I am seeing reports that there are plasmids in the mRNA jabs. I’ve been retired for years so have no means to check this myself and although I still know some who could check it, I’d have to get them vials of jab juice and I don’t have access to any. Still, those reporting the presence of plasmids are reliable sources so I have to take it on trust.

So. What’s a plasmid?

Bacterial DNA is not organised into chromosomes like human, animal or plant DNA. It’s a long circular loop of DNA that just sits inside the cell. There’s no defined nucleus.

A plasmid is a tiny circular DNA that isn’t part of the bacterium’s main DNA, but it can be read and transcribed just the same. So far there is nothing to say that plasmids do anything inside a human cell (doesn’t mean they don’t, we just haven’t found anything to suggest they do) but they have quite an impact on a bacterial cell. They effectively give it extra genes.

Now, plasmids do not spontaneously form so the argument of ‘well those vials were out of date so…’ is irrelevant. Out of date mRNA does not spontaneously form plasmid DNA. In fact, plasmid DNA is a lot more stable than mRNA so they’d outlast the actual treatment part of the jabs.

Where do plasmids come from? Do bacteria produce them? It’s not known for sure, but it’s speculated that they might come from bits of DNA picked up from shattered cells, or they might be the next logical step in bacterial viruses. Some plasmids cause the bacterium to produce long tubes called pili which can attach to another bacterium. The plasmid then replicates itself and sends a copy of itself to the other bacterium. Again, I have not seen evidence that this can happen in human cells. My guess would be that it probably doesn’t.

There was a classroom experiment to show this. A strain of bacterium (usually Escherichia coli since it’s easy to grow) that carried a plasmid with antibiotic resistance genes was mixed with another strain known to have no such resistance. You’d let them ‘mate’ and then break the pili by violent swirling at set times and see how long it took for the receiving bacteria to acquire the antibiotic resistance. In that way you could roughly ‘map’ the genes on the plasmid, especially if it coded for resistance to more than one antibiotic.

So we know they are there and we know how they transfer and we know what they can do. We are also pretty sure they won’t do much in human cells. So why do we even care?

You are not just one organism. There are at least 400 species of bacteria in your gut and the things they do are not inconsequential. They have a massive effect on your health and well being. If they are doing well, if the right species dominate, you are more resistant to gut infections and your immune system is in tip top shape. Encourage the wrong ones and you’ll soon be shitting water through every hole and will feel as if Death is tapping you on the shoulder every day. They really are that important.

Those are the ones affected by the plasmids. They will take them up and they will use the genes encoded on them. Bacteria are not thinking beings, they are bags of chemical reactions and a plasmid is nothing more than the instructions for some new chemical reactions. Bacteria do not think ‘oh that instruction is a bad idea’. If they have the DNA to do it, they will do it.

So, what if you give them a plasmid that will harm their host? Will they use it? Yes they will. They have no concept of ‘host’ and don’t even know you exist. If you give them a plasmid producing spike protein it will be produced in your gut for the rest of your life unless Ano-Rod or an especially vicious Vindaloo blasts your gut completely clear. Which isn’t possible. No matter how hard you flush through, they’ll grow back. They are remarkably tenacious.

Unless… you give some bacteria a plasmid that gives them an advantage over some other group. It’s a constant battle throughout your gut between the good guys and the bad guys and you don’t want the bad guys to get an edge. So giving the bad guys a plasmid with an advantage means the bad guys win and that means… you don’t. I don’t know what is in these plasmids but what I’m hearing from intestinal microbiologists doesn’t look good.

There is no reason why these plasmids should be in the shots. They don’t form by themselves, they’d have to be included in the shots either by accident or design. They should not be there.

Why are they there? Well, I’ll leave the speculation to you.

WEF’s Craven New Nightmare

Candida auris is an infective yeast (I know they call it a fungus, yeasts and moulds are both classed as fungi. Moulds are the ones that make your bread go hairy, yeasts tend more to turn things like fruit and veg into a sloppy mess).

It’s not the only one, there are several species of Candida that can cause infection, perhaps the most common is known as ‘thrush’. And of course, there are other yeasts and moulds that can infect – normally these are surface/skin infections, such as ringworm or toenail fungus.

Yeasts are quite large in microbial terms. Much bigger than bacteria. They are not going to be missed by even an average immune system, which is why they prefer to infect areas the immune system doesn’t bother with all that much, like skin and nails. They do have a quite strong cell wall but really, they are extremely unlikely to set up a systemic infection in any normally healthy individual.

If you are already very sick, very old or immunocompromised in some way then these infectious yeasts can be very dangerous indeed. Which explains why the latest scare is –

Deadly fungal infection rapidly spreading in U.S. health facilities!

It spreads among the already very sick. It does not spread so well in the general population. Masks are of no relevance here, it is not aerosolised, it spreads via contact. It’s a yeast, it can survive on surfaces for quite some time and it can happily live on your hands even if it can’t infect you. Most yeasts are capable of producing dormant spores – that’s what’s in the dried wine yeast (Saccharomyces – don’t worry, it’s a totally different yeast) – and those spores can survive dried conditions for quite some time.

A lot of scary articles have appeared. They insist on using the term ‘fungus’ rather than ‘yeast’ because it sounds scary. Everyone who’s ever made a gallon of beer or a loaf of bread knows about yeast. It doesn’t sound scary at all. And it shouldn’t be. The ones at risk are already in hospitals and care homes and already very ill. I can’t find any instance of someone being admitted to hospital with this yeast infection. You catch it when you’re in there. Hospitals do indeed have a catalogue of exclusive diseases you can’t catch anywhere else.

Expect massive misinformation. No, you do not shed it through your skin cells. It’s a bloody yeast. Not a virus. It could well be on your skin if you’re infected but it’s not popping out of skin cells. The outer layer of skin cells are dead – they don’t interest viruses either. Most fungi – whether yeasts or moulds – are saprophytes. They feed on dead stuff. Like skin. Nails. Some can even have a go at urine and take up residence in your bladder. If they do it’s best to get them out quickly. First course of action is to drink a lot of water to flush it out – and yeah, that does mean you can’t stray too far from a bathroom while doing that. Inconvenient, but better than letting them travel up the ureters to the kidneys. Although that’s usually more a bacteria thing than a yeast thing.

