Sunday 25 April 2021

Sunday Rant


I'm a vigorous supporter of freedom of speech and freedom of action and I abhor government involvement in our activities. As grown ups we should be able to please ourselves in our daily life and we should be free of government interference even if advice is sound, medically or otherwise. Please don't preach or exhort. We are mature, adults and we will not tolerate patronising advice from 'men in suits'. In other words, fuck off and leave us bereft of your poisonous dogma.

Our freedoms have not come easy as the powers that rule mankind are reluctant to encourage independent thought and action. They would like the populous to be obedient drones, without an idea that does not fit within the ruler's remit or restrictive paradigm. Sometimes the 'social programing' is overt, such as that experienced in Nazi Germany and the USSR. Sometimes it is covert and introduced in a subtle manner. The expected end result is the same, as promulgated by Western, so called, enlightened powers. That is control. 

Currently, the narrative is being controlled by extreme 'left wingers' who seem determined to force their woke agenda on all and sundry. We see this insanity and that agenda is anti-men. Boys are indoctrinated from a young age to regard the pernicious 'patriarchy' as evil. In particular, the venom and demonising is directed at the 'root of all evil', white men. Feminists, of the purple hair and robust, corpulent habitus are quick to list our extensive short comings, which are legion. The syllabus is being driven by a strident vocal minority that will not tolerate an opinion that does not intercalate into their well defined script. Their is no reasoned/seasoned debate. Dissenters are shouted down and drowned by a mantra of intolerance and hate.  

Young boys are indoctrinated from an early, impressionable age. All the ills in this world are due to  toxic masculinity. The domination of white men in society is an evil and men should be cowed into submission. Tis little wonder that boys are not progressing into fully matured, masculine men. They remain confused as to their ultimate role in adulthood. Society is turning out milk fed, milk sop 'men', who are unsure what their gender role is in this topsy turvy world. No backbone, no intestinal fortitude. Immature individuals forever looking for a safe space to hide from life's vicissitudes; willing to shed tears on the slightest provocation- only children and women should cry. Things will not end well.

Women are starting to lament that they are unable to find a 'real man'. Increasingly, the men of the latest generation have been emasculated and consequently not particularly attractive to women. Women, apart from the wretched usual suspects, want a man who acts like a man not a man child. I know I'm making  a rather sweeping generalisation. A 'one size, fits all' scenario is way too simplistic. Indeed, not all young men have been coerced, to wear the halter of shame. There are definitely young fellas out there who have fearlessly rejected the nonsense that is the PC and woke culture. Good for them say I. When it comes to finding a mate, undoubtedly they will have the 'pick of the litter' (lucky bastards).

Saturday 17 April 2021

Grapes of Wrath

Don't Put Frozen Tatties up yer Bottom! 

The advice as stated above is undoubtedly sound. Tis not the ravings of Flaxen's unsound mental activity but advice given by the British Medical Association. You might wonder why the medical establishment is so moved to issue this rather strange proclamation? This is not some weird fetish, although folk of a certain proclivity are apt to shove various items/utensils up their arse for erotic pleasure. The emergency department is replete/recondite with tales of folk slipping in the shower onto a light bulb/coffee jar/alabaster bust of Napoleon. Folk keep the strangest stuff in their shower. 

But why is the medical profession concerned with frozen potatoes? It doth appear that folk sundry are stuffing the aforementioned frigid vegetable up da arse to relieve the malady known as haemorrhoids. The flaxen haired one has never suffered from this indisposition, however I have friends so afflicted. I've been told that the combination of the itch and the pain is enough to propel a man into god hood. 

Haemorrhoids, from a medical perspective are no more than varicose veins that descend outside the anal cavity. There are numerous home remedies that include shoving the offending veins back in with a stick and afterward applying a cold honey compress. One hopes that the stick is checked first for irregularities; the recipient has to be hyper-vigilant for offending splinters. Actually this makes good sense as honey is an excellent antibiotic and anti-inflammatory. The 'cold chip' scenario seems less sensible. Mayhap the cold comestible offers some relief and the bulk of the item retains its negative calorific value for awhile. I will refrain from making inappropriate, 'wedgie jokes'. 

