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April 22nd, 2009

09:34 am: Kate on OLPCs

Kate on OLPCs
Originally uploaded by Todd Huffman
Kate teaching some of the little Afghan girls how to use computers on an OLPC.

Yes, this is significant. That a woman can show up to Eastern Afghanistan and teach girls how to use computers is no small achievement. It took a lot of work from some amazing people (thanks Amy and Dave) so that this could happen.

There aren't enough desks or chairs, so a piece of plywood is laid down to have a clean-ish place to work.

November 9th, 2008

10:49 pm: Leaving Afghanistan

Originally uploaded by Todd Huffman
I'm on my way back to the States, it takes a total of four days to get from Jalalabad to Phoenix.

The trip was packed with more than can be put into words. I'm churning through thoughts...

There's a possibility I'll come back to Aghanistan to help out with more projects -- they've got some interesting technology problems relating to stability, development, education, and Malthusian Catastrophes.

Pictured here is the obligatory mujahideen pose.

AK's punctuate daily life here, and will continue to do so for some time. The culture of violence is much more complex than we imagine in the West, it's not good-guys versus bad-guys, or Taliban versus everybody else, or even Terrorists versus everybody else. The terrorists of yesterday might be your bodyguard today (as has been the case for me on multiple occasions), and the peaceful farmer today might take up arms tomorrow.

The vast majority of people here want stability and peace, and they're intelligent and hard working. However, they've been in constant war for 30 years, arguably millennium, and it's going to be a long road. The role of the rest of the world, the US, and specifically my friends and I (hi Dave) is difficult to foresee.

November 6th, 2008

06:23 am: Blood donors needed

Blood donors needed
Originally uploaded by Todd Huffman
Blood donors needed

Today I received unfortunate news -- someone I greatly admire has terminal cancer.

His name is Chris Heward, and he is one of the best human being on the planet. He is by far the most rigorous scientists I have ever met, and is filled with compassion for all of humanity. As the president of Kronos Laboraties (http://www.kronoslaboratory.com/) he has tirelessly worked on diseases relating to aging, and has contributed meaningfully to many areas such as Alzheimer's disease, prion related diseases, menopause, and oxidative stress. In addition to considering him a friend, I feel a duty to help him in any way I can because of how much he has done for the world.

His chances of survival are small (less thane 1%), but there is something you can do to help. He is going to receive an experimental granulocyte transplant therapy, and donors are needed. The donation process is not harmful, and in addition to possibly helping Chris you may also be helping cure cancer.

Below I have included an e mail from John Schloendorn of the Methuselah Foundation detailing how to donate granulocytes.

Dear all,
My friend Chris Heward was diagnosed with Stage IV terminal esophageal cancer. His chances of surviving a year are less than 1%, even with the best available care. For those of you who don't know Chris, he is the president of the Kronos Science Laboratories, a Phoenix-based anti-aging hub www.kronoslaboratory.com

Those of you who do know Chris will understand that he is not going down without a fight. Chris has very much the power of Kronos behind him, and we all hope that the experimental effort being launched there will not just benefit Chris, but many other sufferers of terminal cancers.

Plan A is based on the granulocyte therapy developed by Zheng Cui. Many of you know Zheng as well, and will remember that he made headlines throughout the anti-aging communities last year by achieving a complete cure for all types of cancer tested in the mouse.

A brief recap:
Zheng by accident discovered that one of his mice was immune to any transplanted mouse or human cancers. This remarkable animal resisted a million times the dose of cancer cells that is 100% lethal to other mice. The trait turned out to be heritable in a single-gene mendelian fashion, but the responsible gene has so far resisted discovery. The cancer resistance was mediated by leukocytes, probably mostly of the granulocyte type. Granulocytes from the cancer-resistant mice chase cancer cells in a petri dish and destroy them. Granulocytes from other mice do not do that. Transplantation of granulocytes from cancer-resistant mice into other mice can transfer the cancer immunity, as well as cure existing cancers of all types tested (which were many types!).
When Zheng looked in people, he found: Granulocytes form cancer patients never chase cancer cells. Granulocytes from healthy people sometimes chase cancer cells. Granulocytes from people in cancer-free families often chase cancer cells. In September 2008, at the Methuselah Foundation sponsored "Aging 08" conference at UCLA, Zheng announced the launch of a clinical trial investigating the therapeutic effect of transplanting granulocytes from cancer-free donors (apt at chasing cancer cells in petri dishes) into cancer patients. A video of Zheng's Aging 08 talk discussing all this in more detail is available here www.vimeo.com/1650186

Shortly after Aging 08, Zheng's trial was put on hold by the FDA for certain bioethical concerns they had, and has been on hold since. Unfortunately, it is quite normal for this agency to charge ahead with the speed of a glacier. Chris does not have that kind of time. Our friends at Kronos are now scrambling to revive Zheng's technology and apply it to Chris in the few months he has left. However, even for Kronos, this is not possible without your help. Here are a couple of ways:

(1) Donate granulocytes
The most critical resource for this project are granulocyte donors. The granulocyte donation process itself is harmless and simple for the donor. Granulocyte transplantation is in routine clinical use to treat a variety of infections. However, for Zheng's therapy, many donors are needed to treat one patient, and the donors have to be selected for limited blood type and immune system compatibility. Thus, a fairly large number of individuals must be screened. If you get selected, the benefits will include adequate payment, possibly a free trip to Zheng's facility at Wake Forest, Florida, and - in my opinion best of all - knowing whether your granulocytes possess the cancer-chasing ability. Oh yes, and who knows, maybe help discover the cure for cancer. Please complete the attached form to participate in the first round of screening. Send it to Wendy at Kronos: Wendy.Bezotte@kronoslaboratory.com Her email address and (shared!) fax number are also given on the form. I sent mine today.

(2) Forward this message
To reach a large enough number of donors, please forward this information to as many people as you can. Chris values his life a lot more than his privacy, and is explicitely asking us to launch this as a chain email. If you have a blog, blog away. If you're a rockstar, announce it on stage. Don't forget to attach the form. Or pour sacks of them into the audience.

(3) Wish Chris well
Chris has set up a Facebook page where he tells his story in a more personal way, and posts updates. Search "Chris Heward" and you will find him -- he's the smiling bald guy. If you would like to help in other ways, email Wendy directly, Wendy.Bezotte@kronoslaboratory.com

That's all folks. Let's see what we can do.


February 22nd, 2008

08:23 am: CIA Anytime, All the Time

CIA Anytime
Originally uploaded by Todd Huffman

A struggle! My ideals -- freedom from government interference, or my love of the iPhone....

AT&T just announced unlimited talk time, 99,999 minutes of talk per month compared to the maximum 44, 460 minutes in a month.

I signed up right away. I always run over my minutes, no matter how many are in my plan.

Let me just say for the record, I applaud the EFF's action against AT&T. I'm going to 'idealism offset' my increased AT&T payments with a donation to the EFF.

Fore more details, see w2.eff.org/legal/cases/att/faq.php

February 21st, 2008

08:15 pm: Banged up

Banged up
Originally uploaded by Todd Huffman
My poor poor RC plane is no more.

February 11th, 2008

09:46 pm: BIL - You're invited

BIL - You're invited
Originally uploaded by Todd Huffman
In Monterey on March 1-2nd I'll be participating in BIL, a free (as in beer as well as speech) un-conference spatiotemporally next to TED.


See the current list of speakers here: bilconference.pbwiki.com/Schedule

January 25th, 2008

03:18 pm: Books That Make You Dumb

Books That Make You Dumb
Originally uploaded by Todd Huffman
I took the Books That Make You Dumb figure and highlighted the books I've read, I'm the bright green. I've got a pretty even spread over the selection. Consequently I'm moving Lolita, 100 Years of Solitude, and Crime and Punishment up on my 'to-read' list.

My first instinct looking at the original figure was "Well, perhaps it would be better to say Books That Dumb People Read, rather than that those books make you dumb." Fortunately the creator figure says on his website "Yes, I'm aware correlation ≠ causation." www.booksthatmakeyoudumb.com

What I found interesting is that the Bible makes it on there twice, once as The Holy Bible and once as The Bible. If you read the Holy Bible you are skipping along the bottom at a SAT score of ~910, but if it is just The Bible you score a more respectable (but still pitiful) ~1050.

The 'Holy' brings you down quite a bit!

January 4th, 2008

02:15 pm: Rose Bowl

Rose Bowl
Originally uploaded by Todd Huffman
I got to be a press photographer at the Rose Bowl for my brother, who is a reporter for the Effingham Daily News. http://www.effinghamdailynews.com/

I have to admit it was a pretty cool experience, though I usually don't like sports. Football is a more complex than I previously thought. I am impressed by the complexity of the situations and the sophistication of the predictions the coach must make. I wont be watching it anytime soon, because I still find the sport rather boring, but I understand better why some people like it.

September 26th, 2007

05:51 pm: Phallicious

Originally uploaded by Todd Huffman
The most phallic object I have ever seen before.

It is a lion-penis with a penis, wings, bells, and a tail-penis.

June 29th, 2007

12:51 am: Teh Winnar!
This week has been a good week!

I received two grants this week, one for $2 K and the other for $10 K.

Also Prague is great. Rion is here too.

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