There are claims that Candida auris can colonise a person for many months. I say ‘pah’. It can colonise a person for their entire life, living as part of the skin microflora and never getting big enough to cause any problems at all. There are several yeasts among the surface microflora, along with a lot of bacteria, and they are in competition with each other all the time and as long as that war rages, none of them get strong enough for you to notice. If you tip the balance in that war, say by saturating yourself with antibiotics, you might risk one of them taking over – but it’s a skin infection. Treated with topical medicines.

Most of the time, you won’t even realise that you are a walking ecosystem, inside and out, until something goes wrong.

The scary numbers added to this yeast is that it kills 60% of those infected. Is that true? Yes it is – but it only infects those who are already extremely ill anyway. They might have died of that yeast infection, or it might just have been the last straw for a body that was close to its end date anyway. If you’re well enough to be browsing the Internet and have read this far, I doubt you need have any concern about this yeast.

How do you avoid spreading it? The same way you avoid spreading anything else. Clean things. Including yourself. Wash your hands – soap won’t kill it but it’ll get it off and down the sink. Wash your clothes – that won’t kill it but it’ll send it down the drain. It loves sugar and protein, all fungi do, so clean working surfaces and don’t leave grease or any kind of food there.

This is not a virus. It does not need, nor want, to enter another cell to grow. It’s not going to hijack your DNA, it prefers to live on sugars and proteins from something dead, and it prefers them to be at least damp and warm. Something that isn’t going to fight back. It does not want to take on your immune system because it will lose. An mRNA ‘vaccine’ is not going to do a damn thing about a yeast infection, in fact I have never heard of any vaccine against yeasts because there’s no need. It really doesn’t want to infect you systemically and it’s so big that it can’t possibly avoid detection by the immune system if it tries.

You’re only at risk if your immune system is knackered or you’re killing off its competition with huge doses of antibiotics. In either case, you’ll know, because you’ll already be very ill indeed.

However, expect to be scared into all kinds of theatre if you fall for this one.

Which goes first, the chicken or the egg?

Lab grown chicken meat is now reality. Of course, hardly anyone wants it so in order to sell it they first need to… get rid of the real chickens. The same thing is happening with cows and sheep on the ridiculous premise that they cause ‘climate change’. Really it’s to sell the pretend meats hat nobody would otherwise be interested in.

The argument goes that if we get rid of cattle and sheep, we can use that land to grow crops. This ignores an important detail – much of the land used for grazing is incapable of growing much more than grass. Some because it’s just a thin layer of soil on bedrock, some because it’s regularly flooded and some, like one of the fields here, because it’s far too steep to plough.

There are sheep down beside the river here in summer, over winter they are moved to other pastures until the river’s finished making use of its flood plains. Then they’re back again. Put any kind of crops in there and you’ll just get a wet mess when you harvest it.

Get rid of the sheep and cattle and you just end up with unusable fields of long grass. You can’t digest that, its best use is to be converted into meat by animals that can digest it.

But back to the chickens. Lately we are being regaled with tales of bird flu once again, that wonderful excuse for wiping out entire flocks of birds. It only takes one bird testing positive and it’s a death sentence for all of them. But it doesn’t end there – there are claims that bird flu has jumped to mink, so now it’s moved from bird to mammal and it’s one step closer to humans.

Is it deadly? It’s flu. Flu has always killed a lot of people every year except when it took a year off during Covid. For most of us it’s unpleasant but survivable. It’s really not the doomsday plague it’s being hyped up to be.

It’s not the only approach being taken either. I’m hearing more and more reports of hens stopping laying – and it’s now being linked to the feeds sold to the farmers. Switch from the commercial feed to something else (one farmer used goat feed instead) and the hens start laying again.

You’ll never guess who has investments in both the lab grown meats and plant-based artificial egg. Yes, him again.

So eggs are back on the demon list. This time they are claimed to cause blood clots. That’s right, something humans have eaten since the dawn of humanity suddenly causes blood clots.

‘Choline can cause blood clots when consumed in high concentrations’. No doubt it can, but note there is no mention of the concentrations required.

You need choline. It’s important for a lot of things. Choline deficiency has many nasty effects on your body. How much do you need? Roughly the amount you’d get if you ate four chicken eggs. Daily. Fortunately it’s also in other foods so you don’t need to stuff down eggs – although they are also a good source of protein and vitamin D.

Each egg contains roughly 113 mg, giving you 452 mg of choline. Every day, remember, your body can’t make enough of this stuff on its own. So what constitutes an overdose?

The highest level that is unlikely to cause harm is 3,500 mg per day. You’d have to get over that – every day – to get toxic effects. That’s a lot of eggs. In fact it’s nearly impossible to get to that level with food, you’d need to also be overdoing it with supplements.

So the scary article isn’t actually lying. Choline is found in eggs. Eat far too much of it and you might have some health issues. What they don’t mention is that you’d have to hoover out a commercial henhouse every morning for breakfast in order to have those problems.

Eat far too little and you will definitely have serious health issues. Very serious issues.

Rubbish science reporting like this is going to make people terrified of choline. They’ll be trying desperately to exclude it from their diets. And then they’ll get very sick indeed – and then the Pharmers will sell them an expensive treatment. Not a cure, a treatment. Because if you have taken all the choline out of your diet you will need to be on those pills for the rest of your days. You’ll probably never find out that they are choline supplements.

All this is done for money. Forget any notion that any ‘health organisation’ gives the tiniest shit about your health. They just want your money.

Same goes for the fake food producers. Their products have absolutely nothing to do with health. They just want the money too.

Stick to real foods. They’ve kept humanity alive and healthy for millenia. The new crap won’t do that.

Vaximal Farm

The Billy Gates Gruff has come up with a cunning plan to overcome ‘vaccine hestitancy’. He wants to put it in food. Injecting animals and, by some botanical magic, get it into fruit and vegetables. Which really only demonstrates one thing.

He has no idea what he’s talking about.

Every cell in every living thing is loaded with mRNA and DNA. Every microscopic cell in that carrot, or steak, or even toasted spider, is absolutely laden with the stuff. We all eat mRNA at every meal, and if it’s salads it’s not even denatured by cooking.

