November 17, 2011

"It's just a bad idea for scientists to turn a lethal virus into a lethal and highly contagious virus."

"And it's a second bad idea for them to publish how they did it so others can copy it."

39 comments:

John Lynch said...

Why is this even open to discussion?

I'm curious.

traditionalguy said...

The Global Warming Hoax is dead. Long live the Global Pandemic Hoax.

Malthusians must be dancing around their Auschwitz Pole celebrating that a possibility of a plague killing 30 % of the world's population is very real now.

Just imagine the re-distribution that will be going on when half of the people are dead.

The occupy Wall Streeters will become the only heirs left in their once large families being ruled by the old people who had the money that is now theirs.

damikesc said...

Hey, what's the worst that can happen? It's not like diseases have ever been major killers or anything...

Firehand said...

I think it was about ten years ago, some Australian researchers had a paper showing how they changed something in a mousepox virus DNA and turned it into a 100% lethal virus for mice. The paper was posted at a convention for people doing virus research, and when some of the scientists saw it open to view by anybody there- when they realized just what it was- they threw fits, for the same reasons in this article.

Of course, they also threw fits and had nightmares- for good reason- when, after the Soviet Union fell apart, they found out just what kind of stuff the Soviets had been developing for bio-warfare.

Roger J. said...

IIRC the morbidity rate for the current H5N1 is 30 percent; the mortality rate is 2%

Right now the disease does not appear to be very contagious which is a good thing for humankind--if that changes, then all bets are off the table.

It does not seem to me to be a good idea to publish information on how to make this dangerous, but not very contagious virus, more contagious.

Roger J. said...

probably too much information except for specialists, but the H and N proteins are: The H stands for one of the 16 different hemagglutinin proteins contained in a virus that allows it to penetrate a foreign body. The "N" stands for another protein in the genetic make-up of a flu virus called neuraminidase, of which there currently exist nine variations.

TosaGuy said...

I bet these scientists do this when killing a bit of time in the office.

Sofa King said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger J. said...

Trad guy--30 percent will get sick; 2% will die (morbidity versus mortality)

Scott M said...

Two words. Six little syllables.

Zombie Apocalypse. Stock up on blunt weapons and head north of the snow line.

John Lynch said...

Scott M-

Wouldn't it be better to use spears and pikes?

It seems to me that if zombies are infectious one would prefer to keep them at a distance.

Roger J. said...

John and Scott: I thought George Romero covered these events in "night of the living dead"

Nonapod said...

Just because you have the ability to put Adolf Hitler's brain in the body of a shark doesn't mean you should go through with it, or even show people how.

John Lynch said...

He did, but eternal vigilance is the price of having an edible brain.

Scott M said...

Wouldn't it be better to use spears and pikes?

Yes, but neither are in large supply in the average American household. On the other hand, just about everyone has a baseball or softball bat of some kind. Blunt weapons don't require as much upkeep and can easily be replaced.

Yes, RJ, keeping them at a distance is preferred, but you have to plan on them not going along with that.

Coketown said...

I wonder if wikileaks would post this paper. If not, why not?

Joseph said...

I actually think this is the most likely scenario for how humanity will end.

A handful of talented nuts are all that is needed to take us out 12 Monkeys style. Whip up half a dozen killer bugs, several are needed because one bug won’t kill everyone, and they are ready to go. The technology is now cheap enough for people to set up labs in their homes and is getting cheaper everyday.

The type of security measures needed to prevent this type of disaster will make us pine for the good old days when they only felt everyone up and took pictures through our clothes.

I’m depressed now.

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)




It’s probably not wise to allow Amazon to sell Improvised Munitions and Booby Traps either, but we live in a free society, so risks have to be accepted. I have yet to turn on my automobile and have it explode in a giant ball of fire, from a car bomb, nor has anyone burned down my place of employment with a dust bomb…and yet I imagine one can learn how to do both, fairly readily.

edutcher said...

Since ZeroCare may well be going down for the count, the brahmins need another way to thin the herd so they can keep the illusion that tax and spend (and debt) don't matter.

This way is as good as any other.

But have they (and I doubt it) considered the phrase, Unintended Consequences?

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)




What’s dangerous is letting you Althouse Smurf-tards roam the streets spreading your vile SatanistWiccan Propaganda…ScottM are you still “on” about this Zombie Apocalypse…. Olía a su padre de elderberries

BTW, did someone run my “Hero” off, did the power get turned off in his mother’s basement, did the men with butterfly nets finally catch him?

Scott M said...

"“Sixty days and a wake up, boys. This is the last one and then we get to go home for good. Remember the heavier gravity, watch your fire sectors and for God’s sake don’t die or I’ll shoot you in the head myself to make sure you stay dead,” said the major.

Big Mike said...

@Firehand, I wish you hadn't pointed that out.

traditionalguy said...

Roger J...But if the 30% who get sick have also been weakened in their immune systems from a starvation time caused by a famine induced the by same government's CO2 is a pollutant hoax that justified restrictions on use of cheap oil, gas and coal ? Then what happens to morbidity rates?

In 1918-1920 the Spanish Influenza had a morbidity rate closer to 20% and a third of the world caught it causing about 3% of the world's population to die.

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)




What’s that one from?

Scott M said...

"Firebreak"

Hopefully publishing early next year :)

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)

"Firebreak"

Hopefully publishing early next year


Good Luck with that, then, seriously..sometimes intonation is lost on teh Intarwebz….

Scott M said...

We'll see. It was a nice idea for a short story that exploded once I got to know the characters and the twist involved. I had thought that the zombie fiction market was played out and didn't think much for using it other than a warm up to start writing again. What I found out was that the genre is still alive (undead?) and kicking and that they are constantly looking for a new twist or a cross-genre title to freshen things up.

Bryan C said...

"The technology is now cheap enough for people to set up labs in their homes and is getting cheaper everyday."

Which is why it's counterproductive to suppress scientific discussion on the topic. The only people you'll be keeping in the dark are the people who don't want to kill you. And who might want to help.

rhhardin said...

You'd need to make it Purex-ready, like soybeans.

Triangle Man said...

@Roger J

You may be confusing the virus in this report, H5N1 (Avian influenza), with novel H1N1 influenza. H5N1 has a case-fatality rate of 60%, but it is not very contagious. The case fatality rate of H1N1 is about 1%, but it is highly contagious.

Orion said...

A couple of things to think about -
1: You don't need to kill everyone to destroy humanity. It would take something like a 10-15% mortality in any given culture to pretty much destroy that particular culture's cohesiveness. At that point, things break down and the rest of the fatal diseases (cholera, typhus, etc.) and activities show up (riots, famine, environmental concerns, etc).

2: The Oatmeal had it right:
http://theoatmeal.com/comics/zombie_how

Fear the Zombies!

Orion

Larry J said...

But they're scientists! What could possibly go wrong?

Jaske said...

But they're scientists! What could possibly go wrong?

Captain Trips of course.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Stand#.22Captain_Trips.22

ken in sc said...

OK, so some scientists are happy to publish how to create a lethal contagious disease, but climate scientists are not willing or able to publish how they arrived at the data for AGW.

nevadabob said...

"It's just a bad idea ..."

Not only that, it's a criminal act.

Shanna said...

I actually think this is the most likely scenario for how humanity will end.

All you need to stop it is a really good quarantine. It worked during the spanish flu, at any rate.

Carnifex said...

Virus' mutate all the time. The "Spanish Flu" appeared out of nowhere, killed millions and then disappeared.

I am fully convinced that scientist are some of the dumbest people I have ever been around. "Lets design a bigger, better killer of humanity, and give it away to suicidal monkeys" As Dr. Ian Malcolm said "Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could that they didn't stop to think if they should."--Jurassic Park

Once again life imitates art.

Tibore said...

From the article:
"The big question: Should the results be made public?"

Define "public". No one's in favor of giving it completely unrestricted publication so that malicious individuals in the world can use the knowledge for harm. But at the same time, this information shouldn't be suppressed. The knowledge behind the transformation can also be the knowledge that leads to a vaccine.

I'd have no problem at all with a dissemination model that has an NDA and restricts specifics to medical researchers. To me, that's utterly fair.

Orion said...

@Tibore,

Yes, because as we all know, no scientists would ever violate an NDA, nor have ties to groups that might not have our best interests at heart...

Excuse me, I need to go do some more reading on DR A Q Khan...

Orion