How cancer was created by the evolution

BBC has a rather lengthy article on how cancer was created by the evolution.  The gist of it is not very cheerful:

But a more telling reason for the rise is that humans, on average, live a lot longer than they used to. “If you live long enough you will get cancer,” says Biankin.

“If we decide that we all want to live to more than 70, then we have to accept that sooner or later we will get some sort of cancer,” says Bardelli. It is inevitable because our cells have not evolved to maintain their DNA for as long as we now live, he says.

However, there is some really amazing photography of cancer cells and the like.

CP695J Cancer cell scientific 3d illustration
CP695J Cancer cell scientific 3d illustration

National Cancer Institute on Cannabis and Cannabinoids

National Cancer Institute has an interesting update on cannabis … Basically, marijuana is not yet universally approved as a medical treatment for cancer (only in a few states for now), but quite a few large studies suggest that not only it’s not harmful, but quite helpful for both cancer treatment and post-treatment relief.

usa

I think this is a good step in the direction of “the world is not black and white”.  We’ve been tagging everything as just good or bad for way too long.  It’s time to start looking at benefits and side effects in a bit more detail.

Alex King Rememberances

I’ve just discovered some sad sad news.  Alex King, one of the bigger people in the WordPress community for years, is fighting a stage 4 cancer battle.  Alex is well known for a few things, most notably for his design of the Share icon, his contributions to WordPress core, and his work as a founder of Crowd Favorite.

I’ve never met Alex or spoke to him directly, but his work is a constant inspiration.  From the early days, when I was promoting WordPress as a flexible platform for web application development, I used his work for powerful examples.  I’ve also built projects using Carrington Core framework.  This blog ran both Carrington Blog and FavePersonal themes for quite some time.  I’ve used Capsule for a while to manage my code snippets and project notes, and I’m sure I’ll use it again.  I’ve used (and still using) quite a few plugins that he was involved with – Social, Twitter Tools, Old Post Alert, Delink Comment Author, and others.  I’ve been an occasional reader of his blog.  And, of course, like anyone else using WordPress, I’ve benefited from his work.

The time has come to return a favor.  Alex is compiling some information about his work and career for his 6 year old daughter to learn more about him.  So if you met Alex, communicated with him, or benefited from his work – take a couple of minutes to share your experience.  He well deserves that.

To Alex: thank you for all your work.  It’s inspirational and educational.  Stay strong!

How fast is a modern computer?

Once in a while I get into one of those discussions on how fast modern computers are.  Unfortunately, most of the times, the metrics which are compared, are of those computers that were before, not the ones which are now.  Today I came across a story in Slashdot that very nicely shows how fast modern computers are.  Just read this snippet to get an idea:

Engineers at UCLA, led by Bahram Jalali and Dino Di Carlo, have developed a camera that can take 36.7 million frames per second, with a shutter speed of 27 picoseconds. By far the fastest and most sensitive camera in the world — it is some 100 times faster than existing optical microscopes, and it has a false-positive rate of just one in a million — it is hoped, among other applications, that the device will massively improve our ability to diagnose early-stage and pre-metastatic cancer. This camera can photograph single cells as they flow through a microfluidic system at four meters per second (9 mph — about 100,000 particles per second), with comparable image quality to a still CCD camera (with a max shooting speed of around 60 fps). Existing optical microscopes use CMOS sensors, but they’re not fast enough to image more than 1,000 particles per second. With training, the brains of the operation — an FPGA image processor — can automatically analyze 100,000 particles per second and detect rare particles (such as cancer cells) 75% of the time.

Gene mutations unique to Cyprus

Cyprus Mail reports:

TWO Cyprus-specific gene mutations that increase the likelihood of breast cancer have been identified by the Institute of Neurology and Genetics.

The genetic changes – in genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 – “haven’t been found anywhere else in the world – not even Greece,” said head of electron microscopy and molecular pathology Kyriacos Kyriacou.

This reminded me of a DNA testing and profiling company 23andMe. Apparently, their prices decreased significantly since the last time I checked.  Now it is much more affordable with the price of $99 + 1 year commitment to $9/month or a $399 once off.  It used to be around $2000 if I remember correctly.