So, if you’ve eaten beef, you’ve ingested a massive amount of beef mRNA. Did you grow horns and a tail? If you’ve eaten carrots, did you grow roots and a big green tuft on your head? Of course not. None of the ingested mRNA or DNA is expressed by your cells. It’s broken into its constituent parts and used to make new human DNA and RNA. This is not the same as when it’s injected and given a transport mechanism to get directly into your cells. The stuff you eat gets dismantled and reassembled into the right format for your cells to use.

Even if he managed to keep it in the lipid nanoparticles, as soon as those hit bile in the duodenum they will be wrecked. Even assuming they survive stomach acids. It’s unlikely he can inject it into any kind of food and have the lipid particles/mRNA stay inert and stable long enough to be eaten, and if he can, the digestive system will rip them apart. It really isn’t going to work.

Of course, there are some unscrupulous researchers out there who won’t tell him any of this. As long as he keeps giving them money, they’ll turn up at work every day and fiddle around, pretending to try to do the impossible. You can expect to hear about research being done, but my bet is that, as with many things, it’ll gradually go quiet and fade away.

He does intend to ‘vaccinate’ farm animals but the only ones at risk are the animals themselves. Any surviving ones will be quite safe to eat. As for the insanity of getting it into plants, well, I bet his scientific team haven’t told him about plant cell walls either.

The only possible effect of all this is to try to persuade people to eat that mushed up insect crap. Try to make them scared to eat the real food until there’s nothing left but the insects. That could indeed be the end game here – but getting mRNA through food is never going to work.

There’s really no danger of it happening.


Granddaughter’s fifth birthday approaches. I have decided to get her a microscope. Well, I have been forbidden to buy her a crossbow, sword or power tools so it’s the next best thing. She’s very keen on child level ‘science lab’ stuff and I feel we’re going to need some real scientists in the future. The real ones we have left are being gradually pushed out in favour of the new breed of antiscientist. I won’t buy her a chemistry set, the modern ones are crap. I’ll make one for her myself.

Grandson will turn three later in the year. I know he’d love some dynamite but I bet that’ll be on the ‘no’ list too. I’ll have to think of something else. Maybe a motorbike. Ooo, I see they make child sized backhoe diggers…

Back to antiscience. I have noticed a marked rise in the lunacy of humanity of late. Oh sure, we’ve always had those madmen and eccentrics but they seem to be rapidly increasing in number and noise. There has been a Flat Earth Society for as long as I can remember but we’d just ignore them and let them get on with it. The contortions of logic required to explain why the southern hemisphere sees completely different stars to the northern hemisphere, for example, are most entertaining.

Yet now, there are those who claim that Antarctica is an ‘ice wall’ surrounding the flat earth (with no explanation of how someone can traverse Antarctica and still be on the same planet). They claim Mars is just another world beyond the ice wall, and not actually orbiting the Sun as our telescopes and even naked eye observations have made clear for really quite some time. It has expanded well beyond the old ‘turtles all the way down’ line and its proponents are really quite vociferous.

The ancient Greeks worked out that the world was a globe and made a remarkably accurate estimate of its diameter. Yet the flat earth idea isn’t just still around, it’s getting stronger. Is there something in it?


Anyway. Back to microscopes. I can’t give my granddaughter my ex-lab one, it’s a bit overcomplex for a five year old and it takes a lot of practice to use the 1000x oil immersion lens without driving it right through the slide. I have seen many ‘toy’ ones claiming 1200x magnification. It’s impossible to get to that level in air, you need an oil immersion lens to get the right refractive index so that your focus point is actually in front of the lens (and still not by very much!) rather than behind it. I certainly don’t believe a microscope priced at £14 can do it. You’d need a couple more zeros behind that number at least.

Besides, her parents are not going to let her cultivate bacteria to examine with it. All the stuff to do that is in my garage… give her a few years of growth first ;D

So, she’s likely to start with leaves, insects… probably around 200x would be fine as a starting point. 500x and she’d have a really good view of protozoa, single celled algae like Spirogyra and Chlamydomonas, diatoms, and yeasts. We can come back to the bacteria.

Of course, no light microscope can see a virus – although I think I recall reading about one that was just big enough to see – but most will need an electron microscope. A little out of my budget to buy, and likely to be out of her parents’ budget to run.

There has been a progression in antiscience here too. It started out with people denying that Covid-19 was real. Now that is a definite possibility. It entirely replaced the flu count in a single winter. Could it be simply rebranded flu? There is a very plausible argument that it was. However, it’s not exactly like flu. Its attachment protein – the ‘spike’ – is unlike any seen in any other coronavirus and it really does look as if it was constructed in a lab. So far, I’m going with it being a real virus but a manmade one, not a natural one. More on that another time.

Antiscience claims there are no such things as viruses at all. They are simply bits of waste disposal from cells. So why are there so many types, and why do they infect and kill other cells? Have you ever seen an image of a bacteriophage? These viruses infect bacteria and they have developed a remarkable system for punching through bacterial cell walls. Human viruses only have to get through a fatty membrane but at the scale they live at, the bacteriophage has to get through the equivalent of reinforced concrete. This is not some bag of waste, it’s a complex microstructure.

There really are viruses. People get sick from them all the time. So do animals. And plants. Even bacteria.

Speaking of bacteria, the antiscience now claims that even bacteria are not the cause of disease. We are creeping back to the science before Van Leeuwenhoek developed his first microscopes, when diseases were transmitted by ‘the aether’ and bad smells could make you sick.

If someone has anthrax, you will, 100% of the time, isolate Bacillus anthracis from the infected person. If you isolate and grow Bacillus anthracis (it’s really not that hard) and get it to sporulate (a little harder) and get those spores into a dry powder (very hard to do without infecting yourself) and then shoot that powder at someone… they will get anthrax.

If you have an eye infection you might find a doctor using a UV light on your eye. Why? Because Pseudomonas species are a common cause of eye infections and the nasty ones fluoresce green under UV. So you can be diagnosed in moments and the correct antibiotics prescribed.

Vibrio cholerae is the cause of cholera. Clostridium difficile causes devastating gut infections. You can isolate these from 100% of cases and if you’re especially villainous, you can use them to induce the same disease in healthy people. Some bacteria definitely do cause disease. There’s no getting away from it. Otherwise, why would you worry about Salmonella or Campylobacter in chicken? You want to eat raw chicken? Go ahead, I won’t be joining you.

