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Saturday, November 26, 2005

"1491" and "Why Geography Matters" Around the Blogosphere

Stuart Berman of My Kids' Dad and I must run in similar circles. His recent post discussed two books that I have just heard about

Stuart on 1491 : New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus:


1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles Mann is a discussion about the forgotten civilizations of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus. Mann refutes the notion that the Amazon is fragile and virgin, but that perhaps as many as 100 million indigenous peoples lived throughout the Amazon basin at any time within the last several thousand years. He shows evidence of the aggressive land management techniques used to tame these now wild places and how the civilizations were quickly laid waste by disease as Europeans engaged in trade with these civilizations. Mann also notes that the lack of available domesticable animals led to culture that had little resistance to disease since the great pandemics have typically been the result of disease mutations where the sicknesses have jumped from an animal species to human.

Mann also describes the diversity of cultures within the Americas, the Incas were very centralized and rigid - whereas tribes in the North East of North America were libertarian in nature

I read an Atlantic Monthly version of Mann's work a few years ago. New tdaxp commentator Biz, proud owner of the new Confessions of a Bibliophiliac blog, gave it a quickie-review:

It's about the Indians before Columbus came by and farked everything up. It's the same type of book as 1421, in that "Holy shit, I had no idea" way. I've never been an American history fan, but this was really good. And researched like a mofo.

Stuart on Why Geography Matters: Three Challenges Facing America -- Climate Change, the Rise of China, and Global Terrorism


Why Geography Matters: Three Challenges Facing America -- Climate Change, the Rise of China, and Global Terrorism by Harm de Blij is a powerful discussion of the impact of geography upon human fate. He tries to show us that despite all of the debate today we are living in a golden age.

Harm de Blij warns us of the coming global cooling and that he has great faith in the ability of the Earth to recover from most types of events whether human induced or through some externality such as an asteroid. He states simply that climate change has been part of the planet's life for 460 million years and that we are in the middle of a 35 million year ice age, which in the last 450,000 years features 4 periods of global warming (called interglacials) lasting each around 10,000 years separated by glaciations (cooling periods) of around 100,000 years each. The current warming period has lasted 13,000 years so we are due for a sudden and prolonged cooling period.

But Harm de Blij is also brilliant as he discusses topics such as the spread of global terrorism, which he states is fostered by failed nation-states and inaccessible terrain (such as the Pakistani mountain ranges). Just like Tom Barnett, he warns of the spread of terrorism into sub Saharan Africa due to these conditions.

Better stock up on blankets.

tdaxp Commentator Catholicgauze is currently writing a series on this same talk

And a post-script: Thanks to Kobayashi Maru for linking to me -- twice -- and adding me to his blogroll! :-)

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Geographer’s New Map, Part I

Recently, the crack team at tdaxp's Data Acquisition & Extrapolation Program ("tdaxp") succeeded in planting a mole deep within an influential NGO in Washington, DC. This covert operative, known only as "Catholicgauze," recently attended a lecture by Harm J. de Blij that was sponsored by the National Geographic Society.

Harm de Blij on the Web” by H.J. de Blij, http://deblij.net/.

Why Geography Matters: Three Challenges Facing America: Climate Change, The Rise of China, and Global Terrorism” by Harm De Blij, 30 June 2005,

Usually when an organization like the National Geographic Society (which has been shy about the term “Society” as of late) brings a speaker who devotes most of his presentation to Global Warming, I, Catholicgauze, am very skeptical. However, after only one hour with this brilliant geographer I was able to see the problems (and some solutions) to three major problems the United States face in the early 21st century: Climate Change, Red “Anti-tdaxp” China, and Global “Anti-tdaxp” Terrorism.

I won’t waste time trying to give an adequate biography of Dr. de Blij because his website does an excellent job. I will only say that the Distinguished Geography Professor Dr. Gritzner and others consider Dr. Blij “THE” geographer.

Here is a breakdown of the Blij speech given Thursday, November 17, 2005 at the GrosvenorAuditorium.

Climate Change (Being the First Part)

Dr. de Blij believes in the Kyoto Protocol and efforts to obtain alternative, clean energy but views these options as being a good caretaker of the earth. He pointed out interesting facts on Climate Change.

