Europe against GMO crops! Please, sign the Avaaz petition!
I already did. It's us who decide, not Monsanto!!!

For a long while I don't blog very regularly. And I wonder why. Because I still like writing and sharing my opinion. It's not that. The problem is that people are not interested. Not in me personally, I speak more generally. They are not interested in blogging.

How would you explain the popularity of Twitter for example? You can't say anything meaningful in 140 symbols. Or ok, you can say a lot, obviously, but you cannot argument it. You cannot give details. You cannot be creative. Oh, sure, you can be fun or sad or dramatic or shocked. But basically, it puts major limitations in our communications. And yet, it's so very popular.
I'm not against Twitter, I use it, I like it. It really allows you to share without the difficulty of writing and thinking. It's brief and final. Even if someone comment back, it won't be anything too complicated again. Only 140 symbols.

The problem is that often what's in our heads cannot be shared in so little space. Often even pages and pages of written and coherent text are not enough to share our feelings. And still, people prefer to use Twitter than to read blogs. My average post is few pages long. How much comments do I have? For a long while - zero. Only the everlasting spam. Like only spam-robots care about blogs anymore.

Even if we accept that the lack of comments here is because of some qualities of my blog, still, I see something deeper in the Twitter obsession. It's not so much about if a blog is good or bad. It's about time. We're in information overload state. If you try to read only the news and your email, the whole morning (afternoon, evening) goes in this. I personally haven't checked all of my emails in one day for a long long while. You don't have time to read them, what's left for a time to think on them. And then you have those blog authors that like to write pages and pages of argumentation that you simply don't have time for. Because besides the news, you have to work, do your family stuff and probably watch TV or play or dance or whatever. In short, we're quickly running out of time. I thought I'm good in sifting trough information, however the pace is always increasing and at some point I just give up some things or leave them for later or never. It's almost scary. I wonder if it's just me or the whole world is going crazy. I wonder if only I have problems with doing everything I have to do, if it goes with the age and life or something is really changing.

And then we're going back to Twitter. 140 symbols and you're done. You share information and you move on. You don't have to argument. People are free to read and think for themselves. Maybe they won't see your point, but that's their choice and responsibility. You don't care. And everyone is happy.

I must say I like blogging. I love writing long posts and telling the world why something is really important. If I believe my site statistics obviously some people don't mind reading me. I don't think I could give up completely writing here and there and go to Twitter and forget about why my thoughts are important. They are important for me. And it's important to be able to transmit your experience and the views that it leads to to the other. Otherwise, it's more or less wasted. I guess with Twitter the ball is back to official media and BIG bloggers. Because people don't have to write so much anymore. They just share what they agree with. Or what they don't agree with. And that's all. But is this enough?

It's hard for me to tell. I pasted a very interesting article on crowd sourcing that you can read below. I wonder if Twitter has something to do with it. Not in a conspirative way, but if you think about it, most of the thoughts in our heads are like the tweets. Very short and volatile. Only when something is in resonance with our emotional state in the moment, we spend more time on a thought pondering on it and cutting loose our imagination on it.

It's clear there is power in Twitter, we saw it in Iran and also on many other places. However is there more to it? Will it be used to measure public reactions, to model it and to manipulate it? Remember the Ipad-Itampon hysteria. I also joined the fun. However who could say what was the ultimate effect from it - bad for the Ipad or actually good, because of the publicity. Were we manipulated or we manipulated the events? Maybe we have to be more careful what we do and what we join, because it's never clear how close our intentions are to those of the crowd as a whole. If you remember my post about locust swarms - the individual locust has only one motivation - eat or be eaten. The swarm however moves or search for food and so on. The moral is clear - when you join a group activity always do it knowing what you want to get and what you're ready to give. And leave in the moment when one of the two conditions get broken. Otherwise, you've been used. As simple as this.

