Page 20 of 20 FirstFirst ... 10181920
Results 286 to 300 of 300

Thread: Ninjas!

  1. #286
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    45,717

    Apparently Ghyslain Raza is a spokesperson against bullying now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oso View Post
    in retrospect: that Star Wars kid was just so ahead of the times...
    Right? He coulda been killin it runnin a Jedi Academy
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  2. #287
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    South FL. Which is not to be confused with any part of the USA
    Posts
    9,302
    lol...but not really...the disclaimer on youtube that radio sputnik is a russian channel

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sputnik_(news_agency)
    "George never did wake up. And, even all that talking didn't make death any easier...at least not for us. Maybe, in the end, all you can really hope for is that your last thought is a nice one...even if it's just about the taste of a nice cold beer."

    "If you find the right balance between desperation and fear you can make people believe anything"

    "Is enlightenment even possible? Or, did I drive by it like a missed exit?"

    It's simpler than you think.

    I could be completely wrong"

  3. #288
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    45,717

    Maro公式cm「マーロがあるじゃん(クール)」篇 15秒

    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  4. #289
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    45,717

    Ninja Warrior and Ninja the blogger mess up ninja newsfeed searches.

    I'm bummed that no one I know tried out.


    Ninja actors strike a pose at the Noboribetsu Date Jidaimura cultural park in Noboribetsu, Hokkaido, in April 2017.  | KYODO
    NATIONAL

    Many foreign hopefuls apply to join Aichi Prefecture-based ninja troupe
    JIJI
    JUN 15, 2019

    NAGOYA - Several applicants living overseas have applied to join a group of ninja in Aichi Prefecture.

    Of the 20 applicants for a position that became available in the team this year, 15 were foreigners, indicating the deep-rooted popularity of ninja amid an increase in the number of visitors to Japan.

    The group, Tokugawa Ieyasu and Hattori Hanzo Ninja Corps, which debuted in 2015, promotes the charm of Aichi through its activities mainly at Nagoya Castle and through performances held at the weekend.

    The ninja corps started to draw attention after a foreign news agency reported in 2016 that an administrative body was recruiting a ninja, according to Sankosha Co., an advertising agency based in Nagoya.

    It is commissioned by the prefecture to promote the team.

    Applications came from about 200 people living overseas, including in the United States, Russia, Italy, Tunisia and Macedonia, according to Sankosha.

    Requirements for the position included a passion to be a ninja and experiences in performance and sports as well as Japanese language skills.

    A man from the United States won the highly competitive race and played an active role as the team’s first foreign ninja for a year.

    Foreigners accounted for 70 to 80 percent of the total applicants for a position in the ninja team from the next year onward.

    This year, John Patrick Jandernoa, a 26-year-old man from Michigan, won the position and joined the team as its second ninja from abroad.

    Jandernoa, who started learning dance when he was in junior high school, acted in musicals and other performances until last year.

    A ninja admirer from childhood, he came to Japan after graduating from a university. He was waiting for a position in the ninja corps to open up while he studied Japanese.

    On Thursday, Jandernoa debuted at an event held at Chubu Centrair International Airport in Tokoname, Aichi Prefecture.

    Dressed in a black ninja costume, he presented a series of acrobatic moves such as a somersault with four Japanese team members.

    Jandernoa expressed his eagerness to perform ninja techniques across Japan.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  5. #290
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    45,717

    ttt 4 2019! (slightly OT)

    Ninja history student gets top marks after handing in 'blank' piece of paper... once her teacher realises her essay is written in invisible ink
    Eimi Haga had been interested in ninjas and their history since childhood
    Professor promised high marks for 'creativity' on writing assignment
    First-year student used special paper and ink made from soybean for writing
    She nonetheless wrote instructions in regular ink on how to read the assignment
    By MAILONLINE REPORTER
    PUBLISHED: 04:15 EDT, 10 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:08 EDT, 10 October 2019

    Any student who turns in a blank piece of paper for a writing assignment might expect to fail - unless they were using ninja stealth.

    Eimi Haga, in her first year of studying ninja history at Japan’s Mie University, did just that when she was asked to write about a visit to the Ninja Museum of Igaryu.

    She wrote her essay using 'aburidashi' - the ninja technique that uses ink made from soybean which does not immediately show up on paper.

    Ninjas were covert agents and assassins in medieval Japan, known for their unorthodox war techniques.


