All Those Cow Farts

I can recall from a decade of more ago when cows were being blamed for all the global warming…..oh sorry climate change because they eat a lot of fiber and supposedly do a lot of farting.

Does anyone else remember this?

There were even some that blamed the demise of the dinosaur because of their massive consumption and of course their farting….sorry again I digress.

Long a target of environmentalists due to its purported negative effects on the global environment, cattle farming has lately been pilloried by eco-activists for its alleged hastening of warming across the planet due to the high levels of greenhouse gasses that the industry produces every year. 

Yet a relatively small but growing body of research suggests that certain types of cattle farming— namely, those in which cows are raised on pastures for their whole lives as opposed to in feedlots — may actually have a carbon-negative effect on the environment by helping to sequester greenhouse grasses under well-managed grasslands. 

The vast majority of beef produced in the U.S. is sourced in feedlots in which cattle are fed primarily corn and grains, a diet which hastens their fattening and prepares them for slaughter much earlier than traditional methods.

Environmentalists have criticized those systems as ecologically ruinous due to their heavy carbon footprints, citing in part their dependence on chemically fertilized cattle feed and the copious amounts of methane that cows emit in the form of burps and flatulence.

https://justthenews.com/nation/science/beef-takes-beating-environmentalists-research-suggests-cows-can-actually-climate

Stop blaming cows for the problem….assign blame where it belongs….the technique used by the ranchers.

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But are cows the culprit?

 

Is ‘Herd Immunity’ Dead?

Closing Thought–04May21

The big term for that year to describe the possibility of a herd immunity to the Covid-19 as a stop gap to the pandemic….

Well the whole idea for the US is just come to a screeching halt……

For more than a year now, health authorities have been preaching the idea of “herd immunity” in regard to COVID. But it now appears that goal is out of reach for the foreseeable future and perhaps permanently, reports Apoorva Mandavilli in the New York Times. Two main factors are at play—ever-evolving mutations and the estimated 30% of the US population that wants no part of a vaccine. Even if the latter percentage shrinks, however, herd immunity is likely to remain elusive. But that doesn’t necessarily mean a doom-and-gloom scenario. Among scientists and public health experts, a consensus is emerging that “the virus will most likely become a manageable threat that will continue to circulate in the United States for years to come, still causing hospitalizations and deaths but in much smaller numbers,” writes Mandavilli.

That message is a tricky one, however, because it could cause people on the fence about a vaccine to skip it with a what’s-the-point logic. On the other hand, the more people that get vaccinated and thus develop immunity, the more manageable the annual risk becomes, say health experts in the story. One factor is that the concept of herd immunity has much gray area, explains a post at Johns Hopkins. Its basic definition: “When most of a population is immune to an infectious disease, this provides indirect protection—or population immunity (also called herd immunity or herd protection)—to those who are not immune to the disease.” Generally, it kicks in when 50% to 90% of a population is immune, but there’s no “magic” number because of a slew of factors, including the virus’ evolution. And that’s especially true with a new disease such as COVID. Read the Times’ entire piece.

Here is a radical idea….get the shot/s……wear a mask…..and show some concern for this killer.

Turn The Page!

May the Fourth Be With You

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Dumb And Dumber

I have written that I believe that this country is getting dumber by the year……it brings to mind that film about what happens to the nation when idiots takeover…..Idiocracy.

Now a study is points to the possibility that the movie was prophetic….

If you’ve spent any time at all on a website like Reddit with an active community of commenters then you’ve likely seen the Dunning-Kruger Effect (DKE) in action. For anyone out there who isn’t familiar with the Dunning-Kruger Effect, it comes from Social Psychology and is a cognitive bias that states “people with low ability at a task overestimate their ability.” Examples would include a manager who is actually horrendous at leading a team thinking they’re the world’s best boss or your friend who came back from studying abroad for a semester in Barcelona speaking Spanish like a toddler and believing they’re on the verge of being fluent.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect has been identified since 1999 but a new study has shown that stupid people are even dumber than previously thought because not only are they overestimating their performance on cognitive tests their confidence is significantly higher than people who actually perform well on the tests instead of failing them like big ol’ dumb-dumbs

Results of this latest study were published in the Educational Psychology journal frontiers in Psychology under the title ‘Dunning-Kruger Effect: Intuitive Errors Predict Overconfidence on the Cognitive Reflection Test’. What they were studying was intuitive vs. non-intuitive errors contributed to people overestimating how they performed on the cognitive test. And what they found was people who performed poorly on the test but scored high in ‘intuitive thinking disposition’ grossly overestimated their performance.

