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18 June 2021
1. Leaking nuclear power plant (NPP) in China:
Since late last month the Taishan NPP in Guangdong Province, China has been leaking increased amounts of radioactive krypton and xenon gases, according to the French company Framatome. China's response has been to raise the safety limits by at least twofold in order to allow the plant to keep running. (Actual numbers were not given in the reports I read.) The increased gases were detected in the NPP's cooling system, which may indicate a leak in the reactor containment system and perhaps damage to some of the fuel elements. The reactor is an EPR (European Pressurised Reactor, a.k.a. Evolutionary Power Reactor) that uses pressurized water to generate power. Although the revised safety limits exceed those recommended by Framatome, the US administration believes the facility is not yet at a crisis level but should be monitored carefully. It is notable that the French company notified US intelligence agencies and the US DOE directly for assistance, stating that, "The situation is an imminent radiological threat..." Taishan stores three times as much nuclear fuel as did the NPP in Fukushima.
2. Synthetic bioweapons (SBW), or how to make spider silk from bacteria!:
Two years ago a team of high school students became a winner in the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition by engineering E. coli bacteria to spin spider silk! (Seriously.) They discovered which of the spider genes controlled silk production using RNA, then used CRISPR-Cas9 (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) to cut and splice the DNA in these genes. Producing enough DNA was done by using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to isolate and copy the strands containing the genes of interest. Neat!
But the dark side is that these techniques can be used to target populations or individuals for harm by altering the production of genes necessary to life or function in the targeted individual(s), tailoring the incubation period of a pathogen, increasing its transmission rate (particularly presymptomatic, so more individuals can be infected prior to detection of the outbreak), and even to programmed obsolescence so that the disease dies out after a number of generations. The former president of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) National Defense University foresaw "specific ethnic genetic attacks" on whole racial or ethnic groups. "Binary weapons" involves pairing infections caused by two distinct, otherwise harmless, pathogens at two different points of release. When the undetected infections eventually spread to expose hosts to both, they combine to generate a debilitating illness. China may have already hacked or purchased the genetic information of millions of ordinary Americans through genealogical companies, including the Beijing Genomics Institute, which has collected biometric information from COVID-19 tests. The major adverse effects would be incapacitation and death. However, potential SBW effects include impaired learning and memory. The ethics of such attacks are highly questionable, but two colonels in the Chinese PLA have published a book entitled "Warfare Beyond Rules", a treatise on asymmetric conflict that advocates "warfare beyond all boundaries and limitations." CW and BW are "nothing more than nontraditional weapons whose mechanisms have been altered and whose lethal power and destructive capabilities have been magnified several times over." (Source available upon request.)
3. Myocarditis from COVID-19 vaccinations:
The CDC is meeting today to discuss "rare but higher-than-expected" reports of heart inflammation following mRNA vaccination for COVID-19. As of Monday 14 June there are 226 reports "that might meet the agency's 'working case definition' of myocarditis and pericarditis following the shots". The majority have recovered, but 41 had ongoing symptoms, 15 were still hospitalized, and 3 were in the ICU. None have died. Myocarditis was not reported during the trials for the mRNA vaccines. (Myocarditis had been previously noted after smallpox vaccinations.) There is concern that treatment with steroids, which reduces inflammation, might reduce the specific immune response against the SARS-CoV-2 virus as well. Currently persons with myocarditis (most are young males) are recommended to not participate in sports for 3-6 months. Of concern, at least to me, is that myocarditis post vaccination is inversely related to age while severity and lethality of infection are directly age related; this would mean the risk/benefit ratio of vaccination is higher in the young.
4. Symptom changes in COVID-19 cases in the UK:
The cardinal symptoms of COVID-19 from nonvariant SARS-CoV-2 infection were fever, a persistent dry cough, and loss of smell and/or taste, according to the UK National Health Service. Now British patients are presenting with headache, rhinorrhea (runny nose), sore throat, sneezing, and persistent coughing. The three key signs in those over 40 are headache, runny nose, and sneezing. For those under 40 they are headache, runny nose, and sore throat. Loss of taste or smell are no longer in the top 10 symptoms. This may be because of a new variant (the Delta variant, first identified in India) that acts more like a cold, particularly in the younger population. Disease in vaccinated people is generally less severe; those who do have "breakthrough" COVID-19 are much less likely to have a fever or suffer fatigue compared to unvaccinated persons. Trivia question: face masks reduce the spread of coronavirus. What about other viral and bacterial pathogens?
5. Medical WMD Trivia:
Shooting down drones with kinetic weapons, as discussed in the 4 June 2021 Trivia question, is illegal. However, jamming them with commercially available jammers is apparently legal. Frequencies used are 2.4, 5.4, and 5.8 GHz. Thanks to Dariusz Basiaga for this information!
Resveratrol is a stilbenoid produced by several plants in response to injury or infection by bacterial or fungal pathogens. It is found in the skin of grapes and several berries, as well as in peanuts. A toast to Dariuisz Basiaga, Dan and Danalee Bettis, Dr. Alan Ducatman, Dr. Gregory Juckett, Larry Karch, Marcia Hartman, Ed Waller, and Joe Weiss for getting this one! (Grape juice substitution is OK.)
A Scientific American article thought that the tannins in red wine promote heart health more than does resveratrol. Part of the reason is that to get prolongation of the life spans of obese mice you have to use the murine equivalent of 1,000 liters of red wine a day! A study at Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry in London found that the endothelial lining of blood vessel walls suppressed production of the peptide responsible for hardening arteries when given tannins, the substances that impart bitterness to red wines. If the grapes are left to linger on the vine for as long as possible and then fermented for up to a month (fermentation usually is for only a week, which keeps the levels of harsh-tasting tannins low), a substance called procyanidin is produced in very large amounts. Resveratrol requires much higher levels to achieve the same protective effects.
To your health,
Rad Doc Consultant, Inc