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Shoot the Wall (A.K.A. The Rant Thread)

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9 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

Really?  That would be cool.  I'm envisioning them as little Pac-Men swimming in my bloodstream, eating the bad bugs!  I do hope that people wouldn't assume they had carte blanche to use them indiscriminately, though.  For one thing, wouldn't they also eat the good bugs?

No, they wouldn't. They can be tailored to specific bacteria leaving anything else untouched. It's still experimental but quite promising.

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3 hours ago, Sheerluck said:

They can be tailored to specific bacteria leaving anything else untouched.

In that case, wouldn't normal mutation gradually create a bacterium that was sufficiently different from the original that the phage wouldn't recognize it?  So when the phage had eaten all the original-type bacteria, all that would be left would be the different ones, which -- having no competition left -- could then procreate like crazy.

I believe the current antibiotic-resistant strains came about in much the same way, and fairly rapidly due to the massive overuse of antibiotics (for viral infections, added to livestock feed, etc.).

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Welcome to the UK!
At least you don't live in the US, although I heard Boris Johnson is planning to sell or least privatise the NHS as part of a deal he wants to make with the USA because of Brexit. Considering I have seen this video https://youtu.be/-CgeHrC2boE, I know how expensive healthcare can get.

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Public transportation and healthcare cannot be seen as a business. It happened here and the outcome is… a bit not good.

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23 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

In that case, wouldn't normal mutation gradually create a bacterium that was sufficiently different from the original that the phage wouldn't recognize it?  So when the phage had eaten all the original-type bacteria, all that would be left would be the different ones, which -- having no competition left -- could then procreate like crazy.

I believe the current antibiotic-resistant strains came about in much the same way, and fairly rapidly due to the massive overuse of antibiotics (for viral infections, added to livestock feed, etc.).

That is a possibility I would guess, however, it has taken 50 years to get to the point where normal antibiotics are now becoming ineffective. I would expect phages to have a similar lifespan.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Sheerluck said:

... it has taken 50 years to get to the point where normal antibiotics are now becoming ineffective. I would expect phages to have a similar lifespan.

More like 70, I think -- but It seems utterly ridiculous to promote or even to accept planned obsolescence in medicine.  When antibiotics became available, they were hailed as victory over bacterial infections, and they could have served as such for far longer if their use had been restricted to that.  But their pointless use for viral infections and (far, far worse) their routine use as a weight-gain supplement in livestock feed has aided and abetted the spread of resistant strains.

If phages are treated in the same cavalier way, what are we supposed to do -- develop an entirely new antibacterial strategy every couple generations?

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16 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

develop an entirely new antibacterial strategy every couple generations?

Well, heck yeah, how else is Big Pharma supposed to make money? :P 

I think evolution of everything, even bacteria, is inevitable, so I wouldn't necessarily consider it "planned" obsolescence. But it could be, I suppose.

Speaking of medicine … anyone know how to get a splinter out of your finger when it's too small to see? Why does something so tiny hurt so much? Ak.

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If it's sticking out at all, you could try the tape method -- put some of your stickiest tape on there, then yank and hope the splinter comes off with it.  Has never worked for me, but ya never know!  After that, I'd recommend either your doctor's walk-in hours or a walk-in clinic -- which HAS worked for me.

32 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

I think evolution of everything, even bacteria, is inevitable, so I wouldn't necessarily consider it "planned" obsolescence.

Maybe planned, maybe not -- but I'd say minimally "don't give a damn" obsolescence.  They'll mutate anyhow, true, but if you kill off all the non-mutated ones with drugs that are effective only on them, the mutated ones have no competition and will therefore multiply like crazy.

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14 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

If it's sticking out at all, you could try the tape method -- put some of your stickiest tape on there, then yank and hope the splinter comes off with it.  Has never worked for me, but ya never know!  After that, I'd recommend either your doctor's walk-in hours or a walk-in clinic -- which HAS worked for me

Nah, I finally had to dig it out with a needle, ouch ouch ouch. Thorn. Dang things are taking over the woods.

14 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

They'll mutate anyhow, true, but if you kill off all the non-mutated ones with drugs that are effective only on them, the mutated ones have no competition and will therefore multiply like crazy.

But how would you design an antibiotic for the mutated ones until they mutate? Seems to me it's only possible to target the ones that actually exist. Or am I missing your point?

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8 hours ago, Arcadia said:

I finally had to dig it out with a needle

Well, that'll work!  The time I ended up at the emergency room, I was trying to get a big, deep splinter out of my right (dominant) hand, using of course my left hand, which I assumed was the problem.  But it took the doctor quite a while to get it, using both hands, which made me feel considerably less incompetent.

8 hours ago, Arcadia said:

But how would you design an antibiotic for the mutated ones until they mutate? Seems to me it's only possible to target the ones that actually exist. Or am I missing your point?

Yes.  :D

My point is that the few that do mutate into resistant strains wouldn't normally be a problem because there would be so few of them.  The main reason that the resistant strains are becoming a problem is that in certain situations, enough other bacteria have been killed off by (over)use of antibiotics to remove competition and give the resistant strains free rein to reproduce unchecked.  If use of antibiotics were limited to cases where they're necessary and effective, this would be less likely to occur and/or would happen more slowly.

