Archive for February, 2016

why so many cancer charities?

February 25, 2016

Every day we hear another story about Cancer.

We are constantly being told that eating, drinking, smoking, breathing, or just being alive all cause Cancer.
It has become a huge industry, with seemingly new cancer charities opening daily and it is becoming a nuisance.

There are three main ways you can die apart from accidents and murder: your heart can be stopped, a blood vessel bursts, or you get a cancer.
The first two are usually quick and people don’t see you suffering much.
Cancer is nasty because it is slow, hurting you and those around you.
It is the form of death which concerns / worries / scares most people, when they think of dying.

It is more concerning when you get older, because you will have met death many times amongst those you have known and a third of them will have died of Cancer.
I make a point of making it a single issue, although it comes in many guises and from many alleged causes.
As an older, educated person, I have read around a lot of cases and explanations and research aspects and I’ve formed my own summation of what it is.
Firstly; I’ve noted that it is related to cell division, which, in turn, is related to ageing.
Next; I notice that amoeba alive Today are almost certainly identical to the very first amoeba, so it’s not just about division (mitosis). The main difference is that when our cells divide the DNA is not faithfully duplicated. For some reason a section of the DNA, known as telomere’s, shortens at each division, causing cells to “age”. By this I mean that the cell walls thicken and become less able to take in nutrients and excrete wastes.
This ageing means that the cell walls are less flexible and, for instance, skin wrinkles, muscles lose strength, eye’s and sphincter’s weaken and blood vessels become more likely to burst.
It also means cells becoming starved of nutrients causing male balding, hair turning gray etc.
With the endocrine glands, it means that they are less able to push out the various hormones, which allow our organs to function in concert.

So getting back to cancer, what causes it?
Start by thinking about what it is.   A cancer starts with a damaged cell reproducing but unable to carry out its proper function. Take a skin cell. Its job is to fit itself into place in the skin an act as a barrier to invader’s. If it’s damaged it sits where it is and divides its clones, which continue to divide forming a cluster of like cells.
Note that not all damaged cells do this. Usually, they are identified as damaged, by other cells, and triggered to self destruct; bursting in a process called apoptosis. It is rare that this cell death doesn’t work. There is some evidence that is genetically determined and this might be a key point of attack on all cancer’s.
Where the cells have escaped apoptosis and formed a lump, they may not be a problem. The body treats the cancer tissue the same as any other supplying it with blood vessels to feed it nutrients and remove its wastes. The lump(tumour) may just grow bigger and bigger until a surgeon cuts it out. It may squeeze its own bloody supply and die, or wither until blood flows again. On a personal note, I was told my maternal grandfather had such a tumour on his back, which was no problem until a workmate, congratulating him on his retirement, slapped him on his back.
That story might just be just a bit of gallows humour but it points up the real danger of cancer. Cancer can spread (metastasis). Any cell which breaks away from the lump can drift off in the blood stream, or through the lymphatic system , and lodge up elsewhere. depending on the nature of the cancer cell (a corrupted skin cell, or a corrupted liver cell etc.), it may form numerous tumours around the body, making it difficult for any surgeon to find and destroy them, without others being created. Then, again, it only needs one tumour in the right place to cause fatal damage. With lung cancer, a lump grows in the lung and prevents air getting in. If it’s just one lung, then that one can be removed but if it’s blocking both lobes then it effectively suffocates you, very slowly. (TB, asbestosis etc. are similar but slower). If the cancer lodges in the bladder then, without surgery, the bladder can burst etc. Invariably it’s not the death that frightens, it’s the pain and manner of death, which is why many opt for euthanasia.
So! What causes cancer?   Anything that damages cells.
Radio-activity can be thought of as like tiny bullets passing through the body. Mostly the damage is of no consequence like blasting mosquito’s with a shotgun. You may kill a few, you’ll miss most but you could singe the wing of one. i.e. damage it, so it flies in circles.
Ultra-violet can’t penetrate the skin but can affect the outer layers in the same way as radio-activity.
Anything which can kill cells can cause a cancer, e.g. exposure to chemicals, or even constant rubbing, or persistant infections.
If the genetic pre-disposition is there, then it’s mainly a question of how many shotgun blasts you suffer.
The longer you live, the more likely you are to get enough shotgun blasts and that’s compounded by ageing cells being more prone to damage.

One last cause, which I read about is damage during normal mitosis, where the chromosomes are replicating. There has been a suggestion that radio waves, of the appropriate frequency, can upset the process and that this could be the case with mobile phones held close to the body e.g. the ear. (it’s not the incoming radio waves but the weak “echoes” created by the phone). This could be a problem for those under 21, whose bodies are still growing, particularly the very young, where there is a greater degree of cell division.

So moral, is get the cancer charities to join up and focus on the commonalities, rather than the differences. The fact that cancer rates are universal but the actual cancer’s vary from country to country, suggest that focussing efforts on a particular type of cancer may not reduce suffering.

