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Messages - SteveMDFP

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1
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 02, 2021, 03:50:16 PM »

The big picture is all the background in our societies. Shifting demographics, bad food, stripped healthcare , the ever depleted world etc.
....
But what about the fact that so many people eat little fruit and often quite bad mixes of ready made highly palatable foods? What about the existence of food deserts?
So many people hardly getting exercise not even some leisurely strolling.
Lung damage from before any disease by pollution.

If we make the whole population better we will all be better off but the system is not geared towards that.

This seems to be wishful thinking.  People here keep asserting that a healthy lifestyle is key to reducing risk of a bad outcome with this virus, with little or no evidence. 

We've already covered some of this.  Presence of diabetes in a person approximately doubles risk of a bad outcome.  Not trivial, but that's roughly the level of risk for being 7 - 10  years older.  The available evidence suggests you're better off being a 50 year-old diabetic than a fit, vigorous 60 year old.

It may well be that the risk of death for a person is mostly correlated with density of ACE2 receptors in vital tissues.  That's something none of us can control, or even measure.  It's uncomfortable to think we have limited control over our own risk of death in a pandemic, so many just refuse to believe it.   

Its much more comfortable to believe that our own virtuous decisions protect us.  I've seen zero evidence that a balanced diet, regular exercise, or breathing less-polluted air is of any particular importance.  The belief seems to have as much validity as carrying a lucky rabbit's foot.

Weakness or strength of a virus is a terribly dumb assertion.  Sure, the virus is less virulent than  smallpox or ebola.   But more virulent than influenza or zika. 

Just as important as virulence (the propensity to cause serious illness in the infected) is contagiousness.  On this metric, Covid is very severe indeed.  Thus, it spreads quickly around the world, to a significant percentage of the world's population in just a year.

This is a particularly absurd moment to be decrying shut-downs and restrictions.  We have several highly effective vaccines in mass production and mass administration.  For the immunized, the virus can be seen as less fearsome than influenza. 

What the world should be doing is what most of the world is currently doing -- continue public health measures to limit further spread of Covid and its varieants while vaccinating as many as possible as quickly as possible.

In six months, the "strength" or "weakness" of the virus will be utterly moot.  Much sooner in many nations, a bit later in some poor nations.  We just all need to stay alive and healthy until then,

Anybody heard from Terry lately?

2
Consequences / Re: Origins of SARS-CoV-2
« on: February 20, 2021, 12:29:23 AM »
The question is, is there going to be review by peers on the recent WHO field study conclusion or should we accept it as is?

why are we so zealous in gatekeeping studies supporting lab origin but we seem to give an easy pass when experts support natural origin, even when it is not through peer-reviewed papers but simple press notes like the recent WHO conclusion (swift conclusion aired only after a week of having a few nice walks in the streets of Wuhan)

This attitude seems reactionary to me, like the classic reaction in favor of the establishment.

To be clear, that's not my attitude.  I'm a bit skeptical of the WHO team's objectivity and thoroughness.  But on the basis of available facts (and the anti-China bias of many), i'm very doubtful of the claim of artificial origin of Covid.

We have a model for the origin and spread of such viruses.  The original SARS seems pretty clearly to have started from a "wet market."  Originating in bats, with civet cats as an intermediate host.  There was no need for bats to have been in that wet market.

And, of course, MERS appears to have originated in bats, then passed to camels as an intermediate host, before passing to humans.

I see no compelling reason to posit a totally different mechanism for the spread of Covid to humans.  Highly similar coronaviruses were obtained from pangolins and bats before this epidemic started.  There seems to be no doubt that the bulk of the early human cases were people who worked at the wet market.

This doesn't exonerate China's leadership, it indicts China's leadership.  Tolerating wet markets, where wild animals are in close proximity with other wild animals and humans, was inexcusable.  Having suffered from the SARS epidemic, there was no rational reason to tolerate the operation of other, similar, wet markets.  Such arrangements are essentially the best possible way to create catastrophic pandemics.  This was apparent before the Covid virus arose.

Absent fairly compelling evidence of an artificial origin, we can have confidence that failure to close wet markets is the underlying cause of this global disaster.

Conversely, the Wuhan Institute of Virology's research was more than appropriate.  Having suffered through the SARS catastrophe, the Institute would have been derelict in its duties if it weren't focusing squarely on coronaviruses in bats that might potentially spread to humans.  Engaging in gain-of-function research was certainly somewhat hazardous, but I don't see that it was clearly unwarranted.  Assessing the potential for coronavirus spread to humans is of obvious importance to preventing the next pandemic.