The Ice Ages and periods in between are proof of climate change. He brought up how even in historic times natural climate change has affected man. When the Ancient Egypt was getting started records state that the Sahara was a savanna climate. Dr. de Blij said the Sahara dried up within 50-100 years. He recommended The Little Ice Age by Brian M. Fagan and referred to Roman Church documents which depicted Alpine glaciers swallowing up whole towns, monasteries, and villages.

(In an interesting side note: The Little Ice Age ended around 1850 with a warming trend that seems to be continuing. There was a slight reversal early on between 1860 and 1865. At the Association of American Geographers convention in 2004 I heard an interesting presentation from a professor from West Point who talked about how the cold snap made precipitation heavier than normal in the United States and affected both Union and Confederate armies with their long and short term strategic planning; i.e. one cannot march in the cold mud).

Dr. de Blij seems to have some sort of dislike toward The Economist magazine. An issue that irked Dr. de Blij was when an Economist editorial said even with climate change treaties in effect, climate change would continue for over 100 years. In one of his many “unpublished letters to the editor” Dr. de Blij responded by saying “I’m sure the world will be relieved that in only 100 years 4.5 billion years of change will stop.”

A surprising thing from this part of the presentation was reaction from the liberals with lesser authority in National Geographic. While Dr. de Blij agreed the increase of storms lately was a sign of global warming, he was more dismisses of human-caused reasons given. While it is clear he believes pollution does not help the problem, he was clear in stating Climate Change is natural. One liberal colleague of mine said in shock, “Doesn’t he know what he’s saying.”

The main point of this portion was calling attention the problem of climate change. A force which could melt glaciers at four miles a year (as what happened at the end of the last, “Wisconsin” Ice Age), cause the Black Sea flood by melting glaciers, or destroy the Sahara in less than a century is worthy of fear. Human reactions to climate change also are important. Barbarian raids on Han China, Western Rome, and the Byzantine Empire were motivated in part by climate change at the time. It is important, says Dr. de Blij, to make plans for every case scenario from catastrophic change to no noticeable change.

tdaxp's Comment: I thank Catholicgauze for his summary, and look forward to the next parts. I first leanred of the idea of quick yet natural climate change from Bell and Striber. Likewise, of irritation at The Economist from Derbyshire.

Written records of glaciers eating villages are scary. Check out Part II: China, Part III: Global Terrorism," and the reaction of the blogs.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The DNA of Politics

Are Political Orientations Genetically Transmitted?” by John Alford, Carolyn Funk, and John R. Hibbing, American Political Science Association, May 2005, http://www.apsanet.org/imgtest/GeneticsAPSR0505.pdf (from Nebraska Liberation Front).

Today I attended Dr. John Hibbing fascinating lecture on the role of genetics in politics. His powerpoint was excellent, though I do not think he wants to make it generally available. Instead, I found a link to a scholarly article Dr. Hibbing has written that discusses some of the same points.

For those interested in the scientific details, please read the original article. Alternatively, at the end of the article I am putting some footnotes to allow one to read details without having the post bogged down by "boring stuff."

A political survey was given to many pairs of fraternal and identical twins. Fraternal twins are brothers or sisters that just happened to be born at the same time, while identical twins are genetically identical (identical twins are "clones" of each other). [1]

Using some math, the similarities and differences in answers between the sets of identical and fraternal twins were used to calculate environmental and genetic factors. [2] It did not matter is identical twins were raised as identical twins, raised as fraternal twins, or otherwise brought up. [3]

Every question was at least somewhat influenced by genetics and at least somewhat influenced by the environment. The least genetic -- those were "nurture" mattered the most and "nature" mattered the least -- were a person's party affiliation and their view of "liberals."


This makes sense. A party affiliation is basically a club, while in American politics "liberal" is used as an insult by almost everyone.

Interesting, while one's own party was almost entirely "nurture," "nature" was about twice as important in what one thought of the parties. That is, while it was almost genetically random what party you are, your genetic heritage -- your "nature" -- determines a littlw aht you think of the Democrat Party and the Republican Party


Yet, other factors are genetically more related -- particularly things involve money and blood:


What political issue is most closely tied into genetics? What political move would run into the deepest, most ingrained hostility?

School prayer.