I have isolated and grown many of these bacteria. I have seen them under the microscope. Heck, I once grew enough Cl. difficile to wipe out most of Aberdeen if I only had a Scwab villian suit and an underground lair. I suppose that’s why I also had massive public indemnity insurance… fortunately I’m retired and not paying for that any more.

If you think viruses are not real… how can you blame Bill Gates for polio outbreaks that were caused by a not-quite-dead polio virus in immunisations in Africa and India? How can you blame Dr. Fauci for gain of function research in viruses that were only in the imagination? Gain of what function, if they didn’t exist in the first place? And what were all those scientists paid to do, play computer games? You can’t have both at once. If viruses aren’t real then all the supposed crimes cannot possibly be real either.

The natural world is real and it’s not all unicorns and rainbows. It’s nasty out there, far nastier than most mollycoddled modern humans can even contemplate. There are parasites that take control of their hosts and drive them to kill themselves so the parasite can complete its life cycle. And not just in insects. There are things that burrow into you and live inside you so you feed it and shed its eggs without ever knowing it’s there. Nature is not some motherly being taking care of its creations. Nature is Thunderdome – you get in, you might not leave.

Humans used to know that, until we separated ourselves and pretended we were the ones tasked with taking care of Nature. Nature gives not a single shit about us, we are just another thing it came up with and like Velociraptor or Tyrannosaurus, if we don’t work out, Nature will move on to the next thing.

The best way for a species to survive is to do what the Coelocanth did. Nothing. Nothing at all.

Stay quiet, stay out of sight and Nature will ignore you. Start trying to take over and boom – you’re gone.

We are not the owners of this planet. No, not even you, Klaus. We are a species that happens to live on it for the moment. Monkeys with fancy toys. Nature has no need of us and absolutely no need of our protection, nor of our ridiculous notion that we have some kind of control over it all. When we are extinct, Earth will move on.

Maybe this is what the cats are waiting for.

It’s not all one thing.

Remember when every disease under the sun was caused by smoking? The arrival of Covid gave us smokers something of a respite. They had a New Thing to blame it all on.

Everything, every symptom, every rash, every little cough, became Covid. You could get flattened by a steamroller and you’d have died of Covid. The medical profession became obsessed – nothing else mattered, only Covid. In many places, you still aren’t allowed to see a doctor if you’re sick in case it’s Covid. People are still using crappy tests that have been shown to test positive with orange juice and diet coke to see if they are ill when there is nothing wrong with them.

No matter the symptoms, it’s now assumed to be Covid unless proven otherwise. The initial insanity has hardly faded at all.

Lately we are told to Fear the Kraken – a new variant that has cold like symptoms and spreads like… well, like a cold. Which is where these respiratory viruses usually end up anyway. It is not possible to vaccinate against the common cold because there are now so many viruses that have mutated from very nasty to ‘just a cold’ that no vaccine could possibly cover them all, and there are new ones appearing all the time. Always have been and always will be.

Now it seems to be swinging just as far the other way. It is now clear that the mRNA vaccines are causing a lot of serious harm to a lot of people, and young people in particular are spontaneously dying at unprecedented rates. The NHS and governments continue to push the vaccines of course, because money. Yet there is no excuse now, the harms are very clear.

Even so, not all sudden deaths are due to mRNA jabs. Even in the young. I recall hearing about a young pop singer who had a spontaneous heart attack, many years ago, long before these jabs appeared. Nobody expected it, he seemed in fine health but his heart really wasn’t. These sudden deaths have never been as common as they are this year but they have always happened.

A couple of friends of mine used to earn a bit of side money working as bouncers in a rough pub. They had training – in what not to do. Sure, they were allowed to forcibly eject drunken troublemakers but they had to be sure they weren’t going to end up killing or permanently disabling someone. There were holds that were barred and places they were not allowed to hit. A sudden slam to the chest, for example, can send the victim’s heart into fibrillation and if it’s not immediately defibrillated they are likely to die. The country pub they worked in was a very long way from a hospital and there were no street defibrillators in those days. There’s unlikely to be one way out there even now. They had to be careful.

So we come to the news of one Damar Hamlin, an American football player who collapsed on the pitch after a tackle. The ‘jabs are deadly’ group are desperate to claim him as a vaccine victim but is he? Maybe. Or maybe not. These kinds of heart attacks in the young and fit are, as I said, rare but not unknown. He could have taken a hit to the chest during the tackle.

Last I heard he’s recovering well in hospital so there’s good news so far. Still, I have wondered why there is so much desperation to mark him up as a vaccine injury. There have been so very many, why the enormous focus on this one case? Especially one where it’s not clear that it was vaccine related (it could have been, we don’t know yet) when there have been so many that are very clearly linked to the jabs.

It’s as if people need to blame everything on one cause. I suppose, in the old days, everything was Satan’s fault. I have an image of Satan hearing about the Black Plague and saying ‘Hey, nothing to do with me, I didn’t create those bacteria,’ but he got the blame anyway.

Later, smokers were to blame for everything from cancer to dandruff. And then Covid came along and it caused every symptom available. Every illness was Covid even if it was a broken arm.

Now we have the Demon Jabs. They do have a lot of documented side effects, it’s true, and it’s also true they don’t work as advertised (you can get five shots of this stuff and still catch the thing it’s meant to make you immune to) and true that they are now doing far more harm than good. They are definitely causing a lot of people a lot of problems and, in an increasing number of cases, solving all life’s problems permanently.

Even so, they aren’t the cause of everything. Sudden and unexpected death in the young and fit can happen. Always has. Insisting that every case must be due to the jab is a good way to discredit your cause. All it takes is one case that definitely wasn’t jab related and you’ll get that pointed out to you every time you bring up the subject.

Covid certainly didn’t cause every death in the past three years. There is an increasing argument that it actually caused far fewer than it’s credited for. Same for smoking and to be honest, it’s actually a pretty clean slate for Satan so far. Humans have created more dangerous diseases than he’s ever thought of. It’s a pretty easy job being Satan in the modern world. He just has to get the popcorn, sit back and watch us destroy ourselves.

On the flip side, you can’t pin every single sudden death on the mRNA jabs. Yes, they are bad. Yes, they don’t work. Yes, they are killing and severely injuring people but they are not the Only Cause Of Everything.

People die of all kinds of things. If you’re lucky, it’s old age, but not everyone is that lucky. Sometimes the sand in the Reaper’s hourglass runs out early. There is no single cause of all deaths. Never has been and never will be.

Life is not Pokemon. You don’t have to catch them all.

Lithium and books

Books first. The Christmas anthology is complete, just waiting for one author to come back with any last minute changes (to be fair, it’s less than 48 hours since I sent that PDF out) and then I’m back on the next novel in line. Underdog Anthology 19 is called ‘Have Yourself a Very Little Christmas’ and I have two main options for the cover, which I will post here for a vote.

And now lithium. This is right at the top of the Periodic Table and it’s an incredibly reactive metal. Very very dangerous indeed in its pure form. It’s used in many kinds of batteries now, especially rechargeable ones, and those batteries are hard to get rid of safely when they die.

When I was in school, in the seventies, we had some wonderfully deranged chemistry teachers (there was a lunatic physics teacher too, who let us loose with all kinds of things young teenagers shouldn’t have been trusted with, but more on that another time). There was never a boring chemistry lesson.

One of these chemistry teachers showed us 12-year-olds how water is formed. He had a cone shaped thing on a stand, pumped in one part oxygen and two parts hydrogen, lit the top and ran to the back of the class. There was a whine that declined in pitch until BLAM, the thing popped and fell over. It was great.

Another chemistry teacher explained the first column of the periodic table by taking tiny slices of potassium and sodium and dropping them into water. They burst into flame. You can’t extinguish these fires with water. Water just makes them burn faster.

That teacher explained, somewhat crestfallen, that he wasn’t allowed to show us the lithium reaction because lithium was far too dangerous to have in a classroom. It would burn on contact with air, and burn even more fiercely in contact with water. He did have lumps of pure phosphorus though. That was fun.

So, we learned that setting fire to hydrogen and oxygen produced water, a totally harmless substance that puts out fires – unless it is combined with the metals in the first column of the periodic table in which case it becomes something that can burn.

Consider: these chemistry teachers were quite happy to let us have access to things like pure ethanol and cyclohexamide and even to distil ethanol-dissolved compounds using a gas flame from a Bunsen burner. There was a really funny day when one kid didn’t have his ground glass joints sealed properly. Those teachers showed us how to produce sulphur dioxide, nitrogen triiodide and other things that would get you on a terrorist watch list in these modern feeble days. In physics class, we etched circuit boards using ferric chloride. Unsupervised, often. They’d let us loose with stuff that could kill us all and they’d go for a cup of tea. Maybe they didn’t really like us.

But even these lunatics weren’t allowed to play with lithium. We could light magnesium ribbon and watch it burn. We could poke mercury around the bench tops with our fingers. We could watch sodium and potassium react violently with water, and phosphorus with air. We could pour cyclohexamide into a sink and set fire to it (well, the teachers weren’t around for that one, nor for the time we filled the Bunsen tubes with water) but we were not allowed to see a lithium reaction.

Might give you an idea just how bad a lithium reaction really is. It is, really, exceptionally bad. And it takes very little to start it.

The internet is full of videos of electric vehicles spontaneously combusting. Lithium is so reactive that you just need a pinhole in a battery to get it started and then there is absolutely no way to stop it. Pour water on it and it just reacts faster.

YouTube has videos of people puncturing lithium batteries and the resulting firestorms. I have a few dead lithium batteries here, mostly from dead tablets, but if I do decide to film their puncturing I’m not doing it with a hammer and spike. I’ll do it with a crossbow from a safe distance. I like my fingers and don’t intend to lose any for the sake of a few YouTube upvotes.

Most of those sleek, low slung modern sporty electric dodgems have the batteries in the floor. Drive one up the farm track here and your arse will be on fire before you get to the house. I have a high ground clearance car for a very good reason, the farm track will rip the bottom off most modern town cars.

I do not ever want to sit on top of a slab of lithium batteries. If it starts to burn it’ll be very fast. You’d need Bruce Lee reaction times to get out of there.

The only use I’d have for an electric car would be if its dead battery were removed. I’d put a diesel generator in the back and rig it directly to the electric motors. Diesel-electric motive power, like a lot of railway engines.

Oh and you know the thing about diesel engines? They’ll run on vegetable oils. That’s what they were originally designed to run on.

And that’s why they don’t want you to have them 😉

The Devil’s Enzyme

I’ve been reading a lot of bollocks about Luciferase. That it’s a marker that glows under UV light and that it’s linked to Satan, all that stuff.

When I was working on my Honours project for my first degree (1980/81), I had the stinky project. I was working on the gut microflora of Eiseinia foetida, a type of earthworm that lives in compost heaps. Well, the career got gradually stinkier and much nastier after that but that’s not the point.

A friend of mine was working with a marine bacterium called Vibrio fischeri. He grew it in flasks on a flask shaker in an incubator room. When he turned the light off, there were all these rotating flasks giving off a green glow. V. fischeri produces bioluminescence in response to oxygen. How brightly it glows depends on how much oxygen there is, and that glow can be used to detect oxygen down to nanomolar concentrations. Of course, at that oxygen level you can’t see the glow, you need a photomultiplier and associated circuitry, but it really does work. I actually made use of that technique during my PhD, but it was a fellow student who developed it into a useful method.

This bacterium, and many other bioluminescent organisms, produce light using a compound called luciferin. It’s activated by an enzyme called luciferase. The enzyme itself does nothing without luciferin present, and luciferin is not activated without luciferase. UV light is irrelevant here. The mechanism produces visible light, it’s not activated by outside light. It is entirely dependent on oxygen concentration.

If you’ve ever been somewhere warm, even UK-summer warm, beside the sea, on a nicely dark night, you might have noticed a glow flickering through the water as it rolls against the shore. It’s usually called ‘phosphorescence’, and it’s the light produced by marine microbes when the water gets a blast of oxygen as it hits the shore. This is the luciferin/luciferase reaction. It’s perfectly natural and probably millions of years old.

Some say Monsanto or Pfizer or some other demonic company have patented luciferase. That’s not possible. It’s a natural material and can’t be patented. However, they might have patented a technique that makes use of it. I’ll come back to that.

