How Weather and Environment Might Impact a Coronavirus

Corona Virus and weather onemanz

A learned friend speculates on the contribution of environmental factors, such as lightening, in the spread or recession of a coronavirus such as influenza

The mechanics of a coronavirus can be explained through the metaphor of a vinyl record player

Consider how a record player works. There’s a record with grooves of various frequencies and amplitudes spinning around. There’s a tonearm with a phonographic cartridge in it that tracks the record. This phono cartridge holds a tiny diamond tip on the end of a shaft, attached to the cartridge body with a flexible joint.

Being a mechanical system, the tonearm and cartridge have resonances. The two major resonant modes are 1) the diamond tip resonating at high frequencies; 2) the tonearm resonating at low frequencies.

High frequency resonances occur when the diamond tip is tracing out grooves on the record that are heavily amplitude-modulated at high frequencies – like loud bell strikes. At resonance, the diamond tip is destructive to the grooves of the record, operating like a tiny jackhammer.

At much lower frequencies, e.g. cannon-shots on the 1812 Overture, visible movement of the tonearm occurs, and even cases where the tonearm jumps out of one grove and into another. Lateral displacement.

Now think of the influenza virus mechanical structure: little masses on stalks (viral spikes) attached to a much more massive viral body. This is another grossly bi-modal resonant mechanical system. There will be at least two resonant points that correspond to frequencies that excite the spikes and the bodies.

The spinning record for the virus is thermal energy. Within the host body, what matters most is the thermal energy that comes from the temperature of the host. A fever is both a defensive mechanism and the result of a body combating an infection. A virus can cease to function beyond a certain temperature, but sometimes lethal damage occurs regardless.

Viruses have evolved to take advantage of natural processes like absorption (a liquid or other material being absorbed by another liquid or solid) and adsorption (atomic or molecular material adhering to the surface area of some material or other.) The latter comes into play because of how viruses stick to metal or plastic surfaces and resist being washed or blown away. But they stick even better to our organic skin and hair, etc. so they leave the metal, porcelain, or plastic, and adhere to us. Fortunately, they stick even better yet to the fatty lipids in common soap.

Outside of a potential host body, the thermal energy source that matters most to the viral structure is sunlight. Water vapor, being the most abundant greenhouse gas for Planet Earth, is a nearly ideal medium for converting photons of infrared light into mechanical energy. Its absorption spectrum is so broad that it is referred to as an absorption continuum.

Mechanical resonances will be set up at various partial pressures of the water vapor, due to the gas spring nature of the vapor. Within tiny pockets of water vapor, mechanical movements of water molecules will become synchronized, resulting in coherent movement of those water molecules. When this coherent movement occurs, ion generation due to collisions is minimized. Whereas incoherent movement results in more ions – even gross-level electric charge build-ups in the water vapor. This is the basis for lightning strike conditions in clouds.

The mechanical system of the virus is tuned to the resonances generated in the water vapor, under the right conditions (vapor pressures.) Small resonances result in movement of the viral spikes. Large resonances result in movement of the bodies as a whole. Sunlight provides for vapor resonances at higher frequencies. Host body thermal energy provides for resonances at lower frequencies.

Host body thermal energy might also provide for resonances at lower frequencies. Vibrating viral spikes might lead to penetration of host cell membranes. Jumping viral bodies might lead to attacks on adjacent host tissue cells.

Poor conditions for generating this movement of the spikes maybe be signified by electrical discharges, i.e. lightning. Global hot spots of influenza infection such as Southeast Asia and the east coast of the U.S. show fewer lighting strikes. Global areas where outbreaks of influenza are virtually non-existent, such as Africa and the Tropics,  show higher rates of lightning strikes.

Seasonal weather variations can likewise be characterized by lightning activity. It is low in the cooler months when outbreaks are more likely, and higher in warmer months when lightning occurs more frequently, and incidences of flu drop off dramatically. These differences may be explained by differences in humidity, leading to differences in water vapor pressure. [ed. – while not proven, this is a fascinating claim, and well thought out.]

Host body temperature differences infer varying internal thermal radiation patterns. For example, a dog’s body temperature is higher than that of a human. Dogs and humans contract different viral infections. But the human body’s temperature rises during viral infections. Different internal thermal radiation occurs.