There are many reasons that Conservatives may want to be thankful to the Warren Court, but Envel v. Vitale, which banned school prayer, is one of the biggest. The unique factors of American political culture make school prayer a center of gravity -- what the Germans called a "schwerpunkt" -- in the defense of conservatism. A smart liberal would try to go around it, as water goes around mountains.

Earl Warren was not a smart liberal.

In one swoop the Warren Court threw the progressive movement against the genetic/conservative schwerpunkt of prayer in schools.

That "liberal" is now an empty insult is a testament to Mr. Warren's work. So is the Bush Presidency, the Republican Congress, and the - Court.

Footnote 1: On Identical and Fraternal Twins

"The process of identifying in the laboratory the precise genes responsible for given human behaviors (especially those behaviors that do not have corollaries in lab-friendly animals such as mice) is extremely challenging. Fortunately, even without identifying the genes responsible, it is possible to compile information on the matter of most concern to social scientists: the extent to which attitudes and behaviors have a genetic component. The relevant procedures center on comparisons of monozygotic (MZ; frequently but erroneously called identical) twins and dizygotic (DZ; fraternal) twins.

"MZ twins develop from a single egg, fertilized by a single sperm, and share an identical genetic inheritance. DZ twins develop from two separate eggs, fertilized by two separate sperm, and are in effect simply two siblings that happen to be born simultaneously. As such, DZ twins share the same average of 50% of genetic material as do any two biological siblings. It is this fixed ratio (two to one) of genetic similarity between MZ and DZ twins, and the contrasting average equivalence of environment influence, that provides most of the power of twin designs. It is important to appreciate that the assumption of environmental equivalence is one of equivalence across types of twins, not across pairs of twins or across twins within a given pair. For example, there is undoubtedly at least some variability in parental socialization across siblings, even those of identical age, but acrossmultiple twin pairs the assumption is that this variability is essentially equal for the MZ and the DZ pairs."

Footnote 2: Mathematically Seperating Environmental and Genetic Factors

"Heritability is typically estimated by subtracting the correlation for DZ pairs from the correlation for MZ pairs and then doubling the resulting difference.At one extreme, if the correlations are the same for MZ and DZ pairs, suggesting that genetic similarity plays no role in similarity for that particular trait, then the result will be an estimate of heritability of zero. At the other extreme, a purely genetic additive trait should produce a correlation of .5 for DZ pairs and 1.0 for MZ pairs, resulting in an estimate of heritability of 1.0 (1.0−.5=.5, and 2 x .5=1.0). In a similar way, we can estimate the influence of shared environment, as opposed to shared genetic material, by doubling the correlation for DZ pairs and then subtracting the correlation forMZ pairs. Again, a purely genetic additive trait should produce a correlation of .5 for DZ pairs and 1.0 for MZ pairs, resulting in an estimate of the impact of shared environment of zero (2 x .5=1.0, and 1.0−1.0=0). At the other extreme, if the correlations are the same for MZ and DZ pairs, suggesting that genetic similarity plays no role in similarity for that particular trait, then the result will be an estimate of the impact of shared environment that is equal to the MZ or DZ correlation (e.g., if MZ=DZ=.4, then 2 ∗ .4=.8, and .8−.4=.4). Whatever is left over is taken to the unshared environment."

Foonote 3: It Does Not Matter How the Identical Twins were Raised

"Both caveats have been subject to sustained and varied investigation and neither has been found to hold up under empirical scrutiny. The argument of more similar treatment fails on several fronts. Parents frequently miscategorize their twins (DZ twins are often believed by their parents to be MZ twins) and the differential correlation persists in these instances of miscategorization. In other words, the degree of correspondence betweenMZtwins surpasses that of DZ twins even in the large subpopulation of twins thought by their parents to beMZtwins (Bouchard and McGue 2003; Bouchard et al. 1990; Plomin 1990). The contention that MZ twins have closer or more frequent contact than DZ twins turns out to be at best irrelevant. The correlation between the frequency of contact between twins and the similarity between twins on all attitudinal andbehavioral variables tested, including conservatism, is slight and actually negative (Martin et al. 1986). In other words, twins in greater contact with their cotwins are not more likely to share the same attitudes and behaviors, so even if MZ twins have more contact than DZ twins, this contact is not the cause of any elevated correlations. But the most powerful refutation of both of these criticisms comes in recent studies utilizingMZ and DZ twins raised apart. These studies uniformly validate MZ and DZ differences found in earlier studies of twins raised together. Arguments about the relative degree of shared environmental effects between MZ and DZ twins simply offer no credible explanation if the twins in question have been raised apart (Bouchard 1998; Bouchard et al. 1990). In effect, this naturally occurring, if uncommon, condition provides precisely the sort of laboratory control that we would want in an experimental setting.

