Monday, November 19, 2007

War on Cancer - Stalemate might be better

Immune system can drive cancers into dormant state
A multinational team of researchers has shown for the first time that the immune system can stop the growth of a cancerous tumor without actually killing it.

I read an article some years ago talking about our fondness for the use of war metaphors, particularly in science - can't find the original, but this sums it up: The war against war metaphors
...militaristic language pops up in almost every scientific domain: conservation biology ("invasive species," "biosecurity"); global warming ("global war on global warming"); and biomedicine ("killer cells," "hitting multiple targets").
...Scientists who frame problems in a militaristic manner also likely have a drastically limited perception of the problem and how to tackle it... also talks of how unhelpful the phrases "War on Cancer" and "War on Terror" are.  They imply there is one big enemy and that a decisive victory is the only way forward.  Stalemate would been seen as losing and therefore not an option.

Also reminded of a book on complexity in the workplace that stressed the importance of a project team developing their own language to create a coherance in the way the group work together.  Great book: The Intelligence Advantage - Organizing for Complexity by Michael D. McMasters.

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