All of Chala's Comments + Replies

It is likely going to be a net negative for society as I doubt that any information of value can be derived from this sort of experiment in humans. There is still a lot of animal research that has to be done before human trials can bring anything useful to the table. To my knowledge, chronic renal failure isn't even close to being treatable usign stem cells in rats or any other model animal.

It is likely that the team of "scientists" in this case are a bunch of phonies with know comprehension of the basic science behind stem cells, or any serious training in research.

In this case I'm beyond sceptical. Stem cells are often given to medical tourists as the very words conjure up the idea of miracle cures in peoples minds, when there really is no evidence to think it will be of any clinical benefit (and in fact there is often evidence that it will be harmful).

If we were at the stage in medical science where we could cure chronic renal failure by using stem cells we would have done so in rats, or some other model animal, already - and we haven't yet to my knowledge.

It is likely that the theam that is going to administer th... (read more)

to bring to notice the huge fraud in the name of kidney cure, by shijiazhuang kidney disease hospital in china. as soon as u click on a herbal/ natural cure for kidneys, their website opens, and within seconds a doctor comes on a chat window and asks for your condition and test reports. their chat window opens within seconds, day and night. they market a combination therapy of herbal osmosis and stem cell transplant. everyone knows that stem cells have the capacity to regenerate damaged organs. as there is no cure in the world for kidneys, helpless people fall victims to their bait, as the chat is followed up very well by daily phone calls and mails. they also claim to have cured 4000 such cases to give u confidence. on the net they give u a treatment plan between 15,000 to 20,000 usd. once u reach the hospital, after a few checkups, they come back with grim faces and tell u that since u are in the last stage, the treatment plan has to be improved and now it will be 50,000 usd. they did this to all 30 patients who were in with me. people get scared and take loans to somehow manage 50,000 usd. those who cant are given a lower package which they say will take a few extra months to cure. in the hospital, they put on a great act, checking on you 3 times a day, with very serious doctor like faces. then u see a dramatic improvement in 2 or 3 patients, who are actors, hired by the hospital on commission. these guys put on a great act, the hospital throws a party for these guys to celebrate their improvement and they give speeches about their drastic improvement, which is video recorded by the hospital staff. those who were in 2 minds about the treatment, because of the inflated fees, falls for these speeches and then enrolls to the programme. they ask for the payment not in the hospital name, but an individual named lui huizhi, so it cant be traced back to them. not that they are afraid, as chinese govt supports them. then they make u sign an agreement which is all in

The peanut is an interesting example. I think projects are underway to produce modified varieties that lack the allergens which people tend to react to.

Yeah but remember, there will always be a limit to the price they can charge for the GMO - and that will be determined by the cost of the wild type and the productivity different between the two. Thus Mosanto will only be able to sell it if it is worthwile for the farmers! Also, patents do expire eventually.

Lol, I'm still pretty sure it would be bad to put genes in to produce more of them though.

I am sorry but I have yet to hear of a GMO project that involved removing micronutrients! The only ones I've heard of have involved adding things, e.g. adding vitamin A to rice, adding virus compounds to potatos to act as a vaccine, adding resistance to parasites and viruses etc. Never, ever ever ever heard of a project to remove something.

Your final paragraph isn't really relevant, I mean look at golden rice for instance.

Nutritional Science keeps finding out new effects and necessities, where micronutrients are concerned. Unless you're satisfied at the state of nutritional science, you should feel no safer eating foods genetically modified to remove unknown impurities and replace them with known vitamins than you would eating an isocaloric mixture of ghee, bleached flour, egg white, and a multivitamin supplement. edit: It seems I was unclear. What I'm saying is that, in addition to the 13 essential vitamins identified by the NIH, normal food contains thousands upon thousands of chemical compounds with as-yet unknown effects and threshhold doses. Moreover, it is unlikely that a gene insertion or deletion intended only to increase round-up resistance has no effect on its physical makeup. Thus, a belief that the only nutrition which contributes to health is the 13 essential vitamins, plus a good macronutrient ratio, is equivalent to the belief that the only reason to eat more than pure fat, carbohydrate, and protein plus a multivitamin is a taste for variety.

