ethics, government, health & fitness

Electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack?

Until about age-30, I assumed I’d die from nuclear radiation.

Now age-63, I’m still surprised each morning to be enjoying life.

A nuclear electromagnetic pulse (NEMP) weapon is designed to be detonated far above the Earth’s surface.

The explosion releases a blast of gamma rays into the mid-stratosphere, which ionizes as a secondary effect and the resultant energetic free electrons interact with the Earth’s magnetic field to produce a much stronger EMP than is normally produced in the denser air at lower altitudes.

Just one such weapon could kill everything electronic for months or years.

COULD YOU SURVIVE IN A TENT WITHOUT POWER? FEED YOURSELF FROM THE LAND?

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

cycling, ethics, government, health & fitness, hiking, travel

I’m fully vaccinated

😀 Send me ALL the vaccine passports.

I got dose #1 of “Covishield”, the Indian version of Oxford–AstraZeneca, March 18th. NO — I’m not worried about blood clots.

I was in the first 7.76% of Canadians to get jabbed.

When Alberta started allowing the second dose of AstraZeneca after only 4 weeks, I signed up. Got jab #2 on April 16th.

Sounds like Vaccine Passports are a terrible idea.

But it’s inevitable that something like this will become required for international travel for many months. Or years.

books, good news, health & fitness, movies, science, things getting better

The Code Breakers by Walter Isaacson

Have you heard of CRISPR?

(clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats)

Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their contributions in the development of a method for genome editing.

It’s called the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors.

Based on how bacteria fights off virus attackers, in future CRISPR will be used to fight coronavirus variations.

Click PLAY or see how it works on YouTube.

Most people my age know about Watson and Crick’s discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA. But I certainly couldn’t explain anything about CRISPR before reading this book.

Once again, Walter Isaacson made a complex story entertaining with this 2021 biography:

The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race

The bestselling author of Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs returns with a gripping account of how Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues launched a revolution that will allow us to cure diseases, fend off viruses, and have healthier babies.

When Jennifer Doudna was in sixth grade, she came home one day to find that her dad had left a paperback titled The Double Helix on her bed. She put it aside, thinking it was one of those detective tales she loved. When she read it on a rainy Saturday, she discovered she was right, in a way. As she sped through the pages, she became enthralled by the intense drama behind the competition to discover the code of life. Even though her high school counselor told her girls didn’t become scientists, she decided she would.

The development of CRISPR and the race to create vaccines for coronavirus will hasten our transition to the next great innovation revolution. The past half-century has been a digital age, based on the microchip, computer, and internet. Now we are entering a life-science revolution. Children who study digital coding will be joined by those who study genetic code. …

After helping to discover CRISPR, Doudna became a leader in wrestling with these moral issues and, with her collaborator Emmanuelle Charpentier, won the Nobel Prize in 2020. Her story is a thrilling detective tale that involves the most profound wonders of nature, from the origins of life to the future of our species.

simon and schuster

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

The first half of the book is the story. Very entertaining.

Then it gets better.

A detailed look at the drama over WHO wins the awards. WHO gets the patents.

Of course there are many other scientists who could have and should be lauded for breakthroughs in this field. They are covered in the biography, as well.

Most worthy — perhaps — is Feng Zhang. But he and his boss Eric Lander come off as BAD GUYS in this book, unethical in their collaborations.

ONE bit of good news. When COVID-19 was announced early 2020, both Zhang’s and Doudna’s companies changed research priorities towards developing CRISPR-based coronavirus tests. Both were successful and both hope to make simple at-home tests ready for market in 2021: Sherlock and Mammoth.

The most entertaining of the CRISPR giants is geneticist George Church. When the movie is made, he’ll be the fan favourite.

Emmanuelle Charpentier is an intriguing personality, as well. I’d read her biography.

education, ethics, government, health & fitness

What Nations come out of COVID-19 Strongest?

There’s an argument that governments should have let the pandemic run its course. Kept most things open as Sweden did at the beginning. More early deaths, more illness, more long long-haul side effects.

Leaders leaning this way include Trump, Nicaragua’s Ortega, Brazil’s Bolsonaro, Mexico’s Obrador, Belarus’s Lukashenko, Turkmenistan’s Berdimuhamedow, Cambodia’s Hun Sen, Tanzania’s Magufuli.

Populists pandering to their dumbest voters.

When the pandemic ends we’ll be able to calculate which nations survived best: economically, educationally, healthiest. It won’t be any of those nations. They will include New Zealand, Taiwan, South Korea, Iceland, Senegal, Denmark, Saudi Arabia.

health & fitness, travel

Canadian Vaccine Passport?

Though Trudeau is worried about unintended side effects, vaccine passports are inevitable for some months and years to come. International airlines will require them, for example.

About 250k Canadians have already downloaded the most popular app — so far:

CANImmunize app

High privacy standards.

The app is available for free on iOS and Android devices and on the web at canimmunize.ca.

I manually added my 1st COVID vaccine. That can’t be in any way official.

But governments may eventually adopt this app for travel. I’ll be ready.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

health & fitness, product endorsements, travel

Switching to Shoppers Drug Mart

Shoppers Drug Mart is Canada’s largest pharmacy chain with over 1000 stores.

As I hope to become — yet again — a traveller, I’m thinking it might be better (in future) to have in-person access to all these stores.

Since I went on blood pressure medications a few years ago, I’ve been dealing with local, independent pharmacies. Good service, but they rarely have what I need in stock.

So … I’ve made a second trip back in person to pick up my DRUGS.

That’s been a hassle a few times over the years, as I travel so much.

The independents and Shoppers both now ship for free — but I have more faith in the big company.

Actually, I would have gone with Amazon Canada Pharmacy — but they haven’t launched that service yet.

ethics, health & fitness, travel

ESSENTIAL Travel to Banff

I flew for the first time in a year — Vancouver Island to Calgary.

Essential travel to get my first vaccine March 18th.

Essential Doctor’s appointment next day. I hadn’t had an annual medical in over 15 months.

LAB TESTS Calgary are run by a monopoly ~ Alberta Precision Laboratories. Not enough capacity — obviously — as my first available slot was April 12th.

Happily, I could get lab tests in Banff March 23rd.

Travel out of Banff is non-essential, … so I better stay until my vaccine starts to kick in. 😀

Lounging-in-place in my US $60+ / night private hostel room. Only departing for essential food and drink.

And EXERCISE, of course. That’s essential too.

books, health & fitness, philosophy

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Nora Seed decides to commit suicide.

And finds herself offered a chance to reinvent her life by going back and making different major life decisions.

Some include Nora becoming a glaciologist, Olympic swimmer, and rock star.

Haig put together this construct to talk philosophically about regret, hope and second chances. The author is a a champion of mental health causes. Instead of preaching medical science, he puts the same messages across in an entertaining narrative.

I found the book very uplifting.

Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever.

Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices

. . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?”

MattHaig.com

Click PLAY or meet Matt on YouTube.