3
The politics / Re: The Collapse Of America
« on: February 17, 2021, 11:41:30 AM »
I remember when your political beliefs  weren’t a reason to tell someone you wouldn’t do business with them, or hire them or let them play with your children.Everyone agreed to disagree and asked what was for dinner. 
And when was this idyllic time?  Must have been before the Red Scare and blacklisting of suspected Communists.  Must also have been before Jim Crow, before the Nativist/anti-immigrant Know-Nothing Party.  For that matter, must have been before Reconstruction.  Before the abolitionist movement.  Before the Revolutionary War, even.

Even in the post WW-II era when the white middle class was relatively politically complacent, awful racism excluded minorities from equal rights to, e.g., housing.  It was only ever a relatively politically quiescent time for white, middle-class, Christian, church-going people, without disabilities or ethnic impurity. 

Quote
To me, that was a healthier climate , what the cancel culture is about is imposing their will on people through fear and terror when they can’t win the argument, can’t win the debate.
I thought that America was a better one when nobody asked you who you voted for and where the media took only a slightly Leftist position but actually reported both sides of every event and let the reader or viewer decide for themselves.
Of course, that’s not in the Leftist playbook , there are so many of their positions that they can’t justify with common sense or win a debate with that demand to set the topic and don’t allow anyone’s else’s opinion to be heard and when it’s heard, the speaker MUST be punished.
It’s sort of how the Brown Shirts started against the Jews in Germany.
First make up half truths, Content without context as I call it, then demonize, ban and bar and then eventually dehumanize.
yes, I guess when you control thought through fear and manipulation , you can win  but I wonder if it’s Something  to be really proud about, especially, when in the end, the left has always eaten its own.

It is dumbfounding that anyone could characterize this as "the Leftist playbook."  Banning and barring comes at least as much from the Right.  Colin Kaepernick takes a visible stand against police brutality, and he loses his career.  Every year, the Right bemoans a "war on Christmas" and announces boycotts of businesses that dare to try to be inclusive of non-Christians.  Prominent  Republicans take a stand against insurrection, and state parties denounce them and demand their resignation.

Boycotts and the like are an inevitable manifestation of a politically engaged populace.  When thoughtfully done, this is an instrument for positive social change.  Thoughtlessness and narrow-mindedness in such actions is predominantly a phenomenon of the Right.

4
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: February 17, 2021, 10:51:46 AM »
Here is some information from a relevant case study in Israel.
In one of the top hospitals, in the pathology dept some employees tested positive, and as a result it was decided to screen all employees by PCR, and consequently 12 more were found to be unknowingly positive, of which 7 were already fully vaccinated (i.e. at least 7 days after 2nd Pfizer dose) at the time of acquiring the virus. All 7 had the UK variant and were either totally asymptomatic or very lightly symptomatic. ...

Source?  This is important information, worth digging into.

5
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: January 22, 2021, 02:43:29 PM »
SARS-CoV-2 Escape In Vitro from a Highly Neutralizing COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma
https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.12.28.424451v1

Three mutations allowed SARS-CoV-2 to evade the polyclonal antibody response of a highly neutralizing COVID-19 convalescent plasma.

ABSTRACT

To investigate the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in the immune population, we co-incubated authentic virus with a highly neutralizing plasma from a COVID-19 convalescent patient. The plasma fully neutralized the virus for 7 passages, but after 45 days, the deletion of F140 in the spike N-terminal domain (NTD) N3 loop led to partial breakthrough. At day 73, an E484K substitution in the receptor-binding domain (RBD) occurred, followed at day 80 by an insertion in the NTD N5 loop containing a new glycan sequon, which generated a variant completely resistant to plasma neutralization. Computational modeling predicts that the deletion and insertion in loops N3 and N5 prevent binding of neutralizing antibodies.

The recent emergence in the United Kingdom and South Africa of natural variants with similar changes suggests that SARS-CoV-2 has the potential to escape an effective immune response and that vaccines and antibodies able to control emerging variants should be developed.

Thanks for posting this, Vox.  The findings are important and disturbing, but not surprising.  After repeated passage in cell culture, with incubation with highly-potent immune serum, the virus acquires resistance to the antibodies present.   The acquired mutations confer resistance to some but not all sera from other recovered individuals.

Study of the acquired mutations might give us an early look at mutations that may develop in the wild.  This could give a heard start on developing the next generation of mRNA vaccines, which would probably be multi-valent, to cover more mutant strains as well as the original.

We should note that this is very much "gain of function" research.  Dangerous?  Quite possibly, if the mutant strain escapes the lab.  Worth taking the risk?  I'm inclined to think so, assuming solid lab containment protocols.