    First-year Japanese student Eimi Hagas holding her writing assignment, which she wrote in invisible ink, for a class on the history of ninjas. Her professor had promised higher marks for creativity when writing the assignment in exchange

    Making the ink meant that Ms. Haga needed to soak soybeans overnight and then crush them, according to the BBC.

    Next came mixing the soybean extract with water, needing another two hours to reach the right concentration - before writing her essay with a fine brush on 'washi' (thin Japanese paper).

    Ms Haga learned the technique as a chills, when she also became interested in ninjas after watching an animated TV show about them.

    The words became invisible when the ink dried, but Ms. Haga also left a note in normal ink that instructed her professor to 'heat the paper' - to ensure he didn't put the essay in the bin.

    Professor Yuji Yamada, a leading researcher of ninja history, said that the words appeared when her professor heated the paper over his gas stove.

    Yamada also did not hesitate to give Ms. Haga full marks for the report.

    As for the essay itself, Ms Haga said it had more style than substance. But she is now thinking of other ways to write essays, using ninja techniques.

    Mie University set up the International Ninja Research Center in 2017 to learn about the secrets of feudal Japan’s secret agents and mercenaries.


    The assignment in its original form, plus handwritten instructions in regular ink on how to read it.

    The university then offered a course to study ninja and their skills in 2018, Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun stated.

    The institute of higher learning is in Iga in Mie Prefecture and Koka in Shiga Prefecture - each of which are famous for their ninja clans.

    The university then started to offer a course to study ninja and their skills in 2018, Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun stated.
    THREADS
    How to be a Ninja
    Ninjas!
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  6. #291
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    45,717

    go pro ninja

    Japanese ninja group wants to hire new member, must have strong aura and mental fortitude
    Casey Baseel 13 hours ago



    Yes, you could quit your current job and become a professional ninja instead.

    When you wake up in the morning, do you leap out of bed, eager to throw yourself into the exciting challenges of a full day of work? Or do you secretly calculate how much longer you can sleep, putting off arrival at your workplace for as long as possible?

    If you’re in the latter group, there’s a chance you’re in the wrong profession, and maybe you’d be happier doing something else for a living, like, for example, being a professional ninja.

    Granted, the number of employers in the ninja services industry has been dramatically compared to Japan’s feudal era, which was essentially a Shinobi economy version of the Silicon Valley tech bubble of the late ‘90s. But just like Japan still has katana makers, it still has ninja, and one shadow warrior unit is looking to hire a new member.

    A big advantage of the modern ninja workplace is that employees are no longer required to put their lives on the line sneaking behind enemy lines, and you don’t even have to assassinate any evil magistrates either. Instead, the Iga Ninga Group Ashura gives regular performances of ninja weaponry, martial arts, and other shinobi techniques at the Iga-ryu Ninja Museum in Mie Prefecture, one of the traditional centers of ninja power and culture. The team also gives travelling performances both within Japan and abroad, and has even appeared at a parliamentary meeting of the Japanese Diet.

    ▼ Just another day at work for Ashura


    In June, the Igaryu Ninja Museum posted on its website that Ashura is seeking a new ninja, but six months later, it’s yet to find a suitable applicant. In a recent interview with radio broadcaster Nippon Hoso, Hanzo Ukita, leader of Ashura, explained the qualities his ninja force is looking for. “There are many traditions the ninja must be aware of and continue, so they will need to be willing to learn both our history and our techniques. Most importantly, they must show fortitude in all things. If they’re just interested in being a mere actor, we can’t offer them a position.” Ukita also explained that due to Ashura’s international activities, the ideal candidate will also possess a powerful non-verbal sense of presence. “When we go overseas, we might not speak the local language, so the ninja must give off an aura that can reach the audience.”

    Ukita’s interview comes roughly a year and a half after the city of Iga denied it was recruiting ninja, but his comments confirm that Ashura is indeed looking to welcome a new shinobi, and the Iga-ryu Ninja Museum website directs applicants to submit their resume/audition requests online here.

    Sources: IT Media/Nippon Hoso, Iga-ryu Ninja Museum
    Top image ©SoraNews24
    Insert image: Ashura
    MartialArtSmart. Supplying professional and amatuer ninjas since 1983.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  7. #292
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    South FL. Which is not to be confused with any part of the USA
    Posts
    9,302
    i'm 3 whiskeys in, but i did lol at this.

    ftr, your ninja garb is itchy.

    like, you need to partner with these guys for some better, non-itchy, ninja garb.

    https://shop.lululemon.com/p/men-sho...E&gclsrc=aw.ds

    you know, for those long nights waiting for the right time to strike
    Last edited by Oso; 12-13-2019 at 07:30 PM. Reason: moar funny & grammar
    "George never did wake up. And, even all that talking didn't make death any easier...at least not for us. Maybe, in the end, all you can really hope for is that your last thought is a nice one...even if it's just about the taste of a nice cold beer."

