Wednesday, February 29, 2012

MANHATTAN's Vita Com Mensa PROJECT : WWII's tiny green anomaly

My book ( ebook? website? blog? series of the same? all of the above?) might seem a grimly dystopic account of WWII.

But I will also present an uplifting hopeful counterpose against the horrors of this essentially modest, restrained, sentimental modern war .

That is to say, it could have been much more modern and hence much much worse.

This counterpose is a 1940s green alternative, from the heart of Harlem ,that still offers the best way forward for all of us.

 Of course I am talking about WWII's 'tiny green anomaly' : Dr Martin Henry Dawson's Vita Com Mensa project.

It involved microbes and man more or less working together commensal fashion , to bring wartime humanity the great boon of systemic, natural, penicillin for all ...

Monday, February 27, 2012

1939-1945: the promise of SYNTHETIC penicillin and the reality of NATURAL penicillin

Another failed promise from the mouths of Blowhard Modernistic Science.....

1939-1945's Apogee of Modernity :the promise of SYNTHETIC food pills and the reality of NATURAL mass starvation

For 60 years Modernity promised food for all in the form of  little food pills, made artificially out of "air,water and useless coal tar".

The wonders of modern chemistry behold: the promises made at the New York World's Fair of 1939-1940 for the millionth time: food pills aplenty, for all.

But shortly after WWII started , severe hunger appeared throughout much of the world.

That was soon followed by mass starvation in so many places that ultimately lack of enough of the right sort of food killed more people during and after the war than did combat or execution could ever dream of doing.

Where was Modernity's  magical little food pills when the world really needed them ?

Millions died in parts of the British,German,Japanese,Russian and American empires from starvation.

 But these ignoble five, the leading lights of modern science, couldn't even invent enough food pills to save their own people.

The advantages of the little food pills was never claimed to be their taste - even their most ardent proponents admitted to that.

No, their ace in the hole was the claim they would be invulnerable to the vagaries of weather, pests and disease.

 As well,  everyone knew that war leads to harsh food blockades by the enemy and big demands on a  country's agricultural sector from their  own military.

 Blockades lead to the end of imported foodstuffs, animals feed and fertilizers.

 Your own military demands to take away farm labour to the army and to turn the tractor factories into making tanks  and the fertilizer plants into making explosives.

But the chemists promised that just a few huge plants would quickly turn the very air and water, abundant and free, together with the equally abundant, useless, hills of coal waste into cheap, healthy, balanced meals 'in a pill'.

This would stave off death and lead to a military victory for the nation with the best pills.

But it never happened, not once, in all of the six long years of competing warfare between nations of battling Big Scientists.

Big Science ??? Big Mouth: All talk: No Action.


Modern Science's boasts turned out to be as hollow and as wretched as its morality proved to be.

1939-1945 the Apogee of Modernity you say ?

Aye, and its Nadir as well ...

All Life is commensal ; No Lifeform is an island...

If as modernists claimed, all matter and energy is fully convertable but eternal and indestructible, we could, in effect 'freeze' Time itself.

Time would continue to unfold but its effects would be invisible : our minds would live forever and nothing else outside the human mind what last long enough to show signs of aging - it would be  constantly and aggressively broken down and transmutated into something ever newer, ever bigger, ever better.

We would live in the world of the First Law.

The first law of thermodynamics.

But in fact, there are at least two laws of thermodynamics and the second says Time's Arrow means that while energy and matter do live on forever and ever, they become less and less useful to us or themselves.

Eventually all matter and energy will be spread out evenly throughout the Universe as a form of tepid pudding, almost totally incapable of stirring.

The human mind whether it is trapped inside five pounds of porridgy brain or trapped inside some lines etched on a silicon chip, will be part of this long slow slide down to entropy.

In fact, life gives every appearance of being a highly fagile - hence rare - form of matter and energy.

That it continues to flourish - at least on this tiny blue-green planet - is a wonder.

Take away all the bacteria, as an example, and ALL life above them would cease.

Take away all the animals, and leave us humans together with all the other life forms and Life would go on, but it ways that might make our human life on earth very short matter.

get rid of all humans - just like that - overnite and a whole host of species, bacteria and others would vanish forthwith and many others would have to struggle hard to adapt without us.

WWII put into actions the then universal belief that we don't need most forms of life, not really.

Not all agreed - Dawson's tiny Vita Cum mensa project set out to prove this idea wrong.

Did he succeed ?

I think he did ...

Manhattan's VITA COM MENSA project, 1940-1945

Dr Martin Henry Dawson's day job was not particularly successful .

His brief career as a full time medical employee (and not as a student) between 1929 and 1945 can be over-simplified down to
this : sixteen wasted years at Columbia University fruitlessly seeking to prove that Rheumatoid Arthritis was caused by a reaction to a previous bout of Strep Throat.

It is now felt that Rheumatoid Arthritis is neither 'caused' or 'cured'  in the common sense meanings of those words ,but rather simply happens at random, as a piece of very bad luck.

ALL of its 'triggers' - previous bouts of many different types of  infection, stress, genetics, age, gender, temporary hormonal imbalances, heavy smoking, low vitamin d intake,etc - all lined up together , still won't give you the disease.

Some of these triggers definitely make it worse and thus are avenues into reducing the effect of Rheumatoid Arthritis, once you have gotten it --- but nothing will stop you from getting it, if the cards of fate stack up wrong.

Yes, these triggers do seem to increase your chances of getting it - but very very moderately, in of themselves.

What seems to 'cause' Rheumatoid Arthritis is a whole long series of
random mistakes in our immune systems -- a series of random bad luck errors, all combined together.

Dawson was no better than at all his contemporary colleagues in foreseeing all this - which has taken 80 more years of worldwide research by thousands of researchers to even get us this far.

One might claim that his last day job - finding a cure for a hitherto
very common, completely incurable, fatal disease (SBE) by the pioneering application of systemic NATURAL penicillin was itself epoch-making.

I suppose, but I wonder if Dawson saw it that way - it might see so, well, small potatoes to him.

Dawson was really a biologist trapped inside a physician's body - just as his main rival ,Howard Florey, was really a chemist trapped inside a physician's body.

More accurately and more fairly, Dawson was a naturalist trapped inside a clinician's body : because naturalist and clinician are very much of one mind in philosophy and methodology.

The naturalist inside Dawson was seeking to demonstrate that if humans had commensal bacteria, bacteria - equally - had commensal humans - that in fact, all life was interdependent.

Ie we all lived together willy-nilly in a hapless muddle, sometimes loving sometimes fighting, but ultimately and indirectly dependent on each other for our continued mutual survival.

This was not some softy fuzzy line that claimed that all beings were natural co-operators, mutualistic or symbiotic with all other Life.

But nor did Dawson see Life only as 'red in tooth and claw' - the Darwinian claim that all Life was either innocent human victim or vicious pathogen cum parasite.

His commensal world had bits of both visions of Life's interactions.

What his world didn't have was Man floating serenely above and beyond the vissitudes of Nature.

That allows us to see Dawson's Pen "G" project of 1939-1945 as a fully successful working example of his view of how Life actually muddles along in a commensal world.

If penicillin was a surefire killer of bacteria produced by their micro-rivals the penicillium fungi , it clearly wasn't totally successful, at least as viewed by modernistic man.

