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 🙂

Sometimes, Your Audience Simply Doesn’t Like It

I wrote a blog this week and was so satisfied with it. Unfortunately, my audience did not seem to share that view. Only the kindest of my followers stopped to comment, and only the most loyal stopped to vote. So I’m left to ask,”Should I have assessed the interests of my audience more accurately? Or was I correct in writing exactly what I planned to write?” I guess the answer to those questions depends on my reason for blogging in the first place.

This is actually a profound question, because it’s about more than writing. Do I answer to myself, or someone else when I set goals. Is there an ideal in my head when I start a project, or am I constantly testing the waters around me to see what others expect?

How do I live my life? Of course I don’t live in a bubble. Wouldn’t last long if I did that. But I also can’t live in a balloon that drifts about in response to the slightest breeze, the slightest suggestion of displeasure.

I’m going to share the essence of that unsuccessful blog here. I still like it, though perhaps I could have explained the theme better. Perhaps my message was too subtle. I’m very anti-war. I know, I know, there are probably times when everyone has to come to the defense of their particular group. But generally I believe war benefits a few and most who die and suffer don’t really know why that fate has befallen them.

The picture at the top of the page is a still from a GIF I created for the blog. This was part of a collage contest. If you’d like to see how that looks as a GIF, just click on the link and you will be connected to my Steemit blog.

Associated with the picture was a brief history of gunpowder and cannons–mostly gunpowder. I emphasized the toll these inventions have taken on life. But maybe I was too tongue-in-cheek.

If you read the blog, please let me know. How does it sit with you?

I would write the blog again, but perhaps put in some pictures of flowers and birds. People like that stuff. Maybe a few dogs and cats.

One thing I know for sure: never blame the audience. If I write for myself, then I should be happy that I please myself. And if I write for an audience, then I should always keep that audience in mind. A good writer, I guess, strikes a balance.

Ah, we’re back to life again. A well-lived life is a balanced life. That’s what they say, anyway.

A Brilliant Essay About Romantic Love

Today’s post isn’t about me. It’s about one of the most thoughtful bloggers on Steemit: @abigail-dantes. Or, rather, it is about a post she published today: The Romantic Love Delusion.

Which one of us hasn’t wondered why we are attracted to someone. Why we decide to join our fates to another. Few decisions have a greater impact on our lives, and yet, we really don’t understand this one. In her blog today, @abigail-dantes applies her considerable knowledge and insight to this universal question: why do we love one and not another?

I won’t attempt to summarize her essay. I will say that she refers not only to modern psychologists, but also to Plato. For you see, this is not a puzzle for today. It is a puzzle for the ages. Perhaps Plato, thousands of years ago, had as much insight as all the scientists writing on the subject currently.

I recommend this essay. For me, it provided many moments of contemplation. But then, @abigail-dantes always has that effect on me. Be careful if you sample her writing. It can be addictive.

If you check out @abigail-dantes’ blog on Steemit, you can catch up on all her old posts. These are available on the blockchain for anyone to read.