Blue Collar Scientist has died

I regret to report that Blue Collar Scientist has lost his struggle with cancer and that he died last night.

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That is terrible news. My condolences to all who knew and loved him.

I'm so sorry to hear it...peace and strength to his loved ones, may his memory live on.

Best wishes to those who knew him.

I'm really sorry to hear this. This is terrible news. I didn't follow his blog closely, but it seems to me that this was very sudden. My condolences to his family.

Cancer's a bitch. Always sad to hear such things.

cue trolls with their "This is God's way of giving atheists what they deserve" type of rhetoric, like they did to P-Momma.

I'm sorry to hear about this, best wishes for the family.

Condolences here, as well.

This is sad, sad news. I agree with Paul. Donations to the ACS may help to keep this damn axe of cancer off humanity's neck in the future.

My condolences to the family and friends of the Blue Collar Scientist. You will all be in my thoughts today.

I'll be raising a pint in memory of his contribution to rationality.

My condolences go out to the family and friends of BCS, He will definitely be missed.

this is sad news. I hope that he is remembered well and that he was able to get in as much fun as he could while living.

This is very sad news. My condolences to his family and friends.

Condolences for those who knew him from me too. I thought that there were some posts by him about his cancer that I saw on the link a couple weeks ago. Am I imagining things? I was quite taken with the courage of those posts considering that I have seen this sort of thing with a grandfather, my sister's ex-husband's father, and even one of my dogs. It's not a very easy way to go at all, especially if it spreads to the stomach. Those posts just broke my heart, especially since he was so young.

Ah, hell, that was faster than even I expected.

Because BCS was originally scheduled to host the Skeptics' Circle on July 31, I had been in contact with him in early June, not long after he had announced his diagnosis, to deal with the unpleasant task of asking him if he still wanted to host. I also offered to help line him up with a liver surgeon, which is why he told me how advanced his tumor was. After he told me, I knew he was not going to survive. I just expected that he'd probably have at least a couple more months.

Being a cancer surgeon and knowing too much can sometimes be a bitch.

::bows head::

By GirBoBytons (not verified) on 04 Aug 2008 #permalink

Ya,

I had just communicated with him not too many weeks ago myself. He was still pretty confident and hopeful then. When I got the e-mail from his wife, I was kind of in shock. At least I got to have dinner with him when he stopped through Atlanta on his way home from TAM 5.5. We had a great dinner and conversation, and he was very excited to be coming out to Dragon*Con to do some lectures and hang out with all of us again. So damn sad, and a loss to me personally.

He will be remembered...

Fill to me the parting glass,
And drink a health, whate'er befalls,
Then gently rise and softly call,
"Goodnight, and joy be to you all!"

This is terrible. I always feel such loss when a bright mind dies. I also feel anger, as in why haven't we beaten this shit yet? Sometimes I hate my job.

My deepest condolences to his friends and family.

This just sucks,never read any his posts but a may go through the archives if they keep them up.

How stern are the woes of the desolate mourner
As he bends in still grief o'er the hallowed bier,
As enanguished he turns from the laugh of the scorner,
And drops to perfection's remembrance a tear;

My condolences for the dear loss to this family.

By Michael X (not verified) on 04 Aug 2008 #permalink

Jeff took the lead in organizing meetups in Anchorage earlier this year. We only met twice before more urgent matters intervened. In those two meetings, I found Jeff to be as sincere and thoughtful as he came across on his blog. I'm sorry I couldn't get to know him better.

The group he started is still active, though, and we should probably arrange another meeting in his memory. If someone hasn't thought of that already.

Why couldn't have been you? Maybe next time.

In some ways atheism sucks. I'd like to think that BCS was in a better world now, enjoying his afterlife. But I just don't believe it and don't see any advantage to pretending that it is so when it clearly isn't. Instead I'd rather work on finding better ways to treat the disease that killed him and try to prevent the next death: to provide real help instead of false hope. My condolences to his family, friends, and readers.

Being a cancer surgeon and knowing too much can sometimes be a bitch.

As the only person with any scientific training in the circle of my in-laws, one of whom just (mercifully) succumbed to lung cancer,I can relate. One feels like saying, 'What good is knowledge if it can't be helpful?' or some such. Logically, I know the former is a ridiculous, overwrought, emotional response to an intractable problem. But it still feels right to say it.

Why couldn't have been you? Maybe next time.

Christianity is love, eh?

RIP, BCS.

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 04 Aug 2008 #permalink

Thanks for letting us know PZ.

For those of you who would like to know more about the last couple of months of Jeff's life, please check out:

Yucatangee Eventually Shuts Up
Information and ramblings from a 39 year-old guy with hepatocellular carcinoma.

http://yucatangee.wordpress.com/

"Why couldn't have been you? Maybe next time."
Larry in #32

Because your god's aim sucks.

We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.

-- Richard Dawkins, excerpt from Chapter I, "The Anaesthetic of Familiarity," of Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder (1998)

My condolences to his friends and family, and my thanks to all the scientists who are working towards a cure for cancer.

Thank you to all the doctors, technicians, nurses, staff, friends and family who did their best for Jeff. It's unfortunate that this one didn't work out in our favor. He will be missed.