After all  bacteria are still living and doing very well thank you.

Modernistic man was sure that we could produce a better version of penicillin, cheaply, quickly, in bulk and then kill off all pathogens for all time.

'Soon' ,said hubris-filled Sir Edward Mellanby (Florey's mentor) speaking about sulfa drugs, 'very soon we can start closing down our infectious diseases hospitals for good'.

Dawson never doubted that pathogen bacteria would soon find ways to resist any new drug that came along.

 He also knew that drug-resistancy came at a heavy cost to bacteria .

Anyway, no bacteria was resistant to everything - to do so imposed such a heavy burden on them that they were quickly outbreed by other bacteria that put more energy into reproduction than into protection.

(Basically more/smaller r-selected bacteria outbreeding fewer/bigger K-selected bacteria.)

More penicillin , then, in his view, would strike a heavy but not fatal blow to the bacteria causing disease in Man.

Like the penicillium, penicillin would help keep the bacteria a bit more at bay , at best.

But something is better than nothing.

Dawson also wasn't confident that Man COULD produce penicillin quicker faster cheaper netter than the green slime at the bottom of his test tubes.

He knew that the micro organisms, from his many pioneering  observations, were very clever indeed - if only because they been at it for hundreds of millions of years, at least.

He simply dismissed people like Florey who planned to first synthesis penicillin before using it on 1A patients.

Dawson said, I will use both humans and 4F fungi to make my pen, and I will provide it to 4F and 1A patients alike.

WWII paralleled his efforts between 1940 and 1945 but its values were anything but commensal - in fact its very antithesis.

Dawson's little project can be seen as a successful attempt to suggest a small alternative to the big war and its values...

In LATIN ,"Con" becomes "Com" before words beginning with "M", like MENSA

Ouch !!!

This may look almost exactly like my other, soon to be deceased, blog VITA CON MENSA and ..... it is.

But it turns out , in Latin, "Con" becomes "Com" before words that begin with "M" -- like Mensa : hence its commensal not conmensal in language based on Latin, such as modern day English...

Sigh - apologies.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

WWII Starvation Diets of Nurse Lila Coolen and Doctor Valentin Falthauser : can you tell the difference?

Forget Robert "Willie" Pickton, considered to be Canada's most prolific serial killer.

He simply doesn't deserve that title.

I mean , by his own admission, he only killed 49 people - almost invisible people - prostitutes,many of aboriginal descent, who almost no one cared about when they went "missing".

('Missing': aka killed, ground up and used to feed pigs that were later sold as pork, Sweeney Todd fashion...)

No, Canada's and North America's most prolific serial killer was an intimidating mountain of a woman called Lila Coolen.

The infamy of her crimes should  rival those of Lise Koch, the real life Shewolf of the SS , but they don't.

In fact ,among many older Nova Scotians,( but never of course on the record), she remains almost a saint, a martyr to the medical establishment.

They continue to feel that she did a lot of good, saved a lot of families and young women a lot of shame, rid the world of a lot of useless trash.

It is unknown how many hundreds of people she had killed --- because these people were well and truly invisible - the invisible of the invisible --- lacking even birth certificates.

Now Coolen is a very rare name in North American overall --- the USA has 1000 times more people than the City of Halifax, Nova Scotia, but there are more Coolens in Halifax than in all of America.

Rare to the point of invisiblity in America, Coolen by contrast is a very old and very common name along the South Shore region ofNova Scotia.

To locals - and until the retirement boom, almost everybody there was a 'local' , she 'was one of us' , not a 'CFA' (Come from Away) ,like her Oregon-born husband William Young.

William was merely an appendage to his domineering wive, whose secret to staying out of prison all her long life was precisely that she operated her own personal vertically-integrated Auschwitz in her hometown area of Fox Point-East Chester along that South Shore region.

The South Shore was never a home to immigrants of any sort ; a place where almost all the local families had intermarried with each other, where everybody was relatives to almost everyone and all knew each other's darkest family secrets.

As a result it was a land of mutual, genteel, blackmail ensuring that everyone's family secrets remains forever secret.

The highly rational and modernist Willie Picton made sure to profit even from 'the squeal of the pig' of his crimes, by turning his victims into pig swill after he had sexually tortured and killed them.

Just as the modernist and rationalist Nazis first worked their victims to the skin and bone on a starvation diet,then 
took all their property and valuables , next removing their hair and gold teeth and then using what little fat that was left in their bodies as fuel for their crematoriums.

Lila Coolen didn't miss a trick either.

Auschwitz is famous for neither being a killing camp or a work camp but rather being both - a fully vertically integrated modernist factory.

Lila Coolen aimed to be equally efficient in extracting money from the weak and suffering.

North American families were loath (are loath ?) to see their children raised by people of another faith: which meant that Jewish families, no matter how wealthy ,could rarely hope to get a child by legal adoption.

Well-mannered North American families also would do almost anything rather than admit one of their own had had a child out of wedlock.

Lila Coolen made money on both (all) sides of these social 'problems'.

She made women (and their families) pay a small fortune to have their out of marriage babies in the privacy of her East Chester Maturnity Home.

If the mother was too poor to pay much, she could slave away at the home as almost unpaid staff, till the debt was paid off.

If possible, Lila Coolen would try to have the mother give up the baby - she would then charge the mother money for looking after it for life.

In fact most of the babies, the lucky babies, were auctioned off, mostly to wealthy American Jewish families willing to risk an illegal adoption.

World War Two for Lila Coolen forever remained the happy memory of the fat years : at $6,000 a baby she was raking it in .

Remember, FDR started the process to build the 
Atomic Bomb with a $6000 grant ---- that was big money back then.

To get equivalent buying power, 1940 income versus 2012 income, you might trying multiplying that by 30 to 1.

Between 1937 and 1947 ,Lila Coolen banked a cool $3.5 million on the sale of babies alone ---- don't forget she was also raking it from the unfortunate mothers as well.

But those profits were never enough - they never are for your modern modernist are they ?

More profits could be squeezed out of the living ---' there was no pressing need for real medical staff was there? ' , said this Seven Day Adventist missionary.

The rural poor in her community lapped up her digs at the expensive, uppity, urban-educated medical establishment.

Cleaners were rare on site too, --- but the nurseries weren't filthpits said Ms Coolen, 'we're just county basic, not big city fancy' .

But what to do with those babies born 'defective'  and 'deficient' as we were wont to say in those happy pre-PC days?

And what about those darkish babies, born out of mixed race breeding?

Well a lot of North Americans thought both should be gassed to death by the State.

But they said so quietly, because most people won't quite go that far in their eugenic fervor.

How far they did go was far enough, in any case.

Lots of people thought that neither defective babies or babies of mixed race ( who they thought had the worse genes from both parents) had long to live anyway - an early death was inevitable.

So, the feeling was that if a defective or mixed breed baby was already dangling at the end of a long rope, what harm could it possibly be if some kindly medical 
personnel tugged gently at their tiny ankles to ease them into the next world?

Our Seventh Day Adventist missionary Lila Coolen certainly agreed.

It is rumoured she might have killed a few of the spoiled merchandise outright - by placing a pillow over their tiny heads.

Yes, Lila Coolen did have a wicked temper and she might have occasionally have been merely trying to quiet a squalling/ hungry/ cold /dying/ baby by soothing them with the closest available pillow.

