Archive for geek

A Long Time Ago in an Immune System Far Far away

Posted in Science, skepticism with tags , , , , on October 4, 2009 by Northernskeptic

One of the problems with combating misconceptions of science is placing the concepts within an easy to understand frame for the recipient. Take vaccination for example and the belief that vaccines contain the virus itself which will make people sick anyways. This is just one of many falsehoods that are spread by the anti-vax movement but it might be one of the easier ones to dispel with a simple analogy.

Let’s start with a disease; we’ll call it the Galactic Empire.

The Galactic Empire is spread by the Death Star Virus or DSV for short.

A vaccine was developed for the DSV, it was called the R2D2 shot.

The R2D2 vaccine contained the plans for the DSV but not the actual DSV itself.

Alderaan was in the at risk population for DSV but did not receive the R2D2 shot, and so was susceptible to terminal infection. Additionally the DSV infection was allowed to spread.

Yavin 4 was also at risk however the R2D2 shot was delivered to the immune system which we’ll call Rebel Headquarters.

Rebel HQ examined the DSV plans delivered by the R2D2 shot, which in turn allowed for the development of the X-Wing anti-bodies plan of attack.

When the DSV was introduced into the Yavin system Rebel HQ released its anti-bodies en-mass. The X-wings were keyed to locate the DSV’s Thermal exhaust port, and deliver their proton torpedo payload.

After the attempted infection started it was quickly thwarted and the DSV was destroyed. The added benefit was that since it was gone it could not spread to other systems and so they were protected from infection by a mutual immunity.

Eventually the Endor strain of the Death Star Virus was discovered, fortunately early inoculation with the Bothan Spy Shot quickly brought that outbreak under control before it became widespread.