Fuck All

Over the past year, on and off, I’ve been building computer simulation models of multiplying plant cell populations. Implicit in these models is the fact that the cells grow and divide. And, although it didn’t really matter too much, at the back of my mind I was wondering all the time: How do cells grow and divide? How can something grow bigger and then all of a sudden split in half? Pretty much nothing else behaves that way. If I heap up a pile of sand or earth, it doesn’t break in two at some point. Same if I mix flour and water to create a ball of dough: that doesn’t break in two either.

Pretty much the only things that do it are dripping taps. A drop of water forms on the underside of the tap, and gets bigger, and finally detaches itself, and falls off. As best I understand the process, the drop falls when the weight of the drop exceeds the surface tension around the drop.

But living cells aren’t just drops of water. They have a membrane surround (and sometimes quite a thick one). So a cell is more like a polythene bag that’s filled with water than just a simple drop of water. So how could a polythene bag filled with water grow and divide in two?

Back at the end of March, I at last came up with a solution to the problem. Subject to one or two other constraints, a polythene bag full of water would divide in two if the surface area of the bag (polythene) was kept in constant proportion to the cell volume (water) as the bag grew. I produced a demonstration of how it could do it. But the geometry was maybe a bit too complicated for people to understand.

Yesterday, however, I produced a much simpler model, of a cubical cell forming a furrow, and finally dividing in two. I worked it out with a pencil. The cubical cell has side length a, and so has volume a3 and surface area 6a2, and so the initial ratio of area to volume is 6/a. When the cell starts growing, it lengthens one side (c), and forms a furrow of width h and depth (a-b). When h = 0, the volume of half the growing cell at any point is c.a2 and the surface area is a2 + 4.a.c + a(a-b). If the ratio of these two values is equated to 6/a, a simple equation drops out: c = a – b/2.

As the cell grows, and always keeps surface area to volume ratio equal to 6/r, the notch gradually extends right down from the top of the cell to the bottom. And when that happens, the cell divides. And what’s more, the two new cells that have been created are exactly the same size as the parent cell: a cube with side length a.

What’s so interesting about this? Well, it means that a cell doesn’t have to do anything complicated to grow and divide in two to produce perfect replicas of itself. All it has to do is manufacture surface membrane and internal material in the same constant ratio. If it does that, and grows in just one direction, it will fall in half. It’s very, very simple.

So? Well, the thing is that this isn’t the standard explanation for cell division. According to the standard explanation, the way it works is that cells just swell up (and the cubical cell becomes a larger cubical cell, say of side length 2a), and the ratio of the surface area to the cell volume falls as it does so (which is true, because area is now 24.a2 and volume is 8.a3 and so ratio of area to volume has fallen to 3/a), and this results in the cell getting starved of nutrients it absorbs through its surface, and so the cell divides in order to restore a better ratio of surface area to volume. Cell division is a sort of emergency measure that the cell takes.

This isn’t an irrational explanation. But is it plausible? For a start, in order to just swell up bigger, and remain cubical (or spherical), the cell has to continually modulate its production of surface membrane and internal matter. Also, it has (as noted) to starve. And finally (which isn’t noted) it’ll have to dispose of a third of its internal material to squeeze into two new cells. This is a really tall order for any cell to accomplish. It’s a bit like landing an airplane on the deck of a turning aircraft carrier while running out of fuel.

But, in the standard explanation of cells, they are very, very clever things. They can do almost anything, because everything they do is under tight control (just like a jet fighter coming in to land on the deck of an aircraft carrier). In descriptions of what goes on inside cells, you keep finding things described as “beautifully orchestrated”, as if there was a score with a conductor waving a baton to keep the horns in sync with the violins.

But in my explanation of cell growth and division, cells are very stupid things, and they aren’t ‘controlling’ anything, let alone ‘orchestrating’ anything. In my model, the cells just crank out surface membrane and internal material at a steady rate, and they fall in half without even noticing that they’ve done it. They divide because their geometry requires it, not because they’re starving.

So which is it? Are the experts right? Or am I right?

