Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Best Font and Background colors for your eyes.

I think red font on black background will cause the least eyestrain from a quantum physics/chemistry perspective. Red has the least amount of energy and hence it's the least likely to hit electrons and to cause them to move into higher energy levels and to bounce them off into other atoms which tends to produce ions (and producing ions tends to cause unwanted chemical reactions). Red is basically the least destructive color which is why it doesn't destroy your film during development but other colors will. Same thing with your eyes, it's most likely the least harmful to your sensitive eyes just as well.

Also whenever something emits light it doesn't emit one color, it emits a distribution curve of frequencies. One of the reasons why CRT monitors and televisions were bad for your eyes if you sat close to them is that they emit more X - Rays than LCD monitors do. However, the color you see is determined by which frequency/frequencies are emitted from the light source and by the intensity of each frequency being emitted from the particular light source you are looking at. Light emitted from your LCD monitor (just like any other light source) does emit some UV and it does emit some X - rays, though with LCD monitors its not as intense as with CRT monitors. However, red light will tend to emit less ultraviolet and X - rays than white or purple light (since the intensity of red peaks at a lower frequency). and UV and higher energy radiation is more damaging than lower energy radiation. While stopping a light source from emitting harmful radiation is difficult it maybe possible to filter such radiation (ie: sunglasses do a good job filtering UV though they're probably not that ideal for a monitor).

Most of the light that we naturally see is reflected light, we hardly ever look directly into emitted light. Looking into a light bulb is bad for your eyes partly because you're not looking at reflected light, you're looking directly at emitted light. Likewise, looking into a monitor is bad for your eyes partly for the same reason. This is why a black background is optimal for causing the least amount of damage, you want to reduce the overall amount of light being directly emitted into your eyes (BTW, black is a shade, not a color). A black background will also reduce the U.V. and X - rays being emitted into your eyes.

and of course some common sense things to consider are to ensure that the brightness and contrast of your monitor are set appropriately (not too bright, not too dark), ensure you choose an appropriate font, font size, and monitor resolution, ensure you enable anti - aliasing and use something like cleartype fonts, and ensure that the room you are in has proper lighting.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why intellectual property lasts too long

I think 20 year patents are entirely too long, I mean, how much does the future amount generated from a patent 20 years from now contribute to the present value of the patent compare to the present value of the money you will currently spend for R&D on the product that you have patented? It just doesn't seem like the money generated for a patent twenty years from now will give you much incentive to add a lot of R&D dollars into a product you are developing now being that those dollars are worth a lot more now than the present value of that future amount generated by the patent.

But if you're a big corporation why not lobby for the patents you apply for to last 100 years, what harm does it do to you? and there is incentive for patents that you currently do have not to expire any time soon no matter how old the patent is being that you maybe generating revenue on the patent now meaning it contributes more to your current present value (even if the patent is 100 years old, the current money you generate from it now contributes largely to the present value). This explains why corporations always try to lobby for intellectual property extensions.

Also, one has to realize that in twenty years from now many of the corporation's executives and members and employees (ie: CEO, COO, CFO, etc...) would probably be either retired or working for another corporation and many of the stock holders are going to be different people (ie: stocks are bought and sold every day). Sure some current stockholders still may have stock in the corporation in the future (but again, what's the present value of the future amount of a patent twenty years from now to an investor vs the money he could get now by simply having less money put into current R&D. Doesn't seem there is much incentive to add that much more money into R&D now based on revenue generated in twenty years from now being that the present value to an investor of that invested money is easily worth substantially more than the present value of the future amount generated by the patent twenty years from now) but the corporation may have many new stockholders and many of the old stockholders may not even be with the corporation by then. Many many things could also happen in twenty years, the invention could be rendered obsolete by newer technology even, the economic conditions or some other changes (ie: political) might make the patent twenty years from now irrelevant, meaning that some investors and executives probably aren't even really thinking twenty years down the line in terms of that patent right now, they're thinking more of how they can make a fast buck with the patents they have now. I mean how often does the average American change jobs even, how many years? Many things would change in twenty years rendering the revenue generated from the patent twenty years from now irrelevant to many of the current investors and corporate employees and executives. and this is ESPECIALLY true for copyright which lasts much longer than 20 years even.

and when I say the present value of the future amount 20 years from now I mean the future amount on the twentieth year. Meaning the money generated in that year (alone) is not going to give you much additional incentive at all to invest a lot more money into R&D presently, so there really is little reason for patents to last that long.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Red Yeast Rice and the FDA

I read about Red Yeast rice a long time ago and even posted a (now expired) webpage about it here
( ). However, I decided to look it up on google and came across some interesting websites and updates. I want to post some comments on this thread.

