SARS-CoV-2: The Vaccine

I did a science. Back on 11 March, I told you about the virus that now is ubiquitous in our modern consciousness. We had the genome of the Virus sequenced as soon as January and I was already speculating that the vaccine would be faster than any vaccine ever in history because of it.

The interesting thing I didn’t expect is for someone to go from matching a viral protein in the B-cells and T-cells. I never expected we could develop a vaccine that is purely the Messenger RNA (mRNA). Why I’m not clear how you could get such a vaccine into the cellular production machinery, it’s clear if you can, that you can have your own body’s cells produce the protein markers that your immonolocal system can match. Of course, the other potential issue is, if you do have one of your cells producing this viral protein then what’s to stop your immune system from targeting it?

Dr. Joe Hanson explains how one SARS-CoV-2 vaccine was created.

2020 has indeed been quite an unexpected year. When I first created Project Kronosphere, back in 1999, I set it in 2010, which was still a ways off. When we started to approach 2010, I moved it to 2020. Now that it’s 2020, I’m kind of happy I didn’t set it then. There is no way I could have predicted the life-changing events of this year. But, I was able to predict the expedited vaccine development, which makes me quite happy and hopeful. And Project Kronosphere is now set in 2030 and features a 67 year old Professor Rebecca Priestley. And though I have some screenplays in the Project Kronosphere Universe, I am about to start its novelization…

Project Kronosphere was always intended to be an education drama, and like the Professor, I hope you have learned something from this post here. Make good science, my friends!

36 Hours…

I bought my current iPhone on 30 September 2013—over 7 years ago. My iPhone 5S has served me well throughout the years but for the last fourteen months or so, I have been chafing over the inability to upgrade my phone to the latest Operating System. I knew then that, despite preferring the finger login, it was time for an upgrade or the massive, up-front cost.

However, I wasn’t ready just yet. Then SARS-CoV-2 happened, I had to quit my job for more money. Then COVIDWISE was released, and yet totally incompatible with my phone! This wan’t even the first app I was unable to download requiring Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology. I was becoming more and more distressed over my inability to install the apps I so desperately wanted—even more so having forgotten some of them with no way to bookmark or remember. And, as an App Developer, I really should have the latest gear to test out the latest technologies.

iPhone 12 Pro Max ½TB, Blue
iPhone 12 Pro Max ½TB, Blue

On 10 July, with my final vacation payout, I decided it was time to upgrade. I knew a new Phone was coming soon—and hoped it would add 5G support. I waited. The September Apple event came with no update. The October Apple event came with an announcement but you still couldn’t buy the iPhone 12 Pro. The date on the order page said I had to wait until 23 October for that. So I waited so more. I got up early on that Friday and, yes, the iPhone 12 Pro was available, but not the 12 Pro Max! I had to wait until 6 November for that!

And I did.

The phone is on its way. 36 hours and counting…

iPhone 12 Pro Max in Transit
iPhone 12 Pro Max in Transit

Keep coding my friends and write great software. I hope you will be as gainfully employed as me, soon!

Joking Hazard Online

I have a guilty pleasure. I like Cyanide and Happiness. So, a while ago, when the folks at C&H opened a Kickstarter for a new C&H Comic Creator Game, I jumped at a chance to get in on the ground level of Joking Hazard.

Unfortunately, although I have the game and every single expansion, I, alas, have no-one to play with. It’s not so much people don’t like to hang out with me. Far from it, I am also socially engaged almost every night and weekend. It’s more a problem of people having their own gaming communities and not interested in joining mine or inviting me into theirs. I don’t mind though, I still have friends. It’s just the Joking Hazard box has gathered a lot of dust.

And SARS-CoV-2 is no help!

However, the good folks at PlayingCards.IO have come to the rescue. You can now visit my personal Joking Hazard game space and play a game with me. The board is set. Who will win the next round?

Joking Hazard Online
Joking Hazard Online. Player 1 won this round. Will you win the next?

It’s no Global, Thermal, Nuclear War, but shall we play a game?