There are many implications for humidity and temperature differences leading to different viral behaviors. H2O resonances at different vapor pressures, and thermal radiation at different frequencies and intensities, create together complex mechanical systems that can be exploited by different strains of coronaviruses, with different spike and body construction.

But while the mechanics of a phonographic record player are a metaphor, a coronavirus like influenza plays a deadly music, composed by thermal radiation, pressed onto a record made of water vapor. It seems likely that other deadly viruses might be found in the same record collection.

About the writer:

David Plummer is a self-titled propellerhead who studied mathematics at Harvard University, before concerning himself with hardware and software systems. The math rock star he admires most is Alan Turing.

These days he spends his time doting on his granddaughters, Grace and Zoey, with assistance from his beloved wife of 40 years, Joan, their children Devon and Nathan, and their inspirations, Vivian and Kate.

David has been known to read papers about mice that have Alzheimer’s and then build stuff for experimenting on himself. Really.

COVID-19 Avoidance Advice

Advice for avoiding the COVID-19 virus that is causing the world-wide shutdown

Transcription of audio message passed via Facebook Messenger

This comes from a letter sent by a medical professional working at Doctor Negrin University Hospital in the Canary Islands, to colleagues. One of them translated it from Spanish and produced the audio message, which I received via Facebook Messenger and cannot download.

Most of the contents are already known. But it is good to be reminded and take such things seriously. There is no way of knowing if the source is correct, but most of the contents have been mentioned by other credible outlets.

I am leaving out some of the intro and adding some of my own comments [in brackets like this.]

MESSAGE FOLLOWS

The Chinese now understand the behavior of the COVID-19 virus, thanks to autopsies they have carried out. This virus is characterized by obstructing respiratory pathways with thick mucus that solidifies and blocks the airways and lungs.

So, they have discovered that in order to administer and apply medicine they must open and unblock these airways so that the treatment can be used to take effect.

However, all of this takes a number of days.

Their recommendations for what you can do to safeguard against contracting the disease yourself are:

1. Drink lots of hot liquids – coffee, tea, soup, warm water. In addition, take sips of warm water every twenty minutes. This keeps your mouth moist and warm and washes any of the virus that’s entered your mouth into your stomach where the gastric juices neutralizes the virus before it can get to the lungs.

2. Gargle with antiseptic in warm water every day if possible – vinegar, lemon juice, salt, etc. [Listerine and similar antiseptic mouthwash probably too.]

3. The virus attaches itself to hair and clothes. Any detergent or soap destroys it. But you must take a bath or shower when you get in from the street. Avoid sitting down anywhere and go straight to the bathroom or shower.

If you cannot wash your clothes daily, hang them in direct sunlight which [it is believed] will also neutralize the virus.

[Viruses have delicate structures, and coronaviruses especially so. They survive best in cold conditions (That is why they like our sinus and lungs, the coldest parts of the human body.) The hotter the conditions the more likely viruses will fall apart into simple components before they can invade host cells.]

4. Wash metallic surfaces very carefully, because the virus can remain viable for up to nine days. Take note and be vigilant about touching handrails and door handles, etc. Within your own home, regularly wipe down and if possible disinfect doors and oven handles, stove tops, refrigerator doors, etc.

5. Don’t smoke.

[I would suggest wearing a dust mask when doing any activities that might lead to irritating or inflaming the sinus, throat, and bronchial passages, like sweeping and vacuuming, cleaning cat litter, any DYI things around the home that stir up dust.

Might as well avoid triggering allergic reactions that could make you think you are coming down with something. If you have no N95 masks, pulling your tee shirt up over your nose is better than nothing.]

6. Wash your hands every twenty minutes, using any kind of soap that foams. Do this for 20 seconds, and wash your hands thoroughly.

[Some say sing Happy Birthday twice through, without rushing it. At the bottom is a link to an excellent article about the why traditional soap is especially good for defending yourself against viruses of all kinds.]

7. Eat fruits and vegetables. Try to elevate your zinc level as well as your vitamin C levels.

[You can take too much zinc. Do not ingest more than 40mg per day. Zinc toxicity can produce gastrointestinal issues similar to “a stomach flu without the fever.”

