Thursday, December 29, 2005

Aussies Nail Malaria’s Tactics

From The Red Herring:

Scientists discover how the most deadly malaria parasite tricks the immune system.

Australian scientists have figured out how the world’s most deadly malaria parasite evades the immune system in a discovery that could lead to new treatments for the disease that kills an estimated 2.7 million people a year.

The findings were published online Wednesday in the journal Nature.

It turns out that the parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, is a master at deception, switching between different camouflage proteins as a fugitive might change jackets to evade the police. Like the police, human immune system cells cannot predict which camouflage the parasite will use next.

The parasite activates one camouflaged protein at a time, keeping the others inactive until the immune system recognizes that particular disguise and a new one is needed.

“It's like a leopard being able to change its spots,” said Alan Cowman, an international research scholar at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia.

“New forms come up, and the immune system beats them down again,” he added. “Because of this a lot of people think you need five years of constant exposure to malaria in its different disguises to gain immunity.”

Many children, who make up three quarters of the estimated 2.7 million people who die annually from malaria, do not live through the infection long enough to develop immunity.

Promoting Change
The researchers were able to explain how the parasite exercises such control over the camouflage proteins it expresses. It does this using a special region of DNA called a promoter.

“The promoter is all you need for activation and silencing,” said Dr. Cowman. “It's the main site of action where everything is happening. This is the first time anyone has actually been able to infiltrate an antigenic variation program.”

P. falciparum uses a protein to decorate the exterior of the red blood cells it invades. The protein causes the cells to adhere to the lining of the blood vessels, taking them out of the main circulation where the cells would likely be destroyed.

However white blood cells can still learn to identify the infected red blood cells and destroy them. Therefore the parasite has evolved a genetic mechanism which allows it to switch to a different protein.

New Therapies
The scientists say their new discovery could lead to new treatments which interfere with the parasite’s strategy of switching disguises.

Given the global toll of the disease, few would argue that pharmaceutical research into malaria has been disappointingly limited.

There is new hope, however. In late October, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced it would give $258.3 million for the development of a malaria vaccine, drugs, and research to combat the disease (see Gates’ $258M Grant for Malaria).

This is a significant step up from the $323-million total global funding in 2004 for malaria research and development. But critics would argue that still much more needs to be done. Researching and developing a drug all the way to approval frequently costs pharmaceutical companies more than $1 billion.

(Shamefully) Only two companies are listed by pharmaceutical industry organization PhRMA, as working on malaria treatments.

Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals, based in San Diego, California, says that mid-stage clinical trials of its drug Immunitin proved successful at reducing parasite count and cleared malarial parasites in most patients within a week.

Immtech International, based in Vernon Hills, Illinois, is also in mid-stage clinical trials for a drug called DB289.

2.7 million yearly deaths, only 2 companies doing any research. What a shame on humanity!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Chirstmas

Best Wishes and Good Cheer to All.

Praise the

Friday, December 23, 2005

The EU again

The EU, (as nasty as the sound of the acronym), has threathened to fine Microsoft approximately $2.4 million daily until MSFT meets it's demands to act as a gratis R&D facility for the tons of socialistic companies sucking at it's (the EU's) teets.

Can you imagine the gall of these bozos?

Why don't they,for once show some innitiative, and invent something?

Nice Review of Vista 5270

Paul Thurrott has a very in-depth review of Vista 5270 on his site.

I hate this guy: he get to play with Vista weeks before I do!

Metadata warning from prerennial Cassandras

Those harbingers of the IT/Technology/Computer Industry meltdown scenarios are at it again.

Not content to warn all to wait to install Windows XP just in time for the next Summer Olympics, Gartner Group is again alerting us to a new problem: a metadata removal problem in the as-yet unreleased next version of Microsoft Windows, Windows Vista.

While you, I, and man+dog were asleep, Vista become the current version of Windows, and in Gold release.

I cannot believe these clowns.

Just like these articles I blogged about here, and here, it seems news organizations are sometimes engaged in a game of 'first post'.

And you expect it from them.

However, do you expect it from analysts?

Remember their previous Vista alert?

What was more hilarious: the alert or the 180-degree moonwalk clarification a few days later?

Well, they are at it again!

As usual, Ars Technica has a word on this issue. (Be sure to follow the hyperlinks on their page for reactions to the first 'alert'.)

Surprisingly, sane people pay for, and depend on these clowns for their prognostications. GiGa, up there, must be pissed at what his eponymous company has become.

Wouldn't I get better info by calling the Psychic Friends Network or Madamme Cleo?


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Yankees sign Johnny Damon

Go Yankees!

The Yankees have snagged Johnny Damon from the 'Chouds for $13 million per over the next 4 seasons.


Funny though; I never hear of any Yankee hoping/wishing/wanting to play for the Sox.

Vista Devember 2005 CTP: build 5270

Just finished the install of Vista 5270 on my dev. rig, and I must say that it is the smoothest install so far.

Funny how small details, like the oval start button, signify a departure from the old.

