Tag Archives: science

IT'S BACK:  New COVID-19 Subvariant XBB Is Part of a ‘New Class’ of Omicron

IT’S BACK:  New COVID-19 Subvariant XBB Is Part of a ‘New Class’ of Omicron

Forewarned, forearmed; to be prepared is half the victory. – Miguel de Cervantes

There’s a new kid on the block of COVID subvariants that’s on the rise and one i called XBB—or Gryphon—is getting a lot of attention and there’s a chance it could overtake everything else out there.

Via MSN.com

XBB is one of the “new class” of Omicron variants that are spreading fast right now, says Thomas Russo, M.D., professor and chief of infectious disease at the University at Buffalo in New York. That includes BQ.1.1, BQ.1, BQ.1.3, BA.2.3.20, and XBB.
“XBB is a hybrid version of two strains of the BA.2 form of Omicron,” explains Amesh A. Adalja, M.D., a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. It’s currently “spreading efficiently in Singapore,” he adds.
The variant was first detected in August 2022 in India, and has been detected in more than 17 countries since then, including Australia, Bangladesh, Denmark, India, Japan and the U.S., per Singapore’s Ministry of Health.

XBB is thought to be able to evade antibody protections of these newly emerged COVID variants, according to a pre-print study from researchers in China. That study said that the new strains of Omicron, and XBB in particular, “are the most antibody-evasive strain tested, far exceeding BA.5 and approaching SARS-CoV-1 level.

“These variants are evolving to evade protection,” Dr. Russo says. The bivalent booster is “likely going to be protective against severe disease” with XBB, but will be “imperfect against preventing infection,” Dr. Russo says. “Even with immune-evasive variants, vaccine protection against what matters most—severe disease—remains intact.

It’s not over and probably won’t be for a very long time.

IT'S BACK:  New COVID-19 Subvariant XBB Is Part of a ‘New Class’ of Omicron

NYC Residents Life Expectancy Drops 4.5 Years Due to COVID

Losing an hour every spring wasn’t enough?

Via The Gothamist:

The COVID-19 pandemic shortened average life expectancy for New Yorkers by more than four years, hitting the city’s minority populations hardest, according to a report released on Friday.
The study by the city’s health department looked at trends in births and deaths in New York City during 2020, the year when COVID-19 arrived. The analysis found that from 2019 to 2020, life expectancy in New York City fell to 78 years — a staggering 4.6 year drop.
The mortality rate in 2020 was 241.3 deaths per 100,000 New Yorkers, according to the health department. A rise in unintentional drug overdoses also played a role in the 42.2% increase in deaths in 2020 over the year before.

Population density surely has something to do with it. And let’s not forget the 2nd largest mass murderer in history next to Adolph Hitler. Donald Trump whose inaction and stupidity caused hundreds of thousands or useless deaths.

The Lost Men: Gay Men Who Survived the Plague and AIDS Survivor Syndrome

Imagine being in the prime of your life and living a fun and newly liberated existence and then in a matter of years having that stolen from you as you watch your friends die one by one constantly wondering if you will be next.

This is what happened to an entire generation of gay men during the AIDS pandemic and they lived through that pain, fear and heartache day in and day out for over a decade. Now fast forward 30 years later.  Despite surviving  there are very few who understand or even comprehend what you feel except for a small majority of fellow survivors.  You are constantly haunted by those black days and the ghosts and memories of those you loved and  lost.  You are filled with a guilt of having survived while all those around you were snatched from this world.

This is AIDS Survivor Syndrome.

AIDS Survivor Syndrome describes the spectrum of sustained trauma survivorship. It is psychological state resulting from living through HIV/AIDS pandemic affecting those who made it through the plague unscathed and those who became HIV-positive in the 1980s and 1990s, when having HIV was considered a terminal diagnosis and the constellation of physical, psychological and emotional symptoms that a person (either HIV-negative or HIV-positive) may experience after living through intense grief and trauma during the years of the AIDS epidemic and after.

AIDS Survivor Syndrome is not PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).  It is a “syndemic” of psycho-social health issues that exists on a spectrum. It varies by degrees of intensity, and it affects those who survived the worst decades of HIV.  The sustained accumulation of trauma from living through the early decades of the disease distinguishes AIDS Survivor Syndrome from the more commonly known Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), in which trauma typically involves a single event or events of limited duration. PTSD is misdiagnosis or a partial diagnosis at best.

“People who are HIV-negative, who lived through the AIDS epidemic may have survivors guilt,” said Dusty Araujo, a coordinator for the Elizabeth Taylor 50-Plus Network. “They were in the trenches, too—caring for friends and watching them die. They were marching, protesting, and trying to create change. Some people who are HIV-negative went through the same struggles, so for them to find community and support is important, too.”