People can reduce their own risk of a particular type of cancer by reducing exposure to any one particular cause but they should treat the situation like crossing the road. You take care, when crossing but start campaigning for more “traffic calming”, every time you have a near miss.

Calorie counting is stupid

February 25, 2016

I get really annoyed by TV pundits and self-styled health experts/professionals going on about the calories in food, as though Calories are little poison pills placed in various items, which we negligently shove down our throats.

Do any of them know what calories are, or even how the numbers quoted are measured?

Cast your mind back to your Physics lessons at school. A calorie is a unit of heat energy and the Calorie (capital C), the one associated with food, is actually 1000 calories.
The Scientific definition of the calorie is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius.
So how do they measure the number of Calories in a food sample?
They use a device called a calorimeter, which burns a measured amount of food and measure how much heat is released.
The problem is that we don’t have a little furnace in our guts.
We don’t incinerate our food and turn it totally into carbon dioxide and water.

Our bodies don’t work that way.
Our bodies break foods down in specific chemical reactions. E.g. Bread tastes sweet, because we have an enzyme in our saliva, which immediately goes to work on the starch, breaking it down into sugars, which are more easily digested.

Conversely, paper is mainly cellulose, which is made from starch molecules, has a very high calorific value and will pass through our bodies unaltered.
It’s just like that other form of cellulose, beloved of nutritionists, roughage.
People eat it in brown bread and Bran cereals, because “it’s good for you”.
But our body can’t digest it.
All it does is pass through our intestines unchanged but thereby scraping the inner walls of our guts (like a scouring pad) loosening off any bits, which have stuck to them.
Those Calories don’t have any effect on you.

Consider wine.
If it’s a dry white wine, then it’s very low in sugars and its Calories are almost all alcohol.
Now, alcohol has a lot of Calories as can be seen when we flambé the Xmas pud.
However, when you drink it, you don’t belch flames.
Your body oxidises alcohol in stages.
In the first stage it’s converted into acetaldehyde.
A lot of that goes no further, because you breathe it out, as witnessed by the fact that this is what breathalyser’s measure. (I’d actually be interested to know whether any research has been done on how efficiently this is done by our varying  metabolism’s).
I don’t know the rest of the pathways possible.
The next stage would be to oxidise it to acetic acid (vinegar) and possibly onto Carbon dioxide and water; although some will sweat out.

Consider Lactulose. This is a sugar. It will not only burn but tastes the same as common sugar, yet it is used as a laxative, because our bodies can’t break it down and instead, it passes straight through like liquid paraffin, lubricating/softening solid waste “encouraging intestinal transit”.
There was a fat with a similar indigestibility, which was marketed as allowing people to eat cream cakes etc., without weight gain.
It was withdrawn because of the transit issue I.e. it caused what was politely termed anal leakage.
There needs to be better understanding of how different bodies treat different food stuffs, before we can judge what foods to eat and which to avoid.

Calorie counting is like a political truth:-  Deceitful.

I’ve no doubt our French EU partner will get it’s £23M compensation for loss of revenue

February 19, 2016

I’ve no doubt that Eurotunnel will get their demanded £23M compensation for loss of revenue caused by the Calais jungle. It’s owned by our EU partner’s, France (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurotunnel)
It’s not as if they’re mere plebs, like the UK haulier’s who get fined for being besieged by illegal immigrants.

I don’t know if Lech Walesa was a communist spy but from here in the UK, it looked as if he was the centre pin in ending Communist rule, meaning his paymaster’s must have been incrediibly inept

How about a law where if it is blatantly obvious that women are doing the same job for less money, the employer has to pay the women double one year’s male salary (and obviously vice versa, where it applies). The onus being on the firm to show a demonstrable difference in job demand.

It is facile to compare the average wages of men and women, when we have situations such as shopwork, which is traditionally filled by women, who seek supplementary wages in jobs, where they can socialise and aren’t asked to take strike action.

Do any of our politicians, with their PPE degree’s get any sociological training at all? they seem woefully ignorant of Piaget stages, or the psychopathy of adolescents, or any of the area’s of social awareness covered in basic teacher training.

How come we’ve been in the EU, since its inception (as the EU), yet still have the lowest number of public holidays?

paying bloody big peanuts for ill-formed Laws

February 19, 2016

660 MP’s are paid very good money to make good law but, it seems, they consistently fail.

A phrase  concerning monkey’s and peanuts is thrown at the electorate, every time their tame IPSA awards them another pay rise.

We are expected to accept that as a clinching argument, yet surely monkey’s could pass better constructed tax laws: Tax Laws, which aren’t riddled with loopholes that allow Big Business and the super-rich to avoid their contribution to the funding of our Country.

They let the richest pay virtually no tax and then tell us that we can’t afford an effective Police force, Army, NHS, or any public service that it is the duty of Government to provide.

Then these people try to create a Law (or beef up an older Law) to prevent a gang of murderer’s escape justice by claiming that they don’t know which of them was responsible for the final death blow.