Innovation: The sinister powers of crowdsourcing

When an ad hoc team of 5000 people who assembled in just two hours found 10 weather balloons hidden across the US by the Pentagon's research agency earlier this month, it was just another demonstration of the power of crowdsourcing – solving a task by appealing to a large undefined group of web users to each do a small chunk of it.
So far crowdsourcing has been associated with well-meaning altruism, such as the creation and maintenance of Wikipedia or searching for lost aviators. But crowdsourcing of a different flavour has started to emerge.
Law enforcement officials in Texas have installed a network of CCTV cameras to monitor key areas along that state's 1900-kilometre-long border with Mexico. To help screen the footage, a website lets anyone log in to watch a live feed from a border camera and report suspicious activity. A similar system called Internet Eyes, which pays online viewers to spot shoplifters from in-store camera feeds, is set to launch in the UK in 2010. An Iranian website is offering rewards for identifying people in photos taken during protests over June's elections.
Some people have declared those examples chilling.
In a speculative example, Zittrain has calculated that, assuming a population in Iran of around 72 million people, it would cost around $17,000 for the government to use Mechanical Turk to identify any arbitrary person's picture, without the users that are doing it realising the cause they have enlisted in.
The scheme would show "Turkers" a photo of a protest, or just faces extracted from one, along with five randomly chosen photos from the country's ID card database, and asked to say whether or not there is any match.
Users would receive a few cents each time they contribute. Furthermore, Zittrain says that such a task might be made into an addictive game, similar to Google's image labeller. source

Hello again!
Today, I'd like to post here pieces of some articles that caught my attention in recent months. It's about cancer treatment. You know I like to post here stuff related to cancer and its treatment. First of all, I do it, because I really think cancer is one of the sickness of the century, secondly, because I think we really have no idea what we're dealing with and third, because the corruption in this business is so obvious.
So the articles I paste today are discussing the shift in the attitude in society towards screening. Until few years ago, the public message was "Screening is the most important part of staying alive". So they did expensive procedures on women and men to make sure there are no cancers in any kind of stage and if even a minimal deviation from the norm was observed, the patient had to go trough a round of usually very unpleasant, very intrusive procedures to ensure that cancer cells are gone. What's even worst, some women considered removing their breasts before there is any cancer to save their life. Something that I find disrespectful to our bodies, but then, everyone knows for herself.
However what's happening recently? Studies finally show that this course of actions is not always the optimal for each type of cancer on each stage. Technology is so good that now we're observing much more than we're supposed to. And since we don't understand cancer, that leads to bad effects - like much more painful procedures with no significant decrease in the death toll. Obviously, cancer is much more complex thing than bunch of cells that you remove and everything gets better. And I'm glad people finally started to figure it out. Because first of all, we don't know yet what coses this mutation and if we don't know the reason behind it, then we can only cure the consequences. But we can never be sure in the therapy.  And also, most of the therapies are so dedicated to destructing the cancer that they forget about the patient. Not to mention that only half of the therapies are good for each patient, so there is a great risk that the doctor's choice won't be the best.
Anyway, I'm not a specialist and I know that this diagnosis is like a doom. But it's good to know that people learn from their mistakes and there is a change. Also, there are many new therapies based on nanotechnologies that are very promising. But for me, the most important thing is to escape from the grasp of the corruption. Because if we have to please pharmaceutical corporations, we'll have to eternally be on all kind of VERY expensive treatments. Just to be on the safe side. But that's not what health is. Health is to be alive and well without therapies. And I hope that sooner or later, we'll start studying health as well.

  1. In Shift, Cancer Society Has Concerns on Screenings
  2. Medical Group Urges New Rules on Radiation
  3. Controversial Indian law on nuclear liability spells disaster - activists 
  4. Findings May Alter Care for Early Breast Cancer

In Shift, Cancer Society Has Concerns on Screenings



October 20, 2009
The American Cancer Society, which has long been a staunch defender of most cancer screening, is now saying that the benefits of detecting many cancers, especially breast and prostate, have been overstated.