Grand Moff Tarkin admiring #CO2Fre

May the Fourth be with you, 2020

In this era of lockdowns, thanks to SARS-CoV-2, it feels like we can get a little stir crazy. Try to stay sane my friends and maybe go for a walk. But if you do go out, do it in style. It is, after all, May the Fourth and you know what that means?

Grand Moff Tarkin admiring #CO2Fre
“I wonder if this may be of use to the Empire” Grand Moff Tarkin admiring #CO2Fre. May the Fourth Be With You. © 2019, Donald B. Holmes

Thank you Don for taking this wonderful photo of my Grand Moff Tarkin cosplay. This so makes me want to cruise on the cloud again.

May the Fourth be with you my friends—or let it be crushed by the Empire!

The Remedy: Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Quest to Cure Tuberculosis

I started this book the day I finished A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes, and again it’s another book finished just in time. I can’t keep this up, though, as the next one is pretty long, I’m worried I wont finish it in time. Especially since I have an interview today and starting a new job will severely cut back on my reading time, especially if the commute is shorter.

In any event. this was a fascinating book that ties in well with our current SARS-CoV-2 epidemic. The book gives a weaving of biographies between the world-famous creator of Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle, and the little-remembered recipient of the 1905 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine, Heinrich Hermann Robert Koch.

The story of Koch is an interesting one. He’s a medical doctor who came out of nowhere to revolutionize the scientific method and usher in the age of the microbe. While most Americans know who Charles and the late David Koch are, Robert Koch is no relation and should not be seen in the same light, though ironically, as the chemist Louis Pasteur was Robert Koch’s greatest rival, it’s somewhat ironic the American Kochs of Dutch ancestry also got their start as chemists.

What’s most astounding, though, is how much hubris Koch built up and his animosity toward Pasteur. Was it pure one upmanship, or something deeper? It’s clear Koch resented the French given his upbringing in Prussia and the Franco-Prussian War. I can only speculate that had something to do with it.

It’s a pity because, after all, they were both adherents to germ theory. They both had their detractors in the Anti-Vaccine League and the groups opposed to animal cruelty. Even Florence Nightingale was allied against him and all of science. It’s a pity even today people have trouble understanding vaccines train the body so something worse doesn’t befall them because the body is prepared. They didn’t understand immunology then, or herd immunity, but today, what’s the excuse?

One other sad fact is, it seems, Tuberculin is the perfect vaccine against Consumption. It is, after all, the same basic substance that Pasteur and company used for his Anthrax and Rabies vaccines. There’s no reason Tuberculin shouldn’t have worked unless, Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a bacterium which defeats the immune system? Is it more like AIDS in that respect? Still, his trying to profit from it made the fact it didn’t work all the more disgraceful.

If one disgrace wasn’t bad enough, when Koch doubled down on the bovine tuberculosis not being the same as the human form, he only dug himself into a hole further. Surely, as he and his lab investigated Bacillus anthracis, they knew the same bacteria could have different forms throughout its productive cycle. Why couldn’t he see that the different shapes of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in cattle was the same as the form in humans and thus was a vector for transmission?

The book also gives the story of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, MD. How the two are connected in a pantomime of try-fail in trying to meet Koch only to write a scathing piece about the failed cure Tuberculin. Beyond that, the two had very little to do with each other and thus the book really stretched its mandate when it included Doyle with Koch.

Nonetheless, It was fascinating reading about Doyle and his caring for Touie while still maintaining another woman in the wings, always under chaperone. One wonders how Touie got Consumption but as it was common back then I don’t think its connection to the main theme of the book is sustained. Still, kind of interesting how Doyle prepared for Touie’s demise in the most pragmatically masculine way. I don’t know if I approve even with the maternal and sibling supervision.

It’s also interesting that Doyle gave up the rights to the first Sherlock Holmes story. And yet, he hated Holmes so much he had to kill him off after the second series of serials in The Strand. Also interesting that he only wrote four novels and that one was inspired as a competition between Doyle and Oscar Wylde. It’s wonderful, though, we got both and The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Hound of the Baskervilles for that bet.

