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Comment: Re:Jurisdiction be damned (Score 1) 463

by PeterM from Berkeley (#48153473) Attached to: Positive Ebola Test In Second Texas Health Worker

Why said anything about lawlessness? What *law* would stop a bunch of CDC experts from showing up at the hospital and saying to the admins, "Here we are, this is a very serious situation, and we've brought X and Y and Z resources to help. Let us help you please."

I *know* that if I'm a hospital admin, and there are these guys in my office offering that class of help, I'm not going to be saying "no".

So what laws would be broken, exactly? If the CDC offered that level of help (quite legally) and the hospital (also legally) told them to go take a hike, we'd know EXACTLY who to blame. Furthermore, the CDC would be on the spot in force able to cope with the screw up.

--PM

Comment: Jurisdiction be damned (Score 1) 463

by PeterM from Berkeley (#48149057) Attached to: Positive Ebola Test In Second Texas Health Worker

The CDC should have been all over the hospital jurisdiction or no jursdiction. People's lives are on the line.

It's quite evident that in the US there are people who can handle ebola. These people were not in Texas, and the stupid hospital admins did not realize that they needed the help. Regardless of that, it's been demonstrated that help has to be forced upon any hospital handling Ebola whether they like it or not.

--PM

Comment: Perspective? (Score 1) 419

by PeterM from Berkeley (#48131197) Attached to: Texas Health Worker Tests Positive For Ebola

Yes, right NOW Ebola isn't a common way to die. Only 8k cases.

WHO projections of an uncontrolled Ebola epidemic have the number of cases up into the millions next year.

So apparently Ebola can become one of the top ten causes of death worldwide within 1 year. It has already overtaken terrorist attacks. In a month or so, it will have overtaken lightning deaths (60k per year worldwide).

I just hope that we can do better than 'uncontrolled'. So far it has not been a happy trend.

--PM

Comment: Re:No worse than AIDS, are you kidding? (Score 1) 419

by PeterM from Berkeley (#48131069) Attached to: Texas Health Worker Tests Positive For Ebola

OK, in Texas, we have 1 health care worker infected per 1 patient, so far, and the sick health care worker was aware of the ebola and trying hard not to get it.

In Spain, we have 1 health care worker infected per 1 patient, also aware of ebola and trying hard not to get it.

On the postive side, the West has managed to treat 3 others without any more health care workers getting sick.

So in the West, the score is maybe 5 patients and 2 health care workers sick so far.

I would call that alarming. But wait, it gets worse.

In Africa, health care workers are 5% of the cases overall.
http://time.com/3502002/ebola-...

Presumably they are doing their best not to get infected too.

We need to do better, far better, in protecting health care workers both in the West (where we are doing poorly) and in Africa, where we are doing VERY poorly.

--PM

Comment: No worse than AIDS, are you kidding? (Score 5, Informative) 419

by PeterM from Berkeley (#48123923) Attached to: Texas Health Worker Tests Positive For Ebola

AIDS doesn't cause contagious blood, spit, diarrhea, and vomit to go everywhere. Ebola does.

AIDS doesn't infect health care workers who are treating patients unless there's a needlestick or sexual contact. Ebola does, with alarming frequency. Even if you DO have sex with someone with AIDS, it's not 100% that you'll get AIDS.

AIDS can't be spread by sneezing or coughing. It's possible Ebola *is*.

In terms of contagiousness, Ebola seems 10x worse. It's like saying "smallpox is no worse than chickenpox". Maybe if you put them both on a logarithmic plot and back up 50 feet!

--PM

Comment: Breakeven != economical (Score 3, Interesting) 151

by PeterM from Berkeley (#48121857) Attached to: Z Machine Makes Progress Toward Nuclear Fusion

What the Z machine does is zap a little metal box of wires that may contain fusionables with a high voltage/current pulse that is stored in a really enormous bank of capacitors. Naturally that destroys their target and makes kind of a mess in the process.

I think they manage 8 shots/day if they're lucky.
8 shots/day is a far cry from a reasonable power flux. I'm not sure current pulsed power technology (not to mention other engineering) could stand doing this at some reasonable frequency like 1Hz without breaking down in a few minutes.

But at least they put a good fraction of the power input into the target, NOT like laser fusion--the lasers are horribly inefficient. (1%?)

-PM

Comment: You nailed it--humans need to be altered (Score 1) 549

And Mars is the wrong habitat for altered humans. If you're going to fix humanity, remove dependence on uncommon conditions. Instead, make us survivable in common conditions:

high radiation
low temperature
vacuum
microgravity

Then we can go live on asteroids or artificial space habitats and not worry about expending a lot of energy just to leave our home rock and find another one. We can live in orbiting space habitats and move them out of the way if a big rock is coming our way. If one space habitat gets smashed anyway, well, tragic, but ideally we'll have millons.

And these re-engineered humans will have a far, far easier time making it to other solar systems, but not to other "life zone" worlds, but rather to artificial worlds in orbit free of the worst chains of gravity.

--PM

Comment: Re:If ET shows up proselytizing (Score 3, Interesting) 534

by PeterM from Berkeley (#48033021) Attached to: Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

There's a small technical difference between building floaty things out of sticks that can go some distance in a quite hospitable environment and building flying things capable of 100% support of life in extremely hostile high radiation/zero gravity/no atmosphere/low temperature conditions across distances between stars.

The nearest star is just about 2.5 billion times farther than a 10k mile sea voyage.

Anyway, I didn't say I'd just believe what they said. I said I'd listen very carefully, and very politely.

--PM

Comment: If ET shows up proselytizing (Score 5, Insightful) 534

by PeterM from Berkeley (#48032783) Attached to: Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

I'll listen very carefully. A civilization that has managed to get across the interstellar gulf alive, and chooses to tell us about some religion, well, I'll listen to them with full attention, and as open a mind as I can manage.

And I'll also listen very politely.

--PeterM

"Life, loathe it or ignore it, you can't like it." -- Marvin the paranoid android

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