This is terrifying and not hypothetical.
This presents some alternate hypotheses for the outbreak and claims Anthrax is fairly unique in its ability to survive repeated freeze-thaw cycles.
> Anthrax is not contagious, which means you can’t catch it like the cold or flu.
I'm not sure what the technical definition of "contagious" is here but I'm also not sure its helpful when you can catch the disease from an infected animal.
Weaponized anthrax spores are more virulent and spread by aircraft or other munition. You might recall just after 9/11 someone mailed anthrax to public officials in envelopes.
It’s definitely concerning but is it in the same league as say the fact America appears to have lost desire to retain its leadership in the world? Are we ready for another country to decide to take a shot at that role? That sounds like a terrifying prospect to me because i just can’t see that happening without bloodshed.
In years gone past, whatever the crisis, America would step up and lead. Over the past few years it’s chosen, as is its right to do so, to step back from world leadership (trade, peace keeping, covid response, immigration, climate change, etc etc)
What about a super volcano eruption tomorrow, we know one is coming but we don’t know when yet we do very little to prepare for it, e.g. post massive disaster food crop growing research etc.
What about the fact that electrical grids are creaking at the seams today in many countries and that we know it only takes around 2 weeks of no electrical grid to reach catastrophic changes to way of life (hospitals offline, perishable food supplies mostly gone, commerce halted etc etc)
The really terrifying things don’t get much in the way of discourse. How can this possibly be in the same league as the terrifying stuff we’re a bit scared to talk about because there aren’t really any great answers and there’s no way to predict when so we have an easy way to ignore it all.
Many would argue that America was the one who created many of those crises in the first place.
American capitalism has led the world to the brink of destruction by climate change, so a loss in status is absolutely warranted.
> The really terrifying things don’t get much in the way of discourse. How can this possibly be in the same league as the terrifying stuff we’re a bit scared to talk about because there aren’t really any great answers and there’s no way to predict when so we have an easy way to ignore it all.
A super volcano eruption is beyond our control, so there's no point getting worked up about that. Nothing else pales in comparison to the destruction that's coming as a direct result of USA turning a blind eye to climate change.
This sort of alarmist language makes it really difficult to take anything you said seriously. I'm fairly confident most people think climate change is concerning, but not "on the brink of destruction"
"American capitalism" is also responsible for the greatest reduction of poverty globally in all of human history.
> Nothing else pales in comparison to the destruction that's coming as a direct result of USA turning a blind eye to climate change.
Interesting, because the United States has actually been lowering carbon dioxide emissions, and total output absolutely pales in comparison to China which has seen nearly exponential growth .
This may be completely wrong, but it seems like a majority of climate change talk always revolves around how the US can be doing more, and rarely about what other countries can do.
Interesting how America is always to blame for the world's problems. I'm not saying America has been perfect, but it certainly does more good than bad.
Is that true? I’ve heard this recently from republican leaning sources but it doesn’t appear to be true.
E.g. of the 30 countries with the greatest reduction in poverty rates in the last 20 years its hard to pin point the American influence?
Stretching back further, global poverty reduction begins in earnest in the 19th century yet American capitalism only begins in around the start of the 20th century.
>> it seems like a majority of climate change talk always revolves around how the US can be doing more
An American citizen emits 16 tonnes of co2 per year. Who else even comes close?
> Is that true? I’ve heard this recently from republican leaning sources but it doesn’t appear to be true.
I can't find sources to determine the exact contribution of the US to this, but free market capitalism in general is definitely responsible .
> An American citizen emits 16 tonnes of co2 per year. Who else even comes close?
Canada is higher, Australia is close behind. I mentioned this before, but US co2 emissions have been in decline, while many other countries are increasing. It will not take India long before it eclipses the US.
America represents 15% of total co2 emissions . If we wanted to reduce globally everyone needs to participate.
>Interesting how America is always to blame for the world's problems. I'm not saying America has been perfect, but it certainly does more good than bad.
Tell that to the Middle East, parts of South East Asia and South Americas.
> talk always revolves around how the US can be doing more, and rarely about what other countries can do.
Now we get to the nub.
The key word here is responsibility. And dont look at production level CO2 emission. The US eclipses every nation on earth when looking at per person energy consumption and resulting CO2 footprint
If India and China's citizens lived like Americans, it would be a global catastrophe. Those two nations are still developing their grids and can't pour money into alternative energy industries and R&D because of cost and scale
Post script: I'm a neutral observer. But take everything I say with a truckload of salt.
from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctic_methane_emissions :
The Permian–Triassic extinction event (the Great Dying) may have been caused by release of methane from clathrates. An estimated 52% of marine genus became extinct, representing 96% of all marine species.
