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Blog entries from anciendaze

anciendaze has a total of 70 entries.

  1. anciendaze
    Recent news indicates that the Eurozone will keep a functioning banking system, hardly surprising in light of the alternative. What a new fiscal treaty will do for economic recovery is far less certain. Leaders have demonstrated a commitment, but the size of this commitment remains unknown. This is business as usual in the politics of money. Still, this measure only addresses one aspect of...
    anciendaze, Mar 2, 2012
  2. anciendaze
    People who complain that my last post was overly mysterious should know that I just read Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita. They should be thankful to have escaped references to Faustian bargains, Gnostic Christianity and comparative demonology. These pieces of misdirection make sense in Bulgakov's case, because he was writing a highly subversive novel in Stalin's Moscow during the...
    anciendaze, Feb 27, 2012
  3. anciendaze
    Previously, I've described endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) as sleeping dragons, even if they sometimes exhibit surprising activity. These genetic sequences, and their poor relations, retrotransposons, are found very widely, not just in humans, or mammals, or even animals. They exhibit similar characteristics in very different genomes. This prompts questions about why these pathogenic insertions...
    anciendaze, Feb 23, 2012
  4. anciendaze
    Last year there were two studies of MRI scans of CFS patients: one in Australia and one in the U.K. Both used a technique called "voxel-based morphometry" (if you can say that several times quickly, you must be sober) to detect changes in both gray matter and white matter. Both concluded there are systematic changes in patients with ME/CFS indicating shrinkage. Now, the big...
    anciendaze, Jan 27, 2012
  5. anciendaze
    My title is a quote from Cicero concerning the immortality of the soul, not an exhortation to suicide. As usual I have a new twist on an old saying. For all the ink that has been spilled in disputes over the organic nature of ME/CFS, over a period of half a century, there has been one major oversight -- autopsies of deceased sufferers. (If you don't believe that time span, check the date...
    anciendaze, Jan 18, 2012
  6. anciendaze
    This common epigram can be traced to 1562 in English. Idiomatic ambiguity between distinct meanings, forgotten and insane, renders translation into other languages tricky. Even before computers became involved there was a claim of a student translation into Chinese as "unseen idiot". The relation between selective attention and personal or organizational insanity runs much deeper. In the...
    anciendaze, Jan 8, 2012
  7. anciendaze
    Enrico Fermi was asked at least once what characteristics Nobel Prize winners in physics had in common. His reply is revealing, "I cannot think of a single one, not even intelligence." I hasten to add that this judgment should not be limited to either physicists or Nobel Prize winners. Intelligence is not an essential requirement for successful scientists. Some have it, some don't....
    anciendaze, Dec 26, 2011
  8. anciendaze
    When we consider medical triumphs of virology, we have to mention smallpox, rabies, yellow fever and poliomyelitis. Vaccination for smallpox was discovered in the 18th century, and refined and improved throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1979 the World Health Organization declared that a massive global vaccination program had made smallpox extinct in the wild. This still appears to be...
    anciendaze, Dec 12, 2011
  9. anciendaze
    Today's news tells me the Eurozone has reached an agreement on closer fiscal integration, minus the U.K. There are other, more ominous, signs, though they may not accurately reflect response to this. Time will tell. The important point is that EU leaders have agreed to give up significant aspects of fiscal sovereignty without waiting for public support for such an idea to materialize. The...
    anciendaze, Dec 9, 2011
  10. anciendaze
    My topic today is outside the daily scope of economic news. While many overlooked details are too small to be seen, this is an example of the opposite. We don't normally perceive this trend because many of us have lived our entire lives inside it. My story starts in the mid 1950s with a geophysicist named M. King Hubbert. (He didn't like to be called Marion.) He published a surprising...
    anciendaze, Nov 21, 2011
  11. anciendaze
    Recent financial news has followed a very predictable course. As a result, three governments in southern Europe have fallen, and been replaced with new leaders, in Greece, Italy and Spain. All have pledged to implement austerity measures to staunch the hemorrhage of red ink in those countries. This is a necessary measure for survival of the Eurozone, but it is not sufficient. Greece has...
    anciendaze, Nov 21, 2011
  12. anciendaze
    Economics can be the study of how people have outwitted each other, often outwitting themselves in the process. We have an example in recent settlements of cases characterized as either fraud or misleading representations. Deutsche Bank has settled a case brought by the National Credit Union Administration on behalf of five failed credit unions. This recovered $165 million. Deutsche Bank,...
    anciendaze, Nov 21, 2011
  13. anciendaze
    What is the normal course of events leading to endogenous retroviral sequences in most mammals? It starts with infection by an exogenous retrovirus, naturally. While endogenous retroviral sequences may be recombined, there is no reason to believe they appear by spontaneous generation. After a sequence has been incorporated into germ-line cells it may still fail to be fully endogenous....
    anciendaze, Nov 15, 2011
  14. anciendaze
    In 1907 the first evidence that warts were caused by a virus was found by Guiseppi Ciuffo in Italy, who showed transmission via cell-free filtrate, indicating this could not be a bacterial infection. This can be taken as an important milestone marking discovery of the first human virus. It would ultimately be called a papilloma virus, following the medical name for warts. (My inspiration for...
    anciendaze, Nov 8, 2011
  15. anciendaze
    We are either approaching a summit which will resolve the global financial crisis, or sliding into an economic sinkhole, depending on who is talking. Frankly, I've lost track of some of the financial legerdemain, and would not hazard a guess on which shell, if any, hides the pea. My confusion is not entirely a personal problem. Even the most knowledgeable of financial experts have had...
    anciendaze, Nov 3, 2011