6
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: January 19, 2021, 03:20:10 PM »
Another New Covid-19 Variant Discovered In L.A. May Be Vaccine Resistant
https://deadline.com/2021/01/another-new-covid-19-variant-in-l-a-vaccine-resistant-denmark-1234675834/amp/
 
https://www.cell.com/cell/pdf/S0092-8674%2820%2930877-1.pdf

An article on Cell.com says L452R has “decreased sensitivity to neutralizing mAbs (monoclonal antibodies),” which are used in the currently-approved vaccines to inhibit connections between the spike proteins of the virus and infected cells.

Chiu said very early studies of the L452R spike protein mutation indicate it’s less susceptible to those neutralizing antibodies in the vaccines.

The article in Cell looks good to me.  The synopsis in deadline.com is dreadful.  The study in Cell did not examine vaccines, nor antibodies produced in response to vaccines.  Vaccines do not contain antibodies.  Nothing in the article directly addresses whether any variant of the virus is more or less likely to be inhibited by any vaccine.

The study did use convalescent serum from 10 recovering individuals.  Various strains showed modest increased or decreased inhibition by the various serum specimens.  There's not much here of particular note for us.

The journalistic drive to produce clickbait strikes again.

7
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: January 13, 2021, 09:58:44 PM »
Of course there's absolutely no way to know if these "vaccines" help against the mutations.

They'll have to do all new studies on each of these mutations to actually be able to make that statement.

That doesn't stop them from lying, however.  The truth is they have absolutely no idea if the "vaccine" would have any effectiveness against anything beyond what it was tested on and analyzed on.
None of this is true.  Nobody would run a big clinical trial to measure effectiveness of a vaccine against a specific mutation.
Instead, virus inactivation assays are run.  These involve incubating live virus (original and mutant) with serum from fully vaccinated (and non-vaccinated) people.  If the vaccinated serum inactivates mutant virus as effectively as it inactivates the original strain, then this is quite strong evidence that the vaccine remains effective.

No, it's not absolute proof, it's just a persuasive indicator.  We'll know more definitively as vaccine failures accumulate.  The particular strains/variants responsible for these vaccine failures will be studied carefully.

We should not be surprised if some variant arises that is resistant to antibodies produced by the vaccines.  This will indicate the need for multi-valent vaccines, as we use for other infections.

8
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: January 12, 2021, 02:28:19 PM »
  and now the virus had had long enough in circulation to pick up a dozen mutations, combinations which increase infectivity start to appear all over the place.

Yet another indicator that vaccines need to be used to wipe it out, not to palliate recurring epidemics like is done with flu.

The virus is under selective pressure to become more contagious, and to become resistant to monoclonal antibodies.  The current vaccines generate antibodies to a small part of the virus--the spike protein. So there's now emerging evolutionary pressure to alter these proteins.

None of this should be surprising, though certainly worrisome.  The current vaccines will likely prove helpful, but insufficient in the long run.  We'll need frequently-updated, multivalent vaccines, and combination anti-viral treatments, both.  Surveillance for arising mutations is going to be a long-term challenge.

When a virus becomes widespread, probability of acquiring adaptive mutations increases as the number of infected persons increases.  Had the world acted more aggressively from the beginning, we would likely not be seeing a proliferation of problematic mutations.  That cat is out of the bag, however.

9
The rest / Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
« on: January 06, 2021, 02:19:32 AM »
British Bird-Watcher Discovers Trove of 2,000-Year-Old Celtic Coins
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/amateur-treasure-hunter-discovered-2000-year-old-coins-180976658/
Quote
The cache dates to the time of warrior queen Boudica’s revolt against the Romans

A brief history of Boudica;

Boudica: The Truth Behind the Legend



10
Consequences / Re: Origins of COVID-19
« on: January 06, 2021, 02:05:47 AM »
Gain of function:

None of this describes gain of function research.  Try again.

11


Not sure where you are getting your information on hunger, but the U.S. ranks up with most other first world countries.

https://docs.wfp.org/api/documents/WFP-0000118395/download/?_ga=2.97289055.1566051421.1609781784-2129997529.1609781784

Regarding food insecurity, the U.S. fares even better, ranked 3rd in the world, behind only Singapore and Ireland (Australia is ranked 21th.

https://foodsecurityindex.eiu.com/

Unemployment in the U.S. is comparable to other first world countries.  Lower than either Australia or the EU (even if you exclude the high unemployment countries of Greece, Spain,  Italy, Scandinavia, and the Baltic states).

https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.UEM.TOTL.ZS

Healthcare coverage has risen, not fallen over the past decades

https://www.kff.org/uninsured/slide/uninsured-rate-among-the-nonelderly-population-1972-2018/

This thread is for Covid consequences.  Your references appear to be pre-pandemic.  E.g., for WFP, "Prevalence of undernourishment in the total population (percent) in 2017-19"

We don't have good statistics for current food insecurity yet.  But at some point, you have to give some credence to the current tsunami of anecdotes about, e.g., food lines stretching for miles.

