity, another is the temptation it offers to security. When parents explain why they work so hard to give their children the best possible education, they invariably say it is because of the opportunities it opens up. But what of the opportunities it shuts down? An elite education gives you the chance to be rich -- which is, after all, what we're talking about -- but it takes away the chance not to be. Yet the opportunity not to be rich is one of the greatest opportunities with which young Americans have been blessed. We live in a society that is itself so wealthy that it can afford to provide a decent living to whole classes of people who in other countries exist (or in earlier times existed) on the brink of poverty or, at least, of indignity. You can live comfortably in the United States as a schoolteacher, or a community organizer, or a civil rights lawyer, or an artist -- that is, by any reasonable definition of comfort. You have to live in an ordinary house instead of an apartment in Manhattan or a mansion in L.A.; you have to drive a Honda instead of a BMW or a Hummer; you have to vacation in Florida instead of Barbados or Paris, but what are such losses when set against the opportunity to do work you believe in, work you're suited for, work you love, every day of your life?
Yet it is precisely that opportunity that an elite education takes away. How can I be a schoolteacher -- wouldn't that be a waste of my expensive education? Wouldn't I be squandering the opportunities my parents worked so hard to provide? What will my friends think? How will I face my classmates at our 20th reunion, when they're all rich lawyers or important people in New York? And the question that lies behind all these: Isn't it beneath me? So a whole universe of possibility closes, and you miss your true calling.
However, all that said, I can disagree with the professor writing the article. Literature and stories can make you a wonderful person -- even if you may have to live out your life in poverty. As William Deresiewicz implies, just US$18000 a year can produce a good life for the frugal person. For two people working full-time, that is almost the US median income. The bigger issue is the one raised by Jeff Schmidt in "disciplined minds", where the academic culture has somehow poisoned someone's life. I would hope reading good literature could be part of the antidote to that poison? A favorite novel by the late James P. Hogan that continues to inspire me:
"Voyage from Yesteryear "
Second link should be instead: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGrmA8iylds
Some top Google results for "fasting cancer chemotherapy": http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=fasting-might-boost-chemo
"Fasting appears to protect normal cells from chemotherapy's toxic effects by rerouting energy from growing and reproducing to internal maintenance. But cancer cells do not undergo this switch to self-repair and so continue to be susceptible to drug-induced damage -- making for what the researchers call a differential stress resistance. Fasting, then, the authors wrote, should enhance the power of chemotherapies without having to resort to "the more typical strategy of increasing the toxicity of drugs.""
So fasting during chemotherapy works in part precisely because it protects the chemotherapy patient's normal cells from becoming weakened.
Human trials are starting up:
"Clinical Trials: Short-Term Fasting Before Chemotherapy in Treating Patients With Cancer"
Research by Valter Longo, of the University of South California (USC) in Los Angeles on mice:
"Fasting May Boost Chemo By Weakening Cancer Cells"
"He and his colleagues found, for example, that repeated cycles of fasting with chemotherapy cured 1 in 5 mice with a highly aggressive form of children's neuroendocrine cancer, and 40% of mice with a less severe form. In either case, no mice survived when treated only with chemo. For their study, in which they used used cancer cells and mice, Longo and colleagues found that for all the cancers they tested, fasting combined with chemotherapy improved survival, slowed tumor growth and/or limited the spread of tumors. They found that fasting without chemotherapy, slowed the growth of breast cancer, melanoma, glioma and human neuroblastoma. In several cases, fasting was as effective as chemotherapy."
Cancer patients looking into it:
"48 hr Fasting before Chemo"
Here are two books related to fasting in general.
One is from a century ago by Upton Sinclair:
One from a decade or two ago by Joel Fuhrman:
"Therapeutic fasting accelerates the healing process and allows the body to recover from serious disease in a dramatically short period of time. In my practice I have seen fasting eliminate lupus and arthritis, remove chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, health the digestive tract in patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, and quickly eliminate cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure and angina. In these cases the recoveries were permanent: fasting enabled longtime disease suffers unchain themselves from their multiple toxic dugs and even eliminate the need for surgery, which was recommended to some of them as their only solution."
