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    So big data isn’t going to cure cancer? What if we combine big data with the blockchain? Would that work?

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      I think there’s a grunt plugin that cures cancer.

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        Yea but it’s not statically typed and doesn’t always work…

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          That’s called statistically typed, as in “you know, you get a string here most of the time”.

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            Self (and thus Hotspot, and thus Java) actually has that as an optimisation technique. You mostly get strings here, so we’ll inline the String implementation of the method. Only if what you have isn’t a string do we use dynamic resolution.

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              Made my day :)

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        I strongly disagree with this article. If these big tech companies can figure ways of detecting stage 0-1 cancer, that would go a long way in basically “curing” cancer and I’m pretty sure that’s what Microsoft was claiming they could accomplish by 2026.

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          I think this article fails at highlighting its central point, which is unfortunate because the proper concern feels legitimate. I’m going to quote some snippets and then try to reword what I think it’s trying to say.

          But the theory of cancer as a logic problem, rather than an evolving entity in the space and time of ecology, persists.

          But the problem of cancer may even go beyond the cancer cell, its circuitry and shapeshifting tricks. Cancer cells can make ad hoc use of environmental cues. Caloric restriction reduces recurrence, for example, and cytokine IL6 works to block apoptosis, which explains why aspirin can reduce cancer risk.

          Problematically, a shift in understanding cancer as a three-dimensional problem has risen of late, as we are finding that walls, which separate genetic neighborhoods, can break down, resulting in interplay between growth signals and hundreds of genes that turn on cell growth and its energy use. Cancer cells can use various shapeshifting tricks to turn into metastatic forms that travel to other sites in the body, miraculous alterations that can have nothing to do with alterations in the genetic code.

          Basically we’re classifying “cancer” as a singular thing that is around some sort of corruption of the cells causing this massive growth, leading to an idea that cancer as a whole can be attacked with similar things. But in fact “cancer” describes a whole class of processes, and even now we’re finding new vectors for cancer growth that are totally unlike the basic idea of how this stuff works.

          So research is going into solutions around re-engineering cells in specific ways to prevent runaway growth, but cancer ends up working through he coordination of various parts of the ecosystem (” the problem of cancer is ecological”), and attacking the problem at such a microscopic level misses the forest for the trees.

          (I don’t think I fully got the point and I kinda disagree about the relative utility of jumping in front of at least one of he cancer-causing processes)

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            One analogy that occured to me is that cancer is a policing problem of cells in a multicellular organism.

            Curing cancer is akin to “solving crime”. Which crime? What causes crime? What causes people to commit crime? What causes cells to go cancerous? What causes cells to flip the table and unilaterally withdraw from the pact that is living in a multicellular organism?

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              This is the best analogy for cancer I’ve ever encountered!

              Makes me think of this snippet from The Atlantic

              The reality is, cancer is hundreds of different diseases, and it’s still deeply complex and far from fully understood. So since there’s no clear solution to stopping cancer, therapy is the next best answer, since patients are suffering now.

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                Agreed, this is a great analogy and I will be stealing it!

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              Detection is different from a cure. Diagnostics has been improving for a long time now but fundamental understanding remains illusive and any cure will require a breakthrough in understanding and not detection or diagnostics.

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                I mostly agree with you, though I’d argue that detection and diagnostics are necessary in order to achieve understanding

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                  You are right, but early warning can help to increase the survival rates and the quality of life of the patients by applying more targeted, more limited treatements.

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                I feel compelled to pimp the blog of a drug discovery chemist who occasionally comments on this topic from the non-tech perspective. His “things I won’t work with” series is worth a read for anyone, but in particular I was thinking of this article on how a cell works: http://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2017/10/26/building-a-house-building-a-cell

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                  Tell them to avoid as much man-made or processed goods as possible, eat lots of fresh fruit/veggies, minimize sugar/caffeine/alcohol, exercise, keep their stress low, and what sleep they need. These lay a foundation for avoiding most of the health problems people get. The causes in the cells are just side-effects on the true causes which we have lots of data on. Also, working to get as much of that carcinogenic shit banned as possible subsidizing the fresher or natural stuff might help, too.