GMOs can be safe, they can be unsafe. For instance, if you inserted a gene into a potato to produce poisonous cyanide compounds that would be unsafe. Engineering a rice variety to produce Vitamin A precursors, however, is not likely to be unsafe on a basic scientific level and once the crop has been tested and retested for toxicity and other concerns it is simply not plausible that it would be dangerous.

Other intentions of GMOs can be, for instance, to produce an organism which is naturally resistant to pests or which is better able to grow in a variety o... (read more)

What worries ecologists is not out of control proliferation of genetically modified crops, but unpredictable hybridization with natural species. Plants hybridize considerably more readily than animals, and an agricultural concentration of a particular plant could introduce a large genetic load to the local population if it's wind or insect pollinated. Although usually not dangerous, the occasional propensity of hybrid species to fuck ecologies up in ways that neither of their parent species do is worth being wary of.
Potatoes already produce cyanide compounds. Don't eat them raw if they aren't ripe.

Um... what so you'd rather have diagnoses that are not based upon data? Or a diagnosis which is made up versus no diagnosis? I don't quite understand what you mean. Illnesses in the human body cannot be solved in the same way as an engineering problem, particularly at the margins. Most of the medical knowledge that could be derived without careful and large clinical trials is already known - I'm not sure what you expect a single doctor to do.

Furthermore, note that most patients will not die undiagnosed - bar situations, such as in geriatric patients, where... (read more)

I think your comments on medical doctors go some what too far. Doctors who approach medicine with an engineering perspective of "how can I fix this" are stupid - the effects of most interventions are subtle or counter-intuitive and thus can only be reliably determined by quality clinical trials.

Much of being a doctor comes down to pattern recognition - what you have consciously decided to memorise is only part of the story and lays only the foundations for future learning. For instance, even with the textbook in front of you I doubt most could co... (read more)

A doctor faces a patient whose problem has resisted decision-tree diagnosis -- decision trees augmented by intangibles of experience and judgement, sure. The patient wants some creative debugging, which might at least fail differently. Will they get their wish? Not likely: what's in it for the doctor? The patient has some power of exit, not much help against a cartel. To this patient, to first order, Phil Goetz is right, and your points partly elaborate why he's right and partly list higher-order corrections. (I did my best to put it dispassionately, but I'm rather angry about this.)

You share 50% of the variable genes.

Sigh, I got sort of mugged yesterday (only one thing got taken, got to keep my phone/wallet). I guess another thing is don't be a skinny young man ;)

Oh yeah I did that last year ;)

Not this semester, as I didn't decide what I was going to do until a month in ;) I'll be doing compsci 101 next semester though.

Most interesting! I would also recommend CompSci 111 even if you are skilled with computers. It introduces you to a wide range of skills. You might even bump into me in the corridor.

Oh thanks for clearing that up

Yeah I realise its a year old, but its also the first thread that shows up when searching for "Auckland" so it seems reasonable that it may get the occasional traffic ;). Also, its my understanding that the OP would have gotten a notification that I commented on this post.

I noticed. I'll be setting up a new meet up soon due to someone else requesting it. Auckland is positively on fire with rationality it seems! bring water buckets. You are doing computer science now? that's most interesting. Are you taking any stage 1 compsci papers this semester?
You get a notification for replies to comments, but not for comments on posts.

I'm interested in future Auckland meet ups :)

This thread is over a year old, so people from the meetup group may not notice your comment. I recommend you contact the organizer, by private message or replying to one of his comments. If nothing comes of that, you should try organizing a meetup yourself, just write a post announcing a time and place and say you will be there.

It is stil frustrating to be ignored for a position which you would be more than adequate for, and which you are confident that you would be harder working at and more dilligent in than the hired help.

I guess thats one of the things that bothers me, having to jump through arbitrary hoops in a pointless process that fails to relate to reality. Also I probably just don't need/want a job that much ;)

In that situation, I try to just shrug and think it's their loss. :-)

I have a degree in biomedical science, aka a totally useless degree. I'm going back to uni and am just looking for part time work in the mean time to make my time - since I'm finally at the stage of actually really needing the money.