It is quietly working on a message, to put on its Web site early next year, to emphasize that screening for breast and prostate cancer and certain other cancers can come with a real risk of overtreating many small cancers while missing cancers that are deadly.
“We don’t want people to panic,” said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the cancer society. “But I’m admitting that American medicine has overpromised when it comes to screening. The advantages to screening have been exaggerated.”
Prostate cancer screening has long been problematic. The cancer society, which with more than two million volunteers is one of the nation’s largest voluntary health agencies, does not advocate testing for all men. And many researchers point out that the PSA prostate cancer screening test has not been shown to prevent prostate cancer deaths.
There has been much less public debate about mammograms. Studies from the 1960s to the 1980s found that they reduced the death rate from breast cancer by up to 20 percent.
The cancer society’s decision to reconsider its message about the risks as well as potential benefits of screening was spurred in part by an analysis published Wednesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Brawley said.
In it, researchers report a 40 percent increase in breast cancer diagnoses and a near doubling of early stage cancers, but just a 10 percent decline in cancers that have spread beyond the breast to the lymph nodes or elsewhere in the body. With prostate cancer, the situation is similar, the researchers report. source

Medical Group Urges New Rules on Radiation



Published: February 4, 2010
The leading professional organization dedicated to radiation oncology has called for enhanced safety measures in administering medical radiation, including the establishment of the nation’s first central database for the reporting of errors involving linear accelerators — machines that generate radiation — and CT scanners.
The group, the American Society for Radiation Oncology, or Astro, issued a six-point plan on Wednesday that it said would improve safety and quality and reduce the chances of medical errors.
Even though the group says serious radiation accidents are rare, it says it will work toward a stronger accreditation program, expanded training, and an enhanced program to ensure that medical technologies from different manufacturers can safely transfer information.
Astro will also press for federal legislation to require national standards for radiation therapy treatment teams, along with additional resources for the Radiological Physics Center, a federally financed group that evaluates the safety of treatments.
Astro said it planned to help cancer patients and caregivers know what questions to ask their radiation oncologists and treatment teams.
The Times found that while serious radiation accidents were indeed rare, it was impossible to know how often they occurred: there is no central clearinghouse for such cases, and they are chronically underreported. What is more, radiation injuries can take years to show.
Still, The Times reported that the Radiological Physics Center had found that nearly 30 percent of hospitals seeking admission into National Cancer Institute trials had failed to accurately irradiate an object, called a phantom, that mimicked the human head and neck.
 source


Controversial Indian law on nuclear liability spells disaster - activists

14 Apr 2010 11:18:00 GMT
Written by: Nita Bhalla

NEW DELHI (AlertNet) - A controversial Indian law protecting companies from having to pay out major sums of compensation in the event of an accident at a nuclear power plant is pandering to foreign investors at the expense of the Indian people, say critics. The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill - which the government says is crucial for many foreign companies to tap into energy-starved India's emerging nuclear power market - was slammed by critics last month, forcing the government to postpone its introduction in parliament. It is now expected to be tabled before legislators in the current session of parliament, which resumes on April 15.
But opposition parties, activists and some legal experts say the bill ignores the 'polluter pays' principle and protects foreign nuclear suppliers from compensating victims and cleaning up the environment after a nuclear mishap. Some analysts add that granting foreign suppliers legal immunity upfront weakens nuclear safety.
The planned legislation seeks to put a maximum liability of about $450 million on the state-run reactor operator without placing any compensation burden on private suppliers and contractors. A similar law in United States, activists say, has set the financial liability for such an accident at $10.5 billion - 23 times more that the limit proposed in India. Legal experts add the planned legislation is "unconstitutional" as it goes against the 'polluter pays' principle, which is part of Indian law, and ultimately leads to the taxpayers footing the bill as the operator is a state-run enterprise.  
The issue of industrial accidents is especially sensitive in a country that experienced one of the world's worst industrial disasters in 1984, when a gas leak in a Union Carbide pesticide factory in the central Indian city of Bhopal killed around 8,000 people. Activists claim thousands more have died of illnesses related to gas exposure in the years that followed - bringing the death toll to 25,000 over the past 26 years. A further 100,000 people who were exposed to the gas continue to suffer chronic health problems such as cancer, respiratory difficulties, immune and neurological disorders, and birth defects among children born to affected women, say health workers. The Indian government was widely criticised for accepting what was called a "paltry compensation" for the victims of about $470 million from Union Carbide. Social activists in Bhopal say the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill proves that no lessons have been learned.   source

Findings May Alter Care for Early Breast Cancer


CHICAGO — 
A new study found that certain women getting a lumpectomy may not need an operation to remove underarm lymph nodes, a procedure that can leave them with painfully swollen arms. Compared with not removing the nodes, the surgery did not prolong survival or prevent recurrence of the cancer.
And a second study found that a single dose of radiation, delivered directly to the site of the tumor right after a woman has a lumpectomy, was as effective as the six or so weeks of daily radiation treatments that most women now endure.
There is some controversy about whether women should be treated at all for certain early breast abnormalities that some experts say may never hurt them. But if a woman is to be treated, doctors would agree the treatment should be as painless and convenient as possible while retaining effectiveness. Removal of the underarm lymph nodes next to a cancerous breast was long the standard treatment.
Dr. Bruce G. Haffty, chairman of radiation oncology at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey, said “the follow-up isn’t as long as you’d like it to be.” He said cancer can recur after four years and a large dose of radiation can cause tissue damage that might not show up for three to 10 years. source

Hello. I didn't post recently since I'm in a period of my life dedicated to questioning myself and the world around me. I gave up trying to earn money with blogging, I also gave up trying to communicate trough it (because all the 10 people who read it are so shy), so I'm trying to find a reason to continue to post in it. Not that I don't feel like sharing my opinion, I'm just not sure this is the right way.

But still I can't stay quite in the face of a disaster. And what happened in the Gulf of Mexico is exactly this - a disaster. Staying focused on trying to stop the leak, people kind of forget that the problem is not that something is broken, the problem are the tones of oil that are being poured in the ocean. Oil that marine flora and fauna certainly don't like and find hard to survive in it. Hard to breath, hard to swim, hard to fly. There was an article that cleaning up a pelican takes 1 hour and two people. And those are the birds we can catch on time and help them. What about all the other inhabitants of the ocean who don't have that chance. What about all the people on the cost, with their life-style, with their living? Nobody discusses them. Or more likely, many people discuss them. But they are more interested in the news, in the drama, than in the real lives of all those people, animals and so on.

And amidst the whole information flood, it's hard to keep up with the real magnitude of what's happening. In the articles below, you can see some numbers. So, let's think about it, if BP is capturing 11 000 barrels a day and that's something they can measure, so we can accept that number for sure, so if they are capturing that much, and scientists can't say for sure they have cut the leak in half, then the amount of oil that leaked before is more than 20 000 barrels a day! That's a huge number. 1 barrel = 159 liters! Those are more than 20 000 barrels a day! Which is 3 180 000 liters a day! Minimum. That's so damn much. More than 3 180 tones a day. It's hard to imagine how much oil is flowing out trough this hole.

I wanted to write a post about the responsibility and the corruption that led to this accident. But you can read it in the article below in great detail. I'm sure if you read that blog, you're intelligent enough to figure it out. I also trust US authorities to take the necessary measures, to prevent this from happening again. Not because I have great faith in US authorities, but it's either BP or them. It's clear who will survive. But for me, this accident offers a clear glimpse into the weak sides of US government. But this is another story.

As for now, I can only offer my best wishes to BP to be able to finally end this leak. And, of course, to ask what exactly is the job of US regulators if not to ensure the company always use the safest available technique and to make sure they are ready for the worst case. Which you can read alone that simply was not the case. And yeah I wonder if this happens in this industry, what happens in other industries that could endanger life and environment - like pharmacy, agriculture, power plants and so on. You know what I'm talking about. But I leave those questions to American citizens. Because for me this leak is one of the biggest disasters in the US history. It didn't kill many people, but it can ruin many lives and it can make a lot of damage to the environment. And probably it will. So, it's up to you to make whoever is responsible to pay for this. And I wonder why the international community is not asking for heads on plates too. Because this is not your ocean, it's our ocean!