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                    You’re a valued contributor to the site, and although we don’t interact often, I also like to think of you as a friend. But this is a shitty thing to say.

                    People with terminal illnesses, chronic illnesses, and disabilities hear this advice all the time, and it gets very wearing. Just to state the obvious, in case it isn’t: While it’s true that general health precautions such as you’ve described have benefits for people who are medically and financially able to follow them, giving this advice in this context is likely to be received as a denial that cancer is a serious issue which kills people, and which needs much more serious research in addition to healthy eating.

                    I know I’m not the only person on the site who felt just a little less safe upon seeing your remark, and that’s why I’m weighing in. I hope that you don’t feel guilty or bad about it, because that’s not my goal; I just wanted to state the counter-point for the benefit of others. I do hope that you’ll put more thought into it next time.

                    Thank you.

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                      People with terminal illnesses, chronic illnesses, and disabilities hear this advice all the time

                      But Nick wasn’t addressing such a person. He was telling readers in general how to reduce their chances of getting cancer. In that respect his advice is pretty good: e.g. sufficient exercise alone reduces the chance of dying of cancer by over 20%. If it convinces one reader to exercise more, isn’t that great?

                      Concerning safety, your response could be considered just as worrying to those that thought Nick’s comment was reasonable. It is about effects his speech might have on the perception of the problems of some minorities, not acknowledging the directly intended positive effects. Which is kind of how the entire current political polarization is taking place?

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                        “You’re a valued contributor to the site, and although we don’t interact often, I also like to think of you as a friend. But this is a shitty thing to say.”

                        “giving this advice in this context is likely to be received as a denial that cancer is a serious issue which kills people”

                        I appreciate you trying to be nice about it. I think of you as a friend, too. I’d rather you not die of preventable cancer or heart disease, much of which seems to be. Diabetes even more so. The advice I was given by folks that stay researching health is to push good practices for prevention as much as possible to keep this stuff down. It disturbed me that so little of the article or comments on various sites described the things that cause these conditions: like it just magically all happens in peoples’ bodies due to mysterious environmental factors and such. Nah, a lot of it is known with companies covering up risks, people not told about known ones, or willingly disregarding the warnings. If anything, chemical analysis of new products with tech applied to categorize their risk and get that info out to people might be even more helpful. Avoiding known carcinogens and gut destroyers doesn’t seem shitty so much as default recommendation of nutritionists and consumer advocates not taking money from Big Pharma.

                        I also watched a lot of people die from cancer and heart disease in my lifetime. I don’t know how much was preventable. I do know they were constantly exposed to carcinogens, usually had bad diet, and some stayed stressed. I feel compelled to get information out so whatever portion of other people fall into the preventable subset don’t die a slow, terrible death with their hair falling out as they throw up on the floor or pass out. If such reminders offend some people, I’ll take the chance since folks living instead of dying are a higher priority to me. I mean, I don’t badger them in person: just gentle highlights or warnings about some things letting them do what they want with it. It’s their lives.

                        “People with terminal illnesses, chronic illnesses, and disabilities hear this advice all the time”

                        Once they have these problems, that’s when medical treatment is supposed to kick in. That’s when these kinds of research can be beneficial so long as they consider big picture. There’s sometimes not anything that can be done past managing the pain and problems. I feel for them. Hell, I’m in one of those categories. Pharma-funded doctors told me all kinds of horrible predictions plus all the drugs and procedures I needed. The practices I described, which I’m half-assing a lot, still helped a lot to the point folks often can’t tell I’m in those categories. On some days or in some situations, it’s a lot harder where I can’t avoid the symptoms. Some benefit is better than none. (shrugs)

                        I just push universally-healthier practices while keeping in mind they’re not guaranteed to work, may need to be supplemented with medical care, and some people will still suffer more. I’ll also end on noting people in above categories will get fewer, extra problems in their health over time if using preventative strategies that work. Most that do also report feeling better since they reduced the stuff that threw their mind and body off balance. I think this will grow with the gut studies in things like C. Diff. and H. Pylori along with what combats them. They used to say those symptoms were chronic, uncurable conditions, too. To think I suffered for decades for no fucking reason other than people were paid to say it wasn’t what I ate. A brother just got H. Pylori, too, who likewise wasn’t told about recent research that stuff he was eating killed good bacteria that kept H. Pylori in check. Just expensive drugs plus talking about chronic condition caused by infection that just happens. (rolls eyes)

