every day, the same, again


It is possible that a significant number of people who’ve never been infected with the novel coronavirus already possess some immunity to it.[…] Examining blood samples taken between 2015 and 2018 (when the novel coronavirus was still just a twinkle in Satan’s eye), researchers found that roughly 50 percent of these blood-givers possessed “SARS-CoV-2-reactive CD4+ T cells” — which is to say, their immune systems appeared capable of immediately recognizing and combating the novel coronavirus. Since none of these individuals could have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the most likely explanation for their possession of such T cells is previous exposure to a common-cold coronavirus. […] researchers at Yale University believe they’ve discovered a metric that can predict major municipal outbreaks a week in advance — the concentration of the coronavirus in a city’s sewers. […] The Swedish economy has suffered roughly as severe a downturn as that of Denmark. And in recent days, it’s had the highest per-capita coronavirus death rate in Europe. […] Worldwide, the number of new, confirmed coronavirus cases is growing by about 100,000 a day, which is the highest sustained rate of new infections we’ve seen since the pandemic began. [NY mag]

There’s a good chance the coronavirus will never go away. Even after a vaccine is discovered and deployed, the coronavirus will likely remain for decades to come, circulating among the world’s population. Experts call such diseases endemic — stubbornly resisting efforts to stamp them out. Think measles, HIV, chickenpox. […] There are already four endemic coronaviruses that circulate continuously, causing the common cold. And many experts think this virus will become the fifth — its effects growing milder as immunity spreads and our bodies adapt to it over time. [Washington Post]

With restaurants closed, CDC warns of increasingly aggressive rodents looking for new food sources

India detains pigeon on suspicion of spying for Pakistan

9 Local TV Stations Pushed the Same Amazon-Scripted Segment

The expedition cruise ship departed from Ushuaia, Argentina, for a planned 21-day cruise of the Antarctic Peninsula, including Elephant Island, before sailing to South Georgia Island on a route similar to that taken by the British explorer, Ernest Shackleton, in 1915–1917. The ship departed mid-March 2020, after the global COVID-19 pandemic was declared by the WHO, with all 128 passengers and 95 crew screened for COVID-19 symptoms, and body temperatures were taken before boarding. No passengers or crew that had transited through China, Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea or Iran in the previous 3 weeks were permitted to board, given that these countries were where COVID-19 infection was most prevalent at the time. Multiple hand hygiene stations were positioned throughout the ship and especially in the dining area. […] Of the 217 passengers and crew on board, 128 tested positive for COVID-19 on reverse transcription–PCR (59%). Of the COVID-19-positive patients, 19% (24) were symptomatic; 6.2% (8) required medical evacuation; 3.1% (4) were intubated and ventilated; and the mortality was 0.8% (1). The majority of COVID-19-positive patients were asymptomatic (81%, 104 patients). [BMJ]

Transmission within community: R= 0.8. Transmission from hospital to community: R=0.2. Transmission from community to hospital: R=0.4, Transmission within hospital: R=0.7. All these numbers are less than 1, so it might appear as though the disease is now under control. But unfortunately that isn’t the case. The overall value of R for the population is actually about R=1.04 for this example. [Maths.org]

Supercomputer simulates the impact of the asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs [Previously: The event appears to have hit all continents at the same time

The uncanny valley (UV) effect refers to an eerie feeling of unfamiliarity people get while observing or interacting with robots that resemble humans almost but not quite perfectly.

Six-month old infants recognize when adults imitate them, and perceive imitators as more friendly

Motion Sickness in Amphibians — None of the species that we studied vomited during the 8 to 10 parabolas of each flight. However, [some frogs] vomited in a period of 0.5 to 42 h after flight. […] we suggest that the previously observed behavior of three frogs on the MIR Space Station was a manifestation of motion sickness

America’s Never-Ending Battle Against Flesh-Eating Worms

A Passion for Castration: Characterizing Men Who Are Fascinated With Castration, but Have Not Been Castrated More: The most appreciated aspect of castration was the sense of control over sexual urges and appetite (52%).

The Grymoire - A web site containing a collection of useful incantations for wizards