Pigs, Health and Novel Viruses

It’s been two months since I posted. I guess what is known as ‘the holidays’ got in the way. Plus, I’ve been writing other material, mostly on Steemit. I seem to get involved in a research topic and don’t come up for air until I’m satisfied with the result. It’s called perseverance, and it’s a good trait because quality results. But it does preclude other engagements.

So, in the next few weeks, I’m going to share some of my most significant posts from the last two months. One of these, Radioactive Pigs, Wild Pigs, Sick Pigs: The Trouble with Pigs Today published in November, looked at pigs.

Common Warthog, Phacochoerus africanus – adult and juvenile, cousin of domestic pig

I happen to like pigs. As a matter of fact, no bacon, or pork of any kind, has been on my plate for many years. But even if you don’t like pigs, these animals warrant your attention.

As I wrote in that blog: It is estimated that there are two billion domesticated pigs in the world. They are not only a source of nutrition for billions of people. They are also a reservoir for disease. Today, with the novel corona virus spreading across the globe, this is worthy of note. Pigs are not blamed for the current disease outbreak. This one may have originated in bats (although the jury is still out on that). However, pathogens from pigs have leapt across the species barrier in the past, and we should be mindful of the risk.

One way to be mindful, is to insure the health of animals in our care. If animals are sick and harboring pathogens, those pathogens are just a small step away from us. Entry may be through the food chain or through contact.

Today, pork prices are kept low because of factory farming. This involves pumping the pigs with antibiotics to keep down a level of infection in quarters so crowded that pigs do not even have room to turn around. Pumping pigs full of antibiotics increases antibiotic resistant pathogens. These antibiotics will not work any longer for the pigs. They will also not work for humans.

Not only that, but the antibiotics pool in the large waste lagoons that balloon out from the pig habitats. The lagoons are a kind of microbial soup, in which antibiotics and microbes coexist. In that coexistence, microbes ‘learn’ to recognize antibiotics and evolve to defend against them. This evolution strengthens the microbe and weakens our ability to fight them when they invade our bodies.

There is so much more in my blog that might be of interest. How, for example, radioactive pigs manage to wander around Eastern Europe and Japan. Why many areas in the world are troubled by what seems to be an invasion of feral hogs.

It’s probably unseemly to recommend my own blog, but this one was really chock full of information. If you’ve got a few moments to spare (alright, it will take a little longer than a few moments) check out the blog.

Thanks for reading. I’m going to look at my reading feed here and see what I’ve been missing.

A very late, Happy New Year to all 🙂

Catching Up

This was adapted from two Pixabay pictures: one of a tree and one of a man sleeping. It was the closing picture on a story I wrote recently (see below).

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I’ve been absent but I’ve been writing. I’d like to share with you some of what I’ve done.

In the political season, Twitter gets a lot of my traffic. If you care to check that out: https://twitter.com/A_G_Moore. My political beliefs are strong, but never hostile. As is true with many people these days, I’m looking for alternatives to most of the choices we are offered.

The world is always in flux–it just doesn’t look that way from a rear view mirror. Often, people speak of the old days as though issues were settled. But they never were. It’s just, sometimes things are a little more unsettled.

Besides Twitter, I’ve been blogging on Steemit. I wrote some nice stories, I think. I’ll cite the two most recent here, if you’d like to check them out. They are both sort of character sketches.

I think there are enough stories now for me to put together a collection. Nobody reads collections, particularly from unknown authors. But, anyway, I still might like to put them all together. You never know how something will work out unless you try it.

My latest post on Steemit is a research article about pigs, if you can believe that. My posts on Steemit alternate between creative writing and research. If you care about your health, my pig article might interest you. So many issues with pigs can impact other species, including humans.

Here’s the link:

Radioactive Pigs, Wild Pigs, Sick Pigs: The Trouble with Pigs Today

This is a hybrid piglet, descendant of wild boar and domestic pig

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I’ll put a link to my most recent stories here, also:

Larry: A Family Album

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And the other one:

Samuel: An Illustrated Story

Some of the pictures for the story were adapted from photographs I found on Pixabay. Here’s one of them:

This picture was derived from the landscape picture below. I just imagined the scene I wanted and used the original as a guide.

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You can find a lot of interesting material on Steemit. I know some people are suspicious of the blockchain. I’ve been blogging there since February of 2018. So far, nothing bad has happened to me.

I have met some interesting people. Here’s an article by one gentleman who has a WordPress blog, and a Steemit blog. His latest blogs featured a video by a clever young man who demonstrates how to create a blockchain. This really takes the mystery out of the technology.

I’ll post links to the WordPress site, and the Steemit blog:

First WordPress:

World of Chapper

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And then Steemit:

@chappertron

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I hope you don’t mind my extremely casual catching-up post.

I’ll be back soon!

Playing Around, Having Fun

If you look closely at these lovely animals, you’ll see that they’re blinking. This is another one of my collages, created for a collage-making contest on Steemit. I wish I could share what some of the other participants in the contest came up with. Some entries are absolutely brilliant.

The contest, edition #20, is in progress right now. I haven’t got a chance of winning, but that’s not why I enter. I enter because it’s fun. Writing uses one set of muscles. Creating a picture, coming up with a concept and putting all the elements together, that calls on another set of muscles.

I just love looking at the animals in my collage, who are looking back at me. The picture is made of three parts. The wistful animal at the top was provided by @shaka, who runs this contest most weeks on Steemit. The lamb was taken from a Pixabay picture, and the resting cattle were from another Pixabay pixture. The hard part was getting the grass from the separate pictures to blend. I used GIMP (photo manipulation program) to do that.

If you’ve read this far, you deserve a treat. So here it is, a video of a sweet, very young goat that really wants to get another pet under the chin:

Thanks for reading. I’ll try to be back soon!