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COVID 19 Chapter 2 - A science look at what it is and what it is not · Friday March 27, 2020 by colin newell

Being prepared - ready your mind

Some interesting COVID 19 and Virus stuff gathered from a few sources.

  • The virus is not a living organism, but a protein molecule (DNA) covered by a protective layer of lipids (fats) which, if absorbed by the cells of the (eye)ocular, (nose)nasal or mouth mucosa, changes their genetic code.
    Mutation converts them into multiplier and attack cells.
  • Since the virus is not a living organism but a protein molecule, it cannot be killed, but decays on its own.
    The disintegration time depends on the temperature, humidity and the type of material in which it is found.
  • The virus is very fragile. The only thing that protects it is a thin outer layer of fat.
    Soap or detergent is the best weapon, because the foaming action and alkalinity of soap breaks down the fat layer.
    By dissolving the fat layer, the protein molecule disperses and breaks down on its own.
  • Heat melts the protective layer. Use hot water above 25 degrees to wash your hands and clothes. In addition, soap and hot water produces more foam making it even more effective.
  • Alcohol or any mixture with alcohol content greater than 65% dissolves the fat layer of the virus.
  • Any mixture with 1 part of bleach and 5 parts of water directly dissolves the protein.
  • Pure Hydrogen peroxide is very effective but only in its pure form but it’s hard on your skin.
  • Don’t shake used or unused clothing, sheets or clothing. It can attach to porous surfaces. Lifetime – 3 hours (fabric and porous), 4 hours on wood, because it removes all moisture and does not let it detach and disintegrates, 24 hours (cardboard), 42 hours (metal) and 72 hours (plastic).
    Active virus molecules can float in the air for up to 3 hours.
  • Viral molecules remain very stable in air conditioned homes and cars. They also need moisture and darkness to remain stable. Dehumidified, warm and bright environments will degrade it more quickly.
  • Ultraviolet light breaks down the virus protein.
  • The virus cannot go through healthy skin. If you wash your hands regularly, rubber or cloth gloves may be little to no value.
  • Vinegar is not useful because it does not break the protective layer of fat.
  • Any agents, like mouthwash, which can be 65% alcohol can be an effective weapon against the virus.
  • In limited spaces, the virus can concentrate. More ventilation and fresh air is better for slowing down the spread.
  • Wash your hands after coming in contact all the obvious things like door knobs, car doors, door handles, etc
  • Avoid touching your face. It is human nature to touch ones face and this is the leading cause of transmission and propagation of the virus!
  • Moisturize! Wash your hands a lot, because molecules can hide in micro wrinkles or cuts. The denser the moisturizer, the better.
  • Keep your nails short so that the virus doesn’t hide there.

These are all good suggestions and there are likely more. Bottom line: A little knowledge goes a long way!


COVID 19 spoken word thingie


COVID-19-Audio-Primer.mp3 Download

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Social media 101 mad as hell and what are you going to do about it · Sunday August 21, 2016 by colin newell

Prisoner of Social Media

I heard a TED Talk not too long ago on CBC radio and I would like to track it down and listen again.

It was all about how social media (as good as it appears to be on a surface examination) has robbed us of creativity and productivity.

How our addiction or dependance on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like has separated us of from our true potential selves.

But how is that even possible? I think of myself as a smart person, an engaged person and a person who is making a contribution to society. But am I, as an avid user of social media, really making a difference or the best possible contribution that I possibly can?

Let’s talk about one contribution that I make to the World around me that I am kind of proud of.

It is the website that I have been writing content for, for over 20 years.
A site that has been suffering from a degree of neglect over the last few years. But can we say definitively that this is the actual issue? Perhaps I have said everything I need to say about coffee culture or that it is time for younger voices to be heard. Fact is, when I started writing about the culture of caffeine consumption 20 years ago, I was relatively alone in a very finite field of coffee writers. That has changed. But could I be doing more?

Well, here is my truthful observation. In an average day, I may dedicate 45 minutes to “social media” or the “internet”. You know, checking e-mail, posting a couple of tweets or photos and updating my “Facebook” status. In that 45 minutes I may flip over to one of my web projects, like this one, and have a quick look see to make sure everything is ship shape… a couple of seconds of my time.

The reality of social media is that we are now all working for “free” for giant media mining companies like Facebook and Twitter. Many of my friends post on twitter like it is their own personal blog, not realizing that every word they are writing is being “exploited” in some fashion or another. They share their lives, their birthdays, the very minutiae of their earthly existence. I am often astounded by the sheer richness, the overwhelming quantity of words and thoughts that people post to their Facebook space is if it was a private personal journal. They update their profile photo’s with every change of hairstyle or mood. Outwardly this would appear to be pretty darn harmless. But is it?

