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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Facebook Police: Blocking Cellphones, Saving Lives...?

A BART train in the station.
In "Is Social Media Free Speech" I discussed the nature of things like Facebook relative to free speech.

Today we have the California Bay Area Transport (BART) in the  news for shutting off cellphone (I've always wondered why Google spell check thinks "cellphone" is one word but not "highschool") coverage inside its tunnels as a planned mechanism to limit an anticipated protest.

Apparently in the recent past a BART police officer (and why do thing like BART or the NY Subway have their own police forces? Are the crimes somehow different?) shot a homeless man who was supposedly wielding a knife.  The protest was related in someway to this event.

In anticipation of the event BART turned off cellphone coverage in four of its stations for several hours. One of the reasons was ostensibly that, like London, the protestors would be using cellphones and social media to coordinate the protests (see this).

So now we have an interesting dilemma.

On the one hand, using social media to coordinate a riot protest would be a crime - though a crime if and only if it was not approved by the government and did not remain peaceful.  (I've often wondered about violent protests against those who conduct violence on innocents.)

On the other hand, what if grandma has a heart attack during her ride and no one can call for help so she subsequently dies?

Neither event happened - no riot protest, nobody's grandma is dead.

And BART claims that since it owns the cell antenna's in its stations it has the right to do what it like with them.

But what if their actions bring harm to others - even indirectly?  Isn't cell service today like a utility?  Something people rely on for daily on-going life? Can I rely on cell coverage to coordinate the pickup of needed medicine?  A ride to the hospital?  A life and death matter with a doctor?

Certainly there would be problems shutting off power to a few blocks of the city in anticipation of trouble.

As for cellphone "blocking" the US Criminal Code 47, Sections 301, 302a, 333 says that "The Act prohibits any person from willfully or maliciously interfering with the radio communications of any station licensed or authorized under the Act or operated by the U.S. government. 47 U.S.C. Section 333. The manufacture, importation, sale or offer for sale, including advertising, of devices designed to block or jam wireless transmissions is prohibited. 47 U.S.C. Section 302a(b). Parties in violation of these provisions may be subject to the penalties set out in 47 U.S.C. Sections 501-510. Fines for a first offense can range as high as $11,000 for each violation or imprisonment for up to one year, and the device used may also be seized and forfeited to the U.S. government."

Cell jammers are illegal so one imagines that shutting off a cell antenna is a similar problem.

The problem here is that government, in this case BART in the guise of the State of California has taken it upon itself to limit your free speech in anticipation of you doing something illegal or wrong with that free speech.

Mind you there is a difference between texting "meet me in front of Joe's Diner" and "help me destroy Joe's Diner" and "OMG I can't believe what's happening at Joe's Diner."

In the first and last cases I may or may not know why I am to meet at Joe's - leaving other events or evidence to determine if I am involved in the "conspiracy" to trash Joe's Diner.  In the second case merely showing up is proof of my involvement in a conspiracy to damage the diner.

And even if previous public Facebook plans are made to riot protest in a BART station doesn't shutting off cell service leave the remaining patrons without a means to call for help?  The riot protest has already been coordinated - its not like someone is actively standing on the BART platform publicly calling for assistance in rioting protesting.  (If they were it would be like shouting "fire" in a theater - there are already laws on the books to address that.)

Instead I think that BART is acting more like a building owner who chains the EXIT doors of a theater reasoning that there won't be a fire.

It seems like BART is taking the view that some or all of its patrons are potentially guilty of conspiring to riot protest illegally and therefore it is okay to deny everyone else their rights to use their phones for which they have paid, for which the service providers have paid, and for which services have become a public "utility" like power or water.

Sadly this sort of "you must be guilty" action of the part of government has been creeping into society for years.  If, for example, police find drugs on one person in a car in most states you, who have none, are also considered "guilty" do to an implicit conspiracy.

The long term effect of these types of laws and actions such as BART create chilling societal effects.

For example, I no longer give anyone I do not know a ride.  Why?  Because I don't know what you might have on you and I do not want to pay the price for your stupidity should I be stopped.

This makes society a less friendly place in general because those that are responsible are treated as if they are not.

Another effect is that, since you treat me as if I were a criminal or outlaw in the first place, then I lose nothing by acting like one.

Actions such as BARTs make using the subway a negative choice for patrons - particularly if they have need of communication while in route.

It seems like all of this is the slow and steady drive to "thought crime".  Social media makes it easier for the government to "listen in" on what the citizenry is up to (due to their own ignorance or lack of understanding that posting it on a publicly viewable website might be a crime).

Of course, this will only catch "stupid" criminals who Facebook about their criminal activities.

Which will lead to 'profiling' of the stupid and criminals.

Which will lead to making places like Facebook 'fairer' so that the stupid and criminal are not singled out.

Which will lead to more government agencies to help stupid people use Facebook "properly".

Which will lead to the "virtual Facebook police".

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

An Short Iodine Story...

Mrs. Wolf told me an interesting iodine story the other day.

Six months ago her friend, Miss C, had confided that she had recently had a mammogram that revealed a small lump in her breast.  The doctor, while concerned, suggested she come back in six months to have a follow up.

They had been previously discussing iodine and its affects so Miss C decided that she would purchase some over-the-counter skin-use-only iodine from the local drug store and apply it to her skin.

After doing applying this to herself regularly for six months it came time to visit the doctor again.

The doctor was shocked to discover that the lump in Miss C. breast could not be found.  So shocked, in fact, that she sent Miss C for additional tests - none of which could locate the lump.

