Chuckles of the Day



A man went to church one day and afterward he stopped to shake the preacher’s hand. He said, ‘Preacher, I’ll tell you, that was a damned fine sermon. Damned good!’

The preacher said, ‘Thank you sir, but I’d rather you didn’t use profanity.’

The man said, ‘I was so damned impressed with that sermon I put five thousand dollars in the offering plate!’

The preacher said, ‘No shit?’

* * * * * * *

Human Body

Three freshman engineering students were sitting around talking between classes, when one brought up the question of who designed the human body.

One of the students insisted that the human body must have been designed by an electrical engineer because of the perfection of the nerves and synapses.

Another disagreed, and exclaimed that it had to have been a mechanical engineer who designed the human body. The system of levers and pulleys is ingenious.

“No,” the third student said “you are both wrong. The human body was designed by an architect. Who else but an architect would have put a toxic waste line through a recreation area?”

Vegan Lobster Roll


2 (14-ounce) cans hearts of palm, drained
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 hoagie rolls
vegan butter
lemon wedges


  1. For the lobster salad, roughly chop hearts of palm and place in a large bowl. Add celery, onion, mayonnaise, dill, Old Bay seasoning, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and stir together.
  2. Slice rolls open, toast them, and spread with vegan butter. Stuff with salad mixture and serve with lemon wedges.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Veg News magazine

What’s for Lunch?

Jumble Mushroom Steak Vegetarian Set Lunch at Lotus Vegecafe in Toyohashi, Japan

Pandemic Exposes Scientific Rift Over Proving When Germs are Airborne

Julie Steenhuysen wrote . . . . . . . . .

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed a clash among medical experts over disease transmission that stretches back nearly a century – to the very origins of germ theory.

The Geneva-based World Health Organization acknowledged this week that the novel coronavirus can spread through tiny droplets floating in the air, a nod to more than 200 experts in aerosol science who publicly complained that the U.N. agency had failed to warn the public about this risk.

Yet the WHO still insists on more definitive proof that the novel coronavirus, which causes the respiratory disease COVID-19, can be transmitted through the air, a trait that would put it on par with measles and tuberculosis and require even more stringent measures to contain its spread.

“WHO’s slow motion on this issue is unfortunately slowing the control of the pandemic,” said Jose Jimenez, a University of Colorado chemist who signed the public letter urging the agency to change its guidance.

Jimenez and other experts in aerosol transmission have said the WHO is holding too dearly to the notion that germs are spread primarily though contact with a contaminated person or object. That idea was a foundation of modern medicine, and explicitly rejected the obsolete miasma theory that originated in the Middle Ages postulating that poisonous, foul-smelling vapors made up of decaying matter caused diseases such as cholera and the Black Death.

“It’s part of the culture of medicine from the early 20th century. To accept something was airborne requires this very high level of proof,” said Dr. Donald Milton, a University of Maryland aerobiologist and a lead author of the open letter.

Such proof could involve studies in which laboratory animals become sickened by exposure to the virus in the air, or studies showing viable virus particles in air samples – a level of proof not required for other modes of transmission such as contact with contaminated surfaces, the letter’s signatories said.

For the WHO, such proof is necessary as it advises countries of every income and resource level to take more drastic measures against a pandemic that has killed more than 550,000 people globally, with more than 12 million confirmed infections.

For example, hospitals would have to provide more healthcare personnel with heavy-duty N95 respiratory masks – personal protective gear already in short supply – and businesses and schools would need to make improvements to ventilation systems and require wearing masks indoors at all times.

“It would affect our entire way of life. And that’s why it’s a very important question,” said Dr. John Conly, a University of Calgary infectious disease expert who is part of the WHO’s group of experts advising on coronavirus guidelines.

Conly said that so far the studies have not shown viable virus particles floating in the air.

“In my mind, I want to see evidence in those fine mists,” Conly said.


The WHO’s latest guidance document, released on Thursday, called for more research on coronavirus aerosol transmission, which it said “has not been demonstrated.”