    "If you find the right balance between desperation and fear you can make people believe anything"

    "Is enlightenment even possible? Or, did I drive by it like a missed exit?"

    It's simpler than you think.

    I could be completely wrong"

  8. #293
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    45,717

    It's all about the whiskey, Oso

    You scared me there. I thought that if Lululemon started slingin ninja wear, we'd be done. I mean really. Where do you pack your shuriken in those bib shorts?

    Cheers old friend!
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  9. #294
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    45,717

    Ninja New York

    This is slightly OT for Kung Fu Restaurants & Bars. I'm beginning to think we need a separate thread just for Ninja restaurants.

    Experience feudal Japan at this ninja-themed restaurant in New York
    In The Know
    JUSTIN CHAN
    Dec 16th 2019 12:33PM

    Restaurants often attempt to outshine one another by pushing culinary boundaries, but few try to provide a transformative dining experience. Ninja New York, however, is an exception to the rule.

    Located in New York City's affluent Tribeca neighborhood, Ninja New York gives its customers exactly what its name suggests — a Japanese-influenced atmosphere thanks to rooms and corridors designed to echo a ninja village from the "feudal days," according to the restaurant's website.

    Ninja New York's rooms, which are accessible by a private elevator, are laid out in a maze, with contraptions hidden in various places. To add to the ambience, the waitstaff is also dressed as — you guessed it — ninjas.

    Decor aside, the restaurant also offers an eclectic assortment of dishes, from a lobster miso bisque to its signature prime NY strip steak. And the food isn't too bad either, according to several Yelp reviews.

    "This place is a lot of fun and great for birthday events for any age," one person wrote. "Lots of showmanship, surprises, jokes, fire and table magic show at the end. Steak was excellent. One of the dishes in their multi course menu was a little too salty, but not bad overall. We had a lot of fun."

    "The food was surprisingly good, but is more Japanese-American rather than traditional Japanese, as the majority of Japanese restaurants are in the States," another person posted. "Most Japanese restaurants here just tend to cater to the American tastebuds, which is different than what you find in Japan."
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  10. #295
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    45,717

    Genichi Mitsuhashi


    Genichi Mitsuhashi said he took the practical aspect of being a ninja to heart. Photo: Courtesy of Genichi Mitsuhashi/AFP
    National

    Japanese university awards first-ever ninja studies degree
    June 28 06:27 am JST
    TOKYO

    Japan has its first ninja studies graduate after Genichi Mitsuhashi spent two years honing his martial arts skills and absorbing the finer traditions of the feudal martial arts agents.

    The 45-year-old completed the master's course at Mie University in central Japan, the region considered the home of the ninja.

    In addition to researching historical documents, Mitsuhashi told AFP he took the practical aspect of being a ninja to heart.

    "I read that ninjas worked as farmers in the morning and trained in martial arts in the afternoon," he said.

    So Mitsuhashi grew vegetables and worked on his martial arts techniques, in addition to copious ninja study in the classroom.

    "With this combination, I thought I could learn about the real ninja," he said.

    Better known as black-clad assassins famous for secrecy and stealth, ninjas also had "comprehensive survival skills," he added.

    Mitsuhashi, who has also learned kung fu and a Japanese martial art known as Shorinji Kempo, teaches ninja skills at his own dojo and runs a local inn while pursuing his PhD.

    The Mie University set up the world's first research centre devoted to the ninja in 2017 and opened a graduate course a year later.

    It is located in Iga -- 350 kilometers southwest of Tokyo -- a mountain-shrouded city once home to many ninja.

    Yuji Yamada, a professor of Japanese history at the university in charge of the ninja center, was surprised at Mitsuhashi's devotion to the task.

    "We provide historical classes and courses on ninja skills. But I didn't expect him to engage to this extent" like a real living ninja, Yamada said.

    To enrol, students have to take an exam on Japanese history and a reading test on historical ninja documents.

    "About three students enrol every year. I think there's demand," the professor said. "We get many inquiries from overseas but I have to say one thing: This is a course to learn about the ninja, not to become one."
    Threads
    Ninjas!
    How-to-be-a-Ninja
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  11. #296
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    45,717

    Happy World Emoji Day!

    Yay! Ninjas!