An interesting study that has wide ranging implications….

https://thedebrief.org/dunning-kruger-effect-ignorance-and-overconfidence-affect-intuitive-thinking-new-study-says/

Appears the Ignorati will eventually consume our society….it already has a solid foothold.

Ignorati?

Yep…this country is being overrun with “Idiotarians”…..of course I have had thoughts on this as well…..https://lobotero.com/2018/11/05/in-the-age-of-the-idiotarian/

I weep for my granddaughter for this stupidity will effect her more than me for I am old and my days are truly numbered.

Can we find a way out of this darkness?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Sunday’s Sciencey Stuff

If it is a Sunday then it must mean science stuff.

The age old question…”do you want to live forever”?

If so then there may be a way…..

Russian transhumanist Alexey Turchin has shared a new “roadmap to immortality,” which proposes several different plans (with backup plans!) for extending human life through technology. Here’s the gist, as he explains it:

Scientist proposes new plan to “resurrect” the dead with a Dyson Sphere, kind of

Dr. Frankenstein would be pleased.

If you do not think that first question was age old then maybe this one will suit your fancy….”are UFOs real”?

These are 23 of the best reasons that they are…….

1. “Aliens are long gone.”

“The odds that humans will cross paths with another intelligent life form are slim. What if the aliens we are looking for are an extinct race of beings that existed millions of years ago? Maybe their civilization peaked during the age of the dinosaurs or even earlier. Who knows? They may have visited Earth when the most complex life was a single-cell organism and just moved on.”

u/Reno83

https://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewziegler/ufo-theories

If you are interested in UFOs then you have most likely seen the video that has been said ‘proof positive’ of their existence…..or does it?

A fascinating clip of what appeared to be triangular or “pyramid” shaped UFOs flying over a US Navy warship circulated online earlier this month.

The footage, obtained by filmmaker Jeremy Corbell, shows the mysterious objects caught on a night vision camera aimed at the skies over the warship.

“I can confirm that the referenced photos and videos were taken by Navy personnel,” Department of Defense spokesperson Sue Gough told Futurism last week.

The incident left plenty of questions unanswered. What were these stranger pyramid-shaped objects, or were they some type of optical illusion? If they were real, where did they come from?

https://futurism.com/this-theory-could-explain-many-military-ufo-sightings

Appears that all the tension with the West and Russia has  new casualty….the ISS…..Russia wants to go it alone….

Relations on Earth between Russia and the West are strained at the moment, with the country mired in controversy over the health status of dissident Alexei Navalny and the buildup of Russian forces at the Ukraine border. Now, there could soon be a distancing in outer space, too: The head of Russia’s space agency has announced that it may ditch the International Space Station in 2025, then launch its own space station by 2030, reports Reuters. “If … we can put it into orbit, it will be a colossal breakthrough,” Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin said Wednesday, per Interfax. “The will is there to take a new step in world manned space exploration.” Russian cosmonauts have collaborated with counterparts from the US and more than a dozen other nations on the ISS since 1998, but that space station is aging, and the country’s contract regarding it ends in 2024.

“We can’t risk the lives [of our cosmonauts],” Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said on state TV, per the BBC, adding that the current space station’s creaky state could eventually lead to “catastrophe,” and that the country will reassess ISS’ condition in 2024 and make further decisions from there. Russia would manage the building of the new space station, though it would be open to partners helping with construction, Borisov noted. One big anticipated difference with the new space station: It wouldn’t be able to be manned year-round like the ISS, as its planned orbital path would mean radiation would be much higher. The Moscow Times notes the project, which is expected to cost more than $5 billion, hasn’t yet been approved, per Interfax. Futurism features a video of work on the first base module.

I truly like honey….I eat it a lot…..but recently I read something disturbing about my favorite sweetener…..

Some cesium with your chamomile tea? If you use honey, there’s a distinct possibility you may have ingested the radioactive version of the element, thanks to nuclear fallout from decades-ago bomb tests that’s showing up in US honey, per Science. In research published last month in Nature Communications, scientists took samples of locally produced raw honey from the eastern US, all the way from Maine to Florida, and tested it for radiocesium. The radioactive material was ejected into the upper atmosphere from nuclear bombs tested in the 1950s and ’60s—in Nevada, New Mexico, and the Marshall Islands, among other places—then swept across the world by wind, before drifting back to Earth as microscopic pieces. Of the 122 samples collected, 68 of them were found to have more than 0.03 becquerels per kilogram of radiocesium, with one sample in Florida coming in at 19.1 becquerels per kilogram. Samples with the highest levels seemed to come from the Southeast.