One problem of course in Western Medicine is than an oncologist can't justifying charging, say, $20,000 for telling a potential customer just to stop eating for a bit. Not sure if the source is accurate, but the sentiment probably is:
"One-quarter of what you eat keeps you alive.
The other three-quarters keeps your doctor alive.
(Hieroglyph found in an ancient Egyptian tomb.) "
But ultimately, while fasting can help some people, people need to eat healthier long term. One big problem with people today fasting is that there is so many toxins in our environment and food, like flame retardants, and people take so many medicines, that some of that gets stored away in fat, and so when people fast now, they may release a much heavier toxic burden then when people fasted 2000 years ago. So, fasting is more problematical now.
Here is the basic evolutionary issue. Humans are adapted to a certain lifestyle that involves eating a lot of vegetables, being in the sun, getting regular exercise, belonging to a local community, going without food occasionally, and so on (even as there may be variation among people). The more we depart from that baseline to which are genes have been adapted, the more problematical sustaining health becomes. In the case of fasting, it activates biomolecular pathways that are otherwise left idle. Those pathways may have value as "garbage collection" processes. Switching to a "ketogenic" fat-burning pathways (as happens either when fasting or when eating a fat-heavy diet) may also have an affect on cancer. One related link with other links on a ketogenic diet:
There are plenty of things much better about now than in the past, but we forget our roots at our peril. Related links on the peril of some modern food and how to deal with it:
Again though, I suggested a variety of things -- iodine, vitamin D and sunlight, more vegetables, certain mushrooms, and so on. Exercise can help move the lymph around with immune cells. Community and spirituality and singing and laughter meditation and so on may also help lift spirits and so contribute to a better immune system through the mind-body connection. Good sleep is important for health too. Medically supervised fasting may help some people in some circumstances, the other things may also help some people in some circumstances. Put them all together and at least you are probably further ahead in dealing with cancer (assuming there is not some other medical reason you can't do things like take supplemental vitamin D like sarcoidosis etc.). Also, I did not say this was certain to cure something. It just may increase the odds somewhat. As I said, once you have detectable cancer, getting rid of it by *any* current means is iffy. It is better to prevent it.
In that sense, cancer may in some sense be more like a symptom of vegetable deficiency, sleep deficiency, community deficiency, sunlight deficiency, and/or exercise deficiency than a disease itself.
Don't know if this item would provide much comfort, but you could read this book written by a former oncologist that talks about that profession in general:
"Money Driven Medicine â" Tests and Treatments That Donâ(TM)t Work."
"Medical oncologists are paid almost nothing for talking with patients and their families. Their income depends entirely on the number of chemotherapy treatments that they order and how much they charge for each treatment. Unlike other specialists, the government allows them to also profit by selling chemotherapy drugs to their patients.
Also from that link: "Let me stress again, the above 44 statements are words written by Dr. David Cundiff, a medical oncologist turned hospice doctor. Dr. Cundiff left oncology perhaps because he couldn't "stomach" what he saw and practised. He has now joined the list of those brave souls who have enough conscience and guts to speak up."
That book on Amazon (I have not read it though):
Here is what most doctors think about things like many (not all) last-ditch mainstream medical treatments, just for reference about what they think of their own profession:
"The first part of the book delves into the details behind the failure of conventional treatments and provides a shocking portrait of just how unsuccessful current treatments really are. This will provide invaluable guidance to cancer patients struggling with treatment decisions. Unfortunately, this information is not available from any hospital or cancer organization, yet it comes from the finest research available today. And, in fact, not a single person in the cancer industry disputes these terrible failure rates. What the first part does is explain how and why treatments with such incredibly low rates of success are still being used today - and why any other treatment with similar failure rates would be taken off the market. In contrast, it also shows how successful nutritional treatments have been in reversing cancers. When comparing success rates, nutritional treatments win hands-down.