Maybe Paul Stammets, Michael Pollan, and the entire next generation of mycology experts can find a way to sporolate these areas in an effective way. Even if it just encapsulates and doesn't eliminate, it's still something.
Anthrax outbreaks have occurred all around the world. Just because it occurred in Siberia and there is evidence that it survives being frozen for long periods of time doesn't mean the risk of some super threat from permafrost is of any exceptional significance.
It seems however that people like to be frightened and to have something to panic about, especially Americans, and your newspapers and magazines cater to this by cherry picking data that can be twisted to tell a scary story.
Where can I find this book? Is it this one (coming out next month)? https://reedsy.com/discovery/book/mind-painter-tom-b-night/u...
It’s a lot easier to protect a single cell than it is trillions working in concert.
The climate threat is sufficient on its own. We don't need to dilute it's seriousness by inventing threats such as ancient arctic viruses and microbes. I'm not advocating that we don't study these phenomenon, or that some complex phenomena don't have the potential to be globe altering, but this article is just fearmongering.
There is no arctic virus or microbe that is going to terrorize the world. There is no gene that will suddenly be distributed and wreak havoc on mammalian populations, like the article is clearly insinuating.
>Permafrost thaw in Siberia led to a 2018 anthrax outbreak and the death of 200,000 reindeer and a child.
Anthrax is not going to sporulate around the globe from the Arctic. Bacillus anthracis already live everywhere in the globe and only sporulate when they are stressed. The reason the ones in the permafrost were dangerous is because they were stressed from the cold. However, the flip side is no one lives there, making it a complete isolated incident. Additionally, the reindeer were culled, not directly killed by the anthrax toxin.
>Organisms that co-evolved within now-extinct ecosystems from the Cenozoic to the Pleistocene may also emerge and interact with our modern environment in entirely novel ways. A potential example, the emerging Orthopoxvirus species Alaskapox causing skin lesions, has appeared and disappeared in Alaska twice in the last five years.
"Alaskapox" is an orthopoxvirus. These are not novel. They are perhaps the most widespread mammalian virus. They evolve rapidly and species jump from time to time. 33% of known orthoxpoxviridae were discovered in the last detect The reported human cases are thought to be from squirrel contact, and not humam-to-human transmissible. To date, there is zero evidence that "alaskapox" is from arctic/frozen origin. Exactly no evidence, despite overwhelming evidence that orthopoxviruses do evolve to new hosts and jump species. Additionally, there are dozens of emergent viruses around the world that are nowhere near the Arctic. An emergency virus near the Arctic is about as correlated to global warming as a baseball bat is correlated to deep sea diving.
>it is challenging to assess risks accurately without improved Arctic microbial datasets. We should pay attention to both known unknowns, such as antibiotic-resistant bacteria,and unknown unknowns, including the potential risks from the resurrection of ancient and poorly described viral genomes from Arctic ice by synthetic biologists.
This is just totally irresponsible fearmongering for a few reasons:
1) Humans did not and still don't live in these regions in any quantity. Which means no intact, infectious virion that targets humans is going to be found there, and even if it somehow was, it's not going to escape there. This is not Wuhan, this is the Arctic. Again, novel viruses emerge frequently, and are inherently limited, frequently, by their environments. Marburg, Ebola, Hantavirus, MERS, are all substantially greater threats than anything found in the Arctic because they have coevolved with their hosts for millions more years. These old, otherwise extinct arctic virus we haven't seen in eons (if ever)? They died out because they couldn't keep up with their hosts, or because their hosts disappeared and there was nothing left they were capable of infecting. Either scenario results in: not a direct threat.
2) Genome transfer. What if somehow SARS-CoV 2 picks up some gene that somehow wipes us out? This is extremely unlikely to be bad. Most genes are absolutely ancient already. Those that didn't make it, didn't make it for a reason. All of the genes a virus needs are already out there in the virome, and they recombine all the time. That's why next year's flu is an infinitely greater threat than anything buried in arctic ice. Also, if the genes were that much of an advantage, they wouldn't have extincted in the first place, OR they will be entirely incompatible with modern hosts.