I suppose the problem is that sufferers are too embarrassed to approach the doctor with said ailment, which is sad, as there are a plethora of medically effective treatments, such as, the administering of a  soothing balm to the nether regions, to salves, and finally, depending on the severity of the condition, cauterisation. Thus, the 'hot poker' up da arse is sometime warranted. 

I will finish on a sage note, as befits my nature:

Arse, big, sore/itchy, arse

no shit

Friday 16 April 2021

Friday Madness Akimbo


                                                             Wise words, indeed

According to the British Medical Association, medical staff should now refer to pregnant women as ‘pregnant people’. Underlying this ruling is the principle, that medical folk, should not assume that the pregnant person is female. You would think doctors, nurses and midwives are well versed in the nature concerning human physiology, anatomy and sexuality. As a biologist, I was taught that humans are split into two counter genders and the female of the species is the only gender able to conceive, carry and give birth to a human child. The male of the species is precluded from this activity due to fundamental restrictions afforded by anatomy, physiology and hormones. This ‘edict’ from the esteemed British Medical Association comes from a respected professional institution well noted for its ‘sensibleness’, sound common sense and a reputation for being old fashioned and rather fuddy duddy. The proclamation, I suggest, has been foisted upon the medical community, not by medical doctors, but by admin staff of a left wing persuasion peddling a feminist agenda. Why the usually sensible medical association have acquiesced to this rather silly ruling is frankly beyond my ken. Mayhap the top tier doctors have just got tired of resisting against these rather silly, profoundly indoctrinated women in flowery skirts. After all, the practice of medicine is a very serious pursuit and I’m sure doctors are applying themselves to more important matters, such as saving patient’s lives. Perhaps I am being too progressive.

I suspect most of the medical profession will ignore this nonsense and aptly call ‘a duck’ by its correct gender. This is just another example of a minority of woke/PC protagonists trying to force their ridiculous agenda on the majority.

There is another argument that makes the point that the term, ‘pregnant women’ is discriminatory against transgender folk i.e., women transitioning into ‘men’. To my mind, a person’s biological gender is immutable. If you want to call yourself a man even though you are a biological woman then that is your business and no business of mine. But what you cannot do is convince me that you are a real biological ‘man’. And if you expect me to abide by your social construct, then you can bugger Orff. No compliance here. And this is the dilemma (not for me though): the sensible majority are expected, and sometimes coerced by legislation, to conform to this minority insanity. What happened to the hard-won principles of, freedom of thought, speech, and expression by deed in print?    

I can only hope that pragmatic medical staff ignore this nonsense and carry on calling a woman with child, a pregnant woman. Otherwise, our civilization is lost and deserved to fall.



Thursday 15 April 2021



I'm special- don't vaccinate the prole/scutters/gypo types

I received my first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine two days ago. Like most developed countries, New Zealand is making the vaccine available to the population by degrees. This is due, in the main, to the limited supply of the vaccine. In the first tier, doctors, nurses and border staff, together with other specialist groups received their shot. I belong to the second wave of inoculations that is being doled out to 'essential workers'. Next in line will be the most vulnerable segment of our society, the over 80s. Afterward, the vaccine will become available to the general population, excepting those under 16 years of age. 

At the date of writing, seven distinct vaccines designed by laboratories worldwide have been made available. There are differences between these vaccines, although the basic mechanism of action is broadly similar. When trials began last year there were many more candidate vaccines undergoing evaluation. The development of any novel drug is required, by law, to undergo a systematic and arduous testing process and most drug candidates will fail at one of the many stages in the drug’s assessment. And this has been the case with potential COVID- 19 vaccines. Even though the urgency of the situation mandated a rapid introduction of an effective vaccine this did not mean that safety and efficacy requirements were compromised. Usually, the introduction of a new vaccine requires a four-year rigorous testing process in the lab and in the ‘field’. In the case of the COVID-19 vaccine the whole process was truncated to under a year. This in no way indicates that the development of the vaccine was haphazard, or normal testing standards removed or curtailed. The rapidity of introduction was a consequence of several salient factors: A lot of the preliminary work had been achieved on similar RNA viruses and vaccines in the past, so it was not as if researchers were entering unknown scientific territory. A huge amount of money was brought to bear on the problem world-wide. The current estimates place total expenditure in the region of $7 billion US dollars. The development of an effective vaccine was a combined international effort. The best scientific minds and the most prestigious research institutes went into overdrive, and with virtually unlimited financing, the usual research restrictions with regard to funding miraculously slipped away. In fact, they slithered away, like a greased ferret in an ‘Exotic Lard Emporium’ (Steady Flaxen- remember what your psychiatrist said). Unlike most research, in the initial stages at least, the results of scientific endeavour where widely distributed/disseminated internationally. The sharing of data between researchers, to this degree, is almost unprecedented in the annuals of scientific research.              

New Zealand is currently dispensing the vaccine developed by the German company, BioNTech, in conjunction with Pfizer. During trials it has been determined that the vaccine, known as BNT162b2, has an efficiency rate of 95% in preventing COVID-19 infection.

The Science Stuff Briefly Explained

The vaccine contains a piece of viral RNA, that under normal infective conditions, is responsible for the formation of part of the protein coat that surrounds the viral RNA. In particular, the RNA encodes for a class of spike projection proteins. When the virus infects the cell, these projections facilitate the entry of the virus through the nuclear membrane. Once the virus has pierced the nuclear membrane, the genetic material of the virus, in this instance, RNA, can interact with the host genome. Once ensconced the viral RNA hijacks the protein manufacturing processes within the cell, ultimately producing new viral particles, that once released, go on to create invasive and infectious havoc, anew.

Shortly after inoculation, the introduction of the partial viral genome triggers a strong immune response. As only a portion of the viral RNA is contained in the vaccine there is no possibility for the pared RNA to encode for an intact, infectious, viral particle. The RNA in the vaccine is encased in a lipid coat to prevent degradation once it enters the recipient’s cells.

Once vaccinated the individual’s immune system becomes primed and ready to react to the presence of the virus entering a host cell. The presence of the virus initiates the production of antibodies. These antibodies are highly specific to the spike projections of the COVID-19 virus. The presence of the virus triggers the immune system to manufacture large numbers of the antibody particle. When the antibodies encounter the virus, they attach to the spike proteins. The presence of the antibodies initiates two key events. Firstly, the presence of large numbers of attached antibodies physically prevents the virus from entering the cell’s nucleus. Secondly, the attached antibodies act as a beacon that attract specialist immune cells. Once the virus is encountered by these cells they are quickly engulfed (phagocytosis) and rendered harmless. All this occurs outside the cell nucleus and therefore the virus is destroyed before it can reproduce and produce symptoms of disease.

This genomic approach differs from previous outdated anti-viral strategies where the presence of the whole virus was necessary to elicit a positive immune response. In these instances, however, the virus was first inactivated by heat.

This sophisticated genetic approach is not entirely new as researchers have been working on this 'RNA strategy' for the development of novel vaccines for over a decade. There are a number of RNA viruses that cause disease and extensive anti-viral research has been conducted on COVID-19's more dangerous and virulent RNA viral cousins, such as those responsible for the diseases of MERS and SARS. As mentioned earlier, this seminal work has contributed to the rapid development and production of BNT162b2. What's in a name? You think a bunch of smart scientists could have made a little more effort to give the vaccine an imaginative and catchy name; BNT162b2 does not exactly trip off the tongue. If it were up to me, I would have burdened the vaccine with the moniker, ‘Arse, big fat, arse’. But what do expect from someone who is madder than a bucket of frogs in vinegar- nuff said.

