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Comment: Re:Cry Me A River (Score 1) 525

by mysidia (#47421123) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

the contractor supplied off-the-shelf nuts and bolts from a hardware store.

Sounds like criminal fraud.... I hope those responsible or the contractors' management are spending a long time in jail after paying for all losses incurred due to the failure plus the costs of paying another contractor to fix it and bring everything up to the spec promised.

Comment: Re: Patience, my pretty... (Score 1) 115

by mysidia (#47420821) Attached to: A Box of Forgotten Smallpox Vials Was Just Found In an FDA Closet

merely acts as a spore carrier and infects a random stranger on the bus, the source will be that much harder to track.

It is extremely unlikely for any part of the samples to leave the lab --- they have required decontamination and washing procedures involving strong disinfectants.

The real danger is not that the potentially small number of spores that might exist in the lab and hitch a ride, but that someone will become infected during an accident and start producing spores.

What's at risk will probably be their life --- as those who might have been exposed are likely to receive additional vaccinations and be placed under quarantine and an extended stay under observation in a locked room after any accident which was detected, where barriers may have been compromised, to ensure that if they do get the disease, that it can be contained.

Comment: Re:Um.... (Score 1) 115

by mysidia (#47415811) Attached to: A Box of Forgotten Smallpox Vials Was Just Found In an FDA Closet

We read the original books many of those Wikipedia articles have been copied from.

We still do, but they are not online: which makes them difficult to link to.

These days, if your content isn't coded in HTML, online, freely accessible, and linked by a reliable authoritative directory, such as WP: then you don't exist.

Comment: Re:"Security" (Score 3, Interesting) 115

by mysidia (#47413119) Attached to: A Box of Forgotten Smallpox Vials Was Just Found In an FDA Closet

It's shocking to think that someone would carelessly misplace a vial of an airborne infectious agent with a mortality rate above 20%

We don't know for a fact that this particular copy of Smalllpox was one of the highly fatal versions. I'm sure this was not careless, as it was appropriately stored. They apparently just lost track of the fact that it was there and where it was, in terms of recordkeeping and careful management of the research specimens.

Seeing as the vial was quite carefully freeze-dried, sealed, and placed into the cold storage, in a lab where dangerous specimens would ordinarily be stored, requiring the appropriate training of staff for safe handling of such samples: it was really no danger.

Cold storage in vials boxed up is not unusually risky treatment for an infectious agent. I am sure if you looked at more dusty boxes in the cold storage at the various laboratories and regulators, you would find numerous examples of very serious highly-infectious agents, including plenty of examples of Ebola, Marburg, Nipah, SARS, West Nile, Poliomyelitis/Polio, Hepatitis, Pappataci (Yellow Fever), Measles, Spanish flu, HIV, Tuberculoisis, .

A common infection that killed more people in the 20th century than all wars put together.

Smallpox didn't start in the 20th century; its prominence in the 20th century was a culmination of over 500 years of infecting humans.. in the early 20th century, there were many diseases, and it's not so clear to what degree Smallpox actually cut lives significantly shorter than they otherwise would have been. Smallpox caused a lot of deaths, and there were highly virulent strains that developed, but most strains were not so highly deadly and not necessarily airborne either; Variola Minor vs Variola Major, etc, etc.... It didn't kill all the humans(TM) like the black death almost did, else, we wouldn't be around to talk about it, as Smallpox was very tenacious and nasty.... but not necessarily the absolute worst virological threat that we have known as a species.

Comment: Re: Patience, my pretty... (Score 4, Interesting) 115

by mysidia (#47412839) Attached to: A Box of Forgotten Smallpox Vials Was Just Found In an FDA Closet

But for smallpox, given that it no longer occurs in the wild, the risk is unjustifiable.

There are some people, however... that should always be vaccinated against Smallpox:

1. Anyone working at the secure facility where these samples are stored; especially any lab workers, security guards, and cleaning staff.
2. Anyone working at a facility where the samples are used to study Smallpox are being handled.
3. Healthcare professionals, doctors/nurses/... that see patients and are occasionally exposed to people with various skin diseases or work in foreign countries where smallpox used to be prevalent.
4. Everyone that any of the people above are in daily contact with.