But that was too brutal and too obvious a process to employ en masse --- suffocated people - even babies - tend to show the means of their death upon their faces.

Better to merely 'freshen' the defectives, by putting them in unheated rooms with inadequate clothing and bedding  and then  feed them only on molasses water.

They'd usually be dead in a week or two - quick enough.

Then, quick as a bunny, into a nice butter box they went 
for the brief but decent burial in a big field, right next to the Seventh Day Adventist cemetery in Lila Coolen's hometown of Fox Point a dozen miles away.

If she could the canny Lila, never one to miss a trick, also asked the greiving for money for attending the burial !

Why did Lila never go to jail - and why was she able to end her days gainfully employed by the government teaching the children of Fox Point her twisted,wicked, values ?

There are many, many reasons: none of them flattering to the ordinary, decent, Nova Scotians of her generation.

Most people wanted to know as little as possible about out-of- wedlock pregnancies and illegal adoptions --- her Home solved a messy social problem without forcing people to confront the real issues -- and importantly it kept mom and child off the taxpayer-funded welfare rolls.

Lila did society's dirty work and society was truly grateful.

Sometimes she literally did SOCIETY's dirty work: as in High Society.

A publisher who gets an employee pregnant and then watches as Lila makes the problem 'go away'  isn't likely to turn his investigative hounds on Lila is he?

Ditto for politicians or bureaucrats or church fathers.

Like J Edgar Hoover, Lila collected a lot of secrets for both protection and profit.

She also played up her local South Shore working class roots against them there rich smart ass big city doctors.

Her Seventh Day Adventists community also held similar views about the medical community.

Above all, she relied on the quiet support for 'popular eugenics' that existed among almost all of the Protestant population of the world  from the 1890s to the 1960s.

Rumours swirled that she was 'quickening' the useless babies by underheating their nursery and underfeeding 
them, but this was a traditional practise of baby mills that far predated the rise of formal Eugenics.

Sure, she might be hastening the inevitable deaths of useless babies but so what (insert a Hegelian Shrug here), wasn't their early deaths were going to occur anyway?

So now, when we turn to another part of the Protestant world of the early 1940s and to Nazi doctor Valentin Falthauser, we must ask ourselves, was he in any different from Lila Coolen ?

Similarity number one: like her, he never had to pay for his mass murders.

Similarity number two: he, too, knew how to disguise murder in common local customs : this was a folksy/volksy, downhome, Heimat, sort of murder.

Just as Lila Coolen used the traditional food of rural Nova Scotians, molasses, in her death potions, so too did Dr Valentin advocate the very traditional German peasant foods of potatoes,turnips and cabbage for his 'sure death meals'.

His charges, those institionalized inmates too weak to do enough work to deserve a slightly larger ration (so that they still starved to death but not before putting out some useful work), got only these three vegtables in a watery soup, meal after meal, day after day - until death.

Without protein or fats and without enough trace minerals and vitamins this unrelentling diet usually ensured a death by disease in a few months.

Let the staff gossip to the world outside the Homes - how could Germany's favourite vegetables cause deliberate death ?

The German Aktion T4 program of 1939-1940 was far too industrial for Valentin : all those fatal needles and gassing and the foul-smelling sweet human smoke pouring out of the chimmeys.

Locals complained and gossiped ,until all Germany and all the world knew about it.

It had to be officially stopped but was encouraged to carry on in a decentralized, unofficial basis.

This process which went on even after the Allies ruled Germany, killed far more than the Aktion T4 effort.

Much attention - far too much attention - has focussed on the direct killing aspects of this process.

In a sort of 'Porn of the Holocaust', we learn much about the overdosing of patients with sleeping pills followed up by a big needle-full of morphine if needed.

These deaths were horrible but relatively quick --- much worse were the long slow very painful deaths by starvation on The Falthauser Diet, for two reasons.

I suspect this was the cause of the largest numbers of deaths- and numbers do matter in murder.

More importantly, unlike the relatively uncommon 'death by needle' practiced secretly by some doctors and some 
nurses in every county in every time period, inmate death by slow starvation was common throughout all the world in times of war and want, as a more or less deliberate public policy.

The most common way was to issue piously inmates the same inadequate ration that all others in the nation got -- but unlike most other people, the inmates couldn't garden, buy or barter to get the extra calories between inadequate ration and death.

We must never forget that government leaders' deliberate decisions about food distribution  (ie food triage) which lead to slow death by starvation for millions was what links war heroes Churchill  & Stalin to the war villains Hitler and Tojo (and VALENTIN and LILA) and it is something we all need to talk about.....

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Banality of Sulzberger's and Darwin's "Hegelian Shrugs"

The entire civilized world knew well about the WWII Shoah of the Jews while it was happening - even regretted it, but also saw it as something they were powerless to stop : they displayed 'The Hegelian Shrug' that:
"When History decides to make omelettes, unfortunately some eggs must be broken, and while we sincerely regret this, we can do nothing to impede the inevitable progress of History but merely stand on the sidelines wringing our hands."
This is why NEW YORK TIMES publisher Arthur Hays Sulzberger  reported , like any good reporter should , the credible claim that 3 million Polish Jews had already been killed by the Germans by the war's midway point and the equally credible report that a single American firebombing raid on Toyko had killed a million civilians.

Briefly reported these stories ,yes, but 'Buried Them In The Back Of The Times' : the very stones may have cried out in horror, but no NYT editorials ever did -- not on Arthur H.'s watch.

Darwin never advocated that civilized humanity go out and deliberately murder all the weaker bits of humanity as fast as they could.

He didn't have to --- all he had to do was observe what was already happening and lend his considerable scientific credibility to the claim that we can do nothing to prevent it.

  Darwin merely shrugged his Hegelian shoulders in his widely-read books and sighed as he saw the inevitability of the "civilized races exterminating the savage races around the world".

Between the 1860s and the 1960s, millions of decent Canadians joined hundreds of millions of decent people all around the world in regretting the inevitable 'withering away' of the Noble Red Man in the face of advancing civilization and progress.

'Withering away' really meant death by slow starvation and hunger-diseases.

All this should make any of us cautious in taking too high a moral stance against the Schreibtischtater (desk killers) in the German Post Office, Railways,etc as they did their bit for The Final Solution.

For many of them, too, probably sighed a brief regret and gave a Hegelian Shrug about the inevitability of it all, before returning to stamping their papers and forms.

Bystanders and Banality and Evil are all intimately interconnected as Hannah Arendt discovered long ago in Jerusalem....

Friday, February 24, 2012

Vita Con Mensa: 1939-1945

Did anything else happen between 1939 and 1945 besides WWII?

Was there ever a possibility that the world could have gotten along  more or less in peace, muddling through, between 1939 and 1945?

Is there a possibility of an alternative history for 1939-1945?

I think that Martin Henry Dawson's tiny natural
penicillin project(1939-1945) ,offered one such alternative.

An alternative approach for the civilized portion of Humankind to take to Nature and other weaker/poorer/darker Human Beings than the hostile approach they did take.

So then 1939-1945 offers the possibility of two intertwining, parallel, stories - the big (unsustainably evil) one that the Modern World did take and the alternative small (sustainably decent) path that Dawson's team chose to trod.