The second part of the book provides an explanation of how cancer can, in fact, be reversed naturally through diet and lifestyle changes. It details how high acidity, low nutrient/oxygen levels, high blood sugar, high cholesterol levels and high hormonal levels all "feed" cancer cells and why such a cellular environment is the product of the typical "healthy" American diet. It also explains how to change that environment in order to rebuild your immune system, while simultaneously changing the basic biochemistry of your body so it can fight cancer."
Again, some mainstream medicine is indeed miraculous. Some surgery for tumors can greatly benefit people. It is hard to get good advice because of all the conflicts-of-interest and group think though, on top of it being a stressful time in someone's like to go searching for solutions.
Something from Dr. Joel Fuhrman's November 2005 Healthy Times newsletter:
"Since the scientific literature shows that chemotherapy is almost worthless and that dietary changes are beneficial -- even when the changes are not designed to be rich in phytonutrients, we can be certain that we would see a dramatic improvement in survival if, at the earliest stage, all cancer patients adopted my phytochemical-rich, anticancer nutritional protocol. I believe this nutritional approach makes a significant difference and promotes life extension. In many cases, the difference can be pronounced.
In my medical practice over the last 15 years, I have observed numerous people utilize nutritional excellence as their primary treatment for cancer. Although I have been witness to the deaths of some very special, brave and loving individuals, I also have seen some dramatic recoveries. For example:
* I have observed a young woman with stage-4 metastatic colon cancer who made a complete recovery with no treatment except nutritional excellence and who had no further cancer noted on follow-up CT scans.
* I have observed 8 women with CIN III of the cervix reverse the abnormality back to normal with my nutritional protocols in 4 to 6 months.
* I observed a woman with metastatic breast cancer to the bones make a complete recovery, with no signs of recurrent disease.
* I observed a woman with a positive biopsy for breast cancer who left the tumor untreated; the tumor shrunk and disappeared into a small scar.
* I have seen many men with prostate cancer drop their PSA levels into the normal range and keep them there with this nutritional protocol with no further advancement of the cancer."
That is anecdotal by one MD, true. And it would be fair to criticize him for selling books and products and so not being unbiased either. But there is not much money available for researching and doing trials for treatments that are not easily patented (like healthier eating or fasting). And eating healthier is also not something generally covered by medical insurance. This kind of advice to eat healthier and so on is not going to be a profit-center for specialists the way installing a chemotherapy port for injecting lots of expensive chemicals is.
Iain Banks' doctors have apparently given up on him (other than palliative care) and given him a few months to live. What does he have to lose by eating healthier, and if he does do chemotherapy as he said he might, talking with his doctors about fasting beforehand?
As I said originally, once you have detectable cancer, it is iffy to get rid of it, although eating better can help prevent recurrence and possibly help some during treatments (and medically-supervised fasting may help too in some cases). You are ignoring also that I mention things like vitamin D and iodine, which are not "fruits". Also, "vegetables" and "mushrooms" are not fruits. Just to get started on the links between nutrition and cancer, from: http://www.drfuhrman.com/library/article24.aspx
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On mushrooms, see also:
"Animal studies have shown some positive results regarding the antitumor, cholesterol-lowering, and virus-inhibiting effects of several active compounds in shiitake mushrooms.
There have been some studies in humans. At least one randomized clinical trial of lentinan has shown it to prolong life of patients with advanced and recurrent stomach and colorectal cancer who were also given chemotherapy. Lentinan is a beta glucan (sometimes called beta glycan) that is found in several mushrooms, yeasts, and other foods. Beta glucan is a polysaccharide, a large and complex molecule made up of smaller sugar molecules. The beta glucan polysaccharide is believed to stimulate the immune system and activate certain cells and proteins that attack cancer, including macrophages, T-cells, and natural killer cells. In laboratory studies, beta glucan appears to slow the growth of cancer in some cell cultures."
On vitamin D and cancer:
Information on iodine and cancer:
Contrast with what most oncologists are selling (about $100 billion a year now in the USA overall for the cancer treatment industry):
"Study Results: "The overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1 % in The USA"
Study Conclusion: "As the 5-year survival rate in Australia is now over 60%, it is clear that cytotoxic chemotherapy only makes a minor contribution to cancer survival. To justify the continued funding and availability of drugs used in cytotoxic chemotherapy, a rigorous evaluation of the cost-effectiveness and impact on quality of life is urgently required."
