The Andromeda Strain (The Pandemic To End All Pandemics)

May 04, 2021 3 min read

If you want to know something really scary then you need to know about The Andromeda Strain.

Forget Covid... Check Out the Andromeda Strain

The Andromeda Strain is one of the most hardcore sci-fi epics ever made.  And while it doesn't transport the audience to alien worlds, it features an alien bacterial lifeform that lands on earth. Filmed all the way back in 1971, this is still one of most accurate film portrayals of what would happen if…something so small and insignificant as a microbe wiped out Mankind.

I enjoy this movie.  I saw it in my early teens, and realized that while Hollywood may have ‘Close Encounters’, the biggest, sneakiest, and quite possibly scariest, invasion – may just be the one we cannot see: that of a bacteria or virus.

Remember our own recent history – when Europeans interacted with the indigenous populations of the Americas? That's right, complete and utter devastation.  Entire Tribes of natives were wiped out from the invisible microbes, bacteria and viruses unwittingly carried across the oceans into the new world.

Science has a term, and entire field of study around this called...

Virgin Soil Epidemics 

It is often said that ‘We must learn from History, lest we repeat it.’  From 1520 to 1562 these so called ‘Virgin Soil Epidemics’ DECIMATED the native populations.  Something akin to absolute genocide.  Entire nations of peoples were wiped from the face of the Earth. 


“The diseases crossing the ocean during the sixteenth century usually caused so-called virgin-soil epidemics, because every Native American with whom they came in contact was susceptible. Those Natives who survived the 1520 smallpox epidemic became immune to that virus, and it seems not to have recurred until 1562. Smallpox immunity protected no one against measles, plague, or influenza, however. Often entire families perished during virgin-soil epidemics because all members were stricken simultaneously, leaving no one capable of fetching water or preparing food.” —Henry Dobyns, “Diseases,” Encyclopedia of North American Indians: Native American History, Culture, and Life from Paleo-Indians to the Present, 1996

A common Cold could kill easily Indigenous Natives (American Indians, Australian Aborigines, and far flung tribes from the Inuit in the Arctic, the Pacific Islanders across the expanse of Oceans and the lost tribes in the heart of the African Jungles. 


Single-celled pathogens existed far earlier than our ability to study them.

And they will continue to exist long after we are gone!

All of these civilizations have had immune systems evolving in stable environments through history, and produced populations that had no built in antibodies.  Human DNA is a Genetic Code of Self Replicating Intelligence, that, through time, becomes stronger and more resistant to disease and with proper natural genetic evolutions of sickness.

Simple life appeared on Earth almost as soon as the planet cooled sufficiently to support water-based organisms. To be detectable from a distance, however, life has to evolve to the point where it dominates the planetary surface chemistry and has significantly changed the atmosphere, creating chemical “biosignatures” that can, in principle, be detected remotely. For instance, Earth itself would probably not have been detected as a life-bearing planet during the first two billion years of its existence. Concerning the evolution of intelligent life, the main open questions include:

  • What are the geochemical constraints on the evolution of complex life?
  • What are the timescales that those constraints dictate?
  • Are there evolutionary "filters" or bottlenecks that make it extremely hard to make the transition to intelligence? On Earth, for example, it took about three billion years for the most basic multi-cellular life forms to appear. It took four and a half billion years (and a series of contingencies such as plate tectonics and asteroid impacts) to reach even the most rudimentary capability of interstellar communication (That is, via radio reception and transmission). These considerations demonstrate that it is important to first establish whether planetary systems that are older than the solar system are common in the Milky Way.

 We are mistaken if we do not grasp that life includes pathogens and other threats to our planet.

The Andromeda Strain or something similar is a Statistical Certainty (it is only a matter of time)

We are a ‘Silly People’ caught up in our own story.  Our own self imposed rules of what is important and what isn’t.  Something is coming.  The only question is are we ready?

Special Treat: Free Audio Book

Stay Weird my friends!



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Mike Holm
Mike Holm

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