Regardless of how much credence you give to such reports, pre-pandemic statistics are irrelevant to this thread.

12
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: December 28, 2020, 01:20:05 PM »

BUT>
....
The cynic in me says they could push vaccines through that are less than ideal.
....
But I wont deny that there is a lingering doubt in the back of my mind.
I can understand this.  Certainly, the FDA was under intense pressure to approve the vaccines.  It's not crazy to think that a seriously flawed vaccine could have been approved.

But I have some knowledge of the pretty exacting standards of independent review and procedures for clinical research.  Though it would be vastly preferable for all the proprietary research data to be made public immediately.  Still, when smart, reliable people like Fauci roll up their sleeves, I think that's an additional factor in judging the balance of risk/benefit.

If I were 20 years old and very low risk, I might rationally decline the vaccine.  As my personal risk is easily 100 times greater than that of a 20 year-old, I will have zero hesitation.

In the case of this peculiarly-acting virus, I think it's plausible that the mRNA vaccines could provide immunity superior to natural infection.  We won't know that for probably a couple of years.

13
Government, Not Coronavirus, Is Killing Small Businesses
[link deleted in the public interest]
Quote
By slowing down the development of herd immunity among the population, the lockdowns could put those truly at risk in greater danger. Lockdowns have also had negative effects such as increases in drug and alcohol abuse and increases in domestic violence. Meanwhile, many schoolchildren are deprived of the opportunity to interact with their teachers and their peers. Instead, these children are subjected to the fraud of “virtual learning.”

Tom, please don't disseminate such disinformation.  Promoting "herd immunity" by allowing infections to spread has been thoroughly de-bunked.  It's clearly a prescription for death, disability, overwhelmed medical systems, *and* economic disaster.

This is especially true now, when several vaccines are rapidly being distributed and administered.   We're a few months away from this pandemic coming under control with a herd immunity derived from vaccination.  There is no justification for promoting "herd immunity" by letting the infection run wild.

I find it rather bizarre that people who have previously championed home-schooling are now such vocal critics of virtual schooling.

14
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: December 06, 2020, 08:19:28 PM »
Germany is getting deeper into trouble. https://www.rt.com/news/508824-germany-covid-19-patients-hospitals/

RT is a terrible source for information.  I looked up the German language source for most of this article.  Where RT "quotes" the source as saying the referral hospitals are "packed to the brim," the Google Translate version of the source says ""these are now approaching the limit themselves in some regions  'We can still accept patients from the smaller hospitals. But we have to stretch ourselves a lot, especially since we want to continue to take care of other patients...' " See:
Germany's clinics are threatened with overload  [gTrans]
https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=https://www.welt.de/wirtschaft/article221873352/40-Prozent-mehr-Covid-19-Patienten-auf-Intensivstation-als-im-Fruehjahr.html&prev=search&pto=aue
______________________________________________________________________

Even worse than the Putin-pleasing bias of RT is the reader comments.  Here, virtually all the comments reflect absurd paranoia, conspiracy theories, and extraordinary misinformation.

I would recommend that RT be banned as a source on this forum.  We shouldn't give additional publicity to such rank disinformation.

15
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: December 03, 2020, 03:11:28 PM »
Given the cost in life and money of a disease like covid 19, I believe it to be completely ethical to carry out a controlled exposure trial for these vaccines. I find it downright anti-ethical that it has not to been done (publicly) yet.

What is the ethical argument for the hold-up?

Researchers generally consider it unethical to kill volunteers.

WMA DECLARATION OF HELSINKI – ETHICAL PRINCIPLES FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS
https://www.wma.net/policies-post/wma-declaration-of-helsinki-ethical-principles-for-medical-research-involving-human-subjects/

16
The forum / Re: Forum Decorum
« on: November 14, 2020, 07:49:49 PM »
Gandul - feel free to call me silly names as long as you don't disrupt the forum I am tasked with moderating (the Cryosphere section).

I would beg you to be less stoic, Oren.  Permitting gross incivility to remain anywhere on the site presents an example to some of what will be considered acceptable.  And a needless warning to others about what they may be subjected to.

It's a bit like magnanimously allowing weeds free reign over a square foot of your garden.  Or tolerating just one crack house on your block to flourish.

Human communities are fragile things.  Like a garden, they must be tended to thoughtfully, or they will perish.

17
The politics / Re: The Alt Right
« on: November 12, 2020, 06:58:11 PM »
A major milestone on the road to a Second American Civil War.
AFAIK this is the first time a significant media source has endorsed violence (correct me if I'm wrong).
I am documenting it here for you.
It is, as you might expect, the American Thinker.

