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Comment Re:Building is easy, launching is hard (Score 5, Interesting) 117

One tried and true anti-spin method utilized with CanSats (predecessors to CubeSats, see is to attach a refrigerator magnet to one end of the satellite. The 'sat will flip 180 degrees as it passes over north and south poles, but remains otherwise in stable orientation. Sometimes simple is good :-)

A man is rich in direct proportion
          to the number of things he can afford
                    to leave alone.
                                                                  — Thoreau

Submission + - Pennsylvania Fracking Law Opens Up Drilling on College Campuses (

PolygamousRanchKid writes: Last year, when Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett suggested offsetting college tuition fees by leasing parts of state-owned college campuses to natural gas drillers, more than a few Pennsylvanians were left blinking and rubbing their eyes. But it was no idle threat: After quietly moving through the state Senate and House, this week the governor signed into law a bill that opens up 14 of the state’s public universities to fracking, oil drilling, and coal mining on campus.

Environmentalists and educators are concerned that fracking and other resource exploitation on campus could leave students directly exposed to harms like explosions, water contamination, and air pollution.

Professor Bob Myers, who runs the environmental studies program at Lock Haven University, one of the schools at the edge of the Marcellus, says he understands the school system's economic concerns. Still, he's horrified at the prospect that PASSHE might install rigs near students. "I've become extremely concerned, disturbed, and disgusted by the environmental consequences of fracking," Myers says. "They've had explosions, tens of thousands of gallons of chemicals spilled. And we're going to put this on campus?"


Submission + - 'Totally Drug Resistant' Tuberculosis Reported In (

kkleiner writes: "A report out of India identifies four new cases of tuberculosis that are completely resistant to drug treatment. Doctors gave all four patients, ages ranging from 20 to 57, the full first-line and second-line batteries of drugs. The first-line included four to five drugs and the second-line five to six drugs for the patients. The drugs had no effect. The spread of this 'totally drug resistant' strain of Tuberculosis is virtually unstoppable at this point."

Comment multimeric alpha-lactalbumin? (Score 1) 127

All milk contains the protein alpha-lactalbumin, but only human breast milk contains the multimeric form (just means the protein has more than one peptide chain).

A decade of studies by Dr. Catharina Svanborg at Lund University in Sweden have demonstrated that human breast milk has efficacy against many forms of cancer, and that the agent responsible is multimeric alpha-lactalbumin. This unique protein selectively destroys malignant cells in two ways: by apoptosis on contact, and when morphologically transformed on contact with oleic acid in the stomach, it can migrate into the bloodstream, target cancer cells, slip in through the cell cytoplasm and destroy the malignant cell's RNA.

Problem: mother's milk tastes awful to adults, and breast milk banks are needed for infants.

If cloned cattle can produce milk containing multimeric alpha-lac, this would be of great interest to cancer patients.

Comment Re:Well, Duh! (Score 1) 448

Flying from the Bahamas to the U.S. requires running the worst security gauntlet I've yet encountered. OTOH, passengers flying from Nassau to Canada have a separate international departures area where the screening is quite simple. I've lost my Elite status with Delta because I now fly out of Canada to nearly every destination.

Comment Re:Some info (Score 1) 551

Mod parent up. The meat industry once claimed that antibiotic resistance could not be transferred between species (see "Modern Meat, Orville Schell, 1985), an assumption we now know to be untrue. In the 1950s antibiotics were called "Wonder Drugs" because they could cure otherwise untreatable conditions, such as an infected wound. Sadly, we have squandered much of this medical arsenal for the short-sighted benefit of cheap meat.

Comment Re:In related news: Not much hope of making it sto (Score 1) 168

Reports appear bogus to me.

The CNN story is a "user-submitted iReport," quite different from a news article. The iReport in turn, was plagiarized from an evangelical gloom-and-doom website,

The toxic rain reported as resulting from oil dispersants was most likely caused by a FedEx fuel dump from 5,000 feet.

Comment Re: Please define " Obscene corporate profits ". (Score 1) 584

Okay, I'll bite.

A friend with breast cancer recently flew from Canada to the Bahamas with a stopover in California where she was scheduled for a PET scan. The scan revealed a pleural effusion, fluid between the lung sac and chest wall. Her oncologist stated she should not fly again until the fluid was drained. The procedure, a thoracentesis or pleural tap is simple, ordinarily performed in the physician's examining room. My friend has excellent private health insurance and the insurer immediately assigned a case number to the incident. So far so good.

No physician would see us. The universal response was "we don't take walk-ins."

We decided to try face-to-face communication, and visited a large pulmonary practice. "We don't accept walk-ins" the receptionist explained. I replied, "I completely understand. I was a First Responder for 18 years, and every time I left a warm bed at 2 a.m. to help a stranger I knew I was putting my personal assets on the line. I always delivered the department lecture on liability. So I totally get it. Do you mind if we rest a few minutes before returning to the car?"

