Ebola: new drugs show promise, but we’re not out of the woods yet

I’m encouraged to hear that two new drugs to treat Ebola are showing promise, but the process of testing them has been fraught with difficulty – and bloodshed.  Nature reports: The race to develop treatments for Ebola has accelerated since the largest epidemic in history devastated West Africa between 2014 and 2016. Scientists responding to the ongoing outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have enrolled more than 500 participants in an unprecedented study of experimental drugs, vaccinated nearly 170,000 people, and sequenced the genomes of more than 270 Ebola samples collected from the sick. . . . Working

Continue reading

The Holy Grail of the nuclear industry

I note with interest that Lockheed Martin’s experiments with nuclear fusion technology are moving right along. Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works is building a new, more capable test reactor as it continues to move ahead with its ambitious Compact Fusion Reactor program, or CFR. Despite slower than expected progress, the company remains confident the project can produce practical results, which would completely transform how power gets generated for both military and civilian purposes. . . . “The work we have done today verifies our models and shows that the physics we are talking about – the basis of what we are trying to do – is sound,”

Continue reading

I daresay Sgt. Furrh was looking down and smiling proudly

Here’s your feel-good story of the week. Terri Furrh was a little confused at first when she was asked to get out of alphabetical order at the Moulton High School graduation Friday night and go to the back of the line. But as soon as principal Jamie Dornak spoke about the stretch of highway between Moulton and Shiner, a line of law enforcement officers and first responders walked up to the left side of the stage in the gymnasium in place of their fallen brother, the late Sgt. David Furrh, she understood. . . . Furrh was killed in 2000 while

Continue reading

An excellent first novel

Jason Fuesting and his wife have been online friends with my wife for some time, although I’ve only met them once, during a trip to St. Louis some months ago.  Jason’s a military veteran, and has been working hard on a science fiction trilogy for a long time.  He’s finally let loose Volume 1 on the world – and it’s a very good effort indeed. I had the privilege of beta-reading “By Dawn’s Early Light” prior to publication, and found it absorbing and interesting.  Jason certainly has his own voice, and a gifted way of setting up his characters and

Continue reading

OK, that was a goal to remember!

I’m not a big fan of ice hockey, and seldom watch it:  but this goal by Aleksander Barkov yesterday, for the Florida Panthers against the Montreal Canadiens, was really something.  He fired the puck backwards, between his legs, to wrong-foot the goalie.  Watch the slo-mo replay to see it. Talk about a man on top of his game!  What’s more, he’s only 23 years old, with many years of development still to come.  What’s he going to be like at 33? Barkov ended up with a hat-trick, and the Panthers defeated Montreal 6-3.  Congratulations to all concerned. Peter

Continue reading

50 years ago today . . .

. . . the first flight of the Boeing 747, the famous “Jumbo Jet”, took place, on February 9th, 1969.  Here’s Boeing’s official video of proceedings.  The actual takeoff is shown from about 14m. 30s. onwards. Congratulations to Boeing on a landmark in aviation history.  As of December 2018, over 1,500 747’s had been built, and the type is still in low-rate limited production, primarily in freighter configuration.  It’s proved to be one of the most successful aircraft programs of all time, particularly in terms of the number of people carried – including the largest number ever carried on a single flight

Continue reading

When the S really does HTF

Many readers will be familiar with Selco Begovic and his so-called “SHTF School“, where he teaches the lessons he learned the hard way during the Bosnian War from 1992 to 1995.  He’s just published a new book, “The Dark Secrets of SHTF Survival: The Brutal Truth About Violence, Death, & Mayhem You Must Know to Survive“. Before I speak of  his book, let me remind you that I’ve been in many emergencies and dangerous situations: civil unrest in South Africa; political and tribal turmoil in Zimbabwe, Congo, Rwanda and elsewhere; wars in Angola and the horn of Africa; disease, famine and other

Continue reading

Hearing colors?

I think I know where this musician-handyman got his inspiration: That would explain his choice of materials, anyway! A tip o’ the hat to IOTWReportfor finding the video. That’s pretty creative.  I’d never have thought of using pencils like that, but he’s got a unique musical instrument out of it.  I wonder what it weighs, compared to “normal” electric guitars? Peter

Continue reading

Now that’s student assistance squared!

An extraordinary tale has emerged from Sweden of how a Yazidi student from Iraq was saved from ISIS terrorists by his professor and her university colleagues. A chemistry professor at Lund University [in Sweden] dispatched a team of mercenaries into an Islamic State (also known as IS, Isis or Daesh) war zone to free one of her doctoral students and his family. Charlotta Turner, professor in Analytical Chemistry, received a text message from her student Firas Jumaah in 2014 telling her to to assume he would not finish his thesis if he had not returned within a week. He and his family

Continue reading