Wednesday, July 30, 2014

How To Run World Community Grid On Your Computer And How It Helps To Find Cures For Diseases

This post may be kind of long and as I write it I have to make secondary posts that it will link to. If you just want to learn how to install the program scroll to the bottom of this post for the installation guide.

First off for those that have never heard of world community grid, what is it? Without getting too scientific so that I can keep this simple, programs like world community grid and folding@home are grid computing software that allows every person with a desktop computer, laptop or smartphone to participate in scientific research that can lead to cures or breakthrough drugs for many human disease that affect millions of people every year. I won't go into detail about how the programs actually do this research but to put it simply they crunch data that has already been collected to determine the shapes, changes in shape and interactions of different molecules related to the diseases being researched.

How can your home computer/ipad or smart phone help? Simply by downloading this program and letting it run on your system. Once you install the BOINC software on your system a small piece of data in the kilobyte or lower megabyte range will be sent to your system over the Internet. Your cpu will start doing the data processing on this piece of data called a work unit. In as little as an hour but up to 12 hours depending on the size of the work unit your computer will finish the data crunching and send the work unit back to home base at Stanford University. These work units are then assembled together to form the completed research project. With millions of these work units being completed every day we are getting closer to finding cures for disease like cancer and HIV.

Can my computer really help find a cure for a disease like cancer? Absolutely it can. Many drugs that we use today came about through the use of computer research. There are many big super computers that are working on large amounts of data collected in the lab and trying to develop new treatments and drugs this way. Without the incredible power of these machines we would not have many of the medicines we have today. The problem is that using these super computers can be very expensive for scientists and research groups. Even with millions of dollars at their disposal these behemoth machines can be out of reach for smaller research labs. That's where world community grid and folding@home come in. A program like this allows people like me and you to become research partners. It's much cheaper to use our idle systems to do this valuable scientific work than to have to pay millions of dollars a month for it. Plus, there are many groups lined up to use the resources that world community grid provides. All we need now is more people running this program so we can get this research done. There are so many things that scientist don't know about these diseaes but with your help we can increase human knowledge.

What will I accomplish by running this program and will I be rewarded? You can accomplish a lot by running one of these programs. First and most important of all you will be contributing to scientific knowledge and working towards a future where there is no disease. It may sound like an impossible dream but computers become faster every day and as I said above many of the biggest super computers are already working on disease research. Real science is being done through world community grid and folding@home, the proof of that is more than 200 peer reviewed scientific papers that have been published by these two programs combined. Not just anyone can publish these types of papers, you need to be a scientist working with a research group and have very good credentials. By running one of these programs on your computer you become part of these research groups. As far as rewards go you can read this blog and the blogs connected to it to see what prizes you can earn, I have plans to give away things like magic the gathering cards, autographed baseball, basketball and football cards as well as pure silver coins, makeup kits, gift cards for restaurants and stores and many other items. The biggest reward however is the knowlege you are making the world you live in a better place and hopefully a place that in the future will have no diseases.

Will this program give me any viruses when I download it? There is no chance of getting a virus while downloading these programs. They are both run by IBM and their home servers are on the campus of Stanford University which is home to some of the smartest people in the world. I have never once heard of anyone getting a virus through the download process and I have personally been using these two software programs for over 20 years.

Will world community grid or folding@home slow down my computer? Nope, the program is actually designed to use the minimum amount of resources from your computer. It know when you are doing more with your CPU and adjusts itself accordingly. Lets say you are chatting on Facebook or watching YouTube videos, these tasks take very little cpu cycles to perform so the software will use more of your unused CPU power. Now lets say you start playing a video game that has very high end graphics, this will take more processing power from your computer so the BOINC software will lower the amount of processing power it takes from your CPU or even shut itself off until you are done playing. Despite all of this the program never uses more than about 10% of your computers resources, you can however adjust the software settings to allow it to use more or less if you want to get more work units done or insure you don't use more than a minimum amount of power.

What does the future of grid computing look like? Computers are becoming faster every day and with two thirds of the world still offline there is plenty of room for growth in the grid computing community. In the coming years we will see an exponential increase in the data crunching capacity of programs like world community grid and folding@home. This will mean that projects can be finished sooner and more research can be done. There is already hope that Stanford researcher have found a cure for a common childhood cancer called neuroblastoma. If a new drug they are developing does turn out to have a positive affect against the disease it will be a big win for us and world community grid will get a ton of media attention. This will bring more people in who are willing to run these programs on their computers which will have a huge impact on data completion time.

