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[ba-unrev-talk] On Tournaments

In the book _Global Brain_ by Howard Bloom, a book essentially dedicated to 
a discussion of how microbes have been such successful learning organisms, 
one important property of learning organisms is shown to be the conduct of 
tournaments.    (01)

Throughout my childhood, an ever-present tournament was known as the "arms 
race."    (02)

And now, this article 
DF&catID=2 at Scientific American, shows the latest in the arms race / 
tournament du jour: beating patents on genes.    (03)

By and large, pharmaceutical firms are patenting the genes they sequence. 
Some of those patented sequences may have been funded by public money.  The 
patents, however, appear to have the weakness that they deal with the 
sequence as it is teased out of the organism, not as it exists within the 
organism. So, what happens if you simply cause the organism to do its thing 
by itself, as opposed to harvesting the gene and using it alone?  Voila!    (04)

But, as an in any good arms race, there is the need to protect against the 
circumvention. How? Voila, again. Patent the protein made by the 
gene.  Here again, you have patented something as it exists in a petri 
dish.  How, then to deal with that issue? You guessed it: let the organism 
build and use the protein in situ. What a concept!  As it turns out, the 
phrase assigned to the therapy I chose for Leukemia was "immune response 
enhancement" (which, by the way, used an Interferon molecule made by 
causing e.coli bugs to express Interferon in large quantities, which, by 
the way, was done with a patented molecule, which, again, by the way, was 
circumvented by a competing pharma by simply swapping one atom in the 
sequence, and, which, by the way, is reported to have resulted in a less 
efficacious Interferon molecule -- go figure).    (05)

Is there an upside to this madness?    (06)

I think there is.  My view is that the other arms race got us to the moon 
and, for me, that's a good thing.  (Yes, Martha, I do have a narrow world 
view). My view of this biotech arms race is that we are getting ever so 
much smarter with respect to biology and disease. For me, that's also a 
good thing.    (07)

Along the way, I have proposed the tournament hypothesis to the unrev 
group. The brand I have proposed takes the form of tournaments associated 
with a variety of important (tough, urgent, complex) issues related to OHS:
	Collective IQ improvement metrics
	Learning technology
	OHS/DKR technology    (08)

I think such tournaments should be elevated in importance in the unrev 
discussions.    (09)

Jack    (010)