Panacea? We don’t need panacea. We have VITAMINS!


Medicine has always existed, and along with it untreatable diseases have also been present. At some point it was bacterial infection, now it is cancer and AIDS. Humanity has been dreaming of panacea forever. Some people claimed to find all-purpose medicine. However, in every case savior was labeled charlatan. Mankind has not given hope though, and is still searching for a perfect drug to cure every disease. Individuals tend to take advantage of those dreams and make fortune by making dreams come true.

According to the Dr. Rath Health Foundation website, Matthias Rath is “the physician and scientist who led the breakthrough discoveries in the natural control of cancer, cardiovascular disease and other chronic health conditions.” Rath claims that AIDS, simply put, does not exist, and HIV is a myth that pharmaceutical companies use to make money. Dr. Rath states that vitamin deficit is a cause of all those diseases and only vitamin treatment with vitamins might be effective. Chemotherapy, antiretrovirals – everything is a scam to trick people into spending money. Rath is well known for his war against pharmaceutical industry which he accused of genocide on the world in its lust for profits. This seems reasonable due to the fact that untreatable diseases create the need of pharmaceutical companies, which then pray on the desperate society. Rath is just a loyal servant of society, fighting a millennia old conspiracy.

Matthias Rath, in fact, spends huge amount of capital on advertising in many countries all over the world, instead of simply helping people. Because of his campaign South African government refused to use conventional medicine to treat AIDS and prevent HIV, which caused 171,000 new HIV infections and 343,000 deaths over the period of 8 years from 1999 to 2007. Dominik Fled, nine-year-old boy, died after being taken off chemotherapy and put on Rath’s vitamin program. Boy’s mother blames scientific medicine and the pharmaceutical industry for her son’s death.

It is quite hard to fight Dr. Rath because he is one of “them”, is a part of conspiracy. How do we deal with one, who is supposed to act ethically, but cannot be forced to? As a doctor he took an oath and is meant to act ethically, however he does not.

http://skepdic.com/rath.html
http://listverse.com/2011/09/13/top-10-unethical-business-actions/

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Living a life completely clear of Mudd


Fannie Mae

Fannie Mae, as you might know, has been heavily involved in the financial crisis of 2008. Along with Freddy Mac, Fannie Mae is a quasi-government mortgage-lender. It was a gigantic cash cow and, perhaps, one would call it a cash cow. They were however contributing to the housing bubble by trading relatively large number of subprime mortgages, most of which were not reported in financial reports, which partially led to collapse of the company and further federal takeover of Fannie Mae.

CEO of Fannie Mae at that moment was Daniel Mudd. One would think, that Mudd, who stayed away from everything “dirty”, should not have gotten in big trouble after seemingly large problems he, as an executive, led Fannie Mae into. Indeed, Daniel has quietly stepped down as a CEO and continued to pursue his dream and attempted to rebuild his career basically from scratch. After leaving he took the helm of a hedge-fund, Fortress Investment Group. He began a completely new life – a Fannie Mae story of his life seemed to end with a not-so-happy ending and Mudd started an entirely new novel. He even put his huge mansion on sale, which clearly indicates that Danny is leaving all the mud behind.

Daniel-Mudd

To me it sounded like a perfect ending of a story. I even felt that I started reading a new book – the one that only remotely reminds me of the previous unhappy romance I read. The only similarity seemed to be main character’s name. However, one of the things Mudd forgot to do is clear his name and reputation of mud. “Don’t judge a book by its cover” – one would say. In this case, however, the cover is just simply way too conspicuous and the implied protagonist becomes a clear antagonist in public’s eyes. Mudd couldn’t even start to enjoy his new life, when SEC filed a law suit against poor guy, which led to his resignation as a CEO of Fortress. He was accused of fraudulent actions as a CEO of Fannie Mae. Although he was not the only one who SEC brought law suits on, Mudd was in fact the most prominent one. In fact, company’s board gave Mudd an option: “settle the case quickly and you can stay”. Mudd did not think it was an option; he stepped down and devoted his time to clearing his name. He is Raskolnikov, looking for redemption, and economy is an old grumpy lady, who just had to die at some point (Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky).

24x30-crime-and-punishment-

“The charges are baseless and political, and I have no intentions of settling anything,” said Mr. Mudd. So, let us wish Daniel Mudd luck, because it seems to me that fortune is his biggest hope at the moment.

References:

Fannie Mae’s Former Chief, Mudd, Sells in Washington
Fortress Chief Daniel Mudd Resigns
US charges ex-Fannie, Freddie CEOs with fraud
Fannie Mae’s Former Chief Fights to Clear His Name

Football and Soccer. Is it the same game?


