Sunday, October 14, 2012
The Debate Plus The Prize
When this happens, I tend to read a lot of science articles, and eventually the news starts to look less weird as a result, because life is definitely weird. So here are the current gleanings (sanity is still pending):
This is an extraordinarily interesting theory. It has the potential to explain some puzzling aspects of evolution of life on this planet. You have to pay to read the article, but the podcast is free. Here is a direct link to the transcript.
The prophet spider. That's my name for it. This critter was discovered in Israel not that long ago. It's considered extremely endangered because its known habitat is about 1 square mile in extent. Scientific name Cerbalus Aravensis. Digs a burrow with a door, so it's a trapdoor spider variant:
It gets to be over 5 inches long, so I am not offering a breeding pair houseroom. Usually this type of spider is quite venomous, because they jump on their prey and chomp.
But it does need a larger habitat, so hopefully the Israelis are working on a captive breeding program. Once they get about a million of them, they can just drop them on the Iranian nuclear facilities. I do believe that the human inhabitants will get the hint and leave. Then the Nobel prize committee can give the prophet spider the Peace Prize, and peace and joy shall reign. See? Everything's getting AALLLLL better.
In other, non-related news, there has been some interesting work done on sequencing genes in the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease in humans (and dogs). B. Burgdorferi sensu lato and stricto has now been extensively analyzed. It's old. It came from Europe (give those suckers a prize!), and it seems to have recently mutated. That mutation is found both in Europe and NA, probably spread by birds.
The reason I was taking that particular random walk is that there was a Gordon-like incident in a 40-ish male at the Superdoc's practice months ago. It does seem to have been uncomplicated Lyme disease, but it did not have the standard presentation at all - it was a very virulent onset with rapid progression aka Gordon's encounter with great woe. Superdoc sent the guy to the hospital for all sorts of screenings, because he feared encephalitis, which he did not have, nor has any evidence of coinfection emerged. So the potential exists that this thing may be mutating again to a more virulent form yet.
The OspC protein seems to be implicated in the host-jumping stage, so it is a prime candidate for mutation. Also, if the Norwegian results are correct, there may be another unknown animal vector involved which might produce selection pressures.
In Georgia some years back, there was the sudden emergence of a B. Burgdorferi sensu lato variant that produced a literal plague in mice, and that infected cattle. These mice were staggering around in sick hordes. That was probably too virulent to be successful over the long term, but there is reason to suspect that selection pressures are still working.
So strive not to be bitten by a tick, okay?
I am entering t his as 'Anonymous', because the others don't seem to like me this evening.Nothing personal, I understand that t hings happen.
I actually had another odd looking bite this summer. But I think it was a spider bite. Fortunately, it wasn't the Zionist Prophet spider.
Funny about my Lyme episode. I don't remember it being all that unpleasant. I do remember the nurses being worried that they were going to have to pick me up off the floor, and my wife says I was seriously miserable for a few days. Perhaps I was more out of it than I remember.
The Sheer Epicness of the Housing Bubble in One Easy Chart
That's assuming you are in a Halloween mood of course.
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