21:45 Posted in Courts, Science, UNL | Permalink | Comments (14) | Tags: dna, hibbing, genetics

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

On the Limitations of Science

"Most scientific papers are probably wrong," by Kurt Kleiner, New Scientist, 30 August 2005, http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7915 (from Slashdot).

Quoted in full:

Most published scientific research papers are wrong, according to a new analysis. Assuming that the new paper is itself correct, problems with experimental and statistical methods mean that there is less than a 50% chance that the results of any randomly chosen scientific paper are true.

John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist at the University of Ioannina School of Medicine in Greece, says that small sample sizes, poor study design, researcher bias, and selective reporting and other problems combine to make most research findings false. But even large, well-designed studies are not always right, meaning that scientists and the public have to be wary of reported findings.

"We should accept that most research findings will be refuted. Some will be replicated and validated. The replication process is more important than the first discovery," Ioannidis says.

In the paper, Ioannidis does not show that any particular findings are false. Instead, he shows statistically how the many obstacles to getting research findings right combine to make most published research wrong.
Massaged conclusions

Traditionally a study is said to be "statistically significant" if the odds are only 1 in 20 that the result could be pure chance. But in a complicated field where there are many potential hypotheses to sift through - such as whether a particular gene influences a particular disease - it is easy to reach false conclusions using this standard. If you test 20 false hypotheses, one of them is likely to show up as true, on average.

Odds get even worse for studies that are too small, studies that find small effects (for example, a drug that works for only 10% of patients), or studies where the protocol and endpoints are poorly defined, allowing researchers to massage their conclusions after the fact.

Surprisingly, Ioannidis says another predictor of false findings is if a field is "hot", with many teams feeling pressure to beat the others to statistically significant findings.

But Solomon Snyder, senior editor at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore, US, says most working scientists understand the limitations of published research.

"When I read the literature, I'm not reading it to find proof like a textbook. I'm reading to get ideas. So even if something is wrong with the paper, if they have the kernel of a novel idea, that's something to think about," he says.

Now, if only some one would have already said this....

23:45 Posted in Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 19, 2005

The Deeply Imponderable Sort of Question that Makes Grad School Grad School

Cecilia, Farrah, Texas Dave, and tdaxp need to know.

Say you were floating in a perfect sphere. The lighting is ambient, the sphere is of reasonable diameter, and your side of the sphere is perfectly reflective. What do you see?

1. Are you blinded because the light level keeps increasing and it is impossible for light ot escape?
2. Do you see pure white, because color is adative?
3. Some superposition of different parts of yourself?

The obvious was to solve this would be with Lightwave or Blender... but a blog post is way cooler.

23:20 Posted in Science, Vanity | Permalink | Comments (8)

Monday, August 08, 2005

Learning More to Know Less (But How to Horizontally Apply This to Human Struggle?)

"Quantum information can be negative," by Jonathan Oppenheim, downloaded 8 August 2005, http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/user/jono/negative-information.html (from Slashdot).

"It's your stock of entangled particles," by iabervon, Slashdot, 8 August 2005, http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=158439&cid=13274823.

Amid blogtalk of 5GW and conspiracies, Jonathan Oppenheim outlines quantum disinformation

In most situations we have prior information. For example, if Alice wants to tell Bob her phone number (which is ten digits long), and Bob knows three of the numbers in her phone number (he might sometimes know the area code if he knows where she lives), then Alice only has to send Bob seven of the numbers. So we can divide the information
as follows:
Total information: 10 numbers
Prior information: 3 numbers
Partial information: 7 numbers

Notice that the total information is equal to the prior information plus the partial information.


