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April 28, 2005
By The Way

In case no one told you, the latest AIDS "supervirus" has been declared a statistically probable event. Drug-resistant, yes. New and potentially epidemic, not really.

The problem, as it has been since the cocktail of AIDS drugs was finally assembled, is that AIDS patients won't take their meds on schedule. It's like when your doctor tells you to take all the antibiotic, even if you feel better in four or five days. If you don't smack the virus down hard, it can mutate and come back nastier than ever.

The article does discuss the line-up of circumstances that turned one man's infection into a near-panic, along with a lot of other interesting stuff. (Short version, for those who don't want to read the article, It might have been a supervirus, but it wasn't. Yes, they jumped the gun, but they did it out of fear for possible future victims. Also, one of the guys, Markowitz, comes off in the article sounding a little unbalanced, even hysterical about the possibility of a new and dangerous strain of disease and, again, the article makes it sound like he's the one who really pushed the panic button. But that's just my interpretation.)

The article is very well worth reading.

(Tangentially speaking, you know what? I'm really getting really tired of reading about crystal-meth. I worry about our society's growing addiction to mood-enhancing drugs. The growing number of USofA citizens who regularly dive into a drug-induced haze to escape reality worries me.)

In the Department of Hmmm, we have Luca finds natural gas-generating microorganisms in Utah field.

Luca Technologies LLC said Thursday its researchers confirmed the presence of microorganisms that are generating methane in soil samples from an oil field in northeastern Utah.

That sounds interesting.

The discovery means natural gas, a form of methane, may not be a finite resource that is getting more difficult and more expensive to produce, but instead might be a renewable resource that can be "farmed" by protecting and cultivating the microorganisms that make it.

That sounds even more promising.

The next sentence of that paragraph has the kicker.

The tiny animals munch on oil, oil shales and coal, turning it into methane.

So, if we leave the oil and coal alone, maybe we can have a renewable source of natural gas? What are the odds of that happening?

"The hydrocarbon resources available in the Monument Butte oil field are very large, making the possibility of shifting from oil production to the ongoing farming of clean, natural gas an attractive consideration," said Robert Pfeiffer, president and CEO of Luca Technologies, in a statement.

Could be better odds than I would have expected.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:12 PM