Daniel DeMarco

A Possible Solution to the Problem of Terrible Writing

The Friedmann equation and the expanding universe

Alexander Friedmann of Russia is credited with developing a dynamic equation for the expanding universe in the 1920s. At the same time Einstein, Willem de Sitter of the Netherlands, and Georges Lemaitre of Belgium were also working on equations to model the universe. Friedmann developed his version as a relativistic equation in the framework of general relativity, but the description used here, and (in our theoretical model presented below) applied to the written universe will be limited to a simplified, non-relativistic version based on Newton’s laws.

Convenient forms of Friedmann’s equation with which to examine the expansion time and temperature for a big bang model of the actual universe…


Former Deadliest Pathogens Agree to Work Together to Slow the Spread of COVID-19

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Generic microbiology image 101, the agar plate. Image by nadya_il from Pixabay

In a meeting of great historical import the leaders of the world’s formerly deadliest pathogens agreed today to work together to fight SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID19 disease. Eric Bolanger (Ebola) leader of the viral hemorrhagic fever contingent stood shoulder to shoulder with his former rival and rumored current love interest EEVE (Eastern equine encephalitis) to announce they would be working together to find and eradicate SARS-CoV-2 “wherever” it may be. In a statement Bolanger said “we must find and kill SARS-CoV-2 before it can find and kill all the humans we used to find and kill. We must act now or soon there will be no more humans left for any microorganism to kill. Without humans around for killing our lives would have no meaning.” …


My 2nd Ever Original Microbiology Joke?

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Slime mold Trichia Decipiens. Despite being called a mold it is not actually a fungus but an amoeba. Image by adege from Pixabay

I have written previously about my longtime desire to contribute an original to the pantheon of microbiology jokes. In that article I published a joke which I still contend (and have seen no evidence to contradict) is an original and would be my first ever, meeting a longtime career objective at last. Recently I came up with what I believe could be a number 2. As with my first effort I invite anyone with evidence to the contrary to please post in the comments. I am happy to retract my claim if proven wrong. All that said here it is…

What do you call an amoeba foot doctor?

A pseudopodiatrist

Brilliant, yes. Hilarious, yes to 0.00001% of people. Original? I say yes, but willing to admit I have no clue.


Not for Clinical Diagnostics Pooled Saliva Testing

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That probably has some saliva in it. Image by Nick Looy from Pixabay

Author’s note: Full disclosure. I work in research for one of the world’s largest testing laboratories. In addition to providing Coronavirus testing services, they develop and manufacture (clinical and environmental) diagnostic tests for Coronavirus. This article was not written at their behest and the opinions expressed in it are my own and not necessarily shared by my employer.

In a recent article extolling the untapped potential of environmental testing for slowing the spread of COVID19 I described three main environmental sample types: surfaces, wastewater, and masks. While myself, and a few others, continue to proselytize for the value of environmental testing, judging by continued lackluster sales of environmental SARS-CoV-2 tests, the majority of industry and the scientific community seem to have given up on the approach. …


Good Advice Misapplied is Bad Advice

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Very freakin zen. Image by No-longer-here from Pixabay

The topic of balance came up recently in a conversation with a friend. She was relaying the results of one of those personality tests that claim they can classify your personality “type” based on certain behaviors, characteristics, and/or tendencies. There are hundreds but the vast majority are based on the Meyers-Briggs classification system which is itself an out-shoot of Karl Jung’s personality type theory. The point of this post is not to debate the merits of Jung’s theory, like many theories in the social sciences, it has its proponents and detractors. …


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The future black slime looks very pretty now. Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

Future black slime in refrigerator crisper, currently known as green onions, were purchased at a local grocery today by neighborhood resident Ted Stephens. “I’m making Pad Thai for my girlfriend for dinner tonight and need the green onions for a garnish and to give a little color to the dish” he said when asked about his decision to purchase the future pile of oozing black mush at the bottom of his refrigerator vegetable crisper. Despite a very poor track record of using any green vegetable purchased for any meal Mr. Stephens suggested this time would be differing saying “look, I know I don’t exactly have a reputation as the biggest vegetable fan, and I have, on occasion, left a head of broccoli or lettuce in the crisper for over a month, throwing them away only when the smell from the slowly putrifying sludge like black mass became too much to bear. But, this time is going to be different. I swear. Besides, onions aren’t really a vegetable. Right? Are they a fruit then? …


Optimal Virulence Revisited

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Gorgeous Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Author’s note: Occasionally I stumble across and old article that failed to gain much traction. This is one of those from way back in March of 2018. It is also highly salient given the times. At that time I was thinking mostly about computer viruses.

It may not seem like it if you get most/all of your information from the news media but in reality highly virulent and lethal human pathogens are extremely rare. Outbreaks of disease from these rare organism are even more rare. If you are a curious person you might ask yourself why this is the case. Why are highly pathogenic viruses and bacteria so rare, why do they inflict so little actual damage given their inherent lethality, why aren’t there more outbreaks of them and, and why aren’t there more of them in general? The answer to each of those questions is really very simple, because extreme lethality in humans (or any host organism) is about the worst trait any given pathogenic microbe can have if it wants to survive and reproduce to continue to propagate its gene pool. This is essentially the concept of optimal virulence. …


With Serious Apologies to George Romero

Does your inbox ever make you feel like this?

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Remake of classic horror movie poster by me. Fair use applies. This is not even a borderline case so I do not want to hear it or for you to even give me that look. Don’t think it either. Thank you.
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Remake by me. Fair use applies. Not even a borderline case so don’t even give me that look.

The amount of general agreement there is about a given subject or topic is directly proportional to the level of skepticism about which it should be viewed.

or

The amount of general agreement there is about a given subject or topic is inversely proportional to the amount you should believe it.


What was once a Virtue is Now the Ultimate Escape Hatch for the Lazy and a Route to Inaction and Paralysis

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Image by Me.

Who hasn’t heard the by now cliche aphorisms that “patience is a virtue” and “good things come to those who wait.” The (supposed) fact that patience is a virtue, a good thing, something to be cultivated, and strived for is one of the few things that both eastern and western religious traditions agree on. That should be a warning sign in and of itself. Anything so obviously agreed upon without hesitation by religions as diverse as Christianity and Judaism to Buddhism and Islam suggests the highest skepticism is in order. That said, at one time I happen to think the major religions, and just about everybody else, was correct in their position on the general goodness of patience. However, that time has passed and patience today has evolved into an escape hatch for the lazy, a way to avoid doing anything, and an easy excuse for absolving oneself and everyone else of any responsibility for the way things are. Let me be the first to say it, what was once a virtue is now a vice. And rather than a lack of patience I contend that we have become too patient as a society. We have become complacent, always thinking that someone else will fix our problems if we just wait long enough. Someone or something, other than ourselves of course, will come and rescue us. …

About

Daniel DeMarco

Research scientist (Ph.D. micro/mol biology), Thought middle manager, Everyday junglist, Selecta (Ret.), Boulderer, Cat lover, Fish hater

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