A thought on “bird flu”

When you think about what a virus is, there is something funny about a virus being able to attack both people and birds, who aren’t genetically similar.  Viruses are picky.  They require similar genetic weaknesses to invade.
 
I’m wondering if those who have fallen prey to the bird flu have anything in common genetically that makes them specifically vulnerable to a viral attack.  Viral attacks are genetic attacks.  That the same virus could find a similar weakness in both humans and birds is just weird.  That is probably why there isn’t a confirmed transfer from human to human.
 
That could also explain why in some cases people within the same family of bird farmers get struck, if there is a genetically passed weakness. 
 
It would be nice to know if that were the case.  If there weren’t a mutation that allowed crossover into the general population then fears of an epidemic would be misguided.  Test anybody working with birds for that weakness and the chance of a problem drops to close to nil. 
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Congress impeaches… Miguel Tejada ??

Miguel Tejada stands accused of lying to congress about something that congress had no business even asking about in the first place.   No doubt as problems in the world worsen they will begin issuing traffic citations.
 
While the world was being led to ruin and investors were being cleaned out of billions and trillions while the SEC and other regulators did their very best to assist the larceny, we are supposed to be comforted because they were heroically ferreting out the foibles of pro atheletes? Yeah there’s a scandal here.
 
The expression "fiddling while Rome burns" comes to mind. 
 
What Tejada and Rodriguez did was wrong because they broke the rules, but who cares? Maybe bettors lost money because of skewed results on the odd occasion but probably they won more just as often.   Steroids are bad but the concussions and broken arms, legs, rib and ripped ligaments and tendons that pro athletes get aren’t medically recommended either.   Carrying excess muscled probably knocks 20 years off their lives and leaves them prone to heart attacks later.   Going after pro athletes is like going after Bill Clinton’s sex life, it is just a vehicle for dishonest politicians to get in the spotlight and pretend that they do something useful. 
 
 

Bowl prediction

Games involving streaky teams are always dangerous to call.  A football team is only as good as the last six games and looking at the full season stats for a team that comes together late gives a distorted picture.  Look at last year’s Jets for instance.   The New York Jests were brutal early last season, mainly due to injuries, then got it together and won four straight playoff games as underdogs.  I watched a lot of it and in the end wasn’t that surprised. 
 
In the Jets’ case, they had probably the best defence in the league.  You can’t measure that just by yards and points allowed.  The Jets’ offence with Eli Manning is hot and cold.  Manning plays indifferently for most of a game, then turns on the ability with five minutes left.  When Manning feels like playing he’s as good as any quarterback in the league but he needs that adrenaline rush at the end to hit that level.  
 
What that means is that the Jets’ defence had to, game after game, keep the game close on their own while the offence was on strike.   Being put in that position means that your points and yards against are going to be higher than they would be.   If you put the team in a position to win with a part-time offence, I figure that’s damn good.  I figure the Jets’ defence were the real heros last year. 
 
This year the team with defence and indifferent offence is the "overdog" rather than the underdog.  There are huge differences through.
 
In assessing playoff outcomes in any sport, whether hockey or football or anything else, you have to look at those who perform better under playoff pressure versus those that choke.   There are a lot of people that choke under pressure.  There are also a lot of guys that only bring their A game when everything is on the line that turn into playoff monsters. 
 
The most important stat is usually who are the chokers vs who are the heros. 
 
Kurt Warner is still one of the best closers in the business and all the people that passed him over were fools.   Kurt Warner brings his A game to big games.  He has a super bowl ring and he earned it.
 
Ben whats-his-face with Pittsburgh is a total choker.  He got his super bowl ring when opposed a few years ago by fellow choker Hassellback of the Seahawks.  They engaged in a back and forth duel to see who could lose the Superbowl.    Ben got the booby prize with a quarterback rating of 22 while Hassellback still managed to out-choke him.   The greatest pass of the game by Pittsburgh was made by a wide receiver, for a touchdown.   When your wide receiver has a better quarterback rating than you, that says something. 
 
Pittsburgh got to the bowl through a series of accidents, really getting to the Superbowl by default.  The Ravens are a clone of the Steelers, not quite as good, and between teams that are identical in makeup and strategy the better one should win the overwhelming amount of the time.  The Steelers beat the Chargers, who had a good run but once again lost their best player just prior to the playoffs.  The Chargers did the heavy lifting for them by putting out the Colts.  All the other contenders had one mishap or another and the Steelers didn’t have to face them.
 
Pittsburgh essentially got a "bye" to the Superbowl. 
 
Larry Fitzgerald of the Cardinals already has a playoff record for total yards.  He will probably get double cover for the full game.  He’s been picked as the most likely MVP, and he might be if he can beat the cover, but by freeing up space he may be the unsung hero.  Remember that the #2 and #3 receivers for Arizona had regular season stats almost as good as Fitzgeralds.   Pittsburgh is going to get burned for long touchdowns probably 3 times today. 
 
And don’t forget, with no meaningful passing game by Pittsburgh, if Arizona can stop Pittsburgh’s average run game, its over. 
 
I see the Cardinals winning by 1-6 points.   If they start burning Pittsburgh and it turns into an old-style Superbowl rout, I wouldn’t be that surprised either.