Even though the nuclear tests decades ago took place out west, wind and rain patterns brought the fallout to the East Coast. Popular Mechanics notes that levels in Southeast may be particularly high because there isn’t as much potassium there for plants to suck up as in other regions, leading them to grab radiocesium instead, which has similar properties. So how concerned should honey lovers be about this development? Not very, the FDA says, as 1200 becquerels per kilogram would be the level where safety concerns would emerge. “I eat more honey now than I did before I started the project—and I have kids, I feed them honey,” study co-author James Kaste tells Science. Still, a University of Utah geologist notes it’s still important to track how nuclear fallout circulates so we can keep tabs on the health of agriculture and ecosystems, and to see if radioactive elements may be harmful to other species, like bees. “We need to pay attention to these things,” says Thure Cerling.

The disturbing thing is I live in the Southeast where the levels are highest….but this should not stop my from my favorite sweet…..

This concludes the sciencey stuff…..

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Anyone Out There?

Since the 1960s we have been searching for life ‘out there’…..we have sent probes telling about the earth and its people and its location…..we have sent radio messages into the dark unknown hoping for an answer……

MY thought is ‘has any of these guys ever seen the movie “Independence Day”?

It is a cautionary tale of can happen with all this rush to find who is out there.

Physicist Michio Kaku has a thought on our search……

Once we find signs of alien life (well, if) we will have to grapple with a new question, presuming that they haven’t made the first move: should we make contact?

Renowned physicist Michio Kaku has made himself clear on the topic over the years, stating that he believes we will find alien life, and if we do we should be wary of making contact. In a new interview with The Guardian, he has gone further, calling it a “terrible idea”.

“Soon we’ll have the Webb telescope up in orbit and we’ll have thousands of planets to look at, and that’s why I think the chances are quite high that we may make contact with an alien civilisation,” he told the publication.

“There are some colleagues of mine that believe we should reach out to them. I think that’s a terrible idea. We all know what happened to Montezuma when he met Cortés in Mexico so many hundreds of years ago.”

For those that don’t know, the Spanish forces – led by Cortés – slaughtered the unarmed Aztecs until “the blood of the warriors flowed like water”, which doesn’t sound like an ideal outcome of the first contact with alien life. Kaku has expanded on the idea in the past, explaining that though he believes that alien life will mostly be peaceful – given that the signatures we are likely to find will be of civilizations thousands or perhaps millions of years in advance of us – that doesn’t mean that we should risk announcing ourselves to the universe.

“We cannot take the chance,” he said in 2018. “We should not try to advertise our existence to alien life in outer space because of the fact that we don’t know their intentions.”

The danger, he believes, is not that aliens will be “evil” per se, but more that they might not care about us at all. He compared our position in the universe to that of a deer in the forest. While hunters in the forest pose a threat to deer, the real danger comes from developers who might pave over the forest and destroy their environment.

“In fact, if you read the novel War of the Worlds the Martians in HG Wells seminal novel were not evil in the sense they wanted to torture us and they wanted to do all sorts of barbaric things to humanity,” he added. “No, we were just in the way.”

(IFLScience)

Be careful what you ask for….you just may well regret the answer.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Those Body Farms

Those feet keep showing up in Canada….

“Please don’t call them ‘severed feet.'” So says forensic scientist Gail Anderson of Simon Fraser University, whose research involving dead pigs plays a big role in getting to the bottom of a mystery that flummoxed Canadian locals and police near the Salish Sea off British Columbia’s Vancouver Island for years: Why were sneaker-clad feet washing ashore? In an excerpt from Erika Engelhaupt’s Gory Details: Adventures From the Dark Side of Science, National Geographic shares the fascinating science. The first foot washed up on August 20, 2007, and another—also a right foot in a men’s size 12 sneaker—was found six days later. Over a 12-year period, 15 feet were found, leading to theories ranging from a serial killer to aliens. Science ultimately proved otherwise.

