The Pentagon is lying about UFOs | The Hill

According to Gaetz, fighter pilots tracked four unknown objects flying in a “clear diamond formation.” Notably, the incident occurred on a training range typically conspicuously free of any airborne clutter.

In a case resolution report published last week, the Pentagon’s UFO analysis office concluded with “moderate” confidence that the object observed by the pilot was a balloon, likely “a large commercial lighting balloon.”

This so-called explanation insults the intelligence of any reader who takes a few moments to review the details of the incident. It did not convince the world’s most prominent UFO skeptic. The pilot’s sketch of the object, described as akin to an “Apollo spacecraft,” bears no plausible resemblance to the design of any known industrial lighting balloon.

Source: The Pentagon is lying about UFOs | The Hill

With ATACMS In Hand, Ukraine Looks To Neutralize Putin’s Fortress In Crimea

There is now no place in Russian-occupied Crimea that isn’t safe from attacks from Ukraine. Let’s go.

Ever since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, his armed forces have pounded Ukraine with missiles and drones fired from the relatively safe confines of Crimea.

Following his occupation of the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula in 2014, the Kremlin leader poured billions of dollars into militarizing Crimea, expanding bases and constructing depots and other infrastructure.Now fortress Crimea faces a significant new threat that could neutralize its crucial role in the 26-month-old war: U.S. long-range ATACMS, or Army Tactical Missile Systems. After nearly two years of hesitation, the United States earlier this month delivered versions of the powerful ballistic missiles that can travel 300 kilometers — essentially reaching any of the more than 100 military targets on the peninsula.

“The delivery of ATACMS is a big breakthrough. It could basically make Crimea militarily worthless,” Philip Karber, a Washington-based military analyst who focuses on Ukraine, told RFE/RL.

Source: With ATACMS In Hand, Ukraine Looks To Neutralize Putin’s Fortress In Crimea

Opinion: I’m a Jewish student at Yale. Here’s what everyone is getting wrong about the protests | CNN

In light of student arrests Monday morning — along with similar arrests at Columbia last week — campus clashes and concerns around antisemitism are once again in the news.

I do not deny that there has been a shocking and upsetting rise in antisemitism over the last few months, including several instances of antisemitism right at Yale and in New Haven. Last fall, one professor’s post on X (formerly Twitter) appearing to praise Hamas’ October 7th attack sparked a petition for her to be fired.

I have had countless painful conversations with close friends trying to explain to them how their rhetoric has at times minimized the killing and hostage-taking of Israeli Jews and how that language hurts their Jewish classmates, myself included.

But when people see pro-Palestinian protesters arrested at the same time as President Joe Biden and others are warning about a surge of antisemitism on college campuses, they apply the same tired framework — supposedly antisemitic pro-Palestine activists pitted against Jewish pro-Israel activists — to Yale. As a fourth-year Yale student, I find this characterization to be deeply frustrating, as it could not be further from the truth. At every turn, I have encountered a community of activists and organizers that is eager to listen, ready to learn and committed to including Jewish voices and perspectives.

Source: Opinion: I’m a Jewish student at Yale. Here’s what everyone is getting wrong about the protests | CNN

COVID-free again

Well, I am fully on the other side of my very first COVID infection. I was still testing positive on Monday morning, though I went into the office (masked) for a meeting with my manager. By Wednesday I tested negative, which would have been 11 days after being infected at EncounterQuest. According to the science stories I posted recently, a fully-vaccinated COVID patient such as myself is normally only contagious for an average of four days. Almost no one is contagious after 8-11 days from symptom onset.

I had blocked off my work week to work from home with the goal of not spreading this to my colleagues. Though I am feeling much better, I have opted to continue working from home this week.

So, was COVID fun? Not really. I was really, really tired the first two days of symptom onset. My brain felt fried all last Tuesday night and I was sweating at night, pulse racing as my body responded. Last Wednesday I began taking Paxlovid and my energy quickly returned (though the side effects of diarrhea and a bitter taste in my mouth were not fun). By the end of last week, Kelly and I were comfortable with not masking around each other.

Fortunately, there was no real pain. No fever. I was in a stupor for the first few days but once I was sleeping better (Paxlovid?) my brain function began to return. And I never lost my sense of taste or smell (though the bitter taste was a temporary add-on).

Good to be back to the land of the living again!

Southwest Air (LUV) Is Weighing Ditching Open Seating – Bloomberg

Nooooo. Southwest cannot become just another airline. Prices have gone way up, delays are rampant, and open seating is just about the only thing special about Southwest. Wall Street ruins everything.

Southwest Airlines Co. may ditch open seating, a classic hallmark of its business model, to offer assigned spots and premium seats in a bid to appeal to a younger generation of travelers. The move arguably would be the largest change undertaken by the carrier since it began flying in 1971.

