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Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Licensing of the unrevii email archives (wasre: Progress on...)

Eric Armstrong wrote:
>The real issue here is that, for lack of profit, hugely beneficial
>potential remedies go unadvertised, unpromoted, and unrecognized.    (01)

I would just like to feed the plight of poor countries into that
equation. Any patent just raises the barrier to entry of a remedy
into a poor economy.
And what are the chances that the chemicals from that remedy
came from the purchase of land or knowledge at a snap from
some hapless native, who then sees only fancy pill boxes in shops
that he and his family can no longer afford, and land that he
can no longer access.    (02)

So maybe profit isn't the key that opens the door in all cases(?).    (03)

Peter    (04)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Eric Armstrong" <eric.armstrong@sun.com>
To: <ba-unrev-talk@bootstrap.org>; "hm" <eric@treelight.com>
Sent: Saturday, April 27, 2002 10:29 PM
Subject: Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Licensing of the unrevii email archives
(wasre: Progress on...)    (05)

> Paul Fernhout wrote:
> > Fundamentally, there is an implicit widespread belief that ideas
> > owners are worthless because no one will invest in their use without
> > monopoly on them (e.g. no one would produce a drug out of patent --
> > wonder why you can buy aspirin?), which conflicts with the notion
> > ideas without owners are the most valuable to the world because
> > can use them at any time.
> Unfortunately, there is a huge arena in which I must violently
> with this assertion.
> There is a need to distinguish cases, here, and I'm not sure I see the
> right way to do. So when Paul goes on to point out the nature of
> free-for-use government patents for ideas developed in universities,
> he has a solid point.
> However, being as well-versed as I am in the potential for nutritional
> remedies to a wide variety of chronic ailments, and the even more
> significant capacity to prevent such conditions nutritionally, I am
> absolutely appalled at which the degree to which ignorance abounds
> on the subject.
> There are many cases today in which a nutritional remedy is not only
> as effective than a drug, but even *more* effective. (At one point I
> started to collect a database of nutritional remedies, but there are
> multiple levels of interaction --atomic, chemical,
> biological systems, symptom/response -- that I couldn't figure out a
> good way to trace all of the effects, take into account what we can
> hypothesis vs. what we know, find and eliminate false data and
> correlations vs. cause & effect interactions, and adjust query
> to the level that would be most useful to the inquirer -- hence my
> interest in knowledge-management systems.)
> For the purposes of this discussion, lets just assume that nutritional
> remedies exist. (Example: anti-inflammatories. You can take a drug.
> Or you can take water, salt, MSM, Vitamin C, and/or a variety of
> other nutirients which are anti-inflammatory.)
> But what we see instead are millions invested in testing and patenting
> new drugs, and millions more invested in promoting them to doctors.
> Doctors, then happily prescribe anything which fixes the current
> problem, with seemingly no concern whatever for the long range
> effects. Their attitude appears to be, "when the next problem appears,
> we'll deal with it then". How? With another drug, of course. And the
> cycle continues.
> I'm not *totally* down on medicine. It's done a lot of good. But
> indoor plumbing, running water, and sanitation has done a thousand
> times as much. Medicine just likes to take the credit.
> The real issue here is that, for lack of profit, hugely beneficial
> potential remedies go unadvertised, unpromoted, and unrecognized.
> It's not a simple one-for-one proposition, either. So health food
> companies, despite their attempts to promote good supplements, can
> only go so far.
> For example, there are a huge number of ways to induce a vitamin C
> deficiency. You can eliminate it from the food supply, or prevent it
> from being ingested. You can restrict the nutrients that reconstitute
> it after it has done its job, thereby increasing the need when lesser
> amounts would usually suffice. Or you can siphon it off so rapidly
> it takes a lot to "plug the gap" (example: knitting a broken bone).
> As a result, you could have a perceived "vitamin C deficiency" where
> the real cause is something else entirely.
> The phenomenal consequence of the complexity that is our bodies is
> that we can do a study where we give mass amounts of Vitamin C
> to a 100 people with a problem, and then see 10 people get cured,
> 30 people see some improvement, and 60 people get no result at all.
> How does medicine react to such results? "Not a cure". My bleeding
> arse, not a cure. TEN PEOPLE WERE CURED. We should be
> designing follow up studies to determine what it was about those 10
> people that would have told us Vitamin C was the cure. And we
> should be investigating the cases where we saw some improvement,
> and be looking for the real underlying causes. The existence of
> improvement is a clue that Vitamin C requirements are higher than
> normal. If we were to find out why, there is another 30 people or so
> we could potentially cure.
> Of the other 60, we should be finding out what's different about their
> cases. Were we doing the right kinds of follow up studies to build up
> our understanding of the complex biological processes that lead to
> health -- instead of looking for one-shot cures -- we could have a
> dramatic impact on health.
> The one thing that can produce an "improvement" across the board
> is symptom relief. If people are sneezing, we can undoubtedly find
> something that stop sneezing in 100% of the people we test. Whether
> that substance is any good for anyone is another question. But as
> long is it doesn't kill people outright, we let it go.
> Yesterday, I heard that a swedish company isolated a compound in
> french fries and potato chips that causes cancer. Yay! Now that
> there is a specific compound that can be pointed to, maybe people
> will stop eating that crap.
> But the scientific foundation for the harm caused by trans fats has
> been published in periodicals accessible to the layman since 1990.
> It's been know for much longer, I believe. But I found in the mid
> to late 90's, and put the information on
> in 1998, or thereabouts.
> The effect of trans fats on cellular interactions is devastating. The
> science can be applied to explain insulin-resistance, diabetes,
> asthma, arthritis, alzheimers, and multiple sclerosis, to name a few.
> Basically, the chemistry of trans fats helps to explain the majority
> degenerative diseases that are endemic to industrial civilization, in
> addition to the plague of obesity we see around us.
> BUT...
> How far does this knowledge penetrate? A little at a time. Extremely
> slowly. Meanwhile, corporations make billions finding new ways to
> put sugar and bad fats into more and more stuff that gets advertised
> heavily and swizzled down.
> The billions that get spent on eating crap then turns into obesity and
> disease, and we spend billions more for diet books, weight loss pills,
> doctor visits, and drugs.
> Diets produce more fat later, while weight loss pills and drugs
> greater harm down the road. So we go back for more, spending even
> more money in the process.
> Basically, the money machine keeps churning, and an unsuspecting
> populace is ground up in the gears.
> Chromium picolinate was patented, as was Ester C. Those companies
> actually had the wherewithal to advertise and have an impact on
> public consciousness. The "pull through" effect of people wanting
> what they provided led to licensing deals which got their supplements
> into more and more products.
> Those success stories happened in a matter of years. Linus Pauling,
> on the other hand, spent decades trying to convince a medical
> establishment that had wax in its ears -- and which continues to
> keep its head buried in the sand to this very day.
> No. The answer, I'm afraid, is social judo. We *have* to create
> profit opportunities for useful discoveries, to hasten their adoption.
> Again, there is value in the government-patent process, too. We need
> a taxonomy which would allow us to distinguish the cases. I don't
> really see it, at the moment. Perhaps the counter-view described above
> will help us to identify it.
>    (06)