It’s sad, though, that Doyle was so into spiritualism. And it’s also a pity that despite his belief in the Cottingley Fairies, the author never once mentions Harry Houdini‘s attempts to debunk the rampant fraud of the day.

One thing that was great to see was how William Gillette inspired Doyle to resurrect Holmes and give us more tales from 221B Baker Street. And it’s amazing how Gillette’s role gave us the deerstalker hat now so iconic and the “Elementary, dear Watson”, even though that never appears in Doyle’s writing. Gillette was indeed a fascinating man and it’s a pity he only rarely appeared in moving pictures. He did leave a fascinating legacy. Near where I grew up, in East Haddam, Connecticut, rests the castle that Gillette built. I’ve been there many times and it’s quite fun to see in person.

One last point I’d like to make is how cool it is that Koch’s colleagues and their families invented Agar Plates and Petri Dishes to grow bacteria. And, most of all, Koch was a microscopist in the tradition of Sir Frankie Crisp and was a pioneer of Microphotography. Even Sherlock Holmes, as conceived by Doyle, was a microscopist.

The Remedy: Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Quest to Cure Tuberculosis
The Remedy: Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Quest to Cure Tuberculosis

Thank you all for reading. It took me forever to compile this from my notes but I’m excited to begin The Upright Thinkers: The Human Journey from Living in Trees to Understanding the Cosmos. Until next time my sapiosexual friends.

TeslaCam, Tesla Can’t

I haven’t been able to use the TeslaCam since 27 July 2019. That’s because, around TeslaOS 2019.28.1, Tesla broke most USB Sticks used for Dashcam functionality, because, it claimed, they were too slow.

Not having a DashCam and having such a mysterious and incomprehensible error—my USB stick was fast enough—I was afraid to buy a new USB stick to see if I could get it working again. For months I dithered on the issue, totally unsure what Tesla wanted, and wanting so badly not to waste money on a device that would fail with Tesla.

Compound that with, in December, 2019, thanks to an AutoPilot, #CO2Fre failed to stop when a vehicle with California plates cut me off by jumping into the exit lane ahead of me at the last minute, causing $4,000 worth of damage I can’t remotely afford to pay. The scratches, therefore, remain to this day. And as no solace, I don’t even have the Dashcam video to go over the details even if I wanted to make an Insurance claim. So, I have scratches but still no Dashcam.

Then TeslaOS 2020.12.5 came out, which added support for watching Dashcam videos within #CO2Fre. Since I had the time off thanks to Covidapolis, I decided to try again with the Dashcam, and found this neat video:

Thanks to that video I decided to buy a 2TB SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD drive, a SamSung SXDC UHS-I EVO Select Card, and a Raspberry Pi Zero W.

I didn’t have access to my car because of the hypochondriac until the day of my #CO2Fre demo. I plugged in the SanDisk drive with its USB-C to USB-A adaptor and… nothing. I had the drive plugged in, but no camera was showing, and I couldn’t show off any of the Dashcam features during my entire presentation, including Dashcam footage of the speed test on the main screen after I parked, despite having the drive plugged in. The demo still went well, but I’m annoyed how hard I tried to get this working and still failed.

No Camera Icon
Sometimes the Camera with an X appears, but usually there’s no camera icon whatsoever, as can be seen here. © 2020, Jeffrey C. Jacobs

Afterwards, I tried to play around some more. Doing so requires me to go through decontamination because, for some reason, the hypochondriac thinks #CO2Fre has SARS-CoV-2. Meaning, I have to keep changing my clothes every time I go to the car because sitting in my car contaminates my clothes.

The drive was exFAT, so I reformatted it as FAT32. The drive did flash on the screen after some cord giggling, but it said it wasn’t formatted properly despite having the TeslaCam folder and being named TeslaCam. Since I’ve read that Tesla supports exFAT, I formatted it back as that, and it sits now, unable to connect.

2TB SanDisk
I have a 2TB SanDisk Solid-State Drive USB 3.1 compatible 10GB/s Drive plugging into #CO2Fre with a USB-C connector and a USB-C to USB-A adaptor hooked into #CO2Fre, yet #CO2Fre can’t see it! © 2020, Jeffrey C. Jacobs

I also tried my MicroSD chip with an adaptor. Originally, the chip was supposed to be part of the Raspberry Pi, but I wanted to test to see if it could be used as the TeslaCam directly. No dice. I’d hook up the Raspberry Pi and try with that, but I have to finish updating my Résumé and fix my broken Zone File updater for Reston Writers first. I just have too much going on to worry about going any further with this nightmare of Tesla‘s.

The way I see it, the drive works in a PC, the drive works in a Mac, it just doesn’t work in #CO2Fre. When you’ve tried everything else, the simple answer it so blame Tesla. So, I made a Mobile Service Request and they should be here Friday morning.

Why must Tesla make this so hard!?!?

In any case, unless I find another set of clothes to wear, even without my Dashcam, I shall very much miss cruising on a cloud.

Empty Polling Station

We could be a Less Democratic Republic… or More

Empty Polling Station
© Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Many on the left fear the President will use any means necessary to stay in power. An article in Slate, Trump Can’t Cancel the Election. But States Could Do It for Him. is typical of these type of concerns.

The truth, though, is that the President has no power to cancel the election. That power rests purly in the hands of the Congress.

Congress, not the president, has the power to move Election Day. And even if Congress did postpone the vote, the Constitution would terminate Trump’s term on Jan. 20, 2021.

Stern, Mark Joseph. “Trump Can’t Cancel the Election. But States Could Do It for Him.” Slate 13 March 2020.

Further, having spend over a decade working for the U.S. Military, I can guarantee the loyalty of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are to the Republic, and not to any individual President. Should any President, Democrat or Republican, refuse to leave office were someone new duly appointed on, be it 20 January 2021, 20 January 2025, or any appropriate day of power transition in the future, then the U.S. Military would remove the obstinate President from office, with force, if necessary. Such a military Coup d’État would be unheard of in American history, but would doubtlessly just be a bump in the smooth transition of power as the Military is expected to immediately cede power to the duly elected next President. Indeed, if a President refuses to leave office, it behooves the winner of the most recent election to beseech the Joint Chiefs of Staff to aid in the removal of the incalcitrant, losing President, to make sure he or she leaves office and that the newly elected President is installed.

All that said, it seems to me insane to consider any President, including the current occupant of our highest office wouldn’t leave come 20 January upon losing the prior election by the Electoral College. And I hope my readers know I stand firmly on the side of Republican Democracy. It’s not a question of party for me, it’s a question of whoever wins the election should take office.

the Constitution does not require states to assign their electors on the basis of the statewide vote. It does not even require a statewide vote. Rather, it explains that each state “shall appoint” its electors “in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct.” In other words, each state legislature gets to decide how electors are appointed—and, by extension, who gets their votes.

Stern, Mark Joseph. “Trump Can’t Cancel the Election. But States Could Do It for Him.” Slate 13 March 2020.

The rub comes if states exercise their option, under Article II, Section 1, Paragraph 2—as amended—state legislatures are allowed to appoint electors by any means they see fit. They can vote to select electors, as some states did originally, not having the infrastructure to hold an election. They can hold an election and assign electors proportionally, as they did in the early in the Republic. They can have winner-take-all (plurality) elections. They can have direct election of electors, as Alabama did in 1960. They can even allow two electors to be chosen by state-wide Plurality and the rest chosen by potentially Gerrymandered Congressional District plurality, such as in Maine and Nebraska. The Constitution says nothing about how Electors are selected, it only says states legislatures get to chose their own method.

[The President] himself could not cancel the entire presidential election. But he could ask these GOP-dominated legislatures to cancel their statewide presidential elections and assign their electors to him. It’s doubtful that we will face this situation in November. But imagine a worst-case scenario: The election is approaching, and the coronavirus remains rampant in our communities. States are unsure whether they have the personnel and resources to hold an election. Congress has failed to mandate no-excuse absentee balloting, and many states have declined to implement it. Or the postal service is so hard hit that it cannot reliably carry ballots to and from voters’ residences. It’s not difficult to envision [The President]’s allies in state legislatures assigning their states’ electoral votes to the president, insisting that these dire circumstances justify pulling a constitutional fire alarm.

