Revised: US assessing reported leak at Chinese nuclear power facility

(CNN)  Exclusive: US assessing reported leak at Chinese nuclear power facility contains new information. Quoting,

French utility company Electrictie de France (EDF) said in a statement it has been informed of an increase concentration of “noble gases in the primary circuit” of reactor number one of the Taishan nuclear power plant.

The noble gases produced are radioactive:

  • Xenon-135, which has a short half life, affects reactor operation, but is not a significant health hazard.
  • Krypton-85,  with a half life of 11 years, is a health hazard.

These gases accumulate in fuel rods, where they limit  fuel rod lifetime. The outer structure of a fuel rod is zircaloy, a mechanically tough alloy of zirconium. An inner liner of softer, pure zirconium reduces gas leakage.

Accumulation of these gases in the primary loop implies a problem with the zircaloy cladding , which is usually caused by bad welding. ANT International has published Welding of Zirconium Alloys.The first chapter is a very dense 47 pages. Quoting a couple paragraphs cannot portray the complexity of this exacting metallurgy. I’ll quote a little anyway:

2. Cleaning of weld joints and adjacent areas prior to welding. Contamination can lead to welds with poor strength and or poor corrosion resistance.

3. Atmosphere control during many of the zirconium welding processes must be strictly controlled to keep uptake of especially nitrogen and to a lesser extent oxygen at very low levels. In reactor corrosion resistance can be impaired when these gases enter the weld.

Incidents of bad China metallurgy have come to light more than in the West. Russia and Ukraine have a tradition of good metallurgy,  which has not yet become the norm in China. (Sacramento Bee) Troubled welds on the Bay Bridge: How a Chinese builder’s flaws left structural doubts and cost taxpayers.

Noble gases in the primary loop  indicates corrosion of fuel rods. Framatome assesses imminent containment failure; the U.S. estimate is “not yet.” What accounts for the divergence?

It comes down to the trajectory, and the failure mechanism:

  • Gas escapes from porous welds; not so bad, but auguring worse.
  • Severe corrosion  resulting in pinholes, much worse.
  • Water enters a fuel rod. Fresh fuel,  uranium dioxide, is nonreactive. The decay products, which are much more radioactive than the fuel itself, leach into the primary water loop. This could cause a failure cascade, resulting in containment failure.
  • Fuel rods break apart. Impaired cooling could result in partial melting of the core.

Perhaps Beijing  waking from their little nap is a realistic prerequisite for U.S. assistance.

 

 

(CNN) US assessing reported leak at Chinese nuclear power facility

(CNN) Exclusive: US assessing reported leak at Chinese nuclear power facility.

The Taishan reactors are a pressurized water design (PWR), with two water loops.

  • At high temperature and pressure, the primary loop cools the reactor core.
  • The primary loop transfers heat to  the secondary loop.
  • The secondary loop generates steam which powers turbines.
  • The turbines turn electric generators.

The primary loop is subject to the intense radiation of the reactor core. Under normal operation this causes radiolysis; a small quantity of water is broken down into free hydrogen and  oxygen. In a PWR design, this can be a stable arrangement; the dissolved hydrogen suppresses more radiolysis.

  • Radiolysis is a normal source of gas.

If a bubble of free H and O forms somewhere in the piping, it could recombine explosively, so most designs bleed off the gas at the top of the loop. The expected rate of bleed-off is known to the designers.  The Framatome  report of excessive, progressively increasing gas release indicates gas is being generated by other mechanism(s).

  • Metal-water interaction. Many metals, and some semiconductors, are weakly catalytic, accelerating radiolysis. Fuel rods are clad with zirconium, which tends to make gas: Zr + 2 H2O → ZrO2 + 2 H2 .  This becomes critical with a core melt-down.
  • Dissolved impurities, such as chlorine,and corrosion products, including zirconium, and whatever leaches out of a bad weld.

