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rotting sea cow

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Posts posted by rotting sea cow

  1. 1 hour ago, Fragile Bird said:

    Lol, old news? That article was published July 2! Which is why it was being discussed on CNN yesterday. It was first submitted April 29, revised June 10th. I think in May we were discussing 3 mutations that were labeled A, B and C, but not the details about the thinner coating. If you can recall that far back (it seems like half a year ago!) as early as March or April, I think, I was saying New York had to have a different version of the virus than the west coast, because of the way it was spreading, a thought lots of people must have had.

    The mutation was found first in March (at least I read about it then).  This is the original article that discussed that particular mutation although it was heavily criticized.

    Spike mutation pipeline reveals the emergence of a more transmissible form of SARS-CoV-2 (30-April-2020)



    The mutation D614G (a G-to-A base change at position 23,403 in the Wuhan reference strain) was the only site of interest identified in our first Spike mutation report in early March (Fig. 1A); it was found 7 times in 183 sequences that were available at the tim

    It is probably the same article, heavily revised. But the mutation was known.

    These are other articles discussing that particular mutation. All of them at least a month old.




    The last one has a nice graphic of the timeline of the mutation, with the first one appearing late January in Washington State.

    The study published in Cell is based upon those studies and pretty much confirm that mutation increases infectivity, but not necessarily severity, which is partly good news. 


  2. Operation Warp Speed’s opaque choices of COVID-19 vaccines draw Senate scrutiny



    At the outset of the hearing, Murray noted she had concerns about why BARDA “has chosen to invest solely in vaccine technologies that have only been studied experimentally and never made it to market, while not pursuing older proven technologies.” Murray was referring BARDA’s funding for vaccines that either synthetically produce the surface protein of SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen that causes COVID-19, or deliver the gene for it into a person’s body. Moderna, for example, injects an RNA form of the gene, a method that has not yet produced an approved vaccine.


  3. 41 minutes ago, Ser Ilyn's Tongue said:

    As it stands, Westerosi monarch couldn't achieve anything on Essos without first controlling the Stepstones. 

    This should in theory be possible. Daemon, Oakenfist and Jaehaerys II all had military success there, though without any concerted effort / aim of long-term control.

    'In World' a Stepstones campaign may have been a reasonable idea for Robert. An easy-ish foreign military campaign under a Baratheon flag could help unify the realm for king many consider a usurper. Added bonus is giving the Iron-Born and Stannis something to do to improve their prestige and status also.

    If the Stepstones were achieved then your two obstacles to further conquest are the two major powers - Braavos and Volantis. Both strong enough to defend themselves and probably any city-states that join them in resistance to Westeros.

    The one city-state that is close to the Stepstones and Westeros and is further away from both Volantis and Braavos than other cities is Tyrosh.  Originally a military outpost so potentially defensible if taken as well as a wealthy prize, Tyrosh would probably be place to aim for if you goal was conquest.

    Though as stated above all of this would be very difficult and success certainly not a given.  


    No. This has been discussed again and again. Westeros cannot conquest the Stepstones (let alone the Free Cities).  The reason is simple. To keep the Stepstones, you will need a large navy and army. These are expensive. You have two choices here. 1) These are financed from the crown resources drawing extra taxes from the rest of Westeros with all political implications 2) Finance them by fees from passage. The later will draw the ire from the Free Cities which will wave war against you. Braavos, the Three Sisters and Volantis. It's a war you cannot win. And for what? A few poor rocky islands. This is the reason why the pirates thrive there. Nobody really want to be in charge of these islands. The political implications are too big and the gain is too small.




  4. 8 hours ago, Fragile Bird said:

    I just heard on CNN that the virus has apparently mutated. I missed the first half of the discussion, but the doctor being interviewed said one of his researchers noticed a change in the outer layer of the spike, making it thinner, and that makes the virus more easy to spread. It doesn’t make it any deadlier, just easier to spread, and that may explain the upsurge in cases in the US.

    These are kind of old news. It has been now confirmed by a new study. It makes the virus likely more contagious. The mutation was first detected in Italy back in March and that variant became dominant en Europe. The Chinese variant doesn't have that mutation.

    There have been a lot of speculation about the significance of that mutation. For example, the Chinese variant is (was?) dominant in the west coast and accordingly it was observed that the outbreak was not nearly as bad as in the east coast where the European variant dominated. I supposed now the European variant is now dominant in US too.

    ETA: Link to the original Cell article




  5. 13 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

    Why a maester?

    Someone had to write a registry


    15 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

    Nor sure what you mean there - Dany claims to be her father's heir, not Rhaegar's.

    my bad. Still she has to recognize Rhaegar's heirs.

    The issue here is more than legal. I don't think that Jon will ever try to claim the throne. I don't think either that Jon's parentage will be widely known or people will flock to his banner. I think the issue will be more personal. For Dany, he will represent an hypothetical  legal threat and a clash with her perceptions of Rhaegar. For Jon a confrontation with his identity.


    15 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

    That could be ... but the Faith can be pragmatic. The main issue with Targaryens not practicing polygamy is not just that the Faith may have frowned upon that practice, but also that the Targaryens themselves found that distasteful and perverse, basically. Aegon the Conqueror himself repeatedly rejected more wives and didn't allow/offer his sons more than one wife, King Aenys wasn't forced to disapprove of Maegor's second marriage, he did that all by himself, forcing him into exile and going to great lengths to repair Maegor's true marriage, Jaehaerys I's abhorred by Saera's suggestion to take more than one husband, and the kings after him never even considered polygamy as a way to settle the succession or resolve family matters.

    Well. What you describe is the issue I have with the polygamy thing. The Targaryens married brother and sister for generations, still we don't find more examples of polygamy in the complementary works, despite that it's a clear way out for Rhaegar-Lyanna marriage. Much better solution than an annulment, which would paint Rhaegar in very very bad light. 


    15 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

    If the Faith were to herald or cheer Aegon as Aegon the Conqueror come again they might not have that many issues with him having more than one wife.

    Aegon VI is not the Conqueror. We know that.

    15 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

    Oh, there is such evidence:

    Thanks for the quote. As I said. It's really an issue with the complementary works re the main series. Isn't the reason why you are asking?


    15 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

    And I honestly don't think polygamy would be a problem for most Westerosi kings or lords if they could do it with impunity ... or rather: if the religious and moral and legal framework of the society they lived in allowed polygamy. What powerful man doesn't want a harem? Succession is dealt with by primogeniture as it always was. And it is not that a couple of wives at the same time produce more heirs three or four wives in succession do.

    primogeniture is already complicated with a single wife. What if the older brother is an idiot and the second a capable guy? This is the argument of Tarly re:Sam. Now imagine this with two o more wife. And in the end it doesn't matter for whoever lustful and powerful Lord. He can have all the women he wishes without these complications.


    15 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

    I think if there was a wedding there, it must have been more public and the cause for their disappearance ... and in no small part the cause of Robert's Rebellion. Even if it wasn't a big public wedding with many guests and all, Rhaegar and Lya must have announced it afterwards the way Maegor and Alys did after their wedding for it to have an effect.

    I don't think so. Otherwise more characters should be aware of that which doesn't seem to be the case. I know GRRM can dance around big things to be revealed later but I don't this is the case.

    15 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

    Having just a secret wedding which was never revealed to the public during both their lifetimes would defeat the purpose of there being a wedding.

    Probably, Rhaegar wanted to reveal that weeding after a time he can manage whatever political gymnastic he wished to perform. He never got a chance.


  6. 6 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:


    Re-Remdesivir. The good thing is that this drug does not reduce deaths, it only shortens the course of the disease. The most important drug so far to reduce deaths is dexamethasone.

    Pretty much my thoughts on the issue. They can keep it for themselves. Bloody thing is expensive and hardly of help. Production is difficult to scale up.  Too much noise for too little.

    Gimme dexamethasone any day.


    6 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

    which is as cheap as HCQ and there are no supply issues, and unlike HCQ it actually works.