Stern, Mark Joseph. “Trump Can’t Cancel the Election. But States Could Do It for Him.” Slate 13 March 2020.

What the article fails to mention is that each state’s legislature operates under different rules. In Maryland and Virginia, for instance, their General Assemblies have strict deadlines before 1 July to finish conducting all legislative business. The only way new legislation can be adopted is from a direct order of the Governor, meaning for a state to cancel its election after 1 July, it would have to do so with the consent of its Governor and its Legislature. And while there are a number of state legislatures in single-party hands through Gerrymandering, the Governors are elected by popular vote and thus is not prone to Gerrymandering.

So while SARS-CoV-2 may cause difficult for voting, it’s doubtful any major legislature is going to cancel the election in 2020 due to the virus. However, let’s entertain that possibility for a moment.

state legislatures can appoint electors—the human beings themselves—but cannot then require them to vote for a particular candidate, or punish them if they do not. It seems unlikely that the court will grant “faithless electors” the ability to buck state legislatures and cast rogue votes. 

Stern, Mark Joseph. “Trump Can’t Cancel the Election. But States Could Do It for Him.” Slate 13 March 2020.

Here is where the article puts a bit too much faith in faithless electors. The truth is, the way electors are chosen in all states in 2020 is through a party-line slate. What happens is the election happens (or the state legislature directs), the states Secretaries of State (where such office exists) then contact the party of the winning candidate who then provide the state with a slate of electors. If the Democrat wins, the state selects the slate of electors provided by the Democratic Party, if the Republican wins, the state selects the slate of electors provided by the Republican Party. It’s very unlikely parties would select from amongst their party faithful someone who was not loyal to the candidate. And sticking pipedream hopes that even if Faithless Electors are preserved—as the U.S. Supreme Court is likely to rule—it’s unlikely any elector will be voting against their party or candidate.

Regardless of any SCOTUS decision, Faithless Electors will continue to be rare. If a bunch of state legislatures do decide the cancel the election of 3 November, it’s unlikely that you can count of faithlessness to give you any surprise outcome. While that may be a fear in terms of legislatures reverting to the original party appointment of electors without election, which would be a tragedy to our Democratic Republic, there is another way that would, in fact, increase our Democratic Reublican ideals.

National Popular Vote Interstate Compact

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) is an agreement between the signatory state such that, if the combined electoral college count of signatory states is 270, then these states will tabulate their popular votes, and combine those popular votes with the votes of all the other states in our American Union, and, based on the winner nationally, the Secretaries of State then select the slate of electors provided by the party of the candidate who won the National Popular Vote. Effectively, the person with the most votes nationally will become the next President of the United States.

Just as legislatures could cancel elections, they can also join the NPVIC and ensure that the winner of the popular vote is the winner of the national election, making this nation a more Democratic Republic, not less.

This isn’t a partisan issue. In 2004, a Republican almost lost the Electoral College despite winning the Popular Vote. This isn’t an issue of the Popular Vote advantaging one party over the other. Unfortunately, 2016 has blinded people to that fact. In truth, when it’s known long before the election how most states will vote, it concentrates all the power in a number of battleground states which are so close one could literally flip a coin to determine their outcome. Such concentrated power is against the will of the Framers. It disadvantages both big and small states alike, both rural and urban states alike. It helps no-one unless you happen to live in a Battleground. It’s not advantaging any party, it’s just the coin flipped heads a number of times. It will flip tails. We don’t know when, but it will. It could indeed be as soon as 2020.

Article II, Section 1, Paragraph 2 is a double-edged sword. It allows legislatures to take the power from the people, and it also allows them to grant it to all Americans, leveling out the playing field so that, no matter where you live, your vote will count as much as any other American.

We should have One Person, One Vote where Every Vote is Equal. Ask your state governments to pass the NPVIC today.

The Green Card

A Timer Most Colourful

Today, I will be the official Timer for tonight’s Loudoun Toastmasters. Last time, I was on hold to do an Evaluation but the speech maker was ill so instead I was instead without a role. On the upside, it gave me time to consider using my Zoom background to enhance the effect of the Timer role. I was therefore anxious to try it out as soon as possible.

