Thursday, May 19, 2011

Quotes of the day

If you've been following the latest research on diet in the scientific journals, you would understand why the regulators appeared so defensive. Increasingly, some of the basic assumptions about nutrition that have formed the core of the government's recommendations on what Americans should eat are being questioned by studies which suggest the advice is not merely ineffective but may be counterproductive, contributing among other things to the rise in obesity which the White House decries. Rather than be humbled and made cautious by such research, however, government regulators are simply plowing ahead with a conviction that their ideas about nutrition are correct.--Steven Malanga

[William] Byers argues that there is an inherent uncertainty about science and our knowledge that is frequently ignored. Byers contrasts a science of wonder with a science of certainty. He suggests that our knowledge of the physical world will always be incomplete because of the imperfection of models and human modes of thought relative to the complexity of the physical world.--Russ Roberts

... I argue that more competition in K-12 education would make the schooling available to people in poor neighborhoods better than it is now. However relatively lacking is the selection of groceries in poor neighborhoods, grocers there still must compete for customers’ dollars – a requirement that obliges those grocers to be more responsive to their customers than are those neighborhoods’ public schools which receive their revenue, not from voluntarily paying customers, but from taxpayers forced to pay regardless of how well or poorly their schools perform. Consider, for example, that 47 percent of adults in Detroit are functionally illiterate while approximately 0 percent are starving or wanting for the likes of toothpaste, paper towels, and laundry detergent.--Don Boudreaux

... is Romney really telling people who care about freedom that the federal government should not take away their liberties, but it's okay when state governments do it?--Michael Cannon

[President Obama is] a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it.--Cornel West

There is one thriving constitutional democracy in the Middle East. It is Israel. Arabs can vote in Israel. There are Arab members of the Israeli parliament. Why does the President of the United States put any pressure on Israel to make concessions to the other side–the side that does not recognize Israel’s right to exist, the side where people danced in the streets on 9/11, the side that mourned the death of Osama Bin Laden. This is a political mystery I do not understand.--Russ Roberts

I admire hockey fighters, and I don’t care for it when people refer to them as goons. It is an uninformed point of view and disrespectful.--Alec Wilkinson

The mechanism by which DCA works in mice is remarkably simple: It killed most types of cancer cells by disrupting the way they metabolize sugar, causing them to self-destruct without adversely affecting normal tissues. Following the animal trials, Michelakis and his colleagues did tests of DCA on human cancer cells in a Petri dish, then conducted human clinical trials using $1.5 million in privately raised funds. His encouraging results — DCA treatment appeared to extend the lives of four of the five study participants — were published last year in Science Translational Medicine. The preliminary work in rodents, cell cultures, and small trials on humans points to DCA as being a powerful cancer treatment. That doesn't mean it's the long-awaited cure — many other compounds have seemed similarly promising in the early stages of research without later living up to that promise — but nonetheless, Michelakis believes larger human trials on DCA are warranted. Like Jonas Salk, Michelakis hasn't patented his discovery. It's not because he doesn't want to, but because he can't. When it comes to patents, DCA really is like the sun: It's a cheap, widely used chemical that no one can own. In today's world, such drugs don't readily attract funding. Pharmaceutical companies are not exactly ignoring DCA, and they definitely aren't suppressing DCA research — it's just that they're not helping it. Why? Drug development is ultimately a business, and investing in the drug simply isn't a good business move. "Big Pharma has no interest whatsoever in investing [in DCA research] because there will be no profit."--Natalie Wolchover

I graduated from college exactly 20 years ago. And as I am reminded every single day where I work, that makes me really old. Mark Zuckerberg, our founder and my boss, said to me the other day, “Sheryl, when do midlife crises happen? When you’re 30?” Not a good day at the office.--Sheryl Sandberg

Almost 47 percent of women from 25 to 29 had never been married in 2009, almost double the 26 percent reported in 1986, according to a Census Bureau report released today.--Frank Bass

Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.--Leonardo Da Vinci
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