Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I've got a comment!

My post about the Venezuelan quackery called "Systemic Medicine" has elicited a more or less expected reply.

Someone called Magaly wrote this:

Dear undergraduate Nuñez (seems to me that for your age you should have achieved a little bit more in academic terms...than just "exposing" your favorite quack of the moment....)
Your role as a quack exposer seems to include being a sitting duck...for some useful and illustrating thoughts...the article which you seem to doubt so much (one of four such articles) was worked on during 5-6 months with 2/3 reviewers to get it to the required level for inclusion in such a prestigious journal...But then how can you know this...you have still not published your "undergraduate" dissertation...let alone a full scientific article...Another interesting fact is that you mention the presence of Olalde in the editorial board...of the journal...yet you choose to ignore or fail to mention that his inclusion in the board occurred 6 months after the publication of his fist article...
This quackery as you name it has attended more than 800k patients during the last 5 years ...how can this be? ...no one can maintain a lie...for so long...and deceive so many people...it seems to me that you should get your facts straight and understand that technology and the advance of mankind is sometimes related to issues that we do not like or accept...that does not mean that they are not true...so do not be upset with someone that does not have a doctor's degree that provides his thoughts or theories on medicine...or a non-physicist in the theory of relativity (which mind you does also include "energy" concepts)....after all you seem to be doing very well without any degree at all...

By the by...my native tongue is Spanish...so if you feel more comfortable...we can have this discussion –if this is ever published- in Spanish as well...one thing is to doubt and another is to slander for the sake of doubt…

It is clear that this person does not have the slightest idea about what is science. She believes that it is proper to compare the absolute lack of training with the lack of a paper that states that someone has a degree and acknowledges those years of training. This is a very common attitude among Venezuelans. This afternoon I was talking with my sister and she was extremely emphatic about me being just a "student", and that it did not mattered if I was good or not. So knowledge is not important. The important thing is the appearance of knowledge. Strike one for Magaly.

Here is my answer to her comment:

As usual, ad hominem attacks are the resource of the people without arguments.

It is true that for my age I should had my degree... if I had lead a normal course. But, I chose to take two additional years of mathematics, physics and programming courses. Currently I am Teacher's Assistant of a course in Bioinformatics of a Master's Program in my Faculty. Teacher's Assistant of graduate students without getting my degree. And I have won national and international essay contests and I have been invited to several international conferences as a speaker, including one organized by Nature, the science journal. So, even without having completed my degree I have demonstrated my competence in several subjects. Currently I do research in three subjects in Computational Biology.

You claim that the paper was reviewed during months, however, the paper clearly states that it was accepted without revision ONE DAY AFTER BEING RECEIVED. When we pointed that fact, the next paper was conveniently dated. Coincidence? I doubt it.

Concerning the naming of Olalde as advisor, as far as I know he has been advisor for a long time and he has not any training in medicine, biology or health sciences. And I do not know the exact date when he became and advisor to the Board of the journal, could you please present any proof of it?

Yes, it is possible to maintain a lie for long times. History can prove it. The Emperor of Japan was no son of Heaven, millions had to die to prove it. Billions of people believe in astrology.

Again, another cliché: Relativity and Energy. Please, Magaly, show us where in relativity is used some formaula that acknowledges the spiritual energy of pyramids. And that machine, the "energimeter" is pure fantasy and has not proven in any sense to be useful (besides making money for Olalde). And in the Adaptogenic Science there is not further tracing of pacience. Remember the case of Nataly Lemus, who had died 9 months ago when a spot was aired, in which she claimed to be cured of the cancer that killed her.

And I must add a little bit more:

She claims that "I choose to ignore" some facts. As far as I know there is no evidence of those facts other than her claims. And some of her claims do not fit the evidence.

And here is her funny reply:

The "Ad hominem...attack" expression you wrongly interpreted...means (as you may find in a worthwhile dictionary) the use of somebody's (in this case your) words and acts (including arguments) to confuse the adversary...it does not refer to attacking another fellow man...