Originally, my dear friend Capt. Laura Savino was planning to be Timer, but, since SARS-CoV-2 she’s been busy hanging out with her wonderful boys as she’s hunkered down, sheltered in place. Hope to see her again after Covidapolis is over. But, in the mean time, for tonight, I’ll be stepping into her role.

The role of the timer is to time how long speeches are and to indicate when time is running out to the speaker. Each speech has a minimum time. When that time is hit, I indicate success with a green background.

The Green Card
The Yellow Card in Toastmasters means you’re met the minimum time requirement

Next, when a speaker is half-way through her or his allotted time, I flash the yellow background.

The Yellow Card
The Yellow Card in Toastmasters means you’re half-way through your allotted, acceptable time

Finally, when the speaker is out of time, I flash the red background. At this point, the speaker has thirty seconds to wrap up or be disqualified because his or her speech ran too long.

The Red Card
The Red Card in Toastmasters means you’re out of time

I time all speeches, which range from 5–7 minutes for a standard speech, 4–6 minutes for an Ice Breaker speech, 1–2 minutes for a Table Topic speech, and 2–3 minutes for Evaluations.

It all happens tonight. Stand up straight and deliver my friends!

Nowhere to run?

This is going to be one of my hardest articles for me to write because it’s extremely personal. I covered this issue somewhat with my article about Sheltered in Place with a Domestic Abuser, but when you add in the paranoia of hypochondria, things get even darker. So, alas, I need to go deeper.

It’s also hard to justify my including myself in a post that is ostensibly categorized as Equal Right. After all, I am, quite frankly, not—nor could ever be—a cis-woman.

To be clear, when we talk about equal rights, we don’t mean that should apply to more men getting abused. Reducing abuse overall should be our goal. I do think, though, men are feeling more opened about admitting when something doesn’t feel right, when things go from simple disagreement to some of the hallmarks of abuse.

That said, I’m sad to say the majority of abuse is and probably always will be of the form men against women, and that’s why this type of abuse deserves the most coverage. That is indeed the main focus of a wonderful article by Sarah Fielding in The Guardian dated 3 April 2020: In quarantine with an abuser: surge in domestic violence reports linked to coronavirus.

One caller to a domestic violence hotline reported that her husband threatened to throw her out into the street if she coughed. Another reported they had been strangled by their partner, but feared going to the hospital because of the threat of coronavirus. An immunocompromised man from Pennsylvania called in after his emotionally abusive girlfriend began hiding cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer from him.

Fielding, Sarah. “In quarantine with an abuser: surge in domestic violence reports linked to coronavirus.” The Guardian 3 Apr. 2020: Online.

I am very happy Ms. Fielding was able to show, what I consider hypochondriac controlling abuse, isn’t only affecting women. I feel for both the women is tossed onto the street with a cough, and even more for the one who was strangled (way to social distance, m*th*r f*ck*r!). But that poor man being withheld from necessary sanitizing agents, that’s pretty tragic as well.

Advocates are concerned that this bleak reality has reached the United States, where experts say one in four women and one in seven men face physical violence by a partner at some point in their lifetimes.

Fielding, Sarah. “In quarantine with an abuser: surge in domestic violence reports linked to coronavirus.” The Guardian 3 Apr. 2020: Online.

Statistics tell the whole story. While one in four women are likely to be the victims of an abusive relationship, one in seven men are just as likely. So, while women make up the majority of victims, for every two women victims, there is at least one man.

Of course, some may find that hard to believe. How could a big, strong man be abused by a “feeble” woman? But that’s because the ways a woman might try to control or belittle or isolate a man, they are different than what a man might do to a woman. A woman typically won’t use violence against her man, though even if she did, many men are cultured to never raise their hand against a woman, even in self-defense. Many men eschew violence and would never use it to assert themselves. So, assuming a man can always prevent abuse because he’s bigger and stronger totally misses the point of what abuse is all about. Abuse is abuse, regardless of gender.