Incidentally, I am also seeing claims of ‘luciferase’ on the swabs used for the ramrod-up-the-nose nonsensical tests. ‘Proof’ consists of running UV light over the swab and observing that the stick doesn’t glow but the cotton pad does. Cotton pads fluoresce under UV light. Try it with any cotton buds. It’s the cotton that lights up.

Now I’m not saying those cotton ramrods aren’t contaminated, there have been quite a few examples of what could be shoddy production techniques or could be deliberate, I don’t have enough reliable info to speculate on that. However, when you light them up with UV they will glow even if they are perfectly clean and sterile. Luciferase isn’t there, and if it was, it would be a waste of extracted enzyme because it won’t do anything – and won’t even last long – up your nose.

The ‘Lucifer’ link merely refers to the light produced in the reaction. It’s really not sinister at all. It’s been named that for a very long time and it was just some scientist thinking it was funny to name it that. Most of scientific research is unbelievably tedious so we do grab any chance to spice it up a bit. It really isn’t controlled by, nor in any way linked to, any demonic entity.

So, luciferase is nothing to be scared of. It’s an enzyme that catalyses a reaction with a compound called luciferin in the presence of oxygen and produces a rather pleasant glow. So, what nefarious purposes could it be put to?

Not many, really. Enzymes, especially when injected into a living organism, don’t tend to last very long. They are proteins and proteins entering your body are either regarded as food and dismantled, or regarded as invaders and smacked down by your immune system. Injecting yourself with luciferase is never going to get you that lovely Chernobyl glow. Even if it is active, it won’t be active for very long and with no luciferin to act on, it has nothing to do.

I really can’t see how Billy Gates Gruff’s ‘quantum tattoo’ can make use of it. If you want something invisible until illuminated with UV, this won’t work but there are many stable compounds that would. Still, it has become abundantly clear that Billy Gates Gruff is an idiot and there are many researchers out there who are more than willing to take full advantage of an idiot with a lot of money to spare.

The only possible way I can see it working in a quantum tattoo setting is if the tattoo contains a stable form of luciferin (not easy to do) and then you dab a swab of luciferase on it. Then it would glow on its own, no need for UV, in fact it would work best if your hand was in a dark box. It seems an unnecessarily complex way to go about things anyway. Surely it would be much easier to just use a traditional tattoo technique, or if you want to get all fancy, a stable fluorescent compound that will show up under UV.

I guess they are trying for something that can’t be easily faked by a backstreet tattoo artist but getting hold of V. fischeri is really not that hard (for someone like me anyway, I just need a jar of seawater). Isolation on agar is possibly one of the easiest isolations you can do – just look for colonies that glow in the dark. Extracting luciferin/luciferase would take time but I have the equipment here. Then I just need someone with tattoo skills and the pattern it needs to take. So it can still be faked and some of us would make an absolute fortune out of it 😉

I am getting to the opinion that the whole luciferase thing is a red herring, designed to get the tinfoil hats spinning. Sure, it might be possible to produce such a glowing mark, but really it’s far too much bother and far too unreliable to be much use at all. Luciferin is a protein too, that tattoo won’t last long. Then again, repeat application of medication does seem to be the modern profit model…

Really, I don’t think this whole luciferase thing is going anywhere. It feels like a handy distraction, the name alone gets people all worked up and the glow can be used to boost the creepiness factor. It’s never going to produce a reliably useful branding mark and there’s no need anyway. The chips are already ready to go, and have been in use for quite some time now. People don’t need to be coerced into it, they fight to be first in line.

As for curmudgeons like me, it might eventually be the case that if you don’t have a chip in your hand, you can’t get into shops, or onto public transport, or even start your car. That would be far, far easier to accomplish than some fancy biochemistry embedded in your skin.

They say the Devil’s greatest trick was convincing people he doesn’t exist. This time, I suspect the trick is convincing people that something imaginary exists, to distract them and keep them panicked over fantasy demons.

Meanwhile, the real demons continue unopposed…


Okay, let’s start this with ‘what the hell does this guy know about chitin’.

When I started my PhD on the metabolism of ciliate protozoa living in the rumen of cattle and sheep, it was a hot topic. Three years later, I finished, and science had moved on. Rumen protozoa had become a niche topic and there were no openings for a new scientist. So, I diversified. What transferable skills did I have?

Well, I knew a lot about microbiology by then, having gained two degrees in it, and especially about anaerobic metabolism – and I had no qualms about working with stinky things. So my first job after the PhD was a three year post doc on… well this should explain.

That wasn’t the only paper to come out of that project but it was the main one. Anyway, yes, I do know a good bit about chitin and it’s important to know about it because if the idiots in charge get their way, you’re going to be eating a hell of a lot of it.

Its biochemical name is poly-N-acetyl-D-glucosamine, a homopolymer (no it’s not gay, it’s a polymer of one type of molecule repeated over and over). Rather like cellulose or starch, except those are just polymers of glucose.

You can digest starch, mostly, but it comes in two forms. Amylose is just straight chains of glucose and very easy to digest. Amylopectin is straight chains but with branches coming off the chain, like a tree. If you have amylase enzyme you can digest it back as far as the branch points but you need a different enzyme to break those branch points. If you don’t have it, you basically shit out pollarded starch molecules. You’ll still get some energy from it.

‘Oh, so smartass knows all about starches too’. Indeed I do, since I returned to gut microbiology after three years of delving into stinky mud and, a few years later, supervised a PhD working on retrograde starch and its effects on pig digestion.

Cellulose is also poly-glucose but the chains are cross-linked. Humans can’t digest it, in fact neither can cows and other ruminants even though they live on it. Bacteria and protozoa can, and this is what the first stomach of a cow is for. The rumen (actually reticulo-rumen in case a pedant arrives) doesn’t secrete any enzymes. It’s a big bag of bacteria, protozoa and even anaerobic fungi. They do all the work of turning indigestible grass into highly digestible microbial protein and organic acids. The cow absorbs the organic acids and its liver makes glucose from them since the cow gets little to no direct sugar from its diet. The microbes get it first.

Then, once the microbes have turned the lousy food into every known amino acid, the cow moves a batch of them into its omasum/abomasum where they are digested. You can feed a cow with newspapers soaked in piss (bacteria will make amino acids from urea) and it’ll survive on that.

You can’t digest the stuff a ruminant eats. You don’t have a rumen. There are certain amino acids and vitamins you cannot produce and you have to get them in your food. Sure, you can eat grass but almost all of it will come out of the other end. The bacteria in your colon can use some of it, although we don’t all have cellulose degrading bacteria, but it’s the colon. The end of the digestive system. You can’t digest those bacteria.

So, humans can digest amylose starch, partially digest amylopectin starch, can’t digest cellulose. What has this to do with chitin and why should you care?

Chitin is the animal world’s version of cellulose. It’s tough and very hard to digest. Human digestive systems won’t touch it, colon bacteria might get something out of it but like grass, it’s mostly going right through. It’s what the exoskeleton (hard shell) of insects is made of.

So when you hear that insects contain more nutrition than an equivalent weight of beef, that’s discounting the fact that you can’t actually access most of that nutrition. The exoskeleton is made of a sugar, N-acetyl-D-glucosamine which is basically glucose with an amine group and an acetyl group tagged on. But it’s in a form you simply can’t digest, like the glucose in cellulose. Everything in beef is digestible. A large proportion of an insect is not. If you put both in a calorimeter to measure caloric content, the insects would win – but it’s not about how many calories a food contains. It’s about how many are actually accessible.

The ‘eat ze bugs’ pushers don’t care about that. Just like the Pharmers, your health is none of their concern. They just want the money.

Nobody is set up to eat insects. Ruminants can possibly digest them, they don’t hunt them but they probably get a few from eating the grass. It doesn’t matter to a ruminant. They just need a carbohydrate and a nitrogen source and their rumen microbes will make all they need. Human digestion will not work that way.

There has been some indication that too much chitin in your diet can lead to some serious problems. That’s possible – I have a small bottle of pure amylose (starch) that is marked as a potential neurotoxin in its pure form.

‘Oh, but some cultures eat insects all the time’. Sure. They do that because they live where there’s bugger all else to eat. And they generally eat grubs which are soft bodied and don’t have a chitinous exoskeleton until after they pupate. No humans, anywhere, eat insects unless there is nothing else.

We have, over millenia, put a hell of a lot of effort into keeping insects out of grains and flour storage. Why didn’t we just let them eat the grains and flour and then eat the insects? Because that makes us ill. We have known this for thousands of years.

Suddenly, insects are the food of the future. If you really believe insect food is your future, there is one thing you really should understand.

You have no future.

Entertainment: Construction Kit

A blast from the past. I wrote this in 2003. It was my first ever submission and my first ever accepted story. I admit it made me a bit cocky, and caused me to submit a few sub-par stories until I realised not every one was a winner. It’s the first story in ‘Fears of the Old and the New‘, a collection of the early published shorts. The ‘click to look inside’ gives you all of it apart from the last paragraph.

So, why do I post it now? The video linked at the end will give you a clue…

Construction Kit

My first submission was also my first story accepted for publication. This was in the online magazine Dark Fiction ( in 2003. Here it is with all its beginner’s mistakes intact.

“Looks fine to me.” Doc Short looked up from the small boy in his examination chair. “Probably just overtired. You know how kids can get. Too much excitement, then they just throw a tantrum over the slightest thing. Good night’s sleep, that’s my prescription.” He smiled down at the boy. “On your way, Peter, the nurse will take you back to bed.” The child grinned at him as the nurse led him away. Strangely disquieting, the way these children smiled, Doc thought.

He looked around at Bill Wilson, his boss. Wilson was watching, grim-faced, as the child was led away. Once the child was out of earshot, he turned to Doc Short. “Some tantrum,” he said. “That little boy broke an orderly’s wrist. It took three of them – three grown men – to subdue him. Something is definitely wrong, Doc, something’s wrong with them all.”

Doc Short forced a smile. He had his own misgivings about the children, but he couldn’t put them into words. Just a feeling. “Well, of course they’re not normal,” he said. “They’ve hardly had a normal upbringing, have they? Stuck in here, never going outside, never meeting anyone else. There’s bound to be some, well, anomalous behaviour now and then.”

Wilson looked pensive. “They’re stronger than normal ten-year olds. Faster. More intelligent. And not just by a small margin. But you know that, Doc, You ran the tests yourself.” He sighed. “Maybe we should consider terminating the experiment.”

The words cut into Doc as though Wilson had stabbed him with them. “You can’t!” he said, louder than he had intended, “Sorry, Bill, but you know what that would mean. You can’t just ‘terminate’ seven healthy children.”

“They don’t exist, Simon,” Wilson said, avoiding Doc’s gaze. “They’re an experiment. Nobody outside the Project knows about them. They’re just products, we made them. We grew them from fertilized eggs, in the incubators. They have no mothers. No fathers. No family. They belong to the Project. Outside, they just don’t exist.”

Doc sat heavily in his chair. “Still, they’re alive, they’re real children. Bill, the whole point of this project was to make babies for childless couples, for women who couldn’t conceive, or who couldn’t carry a child to term. Twelve years on, and we’ve succeeded – in fact we succeeded ten years ago, when these seven were born. Why is it still a secret? Why aren’t we doing what we set out to do?”

“The children aren’t normal, Doc. You know that.”

“They’re better than normal, Bill. You said it yourself. I’ve never seen such fit, healthy, intelligent kids. Talk to them – they’ve learned everything there is to learn here, and more. Why, I reckon Thomas could run the whole process we used to make him, all on his own.”

Wilson looked up, his eyes wide. “What? But how – when – did he have access to the labs? None of them are allowed in there!”

Doc smiled. Thomas was his favourite. He had grown fond of all the children, but Thomas was like his own son. The boy had always been interested in biology, and had been fascinated by the labs.

“He found his own way in. Worked out the codes for the doors, I don’t know how, and just walked in. He’s been doing it since he was six, never caused any problems, just watched and learned. We never reported him because he’s such a great kid, and he really liked being in the labs.”

“You could get into serious trouble over this.” Wilson folded his arms. “It has to stop, now, and…” A scream from outside cut him off. “What was that?” he said. For a moment he and Doc just looked at each other, then a second scream had them both racing for the door.