Poor Magaly is clueless. According to the Wikipedia:
An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: "argument to the person", "argument against the man") consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to an irrelevant characteristic about the person making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim. It is most commonly used to refer specifically to the ad hominem abusive, or argumentum ad personam, which consists of criticizing or personally attacking an argument's proponent in an attempt to discredit that argument.

That is exactly what she did in her first message. Instead of refuting my claims she chose to attack me on personal grounds. That I am still undergrad after a long time, that I have not published a scientific paper, etc. To put it in more pedestrian terms, so Magaly can understand: You do not have lay an egg in order to know when it is rotten. Do you, Magaly? I do not know how many times must I repeat the same idea, but here I go again: It does not matter if I eat fried babies on breakfast, Magaly. It does not matter if on weekends I bathe on the blood of virgin maidens. It does not matter if I steal candy from children. If I would do that and then I say "two plus two is four", would that become false because I am an evil person? Claiming that my arguments are wrong because I am something or I do something is plain wrong and shows a total ignorance about the way science works. Besides, your confuse paragraph shows that you really do not know what is an argumentum ad hominem. FYI: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

More from Magaly:
I see no purpose in attacking (or rather refuting) anybody...only those... that deem themselves to be capable of judging others according to some self-awarded higher moral (or intellectual- which is clearly not your case)...ground…

If you do not see any purpose in refuting anyone, may I ask, without being rude, what are you doing here?. I certainly see the point in refuting deadly lies that enrich thugs at the expense of the ignorance and suffering of people. And I certainly have the necessary knowledge and critical baggage to understand when I am being duped. Self awarded? No. A lot of people from all over the world has appreciated my work in several fields. I do not like to boast about this, but, given the fact that you doubt about my competence, I can prove it without any doubt. From high grades to work with an NGO belonging to the WFUNA to international awards, everything online and accessible.

More from Magaly:

Allow me to illustrate you (again)...let's assume you want to publish a theory (to which you have dedicated some years of your existence)...thus you send it to the editors of many journal's until one of them… is somewhat interested...his (the editor's) feedback turns out to be something like..."this has potential but needs to be seriously worked upon and better referenced...if you accept to undertake serious criticism and suggestions this theory might be taken to the required scientific level"...then you go on and work your %^&* off during 5/6 months to accomplish this...and send the final version to the journal...does this mean that you put it together the day before it's published? No! It only means what it means...You -on the other hand- interpret things as you wish... and to your own convenience...

How cute, trying to instruct me about science publishing. I have to learn a lot about the subject. But certainly not from you, according to what I am reading.
That is simply not true. You claim that I interpret things to my own convenience and that is totally untrue. Let's end this:

I am "interpreting? We clearly can see at the bottom right this text: Received January 13, 2005; accepted January 14, 2005. It seems to me that you are the person who is "interpreting" and claiming something very different from what we know is true. Your story sounds nice to me, but if that would have been the case, the paper should say something like "Received July 13, 2004; accepted January 14, 2005". That is not the case. I am not claiming that Olalde put together the paper in one day. What I am saying is that the peer review at that journal is not very good. (Quoting to Ron Hubbard in a science paper ? Don't make me laugh!) and it is very suspicious that after such a swift acceptation of the paper, (a bad paper) suddenly Olalde becomes part of the board of that Journal. And for the part of my "own convenience", hey, I am NOT making a penny of this. You are the people who makes money from Sistemic Medicine.

Even more nonsense:
As for the example of the Sun Emperor in Japan...although true...it's a terrible but obscure and irrelevant example...if anything... it can be termed an anecdotic (and bloody) historical example...do you compare this last to the successful application of a Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) protocol in close to one million patients ? ...because… you have the sad and unfortunate death of a patient (or that of 10 or 100)....