    Apple Previews New Emoji Coming in 2020 Like Ninja, Pińata, Bubble Tea, Dodo, Tamale and More
    Thursday July 16, 2020 2:21 pm PDT by Juli Clover
    Tomorrow marks World Emoji Day, and in celebration of the event, Apple has shared a preview of upcoming 2020 emojis that will be added to iPhones, iPads, and Macs with Emojipedia.



    Emojis coming in 2020 are part of the Emoji 13 update, which includes the following emoji options:

    Faces - Smiling Face with Tear, Disguised Face
    People - Ninja, Person in Tuxedo, Woman in Tuxedo, Person with Veil, Man with Veil, Woman Feeding Baby, Person Feeding Baby, Man Feeding Baby, Mx. Claus, People Hugging
    Body Parts - Pinched fingers, Anatomical Heart, Lungs
    Animals - Black Cat, Bison, Mammoth, Beaver, Polar Bear, Dodo, Seal, Beetle, Cockroach, Fly, Worm
    Food - Blueberries, Olive, Bell Pepper, Flatbread, Fondue, Bubble Tea
    Household - Potted Plant, Teapot, Pińata, Magic Wand, Nesting Dolls, Sewing Needle, Mirror, Window, Plunger, Mouse Trap, Bucket, Toothbrush
    Miscellaneous - Feather, Rock, Wood, Hut, Pickup Truck, Roller Skate, Knot, Coin, Boomerang, Screwdriver, Carpentry Saw, Hook, Ladder, Elevator, Headstone, Placard, Transgender Symbol, Transgender Flag
    Clothing - Thong Sandal, Military Helmet
    Musical Instruments - Accordion, Long Drum
    The update also features 55 gender and skin-tone variants, along with new gender-inclusive emojis that can be used as an alternative to gendered versions, such as person with veil and person with tuxedo rather than the current woman/man options.

    Apple shared design previews of several of the new emoji with Emojipedia, which can be seen in the image above and in more detail on the Emojipedia website.

    Apple will adopt the new Unicode 13 emoji characters at some point in 2020, likely in a fall update to iOS 14. Apple last year introduced Unicode 12 emojis in the iOS 13.2 update that was released in October.

    After the Emoji 13 update, there will, unfortunately, be a delay with Emoji 14 that will prevent new emojis from being introduced in 2021. Emoji 14 will be released six months late, which means it likely won't be able to be added to smartphones until 2022
    Threads
    Emojis
    Ninjas!
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  12. #297
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    45,717

    Shadow Vision

    Man with ninja-style outfit, weapons seen walking streets of North Little Rock
    by Scott Carroll, KATV StaffMonday, October 26th 2020
    AA

    A man with ninja-style clothing and weapons walking in North Little Rock. Police said the man has been roaming the city for a few months and has a superhero-esque name for himself. Police said he does it for fun and is not a threat. (Photo courtesy of Dean Taylor)

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KATV) - A man equipped with ninja-style clothing and weapons has been seen walking the streets of downtown North Little Rock.

    The man was recently spotted walking along Broadway and Main streets, a busy area with numerous restaurants, shops and entertainment venues. He was dressed in black and wearing a mask, gloves and arm gauntlets with two swords strapped to his back and a three-pronged melee weapon called a "sai" strapped to his leg.

    North Little Rock police spokesman officer Joseph Green said that despite the man's attention-grabbing appearance, there's no need to be concerned.

    "He does it for fun," Green said. "And people get a kick out of it, seeing him on the side of the road."

    Green said the man even has a superhero-esque name for himself — "Shadow Vision." Green described him as friendly and talkative. He said the man happily poses for photos with onlookers. He's been roaming North Little Rock for a couple months.

    "He's no harm whatsoever ... we all know him now," Green said.

    Green said he did not know the man's real identity. He said that police have received no complaints about the man.
    Open carry covers ninja weapons in North Little Rock.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  13. #298
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    45,717

    Ninjamas

    Just gonna leave this here...


    NIGHTTIME UNDERWEAR

    Ninjamas is a NEW absorbent nighttime underwear designed to help kids take on bedwetting accidents. They provide stealthy all-night leak protection and are the ONLY nighttime underwear with OdorMask™ Technology – so kids wake up feeling Ninjawesome!

    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  14. #299
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    45,717

    間林清陽 Kanrinseiyo


    Photo: kai | © PIXTA
    Lifestyle
    Legendary sourcebook of ninja secrets discovered in Japan

    July 1 06:29 am JST 4 Comments
    By Ben K, grape Japan
    TOKYO
    On June 19t, municipal government officials in Koka City, Shiga Prefecture, famous for being a center of ninja heritage, announced that a manuscript of the Edo period ninjutsu book 間林清陽 Kanrinseiyo had been discovered.

