It’s too late for you, doomed reader. You know I love you, but I may have killed you. This makes me sad. Unless you are one of my despised enemies. Then I am glad.
The very act of clicking to read this magnificent post has—there is no doubt about this—exposed you to potentially deadly pathogens.
There is nothing you can do about it now. I could have warned you, but it is the warning itself that brings death. All that is left for to me is to say is that it’s been swell to know you.
Yes. Germs infest and infect your keyboard, or your screen. You breathe them. Right there. Just now. You took a breath. It could be your last one! Wait. Don’t log off. If you set down your “device”, hoping to avoid your fate, you must brush up against the nearest surface. Which will be saturated in microscopic mortality. Death surrounds you!
No good going to shower, hoping to cleanse yourself of these clingy corpse-makers. For you will have to use your towel, which, science informs us, “can harbor innumerable disease causing bacteria”.
Germs contained in towels can cause skin disease, hair loss, urinary tract infections, and even spread drug-resistant bacteria that can be fatal.
Most of the bacteria in towels comes from the user’s body, face, and hands. With the high humidity usually found in a bathroom it becomes a highly favorable environment for rapid bacterial growth. Towels that appear clean to the naked eye may be full of tens of thousands of bacteria, posing potentially serious health threats.
As I tweeted yesterday, by the end of the year in high school, my never-laundered gym towel could be stood up on its own it was so crusty. Yet I never got sick from it.
Our problem is over-measurement, which creates problems were none exist.
There is a mini-industry in peer-reviewed papers finding death glued on common items. You may have a different one, but my favorite is how the nether region can be summoned by ties: “The necktie as nosocomial fomite in health (SSDF) personnel.” I haven’t done it, but I’d bet, like with “climate change” causing any imagined ill, any item you search for is scientifically covered in grave-welcoming germs.
The zeal to quantify all things, to have only Experts certify knowledge, and the irresistible urge to terrorize people into believing normal activities are potentially deadly, will only lead to tyranny. Doubt this? Then let me remind you of mandated PCR tests. Set with a sensitivity so high that it was like hearing a gnat’s footsteps.
When your beneficent doctor orders a blood test he can check platelet counts, red blood cells, white ones, hemoglobin levels, hematocrit levels, mean corpuscular volume, glucose, creatinine, sodium, potassium, chloride, troponins, HDL, LDL, triglycerides, albumin, alkaline phosphatase, bilirubin, of course carbon dioxide and pH, serum chloride, von Willebrand factors, protamine, fibrinogen, factors II, V, VII, VIII, IX, XI, protein C, protein S, anti-thrombin, heparin. All good stuff.
That’s just to get started: this is an abbreviated list. And that’s just blood. Other tests you know. And gene tests are now becoming common. Do you know how many genes there are? Well, it’s a lot. And it’s not just genes, but alleles, which are versions of genes. Which Duffy allele do you have, kemosabe?
The point to all this jollity is that these measures are all given “normal” ranges or values. Maybe you’ve seen these printed on blood tests you’ve had. If you deviate outside the normal range, the doctor pulls his chin, and may even smile, because now he has something to work on. He may even be right. But it should be obvious that the more things are checked, the more likely it is to find a biomarker “outside” the normal range.
If outside the normal range indicates ill health, i.e. a problem to be solved, then it will be almost impossible for anybody to be healthy. If you seek, you shall find.
In yesterday’s post on autism and vaccines, I warned that visiting the doctor “just to be sure” that one is healthy, or, worse, visiting because you want to check a newsworthy malady, increases the chances of a positive diagnosis. Just as asking your doctor to prescribe the drug you saw on TV (the one where happy people cavort) makes it more likely he’ll prescribe it. “Ask your doctor if this diagnosis is right for you” works.
It’s made worse with (sometimes) vaguely defined diseases, like autism (thanks to a commenter yesterday for reminding me of this). Or gender dysphoria (read here how easy it is to convince a doctor to give a positive diagnosis).