Also, the chemical zincum gluconicum found in zinc throat lozenges (like Cold Eeze) can coat the throat so viruses like the common cold cannot take hold. So, if you can get the lozenges, take them at the first sign of symptoms, don’t waste them if you don’t think you have a cold coming on.]

8. Animals do not spread the virus to people. It is person to person transmission.

9. Try to avoid getting the common flu, which weakens your system in general. Try to avoid eating and drinking cold things.

10. If you feel a sore throat coming on, attack it immediately using the above methods. The virus enters the system this way, where it remains for three or four days before it passes into the lungs.

Good luck, everyone! Take care of yourselves, and pass this information along if you wish.

And that is the end of the transmission.

 

*****

Here is a recipe for homemade hand sanitizer

Ingredients:

2/3 Cup 99% rubbing alcohol (isopropyl or ethanol.)

1/3 Cup aloe vera gel (to counter the drying effect of the alcohol)

8 to 10 Drops of essential oil optional for fragrance and skin soothing (lavender, peppermint, vanilla)

1 to 2 Drops of one antimicrobial essential oil optional for added antimicrobial protection (tea tree, arborvitae, cinnamon, clove, thyme.) But such oils can be harsh on skin, so go easy on this.

Directions:

Mix ingredients in a bowl with spoon or spatula, pour into glass bottles. Spritz away!

IMPORTANT: Do not use other types of alcohol (e.g., methanol, butanol), as they are toxic.

The alcohol must be 60% of the mixture to be effective. If you only have alcohol solution under 91% then it needs to be a greater percentage of the mixture.

After all that, do not forget about good old-fashion soap! Traditional soap is abnormally good at getting viruses off your skin, clothes, etc. According to a renowned chemist, it is actually better than alcohol and other sanitizers at destroying the structure of a virus.

 

*****

Here is the article about using traditional soap to combat viruses.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/deadly-viruses-are-no-match-for-plain-old-soap-heres-the-science-behind-it-2020-03-08

 

New Great Ape Species Identified as Tapanuli Orangutan

Pongo tapanuliensis declared separate species of Orangutan

First encountered in 1997, it joins Humans, Gorillas, Chimpanzees, Bonobos, and the other Orangutans as true Great Apes

There was much to hoot about at the end of 2017, at least if you are among the orangutans hidden deep in the forests of Tapanuli, in Northern Sumatra, as they have been declared a new species of Great Ape in scientific paper “Morphometric, Behavioral, and Genomic Evidence for a New Orangutan Species,” published in the November 20 issue of Current Biology. And that declaration was based partly on the animals enormous hooting calls, which can be heard for many miles.

New Great Ape SpeciesThis is the first new species in almost a century to become a member of the exclusive evolutionary club that includes us Homo sapiens. The bonobo, a close evolutionary cousin of the chimpanzee was identified in 1929. In addition it unique vocalizations, the species has genetic differences, and differences in the shape of its skull and teeth spacing from the other two orangs, the Bornean orangutan (P. pygmaeus, with three subspecies) and the Sumatran orangutan (P. abelii,) which were themselves declared separate species in 1996.

Photo: T. Laman

The bad news is, the scant 800 known members of this new species of orang are already among the most endangered species on earth. They reside in a small area of Northern Sumatra, with habitat already under siege by the industrious progress of mankind, about to build a dam and roads that could devastate this delicate ecosystem.

It is hoped these shy, gentle creatures will be championed by humans with the foresight to keep them from vanishing just as we come to know them better.

New Great Ape Species Sumatra inset map New Great Ape Species map

3D Map Courtesy of: Physical Panoramic Map of Kab. Tapanuli Utara (with my habitat overlay)

Highlights of the paper and the start of its summery include:

* We describe a new species of great apes, the Tapanuli orangutan Pongo tapanuliensis

*Genomic analyses corroborate morphological distinctiveness of P. tapanuliensis

* P. tapanuliensis comprises the oldest evolutionary lineage in the genus Pongo

* With fewer than 800 individuals, P. tapanuliensis is among the most endangered great apes

Summary

Six extant species of non-human great apes are currently recognized: Sumatran and Bornean orangutans, eastern and western gorillas, and chimpanzees and bonobos. However, large gaps remain in our knowledge of fine-scale variation in hominoid morphology, behavior, and genetics, and aspects of great ape taxonomy remain in flux. This is particularly true for orangutans (genus: Pongo), the only Asian great apes and phylogenetically our most distant relatives among extant hominids.

