Sunday, November 21, 2021

Visualizing COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines


One of my favorite uses of computer graphics is for visualizing scientific concepts that humans cannot otherwise experience, when the scale is beyond the realm of our senses.

I have posted before about the use of 3D renderings to illustrate microbiology, and it never stops fascinating me. The workings of living organisms at the molecular and cellular scale are mind-boggling.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:
Cell Biology

I recently saw this computer animation by The Vaccine Maker Project detailing how mRNA vaccines train the body's immune system to neutralize a coronavirus & thought it was a brilliant educational video.

YouTube Link:

My wife & I were hesitant at first to get the vaccine, because of concerns regarding conceiving another child. However, as a nurse she was eventually required to be vaccinated, & so I followed suit. I was never really against it, but I never got flu or other vaccines either... it was a sort of ambivalence since I am very healthy and rarely get sick. (One time as an adult, I got a bad case of the flu and felt like I was going to fucking die, & I still didn't bother getting flu vaccines even after that experience. However, I did finally get the flu shot recently after getting the COVID vaccine.) Even before we got vaccinated, we still followed all the other recommendations & protocols for preventing infection. However, having a toddler while being vulnerable to getting sick with COVID was very stressful.

After researching actual scientific papers on the mRNA vaccine process (& no, not relying on some bullshit Facebook or other website research), I understood how amazing this biotech was & felt very confident in getting vaccinated.

Watching this video gave me an even deeper appreciation- not just for this vaccine technology, but for the astounding way that our microbiology functions. The fact that these interactions are continuously playing out billions of times throughout each of our bodies, while we are completely unaware of this entire universe of living processes within us, is just an incredible & utterly incomprehensible phenomenon.

I highly recommend watching and sharing this video to educate other on how this amazing bit of biological engineering works.


In the recommended videos alongside the one I posted above, I also saw the following video that goes into another aspect that I was very curious about - how is the vaccine actually designed & manufactured?

This video gives a glimpse of the awesome scientific effort that goes into the production of something like the Coronavirus vaccine:


Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Asian Lady Beetle


We recently had a infestation for a day or two of what I thought were lady bugs, but it turns out they were Asian lady beetles. These beetles are actually an invasive species.

I saw one on my countertop and got some macro photos of the tiny creature. 

 Nature Photography by Paul Micarelli

Here are some facts about these beetles, which I didn't know existed:


Sunday, November 07, 2021

Beholding the Terrifying Nature of the Divine


On r/TIHI (Thanks, I Hate It), I saw this video of a "biblically accurate angel" specifically one of the cherubim, based on a description in Ezekiel 10:

I looked, and I saw beside the cherubim four wheels, one beside each of the cherubim; the wheels sparkled like topaz. As for their appearance, the four of them looked alike; each was like a wheel intersecting a wheel. As they moved, they would go in any one of the four directions the cherubim faced; the wheels did not turn about as the cherubim went. The cherubim went in whatever direction the head faced, without turning as they went. Their entire bodies, including their backs, their hands and their wings, were completely full of eyes, as were their four wheels. I heard the wheels being called “the whirling wheels.” Each of the cherubim had four faces: One face was that of a cherub, the second the face of a human being, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.

The creepy-ass CGI video is by Alex Howard:

Biblical angels be like: BE NOT AFRAID

Imagine coming across this spectacle while walking along in the wilderness, minding your own business!...

If the descriptions in the Bible described an actual encounter, it's hard to imagine what was actually being experienced - was it an extra-dimensional being, a hallucination brought on by plant entheogens, or some other altered state of consciousness? The description could just as well describe an extraterrestrial spacecraft, seen by someone with a limited linguistic toolkit to accurately convey the information about what they experienced. The other option, of course, is that it's just a made-up story.

The idea of an angel seems to describe a spirit or consciousness beyond our ordinary experience, which can take many different forms. It is not limited to the glowing humanoid with wings, which is usually depicted in Western religious art.

The specific angelic form depicted above, the cherubim, have been portrayed in different ways over the centuries. The traditional artistic representation is almost like the typical angel I just mentioned, but with multiple animal heads:

Modern artists have been able to create more abstract depictions more properly conveying the spiritual nature of such an entity:

I have never encountered any kind of spiritual, energetic being such as a ghost or angel, so as far as I know, they don't exist. However, I am open the idea there are beings or levels of consciousness that might be outside our realm of experience.

While reading comments on the original post, I saw the video below from The Onion, a one-on-one interview with God. The concept of "God" is an even more difficult one to pin down than angels. God, being the creative force underlying all of Reality, is, by definition, impossible to understand or even singularly experience. It is literally ALL THAT IS, the unity of everything, from the quantum to the cosmic levels, & everything in between. 

 If someone wants to ask me if I believe in God, I would say that we have to describe what we think God is first. If it's the Old Testament deity, Yahweh, who is a Zeus-like human personality that loves, judges, seeks vengence, etc. & interacts with humans on a personal level - then my answer would be "No," that's mythology.

If we define God as something akin to The Force or the Unified Field, the flux of base, subatomic energy that gives rise to all the patterns of the Universe - then "Yes," of course that exists.

Anyway, I thought this video was a funny representation of how The Infinite would be perceived by a finite human mind. Such awe-inspiring insight into the nature of reality can be approximated in certain altered states of consciousness, when the mind expands outside its normal modes of experience: