Originally posted by xylograph_rss at Rogue Gallery Show Opening Friday!
Originally posted by xylograph_rss at Rogue Gallery Show Opening Friday!
via Finding God in a Dog Lockheed-Martin apparently has been working on nuclear fusion, and yesterday they claimed a breakthrough:
Initial work demonstrated the feasibility of building a 100-megawatt reactor measuring seven feet by 10 feet, which could fit on the back of a large truck, and is about 10 times smaller than current reactors, McGuire told reporters.
In a statement, the company, the Pentagon’s largest supplier, said it would build and test a compact fusion reactor in less than a year, and build a prototype in five years.
The goal is customer-ready fusion reactors in ten years.
There are good reasons to be skeptical of Lockheed’s claim. Lots and lots of good reasons. But if Lockheed can pull it off, they have a built-in customer base already lined up: the Pentagon. Bases need power, and a 100-MW generator small enough so that you could (perhaps) fit five to eight of them on a C-130H, and then fuel them with light, compact tanks of exotic material, would save the Pentagon a lot of logistical headaches. The Navy would almost certainly retrofit their fleet with these as well.
With a customer base like that, widespread civilian fusion power is nearly inevitable.
Of course, that all depends on Lockheed not being full of shit.
Womanist - by Alice Walker
I had to read this for class this morning. I am amazed at Walker’s connection stated in part 3 of this text. I feel deeply towards this.
I remember reading this … I must have been 10-12 years old. I’d like to think it left an impression.
via Finding God in a Dog You know how I keep saying that Obama is the best President we’ve had since LBJ? Paul Krugman lays out the case for why this is in the latest Rolling Stone:
High office shouldn’t be about putting points on the electoral scoreboard, it should be about changing the country for the better. Has Obama done that? Do his achievements look likely to endure? The answer to both questions is yes.
BHO of course doesn’t shit rainbows. We can, and should, fault BHO on domestic mass surveillance, failure to reign in Wall Street, excusing CIA misconduct during the previous decade, continued drone strikes, a stimulus that was too small and targeted badly, and not putting his green economy agenda first instead of third on hist list of things to do during the 2009-2010 Congress. Most of all, it remains to be seen how much of his health care reform survives repeated court challenges. But Krugman makes a pretty good case that BHO’s domestic agenda overall has been very positive, and transformative in a way we haven’t seen since the sixties.
Aunt Beru catches Owen getting a blowjob from a slave girl, drops her milk carton and runs out of the room in tears.
It wasn’t stormtroopers after all.
It was a murder-suicide.
For shame, Uncle Owen. For shame.
Read the comments. The comments are important.
THIS TOO GUYS. BE SAFE.
This is sorta manditory to reblog.
This joint kills you faster than the bubonic plaque. True
thats because it was designed in the lab to do that
Oh jesus christ. Not one of these “Let’s talk about the symptoms without discussing the realities of the disease!” shit posts. All these do is make people panic and think their cold is some sneaky form of Ebola.
OKAY LISTEN UP YOU GUYS. ITS TIME TO PULL UP A CHAIR, TURN ON YOUR SCIENCE EARS AND:
(I’m using Bill Nye because this is gonna be a goddamn science talk and I know you people love nostalgia)
HERE ARE SOME VERY IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT EBOLA:
- EBOLA IS ONLY TRANSMITTED THROUGH CONTACT WITH THE BLOOD OR BODY FLUID OF AN INFECTED PERSON.This is why one of its nicknames is “the Caregiver’s disease”! Because most people who contract it are people who were taking care of an infected patient or handled bodies with Ebola. So the general rule of thumb to avoid Ebola (and dozens of other disease much more prevalant everywhere) is: IF YOU SEE BLOOD OR BODILY FLUIDS THAT’S NOT FROM YOUR BODY - DON’T FUCKING TOUCH IT.
- THE EBOLA VIRUS HAS A SHITTY SURVIVAL RATE OUTSIDE A HOST. This means that once a strain of the virus leaves a person’s body outside through blood, vomit, snot, etc - it can’t survive very long at all. In fact many scientific studies find that it’s hard to estimate exactly how long it can survive because their samples tend to start to break down before they can even run tests. This means sitting on a toilet seat in Dallas will not get you fucking ebola.
- ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS THIS OUTBREAK HAS GOTTEN SO BAD IS DUE TO SHITTY HEALTH CONDITIONS AND INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE INFECTED COUNTRIES. And by shitty, I mean it’s hard to get clean water and supplies level of shitty. While we can argue about the shitty state of US healthcare (and it’s 100% valid discussion) - it really doesn’t compare to what these clinics have.