I have been a huge fan of soccer since the very beginning of my conscious life. I know it as football – the way they call this game in Europe. So, I might accidentally, as a matter of habit, be using “football” instead of soccer sometimes – please excuse me if that confuses you. Soccer remains my favorite sport, though I was doing many other kinds of sports: basketball, volleyball, tennis, ping-pong, swimming, skiing and skating. It is the only sport I watch and keep track of. I absolutely love this game that has a lot of elements interesting to me: flow of the game is often very unpredictable; there are so many strategies and tactics, each having different set of requirements; a significantly weaker team can turn the tides against the stronger one and etc. Watching football closely, I could not help noticing issues it has.

Ethical behavior as a concept does exist, however players and even officials break this concept easily in many cases. Match-fixing is one of the issues that occur quite often, especially in Italian football. Italy has a long match-fixing history with Calciocaos – the loudest fixing scandal with severe consequences for one of the teams – at the pinnacle. Calciocaos scandal ended with Juventus, one of the great teams in football history, being kicked to lower division, from Series A to B, for one season, which costed them two titles, reputation and a very talented player. Despite facing huge risk of punishment, teams keep practicing match-fixing. In fact, Italian league (Series A) is under investigation due to recent scandals.

FIFA Executive Committee Meeting

Football officials are not saint either. FIFA, association that is supposed to deal with controversies, corruption and unethical behavior, is rotting from inside. There was a huge bribery scandal involving FIFA chiefs last year. How can be ethical practices enforced when governing body is corrupt itself? How do we know they are not involved in the match-fixing practices?i

Those are the larger scale problems. Now I would like to talk a little about football issues, not as global, but still important. Soccer has instant-replay prohibited for some reason. Some say it adds more drama, randomness and emotional element. Others say that not having instant-replay allows unfairness and foul play. I personally think, that instant-replay is not that important, though would it be present, no unethical behavior would not have been so common. Here is a compilation of obvious foul plays.

I also wouldn’t like to watch a replay and waste 30 sec just for teams to check for offside – that would partly take the joy of watching the game. Besides, soccer also has a special place for referee, who is just as important as players are, has reputation, skill level and qualification. Implementing instant replay would make all those referee qualities mentioned above meaningless, since it would always be possible to just look at the replay. Anyways, in my opinion, if a team is really better than the other one, then the former team will win despite all the dirty plays from the latter, as in the 2010 World Cup Final.

I have actually suffered from foul play. Lack of instant-replay is only one part of the problem. Rules do not cover all possible situations in the game. It is quite difficult to determine whether a foul is hard or soft. Moreover, soft fouls do ruin the game, however it is not right to punish heavily if mistake was unintentional. People abuse this fact and sometimes play dirty. Some even adopt the dirty play style and foul just because of a habit. I have been injured once due to the “soft” foul.

Even though I have been criticizing football, I still do love that game. Soccer would have been better and there would be no need for instant-replay or other measures, if everyone was playing clean.

In the end, I would like to show a Youtube video of Maradona’s Hand of God, where Diego Maradona – legendary Argentinian player – scores a hand-ball and it got counted. Another video is dedicated to Paul Scholes – he plays for English national team and Machester United at the moment – who unsuccessfully tried to copy Hand of God.

Droids…Are we Moving Towards Utopia or Dystopia?


As I was surfing great spaces of internet, I came across an interesting video title – “Are droids taking our jobs?” I, as a person liking technology quite a bit and also being a computer science major (in addition to BSBA program), was really curious about the content of the video. This is how I decided to write about Andrew McAfee. McAfee is currently a principal research scientist at the Center for Digital Business in the MIT Sloan School of Management. His research investigates how IT changes the way companies perform, organize themselves and compete. He also investigates how computerization affects competition, society, economy, and the workforce. He is famous for his book Race Against the Machine.

Andrew McAfee, in his TED talk, is talking about the extremely high rates technology growth, which we, humanity, are not keeping up to it. That rapid growth is a phenomenon based on Moore’s Law, which state that computational power doubles every 18 months. Inventions, he claims, have always replaced human labor in some areas, but, at the same time, created new jobs in other areas. However, due to the extremely fast growth nowadays, new areas specifically designed for humans are not being created. Hence, labor force is losing opportunities, whereas new ones have not originated yet.

As technology evolves, it is able to perform tasks that are considered out of computational reach. Andrew McAfee mentions Siri and Watson as examples. One would think that communication and pattern matching would always be an area where a human being has advantage over machine. However, technology surpasses our expectations and, alas, is taking the advantage from us.

I was actually also concerned with this upcoming issue, which is why I abandoned my initially chosen math major and decided to try management and computer science. Management is something technology is not capable of doing yet and is still an area where mankind excels. Computer science is a field of study in which, unsurprisingly, computers are studied. Creation of computation is a basis for all devices we possess today, and therefore understanding fundamentals might also give a clear view on the current situation, described by McAfee. Perhaps, I would learn the limitations of the technology and would apply that knowledge to the resolution of issues, mentioned in the TED talk.

Related Content:

Stop bullying “Lil” Daisey


While listening to the “hot debates” between Mike Daisey, on one side, and Ira Glass with Rob Schmitz, on the other, I caught myself creating an image, kind of like a video, of what was going in the studio. The whole conversation reminded me of a child talking to his parents, trying to justify his “little” lies. It was a public beating of Mr. Daisey, who himself did not even make an attempt to behave maturely. Perhaps it, the Retraction, was theater all along. I cannot say for sure.