3) There's a limit to viral lethality. If the virus kills quickly, it won't spread. This is why super lethal viruses tend to be endemic to areas, and their reservoir is usually hosts like bats where the virus is non-lethal. Super lethal viruses don't spread well, and it's why something like CoV or the flu are much scarier and kill many more people than ebola.
what in our response to COVID was better and more effective than our response to Black Death and Spanish flu? I don't see any improvement despite 700 and 100 years of accumulated knowledge and technology development since then. There has so far been no indication that the only things we were able to muster - archaic lockdown and masks - can prevent it from reaching the 20-30% spread, basically the level of unmitigated spread.
I mean, for example, 700 years ago people couldn't know that that ship coming into the port of Venice brings the infection. A year ago we knew that this plane from Wuhan most probably does.
Another noticeable difference is that Taiwan actions were real actions where the government did actually performed them whereis typical "actions" we see around like lockdown and masks are just government orders without the governments actually doing anything.
- The average age of death during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic was 28 .
- 70% of U.S. COVID-19 deaths are age 70 and above .
These are very different pandemics, and it's not clear what comparisons between the two actually tell us.
Looking at the world instead, COVID has killed just over a million people so far, and Spanish Flu is esimated to have killed anywhere between 17 and 100 million people, at a time when the world population was much less and travel was much harder. So yes, orders of magnitude.
“It is purely a fortuity that this isn’t one of the great mass casualty events in American history,” Ron Klain, who was Biden’s chief of staff at the time, said of H1N1 in 2019. “It had nothing to do with us doing anything right. It just had to do with luck. If anyone thinks that this can’t happen again, they don’t have to go back to 1918, they just have to go back to 2009, 2010 and imagine a virus with a different lethality, and you can just do the math on that.”
We should start preparing once most of the population is vaccinated and human societies have returned to normal. Develop and test antivirals targetting the conserved proteins in major virus families. Build a pipeline that can respond to new viruses quickly with a vaccine. Create capacities to quickly ramp up mass production of PPE. Map the viruses that appear in animals around us to know what we are up to.
I hope that political leaders will listen to the people doing such proposals.
I hope similar things can be done with rapid antigen/PCR testing equipment.
(Said as someone whose fiance is an ICU nurse)
I definitely see it in my own culture, which is Arab. It's a double edged sword, and can be said to enable further oppression, but in a crisis situation it's useful.
To whit: covid selects primarily against individuals beyond their reproductive age, selects far too small of the population (unless we see these deaths continue for decades), and is only mildly selecting for anti mask populations.
You're an optimistic one. They would have voted for a three legged donkey with a nose ring and gold tooth. As long as it wasn't DJT.
Why would Trump support accelerated vaccines if he didn’t believe in COVID and science?
The Google translation is pretty good, one big mistake though, it mistranslated "Asi-Kindern" as "Asian children" instead of "asocial kids": https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&u=http%... . And Case 1 is someone who builds booths for conventions.
A lot of people are going through the "denial" phase of grief and loss, although I wonder if this is valid for the people who showed up with guns at state capitols...
Hopelessness, stress and uncertainty all take huge mental tolls on us, and rejecting covid can help these people cope with this malaise.
I was surprised that even in 2020 you have people making up straight lies about covid, while I believed that the wild theories that people had about the plague back in the day (e.g. the one that blamed the jews for it) were born from the fact that these people haven't went to school and were badly educated. But now they can write and relevant parts of the population claim similar things. And COVID is way less deadly than the bubonic plague is. This is a pandemic in easy mode. We would have been in for much worse had it been like the bubonic plague.
One really needs to have some solid critical thinking skills in order to be able to judge the overall reliability and trustworthiness of a book, article, tweet, news episode, etc.
And ideally have some fundamental historical knowledge, basic math, logic, fundamentals of science, etc.
Id argue many Americans are, through no fault of their own, not well-educated.
I cribbed from Noam Chomskys description of what it means to be educated:
'Humboldt, Chomsky says, “argued, I think, very plausibly, that the core principle and requirement of a fulfilled human being is the ability to inquire and create constructively, independently, without external controls.” A true education, Chomsky suggests, opens a door to human intellectual freedom and creative autonomy.'
John Kelly: The Great Mortality
An Intimate History of the Black Death
Robert S Gottfried: The Black Death - Natural and Human Disaster in Medieval Europe
Samuel K. Cohn, Jr.: Cultures of Plague: Medical Thought At the End of the Renaissance
Philip Ziegler: The Black Death
Giovanni Boccaccio: The Decameron
there are some fictional works that I enjoyed such as Ken Follet World Without End (should be read after Pillars of the Earth IMO) and it's probably not enough on-topic for what you're asking.
Don't worry about me, just getting those microbes back to bed...