Monday, March 30, 2020


Coronavirus: Police dye
 Buxton 'Blue Lagoon'
black to deter gatherings

Good weather was attracting groups to the Bahama-blue pool despite government warnings to stay at home. 

By Bethany Minelle, news reporter

Police have dyed the normally bright blue water of a beauty spot in Buxton black, in a bid to deter people from gathering there.

Flouting government instructions to stay at home in a bid to slow down coronavirus, groups were reportedly meeting up at the disused quarry at Harpur Hill, near Buxton.


Monday Mirthiness – double feature.

There’s a relatively famous cartoon about climate that gets used on social media a lot, drawn by Joel Pett. You’ll likely recognize it. Josh has given it a “treatment”:

Fortunately , Josh's treatment proved reversible, and the traduced Pett toon is resting comfortably after being rushed to the  cartoon hospital for a caption transplant:


COVID-19, climate and the plague of preprints

Many diseases have geographically variability in prevalence or seasonal variability in epidemics, which may, directly or indirectly, be causally related to climate. Unfortunately, the nature of the relationship with climate is not always clear.
With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, scientists (including a depressingly large number of ecologists who ought to know better) have wasted no time in applying their favourite methods to the available case data and climate data to produced a pack of preprints.

  • Bannister-Tyrrell et al (2020) Preliminary evidence that higher temperatures are associated with lower incidence of COVID-19, for cases reported globally up to 29th February 2020. medRxiv 2020.03.18.20036731; doi:

  • Alvarez-Ramirez and Meraz (2020) Role of meteorological temperature and relative humidity in the January-February 2020 propagation of 2019-nCoV in Wuhan, China. medRxiv 2020.03.19.20039164; doi: 

Please let me know if you find any more.
I know ecologists are trying to be useful, but please consider

Saturday, March 28, 2020

                        CORONAVIRUS: CLIMATE OF WEIRD

El Boca Grande con cerebro minisculo
"You know, we’ve talked about the deep state all these years since Trump was elected... the American people did not elect a bunch of health experts that we don’t know. We didn’t elect a president to defer to a bunch of health experts that we don’t know. And how do we know they’re even health experts?

Well, they wear white lab coats and they’ve been on the job for a while and they’re at the CDC and they’re at the NIH... but has there been any job assessment for them? They’re just assumed to be the best because they’re in government, ... I’m of the Vietnam generation....Who sent us there was a bunch of Washington experts... it’s so important to have somebody like Donald Trump in the White House who can see an end to this...

Look, very quickly, there’s a U.K. epidemiologist who got all of this started by predicting 500,000 deaths in the U.K. from coronavirus.

He just had to correct himself ’cause his models were wrong. Just like the climate change models are wrong, this guy admits that his models are wrong, and now we may not have more than 20,000 deaths in the U.K. The same thing is gonna be the case in the United States."   -- March 27, 2020


Tuesday, March 24, 2020


The world's fastest internet- an average of 28.6 Mb/sec has helped South Korea to keep the Covid19  epidemic from going viral  by rapid identification and quarantine of victims.

While Korea's epidemic rapidly flatlined, nations with single digit download rates have suffered faster growth in coronavirus cases:
Faster than the speed of death?


Federal Judge Scolds Art Firm for Claiming
 ‘Infringing Unicorns’ Trial 
Is an Emergency Amid Pandemic

Julia Arciga
    Reporter   Published Mar. 24, 2020 8:29PM ET

A federal judge has scolded a Spanish company for pushing to have an urgent hearing over counterfeit unicorns despite the global pandemic, The Chicago Tribune reports. Art Ask Agency—a Spanish company that licenses “life-like portrayals” of fantasy characters—filed two motions to hold a hearing in their lawsuit against Chinese companies that are allegedly selling counterfeits of their products after U.S. District Judge Steven Seeger delayed the court date for one month “to protect the health and safety of our community” amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

The company pushed back, citing the “irreparable injury” it would have to suffer if the court “does not hold a hearing and immediately put a stop to the infringing unicorns and the knock-off elves,” according to Seeger. Despite the company’s best efforts, Seeger said waiting a few weeks wouldn't hurt the plaintiffs—other than the companies potentially selling “a few more counterfeit products” in an economic downturn caused by the virus. “One wonders if the fake fantasy products are experiencing brisk sales at the moment,” the judge wrote. The hearing remains delayed and is scheduled for April 13. Read it at Chicago Tribune

Greta Thunberg: ‘Extremely Likely’ 
             I Had COVID-19                     

Monday, March 23, 2020

                           WATTS HAS FEVER, A TROPICAL FEVER

The President's endorsement of  a meme  touted on Breitbart and Whats Up With Watts went viral last week.

