Chapter 8 When Drones and Horse’s Butts Combine

Although the world wasn’t destroyed in 2012, time seems to pass faster now. If nothing else, the steady pace of my youth has been lost.

When I was studying and playing at the foot of Prince Mountain, every day felt long, and the sun never seemed to set; it was the same in college. At the Tsinghua campus, the sun always seemed to be around the cornice of the teaching building not far away. Many conversations could happen on the way from the dormitory to the classroom and library. And in each conversation, I can still hear the slow ticking sound of time.

Now, the slow ticking sound is gone. We're surrounded by the sound of fast-moving cars and electronic flows in mobile phones or computers.

When talking with my classmates, most of them have the same feeling. After graduation, I had little contact with my classmates, but now I have joined them in a WeChat group. I wouldn’t previously have been interested in asking about people's health conditions or families, but now I am almost one of the active members in the group. Some of my classmates say, “Old Cheng, you have changed a lot over the years!” In fact, those who really know me know that the main change has been quite recent.

If you feel cheerful, you will find the entire world cheerful. If you give kindness, you will receive more.

As the Prince Mountain translation company business grew, I started to open branch offices in other cities. I had a vague dream that one day I would help people who were troubled by diabetes in some way. But I could tell that it would cost a lot of money simply by looking at Sami Inkinen and his company Virta Health.

To tell the truth, I didn’t think that I was not noble enough to work hard just to save people in the world from suffering. But deep down, I felt the need to share my treatment with others. My vague plan was to wait until I had enough money, but I didn’t have a clue about what to do or how much it would cost.

However, I am not Sami Inkinen. We looked at the differences between an American and Chinese outlook in the last chapter. Before I act, I need to be completely clear on the reasons for my actions, and to make completely sure that I am giving the right advice.

Although the low-carb diet works for many people, it has never been formally recognized by official institutions, experts, media, hospitals or other public channels. I began to wonder why this was the case. Is it because those successes are just individual cases? Is it because the effectiveness of the diet is too difficult to prove from a pure medicine perspective? Or are there more complicated reasons?

As my business blossomed, and the days flew by, there were 2 moments that helped me crystalize my understanding of this issue. The first of these moments occurred when I bought a drone.

Perhaps it is because of my engineering background, but I am always interested in new developments in science and technology. I like to keep up with the latest trends, and so when drones began to be sold, I bought myself the DJI Mini 2. It weighed only 249g and was easy for any amateur to operate.

When I first got the drone, I was totally clueless. I went to the football field of a nearby middle school to test it. I turned it on and connected the drone and the remote control to my phone. But the drone would not fly! The motors refused to work, no matter which buttons I pressed.

Frustrated, I took a closer look at the drone. It turned out that this school was close to Vancouver International Airport, making it a no-fly zone. The drone had an advanced control system, which could show you whether you can fly in any area or not, how high you can fly, and whether you need approval.

Of course, this is all very sensible, and ensures the safety of all those taking flights.

But it got me thinking. Sometimes it’s not that a thing is impossible, it’s just that others (or yourself) have placed obstacles in your way.

The second moment occurred when someone asked me a question about trains. Sometimes, the reason behind a certain thing is a lot more complicated than we realise, and nowhere as logical.

If you want to build a train, the width of your train wheels must be 4 feet and 8.5 inches, that is, 1435 mm. If you don't follow this standard, there will be no tracks in the world for your train to run along. Here comes the question. Why is it exactly 4 feet and 8.5 inches, no more nor less?

When I first saw this question, I assumed that it was calculated by experts based on mechanical analysis and theories that are hard to understand, but when I discovered the answer, I was astounded!

The distance between tracks of modern railways is 4 feet and 8.5 inches, because it was grandfathered from the standard width of tram tracks.

Then where did the standard for the tram come from? It turns out that its standard was taken from the standard distance between carriage wheels.

So where did the standard for the carriage come from? It turns out that the width of the British road ruts was 4 feet and 8.5 inches. If a carriage had a different distance between its wheels, it would have broken down.

So where did the rut width of the British roads come from? The answer is from the ancient Romans. The long roads throughout Europe, including Britain, were paved by the Romans for their troops, and 4 feet and 8.5 inches was the width of the Roman chariot.

If you ask again, how was the width of the Roman chariot decided? The answer is very simple. It was determined based on the width of the buttocks of two horses dragging a chariot.

The story is not over yet, because the rocket boosters of the US space shuttles also have something to do with horses' behinds. It turned out that after the rocket boosters were built, they had to be transported by railway, and through some railway tunnels. which were only slightly wider than the railway track.

So, the width of a rocket booster, which represents the most cutting-edge product of modern science and technology, was determined by the butt of two horses 2,000 years ago.


After recollections of drones and stories about the breadth of horse buttocks, I felt closer to why the low-carb diet is not accepted by doctors. Perhaps there was a"horse buttock" situation behind the accepted diabetes treatment.

With this in mind, I took every opportunity to talk to my friends who were doctors. What was the reason for administering metformin plus insulin, which brings patients a lifetime of pain, instead of suggesting a high-fat and low-carb diet to diabetic patients?

The answers were almost always the same: as doctors, they uphold generally accepted treatments that need to be verified by countless clinical trials, rather than individual cases; without a scientific basis or medical record, even large-scale successful experiments cannot be included into the hospital’s formal treatment plan. In their opinion, medicine was a matter of life or death, and not to be played around with.

Thinking of my discovery about train tracks and horses, I continued to probe them with further questions. “Who told you the clinically verified axiomatic solutions?” I would ask. They always gave me an impatient stare as if it was obvious. They learnt these solutions from textbooks when they were training, and from those solutions published by authoritative medical institutions. What other way could there be?