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                          I appreciate your feelings and I am supportive of you advocating for health practices, in general. But as you said, you are prioritizing some people over others when you do this. It’s not simply a matter of taking offense; this rhetoric has real and tragic consequences, in part because it just so happens that nearly everybody else has made the identical decision about priorities. For example, doctors concretely treat fat people worse, as a result of their own belief in rhetoric such as what you’ve shared, sometimes to the extent of ignoring non-weight-related medical problems. Here’s an opinion piece in the AMA Journal of Ethics about it.

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                            “But as you said, you are prioritizing some people over others when you do this.”

                            The article is prioritizing focusing on things not known to work, which it even calls out, over practices that work the best for its stated goal. Almost all discussion on threads for this article follows suit. Mine was the only comment promoting practices that stop cancer for a lot of people and help existing cancer patients reduce negative symptoms during painful treatments. It excludes nobody since everyone needs to know about preventative factors even if they can’t use them in current status. I was too poor for them until recently where, as working class, I added more stuff to my list. I also can’t account for every possible circumstance in a comment about general, best practices that solve a lot of deadly problems for lots of people. Nobody else here was doing that. So, I didn’t either. Just contributing my piece as others did.

                            “For example, doctors concretely treat fat people worse”

                            The post you link to is about people doing the opposite of what I’m doing. They’re assuming they know the cause(s) in all circumstances, taking down to the patients, and that malpractice is causing mental damage that leads to more bad habits as a side effect of depression doctors cause. I find it abhorrent, but I’m not surprised. Assholes and bad habits don’t go away just because they put on a white coat. Now, let’s see how my method might look at it:

                            “So, you came in concerned about being overweight and want to try to do something about it. Let me first tell you that it’s normal for people to have a range of weights with what’s healthy depending on the person. You might not be overweight. Also, there’s so many factors that lead to weight gain that it’s hard to say how much your lifestyle did or didn’t contribute to it. Some factors people might not change include genetics and side effects of health conditions. Factors that increase the risk include specific practices in diet, exposure to toxins, exercise, and stress. At best, I can promise to give you practices that will make you healthier over time, maybe reduce your weight on top of that (I don’t know how much), and might not change anything if your lifestyle wasn’t the cause. Most important, your attitude about your self will have more impact on your state of mind and life than anything else. It’s important to remember that, even though you want to try to make changes, to accept that you are still a person regardless of what you look like or other people say. Stay on top of it mentally even if it’s hard.”

                            I don’t do this often. That’s off the cuff. I believe in holistic healing that starts with our mental attitudes, adopts whatever preventative steps we can, fights problems in least-risky ways, and accepts what we can’t change. The last two might require anything from medical treatment to emotional support. That’s where friends, family, community, and groups dedicated to specific issues come in. Although I gotta jet, feel free to compare my comment to what linked article said doctors were doing. That hurried post tried to balance telling them what they need to hear against treating them like people both on principle and to protect their mental health.

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                          I know I’m not the only person on the site who felt just a little less safe upon seeing your remark

                          What does ‘safe’ mean in this context and what changed in your safety after reading nicks comment? I’m not a native speaker and I’m having hard time understanding that sentence, considering dictionary definition.

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                            Folks like Irene will be the authority on that question since it’s their beliefs. I’m on opposing side. I’ll tell you my observations of their general patterns:

                            It’s part of a recent type of leftist politics getting popular in America, esp coming out of universities, that equates speech or actions people don’t like as inherently offensive, sometimes equates it with other people damaging them (eg like physical damage), and encourages others to modify their thoughts and speech to avoid all those “offensive” words or behaviors. Their theory is that this creates an “inclusive” environment where people feel “safe.” Those pushing it also largely focus on specific groups’ concerns minimizing others’ concerns where those others’ will certainly not get included or feel safe. That’s due to differences in moral beliefs among groups. Personally, I think it’s a mindset that’s about forced conformance to their politics and also defeatest in terms of weakening them in minimally-harmful situations. Example of latter was people at one university needing counseling because Ben Shapiro was going to do a speech. Reinforcing such weakness as a groups’ default is not going to help them in the fight against opponents who don’t let others’ words stop or actions stop them.