The agency also repeated a firm cutoff on the size of infectious droplets expelled in coughing and sneezing, noting that most larger droplets are unlikely to travel beyond one meter (3.3 feet) – the basis for their one-meter social distancing guidelines. Milton and others have said larger particles have been shown to spread much farther.

Conly and others maintain that if the virus were truly airborne like measles, there would already be many more cases.

“Would we not be seeing, like, literally billions of cases globally? That’s not the case,” Conly said.

WHO spokeswoman Dr. Margaret Harris rejected the claim by critics that the agency is biased against the idea of aerosol transmission, saying it recognized the possibility of airborne transmission during medical procedures from early on in the pandemic.

Harris said it is “quite possible” that aerosolization is a factor in some so-called super-spreading events in which one infected person infects many others in close quarters. Many of these events have occurred in places such as nightclubs where people are packed together and are not likely to be careful about protecting themselves or others from infection.

“Most super-spreading events have occurred in indoor places with poor ventilation, with crowding, where it’s very difficult for people to socially distance,” Harris said.

That is why, Harris said, the agency has called for urgent studies to figure out “what really happened in these clusters and what were the big factors.”

Source: Reuters

What Happens When Food First Touches Your Tongue

Laura Arenschield wrote . . . . . . . . .

A new study might explain why humans register some tastes more quickly than others, potentially due to each flavor’s molecular size.

The research, published last month in the journal PLOS Computational Biology, also provided explanation as to why humans register taste more quickly when food or drink moves over their tongues quickly, as compared to when they are held in their mouth steadily.

The findings indicate that both the speed with which food and drink move in our mouth and the size of the molecules in the food that we consume affect our ability to taste.

“Our tongue has papillae on it that act like a sea of kelp in an ocean,” said Kai Zhao, lead author of the paper and an associate professor of otolaryngology at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. “Those papillae – the small bumps that contain taste buds on the human tongue – move and sway as food or drink flow past them.”

The human tongue has four kinds of papillae; three of those contain taste buds. (The fourth kind is the most numerous on the tongue, and functions primarily as a way to increase friction.)

For this study, the researchers modeled the way flavors move around the papillae in the tongue, using a range of salty and sweet stimuli. The researchers also built a computer model that simulated previous studies around taste perception.

The model considered the human tongue as a porous surface, with the spaces between the papillae acting like the holes of a sponge. Then the researchers simulated what would happen if they passed a range of salty and sweet flavors over that surface, first quickly, in one intense rush, then slowly.

They found that passing flavors over the tongue quickly caused the flavors to penetrate into the papillae gaps quicker, and that would register flavor more quickly.

And their findings could explain why taste buds were quicker to register a sweet compound with small molecular size as compared with those with large molecular size, such as salty flavors.

“Smaller molecules may diffuse quicker, and we think this could be the reason they move through the papillae gaps more quickly,” Zhao said.

This study focused on the early stages of taste – what happens before taste buds have even registered a flavor. Compared with the other senses – sight and sound, for example – taste operates on a sort of time-delay. We hear a sound almost as soon as it is emitted; it takes our taste buds a little longer to register flavor.

“That early response is changed depending on how the molecules of what we are consuming interact with the tongue’s surface,” Zhao said. “It is a complex process.”

Prior to this study, scientists knew that if they dropped a flavored solution onto a person’s tongue, the intensity of that solution’s taste would increase over time. But they did not know why that happened.

Zhao said scientists assumed the increase in flavor had something to do with papillae, so for this study, his lab focused on studying the mechanics of how papillae work.

“Our taste buds are important,” he said. “They help us figure out what food to eat, how much food to eat, and how to balance the body’s nutritional needs with its energy needs.”

Taste buds also help humans avoid poisonous substances, can help identify edible and nutritious foods, and contribute to the cravings humans feel for things like ice cream and potato chips.

Zhao said his lab decided to focus on the early stages of taste because it is connected to so many other public health issues, including nutrition and obesity.

Source: The Ohio State University

Today’s Comic