Miss C received a clean bill of health with an admonishment to periodically checking in with the doctor.

Did this simple at-home iodine treatments alter Miss C's outcome?

You'll have to decide that for yourself.

However, there are many sites around the internet (such as this, this and this) claiming links between breast cancer and iodine deficiency.

A few months ago Mrs. Wolf was talking to a woman who was in graduate school (I forget the exact discipline - microbiology or something like that) studying the genetic aspects of cancer.  Mrs. Wolf asked if the woman thought that cancer was in any way related to diet.

"Oh no," said the woman, "its a genetic disease."

So Mrs. Wolf asked "don't some cancer's come from the environment?"

"Well, yes," replied the woman, "certain forms..."

"Isn't your diet part of your environment?" asked Mrs. Wolf.

A lengthy discussion ensued.

The woman conceded that indeed it would be possible that cancer and malnutrition could be related.

More interesting, though, was that until her discussion with Mrs. Wolf it would have never occurred to the woman to think that diet and/or environmental changes could improve a cancer outcome.  Her education was such that looking at cancer beyond the standard dogma was simply out of the question.

(Kind of like "Of course the world is flat.")

While its nice the FDA is so very worried about all the evils of things like cigarettes and child safety you have to wonder why there is so much less interest in something as simple as proper nutrition.

Then there is lung cancer and smoking.

I have always been fascinated by the fact that 1/3 of all smokers don't get lung cancer.  Why one third - what's so special about them.  The relationship of smoking to cancer is a statistical one.  Not every one who smokes gets cancer and not everyone with lung cancer smokes.

I am starting to wonder if its in fact the case that things like diet play a significant roll in lung cancer.  Could it be that those with certain dietary elements, for example, high iodine, could react to smoking differently.  The Japanese, for example, smoke quite a bit and yet their lung cancer rates are much lower (though rates for other cancer are equivalent to the US and some types are higher.)

Could it be their high-iodine diet?

See this for some interesting results:  "The risk of lung cancer in the United States study population was at least 10 times higher than in Japanese despite the higher percentage of smokers among the Japanese."

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Bioweapons in Your Sinus... (Part II)

On of the most popular posts I ever wrote was "Bioweapons in Your Sinus" on my personal blog.

If you suffer from any sort of sinus problems you should read it.

Around the same time I also wrote "Are You Iodine Deficient" - no where near as popular.

One of the interesting things about these blogs is it makes tracking changes in my life pretty simple.  I can look up what I was doing a year ago and have a pretty good idea of where are I stand today relative to then.

I discovered iodine deficiency after I wrote about sinuses.  If you read the Sinus article you will see that I have been a big fan of sinus flushing over the last several years to clear out infections.  Over all I would say that up to that point it was about the most effective thing I could do.

However, in the eight or nine months since I wrote those articles I have been following along a different path.  It started with this post: "Where For Art Thou, Oh Iodine".

I discovered that the entire US is, for the most part, vastly iodine deficient, myself included.

In the intervening months I have undertaken to fix this problem by supplementing my diet with iodine as I describe in the Where post - I basically added a drop or two a day of Lugols 2.2% solution to my diet.

My results so far:

- No more need for sinus flushing.  At ten drops a week of Lugols 2.2% my sinus problems have all but disappeared.  Nada, none, zip.

- My chronic athlete's foot, er, well small right toe, went away (in others I have seen an increase in iodine kill off that nasty yellow toenail fungus).

- Not one day of illness.

Over all interesting results.

I surmise from this that I have been supremely iodine deficient and, that with a full complement of iodine for my thyroid to use, I am in dramatically better health that I ever was - even at 54 years of age.

About a month after the iodine article I wrote "ADHD & A Spoon Full of Sugar" about memory loss and other problems.  Since that time (December of 2010) I have been taking Cod Liver Oil as well every day.

This has cleared what I thought was an "old age" mental fog.

(Just to be clear I also upped my Vitamin C dosage to 2000 mg per day from about 1100 mg during this time.)

The bottom line in all of this is that, to my mind least, most of what people think are "wrong" with them - from digestive ails to sinus problems to various other significant health issues are more than likely related to or have a strong nutritional component.

Now iodine today is nothing - nothing in the minds of the medical establishment - nothing of interest for research - really nothing at all.  Most if not all doctors believe that iodized salt is doing the job.

But the problem with that belief is that you'd have to eat an unhealthy amount of iodized salt to get enough iodine.  There is just enough iodine in iodized salt to keep you from getting a goiter - and that's about it - not enough for proper bodily function.

A while back I heard on the radio an interesting comment on vitamin C.  How, the commentator asked a guest, did the government RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for vitamin C get set he wondered.

The guest replied that it was based an amount large enough so that you would not get scurvy.

Well, asked the commentator, is that enough as in what you really need?

No, replied the guest.  The amount in the RDA is really about "enough" so that you don't see the symptoms of scurvy - but not enough for proper nutrition.

(When my wife bred English Mastiffs she always supplemented their diets with 1000 mg of vitamin C because though dogs produce their own vitamin C they do not produce enough if they are large.)

This conversation, for me, sums up modern medicine: "Just enough nutrition so that you don't have symptoms - we'll fix the rest with costly, dangerous prescription drugs."

The truth, of course, is that if you had proper nutrition you probably wouldn't need nearly as much "modern medicine" to be healthy.

I believe this enough to follow it in my own life - and it's been vastly successful so far.

(Of course I fully expect that I could drop over dead at any time just because that's how the world works - but even that would not change my mind at this point.)