Reader Feedback 09/20/2005

 The comments on Katrina still trickle in. After last week's two reader emails that put the blame squarely on the state and local governments, Theodora G. protests against their allegations:

The spin is in, I see from the feedback some of your readers have offered on Katrina, seeking to blame everyone but President Bush for the tragedy. The real truth is that the Katrina disaster is showcase proof of the utter bankruptcy of the hard-right political philosophy which of late has dominated America. The fantasy world of the neo-cons and Grover Norquist, based on some happy savage ideal jungle of social Darwinism, where self-sufficient patriarchs are responsible for "their" families (tribes, corporations, baronies) and where the federal government has been shrunk to the well-known size to be drowned in a bathtub does not work in today's heavily populated, over-exploited world.

I am no lover of intrusive busybody government, but what the new Republican, neo-right has subjected us to is absolutely asinine, and we now see the results blatantly displayed in the failures at New Orleans. It is past time for civic-minded, civilized people to point out this abject failure and begin the dialog to replace the far-right theocratic idiocy, and the first step is to throw the rascals out. The rot starts at the top.

 

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Aubrey de Grey's "Cure for Cancer = Cure for Aging" fascinated many of our readers. Here are some well-reasoned notes.

This is the best summary of the status of cures for cancer and aging that I have seen. I follow Science (AAAS) and Nature, and agree with the scientists on the front lines that both these problems are treatable diseases.

One of the problems in medicine is that, in contrast to those of us who have worked in aerospace, most medical scientists have never seen what can be accomplished when even as little as a billion dollars is focused on a technical problem. In aerospace our attitude was that any problem can be either solved or bypassed if enough money is available.

The second problem is that while the private sector cannot capture enough of the social benefit of a research project (e.g., the invention of the transistor) to justify its investment, government can. [...] Medical research and care have been shown to pay social returns of 50-70 percent. Hybrid corn returned 700 percent. Polio vaccine returned 1000 percent. Average social returns to research are 100 percent. Current research and analysis shows high returns to increases in health and longevity that result from new medicines and treatments.

(William C.)

 

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I wonder how much real progress we have made in the so-called "war on cancer". From what I have read elsewhere, most of that progress has been in the area of early detection. Obviously, the sooner you learn that you have a fatal disease, the longer you will live with the disease, all else being equal. But is that progress?

(Gary J.)

 

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Where is there financial motivation to cure cancer? My belief is the pharmaceutical companies have no incentive to cure any disease as their motivation and obligation as a public corporation is to make money. They research, invest in and market drugs that deal with the symptoms of disease, not the root cause.

When was the last time any disease was truly cured? Perhaps polio, but I would submit polio was declining as a result of better hygiene. If disease was cured, the sales and earnings of big pharma would be severely impacted. They want to sell drugs, not cure disease.

The American Cancer Society employs people to run an organization to raise money and to promote awareness. But what is the motivation of the administrators? If cancer were in fact cured, the American Cancer Society would no longer have a mission. The administrators would be without a job. It's all about the money.

The largest advertisers in media are pharmaceutical companies. Do you really think we get unbiased truth out of the media when they are supported by advertising revenue? There is not a separation of church and state in these companies.

So what is the answer? Lifestyle, food without pesticides, natural medications, and exercise are a good start.

(Bob P.)

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Posted 09-20-2005 2:23 PM by Doug Casey