A Coming Storm of Autoimmune Disease

And today in “We’re all doomed”…

A coming storm of autoimmunity, from seminar by James C. Lee, Francis Crick Institute.

I pulled this image from a seminar given by James C. Lee of the Francis Crick Institute today.  The sharp increase in the incidence of autoimmune diseases across the board speaks for itself.  It immediately made me wonder – how much of this is better reporting and better diagnosis versus actual increase in disease?  Reporting or actually doomed?

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Sci-fi Review: A Memory Called Empire

Genre: political thriller blended with social science fiction and slow burn romance.

The book drew me in right from the start with the interesting setup of the protagonist (Mahit) having a digital copy of a dead guy in her mind.  It’s a fascinating exploration of what it would be like to have someone in your head and how things can go wrong when you feel or think differently from one another.  It played havoc on the protagonist’s hormones, and she’d find herself feeling things triggered by her digital companion (imago).  The concept was doubly interesting because the imagos are lines, passed down generation to generation, so that the most important knowledge (like mining or piloting in space) are never forgotten.  The core personality of the person and imago merge each generation to create a blend of the two.  Because the interaction between Mahit and her imago was such an interesting draw, I wish the imago had been around longer in the novel.

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Vital project on coronavirus infections in companion animals

Mapping Animal Susceptibility to Coronavirus: Outcomes and Transcriptomics (MASCOT) logo

Our lab has been awarded a grant by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to undertake a collaborative research project which will examine companion animal susceptibility to coronavirus infections.

The study, named MASCOT (Mapping Animal Susceptibility to Coronavirus: Outcomes and Transcriptomics), could pave the way to a greater understanding of why certain people are more susceptible to COVID-19, as well as help identify new treatment targets.

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COVID-19 outlook: vaccines, B.1.1.7, and the threat of viral mutation

Image Credit: Jenner Institute by John Cairns.

I’ve been asked several times whether the COVID-19 vaccines are safe, particularly the mRNA vaccines.  It’s important to understand the context of the different types of vaccines, how they work, their targets, and comparison to the risks of COVID-19 infection.  And this question is coupled by other issues coming to the forefront, specifically if ongoing viral mutations will render the vaccines less effective long-term.

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Understand the risks of NOT being vaccinated for COVID-19

SARS-CoV-2 viral particles, which cause COVID-19. Credit: NIAID-RML

I’ve seen a lot of COVID-19 anti-vax posts on Facebook, largely focused on the lack of long-term safety profiles for the Pfizer & Biontech COVID-19 mRNA vaccine. The posts caution against or even urge people not to be vaccinated. But people likewise need to understand there are risks for not being vaccinated for COVID-19 and the long-term health problems that can occur as a result of COVID-19 infection.

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Orbus VR Dovregubben Guide (Abandoned Mine Dungeon)

My friends and I have been playing Orbus VR for about a year now, and it’s been amazing to be inside an MMO. One of our favorite things has been figuring out the boss fights in the dungeons. Sometimes, we’d get a little stuck and eventually look online for tips. But, we couldn’t find any videos or articles for this particular fight. And so, I made a guide for the Dovregubben boss fight to assist other players who are looking for help.

Dovregubben is the first boss in the Abandoned Mine dungeon.  And this dungeon is essential to beat in order to get a key to unlock the Forbidden / Ancient Temple dungeon.

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Orbus VR Review

Orbus is the first MMO for VR, and it is truly ground breaking. 

Playing Orbus has been amazing – the sheer wonder of being INSIDE an MMO for the first time.  Raising my hand to draw my weapon, rather than push a button on a keyboard.  Moving through a 3D world, rather than watch it on a monitor.  Entering a dungeon where the mobs surround you.  Pulling boss agro has a completely different feel when a 3 story Minotaur charges you. It brings player housing customization to a new level, when it’s an actual place you enter and move through, room to room, interacting with the crafting stations and environment.

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The Poppy War

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang is a book to defy traditional classification, much as its protagonist, Rin, defies what her cultural tradition would dictate her life to be.  This is a Young Adult (YA) book that isn’t YA.  It’s fantasy, but it’s Chinese history.  It’s Mulan blended with Avatar: The Last Air Bender, with grimdark tones and a teenage rite of passage.  Mix in social injustices surrounding class, race, and region.  Training at a military academy, warfare, and a bit of existential religion.  Oh, and drugs.  A lot of drugs.

This is the courageous journey of Rin, a war orphan doing whatever it takes to escape an arranged marriage and rural life.  She then continuously has to prove herself to hold onto her scar-forged life at the military academy, which is ultimately cut short when war breaks out.  This leaves her in over her head to learn to control her shamanistic powers while her country is ripped apart around her. Continue reading