Another way of understanding negative information, is that in quantum mechanics, you can know too much. Remember the telephone number example? Well, in that case, the total information (the phone number), was ten letters and Bob's prior information was three letters. Alice needed to send him seven letters for him to get the total information. It turns out that in quantum mechanics, Bob could know more than the total amount of information. So he might know fifteen letters of information even though the total amount of information is only ten. So Alice can tell him the quantum phone number by sending him negative five quantum letters of information, which basically means that Alice and Bob can perform some tricks on their quantum letters so that Bob will learn the quantum phone number, and also, Alice will be able to send him more quantum letters in the future. Essentially, they will be able to convert part of their quantum letters into a resource which can be used to teleport quantum information between them.

A commentator on Slashdot expounds

The trick is that you can use quantum entanglement to have excess unspecified knowledge, which can be converted into specific knowledge. It's like being on a quiz show where you are given a certain number of times you can look up an answer. These bonuses have to count in your total knowledge (I know 100 facts, plus I can look up things twice). If someone tells you something, you get positive information. If you look something up, you get zero information (you trade a bonus lookup for a fact). If you look something up, and you already knew the answer, you get negative information.

Now think about it as if someone else controlled the book. They can tell you things over the phone, and they can cause answers to pop out of the book. If they waste the book on something you actually already knew, your total information goes down, so the information in the transaction is negative.

Any comment from Motl? Matt?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Genetic Algorithms in the Real World

"Circumcision may offer Africa AIDS hope: Procedure linked to much lower rate of new HIV infections," by Sabin Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 6 July 2005, http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/07/06/MNGANDJFVK1.DTL&type=printableL (from Drudge Report).


First, the news


French and South African AIDS researchers have called an early halt to a study of adult male circumcision to reduce HIV infection after initial results reportedly showed that men who had the procedure dramatically lowered their risk of contracting the virus.

The study's preliminary results, disclosed Tuesday by the Wall Street Journal, showed that circumcision reduced the risk of contracting HIV by 70 percent -- a level of protection far better than the 30 percent risk reduction set as a target for an AIDS vaccine.

According to the newspaper account, the study under way in Orange Farm township, South Africa, was stopped because the results were so favorable. It was deemed unethical to continue the trial after an early peek at data showed that the uncircumcised men were so much more likely to become infected.


Then, the theory


Laboratory studies have found that the foreskin is rich in white blood cells, which are favored targets of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. So the theory is that men who are uncircumcised are much more likely to contract the virus during sex with an infected woman, and that the epidemic spreads when these newly infected men have sex with other women within their network of sexual partners.


Last, the philosophy


The Law of Moses contributed to the survival of the Jewish people for a number of reasons. One of the ways was by mandating sanitary living. In a world racked by disease, prohibitions against the worst carrier animals and handling corpses kept people alive.


More generally, this story shows how Rationalism is still trying to approximate Tradition. Rationalism is a top-down exercise, like Sovietism or Microsoft Windows, where the world is assumed to be a machine that can be fine tuned. Traditionalism is a bottom-up project, like open source programming or 4th Generation War, where the world is assumed to be a chaotic, turbulent sea.   (In computer science terms, tradition is a genetic algorithm).


The world is not a machine. It is an ocean. Just as man has yet to solve the traveling salesman problem, but ants had a good-enough solution millions of years ago, we will never "solve" some problems. But "good enough" solutions will naturally arise.


It is our job to stop trying to be perfect and rationally, and embrace the imperfect, the good-enough, the traditions.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Quality 2, Friction

Note: This is a selection from Quality, a tdaxp series.

Photo Courtesy Despair.com

After a short review of my neoconservative-theoconservative post, Mark writes

And this is the fly in the ointment because in any forward strategy, like the one outlined very well by Dan, it isn't simply your momentum that is the main variable but also your friction. You don't get any higher in terms of friction than Richard " The Prince of Darkness" Perle...unless of course you are Pat Robertson. And this axis, to the extent that it is perceived to exist as a powerful juggernaut, combines both.

Mark is adding "friction" to "direction" and "speed" as factors that determine whether a movement is winning or losing. Now, if we make a four-by-four square that looks at direction and speed, we get...

Read more ...

