Flashing my equipment

Well, I’m on the Twitter naughty step again, this time for a week. For ‘covid misinformation’ in a post that didn’t mention Covid at all, but was about the lunacy of forcing children to have a vaccine they don’t need. Well *shrug* it’ll boost my productivity in other areas, with that time-eater silent for a week. Therefore this post won’t automatically appear on Legiron’s Twitter.

So I have a 30 minute video, sent to me via Email, that really blows apart the PCR testing regime, and more. Not just the insane cycles that are enough to find one single strand of viral RNA – less than one intact virus – but about those performing the test.

Well it was clear that, if they are to achieve thousands of tests per day, there simply aren’t enough experienced PCR technicians available to do it. Even if every other research area was closed down and every PCR technician (few technicians are actually PCR technicians) seconded to a tedious and repetetive test that they will know is being wrongly used.

So they aren’t using experienced technicians. They are using anyone they can find. I’ve met a few on Twitter, bragging about how they are now PCR experts. A few lines of conversation reveals they know absolutely sod all about what they are doing.

In the video, Dr. Mike Yeadon talks about ‘pipette training’. No such training has ever existed. When you start out in a lab, a technician or researcher will show you how to use a pipette. Once. You are expected to be able to follow simple instructions because anyone who can’t understand something as basic as a pipette is actually dangerous to have in a lab.

Okay. Time to flash my equipment. If you’ve worked in any kind of lab handling small amounts of liquid you will be very familiar with these. If you only used glass pipettes at school and haven’t seen these before, they might look technical. They really aren’t, but use them wrong and you’ll screw up the whole experiment.

These are still in the case I used to transport them from the lab. They are actually stacked far more neatly than this, I’ve spread them for the photo (fnarr). There are a couple of other brands in there, the ones Dr. Yeadon talks about are the Gilson brand, the ones with dark blue handles. The others are cheaper but not as robust. Gilson pipettes are the gold standard, they are well built and consistently accurate, and easy to calibrate and service.

The one marked A is a 1 ml pipette. You see the thumbwheel near the top of the handle? You can adjust it down to about 0.01 ml. It’s accurate all the way down. B and C are 200 microlitre and 100 microlitre – again, adjustable down to a few microlitres and still accurate.

You don’t use them as they are, they have a tip added. I have put a tip on the 1 ml Gilson to demonstrate (D). You never have to touch those tips, you pick them up from a rack they’ve been sterilised in by pressing the Gilson into one, and you eject the tip by pressing the white button on the back of the handle. I used sterile tips, once they were used they were contaminated (often with something nasty) so absolutely no touching.

To load them, you press the plunger (the round white button on the steel rod) but not too hard. Just until it stops. Dip the tip in your sample liquid and let it up slowly. That’s the critical part. If you just let go, liquid shoots up and can get into the main barrel of the pipette and that’s when you are screwed. A contaminated pipette will contaminate every subsequent use. It’s out of action until you deal with it. It’s not too hard but it does take time and involves disassembling the pipette, something you really don’t want to have to deal with part way through a lot of samples.

The sample you are pipetting must only contact the tip. No other part. To dispense, you press the plunger again, but this time a little bit past the point of resistance so you get the whole sample out. Then eject the tip into disinfectant.

Well that’s the microbiology way. If you are using these in a chemistry lab you probably don’t need to sterilise them first and disinfect them afterwards.

And that’s about it. After that lesson all you need is a bit of practice. Oh there’ll be nuances and adjustments depending on whether you’re pippetting chemicals or microbes or DNA, but that’s the basics.

The thing about PCR and DNA is that it is extraordinarily easy to contaminate a sample. Easier even than when pipetting bacteria. You really want a well trained and experienced technician doing this stuff, not some shelf stacker from Asda looking for a bit of a boost to their bank account.

One of the things I learned during my stint working in a food shop is that most of the staff aren’t really planning to stay. There are career people in there, at least one of the managers had started out working tills and worked his way up to running the entire shop, and there were current floor staff clearly heading on that route. However, most of the staff were schoolkids and students earning a bit of cash while studying. The thing about them was – they did not care about the job. They were doing it purely for the money. They had no intention of, nor interest in, moving up through the ranks of the business. They just followed instructions closely enough that they’d get paid.

So it is with almost all of those currently running PCR tests for Covid. They might think they have been suddenly elevated to the rank of ‘PCR expert’ but they are, to be blunt and perhaps a little cruel, trained monkeys. They don’t have any background in any area of science and have absolutely no idea what they are doing. They just follow a written-down set of instructions. They have no way to determine whether those instructions are correct.

As Dr. Yeadon explained, even the ‘pipette trainer’ had no idea what they were doing. In the case he describes, they actually were previously employed as a supermarket shelf stacker.

An aside. I recall when one of our very fine balances went out of kilter. So I sat down to recalibrate it. The idiot girl child they had employed as admin started out saying ‘Shouldn’t you leave that to…’

I finished her sentence. ‘Someone who knows what they are doing?’. I had completed recalibration before I had finished speaking.

She never spoke to me again. I think I can call that a win.

This was about 20 years ago. It’s only become worse since then.

Drugs from the Bottom

Warning: This is my area of expertise, what I have spent my entire career doing so it could get more than a little bit lectury. I’ll try to keep it not too technical.

So, it seems Buyoff Billy has his next scheme under way. He wants to make drugs that modify your intestinal microflora.

A brief aside first – I haven’t been around much lately. Couple of reasons – I’m tied up with editing and my eternal dodgy guts decided to go for the big time last week. Half-convinced I had appendicitis, it got so bad that I actually called the doctor’s surgery without being nagged into it!

The doctor called back within minutes. A brief glance at my medical records (there isn’t much in there) would have told her that the last time they saw me, some years ago, I had cracked ribs and a bashed kidney and had been peeing blood for three days before I gave in and called them. They know I’m not the type to bother them unless it looks like imminent death. I was actually invited to visit the surgery! I declined because CStM doesn’t drive and I was in no fit state.

Notably, there was no mention of vaccine or testing. I suspect many doctors are getting sick of the charade too. Some are speaking out, some are resigning, which isn’t good. It means we’ll be left with only the Pharmer shills. For now, there are still some good ones working.

Anyway, she prescribed some pills, my daughter picked them up for me and it’s all good now. Well, it’s back to ‘normal’ – I still have dodgy guts but that runs in the family, so to speak. This is somewhat relevant to the post – I worked in intestinal microbiology almost all of my career, dealing with some very unpleasant samples and quite a few dangerous pathogens. I did a lot of work in probiotics and prebiotics with possibly the best motivation a scientist can have – fixing my own gut problems.

I haven’t fixed them, since it’s genetic I doubt that can ever happen, but I have learned to mostly control them. Mainly with diet. And an occasional dose of The Stuff I Can’t Talk About, which I have in the fridge here.

