Curating the Internet: Science and technology micro-summaries for September 14, 2019

in rsslog •  10 months ago 

A "living drug" that offers promise for cancer treatment; Anticipating bitcoin development in a post-hyperbitcoinization world; 27 article retractions is just the tip of the iceberg; A Steem essay describing another world with water in the atmosphere; A critique of Keto diets


Fresh Internet Content Daily: Welcome to my little corner of the blockchain

Straight from my RSS feed
Whatever gets my attention

Links and micro-summaries from my 1000+ daily headlines. I filter them so you don't have to.


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  1. A "living drug" that could change the way we treat cancer - In this TED talk, Carl June describes his work creating synthetic immune systems that are capable of fighting cancer. The technique makes use of genetic engineering to combine antibodies from naturally occurring B cells into naturally occurring T cells by using the HIV virus as a Trojan Horse that will camoflauge the payload. The resulting treatment is known as a Chimeric Antigen Receptor T cells. It takes its name from the mythological Chimera, and it's the world's first living drug. Unlike other forms of medicine, these living cells stay in the body and continue to fight cancer for years or decades. The treatment makes use of the body's own T cells by growing them in large volumes in the lab, and it has been tested in leukemia patients starting in 2010. The first patients remain tumor-free today, and June believes they are cured.

  2. What Will Bitcoin Development Look Like After Hyperbitcoinization? - The article suggests that Bitcoin's decade+ lifespan implies that "hyperbitcoinization" - a future state where bitcoin replaces fiat currencies - is a near certainty, and goes on to think about the implications of that change on bitcoin development. One implication it suggests, is that development effort will shift from a focus on the protocol to a focus on tools like wallets, alternative node implementations, and that development efforts will often be sponsored by bitcoin whales. Another implication it anticipates is that people will have more access to low cost/high quality software; A final change that the article foresees is that quality control will become increasingly important.

  3. A publisher just retracted 22 articles. And the whistleblower is just getting started. - Bringing total retractions for Ali Nazari to 27 articles with 0 to 32 citations, SAGE Publishing has announced 22 new retractions. According to the anonymous reader who raised the articles to the publisher's attention, in total, more than 100 articles are impacted by the author's duplication.

  4. STEEM Hubble Found Water In An Atmosphere of Another Planet - As described by @kralizec, who was summarizing a paper from arXiv, K2-18b is a planet that is about 111 light years away, in the Leo constellation. It orbits a red-dwarf star in the so called, "Goldilocks zone" of its star system, which is the area where life as we know it may be possible. After watching the planet cross in front of it's red-dwarf star eight times through the Hubble telescope, and three times through the Spitzer infrared telescope, with some complicated math the paper's 16 authors were able to ascertain the composition of the atmosphere. In addition to water and water vapor, the researchers also report that the atmosphere is rich in hydrogen and helium. (A beneficiary setting of 10% has been applied to this post for @kralizec.)

  5. The Cult Of Keto: Should You Shun Carbs And Feast On Fat? - In this article, Angela Dowden critiques the fad of "keto" diets. She acknowledges that a keto diet (very low carbohydrates, relatively high fat, moderate proteins) has been shown to provide longer lasting weight loss than low-fat diets, and also that it lowers insulin, which may be good for diabetics. However, she points out that the results were just barely significant, and expresses concern that it's very hard (though not impossible) to achieve balanced nutrition on such a diet. She also makes the argument that weight loss is merely a function of calories in and calories burned, regardless of whether those calories come from fat, carbohydrates, or proteins. Coincidentally, on a personal note, I have been engaged in a zero-research, adhoc, keto type of diet since April. During that time, I have eaten no breads, pasta, rice, sugary fruits or drinks, etc.. but of the foods I do eat, I eat as much as I want. During that time, I have lost 25 pounds (11 kg), though I'm fairly certain I haven't reduced my overall level of caloric input, or increased my level of activity, and I never feel unusually hungry. I'm not making recommendations for anyone else, but my adhoc keto diet does seem to be working for me (and I have a partner on the diet, who has seen similar results). h/t RealClear Science


In order to help make Steem the go to place for timely information on diverse topics, I invite you to discuss any of these links in the comments and/or your own response post.

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Thanks a lot again. I am a bit late on this one (was attending a workshop and thus not that present during the last few days).

I am very curious with the first article (on cancer). However, I guess more time is needed for conclusive statements. I am tagging @scienceblocks, @chappertron and @sco who may be interested in this one :)

Thanks again, for the feedback. That first video is definitely worth listening to, if you can find the time. I really couldn't do it justice in the number of words that I allow myself for these posts. But yeah, more time is needed to see where it leads.

Thanks for the mention @lemouth. This CAR-T cell stuff is pretty damn interesting. After the 2018 Nobel prize for medicine went to cancer immunotherapy, CAR-T cell has become a even hotter topic. Anyhow, I will check this video tonight.

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You well curate the news from my perspective, and I am grateful for that.

The fascinating article regarding using HIV as a vector for improving the immune systems of people is an amazing demonstration of the principle that technological advance inevitably increases the power of individuals versus institutions, and on a completely novel interpretation of that law: individual organisms versus parasitic species, like disease organisms, rather than cultural institutions and civilians.

The BTC article reinforces certain predictions I make regarding how AI will be useful to individuals to employ decentralized technology, such as DLTs, instead of being a mechanism enabling globalists and banksters to prey on us. While BTC is a dinosaur technologically, it remains culturally relevant due to the reality of a learning curve regarding new tech, and the benefits of BTC assumed in the article more properly should be ascribed to the DLT technology - blockchain - itself, of which Steem is one of the best examples of modern technological advancement.

I am further glad to see retractions of papers beginning, as too much fake news infests science today. CO2 being trumpeted as a dangerous pollutant is perhaps the best example of this presently, since it is actually a vital nutrient to the global ecosystem on which we all depend for our lives, and that very nearly was so depleted during the LGM as to cause catastrophic and irreversible whole ecosystem extinction.

Lastly, regarding diets in general, it is informative to consider how people ate throughout prehistory, as it is almost undeniable that meals were not available thrice a day, or even daily, as a rule, prior to the advent of refrigeration and food preservation technology. Our bodies are designed to cope with intermittent availability of foods, and intermittent fasting is the protocol that best mimics nature.

Eating once a day, as a rule, and skipping days from time to time, or even weeks as necessary to control morphology, has proved to be easy and extremely beneficial not just in my personal experience, but in longevity studies. It is far less distressing to not eat at all until it's time to eat to satsifaction than it is to eat meals too small to satisfy. By fasting, I once reduced my weight from ~22 stone to ~ 19, in about a month, with no ill effects on my health or aesthetically, such as stretch marks.

After the first few days, the experience of hunger is less distressing during a fast, and the emotional enjoyment of a full meal is almost indescribably beneficial. I have no doubt that focusing diet on high value nutrition, as the KETO diet does, is beneficial, but simply avoiding highly processed foods composed mostly of carbs is a lot simpler and nominally successful at providing nutrients. Combined with intermittent fasting, I reckon it's the most natural and easy way to provide good nutrition and control morphology.

Thanks very much!

Thank you for the feedback! I really appreciate it. It's good feedback, and it's also nice to know that someone other than the bots is reading my posts.

I agree that the one with the HIV and the "living drug" was fascinating. It's definitely worth listening to the full TED talk if you can find the time. I think it's the most optimistic seeming thing that I recall reading or hearing about cancer treatment.

Your points on "hyperbitcoinization" are interesting. I agree that it should be generalized to other blockchains, too. And I agree with you on retraction. That's why I'm a fan of that retractionwatch web site. I think I've probably been following that blog for a couple years now. It's interesting to see ho many of the problems that plague us on Steem, have analogs in the science literature - for example, things like self citation, plagiarism, and fake reviewers, off the top of my head...

On diet, I have thought about fasting. I normally only eat one meal per day, anyway, and I think periodic fasting would be a good idea. But I haven't worked up the motivation to actually make a practice of it. Maybe one of these days I will.

This is cool. I was thinking about a similiar idea!

Thanks for the feedback! I hope you try your idea out.

Intresting blog.