First, because red yeast rice was found to contain lovastatin, the FDA made an administrative decision that this dietary supplement (often sold as Cholestin in earlier times) was a regulable drug, and thus removed it from the unregulated shelves of the health food store.

Basically, the FDA decided to ban this drug because it contained a regulated substance. At the time that this happened, there were no studies indicating that it was harmful, no cases of anyone dying from it, and there were studies indicating that it was an effective drug at reducing cholesterol.

Studies using the "original" form of red yeast rice accordingly confirmed significant reductions in cholesterol levels.

Results from a large randomized trial conducted in China, published in the American Journal of Cardiology, show that, in patients with prior myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) who were given an extract made from red yeast rice, the risk of having another heart attack and the risk of dying were reduced by nearly 50%.

In the Chinese Coronary Secondary Prevention Study, nearly 5,000 heart attack survivors received either Xuezhikang (XZK, a red yeast rice extract) or placebo in a double-blinded randomized clinical trial -- neither the patient nor the doctors knew which substance individual patients received. After an average of 4.5 years, patients receiving XZK had a 45% relative reduction in heart attacks and in death.

From my understanding, the Chinese have used Red Yeast rice in their food for at least hundreds of years ( ).

Approximately one year before Baycol was removed from the market in August 2001, its manufacturer Bayer, using FDA data on other statins found that Baycol had 20 times more reports of rhabdomyolysis (an often-fatal destruction of muscle) per million prescriptions than Lipitor, Wolfe stated.
By the time Baycol was banned, there were 1,899 cases of rhabdomyolysis, a significant number having occurred between the time there was unequivocal evidence that FDA should have banned the drug and when it was actually banned a year later.

If memory serves me correctly, some people died from this drug (

Then, in 1999, the FDA ruling on red rice yeast was overturned by the court of the District of Utah

The court basically ruled that, because the substance in Red Yeast Rice occurs naturally in red yeast rice, the FDA can't regulate red yeast rice just because it contains that substance.

But finally, in 2000, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that red yeast rice IS subject to FDA regulation. Since then, the FDA has aggressively gone after companies selling red rice yeast containing lovastatin. While red rice yeast is still available on the grocer's shelf, the stuff that is out there now is apparently fermented using a different process, and apparently (I say "apparently" because it is in fact extraordinarily difficult to find out what dietary supplements do and do not contain) does NOT contain lovastatin.

The FDA seems to be fine with not outlawing drugs that seem to be far more dangerous than Red Yeast Rice.

In an article by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD we are told, “The most common side effect (of statin drugs) is muscle pain and weakness, a condition called rhabdomyolysis, most likely due to the depletion of Co-Q10, a nutrient that supports muscle function.” Rhabdomyalysis is a common, many times lethal, tearing down of the muscle tissue which is then distributed into the bloodstream. The article goes on to say, “Dr. Beatrice Golomb of San Diego, California is currently conducting a series of studies on statin side effects. The industry insists that only 2-3 percent of patients get muscle aches and cramps but in one study, Golomb found that 98 percent of patients taking Lipitor and one-third of the patients taking Mevachor (a lower-dose statin) suffered from muscle problems.

