Doing Gain-of-Function (GoF) Safely

If a strong enough argument is made, we can do GoF and minimize risk. Here’s a start on how this might be accomplished.

“SOME KIND OF GEODESIC DOME WITH TREES?” by ▓▒░ TORLEY ░▒▓ 
  1. Antarctica only. Build a lovely facility there. Power it with a fission reactor of the type used by Navy ships. Domes with gardens and all. It doesn’t have to suck.
  2. Five Navy quarantine ships are required. Three in use at any given time. One headed South, two headed North. Each Southbound passenger spends 20 days quarantining. Northbound passengers do 20 days on the first ship and then do an isolated transfer for 20 days to the second ship before returning to society. Each physical ship gets sanitized and then sits for 20-days afer handling facility staff before being ready for the next batch. Might as well install UV bulbs in each room while building the ships and leave them on for the 20 days.
  3. Sailors don’t interact with the facility staff and the isolated Sailors who interact with their food, air, and waste (incinerated) are also subject to the same quarantine procedures. Any medical emergencies will require involved medical staff to become part of the quarantine cohort and the clock restarted.
  4. Anybody breaking quarantine is shot. If there’s any kind of quarantine break (even fire/emergency), the entire ship is quarantined for the full 40 days.
  5. Deliveries by drones, airdrops, or distanced cargo unloading only. No human-to-human contact.
  6. No outbound material. Humans only – wear a paper suit to embark when leaving. It will be incinerated.
  7. Personality profiles for all participants. Nobody low in conscientiousness can go. High agreeableness may be contraindicated.
  8. Accidents automatically start an onsite quarantine clock that preempts any other schedule and doesn’t start until remediation is complete.
  9. GoF is banned on the other six continents. Violating the protocols must be treated as a presumptive War Crime.

This is a better tour than War duty for the Sailors. Scientists who feel strongly enough about doing the work can put up with it. If they won’t put up with it they can find a different job.

It’s not cheap but the expense is manageable (if GoF is deemed worth it). Five million dead is more expensive by any measure and that is unaffordable.

It’ll be a nicer trip than Mars, so it’s a matter of finding the right personnel.

Shamans, Therapists, MDMA, and Crimes against Humanity.

MDMA is in the news lately, having successfully passed the first of many FDA-registered Phase III trials. MAPS, the life passion of Rick Doblin, has been working on this for 35 years, fighting the US Federal Government over the right to access top quality psychiatric care and is finally winning big. But our society is the biggest winner.

MDMA deactivates the amygdala, and from there trauma can be dealt with. Normally the amygdala puts up a wall of fear that prevents frontal-lobe control of the trauma emotion so the cycle of experience repeats indefinitely without resolution.

Some people are critical of the Phase III trial requiring talk therapy with the medicine, but it really is necessary to gain approval. Practiced Stoics and meditators may be able to achieve solo resolution, but most people aren’t those in 2021. And it’s always possible for any psychedelic to uncap a “bad trip” emotional storm that lies beneath a calm sea.

For these reasons, a good therapist will guide the exploration and resolution of trauma. This has been the role of the shaman since before history was recorded. It’s literally an essential part of being a human social creature. Humans have called that role by different names: mystics, shamans, priests, elders, pastors—but the need hasn’t changed even if the titles have.

One day, if we achieve the Übermensch we can reevaluate, but for now there’s hope of moving beyond the societal trauma epidemic to a degree not seen since the Mystery Religions.

The deep tragedy in all this is that therapists were actively saving lives with MDMA in the 70’s and 80’s—describing it as a wonder drug for PTSD—and then the holy-roller politicians stepped in and illegally banned it—because it validated therapists as being effective without the priest/church apparatus being required (not that incense in churches haven’t been psychedelics over the years).

The number of cases of avoidable suicides, depression, rage stemming from depression—that leading to suicide, murder, battery, and mass killings that could have been prevented—are unspeakable. Those will all fall rapidly after approval and integration into society.

Were there justice, those politicians, if they are alive, would be held to account for a massive crime against humanity.

The thing that’s really going to bake their noodle is when many of these same people experiencing treatment believe—for the first time—that they have experienced something they can best describe as “God”.

The Folly of the “Well-rounded Collective.”