'Begin by Comparing and Contrasting' , says every teacher - and it seems a good approach to take here as well ....

Thursday, February 23, 2012


It was the Age of the Fossils ;  it was the Age of the Moderns.

Non-Renewable Fossil Fuel powered Modernity and when the Fossils ran out the door, so did Modern Man.

Modernity, severely wounded in its own self-inflicted disaster of WWII , finally died during the Energy Crisis of 1973.

Modernity just ran out of steam and just ran out of energy : at least it ran out of endless amounts of nearly free energy - the given that Modernists seemingly took for granted.

Still isn't it a little jarring, maybe even a little ironic , n'est pas ?

This unexpected yoking together of Modern Modernity and Ancient Fossils: oil and water, chalk and cheese.

Well it seems that way to me, but the Modernists (cum Climate Change Deniers) are notorious for having no sense of the ironic.

Maybe they figure that's a job best left for the PO-MO crowd.

Non-Renewal Modernity had a best before due date and 1973 said it was well past due.

This era's energy  will not just be renewable energy, it will also be highly dispersed and highly decentralized - it will be as SMALL as Modernity was characteristically concentrated & BIG.

The r-selected will inherit the K-selected Earth, so to speak.

I hope, soon ,to read some books that place Modernity's (economic) demise with the Fossils' departure in the Fall of 1973.

 That would be a pleasant break from all those authors that simply repeat the old wheeze that Modernity died (morally) in the hellfires of Hiroshima and Auschwitz in 1945....

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Why are we all so 'POST' the modern civilization that beat the Nazis?

If it is as the mainstrean mythology says, that it was only Modern Civilization that stood between us and an eternal Nazi hell, why then has Modernity been tossed aside like a used condom ?

Why then has the blessed savior been replaced by what ? - the same sort of eco-anti-modern trash that the no-smoking, teetotalling, vegetarian Hitler himself peddled ?

Well of course there is always the alternative explanation : that Hitler and Stalin and Tojo et al were fully modern figures.

Unfortunately they were all too fully modern figures, people who took Modernity's values to their logical conclusions --- until the civilized world reared back in revulsion at the god they had cast up and worshipped.

In this explanation we got through WWII with our modernist hegemony all in one piece (more or less) but in the calmer post war waters we began a long slow reassessment of the values we had taken for granted for more than a century.

And, by the 1979, we were prepared to say that we are totally changed from what we had been in 1939, 40 years earlier.

We are post all the modernity stuff, past it ,well past it.

It was grandpa's stuff, not ours.

But if we were sure of what set of values we didn't hold, we seemed far less certain of what new values we now did hold.

Christ people,people : soon the world will have been post-modern longer than it ever was bloody modern !

What are we for people ?? We have got to stop defining ourselves by what we are against.

Small 'g' greens the world over aren't going to have any real impact until we greens sort this WWII thing out.

We'll get no where until we answer the really big question: was it Modernity that saved the day in '45 - or was it the sort of thing that got us into trouble in '39  in the first place ????

WWII: Modernity Bites. (Until Nature bites back...)

Most people who died because of WWII , died of hunger or the diseases caused by it.

That is more than (a) the number of  soldiers and civilians killed in combat or (b) civilians and soldiers killed by execution.

None, or almost none, of these tens of millions who died from hunger would have died if their friends or enemies had had huge surpluses of food bursting their warehouses.

It was FOOD - bog ordinary, plain old food , that dominated WWII - from before the war, to after the war and all points in between.

Food - not Life, not Land, not Oil, not Power - dominated the war
and its decision making.

Food - in its very materialness - dominated a war and a world that had predetermined that in a Modern Age, the Mental Will dominated over a Material World.

The mind was over and above and beyond the material world.

If WWII established one thing , it was that this simply wasn't so.

Mother Nature - in the form of the annual weather  - casually tossed the wartime ambitions of Humanity about like they were kids' toys.

Good weather/ good harvests and millions of those intended for deliberate death might get an additional lease on miserable life.

Bad weather/ bad harvests and governments found ever more diabolical ways to export hunger onto those less powerful .

And make no mistakes, ALL governments exported hunger onto the weak : Axis, Allied and Neutrals alike.

There were foodie heroes everywhere throughout the war; heroic individuals who never fired a gun to defend their land but who nevertheless ignored government callousness and worked to feed all ,  weak and strong.

We should honor them but we don't - not until more women write the big books about World War Two.

By big books, I mean those books that try to see the big picture of the war ; those works of synthesis  that get at those overarching
issues that rise above all the individual incidents that made up the war.

Food - the largest motivating force animating WWII - simply doesn't interest many men  : its just there; laid on by the womenfolk, like washing-up.

Most male historians prefer to write about guns rather than butter but if female historians won't write about butter, then who will ?

Adam Tooze and Lizzie Collingham for a start: two historians (one male, one female) who have ordered their global histories of
WWII around weather and harvest yields.

THE WAGES OF DESTRUCTION and THE TASTE OF WAR are two books I recommend all read: Collingham's book is a much easier read but Tooze's book gives the dollar and cents figures to back up Collingham's more impressionistic claims.

Read them both and you will never again look at WWII through the eyes of the mainstream mythology.

They will make you very angry I hope - this is good - anger can lead to activism.

Time is short, we have a burning planet to save , to save from ourselves.

Because we must first change how we think and how we feel, before we can hope change how we can co-exist within the world....

WWII's more or less UNITED Front: Neutral/Axis/Allied ...

Books about WWII published in 1945 were eager to tell readers just how very different ,morally, the Allied , Axis and Neutral Nations  all were.

Perhaps by 2025, authors will be more willing to tell us what shared values the civilized folks in the Axis, Allied and Neutral nations all had in common.

By then , almost all of the adults who ran WWII will be gone and we can be a bit more honest about the shared values that motivated all sides in the war.

 Maybe then we can admit that it was only when those shared values saw their most extreme expressions, did differences and doubts start showing up among civilized humanity .

Most of WWII's  civilized  humanity had to be forced to rediscover their common embeddedness within Nature.

This only happened under wartime necessity ,when like puppies, they had their noses rubbed into it.

But others, like Dr Martin Henry Dawson and his natural penicillin project, spent the war demonstrating that good things happen when Humanity works together with Nature .

Historians have grown ever more despondent about WWII.

They just keep discovering ever more extraordinarily evil things the Axis had intended to do, if they had been more successful
in combat, and they continue to encounter more and more evilly banal things the Allied and Neutral countries did do, during the war.

Fewer and fewer truly good news stories are emerging from the archives of this 'bad news war'.

 But I believe Dawson's story truly is good news, for all of us and for all time.

Not because of his wartime act of heroism, no matter how extraordinary it was and how beneficial it was to suffering millions.

Now I think his real, continuing, value to audiences 75 years later, is how he achieved those heroic activities, by working with Nature, not against it.

As we prepare to contest those who, still, believe Humanity is above and beyond Nature , we need stories of pioneers to cheer our hearts and give us courage.

 I believe Dawson's story will do just that....

Monday, February 20, 2012

NYC medical community , August 1943: Martin Henry Dawson's OPEN SECRET ...

Nothing does more to lower the normally high social prestige of all doctors, than a disease that is 100% incurably fatal.

