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John Cuthber

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Posts posted by John Cuthber

  1. If a sovereign country like China (or the US or UK) chooses to do GoF research clandestinely then there's nothing that another country can do about it.

    So, if we were magically able to prove that China had been doing it (And it seems unlikely that they would be stupid enough to do it essentially on an open lab bench) there's nothing we could do about it.

    So there's not much point wasting time on trying to find out.

  2. 10 hours ago, Alex_Krycek said:

    Determining corrective action in response to a pandemic that has thus far killed over 4 million people, and seriously disrupted the lives of billions, requires that we know as accurately as possible what the cause was.  Dismissing the pandemic as inevitable, or as a matter of course, is a grossly negligent attitude. The mission of science should always be to seek the truth with the goal of reducing the risk that such an event will occur again. 

    All too often these days we hear the pontificating "experts" on television musing how another pandemic will surely happen (it's just a matter of time, don't you know) and society should just accept it.  Fine, society must increase its readiness potential exponentially, that's a no brainer - but what is being done to understand how this pandemic arose in the first place?  At the very least there should be a serious dialogue about one of the most likely causes - an accident at the WIV - a dialogue which so far has been stifled and ignored.  Those select few with a conflict interest can forget and move on - the world will not.  

    If there was gain of function research happening in Wuhan, what are the implications for future global policy?  What global policies (such as funding GOF) should be changed?   In May 25, 2021 the Senate passed an amendment to ban all funding of GOF research in China.  Should more steps be taken?  Were Chinese virologists following the proper safety protocols, or were there lapses in safety as have been reported?  If they in fact were following proper protocol, what lessons could be learned for other laboratories researching dangerous pathogens around the world?

    These and a litany of other questions demand real answers.  Unfortunately it's not enough just to shrug one's shoulders and say "So what?".

     

    Are you saying that, if it turns out to have escaped from a lab we do not need to worry abort wet markets?

    Are you saying it it escaped from the wet market we do not need to worry about labs?

    Or are you, as I am, saying that we actually need to look carefully at both of those because, whichever one was the source this time, that doesn't mean the other won't be the cause of the next outbreak?
    If both look like plausible sources we need to reassess both.
     

     

  3. If there's an embassy (or such like) anywhere in the world which is not swept regularly for "unexpected" RF emissions then they deserve all they get.
    You can get a "bug detector" on eBay that will detect power levels a million times less than those needed to affect people.

  4. On 7/1/2021 at 10:40 AM, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

    ...whose idea was it to conduct ANY kind of medical research in the same country known for gutter oil and tainted baby formula?

    Are you talking about work funded by the USA?
    It was essentially decided by people who think money is more important than health and by those who close down funding for research institutions in the USA.

    So it's Republican policy.

  5. As far as I can tell, Amazon is "trying it on".

    If I buy something from them They choose and pay the carrier.

    So they have a contract with the carrier.

    I don't; I don't necessarily even know who the carrier is.

    So, I have no claim against the carrier if the item does not arrive.
    But I do have a contract with Amazon- they included delivery in their price.
    They are liable if it doesn't turn up.

     

     

    I invite you to consider what would happen if Amazon really was allowed to write that clause into their contract and have it stand up in court.

    I would offer to be Amazon's sole carrier for all their goods- not a company; just me.

     

    Amazon would pay me a lot of money and pass responsibility to me for delivering the goods, and I wouldn't even take a van round to their warehouse.

    Amazon would be legally "exempt" because of their contract.
    I'd have enough money to point out in court that the buyers didn't have a claim against me (see above).

     

    After a while Amazon would realise that they didn't need to stock goods.

    There aren't many ways to make amazon more profitable, but this would be one of them

     

    However...
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unfair_Contract_Terms_Act_1977

     

     


     

  6. At the moment what I can smell in the air is smoke- someone nearby must be having a bonfire.
    There are a lot of chemicals in smoke- most of the research focussed on tobacco, but apart from nicotine, most of the chemicals will be  similar whatever you burn.

    And so I can tell you that much of what I can smell are compounds like phenol and guaiacol together with acrolein, naphthalene and others.

     

    It's also possible to connect a gas chromatograph to a glass funnel and put your nose in that funnel.