    I wouldn't discard HCQ yet. There is so much sloppy research around it that it's hard to say. The Moroccan government is using the more toxic variant chloriquine with apparently good results. They attribute the low CFR to it.

    This is a good article on the issue.

    Chloroquine and COVID-19: A western medical and scientific drift?



    6 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

    It's a bit flippant coming from someone in a country that has no domestic cases, but I think people should just let the USA be a greedy prick and not get too worried about it. Don't be hoping to "punish" the USA when a vaccine comes along. The US people most at risk (and in need) of the eventual vaccine aren't the ones being greedy pricks over the global Rem supply. And I'm guessing the other countries that might have benefitted from having some Rem supplies probably weren't in much of a position to pay what was being demanded anyway. Better, arguably, to spend that money on ventilators, oxygen and PPE.

    Yes and look for other suppliers. BTW. I read somewhere that the same applies to the Moderna vaccine. Bloody thing needs cryogenic temperatures to keep it stable. In case it becomes effective and safe enough it will be a logistical nightmare anyway.

  7. 5 hours ago, DireWolfSpirit said:

    The bar in East Lansing that was a outbreak sight (100 people last I knew)  mentioned having an air purification filter system installed in their HVAC ducts to help mitigate a future disaster like they just experienced.

    So maybe that's a thing that needs to start getting incorporated into building maintenance on a widescale (air purification filters in the ducts)? We already have extensive building codes for firedampers in ducts, firesprinklers, even building code for mechanical systems within earthquake areas. 

    It doesn't seem like an insurmountable challenge to get mechanical engineers to retrofit air systems to supply better filtered air that is contaminant free, I mean we're able to filter the most putrid water down to drinking level, I think we could achieve it with the air we breathe from these ducts as well.

    Maybe Congress could come up with some type of enticing tax credits to spur these retrofits (we do this with solar tech a bit no?) as well?

    There is the speculation that AC systems "aerosolize"  the virus, so filtration and disinfection need to be really good. On the other hand, no outbreaks have been linked to airplanes as far as I know.  The german railways published an study where they claim that high air exchange may have prevented infections in train systems around the world. Maybe there is something to learn.


    (On the other hand the german railways are in a dire financial crisis)


  8. My modest opinion

    On 6/29/2020 at 11:51 PM, Lord Varys said:

    Since I actually like this Targaryen polygamy thing as plot device thing which might become relevant in the future of the story, I wanted to ask you guys a couple of questions:

    1. Do you think we are going to see any Targaryen polygamy marriages in the future, most notably involving Prince Aegon or Daenerys or Jon Snow (presumably after his true parentage is revealed to his own satisfaction)? Or do you think that's just a thing of the past, some ploy to make Jon Snow 'the legitimate princely son' of Lyanna and Rhaegar?

    The later. But I don't think it will be too relevant overall. It will matter mostly for Dany. That is. If Dany claims being Rhaegar's heir, she has to  acknowledge Jon and be consistent with the Targaryen's  traditions, which is another reason why the lack of polygamy examples during the Targaryen's dynasty bugs me.


    On 6/29/2020 at 11:51 PM, Lord Varys said:

    2. If you think so, how do you think such ideas will shape the plot? Do you see any candidates for such polygamous marriages?

    The only one who has ever considered that is Dany, but I don't think it will happen. The best possibility is that Hizdahr is still alive somewhere and Dany marries someone else, but I give it a too slim chance.

    Aegon wll be too dependent on the Faith to attempt such a thing.


    On 6/29/2020 at 11:51 PM, Lord Varys said:

    3. Do you believe historically Targaryen polygamy (practiced in Westeros only by Aegon I and Maegor the Cruel) actually had the same or a similar standing with the people as the traditional Targaryen incest, i.e. do you think if Rhaegar-Lyanna had married publicly or their marriage had been revealed to the public during their lifetimes such a marriage would have been accepted or rejected on principle?

    This bugs me. A lot. I understand that polygamy is undesirable for the Westerosi society because it messes up the rules in inheritance, very important in a feudal society (Valyrians didn't have that problems, riding a dragon was all what mattered probably). Besides that, I don't find evidence of being a sin, unlike incest, which was nevertheless repeatedly allowed by the Faith.  Yet, we don't see other polygamy examples during the Targaryen rule.