Continue reading The Lost Men: Gay Men Who Survived the Plague and AIDS Survivor Syndrome

Gay WWII Codebreaker Alan Turing to Be On UK £50 Note

Gay WWII Codebreaker Alan Turing to Be On UK £50 Note

Alan Turing, the scientist known for helping crack the Enigma code during the second world war and pioneering the modern computer, has been chosen to appear on the new £50 note.

From the Bank of England’s site:

“Alan Turing provided the theoretical underpinnings for the modern computer. While best known for his work devising code-breaking machines during WWII, Turing played a pivotal role in the development of early computers first at the National Physical Laboratory and later at the University of Manchester. He set the foundations for work on artificial intelligence by considering the question of whether machines could think. Turing was homosexual and was posthumously pardoned by the Queen having been convicted of gross indecency for his relationship with a man. His legacy continues to have an impact on both science and society today.”

Turing was selected from a list of almost 1,000 scientists in a decision that recognised both his role in fending off the threat of German U-boats in the Battle of the Atlantic and the impact of his postwar persecution for homosexuality.

SKYLAB 2: Electric Boogaloo - Chinese Space Station to Hit Earth in the "next 12 hours’

SKYLAB 2: Electric Boogaloo – Chinese Space Station to Hit Earth in the “next 12 hours’

In America with it’s out out-of-control leader Donald Trump going off the rails every 20 minutes many have not noticed in the news that an out-of-control Chinese space station is expected to hit Earth in the next 12 hours. However, experts tracking the decaying orbiter admit they still have no idea exactly where the debris will land.

Launched in 2011, the Tiangong-1 was China’s first space station. It has been slowly losing altitude since malfunctioning in 2016.

In November, experts from the European Space Agency (ESA) listed Spain, Portugal, Italy, Bulgaria and Greece among possible crash sites should any pieces of the craft fail to burn up in the atmosphere.

According to forecasts, the station will re-enter sometime between Sunday night and early Monday GMT.

“This should not have happened,” David Barnhart, a satellite designer who is the director of the University of Southern California’s space technology and systems group, told Space.com Saturday. “To date, almost everything we put into space, at some point, is going to die. But something that large, we now have the technology to go up to it and prolong its life.”

The Chinese Manned Space Engineering Office says it’s confident the uncontrolled re-entry will not cause any damage. The authority expects the eight-ton lab to disintegrate at an altitude of 80km.

An online tracking hub set up by the Aerospace Corporation suggests the Tiangong-1 is currently orbiting above the South Atlantic Ocean. Parts of the space station will enter Earth’s atmosphere within 12 hours, according to US Air Force authority.

It is expected to come to Earth somewhere between 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south, a range covering most of the United States, China, Africa, southern Europe, Australia and South America.

Scientist Reveal Embracing Figures At Pompeii ‘Could have been gay lovers’

Scientist Reveal Embracing Figures At Pompeii 'Could have been gay lovers'
Two bodies found wrapped in a poignant embrace in their final moments as they were covered beneath molten rock and layers of ash in the ancient city of Pompeii when Mount Vesuvius violently erupted in 79 A.D which were originally thought to be two women embracing at the time of their tragic deaths has been discovered to actually be two men.

The bodies were originally dubbed “The Two Maidens” when they were first discovered but in a startling discovery this week scientists found the two bodies were actually male – raising speculation that they may have been gay lovers.

“We always imagined that it was an embrace between women. But a CAT scan and DNA have revealed that they are men. “You can’t say for sure that the two were lovers. But considering their position, you can make that hypothesis. It is difficult to say with certainty.” said Massimo Osanna, director-general of the world-famous archaeological site.

The bodies of the “Two Maidens” were discovered in the House of the Cryptoporticus during excavations at the World Heritage site led by archaeologist Vittorio Spinazzola when he was superintendent at Pompeii in the early 20th century.

 One of the two bodies is lying at a right angle to the other and seen with his head resting on the other’s chest in search of comfort and perhaps protection.
Extensive anthropological tests of the duo’s bones and teeth have revealed that one of the them was a young man aged about 18 years of age while the second was probably an adult male aged 20 years or older.
“The use of anthropological and DNA research always reveals more,” Osanna said Thursday.  “It is a fundamental instrument for scientific knowledge because it gives us certainty in the archaeological field in what would otherwise be only hypothesis.”
“What is certain is that the two parties were not relatives, neither brothers, nor a father and son.” stated Professor Stefano Vanacore, head of the Pompeii research team.
Mt. Vesuvius which erputed on August 24, 79 AD at Pompeii preserved the city which also included homoerotic frescoes and graffiti that Christianity would no doubt have destroyed had they not been covered.

Source: The Telegraph UK

Margaret Thatcher Was Against Lifesaving AIDS Information in the 80’s Because She Thought Butt Sex Was Gross

Thatcher Reagan

Newly declassified British documents are showing that Britain’s former Prime Minister Margret Thatcher opposed an early HIV awareness campaign that could have saved thousands of lives because it mentioned anal sex.