“We are seriously studying customer preference around our seating and our cabin,” Chief Executive Officer Bob Jordan said in an interview Thursday. “We’ve been doing that for awhile — you have to be committed to understanding and meeting customer expectations.”

Source: Southwest Air (LUV) Is Weighing Ditching Open Seating – Bloomberg

How Long Are You Contagious With COVID-19?

If you test positive for COVID-19, the duration of contagiousness can vary. This is because the virus can be shed (meaning released from the body through talking, exhaling, etc.) for anywhere from days to months depending on your age, vaccination status, immune status, severity of infection, and any preexisting conditions you may have.

Even so, the likelihood of transmission decreases as fewer viruses are shed over time. If you become infected with COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you isolate at home until you’ve been fever-free for 24 hours (without the held of medications). It’s also recommended that you take additional precautions for five days following isolation.2Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Respiratory virus guidance.

This article explains how long COVID-19 is contagious and the variables that can increase or decrease the duration. It also offers tips on how to protect others if you or someone know gets COVID-19.

Source: How Long Are You Contagious With COVID-19?

Vaccine breakthrough means no more chasing strains | UCR News | UC Riverside

Scientists at UC Riverside have demonstrated a new, RNA-based vaccine strategy that is effective against any strain of a virus and can be used safely even by babies or the immunocompromised. woman getting a vaccinePeopleimages/iStock/GettyEvery year, researchers try to predict the four influenza strains that are most likely to be prevalent during the upcoming flu season. And every year, people line up to get their updated vaccine, hoping the researchers formulated the shot correctly.

The same is true of COVID vaccines, which have been reformulated to target sub-variants of the most prevalent strains circulating in the U.S.

This new strategy would eliminate the need to create all these different shots, because it targets a part of the viral genome that is common to all strains of a virus. The vaccine, how it works, and a demonstration of its efficacy in mice is described in a paper published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “What I want to emphasize about this vaccine strategy is that it is broad,” said UCR virologist and paper author Rong Hai. “It is broadly applicable to any number of viruses, broadly effective against any variant of a virus, and safe for a broad spectrum of people. This could be the universal vaccine that we have been looking for.”

Source: Vaccine breakthrough means no more chasing strains | UCR News | UC Riverside

Opinion A rotten week for MAGA Republicans’ feeble stunts

MAGA House Republicans would rather do anything but their jobs. They would rather indulge right-wing media consumers with baseless impeachments, motions to vacate the speaker’s chair (again!), fruitless hearings and parroting Russian propaganda. None of these activities serves the interests of the voters; none improves U.S. national security. For these minions of Donald Trump, chaos and paralysis appear to be the goal. Fortunately for the country, Democrats have figured out how to short-circuit the antics and humiliate Republicans.

Why does Paxlovid make things taste bitter? | Science | AAAS

Apparently, I’m one of the 6% who get “Paxlovid mouth.” Day Two on this medicine and my tongue is constantly telling me something in my mouth is bitter. It’s annoying but bearable – certainly not a reason to stop taking the medicine as some foolish people apparently do.

Paxlovid can prevent severe illness from COVID-19, but it comes with a price: In many users, the antiviral drug leaves a weird, metallic aftertaste that can last for days—a condition nicknamed “Paxlovid mouth.”

Now, researchers say they’ve figured out why. A component of Paxlovid activates one of the tongue’s bitter taste receptors even at low levels, which may draw out the yuck factor, the team reports this month in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. The work could lead to ways to alleviate the unpleasant side effect.

The study is a “good first step” in teasing apart the mechanism behind Paxlovid mouth, says Alissa Nolden, a sensory scientist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who was not involved with the research. But she says more work will be needed to truly understand why the metallic taste lingers for so long.

Source: Why does Paxlovid make things taste bitter? | Science | AAAS

COVID finally caught me

COVID positive

Well, my remarkable streak of avoiding COVID came to an end this week as I finally tested positive Tuesday morning. It seems I brought it home as a souvenir from this weekend’s EncounterQuest event. Four years of successfully avoiding it came to an end.

The biggest clue was the fatigue I got Monday afternoon, that and the stomach cramps that hit me all day. I finished my work day and fell asleep on the couch, conking out by 6 PM just wiped. I went to bed early Monday night (by 8:30) and felt better in the morning. Kelly noticed my cough and suggested I test for COVID. I laughed at this suggestion but tested anyway and was flabbergasted to see it come back positive. At that point we both masked up and the COVID routine began in earnest. I wrote my VA doc and by 2 PM I had a dose of Paxlovid waiting for me at the Durham VA.

There were some earlier, subtle clues that I had caught something. Monday night as I was trying to sleep I had quite the runny nose. I chalked this up to having mowed the yard Sunday without a face mask, inhaling a bunch of dust and grass. I also had aching joints Monday, making it a little challenging to go up and down stairs. And there was a bit of dizziness Monday, too, as I stumbled around the kitchen making breakfast.
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