Well, I think I’m right and the experts are wrong. The experts’ explanation is just too damn complicated. It requires a super-smart cell to carry out a death-defying manoeuvre, and to do it every day. Just because they’re the experts doesn’t mean they’re right. And my explanation only needs a dumb cell to crank a handle, all day every day, to keep on dividing perfectly time after time.

And theirs is a top-down explanation, while mine is a bottom-up explanation. In my explanation, something that’s quite complicated (cell division) is the result of something very simple (keeping surface area and volume in a constant ratio). In their explanation, something that’s quite complicated (cell division) is the result of something even more complicated (the cell that conducts an orchestra). Furthermore, their explanation could be used to explain absolutely anything, including a cell dividing into 12 and re-uniting again upside-down like the Red Arrows.

I’m getting more and more sceptical about more and more of the ‘science’ generated by the ‘experts’. Anti-smoking ‘science’ isn’t science at all, in my view. And climate science is at best incomplete science, if it’s not actually outright, politically-motivated fraud. But now I’m wondering: Do biologists know how cells divide?

And I don’t think they do. And if they don’t know how cells divide, then they don’t understand the first thing about biology. And since cancer cells are cells that keep on growing and dividing, it would be kinda helpful to have a good fundamental understanding of how cells divide, wouldn’t it? Is it any wonder that cancer research is getting nowhere? Or that it’s all blamed on smoking?

We are, I increasingly believe, still living in a dark age. And we still understand fuck all about anything. The doctors who treat our maladies are the same old witch doctors we thought we’d left behind, and the cures they offer us are the same old bones and blood and prayers, dressed in miniskirts and the latest statistical mumbo-jumbo.

If so, there’s nothing to be angry about. It’s not a crime to be ignorant. It’s really only a crime to pretend to be knowledgeable when in fact you’re completely ignorant.

About Frank Davis

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44 Responses to Fuck All

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    FuckitAll Id agree but damnit! I keep comming back to giving a shit yet again.

    Yesterday my brother catches a cow thats been terrorizing the rural area here for 5 months.

    How! He had patients and well we had the cows newborn calf held hostage to lure the bytch in.

    But hey he didnt give up after I caught the calf in the field sleeping. The owners came by and simply wanted the calf and to leave…….err no momma cow I said. Nope didnt want her anylonger except the calf. So I called brother and he bought the cow and calf together for 500 bucks a pair worth an easy 1500 bucks. Ya a good deal til you have to catch the cow that 4 cowboys on horseback couldnt rope or get!

    Then the wife wants a TV entertainment center so I build her a solid redoak one 8 feet long and seven feet high! She is happy!

    Then my kid runs his mouth to my sister-inlaws wife and husband that I can fast draw and shoot from the hip 3 targets in succession. So here they all come down to the house to shoot out back and want to know is it true. Brother already knew so I put the ole gun belt on and busted not 3 but 5 tagets in sucession………Na it was a first!

    The point is I gave up countless times and said fuckit,but I always came back and kept at it and thats the same way to be about smoking bans…….fight the mother fuckers til we win!

    • Rose says:

      Harley, I wish I could visit your house.
      It’s far too peaceful here, I only get to deal with greenfly, snails and the occasional cabbage white butterfly.
      I just don’t get to wrestle rogue cows, dodge passing tornados, or shoot guns in the back garden.

      Incidentally, I chose a calendar with pictures of extreme weather events this year,and everyone of them has turned out to be right.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        There ya go Miss Rose a video of the new entertainment center I built my wife. I still have a crown to build for it but had to move it since it was to tall for the shop to do inside.

        • Rose says:

          Harley, that’s huge! It looks very well made, I even have difficulty cutting a straight line with a pair of scissors.

        • nisakiman says:

          Nice job, Harley. That’s what I do for a living, so I consider myself something of an “expert”! :)

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          Im far from any expert,I just like playing with it. The wife sure likes hehehehe!

  2. magnetic01 says:

    And the inflammatory trash continues. A number of threads ago the “Chapman Trick” was considered in some detail (see comments section):

    Here’s a current manifestation of this vulgar piece of propaganda promoted by Bernado’s and Tobacco Free Futures in the UK. The article begins:
    Arsenic, toilet cleaner and nail varnish remover aren’t the usual ingredients you would give your children over the summer holidays – but parents who smoke in Cumbria are being reminded that this could be the case unless they take ‘7 steps’ out of the house when smoking.

