mokie: A big red dinosaur says, "Make me a sandwich" (grumpy)
The Black Death wasn't spread by rat fleas, says a researcher...

...promoting a TV special.

...based on 25 bodies in one British plague pit and a modern account of pneumonic plague.

...ignoring contemporary reports of the Black Death's spread and symptoms, which acknowledge that respiratory infections (pneumonic plague) occurred, but that they were less common than the regular infection presumed to be spread by fleas, whose symptoms (buboes, or swollen lymph nodes) gave the Plague its other common name.

...based in part on genetic analysis of the Yersinia pestis bacteria from those bodies, which he found to be almost identical to modern bacteria in modern outbreaks and which he thus concludes couldn't have spread as fast in its bubonic form as the Black Death's scale would have required, which ignores that (a) modern folks are by and large less cozy with fleas than medieval Europe was, (b) medieval Europe had seen a series of massive famines in the years leading up to the Black Death, and malnutrition leaves populations vulnerable to disease and infection, and (c) European researchers have found previously unknown (and hopefully extinct) strains of the plague bacteria which could easily have been nastier than the modern version.

...apparently jumping into the "It wasn't rats!" debate without actually addressing any of the rat-related evidence.

I love the hemorrhagic plague theory - the idea that Europe was struck not by the rat-spread Yersinia pestis bacteria, but by an Ebola-like virus. Or better, both, sweeping through a weakened population at the same time! And according to some researchers, there are a few assumptive leaps when it comes to rats spreading the plague in Europe, because of where specific rat species lived or had been recorded during the period.

But at the same time, we know Yersinia pestis hit Europe because the DNA is there, and we've known rats and their fleas spread the plague for years, because regular outbreaks in outbreak-prone areas in Asia were preceded by massive rat die-offs. That's what led researchers to specifically study transmission via rats and fleas. We know how that mechanism works. Getting rats and fleas off the hook requires more than proving that 25 bodies in a single British plague pit died of pneumonic plague rather than bubonic, because for all we know that pit was reserved specifically for victims of the pneumonic plague, since it was so very contagious and deadly.

Of course, you could argue that the real problem is that I don't know for sure that this is what the researcher is saying: I'm responding to a flurry of articles proclaiming that the flea and rat are innocent of all charges, and for all I know, it's just a bunch of writers misinterpreting one researcher's findings, just like the regular articles proclaiming that a cure for AIDS has been found because one researcher or another has found a promising technique that still needs years and years and years of testing.
mokie: A tiny, sad cardboard robot walks in the rain (sad)
Happy holidays, you crazy cats! I've not forgotten about you, I've just been buried under work, and unable to muster many big words.

So, did you guys know that I have a livejournal and a deadjournal and an insanejournal and a dreamwidth journal? They're all really the same journal, and all mokie. I mirror like a mofo, because I believe in the fundamental ability of websites to disappear without warning. But anyway, if you intend to bail on LJ and would prefer I read/comment at another site (when I dig myself out long enough to read), etc., feel free to say so.

For those not in the know, Livejournal has revamped the way its comments work, which is causing some consternation.

Some of it is trifling, like the font. Yes, there are people saying, "You bastards! I hate that font! Change it back NAO!"

Some of it is fair but still a little dramatic, like removal of subject lines and comment managing bits. I know these things have legitimate uses, especially in some contexts (like very talkative communities), but calm and clear feedback on why these things are not 'clutter' and are valuable is probably more helpful than screaming like someone murdered the kitten Jesus.

And some of it sounds trifling, like the new color combo, but is very much not, since the complaint is that it triggers migraines. Not migraines in the sense of drama queens who can't just have a headache, they have a migraine (though some jerky commenters on the news page are treating it like such), but migraines in the full medical sense, with nausea and hypersensitivity to stimuli and a crushing immunity to most painkillers. Gotta love a headache that brings its own 2-day hangover.

(If you're wondering: it's the new blue. It tricks the eye into reading the screen as washed out and much brighter than it actually is. Even users who don't get migraines are still getting headaches and reporting eyestrain. If you're sensitive to such things and have a paid account, I'd recommend viewing pages in your own style for a while, by adjusting your management settings and/or sticking ?style=mine onto the end of links. Don't trust Greasemonkey to customize things for you--I've seen a few users saying the site change has borked it.)

The much bigger problem is that this change to the comments appears to be the beginning of a site overhaul, in the same color scheme. So, that's fun.

Yet another LJ exodus is underway, and for good reason--if folks can't even read their comments without a headache and a hangover, then the site is fundamentally broken for them. Dreamwidth has open registration until the end of the year, and if any of my lovely readers need an invite for Deadjournal (or DW later), I'll share. Online journals with no commenting haven't been fun since '97.

I do hope LJ takes this one seriously. I know the userbase pitches a fit whenever a pixel is moved, but this is more in line with, "Hey, your cartoon causes seizures in certain percentage of small children." You fix that shit on principle, y'know?
mokie: A Japanese lantern in front of lush green bushes (thoughtful)
Randy Jackson (Five, not Idol) tweeted that Tina Turner once accidentally shot him when he showed up at her house unannounced, says NYMag.com.

Having seen What's Love Got to Do with It, I figure he's lucky she didn't go full ninja on him.
mokie: Firefies swirl beneath a tree on a moonlit night (happy)
From the Terminator 2: Judgment Day trivia page:
The "forced medication" scene (Special Edition only) had to be re-shot several times because actor Ken Gibbel wouldn't hit Linda Hamilton properly with his nightstick. The scene was very physically demanding and Hamilton was furious with Gibbel because he repeatedly botched it. She got her revenge in a later scene where she beats Gibbel with a broken-off broom handle - the blows are for real.
If you check Gibbel's IMDb page, you'll notice T2 is his last acting role.

She beat him right out of the movies!

About dream/reading tags

y-* tags categorize dreams.

For types: beyond the obvious, there are dreamlets (very short dreams), stubs (fragment/outline of a partially-lost dream), gnatter (residual impression of a lost dream).

For characters: there are roles (characters fitting an archetype), symbols (characters as symbols), and sigils (recurring figures with a significance bigger than a single dream's role/symbolism).

x-* tags categorize books.

Material is categorized primarily by structure, style and setting. If searching for a particular genre, look for the defining features of that genre, e.g. x-form:nonfic:bio, x-style:horror, x-setting:dystopian.

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