Why has Framatome approached the U.S. ?   The U.S. is the heir to the Manhattan Project knowledge base. Contrary to popular impression, most of the project dollars were spent on chemistry and materials science, not design of the Bomb. Including post war,  307 research reactors were constructed. Since one cannot look easily inspect the inside a reactor core, methods of remote diagnosis were developed.

Samples of water from the high pressure loop have dissolved chemicals with radioactive signatures. Excess gas implies corrosion in the system, but from what? A radiation chemistry analysis of primary-loop water could narrow the scope to a bad weld, (not the worst) or a hot spot in the core (bad).

In the early phase of COVID-19, the Wuhan regional bureaucracy engaged in what could charitably be called self deception. When the Beijing government took charge, China’s response  ranked with the best in the world. COVID has left China without visible scars.

A Taishan  miscalculation could be much worse. If the containment vessels hold, a Three-Mile Island results, with almost no consequences. If containment fails, you have a Chernobyl or Fukushima.

Are you listening, China?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biden — Putin summit — Just a Note

This summit is likely to be without precedent. Concessions, agreement, national expressions of  friendship, or personal bonding, are unlikely.  Neither personality lends to the media circus in the manner of the Trump-Kim summit.  We won’t be bored by the freebee hand-shake shots that dripped heedlessly from the Reuters front page. In anticipation, Getty has sourced Russian dancing bears snacking on Delaware blue crab.

If the summit pays dividends,  the distributions will come in the future, beyond the standard diplomatic horizon, where six months are equivalent to five minutes of anything else. You are entitled to  speculate on the nature of these dividends.

Clue. Of all the issues of the U.S. – Russia relationship, virtually all are unmovable, not in play. A minority become negotiable with passage of time. What is impossible now may become slightly possible in 2, 4,…8 years.

To avoid interfering with Biden’s message, this discussion will resume after the summit.

 

 

 

(CNN)France and Germany ‘seeking full clarity’ from US and Denmark on spying report (It’s Nordstream)

(CNN)France and Germany ‘seeking full clarity’ from US and Denmark on spying report.

What follows is speculation. I don’t think I’m spilling any secret beans.

(CNN)France and Germany ‘seeking full clarity’ from US and Denmark on spying report.

The U.S. wanted to stop Nordstream  gas pipelines 1 and 2, which run through the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany. Construction of Nordstream 1  began in May 2011. The alleged wiretapping was in the time frame 2011-2013. Understanding Merkel’s commitment to the projects was crucial to crafting sanctions to stop Nordstream 2. Sanctions have failed: (DW) Nord Stream 2: Construction resumes in Danish waters.

The route of Nordstream 2,  identical to already-operating Nordstream 1, passes through Denmark’s territorial waters for roughly 120 km as it skirts the Danish island of Bornholm. Denmark could have stopped Nordstream 2 by prohibition of the route.

Caught between the U.S. and Germany, Denmark ultimately caved to Germany. Facilitation of wiretapping would be a private expression of  sympathy.

Our concerns are real. Nordstream 2 completes the replacement of Ukraine’s pipeline infrastructure for consumers in northern Europe.  Loss by Ukraine of transit fees for existing pipelines risks  current Western alignment.

Over the past decade, Russia has supplied upwards of 30% of Europe’s gas.  (Stastista) Share of extra-EU natural gas imports from Russia from 2010 to 1st half 2020. So besides destabilizing Ukraine, how does Nordstream 2 enhance Russia’s power over Europe?

The Cold  War Fulda Gap is replaced by the Suwalki Corridor, a choke point created by gifting Stalin the Kalingrad exclave after World War 2. Since Blue has lost to Red in every simulation, U.S. wargamers anticipate the  loss of the corridor early in a conflict, cutting off the Baltic States. NATO forces are insufficient to deal with unfavorable geography,  which is why the last administration pressed Merkel so hard on Germany’s poor state of readiness.

