I do love my books, but I am also embracing the healing power of Netflix.

Currently on my rotation are two well-known Israeli shows - 'Fauda' and 'Shtisl' - and two less well-known ones ('When Heroes Fly' and 'Kipat Barzel').

(Actually 'Kipat Barzel' isn't on Netflix, I watch it on DailyMotion.)

Also the Spanish-language 'Unauthorized Living' (about a smuggling don in northwestern Spain who learns he has Alzheimers) and a couple of others.

Broadly immunizing antibodies and anti-virus drugs.

Via starshipcat.


In the case of the flu virus, broadly neutralizing antibodies have been discovered, and these tend to bind to the virus' hemagglutinin protein (the H in the flu's HA nomenclature). This protein becomes important after a flu virus attaches to a cell and is brought inside. The hemagglutinin senses this change of conditions and undergoes a rearrangement that allows the virus' genetic material to enter the cell. Broadly neutralizing antibodies blocks this process, essentially trapping the virus' genetic material where it ends up being harmlessly digested. Typically, they'll block all the viruses that have one of the two classes of the hemagglutinin protein—a huge range of viruses. ...

The researchers—an enormous partnership among academic labs and Johnson & Johnson—figured out an extremely clever test for drug activity. They started with hemagglutinin and stuck the simplified, small version of the antibody to it. Then the researchers threw a library of about a half-million small molecules at the hemagglutinin, one at a time, and they searched for the small molecules that would cause the aforementioned simplified, small version of the antibody to fall off the hemagglutinin. This should only happen if the small molecule binds even better and thus has a good chance of blocking the virus even more effectively. ...

To test whether it works, the authors turned to an extreme and somewhat contrived situation: they started giving the mice the drug. A day later, the researchers hit the mice with a lot of the flu virus—25 times the dose that would normally kill half of them. With the drug, however, all of the rodents lived.

3/11 Monday evening: Winning the pretzel lottery.

Work went well - slow, which is a nice change. I'm starting to feel comfortable enough at the job to where if I get a ticket from a user with some issue, even if I don't know what the problem is right away, I want to jump in and take a look to see if I can figure something out. So I'm feeling a lot more confident, and starting to have fun with the job. It's been exactly a month now since I started.

Other exciting news? Oh, I hit the vending machine jackpot today. Had a hankering for those yogurt-covered pretzels that they sell in the vending machine at the far end of the building, so I walked down there and put my bank card in the slot. No go, the card reader was broken. So I offered it a 5$ bill from my wallet but it wouldn't take that either. So I thought, maybe I have to select the item first and then pay? So I pushed the buttons for the selection, and right away the metal helix spins around and one package of yogurt covered pretzels goes thunk into the tray at the bottom. And while I'm debating the ethics of accepting this unexpected largesse from the vending company, I hear clink clink clink as a bunch of coins are dropping into the change chute. So not only did I get the snack for free, I got 2$ worth of quarters with it.

Yup, we're just livin' large here is what we're doin'.

2/24 Sunday evening: I can die honorably.

Saw a meme on LinkedIn today that said, "He who lives without discipline, dies without honor." I love the saying (which supposedly is an Icelandic proverb).

Got caught up on rest over Shabbat and got up early this morning, got right to work on finishing the laundry and tidying my room. It's not beautiful but it's better than it was. Promised myself I would get back on my exercise regimen and I did that, knocking out a few sets of pushups and some dumbbell presses; finally got out and did 20 minutes of running this afternoon.

I've been spending more time listening to audiobooks lately and it is very rewarding. Certainly easier on the eyes than sight reading, and I can get stuff done concurrently.

Tomorrow, back to work.

Haunted by high school.

The agency that placed me required a background check, and this required me to produce a copy of my high school diploma or transcript.

In general, the less I have to think about high school, the happier I am. And the silliness of having to document my high school graduation from 37 years ago was surpassed only by disturbing thought that EVEN NOW, MY OLD HIGH SCHOOL HOLDS MY VERY LIFE IN ITS HANDS.

When I was able to step back and look at my own feelings around having to deal with the school, I could laugh at myself a bit. Heck, I'm a big grown-up now, and none of the same people are still at that school!

So, after I understood my own visceral reaction against having to call the school and ask for a copy of my transcripts, it wasn't bad at all. The lady at the office was very nice and emailed me a pdf proving that I graduated (just barely) all those years ago, and I saved it to my computer desktop and now I can go on with my life.

Israeli moon probe lifts off.

Via Arutz Sheva.
The 585-kilogram (1,290-pound) Beresheet, which means "Genesis" in Hebrew, will lift off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from the private US-based SpaceX company of flamboyant entrepreneur Elon Musk.

The Israeli craft will be placed in Earth orbit, then begin a seven-week trip under its own power to reach the Moon and touch down on April 11 in a large plain.

Other partners are Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Israel's space agency, and the country's Ministry of Science and Technology.

Video feed in English:

Video feed in Hebrew: