Thanks again, Stanislav Petrov!

In 2009, I blogged about the common-sense hero Stanislav Petrov, “a retired Soviet military officer, [who] is credited with preventing the start of World War III and the nuclear devastation of much of the Earth”.

I’m sad to report that Petrov died in May 2017 at the age of 77, as reported by the Smithsonian in “Man Who Saved the World From Nuclear Annihilation Dies at 77“.

He decided to go with his gut, and reported the incident as a false alarm to his superiors.

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Experimental cancer treatment: partial radiation and Yervoy

[Following up to “Fewer fevers, more cancers?“.]

Marc Perkel, “the most dangerous mind on the Internet”, who has been ill with cancer, writes July 4, 2017, “Did I just find the Cure for Cancer?

I have been working on designing a custom immunotherapy treatment that has never been tried before, and the hard part as usual, getting the doctors to do it. Well – I finally got the treatment and – it appears as if it worked. And I stress the word “appears” because it’s looks like it’s going to take about 2 months before imaging is going to show what’s happening. But my cancer symptoms are gone.
I am in a state of stunned disbelief. Too early to believe it – too late not to believe it.
On Monday June 19 I got an infusion of ipilimumab which is an immunotherapy drug. 2 days later I got a series of 3 radiation treatments (21st thru 23rd). Dosage, 3 fractions of 9gy xrays from Varian Trilogy set at 9MV. These treatments were unusual in that instead of irradiating the whole tumor, I asked that they just burn a disk in the center of the main tumor leaving the rest of the tumor undamaged. This request was very counter intuitive in radiology because they are trained to kill every cancer cell they can possibly hit and it took a lot of work to get them to deliberately leave tumor undamaged.
But that was important because I was turning the tumor into a school, not a battlefield, where I was teaching my immune system what the cancer looked like (antigens) and classify it as an enemy. By using partial radiation I created an environment where white blood cells in my immune system could interact with dead cancer and learn it.
4 days after treatment I started getting a reaction. I was queasy, low energy, aches and pains, chills. When I got home I had a fever of 101, and it occurred to me, is this the fever I was hoping for?
Fever indicates that I’m having an immune response. My immune system is fighting something. Was it attacking the cancer?
So I took a hot bath and used a heating pad to increase the fever and got it up to 103. I wanted to create heat shock proteins and signal the battle was on. Wednesday still had fever and was rather out of it. Thursday morning fever broke and all my cancer symptoms were gone.
I have adenocarcinoma and the adeno part of the name means “mucus secreting”. On Thursday the mucus went to almost none. I had been coughing up a lot even before I was diagnosed last August. I went out and sawed limbs off a tree, hard work, and didn’t cough up anything. At night when I lay down and in the morning when I get up, almost nothing. Energy is good. On Saturday I did a 4 mile hike. 2 miles up hill and 2 down. It was like walking up the stairs of a 60 story building, but without the stairs. Yes I was out of breath and I coughed, but didn’t cough anything up.
If I have a mucus secreting cancer and have no mucus, is the cancer dead? Why do I no longer have symptoms?
However …
I have no hard information and I don’t actually know what happened but something extraordinary occurred and it is so easy to want to declare victory, but the easiest person to fool is myself and I would like to see a doctor with a before and after image showing the cancer gone. I don’t have that and I’m not going to get it soon. So – stunned disbelief is as good as it gets, for now.
I have to say that although I knew this should work, I didn’t expect it to actually work. I thought the most likely outcome was failure. And I definitely didn’t expect that I might have gone from having cancer to possibly cancer free in just 10 days. I had planned to repeat this process at least 2 more times changing the radiation and drugs around. But now I don’t know if I have any live tumor to attack anymore and no point in hitting dead tumor with xrays. At this point there are no plans for any future treatment.
Often when the abscopal effect occurs it is a “complete response” which means cured. My immune system might kill every last cancer cell. And I may have created a vaccine against my own cancer which will prevent recurrence. Note the word “may”.
The implications are stunning. If this did work it could work for any cancer for anyone. It’s all low tech off the shelf stuff where the secret sauce is timing and partial radiation of the tumor. Did I find the cure for cancer? Might be a Nobel Prize in it for me and a movie about my life. I’m thinking Hugh Jackman can play my part, but this is the optimistic thinking I’m trying to avoid.
Anyhow, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the idea that I might not die soon. And also wondering if I missed something and I just kicked the can down the road. But I’m 11 months into a cancer where median survival is 8 months and I’m still climbing mountains 3 months past my sell by date. So that in itself is victory.
I will write more when I find out more.

OK, Perkel, what makes you so damn smart?

Here’s The Settlement—Getting The License Back Was Rossi’s Top Priority

AN IMPOSSIBLE INVENTION

In the settlement between Rossi and his US licensee IH, Rossi got the license back together with all E-Cat equipment and materials, while none of the parties will have to pay damages to the other. Getting the license back was his top priority all the time, Rossi explains in this interview.

[Here’s the document defining the terms of the settlement(un-disclosed source)].

“To us, the most important thing was to regain complete ownership of the IP and of all the rights that were conceded through the license. At this point, it had become very clear that a continued collaboration had become impossible because of the choices IH made and because of other reasons. The development, the finalization, and the distribution of the technology—any agreement regarding this would have been impossible,” Rossi told me during an interview via Skype on July 15.

The settlement was drafted on July 5, 2017…

View original post 3,375 more words

Battery storage transforming the electric power grid

Following up to “Lowering peak energy demand with a bank of lead-acid batteries in the basement“, see McKinsey report “Battery storage: The next disruptive technology in the power sector” by David Frankel and Amy Wagner.