The paper may be acquired at Cell.com.

http://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(17)31245-9

Other reading:

BBC Story on P. tapanuliensis with adorable video

National Geographic Story

Nature Story

Astronomy Photos of the Year

Nothing on earth is as awesome as space

Nothing

But these photos are still pretty awesome

Astronomy therhoophiuchicloudsartemmironov

“Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year is the largest international competition of its kind, annually showcasing phenomenal photography of the night sky and the universe taken from a global community of talented astrophotographers.”

See more at http://www.rmg.co.uk/royal-observatory/insight-astronomy-photographer-year#5DmDgt2AZ2udSwLw.99
~



New Species of Giant Spider Announced

As reported in the scientific journal Zootaxa, this spider also represents a newly discovered genus.

Allow me introduce you to Califorctenus cacachilensis (Cteninae, Ctenidae, Araneae), the giant spider of the Sierra Cacachilas.

Califorctenus_cacachilensis giant spider face

OK, the arachnid in question measures about four inches across, with a body about one inch long. But compared to most spiders in the world, that qualifies as a giant to scientists. And it would seem that way to most anyone who felt one running up their leg, or had an encounter with its furry fangs.

In fact, this new species of wandering spider is reminiscent of the infamous Brazilian wandering spider, among the most venomous arachnids in the world. Also known as the banana spider, newspaper reports of my childhood wherein Brazilian wandering spiders hitchhiked to the USA amongst banana bunches, made me extremely wary of my mother’s grocery bags.

However, you would have go to the mountain caves at the extreme tip of Baja California to find this new creepy crawler, as that is where they were discovered, doing their wandering in the dark of night, in search of prey. But one reason this new spider has been declared the first species of a newly discovered genus is that it is not as venomous as its poisonous cousins from points father south.

While new species of spiders and insects are discovered all the time, it is rare for anything so conspicuously large to be found new to science these days.

Califorctenus_cacachilensis giant spider lit

You can read more about the discovery of this new spider at Smithsonian.com (since Zootaxa costs money to read and is rather dry in the telling.)

Small Cats Get Their Due

 National Geographic turns a light on small cats usually out of sight

Awesome photography of these rarely seen felines by

Small Cats Iberian Lynx

A fascinating article at nationalgeographic.com focuses on various cat species from around the globe many that most people have rarely seen, or even heard of.

“Advances in genotyping and sequencing reveal that Earth’s 31 small cat species hail from seven distinct lineages, each named for the first discovered species in the line.” Thus the title statement accompanying a chart showing who is related the to whom.

While large in size, the modern day cheetahs and pumas (aka cougars, North American mountain lions) are genetically related to small cats. This is why they do not roar like lions, tigers, and panthers (which include leopards and jaguars) due to a different bone structure in the neck, but can actually purr like a typical house cat.

But the world is full of all sorts of other cats that can appear familiar or incredibly exotic, and which are often singular in their remarkable habits. Or rather, it was once full of them. The all too familiar destruction of natural habitats by our own species has endangered many of this secretive members of our extended planetary family.

I have been a lover of cats since Year One

small cats tsp 1 yr old w kitten

But some of the furry felines in this informative article by were new even to me.

You can read the article and see all of the wonderful photos HERE.

Small Cats - Sand Cat

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/02/photo-ark-little-cats/

 Photographer Joel Sartore Official Website

Summer Days – Monday Map

Average Maximum Temperatures for July 2015

On the lovely first day of Summer, 2016, here is a look at what may be in store for us this coming July.

Summer Days - July 2015 temperatures
Spring as come and Spring as gone, but Summer beckons.

I grew up assuming that August was the hottest month, and it was supported by first hand experiences in recent years, as I am usually found outdoors at Martinfest in Nazareth, PA in August.

But that is the first weekend of the month and apparently more like July than the rest of August. In fact, July is almost always the hottest month of the year in the USA.

And now, if you will excuse me, I am heading out into the beautiful day, while June lasts.