Brief explanation of The Stuff for anyone new here – after the department I worked in closed down I went solo. Self employed in research and consultancy. Basically, rogue scientist. I did a lot of work for food companies, rented lab space (bizarrely, just a few doors along from the lab I worked in before) and that work was mostly on prebiotics. It’s still covered by confidentiality agreements so I still can’t publicise what was in it. Nor indeed, what is still in it in my fridge.

‘Prebiotic’ was a very poor choice of name, because trying to search ‘prebiotic’ throws up a lot of work on the chemicals on Earth before life evolved. Picking out papers on the modern definition was seriously difficult. The modern prebiotic is something you eat that specifically feeds the good guys in your gut so they are better able to kick the crap out of the bad guys when they show up – or even if they are already there. This is different to ‘probiotic’ which involves adding live bacteria – usually one or more of the lactic acid bacteria group – to your microflora. Like Actimel. That’s a probiotic. Inulin is a prebiotic, it works but take too much and you’ll get gas production to rival Russia. The Stuff does not have that problem.

My first work as a loose cannon centred on Clostridium difficile, a very nasty bacterium that you mostly catch in hospital when your immune system and gut bacteria are already buggered by antibiotics. Oh I could fix it, the doctors who let us try this on patients were delighted. The antibiotics they’d need to use on this infection – metronidazole and vancomycin – are very heavily toxic themselves. They are last-resort drugs, but nothing else worked. We (the food company I worked for, me, and a couple of other scientists acting as advisors) made a yoghourt-like drink that was actually very pleasant. One a day and the symptoms soon reduced. Best of all, it contained nothing that could be considered a medication so you didn’t need a prescription.

As I say, the doctors were delighted. Admin were not. They blocked every attempt to arrange a proper, definitive trial. We could not get a yoghourt drink past their ethical committee. Why? Well it was cheap and involved no patented drugs. Oh we knew why, the doctors knew why, but none of us were allowed to say. It was something to do with certain peoples’ profits. I’ll say no more on this.

Right. Few people think much about what happens inside them. In your gut there are about three pounds (approx. 1.5 kg) of bacteria. Doesn’t sound like much does it? Okay, take a glass of water. There will need to be close to a million bacteria per millilitre before that water starts to look cloudy. And it won’t even register on a normal kitchen scale as being any heavier than a glass of pure water. Three pounds of bacteria is not just a minor amount. It’s an entire ecosystem. There are more bacteria in everyone’s gut than there are people, or even mammals, on Earth. Many, many species – it used to be classed as around 400 species until DNA analysis really took off and we started to find genes from bacteria we didn’t know existed. Now it’s likely to be at least double that number.

Incidentally… from the linked article…

“It’s only in the past 15 years that we’ve come to understand the incredible diversity of the microbiome. It’s almost like a rainforest inside our bodies. There are 100 times more bacterial genes than human genes,” says Smith.

Past 15 years? Bollocks. We’ve known about this for a very long time indeed. It was clear when I started, when I moved from ruminant to non-ruminant gut research in 1990. We were meddling with the very fabric of life itself even then, working on probiotics for pigs to try to stop a K88 variant of Escherichia coli that made pigs very sick. It doesn’t hurt humans at all but then E. coli O157 does nothing to pigs so… swings and roundabouts.

Early on in my career I had considered the ‘perfect probiotic’. You would take this bacterium, most likely a Lactobacillus or a Bifidobacterium, dose it into one pig and it would spread through the piggery and they’d all be protected. I soon realised it couldn’t work, but my reasons were not the same as those who were trying to put me off.

Their reasoning was economic. If my idea was possible, there’s no money in it. Selling one dose to an entire piggery, once, was nothing compared to selling a weekly dose that had to be dosed into every individual pig. Well I could see that but my focus has never been money. I’ve never had very much of it and wouldn’t know what to do with it if I did.

My reasoning was that the gut bacteria are an ecosystem that does not like to be disturbed. They are, you could say, territorial. This is different in every single gut, the dominant species in yours is not the same as the dominant species in mine. You mess up the equilibrium they have established and they will make you pay. A big dose of antibiotics will do it, the equilibrium is broken and they hit the exits fast.

While that equilibrium is in chaos your gut is open to the establishment of a new one. Not necessarily a better one. This disruption is how things like Cl. difficile get a hold, and several other gut infections only found in hospitals. Oh you won’t have heard about those, you only hear how they are smoke-free, not infection-free. I blame it mostly on the outsourcing of cleaners but that’s another story, related to the reasons behind food borne diseases. A different lecture, I’ll try not to get distracted.

Okay. So. You have a gut ecosystem in equilibrium. This is why Salmonella has to go in mob-handed to set up an infection. A few of them will get wiped out at once. They need thousands in one dose to get established. The Local Gut Bacteria do not like strangers.

They don’t like probiotics either. Yes, they are the ‘good guys’ but they are still strangers and the gut bacteria do not like competition. That’s why you need to take things like Actimel daily. The bacteria it contains will not establish in your gut. Their competitors will fight them for that ecological niche.

So we come to prebiotics. Your gut already has many species and genera of the lactic acid bacteria. The prebiotic idea is to feed them, make them stronger and better able to fight the pathogens when they try to invade. It works, it boosts your resistance to gut pathogens (other than viruses, bacteria can do nothing to stop them) but it can never transfer between people. You can pass on a live bacterium but not a chemical that’s bacteria food. You have to take this stuff routinely and individually.

Which can be profitable even if it’s cheap. But if it’s not profiting the Pharmers, they stamp on it. We have seen this in action recently. There’s no point denying it, it’s been clear for a long time.

You can fix most gut problems with diet. I am not lactose intolertant and I do not have gluten allergy. My fucked up guts are genetic. However… I won’t get a life threatening reaction to gluten but I definitely react badly to having too much of it. Basketball belly and power washer arse. Gluten and lactose are in so many things now it’s easy to get an overdose. Even if you don’t have an actual allergy, an overdose can be bad.

You know those precooked chickens and chicken pieces that are browner than anything you’ve ever cooked? They are coated with lactose. It’s not sweet enough to be noticed but it caramelises like sucrose. Gives that lovely brown colour without adding sweetness. You eat those, you’re adding to your lactose intake. Too much and, as with gluten, your gut bacteria go into overdrive and… boom. Literally.

Now, Billy Gates Gruff is getting involved in this. He is not going to be interested in faecal transplants (these work best between related individuals because your own genetics have an effect on which bacteria grow best in there) because these are not Pharmer profits.

He has made clear he wants a ‘vaccine’ that spreads on its own. A genetically modified bacterium that establishes in someone’s gut and spreads through the whole population. This is the way to do it. He won’t make a lot of money from it but does he really need any more? He will, however, gain massive control from this. Your guts will be subject to patent.

Because as with everything else he has meddled with, it will be a disaster for humanity. Everyone’s gut is different. Everyone has their own unique gut ecosystem. When this thing gets into you, you are likely to need lifelong medication to keep it under control.

