Tag Archives: Healing

Yoga Dad Turns Cancer To A Positive

Yoga dad Dennis Ingui has a story to tell that all you dudes need to hear.

Now, I don’t normally turn over the precious white space here at A Dude’s Guide very often, much less three times in less than a week, but this is a special case. See, a friend of mine told me about Dennis and, once she did, I knew I’d have to have him share his story here with all of you. It’s a long story, so I’m going to have a jump that I want you to follow and I think you will.

This yoga dad is more than a health nut, more than a cancer survivor, more than a business man. Although he’d probably fight against anyone telling him this, he’s a bit of an inspiration. But let’s hear the story from Dennis’ mouth instead of mine.

Despite completely changing my life starting with a yoga practice at the age of 48, I wouldn’t call it a mid-life crisis.  

My mid-life turnaround was brought about after a stunning diagnosis of prostate cancer and surgery. What began as a journey of recovery and self-discovery has grown into a new business venture, mentorship for other budding entrepreneurs and a path toward philanthropy, touching the lives of children and adults across the globe.

Born and raised in the Bronx, I’ve always been athletic and physically fit. Which meant I was thrown completely off guard after a cautionary check up with my urologist showed a slightly rising PSA test. I will never forget the moment I received a call from the doctor on my way to the airport for a business trip. Immediately, I turned the car around and my wife and I went straight to the doctor. Within a few weeks, I was scheduled for surgery.

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Kickstarting Genetically Modified Organisms

To me, the greatest thing about the movie Avatar, by James Cameron, had to be the beautiful, glowing ecosystem of Pandora. Which means I was the perfect person to hear about the actual glowing plants offered by a San Francisco team.

Offered on Kickstarter, the crowd-funding website that hooks up inventive types with folks who have too much disposable money, the glowing Arabidopsis spoke to me. Anthony Evans, the project’s spokesperson on Kickstarter.com, offered backers a package of seeds that, when planted, would sprout a genetically modified plant that would glow on its own. Vegetable bioluminescence.

It sounds like a relatively simple idea. Take the genes that govern bioluminescence and graft them into the genes for a benign plant species. The idea is simple. The implementation, though, is astonishingly complex.

Still, there’s no way I could ignore this possibility. Not only was the whole thing speaking to me, I know that my middle little dude, Zippy the College Boy, believes Avatar is the ultimate expression of film, the best movie ever conceived and produced, so being able to give him a glowing Pandora-like plant. . . Couldn’t pass it up.

Genes for jellyfish bioluminescence inserted into a plant.
Genes for jellyfish bioluminescence inserted into a plant.

Which, it turns out, was a good thing for me. Because just as soon as the glowing plants were funded by more than 8,400 backers, kicking in $484,013 to fund a $65,000 request, Kickstarter banned anyone from giving away any genetically modified organisms.

Firstly, you can see I wasn’t alone. More than 8,400 people backed the project, kicking in more than seven times the amount the creators would have considered a winning goal. Secondly, I understand Kickstarter’s hesitation, but I think an outright ban is a bad idea.

I understand that no one likes the idea of a genetically modified plant running wild. Think about it. If you create a weedy plant that is much better at spreading itself, it could literally overrun entire sections of the country, the world. Think the kudzu plant. Here in the south, the kudzu plant is a green menace, gradually taking over every single inch of land it can reach. Now imagine if someone souped it up. Yikes. Kudzu-World.

Invasive kudzu covers anything in its path.
Invasive kudzu covers anything in its path.

Still, the folks behind this project selected a plant that isn’t weedy, doesn’t spread without human help, and does not receive a significant reproductive advantage from the glowing genetic inserts.

A blanket ban on genetically modified organisms seems like a bit of an overreaction to the possibility of something going wrong. I mean, I’m a big believer that we’re going to need all the help we can get for the human race to help heal the planet we’ve done so much to damage.

Genetically modified organisms might be the only way we have of healing the damage. And cutting off a funding source for dudes who are looking for ways to expand our abilities doesn’t sound very smart to me.

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Independence Day: Library For All

Happy Independence Day, my fellow Americans.

Normally, I’d take this as a day off so I could be outside blowing stuff up with my young dudes. And, realistically, I will be doing that. However, I wanted to talk first a little about a different kind of independence.

The independence that knowledge brings, and how our modern world can bring itself to the doorstep of anyone. You can help educate the world. You know I’m a huge believer in the healing power of education. I believe, and science will back me up on this, that better education can reduce crime rates, foster a better sense of self, inspire self-confidence, create jobs, raise people out of poverty. All of that.

And with out flourishing market for tablets and e-readers, we have the capability to bring that education to anywhere in the world. No longer would we have to cart a two-ton set of Encyclopedia Britannica around, only to watch the pages moulder in the heat and humidity. We can bring that entire set, plus every single other book in the Library of Congress, on a single e-reader.

The world’s knowledge in the palm of your hand.

Which is why I’m talking to you today about Library for All: A digital library for the developing world, which is a Kickstarter project, which still is short of its goal, that is designed to bring a library of world knowledge to the very poorest people, those most in need of the ameliorating effects of education.

From the project designers: We are harnessing the power of technology, and mobile phone networks found across the developing world, to give low-cost access to a digital library of relevant content. 

The library brings together content from Open Source providers and top global publishers. It is designed for low-bandwidth environments through the use of a local network topology. The platform is designed to be device agnostic. That means it can be accessed via mobile phones, e-readers or even low-cost tablets.

This is a worthy effort here, dudes. It NEEDS your support. Even a few dollars, every few dollars helps. The fine folks running this program have only a little more than 8 days left to make their funding goal. They’re still short. The even better news is that donating to Library For All is tax deductible. It can actually help you, when you help others.

On this Independence Day for America, why not give a little of yourself to support the independence of the rest of the world. Education is something worth fighting for. Education is something that can make fighting itself a relic of the past.

Education is the pathway to a better future. Donate. Become a backer. It’s not hard. Ten minutes, tops. That’s all it takes to help spread the independence we so treasure to others around the world.

Independence, freedom, can never be given to someone. It must be earned. Help them earn their freedom, to earn independence from poverty and oppression.

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