Massive German support would be required to regain the Suwalki Corridor. It is natural to wonder if a gas cutoff would motivate tomorrow’s Germany to temporize.

The founding of NATO in 1949 brought Western Europe under the U.S. nuclear umbrella. Though the-no-first-use nuclear doctrine governs, the certainty of Russian nuclear retaliation against the U.S. demands an answer to this question:  What is it about Europe that requires the promise we commit to the flames of nuclear devastation?

in 1949, the commitment came from the conviction that the reborn heart of Europe was so pure in spirit, it was worth dying for on the other side of the Atlantic. We have deep suspicion of claims that business is  exempt from this standard, yet this is a vital point to Germany.

Until surpassed by China, Germany was the largest exporter of manufactured goods. The German economy crucially relies on exports. Germans worry that while the U.S. economy could restart from a catastrophe, their economy, so interdependent on international relations, might fail to rekindle. In the U.S., globalism is debatable. In Germany, it is factual.

Henry Kissinger offers the history Germans are conscious of:

  • Good  relations with Russia and economic prosperity go together.
  • Bad relations  coincide with bad economic times.
  • Since Russia survives mostly as a natural resources state, while Germany is entirely a manufacturing state, there is natural complement.

The U.S. attitude towards Germany is divided between committed globalists, conditional globalists, and isolationists. None are above  criticism; none reference these perspectives. The nut of it is:

  • Russia is feared less than the Soviet Union. Economic conflict and internal stress are real. Military conflict is imaginary, except to Poland and the Baltic states. Ukraine is not a member of NATO.
  • Russia’s use of the gas weapon remains imaginary.
  • NATO is now divided into regions disconnected by conflicts between member states that span economic, political, territorial, and religious. Germany’s contribution is insufficient defense of the Suwalki Corridor,

If any productive approach is to be found, the custodians of U.S. foreign policy, globalists, conditional globalists, and isolationists, must examine the German perspective. With understanding may come a remedy for the illness at the heart of NATO.

Or maybe not. We don’t write history; we live it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did COVID Come From a Lab Redux?

Edit 5/27/2021. The Wuhan Institute was incorrectly stated as Biosafety Level 3, BSL-3.  It is BSL-4, certified by China’s domestic authority.

Two  questions: Did COVID Come From a Lab, followed by Did China willfully conceal the initial spread from the international community?

(CNN) Why scientists are suddenly more interested in the lab-leak theory of Covid’s origin. Because, quoting   (original is WSJ exclusive),

A US intelligence report found that several researchers at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology fell ill in November 2019 and had to be hospitalized, a new detail about the severity of their symptoms…

and (CNN) Chinese state media is turning on Fauci amid Wuhan lab controversy. because Fauci took note of it.

In April 2020, I wrote Did COVID-19 Come from a Lab? Nothing changed the undecidable nature of the question, until the WSJ report.  If it was COVID-19, a lab leak would be plausible.

Quoting (CNN) Chinese state media…,

An adviser for the World Health Organization, Jamie Metzl, said the lab-leak theory is possible while scientists were “poking and prodding and studying” viruses with the good intention of developing vaccines.

This is the closest the news has come to the nut of what matters: intent. If the intent had been to weaponize COVID, it would be as  wicked as anything the Russian GRU could dream up. But what if the intent had been academic or preventative?

  • Have 3.49 million died because some ignorant farmer inoculated himself handling live produce for a wet market?
  • Or because some careless academic opened an unsterilized glove box?
  • Or did a researcher from the Wuhan Institute visit the wet market to obtain live produce samples, become infected at the market, infecting other workers by personal contact?
  • For every zoonosis that jumps to humans, there is an index case.  Should the index case be held legally liable, like Typhoid Mary?
  • Is it force majeure? Is it negligence, or criminal negligence? By who, farmer,  careless technician, local government, or national?