I doubt the Billy Gates Gruff understands this, he’s just a front man after all. He just revels in the cash. He does nothing, he pays other people to do stuff. In the Global Heirarchy, he’s middle management.

So his solution is going to be expensive meddling, like everything else he does. It’s going to harm and kill a lot of people, but then as a population-reduction advocate, that’s his goal anyway.

If you don’t have any gut problems, stay well away from anything that comes out of this.

If you do, look at your diet first. That is where the solutions lie.

Entertainment – The Trojan

Monday is author quarterly payment time. Currently Leg Iron Books pays 100% of profits to authors (every book sale has a profit even if it’s pennies) because there’s enough coming in from the anthologies that there’s no need to pick out a penny from the author pennies.

So. I have been keeping abreast of developments in the rather silly Covid nonsense that’s going on now and I thought, well, there’s a good idea for a story in here. This is it, I’ll probably include it in the Halloween anthology because this crap isn’t going to end any time soon so I’m likely to need yet another lockdown title. Later though, I’m still editing Wandra Nomad’s book (slow because I was a little bit ill lately, but it’s grown back now).

Anyway. Without further ado, here’s a tale of pure fiction. Pure fiction. I just made it up. Try to keep that in mind. Oh and it’s very first draft. There may be adjustments to be made.

The Trojan

Darius Blackthorn wrinkled his nose and dropped the sheaf of papers onto the desk. “This is a flu virus. It’s hardly a weapon. Okay, you made it a bit more infectious but it’s not going to do much, is it?”

“Ah.” Doctor Robson picked up the papers and tidied them into a neat pile. “I appreciate that your speciality lies outside the biological sciences, Mr. Blackthorn. Very few people would grasp the implications of this result and that is exactly how it should be.”

“So?” Blackthorn reached for the whisky decanter. “I’ll offer you a drink when you’ve explained yourself. I’m no expert, it’s true, but it’s pretty clear that all you’ve done here is add some attachment proteins to what is basically a flu virus.” He poured himself a drink and stared into Robson’s eyes.

“Well, that’s what it looks like because that’s exactly what I designed it to look like.” Robson eyed the decanter for a moment. “It’s meant to appear as though it evolved naturally. Just a flu virus with extra infectivity. Oh sure, someone will work out it’s not natural but by then it’ll be too late.”

“Why would anyone even investigate it?” Blackthorn took a sip of his whisky and placed the glass carefully on the silver coaster on his desk. “It’s bloody flu. It’ll kill as many as flu does every year and the rest will recover and forget about it.”

“This is only part of the weapon. The virus will do rather more than flu but it won’t do it to very many people. That’s true, but the virus isn’t the explosive in this weapon. It’s just the primer.”

Blackthorn shook his head. “You’re really not making any sense.”

“Well, let’s try an analogy. You are, of course, familiar with the story of Troy?” Robson raised one eyebrow.

“Of course. The gift of a giant wooden horse that turned out to be full of soldiers. It’s a legend pretty much everyone grew up with.” Blackthorn narrowed his eyes. “I’ve paid you a lot of money to come up with a new and effective bioweapon and you’ve produced flu. I suggest you hasten your explanation.”

Robson took a sharp breath. He was well aware of the reputation around the Blackthorn family. They did not exactly take failure in their stride, and especially did not tolerate failures they had paid a lot of money for.

Robson cleared his throat. “Okay. The flu is the beginning. Only we don’t call it flu, we call it something else. Then we ramp up the scares. We attribute every flu case to our new virus and when it puts a few into intensive care, we really publicise that.”

Blackthorn sniffed. “That part is easy. I can pull strings with the media and the health services and I have people advising the idiots in government. They’ll do what they are paid to do.” He steepled his fingers. “But it’s going to turn out to be flu in the end. We can’t keep the fake going forever. People will notice there are no bodies piling up anywhere.” He glared at Robson. “And the death toll will be a normal winter death toll. As weapons go, this is total shit.”

“The scare factor is a critical part of—”

“Dammit!” Blackthorn thumped the desk. “I can scare people just by looking at them. It doesn’t kill them. I paid for a weapon, not a bloody Halloween trick.”

Robson held up his hands and took slow breaths. Blackthorn was indeed currently scaring the shit out of him. “Okay. I’m getting to that. The scare factor is a critical part of getting people to take the vaccines.”

Blackthorn took a deep drink of his whisky. He rubbed his eyes. He topped up his glass and stared at Robson in silence for several minutes before intoning “Vaccines.”

“Yes, I—”

“You are going to give me a trivial ‘bioweapon’ and then cure it.” Blackthorn shook his head, slowly. “I should have gone with Armitage’s idea. It was crazy, as usual, but at least he didn’t plan to provide a cure.”

“Ah, but the vaccines are part of the weapon. The virus is the primer, the vaccines are the explosives.” Robson allowed himself a smug smile for a moment.

“Okay.” Blackthorn drew a deep sigh. “Explain.”

“The virus is actually irrelevant.” Robson clasped his hands. “It’s the attachment protein that’s important. It’s deadly, but nobody will realise that for months at least. They’ll think it’s the virus causing heart and other organ failures because all they’ll see is infected people.”

Blackthorn nodded. “Continue.”

“Well, the attachment protein is the obvious candidate for a vaccine. Which means vaccine companies will inject millions of people with the attachment protein and,” Robson grinned, “some new technologies will have people producing it in their own body cells. They’ll think they’ve been immunised against a virus when really, the virus itself would do most of them no harm. It’s our Trojan horse to get the toxic protein in. We don’t need to spread an infection. They’ll queue up to get the toxin injected.”

Blackthorn pursed his lips and blinked a few times. “Brilliant. That’s bloody brilliant. So the virus does sod all, it’s the cure that finishes them off.” He furrowed his brow. “But won’t they notice when people start keeling over after being injected?”

“Most won’t.” Robson wrinkled his nose. “But a few will. More than with any other vaccine. We’ll need your influence to keep up the virus scare and simultaneously play down the vaccine injuries and deaths.”

Blackthorn waved his hand. “No problem. But if it doesn’t affect too many, is there any point?”

“Oh that comes later. The attachment protein will react fast in a few who are sensitive, but it will react much later in most people, so far down the line they’ll never link it to the vaccination. Maybe a year or so.” Robson grinned. “It’s the weapon nobody sees coming, and they won’t even recognise it when it does. A Trojan virus full of molecular soldiers.” He coughed. “Oh and incidentally, those of us who have shares in vaccine companies might want to increase our holding.”

Blackthorn said nothing. He simply poured whisky into a fine crystal glass and set it in front of Robson.

Farm Animals

CStM’s choice of book in the previous post seems almost prophetic. The Vaccinators are all set to force the experimental vaccine on children… and then pets.

Found here

My bet is that all of these will need ‘booster shots’. Someone is getting very rich indeed out of all this, and they don’t care at all how the experiment turns out. Well, some have an interest in how it turns out, and they don’t have our best interests at heart.