    The book is said to be the basis for the 万川集海 Bansenshukai, a representative ninjutsu book that served as a dictionary of the ninja arts of the Koka and Iga regions. The Bansenshukai clearly stated that it used the Kanrinseiyo as a reference point. However, neither the existence nor the contents of the legendary ninja sourcebook had been confirmed until now.

    The image below shows the title page of the 40-page manuscript, which indicates on the left: 軍法間林清陽巻中 meaning "Tactical Strategy (Book) Kanrinseiyo, Middle (Second) Volume." Penciled in on the right is the date when this manuscript is believed to have been transcribed, 延享五年, the 5th year of the Enkyo in the Edo Period, which corresponds to 1748.


    Photo: Reproduced with permission from the Tourism Policy Planning and Promotion Division of the Koka City Office
    According to Sankei News, the manuscript contains 48 articles on ninjutsu including practical teachings such as how to make 撒き菱 makibishi caltrops out of bamboo, how to fight when dealing with multiple enemies, how to discern faint sounds and how to make silent footwear.

    As for 呪術 jujutsu (spells), for example, it contains a spell to stop guard dogs from barking which involves writing the character 鬼, meaning demon, and "cutting nine syllables" (the nine ninja hand gestures).

    Another spell contained within the manuscript is for quickly hiding oneself from someone. This may be familiar to those who have seen ninjas in films, manga or anime. If you ever wondered about the powder that ninjas throw down on the ground to hide themselves, this could be it. According to this spell, you should throw down a powder made of charred owl and turtle in the direction of the person you wish to hide from, cut the nine syllables, then hide behind the nearest object.


    Page 19 of the Kanrinseiyo, showing the above-mentioned spells Photo: Reproduced with permission from the Tourism Policy Planning and Promotion Division of the Koka City Office
    福島嵩 Takamasa Fukushima, 37, a member of Koka City's regional development volunteer brigade who has been researching ninja, discovered the scrolls last December in a district-owned warehouse in the city's Kazuraki district. It may have been a document handed down in the home of a descendant of the Yoshikawa ninja clan that served the Owari Domain and lived in the same area.

    According to the official in charge of cultural property at the Koka City Office, "now that Kanrinseiyo has been featured in the media, some citizens of Koka may search for the other volumes in their own homes or warehouses. Expectations are high that the other volumes will also be discovered."

    As for the significance of the discovery, in addition to confirming the existence of the sourcebook known to be the basis for the Bansenshukai, ninja fans and researchers are "particularly excited that it was discovered in Koka City, the home of the ninja, that it contains a great deal of practical knowledge and that it can now be considered to be one of the oldest ninjutsu books in existence."

    Although there are no plans to publish the Kanrinseiyo, the city plans to display a reproduction of the manuscript at the 甲賀流リアル忍者館 Kokaryu Real Ninja-kan tourist information center.
    I hope they do publish it, along with an English translation.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  15. #300
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    45,717

    Ninja Covid

    This New ‘Ninja’ COVID Variant Is the Most Dangerous One Yet
    STEALTH MODE
    The BA.5 subvariant can slip past the body’s defenses easier than any of its predecessors.
    David Axe
    Published Jul. 08, 2022 4:48AM ET

    Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty
    The latest subvariant of the novel coronavirus to become dominant in Europe, the United States, and other places is also, in many ways, the worst so far.

    The BA.5 subvariant of the basic Omicron variant appears to be more contagious than any previous form of the virus. It’s apparently better at dodging our antibodies, too—meaning it might be more likely to cause breakthrough and repeat infections.

    Vaccines and boosters are still the best defense. There are even Omicron-specific booster jabs in development that, in coming months, could make the best vaccines more effective against BA.5 and its genetic cousins.

    Still, BA.5’s ongoing romp across half the planet is a strong reminder that the COVID pandemic isn’t over. “We’re not done yet, by any stretch,” Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in California, wrote on his Substack.

    High levels of at least partial immunity from vaccines and past infection continue to prevent the worst outcomes—mass hospitalization and death. But globally, raw case numbers are surging, with serious implications for potentially millions of people who face a growing risk of long-term illness.

    Equally worrying, the latest wave of infections is giving the coronavirus the time and space it needs to mutate into even more dangerous variants and subvariants. “The development of variants now is a freight train,” Irwin Redlener, the founding director of Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness, told The Daily Beast.