You could argue that no disease is 100% incurable, technically ----
but you would be wrong. Wrong, wrong: dead wrong.

Yes, there is always a tiny number of people who survive even the worst diseases -- but they not 'cured' --- these people survived even if they never saw a hospital or a doctor.

They survived , yes.

But they were not 'cured' by human agency.

Give the credit to God or Mother Nature instead.

No doctor or nurse likes to have to tell patients and their families that there is nothing medically one can do and they should prepare for a tragic death.

Death is painful for all of us - but for medical professionals to have to admit to others that they are powerless and useless adds an extra sting to the unpleasant task.

Normally they get to say "Its Stage Four - the prognosis is very guarded but we will try radiation."

 The patient still dies but the family respects the doctor for at least trying.

SBE  (Subacute Bacterial Endocarditis) was one such invariably fatal and uncurable disease during the war years.

In fact, it was the most common invariably fatal disease in the western world in those years - the invariably fatal form of brain tumors ran a very distant second.

It could hit anyone: anyone can get strep throat anytime in their life, and get it over and over --- from that they could get RF ((Rheumatic Fever) at any time in their life, and get it over and over.

That greatly increased, in turn, their chances of getting SBE, at any time in their life, - and get it over and over, if by some real Miracle, they survived the first bout.

Every medical single doctor came across cases of fatal SBE in their career in those days --- they hated it for what it did to patients and families (  particularly because SBE patients were on the younger side of life usually) and because it made doctors feel powerless.

Now: cue August 1943, and the medical community of greater New York City.

Throw in SBE researchers, ordinary ward nurses, SBE patients, their families and friends, - heck throw in all the patients and families of people with past bouts of RF, just waiting to be told they now have SBE.

On one hand, the government - your government - has publicly and officially said that regrettably Penicillin does not cure SBE.

But this is wartime - who totally trusts the government and media?

The wartime medical slash patient grapevine throughout greater New York City area is alive with a different story: a doctor named Martin Henry Dawson has gotten half a dozen cures off of penicillin for SBE .

"One patient got his SBE back in August 1940, that's three long years ago. And he's still alive !!!!"

Dawson's success, he tells all who ask, is only limited by the tiny amount of penicillin he can steal - that's right - STEAL from the government supplies, to give to his SBE patients.

Doctors from all over the area are visiting him, asking him to help with their SBE patients, promising to steal additional penicillin if he will only help.

Heavens ! One of them is even the President's personal doctor, yes FDR himself !!!!!

Mysterious bottles of bootleg penicillin keep on turning up at doctors' doors, provided by ladies in white --- taken presumably from the city's one pharma plant that is producing penicillin.

None of this is being reported in the local or national media ---strangely a cone of silence has descended on this good news story in the wartime media, which could use a little relief from having to report years of bad news stories.

That is until a young hunchback doctor named Dante Colitti and the purple-paged Hearst flagship newspaper decide to blow the story wide open.

In theory, its just a local NYC story --- but there is an old,old saying in the music biz : "In NYC, there is no such thing as a regional breakout: if a song is breaking in New York, its breaking wide stateside...."

Within days the story is all over North America - and then all over the world - even into wartime Germany and Japan.

I have always been very interested in the differences between knowledge that is private, that which is public and that which is popular.

For example, the Nazi Hunger Plan to kill 30 million Slavs during WWII to free up food was private during the war , the killing of 3 million Polish jews was publicly known during the war while the Nazi killing of 300 people in the little Czech village of Lidice was popularly known during the war.

Open Secrets are an unusual hybrid of the private and the popular - bypassing the public (aka the official/conventional/ mainstream media).

Lots of Nova Scotians (my estimate was 5%)  knew, from gossip, the private knowledge that a high public official in Nova Scotia 'couldn't keep his pecker in his pants' when it came to women (particularly young women, unwilling young women).

About one person in twenty could tell me detailed details of the crime when I asked.

That may not sound like much, but I bet fewer than 5% of any given population could tell you much about the top news story in the land, despite it receiving wall to wall coverage in the conventional media.

So it was private, yet popular, yet not public - none of the semi-official media in Nova Scotia (aka the CBC, CTV and the Herald newspaper) had reported anything on it.

The stones may have cried out over the injustice, but no opposition politician, or theologian, professor of ethics, feminist group or police department had gotten exercised over the scandal.

This had a corrosive effect on how ordinary Nova Scotians viewed their supposed moral leadership when the population knew a crime but their leaders did nothing.

I often wonder what led young Dante Colitti to do what he did ---I can't help feeling he wanted to prick this cone of official secrecy as much as he wanted to help save the life of the baby girl in his care...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Pleomorphic Strep versus The Mecanno Set

Readers of my various blogs probably already know the names Robert Solow and Trevor Swan.

They are the two economists who first came up with today's simple, precise, predictable, lucid explanations why human society is always going to keep on getting richer and richer and richer: the endless growth theory.

(Sic ---- very very Sic....)

Solow actually got the so called 'Nobel Prize in Economics' for his version, but even he admits Swan should have got one too, for his earlier version.

These theories are 'simple' for orthodox economists anyway --- the best I can do to describe these theories is to say that they turn on a quasi-religious Faith in the total interchangability of  things like capital and labour and resources.

So no surprise that Solow is best known for using his theory to explain why the world can,  in effect, "get along without any natural resources".


But Trevor Swan's my Target for Tonight.

He quite accurately used Mecanno Sets as his metaphor to describe the Modern Orthodox viewpoint on the interchangability of units of capital.

I, myself, actually date the rise and fall of Modernity from the rise and fall of those once popular construction kids for kids that Modernist parents gave their children to explain how the world worked.

That is how much I agree with Swan that , to misquote William Safire, they served as the "Mecannonic Metaphors of Modernity".

When the parents started having doubts about this explanation - during the mid 1960s - they stopped giving the kits as gifts and most of the companies went bankrupt.

There were dozens of established brands worldwide : in the English speaking world, Mecanno,Erector,Lego and Dinky are usually considered the most popular.

They first emerged about the time (around 1910) that Ernest Rutherford modified John Dalton's explanation that the 100 or so different elements are made of indivisible tiny objects, unique to each element, that he called atoms.

That meant if your nation had no atoms of something vital like chromium, you couldn't have military armour or be a superpower.

Not so, said Rutherford - the truly elemental objects are a few things like electrons, neutrons and protons.

An element is simply an unique ratio of these three objects - take some atoms of something dirt-common like carbon apart and then reassemble the sub atomic bits into a different ratio and hey presto : chromium metal till the cows come home.

Transmutation of atoms: instant superpower status.

Similarly, Mecanno sets can be cars one day and houses the next: a perfect way to prepare Modernist children to become grownup chemists or physicists.

This fairy tale should have unravelled when Physics discovered that far from there being just three stable indivisible lumps of Mecanno Magic, there were actually hundreds of sub atomic bits and they almost all seemed to have very short and very changable existences.

Rather than being stable Lego blocks, these sub atomic particles were more like the fabled Universal Solvent which transmuted and dissolved any container built to hold it.

But you already knew this intutively, didn't you ?

All those multi-billion dollar containers we call nuclear reactor buildings have a very short life, as the uncontrollable sub atomic particles transmute and weaken anything and everything wrapped around them.