A few minutes later we were told that Dr. H. would see us. Said he has performed pleural taps countless times in his office. He would charge $100, or for a Canadian visitor would even do it for free, but no longer keeps the necessary tray on hand. Everything is now done in the hospital, where the procedure with tests and overnight stay will cost $30,000 - $40,000.

I telephoned the imaging center where the PET scan had been performed the previous day to ask if their invasive radiologist would perform a thoracentesis; my friend was an established patient there, not a "walk-in." He demurred but stated the condition was life-threatening and advised an immediate trip to ER.

Her PET was loaded on my laptop and we breezed through triage in two minutes flat. However, the thoracentesis was delayed by a mass casualty incident and she was given a room for the night. Hospital wanted to perform a PET scan even though we had the CD and written report from the previous day; finally common sense prevailed.

The following day she was brought to an examining room where a very young physician, still in his bicycle clothes and helmet, entered and introduced himself, drained 1.5 liters of fluid, applied a bandaid, and bade us farewell. A fifteen minute procedure.

Cost in any ER in Canada: $75. Cost in California: we're guessing $20,000. The hospital can sort it out with the insurers and we'll pick up the co-pay.

The experience has forever changed my view on the reasons for runaway health care costs in the U.S.A.

Comment DCA worked for me (Score 5, Interesting) 363

In 2008 I learned I had failed treatment for prostate cancer (72GY radiation & 2.5 years triple hormonal blockade). The disease was metastatic in skeleton and soft tissue with a PSA doubling time of 24 days which is very dangerous. Severe bleeding and bone pain quickly developed. Chemotherapy does not extend survival time for prostate cancer patients, moreover it has serious side effects. There was no clinical trial of DCA for prostate cancer. I decided to self-administer Sodium Dichloroacetate (DCA).

DCA is an orphan drug which for 30+ years has been safely used in the U.S.A. to treat infants born with congenial lactic acidosis; also to treat cerebral ischemia among other conditions, so it is well described in the literature and the side effects are understood. It is not completely benign but is far safer in my opinion than radiation, hormonal blockade or chemotherapy. I had already done my homework and knew to watch for hypoglycemia. I limited my dose to 15mg/kg and took benfotiamine to minimize peripheral neuropathy, R+Lipoic Acid for hepatic support, and arranged regular lab work to monitor liver function.

30 days after initiating DCA the pain in my hips and lower spine ceased. One day unremitting pain, the next day none. 60 days after starting DCA the profuse bleeding from bladder and colon ceased completely. My PSA doubling time dropped from 24 days to 72 months and stabilized.

I developed a little numbness in my toes, which was expected. That is reversible over time. As with many cancer drugs, the evil little cells eventually developed resistance to DCA and I resumed androgen blockade for a time before switching to another self-administered novel treatment. Because of DCA I enjoyed ten wonderful, pain-free months during which I traveled, worked outdoors, got a tan, recovered my strength and my spirits. I have no regrets, not one.

This pattern of temporary remission seems to be a typical experience for early adopters of DCA, although there have been a few reports of complete cures (prostate cancer, sarcoma). About 1,700 patients around the world are currently utilizing DCA as a cancer treatment, off-label. The most organized DCA treatment program is offered by the Medicor Clinic in Canada:

Reading about DCA on the web one encounters venomous hostility to self-administered novel treatments for cancer, and to the use of DCA in particular; sadly, one such source has been quoted today on /. A more appropriate reference might be this op-ed in the New York Times, "Patents Over Patients"

Whether it is more ethical to allow patients (and their doctors) to utilize an orphan drug off-label, or to tell them they can't utilize a molecule that may extend or even save their lives is a question for another discussion.

Comment Re:Signal strength check (Score 1) 177

Signal strength is marginal where I live but EVDO is the only game in town. I use a 3G Sprint Aircard 597E with a 3 watt amplifier and external antenna on the roof, provided by I get about 1.1mbps down and upload is fast enough that I don't think about it. Ping time to this evening is 79ms.

I've also installed broadband wireless routers with EVDO card, amplifier and antenna pre-configured by evdoinfo,com for friends in the area. Never a complaint from Sprint or Verizon, and my friends are delighted.

I've noticed that the routers establish a rock solid connection, whereas my Aircard 597E requires "Sierra Wireless Watcher LIte" software to "activate" the card. The Sierrra software crashes about 20 times a day and I am among the many who absolutely detest the software. Somewhere there is a Sierra QC engineer who did not put this on his resume.

I've had the contract for a couple of years; for $60/month I download >1 GB/day with no surcharge or complaint from Sprint. YMMV.

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