“Lying is bad” – our parents said. Subconsciously we do know that, however, when it comes to justification, it is hard to determine, even for those who taught us, what exactly is bad about lies. The most common argument that I have heard against any forms of “not telling the truth”: “Would you want to be deceived yourself?” I wouldn’t say no to that in any case. As you might yourself come up with an example of a “lie for good”, and therefore successfully achieve contradiction.

So, why is lying bad? I think that the problem associated with lies is the confusion it creates. By deceiving other people one becomes unpredictable and therefore less trustworthy. “What to expect from this person?” “What to believe in?” By lying, especially to the public, one creates instability in information delivery chain and impairs society’s perception of that information. Today, data is the most valuable thing. At the end of the day, millions of lives depend on reliable information. Hence, all the knowledge received is not reliable, due to the uncertainty, and therefore can be neglected, which is simply stupid in the Information Age. Chaos awaits us, once lying becomes publicly acknowledged to be acceptable.

So, how is Mike Daisey even related to what I was writing about? Mr. Daisey has not admitted to lying, because “it is inaccurate to say so”. Couple of questions asked, and he desperately starts to alter his story, just like a little child before his parents. This reminds me of myself at the age of 15: once I came back home late at 1am and was altering the story, adding some details hoping that I would not be punished as much. What is even worse – everybody knew Daisey was lying.Lie to me I would like to paraphrase Ira Glass: “Mike came to explain his story, rather than to admit his lies”. Mike Daisey turned the radio show of journalistic format into a theatrical performance – farce. “Must let the show go on”.

iCult or the Very First Corporate Religion


Technology…this word gives me a creep, in a good sense, when I actually think about what it means for us as a whole. Every person in the world has been exposed to Technology somehow. It actually fascinates me how people can use this term so freely, without deep understanding what it actually is; and, as matter of fact, so do I. However it is a different topic, so broad that cannot be covered in one single blog of a small person such as me, and therefore I have only slightly touched the tip of the iceberg in order to avoid misunderstanding, the reason to which might be my very own ignorance.

I love technology, if I may say so, and I almost feel it is a special human being to me. This is how close it has gotten in my life and, I am sure, in almost every other person’s life. All the developments and inventions have brought both good and bad, and in order to analyze, we would have to look at technology from the side. But is it possible, when we view our devices as something so intimate? Have you, personally, tried to think of technology as something not so integrated in our lives, not as something given to us by right of birth? With this thought in mind we move on to Apple, the best, most innovative company in the world.

Even though I am not an Apple fan today, I used to be. My Apple experience started long time ago, when I got iPod Mini for my birthday. I found it beautiful, so very well designed, and easy to use. I can still remember myself taking care of my first Apple product as if it was a child of mine. The iTunes player was so comfortable and easy to use, it was receiving constant updates – I felt that Apple really cared about me.  I was worshiping it, I was in deep love with it. A year later I bought another iPod. I was blindly in love with it again, even forgetting the old one. I did not care that there was almost no difference other than memory increase and rounded edges. I was blinded for some reason unknown to me.

Unlike Apple-haters, I do understand Apple-fans, the warm feeling a new iPhone gives. MacBook is a great device, and I do not dare to challenge that. IPhone, IPad are awesome, there is no doubt…or is there?  Have you ever thought why there is a differentiation between Mac and PC? PC stands for Personal Computer. Is Mac not a personal computer? Why do people not call computers with Linux OS just Linux instead of PC? I even heard someone saying that iPad is a huge innovation being a tablet PC.

gatestabletIt appears that tablet first appeared in 2002 and was introduced by this guy. Steve Jobs has changed quite a bit since then, hasn’t he?

I do not own any Apple products anymore. All thanks to undeveloped customer service back in old mother-Russia. Feeling of deep connection vanished over time and I started to see the impaired functionality of Apple devices. It was and still is easy to use, however it felt the company treats me like an old child, not capable of doing anything myself and not knowing boundaries, and therefore provides software itself and limits access to certain things. There is no freedom in using Apple devices.

It is possible, however, that users do not need all the functionality and freedom – they would rather just use an easy product instead of bothering themselves with the fascinating complexity behind the scenes. Perhaps my perverted views on this matter are completely weird, but how could all the missteps by Apple remain unnoticed? The answer is simple enough: “Apple cannot do wrong”. Being an Apple fan has become “a religion”, as Michael Daisey said, and I totally agree with him. As for any religion, there are problems when people to start think and ask questions. Is it really ok to exploit people, even if they are Chinese? This was not an attempt to be racist, but instead to point out that those working conditions would never be accepted in United States. Is it fine to use poisonous chemicals in not-automatized production without equipping workers with the least protection such as masks, gloves, goggles? Many other issues, including those raised by Mr. Daisey, remain not solved.