Tuesday, August 05, 2014

A Link From Comments: The Biowar You Thought They'd Backed Away From

     Q. How do you research the weaponizing of diseases without, you know, breaking all those international agreements and violating civilized norms of decent behavior?

     A. By calling it "gain function" research, and claiming you're trying to "predict mutations" to simplify the creation of future vaccines!

     This line is patent bullshit; it's like trying to send a message to someone you cannot see or speak with by the both of you rolling dice, hoping the numbers will match.  Even with just a single die, what're the odds?*  What are the odds the Dr. Strangelove's gonna hit on the next Spanish Flu mutation ahead of time (and given CDC's track record, what're the odds he'll lose track of a live sample?)  Nope.  It's weapons research, on a nice long deniable leash.

     To make matters worse, these are the guys saying it's safe to bring ebola cases home.  At least their HQ is in the same city as the hospital; perhaps they'll be on the front lines if it gets out, mumbling, "Oops." Bad enough they're working on biological weapons -- and they are, no matter how they want to portray the activity --but they're careless about it.

     Y'know, me concluding free-market capitalism is the economic system offering the greatest freedom and upward mobility is not the same thing as me concluding the inept and/or wicked types in control of our government and loading down its bureaucracy are okey-dokey a-number-one fine.  And voting for another set of villains and fools won't fix it. 
* 1 in 6.  That's five misses for every match -- and no way to tell matches from misses.  Scale accordingly, Dr. Virus-Predictor.


Charles Lee Scudder said...

Thanks now I have to go pick my Epidemiologist friends brain.

Anonymous said...

CDC is actually next door; it's located on the Emory campus. No doubt that is why Emory Hospital is being used. Bring up Clifton Road on GoogleMaps and you will see the precise distance, about two minutes on foot.

rickn8or said...

As bad as bringing the two ebola cases to the U.S. is, what choice did we have?

Not treating them? Leaving them in Liberia and shuttling doctors and treatments there, with every transfer possibly spreading the contamination all along the path of travel?

It's not like we could waltz them into a foreign hospital and say "We're going to treat them here, deal with it" especially when we're not certain of all the methods of transmission.

This might be a situation where all the available solutions are equally unsatisfactory.

I've got family in/around Atlanta and kids and grandkids in Knoxville, so yes I'm concerned.

Besides, I thought CDC was too busy surreptitiously researching "Gun Violence" to bother with actual diseases.

Archer said...

Given that mutations happen randomly, and which ones survive and propagate is a product of the environment - the changes/adaptations that make life easier in hot/humid climates aren't necessarily helpful, and may indeed be harmful, in cold or dry climes - it's absurdly unlikely the temperature- and humidity-controlled test-tubes and Petri dishes at the CDC will produce the next dangerous mutation ahead of what's found "in the wild."

On the subject of dice: the odds of rolling two and matching is the same as the odds of rolling one and getting a particular number. Statistical shorthand: forget the first die - it doesn't matter what number comes up, only whether the second matches it.

The real boondoggle is when you consider trying to roll a 6-sided die to match Dr. Virus-Predictor's die, when he might be randomly rolling a 4-, 6-, 8-, 10-, 12-, 20-, 30-, or 100-sided die, and not telling you which.