Who's side is the FDA on. It seems like they are siding with the pharmaceutical companies on this one. I googled red yeast rice and the FDA and this came up,

FDA Warns Consumers to Avoid Red Yeast Rice Products Promoted on Internet as Treatments for High Cholesterol
Products found to contain unauthorized drug
"This risk is even more serious because consumers may not know the side effects associated with lovastatin and the fact that it can adversely interact with other medications," said Steven Galson, M.D., M.P.H., director of FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Basically, the FDA is warning people to avoid Red Yeast rice because it can be harmful despite the fact that there are few, if any, studies indicating this. One possibility is that they will try to control the usage of Red Yeast rice even more and they may even try to eliminate the distribution of any information supporting its usage (ie: studies). Sometime in the future, you might find that Google will stop presenting any studies supporting the usage of Red Yeast Rice (and may present a bunch of FDA or other websites discouraging its usage instead. A good example is in the case of science and origins. If you try to google something like, "criticisms of evolution" Google tends to favor websites that support evolution and the ones criticizing it don't seem to be nearly the strongest critical material out there. If I google "criticisms of evolution" I should receive many websites criticizing, or attempting to criticize, evolution near the top. I have to specifically google something like 'Answers in genesis' to get their website) and the FDA, and/or other organizations, may even fabricate studies indicating that Red Yeast rice is more harmful than it really is (and is less helpful than it really is). What does everyone think?

Look at radio stations and television. It used to be much less controlled by single entities with a single agenda/ point of view and it used to be much more controlled by many many entities with various points of views criticizing each other on all sorts of subjects. Then, the FCC greatly reduced the amount of regulation which made more stringent control reducing the freedom of speech taking place over the airwaves much easier to attain ( ). In the 1970,'s no one would have thought that single entities would have so much control over our freedom of speech over the airwaves. Yet, now we see that they are increasingly having more and more control over our freedom of speech over the airwaves and censoring anything that they disagree with (for example, you will probably never hear about this red yeast rice issue over the airwaves, and there is an array of other issues that you should be aware of that hardly ever make it on public television). Could it be that, sometime in the future, they may have similar controls over our freedom of speech over the internet? What does everyone think? I strongly encourage other entities to make their own search engines to help counter this problem and hopefully they will fight any lawsuits against them for displaying websites that question what is commonly promoted by the secular community (ie: sites encouraging the legalization (and usage) of Red Yeast rice for those who could benefit from it (and sites displaying studies showing the benefits of Red Yeast Rice and cites questioning the legitimacy of the FDA)). We also need to make sure that our society is set up such that those that fight for our freedom of speech (ie: fight lawsuits that may challenge it. This is especially true in the case of science and origins where public schools censor anything that may question naturalism and naturalistic philosophies like evolution) will win (we need to make sure those making the decisions (ie: judges) will vote in a way that encourages academic freedom, open inquiry, and freedom of speech).

In 2006 Liu et al published a meta-analysis of clinical trials (Chinese Med 2006;1:4-17). The article cited 93 published, controlled clinical trials (91 published in Chinese). Total cholesterol decreased by 35 mg/dl, LDL-cholesterol by 28 mg/dl, triglycerides by 35 mg/dl, and HDL-cholesterol increased by 6 mg/dl. Zhao et al reported on a four-year trial in people with diabetes (J Cardio Pharmacol 2007;49:81-84). There was a 40-50% reduction in cardio events and cardio deaths in the treated group. Ye et al reported on a four-year trial in elderly Chinese patients with heart disease (J Am Geriatr Soc 2007;55:1015-22). Deaths were down 32%. There is at least one report in the literature of a statin-like myopathy caused by red yeast rice (Mueller PS. Ann Intern Med 2006;145:474-5). An article in the June 15, 2008, issue of the American Journal of Cardiology found that red yeast rice may provide benefits beyond those provided by statins. The researchers reported that the benefits seemed to exceed those reported with lovastatin alone.[1]

The prescription drugs called statins that are being taken by so many people are life-threatening. Bayer's drug Baycol had to be removed from the market in August, 2001 because it caused over 100 deaths. Yet, the FDA wants to force you to take these drugs rather than the much safer RYR.
I have been taking CholesteSure by Natrol* with my physician's knowledge and he is very happy with the results of the lowering of my cholesterol. I tried one of the drug companies' cholesterol lowering drugs last November, 2000 and almost died. I had an allergic reaction and my doctor told me to stop taking it. I did. He said we would just monitor my cholesterol and for me not take any prescription medications. I decided to do a little research on the web and found many studies done on Red Yeast Rice. I talked to my doctor in January, 2001 and he agreed that I should try it. I did and after 3 months my total cholesterol dropped down from 286 to 225. I have had no side effects. Also my blood pressure is lower. * Editor's note: Due to FDA pressure, Natrol no longer carries Red Yeast Rice products.