Sure, scientists can develop phages and such, but that takes far more complex technology than it took to develop penicillin, and so will almost certainly be far more expensive than antibiotics.  And what happens when disease-causing bacteria mutate in such a way that the phages can't control them?  It's easy to say we'll develop something else, but even if we can, that'll presumably be dependent on even more complex technology and therefore even more expensive.

Which might not have been necessary if antibiotics had been used far more judiciously.  I'd guess that right now there's far more antibiotics used in livestock feed (because it promotes weight gain) than for treating disease, and that's just crazy.  Convincing doctors not to give antibiotics for colds and flu is important too, but it's just the tip of the iceberg.

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Oh, okay. Somehow I thought the "planned obsolescence" was the topic. :-) 

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Not exactly, though it does seem like the next thing to it, especially now that we are aware of the risks.  Maybe irresponsible would be a better word.

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Night before last I still had about an hour before I wanted to go to bed, so I decided to do a load of laundry, which should have taken right about an hour.  But the washing machine had apparently forgotten how to spin, because at the end of the cycle, everything was still sopping wet.  So I spent the next half hour or more wringing it all by hand, and even though I didn't wring as hard as possible, I still got over a gallon (~ four liters) of water.  The water was murky, so clearly the machine hadn't spun after the wash cycle either, leaving quite a lot of soap in the clothes.  For that reason, I'd hesitate to wear the clothing (mostly underwear), but of course I couldn't just leave it wet, so I put it in the dryer and spent the next three hours monitoring its progress.

Yesterday everything from my chin down to my waist was a bit sore -- from all that wringing, I assume, since that's an unaccustomed activity.  Starting to improve already, though.

This washer is only about five years old.  The last time my prior washer (bought in 1981) needed repair, they told me the needed part was available only in an assembly that would cost roughly the same as an entire new machine.  So we reluctantly decided it was time to say goodbye to Old Faithful.  Now I'm half regretting that decision.  I assume they'll be able to repair the new one, though.  I sure hope so, anyhow!

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I feel for you. I had to get a new dryer this summer, but it wasn't as painful as it could have been. I belong to a home warranty company, American Home Shield, and for a monthly fee they repair or replace appliances. The dryer was not fixable so I got to pick out a new one. They do charge a service fee for the initial visit but I owed nothing after that. I've had this subscription for years and have had several items replaced and/or repaired. It's no fun when something breaks down.

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The plans that I've heard about tend to say they cover all appliances that are newer than so-many years, and all of mine (except for an upright freezer and that washing machine) are older than that!  We've so rarely had any problems with our appliances in the past that I've never seen the point in such a service, but I may need to rethink my position one of these days.

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Welcome to the world of the planned obsolescence.
I dread the moment when my washing machine from the 80s will finally break down. I've repaired it like 2-3 years ago by exchanging a driving belt (finding of which was the main problem), but one of the valves is leaking, so I have to close the water supply after the washing. I know where the problem is, but I'm not able to open the assembly with available tools. It drives me mad to know, that it's most probably a few cent rubber gasket I need to fix it… My Father would know how to deal with it. :(

 

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I was advised to put in all new appliances in the kitchen when I put Mom's house up for sale, so I did …. three days ago, the handle of the refrigerator just snapped off in my hand. Tried gorilla-gluing it back on, but it just keeps snapping off. Pretty sure the warranty is out of date already..... 😞 

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... and I'm complaining about a problem with an appliance that's five years old?

Sheesh, Arcadia, that's ridiculous!  Do check your receipt, though, and your warranty.  A lot of things are warrantied against manufacturing defects for quite a while, and that sure sounds like one.

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Most items are not made to last which is absolutely criminal considering the price of appliances. When I was shopping for my fridge I was shocked at the prices! I started housekeeping 25 years ago with my mother's appliances which she had owned for several years. Except for the dryer this year and a refrigerator a few years ago, the stove and washer are still working, although the stove is showing its age. My appliance plan covers everything regardless of age and it's been a life saver. I've had my furnace/ac unit replaced a few times as well as my hot water heater and some plumbing issues addressed. I don't know how long the new items will last but I'm sure it won't be as long as the ones they replaced.

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I'm sure you're right.

You CAN buy longer lasting appliances, but they will cost far more. Or so I'm told. I don't have the funds to test that hypothesis.

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It would hardly make sense anyhow, in a house that you're just fixing up to sell.

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8 hours ago, Arcadia said:

You CAN buy longer lasting appliances, but they will cost far more. Or so I'm told.

And this is what I don't believe any more. Being relatable is not how it works methinks. People disappointed with brand A will buy from brand B and vice versa, in the end they will sell anyway.


BTW, the PJ-top I have on right now is over 30 years old, and it still looks better than most of newer tops and T-shirts after one year. It's made in China, but in the times China was the Communist Block's source of good stuff. And there is a lightbulb still burning after 100+ years now, somewhere in the USA. But no one makes big money with goods that last so long. Maybe except some houses.

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