One of my friends said to me: “If I follow these treatment solutions to a T, even if there is a problem, it will be the textbooks' problem. But if I use other methods, if there is any problem, I will be held accountable, and the patient may even sue me for it. In that situation, I would definitely lose the lawsuit.”

Alright. Then I continued to ask them, “Who edited the textbooks? What are the procedures for reviewing and approving the treatment plans published by the authoritative medical institutions?”

This was usually the end of the conversation. It appears that, at least amongst the doctors I spoke to, there was little interest in knowing the answers to these questions. They were happy just following the generally accepted treatment guidelines.

But there was no need for them to give me an answer, because I could figure out the answer myself. The editor in chief and the reviewer are, of course, the people who are competent enough for this job - experienced medical experts in their fields. So do they know that low-carb diets can reverse diabetes? I already know. How could they not?

We have arrived at my final question: Since they know, why don't they tell people about it? There are two possible reasons. First, they can benefit from not saying it and therefore are unwilling to; or second, that even if they want to say it, it is impossible for them to do it.

You have probably heard similar rumors about the relationships between pharmaceutical companies and doctors all over the world. The stories play out like this:

Someone goes to the hospital to see a doctor, he may not be seriously ill, but the doctor tells him his condition is very serious. Although in reality his illness can be cured with some cheap medicine, the doctor will prescribe expensive medicine for him; he obviously recovers, but the doctor still warns him that he must continue to take medicine, including various tonics.

We all know why doctors do this, because every day in their consulting room, people from the pharmaceutical companies secretly put kickbacks into their drawers.

If doctors are like this. Do you think those who compile textbooks for doctors would be any different?

As for those who want to say something about it but cannot, it is worth considering that even those with power are not at the top of the chain. It is the media who hold the keys. Even 50 or 100 years ago, the media had control of the real right of speech. If they give you an opportunity to talk, you will have a chance to express your opinion. If they don't, you cannot do anything about it, no matter who you are.

But we have to look past the newspaper editors and journalists to find the real bosses behind the scenes.

Take the United States as an example. 90% of its media are controlled by six large companies. Specifically, they are Comcast, Viacom, Time Warner, CBS, News Corporation and Disney. They jointly control more than 90% of the country's print and electronic media, including television, radio, newspapers, films, video games, book publication, comics and so on.

No matter who wants to express any revolutionary views, they must obtain the media's prior consent. Views in line with their interests can be published, and those that do not are rejected.

Let's tie up these different trains of thought. Doctors know that the low-carb diet can reverse diabetes. But they continue to prescribe metformin and insulin, because on the one hand, they are given money; and on the other hand, they are asked to remain silent about the low-carb diet.

I used to think of this situation as a moral failing of doctors.

Now I know that it is not. Behind doctors, there are groups of people contributing to the situation. First the powerful medical experts and researchers, then behind them the media, and then behind them, more influential and ubiquitous figures. These people use various methods, including medical school textbooks and papers in medical journals, sponsorship money for medical institutions, doctors' "free academic conferences" and so on to disseminate consistent information through various channels.

They have only one purpose: to set a no-fly zone for doctors' treatment plans. And then the doctors pass this no-fly zone information on to patients and people who care about diabetes treatment.

This was when I realised that the effect of the low-carb diet reversing diabetes is hidden from people on purpose.

This works firstly because people have a "horse buttocks" logic. The academic term for this is “path dependence”, that is, people are used to doing things according to established rules, without asking whether it is reasonable or not, or whether there is a better way. Others will take advantage of this weakness to deceive. Thousands of people have fallen for it, including me.

Secondly, in terms of low-carb diet, people are used to following the doctor's advice, relying on metformin and insulin all their life. Each link of the chain - from medical scientific institutions, textbook compilation, to the media and doctors - has been persuaded to unanimously affirm the established path. For a few conscientious people who clearly know the truth, such as Professor Waterman of Canada, they have been deprived of the opportunity to tell the truth by the influential media.

So who is behind this outrageous squashing of the truth? Who has the power to mobilize resources on such a large scale? Who do you think will benefit from this? The powerful figure hidden behind this, of course, is the sugar industry.

The New York Times reported in 2016 that Coca-Cola has funded millions of dollars’ worth of “research” aimed at downplaying the link between sugary drinks and the obesity epidemic. It was also revealed by The Associated Press that candy trade groups had been funding and influencing research into sweets.

There have been similar occasions throughout recent history where doctors have been influenced for personal gain. Tobacco companies once hired experts to do health studies on smoking. One of them used the trick of funding doctors to do research to prove tobacco is beneficial to health. Not only did it place advertisements in the mass media, but also in medical journals. This way, their advertising fees supported the publication of medical journals.

This company also appeared at various medical conferences, distributed promotional materials and free cigarettes, and provided doctors with exclusive lounges to win the medical community's favor. Through a series of marketing activities, the company successfully rose to become a tycoon of the American tobacco industry.

The success of these cases led other tobacco companies to come up with new tricks: like establishing a medical public relations department, which was responsible for marketing through doctors and medical "discoveries". Since 1942, advertisements have been systematically published in medical journals, and the advertisements in medical journals are veiled under "research". It turns out that as long as you knock on the correct door, you can turn lead into gold.

Fortunately, people eventually found out the truth. However, the marketing methods developed by tobacco companies continue to be used and improved on by manufacturers of personal care products, health products, and other companies. There are still many "scientific research papers" sponsored by manufacturers in medical journals, and there are many papers purporting that “eating sugar is beneficial to your health". Their tricks look exactly the same!

After the drone flight that led to my revelation, I resolved to spread the word. We should not let anyone set a no-fly zone for us, especially in terms of thinking. I would help people break out of their path dependency.

While some people might consider me a nerd, it is in situations such as this when being a stubborn engineer with a logical and curious brain can be pretty beneficial.

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