Even though much inhaled COVID-19 virus immediately penetrates into the lungs, some remains in the throat where it replicates to very high numbers–for instance, a peak at 711,000,000 RNA copies per throat swab day 4 (Wölfel R et al.  Nature 2020;Apr 1).  Many of these replicates presumably descend into the lungs, where they furnish a stream of reinforcements that may cumulatively outweigh the replication of the initial penetrating dose.  Hence treating the throat with gargling seems highly desirable. Continue reading »

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Slipping endlessly through the crack between oral and respiratory medicine, the humble mouthwash has slowly won more respect among savvy practitioners and patients as a solution for a range of indications. In Japan many millions of people gargle three times a day with povidone-iodine or other mouthwashes to ward off upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs), and Japanese clinical studies have confirmed the value of this approach (a recent study is Furushima D et al. Molecules. 2018 Jul 20;23(7)). Worldwide, medical practitioners recommend gargling to patients; and many people on their own have decided that gargling makes sense, while millions swish with mouthwash to protect teeth and gums as well as to combat halitosis.

Still, for curious reasons, this formidable method of suppressing infections remains in medical limbo. Not because there is no need. The average American suffers 2.5 episodes of URTI per year, with high costs for treatment, lost days of work, and morbidity. URTIs also exacerbate asthma, and they can enter the lungs and prove fatal. Continue reading »

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PDF:  What Makes a Theory Good_ A Reconnaissance of Explanatory Virtue

What makes a theory good? In his canonical 1991 book Inference to the Best Explanation, Peter Lipton attempts to answer this fraught question. The philosopher identifies eleven explanatory virtues that are often placed within four groupings: evidential, coherential, aesthetic, and diachronic. Two others, James Beebe1 and Kenneth Dillon2, draw upon the same categorical schema to present four other virtues for consideration. All fifteen are listed and defined in the following table: Continue reading »

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Contrary to media reports, there are existing effective methods of treating respiratory and disseminated infections that resemble the one caused by the COVID-19 virus.  Continue reading »

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Concerned over shortages of face masks, U.S. medical authorities have until recently discouraged the use of face masks by the public.  But a good deal of evidence (Jefferson T 2007) shows that face masks reduced the risk of infection by 68% in SARS, an analogue of COVID-19.  This suggests that wearing face masks can go far toward slowing the spread of the pandemic.  Therefore, we need to find a way to provide enough of them not just to protect medical personnel but also to protect the public.  Reusing them seems a very attractive strategy. Continue reading »

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Studies by Japanese researchers show that gargling is protective against respiratory infections.  Here is a letter that lays out the case for gargling against COVID-19. Continue reading »

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Sekhmet (“The Mighty One”), the lion-headed goddess of ancient Egypt, was dreaded for her bloody rampages.  Yet she became the protector of kings and a favorite personal goddess of millions of Egyptians.

Why did Egyptians have a goddess who required such assiduous and even obsessive propitiation?  Why did other Egyptian goddesses play roles similar to Sekhmet’s?  What explains Sekhmet’s dual nature as destroyer and protector?  Why was she called the Eye of Ra?  Why was she originally depicted with an oval disk on her head?

We now have good answers to these questions.  But in order to understand them, we need to see why we should think that Sekhmet was Planet Venus.  And that requires us to investigate a major case of scientific rejectionism. Continue reading »

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Kenneth J. Dillon, Intriguing Anomalies: An Introduction to Scientific Detective Work
[With deletions and updating.  Scientific citations can be found in the original:  Here.]
Chapter 9
Theory of the Red Blood Cells

red blood cells

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Abstract:  An array of evidence suggests that the terrestrial planets originated in the outer solar system, then were pulled by Jupiter’s gravity into the inner solar system.  This theory explains the distribution of water on the terrestrial planets; the birth of the Pacific Basin; the origin of the Earth-Moon system by capture; key anomalies of Mercury, Mars, and the Moon; and the slow retrograde rotation of Venus.




A new theory of the origin of the terrestrial planets—that Jupiter’s gravity pulled them inward from the outer solar system—solves longstanding scientific riddles and offers a rich agenda for further investigation.

The origin and distribution of water on the terrestrial planets make a good place to start investigating this theory. Radiation pressure and the solar wind pushed water molecules out beyond the “snow line” around 4.5 AU, so how did Earth come to have a relatively significant amount of water?

Continue reading »

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A top secret Canadian Security Intelligence Service report leaked on August 27, 2004 may provide the missing piece of evidence needed to identify the long elusive Anthrax Mailer of 2001.

While confirmation is still lacking, we now have enough shreds of evidence to piece together a theory of the case that resolves key anomalies. In turn, that theory can point us toward where we might find confirmatory evidence. Continue reading »

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There are two sides to every story. Judges rightly admonish juries to check out both sides before coming to a conclusion. Our entire system of adversarial justice is built on this principle. But under surveillance by FBI in the 2001 anthrax mailings case, U.S. Army scientist Bruce Ivins committed suicide. So only one side got to tell its version of the story.

Upon closing the case on February 19, 2010, FBI issued an Amerithrax Investigative Summary that concludes that Ivins was the anthrax mailer. The Summary contains serious errors as well as minor ones. It also omits crucial information. So, to ensure a fair outcome, we need to look at it through the eyes of a defense attorney, to make sure that the American people can check out both sides of the story before coming to a conclusion. Continue reading »

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