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Reblogged:Friday Hodgepodge

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Four Things

I have returned to looking at news for only a few days, and am already tired of hearing about the epidemic.

I expected that.

What I didn't expect has been much worse: I am saddened beyond words to see good people harmed while a just cause loses credit. The physical action is everywhere, but the real battle is in our souls, which the evil people behind the rioting hope to snuff out.

Let's acknowledge this, but keep the bigger picture, and gain strength by remembering the good, especially now.

Let's take some time to focus on good news today. Here are four of mine. I recommend finding or thinking of a few for yourself, too.


1. A team at Princeton has hit a milestone in the war against antibiotic resistance with successful tests in mice of a new compound that works against more than one kind of resistant bacteria:
The researchers did find their original SCH compounds killed human cells and bacterial cells at roughly similar levels.


However, a derivative called Irresistin-16 fixed that. It is nearly 1,000 times more potent against bacteria than human cells, making it a promising antibiotic.

As a final confirmation, the researchers demonstrated that they could use Irresistin-16 to cure mice infected with N. gonorrhoeae. [format edits]
The article notes the need for human testing of this compound, as well as the possibility of developing variants that would be safe for human use.

2. A while back, another team reported the discovery of a naturally-occurring compound that works against bacteria differently than other antibiotics:
"Antibiotics like penicillin kill bacteria by preventing building of the wall, but the antibiotics that we found actually work by doing the opposite -- they prevent the wall from being broken down. This is critical for cell to divide.

"In order for a cell to grow, it has to divide and expand. If you completely block the breakdown of the wall, it is like it is trapped in a prison, and can't expand or grow."
The story notes that the group had found other compounds with a similar mode of action, and that their method of discovery could unearth other antibiotics with other previously-unknown mechanisms.

3. This soccer aficionado looks forward to seeing Arsenal lead the way when the English Premier League restarts on June 17, but admits it will be strange not seeing or hearing the usual stadium crowds in the background.

But who knows?

Perhaps they can borrow a page from the Japanese and develop an app for that:
Today the field, tomorrow the stands. (Image by who?du!nelson, via Unsplash, license.)
The Remote Cheerer system developed by the Japanese firm Yamaha allows fans following the match on TV, the radio or online to encourage -- or berate -- players via their smartphones, their voices reverberating around the stadium in realtime via loudspeakers.

In a recent field test, users in multiple remote locations chose from a range of on-screen options that sent their cheers, applause, chants and boos into the 50,000-seat Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa via 58 speakers set up among the empty seats.

The app does not, as yet, allow fans to question the referee's eyesight, or the eating habits of players who struggled to stay match-fit during the league's virus-enforced break. [link omitted, bold added]
Failing that, perhaps our local supporters group can meet virtually during the game. Skype and a beer from the fridge wouldn't be the same as a trip to the pub, but I'd take that. (HT: Paul Hsieh)

4. Via Hacker News, I learned of a piece from the British press about "America's 'Fried Chicken War.'"

It was not what at all what this Southerner expected to read, but I enjoyed it, anyway. Here's part of the story about the founding of Chicken Annie's in Pittsburg, Kansas, by a widowed mother of three:
To keep her family from starving, Annie began selling ham and veal sandwiches for a few pennies to miners passing the front of her house. The men ate under the shade of the birch and maple trees outside the Pichlers' little white house, not far from the outhouses, and drank Annie's homemade hooch, which she sold for $0.25 for two quarts.


In 1934, looking for a way to grow her business and noting all the free-range chickens in her front yard, Annie started selling fried chicken dinners. She'd wring the birds' necks, quickly clean and cut them into pieces and fry them on a coal-heated stove in her tiny kitchen. On Saturdays, Annie would move the furniture from the family's living room and set up a few tables for diners in their tiny home. She also prepared potato salad, coleslaw, pickled peppers and sliced tomatoes from her garden as sides, and rounded the meals out with a slice of white bread. Sometimes, diners would stay and end up dancing until the wee hours of the morning.
Chicken Mary's started a couple of doors down in similar circumstances.

Both concerns exist to this day, and people have been known to go hours out of their way to dine.

For any fellow Floridians out there, the comments at Hacker News (linked above) noted that the grocery chain Publix makes excellent fried chicken and that customers can order it in advance. I tried using their tenders as a lunch for a long, solo drive once, and I can see why, even though they were made of breast meat. (I'm a dark meat guy who prefers Popeye's, but I can appreciate a good bird from anywhere...)

-- CAV

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