My bet is that their next target will be livestock. Farm animals. For their protection? Hell no. For profit and for another reason.

Remember the big scare about growth hormones in beef cattle? Then mad cow disease? It put a lot of people off beef. How do you think they’ll react when they find out the experimental vaccine is now in every single piece of meat on every shelf, everywhere? Remember, one of the primary objectives of this insane ‘great reset’ is to stop meat-eating. All meat.

Of course, the vaccine in meat is meaningless. Every living cell contains DNA and mRNA (except red blood cells so black pudding is totally safe). Every one. All animals – and all plants too. Ever hear of anyone suddenly being able to photosynthesise after eating a salad? Of course not. Your digestive system breaks all that DNA and RNA into bits. Your cells can use the bits – the basic blocks are the same – to build its own RNA and DNA. It doesn’t use the genes, just the bits.

The same is true of proteins. These are broken up into amino acids and reassembled into proteins your own body needs. If you are on a low-carb diet, some of that protein is burned for energy too. Eating a sheep does not turn you into a sheep. The education system does that.

As an aside, eating fat doesn’t make you fat. Those fats are broken and mostly used for energy. The fats in your own cells are human fat, made in those cells, mostly from carbohydrates. You do not have a store of beef fat in you.

So I’m not going to be at all concerned about jabbed beef. If cooking doesn’t destroy the vaccine and its products, digestion will. I was never concerned about beef hormones for the same reason.

The mad cow disease was a bit more of a concern since the prions were shown to be heat resistant, but it turned out to be a very rare event with around ten cases a year. Still, all you had to do was avoid the main nervous tissue, brain and spine and although I have eaten cow brain in the past (being a broke student opens all kinds of interesting culinary options) I don’t need to eat that cheaply now. I still like liver though. Very good source of vitamin D and a very nice meal too.

If they can convince you that your pets have covid, it is a tiny step to convince you that farm animals have it. Then they can inject all the farm animals and once those side effects start to really get under way, many, many people will suddenly be too scared to eat meat.

There is a horrifying logic in this plan. It has to fail before they get to children, but then they are already running trials and have already ruined a few little lives before they really started. That won’t stop them. They don’t care.

The ‘vaccines’ are still experimental. They are still only allowed under emergency authorisation and that is in itself already illegal. Covid is not a highly lethal disease and there are effective treatments available. There is no need for these vaccines at all. The authorisation also only applies while there is an emergency. Stop the emergency and they can’t sell any more vaccines, and you know what that means.

Lockdowns are here to stay.

A new plague?

Book stuff first. The 14th anthology was delayed because I thought I was waiting for one last aurthor contract to come back. If it was the Halloween or Christmas ones I’d have been nagging but the Spring anthology isn’t fixed to a date so I let it ride while working on the cover and interior formatting.

Anyway. Turns out it was in the spam folder all along. So that part’s all done.

It matters because until each aurthor agrees to their contract, I don’t have the right to publish their work. I don’t have copyright to any author’s work, that is always with the author. What I pay for is the right to use their story in the anthology. But I do have to have their agreement. In writing.

At any point up to the agreement, the author can decide ‘nah, I don’t want to be in it’ and withdraw their story. It’s never happened and probably never will but I don’t take the chance. In such an event, even distributing the interior PDF file to the authors, with the withdrawn author’s work in it, would risk legal action. Sure, it’s unlikely to ever happen but if someone wanted to make life miserable for me, they could set up such a scenario.

And since I have been, shall we say, a bit ‘off the narrative’ concerning the current Covid farce and the insanity of the experimental vaccines, there are likely to be those who might try. Far more important people than I will ever be have felt the Wrath of the Woke lately. Paranoia? Maybe. In the world today that’s probably the only safe way to be.

Still. Contracts are all in. I can progress the book. I hope it’s out by the end of April, otherwise I’m really going to regret not calling it ‘The Clotted Bloods of May’.

Now. About this new plague. It looks rather more concerning than Covid at first. So far it seems confined to an area within New Brunswick in Canada and there is no definite clue as to its cause. There have been 47 cases to date.

Symptoms include rapidly progressing dementia, muscle spasms, atrophy and a host of other complications.

It sounds like a beefed-up version of Mad Cow disease. Remember that? That was only producing around ten cases a year (in the UK) and it was a much slower progression of dementia than this. I don’t think it had the spasms and atrophy symptoms either, but it was (is?) a prion disease so there wasn’t much microbiology could do about it.

That one was spread by eating infected meat, especially beef. The prions were fairly heat resistant so could certainly survive in rare beef. As for me, I use my grandmother’s cooking method for most things. If you stick a fork in it and the outside shatters, it’s ready. This applies especially to chicken, for entirely different disease-risk reasons. I cook chicken until you can carve it with a sharp glance.

This new brain disease is still under study. Nobody knows what causes it. At least it hasn’t been claimed as a Covid symptom yet, which is slightly surprising since everything is a Covid symptom now. Including having no symptoms at all. As a smoker, this has been quite a relaxing year. Everything that used to be caused by smoking is now blamed on Covid.

Just heard that it seems the first case was reported in 2015, which cuts down the scariness factor by a lot. Rather than 47 cases in recent months, that means around 8 cases a year. Which is on a par with the old mad cow disease, although this one seems a lot faster and nastier. Still, if it’s stayed confined to one locality for six years, it’s not easily transmissible and is most likely dietary or environmental.

So this isn’t the End Times bug. It’s also not Covid and nothing to do with vaccines. It’s a local problem most likely tied to some local and very specific cuisine or environment. Its appearance now and its reporting as something that has just appeared is going to scare a lot of people.

But then scaring people is all the rage now. Governments are doing it all over the world. That annoys me for one very important reason.

Scaring people is my job.

Shingles all the way

Okay, now there are stories that the vaccines are ‘causing infections with herpes’. Let’s start off with the prime fact here – this is impossible. Herpes viruses are an entirely separate group of viruses. None of the vaccines contain any live coronaviruses and herpes is not a coronavirus. Herpes is a DNA virus, not a RNA virus. It’s far more stable than coronavirus.

What the vaccines might be doing is triggering shingles (that’s what Herpes zoster is). You can’t catch shingles. No really, you can’t. This is a resurgence of a childhood disease called chicken pox. I had chicken pox so I’m always at risk of shingles (hasn’t happened so far, I’m happy to say). If you have never had chicken pox and you come into contact with someone who has shingles, you can catch chicken pox. You won’t get shingles until later.

Herpes viruses are sneaky little sods. Some of them cause little to no symptoms at all, few of them are actually dangerous but a lot of them can make your life really miserable for a while. I had chicken pox over 50 years ago and I can still smell the calamine lotion to this day. My parents painted me Barbie pink with that stuff. It wasn’t a cure – there really isn’t one – it was to stop it itching so I wouldn’t frantically try to rip my skin off. Bursting all those blisters could leave a lot of scars.