    I think that Rhaegar and Lyanna married with witnesses present. Probably a few of Rhaegar's friends, a maester and maybe, maybe some septon and on front of a tree. Otherwise, I don't think the nature of the marriage was widely known.



    On 6/29/2020 at 11:51 PM, Lord Varys said:

    4. And for the future: How do you think a King Aegon VI taking two or more wives after/at his coronation would be seen by the people of Westeros? Would this be seen, say, as a positive image, a recreation of Aegon the Conqueror and his sister-wives and thus a symbol of hope and future prosperity, or would you think the opposite is more likely? Do you even think the new High Septon with a rearmed Faith would accept a king with more than one wife at the same time? If so, why do you think that?

    I don't think he will. But in the hypothetical case, it will draw him in unnecessary problems with a more assertive Faith.


    On 6/29/2020 at 11:51 PM, Lord Varys said:

    5. The same for Daenerys: How do you think she would be greeted/seen in Westeros if she came as a queen with multiple spouses, mimicking Aegon the Conqueror in this regard, who also came to Westeros with two wives who were fellow dragonriders?

    In that hypothetical case, she will be seen in even worse light. A barbaric queen with two spouses at the front of an horde of eunuchs and savages.


    On 6/29/2020 at 11:51 PM, Lord Varys said:

    6. Finally - do you think for the Westerosi only Targaryen pretenders could or would entertain polygamy or could you also see Euron Greyjoy, Stannis Baratheon and any other pretenders to the Iron Throne who might pop up in the future to entertain such ideas?

    Stannis, certainly not.

    Euron maybe. The ironborn culture has more room for these things.


    On 6/29/2020 at 11:51 PM, Lord Varys said:

    The reason I'm asking this is because quite a few people - myself included - have pretty strong opinions on those matters, and I'd like to see how many people feel similarly (or completely different) about this matter. Is this something you care about much or at all?

    There is also the fact that we are not likely to ever see a Targaryen incest match during the remainder of the series (unless it turned out that Tyrion and Dany were half-siblings and would marry each other) whereas the possibility for polygamy is always on the table. And if one looks the Targaryen history as discussed in the ASoIaF series proper then polygamy comes up pretty often, always when Aegon and his sister-wives come up, but also with many discussions of Maegor the Cruel.


  9. 9 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

    New 'flu strain found in people working on pig farms and slaughterhouses in China, possible human to human spread. May be sufficiently distinct from current vaccine strains as to not have any cross-immunity (unlike 2009 swine 'flu strain). So in normal years this could potentially be a pandemic strain. In this COVID year, hopefully with travel blocks in place already, the strain will burn out in China and not reach beyond its borders and / or the strain will be incorporated into the vaccine cocktail before it goes beyond China.

    Not only that. All preventive measures that most of the (reasonable) world population is taking against COVID-19 will also help to prevent the Flu (masks, social distancing, washing hands and so on). If things continue that way, I predict a very mild flu season the coming winter. In some South American countries, the health authorities consider SARS-CoV-2 the only circulating virus around. How are things in that respect in N. Zealand?



  10. 56 minutes ago, TheLastWolf said:

    Bella is not confirmed


    Even Arya notes the resemblance and shrugs it off because Gendry has the same traits!

    56 minutes ago, TheLastWolf said:

    and cersei knows the real number of Robert's bastards which even Varys did not(Varys knew only 8 while cersei confirmed that Maggie the frog's prophecy was true, how could she have known it was 16 if she didn't finish those 12/13 depending whether Bella was Robert's bastard or not? ) 

    Becasue Maggy told her the number


    Will the king and I have children?

    Oh, aye. Six-and-ten for him, and three for you. Gold shall be their crowns and gold their shrouds, she said. And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you


  11. 6 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

    That's unconscionable! Up to 13,000 preventable deaths per year purely from inability to afford the necessary therapeutics that are readily available. But worse still almost 1 million deaths globally right now, still in the top 15 causes of death globally. Why isn't this still much more in the public eye?... Silly question, it's gays and poor countries that are suffering, obviously that's not worth talking about.

    We shouldn't discard the bold. We have seen that in the COVID pandemic. As long as it was confined to China, everybody was just shrugging it off. Etc.

    Incidentally, I met in my past life (it almost feels so) someone who was working with AIDS patients of neglected social segments. They aren't just the gays we always like to talk about who had an unlucky night. No, they are often drug addicts, trans and street sex workers. Their health, psychological, social and general human problems are on different scales which makes them very difficult to work with. The nurse I met was working in a house for those inpatients and robbery, escapes, fights, assaults, suicide attempts and even murder were unfortunately too frequent.  The people who we all prefer to ignore they exist.

  12. 4 hours ago, Impmk2 said:

    Just to follow up my earlier post on the paper up thread. Having had a bit more of a look at the paper and discussed it with a few colleagues. We're all of the opinion that the March 2019 hit is almost certainly a false positive, it's probably been included in the paper only to grab headlines and boost the profile of the publication. Otherwise the paper is utterly unremarkable, and it's very light on detail of their actual methodology. Actually it pisses me off a little. 

    Thanks for  your replies, very much appreciated.

    One of the things it bugs me by reading around, is that SARS-COV-2 appeared in its "final form" in Wuhan and has mutated very little since the earliest identified samples. This is unlike SARS and MERS where mutation chains were clearly identified. It is also not expected to happen in zoonotic events where a period of adaptation to the human hosts need to occur. The only possibility is the virus has been circulating undetected earlier than the official timeline and acquired its most virulent traits in Wuhan around November.

    For example, there is quite a certainty that the virus was circulating in Europe in December 2019, however it didn't create a large outbreak, or it did but it wasn't detected due to lower virulence (?).  There are cases of COVID-19-like illness in November 2019 and the French claim that their team came back from Wuhan with some sickness late October. I have in my bookmarks some suspicious pneumonia outbreaks around the world in the second half of 2019 and IIRC @The Anti-Targ was reporting very early in these threads of a pneumonia epidemic in Iran of unknown origins. I didn't believe him at first but now I'm far more inclined to listen.

    So,I think countries really need to look back and check medical records, blood samples and environmental monitors to look for suspicious signals. Maybe veterinarians should also have a look too.

    In the future, there is certainly a need to improve the virus monitoring systems, there is a high chance that this one slipped right under our noses/


  13. 3 hours ago, Fragile Bird said:

    Please don't use that obnoxious font size. I can react to the normal size just as well, since I can read.


    Apologies, I was in mobile and it's difficult to edit stuff with my thick fingers. I edited it now

    3 hours ago, Fragile Bird said:

    And I'm not sure that I trust that report. 

    Well, the authors believe it might be an error. But if the samples are not contaminated it might be telling us something.

    From what I understood, PCR are sensitive to parts of the RNA sequence, not to the whole one. This creates the possibility of cross-reaction with something else. It's not MERS, neither other human-coronaviriae. But then what?

    Hopefully the researchers will try to sequence the amplified samples and get something out of them. Maybe also check the medical records of nearby hospitals in the hope to find something that matches.

    Someone here was also working in a covid-related research with wastewater, so he/she might be interested in chiming in. @Impmk2


  14. 14 hours ago, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

    Some have speculated that TWoW will be released in two volumes. If that will be the case, can't GRRM pull an AFFC and release the first part now?

    His editors have suggested to do that but he has refused, for whatever reasons. It might well be he was not happy with the situation of AFFC vs ADWD.

    Also, for example If many of us are right and Barristan Selmy dies early in TWOW, GRRM's statements also mean that he is going back and forth between chapters adjusting little things. He cannot do that once the  book is released.

    George, please, can't we have at least another sample chapter? Please?


  15. 3 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

    I mean, it's not bad advice reserving masks for the sick and those caring for the sick, where mask supplies are limited, which was the situation back when WHO gave that advice. Clearly this indicated WHO does advice that mask wearing is protective. And the evidence still shows that sick / infected people wearing masks is more protective than healthy/uninfected people wearing masks.

    WHO has never said masks are useless. So anyone trying to blame WHO for lax mask-wearing policies in their country is plain wrong. 


    We discussed that already. Yes, it's responsibility of each country to implement adequate policies. But the WHO here, and in other cases, has been utterly irresponsible too. They are supposed to keep a certain level of credibility and when governments are trying to implement policies and they come back with such BS which in turn is echo by the media, it only creates confusion in an already difficult situation. And notice, the WHO is still not convinced that masks are helpful as a broad intervention, despite the growing evidence of the contrary. Japan for instance has barely done anything else, except using masks everywhere and they have been spared of the worst.



  16. 2 hours ago, Leofric said:

    Yes, as Dr. Fauci told Congress last week, they originally downplayed the importance of masks to stop a run on masks and to make sure healthcare workers wouldn't face a shortage of masks and other PPE.  In retrospect, that initial attempt to control mask demand has backfired, as wearing masks has proven even more effective in stopping the spread than they thought, if people use them.  

    This should be highlighted. Yes, I don't understand either the reluctance of people to wear masks. It is a simple yet quite effective measure, even if your masks aren't professional.


  17. On 6/22/2020 at 1:46 PM, TheLastWolf said:

    (she has killed 13 of Robert's 16 bastards after all)

    Where did you get that? As  far as we know she has killed three (if I'm not mistaken) and we have met four of Robert's bastards. Mya, Edric, Gendry and Bella. Do I forget anyone?

  18. 2 hours ago, QhorinQuarterhand said:

    Goerge even mentions that Winds will be a big book. I like the thought more and more that TWOW will be released as 2 books that total 2500-3000 MS pages. Basically either AGOT+ASOS or ASOS+ADWD in size. 

    I've been saying that for a while. He has repeatedly said "two more books".  The only way to do that and reach some key plot lines is writing a very long TWOW book, which can only be released as two volumes.  

    If he manages that, I tend to think that ADOS might be shorter.

  19. 55 minutes ago, Luzifer's right hand said:

    At least here in Austria we seem to be taking the Trump approach. No testing of at risk groups is really good for statistics. When asked about testing of workers in meat factories they said they might start testing in July (because of the 2000+ cases they found among the workers of a plant in Germany). Because of such things I would take europaean numbers with a grain of salt. 

    But your government claims more than 5000 tests/day according to ORF, only less than 1% come back positive. After the Postcalypse, there haven't seem to be large superspreading events.

    It is unclear of course if the virus is spreading silently with mild symptoms among the populace to only emerge in full force again very soon.

  20. 22 minutes ago, The Great Unwashed said:

    This isn't bourne out by the evidence though. Hospitalizations would be trending the opposite of case numbers in the U.S. if that were the case.

    If infection numbers are increasing you should get a respective raise in hospitalizations. Is it at the expected rate? Possibly difficult to say. But deaths are are hard to hide, so in one or two weeks we should know.

    But you might be right. There might be a fraction of the population who are highly susceptible to the virus. This might explain why we still don't see any upward trend in Europe nor in heavily affected states in US. It's like the virus needs to run through some vulnerable populations.

    Of course this speculation may be BS and there are other reasons, but we still need to explain these observations.


  21. 1 hour ago, The Great Unwashed said:

    Why do I keep seeing articles from Italian or UK (for example) infectious disease experts saying that it seems like the virus is becoming less deadly based on what seems to be nothing more than anecdotal evidence?

    Here is the latest example I've seen. 

    I've seen at least 4 or 5 articles like this in the past week. I honestly haven't paid enough attention until now to say if it is the same experts talking to different news outlets or not.

    But isn't the most likely explanation that the virus took the low-hanging fruit when we were unprepared, and that rising caseloads and rising hospitalizations in the U.S. belie this hypothesis? And even if that's not the most likely explanation, shouldn't we be operating as if it is, until we know more? This just seems to be incredibly irresponsible behavior on the part of these doctors.

    Maybe it's just serum Vitamin D levels. At the end of the winter they are the lowest. This hypothesis has been put forward as one of the main drivers of COVID-19 severity.

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