    That’s the very intent of the Chapman Trick – to promote the idea that cigarettes contain toilet cleaner, ant poison, embalming fluid, etc. And in the UK there are people “trained” – “chemical soup trainer” – to present this insanity to the public. Bernado’s and TFF have made it a point – an initiative – to disseminate the stupidity more widely. You’ll note that part of the “presentation” involves bringing out a tray of [fake] labelled containers, e.g., toilet cleaner, whose hazardous contents are also “contained” in cigarettes:
    Developed by children’s charity Barnardo’s working in partnership with Tobacco Free Futures, the ‘chemical soup kit’ complete with cooking pot and fake hazardous liquids, was presented to attendees in a fun and visual way and highlighted some of the harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke.

    A “fun” way of promoting divisive derangement!

    And the article contains a few other “sound bites”. For example, ”Smoke from the end of a burning cigarette – ‘side stream’ smoke – is four times more toxic than mainstream Smoke”
    This statement is not correct. It can be said that the smoke coming off the lit end of a cigarette has four times the concentration of particular chemicals. It is not correct to claim that any dosage of such is necessarily “toxic”. If someone had their nose a few centimeters from the lit end of a cigarette for 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, for decades, then this might pose a risk. Other than this, the statement is intentionally misleading and inflammatory. Concerning the 4000 odd chemicals in tobacco smoke, many are theorized because, if they occur at all, they occur – at trace levels – for only fractions of a second. Most of these chemicals, at barely detectable trace levels, would already have come and gone as the smoke comes off the lit end of a cigarette. The deception involved is to promote the idea that ambient tobacco smoke (such as indoors) – which contains only a small fraction of the “4000 chemicals”, i.e., remnants of smoke, and at trace levels – has thousands of chemicals, are not only toxic but “more toxic” than mainstream smoke, and that nonsmokers are exposed to this “extremely toxic” soup:
    ”Secondhand smoke in enclosed spaces is extremely toxic for everyone.

    But the insanity doesn’t stop there. It makes a number of claims about SHS and childhood illnesses which date back to the agenda-driven childhood section of EPA (1992/3). These are population-level attributions based on questionable studies and questionable causation that have no extrapolation potential at the individual level. For example, in the absence of any other information, how would a medico be able to distinguish glue ear “caused” by SHS as opposed to any other factor(s) in individual cases and would he be willing to put up all his material goods that he can? The entire [questionable] “causal” argument is statistics-based and not from an understanding of underlying causal pathways.

    The Chapman Trick has been inflicted on the world for the better part of three decades. The current initiative just further reinforces the derangement and is an ugly neurosis-bigotry bandwagon in motion – out-of-control, in fact. Given the Chapman Trick, it’s not difficult to understand why many nonsmokers react to tobacco smoke with strong aversion, as if it is a bio-weapon; they believe they are being exposed to “extremely toxic” levels of vaporized ant poison, embalming fluid, etc, even with one whiff. Even uglier is the one-sided article in question. It also highlights that the root of the problem is the medical establishment, and, more specifically, medically-dominated Public Health. A plethora of groups and individuals are prepared to believe and enthusiastically propagate whatever they are fed under the guise of “medical authority”. Many of these groups do some otherwise noble work which, unfortunately, lends further credibility to the madness.

    Also noteworthy of highlight is that the world has no defense against this insanity. Insight is gone; mental dysfunction and its consequences are rife, and it just keeps getting worse. The medical establishment is lame, academia is lame, the media is lame, government is lame, the legal establishment is lame, etc. It is difficult to comprehend that – over thirty years – no-one from any university anywhere in the world – actively employed in academia – has been prepared to question this derangement in a scholarly manner. That’s what a properly functioning academia is, in part, supposed to be for. It gives an indication on how far gone, and still deteriorating, is the worldly system and its key social institutions.

