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Can Recycling Be Used To Treat Cancer?

We already know that recycling benefits our planet; and now new research suggests that the cellular version might be useful for battling cancer. Scientists at Stanford University have identified a molecule that uses this unexpected pathway to selectively kill cancer cells. The research, published by Cell Press in the July 8th issue of the journal Cancer Cell, may drive treatment strategies for cancer in an entirely new direction.

Renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the most common form of kidney cancer, is nearly always caused by mutation of the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor gene and often does not respond well to treatment.

"Since RCCs have a poor prognosis and are refractory to standard chemotherapies, there is a need to develop new therapies for kidney cancer," says senior author Dr. Amato J. Giaccia. Dr. Giaccia and colleagues used a sophisticated screening procedure to search for molecules that could selectively destroy VHL-deficient kidney cancer.

"Specifically identifying and targeting the cancer cells, while leaving normal cells intact should have great therapeutic impact. Most side effects people associate with chemotherapy, such as nausea and hair loss, are due to toxic effects of drugs on normal tissues. Exploiting a feature of cancer cells should spare the normal tissue and decrease these awful side effects," explains Dr. Giaccia.

The researchers discovered a compound, STF-62247, that was selectively toxic to RCCs deficient in VHL whereas cells with normal VHL were not affected. Treatment of RCC cells lacking functional VHL induced autophagy, a cellular recycling process that cells normally use to conserve resources during times of stress. "Increasing evidence implicates a role for autophagy in cancer, but it is not well understood how cellular and environmental cues drive autophagic cells down survival or death pathways," explains Dr. Giaccia.

The researchers demonstrated that STF-62247 enhanced autophagy in VHL-deficient cells while inhibition of the autophagy pathway significantly increased the survival of VHL-deficient cells treated with STF-62247. "We have found a small molecule that selectively induces cell death in VHL-deficient cells, such as those that are found in kidney cancer. This represents a paradigm shift for targeted therapy," concludes Dr. Giaccia.

[Cathleen Genova @ Cell Press]

Updates And More


Just wanted to give everyone the latest. As you may remember, I wrote an article about my discovery that apparently Ubuntu was being sold at Best Buy via Valuesoft. I had expressed concerns as to the legitimacy of this and decided to just by the CD myself. After all, it is currently be sold in Best Buy stores all over the US.

As you can see from the image, it is indeed Canonical certified – this is the real deal, so nothing shady was going on at all. Valuesoft actually did a great job with the packaging, very new PC user friendly. Those of you who are interested in seeing what this looks like and how Best Buy is treating this new offering to their stores, tune in live tomorrow. There will not be a chat as I lack a chat moderator, however I will be taking email questions for the show and during. If all goes well, I will then post the video to my YouTube account.

What was funny is when the $20 something CD set the alarm off at Best Buy and the doorman de-tagged it to prevent the alarm from going off again, he made the funniest comment. “Wow! I had no idea we were selling this?” My response was that it is still a work in progress for many, but has been a good friend to me personally. So when I found that I could support the first retail outreach for this distro, I jumped at the chance.

Creating A New Approach To Archiving Human Genetic Information

A genome sequence is a long sequence written in a four letter code — 3 billion letters in the case of a human genome. But what is the meaning — how is the code deciphered? Traditionally this is left to professional annotators who use information from a number of sources (for instance, knowledge about similar genes in other organisms) to work out where a gene starts, stops, and what it does. Even the "gold standard" of professional annotation is an exceptionally slow process. However, new technology may provide a faster solution.

The Public Library of Science is harnessing the power of the Internet to improve access to information, and to facilitate discussion and the understanding of science. In this week’s issue of PLoS Biology, we are very pleased to present information on an independent project working towards the same goals. Andrew Su, John Huss III and colleagues describe their efforts to establish a ‘Gene Wiki’ — an online repository of information on human genes, stored within Wikipedia. They envision a network of articles, created by a computer program and enhanced by user comments, which will describe the relationship and functions of all human genes.

There is a lot of potential information about any given gene — its name, sequence, position on a chromosome, the protein(s) it encodes, other gene(s) it interacts with, etc. and presenting this information is referred to as ‘gene annotation.’ As information may come from many different researchers working independently, it is important that resources exist to collect the information together. Existing annotation libraries include Gene Portals and Model Organism Databases — however, the information stored in these is considered to be definitive, which requires constant updates by specific experts and formal presentation of information. The work reported in this week’s PLoS Biology is intended to allow a much more flexible, organic accumulation of science, with all readers also able to edit and add to the Gene Wiki pages.

In order to stimulate the development of this Wikipedia based resource, Andrew Su and colleagues developed a system that automatically posts information from existing databases as ‘stub’ articles on Wikipedia. A computer program downloads information from one system, formats it according to Wiki formatting and the ‘stub’ template that the authors have designed, and — if a page does not already exist for that gene — posts the information on Wikipedia. The authors are confident that their stubs will seed the posting of more detailed information from scientists who encounter them on Wikipedia — and they report that, so far, they appear to be succeeding: the absolute number of edits on mammalian gene pages has doubled.

[Natalie Bouaravong @ Public Library of Science]

Pictures From The Hard Drive

Today Jim asks,

I installed a new hard drive in my computer and placed my old one as a spare. I had some pictures on the old hard drive that I would like to transfer to the new hard drive. When I click on the icon in my old hard drive where the pictures used to be I receive a little blue screen that says the file has been modified?? Also it shows that the file is now a PVD. What is a PVD and how to I open such a thing? Any assistance in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

That seems rather odd, to be honest. If I am not mistake, PVD a script extension is not even used any longer. So it sounds like something went south along the way. If it was me, I would do a careful scan of both hard drives to see if something malicious has happened someplace with malware in mind.

Again, being as I do have a screen shot or anything to really see what it looks like, I am leaning with something malicious converting images to executable scripts of some sort. This should be looked at very carefully with a good antivirus program immediate in my opinion.

Here is what I would do in no short order:

  1. Update your existing anti-virus.
  2. Make sure it is set to scan both hard drives.
  3. Unplug the connection to the Internet in case data is being sent back and forth by something malware related.
  4. Do a really deep scan, allow the program to take care of the problem.
  5. Understand that it is highly possible that those images are likely gone.

Should the scan turn up nothing, then it could be some sort of corruption with the old file system on the old hard drive. You could use something like GetBackData to recover what it can from the potentially damaged hard drive. But I would check for malware before anything else if it was me.

This said, I also lean heavily on the community for their thoughts. Gnomies, any ideas that Jim might try in conjunction or even instead of my own thoughts? Hit the comments (please, I cannot forward on each email I receive to Jim) and give your ideas a shot.

Do you have an IT-related question? Perhaps you are just burnt out on writing on the walls with crayons? Whatever the comments may be, drop me a line, and you too can “Just Ask Matt!” Please address comments to the comments section above, my email address is for questions – thanks!

Must Have Multi-Tools For Gardeners

When I wrote about the first-class Leatherman Skeletool in my post, The Last Pocket Multi-Tool You’ll Ever Need, I was unaware that Leatherman also made Gardening multi-tools. This afternoon Judy showed me the Leatherman Hybrid Gardening Multitool and Leatherman Genus Gardening & Landscaping Multitool.

7E25D87B-E63C-4A4F-A868-51C8215C7824.jpgThe Leatherman Hybrid Gardening Multitool features bypass pruners, wire cutters, a weed remover, grafting knife, bark lifter, phillips screwdriver, flat screwdriver, saw, sprinkler tool, bottle opener, ruler, and a nylon sheath. All the tools and the blade are stainless steel, the handles are non-slip, and it comes in for under $40.00 and is eligible for free super saver shipping!

BE796C28-3135-4C39-B220-55013759C310.jpgNow on sale and eligible for free super saver shipping, but still almost double the price of the Hybrid, the Leatherman Genus Gardening & Landscaping Multi-Tool offers many design improvements and it’s really built to last. It features an anodized aluminum body with stainless steel bypass pruners and rotating/locking handle. It also has a sprinkler-head adjustment key, phillips screwdriver, flat screwdriver, saw, wire cutters, bottle opener, open-end adjustment wrench, diamond coated file, a knife, and a nylon sheath with a belt clip. It’s a brilliant, well made too, tool that feels very comfortable in your hands and is covered by Leatherman’s top notch 25-year warranty. I bought one right away!

Pricing, rebates, free super saver shipping, and other promotions maybe subject to availability and restrictions.

Will the Real Barack Obama Please Stand Up…

There are times when political persuasion does not matter. It comes down to basics. It is having a job – being able to pay the rent or mortgage, being able to pay the bills, being able to put food on the table. It is a matter of dignity. Having a job and having that pay check mean security.

During the preliminary campaign against Senator Clinton, Senator Obama railed against the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The treaty has meant that jobs have left the country, with the prospect of more work leaving American communities. It has meant unemployment for many and all the angst that brings. Senator Obama recognized the harm that NAFTA was doing. He left the impression that he was against this agreement. Jobs were sacrosanct for a healthy economy.

Now, however, a more centralist stance is needed. And with that, Senator Obama’s perspective on NAFTA has changed:

“…In an interview with Fortune to be featured in the magazine’s upcoming issue, the presumptive Democratic nominee backed off his harshest attacks on the free trade agreement and indicated he didn’t want to unilaterally reopen negotiations on NAFTA.

“Sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified,” he conceded, after I reminded him that he had called NAFTA “devastating” and “a big mistake,” despite nonpartisan studies concluding that the trade zone has had a mild, positive effect on the U.S. economy.

Does that mean his rhetoric was overheated and amplified? “Politicians are always guilty of that, and I don’t exempt myself,” he answered.”

link: Obama: NAFTA not so bad after all

It seems that, when jobs are disappearing, people tend to believe that ‘overheated rhetoric’.

How does the voter determine when a candidate will stand his ground and when it is ‘overheated rhetoric’? People want to believe. People recognize that there are monumental problems for the next president. To say what is expedient or to say what the people want to hear is disingenuous, if it is empty rhetoric.

It underestimates the strength of the people. The voters would respect the truth. It is time for political leaders to ‘say what they mean and mean what they say’. It is old-fashioned but simple candor still counts.

Catherine Forsythe

Google’s Step Back in World Domination

The search engine company who has been slowly expanding their services has taken a big step backwards in their quest for world domination. At least, that is what some experts would say. Would You Like to Know More?


I first came across FriendFeed from Chris Pirillo.  I signed up to comment on some of his “posts”.  I never understood what FriendFeed was about, until today.  My profile is up.  Please subscribe to me.  Also follow me on twitter if you please. 

Not much of a blog post as a plea to subscribe and follow. Well that’s about it. Thank you very much for subbing/following.


Whales And Dolphins Influence New Wind Turbine Design

Sea creatures have evolved over millions of years to maximise efficiency of movement through water; humans have been trying to perfect streamlined designs for barely a century. So shouldn’t we be taking more notice of the experts? Biologists and engineers from across the US have been doing just that. By studying the flippers, fins and tails of whales and dolphins, these scientists have discovered some features of their structure that contradict long-held engineering theories. Dr Frank Fish (West Chester University) will talk about the exciting impact that these discoveries may have on traditional industrial designs on Tuesday 8th July at the Society for Experimental Biology’s Annual Meeting in Marseille [Session A2].

Some of his observations are already being applied to real life engineering problems, a concept known as biomimetics. The shape of whale flippers with one bumpy edge has inspired the creation of a completely novel design for wind turbine blades. This design has been shown to be more efficient and also quieter, but defies traditional engineering theories. "Engineers have previously tried to ensure steady flow patterns on rigid and simple lifting surfaces, such as wings. The lesson from biomimicry is that unsteady flow and complex shapes can increase lift, reduce drag and delay ‘stall’, a dramatic and abrupt loss of lift, beyond what existing engineered systems can accomplish," Dr Fish advises. "There are even possibilities that this technology could be applied to aeronautical designs such as helicopter blades in the future."

The work centres on studies of vortices, tornado-shaped water formations that develop in the wake of the animals. "In the case of the humpback whale, vortices formed from tubercles (bumps) on the front edge of flippers help to generate more lift without the occurrence of stall, as well as enhancing manoeuvrability and agility," explains Dr Fish. "In the case of the tails of dolphins, vortices are formed at the end of the up and down strokes. These vortices are involved in the production of a jet in the wake of the dolphin that produces high thrust. By regulating the production of the vortices, the dolphin can maximize its efficiency while swimming."

[Holly Astley @ Society for Experimental Biology]

Angel Food Ministries Serving 500,000 Families In The US

If you are not familiar with Angel Food Ministries, you may wish to see if there is a distribution center near you. Why? Because they offer quality food at extremely reasonable prices to everyone. There are no applications nor qualifications. You just order and pickup your food when it arrives. On their website they have a FAQ that states the following:

Who qualifies?

Everyone, there are no applications or qualifications to order Angel Food.

Where does the food come from?

Our food is “restaurant grade” meats, frozen vegetables, fruits, dairy products, etc. which we acquire through our involvement with only the best producers/vendors of high quality, “name brand” foods. Never “seconds” or “day old” type products are involved.

Can we receive more than one unit or special?

Yes, you can order as many regular units as you would like. To receive a special box you must first order a regular unit.

Where do I order and pick up my food?

We have host sites all over the United States. Click here to locate a local participant.

So is the food really that good? It is. Everything is fresh and as stated, there are no seconds, just name brand quality food products. We order about $70 worth of food each month that would normally retail at your local market for about $150. So the savings are for real.

So if you are looking to stretch your food budget you may wish to give Angel Food Ministries a try.

Comments welcome.

Source site.

PS Not every city in the US has a ministry. So check your zip code. My buddies in California had none by where they live,  where as our kids in Texas had three ministries within 20 miles from where they live.