Lorenzo’s Oil

How much of human knowledge can be better ascribed to luck or simple deductions, whether expert or non-expert, rather than years of research by the learned?

Adrenoleucodystrophy (ALD) is a genetic condition that slows destroys the brains of boys, something to do with a build of fatty acids. The parents of one afflicted boy (Lorenzo) set about to find a cure after doctors told them there was nothing they could do to prevent certain death.

After doing their own research, the parents developed a combination of olive and rapeseed oil they thought may eliminate the fatty acids that is a signature of the disease. While it did reduce the fatty acid levels, it failed to improve their son’s condition, and he died yesterday.

However, due to the persistance of ALD expert Dr. Hugo Moser, they’ve discovered that Lorenzo’s Oil has some preventative effect on the disease. The substance has been given to boys whose genetics put them at risk for the disease. While there’s still a lot of work to be done–by the trained, there’s now hope–because of the untrained.




Darth Egg Product

Darth Vader

Posts have been rather rare here, if only because I am preparing to delve into a shadowy project, anathema to all decent, everyday folk.

You will shun me, spit on my website, and disown me. But it doesn’t matter.

You don’t know the power of the Dark Side.

EDIT: This project is not the David K/Phaedrus collaboration, which may actually end up having some redeeming social value.

Lost vitality

Blood Drain

Last week, while going to the supermarket, I stumbled upon one of those blood donation vans. There was some portly dude in shades trying to lure me with Marlins tickets into handing over my hard-earned blood. Being overdue for a donation, I let him pretend he was a good salesman and agreed to enter the van.

One of the blood-taker girls was about to leave for the day when she asked to look at my veins. Nodding and “mmm-hmm”ing like she had her choice of men at La Bare, she asked my blood type (O+). She was extra-satisfied at this response, knowing that most people can receive O+ blood.

I think she was a vampire.

They asked me to do a double red blood cell collection, which takes longer and makes me ineligible to donate in four months rather than two. I agreed, and they were kind enough to give my plasma and platelets back.

I was actually slightly light-headed afterwards, which is unusual. And will probably affect me breaking a 13-minute mile in the near future. But it saved someone’s life, and I got two free Marlins tickets and an apple juice.

I fail at chess.

Two Wednesdays ago, I played a USCF-rated game for the first time in months. I managed only a draw against a 3rd grader, rated 1180. (Grats to him; no one below 1300 has managed a draw against me before.) He vaguely resembled me as a kid and used a MonRoi, which completely threw me off psychologically. At least that’s the best excuse I could come up with.

He seemed about as tactically aware as I was, and was really eager to exchange off his Knight for a Bishop. He never generated any real threats, but I wasn’t good enough to hurt him. Need to post this game later.

Tournament of Lepers II Update

The pairings will be announced on June 1, so that it’s after the Memorial Day weekend and gives the people at Squirrel Chess a chance to get back from traveling.

For the uninitiated, this an online chess tournament where chess bloggers show off their epeen. Or not; the amount of trash talk has been sorely deficient. We play one 15/30 game a week, and you get a chance to win your way to a $5 McDonald’s gift card. (Or lose your way to it, that works too.) So grab yourself an FICS account, let me know your handle, and you’re in.

(More info here.)

Under the Knife

Tonight I went to a restaurant called the Knife. It’s an Argentinian-style steakhouse (it’s a meat buffet). Oh, man, they have a lot of beef. And free wine; I’m not drunk, but definitely tipsy, so I may live to regret this post in some way.

Unfortunately, wine comes with the meal (which is $28 on weekend nights). The bad part is that I don’t drink much, and I accidentally had too much. Since win isn’t a “hard liquor”, I tend to treat it like drinking water. You don’t know how many times I re-typed some of these words to get them right.

Anyway, it’s a meat buffet, and it’s massive. Insert standard joke about the arteries hardening just looking at the food. The table near us had these two girls, with diving, diving, DIVING necklines; I don’t know if neckline is the right word it was so far down. One of them saw me looking but somehow I think they did not mind the attention.

One of the things my ex told me is that there is a sliding scale of how women react if a guy is staring. Like if it’s Brad Pitt, they are flattered, but if it’s obese 60-year-old guy it’s not so welcome. Being still 29 and not ugly, I can get away with more than say old fat guy but it’s also good not to make the girls uncomfortable. At least I think it is polite to keep eyes reasonably in control. Rule of thumb as I have heard is “glance OK/flattering, stare creepy”. What do you girls think?

Anyway, the beef was really good and for dessert was flan which was good. The coffee was average; they probably used Maxwell House or something.

Eulogy for Edwin

Looks like Edwin took down his blog (again), probably due to one or more of the following factors:

1. The president of his chess club, flanked by two large muscle-bound men, sternly indicated “we don’t do that blogging thing ’round here”.

2. Found out David K might be moving to the Netherlands and has gone into hiding.

3. Finally figured out chess is for nerds.

4. Didn’t want to get caught up in the Dutch government’s crackdown on the Cult de la Maza.

5. Prefers to be anonymously known as The Chess Player??? (cue sting music appropriate for a conspiracy theory)

The other jumpseat

The Other Jumpseat

An airline passenger discovers there is no joy in being assigned the “other” jumpseat. (Story)

Than Shwe, you held your sham vote instead of helping millions of your cyclone victims. Grats. (Story)

Bank tellers tend to get a little suspicious when you start throwing around 360 billion dollar checks. (Story)

My exercise habits have been very poor. This morning, I discovered I now run a 13 minute mile.

A 13 minute mile.

Now maybe in 30 years, that’ll be something to be proud of. But I used to be able to run one under 7. Nowadays, if you stick me in a race with the 38-ish chessloser and 50-something Polly, they’d be breezing through like a couple of Olympians to the finish line while the crowd starts mocking me as I’m only halfway through, wheezing and gasping.