    • magnetic01 says:

      It would also help to explain why a subgroup of smokers has been brainwashed into the belief that any exposure to SHS is seriously harming nonsmokers. They sheepishly accept any restrictions on smoking as a means of “protecting” nonsmokers – particularly children – from the SHS emanating from smokers’ “terrible” habit….. addiction.

    • magnetic01 says:

      In the bulk of claims by the antismoking fanatics, dosimetry – the fundamental maxim of the dose makes the toxicity – has been brutalized, violated, run over, backed over, run over again, and unceremoniously tossed off a cliff.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      The truer question is” How did it get this way”?

      Why is everyone afraid to speak up?

      Why does it seem to be all a part of the globalization of the world attempt going on right now?

      It appears to be an orchestrated effort thru the UN to subdue everyone under the guise of good. When its all an actual plan to enslave the worlds people thru a grand scheme to install socialism in a complete form. Destroy Globalization and we regain our freedom,liberty and probably economies.

    • Margo says:

      Interesting you should mention Cumbria: that’s the place where they have childhood leukaemia, heart disease and cancer way over the national average. It’s also where Seascale/Windscale (bomb factory alias nuclear power station) is, where a fire happened ini 1957, details of which were covered up and lied about, just as all nuclear leaks are covered up – just as Fukushima is still being covered up and lied about. So, I think the blaming of smoking (and now drinking and whatever we enjoy eating) for all ailments is about more than lameness, it is a deliberate conspiracy of deception to protect nuclear interests.

      • Rose says:

        That’s another one of Doll’s.

        “And, in an accompanying editorial, internationally renowned cancer expert, Sir Richard Doll, says: “The time has now come when Kinlen’s hypothesis of population mixing as a cause of childhood lymphoblastic leukaemia can be regarded as established.”

        The Seascale Cluster and population mixing: an improbable explanation
        Low Level Radiation Campaign statement on the suggested effect of population mixing
        18th August 1999

        Apparently Sir Richard Doll was also consultant to the National Radiation Protection Board

  3. magnetic01 says:

    Frank, could you please check the trash-can again. I think something of mine might be in there.

  4. Duncan B (UK) says:

    You’re after that Nobel thingy aren’t you?

    • Frank Davis says:

      Well, if the Nobel thingy will let me sit in a pub, and drink a pint of beer, and smoke a cigarette, I most certainly am after it. And if it doesn’t, I’m not.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Frank even the Nobel Prize cash has been lessened because of the depression.

        But hey.when they give Nobels to the biggest Liars in the Nazi ranks Al Bore for well doing nothing but telling lies. The entire Nobel thingy isnt worth a pint even.

        Freedom is its own reward,we know the sufferage and the fight it takes to win it back.

        Thats a selfless reward nobody can give you but yourself.

  5. Smoking out the nutters says:

    Good heavens Frank does everything have to be connected to the smoking ban, is there anything in your life that is not linked to smoking.

    I’m afraid this no telly, no radio oddball existence you appear to be living means life is passing you by, there is more to life than smoking- trust me.

    you are an excellent case for proving for the science of smokng addiction and how it completely takes over your life, you might not understand fuck all about it, however the tobacco companies most certainly do and they have got you hook line and sinker and you can’t see it.

    • Rose says:

      Good morning : )

    • Frank Davis says:

      does everything have to be connected to the smoking ban,

      It used not to be, but it is now.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Jews were taken hookline and sinker right along with the german population,why did Anne Frank hide out with no life. She wrote a Diary to pass the time until liberation came,Frank writes a Blog……….until Liberation comes. Sadly poor Anne was found as we all know to well. Its why we are here reading Franks diary/blog until our Liberation comes from the nazi controlled governments!

    • smokervoter says:

      @Smoking out the nutters

      On one hand we have Frank who, without the distraction of a blaring radio or the latest reincarnation of the Ted Mack Amateur Hour on the idiot box, is creating his own model of cell division, and one the other hand we have you touting the benefits of watching an endlessly repeating loop on the Obesity Epidemic (eat your vegetables kids), Smoking and the weather forecast for the year 2050.

      Sorry, but there’s simply no contest for whom I hold much, much more respect for.

      It is you who needs to get out more and stop obsessing so much about smoking.