As I am close to the arbitrary defined ‘blog post limit’ of 1,000 words, I will pontificate no more on the topic of COVID-19. However, I will end with this: It has not gone unnoticed by the author, that there is a growing minority of folk who are of the strong opinion that the vaccine is a dangerous entity in itself- more dangerous than the disease and therefore is to be eschewed mightily. The opposition to the vaccine is in some instances, rational, although many of the objections are irrational and often quite bizarre. I will address these concerns in a future post, hopefully within the week.       


Wednesday 7 April 2021

An Interesting Observation.....Mayhap?

                                     Chromosome preparation showing the typical damage after in vitro exposure to a clastogen (mitomycin C). What an exciting/tragic life I lead.

As my regulars are well aware, I work two days a week in a genetics lab. One of my many duties is to oversee a specialist genetic test. In fact, we are the only laboratory in New Zealand to offer this diagnostic test.

Let me introduce a rather nasty genetic condition called, Fanconi Anaemia (FA). This condition is usually inherited in an autosomal recessive fashion. Thus, although each parent carries the condition, they our free from clinical manifestations. The problem occurs when the couple produce issue, as 25% of their offspring will be affected with FA. The condition may present at birth due to congenital malformations or may be suspected in adolescence due to bone marrow failure or the development of acute leukaemia. If the presenting clinical issue is leukaemia, chemotherapy is usually considered as a first line treatment. The problem however, is that these patients suffer from an inability to repair a particular type of DNA damage. Unfortunately, if the patients are given the standard dose of chemotherapeutic reagents it is likely they will succumb to the treatment as they are exquisitely sensitive to agents that interact with DNA. Fortunately FA is rare condition affecting around 3 in a 1,000,000. 

Of course, bone marrow failure and leukaemia could be due to a host of conditions more likely than FA. That said, it is highly important that the rare subset of patients with FA is identified as they must receive an attenuated drug regimen to treat their leukaemia. However, FA is a condition that is caused by a large number of genes that contribute to DNA repair. Therefore, standard genetic testing, using a large genetic panel, can be expensive. There is another, cheaper option. A relatively simple test has been devised that takes advantage of the patient's sensitivity to DNA damaging drugs. The test involves growing the patient's blood cells in a test tube and exposing the cells to a DNA damaging compound called mitomycin C. Subsequently the cells are harvested and dropped onto glass slides. After DNA staining, and interrogation with the aid of a light microscope, the presence of DNA damage, mediated through chromosome damage can be measured. Affected patients exhibit very high levels of breakage in comparison to a control blood sample obtained from a none related individual. The test utilises two different concentrations of mitomycin C. In none affected individuals, and the control, we should observe a minor degree of elevated breakage, but not the excessive levels indicative of a positive diagnosis. This is because 'normal' people are able to repair the vast majority of the DNA damage. This analysis is considered a 'robust technique' and highly correlated with the disorder. But it does not identify the underlying genetic defect/mutation. Further molecular studies should ensue if a positive breakage analysis is observed.      

Last month, I conducted the test on a young male adult with a low blood count, and while FA was considered an unlikely diagnosis, it was important to exclude the condition, for reasons previously discussed. I made the slides as usual, with due diligence, and began to assess the chromosome damage, according to my scientific wont. The patient was found to have breakage levels within the normal range indicating that the patient was free from this dreadful genetic, malady; all well and good. But the control gave a rather strange result. All cultures, without the addition of mitomycin C, gave the expected breakage result. However, when I came to review and analyse the cultures containing mitomycin C, I came across a rather interesting result. In these cultures, there was no evidence of cellular growth and hence I was unable to score for chromosome damage; all the cells had been completely obliterated. A very curious result indeed. On investigation, it transpired that the control blood sample had been collected from a young, healthy doctor. Furthermore, the doctor had recently received his first inoculation of the COVID19 vaccine. Could it be that the vaccine and drug were interacting together to cause a catastrophic loss of cells?

A word of warning and caution. Although, my initial observations are consistent with the hypothesis that: in vivo COVID19 vaccination plus mitomycin in the in vitro environment causes cell death.  This observation, should in no rational manner, be used as justification to consider this as positive evidence for a causal connection between the two agents. My single/singular result is just that, and is to be considered as 'anecdotal evidence'- or in words of the 'Scientific Prophet', no bloody evidence, at all. Arse. In the ideal scientific world, my findings would be the basis of a double blind, and extensive, scientific trial. I doubt this will happen, for reasons various.

I don't want to lend ammunition to the anti-vaxer brigade. My observations are interesting, but should not be extrapolated too far, or at all, on their own, merit. After a little research, I did find prior evidence suggesting, that vaccines, in general, can interfere with DNA modifying drugs. This is considered an in vitro phenomenon. Or in other words, it is a reaction that can be demonstrated in the 'test tube' but may have no effect in the in vivo environment (ie the body). So, in conclusion, my results are simply intriguing and should form the basis of an interesting scientific study.

 Anyone out in the 'big wide world', of a philanthropic bent, willing to stump up the estimated $NZ 50,000 to enable this itinerant geneticist to perform valuable research? Mayhap I should contact Elon Musk? 

Or mayhap, I should truly embrace, true retirement.



Thursday 1 April 2021

Calculus: An Introduction

Is there anything more sublime in nature than the branch of mathematics entitled, calculus? I see the eyes of my readership glaze over and heavy despondent heads sink slowly to heaving breasts. This is the standard reaction when most folk encounter anything mathematical, especially if relating to the perceived notion of, 'Higher Mathematics'. And it is true that calculus can be conceptually complex, if you allow it to be so. But the underlying principles are relatively simple and can be grasped by those who would not consider themselves 'mathematically literate', if they are prepared to put forth a little effort.  

When I first encountered calculus 45 years ago I was mesmerized by its underlying principles and its utility in a host of disparate natural topics. Calculus is founded on the concept of infinity, an abstraction both immeasurably subtle and profound, but also calculus is, without doubt, the most useful mathematical tool we have for solving real life practical problems. It is without hyperbole to state: that much of our technological and scientific achievements would not have been possible without the application of this wondrous mathematical process. 

This post is an introduction to an introduction. This will be a trilogy, of many parts and a series that will unfold as I see fit. Hopefully there will not be an inkling of a 'petit mal'- a grand mal is not even in the realm of a possibility, fingers crossed. My aim is to cover the development of calculus, from its 'inception' 2,500 years ago, through to the conceptual breakthrough independently 'discovered' in the mid 17th century by the two greatest minds that have ever existed, Newton and Leibnitz. I'll deal with subsequent developments and explain how calculus has contributed to numerous scientific and technical innovations. But, do not worry gentle reader, this is not going to be a 'mathematical treatise' resplendent with dense mathematical notation. I will strive to make the enterprise intelligible to the educated lay person with a modicum of intellectual substance. It will require no more than a grasp of elementary mathematics, unless I get very drunk.

This is a germ of a project that has been lurking upon my mind (up on the right and on the second shelf) for quite a while now. I feel it has evolved and progressed to a stage where I can confidently write about the topic in a sequential and coherent manner. To be fair, intellectually important topics, though ultimately complex, are vulnerable to simple breakdown and exposition. This is my goal. 

I'm acutely aware that my blog is highly niche, anyway, especially when it encapsulates my strange, and often, incomprehensible humour (even to the author). Ultimately however, the blog is not an exercise in popularity. For me, it is an exercise in the intellect. Most of my writing is directed to a mythical character called, Flaxen Saxon, and, of course, to the incessant voices in this character's head. If I manage to capture and enslave a few world weary free thinkers along the way tis both an intellectual bonus and a means to engage and commune with like minded folk.  

The second installment in this 'ripping series' will make its presence known, but in a thrice. Arse.