Dartmouth Medical School is in the news for both its cheating and the scandal that emerged from overbearing countermeasures. When I was at Dartmouth we operated on the Dartmouth Honor Code. Want to do your calculus exam out on the Green? No problem, just be back in time. You had a “blue book” exam packet so everybody left you alone.

About ten years later they stopped favoring “the well-rounded individual” and started looking for “An Incan trapeze artist/cellist with an interest in entomology ” in Admissions. Administrators would extol the virtue of ‘specialists’. They started to try to engineer the well-roundedness of the collective rather than the individual. I mentored some of these kids. They stood no chance of passing Calculus without cheating.

The software is a countermeasure to the symptom but doesn’t address the cause. Getting back the culture of Honor once it is gone is a Herculean task. Something that took centuries to build can be destroyed in half a decade by practitioners of a corrupt ideology.

But the alternative to not trying is to be locked in a perpetual arms race that will forever erode the culture from within—until there is nothing left.

All the mind’s a stage.

All the mind’s a stage, and all the personalities merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
They bravely fight the demons of their inner dialogue;
Occasionally offering us glimpses of the vast World within;
Truly knowable only to one.

2019 Influenza Surveillance & Flu Vaccines

Here’s a quick rundown of the 2019 flu surveillance data. I do one of these each year to see if my family should get the vaccine and if so which one. My usual guidelines are: a) skip every other year if the subtypes are the same as last year’s vaccine, b) skip it if the vaccine is a total miss, and c) get it otherwise.

Last year, during the two peak weeks, influenza caused 7.7% of all deaths in the US. If you’re a Libraries-of-Congress units types of person, that’s roughly four 9/11 attacks every year attributed to this one family of viruses. Maybe that deserves some military funding, or just FDA approval for the broad-spectrum anti-flu agents already mired in years of testing. Right-to-try ought to be expanded to any disease with such a massive body count.

TL;DR – despite possible reduced effectiveness, get the regular vaccine this year. Here’s why:

The good news is the FDA has specified all regular-dose vaccines are to be quadravalent (4-strain) this year. This is excellent news as many people have died over the past several years because the FDA recommended trivalent vaccines at “free” clinics and buying a quadravalent vaccine took serious legwork. This was extreme malpractice in my opinion; after the first year the data was clear. Anyway, deciding between tri- and quad- was one of the main reasons I do this every year, and I am glad to not have to do that again. In fact, the ‘extra’ quad component this year is a home-run. More on that later.

Down to the dirty details, then. There are some interesting observations in the latest CDC technical report [2]. First, the number of gene sequenced viruses is up 5-10x over last year. This is great, and a huge jump. Next, among the circulating H1N1, nearly all have evolved to subclade 6B.1A, vs. last year’s much larger percentage of clade 6B.1. Similarly, the H3N2 subtype 3C.3a increased from 12% to 81% in just a year. Interestingly, among the B/Victoria strains, now more than 85% of circulating strains have either a 2 or 3 amino-acid deletion in the HA protein, which binds the virus to a cell membrane. Most likely this is one of those quick evolutions which helps evade the human immune system (and makes a cultured-virus vaccine so difficult to stay current).

A bit of great news is that the B/Yamagata (Y3) circulating flu strain was 100% susceptible to the vaccine (B/Yamagata B/Phuket/3073/2013), which is the same as last year’s vaccine. So, even healthy people who don’t get vaccinated this year should have good coverage if they got last year’s quadravalent. As I mentioned above, this is the strain that was non-standard last year (16% of 2017-2018 circulating virus) and only in the quad. Almost everybody gets it this year! This could potentially reduce total deaths by 16% with more sane policy.

Lastly, a full 62% of tested 3C.3a samples (representing 28% of the circulating strains) did not respond well to the vaccine antigen test. The cause appears to be an HA protein mutation related to the eggs they were cultured in. Here’s what I don’t know (please comment if you do): will the flu shots cultured in eggs be less effective because of it? Are there any cell-cultured vaccines available on the market and are they the standard “free flu shot”? The way I’m reading this, the H3N2 (3C.3a1) A/Singapore portion of the vaccine may have very low effectiveness. The only silver lining is that this is at 7% of the current strains. It could well become more dominant if it can run rampant even among vaccinated members of the population. This may lead to discontinuance of egg-cultured flu vaccines in the future, but I don’t think anybody was sounding the alarm bells about this possibility – it seems like quite a surprise, though entirely plausible in retrospect.

