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Brain Chips for Lawyers + Fraudulent Alzheimer's Research + Proof That Hell Froze Over
A collection of news that caught my eye.
#1. Brain chips for lawyers
According to Law Society, an independent professional body for solicitors in England and Wales, brain chips for lawyers might be coming—and they may even become required for optimal performance and seamless, automatic, productivity-based billing. (In other words, the report suggests that lawyers will be forced to join the misery of Amazon workers in wearing nudging and performance-monitoring devices and will have to also convince themselves that they love it).
The report was written by Dr Allan McCay, deputy director of the Sydney Institute of Criminology and an academic fellow at the University of Sydney Law School.
A quote from the report:
Some lawyers might try to gain an advantage over competitors and try to stay ahead of increasingly capable AI systems by using neurotechnology to improve their workplace performance. Perhaps clients might provide pressure to do this, and one can imagine changes to billing that may be brought about by the attention-monitoring capacities of neurotechnologies. This might even prompt a move from billable hours to billable attention.
Now, a few things in response.
This is mostly nonsense. There is a lot of hype around brain performance enhancement, and big investments, and crazy military research—but in reality, it’s a dance of a very clumsy elephant in a china shop. The scientists are babies. They may praise each other and publish fancy papers, and they may succeed at disrupting the balance and causing havoc—but, as you see from the second news item, the science is very young when it comes to the brain, and commercial ambitions greatly exceed the understanding.
At best (which is really not that great), the AI pushers may find a way to neurologically rape future lawyers and enhance their performance in the short term (without any joy for the lawyers), and then there will be a wave of disease and suicide due to neurological havoc—which perfectly fits the existing model of using people and then tossing them out.
Let’s not forget that this whole “productivity” thing is about squeezing, and the well-being of the squeezee is not a part of the equation. The only good thing about it is that maybe the lawyers will not like this at all and join the resistance at a rate higher than now.
I addressed some of the underlying philosophical issues in my 2019 essay called, “The Speedup.”
To all the implant dreamers and productivity controllers: Have you mastered counting sheep to fall asleep yet? How did that go?
On the other hand, in order for this to be put in place, it doesn’t have to work. The only things that are needed are an initial perception that it might work, some hype in the media, some shock perhaps, some financial pressure—and voilà! With just the right combination of pressure and glitter, people can be trained to accept and love the electrical Stalin in their head just like people loved the actual Stalin back in the USSR. Not forever, temporarily, but it can be done. So let’s pray for clarity in the lawyers’ heads.
#2 Nearly two decades of Alzheimer research and drug development might have been based on fraud
From Daily Kos (!!):
Background info in plain English + the gist of the story + my comments:
Per Science, “one of its biggest mysteries [of Alzheimer’s Disease] is also its most distinctive feature: the plaques and other protein deposits that German pathologist Alois Alzheimer first saw in 1906 in the brain of a deceased dementia patient. In 1984, Aβ [amyloid beta protein] was identified as the main component of the plaques. And in 1991, researchers traced family-linked Alzheimer’s to mutations in the gene for a precursor protein from which amyloid derives. To many scientists, it seemed clear that Aβ buildup sets off a cascade of damage and dysfunction in neurons, causing dementia. Stopping amyloid deposits became the most plausible therapeutic strategy.”
In rough layman terms, the convention is that Alzheimer’s is a condition characterized by dementia accompanied by / resulting from amyloid deposits in the brain.
Up until early 2000s, the only reliable way to diagnose it with certainty was to wait until the patient dies and do an autopsy. (NIH says so. So does Wikipedia. So I guess vaccine injury is not the only malaise that is the easiest to diagnose when dead.)
In 2006, a seminal paper came out that was, as usual, based on sadistic treatment of animals, but that aside, the presented experiment consisted of:
Taking cognitively impaired middle-aged transgenic mice of the variety that express a human amyloid-β precursor protein
Extracting a soluble substance called “Aβ*56” (a “toxic oligomer” that had been suspected as a possible precursor of amyloid plaques) from their cerebrospinal fluid
Administering the purified extraction to the young mice
Watching young mice become cognitively impaired, too
The authors concluded that “Aβ*56 impairs memory independently of plaques or neuronal loss, and may contribute to cognitive deficits associated with Alzheimer's disease.”
Once that paper came out, its authors became very famous in their professional circles, and since that time, most subsequent Alzheimer’s research and drug development were built on top of their findings. We are talking billions of dollars, expensive drugs, etc. Plus, the biomarker became an important one in the diagnostics of Alzheimer’s.
Then last year, Matthew Schrag, a neuroscientist and physician at Vanderbilt University, was asked to help an attorney whose clients were investigating a particular Alzheimer’s drug (Simufilam). In the process, he looked at the underlying scientific evidence and concluded that the images used in that seminal 2006 paper were likely doctored.
“Four months after Schrag submitted his concerns to the NIH, the NIH turned around and awarded Lesné a five-year grant to study … Alzheimer’s. That grant was awarded by Austin Yang, program director at the NIH’s National Institute on Aging. Yang also happens to be another of the co-authors on the 2006 paper.”
Since that time, Science concluded their own in-depth review, and their findings seem to confirm Schrag’s suspicions.
“Should this fraud turn out to be as extensive as it appears at first glance, the implications go well beyond just misdirecting tens of billions in funding and millions of hours of research over the last two decades. Since that 2006 publication, the presence or absence of this specific amyloid has often been treated as diagnostic of Alzheimer’s. Meaning that patients who did die from Alzheimer's may have been misdiagnosed as having something else. Those whose dementia came from other causes may have falsely been dragged under the Alzheimer’s umbrella. And every possible kind of study, whether it's as exotic as light therapy or long-running as nuns doing crossword puzzles, may have ultimately had results that were measured against a false yardstick…. And it seems highly likely that for the last 16 years, most research on Alzheimer’s and most new drugs entering trials have been based on a paper that, at best, modified the results of its findings to make them appear more conclusive, and at worst is an outright fraud.”
PS. The more I read about brain research of the “trying to understand why things don’t work” kind, the more I am convinced that there is a big gap between the confident tone of conference presentations and the actual degree of understanding of why things do or do not work. I have more thoughts but I’ll save them for another occasion. The bottom line is that all that money, all those diagnostic tools might have been based on a fraud—and this is not a “bad apple” situation, this is business as usual in modern institutional medicine. We are not in good hands.
#3. The hell froze over, and the pigs are flying
Leana Wen, who might have been born for greater things but who has none the less established herself as a roboparrot doll moonlighting as a television dominatrix, has opined on hypocrisy. Don’t you say…
To end on a positive note (under the general condition of being raped by the bureaucrats), there is also this humorous bit. At least we can laugh.
(Thank you for your support, I surely depend on it)
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