  6. Marvin says:

    I love the heresy on this blog, it’s one of the reasons I keep reading it :)

    • Tom says:

      Yes, it is “heresy” – is exactly it, “an opinion or doctrine at variance with established religious beliefs” (American Heritage Dictionary).

      “Smoking out the nutters” is just another status-quo hum-drum run-of-the-mill boring Pharisetic lazy non-inquisitive bum-kisser to what-he’s-been-told polly-parroting the-one-party-line and repeating, over and over and over again – without thought, with cleverness, without intelligence, without facts, without wisdom – just oh-so-believing as truth the hate-proganda against smokers that was pre-conceived before the facts by social engineers long ago and running with it, thinking as if anyone, particularly on this blog, would give much a damn what he or she has to say, when of course, they would not.

      I laugh in his/her face, for being so naive and intellectually challenged, as is anyone who supports the anti-smoking hate-industry these days and has been made a fool by it.


  7. Marie says:

    Hey Frank, we know how cells divide. It is now possible to actually sit and watch them do it. I have spent many happy hours in front of an imaging device attached to a microscope and done just that. The mechanism is not a mystery. As to WHY cells divide, well that begins to address the greatest mystery of all. What is life? We don’t know. We don’t really know what divides the living world from the inert world. We don’t know what life IS, so we don’t know what death IS except that it is the absence of something we cannot define, life. Gosh it is all so complicated. Perhaps that explains why people like me spend their lives immersed in these mysteries, or perhaps not.

    • Frank Davis says:

      we know how cells divide.

      What’s your explanation of it, then?

      I’ve watched lots of cells dividing on Youtube. Like this one of HeLa cells:

      And I’ve read lots of descriptions in books. But I’ve only come across one explanation.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Let me put it another way.

      We know how the planets move. They go round the Sun. Copernicus found that out. And, thanks to Kepler, we know that that their orbits are elliptical.

      But it was only with Newton that we got an explanation of why this happened. And it was because of the gravitational attraction between bodies that varied directly with their mass, and inversely with the square of the distance between them.

      It was only when we understood in this way that we were able to explain all sorts of things, and dream up things that had never been done before (like launching satellites into outer space).

      We know how cells divide. It’s pretty well described. But has it been explained?

      • Rose says:

        The will to survive and multiply.

        Well said Marie, I’ve been wondering how to phrase that all day, the one thing missing in Frank’s model is the spark of life.

        • Frank Davis says:

          I agree there isn’t a single spark of life in my dividing cell. It’s just a geometrical model.

          But I think of candles as being almost alive. They have a metabolism. They can die. And they might just be able to reproduce:

      • Marvin says:

        “We know how the planets move”…

        Hmmm do we really???
        Copernicus, Kepler and Newton all described something that already exists, but none of them explain how the original movement of the planets occurred.

        When we launch a satellite into space, the rocket gives the satellite the momentum needed to keep it in orbit.
        But where did the original momentum of the planets come from?
        Did they condense out of a swirling dust cloud?
        If so, how did the dust cloud get its angular momentum?

        One hundred years ago there was a beautifully simple explanation, the luminiferous ether, a “something” that fills all space and spirals locally into a
        massive body (in fact it creates the central massive body, aka the sun).
        Then the dust cloud/planets are moved around the central body, by the ether spiralling into it.
        The mathematics of Newton & Co still hold true and prevent the planets (which have mass, from being drawn into the central body).

        I don’t know why, but the experiments of Michellson/Morley to prove the existence of the ether, were rejected by the mainstream of the time.
        So, believing that space is “empty”, they had to come up with some nonsense called “curved space/time” to “explain” the motion of planets around the sun.

        PS: You can actually see the spiralling of the ether into the central body, in the shape of the spiral galaxies.

        PPS: The elusive search for the Higgs-boson “particle” is causing some of them to rethink the luminiferous ether results,
        but that would upset the applecart big time if they came to the correct conclusion!!!

        • Frank Davis says:

          So, believing that space is “empty”, they had to come up with some nonsense called “curved space/time” to “explain” the motion of planets around the sun.

          Well, I don’t understand “curved space/time” either. I’ve tried and I’ve tried, but I just don’t get it. But I understand how Newton looked at it all.