The shingles species is not the same as the oral or genital species (Herpes simplex types 1 and 2). It won’t blister your bits nor will it give you cold sores around your face. It’s the remnants of chicken pox.

Herpes can hide in your body after the immune system has shut down the initial infection. It can come back for an encore when you’re not at your best. Anyone who suffers cold sores knows this, the sores can come back time and again over the course of your life and then they disappear – but the virus hasn’t gone. It’s waiting for its next chance to cover your face in suppurating pustules and make you suffer. This is truly the virus from Hell. It doesn’t kill you, it subjects you to eternal torment because you never know when it’s going to pop back up again.

Okay, so why are some vaccinated people getting shingles? The herpes virus will wait until your immune system is at low ebb, and it’s clear that many vaccines will reduce your immune response to other things for a few days after injection. Heck, your immune system just had a massive invasion of something foreign. It’s really busy. It can’t deal with another infection right now.

You can’t catch shingles. If you get it, the virus was already there, probably for decades. Biding its time. Just waiting for your immune system to be at low ebb or massively distracted. Then it hits.

And then, when your immune system recovers and deals with it, it’s still not gone. It just retreats into the shadows until it sees another chance.

Herpes viruses are not that dangerous on the whole, although a few can potentially trigger cancers. They are enormously unpleasant though, you really don’t want to activate them if you can at all avoid it.

The vaccines might trigger a shingles outbreak in some people, but it cannot cause the infection for two reasons. First, it is an entirely separate group of viruses and second, you simply cannot catch shingles. You can’t be injected with shingles virus. It’s a chicken pox comeback tour, the virus has to already be in you.

Here’s some layman’s-terms information on herpes viruses.

And some more detailed info for those who managed to stay awake through my lectures.

I’m not making light of these viruses. They are really horrible things to experience, but considering some of the side effects reported for these new experimental vaccines, I’d say those who suffer with a bout of shingles are getting off reasonably lightly.

I doubt they’d agree with that, but at least they’re not blind or dead.

The Vaccinators

That’s going to be a short story title for sure. Heck, it should have been a 1960s thriller series. If I could travel back in time… I’d be too young to write it.

So we have the One True Disease now and everyone thinks it’s instant death. Nobody’s much bothered about cancer or diabetes or anything else at all. Just the One True Disease that will kill us all.

Except… well over 99% of those who get it make a full recovery. And then we play with percentages.

Covid kills around 0.3% of those who catch it, with a mean age of 82. The younger you are, the lower that percentage goes. Strangely there are no percentages available on so-called ‘long covid’ which is actually a well known phenomenon called post viral syndrome. This is a real thing but it’s really not common and I’m betting you know few, if any, who have experienced it. Basically, it means the virus (any virus can do it) wreaked so much havoc that it will take weeks or months, sometimes years, to recover from it. All those damaged and destroyed body cells have to be replaced and it can take some time. The virus (any virus and indeed many bacterial infections, including Campylobacter which is in most chickens) could trigger Guillame-Barr syndrome and that might never get better.

So you decide. Live your life in sterile bubble-wrap or take your chances and have some fun before the shit hits the fan. It might never happen, your personal fan might remain forever shitless and if you stayed in the safe zone you might end up feeling pretty silly one day, lying in a hospital bed, dying of nothing.

Let’s face it. We are all going to die. None of us are immortal. One day I’ll be gone and these words, and the books I’ve written, will be all that’s left until a solar flare wipes out all electronic records. Most of the books and all the scientific papers are at least in print somewhere but this blog? It’s around until the sun decides to send us a reset. That will happen too, eventually. I hope it doesn’t happen before I die, it would be a pain to see it all wiped. Also, I hope the books don’t make millions after I die since they’ve made sod all while I’m alive. If you buy my books after I die I’m haunting you. Buy them before and you get unmolested sleep. I think that’s a fair deal.

Percentages. 0.3% die of this virus. We are told a ‘new variant’ is 100% more deadly. That means it kills 0.6% of those it infects. Does that sound far less scary than ‘100% more deadly’, or is it just me?

We’re also told that the vaccines reduce the death rate by 80%. Okay. We are starting with a 0.3% death rate so an 80% reduction takes that to 0.06%. 0.3% to 0.06%, well, if you are in the 0.24% that’s good news but if you were already in the 99.7% who weren’t going to die anyway, big deal.

Remember, the mean age of death is 82. Coincidentally, that was my father’s age when he died. Not of Covid, he died before this shitshow got under way and that might be a dark kind of blessing. He did not have the patience to deal with this nonsense. So, if you are 82 and you are in the 0.24% who are saved by the vaccine… how much time do you think you realistically have left? Months? Years? Weeks? Hours?

Oh I know it sounds fatalistic but I’m 60. The president of Tanzania just died at 61. I have known people who died at 40 of heart failure and brain haemorrhages. I remember a co-worker who died in his forties of cancer. Didn’t smoke or drink, was never overweight, it got him anyway. You and I are like filament light bulbs. We can burn bright today and tomorrow – pop. One day you just don’t wake up. The rest of the world carries on.

Life is finite for all of us. We have all just wasted a year of it in lockdown. You don’t get that added back on at the end, it’s gone. Done. The year you have spent cowering in terror has brought you, me, all of us one year closer to meeting the Reaper. Death’s hourglasses didn’t stop for a year. You don’t get to turn the clock back. That year is gone. The skeletal referee will not give you ‘injury time’ at the end of the game. How many more years do you want to waste, in fear of something that has a 0.3% chance of killing you?

Let’s play a game. Let’s say you follow every deranged and made-up piece of advice the ‘health experts’ spout. You don’t smoke or drink, touch no drugs of any kind, eat as directed, drink the required volume of water, recycle your tofu packets, all of it. Then one day you’re out for a drive (or more likely, cycle) with all your hi-viz gear and your perfect road sense and following every guideline… but you don’t know that the guy driving at breakneck speed towards you has a pile of empty cheap vodka bottles in the back of his car and is swigging from his sixth today. Maybe he’s had a crap life, maybe he’s suicidal, but now he can barely see the road, never mind you. What do you think comes next?

Squish.

And he’ll rattle on along the road until he finds the corner he can’t take and he’ll die without knowing he killed you.

That, I’m afraid, is the reality of life. Any second now, your gas boiler might explode or your toaster burn down your house. You might have a blood clot building in your brain or an aorta that’s about to pop and leak your life away in your sleep. Any of us, no matter how healthy we might feel today, could be dead tomorrow, We are not indestructible, we are actually quite easy to kill.

So what do you want? A life of nothing, of pure safety, that might end spontaneously at 100 or 90 or 70 or 40 or even 20? Yes, that happens. Or do you want to end it knowing you at least made the best of it and enjoyed it? You only get one go at this. When ‘Game Over’ appears, you don’t get to respawn.