How do I Install world community grid or folding@home? You really only want to run one of these programs at once and for the most part we try to concentrate on world community grid on this blog. To be honest this software is so easy to install that you don't really need an installation guide. Over the years I have gotten hundreds of people to sign up and I can tell you that I've always been able to help them get it up and running just by talking to them in a private message or in a forum. If you do need help you can always contact me through my facebook page or post a comment below.

Click on the link below and download the program. This should only take you one or two minutes. Once you are finished you should see the BOINC software running.

Then you need to join team Endthedisease. You will need to be on this team to win any future prizes from me and even if you don't want any reward I like getting new members so please join.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

One Year Ago This Month Talia Joy Castellano Passed Away - A Tribute Post

I have been thinking about doing this post for a long time and I've been putting it off this whole month, partly because couldn't find the time and partly because I didn't know if I could write anything worth reading. Writing about emotionally charged topics like children with cancer and those who have passed away too young is not really something I feel comfortable with. I mean, I've had a lot of experience blogging but most of that has been very technical writing about things and not really about people. I will warn you ahead of time that what I lack in feeling and experience I make up for with walls of text and this will be a long post. If you want something easier to digest scroll towards the bottom of this page and check out the images. They are all screenshots from Talia's youtube videos and clicking them will take you directly to those videos, I'm using screenshots because embedding several videos seems to slowdown this blogs loading time.

Talia Joy Castellano was a young girl that battled from the age of seven. She was diagnosed with neuroblastoma a rare but deadly pediatric cancer on February 14, 2007. The average age of diagnosis for this type of cancer is under age two so it is very possible that she has this growing in her body for years before it was noticed. Many parents who cross paths with this disease see their children pass away at a very early age. Those children that live into their teen years as Talia did have to endure many chemo treatments, countless drugs with horrible side effects and often month long stays in the hospital while enduring these harsh treatments. All of this extends the length of their lives but they often suffer greatly for these extra years. If treatments like this didn't exist there is no doubt these children would die at much earlier ages. Then too, many of them do beat this disease, but often that has to do with the type of neuroblastoma these children have. As I always try to tell people there are hundreds of different types of cancer and even then there are subtypes. It's a very complex problem to solve involving genetic mutation, immune system response and each persons particular biology.

In America alone nearly 1,000 children a year are diagnosed with neuroblastoma every year. About 10 percent of all cancer diagnosis in children worldwide are for neuroblastoma. The survival rate for high risk children is under 50 percent.

This is the same childhood cancer that world community grid has been working on with their data crunching programs and there is a strong optimism among the researchers associated with this project that they may have found a candidate drug that may be the future cure for this form of cancer that kills so many children every year. This is why I try to push people to run the grid program on their computers. In the future many new cures for a variety of disease will be found both by big data and by home based computer users like you that are sharing their cpu power to make the world better.

Talia touched a lot of people in her short life. She started her YouTube channel way back in July of 2011. She started doing makeup tutorial early on with cancer vlogs that update her subscribers with her progress in dealing with her disease. She also had a popular Facebook page that is still growing today and an instagram. Her YouTube channel started out with just a few fans but grew to close to a million subscribers before her death and is still growing today. Her family and friends carry on her legacy through social media and raise money and awareness for her favorite cancer charities.

The Images Below Go Directly To Talia's YouTube Videos

This was the first video Talia uploaded on her channel. She was just a skinny little kid having fun at a school dance just like any girl her age accept she was dealing with a horrible disease and rounds of chemotherapy that no human being should have to endure, much less a 10-11 year old child. I think we know who one this dance off, all you have to do is listen to the crowd response to Talia's moves.

This was her first ever makeup tutorial video. She showing off her eyeliner skills. She learned most of her early makeup techniques from her mother who is a professional makeup artist, even so you can see the natural talent she was exhibiting for it as well as her positive outlook. Talia almost always had a smile on her face for her fans no matter what she was going through in her struggle with cancer.

Talia doing a homecoming or Prom hair tutorial with her sister. Sadly she did not get to enjoy her high school prom or homecoming as she passed away before the age of 14. In fact she did not get to enjoy the experience of high school at all nor do her friends get to enjoy her companionship and exuberant personality as they now move into those wonderful years of growth and first experiences. Really, when you think about it being a teenager is pure joy, the happiest time in your life. We may all say that high school sucks or that we couldn't wait to grow up but if we all take the time to reflect we have to admit to ourselves that our mid to late teen years are the best time in our lives.Talia did not get to experience this time in her life and that is just so wrong.

I guess this would be Talia's first makeup unboxing video. You can already see that she has a talent for story telling and a very expressive face. Latter on she would gets tons of free makeup from fans and whole kits from major retailers. Pretty much ever well known manufacturer in the industry sent her free kits and samples at one point. She didn't receive these gifts just because she was a kid dealing with cancer but also because of her incredibly charismatic personality. If I was selling a product I would definitely want her pushing it.

It's hard to believe that Talia would be gone less than a year after making this video. I'm skipping past a lot of her makeup videos here and moving toward the time in her life when she was starting to get a lot of fans and would soon have major media attention. This was also a time when the prognosis for her disease did not look good. She now had two forms of cancer, neuroblastoma and leukemia. She new she didn't have much time left but at the same time she still had hope that she might make it through somehow. There is a lot of weight on her shoulders at this point in her life. It's really difficult to watch this video and not get upset.

Talia asks her fans to help her meet Ellen and they deliver. Thousands of messages and emails are sent through social media and Ellen responds. Talia gets to meet one of her icons and is presented with a twenty thousand dollar check from covergirl.

By this point Talia is a well seasoned makeup Guru. She has skills with an eyeliner pencil and eyelash brush that girls twice her age don't possess yet. I think it's safe to say that she would have become a very successful makeup artist had she been allowed to grow up. When you watch her tutorial videos it's hard to believe she is even a kid that's dealing with the horrors of cancer. Makeup seemed to be her best medicine.

All the fun things Talia got to do while she was on her way to meet Ellen, She rides a plane, enjoys a tour bus and visits the walk of fame. I like this video because I think she is having the most fun I have ever seen her have.

I love this video because it shows Talia enjoying something that every kid that lives in Florida enjoys, going to Disney World. Unfortunately Talia's little British friend pictured beside her in the car passed away not too long after she did.

This is the hardest video to watch because it was the last one Talia made. She would be gone less than two months after she posted it and all that time would be spent in the hospital. There are newer videos on her channel but as I understand it all of that is older material she filmed. This really was the last video she gave to us and I have to think she knew she couldn't do it anymore and didn't want us to see her getting worse. It was incredible that she shared what she did with us though, we got a window into her life and got to see what it is really like for a kid to endure this disease.

I won't spam my world community grid links on this post. You can find those all over my blog anyway. Besides, I made this video timeline as more of a tribute to her life but if you aren't doing something to further cancer research you really should. The fact is there really isn't that much money going towards cancer research. We spent way more money on the defense budget than we do on all disease research put together. What's even worse is that less than 4 percent of cancer research funds go to children's cancer research. The main reason for this is probably the fact that most people that get cancer are over 40 years old but I can't help thinking that the numbers should be turned the other way when you see kids like Talia.

I followed this young lady and her family for a long time while she battled with this disease. I pushed her videos and shared them through all my social media. I even donated a small amount of money to the causes she fought for. I did what I could but I know it wasn't much. I think we all need to try and help in this fight. The future is bright no matter what people tell you. It may seem like there are dark times ahead but they never last. Things always get better. Look back 50 years and you will always see you are living in a better time than before, technology and science are not the enemy. Use the tools that are sitting right in front of you. Everyone of us can make a difference in the world and make things better for the next Talia Joy.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Welcome To My World Community Grid And Folding@home Support Blog And An Introduction From Me

First of all I'd like to say hello to anyone that is visiting this blog for the first time. I've had this blogger URL for several years now but I only recently got around to posting actual blog posts related to world community grid and folding@home and the valuable research they do. When I first set up this blog many years I had planned on giving away bluray movies and related movie merchandise but as time went by I realized I might run into a few problems doing this. I also had some financial issues that made me have to sell my whole movie collection.

These days I have another blog project where I am dealing more with sports related items. In these contests you will be able to get football, baseball and basketball cards as well as other items like signed gear and pure silver commemorative coins. Cards For Good is the name of that blog.

So I'm changing gears for this blog. I will still be using it as a support blog for my contest activities but its primary use will be to explain how the world community grid and folding@home projects work and to give updates on finished research. In the future I will have other blogs that give different things away and they will each have a different readerships and pull a variety of users to the projects. This blog will tie everything together and act as a sort of hub for all those blogs and my social media sites.

In addition many of the actual contests will be hosted on this blog. Sometimes they will be through my youtube channel and sometimes through my facebook fanpage. Some of them might be directly run on this blog. No matter how they are run you will find out about them through a secondary blog like cards for good through a link to this blog as well as front page posts on this blog. Just follow all the blogs in my profile and you'll be in the right position to know whats going on when there is a contest being launched.

To get started you will need these two links.

This is a link to download and run WCG

Then just join team Endthedisease through this link.