Engelhaupt recounts a 1977 Navy study that got to the first question: Does a dead body float or sink? The study determined that sinking to the bottom was likeliest, and a forensic anthropologist with the British Columbia Coroners Service explains that water pressure stops the expansion of gases that could otherwise bring the bodies back up. As for why the feet would have been come back up, in her work with dead pigs Anderson found underwater scavengers like shrimp and crabs gravitated toward softer tissues and ligaments, which is exactly what you’ll find in our ankles. That makes it likely the feet naturally separated thanks to those scavengers. Credit today’s sneakers for the rise, too: Most feature foam and gas-filled pockets in the soles that make them buoyant. But who do the feet belong to? Police now have an answer in nine of the cases, and all are thought to have died via accident or suicide.

This article got me to thinking about ‘body farms’.

If you watch “Bones” then you were exposed to the idea of a body farm.

But what but Hell is a “body farm”?

Body farms, really, are just outdoor laboratories. Using donated human bodies, the aim is to get a better understanding of the decomposition process. Monitoring the different processes of decomposition in various environments, the research findings can then further understanding in forensics.

The term “body farm” can imply some slightly unsettling things. But, a body farm really is not scary or unsettling at all. In truth, a body farm is simply a research facility where human decomposition is studied. This may not sound appealing or appetizing to some people, but the study of human decomposition is very important. It helps both scientists and law enforcement to develop methods for identifying human remains, and also to learn more about the person’s life and lifestyle.

Most body farms accept donated human remains. Depending on the policies of the body farm, this may or may not affect planning for a funeral. It is possible to finalize arrangements for a donation before death, or family members and loved ones can make arrangements after the fact.

A short definition…..but where did this idea originate?

In the middle of the woods, just a few miles from Alcoa Highway in Tennessee, you may come across a 1-hectare (2.5-acre) plot surrounded by a razor-wire fence.

The plot, which we’d highly advise you don’t enter if you’re squeamish, is home to the world’s first “body farm“, where human bodies are left to rot in the open, locked in trunks of cars, or submerged in water, all watched closely by scientists to see what happens next.

Body farms as a concept are a surprisingly late invention, conceived by anthropologist William M. Bass in 1971. Bass had spent most of his career in Kansas. In the state, given the massive amounts of land, it was often the case that bodies weren’t discovered for years, meaning when he was asked to identify remains, he was generally working on a skeleton.

https://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/the-strange-tale-of-how-a-civil-war-murder-mystery-led-to-the-invention-of-body-farms/

Now you know all there is to know about the history behind the term ‘body farm’…..

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I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

 

Living In The Matrix

First I would like to ask…just what about the UK royals fascinate us Americans so damn much?

The weekend….that magical time of the week when I can step back from the insanity of the news cycle and look into something interesting, weird or just funny…..

A show of hands please….how many saw the film “The Matrix”?

I saw all three and I understand there is at least one sequel in the works…..the first film was good but I did not think much of the two sequels…..

I bring this up because a neuroscientist that says we are actually living in a simulation…..

It turns out none of us have actually experienced real life – it’s just a simulation that our brain makes up, a neuroscientist has explained.

Essentially, our brain gets all of its information from our sensory organs. The catch is that there is a lot of information in our external environment that our sensory organs either can’t perceive.

All of this has been laid out by TikTok user jacostak, who explains why we’re actually living inside a simulation. But viewers should be warned that it can send him into an existential crisis when he thinks about it too long.

‘All of our sensory systems have evolved to pick up relevant information in our external environment. For instance, our eyes are sensory organs that have evolved to pick up light from the electromagnetic spectrum,’ he begins, adding that our eyes then relay that information back to the brain, which makes sense of what we have just seen.

But, what many people don’t realise is that we can only perceive a tiny snippet of electromagnetic waves.

https://www.unilad.co.uk/viral/neuroscientist-explains-why-were-actually-living-inside-a-simulation/

Okay this gets a bit deep….and at one point all I could think was TMI…..

Whatcha you guys think?

Are we living in a Matrix like simulation?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Sunday Space News

It is that time again…..I report on all the news about space…..news that no one can use……

The world’s largest telescope is underwater…..

Russian scientists on Saturday launched one of the world’s biggest underwater space telescopes to peer deep into the Universe from the pristine waters of Lake Baikal.

The deep underwater telescope, which has been under construction since 2015, is designed to observe neutrinos, the smallest particles currently known.