You can take the covid vaccine. That will let you get on a P&O cruise this summer. You’ll still have to wear masks and socially distance even though every single person on that ship is vaccinated. Does that make you think? At all? For many, the answer is, of course, no.

The vaccine is currently being blamed for blood clots. Not just any blood clots, as the MSM would have you believe. I don’t know if you can access this if you don’t have Twitter but if you can, this tells you it’s some very specific blood clots. Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis. Not the general ‘blood clots’ that are no higher than expected. A specific type that is 700% higher than expected.

This should come as no surprise since it’s already known that the virus spike protein activates platelets and initiates clotting. The virus itself does it so making the spike protein in your body can do it too. Fortunately this reaction is rare. For now. Long term? Who knows? Nobody. There hasn’t been any ‘long term’ yet.

Also, this concentration on blood clots is odd. Nobody suspended the vaccine over effects such as blindness or Bell’s palsy or even death. Why this one?

And then there’s the long well-known thing about vaccines. Any vaccine will make you more susceptible to the disease you’re vaccinated against for up to a week, while your immune system cranks up. Normally it doesn’t matter. When I was vaccinated against rabies and various forms of hepatitis, my chances of encountering the disease within the next week were pretty much zero. Even tetanus, unless I went out and rubbed dirt into open wounds in the next week, chances of getting infected were close to zero.

But now, we are giving vaccines against a virus that’s endemic. It’s here. Now. All over the place. Chances of encountering it are pretty good. And we are priming people to get it.

But hey, nobody cares what I think. Maybe if you hear it from the head of the Vaccine Development Office at the German Centre for Infection Research, you’ll pay more attention.

Or maybe not. Maybe you’ll laugh this off and ignore it. Maybe you’ll try to convince me your way is the One True Way. The choice is yours. Your future is yours to decide.

It always was.

Health?

Digression first. My car battery has died completely. Not surprising really, it had six weeks last April of being totally immobilised because of a broken gearchange cable. Naturally all dealerships were closed for Covid and it’s a dealer-only part. I eventually got one from the United Arab Emirates, for about half the cost (including import duty) of getting one from the local dealer. So that was fixed. Still the car hardly went anywhere.

More recently, the front brake caliper broke so that was another short period of car paralysis while waiting for parts. Fortunately these are fairly generic so no need to harass the dealers.

Normally, this car would have had a run to Wales and back at least once a year (over a thousand miles round trip), and would have had regular runs to Aldi/Tesco which is at least a forty mile round trip whichever one we go to. We have not set foot in Tesco since last March. We get online orders delivered. So, the car really only gets to run two miles to Local Shop once in a while. Over winter, that short trip also involves using lights and heater and well, batteries just don’t like the cold anyway. No wonder the battery is buggered.

So, I looked up battery replacements. I have a little booster, about the size of a mobile phone, which is amazing. Clamp it onto the battery and the car starts. You then have about thirty seconds to get it off the battery before the back-voltage makes it explode but hey, what’s life without a little risk?

I found that the AA have a mobile battery replacement service. As a member I just pay for the battery (they ain’t cheap) but even if you’re a non-member it’s worth keeping in mind. Non-members get charged £35 (plus the battery you’d have to buy anyway) for the job, and they will come to you no matter where you are stuck. They will, of course, try to sell you membership but they’ll fix your battery anyway.

I booked a slot online at 1 am (March 2nd) thinking it might be a few days before they arrived but then I wasn’t really planning to go anywhere. I was astonished to find I could book a time for March 2nd! Yes really, later the same day! So I booked it for the afternoon because mornings are the invention of Satan and I will have no truck with them. Besides, why rush? It’s not like anything is open out there. I admit to being impressed by this.

Anyway, the car has had more things go wrong with it this year than ever before and it’s mostly because it’s been sitting idle, sometimes for weeks at a time. The exhaust heat shield rattles too but I don’t think I need to worry about that. I think of it as background music (early Kraftwerk was very similar).

Anyway, enough digression.

Mad Hancock has taken control of the government’s ‘optional’ vaccine program. Things are about to get much more draconian. Merkel has declared that anyone in Germany not taking the vaccine will be ostracised from normal life. Australia is doing much the same as are many other countries in Europe. Some parts of Spain intend to fine people who don’t want the vaccine and Germany has new concentration camps for lockdown refuseniks. You’d think Germany would know better, but then Israel are refusing entry to the unvaccinated in many places and they really should know better.

The reality of vaccine programs, none of which have ever required this level of enforcement and propaganda even for much more dangerous diseases like polio or tuberculosis, is that you need roughly 80% uptake to keep the disease in check. This assumes the vaccine works. You do not need to vaccinate every last individual. If two in ten people are unvaccinated, and one of the two has the disease, they can only pass it to one other person. The other eight are safe and the disease can’t spread far. It dies out.

This is what happened with tuberculosis in the UK until Tiny Blur decided to let the rest of the planet move here. I’m vaccinated, and it was double-checked when I started in microbiology. I’m vaccinated against many things now. I’m not taking part in an mRNA experiment though.

Well, there are at least five vaccines out there. Pfizer and Moderna use the mRNA experiment. Oxford/AZ use DNA in a viral vector to do much the same. I don’t really believe any of these will change your DNA unless there are extra bits in there I’m not aware of. I have other reasons to be concerned.

The Novavax uses virus spike proteins in a tiny fat micelle. It looks like a virus but has no DNA or RNA in it. It’s basically like a viral infection that’s firing blanks. I don’t hear much about that one. Still, so far, none of these four contain any intact coronavirus. They should not be able to cause an infection.

The Johnson and Johnson one uses killed or attenuated coronavirus. Again, it should not cause an infection.

So, does it matter which one you get? Not at all. None of them work as vaccines. None of them stop you getting the virus and none of them stop you spreading it. The best they offer is a lessening of severity of disease and really, that only matters for the elderly or the infirm. I don’t know when we suddenly became so terrified of a virus that knocks you sideways for a couple of weeks, we’ve had flu since the beginning of humanity. It’s horrible but you survive it and then you’re immune.

Oh and ‘long covid’ is not new. It’s post viral syndrome. Many viruses can leave you in such a mess it can take months for it all to grow back. It’s not a new thing.

So now we have, suddenly, to vaccinate every single person on the planet with a vaccine that does not stop spread but the vaccinated will have a little badge to say they are safe to be around. No they aren’t. They have a vaccine that means they might not even get noticeable symptoms but they are still spreading it. They are very dangerous to be around. Not to themselves but to everyone else.

See, if you let a virus spread unhindered when you have blocked its vicious symptoms, you have created the ideal conditions for it to mutate into something utterly diabolical. It can’t do that if it makes people sick. Sick people stay home and well people know to be vigilant around the sick. The natural development of any virus is to become less dangerous and so become more easily spread. Nobody cares about the common cold. It’ll make your nose go crusty for a few days and then it’s gone. The less harm the virus does, the less care anyone takes about avoiding it. So simple Darwinism says that the less vicious variants will survive, the deadly ones won’t.