"As BP engineers planned to set certain pipes and casings for lining the well in place in the ocean floor, they had to get permission from company managers to use riskier equipment because that equipment deviated from the company’s own design and safety policies, according to internal BP documents obtained by The New York Times.

And when company officials wanted to test the blowout preventer, a crucial fail-safe mechanism on the pipe near the ocean floor, at a lower pressure than was federally required, regulators granted an exception, documents released last week show.
Regulators granted yet another exception when BP sought to delay mandatory testing of that blowout preventer because they had lost “well control,” weeks before the rig exploded, BP e-mail messages show.

The Minerals Management Service, which regulates offshore drilling, went along with these requests partly because the agency has for years had a dual role of both fostering and policing the industry — collecting royalty payments from the drilling companies while also levying fines on them for violations of law." source. Check out his article to find out more about the accident. Very enlightening.


Rate of Oil Leak, Still Not Clear, Puts Doubt on BP


On Monday, BP said a cap was capturing 11,000 barrels of oil a day from the well. The official government estimate of the flow rate is 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day, which means the new device should be capturing the bulk of the oil.
But is it? With no consensus among experts on how much oil is pouring from the wellhead, it is difficult — if not impossible — to assess the containment cap’s effectiveness. BP has stopped trying to calculate a flow rate on its own, referring all questions on that subject to the government. The company’s liability will ultimately be determined in part by how many barrels of oil are spilled.

At least one expert, Ira Leifer, who is part of a government team charged with estimating the flow rate, is convinced that the operation has made the leak worse, perhaps far worse than the 20 percent increase that government officials warned might occur when the riser was cut.

Asked about the flow rate at a news conference at the White House on Monday, Adm. Thad W. Allen, the Coast Guard commander in charge of the federal response to the spill, said that as BP captured more of the oil, the government should be able to offer better estimates of the flow from the wellhead by tracking how much reaches the surface.

Speaking at a briefing in Houston on Monday, Kent Wells, a BP executive involved in the containment effort, declined to estimate the total flow and how much it might have increased.

On Sunday, engineers halted their efforts to close all four vents on the capping device, because even with one vent closed, the amount of oil being captured was approaching 15,000 barrels a day, the processing capacity of the collection ship at the surface. 
source

U.S. to Split Up Agency Policing the Oil Industry


On Tuesday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he planned to cut the agency that oversees the industry, the Minerals Management Service, in two. One office would be responsible for public safety and environmental enforcement and the other in charge of leasing and revenue collection. Details of the proposal are still being worked out.
As lawmakers weighed the bureaucratic reshuffling, tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil continued to pour into the gulf, threatening hundreds of miles of coastline. BP executives said they were pursing multiple lines of attack but conceded that they still were days or weeks from even a partial solution.
Decades of law and custom have joined government and the oil industry in the pursuit of petroleum and profit. The Minerals Management Service brings in an average of $13 billion a year.
Under federal law, even in the case of a major accident, the company responsible for the oil well acts in concert with government in cleanup activities and can help put out information about the response effort.
Shortly after the gulf spill, government agencies and BP set up a joint information center and a Web site detailing remediation efforts.
As the administration scrambled to respond to the unfolding environmental and economic disaster in the gulf, two Senate committees opened hearings into the cause of the April 20 accident. Executives of the three main companies involved in the spill — BP, Transocean and Halliburton — took turns pointing the finger at others for the failures of the systems designed to prevent a major blowout, even as they cautioned that the cause of the explosion was not yet known.
In their first testimony since the spill, top executives of BP, which owns the well; Transocean, which owned the drilling rig and did much of the work; and Halliburton, which provided various services, including cement work on the drill hole, all sought to shift blame.
 source


Coast Guard Sees Cleanup of Spill Lasting Until the Fall - The Coast Guard commander in charge of the federal response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico warned on Sunday that even if the flow of crude was stopped by summer, it could take well into autumn — and maybe much longer— to deal with the slick spreading relentlessly across the gulf.

Dappy Day of the Child!

Happy 1st June, the international day of the child!
I wish you all to save the child in yourself, because that's the only way to remain happy and joyful.
I hope you enjoy this video, my absolutely favorite Disney song!

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