This is the real - economic - reason why nuclear energy would be a total flop out in the real world if we taxpayers no longer subsidized them to the tune of billions and trillions of dollars because we believed the big lies Bad Faith Science has told us for 75 years.

But Bad Faith Science remains bloody but unbowed --- the internal science world moved on but the external public metaphor lives on: that ultimately Reality is simple, stable and predictably controllable - just as long as we scientists got lots of funding (and lots of prestige and respect as the controllers of this controllable world).

Martin Henry Dawson was a minor scientist, but he was a good faith scientist: when he saw that the evidence under his microscope didn't fit the theories he had been taught, he changed his theories.

He collected variants on commensal oral strep the way that some pre-war physicists collected sub-atomic particles.

But unlike the physicists, this physician altered his social behavior as a scientist, as a result of this new evidence he collected.

His wildly pleomorphic Strep bacteria, dissolving any straitjacket that medicine tried to put them in, was the microbiological Life-oriented equivalent of the chaotic, unpredictable world that sub atomic particles reveal at the micro level of Matter.

Dawson saw penicillin has coming out of this disorderly dynamic pleomorphic (aka shape-changing/morphing) world of competing fungi and bacteria struggling just to survive; his opponents saw it as just something one could quickly assemble in a factory, out of interchangable chemical parts , just like Mecanno sets....

Who was right?

In truth, Dawson ---- in myth, high technology science brought us penicillin.

Like I always sing, " Charles Manson stole penicillin from the penicillium - I'm here to steal it back..."

PS: Some might argue that Mecanno bits - or electrons and protons - are pretty pleomorphic themselves: they can be made into a car or a house or a bird.

But Dawson's bacterial transformations did not change one of a hundred trillion trillion strep bacteria into one of a hundred trillion trillion staph bacteria .

Any even if he did - why should we care - do really need one more staph bacteria and one less strep bacteria ????

 Rather his cars, in effect, became like a house while remaining a car, ie they were hybrids - something truly new.

They had many (pleo) shapes (morphs), ie diferent shapes with different biological effects, while still remaining bacteria.

So, for example, they could become part bacteria and part fungi.

 As when some fungi took up, via HGT, the bacteria genes to make a penicillin-like antibiotic , adapted it into today's penicillin and then turned it against bacteria...

Monday, February 13, 2012

4Fs, Women and the Grace of God

Con Mensa is Latin for 'at' 'a table'.

In time this led to Middle Age Latin's term commensalis and hence to English as commensal, meaning "dining at (sharing) a common table."

Christianity used  the term to describe Jesus's deliberate and very public breaking of traditional taboos against sharing one's own table with those people you deemed unworthy.

Biologists, at least some biologists, expanded this concept to mean that all life forms were interconnected and interdependent on each other for survival on Planet Earth.

But most biologists ( the modernists and atheists in particular) severely limit the meaning to  just those inferior beings that live on us and off of us, but who neither harm us or help us.

These small beings, in this harsh utilitarian view, are at best only tolerated, at least until we can find a way to eliminate them entirely, so we won't have to share anything with anyone.

But more and more biologists, heck more and more people, are coming to see that we will never succeed in being the only species on Earth.

They see that, like it or not, if we are to merely survive on this planet, we will need to struggle to get along with other beings, as best we can.

The intolerant Age of Modernity, constantly and fruitlessly seeking 100% perfect and purity, is every day relaxing its grip on our minds and more and more of us are comfortable slipping into the new Era of Commensality.

And not a minute too soon, if this planet is going to survive all that Modernity has done against it.

So it doesn't seem out of place to study and honor an early band of pioneers in "dining together at a common table" : Martin Henry Dawson's PEN "G" team of 4Fs, Women and the Grace of God.

(You might remember that this was originally intended as a cheap crack against Women and 4Fs, (and God !) by the historian of Vannevar Bush's in/famous OSRD, Dr Irvin Stewart, in his Official History, "Organizing Scientific Research for War" , bottom of Page 107.)

I quote: "Laboratories cannot be run by 4Fs or women or by the Grace of God alone." This is Stewart while talking about the OSRD committee devoted to medical research which had the public money and jackboot mentality, after the war and after Dawson was safely in his grave, to seize all the American credit for producing natural systemic penicillin .

In fact, the OSRD wasted the war fruitlessly seeking the Nirvana of man-made synthetic penicillin, while servicemen and civilians around the world were needlessly dying of infections natural penicillin could have cured.

It was the pushing and prodding of Dawson upon his citric acid-producing partner, Pfizer, that  produced the bulk of the wartime penicillin, not the OSRD's favorite Big Pharma, Merck.

George W Merck himself spent the bulk of the war creating ever more terrible diseases to kill people, while leading America's germ warfare program.

So it was left to little science, not Big Science, to give us PEN "G".

This little team of humans and tiny beings  brought us natural systemic penicillin, that great boon to humankind, against fierce resistance along the mean corridors of 1940s American Science, none meaner than down at the OSRD....

Sunday, February 12, 2012

4Fs,Women & the Grace of God

Modernity, BIG MO, was soooo very big during the years of WWII.
It was supported by the vast majority of the world's middle classes
and by all sorts of elites, from low to high, left to right, everywhere.

 Above all, it was the value system of all the men running the world's governments and that mattered greatly, for at a time of Total War, no government burked any opposition.

But if it was big, it was big like a ballon and just as easily pricked and deflated.

Modernity finally had a war it could call its own and it was messing it up totally - in its own terms and certainly in the view of many ordinary individuals.

It might seem ready for a rebuke.

Still it does seem oddly poetic that BIG MO was able to be piqued by such as a small, sorry, odd of misfits as Dawson's little team was.

It does make for a sort of "the little project that could" ,come from behind, underdog, type story.

But, for once, all true ...

Helping MO go CO : 4Fs, Women and the Grace of God ...

In the short term,during his tragically short life, Martin Henry Dawson and his tiny band did nothing more than pique the supporters of Modernity.

Annoyed them, but nothing else.

But over the longer term, Dawson's Pen "G" team were in the first ranks of those easing Modernity, 'The Father Of All Evils' , off the global stage and replacing it with our new world of Commensality.

Their natural penicillin triumph was the first in a long series of blows that replace the hitherto dominant chemical cartels with today's biotech giants.

(A mixed blessing, admitably, but still a turn away from Man as the Be-all of all Knowledge to a recognition that we have much to learn from Nature.)

In the long run, it was Dawson's HGT DNA that was the fatal blow, coming from the direction of Science rather than  from post-Auschwitz morality, that finally did in (Social) Darwinism.

So, beyond saving the lives of a few World War II SBE patients and beyond finally kick-starting natural penicillin production worldwide during that war, Dawson's efforts had a far longer term, far wider, affect that is worth honoring...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Project "BIG" brought down by the smallest imaginable opponents...

Enraptured by Platonic delusions,the Modernity Project imagined Life to be basically stabilizable  and hence oriented to the K-selected and the Very Large.

Ironically,but appropriately, when Project "BIG" finally fell, it was brought down by the smallest imaginable of opponents.

Martin Henry Dawson was actually a rather typical scientist in his willingness to pique Peak Modernity.

He did so because of his faith that his new Science was a more accurate interpretation of the world than their old Science -- that's pretty conventional scientific behavior.

It was the steel of this new belief that added backbone to his Jello-like conventional morality.