Besides the virology data, I also learned one more interesting factoid: apparently the CDC has a small army of ferrets, whose job it is to fight the flu for antigenic sensitivity testing. These ferrets are probably having quite a bad time, but the information they provide could very well save thousands of human lives. However, for people who take a principled stand against animal testing – you should probably not get the flu vaccine, as its composition is determined to a significant degree based on animal testing. I do implore you to let your kids make that decision for themselves when they turn eighteen, though.

Bonus section: Antivirals. Treating flu with antivirals depends on catching it super-early, and getting immediate treatment for maximum effectiveness. It’s probably a waste of money, otherwise, in most cases, but if my life depended on it, I’d ask for a cocktail of the endonuclease inhibitor baloxavir (Xofluza) and the neuraminidase inhibitor zanamivir.

Again in 2019, as of right now, New England is showing minimal activity but the Mid-Atlantic is picking up steam. Act accordingly.

Summarized Data Table based on CDC Technical Report as of 2019-w37

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/flu/season/faq-flu-season-2019-2020.htm?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fflu%2Fseason%2Fflu-season-2019-2020.htm
[2] https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6824a3.htm?s_cid=mm6824a3_w

California Says Autonomous Cars Don’t Need Human Drivers

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March 10, 2017, 3:38 PM EST

March 10, 2017, 5:03 PM EST

  • New draft regulations reverse earlier rules that irked Google
  • State also backs off requirement that cars have steering wheel
The two-seater prototype of Google’s self-driving car.

Photographer: LiPo Ching/Bay Area News Group/TNS via Getty Images

California relaxed several rules on self-driving cars as the state tries to maintain its status as a leading test bed for the future of transportation.

The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles released proposed regulations Friday for autonomous vehicles, dropping an earlier requirement that a human driver had to be present while testing on public roads. The DMV also backed down on a previous rule that vehicles needed a steering wheel and pedals for the operator to take back control.

“When we think of driverless vehicles they can either have conventional controls, which are steering wheels, pedals, things like that, or they cannot,” said California DMV Chief Counsel Brian Soublet during a conference call with reporters.

If companies test vehicles without conventional controls, they have to show the California DMV that they have approval from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, he added. NHTSA said in early 2016 that self-driving software systems, not just humans, can be considered drivers.

“If California was going to keep that level of development activity in the state, what they did was necessary and timely, ”said Eric Noble, president of The CarLab, an automotive consulting firm. “They kind of had to do it because at some point manufacturers can’t move autonomous vehicles forward without getting controls out of cars.”

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California’s change of heart is likely good news for Mountain View, California-based Alphabet Inc., which is developing self-driving software and vehicles through its Waymo division. When the state’s DMV published draft regulations in late 2015 that required human drivers, a steering wheel and pedals, the company was “gravely disappointed.” Google had recently built prototypes with no steering wheel or pedals, and it had to retrofit them to continue testing in California.

California’s new proposals follow a Michigan law passed in December, which allowed testing with no human driver. It also created a framework for selling autonomous cars which the California DMV also added to its proposed rules on Friday.

The proposed regulations have a 45-day public comment period that ends April 24. That will be followed by a public hearing. During Friday’s conference call, the California DMV said the rules should be completed by the end of the year.

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Raymond police chief denies censoring of critical comments on department’s Facebook page | New Hamps…

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Steve Johnson said Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 7:17 am
It looks like the cops are lying…no surprise really.

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John Roberts said Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 8:28 am
As someone who knows 2 people banned for making critical comments the chief is a LIAR! The RPD is a corrupt orginization that not only violates the 4th Amendment but now the 1st Amendment rights of people. Be prepared taxpayers of Raymond as I think there will be a long and drawn out civil suit you will lose!

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Jane Aitken said Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 10:32 am
Seems that many government agencies in NH still do not understand their obligations, and our rights, under NH’s RSA 91-A laws… Right to Know and also First Amendment rights. As we speak today, someone is being denied the right to film a town’s deliberative session. Don’t they know they will lose in court if sued? Good grief.

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William Merrow said Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 10:40 am
Cop malfeasance keeps growing, permitted by the AGs. It’s past time that there were Civilian Over-site boards. Read “Vigilante shoots at caa Weare cop shooting at fleeing car and hits person in the BACK of his head, man dies!

