Friday, April 20, 2007

msb-0135 Sick, Sicker, Sickest

msb-0135 Sick, Sicker, Sickest


I feel like a Latin teacher: "Class, repeat after me: 'Amo, amas, amat' "


"Ave Caesar; morituri te salutant." (For those of you who don't get the Latin, I just said "Hail Ceasar. We who are about to die salute you." [For those of you who don't get my dark humor, just forget I said anything.])


This podcast is almost all about "Survival Of The Sickest" by "Dr. Sharon Moalem with Jonathan Prince" (ISBN: 978-0-06-088965-4).

I've got two themes to the music this episode:
  • robots because of the mechanistic aspects of the subject of the book and
  • evolution because of the incredible interrelatedness of life and the trade offs made in transiting from one form to another, under one environment to another.
---- "Army of Robots" by: "Ben Base"

Feedback come first, so...

Did you catch Herrad's second show? (I'm so pumped about that, like you wouldn't believe... is multi-national and multi-linguistic. I hope that the Dutch speaking MSers are just as thrilled at having a voice as I am for having given Herrad the opportunity. :-)

Apart from that, there isn't any that was related or connected to the 'cast.

Its been a quiet couple of days.

---- "Replaced By Robots" by: "Lejeune"

Feed Forward comes next, so...

I finished "Survival Of The Sickest" by "Dr. Sharon Moalem with Jonathan Prince" (ISBN: 978-0-06-088965-4).

It is an awesome book. Its totally worth the read. (In fact I've suggested to Radio Open Source [ ] as a topic for their show because this book deserves as wide a dissemination as possible [and MSBPodcast ain't cutting it there.])

Since the book is covered in Main Topic, I'll just go into the next song.

---- "Ruler of the Rock Robots (A Love Story)" by: "The Black Math Experiment"

Feed Me comes third, so...

Do you have a therapy, product, good or service that is of interest to MSers?

Consider advertising on this podcast.

Reminders on this segment only cost $0.03 per reminder per download of an episode. (A $30CPM targeted at MSers.)

It can/should lead to a full ad, in text, audio or video, which costs $3.00 per download.

That sounds expensive until you do the math and realize that if nobody downloads it it costs you nothing, unlike print, where you often can't even get an ad in to the specialized journals, or radio or TV where you'd just be wasting your money with the 0.0833% MSers rate of return. (That's about six times "below" the level of "statistical noise".)

But MSBPodcast is 100% in your market, and you only pay per download of your material.

No play, no pay.

Reach the MSers who would buy your therapy, product, good or service, with-out having to waste your advertising money on anyone who is "not" interested...

Send me an email at: charles (at)

---- "RULER OF THE TRANCE ROBOTS" by: "The Black Math Experiment"

Main Topic: Sick, Sicker, Sickest

I'm so glad my wife picked up this book at the Jersey Public Library.

"Survival Of The Sickest" by "Dr. Sharon Moalem with Jonathan Prince" (ISBN: 978-0-06-088965-4) is an eye and mind opening read.

Not only is it engagingly written (and I suspect that Jonathan Prince had a lot to do with that) but informative and filled with facts, the relationships between these facts and the connections between the facts. (Oh my heavens, I'm back to the original reason for my starting into podcasting.)

The book is short but meaty.

I'll list the chapters:

  • Chapter 1, Ironing it out.
  • Chapter 2, A Spoonful of sugar helps the temperature go down.
  • Chapter 3, The cholesterol also rises.
  • Chapter 4 Hey, bud, can you do me a fava?
  • Chapter 5, Of microbes and men.
  • Chapter 6, Jump into the gene pool.
  • Chapter 7, Methyl madness: Road to the final phenotype.
  • Chapter 8, That's life: Why you and your iPod must die.
  • Conclusion
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Index
The chapter titles are not very evocative, are they?

But the author, or make that, the authors, manage to make them into a coherent and illuminating seamless exploration of genetics and the role of the environment in genetic mutation.

They ask and possibly answer questions like:
  • Was diabetes evolution's response to the last ice age?
  • Did a deadly genetic disease help our ancestors survive the bubonic plagues of Europe?
  • Will a visit to a tanning salon help lower your cholesterol?
  • Why do we age?
  • Why are some people immune to HIV?
  • Can your genes be turned on or off?
There are quite a few side explorations into the history of disease and the role of disease in evolution.

The thesis of the book is that disease, some disease anyway, may have conferred some evolutionary advantage, and that the sickness was a means of conferring an adaption, a beneficial adaption, onto the species in their particular environment at the time.

Given that air conditioning is about a hundred years old and that its widespread adoption has only occurred since World War II, changes in the environment can, do and have happened in the twinkling of an eye in geologic terms.

Even the pace of such environmental change, such as the current climate change, is being revealed to occur to take only decades rather than milenia or centuries.

---- "Your own Messiah" by: "Rural Electric Project"

Main Topic, part deux:

My only problem is trying to see if there might be someway to apply it to MS.

Probably not but I'm thinking...

What was going on in the sixteenth century, post plague era, that would have conferred some benefit, either to us or to some biological or viral parasitic agent?

Could we discover what benefits from us being turned into shambling cripples?

(Such parasites are discussed in the book, there are several examples across history and across species, and make perhaps the yuckiest, but must the most iluminating part of the thesis of the book.)

---- "New Messiah" by: "Dead Heart Bloom"

The book is "Survival Of The Sickest" by "Dr. Sharon Moalem with Jonathan Prince" (ISBN: 978-0-06-088965-4) and I recommend it.

Who knows what ideas, what avenues of thought and research, may be sparked by reading this book.