We hear so many horror stories about viruses today, and every one of them are viewed as something terrible to take every precaution against. This is not to say that such things do not exist, but virus have been known to create genetic mutations in nature that have accounted for some pretty incredible things out in nature.
Tje tulip is one of those. Originally when tulips were first introduced, there were only solid colors and simple shapes we all recognize as everyday (not saying they are not beautiful too). But a virus caused them to mutate into these mixed types and then one of the most striking of all tulips came along – the Parrot Tulip. Below is an example of just one of the many forms.
In the day when these unique and beautiful tulips first were introduced, collectors sought them out and paid exhorbitant prices for just one of the bulbs. One bulb could bring a cost of four cows, or six pigs, or I think it was ten lbs. of butter, which was in high demand. Once the collectors got the bulbs, they would work with them in such interesting ways (you must read about it; it is fascinating). And so today we have thousands of types of tulips out there, thanks to the virus(es) what changed their DNA. Also, if you like to watch PBS, I watch things like NOVA all the time, and so perhaps I saw this on TV. However, you might find it on the Internet or in the literature of a plant nursery specializing in tulips.
I thought you all might be interested to know a tiny bit of my background to know why I would be looking for information about viruses to share with you. For a number of years in my younger life, I was a Regulatory Compliance Specialist (that is a fancy term for a specialized quality assurance auditor whose task it is to meet all the requirements of the FDA and other organizations that can get involved. Now this company happened to make plasma derivative products, which are used for things like AIDS, which is an acquired virus, or the thousands of other types of viruses that are auto-immune viruses, some rare that there are not enough cases to do proper research on them. Some of these viruses that still exist today are said to date back to Biblical times and to the twelve tribes. Many come from Eastern Europe.
Now in the medical world, things are classified according to their danger in their administration. At the top of the list of course are things like any heart implants, and that is pretty obvious. Plasma Derivatives are right up there at the top too because anything that goes straight into your bloodstream obviously will likely kill you faster than say a pill, but of course, as with everything, there are exceptions to every rule.
Well, when I was 64, I was among 400 of the employees who got laid off because the company was being sold to a firm in Spain, but something happened to which I am no longer privy, and so the company went out of business altogether. And so began another and most satisfying period of my life, becoming a substitute paraeducator (generally a one-on-one), a substitute aide, and a substitute teacher for special needs children (often with several issues all at the same time. I loved every moment of that, and though I could have been permanent (and was asked over the years on more than one occasion, I said no. I never wanted to do what most teachers do regularly, but to be able to work more directly with the children.
As a final note, I am recommending a book I am starting to read from my last visit to the thrift store: Robert Gallo, M.D., Virus Hunting Aids, Cancer, & the Human Retrovirus: A Story of Scientific Discovery. Once an M.D., and one of the most-cited authors of scientific literature in the world during the 1880’s, he served as Chief of the Laboratory of Tumor Cell Biology at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, and a two-time winner of the Albert Lasker prize, the highest honor in biomedical research.
I think a very healthy thing to do in these confusing and stressful times besides the obvious, is to use this time to educate yourself. You can get such books from places like Amazon, and I am sure you know others as well. It may well be available in E-book format. I wish you one and all the best of days, and ways to find something of beauty and joy every single day.
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