The statin drugs do lower cholesterol, but the reason drug companies spend so much money to market synthetic or modified substances is that they cannot patent natural substances. When it was discovered that the statin-like molecule in red-yeast-rice occurred naturally, FDA should have withdrawn the patent on Mevacor.

However, the rule of FDA on red yeast rice that it should be withdrawn, is not correct since cholestin found in red yeast rice is a natural substance and falls under the protection of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act.

Of course, the FDA can remove any substance that poses a health risk from the market , natural or otherwise, but their actions on this product clearly shows their bias against dietary supplements and their favorable treatment of drugs.

The study, a 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study conducted at UCLA, involved 83 volunteers taking a proprietary red yeast rice supplement. Main outcome measures were total cholesterol, total triacylglycerol, and HDL and LDL cholesterol measured at weeks 8, 9, 11 and 12. Total cholesterol concentrations decreased significantly in the red yeast rice-treated group compared with the placebo-treated group. LDL cholesterol and total triacylglycerol were also reduced with the supplement.8

"LDL (bad cholesterol) levels dropped 15 percent among patients taking the red yeast supplement over an eight-week period," said Dr. Heber. "A 15 percent reduction is highly significant. Individuals following a very strict diet—without taking a cholesterol lowering supplement—can only expect to lower their cholesterol by 10 percent at most."

A second study, directed by Dr. James Rippe of Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, found similar results. Doctors in 12 medical practices across the country put 233 people on red yeast rice for eight weeks. Their cholesterol levels fell from an average of 242 to 206.

7. Heber D. Natural Remedies for a Healthy Heart. Garden City Park, NY: Avery; 1998.)

8. Cholesterol-lowering effects of a proprietary Chinese red-yeast-rice dietary supplement. Heber D, Yip I, Ashley JM, Elashoff DA, Elashoff RM, Go VL, Am J Clin Nutr 1999 Feb 69:2 231-6

It has been used in Chinese medicine since at least 800 A.D. for various purposes and to remove "blood blockages."

Some American pharmaceutical company gets ahold of this stuff and extracts the specific chemical that lowers cholesterol, goes through the FDA, it's good stuff, few side-effects and the patent goes through.

Now, since red rice yeast is sold as a supplement (and has a controlled drug in it,) the FDA calls it illegal and bans it's sale. Allegedly, the only supplements of it that you can get do not contain the statin any longer. It is banned in it's original form.


This is truly wrong and disturbing. This is the equivalent of a pharmaceutical company patenting the "drug" that cures scurvy (vitamin C) and getting the FDA to ban the sale of all citrus fruit and other foods that contain vitamin C.

Also see

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Terminating Photon Hypothesis

I'm not really that well versed in physics, so what I'm saying may not make sense.

Cosmologists predicted that a wrap-around Universe would act like a hall of mirrors, with images from distant objects being repeated multiple times across the sky.

Doughnut-shaped Universe bites back

I came out with this completely crazy hypothesis a long time ago and some people at the time thought it was nuts. I’m not saying it’s true (chances are that it’s not), but I do think it’s something worth considering. The reason I bring it up is because, while this quote does not directly support my crazy hypothesis, at least it doesn’t contradict it (which kinda made me think that my hypothesis might be crazy enough to be true). My crazy hypothesis assumes the First Law of Thermodynamics is true across the entire universe.

The universe is expanding at an increasing rate. This is often referred to as “spacial expansion” and it is assumed that space itself is expanding. The question is, where does all the energy “come from” to cause everything in the universe to move outward at an increasing rate? Well, all these photons are “exiting” the universe, or reaching the “end.” When these photons reach the “end” of the universe, they "terminate" and this energy is lost. That energy is (at least partly) replaced by accelerated spacial expansion. So part of the quantity of energy that is “gained” from “spacial expansion” is lost when photons reach the end of the universe. What we could try and do is see if we can calculate about how much ‘photon energy’ is reaching the end of the universe and terminating and about how much energy is required for everything in the universe to push outward at the acceleration rate that it does and see if they are roughly the same. Again, this crazy hypothesis is probably false, just something to consider. Also, if the universe is donut shaped, it could be the case that the photons that reach the "middle void" section of the universe also terminate and the lost energy is replaced by the energy required for accelerated spacial expansion.

