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Yellow-throated Marten


Archive for July, 2020

Was COVID-19 human made?

Friday, July 10th, 2020

Regarding ‘engineered COVID-19’, people putting the idea forward are speculating based the expectations of people raised on movie science. I do have training and experience in this area and have read the technical discussion of the nature and origin of COVID-19.

There is no existing capacity in the world to create a bepsoke virus, made to have particular properties. I could design a research program to do so, and it would require a moonshot level effort–years, talent, many dollars. Along the way it would require hundreds of small scale human trials. Biology is a tinker’s science, it isn’t physics, the closest thing is materials science.

The understanding of human immunity, of viral stability and transmission, of cell biology, of every aspect of the what makes a virus a disease, and the particulars of a disease are all poorly understood. Biologists can’t cure asthma, can’t prevent organ rejection, don’t have a full understanding of any viral disease, even the ones that have been studied for a hundred years.

What I’m saying is, biologists can’t do the easy things yet. Nearly every tool of molecular biology is something biologists found in the wild and took home, tweaked a bit, cut the thorns off. Every one of the millions of animals, microbes, viruses is a miniature clockwork, a computer chip. Biologists have created or designed basically nothing themselves, only a few paper airplanes, a crappy happy meal windup toy or two.

The nanotech equivalent is diamond. Nanotech is a suite of tools to build and make things on the scale of atoms and molecules. If this tech has developed to point where practical applications are at hand, diamond will become common and inexpensive. Diamond is a particular crystalline arrangement of carbon atoms, it would be a pretty easy application of a nanotech toolkit. I’ve read many news stories about nanotech, predictions that it will soon mature enough to reshape the world. But no cheap diamonds, so nanotech is no where near that point today.

Zach Bush plays the COVID-19 health fraud game

Wednesday, July 1st, 2020

Listened to a Zach Bush on the “Live Healthy Be Well” podcast. Zach Bush clearly has some training in sci and med, he uses a technical terms, but he uses them all wrong, and the result is gibberish. “Viruses integrate into the human genome and let us adapt”? Complete nonsense, and Zack cribbed the plot from “Darwin’s Radio” by Greg Bear* (1999).

The idea this happens all the time–that viral diseases go away because people integrate the viral DNA into their genome and adapt, and this is why SARS and MERS didn’t turn into pandemics–complete nonsense. Zach Bush says he is participating in a “New York clinical trial fund” on human adaption to COVID-19–a fabrication, there is no such clinical trial,
and Zach will never publish the results because it isn’t happening. And a clinical trial is a trial of a medical treatment, and he seems to be saying he’s going to study people w
ho recovered from COVID-19, so a clinical study, not a clinical trial. But it’s all made up, so the details aren’t important.

And then he talks about an idea he has that COVID-19 is deadly for some people because it sticks to smog particles and clumps up, so instead of benignly integrating into human DNA, it is toxic. And then the smog carrying it into the lungs turns into cyanide, a poison. This is nuts. Zach has no evidence for this, he just made it up.

Zach Bush goes on the link susceptibility of COVID-19 to microbiome disruptions due to the fertilizer glyphosate, which ‘stresses’ people and somehow makes them want to absorb virus to trigger adaption to stress. Again, this is complete nonsense. Zach specializes in natural food as a healh lifestyle, and demonizing the fertilizer glyphosate is a long time obsession of his.

The microbiome is great pseudoscience / health fraud nexus. The microbiome is a term for the collection of different microbes living in the human gut, or on the skin. At this point there is good evidence that the microbes living in the gut interact with the body in complex ways and may affect the immune system, food tolerance, maybe other things. But almost nothing concrete is known making it a great source of woo nonsense. It can explain almost anything, and while there is no good reason to hold the belief, it can’t be proven wrong, like perpetual motion machines or that the moon landing was faked or crystal healing.

Zach Bush sells an ION* line of products of magic dirt that are meant to “support microbiome balance”. Is there evidence that it works? No evidence. He also pushes the idea that clean, natural food and water is all that is needed to prevent all disease. This is a lie, but in his mind, he must think his time in medical school was a waste.

Zach is also anti-vaccine, and after going through his crazy COVID-19 story, he drops a bunch of nutty anti-vac nonsense. Vaccines can cause infertility, no worse, contagious infertility! In his view, a COVID-19 vaccine would be bad, because COVID-19 is mostly harmless, and vaccines are harmful. Dangerous nonsense, all fake

It is kind of sad, some people start down the path of medical or scientific training, pick up some of the lingo, maybe finish medical school, and decide that medicine and science are too hard, too much work, and they decide to just make stuff up. Their audience can’t tell the difference between real treatments and the crap they make up, and health fraud is so much easier than developing something new that works. But no so much sad as dishonest, that these people prey on the ignorant and the sick.

*Update: “Darwin’s Radio” (1999) by Greg Bear has human evolution by reactivated endogenous viruses. “Blood Music” (1985) has internal nanobots engineering better humans.

Links for July 2020

Wednesday, July 1st, 2020

Before face masks, Americans went to war against seat belts. by Daniel Ackerman. And the pro-smoking movement.

Exposing Jordan Peterson’s Barrage of Revisionist Falsehoods About Hitler and Nazism by Mikael Nilsson
“Jordan Peterson, YouTube psychology guru and right-wing cult figure, talks a lot about Hitler, WWII and Nazism – in lectures riddled with alarming errors, spurious analogies and a strange reluctance to use the word ‘Holocaust.’ This is why his constant misinformation matters.”

Twibright Optar
A codec for encoding data on paper or free software 2D barcode in other words. Optar fits 200kB on an A4 page.

Missed Payment Rate Hits New High of 32 Percent in July

22 Strange Animals
Meteor Impact Leaves Giant Crater in Africa, Creates Ejecta Blast Zone

Conservative victimhood complex has made America impossible to govern. by Ryan Cooper

CERN’s obsolete particle detectors

Ways To Stay Motivated In This Shit-Shellacked Era Of Epic Stupid by Chuck Wendig

Railroad Grade lever set pocket watches
Modern Calendar Watches by Humbert (Bernard)
“For half a century one of the most widely used text and reference book on how to service, adjust and repair the calendar mechanisms in 20th century watches has been “Modern Calendar Watches” by B. Humbert. This book was published in 1954 in English as part of a trilogy by Scriptar, then publisher of the “Journal Suisse d’Horlogerie” but has been out of print for over 25 years. It is the companion volume to “The Chronograph – Its Mechanism and Repair” (ca.1955, republished 1990) and to “Swiss Self-Winding Watches” (1956, now out of print), all by the same author.”

Hi-rez images of John James Audubon’s Birds of America

Silverpoint and metalpoint drawing

Home automation / security controller, open source: Home Assistant

John Oliver on COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories

Cassina or yaupon tea, Atlas Obscura

Behind the Accidentally Resilient Design of Athens Apartments: Athens polikatoikias — concrete apartments with tiered balconies — were built quickly to create affordable housing, but their design has stood the test of time. by Feargus O’Sullivan