Dubbed Baikal-GVD, the telescope was submerged to a depth of 750-1,300 meters (2,500-4,300 feet), around four kilometers from the lake’s shore.

Neutrinos are very hard to detect and water is an effective medium for doing so.

The floating observatory consists of strings with spherical glass and stainless steel modules attached to them.

https://www.sciencealert.com/russian-scientists-deploy-a-floating-observatory-in-lake-baikal

“Take us to warp 4″….a captain aboard the Enterprise….that might sound like a line from a movie but it may not be so far fetched…..

The speed of light is a big constraint when it comes to space exploration. It’s the rate at which light travels in a vacuum, precisely 186,282 miles per second (29,9792,458 metres, or 300,000 kilometers, per second). It’s unchangeable, and as far as we currently know, nothing can exceed that speed. That may seem pretty fast, but compared to the sheer size of space, it’s like trudging through molasses. 

For scale, the moon is approximately 238,855 miles (384,400 km) from Earth; It takes about 2.51 seconds for light to make a round trip from the Earth and back. Mars is 3 minutes and 2 seconds for a one-way trip, or six minutes and four seconds both ways. It would take 4.6 hours for light to reach Pluto, and another 4.6 hours to bounce back. Finally, it would take us 4.24 years traveling at the speed of light to reach Alpha Centauri Bb—the closest exoplanet from Earth. That’s traveling at top speed.

https://interestingengineering.com/direct-fusion-drives-flying-across-space-blink-of-an-eye

 

Weekend Space News

It has been awhile since I wrote about the news from space….news that few care about…..

The big news is the views sent back from Percy on the surface of Mars…..

A big Red Planet first from NASA: The agency has released the first-ever video of a Mars landing and the first audio sent back from the planet.

Our Space Force is planning massive space infrastructure program….

The U.S. military over decades has built extensive infrastructure to move troops and equipment around the world. It may now need to start thinking about investing in foundation technologies to support future activities in space, said Lt. Gen. John Shaw, deputy commander of U.S. Space Command.

The space industry is developing servicing robots, maneuvering satellites, in-space transport vehicles and other technologies the military would be able to use. Shaw said U.S. Space Command will leverage commercial systems but “we will also have our own, and we will need the other combatant commands to support us.”

As a unified combatant command, U.S. Space Command can influence what the Pentagon buys through the so-called “requirements process.” For future operations, Shaw said, the military could “preposition logistics in space. to replenish space assets rapidly from the Earth’s surface or elsewhere in orbit

U.S. Space Command to recommend investments in space infrastructure

You might ask why is this a priority, right?

Now some are warning of a possible “Space Pearl Harbor”…..

Twenty years ago, a congressionally mandated commission warned of a “Space Pearl Harbor” if the United States did not act urgently to protect its assets orbiting above the Earth. Despite this warning, Washington failed to take sufficient steps. Too many Americans assumed the United States would enjoy unchallenged access to the ultimate high ground indefinitely.

Not surprisingly, America’s great power competitors are unwilling to accept American supremacy in space. Since the commission’s January 2001 report, Russia and China have worked overtime to develop the means to deprive the U.S. military of its comparative advantage in space, developing capabilities that could disable or destroy American satellites. Both governments understood that the U.S. military increasingly relies on space: Satellites provide navigation, communication, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities vital to a variety of missions including missile defense.

https://thedispatch.com/p/we-must-work-to-prevent-a-space-pearl

Really?

Should I remind all our so-called “experts” of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty that the US signed?

Apparently I do……

https://lobotero.com/2019/04/12/space-law/

https://lobotero.com/2019/07/16/space-law-part-2/

Maybe they, the “experts”, should spend more time in research and less time chasing dollars…..

We hear a lot these days about the push to colonize Mars…..but is that a good idea?

Some say it is a good idea and should be pursued….

Mars is a pretty inhospitable planet. It’s cold, it’s dry, and it gets lots of ultraviolet light on its surface. We don’t know if there’s life there – or if there was in the past. Two new independent studies show that we can’t discount the possibility, and that we need to pay attention to what we send to the Red Planet.

https://www.iflscience.com/space/earthly-life-could-survive-on-mars-new-studies-suggest/amp.html

Some others say no it is not…..