I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist. Most global conspiracies are merely that: the product of someones overly fertilized imagination. If there was a conspiracy of global domination driven by a handful of evil doers, I think word would get out. And yet, here we are, sharing our whereabouts, our birthdays, our holidays and our most intimate feelings to an online behemoth. Relationships germinate, develop and coalesce and often die miserable deaths on social media. We use social media, like Facebook, as if it was some tangential communications form as reliable and without strings attached as a casual conversation or a binding agreement between strangers.

We often worry about an overly nosy government or police forces that want more power to surveil, ostensibly to save us from ourselves or terror threats, also imagined and otherwise. And on one hand we fight excessive police powers while revealing our destination, location and desires every hour and minute of each and every day. What happened to the essence of our private selves?

I have had this conversation with many, many people about this phenomenon of “social networking” and how much we all “need” social media. Parents and grand parents insist that they would not be able to connect with their children and grand children if it was not for social media APPS like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Seriously? What did we go before electronic social media? We picked up the phone and put pen to letter.

I do not wish to be a luddite but I cannot help but look in the mirror occasionally and ask myself, what kind of contribution could I have made today if I wasn’t spending so much time naval gazing and looking for that perfect, funny, witty or perfunctory tweet that will, I assure myself, change the World.

My mother once told me two stories that have hung with me my entire life: after I spent an evening in front of the TV glued to a sitcom with my dad and sisters that the World could crumble around us if we did not occasionally “self assess” our devotion to pop culture (at the time television entertainment).

And while standing at a bus top in the early 70’s she overheard two young women talking about a TV celebrity as if they they knew the characters personally. And one of the girls said to the other one, “Hey, isn’t that you brother across the street sitting on that park bench?” And the girl squinted and said, “Yea, I think so… haven’t talked to him in years…”

Perhaps what life in the 21st Century should really be about is balance. It takes work to achieve balance and sometimes it’s just easy to go with the flow. And that’s what scares me.


Colin Newell is a Victoria resident and writer, often with a mug of coffee in hand – looking for the truth or something that passes as truth.

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If you can read this, thank your teacher - chapter 1 · Wednesday June 18, 2014 by colin newell

Teachers at war with the government

Had coffee with some of my work buddies this AM – and so clueless about what the life of teachers is like…
Nothing like a totally one sided discussion to get ones java boiling in the mug!

Anyway, I felt like sending them back to Elementary school… maybe Grade 1 even.

During the various rants various myths emerged – with my factual responses attached…

MYTH a.) Teachers work 180 days a year and get paid for 365 days a year.
FACT: They get paid for the days worked and the time in – Yes, they get a pay cheque year around for days worked – and consequently, their pay packets are about equal to 10 months work or more.

MYTH b.) Teachers get every summer off.
FACT: Many teachers work part time through the summer getting ready for the coming year.

MYTH c.) Teachers DON’T need to work in the summer because they have one set of lesson plans that they can use for their entire career.
FACT: Lesson plans and curricula change year by year depending on the needs of the students and the evolution of education.

MYTH d.) Teachers are overpaid!
FACT: No, bankers are overpaid… and even that is a bit of a stretch. Bankers make investors money (like you and I) which we appreciate.

MYTH e.) You cannot fire incompetent teachers because of the Union.
FACT: Progressive discipline is in effect in most unions and professional organizations. Bad teachers that break the law or, at the other end of the extreme, don’t do their jobs simply don’t survive.

Hey, if you can read this post and understand it (you might not agree with it…) Thank your teachers.


Colin Newell is a writer, technical analyst and engineering technologist at a local University that often gets asked… “Hey. Colin. What do you do on your summers off from working at a University?

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Philippine typhoon relief - help needed now · Thursday November 14, 2013 by colin newell

Typhoon Haiyan – locally known as Yolanda –is the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines in 2013 and arguably the most destructive storm to hit the region in anyone’s memory. The storm has caused widespread damage, including landslides and flooding. Tragically, among the people affected are those who were left homeless by an earthquake in mid-October.

So, I ask you… I beg of my readers:

Donate to the Typhoon Haiyan Fund

The Philippine Red Cross has been on the highest alert since the typhoon was sighted, pre-positioning supplies, helping with evacuation plans and warning communities. Today, they are working to meet the needs of individuals affected by the storm. It is a tough job – and how can we help? With money.

Canadians wishing to help individuals affected by this storm are encouraged to make a financial donation online, at their local Red Cross office or by calling 1-800-418-1111. Please earmark donations “Typhoon Haiyan”. Funds will be used to support Red Cross efforts in all countries affected by the storm.

Our American readers can pop over here to donate.

International readers click over here for the International office of the Red Cross.

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Good bye to Jack Layton · Monday August 22, 2011 by colin newell

All our prayers and thoughts go out to Jack Layton’s wife, family and extended family.

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