The Joint Enterprise Law, the wording, designed by Legal experts and approved by our MP’s, is able to be torn up, and cast aside as the worthless mouthings of a 660 strong body of self opinionated shallow thinker’s, with little life experience and even less depth of thought.

We now  have 600 murderer’s filing legal plea’s for a re-trial.

Each one costing huge amounts of tax money, which we have been told we can’t afford.

Legal officer’s will fatten their bank accounts, some murderer’s may well go free and a few more public servants will be sacked to pay for it all.

Worst is the electorate will try to pretend it’s not happening and just decide to not bother voting anymore.

Tweedledum, Tweedledee and Jamie Oliver

February 19, 2016

I get to vote once every 5 years and then it’s only for Tweedledum, or Tweedledee.
I have no real say in how this country is run.
Judging by the policies of the main parties, they both work for and are in servitude to the Multinationals and the People who own Wall Street.

Even their determination to keep us in the EU is a reflection of this; as it enables the people in charge to gather control of the EU nations into one set of reins, with various trade treaties such as TTIP and TPP joining up control of the Globe.

Neither I, nor any other citizen has any real say.
But just to add insult to injury, I have to read about various piddling prodnoses shooting their mouths off about how they think they should also give me a kicking.

An example is the call for a tax on sugary drinks by a TV chef (Jamie Oliver) and the CEO of a cancer charity (Cancer Research UK’s Alison Cox).

Why are these people’s opinion’s given air?

Let the TV chef concentrate on messing about with good food (plus overly expensive flavourings).

Let the Cancer Charity CEO go back to pulling down her lavish salary and controlling her empire of chugger’s.

Let me go back to fantasising about living in a Democracy.

@daily_politics How independent is IPSA, when Sir Ian Kennedy (who he?) feels forced to gift them excess salaries?

February 10, 2016

A letter sent to Daily Express and Daily Mirror (10/2/16) about MP’s sneaky little system of ensuring excess pay rises.

The Chairman of IPSA, Sir Ian Kennedy, makes it sound as if he’s being forced to increase MP’s pay,.
Why does he believe he has to ratchet MP pay to Civil Service pay?
Is it something he’s taken from “Yes, Minister”, where top Civil Servants ratcheted their pay to whichever Commercial counterparts (e.g. bankers) had had the most generous settlements?
Perhaps the MP’s who oversee the work of this stooge, might reccommend tying their wages to that of Junior Doctor’s, who by any criterion, deserve better pay than our MP’s.
One query: who sets the pay of Sir Ian Kennedy?

Trident would only deter those who wouldn’t launch a nuclear attack, so it deters no-one.

February 5, 2016

whom would we need to use Trident against?
Answer: we are told: Probably no-one.
We are told it is only a deterrent.

OK; but a deterrent against whom?
Not ISIS. If they had the ability and urge, then nothing would stop them except a pre-emptive strike.
Not our EU neighbours.
Not because they love us but because they’d harm their own territories and people.

Not the USA, because they make the warheads and wouldn’t give us the launch codes: Or They’d have some sort of back door software in them.

N. Korea, or Russia?
Well! both are led by men, who appear to be a bit flaky, who like to rattle their sabres but what would be their motive’s?
N. Korea has closer enemies. We’d have to have really gone out of our way to upset them.

If Putin decided to nuke us, it could only be to intimidate the EU, the USA and other’s.
He’d not gain territory, or trade.
He wouldn’t teach us to respect him (we’d be past caring).
Plus he’d run the risk of an itchy finger, in the Pentagon, getting active.
Would the threat of MAD deter him?
He’d have to be very unbalanced to attack us, even without Trident, and, if he was that flaky, he’d presumably consider the risk minimal.
He knows the effects of nuclear fallout from Chernobyl (1986), within Russia.
He knows that the same radio-active fallout prevented Welsh hill farms from being allowed to send sheep to market for 26 years. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-17472698).

Summary: anyone mad enough to use nuclear weapons is mad enough to ignore retaliation. Trident isn’t a deterrent.

@BBCNews It’s time Government investigated combating video drone use

February 1, 2016

The story of a near miss, by a drone, of a passenger plane, is deservedly worrying, especially as we know that Government will take no notice, until a passenger plane has crashed, killing someone important to them.
More worrying than the possibility of use by amateurs, paparazzi, or terrorists, is that they are being used commercially.
Here, in the UK, we are told that Amazon is experimenting with them for parcel deliveries.
In the USA, they are using them for police surveillance; common enough for a light reference to such, in the TV series “The Big Bang Theory”.
It’s now also reported that they are being used in a plan to implement 5G phone services.
Yet we hear of no plans to regulate, or more importantly, effectively  control their use, apart from attempts to jam their control signals above important buildings.
It’s not enough to set up a Quango to issue licences, we need a policing organisation that can restrict drones to air corridor’s, and effectively disable those, which venture out of them.
It needs to be done soon, because these devices offer plenty more innovative uses, as suggested here: https://defensesystems.com/articles/2014/08/15/drones-can-hack-wifi-networks.aspx