This is straight-up religion, Good versus Evil,  bastardized for political capital, the search for the guilty, an urge to distinguish between force majeure, and negligence-by-people-who-should-know-better. There is no sharp distinction. Since punishment is out of the question, what would a guilty verdict mean?

Nothing, unless weaponization was intended. Circumstances do not support this:

  • The original Wuhan strain is a wild, unmodified virus, not optimal for weaponization. Since then, random mutations have increased value as a bio-weapon. This happened mostly in the U.K. South Africa, and Brazil.
  • The Wuhan Institute is a BSL-3 facility. To handle bio-weapons with reasonable safety, BSL-4 is required.  China knows this. (Edit 5/27/2021. The Wuhan Institute was incorrectly stated as Biosafety Level 3, BSL-3.  It is BSL-4, certified by China’s domestic authority.)

So the lab question is a quest for moral capital, which has doubtful utilities:

  • Conversion  to an asset of diplomacy.
  • An unenforceable judgment, as in, “pay up.”
  • A feel good moment for declining nations.

China is a profound challenge to the Westphalian system of  Henry Kissinger’s World Order. Let’s not trivialize with valueless feel-good arguments. Quoting from Did COVID-19 Come from a Lab?,

The politicization of a question that cannot have a definite answer is the use of animus to influence trade policy. Bad vibes can be reciprocated. Trade, human rights, and geopolitics have their own legitimacies. They don’t need help from plague-inspired hate.

Second Question. Did China willfully conceal the initial spread from the international community? The 2011 (Wikipedia) Wenzhou train collision is instructive. Quoting,

Officials responded to the accident by hastily concluding rescue operations and ordering the burial of the derailed cars. These actions elicited strong criticism from Chinese media and online communities. In response, the government issued directives to restrict media coverage, which was met with limited compliance, even on state-owned networks.

They buried the evidence. Here, we bury bodies. In China, they bury whole rail cars. Substitute “COVID-19” for “derailed cars” and the meaning becomes clear. Politicians everywhere try to bury problems. Contemporary open source coverage indicated that when the epidemic was accurately reported to the national government, transparency (mostly) replaced concealment. (This may, of course, be contradicted by clandestine intelligence. I am unaware of any leakage to the degree of the WSJ report.)

The response of the Wenzhou incident implies an ingrained pattern of domestic China civil service that carried over to the COVID concealment, an artifact of their local domestic politics, with international concealment as a side effect. Much later, dating to the first “from a lab” accusations, it became a diplomatic football.

Readers in the U.S. have had a close-up  COVID view of domestic concealment, incompetence, politicization, and delusional thinking. Isn’t it a little hard to criticize China’s civil service for the same?  We’ve buried our share of truth.

From Did COVID-19 Come from a Lab? ,

We got caught with our pants down. The blame should start here, and it should stop here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Secret War; Russian Clandestine Activities in the U.S. Require Policy Revision

A riveting feature story: (GQ) The Mystery of the Immaculate Concussion.

Mainstream journalism: (CNN) US investigates second suspected case of mystery ‘syndrome’ near White House. Quoting,

The twin incidents in downtown Washington, along with a previous suspected case in northern Virginia in 2019, have raised concerns that the wave of episodes first seen only among Americans overseas is now occurring in rising numbers on US soil — and maybe even at the President’s front door.

If this is as real in every instance as  may be, policy revisions are mandated.

Soviet Operation RYAN, initiated by  then KGB chairman Yuri Andropov in 1981, was a search for proof and timing of a surprise nuclear attack by the U.S. The extreme paranoia, which could have lead to an actual nuclear exchange, was thought to be due to the isolation of the two societies.

It was thought that if we facilitated Soviet observation  in the U.S. of unclassified activities, even with the inevitable cost of espionage, the Soviet bias towards paranoia  would be reduced. Up until about 2008, this manifested in a degree of  mutual tolerance of foreign intelligence presences.