Surveying the Aftermath of a Stolen Election
How much further down this road will the Right Wing go?

If I might suggest... This forum does not permit climate denial material, or even URLs to climate denial sites. The reason is that doing any of this promotes such denial.

I think we should do the same thing with alt-Right/fascist/NeoNazi material.  Don't quote it, don't link to it.  Talk about what they're doing, if you like.  Have discussions.  But do nothing that remotely promotes this toxic ideology.

18
The forum / Re: Forum Decorum
« on: November 05, 2020, 04:18:29 PM »
Good morning.
Yesterday I wrote
 "If this still stands tomorrow, I'll make a stand and will peacefully protest by not participating for a while. If I can find the motivation again."  - referring to Alexander555's post in the COVID-19 thread.

I see that it still stands. This is no place for me any longer.

Bye.

Silence is golden. 

19
The forum / Re: Forum Decorum
« on: November 03, 2020, 08:57:29 PM »

??? I did not attack oren's personality I said he has a good personality which is why he is not a good moderator

Another functionally illiterate poster on a "science" Forum, oh dear.

No, ad hominem means to the person.  It's not acceptable in such discussions to move the focus to a person you're in a discussion with.  It doesn't matter whether you're damning someone's personality with faint praise.

20
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: November 03, 2020, 06:26:23 PM »

Indeed, basically everyone was exposed to polio. Today, with PCR, they would be counted as "cases". Diagnostics of heart damage etc was less advanced back then.
 
Do you have evidence for that?  Polio is spread by the fecal-oral route.  If there was that much fecal-oral transmission going on in the 1950s, we'd have had simultaneous mass epidemics of cholera, dysentery, and typhoid.  We didn't.

What the world has gained by striving to control outbreaks of Covid is a much lower mortality rate now than we had in the spring.  With further incremental improvements in treatment, we can look forward to further taming of this disease.  At some point, it may indeed be reasonable to "let it rip."  But not now.  Except, perhaps, in Africa.  For reasons nobody seems to understand, it's not been a virulent infection there.

Yes, lives have been disrupted some.  Essential economic activities, however, have been largely uninterrupted.  Nations that have had a less rigorous approach to control have not had less severe economic damage. The world has lost very little by the interruption of the tourist industry, for example. The right approach to the economic suffering is not to let the epidemic flourish, but to provide something like a Universal Basic Income.
Maybe Africa is predominantly young, and not obese.... and the infections aren't recorded anyways when malaria, HIV, etc are killing way more as-is.

Saying "we don't know why Africa has no cases" is intellectual dishonesty.

No, it's not intellectual dishonesty on my part.   A range of hypothesis have been offered in the literature.  You've described just two.  But these are only hypotheses.  We don't have meaningful answers for these hypotheses yet.

I'd provide more details, but you've steered the thread off-topic already.

21
The politics / Re: Poll: Spread between Trump and Biden (popular vote)
« on: November 03, 2020, 05:47:59 PM »
Quote
No wait, no ID needed, no hassles just gave my name , address and dob they checked me off the on line roll and gave me the required forms . I voted within my electorate if I was outside of the region the process is only slightly more complex.
Name and address widely available from phone book or online equivalent.
If someone get your birthday (hacking, knowing personally, whatever) is there anything to prevent them from voting in your name before you get a chance to?

Fear of a felony conviction is quite sufficient.  In-person voter fraud is vanishingly rare in the US.  State government-imposed obstacles to getting narrowly-defined ID cards is, however, a large problem in many states. 

Concerns about non-citizen voting is also absurd.  If a non-citizen simply *registers* to vote, they can be on an express line for deportation.  This is thus also vanishingly rare.

The real problem with election fairness isn't fraud, it's official actions that tend to disenfranchise eligible voters.

22
The forum / Re: Forum Decorum
« on: November 03, 2020, 03:12:41 PM »
Another attack on original analytical thought by Oren. He only wants regurgitation on this forum. It is offensive.

Well, that's a daft assertion.  Oren's post starts with "A-Team, your educational efforts and your analytic contributions are greatly appreciated, and have been served rather generously lately which makes me a very happy reader.'

This is the exact opposite of what you claim the moderator wants.  Yes, he does quibble with a few of A-Teams assertions about what's valuable or not.  A completely reasonable contrast of opinions, and not at all an attack.

However, your over the top mischaracterization of Orens's words actually is an attack on our esteemed moderator and is not supported by evidence--and thus is corrosive to the community many have built here.
Why do you say "our esteemed moderator" as if I hold oren's moderation in esteem? Please do not put words in my mouth, and speak for yourself.

I have no problem with oren as a poster but I think he is a bad moderator. I think he is overly empathetic and does not use logic in deciding what discussions to encourage and which to shut down. Empathy is a good trait but in moderation, and an abundance can be problematic when it comes to moderating (but is good re: life in general).