Comment: Re: Patience, my pretty... (Score 5, Informative) 115

by mysidia (#47412797) Attached to: A Box of Forgotten Smallpox Vials Was Just Found In an FDA Closet

but if we just preemptively vaccinate then city zero won't be an issue.

The Vaccine for Smallpox is not entirely safe, because the vaccine consists of essentially another virus called Vaccinia.

This is an infectious virus; the Smallpox Vaccine infects the person who has been vaccinated.

Unlike many other Vaccines -- however, there are significant rates of adverse reaction. Further improvements to the vaccine require human testing, and since the disease has been deemed eradicated --- no improvements can really be made:

Average 1 in 1 to 2 million people vaccinated result in deaths, many more people experience severe complications but don't die. If there are 300 million people vaccinated; then you could estimate that 300 people would die of complications. It is quite unlikely for you to be one of the 300.......... it's also unlikely for the Smallpox vaccine to help you against Smallpox in the future. Still..... the complications can be pretty nasty, even if you do survive. Most people should probably deem the extra protection not worth the more immediate very real dangers:

Post-Vaccinial Encephalitis: 1 in ~3 million people vaccinated. 25% of these: permanent neurological damage; 15-25% die.

Vaccinia necrosum: Progressive tissue death ("necrosis") at the original injection site. 1 persion per 1 to 2 million vaccinations; almost always fatal before availability of vaccinia imunoglobins; people with T-Cell deficiencies are particularly at high risk.

Vaccinia Keratitis: accidental transfer of vaccinia virus leading to lesions of the eye. Reaction: threatens eyesight, corneal scarring....

Eczema Vaccinatum. Too horrible to think of; people who already have some form of eczema, atopic dermatitis, or sensitive skin are at high risk and fatalaties have resulted in the past. Virus produces extensive lesions throughout the skin. Patient's life may be saved with early hospitalization and urgent treatment.

1 in 242 million vaccinated will contract a generalized vaccinia infection -- involving pustules forming about the skin distant from the site of injection and generalized rashes throughout the body; for some patients with weakened immune systems, this results in a toxic and potentially fatal course.

1 in 1 million people to be vaccinated on average, develop a systemic reaction to the vaccine which has a likelihood of fatal outcomes; people who have been immunocompromised or have a weak immune system are particularly susceptible.

Even more people have a severe adverse reaction which may be crippling or severe enough to give one pause about if one really needs the vaccine. Is it an appropriate risk tradeoff? What is the true risk of contracting smallpox VS the cost of taking the vaccine?

Successful vaccination always produces a lesion at the vaccination site, within 4 days, and it will leave a permanent mark which may be undesirable; this will be highly itchy, and highly infectious --- easily carried by clothing, and easily transferred to hands or other body parts to come in contact with it. Contact or contact with anything that touched the lesion may result in infection/lesions of vaccinia on other part of the body, and also: contact with other people ("inadvertent vaccination of friends or family, for example").

Weeks of malaise and discomfort after the vaccination are essentially guaranteed; the vaccine will essentially almost definitely make you feel sick, and likely for 3 to 7 days, similar to a cold.

17% to 20% of vaccinees experience a fever exceeding 100 degrees, during the first 2 weeks after vaccination, and plenty of vaccinated experience a fever exceeding 102F for the first 5 days.

Most people vaccinated experience significant irritation at the vaccination site: including significant soreness, and a variety of kinds of skin rashes plus myalgia lasting 5 to 7 days. More rarely: Stevens-Johnson syndrome results, in which necrosis ("tissue death") of the skin results, in a life-threatening condition involving the dermis of the skin separating from the epidermis.

Comment: Re:"Security" (Score 0) 115

by mysidia (#47411973) Attached to: A Box of Forgotten Smallpox Vials Was Just Found In an FDA Closet

Nice to know they actually keep track of these things. What's next? "Nuke found in sandbox"

Consider this: 50 years ago, they were just samples of a common infection --- no extraordinary accounting or security measures were required, and it's certainly possible that a number of samples slipped through the cracks and have been "lost" and are just out there somewhere.

Who would have known that Smallpox would eventually be mostly eradicated, and security would ever be a concern?