Multiple factors involve the transition of Russian attitudes towards intolerance of U.S. activities, and disinhibition  of active measures in the West, such as assassination:

In 2018,  following the spate of high profile Russian assassinations in Europe, I began to contemplate the unthinkable. Individuals targeted for assassination were traditionally selected by these criteria:

  • Defection.
  • Extrajudicial punishment, with similar activity by the West towards terror targets.
  • Grudge, as per Skripal, who was received by the UK as part of a spy swap.

The attempt on the Skripals had new elements. Obtained by swap, we understood Skripal to be “ours” free and clear. Yet he was selected for assassination in an operation that incurred massive collateral damage. Prior, the use of a WMD, Novichok, in the West, would have been imagined only as an act of war.

So I began to contemplate the unthinkable: Maybe the Russians have gone experimental with murder. I then began a mental exploration of how an experiment might develop. The first goal would be to determine the sensitivity and perceptive acuity of the adversary power structure. It would begin with actions against the periphery, gradually escalating towards the center.

  • The first targets would be on foreign soil, as has already occurred.
  • The second targets would be members of the party out-of-power, or shortly to be so.  The attacks on NSC personnel occurred after the presidential election. Would the adversary’s power structure react to a minor provocation?
  • If these actions do not register with the adversary, targeting of Congressional staffers  deemed hostile to Russia.
  • The fourth target, elected members of Congress known as hawks.
  • Fifth, Executive Branch staff of the party-in-power.
  • Ultimate, Executive Branch officials.

The  outlines of an experiment with nonlethal disablement may be apparent. It must not be allowed to continue. Stopping this activity  is not simply a matter of technology.  It involves manpower. Between 2014 and 2018, the Russian presence in NYC was so extensive, it rivaled the CIA’s “City Eye” of Cairo in the 50’s. The 2018 expulsions dented Russian capabilities.

Yet the mystery attacks have moved closer to the center; the experiment progresses. This suggests the presence of undiscovered illegals. Such networks can function without any contact with operatives who have official cover, such as those expelled in 2018.

Networks of illegals are notoriously hard to detect. Post WWII, these were composed of two classes of individuals:

  • The controller (rezident) was a KGB officer, with a fictitious identity laboriously constructed over multiple years in multiple countries.
  • Agents were typically European immigrants with leftist leanings.

This picture is obsolete. The covers of illegals detected in recent years were of quite different, casual construction. The traditional methods used to create them are so onerous, modern Russia may not possess willing candidates. It is crucial to identify groups from which new illegal networks can be constructed.

In the current political and cultural climate of the U.S. the legitimacy of our system is questioned by a significant minority. This facilitates illegals construction from disaffected groups, without excluding concealment of rezidents as Russian immigrants. Steps to consider:

  • Restriction of travel to and in the U.S. by Russian nationals.
  • Reexamination of green card holders.
  • Increased surveillance.
  • Search for connections with groups of seditious sentiment.
  • Businesses operated by rezidents are traditional covers. Commercial  Russian enterprises, such as the retail arm of Lukoil, should be divested.

At the Harriman Institute in 2018, the sentiment was expressed for less contact with Russia, rather than more. This is the one regrettable result of the demise of the Politburo. I never thought I would credit them with anything positive. Do I  blame Putin for this? He is the architect of a system that lacks inhibitory controls. This does not imply that he controls every twitch of its muscle.

We are not blameless. For our system to remain intact, politicians of both parties must turn down gifts of dirty tricks, and resist the temptation to liaise with Russians who may present in a variety of complex aliases. If you sell your soul, it may come due sooner than you think.

The threat may recede if more Americans come to value what they have as worth preserving. This includes the gift of the tradition of compromise.

 

 

 

 

 

(CNN) James Clapper on UFOs; Let’s do Hyperspectral Imaging

Why 74 years of UFO investigations have produced nada, and how to break that trend.

(CNN) James Clapper: Logical for intel community to address UFOs. He concedes there should have been more openness in the past.