The crux of my point is that, if you combine a controlling partner, a partner who actively tries to isolate and belittle, with an abuser who is also a hypochondriac, you end of with a cough fit chucking you out on the street—or sequestered in a single room, hoping for some water, not allowed to exit confinement.

I write this from my spare room. I am prohibited from leaving this room because on Tuesday and Wednesday I had a runny nose and the bridge felt so tender, like it had been punched. I had no fever, and I know for a fact that these are not symptoms of SARS-CoV-2, but still I have been ordered not to leave this room, except to use the facilities. If I want something to eat or drink, I must make a request, and be at the whim of the hypochondriac. I may not be out of this room when the hypochondriac is around. And, even if I wanted to leave, #CO2Fre is still at the dealership, so I couldn’t go anywhere even if I wanted.

Nothing is, per se, forcing me to stay here, to be sure. But when you’re told to do something in such a commanding tone, it’s not worth trying to fight your prison sentence. I want to leave my cell, but I am afraid of the consequences if I do without consent. So, here I lie, on this bed, no free chair in the room, wishing to be free but not having the savings to make it so.

And neither do the women and men in Ms. Fielding’s article. That’s the rub.

Only, it’s not.

The National Domestic Abuse Hotline will help. I posted this before but it bears repeating because this is such an important issue and needs to be published. Please, if you are in any danger, call or text the National Domestic Abuse Hotline. They will help.

1980x540-COVID19-POST_Website-Banner-2
The Domestic Abuse Hotline statement on SARS-CoV-2. They’re here to help. If you’re in trouble and afraid, please give them a call.

As for me, I was told I could get out of quarantine jail and retrieve #CO2Fre tomorrow. Then again, I was also told that yesterday…

Stay safe my lady—and gentlemen—friends!

Relax—you actually don’t need to sanitize your food

On Sunday, I posted an article about sanitizing your food after you return from grocery shopping. The thing is, the medical professional who posted the original clip went a bit overboard in terms of how sanitary he felt he needed to keep his food once retrieved from the grocery store. The truth is, not everything the doctor says in his video is strictly correct and he is no food safety expert, as has been pointed out to me. However, for the most part my textual commentary doesn’t contradict what I’m about to share and I am happy to give Dr. Don Schaffner his due:

Buckle up, readers, as it’s about to get serious! Thirty-two more tweets, seriously!

Unfortunately, the link above to my original article with take you to that video but if you haven’t hit play on the video, and just read my commentary, you should be fine. Please, trust Dr. Don!

Sometimes I roll my eyes at my fellow writers when they they try to come up with Science Fiction ideas, since I did study undergrad Physics and read a lot of science books. I feel you Dr. Don!

Here here! I already outlined most of what was right in the video in my original post. I think I may have misspoken on how to wash produce but I’ll save that commentary for later.

There’s a bit of nuance to this, but what the good Dr. Don is saying is there is a difference between a random but not yet denatured strand of viral RNA, which in itself isn’t particularly harmful—at least, not infectious—where as a live virus was not observed. As in, the crown-like outer shell of SARS-CoV-2, a.k.a. the Coronavirus, the “Crown Virus”. Without the outer shell and crown-like protrusions, the virus has no way of penetrating cells, be they eukarya, bacteria, or archaea. Note, this pathogen only infects eukaryotes, though most viruses are harmless, only infecting bacteria.

More fundamentally, though, Dr. Dan points out that the CDC Study that came up with the 17-day number for RNA was never published in a peer-review paper where the methodology and techniques used could be scrutinized and dissected. Without the process of peer review, the observation is as good as anecdotal.

This was one of my biggest beefs with the video too. I mean, it’s one thing in the winter in Lansing, MI, where the outside might already be the temperature of your freezer. But that won’t work in Florida, not by a long shot. So unless you’re gonna be like Thomas Jefferson and truck in ice from Canada to keep your food from spoiling, don’t leave your perishable food in the garage!

Exactly!

This is a very good point. One of the ways the SARS-CoV-2 deactivates is through desiccation. If the virus is in a medium that allows it to dry out, it will no longer be effective. This is why spittle from sneezing is the most dangerous.