One problem with my above hypothesis is that, if the universe is expanding faster than C, how are photons ever supposed to reach the end?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Multiverse or Multifanatical?

I posted some stuff on uncommondescent about the alleged multiverse and since not all of it got through (at least not yet, it might sometime in the future), I wanted to post it here.

Original: William J. Murray
It might be interesting to note that a subjectively-collapsing wave-function universe might be entirely indistinguishable from a universe inhabited from a personal, omnipotent God; it would also account for miraculous, transcendental phenomena, life after death, and even the actual (in any meaningful sense of the word) existence of God.

Lets apply the multiverse to the criteria required for something to be scientific: falsifiability. The criteria to falsify ID is rather straight forward, so I’m not going to go over that here (since we’ve gone over it several times in the past).

The problem with the multiverse is that, no matter what combination of evidence exists within this universe, no matter how this universe is oriented, no matter what we can and can’t observe, no matter what happens, this just happens to be a universe with this combination of evidence. In other words, no matter what combination of evidence exists within this universe, it does not falsify the multiverse.

If such predictive theories are not useful, then MWI becomes a fun bit of sophistry and nothing more; if such predictive theories are useful, as in quantum computing and other applications, then MWI is much like “a Designer” in I.D.; you might never be able to prove there are in fact other universes, but you can certainly prove that phenomena in this universe behaves as if there are.

The difference here is that we know what design looks like because we ourselves can design. We don’t know how this universe should behave or look like if there are multiple universes since we can never experimentally observe the difference in behavior between one independent universe and one universe within multiple universes. One can only speculate how this universe should behave or look like if it is within many universes. How do we know all of the observable phenomena in this universe aren’t simply a function of this universe?

Many worlds: Maybe easier to make pay than make sense? (Uncommondescent)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Are Graphing Calculators Overpriced?

Arguments for them being over - priced

A $100 PDA or cell phone outperforms a TI83+ (of equal price) by a huge margin (far more processing power and memory. I can get a $100 PDA with a 200 mhz processor whereas the TI83+ only has 6 mhz). They have color screens and can transfer information from and to a computer much faster than a graphing calculator (A TI83+ does not have a color screen. A color screen can be useful when graphing multiple curves on one screen for comparison). People are willing to write (and have written) free complicated CAS math software for PDA's and such and for computers and often times release it under the GPL. Some of the free CAS software (at least the ones for your computer) can do everything your TI83+ can do and more. Many of these devices come with sophisticated operating systems which demonstrates that it's not that expensive to write software for them. PDA's and cell phones often come with lithium ion batteries which have a much longer usage time than alkaline batteries and are re - chargeable. Furthermore, PDA's, GPS devices, and cell phones do all kinds of stuff that graphing calculators don't do (they have speakers, microphones, they transmit and receive signals, make and receive phone calls, they can take pictures, connect to wi-fi, many cell phones have GPS built in, etc...). No one is asking TI to make their graphing calculators have any of these features, which should make their cost far less. The $100 T - mobile Dash (with batteries. I think this is with a contract) weights a little more than half as much as a Ti83+ does.
The open source community practically begs cell phone companies to make their cell phones open platform so they can write free operating systems and software for them, they would probably be happy to write GPL software for these calculators (and linux is notorious for being stable).

Arguments against.

Ti 83+'s are more reliable than these devices (often outlasting them by years). They use little power, allowing them to use alkaline batteries which have a lower self - discharge rate enabling them to sit idle for longer periods of time. These batteries are also cheaper. Lithium Ion batteries can cost from $18.99 to $33.98 to replace, and sometimes more. I can get a pair of alkaline batteries for $1 and a Ti83+ requires 4. Also, with other calculators (besides TI) one can get a slightly better calculator, in terms of hardware, for an equal price.