Discussions and reflections on science and life

Why I do it

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So once again it is Friday, it is late, and I really have no topic. Going to do my best to get this blog better organised in the coming  weeks. Really. Perhaps now that I have the burden of writing lectures (or at least, writing my lectures, I am slated to help a dear friend over the weekend) off my chest I can finally cover some ground.

Anyway, I thought I would spend this time and technically get a blog post out before midnight, although I am sorry that it isn’t really more academic. I just wanted to talk for a minute about why I do what I do. That is to say, why I bust my ass in grad school and am driving myself nuts trying to get a lab fellowship. Quite simply: I am a very afraid person who wants to save humanity. That doesn’t sound too hubristic, right? Although the devil of the thing is trying to figure out why I would want to do the later.

Here is the deal: Species rise and species fall and in the end ΔS is greater than zero for any real system. That’s the world we live in, in a nutshell. Anyone who tells you that humanity is different, that humanity is special, that humanity is outside of these rules, is most likely selling something. Either we die out, are naturally selected into something we won’t recognise, or live till the limit of macro life before heat death. And those are listed in exponentially decreasing order of likely-hood. But it can take a shorter or longer time to reach that point of extinction, and the quality of the living we do in the time our species has is important.

Disease is rampant, disease will always be rampant, it is the nature of things that bacteria will want to feast on us, viruses will want to reproduce off us, parasites of many forms and flavours will want to drain us dry. And the worst part is, that people will largely ignore it. 2,752 people died in the September 11th attacks. And America has spent a fundamentally staggering amount of money and life waging war overseas as a result. Now, almost 3,000 dead is a tragedy, and it deserves a response. However, ~40,000 people die each year in America from influenza ~500,000 worldwide. Now, look at the relative amounts of governmental spending on warfare versus influenza vaccine research. And that is one subtype of one disease. Where is the outrage? Where is the proportional response? Death and suffering due to disease are accepted as a status quo and certain groups will even fight for it (anti-vaxers, certain religious groups, many in the ‘alternative’ medicine crowd, etc) . But I don’t think they need to be. And I am dedicating my life to the idea that I am right.

Written by Caudoviral

01/29/2011 at 00:00

Posted in Personal

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