Along the corridor, at the far end, was a flickering light. “Fire!” Wilson started into a run. Doc was close behind him. Rounding the corner, they stopped abruptly, horror crushing their insides into nausea. It was a fire all right, and it was walking around.

The flames engulfed a large figure, arms flailing, dark mouth gaping soundlessly, the vocal chords already consumed. The figure collided with the wall, sending showers of sparks and flame into the air. Its eyes had melted, as had most of its features, and its last breath was not air, but combusting gases as it fell to form a lifeless, melting, stinking flesh-pool on the floor in front of them.

Wilson and Doc stared, mouths gaping, at the remains of the orderly. Simultaneously they noticed the children, standing on the far side of the flaming corpse.

Wilson found his voice. “What….what happened?” The children shouldn’t see this, said half of his brain. Why are they smiling? asked the other half. Doc Short didn’t speak, he simply placed a hand on the wall and emptied his breakfast into a slippery smear on the floor.

Peter grinned at Wilson, and pointed. “Your fault!” he shouted. “You caused this!”

Wilson stared at him through the flames, the smoke, the smell of charred flesh. “What do you mean, Peter? How could I cause this?” The cold stares of all the children were on him now, he felt the temperature fall around him despite the heat of the incinerated orderly just yards away.

Elaine grinned that maniacal grin they all shared. “You wanted to kill us. We can’t let you do it, we don’t want to.” Her pout was that of a ten-year-old but the flare in her eyes betrayed thoughts well beyond her years.

“How…how could you know that?” Wilson was in shock, he couldn’t see the hole he was digging for himself. “I had only just thought those things myself.”

Diane looked almost sympathetic. “You tested us. You tested everything you could think of – but you didn’t test the things beyond your understanding. How could you? Poor Uncle Bill, you never knew the powers, the abilities we have because you don’t know how to look for them. So you see, all this is your fault, not ours. We just want to stay alive.”

Thomas moved forward. “It was your fault from the start, Uncle Bill. You wanted to be God, to create life, but you forgot one thing. Life isn’t just the body. There’s more, much more. You gave us life, but you couldn’t give us souls.”

“So we found our own,” Richard said. “Or rather, to be accurate, we souls found these bodies you so kindly made for us. That’s the one flaw in your program that you never saw. You can create bodies, but they’re empty, soulless. Ideal for us.”

A snigger from behind made Wilson turn abruptly, then sink to his knees. Elaine was behind him – so was Peter! How? They could not have passed him in the narrow corridor, could not have passed the still smoking orderly, could not have stepped over Doc’s slumped, vacant-eyed form, without him noticing. As he stared, a pale light formed beside Peter, and gradually resolved into the solid form of Claire, with a smile that was half-amusement, half-contempt. Wilson slumped forward, shaking his head.

“That’s how you did it, Thomas. That’s how you kept getting into the lab.” Doc’s voice was barely audible, drifting from his blank face like smoke from a candle. “You didn’t learn the door codes, you just…just transported yourself through the door.” He was staring at Thomas as though he was seeing through him, through his flesh to what lay underneath.

Thomas looked at Doc with pity and obvious superiority, the nearest he could manage to kindness, like a goldfish owner looks at his pet. “Close, Doc. I didn’t go through the door, I went under it and over it and around it. We can use a dimension at right-angles to your three – too complicated to explain to your poor, limited brain, I’m afraid.”

“What are you? What have we created?” Wilson looked up, still hugging himself in fear. “What will you do?”

Stephen, always the quiet one, grinned at Thomas. “Should we tell? Should we tell them our secret?” he asked. The others looked at Thomas expectantly.

“Why not?” Thomas said, with a wide and evil smile. “They won’t be telling anyone else, after all. You tell them, Stephen.”

Stephen fixed his grin on Wilson, “We are, what you would call, demons.” he said. “We have no bodies of our own, never did. We’re not ghosts or spirits of the dead, we’ve never had access to your world. Oh, we’ve tried. We’ve tried to possess the bodies of the living but it never works. The soul puts up quite a fight, you see. We either lose the battle and get expelled, or destroy the body in the fight. Some of us have held power over bodies for a time, but never for long, and we could never bring all of our powers with us. The soul always got in the way.” His face twisted in bitter remembrance.

Peter took over. “Now it’s different. Your cloning methods produced soulless bodies. We took possession when they were still in the incubators. There was no fight, so the possession was perfect. We have the bodies and we still have all of our demonic powers. We’re here to stay now, and we can bring more of our kind through.”

A sudden hope dawned on Wilson. “No.” he said. “You won’t. You’re sterile, all of you. You can’t reproduce. There will be no next generation of demons. You’re all there is.” Finally, he thought, some triumph. They haven’t won after all.

The children’s laughter was deafening, and fell like hammers on Wilson’s head, confusing his thoughts.

“Fool!” Thomas shouted. “We don’t need to reproduce by your primitive, messy and unreliable human methods. We can produce all the soulless bodies we need, right here. You’ve provided us with the construction kit.” He gave Wilson a look of sardonic amusement. “Every little boy should have a construction kit, after all. This project, this building is secret. You made sure of that. Nobody knows of its existence, nor of our existence. The staff have no families, no-one to tell your secret to, so no-one to miss them.  Food is delivered, paid for automatically, so we don’t even have to worry about that. For all this, we thank you.” He turned to Doc with a smile. “And thank you, Doc, for showing us how to run your little kit. Your reward will be painless.”

Doc looked up, his face displaying his grasp of the implication. His eyes turned white in an instant as he slumped back, lifeless, against the wall.

The children turned their attention to Wilson. “Your reward is a little different,” Peter said, sniggering. “But first, we have to thank you, It’s only polite.” His smile was contempt incarnate.

Stephen spoke solemnly: “Yes, Uncle Bill. We thank you for your gift of life, and for the gift of those who are to come.” All the children joined in, as if in prayer. “We will not forget how you brought us to this world, and how you provided us with the means to bring all of the others here. Thank you, Uncle Bill. Thank you, and goodbye.”

Wilson could not contain the horror in his mind and hardly noticed the ache in his joints until they began to unravel. As his body dismembered itself in a symphony of agony, he thought he heard himself screaming.

It took nearly 20 years for this one to get close to reality.