Epidemics Like the Wuhan Coronavirus are Human-made

The current Wuhan Coronavirus issue has not reached a Contagion-level epidemic but there is a chance the virus could shift towards such a trajectory. I suspect things are going to get substantially worse before getting better. I fly all over the Asia-Pacific region on business, and this outbreak has me quite spooked. At the end of the day, unfortunately, we need to turn around and look at ourselves. Humans are largely responsible for these types of diseases and here are some of the reasons:

Current circumstances include a perilous trade in wildlife for food, with supply chains stretching through Asia, Africa and to a lesser extent, the United States and elsewhere. That trade has now been outlawed in China, on a temporary basis; but it was outlawed also during SARS, then allowed to resume — with bats, civets, porcupines, turtles, bamboo rats, many kinds of birds and other animals piled together in markets such as the one in Wuhan.

Current circumstances also include 7.6 billion hungry humans: some of them impoverished and desperate for protein; some affluent and wasteful and empowered to travel every which way by airplane. These factors are unprecedented on planet Earth: We know from the fossil record, by absence of evidence, that no large-bodied animal has ever been nearly so abundant as humans are now, let alone so effective at arrogating resources. And one consequence of that abundance, that power, and the consequent ecological disturbances is increasing viral exchanges — first from animal to human, then from human to human, sometimes on a pandemic scale.

We invade tropical forests and other wild landscapes, which harbor so many species of animals and plants — and within those creatures, so many unknown viruses. We cut the trees; we kill the animals or cage them and send them to markets. We disrupt ecosystems, and we shake viruses loose from their natural hosts. When that happens, they need a new host. Often, we are it.

Agent Smith said it best in The Matrix:

Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague and we are the cure.

Hitting the Gym in January is Total Hell on the Legs

I recently got back in to the gym and it has been a struggle. The first week was not fun, with every muscle in my body aching after finishing working out. As Wired points out, which I absolutely can confirm, hitting the gym in January is literal hell on the legs:

But actually that soreness might be the sign of a workout well done. What you’re likely experiencing when your muscles ache the day after a tough gym session is something called DOMS: delayed onset muscle soreness.

When you put your muscles to work, tiny tears appear in the muscle fibres, and it's repairing these tears that leads to inflammation and soreness. DOMS happens after your muscles lengthen under tension, something called eccentric muscle contraction. For example when you’re lowering down a weight and your arm extends slowly, and the muscle tears slightly. It’s also common after downhill running, rock climbing and resistance based exercises.

“We call it the good pain because it shows that your training session was actually quite effective,” says Aamer Sandoo, lecturer in sport and exercise science at Bangor University in Wales. When the muscle repairs those tears, it makes it stronger. With exercise, we're trying to cause trauma to the muscle and the body's response is to make a stronger muscle by depositing more fibres within it.

The good kind of pain. I sure hope whatever I am currently attempting to do in the gym will have a positive effect. To stay motivated I need to see some fairly rapid indication the hard work I am investing in the gym is actually paying dividends towards my ultimate goal of de-beer-belly-ifying!