These vaccines allow the virus to continue spreading. It’s an artificial Darwinism: it’s not becoming less dangerous in reality, we’re making ourselves artificially resistant to this variant.

Since it’s an RNA virus it will be throwing up mutants all the time. By refusing to let it naturally decline into just a cold, we are allowing it to spread unhindered and there will be a much more dangerous variant at some point. One which will laugh at the vaccines.

This is Bill Gates’ prophecy of ‘the next pandemic will make people pay attention’. It’s being set up now.

And you know, none of this is happening to protect you or to boost your health. It’s all happening for the same two reasons it always happens. The same reasons behind everything that happens. Money and control.

The reason everyone has to be vaccinated this time is the Tiny Blur’s failed ID card scheme. This is the same thing again. Get the Covid card or never enter a business premises again. Never travel, never get credit, you are a nonperson. Why? Vaccination requires around 80% uptake to be effective against much more dangerous diseases. This time it has to be 100%.

Then there’s the money. People still think vaccines are for their benefit. They were at first but now it’s a business, not a medical intervention. Pharmers are not about cures any more. They are purely businesses and only interested in the bottom line. So you will have to get the vaccine every year at least and you can’t enter a supermarket unless you do. Dollar signs are lighting up the eyes of big business Pharmers the world over.

You think it’s free? Nope. Your taxes pay for it. You are paying.

The Covid passports are not about tracking you. That’s already easy. They are a first principle. Get one medication effectively compulsory and the sky’s the limit. You will need to prove vaccination against a whole raft of things just to buy a newspaper in your local shop if you let this go. It is not like the vaccinations you need to have to get into certain countries. This will be a range of vaccinations you need to have to visit your local coffee shop.

It is not about health. It’s been made very clear that the covid vaccines don’t do that.They do not stop spread so a vaccine passport does not make anyone safe to be around.

It is about money and control.

The Silent Editor

First of all, Mark Ellott’s new book, Reiver, is up on Amazon and Smashwords. I have a couple more to deal with but the backlog is gradually declining and the 14th Anthology will be open for short stories on March 1st regardless.

That’s the advertisement done (if it’s good enough for You Tube, it’s good enough for me) so on with the post…

A long time ago, I wrote a story called ‘The Gene Genie’, about a research student who worked out how to turn on archaic genes in the human genome, and gave herself gills and a tail. It’s in ‘Fears of the Old and the New‘ and I thought I had posted it on the blog, but it seems not.

Anyway. The information I had on the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for Covid suggested that it was an adenovirus manipulated to express coronavirus spike protein. I was corrected on this recently and it seems it’s actually worse than I thought. It’s not using standard vaccine methods at all. The Johnson and Johnson and the Novavax ones use dead coronaviruses or the spike protein alone. You can’t catch anything from them, they just show your immune system the dead virus proteins so it can get ready for a real infection.

There is still the issue of antibody-dependent enhancement which has plagued attempts at coronavirus vaccines for fifty years. Basically, the vaccine makes subsequent infection far worse. I have no idea whether this has been solved, nor if it ever can be.

Today I received more information by eMail and obviously I’m not going to say who sent it. So there is more information available now.

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use mRNA in little blobs of fat. They’ll get into your cells because your cell membranes are made of fat and the little blobs will merge with them. The mRNA will cause your body cells to produce the spike protein, your immune system will recognise it as ‘wrong’ and kill the cells expressing it. This has never been tried in humans before and it does risk setting up an autoimmune disease, but it will not change your DNA. It will also not infect you with Covid, there are no intact viral particles in there.

A couple of points – mRNA is ‘messenger RNA’. In normal cells, DNA is never used directly to make proteins. DNA is the master copy of the plan. mRNA is a photocopy of DNA that’s used to make proteins. It wears out so you don’t keep making the same proteins over and over. If you need more of that protein, another photocopy is made of the original plan and sent to the ribosomes (the things that read mRNA and build proteins). This process does not go in reverse. mRNA is not turned into DNA. An extra mRNA can cause problems but it is not getting inserted into DNA. That doesn’t happen.

The mRNA also should not be able to replicate itself unless if contains the genes to do it – I don’t know which genes are included in these vaccine mRNAs so can’t comment on that.

The second point concerns an enzyme called ‘reverse transcriptase’ which does indeed make a DNA copy of RNA. It is only found in retroviruses. These viruses contain RNA and the reverse transcriptase enzyme. They get into your cells and make a DNA copy of their RNA, which your cell’s ‘photocopier’ then uses to make many mRNA copies which are sent out to make many copies of the virus. It’s much more efficient than just having the one bit of mRNA in the cell. HIV is one such virus. And yes, HIV does insert itself into your own DNA where it can lie dormant for many years.

The Oxford vaccine has used reverse transcriptase to make a DNA copy of the viral RNA. It does not have reverse transcriptase in the vaccine, no need, the adenovirus is already carrying DNA. They will have done this because DNA is much more stable than RNA so it doesn’t have to be deep frozen. I had the impression they had engineered an adenovirus to express coronavirus spike protein itself, but this seems to be not the case. Instead it does the same thing as the mRNA versions, except it inserts DNA rather than RNA.

Well, while the mRNA will gradually break down so the dose you get is all you get, the DNA version will produce multiple copies of mRNA within the cell. What matters here is what happens to that DNA. Does it eventually fall apart or not?

If not, you’ll have cells producing spike proteins continuously until the T cells take them out.

Will it get inserted into host DNA? That’s a long shot but it’s much more possible than with the mRNA versions. Absolute worst case scenario – it inserts into the genome and goes dormant. So it replicates when the cell replicates, like HIV. Some years down the line, something, perhaps an infection, triggers it and now you have quite a mass of cells producing spike protein. You’re going to get very sick indeed.

I must stress that this is an absolute worst case scenario and there is absolutely no evidence that it will happen. However, it is a long term issue and since all these vaccines are new, experimental and released under emergency licences, there is no evidence for or against long term effects for any of them. The NHS is putting out adverts saying that the vaccines have undergone stringent safety tests. This is not true. None of them have completed the full range of tests, they are all under emergency licence. Long term effects? Nobody has a clue. This is the experiment.

My biggest concern remains the antibody-dependent enhancement that every single previous coronavirus vaccine has caused. This makes subsequent infection with the virus very much worse. I don’t see anything that gives me any confidence that this issue has even been addressed, much less solved, by any of the vaccine producers.

So I’m not going to take it. Whether you do is up to you.

