Saturday, 25 April 2020


Kilometers run.

Since January 13th.

Sounds good right up until you realise that's over a 3 1/2 month period, and then it seems hardly anything. We walked 35k in 2 weeks in August last year. 

I've just got back from another run - 7.2k in about 50min - and it's too slow. When my speed drops below 6min per kilometre impact from each footfall starts to become a problem - instead of bouncing, each foot thumps down, jarring and causing damage. If I can get the speed up, not only will it feel more satisfying but it will actually become more comfortable. 

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Would it be wrong to say

that I'm enjoying not having to meet people during lockdown. I like the quiet roads, the half-empty supermarkets where people move out of each others way & give others space instead of pushing them out (well, that's true of Bicester Tesco - OTOH Sainsurys Kidlington was a horrible, crowded, dismal place).

Makes me wonder what I'll be like when the lockdown is over - I already don't want the crowds to come back, to have to go to meet people again - no idea if I'm going to want to play guitar with others, and I'm reasonably sure I don't want to 'go to church' (there, I've said it) though it's likely social pressure will ensure I do both those things. Life when I retire may well be very, very quiet.

Or perhaps I'll stop using computers and suddenly discover a desire to meet face-to-face again?

Saturday, 18 April 2020

There are relatively few 'adequate' statistics.

Y'know what I mean - about Covid infections.

There's an interesting artricle here from Rueters about the USS Roosevelt where the virus was able to infect a controlled and isolated population who were all then examined at tested for infection.

It seems that 60% of infections were asymptomatic among a young, healthy population.

OK, now another less solid statistic.

BBC Radio 4 PM show - you can stream it here - had an interview last night around 5.40ish with with an anonymous doctor working in a coronavirus ward. The interview was voiced to make it less traceable. She estimated that 20% of positive Covid cases, as in people clearly displaying the correct symptoms, would test negative first time using the PCR test for viral RNA, only getting a positive result on a second test.

And I'd like to roll in a third factor - a paper from the European Centre for Disease prevention and Control.

Basically it looks like some people may remain infectious for quite a bit longer than the 14 days currently used to quarantine potential infections. I recall discussing this online a few weeks ago with someone who was being a bit 'I work for the NHS and am therefore irrefutable' who was absolute in his conviction that 14 days was exactly enough because that was what he'd been told.

So putting this lot together, it's little wonder that despite the best efforts of many governments, Covid has been rampaging through various societies.

20-20 hindsight is a wonderful thing!

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

As you get used to it.

So I've been running for a few weeks now. At first it was hard work - I could just about manage 3 kilometres without stopping, but I'd feel pretty dreadful during the run and cough for the rest of the day. 

Gradually it became less hard and I could extend the distance to 4K, then 5K  a couple of weeks ago. 

But here's the thing: it's started to feel harder again.

This is normal, but I don't entirely know why. Perhaps it's because it's not so overwhelming that I'm able to notice all the hurty bits much more. Perhaps it's because I'm not fit and strong enough to run easily that it's hard to break out of the plodding. Or maybe I'm just not driven enough to over-ride my body's demands to take it easy. 

If I can keep running for a few more weeks like this then I should break through, but if I stop for a while then it's back to square one. 

Funny when a face pops up

Between 1980 and 1984 I worked in the virology department of Wellcome Research Labs at Beckenham, where our laboratory head was Dr. June Almeida. According to this piece on the BBC website she was responsible for first identifying and along with 2 other collaborators (Drs. Tyrrell and Waterson) naming the Corona virus.

It gives me no particular claim to fame, wisdom or any other attribute, but it's definitely interesting for me. I remember her reasonably well still, and she was a little fierce but definitely had a good sense of humour - I played a minor trick and she could have roasted me as just a technical assistant, but instead found it funny. It was also a privilege to go with her down to the electron microscopy suite she used and see her making images of viruses.

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes

The only people who should be truly free are those who will not use their freedom.

I am also reminded of a phrase by Francis Schaeffer that freedom is not license.

With that lot said, I felt slightly chilled by the headline that OFCOM are going to investigate a BBC presenter who spoke out in a way that suggested the idea that 5G radio could cause coronavirus symptoms was plausible and not clearly understood. That the man is a fool is without question, at least in his understanding of sceince, medicine and engineering, but there's something slightly chilling about the idea of someone being investigated because they're a fool.

Perhaps the problem lies with those who gave him a platform in the first place?

People have complained, as they should, and so an investigation should take place. Hopefully he'll realise what a pillock he is and apologise.

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Living in Britain is like experiencing

The opening chapters of a distopian scifi novel.

From the 1950s.

Quatermass and the antenna etc.

"Hey look everyone, I just burned down a 5G mast!"
"WTF, why can't I post this on social media?"
"It's a conspiracy - they have shut off my mobile coverage!"

No amount of rolling-eyes or facepalm emojis are enough for this level of stoopidity. 5G causes coronavirus.

I've even had someone who is an electrical engineer send me a whatsapp link to a video from the 'Vodafone boss' blowing the whistle on 5G and covid-19. I think I actually shouted at my phone when that popped up, not least because the person who sent it lives in another country and I can't shout at them for numerous reasons.

If I ask "has the world gone mad?" will I hear the word "yes" return as an echo?

There are several reasons not to like 5G, not least of which will be the sprouting of many more masts than 4G, short range and poor service to rural areas, but delivering coronavirus over the airwaves is not one of them.

I don't want to use the R word, but sometimes it seems appropriate.

As a nation, we're doing our best to hold back the good Dr. Darwin and his ages-old selection methods by fining and making examples of people who refuse to stay away from each other at this time. With careful marketing I reckon catching and dying from Covid-19 could be made fashionable - if people are dumb enough to believe half the things they do then I'm sure that one could be sold too.

Yours, tongue somewhat pressed into squamous cell surface. 

Walking away from this and back to the lab made think there must be a lot of very confused and unhappy people around, that they see this as real and needing something doing about it.