from the Wall Street Journal, 5/23/06|
Nerd Flu Scientists Produce First Digital-To-Human
Viral Infection, Predict Pandemic _________________________________ Pharmaceuticals see "bio-digital" bonanza,
as Congress ponders emergency powers__________________________
By George Trinkaus
staff science writer
BETHESDA, Md. -- A U.S. scientific team has engineered the first
successful crossover of a computer virus to human subjects, thus
raising the specter of a worldwide epidemic vectored by the internet.
Dubbed "nerd flu" by the scientific press, the new bio-digital virus
produces high fevers, acute respiratory congestion (similar to that
of SAARS) and other flu-like symptoms. Mental derangement is also in
the clinical picture. Nerd flu can be fatal. culturing nano-plasmas
Details of the crossover technology remain classified. However,
sources inside government science say the phenomenon involves the
translation of genetic data into holographic digital codes which can
be transmitted via the web. At the user end, these data forms are
programmed to culture into nano-plasmas that can condense on the surface
of any PC monitor screen, migrate into the environment, and act as
infective biologic agents.
Human-to-human transmission of computer-generated bio-digital viral
infections is also possible, according to a spokesman for the project.
Of the five deaths of prisoner test subjects in the project's Vacaville
studies, two could be attributed to human-to-human transmission. designer diseases
Scientists on the project state confidently that the same methodology
that produced nerd flu could also be used to culture electronically and
transmit digitally cancer, malaria, AIDS, or any other disease known to
The new technology also points to the possibility of custom computer-
generated "designer diseases."
The Defense Research Project Agency (DARPA) has expressed interest
in the project's potential and contemplates applications in bio-warfare
and population-management projects.
The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization
(WHO) have both expressed a keen interest in the project.
The nano-plasma disease agents are particularly abundant and virulent
when they condense on old-style monitors. This is due to the electrostatic
charge that accumulates on the glass surface of high-voltage cathode-ray
tubes. Under these conditions, bio-digital nano-plasmas accumulate with
ten times the intensity of those observed on the newer liquid crystal
A WHO spokes observed how this condition could facilitate population-
management programs that target a specific negatively privileged social class. preemptive
"Our computer models predicted that this formidable machine-man
crossover was a possibility, so we went ahead and did it first," said
Dr. Seymore Smyth, director of the five-year-old, $2 billion Cyber-Viral
Project, which is funded by The National Institutes for Health (NIH)
under joint contract to Merck and Microsoft.
"This was preemptive research," continued Dr. Smyth. "Think Iraq,
think bird flu. We anticipated how hackers could conceivably engineer
such a phenomenon and inflict great damage on the population. Of course,
now that we have developed the methodology, there is also the concern
that cyber-criminals could steal our secret codes. We try to stay a jump
ahead of these terrorists."
Says Smyth, "We already have novel pharmaceutical counter-agents for nerd flu in the works." At Merck and Microsoft, scientists are formulating a
new generation of bio-digital antivirals and vaccines that can be
downloaded on the internet and paid for by credit card.
Patents on the technology, which will held jointly by Merck and
Microsoft, are expected to hold great value. Bio-digital stocks may
soon become the latest high-tech sensation on Wall Street. emergency
The team says it will take its findings to Congress next week
and argue for emergency legislation that would expand the powers of
Homeland Security. Says Smyth, "Emergency management agencies need a
new latitude to meet this new threat so they can enforce programs for
detention, quarantine, and vaccination and for the culling of infected
populations and equipment."
Representatives from NIH, the CDC, and WHO will also testify in
favor of expanded powers at a closed House Internal Security Committee
hearing next Tuesday. Meanwhile, administration sources say that if
Congress does not act promptly and appropriately, the emergency may have
to be addressed by executive order.
Warns Smyth, "A preemptive worldwide shutdown of the internet may
soon be necessary to protect the public from the impending deadly
hazards of nerd flu."