- IT DOES NOT HAVE A 100% MORTALITY RATE. Yes, it can be very deadly (from 25-90%), but again, most of the reasons it’s been so deadly is because of the shitty health conditions pointed out in #3. But it is completely possible to survive through Ebola if you get proper treatment (which you shouldn’t have it in the first place if you followed #1).
- NOT EVERY AFRICAN COUNTRY HAS BEEN INFECTED WITH EBOLA. In fact compared to other epidemics, the rate this one has spread is small (I mean it is tragic, no question about that, but objectively speaking it doesn’t even hold a candle to the Bubonic plague, Spanish Influenza, HIV/AIDS or even H1N1). The countries infected are Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, all located in West Africa. And by infected, I mean about 0.0004% of their combined populations of 20 million are infected - which in pandemic terms this is tiny. So if you or your friends or your family who are either traveling or living in other parts of Africa you really shouldn’t worry about Ebola because- Africa is fucking huge.
- THERE IS NO SOLID EVIDENCE IT WAS CONSTRUCTED IN A LAB. This is a conspiracy theory that’s been thrown out there in order to explain why it’s so deadly. People get anxious, and they blame what they can.
And that’s it! It pretty much boils down to it’s really not something to panic about - and you shouldn’t handle other people’s bodily fluids or blood without proper equipment. Which- you really shouldn’t do that at anytime, anyplace.
KNOW YOUR SHIT
Just don’t touch anyone else’s.
via Finding God in a Dog
- SC and I will be at the Zompire Film Festival this weekend, enjoying independent Zombie and Vampire movies galore. It’s at the Clinton Street Theater and runs 6-late Saturday October 11, 1-late Sunday October 12. Tickets are $15 for Saturday, $30 for Sunday, $40 for the whole thing. See you there?
- Homeland Security will start screening persons entering the US via airplane for Ebola this weekend.
- The war in Afghanistan turns 13. What do you get a war for its bar mitzvah?
- Revenge Porn is horrifying; I think everyone who isn’t a sociopath can agree on that. Do we make it illegal, and if so, how? The debate rages here, here, and here.
- One of the best war photos of 2014, hands down
via Finding God in a Dog A month ago I posted the original “Ebola Post” to capture my thoughts on the West Africa EVD plague. It’s been a month since then, and the outbreak shows no signs of slowing. Here’s where we are.
On August 38th WHO recorded 3,069 cases of EVD. On September 29th the CDC reported 6574 cases with 3091 dead. The overwhelming majority of these cases are in the West African nations of Liberia and Sierra Leone. Cases double every 24.3 days or so, although the World Health Organization now puts the figure at doubling every 21 days. If the rate of increase doesn’t change, we’ll exceed 50,000 reported cases by December 31st, a million cases by next May, and a billion cases by Jan 1 2016.
THE GOOD NEWS
- The nations of Nigeria and Senegal appear to have finally contained their EVD outbreaks.
- At least one candidate Ebola vaccine has been proven safe to humans. Whether it actually works is another matter, yet unsettled.
- One physician claims to have successfully treated 13 of 15 EVD patients with HIV retroviral drugs.
- EVD is now on the world’s radar in earnest. The United States has pledged close to a billion dollars in support; billionaires are pledging tens of millions.
THE BAD NEWS
- CDC believes that cases may be vastly under-reported, by about a factor of ten.
- Civil society is breaking down in Liberia, as food and medical care have become scarce.
- A person in Dallas, Texas has been diagnosed with Ebola. This person flew to the US on September 19-20, came down with symptoms September 24th, went to the hospital, was sent home, returned to the hospital on September 26th, and was only then put under quarantine. It’s almost certain others have been infected in the Dallas area. CDC is tracing contacts as I write this; hopefully they’ll track them all down before the number of cases exceeds 25 or so.
This is the second time that Ebola has struck in the United States —- the first was a harmless (to humans) strain that escaped a Virginia lab. This is also the second time that the West Africa Ebola plague has landed in another country via airplane.
The simple fact is that we haven’t dedicated nearly enough resources to fighting the Ebola plague. It’s still expanding at an exponential rate, and any hope that we can prevent the spread to other nations, or even other continents, have been disproved. The main question is whether we can continue to halt outbreaks in the rest of the world until EVD burns through every last person in West Africa, or until we can develop a working vaccine.
By October 31st, EVD cases will exceed 15,000 with 7,500 deaths. Almost all of these will be in West Africa. The flare-up in the Dallas will have been completely contained. The estimated cost to contain the epidemic will exceed $10 billion; world response will continue to be anemic at best.
via Finding God in a Dog
- The campaign against ISIS will cost $1.5 billion a month. If we devoted those kind of resources to the Ebola crisis in West Africa, we could save millions of lives, and prevent possible spread to other regions….but that (unlike war) would require Congressional approval.