Also I'm going back to uni to do computer science and become a programmer. I guess everyone on the internets realise is in that profession ;).

Regarding social interactions, I am actually (and unusually for less wrong) a very social and extroverted person. I spend much of my time at the moment socialising - ergo my need for mon... (read more)

Fear of failure is a big problem in my life right now. Its why I don't have a job, since I'm silly and am afraid of being rejected. This reframed something I think I already knew, but I'm sure it will help anyway. Time to really get on to things now.

Job-hunting fits very well with the model in "Don't Fear Failure": the downside risk is zero. The worst case is accepting a bad job. Assuming you're a USian, jobs are at-will, so just leave then, and you're no worse off. As a job-hunter, I've learned to model the probability of getting any one job as infinitesimal, so I don't get too hung up on any one application. Let them do the rejecting.
I found that looking for jobs got a lot easier when I stopped thinking of it as a process evaluating my worth for the employer. Instead I started thinking of it as a process where I look for the employer who deserves me by virtue of realizing just how valuable I am.
What's your work/educational background? I delayed looking for work in the past because I didn't actually need the money. I do have more expenses now, but not enough that I feel ambition for anything better (even within my company). I'm kind of okay with that, but I'd rather not slip up enough to lose this pretty decent gig and have to find another one. In case that reminds anyone of the motivation in Office Space, I am indeed a programmer like everyone else on the internet. I think fear of uncomfortable interactions applies more in regular social situations for me. I've started practicing acting extroverted by just talking to strangers on the street or wherever, confident that I'll never see them again and there are no consequences of bad impressions I might make. Sometimes it results in talking too fast or unclearly though (that also happens at work).

I write in response to your introductory paragraphs.

Interestingly, most insurance companies give out more money in claims than they take in in premiums - this being a cost of doing business that must be paid for the privilege of holding the "float", being the money held by the insurer which has not yet been paid out as claims. This money is held in some form of investment, often dominated by government bonds, which produce a yield small relative to the float - but large compared to the capital invested in the company as the float should be much ... (read more)

The biggest barrier for me personally in my mathematics education was that it was supposed to be boring, it was supposed to be hard and thirdly you were forced to do an inordinate number of repititions of the same problem untill it nearly killed your brain. Nevermind that spaced repitition would be far more effective.

Before you even debate what to teach you'd better decide how to teach or you're just wasting your time.

Though I suppose my experience may not have been representative, so lesswrong was your mathematics education effective at teaching you what it was trying to teach you?

What the heck, Humans who lived past infancy lived far longer than 16 years in the Ancestral environment - just very poor infant mortality brought down the average life expectancy.

"The typical human tribe" would not have gone around murdering whole other tribes... there is no evidence for that and that is not what modern isolated hunter gatherers do either.

I came across plenty of examples in my studies of anthropology. Of course it depends what you mean by "tribe". Really large scale violence requires a certain amount of technology. As an example"Yanomamo: The Fierce People" by Chagnon details some such incidents and suggests they were not unusual. Well actually the men and children were killed, the nubile women were kept alive for . See also the Torah / Old Testament for numerous genocides, though these were bronze/iron age people and also the historicity of the incidents is disputed. This was not universal - the Kalahari Bushmen (now called the San people) did not do this, perhaps in part because their main weapon was a slow acting poison dart. An all-out war would kill everyone involved. But rates of violent death among males were extremely high in hunter/gatherer societies often documented by early anthropologists (from reconstructing family trees) in the 30-50% range.
Agreed on infant mortality: 'life expectancy' is an incredibly misleading term, and leads to any number of people thinking that anyone over 40 was an old man in previous centuries, when a lot of the difference can be explained by infant mortality. On human tribes, I don't think slaughtering an entire other tribe is a particularly shocking thing for a tribe to do. I've read things suggesting that 20th century rates of personal homicide and deaths in war per person are both actually low by previous centuries' standards, so the popular idea of the Holocaust and Communist purges as making the 20th century the century of war or atrocity is flawed. But agreed this doesn't make Holocausts 'typical'.