                            Another approach, which was the default among decent folks in Mid-South, is to let people say and do what they want to so long as it doesn’t hurt others. What constitutes hurtful statements and behaviors is hashed out by a consensus of the people who disagree, debating it among each other. What’s allowed or disallowed varies group by group, area by area. The people with this mindset are taught to penalize what multiple groups agree is bad behavior while discussing, arguing, tolerating, or ignoring the stuff we disagree on. We’re also taught to develop a “thick skin” because people will always say or do things that we don’t like. We’re told that, although it’s hard, to do what we can to not let their words or actions bother us. That’s why I laughed or dismissed with minimal irritation some of the dumb shit in Shapiro’s speech (or people in my outgroups) instead of asking them to correct their language, went into clinical depression, and so on. You’ll still see people take things personally, try to control others, and so on. It’s just considered weakness or foolishness past a certain point that people on all sides try to keep in check.

                            The political style in the first paragraph is dominant here among folks active in voting and commenting on political topics. I represent the second approach. Incidentally, most people I’ve met struggling with these conditions want to get as much info as they can. If anything, they try too much stuff out of desperation with lots of predatory salespeople taking advantage of them. Most appreciate my information when they know it’s delivered in good faith trying to help them out rather than judge them. A few got pissed initially when they misread it as me looking down on them. Many people probably did. They chilled out, too, after we talked it out. Some don’t want advice period. The first reaction on this site talking about how all these people, mostly subscribing to second approach to discussion, might be offended is from a person in the first group. You’ll keep seeing that here.

                            To be fair, though, Irene is someone that struggles with hard issues facing daily exactly the kind of hateful bullshit she’s describing. She’s also really thoughtful. So, her reaction is based on personal experience and others’ she knows rather than an example like Shapiro’s where some of his opponents could laugh or counter him out the building using the thick-skinned approach. It’s much harder for people like her dealing with a common case where folks actively want to hurt her. I still back my approach as default since theirs shuts down discussion by trying to minimize the speech patterns they believe are offensive, but not necessarily the majority in the U.S., specific areas, or even among the groups they claim to represent. People in No 2 want our beliefs to be able to evolve even if discussion of hard issues pisses us off or depresses us. It’s for the greater good.

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                              This is a great opportunity to introduce this article: What duelling can teach us about taking offence.

                              Basically, you’re taking the “offense as (emotional) hurt” position. Irene is being represented as taking the “offense as harm” position; I’m not sure 100% sure whether or not that’s accurate. But once you know about the “offense as insult” position, you start applying it everywhere and it makes everything make a lot more sense.

                              In this case the “just live more healthy” advice is seen as an insult to people with (possibly unavoidable) health problems – a claim that they are not due equal respect. The “offense as insult” model makes more sense of what we actually find offensive, and why the right kind of apology makes a difference. Taking offense is insisting on respect.

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                                This is really useful framing, and I thank you for sharing it. I do recognize my position as being what your article calls “offense as harm” (that’s such unfortunately confusing terminology). I am going to have to think about how to apply this framing; I can’t really comment on your observation until I’ve digested it.

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                                  That’s a very interesting article, thanks for sharing it.

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                                  I actually use they/them pronouns, as in “They’re also really thoughtful.” Just mentioning that in passing because I’ve found that when I don’t correct it as it happens, people who had previously been using the correct pronouns start using the wrong ones.

                                  I appreciate your position, and that you’ve explained it at length. It’s useful to have the point and counterpoint laid out clearly like this. I also appreciate how civil this conversation has been. I do disagree that calling out issues as they happen is counterproductive or doomed to failure.

