Mummy Envy

I found this tweet about a mummy in South America on my feed. But what made me laugh was a reply. Some guy said “Annoying that a 7000 year old corpse has more hair than me.”

Doubts Building Up About the Existence of Dark Energy and Dark Matter. Duh!

Even girls are starting to doubt the existence of forms of matter and energy for which there is no direct observable reality.  The good old expansion of the universe has ceased to be this reliable reason for making up phantom particles that can’t be detected, measured or explained.  Maybe now the physics nerds can try to sharpen their pencils and do the hard observational work that will be needed to obtain accurate data needed to make the next valid discoveries needed to expand our understanding of the cosmos.


Silly Season 2022 – The Search for Intelligent Life on Capitol Hill

As I reported yesterday summer has come to Dunwich and right on cue the media “silly season” erupts into life.  That’s right UFOs are back in the headlines.

“The House Intelligence Committee will hold the first open hearing on UFOs in more than 50 years.”

With apologies to the author of this article and in sympathy with all of my fellow science fiction devotees having the US Congress investigate UFOs is fraught with existential peril.  Imagining Nancy Pelosi presiding over a debate as to whether evidence of hypersonic maneuverability is terrestrial or extra-terrestrial without her invoking either Steven Spielberg or George Lucas seems impossible.  Maybe there are a half dozen congress critters with enough intelligence to weigh the kind of evidence that the Defense Department, the Intelligence Agencies and the Space Force will bring to the table but they will be drowned out by barnyard noises emanating from the majority of the denizens of the House of Representatives.  Imagine AOC and the rest of the “Squad” jumping to the defense of the little green men based on their evidence from the movie, “E.T., The Extraterrestrial” that government intent toward aliens is racist (or at least species-ist if I may coin the term).

The author finishes off this article with a demand for Washington to come clean on all their secret knowledge about UFOs.

“Top line: We don’t know what the most extraordinary “other” bin UFOs are, who or what is operating them, what their intentions might be, or how they operate. Maybe they are many different things with many different origins and intentions. Regardless, science demands we find out. This is no longer the early Cold War. The public can handle this subject with the seriousness it deserves. So also does our national security demand as much. Again, if another nation figures out how to replicate the way these most extraordinary UFOs operate before the U.S. does, we’ll have a problem.”

Well, we can’t even get the FBI and the courts to stop arresting Americans for trumped up charges of insurrection.  If the government actually had proof of extra-terrestrial life and technologies what are the chances that the CIA and the Defense Department would tell us the truth?  Slim and none would be the optimistic answer.

Luckily we can fall back on a very important source of information on UFO research.  I leave it for your consideration


A Handy Primer on Nuclear Weapons

If you’ve got an hour and a half and want to find out exactly what a three stage thermonuclear weapon is and how it works or whether a neutron bomb was really invented to empty a city of humans but leave the buildings intact then this guide might interest you.  I’d always wanted to know how a cobalt bomb worked.

I watched it with great interest.  I learned a number of things that I hadn’t known.  For instance, in a multi-megaton bombardment of a city very few of the deaths will be by radiation poisoning.  The fireball and blast wave will kill mostly everyone who would have received a fatal dose of primary radiation from the fission and fusion neutrons and gamma radiation.  and the fallout will be dispersed into the stratosphere by the mushroom cloud for the whole world to enjoy later.  And I didn’t realize that hydrogen bombs were filled with styrofoam.  Don’t tthese monsters know how environmentally unfriendly styrofaom is?



Biotech Company Testing Gene Therapy to Cure Heart Disease

This article reviews a gene therapy that prevents clogged arteries in people who have a genetic basis for high levels of low density lipoprotein cholesterol.

Later this year, Verve Therapeutics of Cambridge, Ma., will initiate Phase 1 clinical trials to test VERVE-101, a new medication that, if successful, will employ gene editing to significantly reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or LDL.

The medication is targeted specifically for patients who have a genetic form of high cholesterol known as heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, or FH, caused by expression of a gene called PCSK9. Verve also plans to develop a program to silence a gene called ANGPTL3 for patients with FH and possibly those with or at risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

They’ve done the testing in monkeys and soon they’ll be trying it out on humans.  This is getting closer to the stuff that was science fiction fifty years ago.  A single intravenous treatment alters the DNA sequence of the patient’s liver cells and permanently cures a condition that would otherwise require statins and dieting and eventually stents and surgery to keep the patient alive.

I’m waiting for the gene therapy to cure my congenital laziness.  But the work-ethic-impaired never get consideration for our disease.  So unfair.






Here’s the Stupidest Guilt Trip for Americans Ever

As a child of the 1960’s Space Program I’ve always been very excited by the JPL robotic missions to Mars, Jupiter and beyond.  Seeing closeup views of Jupiter and its moons or Saturn was mind-boggling for a science fiction junkie of my generation.  Now the Mars Rover missions always seemed a little disappointing because the landscape just looked like Nevada without the gambling.  But I had no idea at the time that I was witnessing a crime against the Cosmos.