05:15 Posted in Cognition, Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: quality, friction

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Pueraria Mirifica Efficacy and Safety

"Dear Mr. Conant," by Susan Walker, Food and Drug Administration, 2 March 2004, http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dockets/95s0316/95s-0316-rpt0224-02-vol162.pdf.

"7. Female-Specific Cancers," Women's Health and Asian Traditional Medicine, downloaded 9 June 2005, http://www.whatmedicine.org/pdf/07.pdf.

Ever since writing about B2Up gum, made from pueraria mirifica / kwao kura, I have been getting a lot of "pueraria mirifica" comment spam. Then I found there are spam blogs and incomprehensible posts too. I decided to do some research. The upshot: The FDA does not know if Pueraria Mirifica is safe. But it may fight cancer. Maybe it fights you, too. Apparently, no government study shows that pueraria mirifica works for breast augmentation, To show this I am excerpting a report by WHAT Medicine and a letter from Susan J. Walker, a medical doctor working for the FDA. In both cases, hyperlinks and emphasis have been added by me where appropriate.

Does It Actually Work?

Dear Mr. Conant:

This is to inform you that the notification you submitted, dated December 18,2003, on behalf of your client, Smith Naturals Co., Ltd, pursuant to 21 U.S.C. 350b(a)(2)(section 413(a)(2) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act)) was filed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on December 19,2003. Subsequently, on January 14,2004, we received copies of the “PM Validation Package” section of your notification clarifying the numbering sequence. Your notification concerns the substance called Pueraria mirzjka extract that you describe as an extract of Pueraria candollei var. mirifica Airy Shaw & Suvatabandhu root powder that you intend to market as a new dietary ingredient.

According to the notification the suggested daily intake on the product label is 80 milligrams (mg) a day, in two servings of 40 mg. The serving size is one capsule or tablet containing 40 mg of Pueraria mirzjka extract. The suggested use is “Take one capsule/tablet two times a day with food.” You state that the product will be marketed to post-menopausal women as a dietary supplement for maintenance of normal body function.

Under 21 U.S.C. 350b(a), the manufacturer or distributor of a dietary supplement containing a new dietary ingredient that has not been present in the food supply as an article used for food in a form in which the food has not been chemically altered must submit to FDA, at least 75 days before the dietary ingredient is introduced or delivered for introduction into interstate commerce, information that is the basis on which the manufacturer or distributor has concluded that a dietary supplement containing such new dietary ingredient will reasonably be expected to be safe. FDA reviews this information to determine whether it provides an adequate basis for such a conclusion. Under section 350b(a)(2), there must be a history of use or other evidence of safety establishing that the new dietary ingredient, when used under the conditions recommended or suggested in the labeling of the dietary supplement, will reasonably be expected to be safe. If this requirement is not met, the dietary supplement is considered to be adulterated under 2 1 U.S.C. 342(f)(l)(B) because there is inadequate information to provide reasonable assurance that the new dietary ingredient does not present a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury.

FDA has carefully considered the information in your submission, and the agency has concerns about the evidence on which you rely to support your conclusion that a dietary supplement containing Pueruria mirfica extract will reasonably be expected to be safe. It is unclear to us how the history of use information you submitted in your notification relates to the Pueraria mirifca extract that you intend to market as a new dietary ingredient. The history of use evidence primarily relates to traditional use of the roots of Pueraria mirzjica rather than an extract of Pueraria mirijka root powder. Further, it generally lacks details on the amount, frequency and duration of use and whether the plant part and preparation used are the same as what you intend to market as a dietary supplement. These details would have helped FDA to determine how this information relates to your product.

The relationship between the composition of the materials used in the various test reports and the composition of the substance you call Pueraria mirifica extract is unclear. For example, the information in an article provided in Section V, Tab 20 stated that the Smith Naturals Co., Ltd is the only company in Thailand “to achieve standardizing Pueraria mirzjka extract by controlling the quantity of miroestrol in both the powdered and liquid extracts.” The nature of this standardization is not stated. In addition, miroestrol is not quantified in the “Validation Package” included in Section V, Tab 22. However, miroestrol is clearly present as a major component inthe submitted chromatograms of your product, Pueraria mirzjka extract. A description and specifications of the method or process of obtaining your product, Pueraria mirzfka extract, may have helped FDA clarify the identity of your product.

