Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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Well, they will be on August 4.

After much talking about it, I have finally got around to officially registering for the Run for Your Lives zombie obstacle course race, being held about halfway between Seattle & Portland on the August long weekend. Special props go out to Dr. Erika, who brought this race to my attention! I’ve joined my friend Julie’s team – the Apocalyptic Avengers. And I’m taking costume suggestions1.

Zombie Triple Attack

I’m terrified already!

Image from the Darlington, MD Zombie Race in 2011, posted by Rob Swatski on Flickr.

  1. The only caveats are that (a) it can’t include any weapons, real or toy, and (b) it can’t weigh me down, because I’m going to be running from zombies, FFS! []


New Drug Makes Viruses Say, “FML!”

A friend of mine brought this awesome news story to my attention the other day:

New drug could cure nearly any viral infection
Researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Lab have developed technology that may someday cure the common cold, influenza and other ailments.

From the article:

Now, in a development that could transform how viral infections are treated, a team of researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory has designed a drug that can identify cells that have been infected by any type of virus, then kill those cells to terminate the infection.

In a paper published July 27 in the journal PLoS One, the researchers tested their drug against 15 viruses, and found it was effective against all of them — including rhinoviruses that cause the common cold, H1N1 influenza, a stomach virus, a polio virus, dengue fever and several other types of hemorrhagic fever.

The drug works by targeting a type of RNA produced only in cells that have been infected by viruses. “In theory, it should work against all viruses,” says Todd Rider, a senior staff scientist in Lincoln Laboratory’s Chemical, Biological, and Nanoscale Technologies Group who invented the new technology.


It’s really rather mindboggling to imagine a drug that can work against all viruses and that specifically targets only those cells that are infected with a virus, leaving all non-infected cells unharmed. Imagine a world where we don’t have to worry about everything from the common cold to HIV to Ebola. Rather unbelievable.

Of course, whenever I hear of something that sounds too good to be true, I have to wonder what the catch is. Because the development of a wonder drug sounds like the kind of thing that one might see at the start of a zombie apocalypse in a horror movie. Needless to say, given my love of virology and my apprehension about zombies, I’ll be keeping a close eye on this developing story.

Here’s the full article, if you are interested in reading such things.

Image Credit: From the Wikimedia Commons.