- A smidgen of good news as Ebola has been contained in Nigeria and Senegal through swift, early action. Also, an Ebola vaccine appears to be safe for use. The bigger questions are whether it will work and for how long.
- FiveThirtyEight released their ratings of well-known pollsters. Not a shock: Zogby got an “F.” Shock: they’re the only F-rated pollster to NOT be banned by FiveThirtyEight. By the way, Survey USA earned an A rating, whereas PPP earned a B-.
- The conservative case for peace, here and here. Read carefully, friends!
- For those of you who hadn’t heard, Oregon State Hospital
psychiatrist Dr. Stephen Fritz, husband of Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, died yesterday morning in a violent car accident in Salem. Most Portlanders, Burners and art car fanatics know him as the man who drove the zebra-striped Nissan “Zentra,” which he was driving when someone jumped the median and hit him head-on.
a discussion on sexual orientation
- me: *explaining various sexual orientations to a classmate*
- classmate: wait, what's polyamory?
- me: well, it's when someone has more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.
- professor: *overhears from front of class*
- professor: that is d i s g u s t i n g
- me: *defensively* um, actually, no it's--
- professor: how DARE they put a greek prefix on a latin root like that?! What right do they have to decimate my beautiful antiquated languages?!?! GREEK AND LATIN DO NOT FRATERNIZE THIS IS LIKE THAT STUPID ROMANTIC SUBPLOT BETWEEN THAT DWARF AND THAT ELF IN THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!
- me: ....
- me: ....
- me: ....
- professor: it should be polyerosy
via Finding God in a Dog
- So much for Rand Paul the conservative Dove: the Senator from Kentucky says he’d vote for airstrikes on ISIS in a heartbeat.
- UN confirms that Iran’s nuclear program has stalled. Keep this in mind, kids.
- How could Ebola go from a regional epidemic to a worldwide epidemic? With a little bit of long-distance flight. Still not an “extinction event” despite the headline, but it the model demonstrates why we need to get this epidemic under control ASAP.
- scottbateman on whether you should go to college. And while a "Pay It Forward" program would take care of tuition, it does so at the cost of a 3-5 point tax increase. We’ve got to figure something else out.
- SC and I are going to the Esoteric Book Conference in Seattle this weekend. See you there?
via Finding God in a Dog Earlier today, US forces are conducting ground operations against ground operations in Somalia:
The Pentagon told CNN U.S. military forces conducted an operation against Al-Shabaab in Somalia Monday. “We are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information as and when appropriate,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby told CNN.
You may recall that I predicted this last December. Also, back on July 2nd, the Pentagon announced the deployment of 120 “advisors” to that country. So this is hardly a surprise. It will be interesting to see to what degree Obama escalates against al-Shabbab, as a part of our 13-years-and-counting war on Al Qaeda.
via Finding God in a Dog I’ve decided that I need to start documenting the spread of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa on a month-to-month basis. This is a story that is (or should be) on everyone’s radar already. My concern is that even the news-aware aren’t really tuned in to the grim reality of EVD, or how it could dramatically change our lives in the next couple of years. This initial post is a snapshot of my thoughts right now.
First, let’s start with the really scary stuff: the reported number of infected and dead have both so far followed a geometric progression, doubling about every 29 days. Put another way, if the progression continues unchecked, we can expect the number of cases to continue to double every 29 days, which is the same as increasing tenfold approximately every 95 days. The last World Health Organization (WHO) report puts the number of cases at 3069 as of August 28th; unless conditions improve, therefore, we can expect about 30,000 cases by 1 December 2014, 300,000 by 6 March 2015, three million by 9 June 2015, and so on. If this progression were to continue unchecked by artificial or natural controls, we would see billions of cases in the first half of 2016.
These numbers are really scary, but the thing to keep in mind is that this is what happens if EVD spreads uncontrolled. There are several factors, both natural and artificial, which should control the epidemic. Let’s look at these in turn.
WHO has put together a nine month, half billion dollar plan to curb the spread of EVD. This plan focuses primarily on building a health care infrastructure in Liberia, where conditions are at their worst. This effort isn’t a sure thing. It requires a lot of personnel (12,000 locals and 750 international experts), and depends on outside funding from governments, NGOs and private donors. So far, the first world’s response has been anemic. The plan calls for bringing the spread of Ebola under control (meaning, that it’s no longer increasing exponentially) within two to three months, and then halting new infections altogether in six to nine months. WHO claims that EVD could affect more than 20,000 people before they can get it under control. We should keep in mind that these numbers are probably minima. If WHO is succeeding, we should know by December.