The animal and clinical studies submitted were insufficient to support the safety of the daily consumption of your product Pueraria mirzjka extract. For example, in the clinical studies submitted, it is unclear if the test substances used were the same qualitatively or quantitatively as the substance that is the subject of the notification. The relationship between the dietary supplement containing Puerariu mirzjka extract and the materials tested in the studies mentioned in the notification is not clear. Although an unpublished clinical study was mentioned, there was insufficient information to evaluate safety.

For the reasons discussed above, the information in your submission does not provide an adequate basis to conclude that your product containing Pueraria mirifica extract, when used under the conditions recommended or suggested in the labeling of your product, will reasonably be expected to be safe. Therefore, your product may be adulterated under 21 U.S.C. 342(f)(l)(B) as a dietary supplement that contains a new dietary ingredient for which there is inadequate information to provide reasonable assurance that such ingredient does not present a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury. Introduction of such a product into interstate commerce is prohibited under 2,l U.S.C. 331(a) and (v).

Your notification will be kept confidential for 90 days after the filing date of December 19,2003. After the 90-,day date, the notification will be placed on public display at FDA’s Docket Management Branch in docket number 953-03 16. Prior to that date, you may wish to identify in writing specifically what information you believe is proprietary, trade secret or otherwise confidential for FDA’s consideration.

If you have any questions concerning this matter, please contact Victoria Lutwak at (301) 436-2375.

Sincerely yours,

Susan J. Walker, M.D.
Division of Dietary Supplement Programs
Office of Nutritional Products, Labeling and Dietary Supplements
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition


Antiproliferative activity of Chinese medicinal herbs on breast cancer cells in
Anticancer Res. 2002 Nov-Dec;22(6C):3843-52
Campbell MJ, Hamilton B, Shoemaker M, Tagliaferri M, Cohen I, Tripathy D.
Department of Surgery and Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California,
San Francisco, CA, USA. campbellm@surgery.ucsf.edu

Chinese medicinal herbs are traditionally used to prevent and treat a variety of diseases, including cancer. These herbal preparations are purported to have many biological effects including direct antiproliferative effects on cancer cells, antimutagenic activity, and stimulatory or suppressive effects on immune responses. The present study investigates the effects of aqueous extracts from seventy-one Chinese medicinal herbs on the growth of five breast cancer cell lines (SK-BR-3, MCF7, MDAMB- 231, BT-474 and MCNeuA). Twenty-one percent (15 out of 71) of the extracts demonstrated greater than 50% growth inhibition on at least 4 of the 5 cell lines. Dose-response curves were obtained for several of the most potent crude extracts and demonstrated IC50 values ranging from < 10 micrograms/ml to > 1 mg/ml. Six of seven herbs tested induced high molecular weight DNA fragmentation, an early marker of apoptosis, while one of these also induced low molecular weight DNA fragmentation. Flow cytometric analysis of breast cancer cells exposed to one of these herbs (Rheum palmatum) suggested that it arrests cells in the G2/M phase of the cell cycle. These results indicate that many of the herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of cancer have significant growth inhibitory effects on breast cancer cells in vitro.

The differential anti-proliferation effect of white (Pueraria mirifica), red (Butea superba), and black (Mucuna collettii) Kwao Krua plants on the growth of MCF-7 cells.

J Ethnopharmacol. 2004 Aug;93(2-3):255-60

Cherdshewasart W, Cheewasopit W, Picha P. Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Phyathai Road, Bangkok 10330, Thailand.

The differential anti-proliferation effect of white (Pueraria mirifica), red (Butea superba) and black (Mucuna collettii) Kwao Krua plant extracts on the growth of MCF-7 cells was evaluated after 4 days of incubation. The percent cell growth comparison was based on protein determination of the harvested cells in parallel with the control group and Pueraria lobata treatment group. Pueraria lobata led to no proliferation and a mild anti-proliferation effect on the growth of MCF-7 cells. Pueraria mirifica caused proliferation at 1 microg/mL and an anti-proliferative effect on the growth of MCF-7 cells at 100 and 1000 microg/mL with an ED50 value of 642.83 microg/mL. Butea superba led to no proliferation and an anti-proliferation effect on the growth of MCF-7 cells at 10, 100 and 1000 microg/mL with an ED50 value of 370.91 microg/mL. Mucuna collettii led to no proliferation and an antiproliferation effect on the growth of MCF-7 cells at 100 and 1000 microg/mL with an ED50 value of 85.36 microg/mL. The results demonstrated that only Pueraria mirifica showed an estrogenic effect on MCF-7 cell growth and a clear antagonistic effect with E2 at high concentration. Butea superba and Mucuna collettii exhibited only antiproliferation effects on the growth of MCF-7 cells in relation with a possible antiestrogen mechanism or a potent cytotoxic effect.

