Weekend Wonderings

Written December 15th, 2013 by Ken

chimp_skullWelcome to this week’s latest edition of Weekend Wonderings. Take a minute, come in from shoveling the snow, grab a beverage and let’s wade into this.

The James/Wexner

First, here’s a bit of good research news that involves The James:

(Reuters) – A closely watched leukemia drug developed by Johnson & Johnson and Pharmacyclics Inc maintained its effectiveness in keeping the disease at bay for most patients, according to long-term follow-up data from a midstage study being presented at a major medical meeting.

The oral drug, ibrutinib, last month won U.S. approval to treat a rare and aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma known as mantle cell lymphoma. It is awaiting a Food and Drug Administration decision on treating chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), a slowly progressing form of blood cancer that primarily affects people aged 65 and older.

 ”With extended follow-up the remissions with ibrutinib appear to be continuing and the safety of this long-term is being maintained,” said Byrd, professor of internal medicine and director of hematology at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center in Columbus.

This is a pretty big deal. The development of an effective cancer chemotherapy with significantly reduced toxic side effects is approaching Holy Grail status.

Now, moving on to cancer prevention in regards to kidney cancer, here’s a tip from The James; drink tea in the morning. On a personal note, our neighbor, and one of our best friends passed away from kidney cancer a year and a half ago, so this is a pretty touchy subject with me. Drink your morning tea!!

Commentary

Allow me to get defensive for a few moments. This section will be short since a good bit has been written on the topic; such as here, here, here and here.  As we saw throughout the season, and was painfully clear in the Conference Championship game, our secondary is lacking. When you go to various sites, or even to various water coolers the conversation usually falls into the dichotomy of “Coaching” vs “Talent” to explain the defensive, particularly secondary, shortcomings. Here’s why; I see a defensive backfield (safeties and corners) operating as a coordinated unit. So, at a minimum, they need to understand a few basics, such as defensive calls, alignments and coverage responsibilities; I’m sure there is more that I’ve omitted.

As I was having coffee yesterday, it struck me. There may be a third element in addition to “Coaching” and “Talent”. Maybe it’s “Structure”. Maybe the coaching responsibilities aren’t allocated properly. Ohio State has a coach for its safeties, who is also co-defensive coordinator. It also has a coach for its corners who is also listed as its special teams coordinator. For comparison, I looked at the top four (scoring) defenses in the country; Florida State, Alabama, Louisville and Michigan State to see how they structured their defensive backfield coaching responsibilities. All of these teams had one coach assigned to coach their defensive backs. They were listed as either a Secondary or Defensive Backfield coach. Maybe Ohio State has too many cooks in the secondary kitchen. It’s the weekend, I’m merely wondering.

Getting away from football, I ran across this interesting article in my latest edition of The Smithsonian. It seems that the Chimu culture of Peru, pre-Inca, may have developed the world’s first telephone. There is an artifact at the National Museum of the American Indian that consists of cotton-twine cord with a small gourd at each end that functioned as a telephone.

The gourd-and-twine device, created 1,200 to 1,400 years ago, remains tantalizingly functional—and too fragile to test out. “This is unique,” NMAI curator Ramiro Matos, an anthropologist and archaeologist who specializes in the study of the central Andes, tells me. “Only one was ever discovered. It comes from the consciousness of an indigenous society with no written language.”

So, Bell and Watson get credit for inventing the telephone in 1876, but a tinkerer in a Pre-Inca culture in the highlands of Peru may have beaten him to it, by several centuries.

Sunday’s Song

Released in 1988, and with this performance in London in 2008, songwriter and ‘story-whisperer’ Leonard Cohen has a good sense of BCS/Bowl shenanigans in his classic, Everybody Knows.

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