The touchdown on Mars of another NASA rover has generated lots of excitement about the red planet. But scientific exploration is one thing. Believing that humans might be able to live on the planet someday is another, writes Shannon Stirone at the Atlantic. She calls out those pushing the idea that Mars is a viable option for humans in the not-too-distant future, or ever, particularly Elon Musk. A video in circulation show Musk reading a passage from Carl Sagan’s book Pale Blue Dot in which Sagan argues that humans better take care of Earth because no alternative exists. “False,” says Musk, laughing. “Mars.” Musk, of course, aims to get there via his SpaceX company, and he sounds gung-ho about the idea of Mars as a permanent home for relocated Earthlings. “He couldn’t be more wrong,” writes Stirone. “Mars? Mars is a hellhole.”

She runs through the reasons why—surface temperatures of 80 below zero, no breathable air, no protection from radiation from the sun, etc. Humans would have to live underground and survive by UV lights. The planet “is not in the realm of hospitable to humans,” she writes. “Mars will kill you.” Stirone draws a contrast between Sagan, who inspired readers with the awe he felt toward the cosmos, and Musk, who “has used the medium of dreaming and exploration to wrap up a package of entitlement, greed, and ego.” He could do so much here on Earth will all the money he will waste on Mars, she writes. “To laugh at Sagan’s words is to miss the point entirely: There really is only one true home for us—and we’re already here.” Read the full piece.

I agree with the article…..the whole idea of colonization is about chasing dollars more than anything.

Since the Earth is in space I guess this article fits into the theme of the day….

“Traditionally we’ve been taught the Earth has four main layers: the crust, the mantle, the outer core and the inner core,” explained Australian National University geophysicist Joanne Stephenson. 

Our knowledge of what lies beneath Earth’s crust has been inferred mostly from what volcanoes have divulged and seismic waves have whispered. From these indirect observations scientists have calculated that the scorchingly hot inner core, with temperatures surpassing 5,000 degrees Celsius (9,000 Fahrenheit), makes up only one percent of Earth’s total volume.

Now Stephenson and colleagues have found more evidence Earth’s inner core may have two distinct layers.

“It’s very exciting – and might mean we have to re-write the textbooks!” she added.

The team used a search algorithm to trawl through and match thousands of models of the inner core with observed data across many decades about how long seismic waves take to travel through Earth, gathered by the International Seismological Centre.

https://www.sciencealert.com/earth-s-hidden-innermost-core-hints-at-an-even-more-dramatic-planet-history

Finally for all you amateur astronomers….the meteor, 99942 Apophis….is heading to earth and you can see it…..

The most devastating event in Earth’s history, as far as life is concerned, was the mass extinction that followed the impact of a colossal asteroid. That event is the reason dinosaurs aren’t around today and, perhaps more importantly, why mammals had a chance to boom and why we’re all here today. But now that we’re here, it would be nice if we could avoid future asteroid calamities, and one of the more threatening space rocks in our neck of the stellar woods is known as 99942 Apophis.

Apophis is a large rocky body thought to be around 1,000 feet wide, and that’s big enough that it would cause catastrophic damage if it were to strike our planet. On Friday, March 5th, Apophis is scheduled to make a close approach of Earth, but the good news is that scientists have already determined that it won’t hit us

‘Doomsday asteroid’ is headed toward Earth – here’s when you can see it with your telescope

That is all I have to report…..enjoy your day….be well and be safe….

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Those Damn “Variants”

The news is always about the Covid beast that is ravaging the planet….and now there are variants to the virus…..

The pandemic news is good and bad……

Good in the sense that the numbers of infections and deaths is falling…..

Bad in the sense that variants of the Covid virus is making its presence known…..

But what does that mean?

Vaccine rollout in the United States has been undeniably slow. And while we wait, worrisome new coronavirus variants are emerging, heightening the urgency to control the pandemic. Some variants, including ones first identified in Brazil, South Africa and the United Kingdom, have mutations that help the coronavirus evade parts of the immune system, raising the specter that some people might face a second round of COVID-19.

All of this can make it feel like the pandemic has come full circle and that we are back where we started. But even in the face of potential reinfections, the world has a tool at its disposal that didn’t exist a year ago: effective vaccines.

Shots from Pfizer and Moderna have been authorized in the United States since December 2020. Vaccines developed by Novavax and Johnson & Johnson recently announced promising results (SN: 1/28/21; SN: 1/29/21). On February 4, Johnson & Johnson became the third company to apply for emergency use authorization in the United States for its COVID-19 vaccine.

How coronavirus variants may drive reinfection and shape vaccination efforts

This is not very encouraging at this time.