The eye candy continues to be better and I'm looking forward to installing Longhorn Server when I return to home tonight.

Apart from 5119 which was a dog, the CTPs seem to be moving along splendidly.

As they say in the hood, "I likes, I likes!"

Kobe burns the Mavericks for 62

End of 3rd quarter score:

Kobe 62, Dallas Mavericks 61.

Suffice it to say that Kobe Bryant had a very good game!

BTW, he sat out the entire 4th quarter, unlike the Big Fat Oaf, who would have gone on to pad his stats.

What a gamer!

PS. His 62 points surpasses the Big Fat Malcontent's career best by 1, and I know Kobe knew that. He also knows that the Big Fat Idiot will never get to that plateau again. Kazaam!

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Big Idiot Speaks (yet) Again!

That clownish former Lakers center, the Big Fat Mouth is at it again.

Responding to comments made by Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss in the Los Angeles Times, where Dr. Buss still insisted that trading O'Neal was the right thing to do for the franchise, the Big Fat Moron alledged that Dr. Buss was not a "honest businessman because he did not divulge the real reasons O'Neal was traded".

Which, according to the Big Fat Idiot, is "He had to make a choice, the young guy or the old guy. He made his choice, and good luck with his choice."

And this, Mr. Big Fat Einstein, is bad because....................?????

Let us analyze the Big Fat Mensa's own words again:

Dr. Buss chose the younger, more athletic, harder-working, more respectful, workout freak Kobe Bryant over an older, slower, fatter, disrespectful, money-hungry (not that there is anything wrong with that, I am too), injury-prone - all weight related, self-absorbed, self-promoting, ego-trippin' hulk in the twilight of his career clown.

Again, this, Mr. Big Fat Einstein, is bad because....................?????

Shaq, turn the page, already!

It's been over 18 months.

The Lakers did not go to the playoffs for the 2004-2005 season. Shouldn't that have been enough for you?

WTF is your beef, boy?

Oh, I remember. You promised a championship you DID NOT deliver! Same as your free-throw shooting improvements.

This is the same great center that was out-rebounded by Detroit's Ben Wallace during his last season in Los Angeles.

Man, shake yourself.

And turn the page.

Why do you still read the LA Times in Miami? Look at the local fishwrap instead.

Actually, just go away.


Sunday, December 18, 2005

Bill & Melinda Gates, Persons of the Year!

Time magazine has named Bill & Melinda Gates, with Bono (U2's Bono Hewson, not Sonny Bono) as it's latest Persons of the Year.

IMO, about time!

The philantrophy of the B&M Gates Foundation has really jump-started a lot of research in diseases that afflict a lot of people in improverished countries.

Being of African descent, I am especially appreciative of the resources he has dedicated to helping eradicate malaria, which kills approximately 2 million (yes, two million) Africans yearly.

On behalf of all Africans: Congratulations.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Lakers now over .500

I cannot remember the last time the Lakers struggled to get over .500 at this point in the season.

Of course, there are 61 games to go, but...these are The Los Angeles Lakers!

There's still hope, though.

Unlike the Miami Heat, we do not have the Big Malcontent/A$$hole on our team; we have something better:

Kobe Bryant!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Do the Eagles miss T.O.?

10.40 left in the 3rd quarter and the Philadelphia Eagles are down to the Seattle Seahawks by 42-0

Yes, 42-Zero, Zip, Nada, Nought!

If everyone was in their right minds, especially T.O., maybe the restructuring of the contract would have been a better idea than the current destruction of this team.

The NFL team owners, most of them having gained their current positions by being captains of industry, or by inheritance, are so used to playing hardball, that I feel they approach each negotiation as a test of who has the bigger package!

Sometime, you gotta wonder!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

66-19 Shellacking

This has been, and continuing to be, an extremely f*cked up year for me in sports!

Trip this:
  1. FIA Formula 1 Grand Prix: Ferrari came third with Schumi winning just a few races.
  2. 2004-2005 NBA season: After getting rid, thank God, of the Big Malcontent, Kazzam, my Lakers did not go to the NBA playoffs for the first time since Daryl Gates was police commissioner of Los Angeles, and the unfortunate Rodney King affair.
  3. MLB: The Yankees folded before the Pacoima Angeles of Yorba Linda like a Yugo meeting a Freightliner head-on!
  4. NCAA Basketball: The UCLA Bruins vanished faster than a tip to the waitresses at Crustacean.
  5. NCAA Football: The UCLA Bruins, not content to loose to the crosstown USC Condoms, proceeded to get a major-league shellacking at the hands of said Condoms, in the process solidifying our position as their bee-yai-ches for the next 365 days! Final Score 66-19! SheeeZ!!! For goodness sakes, Reggie Bush had 200+ rushing yards by hafltime!
More unbelievably, the Clippers, yes, that perennial bunch of LOSERS, are currently atop the Pacific Division while the Lakers are under .500.

To crown it all, since I am a SoCal homer, I have to root for the Condoms during the Rose Bowl!

Crustacean is a restaurant in Beverly Hills, CA.

What a sports year!!!