The Independent reports:

Documents released by the National Archives show that the then health secretary Norman Fowler proposed in February 1986 to publish full-page adverts in national newspapers explaining that unprotected anal intercourse carried one of the highest risks of transmission.

The Prime Minister expressed concern that it risked corrupting public morals. Annotating a memo describing the campaign, Mrs Thatcher wrote: “Do we have to have the section on risky sex? I should have thought it could do immense harm if young teenagers were to read it?”

Mrs Thatcher asked for an investigation into whether the adverts might breach the advertising code as well as the Obscenity Act. When the answer came back that the campaign was legal, she said: “I remain against certain parts of this advertisement. Adverts where every young person will read and learn of practices they never knew about will do harm.”

Sir Norman wrote back: “Unless there is a reference to anal intercourse, which has been linked with 85 per cent of Aids cases so far, the advertisement would lose all its medical authority and credibility.”

Fortunately Norman Fowler stood firm and full page national newspaper adverts, billboards, TV adverts and leaflets went to every home through the course of the plague warning of the risks of certain kids of and unprotected sex.

Meanwhile in the United States, Ronald Reagan stayed silent.  

Margret Thatcher did her best to continue to ignore the disease. 

Thatcher and Reagan were a match made in hell and neither were particularly concerned with saving lives, but rather with some obscure and inaccurate notion of public “propriety.”

Ding dong the witch is dead. Indeed


SCIENCE: Northwestern University Researchers Have Found The Genetic Link To Homosexuality

Gay Jeans Genes

A study of gay men in the US has found fresh evidence that male sexual orientation is influenced by genes. Scientists tested the DNA of 400 gay men and found that genes on at least two chromosomes affected whether a man was gay or straight. A region of the X chromosome called Xq28 had some impact on men’s sexual behavior– though scientists have no idea which of the many genes in the region are involved, nor how many lie elsewhere in the genome. Another stretch of DNA on chromosome 8 also played a role in male sexual orientation – though again the precise mechanism is unclear. Researchers have speculated in the past that genes linked to homosexuality in men may have survived evolution because they happened to make women who carried them more fertile. This may be the case for genes in the Xq28 region, as the X chromosome is passed down to men exclusively from their mothers.”

Michael Bailey, a psychologist at Northwestern University in Illinois, set out the findings at a discussion event held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago on Thursday. “The study shows that there are genes involved in male sexual orientation,” he said. The work has yet to be published, but confirms the findings of a smaller study that sparked widespread controversy in 1993, when Dean Hamer, a scientist at the US National Cancer Institute, investigated the family histories of more than 100 gay men and found homosexuality tended to be inherited. More than 10% of brothers of gay men were gay themselves, compared to around 3% of the general population. Uncles and male cousins on the mother’s side had a greater than average chance of being gay, too. [snip]

Qazi Rahman, a psychologist at King’s College London, said the results were valuable for further understanding the biology of sexual orientation. “This is not controversial or surprising and is nothing people should worry about. All human psychological traits are heritable, that is, they have a genetic component,” he said. “Genetic factors explain 30 to 40% of the variation between people’s sexual orientation. However, we don’t know where these genetic factors are located in the genome. So we need to do ‘gene finding’ studies, like this one by Sanders, Bailey and others, to have a better idea where potential genes for sexual orientation may lie.”

Interestingly the findings of this study is big news in London and Europe but there has been nary a word of it in any American mainstream media outlets.

Activist gene researchers!

Source: The Guardian:

Great Britain To Grant Posthumous Pardon To Alan Turing Father of Computer Science

Alan Turing

Great Britain will be granting Alan Turing  who is widely considered to be the father of computer science and artificial intelligence  a posthumous pardon . Turing committed suicide after being convicted of gross indecency under Britain’s anti-homosexuality code.

The government signaled on Friday that it is prepared to support a backbench bill that would pardon Turing, who died from cyanide poisoning at the age of 41 in 1954 after he was subjected to “chemical castration”. Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, a government whip, told peers that the government would table the third reading of the Alan Turing (statutory pardon) bill at the end of October if no amendments are made. “If nobody tables an amendment to this bill, its supporters can be assured that it will have speedy passage to the House of Commons,” Ahmad said. The announcement marks a change of heart by the government, which declined last year to grant pardons to the 49,000 gay men, now dead, who were convicted under the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act. They include Oscar Wilde.

Turing’s homosexuality resulted in a criminal prosecution in 1952, when homosexual acts were still illegal in the United Kingdom. He accepted treatment with female hormones (chemical castration) as an alternative to prison.

Turing died in 1954, just over two weeks before his 42nd birthday, from cyanide poisoning. A formal inquest determined that his death was suicide.

On September 10,  2009, following an Internet campaign, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made an official public apology on behalf of the British government for “the appalling way Turning was treated.” and in May 2012, a private member’s bill was put before the House of Lords to grant Turing a statutory pardon.