This is not corrosive to the community, this is a statement of opinion. I believe this style of moderation is corrosive to the community, and that is my opinion.

You grossly mischaracterized Oren's words and attacked him with that mischaracterization.  This matter has nothing to do with Oren's speculated personality.  Deflecting the conversation to someone's personality is a form of ad hominem attack.  Such repeated ad hominems are completely out of bounds on a discussion forum.

23
The politics / Re: Elections 2020 USA
« on: November 03, 2020, 02:14:18 AM »
Founded as a Constitutional Republic

->"I get the feeling the US isn't a Democracy anymore"

....well, darling, that's because it has ALWAYS BEEN A CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC.

It's a democratic republic.  More precisely, a constitutional democratic republics.  You seem to be clinging to the usage of The Federalist Letters, which considered only direct democracy (like the ancient Greek city-states) to be democracies.  Modern usage has changed since then. 

A democratic republic is a form of democracy.
OK, so the definition upon which the US was founded as a Constitutional Republic is still extant, but you wish to call it something else because someone "modern" said it was so.

Archaic usage is archaic.  Words mean what a society agrees they mean.  Simple as that.

The rest of your post is absurd trolling and/or paranoia.  Nothing about this issue has anything to do with Marxism or subverting society or any other paranoid conspiracy theory.

I'm only a Groucho Marxist.

24
The politics / Re: Elections 2020 USA
« on: November 02, 2020, 11:36:48 PM »
Founded as a Constitutional Republic

->"I get the feeling the US isn't a Democracy anymore"

....well, darling, that's because it has ALWAYS BEEN A CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC.

It's a democratic republic.  More precisely, a constitutional democratic republics.  You seem to be clinging to the usage of The Federalist Letters, which considered only direct democracy (like the ancient Greek city-states) to be democracies.  Modern usage has changed since then. 

A democratic republic is a form of democracy.

25
The forum / Re: Forum Decorum
« on: October 31, 2020, 06:14:37 PM »
Another attack on original analytical thought by Oren. He only wants regurgitation on this forum. It is offensive.

Well, that's a daft assertion.  Oren's post starts with "A-Team, your educational efforts and your analytic contributions are greatly appreciated, and have been served rather generously lately which makes me a very happy reader.'

This is the exact opposite of what you claim the moderator wants.  Yes, he does quibble with a few of A-Teams assertions about what's valuable or not.  A completely reasonable contrast of opinions, and not at all an attack.

However, your over the top mischaracterization of Orens's words actually is an attack on our esteemed moderator and is not supported by evidence--and thus is corrosive to the community many have built here.

26
Permafrost / Re: Arctic Methane Release
« on: October 30, 2020, 03:08:26 PM »
So far though, the reality is that there has been no significant increase in methane emissions over the Arctic (at least up to 2017), and nearly every major study that's looked at the topic in detail disagrees with the clathrate gun hypothesis too.
That's not to say I'd personally rule the hypothesis or the significance of the current field observations, but they definitely require some context.

I agree, and I doubt anything has changed much since 2017.  I periodically check surface-level maps of methane concentrations from Copernicus.  So far arctic ocean emissions seem to be dwarfed by arctic landmass emissions:

Methane at surface [ ppbv ] (provided by CAMS, the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service)
https://atmosphere.copernicus.eu/charts/cams/methane-forecasts?facets=undefined&time=2020102900,3,2020102903&projection=classical_arctic&layer_name=composition_ch4_surface

27
Well, let's just do a simple comparison.

Browse the headlines of Zerohedge and compare that to the feces from NYTIMES, economist, or any of the other newsrags available.

Personally, I just see different styles of headlines.  For example, mainstream newsrags tend to obsess about corporate earnings, nuanced politics, etc etc. 

Overall, the format of ZH is not appealing, and the site reads like a blog, BUT they do cite sources and focus on important subjects.

A bit more critical thinking is merited here.  The reputable news sources are platforms that publish work signed by professional, reputable journalists.  If they misinform, their personal careers are on the line.

ZeroHedge routinely publishes pieces under pseudonyms, where nobody is accountable for lies, distortion, or bias.  One such is "Tyler Durden."  Here's what Business Insider says about this pseudonym:

"Tyler Durden is a reference to the lead character in Fight Club. It's the pseudonym for Zero Hedge's key author(s) used to hide their identities."
 
This isn't journalism, it's pure unadulterated clickbait crap.

28
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: October 12, 2020, 09:36:22 PM »

Oh look, another article where the media tells the masses their brains are going to melt and their eyes are going to fall out due to the CorOnAVirus.