I joked about it:

Then I got serious:

(CNN, NYT) Navy pilots speak out on UFO sightings continues with the dilemma of Part 2. Quoting,

Now suppose the question is properly studied, and no evidence of physical objects emerges, or the picture is quasi-physical, such as

      • Light without heat
      • Heat without light
      • Mass that comes and goes.
      • No convergence towards objective truth.

We might then be forced to concede that the underpinning of scientific thought, that objective reality exists, is deeply flawed. The Universe could be the biggest liar of all.

It’s not time to throw in the towel. But if the urge arises to set up another paper pushing program, in the tradition of AATIP. Bluebook, Grudge, and Sign, don’t. In the immortal words of Nancy Reagan, Just Say No, unless you want to extend 74 years to a century record for pushing paper or the modern equivalent.

It’s time to apply some technological muscle to the problem.  Sensor suites designed for air combat are not very good with UFOs, because they are designed to exclude the noise and clutter that do not contribute to a target solution. These systems know what a target looks like, and present to the operator a view that is simplified to fit the purpose.

From (CNN, NYT) Navy pilots speak out on UFO sightings:

Part 3 discusses how common laboratory instruments provide the basis to study this question:  Do UFOs have any attributes of physical objects?

The obstacle is that laboratory instruments are not designed to fly and engage rapidly moving targets, while military imaging hardware is highly specialized. Some newer imaging equipment is  hyperspectral, but the vast majority of it is not. Yet without it, we haven’t even started. Hyperspectral data is required to address the question.

Hyperspectral imaging is the logical next step, a giant leap past pushing paper. If you’re a typical reader, hyperspectral means nothing, so: The retina of your eye has three cone cells, so you can register three colors out of a possible infinite. Some exceptional people can see four; some animals, many more.

A late-model  cellphone may have a hyperspectral camera for face recognition. Older cellphones can be unlocked by a photo print of the user. To foil this fraud, the hyperspectral camera records a 4th color, a heat map of the face. It can’t be fooled by a photo, which doesn’t give off heat.  Even this would be a huge advance in UFO study.  Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, who ran Project Bluebook, relates that the project was issued film cameras which were nonfunctional in low light, which was almost always the case. Modern sensors can see by the light of the stars.

We need a flyable instrument. Modern combat aircraft are cramped and over specified. Mission durations and total flying hours are often short, so let’s go commercial. The gadgetry could almost be crowdsourced, a self-contained imaging pod designed for attachment to the fuselage of commercial aircraft:

  • Hemispheric optical enclosure with flush fit.
  • Coverage: 360 degree azimuthal, 90 degree elevation, 1/2 hemisphere per install, 2 installs per plane.
  • CMOS sensors with extended spectral discrimination
  • Flash memory storage.
  • Cellular data download.
  • A single connection to the aircraft for power.

DoD, openness is nice, but inadequate. Tell yourselves those UFOs are secret Sukhoi fighter jets if you have to. Just say no to pushing paper.

Of course, they’re  already here.

 

 

 

 

(CNN) CDC’s big announcement: Take Off Your Mask

(CNN) America’s unmasking brings liberation but also trepidation as huge questions loom.

If I were you, I would adhere to the CDC mask chart issued 4/27. (Business Insider,  old chart) The CDC’s new mask guidance explained in 2 handy charts — one for outdoors, one for indoors. The radical update 17 days later cannot be explained as science. A similar risk analysis for a vaccine, after the application is submitted to FDA, takes months.

CDC has made a bold, justified move to solve the big problem.  Widespread anti-vaccine sentiment combined with anti-mask sentiment threaten control of this disease.  Had these issues not been politicized, the U.S. would not have the world’s highest death toll, (Statista) Number of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths worldwide as of May 12, 2021, by country.