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Bill McGonigle said Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 11:24 am
Are they actually saying, “we don’t delete posts, we ban this person from speaking,” in response to a 1A complaint? I would be surprised if the government can impose any speech code on a Facebook page.But if the complainant really did hide his own comments and is playing the PD and ACLU, that would be a darn shame. FB should be able to answer these questions in a discovery request, so nobody should be trying to hide anything here – it will turn out badly for them.

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Rand Paul Introduces His Own Obamacare Replacement Plan – Read All 4 Pages Here! – C.S.C. Media Grou…

U.S. Senator and physician Rand Paul introduced S. 222, the Obamacare Replacement Act, to provide Congress with a health care plan grounded in broadly supported conservative reforms that is ready for an immediate vote after Obamacare is repealed. Dr. Rand Paul’s proposal would expand access to higher-quality, lower-cost health care for more Americans, regardless of medical history.

“Getting government out of the American people’s way and putting them back in charge of their own health care decisions will deliver a strong, efficient system that doesn’t force them to empty out their pockets to cover their medical bills,” said Dr. Rand Paul. “There is no excuse for waiting to craft an alternative until after we repeal Obamacare, and the Obamacare Replacement Act charts a new path forward that will insure the most people possible at the lowest price.”

The Obamacare Replacement Act empowers the American people to: 1.) Choose inexpensive insurance free of government dictates; 2.) Save unlimited amounts in a health savings account (HSA) and have wider options for using those funds; 3.) Buy insurance across state lines; and 4.) Join together in voluntary associations to gain the leverage of being part of a large insurance pool.

Dr. Rand Paul has led the charge to replace Obamacare at the same time it is repealed, and he has been joined in calling for simultaneous action by fellow Republicans including President Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

Dr. Rand Paul’s Obamacare Replacement Act, S. 222:

Legalizes Inexpensive Insurance Plans:

  • Ensures that Americans can purchase the health insurance coverage that best fits their needs.
  • Eliminates Obamacare’s essential health benefits requirement, along with other restrictive coverage and plan requirements, to once again make low-cost insurance options available to American consumers.

Protects Individuals with Pre-Existing Conditions:

  • Provides a two-year open-enrollment period under which individuals with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage.
  • Restores HIPAA pre-existing conditions protections. Prior to Obamacare, HIPAA guaranteed that those in the group market could obtain continuous health coverage regardless of preexisting conditions.

Helps More People Save To Buy Health Insurance and Cover Medical Costs:

  • Incentivizes savings by authorizing a tax credit (up to $5,000 per taxpayer) for individuals and families that contribute to HSAs.
  • Removes the annual cap on HSAs so individuals can make unlimited contributions.
  • Allows HSA funds to be used to purchase insurance, cover premiums, and more easily afford a broader range of health-related expenses, including prescription and OTC drugs, dietary supplements, nutrition and physical exercise expenses, and direct primary care, among others. 

Guarantees Fair Tax Treatment of Health Insurance:

  • Equalizes the tax treatment of the purchase of health insurance for individuals and employers by allowing individuals to deduct the cost of their health insurance from their income and payroll taxes.
  • Frees more Americans to purchase and maintain insurance apart from their work status.
  • Does not interfere with employer-provided coverage for Americans who prefer those plans.

Helps Individuals Join Together to Purchase Insurance:

  • Expands Association Health Plans (AHPs) to allow small business owners and individuals to band together across state lines through their membership in a trade or professional association to purchase health coverage for their families and employees at a lower cost.
  • Also allows individuals to pool together through any organization to purchase insurance.
  • Widens access to the group market and spreads out the risk, enhancing the ability of individuals and small businesses to decrease costs, increase administrative efficiencies, and further protect those with pre-existing conditions.

Allows the Purchase of Insurance Across State Lines:

  • Creates an interstate market that allows insurers who are licensed to sell policies in one state to offer them to residents of any other state.

Increases State Medicaid Flexibility:

  • Enables states to fully exercise current flexibilities afforded to them through Medicaid waivers for creating innovative state plan designs.

Empowers Physicians:

  • Allows non-economically aligned physicians to negotiate for higher quality health care for their patients.
  • Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow a physician a tax deduction equal to the amount such physician would otherwise charge for charity medical care or uncompensated care due to bad debt, limited to 10% of a physician’s gross income for the taxable year.

Read The Complete Replacement Plan Below