It's absurd for any reader of this forum to pretend neurologic damage doesn't occur with Covid infection.  See for example;

Nearly One-Third of Covid-19 Patients in Study Had Altered Mental State
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/05/health/Covid-patients-mental-state.html

"Nearly a third of hospitalized Covid-19 patients experienced some type of altered mental function — ranging from confusion to delirium to unresponsiveness — in the largest study to date of neurological symptoms among coronavirus patients in an American hospital system.
...
"And patients with altered mental function had significantly worse medical outcomes, according to the study...
"After they were discharged, only 32 percent of the patients with altered mental function were able to handle routine daily activities like cooking and paying bills, said Dr. Igor Koralnik, the senior author of the study"

This "media" article is based on peer-reviewed research:

Frequent neurologic manifestations and encephalopathy‐associated morbidity in Covid‐19 patients
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/acn3.51210

Rather than a moderator being needed for Vox's useful post, such intervention may be appropriate for hyperbolic and evidence-free excoriation of such contributions.

29
The forum / Re: Arctic Sea Ice Forum Humor
« on: October 11, 2020, 09:43:43 PM »
Flori, who made that?
It's brilliant. Very apt.

The Lincoln Project is a group of very prominent Republicans (and now, ex-Republicans) who have been horrified by what Hair Furor has done to their party and to the country.  Their work is exceptionally pointed and biting.  Very effective, in my opinion--far more effective than what Biden's campaign has produced.

Other examples are a simple YouTube search away.

More humorous and satirical are works by thejuicemedia:


They usually focus on Australia, but American fans were apparently asking for their inimitable contribution.

30
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: September 30, 2020, 08:32:20 PM »
 
On top of its ineffectiveness, for common chloroquine, used as malaria prophylaxis, the advice used to be to take this no longer than 2-4 years, because of its side effects. Wouldn't something similar apply to HCQ?

I think not.  Long-term use of HCQ would mostly be for Lupus patients.  I can't find, on brief search, that there's any recommended limitation of duration in its use for this indication--only recommended regular ophthalmologic screening for retinal toxicity, which is rare.

HCQ seems to be less prone to toxic effects than chloroquine, perhaps because its half-life is shorter  (though still very long).  See, e.g.,

Hydroxychloroquine: A multifaceted treatment in lupus
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0755498214001924

31
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: September 29, 2020, 02:39:11 PM »
I don’t believe in sticking my head in the sand. I will post arguments against renewables for rebuttal.
Edit: whether renewables are economic is not cut and dried, unlike whether AGW exists.

There aren't really worthwhile arguments against renewables, though there are challenges worthy of discussion.

What I read of the American Thinker piece was odious.  Complaining about subsidies for renewables when fossil fuels are intensely subsidized.  And that's before bringing in the granddaddy of all subsidies...

Every gallon of gasoline carries a very large subsidy consisting of the ability to produce CO2 and other pollutants while paying none of the cost of damage to our world.  Put this cost rationally on those responsible, and fossil fuel use will plummet.

32
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: September 29, 2020, 01:33:04 PM »
The price is deceptive because it can be low for a variety of reasons: increased efficiency in production, low demand for components, market speculation, etc. The same can be seen for oil, where prices have also gone down but production cost is still the same.

No. The price dynamics of petroleum are notoriously volatile, unlike the vast majority of goods.  Solar and wind devices are much more like ordinary manufactured goods.  The prices aren't particularly volatile.  A progressive fall in prices over many years means exactly what it would seem to imply--fewer resources are required for production over time.  Economies of scale and advances in technology will do that.  There's no "diminishing returns" with renewables.  We're seeing the opposite of diminishing returns.

Quote
Next, prices eventually go up because the prices of minerals and fossil fuels needed to manufacture components for renewable energy also go up. And they go up because of gravity (the minerals and oil are deeper) and/or physical limits (what's extracted is of lower quality, as seen in grades for copper and sulfur levels in oil). What that means is that more energy is needed to extract what is deeper and/or process what is of lower quality or grade.
No.  Nice theory.  But real-world data is demonstrating the opposite of what you claim.
Quote
The same, BTW, applies to materials needed for mechanized agriculture (from heavy machines to diesel needed for those and petrochemicals needed for artificial fertilizer) and almost everything that is processed and/or manufactured.
No.  Specific industries have specific challenges for electrification.  Given proper policies and incentives, there are essentially no use cases where petroleum is essential.  Just as renewable for the grid and electrification of transport seemed implausible a decade ago, so too are changes more than feasible for these use cases.  There's nothing magic about petroleum.
Quote
Finally, businesses may adjust to these issues by becoming more efficient and finding new technologies that provide more energy or require less materials and energy to manufacture, but that does not lead to lower use of energy and materials overall because the same businesses invest in productivity to become more productive, which in turn allows them to increase profits. That, of course, means more consumption. In short, the purpose of becoming more efficient or productive is not to conserve but to find ways to consume more.