You can't bolt on security after the fact ---- Smallpox is out there, and someone who wants it badly enough, with sufficient resources, who knows where to look, can surely find it by some means. Hint: This includes state actors, such as countries who would be our enemies. I'm not concerned about terrorists ---- only, foreign governments, or utterly callous or insane (but rich) people, e.g. arms dealers, for the most part.

As for the terrorists.... I think they'll stick with something simpler, as getting ahold of Smallpox is neither easy nor cheap, nor likely an efficient use of their resources; I doubt that a slow-spreading disease is really capable of generating a sufficient level of terror, for their tastes: anyways.

Terrorists have a number of potentially nasty biological and chemical poisonous agents, which are likely much easier for those folks to get ahold of. Also, explosives or poisons in crowded areas with immediate casualties gets more attention.

The greatest concern should be that they get ahold of a WMD or ability to generate a large amount of radioactive material, that can 'safely' be handled and dispersed without great expertise.

Comment: Re:Downsides (Score 1) 296

by mysidia (#47411193) Attached to: Wireless Contraception

Only an issue if your body becomes a conduit to ground.

Body becoming a conduit to ground is more an issue for weaker effects such as lightning.

In fact ALL bodies can pretty become a conduit to the ground at sufficient voltage, as long as anything touching your body can serve as an antennae to pickup the EM signal; this may be able to harm you, but more likely -- it will just render the device itself permanently inoperative by shorting out the components, and the real worst highly likely scenario is the heat causes the implant to melt, while still in your body.

A Solar EMP contains higher-frequency EM and can be much more dangerous than a hit by a nearby lightning strike.

The issue is instead of being a shortest path to ground is an issue regarding contact with any metallic object, or.... in fact, if the metallic object is long or large enough, mere proximity is sufficient to be in danger.

Furthermore, with a CME of sufficient magnitude..... even humans without implants of any sort would be in danger, even if at a large distance from anything containing conductive materials.

The human body itself also contains ioninc liquids which can readily conduct an electromagnetic field, and the nervous system itself is electrical....

Comment: Re:Downsides (Score 1) 296

by mysidia (#47410297) Attached to: Wireless Contraception

EMP pulse? What dystopian Matrix-like world do you live in?

How about an EMP pulse caused by an earth-directed X45-Class solar flare, such as the one that occured in Solar Cycle 23; November 2003, The Carrington event during the Solar Storm of August 1859, the Carrington Class-CME which narrowly missed earth in April of 2014, and numerous similar ones, which have (luckily) not pointed anywhere near earth?

Comment: Re:you need to be on the jury (Score 1) 415

by mysidia (#47404607) Attached to: Police Using Dogs To Sniff Out Computer Memory

Apparently, this is quite true. According to a UC davis study: which was published in the January issue of Journal Animal Cognition: The performance of drug- and explosives-sniffing dog/handler teams is affected by human handlers’ beliefs.

The study, published in the January issue of the journal Animal Cognition, found that detection-dog/handler teams erroneously “alerted,” or identified a scent, when there was no scent present more than 200 times — particularly when the handler believed that there was scent present. ....

The handlers were told that there might be up to three of their target scents in each room, and that there would be a piece of red construction paper in two of the rooms that identified the location of the target scent. However, there were no target scents — explosives or drugs — placed in any of the rooms. ...

Although there should have been no alerts in any of the rooms, there were alerts in all rooms. Moreover, there were more alerts at the locations indicated by construction paper than at either of the locations containing just the decoy scents or at any other locations.

Comment: Re: Failsafe? (Score 1) 463

There are numerous ways a view screen could be disabled (object smashed it, software error, etc.)

Yes... just like there are numerous ways that a pilot could be disabled: object smashed him, criminals snuck into the cockpit carrying some boxcutters, etc.

However, they can provide some extra shielding to the view screen, just like they can lock and reinforce the cockpit door and provide other security features.

A pilot is also required to be able to operate the plane using backup instruments without looking out the window --- it is part of the standard pilot training and qualification process, and they have to do this routinely.

Every large aircraft has manual backup systems that allow it to be safely piloted under IFR, even when there is zero visibility.

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito