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Comment Re:On a sober note (Score 1) 190

Actually, looking it up my memory is correct. Immunity from actually having chickenpox is acknowledged to last much longer than from the vaccine, and will be lifelong in most cases, particularly if you are occasionally re-exposed to chickenpox (for example, by being around a child that has it). The duration for the vaccine is thought to be about 20 years.

A quick check confirms that the Varicella vaccine is a live, weak virus one

I'm pretty sure I could get the study proposal through the ethics board, there's nothing unethical here and it's an important enough question. I just doubt anybody will consent to being deliberately given a virus that inserts itself into their genome, just to see if their immune system still will recognize the virus and produce antibodies to it.

Based on the two quotes above, I'd say they were already given a virus that inserts itself into their genome albeit a weakened one. It would be their parents who consented (without really being informed). As for the thus far unasked question, can the vaccine strain cause shingles later in life and how does the risk differ from the wild strain, we have no way of knowing yet.

As for the flu, yes it probably would be more effective for people around the most vulnerable to get the shot. I think that so far, a more generalized flu vaccine has eluded us, thus the annual shots.

Comment Re:Weird definition (Score 1) 190

I take it you're part of McCarthy's army then? Simply disagreeing with me isn't worthy of the crazy label. Disagreeing with well settled science based on the word of a discredited fraud in the face of overwhelming evidence gets that label.

I don't seem to remember sneaking up behind you and giving you (or anyone else) a vaccination. When was it you say that happened?

Comment Re:Most rich people's houses aren't in very... (Score 1) 239

The only real long-term survival platform is an isolated farm where you can grow your own food.

Nomadic is fine, but the cannibals they encountered on their trip would have eaten even the homeless guy with the shopping cart.

And nomadic has certain risks -- uncertain access to food or water, crossing paths with other dangerous nomads, crossing into territory held by hostiles, exposure to weather and so on.

It's amusing to think about survivalism but really, things go south without a community structure pretty fast. Even a very isolated bunker has a limited timeline without access to outside resources -- 5 years, 10 at the outside for a large quantity of food stuffs amenable to long term storage? This also assumes you have no energy needs, dependence on anything that might wear out or need repairs unless you have multiple replacements which don't age in storage.

I suppose someone could treat a bunker like a long-haul space ship and provide it with a nuclear power source, a water recycling system, air filtration and the necessary parts and replacement equipment to keep it running but even that becomes a challenge past a certain timeline and requires extensive skills and a large community, and the community itself can become a liability as people aren't totally dependable.

Comment Re:Most rich people's houses aren't in very... (Score 1) 239

Well, what you really want is a the starship Enterprise...

Obviously a nuclear powered submarine would be impossible even for Paul Allen money.

But even if Elon Musk designed a submarine, a submarine is simply too complex of a marine system to realistically manage (outside of the short-duration tethered submersibles used for finding wrecks).

A sub-surface habitat is an interesting idea, but I think the systems involved with air production and circulation would be too complex and the entire thing would be too dependent on energy.

A surface vessel has the advantages of access to wind and solar and it's not hard to imagine a system of fold-out solar panels and fold-up wind turbines to keep a large battery array charged for long-endurance anchorages. Diesel power would only be used to move the vessel to avoid serious storms or seek different anchorages.

Comment Re:Most rich people's houses aren't in very... (Score 3, Insightful) 239

The problem with a conventional yacht is they're fuel pigs. I'd wager Allen's yacht runs a high powered generator continuously to maintain the internal electrical systems, ventilation, and so forth even when docked unless docked at a location where you could get an industrial grade shore power feed.

What I'm thinking of is more along the lines of a more purpose-built boat that would require much less continuous electrical power and what it needed could be taken from wind, solar or even wave generation from deployed buoys. Tesla-type Li battery storage for nights or periods of poor weather, although in a marine environment with wind turbines some kind of power could always be generated.

I could see a solar panel system that would fold out from the sides when at anchor, as well as wind turbines that could be folded down along with fixed panels for supplemental power when the boat was in motion. The folding stuff would be folded in poor weather or in transit and deployed as weather conditions allowed. With enough solar panels, you might even be able to provide air conditioning for smaller interior spaces during sunlight hours.

The idea would be the ability to have long-duration self-sustaining electric power at anchor. Firing the engines would be done only when you needed to move and the engines sized for minimal fuel consumption -- there's a lot of recreation trawlers with top speeds of 9-10 knots off single engines capable of a few thousand mile ranges on full fuel tanks.

Comment Re:Most rich people's houses aren't in very... (Score 4, Interesting) 239

I would think a superior solution to a fixed bunker would be some kind of specialized boat designed for long endurance. Wind turbines, fold out solar panels for electric power. Water could be supplied by marine water makers. Food supplies could be supplemented by fishing.

Simply being out on the water gets you away from the most common threats. Maybe there are mobile pirates you have to worry about, but there will always be fewer of them than roving mobs of people with cutting torches.

If you were super rich, why not look into retrofitting an oil drilling platform into a sea bunker?

Comment Re:Fear is a good thing for business (Score 4, Interesting) 239

Whether Obama has been merely thoughtful and cautious or actually indecisive and passive is something that can be debated, but whatever it is it has created something of an impression that he lacks an appearance of decisiveness and strong leadership.

I kind of wish he had made some bold moves, even if they weren't necessarily the most ideal moves, simply to demonstrate he was moving forward and not settling for a status quo ante.

Comment Re:guess again (Score 1) 190

And even that is not quite right. She is on record as supporting vaccines. She is simply questioning the FDA in general (honestly, it's track record in recent years gives her very good reason for that). Mostly from the standpoint that it's crappy track record for objectivity in recent years is being used as an excuse by the anti-vaxers.

Comment Re:guess again (Score 1) 190

Actually, characterizing Stein as anti-vax or pandering to the anti-vaxers is over the top. There is a HUGE difference between questioning the FDA's effectiveness and being anti-vax, particularly when it comes to the old and well proven vaccines. She is on record as supporting vaccination.

Since the Salon article only pointed to Snopes' home page rather than providing a useful link, I'll supply it here.

Johnson predictably says no to any government mandatory anything. That's not a proper anti-vax stance since he isn't basing his position on paranoid pseudo-science. It says nothing about if he would personally recommend vaccination or not.

Trump looks to be all in on the crazy pseudo-science and hysteria.

Comment Re:On a sober note (Score 1) 190

He may be talking about Varicella. IIRC, the immunity from the vaccine doesn't last as long as the immunity conferred by actually having the disease. Wouldn't that potentially protect from the disease in the very young where it is rarely a problem and then leave you vulnerable just when it starts to become more risky (potentially a net harm)? Meanwhile, (also IIRC), occasional exposure as a naturally immune adult is thought to act as a sort of booster to prevent shingles later in life.

The case is pretty strong for MMR and DTaP, but not so much for Varicella vaccine.

As for the flu, I recall some recent research that shows that people who have been immunized for flu the previous year are less likely to be effectively immunized by a new flu vaccine. Meanwhile, since (as you said) the available flu shot is based on a guess at which strains will become prevalent, there is a good chance that the guess will be wrong and so the shot will have very limited effectiveness. It may actually be better to confine flu shots to the most vulnerable populations where the flu itself is most dangerous.

Add to that the media blitz over H1N1 a few years ago where we were told with a strait face that we should all run out and get the flu shot that didn't cover H1N1 because H1N1 was going to kill us all but that there was no need to avoid crowded malls. Then, by the time the H1N1 vaccine came out, it was clear that it had already gone past it's peak and would be all but gone by the time the immunization would become effective (and it proved to be far less dangerous than initially thought) we were supposed to run out and get that too. It's hard to not think we are being lead down the garden path on that one.

That sort of thing is extremely unfortunate and even dangerous since it leads people to question the well proven and greatly beneficial MMR and DTP.

Comment Re:Weird definition (Score 4, Interesting) 190

I'm not so sure. Measles free would suggest that there is no point in getting the vaccine at all, but with active cases still showing up and threatening to spread among the unvaccinated population (such as the case a few years ago at Disneyland), that seems a little premature.

It could be argued that you've reached that point once the risk of vaccination exceeds the risk of the disease when you stay within the zone declared 'free'. We're not there yet either. It still makes sense to get the vaccine.

I can see how they define it, but given the crazy anti-vaxxers, I don't think declaring the region 'free' of measles is such a great idea.

Comment Re:What about EU users (Score 1) 76

Is that some sort of misplaced arrogance, or do you really not understand how easy blocking WhatsApp/Facebook would be if the German authorities wanted to do it?

People write as if the Internet is some huge network that everyone has unlimited access to, but guess what? It's not. You have an ISP, and somewhere up the line they are hooked in to a relatively small number of pipes in and out of any given country, and those pipes are controlled by a major infrastructure provider that isn't going to argue with the national government.

The political fall-out could be a different question, but somewhere like Germany the people are very cautious about excessive surveillance and profiling for obvious historical reasons, so I wouldn't bet on WhatsApp/Facebook winning the PR battle either.

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