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About Argon55

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    Yorkshire, UK
  • Interests
    Biochemistry, immunology, violin playing, lutherie, cycling, natural history, astronomy, art
  1. I heard her play the Brahms concerto at the Proms in 1971 when I was nobbut a youngster. Also heard her play the Tchaik in 77. I just loved her playing and think she was severely underestimated at a time when all the great soloists were men.
  2. Unlikely that a British man of his age in the 1950s would use a # as an abbreviation for "Number". It would be a bit unusual now, even. The usual British abbreviation at the time was "No.", therefore more likely American or perhaps Canadian (or Australia/NZ/SA, though my assumption would be that they'd use British usage)?
  3. I thought everybody knew that you need n+1 violins provided that (n+1) ≤ (d-1), where n = number of current violins d = number of violins which cause a divorce
  4. There was a very good English violin maker called John Lott but due to the economic conditions at the time (middle of 19th century) there were times when violin making couldn't sustain him. He turned his hand to being a fireworks display organiser (failed - his rockets took off horizontally and set people alight) and an elephant trainer (also failed - elephant ran amok). In desperation a friend who played in the orchestra of the Adelphi Theatre in London got him a job as a violinist. Although he made violins, he couldn't actually play them. So he soaped up his bow so he could fake playing but not make a sound. He held down the job for a couple of months without anybody noticing. He was what we call a bit of a character.
  5. Phillip77 - I've had a couple of bad experiences with dealers and also and been fortunate so far in buying from auctions. But I am able to do repairs and set-up, on violins at least. Having that, if you find a good dealer (probably the majority), it's safer to buy from them and you should get good after-sale service. I note you live in West Yorkshire so after the lockdown is over, why not pop over to the Beverley Music Centre? (I know it's in East Yorkshire but hey, nothing is perfect). Peter Hall there will sell you something very nice indeed for £10K (I have no links to Beverley Music Centre, by the way)
  6. I hope you were being ironic :-)
  7. I've heard good things about Etymotics, though have never tried them personally. The brand I use are Alpine MusicSafe, which come with three filters (maybe two on the newer models) for differing amounts of attenuation. They're comfortable in my ears at least, and I'd recommend them.
  8. Rue wrote: "Did I do my own science on Covid-19? No. Am I a scientist? Yes. Am I an immunologist? No. Do I know a little about various pathogens? Yes, part of the field I'm in. Do I read, and question, while I review scientific material? Yes." I'm an immunologist. Rue is right. If you leave the violins for 72h, they should be safe. There has already been some work done on the infectivity or SARS-CoV 1 and MERS but these are slightly different viruses from SARS CoV 2. Recently (17th March) a letter was published in the NEJM by people from National Institute of Allergy, CDC, UCLA and Princeton in the USA. They inoculated different types of surface with SARS CoV 2 and looked at survival times. Currently this is the best and highest quality evidence available. The virus survives for different times on different surfaces, but it survived for longest on plastic and steel (2-3d). It's reasonable to assume that a varnish is similar to plastic so isolating the violins for 3 days should be fine. I should also say that the epidemiological evidence shows so far, that this is mainly a droplet-spread infection and the main mode is somebody with the infection sneezing or coughing close to you. The droplets land on your face or hands resulting in easy transfer to nose, mouth or eyes. Touching previously contaminated surfaces doesn't seem to be a major route of infection, but could happen. So you should all be more worried about plastic food packaging than violins. Personally, I quarantine these for 3d or disinfect them with dilute household bleach if I need to use them sooner than that.
  9. In general, new (to our species) infectious organisms tend to become more benign over time. A virus "wants" to reproduce in lots of people and if it kills them, then there are fewer people to reproduce in. This decrease in pathogenicity occurs over a period of years so no comfort there. However, that's not to say that the various control measures in place across the globe won't put pressure on it to mutate into something truly scary in the meantime. People have talked about the possibility there's no herd immunity. I'm not sure they've fully grasped the enormity of that statement. In order to get herd immunity, you need at least some form of immunity in individuals. If there is none, and no herd immunity, then nearly 100% of the population will get it. And of the 99% that survive, they'll get it again. And again and again. The virus will die out when the human population has declined to a density which cannot support the virus or over the years it evolves and becomes less dangerous. But well before then, we'll all be back in the Middle Ages. And vaccines won't save us as immunity will not be possible (I'm ignoring possible intermediate scenarios here). I don't think this will happen....we develop at least some immunity to other human coronaviruses and that will probably be enough to protect us from a reinfection that will kill and also allow vaccine development (no certainty about it though). So we have to proceed with the assumption that herd immunity exists.
  10. In general, as new pathogenic micro-organisms evolve and become adapted to their hosts, they cause less severe disease. There are good evolutionary reasons for this. However, that's not to say that new mutations can't pop up that are more severe, at least, temporarily. Nor does it mean that this outbreak may mutate to a less severe form quickly (i.e. in weeks or months).
  11. Do you just believe anything you're told without critically thinking about it? You've spread all sorts or bat-shit rumours on here which most people, fortunately, can see them for what they are. That is, paranoid drivel.
  12. You could try flying helicopters in a war zone. Very effective in stopping people sweating I'm told
  13. I assume you don't live in the UK and your wife is a little out of touch with modern British social mores. But if you visit sometime, I think you'll find that most women, with a couple of neurones to rub together, consider that being called "a thing" is an objectification and highly insulting. As does most of the civilised world.
  14. Yes, it looked in very good condition so I assumed modern(ish). Didn't like the varnish much (looked the same colour as the Messiah on my TV) but did like the sound, especially in the Bach.