The virus is highly communicable, to be sure, but its transmission with respect to someone with the virus touching an item on the shelf, putting it back, and then having you grab it is exceedingly unlikely. And by the time you get to it, it’s quite likely SARS-CoV-2 has already dried out and perished.

I have to agree, as different packaging materials will allow the virus to remain active long than others, and again, as state above, it’s unlikely by the time you pluck the item from the shelf that it would still have any active virus on it even if it had once.

Washing your hands before eating should be second nature anyway. As Dr, Don says, you can remove the item from the packaging, put it on a clean plate, and then wash your hands before eating and any contamination on the packaging will have been removed from the equation.

Wørd!

There are good reasons not to use soap to wash your produce and I will admit I got that wrong before. Soap dissolves cell membranes and while most produce is covered by dead epithelial cells—like those on the outer layers of your skin—and thus won’t likely cause cellular damage to your food, but if you slice the food it could spoil its flavor and if you fail to wash it all off and it gets in the nooks and crannies of your consumables, Dr. Don is right, you’re itching for a tummy ache. The oily residue soap normally removes isn’t a big issue on produce and thus a simple water bath should be sufficient for cleaning your produce.

Precisely!

Even the prescient Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis knew that hand washing wasn’t a panascia. It reduces the change of killing a mother giving birth, but even if done right, it isn’t perfect. Soap and water are great for removing both hydrophobic and hydrophilic substances from your person, but not every pathogen is removed by such reactions. SARS-CoV-2 is damaged because of its hydrophobic coating, but the same isn’t true for all toxic substances.

Indeed, human skin has many friendly microbes that help keep the skin clean and fresh. You wouldn’t want to boil those off anyway, even if you could. Love your friendly microbes. Just use soap and water to kill SARS-CoV-2. That M*th*r F*ck*r must die!

This is another good point. Not all handwashes are equal. I try to do a rather complex technique when washing my hands which I may document another day, but the long and short of it is, just rubbing your hands together isn’t enough, and even my technique isn’t one hundred percent effective.

Great point! Early food preservation in wine bottles with their tartaric acid may have worked for Napoleon’s army, but when we started using steel and aluminium cans, or even glass, we had to be very very sure everything was sterile. Watch any number of episodes from Comment C’est Fait (How It’s Made chez É-U.) to see how this is done.

Remember the words of François-Marie Arouet, a.k.a. Voltaire, “Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien.” (Perfection is the enemy of good.)

This is one point I did make in my original article. Glad to see my point is backed up by Dr. Don.

This one is simply a caveat emptor. Don’t assume a product can kill viruses. Indeed, there are many ways product makers can use language that makes it seem like it’s effective against pathogens, but unless there is peer reviewed literature to back it up, sorry, it’s not magic. It won’t protect you against SARS-CoV-2 any better than simply washing your hands.

There is something to be said for the security blanket of feeling better. But, yes, they won’t help and are no better than a simple cold-water bath.

Or for treating the fabric of your home made N95 mask.

I like using reusable bags and agree washing them like any fabric is a wise idea. If you must use disposable bags, please use ones that are recyclable or compostable.

In other words, keep your bags close but be more mindful of social distancing and that the bagger uses proper sanitary techniques. But again, the likelihood that someone with the virus has used that same checkout stand recent-enough for the virus to still be active is very likely, and most grocery stores, like Wegman’s will do their best to sanitize the checkout counter between each customer during Covidapolis.

Keeping them in your car is a good idea. I always keep my MOM’s Organic Market bag in my car so it’s ready whenever I go there.

Wash your hands!

I have indeed noticed Wegman’s doing just that. They are, IMHO, doing a great job!

Know what you want, like Low Acid Orange Juice, and head straight over. Keep those two meter buffers to keep safe!

If you can get hand sanitizer, then it’s great when there isn’t soap and water available. But when you have soap and water, always prefer that.

Done in the most complete way possible Dr. Don!

Shelter in place, y’all, and use Zoom to see a friendly face!

Much obliged Dr. Don! Happy to help promote good science, sound food handling, and how to weave a great yarn, and sew a great mask!

Bon appetit, mes amis!