Naturally-occurring saluvirus fights cancer

Reuters via Yahoo: Common virus kills cancer, study finds:
"Our results suggest that adeno-associated virus type 2, which infects the majority of the population but has no known ill effects, kills multiple types of cancer cells yet has no effect on healthy cells," said Craig Meyers, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Penn State College of Medicine in Pennsylvania.
I've long been convinced that there are many as-yet undiscovered 'contagions', especially viruses, that serve to improve rather than harm health. I suggested the term saluvirus for any such viruses a few years ago -- and have tracked further evidence suggestive of saluviruses since, including:
This latest news -- of a pervasive virus that is not only harmless but may actually cure cancer -- further suggests we may be swimming in as-yet-undiscovered naturally-occuring health-giving contagions. Viruses like this latest discovery could explain otherwise mysterious total cancer remissions -- via catching an anticancer virus by chance.

This discovery also suggests a more comprehensive research program: take every category of pesky pathogen -- bacteria, viruses, protozoa, fungi, and parasites -- and look for more organisms of the same type but beneficial effect. Of course, many types of symbiosis and commensalism between life forms are already known, but down to the level of microbial contagions, there seems an overwhelming focus on the bad with little search for the good. (Would a 'salugen' be the opposite of a pathogen? 51 hits right now, several promoting cannabis as a 'salugen' substance, none emphasizing microorganisms.)

Inquiries into the diet and lifestyle choices of the long-lived -- whether anecdotal or statistically rigorous -- have already been done to death. Let's get the healthiest old folks among us under a microscope instead, take some tissue samples, grow some cultures, and see what they've got crawling around inside them that the rest us should get, too.

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Open-source + p2p + rich media coding for fun and profit: Bitcollider request-for-bids

The Bitzi Bitcollider, an open-source utility for calculating file hashes, extracting file metadata, and submitting information to the cooperatively-built and Creative Commons-licensed Bitpedia digital media encyclopedia, needs support for files larger than 2GB/4GB (2GiB/4GiB).

Bitzi is trying an experiment to get this capability implemented: placing a request-for-bids at RentACoder, an international marketplace for contracted piecework software development. For more details, see this message on the bitpedia-l project discussion list:

Contribute Bitcollider largefile support, for fun and profit!

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NYTimes corrects missing attribution

Thanks go to the New York Times for finally addressing their uncreditted use of an illustration I created for this blog. (The more direct and accusatory approach worked.) From the June 3 2005 Corrections:
A caption in Business Day on April 18 with an article about whether companies can restrict the blogging of their employees omitted a credit for the creator of the artwork. The re-creation was done by Gordon Mohr. An e-mail message reporting the error a month ago was misdirected at The Times. (Go to Article)
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Milton Friedman profile in San Francisco Chronicle

SFGate.com: Friedman's 'heresy' hits mainstream / Private Social Security accounts were his idea

I'd like to quote the whole thing, but I'll settle for the opening paragraphs...

San Francisco seems an unlikely home for the man who in 1962 first proposed the privatization of Social Security.

Asked why he dwells in liberalism's den, Milton Friedman, 92, the Nobel laureate economist and father of modern conservatism, didn't skip a beat.

"Not much competition here," he quipped.

"The people I see in the Safeway don't go around yelling, 'I'm a left wing Democrat,' even if they are," he said. "This is a very nice city to live in."

...and the close...
He calls himself an innate optimist, despite the unpopularity of many of his ideas.

When he moved to San Francisco in the 1970s, the city was debating rent control, he recalled. So he wrote a letter to The Chronicle saying, "Anybody who has examined the evidence about the effects of rent control, and still votes for it, is either a knave or a fool."

What happened? "They immediately passed it," he laughed.

San Francisco can be a maddening place for someone with any sense of market economics. It takes a good sense of humor to tolerate it for a year, much less the nearly 3 decades Friedman has called San Francisco home.

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Mozilla Foundation earning $30 million/year from Google?

Mark Pincus blog: Firefox = Foxy Cash Cow
i've been hearing rumors that firefox (from mozilla.org) is making over $30m annually off of its deal for the google search box. just saw they passed 64m downloads too. that would mean they're making $0.50 annually for every download, but actually if you lose 50% of the downloads to apathy, bugs and ignorance (hmm...the ABI dilution effect), that would imply more like $1.00 per user which is pretty amazing. it's kind of fitting that one of the few startups in silicon valley to immediately go cash positive is a non-profit; and continues to support my hypothesis that all startups are non-profits except google:)
$30 million/year seems incredible from the perspective of a a small software-development nonprofit building a web reference into its work.

But when you think of the popularity of Firefox, it's plausible.

I imagine all the details will eventually come out in the Mozilla Foundation's 501(c)3 filings.

Legally, they'll have to spend that money on further not-for-profit program activities... that revenue flow could become a giant engine of new free/open-source software development.

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North Korea resembling an Ayn Rand dystopia

NYTimes: North Korea, Facing Food Shortages, Mobilizes Millions From the Cities to Help Rice Farmers
The weekend mass mobilizations appear to be intended to help farms where machinery no longer works due to lack of parts or fuel.
This passage from Ayn Rand's 1936 novella Anthem, from the viewpoint of the narrator "Equality 7-2521", could almost be a report from the scene in North Korea, if not today then in another decade or two:
But we must never speak of the times before the Great Rebirth, else we are sentenced to three years in the Palace of Corrective Detention. It is only the Old Ones who whisper about it in the evenings, in the Home of the Useless. They whisper many strange things, of the towers which rose to the sky, in those Unmentionable Times, and of the wagons which moved without horses, and of the lights which burned without flame. But those times were evil. And those times passed away, when men saw the Great Truth which is this: that all men are one and that there is no will save the will of all men together.
Previously: North Korea as Mordor

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Anil Dash wearing GOATSE t-shirt in New York Times
Jim Wilson/The New York Times
Anil Dash gets his photo in the NYTimes... while wearing a GOATSE t-shirt. (See Wikipedia entry on Goatse.cx for an explanation of the long-running Internet gross-out pranks to which GOATSE alludes.)

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To Serve Man, with fries

I saw this billboard -- sans animatronic sculptures -- about a block from where I live on my way to work today:

More details at BoingBoing: Billboard Liberation Front vs. McDonald's

"To Serve Man" alludes to a classic Twilight Zone episode.

Update: There's a Billboard Liberation Front: To Serve Man photoset at Flickr chronicling the installation of the billboard through to the removal of the sculptures.

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