This steel encouraged him not to be content to simply regret the wrongs done to the weak during the war as 'horrible but necessary' , as so many American do-gooders did.

It led him to fight, with his dying breath, to improve the plight of the weak -- even if that meant taking on all his colleagues and his all-powerful federal government.

Yes he was a 'good person', a very good person --- but he also was a good scientist.

His chosen pique , ie Old French for  prick/ needle/syringe, was only about .002 microns wide, the width of a strand of his transformation material (aka HGT DNA).

But while it was very small, it also went very deep; deep into the heart of Charles Darwin's predictable biological world of
Vertical Gene Transfers that fueled the certitudes of Social Darwinism and Eugenics & Biopolitics.

Equally small were the Anti-Matter fragments of Paul Dirac's
Sea that did so much to toss out the bland certitudes of John Dalton's vision of a predictable world.

Dawson and Dirac were basically ignored by mainstream science when they announced their discoveries in the early 1930s.

Neither, frankly, was the sort of charismatic personality that fire up a scientific audience with soaring phrases and visions.

But by 1945, Modernity - once given its oats in a war it could finally call its own - found that its predictable world was not in fact very predictable at all.

Slowly, for Science really only changes when enough Professors Emeritus die; slowly, slowly scientists began to see that Dawson and Dirac had better described Reality than Darwin and Dalton had ever done.

To today's leading-edge scientists, MO (Modernity) has indeed gone CO (Commensality) .

 Our world is not something we can predict and control by Big exclusive projects, but it is something we can survive in, if we display the flexibility and inclusivity of the small.

HGT is the model Humankind must emulate if we are to survive and endure on this planet that Modernity's projects have so messed up.

We can all help MO go CO.....

Peaked Modernity or Piqued Modernity ?

Both, actually.

World War Two, 1939-1945, was both the Apogee and the Nadir of the Enlightenment-Modernity Project.

In '21st Century-Speak', 1945 saw Peak Modernity staring down at a long, slow, slide into oblivion.

In the early 1940s, most middle class members of world civilization supported the Modernity project, almost without question.

But the war wasn't going as predicted, on any side.

And while 'Power Over Others' isn't really intrinsic to Modernity ( Pol Pot did pretty good in that department with pre-modern shovels and sticks), Precision is truly intrinsic to Modernity.

Put simply:

   "Modernity without Precision is not Modernity".

The flustered Modernity supporters had enough self-created problems of imprecision of their own, without needing a dying doctor and his tiny team flaunting their own defiance of Modernity in everyone's face.

Martin Henry Dawson piqued Peak Modernity.

 In return, Peak Modernity supporters, when it came to write the official and semi-official histories of World War Two, never forgave him.

But our world, today, looks a lot more like his than it does theirs, so I guess he got the last laugh....

PS: a note to grammarians : I look forward to explanations to flustered writers not to confuse 'Peking Modernity' with 'Piquing Modernity'. Puns, you gotta love 'em ---- at least if you read me !

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Wartime Manhattan's OTHER 4F project...

Dr Martin Henry Dawson 's PEN project (producing natural
penicillin systemics to save the lives of  tossed-aside SBE patients) was only one of the two projects in wartime Manhattan that was centred upon the 4Fs.

No one, then or now, would disagree that Dawson was focused upon trying to save the lives of certain neglected 4Fs,above all else.

But my argument that the MED project, aka Leslie Groves Manhattan Engineering District project to build and drop an atomic bomb upon civilians,was focused on 4Fs will produce a hot disagreement among most.

I intend to demonstrate that the bloody mano-a-mano combat in the trenches of WWI, between the 1As of the world's civilized powers, led to the view among the eugenically-oriented majority of the civilized middle class that such warfare was extremely dysgenic for the 'race'.

'If war must happen,and sometimes it must', they reasoned,' it must be waged by our sides' 1As safe inside big machines'.

And it must waged upon the enemy's figurative 4Fs of the 4Fs : those too old, too young or too sickly to fight and living safely ,well behind the frontlines.

Clouds of gas, or of germs, or of radiation or of fire would descend upon the cities of the enemy and kill enough of these 4Fs until their frontline 1A relatives surrendered, without our frontline 1As having to fire a shot.

And our homefront 4Fs would also assume an unwitting combat role - the sickly poor, seeking charity medical care, would instead be experimented upon with prototypes of these deadly clouds, so we perfect them before we tried them upon the enemy 4Fs.

Ellen Welsome's THE PLUTONIUM FILES details these chilling medical experiments inflicted upon some of America's weakest, by the MED project.

Aktion T4, the Nazi war upon their Aryan weak, was the testing ground for their later war upon Jews, Poles,Gypsies et all in the Holocaust.

Just as the Nazis invoked a collective punishment upon innocent 4F civilians for the deaths of their 1A troops by the Resistance , killing 100 4F civilians for every one 1A soldier killed, so too America vowed to revenge the 2800 1As killed at Pearl Harbor a 100 times over by bombing Japanese civilians.

John Dower's WAR WITHOUT MERCY details that revenge against rather than fighting for life-sustaining values was what motivated most of America (from top leaders down to ordinary citizens) during World War Two.

And at least 280,000 Japanese civilians did die in the two atomic bomb blasts --- collective punishment indeed.

I won't claim to be telling a wholly new tale - just presenting it in a light rarely seen before....

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Right of Life

The Manhattan Engineering District aka The Manhattan Project aka The Bomb, was the biggest scientific project of WWII and indeed one of the biggest of all time.

In addition, it was one of the biggest engineering/manufacturing projects of the war.

By contrast, Martin Henry Dawson's wartime project, also set in Manhattan but sprouting no name at all, was one of the smallest projects of the war.

Deliberately small, in many ways.

Dawson sought to establish the absolute Right of LIFE  for everyone in America - even the 4Fs of the 4Fs, even in the middle of a Total War.

Despite the small size of his project, despite the fact that he was dying of a disease that literally sapped all his energy, he succeeded where many other better funded, better connected social activists failed.

I suggest this was because his Jello-like conventional morality had the firm backbone of Dawson's understanding of new science discoveries that he had made.

He saw his numerous and powerful opponents as basing their appeals to him (to desist his project) on old and outdated scientific understandings , and so he could not and would not be moved.

If we base our morality on how we understand the ultimate realities and we see those ultimate realities through the Lens of Science, then when our scientific understanding changes so will our morality - with powerful consequences.

Our world and the world of 1942 looks very different: Dawson isn't the whole reason, but he's a mighty good place to start....


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The OTHER Manhattan Project...

... Establishing the Right of Life.

Dr Martin Henry Dawson wasn't the most publicly articulate of individuals, to put it mildly.

 However, his public deeds have stood in, just fine, for his lack of public words.

In the late Fall of 1940, I think he saw his prominent university, together with the American scientific establishment and his government, begin to act a bit like an Nazi , in their admirable attempts to stop the Nazis.

He may have felt that the minute we start acting like the Nazis, they've already started to win the war.

It probably started when he saw a Parkinson-afflicted patient named Charlie Aronson, probably a Russian or Polish born Jew, being set to lower priority (in the informal triage system), when it came to seriously treating his SBE disease.

