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Wed Dec 20, 2017, 06:03 PM

While We Weren't Watching

Mineral Man had a satirical piece up in an earlier thread about Republicans secretly planning for an epidemic to solve the Debt Problem, a problem which will now mushroom after the GOPís genius Tax Deform Bill and the impending healthcare crisis.

Satire always has a cornerstone of truth.

What is not satire is the announcement yesterday that the Federal funding ban on producing deadly viruses had been lifted.

What could possibly go wrong??

You may recall the ban was put into place after a public outcry regarding several missteps/accidents at NIH labs: one involving lab workers being exposed to anthrax, another where a deadly strain of virus was shipped between laboratories and the revelation that scientists in the program were working to develop a lethal strain of bird flu.

Yikes!

Ostensibly, all this work in mutating viruses to their more deadly relatives is a proactive measure in order to develop effective vaccines. Better to be prepared for an outbreak, the argument goes, then be caught defenseless if and when a large swath of the population is infected.

Thatís the theory, at least.

My logical, rational mind can embrace the research idea because we know from medical literature that weíre merely a few steps away from a full-blown pandemic. Of some sort.

The Spanish flu after WWI killed between 20-40 million people worldwide. Some medical historians claim 50 million or more. Itís estimated half of the patients died from pneumonia, complicated by the high incidence of TB. This was before antibiotics, of course. But then, thereís the depressing news that our antibiotics are not as effective due to overuse, which has allowed bacteria to mutate in an increasingly deadly fashion.

So my rational mind says research = good; zombie apocalypse = bad.

But then, my more imaginative, suspicious mind conjures up dark scenarios where viruses are mishandled, accidents happen and/or the research to benefit mankind turns sinister. Watching Netflixís recent series Wormwood didnít help quell these darker thoughts (fascinating series, btw).

As it turns out, my laymanís misgivings are shared by a number of researchers, people who seem fully cognizant of risks vs. benefits. The good news in the New York Timesí article and several other publications is that a series of review processes have been put into place to mitigate further mishaps and/or dangers. And discussion continues between scientists about the merits of the research and how findings should be handled (not a good idea, for instance, to hand out recipes for enhanced viruses to the general public. Ya think?).

Iíll probably continue to rock back and forth between my logical mind and my zombie apocalypse mindset on this issue. The research moratorium hasnít been given much playtime because of the Trump drama du jour and most recent Tax monstrosity. Still, itís something to be aware of because lots can happen while weíre all distracted at the 3-ring circus.

I suspect thatís a feature, not a bug.

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Arrow 4 replies Author Time Post
Reply While We Weren't Watching (Original post)
peggysue2 Dec 2017 OP
C_U_L8R Dec 2017 #1
peggysue2 Dec 2017 #2
Ilsa Dec 2017 #3
2naSalit Dec 2017 #4

Response to peggysue2 (Original post)

Wed Dec 20, 2017, 06:21 PM

1. 'Herd Culling' is essential republican porn

and isn't very ideologically different than their nazi predecessors

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Response to C_U_L8R (Reply #1)

Wed Dec 20, 2017, 06:40 PM

2. Yikes!

That's a chilling thought.

The series I mentioned on Netflix--Wormwood---is a docudrama about the research/experimentation that was done during and after the Korean War, basically biochemical warfare products. The narrative is about one man's uneasiness about what he was doing, the very sinister, chilling governmental response and the man's son who spent his entire life tracking down the grim truth.

I'd watched nearly the entire Netflix program when I read the NYT's piece about this funding ban being lifted.

The whole thing had a creepy, creepy coincidental feel to it.

Interesting times!

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Response to peggysue2 (Original post)

Wed Dec 20, 2017, 07:00 PM

3. kick & rec. Nothing

along these lines would surprise me. I would bet that they would try to control the culling to maintain a strict balance of drones they could pay in peanuts.

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Response to peggysue2 (Original post)

Wed Dec 20, 2017, 07:26 PM

4. Indeed...

these are precisely the thoughts that passed through my mind when I read that this morning, I just couldn't articulate them.








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