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Saturday, November 01, 2003

Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic Fibrosis is the most common genetic disease in Americans of European descent. 1 of every 2,500 births affected and 4% of the population carriers for the disease.

Some Symptoms:
-accumulated thick mucus in lungs and pancreas
-loss of excess salt in sweat
-difficulty breathing
-increase risk of respiratory infection

What is causing all these problems? The gene that is mutated results in the person's cells' inability to pump Cl- into extracellular spaces in response to cyclic AMP. This is significant because proper water and salt balance needs to be maintained so that mucus and fluids don't build up in the lungs.

For more information on CF please visit: medline

Why do I bring all this up? I have known only two people in my life with Cystic Fibrosis. Both have passed away. One died when he was only 19, while on the waiting list for new lungs while the other died at the age of 21 (she had a lung transplant while in highschool I believe). Both were under the care of Stanford Hospital and yet died so young. I read up about CF and experts claim that most people with CF live to about 30. While it is sad enough that their lives are cut so short, I want to understand why these two people died so young.

It's really not fair. Not to sound like a child, but really, why is it that some people are given such a shitty foundation (genetic make-up) to start with? Life is hard enough without a severe genetic disorder.
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Friday, October 31, 2003

Who was Yael?

The name Yael comes from the Bible. Here are some excerpts from the story of Yael (written Jael as all names that are Y sounding in Hebrew translate into J's in English)

During this period Israel was ruled by judges. When they had a strong, God-fearing judge the people enjoyed many blessings from God. The Israelites had been drawn away from the worship of the Lord and began to live like the people around them—praying to idols and participating in pagan worship.(Judges 4:1) They were being oppressed by a Canaanite king in the north whose name was Jabin.(Judges 4:2)

At this time, another woman by the name of Deborah was ruling as judge over a large part of Israel. Deborah was the only woman of the fifteen judges who consecutively ruled Israel. It is said that she sat under a tree (Judges 4:5) north of Jerusalem, between the cities of Ramah and Bethel, and gave advice to the people and judged disputes between them. As well as being a judge, she was also a prophet —- communicating the will of God to the people of Israel.

God instructed Deborah to enlist Barak to assemble an army because He was going to deliver Israel from the oppressive rule of Jabin. Barak was afraid to take on this challenge — knowing that the Canaanite armies were massive and that they possessed chariots and horses. The Israelites, by contrast, were vastly under manned and did not possess the weapons of war that their oppressors had used against them before.


But Barak conceded to wage the war if Deborah would go with him into battle.(Judges 4:8) To this she replied, (Judges 4:9) "I will indeed go with you. But you will not gain fame on the expedition you are taking, for the Lord will turn Sisera over to a woman."


The two ultimately succeeded in gathering forces from the six tribes most directly hurt by the Canaanites, but these six tribes proved sufficient. The battle took place in the valley of the Kishon River, southwest of the Sea of Galilee. A combination of rain and river floods rendered all the mighty chariots useless as they struggled in the mud. The Israelites came down from the hilltop. With their small army and the element of surprise on their side, they successfully overtook the Canaanite army. However, the detested general of the opposing troops, Sisera, escaped on foot. (Judges 4:15) The story doesn’t end here.


Sisera, running for his life, came upon the tent of a man named Heber, and Heber’s wife, Jael. Jael knew who Sisera was and she invited him into their tent. As a member of the Bedouin clan Jael was bound by custom to extend hospitality to those they met. Sisera asked her for water and she gave him a glass of milk and encouraged him to take a rest. She covered him with a blanket. He told Jael,

(Judges 4:20) "Stand watch at the entrance to the tent. If anyone comes along and asks you, 'Is there a man here?' say 'No.’"


After Sisera had fallen asleep, Jael got a tent stake and drove it through Sisera’s temple, pinning him to the dirt, killing him. Later, as Barak searched for the fleeing general Sisera, he came upon the tent of Heber and Jael. Jael took him inside and showed him the dead general.(Judges 4:22) "Come here,” she said, “and I will show you the man you are searching for." He went with her into the tent, and there he saw Sisera sprawled out dead, with the tent peg in his temple.


Jael’s act of treachery was also an act of heroism as she helped to free the country from the Canaanite oppression. Deborah’s prophecy from God was seen to completion and God, indeed delivered the oppressor into the hands of a woman.



Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Through Heaven's Eyes

Thank you to Laura for reminding me of this beautiful song from The Prince of Egypt. I highlighted the exceptionally important (to me) parts of the song (although the whole song is deeply meaningful). Hope you enjoy :)

A single thread in a tapestry
Through its color brightly shine
Can never see its purpose
In the pattern of the grand design

And the stone that sits on the very top
Of the mountain's mighty face
Does it think it's more important
Than the stones that form the base?

So how can you see what your life is worth
Or where your value lies?
You can never see through the eyes of man
You must look at your life

Look at your life through heaven's eyes
Lai-la-lai...

A lake of gold in the desert sand
Is less than a cool fresh spring
And to one lost sheep, a shepherd boy
Is greater than the richest king
If a man lose ev'rything he owns
Has he truly lost his worth?
Or is it the beginning
Of a new and brighter birth?

So how do you measure the worth of a man
In wealth or strength or size?
In how much he gained or how much he gave?
The answer will come
The answer will come to him who tries
To look at his life through heaven's eyes

And that's why we share all we have with you
Though there's little to be found
When all you've got is nothing
There's a lot to go around

No life can escape being blown about
By the winds of change and chance
And though you never know all the steps
You must learn to join the dance

You must learn to join the dance
Lai-la-lai...

So how do you judge what a man is worth
By what he builds or buys?
You can never see with your eyes on earth
Look through heaven's eyes

Look at your life
Look at your life
Look at your life through heaven's eyes

BioEngineering conference in Malaysia

I guess that's all that needs to be said. I can't believe that anyone would affiliate themselves with a country that allows their prime minister to say such disgusting and hateful things about a group of people. Are we to ever learn that making generalizations about a whole group of people is innately hateful? He said "jews are arrogant", "jews rule the world.." "jews invented communism". Wow. We rule the world? Really? Then how come our home land is so damn tiny. I mean, if we rule the world, then shouldn't we have a bigger slice of the pie land-wise? If we rule the world, then why are we still going through this intifada? We would have been able to stop it once in for all. We wouldn't be battling on a daily basis losing civilians to this war.

I will test this whole conference thing. I wonder, will I be allowed to go? Surely not on my Israeli passport. But my American one says my country of origin: ISRAEL. I wonder....should I try and go to this conference? It intrigues me.


Tuesday, October 28, 2003

It has been very warm

Here in the Bay Area it has been very warm the last week or so. The weather has been absolutely marvelous and beautiful. The sunsets have been spectacular. The only problem is, with heat comes fire. Los Angeles and San Diego are lit up from some crazy fires. It has been declared a disaster zone! Hundreds of homes have been destroyed, and several people have died. Apparently, all the fires were started by humans and in freakish ways..the details of which I am not sure but my friend told me one was started after two people committed a murder and took the body into the woods and somehow started the fire, the other was a lost hiker who lit a flare to help rangers locate him.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Not much

This weekend has been filled with sleeping, running errands, and of course, studying. I have been wanting to blog about health issues as I mentioned a few entries ago but it will have to wait. I think you'll like it though. I will try to make it a regular thing amidst all the political entries.

Anyway, for now I am going back to studying. I have midterms coming up again and I am very far behind in my work! Wish me luck!

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