    That way you can smell the compounds as they are separated out. (so you knew which ones are responsible for what odours).

    Here's an analysis of the volatiles from heating paper.
    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00021369.1981.10864521
     

    So, if you wanted to know what "smokey" air had in it, you could start with those.

    People have done work to identify the major components of smells.

    Things like "burning stuff"
    https://www.researchgate.net/figure/The-burnt-smell-standard-compounds-measured-with-GC-MS_tbl1_223971634

    or things like "woody" which would include things like pinene and eucalyptol
    Or "herbal" where you find compounds like thymol or citral (You might notice, the chemists are not generally very original with names. The dominant odour of lemons is due to two main components, citral and limonene).

    So quite a lot of the work has already been done.
    It would be expensive to repeat it.

     

  7. The smell of petrichor is largely this.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geosmin

     

     

    The first big problem is that there are something like a billion known chemicals, and we can't look for all of them in one sample.

    If we did then the analysis report would be rather unmanageable; a billion lines most of which said "not detected". I think that's something like a thousand big thick books

    (and it wouldn't be cheap)

    The other big problem is that, for some materials, you can smell them at concentrations  which are below the limit of detection by GC/MS (or most other techniques).

     

    1 hour ago, studiot said:

     

     

    So why would you want to 'clone' it ?

    I hope you realise that clone is the wrong word.
    It is a biological term involving the use of biological processes.

    The chemical term is synthesise, which involve chemical processes.

    Cloning would be a perfectly acceptable term if I was, for example, seeking to copy a trademarked perfume.
    It's also a term commonly used for copying a computer.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clone_(computing)

    And the word is used for credit card fraud involving a copied card.

  8. 37 minutes ago, Questionasker said:

    To make things a bit clearer, the calculated moles of a reaction is very small, small than zero in some cases followed by many other numbers before the first significant figure, but the moles presented in a balanced reaction are usually integers.

    Can you provide an example?

    A negative number of moles would be very weird.

  9. 5 hours ago, MigL said:

    I believe the biggest difference between life and non-life is the fact that life can self-modify in response to external stimuli;

    I wrote code that could do that in about 1982.
    It played noughts and crosses (badly).
    It learned how to play by seeking to avoid repeating "losing" moves. The algorithm was from a Sci Am article.

    I'm not sure how I define "Life", but... that doesn't see to cut it.

  10. I don't think this is exactly a scientific review of the issue, but it does offer some explanations.
     

    What a drag it is getting old
    "Kids are different today, " I hear every mother say
    Mother needs something today to calm her down
    And though she's not really ill, there's a little yellow pill
    She goes running for the shelter of her mother's little helper
    And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day
    "Things are different today, " I hear every mother say
    Cooking fresh food for her husband's just a drag
    So she buys an instant cake, and she burns a frozen steak
    And goes running for the shelter of her mother's little helper
    And two help her on her way, get her through her busy day
    Doctor, please, some more of these
    Outside the door, she took four more
    What a drag it is getting old
    "Men just aren't the same today, " I hear every mother say
    They just don't appreciate that you get tired
    They're so hard to satisfy, you can tranquilize your mind
    So go running for the shelter of a mother's little helper
    And four help you through the night, help to minimize your plight
    Doctor, please, some more of these
    Outside the door, she took four more
    What a drag it is getting old
    "Life's just much too hard today, " I hear every mother say
    The pursuit of happiness just seems a bore
    And if you take more of those, you will get an overdose
    No more running for the shelter of a mother's little helper
    They just helped you on your way, through your busy dying day
    Hey
     
  11. 35 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

    People consider pollsters experts on polling, but that doesn't mean they trust them, especially after multiple catastrophic failures reflected poorly on either their methodology or their sincerity

    Could you expand on that- with real examples?
    Please take care to distinguish what the pollsters said from what the press and TV said about the pollsters' assessments.

  12. This nonsense is old enough to have been parodied ages ago.


    There was a young man who said "God
    Must find it exceedingly odd
    To think that the tree
    Should continue to be
    When there's no one about in the quad."

    Reply:
    "Dear Sir: Your astonishment's odd;
    I am always about in the quad.
    And that's why the tree
    Will continue to be
    Since observed by, Yours faithfully, God.”

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