George Carlin, Randy Pausch, Jeff Medkeff... damn you, Kira!

In all seriousness, my condolences go out to the family. I know the lame anime joke above is probably very inappropriate, but it seems like the best people are dying rapidly.

Rest in peace, Jeff. I hope that they gave your nice drugs in your last hours.

By Deathweasel (not verified) on 04 Aug 2008 #permalink

My condolences to his family, friends and all who loved Blue Collar Scientist.

"Weep not for he who's time has come to an end, but for those who, left behind, must learn to live again."*

BCS, I choose to celebrate your life today. I am going outside right now to sit in my garden and watch the butterflies and bees dawdle among the flowers, watch the clouds pass over my head, and spend a quiet moment celebrating the precious fragility of life in all it's beauty and wonder.

* I don't remember the author of that quote, but it has stuck with me for years.

It's time to go now,
Haul away your anchor,
Haul away your anchor,
It's our sailing time.

Get some sail upon her,
Haul away your halyards,
Haul away your halyards,
It's our sailing time.

Get her on her course now,
Haul away your foresheets,
Haul away your foresheets,
It's our sailing time.

Waves are surging under,
Haul away down channel,
Haul away down channel,
On the evening tide.

Padstow Farewell attributed to Mervin Vincent

Oh, so sorry to hear it. Thanks for letting us know. My deepest condolences to his family.

My condolences to his loved ones. Life, basically, is potential... Jeff lived his life well, helping to disseminate knowledge and point out a reasonable, enlightened path for others.

On the other hand, death is the loss of potential. Think of the potential funding for cancer research that has been squandered on meting out death to hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, by geriatric believers sending money to snake-oil selling holy rollers, by millions of woo-addicted dupes buying into "The Secret".

The world lost one of the good ones.

By Longtime Lurker (not verified) on 04 Aug 2008 #permalink

I am the same age as BCS (39) and my wife and I only have one parent left between us. They've all fallen to cancer. All of them, but especially my mother maintained a bit of fantasy world them about their likely prognosis and things in general. It seemed they used the skills they learned with religious belief to keep their head in the sand a really long time. It was painful to watch and wasn't able to discuss many thing with my mother that I would have liked to. By the time there was recognition there was very little time left to have all those coversations. My mother was still discussing what we were going to do when she got better just 4 days before her end.

I always thought that I would behave differently. On the other hand, it is easy to think something like that until one is actually in the same position.

I drove down from Dallas and saw BCS at the M.D. Anderson center in Houston July 6th. (Aren't I glad I took that opportunity now?) He was frank about his situation, faced it head on, and still remained very positive. If living indefinitely was out of his reach, well, he could happily focus on making what was left as pleasant and rich as possible. We mostly talked about other things. We have a lot of have many interests that overlap or are on close tangents. It was an excellent afternoon. I left thinking, this is exactly who I should emulate if I am ever in as dire a situation. It sounded like even his oncologist found him a breath of fresh air.

The timing is quite a shock. Jeff seemed to think that being around long enough to make dragon-con was a reasonable task, making next's year TAM was not. I guess things reached a tipping point sooner than expected. I never heard anything else after his July 12th 'onco' blog saying he was home in AK.

My condolences to his wife (who I only met the once in Houston) and family.

When he told Scott Elyard and I about his diagnosis, he asked that we take up the Anchorage Skeptics mantle, a task we both are committed to seeing through. I had just had an email conversation with Jeff about a museum tour, and we'd made a tentative date for the middle of August. It's a shock to hear that he's gone so suddenly. He will be missed, and my deepest condolances go out to his family and friends.

The museum tour (and other things) will continue, though! Expect news on such a gathering soon.

My condolences to his family and friends.
Never a good thing to lose someone.

and for "Larry": your Christian Love is duly noted.
Now go jump down a well.

Only met Jeff once but was duly impressed and had a most excellent time in person. All else was blog-blog or later occasional emails. RIP Jeff.

Larry the troll can go DIAF. Now.

I should add that asteroid "41450 Medkeff" is a nice legacy to Jeff's scientific influence; small comfort to his family and close friends right now but may we all be so diligent in science.

My deepest condolences to his family and friends. So very sad.

Sincere condolences to BCS's family and friends. He will be missed.

By Blaidd Drwg (not verified) on 04 Aug 2008 #permalink

Larry (#32), please take your version of "Christian Love", fold it until it's all sharp corners, and insert it in an anatomically uncomfortable location - repeatedly and with great force.

By Blaidd Drwg (not verified) on 04 Aug 2008 #permalink

Very sad news. I was rather shocked to hear of Jeff's passing. He was one of the good guys of the web. Condolences to his family.

By Roger Scott (not verified) on 04 Aug 2008 #permalink

I am old, older, older than that even. But I have lost two children to cancer, when they were about BCS' age. One of them, my daughter, was really the heart of the family, and we lost that heart. The other, my son -- I still cry when I think of his daughter saying, "How can my daddy be dead? I'm only nine!

Oh, I have plenty of kids left. But when you lose any one of them, you lose everything. And worst of all, it can happen again and again. My condolences to BCS' parents.

Jeff saw far and will be missed.

By Arnosium Upinarum (not verified) on 06 Aug 2008 #permalink