Monsters from the Id

Well, everything is running slow here. We had a heating boiler failure while the temperature dropped to -10C, now it’s fixed and the temperature barely gets below 5C. Still, it was good exercise for the wood burning stove. That’s now back in ‘supplemental’ mode but at least it’s been properly tested. The landlord has also provided a log-basket fireplace for the utility room (which has no heating of any kind) so that 18th century fireplace with the iron swing-arm pot holder should soon be back in use. It’s actually at least 100 years younger than the one in the living room…

We could indeed use it, and the living room wood burner, for cooking if it came down to it. Yes, we can party like it’s 1699. With rabbit, partridge, pheasant and possibly venison. The guy who runs the local deer cull is known to us – and before you start shedding Bambi tears, have you ever turned a corner in the road and faced a deer staring at you? If you hit one at speed it will die and there’s a very good chance you will too. Since there are no longer wolves in Scotland, the only predators deer get are ticks and the population can quickly get out of control. I’ve had quite a few near misses since they seem to find it funny to jump out in front of cars.

It could well become neccessary. There is currently a massive push to get us to live on locusts, mealworms and/or vegetables. You know, that green shit that grows in the dirt and the nasty crawly things that live in it. No meat. Not for us plebs anyway. Although if a few of the New Stasi go missing, who’d notice?

Anyway, we’re being pushed into a Brave New World. Aldous Huxley took the title from a line in Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’, you know, a line spoken by the deformed maniac Caliban. The title of this post comes from ‘Forbidden Planet’, a film based upon the same play. Sometimes the connections are obscure but I think this one was too easy for a competition.

The Monsters from the Id (subconscious) are all around us now, dragged from the shadows by the manipulations surrounding Covid. Manipulations that lead to a new world indeed, a world of misery and despair in which we will own nothing and be happy. Or dead. The Righteous Ones are fine with either outcome.

I recall when butter was demonised to make way for the New Spreadable Plastic Crap In A Tub, culminating in ‘I can’t believe anyone is daft enough to think this is butter’. Lard, too, was replaced by the various cooking oils. The old ways were deemed Bad even though obesity and other ailments were far less prevalent in those days. It was always about money of course. You can’t sell something new when a perfectly good alternative already exists so you have to make the alternative bad.

So it is today. Massive investment into edible insects means meat must be demonised. Nobody is going to swap a bacon sandwich for bread with wrigglies in it willingly. They have to be convinced that the meat is going to kill them. Incidentally, proper bread recipes include a bit of lard…

Well, the whole ‘cows cause climate change’ thing hasn’t worked, so cows have not yet been rendered extinct. We can still get a burger. Now of course you can get a burger made of massively processed plant material instead of actual meat. Well, not for me, thanks all the same.

So what’s next on the ‘meat is deadly’ agenda? Simple. Recycle something we’ve known about for many years as a new and terrifying development.

When I was at university, 1978-1981 for my first degree, we examined plasmid transfer in a practical class. I have since run such classes myself. Bacterial genomes are not like plant or animal genomes. They are made of the same stuff – DNA – but they are not organised into chromosomes. There’s no structure. A bacterium does not have a nucleus, its DNA is one long circle that just floats about in the cell.

It can also have little circles of DNA separate from its main DNA. These are plasmids and they can be transferred between bacteria. They send a copy of themselves along a tube called a pilus when two bacteria connect and if you break the connection at set times, you can work out the order of genes on the plasmid. But I don’t want to get into full lecture mode. Suffice to say, this is nothing new.

The non-structured circular DNA of a bacterium has another feature. Unlike the rigid-ish structure of plant or animal chromosomal DNA, it is very, very easy to insert an extra bit into the main DNA in a bacterium. They can pick up fragments from the environment, they might insert them, they might not. The scale of numbers we are talking about with bacteria means that the chance of a few insertions is actually pretty high.

There are viruses that infect bacteria. These are bacteriophages, and they only infect bacteria. Just like the ones we get, they are fussy about which bacteria they infect so one that bursts from an infected E. coli is hoping to find another E. coli nearby.

I’ve previously explained how viruses are mindless and inefficient copying machines. These are no different. The bacteriophage particles, when assembling inside the cell, don’t all get loaded with bacteriophage DNA. Sometimes they get loaded with bits of host DNA instead and when they ‘infect’ another cell, instead of making viruses they ‘gift’ the cell with some DNA from another cell. As a bonus, when one bacteriophage enters a cell it blocks all others from entering. So if it injects bacterial DNA, that bacterium is now immune to any real viruses.

As with DNA picked up from the environment, sometimes the bacterium inserts it into its own genome, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes the new DNA forms a plasmid. Since we are always talking in billions with bacteria, it doesn’t have to happen very often to produce something new.

None of this entails new discoveries. We’ve known about all of it for a very long time. Sure, you can be scared of it if you want but it’s going to happen anyway. It’s been happening since long, long before we even knew DNA existed and there is nothing we can do about it.

Well, there is one thing. If meat is cleanly slaughtered it should not be coated with gut contents. Even if it is, cooking it thoroughly will kill any bacteria that might be on it. Chicken is a special case – nothing to do with gene transfer, it’s because Campylobacter can get into the muscle tissues. So chicken realy does need to be cooked through. You can get away with a rare steak, but rare chicken is taking a huge risk. Again, this is not one of my lectures (well, maybe a bit, old habits die hard).

I wonder if this is part of the Internet effect. When I did my first and second degree, the internet didn’t exist and computers were only just getting into homes. And I’m talking about Sinclair ZX-81’s and BBC’s for those who could afford them. A BBC computer with Cub monitor and Cumana disk drives was quite an outlay in those days. Some years later I bought three of them for a fiver each – they’re fun but the internet is way beyond them. But I digress.

When I did my degrees we had to go to the library to look things up, and often that involved going into The Stacks, in the basement, where the old stuff was stored. Once the internet took off, that changed rapidly. Now you can sit at your desk and search PubMed and other science databases – but certainly at first (and probably even now) the internet didn’t go very far back.

I started seeing papers published that made me look twice. Some Lactobacilli can grow in air? I had a reference to that from the early 1970s, it was not a new discovery in 1990. There were a lot more like this and I realised that the internet was only documenting research from around 1985. Earlier stuff was still on paper, in The Stacks, and nobody went there any more. If it wasn’t on the desktop and accessible online, it didn’t exist.

I have seen so much more of this since. An entirely unrelated one – when firing a bow, you don’t grip the bow because that will make your wrist twist when you fire and you’ll be off target. I’ve watched people fire bows and then slowly dip and raise them deliberately with a firm grip throughout. It’s wrong. It’s what it must look like in action but the ‘dip’ is because you weren’t holding the bow too tight. Not some little theatrical thing. It comes from an internet that doesn’t go back very far.

If I’m feeling generous I could accept that these researchers have only looked online for the past research and think they are onto something new. In fact this stuff stopped being publish-worthy a very, very long time ago. So it’s not in their searches because nobody has scanned those papers into the net yet. Or maybe they have, as PDFs, which won’t listen to a keyword search.

If I’m feeling cynical, as I usually am these days, I can see it as a deliberate attempt to scare people away from meats, by pretending we’ve only just found out how gut bacteria change while, naturally, ignoring one small detail.

Insects have gut bacteria too.