Time to hug the spiders

It’s happening again. I’m falling behind on the grading, and today I have to give another exam because the syllabus says so. The exam is ready to go, but I’m not.

I’m going to go hang out in the lab for a while and relax.

Must think soothing thoughts, don’t want to break down. Just buckling down, trying to get all the work done, eyes on next week when it all comes to a close.

Also, thinking thoughts of revenge.

See? A positive mindset will get me through this.


  1. Taemon says

    PZ man, you’re burning out. Isn’t there help available? In whatever form. Except whisky, maybe.

  2. raven says

    PZ doesn’t need more whiskey.
    He needs a TA, Teaching Assistant. Or Two.
    I guess they don’t have grad students at Morris.

  3. raven says

    It doesn’t look like the common cold is going to be a good model for the future of the Covid-19 virus.
    Even though 4 of the common cold viruses are coronaviruses themselves.

    It’s just too different from them.
    The other coronaviruses don’t have a mortality of 1.8%.
    Covid-19 virus, perhaps because its receptor ACE2 is so widespread, has a tendency to go systemic.
    That is infects the lungs, heart, and brain, among other organ systems.

    The better model might be the flu, but worse since the Covid-19 virus is 10 or so times as lethal as the flu.

  4. raven says

    It is possible the Covid-19 virus will attenuate with time.
    In general, viruses become more virulent with rapid and widespread passage through hosts and attenuate with slow and sporadic passage through hosts.
    Right now we are in a rapid passage environment and have the newer, more transmissable and possibly more virulent virus descendants to show for it.

    In large parts of the world such as parts of Africa and Asia, this pandemic is just getting started. As long as there are places like India with wildfire outbreaks, the virus is just going to stay transmissable and deadly.
    It could take years before conditions favor attenuation. If ever.

    I do like the idea of revenge based eradication efforts though.

  5. numerobis says

    Burning out every semester is why I moved into industry.

    I am curious how to plan an eradication campaign. We’d probably need an oral vaccine for bats?

  6. numerobis says

    There’s pancoronavirus vaccines in development that would immunize against all coronaviruses (or at least all beta-coronaviruses). I very much look forward to that; no more fear of MERS, SARS, COVID, or the next big one; or two strains that cause a “common cold”.

  7. PaulBC says

    It makes me wonder how this disease managed to stay put through most of history. It would have traveled slower, but it had a long time to do it. I assume we’re stuck with it now–in some less lethal form I hope. FiveThirtyEight had an article pointing out that North American Bats should start worrying about us and we may just have it crossing back and forth between humans and other animals from now on.

    The first SARS was stopped, but it had not spread very far. This is a totally different situation.

  8. says

    Even if we obliterate coronavirus there’s going to be something else. Seven billion people and counting, ongoing urban encroachment into the natural environment, global warming, it all adds up to a recipe for more epidemics and pandemics in the next century. The next one could be a variation of West Nile, or norovirus, hell it could even be bubonic plague, but it will happen again. We’re better off maintaining a robust public healthcare system ready to beat back the next plague. We are all going to want to forget 2020 as quickly as possible but we need to hold these lessons hard. Don’t toss out your masks. They will be needed again.

  9. PaulBC says

    whheydt@11 They’d probably start exterminating bats. I’m not sure you want to go there.

  10. kome says

    I’m a little disappointed the graphic of the spider you used has 8 legs instead of 7.

  11. numerobis says

    Ray Ceeya: how does eradicating coronavirus get in the way of maintaining a good health system? Sure there’ll be another deadly pandemic later in the world. How about we collect them all in a list of eradicated diseases, rather than collect them all in a list of diseases we have to contend with?

  12. raven says

    Eradicating Covid-19 virus is a great idea.
    Unfortunately, with our present world, it is likely impossible.

    We have only managed to eradicate two diseases so far, smallpox and Rinderpest. Both viruses had characteristics that made them easy to eradicate. Notably, the anti-vax lobby for Rinderpest wasn’t very powerful, since it is an animal virus.

    We’ve been trying to eradicate Polio since 1985. It should be easy. No animal reservoir and an oral, stable, effective vaccine that yields lifelong immunity. Here it is 2021 and we aren’t there yet.

    SARS-CoV-2 has multiple animal reservoirs, a new one in minks where there is already a mink specific evolved strain, a lot of asymptomatic carriers, and immunity which probably isn’t life long and maybe only a few years.
    Good luck but there are easier human disease viruses out there to eradicate and we haven’t gotten rid of them either i.e. measles, chickenpox, and HIV.

  13. says


    Polio seems to be on the way out, though?

    I remember the last outbreak here in the Netherlands in the early nineties. There were 70-odd reported cases and two fatalities. All of those were among religious groups that refused vaccination.
    Some of the latest flare-ups in the Ukraine, Nigeria and Madegascar were apparently caused by mutations of weakened live-virus vaccine. Which is interesting; to the best of my knowledge, the polio vaccine that is currently in use here is a “dead” virus.

    AFAICT, most of the other problem spots seem to be countries torn by war. And there the war is surely the bigger problem.

    The speed with which several working COVID-19 vaccines have been developed and rolled has amazed me. My career in the design and manufacture of medical equipment is 27 years and counting. And I cannot recall a single instance of a piece of new medical hardware that was designed, prototyped, approved and in full production within a year. Two to three years is more typical in my experience.

  14. DLC says

    I agree entirely. Sars COV-2 must be eradicated, out of simple revenge. If I should live so long as to see it happen, I would gladly hoist a jar with whoever did the heavy lifting. That person or persons would not be allowed to pay for a drink in my presence. Beware, I’m just stubborn enough to keep living just to see it.