And, of course, doctors have to make a buck.
We don’t have time today to cover it, but the danger is having only Experts officially designating sickness leads to mandated treatments, as in the covid panic. Plus, over-measurement is everywhere, in every field. More on this later.
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Categories: Culture, Statistics
Over 20,000 non-covid excess deaths in the second half of 2022 in the UK according to Sky News.
Now we know the culprit, it’s dirty towels!
Actually I think there is some potential link between towels and children’s skin problems. I’ve seen this firsthand.
“Abnormality of Normality” is the title and idea of an essay by either Asimov or Clarke. I read a bootleg copy of it once (it’s short) on some website in 2014 and I couldn’t ever find it again. I just checked and DuckDuckGo isn’t even able to identify it as the essay, even when I give it hints.
Anyway, the central argument is as follows: assume something is measured on a human, say height. It follows the Bell distribution so you say 90% in the middle are normal height and the 5% on either sides are abnormal. Seems cool, right? Now take another measurement, say weight. Again, 90% will have normal weight, but the number of people who have both normal weight and normal height are much lower, at about 81%. Keep adding things you measure and eventually you’ll be able to take a meta-measurement. Your meta-measurement is “number of people who are normal in all other measurements”. The number of people who are positive on this measurement will eventually drop below 10%, meaning they will be abnormal. In other words, if you’re normal on all measurements, you’re abnormal in being normal in all of them.
This is just a rought gist of it, and the math needs to be strengthened, but the entire essay is properly done and if you ever find it you should read it. Either Isaac Asimov or Arthur Clarke wrote it, but I think it was Asimov.
I’ve realized that since I enrolled in Medicare that the American health system is like the penal system. Once you have been examined and prescribed medication or colonoscopy you are permanently kept track of. If you tell your doctor you don’t want a test or procedure they have ordered at some point you will be taking it either with your doctor or someone else since the orders will be in your electronic chart, which can be shared and checked for incriminating illnesses which must be treated. Now I will relay my experience with being “anemic”. After reviewing my blood tests my doctor suggested various iron supplements, none of which worked. She then suggested I see an oncologist to look further! Oncologist did many tests for cancer which came up negative, she suggested a bone marrow transplant. But first she wanted to get iron intravenous injections twice, which billed for $12,000 each. No result or improvement. I did my own research to find that beef liver and spleen, desiccated powder, might help. Started taking it and my iron went to normal and red blood cells and hemoglobin went normal. When I explained this to her and the test results showed it, she just typed it into the computer and never said a word about it! Then I said I think I don’t need to see you anymore she said oh no you must continue and your symptoms may return. This is at a major hospital near Chicago.
Smedley Butler said ‘War is a Racket’. Today the war on disease is a racket. Both are supported by the government. Both are highly profitable. Both should be avoided. Both should be drastically reduced.
One a personal note I decided not get my Medicare physical which always opens the door to suggestions for multiple tests, seeing medical specialists, drug prescriptions and additional appointments. I also stopped taking the heart medicine prescriptions as they masks symptoms, if any. So far I have no symptoms.
I wish I had the link to the study…
There was a study a little while ago that said “they could predict when you were going to die”. I opened the study and looked through the numbers… RR for everything was < 2. I sent the study to a pathologist buddy…
His response: "This data will not go very far. This study shows that ALL of the tests they routinely do on you are WORTHLESS. i.e. we can stop doing these tests and no one will lose not doing the tests. But we do not want to do that… Testing is a $BBB business. We don't shut down the testing that is useless because it makes money.
Making money IS a primary "Good".
There are a whole bunch of disenchanted folks walking on the edges trying to point at this. But those folks are usually indistinguishable from nutcases.