    In other words, unstoppable.

    BA.5 first turned up in viral samples in South Africa in February. By May it was dominant in Europe and Israel, displacing earlier forms of the basic Omicron variant while also driving an increase in global daily COVID cases from around 477,000 a day in early June to 820,000 a day this week.

    In late June, BA.5 became dominant in the United States. Cases haven’t increased yet—the daily average has hovered around 100,000 since May. But that could change in coming weeks as BA.5 continues to outcompete less transmissible subvariants.

    Topol offered a concise explanation for BA.5’s ascendancy. Where the mutations that produced many earlier variants mostly affected the spike protein—the part of the virus that helps it to grab onto and infect our cells—BA.5 has mutations across its structure. “BA.5 is quite distinct and very fit, representing marked difference from all prior variants,” Topol wrote.

    BA.5’s widespread mutations made the subvariant less recognizable to all those antibodies we’ve built up from vaccines, boosters and past infection. BA.5 has been able to slip past our immune systems, ninja-style, contributing to the rising rate of breakthrough cases and reinfections.

    This comes as no surprise to epidemiologists who’ve warned for many months now that persistently high case-rates—which they largely attribute in part to a stubborn anti-vax minority in many countries—would facilitate ever more infectious and evasive variants and subvariant. The more infections, the more chances for significant mutations.

    In that sense, BA5 might be a preview of the months and years to come. A year ago, we had a chance to block SARS-CoV-2’s main transmission vectors through vaccines and social distancing.

    But we didn’t. Restrictions on businesses, schools and crowds have become politically toxic all over the world. Vaccination rates remained stubbornly low, even in many countries with easy access to jabs. In the U.S., for example, the percentage of fully vaccinated has stalled at around 67 percent.

    So COVID lingers, 31 months after the first case was diagnosed in Wuhan, China. The longer the virus circulates, the more variants it produces. BA.5 is the all but inevitable result of that tragic dynamic.

    The situation isn’t entirely hopeless. Yes, BA.5 seems to reduce the effectiveness of the best messenger-RNA vaccines. Vaccine-maker Moderna published data indicating that a booster shot it’s developing specifically for Omicron and its offspring works only a third as well against BA.5 compared to earlier subvariants.

    But vaccines, boosters and past infection still offer meaningful, if reduced, protection against BA.5. “Even a boost of the original genome, or a recent infection, will [produce] some cross-protective antibodies to lessen the severity of a new Omicron subvariant infection,” Eric Bortz, a University of Alaska-Anchorage virologist and public-health expert, told The Daily Beast.

    The more additional jabs you get on top of your prime course, the better protected you are. Arguably the best protection results from two prime jabs of the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer or Moderna plus a couple boosters. “Get your **** fourth shot!” Redlener said.

    The problem, in the United States, is that only people 50 years old or older or with certain immune disorders qualify for a second booster. And the U.S. Food and Drug Administration won’t say whether, or when, it might authorize second boosters for younger people. “I have nothing to share at this time,” an FDA spokesperson told The Daily Beast when asked about boosters for under-50s.

    It’s an obvious bureaucratic screw-up. As many as a million booster doses are about to expire in the U.S., all for a want of takers. “A profound waste, which should be made available to all people, age under-50 who seek added protection,” Topol wrote.

    To be fair, Pfizer and Moderna are both working on new boosters that they’ve tailored specifically for Omicron subvariants. On June 30, an FDA advisory board endorsed these variant-specific boosters. The FDA announced it might approve them for emergency use for some Americans as early as this fall.

    But there’s a risk these jabs will show up too late, especially if they’re highly optimized for just one recent subvariant and thus ineffective against future subvariants. “Variant-chasing is a flawed approach,” Topol wrote. “By the time a BA.5 vaccine booster is potentially available, who knows what will be the predominant strain?”

    Fortunately, there are fallbacks. Masks and voluntary social-distancing, of course. Post-infection therapies including the antiviral drug paxlovid also help. “This is not a time to abandon non-pharmaceutical intervention,” Redlener stressed.

    But voluntary mask-wearing and paxlovid are bandaids on a festering global wound. The surge in BA.5 infections creates the conditions for the next major subvariant—BA.6, if you will. It might be even worse.

    It’s looking more and more likely that COVID will be with us, well, forever. “COVID is becoming like the flu,” Ali Mokdad, a professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington Institute for Health, told The Daily Beast.

    covid
    ninjas
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •