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Doctors Remove 132 Pound Ovarian Tumour

A 132-pound ovarian tumor was removed from a 38-year-old Connecticut woman this year, according to two doctors involved in the case.

The patient, who wished to remain anonymous, reported that the tumor began growing at a rate of about 10 pounds per week in November. A medical team, including 12 surgeons, removed it in a five-hour procedure February 14 at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut, according to Dr. Vaagn Andikyan, a gynecologic oncologist for Western Connecticut Health Network and a lead surgeon on the case.

Surgeons remove 132lb tumor
Surgeons remove 132lb tumor

How terrifying to feel something growing inside you at 10 pounds every week. Thank God for science and modern medicine.

Chicago Gun Violence

“New reports reveal a deadly wave of gun violence in Chicago, with nearly forty people shot in three days. A 15-year old boy, a young mother, and even a four-year-old girl sitting on her porch have all been shot dead.

These are just a few of the nearly 40 people who were gunned down in Chicago over a mere three-day period this week.

This level of violence is usually not seen until the middle of summer in Chicago, but as temperatures reached into the 80’s this week criminals were drawn into the streets.

On Monday, one person was shot dead and nine others were wounded. A day later, 12 people were hit by gunfire in a 12-hour period.

However, Wednesday was the worst of all with at least 14 people shot in just nine-hours. This included a 15-year-old boy who was shot in the head while riding the bus home from school.”

Chicago is the perfect example of strict gun control not reducing gun violence. This is because gun ownership on its own is not correlated with higher rates of gun violence.

Until authorities base policy on fact, nothing will change. And the facts are that most gun deaths in the US are suicides. Of the remainder, almost all are committed in localities with high populations of blacks or illegal immigrants, and almost all are related to gang violence or the commission of petty crimes.

Saudi Arabia to Permit Churches

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad has agreed to allow Christians to build churches in Saudi Arabia.

If this is accurate, it is a remarkable breakthrough. Muhammad said that no religions other than Islam should be permitted on the Arabian peninsula. There will be strong resistance from Islamic leaders to any suggestion Christians should be allowed to build churches in Saudi Arabia.

Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has recently pushed through reforms allowing women to drive, and cinemas to be opened. The Saudis are the guardians of the holy sites. This new openness, and willingness to engage in more open trade, talk and travel with Israel, could signal hope for real reform in Islam, and a move away from Wahabist extremism.

Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman meets with President Donald Trump at the White House on March 20th 2018
Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman meets with President Donald Trump at the White House on March 20th 2018

Meeting with Prince Muhammad on March 20th, President Trump described the relationship between the US and Saudia Arabia as “.. probably the strongest it’s ever been.”

Crown Prince Mohammed, speaking in English, described the Kingdom as “the oldest ally of America in the Middle East”, with political, economic and security co-operation as deep foundations for the relationship.

“We know today the relation produced more than four million jobs directly and indirectly,” he said.

Trade and openness lead to peace. Let’s hope that other Islamic countries will follow Saudi Arabia’s lead.

No, Orange Juice Does Not Cause Cancer

Scary headlines claiming orange juice causes cancer still float around the internet, even though the authors of a 2015 study themselves said their findings were not conclusive.

“Grapefruit and orange juices are breakfast staples for many of us. But consuming these in large amounts may be putting us at higher risk of melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – according to a new study.

… Published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the study found people who consumed high amounts of whole grapefruit or orange juice were over a third more likely to develop melanoma, compared with those who consumed low amounts.”

Orange juice causes skin cancer? Probably not.
Orange juice causes skin cancer? Probably not.

Well, maybe. But as I have pointed out before, correlation does not prove causation.

“Though Dr. Wu and colleagues did not investigate the mechanisms underlying the association between citrus fruit consumption and melanoma risk, they speculate that it may be because the fruits are rich in psoralens and furocoumarins, which are believed to make the skin more sensitive to the sun.” So, just guessing, then.

Let’s suggest another, simpler, possibility. More citrus juices are consumed in places where more citrus is grown. Citrus fruit is almost entirely grown in warmer climates with lots of sunshine. Exposure to sunlight is the predominant cause of melanoma.

I think William of Ockham would prefer my theory.

 

Trump Right on Korean Peace

South Korean President Moon Jae-in says President Trump deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing about the new rapport between North and South Korea, and for getting North Korea to agree to dismantle its nuclear arms programme:

South Korean President Moon Jae-in thinks US President Donald Trump deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end the standoff with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program, according to a South Korean official.

“President Trump should win the Nobel Peace Prize. What we need is only peace,” Mr Moon told a meeting of senior secretaries, according to a presidential Blue House official who briefed media.

Mr Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Friday pledged at a summit to end hostilities between their countries and work toward the “complete denuclearisation” of the Korean peninsula.”

Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in walk together at the border village of Panmunjom
Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in walk together at the border village of Panmunjom

A reporter yesterday called out to President Trump on the White House lawn: “Do you think you deserve the Nobel Peace Prize?”

Trump answered: “Peace is the prize.”

Amen to that.

James Randi and Homeopathy

Need a dose of common-sense? Watch this. Even if you have seen it before, it is worth another look.

Also, homeopathy is stupid. So is naturopathy. So is chiropractic. None of these have any basis in science or reality. None of them work. Don’t waste your money.

Vaccines, Anti-vaxxers and Faulty Reasoning

My chiropractor told me I don’t have the gene for autism, so it must have been caused by something else, probably vaccines.

I blame hair conditioner. Widespread use of hair conditioner began in the seventies, shortly before the alarming rise in diagnoses of autism. Well, what do you expect, rubbing chemicals into your head? Even now, places where hair conditioner is not used have a far lower reported incidence of autism. The more hair conditioner a population uses, the higher the rate of autism diagnosis in that community.

Well, no. I don’t really think autism is caused by hair conditioner, though that correlation does exist.

This is the kind of argument frequently used by anti-vaccination campaigners; this happened, then that happened, so this must have caused that. My child was vaccinated, then I noticed his ears turning purple. That had never happened before. Big pharma is trying to poison us!

This kind of faulty reasoning is so old and so common it has a name; post hoc ergo propter hoc. After this therefore because of this. The ancient Greeks and Romans knew this did not necessarily follow over two thousand years ago.

But  anti-vaxxers still manage to fool some people, potentially endangering themselves, their children, and others.

A couple of years ago in a doctors office in Perth, a nurse was drawing down a vaccine to administer to a four year old girl. The child began having convulsions while she was waiting with her mother. If her convulsions had started just a few minutes later, medical staff would never have been able to convince her parents they were not caused by the vaccine.

Just because something happens after something else does not mean the first thing caused the second.

Changes in Climate Have Nothing to Do With Changes in Atmospheric CO2

CO2 is not a driver of climate. Climate changes constantly. There is no long-term correlation between rises in CO2 and subsequent rises in globally averaged temperatures.

CO2 is vital for all life on earth. At levels below 300 ppm, plant growth and productivity begins to be severely impaired. Optimum levels for plant growth seems to be about 1000ppm. This is the level greenhouse operators aim for to give maximum growth and yields. Humans and other animals cope easily with levels as high as 4,000 ppm. Our exhaled breath contains as much as 35,00ppm and is safely used for CPR.

Atmospheric CO2 is currently at near its lowest level ever on geological timescales.
Atmospheric CO2 is currently at near its lowest level ever on geological timescales.

 

Changes in CO2 do not drive changes in climate.
Changes in CO2 do not drive changes in climate.

The City of Adelaide

In 1916 the ship the City of Adelaide was wrecked near Magnetic Island in Queensland. This is what remains now.

Wreck of the City of Adelaide, off Magnetic Island, Queensland, Australia
Wreck of the City of Adelaide, off Magnetic Island, Queensland, Australia

Seems like an appropriate time for one of my favourite poems:

Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said — “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

Multivitamins and Supplements

For almost everyone, multivitamins and supplements are not necessary, do not work, and are probably harmful.

Taking vitamin A dramatically increases the risk of developing lung cancer in smokers.

Excess intake of vitamin E increases mortality (in other words, you are likely to die sooner), increases rates of heart failure, and significantly increases the risk of prostate cancer.

Taking calcium supplements actually increases the risk of suffering a hip fracture, as well as increasing the risk of death from cardio-vascular disease.

Taking anti-oxidants increases your risk of getting colon cancer.

If you are pregnant, a dark-skinned person who lives in a cold or dark environment, a diabetic who takes metformin, or if you have been on high dose of a proton pump inhibitor for more than a year, you should talk to you doctor (a real medical doctor, not a scammer like a chiropractor or naturopath), who will check, and if necessary advise about possible short term supplementation.

For everyone else, unless you have been diagnosed with a specific deficiency, vitamins and supplements are more likely to harm you than do you good. And yet people in the USA spend more than $32 billion per year on them.

Police Priorities

“A driver who flipped the bird at a traffic camera is about to be a jailbird.

A court in England has sentenced Timothy Hill, 67, to eight months in prison after he was caught using an illegal laser jammer to avoid speeding tickets.”

Timothy Hill, laser speed trap jammer and moron.
Timothy Hill, radar speed trap jammer and moron.

OK, Timothy Hill is an idiot. And probably not a very nice person. Speeding is not OK, and being rude to law enforcement is stupid. But eight months in jail? When Yorkshire police apparently don’t have time to investigate burglaries, common assaults or the mass rape of teenage girls? Something is very wrong here.

We all know resources are limited. Please, police – priorities!

Aflie Evans, Alder Hey Hospital, and Socialised Medicine

“Britain’s Court of Appeal on Wednesday rejected a new bid by the parents of terminally ill toddler Alfie Evans to take him to Italy and continue his life support against the wishes of his doctors and judges.

Doctors say the 23-month-old boy suffers from a degenerative neurological condition that has left him in a “semi-vegetative state” with almost no brain function. Medics caring for him at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool have said further treatment is futile, and the toddler’s life support was withdrawn Monday after a series of court rulings sided with the doctors and blocked further medical treatment.

Alfie’s parents continued their fight to take him to Italy to be cared for at the Vatican’s children’s hospital, which has said it is willing to take him.

High Court Justice Anthony Hayden dismissed the parents’ case on Tuesday, and said his ruling represented “the final chapter in the life of this extraordinary little boy.” From the US ABC.

Alfie Evans nursed by his mother Kate James at Alder Hey Hospital
Alfie Evans nursed by his mother Kate James at Alder Hey Hospital

People are upset. They are right to be. It is one thing for a hospital to decide it can no longer care for a dying patient. Resources are limited, and bed space, medication, nursing time and other resources which are given to one patient cannot be made available to others, who may be in greater need, or who in the opinion of medical staff have a greater chance of recovery.

It is another thing entirely to use the force of the law to prevent loving parents from taking Alfie to another hospital where treatment is being offered.

Life

Gary Larsen is one of the greatest cartoonists ever. What a pity he actually retired when he said he was going to! I am hoping I may have a the same privilege sometime in the next five years.

Gary Larsen Butterfly Life
Gary Larsen Butterfly Life

Life. It’s not really like that, thought it sometimes seems so.

Julian of Norwich had it better, when she said “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”