Note: There appears to be some variation in spelling of Mirifica. Apologies for the confusion.

07:55 Posted in Blogosphere, Science | Permalink | Comments (4)

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Expelling North Korea From the Orbit of the World (Earth as an Atom)

"Peace of Westphalia," Wikipedia, 31 December 2004, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_of_Westphalia.

"Electrons," by Larry Dunbar, tdaxp, 22 May 2005, http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2005/05/21/the_path_to_victory_neural_networks_of_4g_movements.html.

Commenting on my post about neural networks and Fourth Generation movements, Larry compares states to electrons

I am glad to see you have the basic principles of an electron down. The very existence of an electron is behind the reason I think some of the ideas of Dr. Barnett’s are so wacky.

An electron exists where it is because the frequencies involved are non-destructive. When an atom has 6 electrons in an orbit they exist because the frequency of each don’t cancel each other out. When energy is increased or decreased, negative or positive acceleration, the frequency changes so the electrons have to “move” out or “move” in, for them to exist.

In other words, a stable world would be like an element in a vacuum: nothing changes the energy of the states so there are no disruptions. But...

Because I feel society act like an electron, particle wave, or lightwave, I also feel they can’t exists when their frequency are destructive to each other. If you replace implicit laws, which make a society exist, with frequency then you are able to understand what I mean.

I feel the frequency of our society produce a destructive frequency with China. China and North Korea produce a non-destructive frequency so without any modification to their frequency, they can exist. I simply don’t feel Dr. Barnett has factored frequency into his equation.

Larry correctly notes that increased American connectivity and communication with the Chinese people undermines Chinese society and government. He also correctly notes that same does not work in reverse, and Chinese norms do not threaten American culture.

For centuries, the system that allowed every state to go its own way was The Peace of Westphalia. I think in his deference to the stability of states, Larry would disagree with the NATO Secretary General, the German foreign Minister, and the al Qaeda statement:

In 1998 on a Symposium on the Political Relevance of the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, then NATO Secretary General Javier Solana said that "humanity and democracy [were] two principles essentially irrelevant to the original Westphalian order" and criticized that "the Westphalian system had its limits. For one, the principle of sovereignty it relied on also produced the basis for rivalry, not community of states; exclusion, not integration." [1]

In 2001, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer referred to the Peace of Westphalia in his Humboldt Speech which argued that the system of European politics set up by Westphalia was obsolete: "The core of the concept of Europe after 1945 was and still is a rejection of the European balance-of-power principle and the hegemonic ambitions of individual states that had emerged following the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, a rejection which took the form of closer meshing of vital interests and the transfer of nation-state sovereign rights to supranational European institutions." [2]

In the aftermath of the 11 March 2004 Madrid attacks, the terrorist network al-Qaida also declared that "the international system built-up by the West since the Treaty of Westphalia will collapse; and a new international system will rise under the leadership of a mighty Islamic state". [3] Also, it is often claimed that globalization is bringing an evolution of the international system past the sovereign Westphalian state.

We could firewall the Gap and rely on deterrence to create many worlds -- a free, connected Core that includes the North America, Europe, Japan, and some others, along with many national cultures cut off from the wider world and its freedoms.

When we connect with China, we give China the activation it needs to change its orbit. Globalization gives energy to peoples to throw off old ways and begin new ones Globalization creates disorder. Globalization is a process of creative destruction that trades stability in the short-term for a safer and better world in the long-term.

The North Korean government cannot share in this future. It is too dangerous and to evil to exist. The other states will return to stability in Globalization -- will will share constructive frequencies. But not North Korea. We must expel North Korea from the atom of the world. We must Kill Kim.