As of today, China, with 5X the population, and a poorly protective vaccine, records deaths to our 596,646. China citizens are compliant with public health regulations; U.S. citizens are not. By this metric, COVID-19 could be defined as a social problem, not medical.  Is this oversimplified? Not with the apparent popularity  of a parody of the New Hampshire state motto,  “Live free and die.” Hence, CDC’s new guidance.

(CNN) Hear Dr. Gupta’s questions after CDC’s big announcement hints of a concern for medical inconsistencies. My own concerns may overlap his:

Preliminary data from Israel suggest that people vaccinated with Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine who develop COVID-19 have a four-fold [4X] lower viral load than unvaccinated people.29 This observation may indicate reduced transmissibility, as viral load has been identified as a key driver of transmission.30

4X  is good for the patient. It’s not so good if you are heavily inoculated by cough or spittle. 1/4 of an infectious exposure is usually infectious.

  • The immune system has separate responses for respiratory surfaces versus interior of the body. Vaccines do not provide strong initial protection to the linings of the nose and throat. So there is reason to suspect that before the central immune system responds, a fully vaccinated person could still have a brief, asymptomatic,  contagious infection.
  • 17 days of study are too few for science. The UK ERP program is attempting science, but it’s been gathering data for only 6 weeks.

In an ideal world, which in this isolated COVID case China approximates, the new mask guidelines  would be wrong.   Here, today, it is right. Though not without risk,  there is now tangible incentive for vaccination. Let’s hope it chips away at the public sentiments which have resulted, per Dr. Birx, in  497,000 preventable deaths.

If you choose to let people see you smile, don’t throw your mask out. We may be done with COVID, but COVID is not done with us.

 

 

 

 

Looking for a Job in Journalism

There seems to be an aura of mystery around Intel9. Is it:

  • A bunch of experts, who for reasons unknown, feel the need to write as a fictitious entity?
  • A back channel?
  • “Off the record” officials?
  • A political front?
  • Deep State?
  • The Illuminati?

None of the above.  It’s a job application. The broad knowledge, fine writing,  perfect grammar, and self-editing are all mine. For the impetus, see How it all started…”Forecasting World Events. With my score of 9/4461 in the IARPA intelligence crowdsourcing program, I gave myself permisssion to start writing Intel9.  I write all of it. There are no assistants or outside help. The content is the result of personal research and thought.

Once you’ve decided to embark on web journalism, with a tiny, cheap hosting plan, how do you choose a voice, a take, an audience?

  • Mainstream journalism is so crowded, even massive resources do not guarantee success, as Reuters has discovered. Mainstream journalism is a non-starter.
  • If financial success is the only metric, and ethics of no concern, extreme politics in a histrionic voice, leveraged by questionable use of social media,  can acquire a national following. The Devil  owns  your soul.
  • The ethical choices are few.  The roads are hard. A unique approach is required, measuring success as other than numbers. My choice was and is to serve the elite, in as apolitical a way as possible. I have succeeded; members of government read, find it useful, and trust it as genuine and honest.

This voice hasn’t helped me with a job in mainstream journalism. The exigencies of a tiny web platform have forced a voice too different from the stylistic conventions, the who-what-when-where-why, and the mainstream audience target.

I can edit and write mainstream journalism. My skills can help others do their jobs with a little extra flare. As a conscious choice, I’ve been writing for the elite for 7 years. I can make a conscious choice for you.

Perhaps mystifying some that one person could write so broadly, the next article will continue Johnson & Johnson, Explanations for Clotting ? Part 5. Meet me and find out. contact (put the “at” sign here) intel9.us

Sincerely,

Bob Morein

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Johnson & Johnson, Explanations for Clotting ? – Part 5

To the specialist:  This article attempts to make some very inaccessible material accessible. The simplifications are abbreviations for what the specialist already knows.  Plain language is used even when concise language is available. The innate and adaptive systems are now known to be so intermingled, they aren’t really separate systems, just different types of responses.