There is no known vaccine for EVD. British company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has an experimental vaccine which has proven successful in monkeys. They’re going to start safety trials next week to see whether the vaccine is safe for humans, followed by a larger immune response trial to see whether the vaccine produces the desired immune response. Assuming the vaccine passes both trials, a larger test in West Africa, to see whether the vaccine really prevents Ebola, is possible in early 2015. If this vaccine doesn’t work, there are others in the pipeline —- but those will take longer to prove.
So, yeah, this is a crap shoot, but the payoff could be huge. Once we have a vaccine, we can control the spread of EVD by vaccinating around the hot zone (a practice known as “ring vaccination”). We can also vaccinate vulnerable populations (such as health care workers) or even the general population (which may be necessary if EVD continues its geographic spread).
Possible Treatment (ZMAPP)
Right now the only treatment for Ebola is palliative care —- replacing lost fluids and electrolytes, treating secondary infections, controlling fever, maintaining proper blood pressure and oxygen, and so on. There’s an experimental drug, ZMAPP, which has been shown to reverse and cure Ebola in monkeys. A prototype of this drug has been used on humans, but two patients died, and while five other patients recovered fully, it’s not clear that the drug had any effect on their recovery. Human trials of this new iteration of ZMAPP are due to begin soon.
It bears repeating that we don’t have a cure yet. We were able to treat Ebola patients in the US, but our best guess is that they recovered thanks to world-class palliative care at a world-class medical center. Also, it bears mentioning that homeopathic treatments —- such as snake venom —- are more likely to kill you than heal you.
Presently the disease moves as infected people move. Most people in West Africa are not very mobile, and are limited by the Sahara Desert to the north, mountains to the east, and an ocean to the west. That still leaves a triangle from St. Louis, Senegal, to Western Ethiopia, to Port Elizabeth, South Africa. There’s close to a billion people in that triangle, and EVD is certainly capable of spreading through that area in the next 18 months.
Of course, these factors don’t matter much in the modern world. EVD spread to Nigeria through one infected passenger on an airliner. Airlines are taking steps to control the spread, including monitoring passengers for symptoms, but these are filters, not guarantees. The more people that come down with EVD in West Africa, the greater the likelihood that it will spread elsewhere.
What If We Fail?
So, those are the possible mitigating factors. Absent those factors, if EVD continues to spread at an exponential rate, the number of cases will increase tenfold every 95 days. By Summer of 2015, we’d have millions of cases. By Fall of 2015, tens of millions. By Winter of 2015, hundreds of millions. By Spring of 2016, billions. Finally, by Fall of 2016, EVD should run out of people to infect. Everyone is either dead or recovered.
I think this scenario is unlikely. I don’t think that it’s highly unlikely, and that, quite honestly, scares me. I think the most likely scenario is what I call the Reasonable Worst Case Scenario (below).
The Reasonable Worst Case Scenario
So, let’s suppose WHO can’t contain the epidemic and we don’t find a vaccine in the next year or two. EVD spreads out of control in West Africa, and eventually millions are affected from Senegal to Somalia to South Africa. In reality, this outcome is not that much worse than what we see today with HIV. The bigger damage will be economic. The first world, out of sheer terror, will curtail activity in sub-Sahara Africa, and many states will be cut off altogether. Nigeria’s booming economy will come to a screeching halt; South Africa will at least see a depression. Oil prices will shoot back up with Nigerian oil production offline. We’ll see a shortage of raw minerals similar to what occurred before China’s economy slowed down. There will be occasional first-world and second-world outbreaks, but the likelihood is that we’ll contain them and move on, similar to Hanta virus outbreaks in the USA. The rich of course fare much better than the poor. Even in the first world, there is a dramatic difference in medical care between Emory University Hospital and your local Oregon Health Plan clinic. Many outbreaks will be contained with cordons sanitaire or isolation centers. Vaccine testing and production would continue as demand would be very high.
The Absolute Worst Case Scenario
So what about the worst case scenario that everyone’s afraid of? Suppose EVD spreads out of control, globally, and eventually reaches everywhere in the world. By the Autumn of 2016, there have been seven billion cases with 50%-90% fatalities. What now?
Once you’re infected, it is believed that you’re then immune to that strain, at least for a few years. It’s also thought that some people carry a gene that makes them completely immune to EVD, but we haven’t tested this. Assuming either of these conditions are true, we’re not looking at an extinction-level event. Instead, we’re looking at a few very hard years followed by a period of trying to rebuild. One could look to the past, during the Black Death, for an historical example. Beyond that, the only thing that’s guaranteed is that the world will look very different.