Solar customers are paying for their own energy but not paying for the full reliability of being connected to the grid. The utilities’ response has been to design rates that reduce the incentive to install solar by moving to time-of-use pricing structures, implementing demand charges, or trying to reduce how much they pay customers for the electricity they produce that is exported to the grid.

However, in a low-cost storage environment, these rate structures are unlikely to be effective at mitigating load losses. This is because adding storage allows customers to shift solar generation away from exports to cover more of their own electricity needs; as a result, they continue to receive close to the full retail value of their solar generation. This presents a risk for widespread partial grid defection, in which customers choose to stay connected to the grid in order to have access to 24/7 reliability, but generate 80 to 90 percent of their own energy and use storage to optimize their solar for their own consumption.

and

The grid is a long-lived asset that is expensive to build and maintain. Fixed fees for grid access are unpopular with consumers, and regulators are therefore not particularly keen on them, either. However, imposing fixed fees could ensure that everyone who uses the grid pays for it. The volumetric or variable rate structure in general use today is a historical construct. People are used to paying for the energy they use. But as more and more customers generate their own energy, the access to the grid for reliability and market access becomes more valuable than the electrons themselves.

and

Utilities must radically change their grid-system planning approaches. […] Storage can be a unique tool in support of this. The straight economics of changing grid planning, with respect to return on capital, may not look different at first glance. But, because storage is more modular and can be moved more easily, the risk-adjusted value is likely to be much higher. That will enable utilities to adapt to uncertain needs at the circuit level and also to reduce the risk of overbuilding and stranded investments.

“With practice, children can stand without support even before they are 4 months old.”

According to Steinar Brandslet

Of the 12 children who participated in the course that the researchers studied, 11 managed to stand on their own for more than 15 seconds by the end of the sessions. The 12th baby also managed to stand for a good 8 seconds. Instructor Snorri says this is a common experience.

“On average, the children were 4.3 months old when they learned to stand without support. The youngest was only 3.6 months old,” says Sigmundsson. He points out that once the babies learn to stand, they don’t forget how.

“Results-oriented control freaks not always best managers”

According to Nancy Bazilchuk

Management is a process in which an individual encourages a group to reach a common goal.

and

Most studies of different management styles show that managers who care about their employees and trust that the employees themselves know best how to do their job get the best results, says Martinsen.

But despite this, there are very few job advertisements that actually include these characteristics in the job description for an executive position, he said.

“Obviously, ‘We’re looking for a manager who is kind of nice’, is a little too soft,” he said.

Many company boards would prefer to hire a “result-oriented, focused leader”, but Martinsen says it’s a myth that this is the most effective management form for a company.

“The mere presence of your smartphone reduces brain power”

According to the University of Texas

The researchers found that participants with their phones in another room significantly outperformed those with their phones on the desk, and they also slightly outperformed those participants who had kept their phones in a pocket or bag.

The findings suggest that the mere presence of one’s smartphone reduces available cognitive capacity and impairs cognitive functioning, even though people feel they’re giving their full attention and focus to the task at hand.

and

it didn’t matter whether a person’s smartphone was turned on or off, or whether it was lying face up or face down on a desk. Having a smartphone within sight or within easy reach reduces a person’s ability to focus and perform tasks because part of their brain is actively working to not pick up or use the phone.

“It’s not that participants were distracted because they were getting notifications on their phones,” said Ward. “The mere presence of their smartphone was enough to reduce their cognitive capacity.”

Optimizing your value to the people that can help you reach your full potential

In “If the average person in the room isn’t smarter than you, you’re in the wrong room“, I asked

a huge part of success is getting involved with smart, successful, big-thinking people, thereby raising your standards and learning from their example. But … the problem is, what’s in it for them?

conditionalcognition replied

Talented folks are not talented in all arenas. Regardless of how successful a particular person may be at certain things (i.e. business, basketball, design), there isn’t a person that can be one of the best at everything. Keeping this in mind, people looking to learn from others in a particular field need to identify what skills/talents can be shared with the “experts,” so they value the exchange of time, ideas and talents.

and I agreed

Yes. And, because intellectual diversity (of thinking styles, backgrounds, etc.) is as vital to social/scientific progress as genetic diversity is to evolutionary adaptability, you can probably optimize your value to the people you want to interact with by cultivating those aspects of yourself that are most authentically you.

 

You get more done when you work less

According to Alex Soojung-Kim Pang in an excerpt from his book “REST: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less

For all the attention the Berlin conservatory study has received, this part of the top students’ experiences—their sleep patterns, their attention to leisure, their cultivation of deliberate rest as a necessary complement of demanding, deliberate practice—goes unmentioned. In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell focuses on the number of hours exceptional performers practice and says nothing about the fact that those students also slept an hour more, on average, than their less-accomplished peers, or that they took naps and long breaks.

This is not to say that Gladwell misread Ericsson’s study; he just glossed over that part. And he has lots of company. Everybody speed-reads through the discussion of sleep and leisure and argues about the 10,000 hours.

This illustrates a blind spot that scientists, scholars, and almost all of us share: a tendency to focus on focused work, to assume that the road to greater creativity is paved by life hacks, propped up by eccentric habits, or smoothed by Adderall or LSD. Those who research world-class performance focus only on what students do in the gym or track or practice room. Everybody focuses on the most obvious, measurable forms of work and tries to make those more effective and more productive. They don’t ask whether there are other ways to improve performance, and improve your life.

This is how we’ve come to believe that world-class performance comes after 10,000 hours of practice. But that’s wrong. It comes after 10,000 hours of deliberate practice, 12,500 hours of deliberate rest, and 30,000 hours of sleep.