I was making coffee and pouring water into the coffee maker, and somehow the water sluiced across the top of the Mr. Coffee and right into my left sleeve. For a second I thought I had just made it vanish. “Poof! Not in the coffeemaker, not on the floor, nothing up my sleeve… oh, wait, yes. It is up your sleeve, there, Gandalf.” I then poured water out of my hoodie onto the floor, and had to towel it up.
This made me realize that I have this implicit idea that it must be really cool to be a comedian. Making people laugh and making people think seem like good things. Spreading a little joy is a great way to make a living. And – best of all – comedians get to tell themselves jokes and make themselves laugh. Who knows their sense of humor better than them, right? Well, no. Making yourself laugh is actually really rare, and comedians are mostly a pretty unhappy bunch, so let’s maybe not imagine them standing around talking in funny voices to themselves for their own amusement.
This comic is a depiction of actual events. My dear wife says the most hilarious things. I (regretfully) knew exactly what meme she was talking about. I also agree that the term she made up definitely sounds like a racial slur. We started talking about what it was a racial slur for, but discovered that was a terrible conversation and that we needed to stop.
Things are changing here. I will not be updating the blog as frequently or regularly. I was getting used to updating every week, which is fun. But I need to focus on work for a while. However, I would like to continue to upload some of these silly comics when I have a bit of spare time and inclination.
Anthony Fauci Shows Us the Right Way to Be an Expert – Scientific American Blog Network
He has done a great job. That is an impossible job.
I’ve ranted before about how the news is really not a very good use of one’s time. It’s the IMMINENT CRISIS SHOW all the time. And when they get their teeth into a legitimate crisis, it’s really hard to discern the right level of concern and the right modes of action.
The Poor and Marginalized Will Be the Hardest Hit by Coronavirus
Coronavirus is a great case in point. It’s about 10 times worse than the flu and spreads much more effectively. So we should be careful because the flu is already pretty bad for vulnerable people. Is it EbolAIDS? No. Will it disrupt essential services? Almost certainly not. Will it overcrowd a medical system where excess capacity (i.e., inefficiency) has been cut at every opportunity? Possibly. What can everyone actually do? Wash hands, social distancing.
Proof of Concept of an Iron-Iron(III)Oxide Hydroxide Battery Working at Neutral PH.
Awesome! These folks did a battery very similar to the Allen lab’s, but our current performance is considerably better. Cool.
Could curly straws hold the existentialist meaning of life? Only if you are a glass of lemonade.
Coronavirus: Do face masks work? And how to stop it from spreading?
Facemasks might prevent inhaling infectious aerosols
, but that’s not how most people catch the virus[edit: It looks like that is a common route of infection. New data, new policy. There are enough masks now. It’s time to mask up. Still, wash your hands]. If you get the virus on your hands and then touch your face, the facemask won’t do anything.
WHO-recommended handrub formulations – WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care – NCBI Bookshelf
Soap and water are the best tools to fight viruses. If a sink and soap are unavailable, then an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is an OK substitute. So I gather they are entirely sold out now. Of course. So here’s the recipe: 1 tablespoon glycerol, 3 tablespoons drug store (3%) hydrogen peroxide, and 3 2/3 cups 96% ethanol (192 proof Everclear alcohol).
It’s hard not to think about the Coronavirus. The first links are relevant to that. At the end, there’s more funny stuff. I want more people to be scientists and doctors. It’s important. Economically, our society can afford more doctors and scientists (as well as musicians, artists, etc.). We can afford to maintain a reserve army of competent people in case of a crisis. I wish we were thinking of things in terms of cost-benefit to society.
Coronavirus: US government test kits are faulty and ‘cannot be relied upon’ The Independent
We are not doing well in this fight so far. Based on the fact that they are using primers, the test is still based on the virus’s genome (rather than on the coat proteins). They say that one of the three primer sets is not performing as well as they want. The NEJM article I read only lists two primer sets. With a long infectious incubation, a good diagnostic test is important.
Structure of novel coronavirus spike protein solved in just weeks
Solving the structure of a virus and its proteins is the first step to doing lots of drug development. A structure lets medicinal chemists try to design small-molecule drugs to interfere with its function. Right now the cutting edge is to design antibodies in software to interfere with the virus, but that needs a structure to work with, too. It’s great that scientists can get to a structure so quickly.
IUB EMCenter – Electron Tomography
One of the relatively new methods for solving this kind of structures is to use electron tomography. The idea is to take images from a bunch of different angles and then use software to put all of the images together into a 3D picture. This link has some great animations of the image stack and how it looks three-dimensional to our brains.