My apologies, beloved host, that means you. The nasty part of the dilemma is they are correct to deem us NutJobs…
Got a notification of an automatic NHS appointment to have a potential aortic aneurysm condition screening as I’m ancient enough for that these days. I cancelled it & asked them to not arrange anymore, I said getting the screening done could result in a lot more harm than good eventually & anyway I wasn’t interested enough in knowing to go through the hastle of ultra sound scans etc. The nice lady informed me that it was ok as it wasn’t compulsory.
Suggest a ‘JUST SAY NO’ campaign. Folks should go to a doctor as-needed; not the programmed basis we are now encouraged/mandated to do.
Don’t forget the government mandated “evidence” based medicine parts. As I’ve noted many times, practicing physicians are just as subject to fads, if not more so, than the rest of humanity. In the old days, “watchful waiting” was a thing; and my own physicians do have a malleable follow up schedule, where you can come in as needed. Otherwise, just wait. A minor worry is what happens when my physicians, who are mostly my age get forced out. What is happening with the next set is disturbing, such that just taking your chances might work out better for many.
Well, when all is said and done, which tests or screenings are worthwhile?
I have always maintained that you know when are sick. You know your body pretty well, and if you are paying attention, you are an “expert” on yourself. Maybe then is the time to consult someone other than Web MD, but you have to keep the doc from going on a fishing expedition with too many tests. And try fasting, before you make the appointment. Disclaimer: not professional medical advice.
@Michael Dowd… TTU to JSN
Thinking it might be caused by work-related stress, a college friend decided to retire at age 50 because of a persistent cold. She immediately pampered herself with massage therapy, during which a lump was found.
After the breast cancer went into remission for a while, her boss asked if she could go back to oversee a project. She was required to do a pre-employment physical. The blood test showed abnormal levels of normal cells. She was subsequently diagnosed with leukemia at age 57. She went through transplantation with stem cells donated by her son.
I’ll spare you sad stories that happened in the leukemia wards she stayed in during the COVID-19 pandemic.
She considered herself lucky and prompted us to get a physical examination as soon as possible.
Isaac Asimov, “The Abnormality of Being Normal”, originally published in the May, 1956 issue of “Astounding Science Fiction”. Collected with other essays in the book “Only a Trillion”, published by Abelard-Schuman in 1957 (p. 67).
A PDF of the entire book can be downloaded free at epdf.pub/queue/only-a-trillion.html
When I started to hit middle age I began to have issues with severe constipation for the first time. Except I didn’t process things like that, I just thought of it as abdominal pain (which sometimes radiated outwards.) So I got it checked out.
It took something like four visits before constipation was even brought up as a possibility. And this was only done as an off hand comment (“you also might want to stop consuming dairy products, because that can lead to constipation which worsens these symptoms.”) In the first visits many tests, such as work on my blood and urine, were done. Explanations such as a heart attack, kidney stones, and many others were proposed. The craziest was on the third visit where the doctor looked in nasal passages and said that I was stuffed up due to allergies, and that this was DEFINITELY the cause of my ailment. I was skeptical; how would breathing through my mouth instead of my nose cause abdominal pain. The only response I got was that breathing issues can cause all sorts of things, so that’s definitely it. Squirt some decongestant up your nose and the problem will go away (which of course it didn’t.)
Once I learned it might be constipation I took some over the counter stool softeners, which alleviated the issue, and then explored how to avoid constipation in the future. Haven’t had an issue since (even without going back to the doctors for follow ups.)
Now I realize that the human body is extremely complicated, and that there are dozens of problems which present the same symptoms. So it is unreasonable to expect a doctor to know what the issue is immediately. But three things about this experience stood out to me:
1.) The first thing that they usually did was take tests, even when there was no clear relationship between the tests and my symptoms. If they found something in the tests they laser focused on that, even if what might have caused the abnormality on the test had nothing to do with my symptoms.
2.) There is definitely a crisis of overcertainty. Even after going back for the same issue and having the previous suggestions fail, the doctor would always say that this new diagnosis is definitely going to solve everything. Just from the way that the doctors acted I’m sure that at least a couple of things they said were wild guesses, but they were presented to me as certain. I don’t know if this is part of modern bedside manner or what, but it is not helpful for a chronic condition.
3.) Constipation has to be a somewhat common thing. Or at least it seems to be a common complaint when I visit the old folks home. So it should have come up in the narrowing down process, but it didn’t. Why were off the wall suggestions examined first?
The whole experience, and a couple others like it with other issues, have made me much more skeptical of the medical establishment. I’m sure that many doctors are still pretty wise (though who knows how long that will continue with diversity hires and increased DIE focus), but they have definite blind spots that they ignore.
I watched a show on forensics the other day. When you die, microbes instantly start multiplying unchecked, where instantly really does mean instantly. We tend to think of our immune system as something that kicks in when we are sick, but it’s actually constantly raging warfare. No breathing or heart activity means no oxygen, and all our various immune cells die very quickly. At this point, the only thing moderating microbe replication is temperature and competition with other microbes for food (i.e., you). In an unventilated space on a hot summer day, you will decay to unrecognizability within a very few hours.
Unless, apparently, you wash your towels properly. Who knew?
I recall my college years. It was 1972 and I took a biochemistry class from a lovely man, Dr. Bruce Ames. In the lab we used agar plates with a special strain of Salmonella, unable to synthesize histidine, and exposed it to bits of hot dog.
If the Salmonella started to grow on a histidine-free agar plate, then they must have – oh no! – mutated. Thus in my tender youth I was exposed to the now famous Ames Test for Mutagenicity. And hot dogs were famously branded, in the then as now bug-eyed media, as carcinogenic.
Poor Dr. Ames. He had opened a Pandora’s Box. He tried to explain to the class that mutagenicity is not the same as carcinogenicity. But the hersterics would have none of that. To this very day, fifty years later, the gen pop of paranoids still believe hot dogs give you cancer.
Now, hot dogs are not my favorite food, but I do eat them now and then. There are some in the fridge right now. And knock on wood, I am still cancer free. I may, however, be a mutant.
@Cary D Cotterman
Thank you! \o/
Did Dr. Ames check those hotdogs for histidine? Since beef and pork products are among the highest histidine sources, I’d expect any “knocked-out” bacteria to get enough histidine from the hotdog bits added. Consider this a reverse bread mold agar plate and penicillin sensitive bacteria. No “mutations” needed.
Mini-thread confirming the post:
And pertinent article:
This article is the same level of insanity as Flat Earth Theory. I wonder, would the author of the article like to spend an evening in a room of malaria-infused mosquitos? Hey, it’s just prick, you’ll be fine! Or maybe lick a lolipop spiked with Salmonella typhy? Look, if Typhoid Mary was a conspiracy, then surely the good author won’t mind the loli. Right?
Yes, I WOULD like to see this happen. I’ll even pitch in $50 toward the effort.
Funny about malaria. Used to be common in the American south, until they learned to drain swamps and the like. Which would now never be allowed, because even puddles are called “wetlands”.
As a petrochemical lab analyst it boggled my mind how we progressed from detecting things in the parts per million range (ppm), to billion and then trillion. After a while it just seemed so absurd and meaningless.
Google the Ames Test. It’s a real thing and has been a mainstay of biochem research for 50 years. Your speculations will be thoroughly addressed and dismissed.
No need. I studied biochemistry over 40 years ago.
Germ warfare is very useful for the rulers.
Need to stare the masses? Oh no! Bird-Flu! Cow-Disease! Wheat-Cancer! We gotta destroy them all!
The FBI will need to safely contain your laptop and smudgey mobile phone and diseased-handled handgun to keep you safe! Unless you are Hunter Biden… He and the Big Guy are routinely given the secret vexxine that keeps them safe from harm. It is so safe and effective they can safely use foreign 3rd world brothels!
Meanwhile, in Soviet America…
“SCIENCE has shown…!”