 This was because Dawson's university medical school, along with all of American medicine, began putting much less emphasis on Social Medicine (the strong helping the weak and the sick) and much more on War Medicine (the strong helping the fit and the strong).

If you want to see it as the American Right using the upcoming war as an excuse to turn back the advances of the American Left in the area of health care, few historians are going to call you wrong.

Dawson had the conventional Jello-like morality of his 134 million other fellow Americans - the sort of morality that publicly disapproved of the mass killing of  Jews but stopped short of doing anything direct and immediate to stop it.

And he was dying of a terrible disease that literally sapped all of his strength.

Nevertheless he successfully defied his government at the height of its powers and moral authority.

 Dawson succeeded in getting many others to ACT UP and defy the wartime government as well, until it bowed to massive public pressure and returned the Right Of Life to the weakest of its citizens.

He made sure his Natural penicillin would save Charlie and all the world's sick, in war as in peace ---- and it still does.

I am fascinated why a dying man was able to do so when so many  better known, more motivated, more experienced social activists and critics failed in their wartime efforts to make the government do right.

I have come to believe the answer lies in his private, personal research project.

From 1926 till his death in 1945, Dawson was privately consumed by his fascination as to how weak, tiny, brainless bacteria and other microbes managed to co-exist and even flourish in a world seemingly dominated by beings much larger and smarter than they.

Dr Dawson did pioneering work in some of the most seminal Biology of the 20th Century : HGT DNA/Quorum Sensing/Microbial Mimicry/Biofilms.

He began to feel that the tiniest beings are very clever indeed, perhaps in some ways, even cleverer than the largest , smartest beings on Earth: us.

Through this work, over time, I think he began to fundamentally doubt the human counterpart to this: that it was unfortunately inevitable that  Might was Right in the workings of human affairs
as well.

It was his new science, as critical to our understanding of our world today as Paul Direc's new science proved to be, that allowed Dawson to dispute the dictates of Charles Darwin and John Dalton
that drove the governments of Hitler and FDR.

It was his understanding of this new science that gave his moral jello the firm backbone of the latest science and led him to stubbornly oppose the entreaties of all his colleagues .

For they based their morality upon an older - and in Dawson's eyes - much discredited science.

 I believe it was his newly found scientific certitude that enabled this most uncharismatic of men to become a moral beacon to others...

I believe it is a truism that while the Flag may follow the Constitution, the Supreme Court follows NATURE and SCIENCE .

Which is to say that our understanding of the ultimate reality, today mediated through the Lens of Science, is what generates and gives force to our sense of morality.

 So it that when our scientific view of the world changes, as it did for Dawson, so does our sense of what is right and wrong, with sometimes powerful consequences...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Berlin T4 ; Manhattan 4F

If World War Two was anything, it was  War Among the Big Battalions.

Berlin's T4 project, the killing of hundreds of thousands of weak and small and 'useless'
Ayran GERMANS  by other Ayran Germans - all through the war years, is the clearest example that even above nationality, race,religion and class, world war two's killing focused upon the killing the small.

Small was definitely not beautiful or fashionable back then.

Small people and small nations were speed bumps beneath the wheels of the mighty and the wise.

All of Civilization - be it Japanese, Russian, German or American agreed on this Cult of the Big.

However ,Martin Henry Dawson seems to have had a quarrel with this consensus within World Civilization, during those six dreadful years of war without mercy or chivalry.

So what did his 'small three' of October 1940 have in common ?

Well what The Spazz (Charlie Aronson), The Slime (the tiny penicillium cell factories producing his pencillin ) and The Ramshackle Pilot (Dawson's makeshift penicillin-producing pilot project in the corridors of Columbia Presbyterian) all had in common was that they were small and weak and foolish , at least by the dictates of the day.

The Fall of 1940 saw Columbia Presbyterian turn to offering War Medicine courses : now how to aid the war efforts of the 1A /fit was the new priority --- not in helping heal the 4Fs/unfit.

Charlie was dying of the then incurable terminal disease SBE and was a 4F of the 4Fs to his draft board.

A useless mouth and a drain on an overtaxed medical economy, in many doctors' minds - and some were even enboldened enough to say so publicly.

Even worse Charlie was a victim of post sleeping sickness parkinsonism - a spazz in 'non politically correct speak'.

Already, in Germany  doctors were killing his kind if their names were something like Martin Bader (and not Adolf Hitler- himself a parkinson sufferer!).

Charlie was 'small' in the medical priorities of the time.

Next ,the slime. 'Natural' was not 'in' in those years - instead artificial/synthetic/man made/ chemically-made were all the buzz.

Civilizied opinion was firmly of the thought that penicillin shouldn't be talked up unless (and until) it was safe under a profitable manmade patent in a chemical factory.

Fermentation by microscopic ( bacteria-sized tiny) little biological factories seemed so inefficient, wasteful, dirty, impure.

Why you could make it up at home, without high tech factories and chemists with PhDs.

That was vaguely threatening to the professional class and anyway, it was so old fashioned - like farming for our food.

The last 'small' was Dawson's ramshackle pilot project, using 700 flasks filled with these trillions of tiny penicillium factories to yield a measly 50 US gallons of penicillin water .

His hospital and university dismissed his efforts and declined to give him a room for his work - and because penicillium, like beer yeast, stop eating if they are moved, this fatally doomed his project in terms of anything like medically useful yields.

That same university did see another tiny pilot project as having great value in a war economy of Big Battalions - so Fermi and Szilard did get the university support to get the Manhattan Project off the ground at Columbia.

If we ever blow up the world (instead of letting global warming burn it up), lets give some of the credit to Columbia.

Columbia made its moral choices and so Dawson had to move his penicillium growths in and out of spare classrooms and labs, wearing him out and killing off his yields.

So a freezing cold and dark fire escape became  a makeshift ventilation hood while the hospital corridors stored his carboys of unconcentrated penicillin water.

The new way to develop a new drug like penicillin if you were the doctor first discovering it, even back then,was to quickly to become a consultant to a big drug company, seeking grants and production assistance from them in return for doing the basic science stuff.

You'd share in the resulting patents. But that ended it for you.

Another huge separate set of doctors would run clinical trials.

Finally the FDA would permit the drug company to sell the approved, pre-tested drug.

But it could only sell it only to drug stores, not directly to consumers.

In turn the dispensing druggists would in turn only sell it to patients upon the prescription of a GP doctor, who in turn was acting on the advice of a specialist doctor.

Many, many, many, separate hands would be involved.

Long gone were the days when rural doctors made up medications in competition with small town druggists AND big city drug companies AND metropolitan teaching hospitals --- AND in competition with patients and local healing women made up their own alternative medications.

To Civilization, Dawson was small time in doing everything himself.

But in fact ,he didn't want to do this pilot project -  he just didn't give up when Big Pharma proved indifferent --- he saw patients dying needlessly in front of him - small patients.

He pulled a Banting on Big Pharma - called their bluff - it had worked for insulin and it worked, eventually, for penicillin as well.

The substance of Berlin's T4 project was never secret --  its evilness was widely reported in the world media.

Dawson did more than bemoan it - he answered with Manhattan's 4F project.

The three smalls confronted the Belief  that 'Might Makes Right', 'Only the Strongest Survive', 'Its the Law of the Jungle' that Big
Battalion Civilization touted unquestioned in 1939.

The (moral) battle was on !