You see we were guilty of planetary cross-contamination in the first degree!  I didn’t know we were guilty until I read this ridiculous article.  But now I’m hoping that somehow, we’ve already wiped out all the extraterrestrial lifeforms in the solar system solely because I know it would devastate Sofia Quaglia, the authoress of this drivel and all the space ecology weenies that she consulted on this fake crisis.

Now, understand.  I highly doubt that any organisms that can’t trace their ancestry to Earth will be found elsewhere in the Solar System.  But if I have to worry about them succumbing to the COVID virus then my take is they deserve extinction.  These geniuses want to somehow ensure that the probes we send up are somehow 100.0000% sterilized of all biological organisms.  This would probably end the space program.  And if it didn’t, it would require enormous expense to add all these requirements to the missions.

But what makes it especially stupid is that Earth organisms have most probably found their way to other parts of the Solar System without our help.  Not that any of them probably were able to thrive on Mars or the moons of Jupiter.  But if they did are we supposed to be worried about it?  And if these terrestrial descendants somehow outcompeted the native Martian or Jovian flora and fauna should this upset me for some reason?  Well, if it’s supposed to then I have a bulletin; it’s not working.  I don’t care.  If these extra-terrestrials are such lame losers that they can’t survive e. coli, then they deserve to go extinct.  Let them get on the ball and discover penicillin like we did.  And anyway, seeing them all wiped out is the surest defense against them catching up with us on the evolutionary ladder and pushing us off.  As the Legionnaires in Galaxy’s Edge put it KTF, kill them first.

Honestly, don’t these snowflakes have anything more important to do than fret about space paramecia being outcompeted by their terrestrial cousins?  Lord help us.

Leptons and Bosons and Quarks, Oh My!

I was wandering around the interwebs and opened up an article that asked “What Does the Grand Unified Theory Mean?”  Okay what could I do?  I haven’t read anything much on particle physics since undergraduate days when I took a course that was called, quaintly, “Atomic Physics.”  When I signed up for the course I immediately thought in my best Bill Murray voice, “Back off man!  I’m a scientist.”

Well, the article is a rambling incoherent mess.  Which told me that my grasp of particle physics is woefully insufficient.  So I found this book on-line, Elementary Particle Physics, TIMOTHY L. BARKLOWAND MARTINL. PERL,  Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305. I’m going to try and glean enough about the standard model to be able to tell if the popular accounts are at all accurate.

I put this up just in case anyone else gets the bug.


Someone Literally Cured of an Incurable Cancer

I spent over twenty years working for a company that pioneered immunological medicines, including cancer treatments.  And with cancer treatments no one ever said cure.  What they talk about is survival rates; % of patients surviving six months or twelve months or twenty four months.

But apparently there is a cell therapy called CAR-T that has completely eliminated the cancer cells from the first two patients that were treated with it. 

“In 2010, Doug Olson became the second person in the world to receive CAR-T cell therapy, an experimental tactic to engineer his own immune cells to fight cancer. His doctors had tempered expectations for how well it would fight off Olson’s chronic lymphocytic leukemia, an incurable blood cancer — it was a last stab in the dark, one with no guarantees.”

“We can say it was a cure for Doug, because these are the most mature and oldest results available reported in scientific literature. Because they were the first treated,” June said. “Ten years on, no leukemia cells, and we still have CAR-T cells that are on patrol and surveillance from leukemia.”

The breakthrough is the presence after ten years of sustaining populations of functional immune cells.

“Over the next several months, the data suggested that the patients’ CAR-T cells were transforming from the killer CD8 T cells and into CD4 T cells, or “helper” T cells. These tend to remain in the body and help form a long-term immune memory, but typically are less involved in actively killing diseased cells.

In the years that followed, the CAR-T cell population did what our own natural T cells normally do: shift back and forth between types. By the nine-year mark, the researchers could only find CD4 cells, suggesting that the cells had stabilized into a long-term population of helper T cells.”

The article stated that, “There are now approved CAR-T therapies for six different indications including different types of leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. But nearly all other patients treated with CAR-T therapy did eventually experience a relapse of cancer, making the enduring response from these first two patients extraordinary.”

Nevertheless, this is a cancer cure.  What can work once can be reverse engineered for other cancers.  Hopefully the research on why this one cell therapy successfully enabled the human immune system to completely eliminate this one particular cancer can be the key to a deeper understanding of how the body defeats cancers in general.


As the Primary and General Off-Year Elections creep up on us I’m interested in getting posts from readers about their local political scene.  Places like Texas, Colorado, Florida, Ohio, South Carolina, North Carolina, Illinois, Minnesota are represented by readers here.  Even Canada and Australia have local political stories that some of our readers might want to provide.  So if you are interested in sharing your perspective on your local politics, get in touch.  Either leave a comment or send an e-mail to orionscoldfire at charter dot net.  Anonymity is, of course, perfectly fine and if you prefer to discuss local cultural issues instead of or in addition to politics that also is encouraged.  I’ll add this want-ad to the footer of the posts for a while to see if I can entice any readers to write.