3.5 billion years ago, the first living organism successfully closed its “self” off from a  ancient ocean, with a stockade in the form of a fatty membrane. This captured, for all descendants, including you, the salty chemical balance of that ocean: the chloride salts of sodium and potassium. As the ancient sea was less salty than it is now, so your blood is less salty. This is your most ancient inheritance, from a time before time.  DNA may have come a little later.

In your salty inner sea, some molecules gain or lose electrons to other molecules, acquiring an electric charge. The cell walls of many bacteria are covered with polyanions, long chains of molecules that have gained electrons. This is used as a danger signal by oldest part of the immune system, the innate, which came about  with evolution of multicellular life,about 1.5 billion years ago. Heparin has an extremely high negative charge.

Without training or prior exposure, the innate immune response uses the bacterial polyanions to identify bacteria as pathogens. This is called a danger pattern or signal, one of many, for which the innate immune response has a repertoire of responses. Some  of these responses involve recruitment of the adaptive immune system.

Unlike the ancient innate response, the newer adaptive immune response has no immediate defense against a novel pathogen. It requires a sample of possibly alien substance, which it compares to a huge library of patterns, called epitopes. If found in the library, and detailed tests show it isn’t a legitimate part of you, production of antibodies commences. When in a normal state of vigilance, the immune system does not attack “self”tissue. This is called tolerance.

Burnet’s  1957 theory of clonal selection , still foundational, implies:

  • A mistake occurs when antibodies are generated that respond to “self”. This failure of tolerance results in an autoimmune disorder.
  • This mistake is  a binary outcome: it happened, or it didn’t.
  • The above is now known to be too simple.  There is a legitimate need, on occasion, for the immune system to  attack “self” tissue. A failure of tolerance can be induced for good purpose.

In wars of the 20th century, the final, desperate tactic of a trapped unit with some fortification was to call for artillery on top of its own position. So it is when the pathogen is adept at mimicking the body’s own tissue. When  lesser responses fail, pathogen and tissue are marked for destruction by the same antibody.

From (Blood) Heparin-Induced Thrombocytopenia,

Several theories have been advanced to explain this unusually high frequency of anti-PF4/heparin antibodies. PF4 binds effectively to bacterial walls of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria,42-44  and bacterial infection, if accompanied by platelet activation and PF4 release, may provide a sufficient priming stimulus for an immune response upon subsequent heparin exposure.42 

This is a passive note, peripheral to the subject of the paper, which is low platelet count.  Implication: Platelets are adapters from the innate to the adaptive immune system. Binding with bacteria creates a narrow class of antigen, which includes heparin/PF4, from an innate danger signal. This allows the adaptive immune response to participate without requiring a specific antibody.

For a more active voice, see (PMC) Thrombocytopenia in Virus Infections. Quoting,

3.1.3. Sequestration and Intravascular Destruction – …Furthermore, platelets can bind to neutrophils, forming platelet-neutrophil aggregates, which in turn triggers the phagocytosis of platelets [,]…Implication: Platelets actively participate in the innate immune response.

3.1.4. Platelet Expression of Pattern Recognition Receptors  – …can identify pathogen associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) from viruses and many are expressed by platelets []… This enhances … activation of leucocytes []. … may have both an immune protective mechanism, [] or be injurious to the host. Implication: Strong coupling exists between innate and adaptive immune responses.

3.1.6. Platelets Act as Antigen Presenting Cells — APCs require MHC-I molecules to present antigen to CD8+ T cells. There is evidence now that platelets…contain all the MHC-I and co-stimulatory molecules necessary for antigen presentations. ….Implication: As well as innate, platelets are part of the adaptive immune response.

It’s tempting to leap to this conclusion: COVID-19 causes clotting, so COVID holds the smoking gun.  But there isn’t enough logical glue. You might find your leap is actually a dive, and there isn’t any water in the pool.

To be continued shortly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intel9's world view

Intel9