          The good thing about the ether/aether was that it was medium through which waves could propagate, like ripples on water. Take away the aether, and there’s nothingness.

        • Tom says:

          You might look up an author of two recent books put out by a physicist from Harvard, Lisa Randall. Her first book, “Warped Passages” explained many things, but among them was the existence of dark-matter and dark-energy (with dark-matter actually being “invisible” matter, but existing just the same and perhaps on a 5th dimension membrane existing very close to the dimensions we are able to see – and she does good explanation of how the three forces of strong-nuclear, weak-nuclear and electro-magnetic, when particles are energized above a certain level, converge into a single force, where-as the gravity force, being weaker and acting on a distance does not converge but continues on its own path, with it having to “leak” somewhere, which is where her membrane 5th dimension comes in and excludes the need for string theories requiring often 9 to 13 dimensions, she does it with just one). However, the point being, she makes specific mention to the dark-matter and dark-energy – and when I’ve read about this, I’ve often thought that w/o the ether, they could only get the formulas to work so far and this more recent approach to admiting there has to be dark-matter and energy, or else there’s no accounting for where the force of gravity went, to me, starts seeming like a reintroduction of the idea of ether, but w/o actually calling it that, since it would contradict the anathema of calling it ether. Same thing in other words, just like they are calling it something new these days, that their trip down No-Ether-Land has resulted, after decades of wasted time, money and effort, leading them right back to where maybe they should have stuck to begin with. (Much like how anti-smoking pseudo-“science” is a side-trip down the lane of wasteful time, money and effort only to lead us full circle back to admitting that SHS Harm was a fraud after all and other things about tobacco were crucially important that it shouldn’t have been so maligned.)

          Her latest book, “Knocking On Heaven’s Door” contains some of the “Warped Passages” ideas re-written and also includes more information on what is coming out of CERN with the newly built cyclotron, now in operation, plus why they do what they do, what types of particles they choose to accelerate and why, the significance of finding the Higgs boson, will they unlock more secrets at shorter distances than ever explored before that will add credence to her theories on the 5th membrane or to string-theory and other good topics of interest in her field.

          But the newly hatched concepts of dark-matter and dark-energy may be a rebirth of the old ether theories, just in newer updated form and with more information this time around to back them up.

          There is of course all that conspiracy type theory that goes around claiming that Tesla had already proven existence of ether and that he was black-balled and eventually murdered to silence him up, that his science was taken underground by elites and the regular field of physics was pushed down the wrong path of believing there was no ether to be concerned about. These conspiracy type theories also go on to postulate that this underground science using Tesla and ether physics resulted in the Nazis during WWII producing a black bell that was a precursor to the modern day alleged flying-saucer and that it could by way of contra-spinning outer shells and the use of exotic materials, be able to move through dimensions outside the normal and even move through time itself.

          You may want to look for the Lisa Randall books as they might be applicable to this idea of ether, though maybe dark-matter is what it will go by, if reintroduced, renamed and actually accepted into mainstream science this time around.

  8. Margo says:

    Gosh, yes, that’s what candles do -they make this V shape in the middle. I’ve always liked that.

  9. Tony Hand says:

    hmmm, complicated versus uncomplicated. I always thought that one of the major tenets of science was Occams razor, which would make Frank the most likely to be correct.

    Bald headed John.

    • smokervoter says:

      I’ve dedicated my life to the KISS principle. Gaudi is fun to look at for about 5 minutes. Microsoft Works 2.0 – word processor, spreadsheet, database and communications – fit on one floppy disk.

      We are living in Rube Goldberg’s world. The longest living generation in history, which is creating an old age pension solvency crisis, were all immersed in ‘deadly toxic’ first and second hand smoke for 60 years but nobody seems able to grasp this simple notion.

      Instead we have Frank Repace telling us that it is impossible to extract tobacco smoke from a room. And his explanation is extremely complicated, totally bunk, and codified in our worker protection laws.

  10. Tom says:

    Article in today’s Torygraph says that a computer virtual model has been created that perfectly mimics the growth and division of bacteria cells and will be used for research.


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