                                  I do also want to note that the pattern you describe as an alternative, where - if I may summarize how I understand it, but feel free to correct me - people push each other until they push back, and that’s okay, is… not actually an alternative. It’s precisely what’s happening here. My remark was a form of pushing back. This attempt to cast it as somehow different from any other form of disagreement by tying it to a perceived political goal of silencing dissent is kind of strange, really. Isn’t everyone who’s advancing any sort of viewpoint trying to get their viewpoint heard?

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                                    I just wanted to log in to say that I really appreciate this sort of discourse, and it speaks volumes to the quality of discussions on lobsters compared to the other places I frequent. I normally try and take such a broad bredth away from these sort of discussions, and when realing Nick’s first comment I was sure there would be a flame war.

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                                      “I also appreciate how civil this conversation has been.”

                                      “I did feel that the risk things would go that way was comparatively small for me, this time, both because I know Nick and because I felt that I knew the tactful way to respond. Newer members of the site may not have either of those luxuries, and may have had very reasonable fears about things going far worse were they to speak up. So since I was probably in the best position to handle it, I felt that I should. “

                                      As always with you Irene, me too. :)

                                      “and that’s an investment that I shouldn’t have had to make, because it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.”

                                      “somehow different from any other form of disagreement by tying it to a perceived political goal of silencing dissent”

                                      People on my side simply disagree with someone while telling them they can feel free to speak their mind. On contentious issues, we don’t tell them that sharing beneficial ideas is a shitty comment, make us feel unsafe, harms people, excludes them, and so on. The goal of bringing that up is for me to never do that again, right? And for the reasons in your differing political views held by the majority here that I’m dissenting to?

                                      “felt just a little less safe “

                                      This part I’m just countering. Your political comments usually get a pile of upvotes on this site, esp defending trans people or political action in threads. Mine usually don’t. You have people supporting you in a visible way, a majority of the community voting in favor of your kind of politics, a moderator position, and our site admin seems to lean more in that direction. You are pretty safe here no matter what gets said. The risk is on the dissenters in terms of push back, most likely to be downvoted, and so on. That distortion between what went on before, what you expected to happen here, and what actually happened is why I called that lens defeatest. Even with support you get, you still thought you were unsafe despite me predicting I’d be the one without support after you did a counterpoint. Which happened as predicted.

                                      “Isn’t everyone who’s advancing any sort of viewpoint trying to get their viewpoint heard?”

                                      That’s true. That’s why I up-vote the comments of people on the other side when they contain what I perceive as good points, minus personal attacks or something similar, to encourage more of that. I also never ask them to stop saying anything that has some evidence. I might debate the points, though. That’s the free-speech and tolerance approach. And as in your other comment, it takes significant, emotional investment to keep at it. Definitely two of us doing that today.

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                                        I do feel there’s more to discuss on this topic, but elsewhere in the thread somebody raised a question about whether it’s appropriate for me to be having this conversation at all. While I do feel that it is appropriate, I’m going to err on the safe side and let it rest where it is, for now.

                                        Thank you again for the level of thought and care that you clearly put into it.

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                                          Well, that’s what I was trying to do, too. So, no objection. Thanks for being calm and level-headed. Have a good night. :)

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                                      folks in Mid-South

                                      I have not heard this geographical description before? What part or parts of the CONUS does it encompass?

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                                        I should probably be more specific than that saying “Tri-State Area” of Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi. Even more narrowly, the Memphis Metro Area of right-side of Arkansas, Southwestern Tennessee (esp Memphis TN), and Northwestern Mississippi. Most of my data come from people in those areas plus some from larger Mid-South given we move around a lot in this space. The area is kind of in the middle and southern parts of the country. Hence, Mid-South. We’re an area with lots of economic, racial, and gender problems with a really rough history on top of a murder capital. Yet, we get by day to day without huge riots and appear to have more diverse workplaces (esp Black and Latino hires) than places with social justice politics. My data is smaller there, though. We also tend to be able to talk to each other without folks trying to censor each other.