The tempest in a tonic bottle began when Roy Spencer incorrectly claimed that the coronavirus pandemic had spared warm,  malaria prone nations, and suggested this reflected the tropical ubiquity of antimalarials like chloroquine.

 Dellingpole & Watts then  jumped on the fever bark bandwagon with Schweppervescent glee.  Confusing synthetic chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine with quinine  Cinchona bark, extract. Watts posted an Amazon link to Schweppes Tonic Water : gin  & tonic  was originally concocted to  wash down the bitter daily dose of quinine that quivvered stiff upper lips in the malarial outposts of the British Raj.

The World Health Organization responded to Trump's press conference prescriptions by emphasizing research on using existing antiviral drugs for coronavirus treatment, as Science  reported today :

Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine

At a press conference on Friday, President Donald Trump called chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine a “game changer.” “I feel good about it,” Trump said. His remarks have led to a rush in demand for the decades-old antimalarials. (“It reminds me a little bit of the toilet paper phenomenon and everybody’s running to the store,” Caplan says.)
The WHO scientific panel designing SOLIDARITY had originally decided to leave the duo out of the trial, but had a change of heart at a meeting in Geneva on 13 March, because the drugs “received significant attention” in many countries, according to the report of a WHO working group that looked into the drugs’ potential. The widespread interested prompted “the need to examine emerging evidence to inform a decision on its potential role.”
The available data are thin. The drugs work by decreasing the acidity in endosomes, compartments inside cells that they use to ingest outside material and that some viruses can coopt to enter a cell. But the main entryway for SARS-CoV-2 is a different one, using its so-called spike protein to attach to a receptor on the surface of human cells. Studies in cell culture have suggested chloroquines have some activity against SARS-CoV-2, but the doses needed are usually high—and could cause serious toxicities.
Encouraging cell study results with chloroquines against two other viral diseases, dengue and chikungunya, didn’t pan out in people in randomized clinical trials. And nonhuman primates infected with chikungunya did worse when given chloroquine. 

“Researchers have tried this drug on virus after virus, and it never works out in humans. The dose needed is just too high,” says Susanne Herold, an expert on pulmonary infections at the University of Giessen.

Results from COVID-19 patients are murky. Chinese researchers who report treating more than 100 patients with chloroquine touted its benefits in a  letter in BioScience, but the data underlying the claim have not been published. All in all, more than 20 COVID-19 studies in China used chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine, WHO notes, but their results have been hard to come by. “WHO is engaging with Chinese colleagues at the mission in Geneva and have received assurances of improved collaboration; however, no data has been shared regarding the chloroquine studies.”
Researchers in France have published a study in which they treated 20 COVID-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine. They concluded that the drug significantly reduced viral load in nasal swabs. But it was not a randomized controlled trial and it didn’t report clinical outcomes such as deaths. In guidance published on Friday, the U.S. Society of Critical Care Medicine said “there is insufficient evidence to issue a recommendation on the use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine in critically ill adults with COVID-19.”
Hydroxychloroquine, in particular, might do more harm than good. The drug has a variety of side effects and can in rare cases harm the heart. Because people with heart conditions are at higher risk of severe COVID-19, that is a concern, says David Smith, an infectious disease physician at the University of California, San Diego. “This is a warning signal, but we still need to do the trial,” he says. What’s more, a rush to use the drug for COVID-19 might make it harder for the people who need it to treat their rheumatoid arthritis or malaria.

Sunday, March 22, 2020



A Physicist for President?

Recent events make it clear that it couldn’t hurt to elect someone who applies the scientific method to thinking and decision-making

By Jim Al-Khalilli  on  March 17 , 2020

Regardless of political ideology, whoever wins the forthcoming U.S. presidential election will have had to win over a tiny fraction of the electorate—the swing voters—by persuading them of their vision for the country, whether it’s on economics, jobs, defense, health care, the environment, security, gun laws or simply a worldview that resonates more with the average American. The one thing I suspect won’t be at the forefront of these swing voters’ minds is any of the candidates’ grasp of quantum physics or Einstein’s theories of relativity. But maybe it should be.
Here is my pitch for getting a physicist into the White House.... We are living in a time of huge challenges, but also of wonderous opportunities and incredible technological advances, and we cannot entrust our lives and future to politicians who do not understand this. America could do a lot worse than elect a physicist as President.

Congressional Math

The Wall Street Journal    November 11.2005

By Russell Seitz

At last count, Congress Assembled contains two physicists, two chemists, two biologists, one geologist, 234 lawyers and an astronaut. This puts the lawyers within striking distance of an absolute majority in the 538-member Congress. No other profession approaches this 43.5% plurality, and under quorum rules only lawyers can construe, for they wrote them themselves, it usually constitutes a de facto majority. 

But look around you: The sciences have a lot to brag about, too, and can be pretty fierce in their anthropological identity. Like the law, science has a pecking order of its own. Lawyers did not invent Physics Envy.  Ask around academe and you will find that any geologist worth his salt considers himself the equal of any 10 of his colleagues, who in turn assert that any oilfield hand is twice as good as a physics whiz, for absent geophysics, physicists wouldn't have a planet to stand on.

Physicists in turn sniff that they are universally acknowledged to be worth 11 chemists each, for such was the ratio in the Manhattan project. This does not cut any mustard with biologists, however; they are quick to point out that the Manhattan project failed miserably in its goal of exterminating life on earth because chemists and physicists do not know bupkes about life, which is the province of the Intelligent Design movement. Since the ID movement is a legal construct, its being really wrong persuades the biologists that-even in their present, only mildly evolved form-they are each worth 20 lawyers, maybe more.

Nonsense, say the chemists, We've done the math!  Noting that other professionals are constituted entirely out of chemicals, chemists contentedly conclude themselves to be, conservatively, two to six orders of magnitude better than any of the rest, at standard temperature and pressure. In sum, the eight scientists in Congress have the 234 lawyers so completely outnumbered that only an engineer could exactly reckon the size of science's occult congressional majority. Fortunately for the lawyers, there are no engineers whatever in the Congress, so the legislative life of the nation is not threatened by that contingency.

However, it is one of America's glories that while immigrants cannot aspire to the White House, they are at liberty to run for Congress, and scores have been elected and will continue to be. Since our nation remains the world's greatest magnet for engineering talent, the strange dearth of engineers in the corridors of power may soon be remedied. China alone sends thousands of engineers to our shores each year, for despite China's astonishing economy, something makes the best and the brightest flee in droves-and it certainly isn't the growing imperial power of the Chinese Bar Association.

All nine members of the neo-Politburo running the People's Republic are engineers, just like Herbert Hoover. The Great Engineer's road to the White House ran through mine management in China. Were he still in power, he would note the profound difference between Mao's retromingent Great Leap forward and what Beijing's new entrepreneurial technocrats have in mind. Being engineers, they actually have an energy policy. 

Be very afraid, lawyers-these are not Jimmy Carter retreads. They combine thermodynamic literacy and a grasp of energy economics with the Best Practices sensibility of the MBAs that some of them are as well. Take light bulbs-they have the bright idea that chucking incandescent bulbs into the dustbin of technology can save a bundle of money, and free even more for capital investment. 

So efficient are light-emitting diodes that replacing 1/3 of all the conventional bulbs in China would slash hydropower demand and render another $24,000,000,000 Yangtze River Gigadam superfluous, saving a cool billion a year in power bills and a vast acreage of  farmland from inundation. 

So farewell Adam Smith: The engineering mandarins have the mandate of Heaven to invest the peoples pension funds  in The Red Dawn Candlepower Corporation  and dictate to the proletariat that they screw in what they are told.

All of which leads to a clear political imperative- the survival of the Republic hangs on the election to Congress of another geologist, two prospectors, and a mule.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

                               BURNING QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Coronavirus Shows Us Rapid Global Response To Climate Change Is Possible

In this op-ed, a Zero Hour co-founder says we should treat both crises like the emergencies they are.

You know that gnawing feeling of “oh, God, we’re in the midst of something horrible” you have because of the coronavirus? Are you looking around at this crisis sweeping across the world and feeling helpless because you have limited power to stop it?
That’s how many of us have long been feeling about the climate crisis.
The way the world has been able to mobilize itself and shut down in the blink of an eye to properly respond to the coronavirus is proof that political leaders actually dohave the ability to make rapid change happen if they want. So where is that rapid response for the climate crisis?
For years, climate justice activists like myself have been calling for immediate action on our climate emergency. And for years, that action has not taken place. Scientists have said that we have less than a decade to completely transform how our entire economy and world runs, transitioning over to renewable energy and sustainable agriculture. Yet we continue to plow ahead with business as usual, paving the way toward a future of extreme weather events, mass displacement, disease, famine, and death. That’s not hyperbole; those are the predictions and findings of experts who have devoted their careers to this issue.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020



An effective treatment for  #Coronavirus #COVID-19 has been found in a common anti-malarial drug