Irrelevant? Please, lady, be serious. It shows that you can make people believe anything. Obscure? Grab a history book and read until it is clear. Do you want more examples? Homeopathy, astrology, scientology, Hellenic gods, witches, UFO's... I can go on on that list if you need more examples. If the criteria for "success" is making a lot oney from sick people, certainly this particular (S)CAM is a winner. If the criteria of success is the recovery and healing then you are claiming something that you cannot prove in any way. The problem with Mz. Lemus was not that she died despite the treatment she endured with you. The problem about her case is that you used her image without her consent (she was dead by then) and made no effort for seeking her progress after she was "cured" despite of her being one of the spotlight examples of the effectiveness of your therapies. One of your best successes and you were unable to track her even one year after her "healing". Do you know the meaning of the phrase "longitudinal study"? You cannot even track a single person and you claim that this therapy has been effective in one million. That is extremely hard to believe. Prove it or shut up. I know you won't do neither thing, of course.

How many people die out of chemo-radio or other orthodox cancer treatments...has this stopped cancer treatments with these protocols...no! Have you compared the results of these orthodox treatments with the combined use of these therapies and a CAM such as Systemic Medicine? NO!

The problem is that we have impressive statistics about what works and what does not works concerning cancer. We even know the average lifespan of people and we do follow the patients that undergo experimental procedures. And your therapies offer nothing of that. You claim that people is cured and only show on TV people that is satisfied with the results, and even those might be dead or sick again after they have been used as advertisement for you.

And now a little bit of playing the victim:
Yet you have already chosen to judge somebody's life work (with or without 'relevant' academic titles) in an article... based on one (or X statistically irrelevant) example (undeniably sad and terrible)?... would it be not more appropriate to evaluate the effectiveness of anybody’s theory based on the whole body of the work and its significance?

Not only in none article. In several articles, unfortunately all of them in Spanish. But hopefully we will have translation of those soon. And not only based in one example. Please make no mistake: We have plenty of arguments. Many of them. Starting from the theoretical basis of this crazy theory, the ethics of giving people products not tested and with unknown effects without they knowing they are guinea pigs of International Adaptogens, your advertisement techniques, the lack of information about a lot of your plants, your lies about results, your good-for-nothing machines, your wild claims that cannot be supported on facts. The fact that you make money playing with the hope of people.

And now, more ad hominem from Magaly. She might not know what an ad hominem is, but she really know how to use it!

As for the energy healing...I will not bother to explain this to someone who promotes food engineering ...yet overlooks the waste and destruction of millions of tons of food in a hungry world because…of economic reasons...Now that is really sad ....first things first!

Stop babbling and explain that "energimeter", and what kind of "energy" is responsible for the properties of pyramids, and its physical basis. If you don't want to do it for me, do it for my readers, please, if you are so kind. And you made a huge mistake here. I care a lot about the waste of food and about nutrition and development in underdeveloped countries. But the answer is not aid. The answer is technological independence. The life of billions of my fellow human beings shall not depend of charity, of the mood of foreign people that might get tired of sending aid. We in these countries must be able to design our own solutions to our own troubles, and that is why I support strongly agricultural biotech for the developing world. But that is a really cheap exit from you, claiming that you won't explain something because of who I am. That kind of answer shows clearly that you neither have arguments, neither understand science and logic. First things first.

So... as the French saying goes: 'une hirondelle ne fait pas le printemps' (en español ´una golondrina no hace el verano´).

Oh,she can write in French! How neat. Je peu aussi, mais j'oblieu presque tout mon françaais. That can apply to your "therapy". Some of the plants you offer may have a therapeutic effect, but that does not means that all of them do, neither that your silly theory is right about anything. You don't like what you read or you think it is slander? I can prove it is not. And I can prove that José Olalde has commited slander against us.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

World of Warcraft as model for epidemiology

According to the BBC:

An outbreak of a deadly disease in a virtual world can offer insights into real life epidemics, scientists suggest.

The "corrupted blood" disease spread rapidly within the popular online World of Warcraft game, killing off thousands of players in an uncontrolled plague.

The infection raged, wreaking social chaos, despite quarantine measures.

The experience provides essential clues to how people behave in such crises, Lancet Infectious Diseases reports.

In the game, there was a real diversity of response from the players to the threat of infection, similar to those seen in real life.

Some acted selflessly, rushing to the aid of other characters even though that meant they risked infection themselves.

Others fled infected cities in an attempt to save themselves.

And some who were sick made it their mission to deliberately infect others.

Extremely interesting, imho. Using virtual worlds as templates for models in real life. I would like to see if controlled experiments could be implemented in Second Life and other places, with some of the people knowing they are part of the experiment and other group only aware that they are in a weird situation. Ideal for agalmic societies. Are we witnessing the birth of a new branch of the Social Sciences?

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Censorship in Turkey again

This time is Wordpress.
The Turkish authorities closed the access to www.wordpress.com because some Turkish creationists complained that they did not liked what some bloggers had to say about them.

According to Pharyngula:

Adnan Oktar, aka Harun Yahya, the Turkish crackpot creationist, didn't like the fact that his critics wrote mean things about him … so he applied to a Turkish court to have all Wordpress blogs blocked. And the court accepted his argument, and no one in Turkey has been able to access anything from Wordpress.com for a day or two now.

I did not know who Harun Yahya is. Now I have seen that he seems to be a respectable islamic scholar in some circles. But the truth is that he is a liar, a thief and has been accused of pedophilia. Now we know a little bit more of Yahya. I will post something about it in Spanish too, so he would get as bad press as possible. A lot of people lives in Turkey, but many lore live outside.

So, spread the word about Yahya, an enemy of knowledge, science and freedom of expression.

This is what Yahya does not want us to know about:


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Thursday, August 16, 2007

First African GM crop


Technoliberation at its best again!

The first GM crop entirely produced in Africa by Africans and for Africans:


From there:

The first all-African genetically modified crop plant with resistance to the severe maize streak virus (MSV), which seriously reduces the continent’s maize yield, has been developed by scientists from the University of Cape Town and PANNAR PTY Ltd, a South African seed company.

The research, published in Plant Biotechnology Journal represents a significant advance in African agricultural biotechnology, and will play an important role in alleviating Africa’s food shortages and famine.

Dr Dionne Shepherd, lead researcher explains, “MSV is transmitted to maize by small insects called leafhoppers. The disease is therefore a result of a complex interplay between the plant, the virus and insect. Factors that can influence the severity of the disease include the age at which the plant is infected (the younger the plant, the more severe the infection), the maize variety (some are more susceptible than others), and environmental conditions.

“We have created an MSV-resistant maize variety by genetic engineering, using an approach known as pathogen-derived resistance. This means that a gene from the viral pathogen is used to protect the plant from that pathogen. We mutated a viral gene that under normal circumstances produces a protein that is essential for the virus to replicate itself and inserted it into the maize plant’s genome, creating genetically modified maize. When the virus infects one of these transgenic maize plants, it displays a significant delay in symptom development, a decrease in symptom severity and higher survival rates than non-transgenic plants.”

This approach is similar to the one used with the Papaya Ringspot Virus, with excellent results in Hawaii. But it is still too early for being optimist, the field trials are still in the future. Well, at least we can see some light at the end of the tunnel.

I hope this is only the first of many.

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Medieval Times

The earthquake in Peru has been a real tragedy. Scores of dead people and the number is increasing as rescue teams find more of them in the daylight. Hospitals are damaged and a lot of them have collapsed.

But, as usual, people finds divine signs on the tragedy. This time it was the president of Peru, Alan García. According to the BBC: "President Garcia thanked God that the earthquake had not caused "a catastrophe with an immense number of victims".

Come on! If God is all mighty and benevolent this earthquake should have not occurred. And if he just leaves us alone, then it is pointless to give thanks. It is beyond my imagination why should somebody give thanks because the tragedy was not worse. If you believe that god made this or was able to stop it is like a woman thanking her husband for not hitting her harder.

I guess I am not able to see that the Jews should thank god because Hitler did not wiped them all but only several millions of them. Poor me.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I promise to post at least once every two days

It's been a while since the last time I posted a fresh post. Sorry about that. After the Googleplex (which I'll keep on posting about)I went to San Francisco for a night (what a night!), then headed to Palo Alto to the house of a person from the Millennium Project, who in a very kind move, offered me to stay with him and his wife for a couple of days before we all were heading to Orange, where my cousin lives. I got a glimpse of Northern California way of life if you are wealthy. And I must say I became in love with the landscapes of Northern California too and with many things of it. Truly beautiful and touching. And innovation is even more beautiful and puzzling in some ways (BTW: I am reading “The myths of innovation” by Scott Berkun, got it for free (TANSTAAFL?) at Google from a stand from O' Reilly Media). Went to the Tech Museum, to Pebble Beach, to Monterrey, and the to Orange. Weekend in San Diego. More about all that later.

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Second Day at Scifoo part II

The second session was called “The Future History of Biology” and was by Rob Carlson.
He made a nice comparison between the history of aviation, the history of computing and the future history of Biology. According to Carlson there is a very good parallelism between these technologies. A difficult beginning with a small community of people working in key issues, with impressive achievements by trial and error rather than by any analytical method, (Lillienthal machine, Chanute, Wright bros.), with the achievements separated by years, later a phase where empirical design yields good results, but general rules are still needed (plane design during WWII) and then an age where general principles are at hand and CAD is possible (Boeing). Some people claimed that current aeronautic industry has become stagnated because the expensive that projects are and because there's no market anymore for further developments, compared to the invest they need. I pointed out that biology is not aeronautics. Biology is cheap and self replicant, so in any case if CAD becomes applied to biology the result will be more like current OS development than like designing expensive aircrafts. Some other person said that synthetic biology is impossible to become really successful because modeling the cell is an n-body problem and we lack truly accurate simulations, so, it is not possible to engineer bacteria or other organisms. I said that we do not know the exact solution to Navier-Stokes equations, and that does not prevent us from flying everyday. He called us in a very polite way (again, the eternal politeness of the Americans) ignorants, because only people ignorant of the last 200 years of organic chemistry could be so hopeful about synthetic biology. If we were computers, based in silicon discussing the possibility of this crazy thing called life, I would say he has a point. But we aren't. We are alive, we have ribosomes (something lacked by organic chemists), our bodies do molecules that are extremely complex. He liked to make this phony analogy between systems biology and not being able to travel faster than light and about the possible consequences and about the things we do not see in the universe that we would see if it could be possible to travel faster than light. But, we do see in our body and in our surroundings that in fact it is possible to create complex systems from biological parts. That it might be much more difficult than we think? That we are too happy-go-lucky about the issue? Probably. Maybe it will be tougher than we think and we are a bunch of babblers, but it is not impossible, whether or not n-body problem a cell is not a soup with n pieces of chicken, beef and vegetables. According to that argument electronics is impossible, as we cannot know accurately the position of an electron, and if we cannot know the basics, what hope is there for more advanced applications? That is the reason why we use psionic power for the Internet.
The next session I attended was a presentation by James Randi about several subjects, including homeopathy and psychics. Randi is a terrific speaker and his presentation one of the funniest in Scifoo, like his lucid debunking of homeopathy with the analogy of having to drink 26 swimming pools of water from a homeopathic dilution in order to find a single molecule of claimed active principle in some homeopathic preparations (for others, numbers are even worse!).

After that, I had lunch with Marc Marti Renom, from the Synaptic Leap, to discuss our joint presentation later, then looked for James Randi, for my first session. More about that later.

Some remarks: Yes, the food in Google is as good as the myth says.

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Second Day at Scifoo part I

More on Scifoo:

On Saturday I attended to several sessions:

A session on Open Science 2.0, by Bora Zivkovic that was not as productive as I expected. In fact, it gave origin to another session next day, by Alex Palazzo and Andrew Walkingshaw. The session wasn't specially interesting because most of us did not agreed about the direction we should be heading to and about the real effect of blogging, open notebooks and the future of the peer review system. Discussion about tenure was a major issue and showed one of the fundamental disagreements, based on the fact that blogging and keeping an Open Notebook was much easier and risk free when one is a tenured professor rather than a young scientist. I am not worried about the issue and given the fact my thesis advisor is interested in exploring the open side of things, I will probably have an open notebook once I begin my experimental work, if someone is obnoxious enough to not accept me at his lab or at his program because I have blogged or because I have written about strange matter like animal uplifting and economic effects of nanoassamblers, then that person is somebody I do not want to work with. And I am not afraid of not getting grants because of the same reason. Let's put it in another way: I am afraid of that whether open access and open notebooks or without them. Science is a difficult field. But I can understand that people are afraid about blogging and is not as cold blooded about the fact as is my case, after all, I am an undergrad who has almost nothing to lose (and a lot of things to win, I have traveled a lot thanks to my unconventional writing) and a thesis advisor who has proven unconditional approval and almost infinite patience, their situation might be different, being in top universities, extremely competitive places and possibly about to begin their own research, as they are postdocs (And they are so young, man, I am ashamed!). But let me focus on this session, as the facts I have discussed partially belong to the other session on Sunday. In a surprising situation (or perhaps not so surprising), the young scientists told to the old ones to discuss more about the current set of rules about blogging and open access, rather than speculating about the mid term future of publishing, it was nuts. A couple of not-so-young (let's be polite, as Americans are extremely polite) people were besides me talking in whispers and complaining about these kids who dared not to look at the future. Scifoo is a really special conference, it seems. Another traditional complaint that arose was the extreme slowness of the peer-reviewing process in Biology and the subjectiveness of the “impact” or earth-shaking criteria that allow papers being published in certain top-journals.

Among the new things said there were the need about separating the communication of the results from its evaluation (Open Notebooks), suggestions about including criteria for grant selection that encouraged open access. The difference between Open Access and Free Access, this is, freedom to use vs. freedom to read only. The Nature Precedings were not discussed in-depth in this sessions, but I am very happy that people in Nature Publishing Group is going in the right direction. Other interesting ideas were creating a certifying system for scientists, a Science Whuffie (nobody used the term, but I think it's corrrect to call it that way), based not only in publications but in reputation among peers. I think I would do better in that one that in the current system, so I am biased and please do not take my opinion as a neutral one, but I just love that idea.

Bora Zivkovic from the Public Library of Open Science (PLOS) gave some thrilling numbers: So far, in three years, they have published more than 700 papers, 40% of which are rejected for non sound science, as they are open, not uncritical, but earth-shaking-ness is not necessary, they publish now around 30 papers a week. I learned that blogs have been cited in papers and that there are people that say we need alternatives to citation systems, something I had never thought about. Others argued about the current format of papers being doomed in the mid term future, and that the future lies in machine readable formats that we humans learn from without worrying by petty issues, others argued back that papers are now machine-readable, pdf is convertible to text. Wow. Did I say that it was a kind of disappointing session? Yes, it was! A lot of extremely good ideas being overwhelmed by the discussion on more pedestrian issues and extreme disagreement. But I will write more about that later.

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Saturday, August 4, 2007

Another geek in the con

This was the Day 1 of the Scifoo.
I will deliver a presentation about Open Source Biomedical Research and another one about skepticism and rational thinking.
Today's presentation were great, about presenting scientific data in new and innovative ways, the total amount of energy available on Earth, about systems biology and Eau D'E. coli, coli bacteria that smells like banana and about life in space. We had a lot of fun, the Googleplex is amazing and I spotted some big names in science and software development, and in SF too. And in skepticism.

I am barely awake, I will post more tomorrow. But today I met: Kim Stanley Robinson, Greg Bear, James Randi, and a lot of interesting biologists too. And I got a model of a Buckyball!

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Alert. Orange Code.

I am not dead. I was in Minneapolis at the time the bridge collapsed, but I wasn't near it, I was at the Mall of America, the biggest mall in the USA, the temple of the religion of consumerism. And I found it pretty disappointing. Even in Venezuela there are much nicer malls. And, as most the things the stores had to offer were not interesting for me, so it was like a giant and very neat junkyard. But you know, one man's trash is another man's treasure. The Lego store was amazing. There, even I became a consumerist. The T rex was great. And I bought some Lego for my brother too. And some postcards. I will post the pics once I return home, cable is not here.

Concerning the title of this entry, it is what I have been listening since I entered at the airport in Minneapolis. In fact, I saw the message in a billboard a couple of km. before the airport. It's so strange to be here in these circumstances. The paranoia is damn real, but at the same time the people is smiling, polite (Side note: Something really awful happened at Transvision 2007 that made me painfully aware of the degree of paranoia currently experienced in the “freest country in the world”, but I will post about it later) and even the TSA officers are joking, well at least some. Certainly not the guy who inspected my laptop looking for traces of explosives. He did not looked very happy when the answer to the question “Where are you from?” turned to be “Venezuela”. To hell with him, and to hell with Chávez too.

I am currently at Denver, switching planes, waiting for going to San Francisco. But here there is not free wi-fi. Neither in the Minneapolis airport. It's more difficult than I thought to find free wi-fi, and it beats my expectations of free wireless connection becoming something like public lights. So far for agalmic connections, but, fortunately, this country is not the whole world. From the point of view of studying models for post scarcity societies, it does not matter, since I will be this afternoon at the Googleplex.

I am very nervous, now I am on the plane. Going to my baptism in Geekness (Or should I say Geekhood?). Google, there I go!

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Wednesday, August 1, 2007

I'm still alive

And rocking.

Wow, last week has been incredibly exciting. I am all wasted. Fortunately, I have two days to rest before the SCifoo.

I will try to write a longer post tomorrow, but these are the highlights:

Transvision 2007: It was a great conference. Speakers were hyper-interesting, and I met a lot of people. Maybe some projects will come out. Sorry I cannot give any detailed reviews now, but George Dvorsky is already doing the reviews, and very good ones, I must say. We had a lot of fun and he was one of the few people who attended my presentation the day before the main events.

Planning Meeting of the Millennium Project: An unimagined diversity. People form everywhere except Antarctica, in words of Jerry Glenn. A diversity of issues, and my work was recognized, and appreciated. I might begin to work as consultant applying their State of the Future Index to local nodes. Paid job!.

World Future Society: Your standard futurist mostly rich-Caucasian meeting. But there were good conferences also. A pity that I am now sick of conferences, too tired. But it was exciting, and I had a lot of things to say. Hopefully, next year they will webcast.

Interesting people I met:
Anders Sandberg
Eliezer Yudkowsky
Ron Bailey
Gregor Wolbring
Sprite X

And a whole lot more.

Funny issues: Currently I am at Minneapolis, I expected to find a lot of fundies. I did not, but as I was writing this post, there comes this guy, blond, goatee, staring at me and smiling. What the hell is this? And then he comes, he lowers into the chair and whispers "Jesus loves you". I pretend to not understand, and when he say it again, I say "Oh, man love another man. Jesus gay?". He just said "HAVE A NICE DAY, SIR"

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