                                        If a group gets dominant in a place, you’ll definitely see them reward their group and be biased against others. That reduces down to mere arguments between peaceful times when the mix increases. Another example is no police brutality during the BLM takeover of an I-40. People just talked, shouted, or avoided the area until it was over. Then we shrugged it off. I’ll also note most reformers that created these liberal politics operated with that style of debating opponents rather than just having them censored. The censorship came later following what the previous orthodoxies had attempted to do with their beliefs after their founders innovated them into existence. A little strange they oppose the very practices that created many of their beliefs and rights in the first place.

                                        Alright, I’m out for now. Gotta go chill with the family. Yall have a good day. :)

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                                      Thank you for asking; I realize that the idea I’m referencing may be a new one to a lot of people. I’m referring to psychological safety - who is welcome in the community, and how much of themselves they’re able to bring to it. No community can include everybody, and there’s always some tension about who belongs there and who doesn’t, even in a place like this which is friendly enough that I don’t think anyone would say people don’t belong in such strong terms. People from marginalized backgrounds (women, disabled people, etc) are more likely to notice these dynamics than people who don’t have that life experience, but they’re always present.

                                      I did once write a popular Twitter thread in which I worked through two examples of what I mean by this. I know Twitter threads can be hard to follow without context, but unfortunately I don’t have time this morning to put that into paragraph form. (Note that I use plural pronouns on Twitter, which actually is a good example of an aspect of myself that I express more freely in that community than I do in this one. Also, the subject matter of the thread may seem shockingly sensational if it isn’t something you’ve heard about.)

                                      Concretely, what changed for me after reading Nick’s comment was that I felt that there was some risk that if I were to mention the harm that rhetoric causes, I would be laughed at and disregarded. It hasn’t happened in probably a year or more, but in the past, when I’ve spoken up here about remarks which cause harm to groups I belong to, those threads have become highly contentious, with each comment receiving dozens of upvotes and dozens of downvotes. To have that kind of thing happen when the topic is a basic matter of human dignity is super-distressing, and I don’t feel that anyone really “wins” it - everyone loses.

                                      I did feel that the risk things would go that way was comparatively small for me, this time, both because I know Nick and because I felt that I knew the tactful way to respond. Newer members of the site may not have either of those luxuries, and may have had very reasonable fears about things going far worse were they to speak up. So since I was probably in the best position to handle it, I felt that I should. Even with what seems to have been a pretty positive outcome, I’ve put a fair amount of time and emotional investment into responding carefully and responsibly to his remarks and to yours, and that’s an investment that I shouldn’t have had to make, because it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

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                                        Thanks your trying to explain your position but after reading your reply and that twitter feed I still don’t see how anyone’s safety was reduced by nick’s comment. He did state good advice to follow and I can’t find anything that would lead you to fell “that there was some risk that if I were to mention the harm that rhetoric causes, I would be laughed at and disregarded”. I also don’t see how “giving this advice in this context is likely to be received as a denial that cancer is a serious issue which kills people” - this is a comments section for article about SV way of thinking and theirs approach to solving cancer - explaining how to avoid getting cancer seems like appropriate comment here.

                                        On the other hand, now I fell that what seems to me as a good advice might be attacked by this sites admin(s), which is reducing my psychological safety in lobste.rs space.

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                                          You raised a concern about whether my participation in the thread was appropriate as a site moderator. So, unfortunately, I have to reply as a moderator and not in my personal capacity. So I’ll put aside my feelings about your other points and only address that one.

                                          As mods, we do put a great deal of effort into making sure that our participation as individuals doesn’t interfere with our responsibilities to the community as a whole. We have the hat system to indicate what capacity somebody is speaking in. Of course, the responsibility to keep things separate doesn’t end with choosing the appropriate option in the menu; we do put a lot of thought into it, and when I do find myself in conflicts over my personal views, I always ask another moderator to handle the follow-up rather than myself.

                                          And yes, it’s okay and allowed to disagree with me, or with any moderator. I do think it’s important that moderators be able to be part of conversations here - why would we care about the site if we couldn’t actually participate in it?

                                          It’s not for me to tell you whether you should feel that our efforts in this regard are sufficient or not; you have the right to decide that for yourself. But I did feel I should make the case.

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                                    lol ok steve jobs