The fact that chemo only contributes on average about 2% to the overall survival rate is very alarming, and probably something your doctors didnâ(TM)t tell you.
It is important to remember that the "2.1% average" can be deceptive. Some cancers do respond better to chemo than others.
According to this research, the best results from chemotherapy are treating Testicular Cancer where it is 41.8% effective, and Hodgkins Disease where it is 35.8% effective. Still not great."
Potentially, someday, highly targeted individual-based cancer cures may be very useful with future compounds. But we are not there yet. Even if we were, eating healthier has numerous benefits even beyond cancer prevention including generally boosting the immune system. Right now, nutrition is something to explore to prevent cancer and to reduce the chance of its recurrence. Can it be that hard to do better than about 2% improvement in survival rate apparently for much of chemotherapy?
"A survey of 128 US cancer doctors found that if they contracted cancer, more than 80 per cent would not have chemotherapy
As I mentioned in my other reply to an AC, I half-expected this sort of response, which is part of why I quoted Banks' own writings about irony.
One of the reasons I quoted Iain Banks about "the good ship Arbitrary" is that I half-expected this kind of response from someone who is having their paradigms about health challenged. In this case though, it is not hilarious, it is only sad.
See, for example:
" Is Stephen Barrett, M.D. a Quack?
According to the Quackwatch website, Stephen Barrett, M.D. says this about quackery: Dictionaries define quack as "a pretender to medical skill; a charlatan" and "one who talks pretentiously without sound knowledge of the subject discussed."
Stephen Barrett, M.D. does not have a degree in nutrition science. He has been trained in psychiatry but has not practiced psychiatry for many, many years and has, to the best of my understanding, never practiced nutritional medicine. In my opinion, Stephen Barrett, M.D., when it comes to the field of medicinal use of nutritional supplements, can be easily defined as a Quack since he pretends to "have skills or knowledge in supplements and talks pretentiously" without actually having clinical expertise or sound knowledge of herbal and nutritional medicine.
A person can't be an expert at a topic if they have not had hands-on experience. Would you feel comfortable having heart surgery by a doctor who has read all the medical books on how to surgically replace a heart valve but has never performed an actual surgical procedure in an operating room? Would you feel comfortable relying on nutritional advice from a retired psychiatrist, Stephen Barrett, M.D. of Quackwatch, even though he has not had hands-on experience using supplements with patients and does not have a degree in nutrition science?
On a positive note, he often does a good job when it comes to researching credentials of individuals in the nutritional industry, or researching the legitimacy or marketing practices of certain supplement companies. He has uncovered or brought to light several cases of companies that have shady or fraudulent practices. I suggest he stay on this course (which is his forte) rather than giving his uneducated opinion on nutritional medicine or supplement research. I also hope he becomes more balanced in his reviews and makes the effort to also mention positive outcomes regarding supplement research, and not just negative outcomes. "
On dairy specifically, see:
"People who are diagnosed with breast cancer and then go on to consume a steady diet of high-fat dairy foods increase their chances of dying years earlier than those who consumed low- to nonfat milk products, according to a new study by Kaiser Permanente researchers. The study, published Thursday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, is considered the first to look at the differences in high-fat and low-fat dairy intake following a breast cancer diagnosis on long-term survival."
Am I making an assumption about Iain Banks' diet? Yes. But most people in the industrialized world eat a "standard American diet" or a variant of that (standard Scottish diet?). Most are vitamin D deficient. (Jaundice can be related to sunlight deficiency.) Most are iodine deficient. So, those are pretty safe assumptions. All can contribute to cancer. If they are not correct here, well at least others may still learn something.
I pointed to a scientific study related to fasting improving the effectiveness of chemotherapy. I pointed to Dr. Joel Fuhrman's work on preventing cancer which is heavily based in science (just read his reference list). Just scroll down on this page: