Category Archives: General

Mild Cases of Coronavirus

The Washington Post points out that 82% of covid-19 cases identified so far are mild, basically a bad cold. Virologists are trying to determine: How many more mild cases haven’t been counted? And what factors cause some cases to be mild and others lethal?

There are several coronaviruses that already circulate globally and just cause colds. And there are several that cause more dangerous diseases like SARS and MERS. Covid-19 is new enough that we’re still trying to figure out where it is on the scale between a cold and SARS.

The Los Angeles Times brought up the H1N1 flu, which at first appeared much more deadly than other strains because it was the severe cases that were being counted. Once researchers could go back and find the mild cases, it turned out to be about the same as the typical seasonal flu. A decade since jumping to humans, H1N1 has essentially become just another seasonal flu.

Covid-19 is somewhere in between a cold and SARS, but as mentioned above, we’re still trying to figure out where.

In any case, it’s worth remembering: mild or severe, coronaviruses spread the same way as colds and the flu.

Wash your hands. (As Science-Based Medicine points out, a recent study suggests that hand-washing in airports is “probably the single most effective method for preventing pandemics.”)

Cough and sneeze into your elbow instead of your palm.

And if you get sick, stay home if you can.

Bisected Halo

A circular halo around the sun, which is behind a tree. A contrail crosses the halo, leaving its shadow on the thin cloud layer below.

A clear 22-degree halo around the sun, bright enough that I didn’t have to adjust the image afterward. This is straight from my phone.

Even cooler: you can actually see the contrail’s shadow on the layer of cloud that’s producing the halo! The sun is behind the tree, and while the contrail pops out so it looks closer than the almost uniform layer, it’s clear from the shadow that the contrail is higher.

The Google+ Rescue Mission

In advance of Google shuttering their third(?) attempt at a social network, Google+, I’ve retrieved a full archive, and I’ve trawled through it looking for anything that I want to keep online after the shutdown. Most of them were cross-posts of one sort or another, or (early on, especially) the kind of random social media status that maybe has value in the moment, but not down the line. I found around 30-40 posts worth keeping. Some had their own merits, some fit in with other posts here on the blog.

Rather than just import them verbatim, I’ve decided to do some minimal cleanup. No major rewriting or anything, just the kind of things that I’d be willing to silently change on an old blog post that was already here:

  • Fix up the formatting
  • Fix typos
  • Link to related posts
  • Add a quote to linkblogging posts if they need more context

Yeah, it’s slower than copy-paste or direct import (I never did get around to writing the converter I wanted to), but there’s no rush for old news, and I’ve got copies to work from even if I’m not done by April 2.

Bringing Back the Old Camera

A couple of weeks ago, the almost-8YO found my old manual SLR camera – the 1967 model my grandfather gave me. I bought some film, and picked up a light meter app while waiting for the battery to arrive (the light meter is the only powered part of the camera), and I showed him how to load the camera, focus, choose the shutter speed and aperture, etc., and the two of us shot a roll of film, trading off between us.

As I showed him how to unload the camera, I managed to knock it off the table, where the open camera crashed to the floor.

I couldn’t believe it! This camera is older than I am, and I was fairly certain it still worked…until we shot one roll of film!

Amazingly the lens didn’t break, and nothing seems to have damaged the shutter mechanism either. The only thing that I’ve noticed is that the door in the back of the case is bent slightly. I can still close it, but I have to shift it about 1/8″ to do it. I hope it’s still light-proof…

We shot another roll of film, again taking turns, and tomorrow I’m taking it into a photography store to get them developed. I really thought the slow turnaround would be frustrating to him, but he’s finding it fascinating.