And that in turn bolsters demand, which leads to higher prices, which brings us back to attempt to lower those prices through more innovations which are funded in order to increase production and consumption from which more profits are made (and which is the reason why investments are made in the first place), which again is based on the assumption of increasing demand, which brings us back to the start of this paragraph.

Jevon's paradox is well-understood on this forum.  No need to lecture the forum as if the readers were simpletons.  Yes, in unregulated systems higher efficiency/lower price will often cause an increase in total usage.  But this isn't a law of physics.  The only real question is what policies and incentives need to be in place to manage the phenomenon.

33
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« on: September 26, 2020, 03:58:26 PM »


If not used to make another panel the energy displaces that produced from FFs, known as a reduction of the intensity in kg CO2 / kWh
 /quote]

Indeed.  Seeking to use only  renewable-sourced energy to produce renewables isn't rational.  We face a global problem of using fossil fuels to produce energy.  Transitioning to renewable sourcing for *everything* is the ultimate goal, which requires a transition period.   What source gets used for which demand during the transition period makes no difference at all. 

What does make a difference is how fast we go through the transition.  Using fossil fuels to produce the renewables during the transition period is perfectly fine.  Renewable sources then displace carbon-intensive sources, regardless of the end use of that energy,

34
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: September 26, 2020, 03:46:25 PM »

I am confused as to why the fact that it takes a few months from data collection to publication is igniting this flame war between you two.

BBR has repeatedly attacked Vox for posting relevant news items.  This was just the latest example of many.  He's attacked others here, too.  Neven would have put him back on moderation or banned him by now.  The good old days.

35
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: September 25, 2020, 01:22:56 PM »
What if we turn that around? Put all the young people together in a festival that will last for at least 3 weeks....
My son came up with the same idea in April :)
So why didn't we do this in summer?  >:(

And I suggested the same kind of thing on this thread many weeks ago.

The US, at least, is now moving in that direction.  In many cases where colleges start in-person, but an outbreak starts, they're now cancelling in-person classes, but *not* sending students home.  Fauci recommended this.  So the kids stay in dorms, they face consequences approximately equivalent to seasonal flu, and the professors stay home.

Society then nets a modest population of at least partially immune young people whom nobody needs to worry about giving or getting the virus.  They can be plasma donors, and/or work with vulnerable populations. 

36
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« on: September 23, 2020, 05:55:38 PM »
My apologies to Oren , Etienne, and  Steve if I just sound hardheaded. I should be able to get my head around why EROEI doesn’t work but my brain fails me. Sometimes though hardheadedness and a solitary pursuit of something as simple as a renewable food system is all one man can juggle and not go nuts.

No need to apologize.  It seems to me that you're struggling with one special case of a general problem.  That is, while living in a fossil-fuel dominated society, how can one bring one's carbon footprint to zero or negative?

Generally speaking, doing so is either flatly impossible or requiring of herculean efforts.  The challenge before us is a  *collective* challenge, of the sort that cannot truly be met by us as individuals.  Individual efforts help a bit at the margins.

With the right public policies, you'd be able to use diesel equipment, fueled by bio diesel, available at the filling station.  It would likely be more expensive to produce, but society could subsidize its use for agriculture and other industries where alternatives are not practical.  Price for uses where electrification is feasible would remain cost-prohibitive.  Industrial-scale production should be sufficiently economical that the subsidies would not break any national banks.

Judicious application of specific taxes and subsidies could vastly accelerate the transition to renewable energy.  We just need the collective political will.  Political will around the world is increasing, but so is the undermining of that will by corporate interests.  The struggle is on! 

37
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« on: September 22, 2020, 02:59:42 PM »
If you were to drop the irrelevant EROI argument ralfy, stopped claiming solar has diminishing returns, and stopped ignoring the waste heat that comes with FF but is not part of renewable energy, it is quite plausible that most members would agree with your assertions about the need for more energy quantity in the future, the difficulty in making a fast enough transition, and the need to reduce developed countries consumption and overall population growth.
What bothers me is that you make important claims (though rather trivial), but using wrong methods and arguments. In science I think it's not just the conclusion that matters, but the method.

+1

Oren is arguing against a gish gallop of weakly-related arguments and bad reasoning.

Let's make it simple.  We need lots more energy to lift the poor out of poverty?  The quickest, cleanest, fastest way to create a gigawatt-hour of energy is with utility-scale solar.  Let's go with that. 

38
Policy and solutions / Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« on: September 20, 2020, 06:45:23 PM »
Thread: The Sin of Wealth 
Quote

Contrarily, money that's invested is not doing harm - just the opposite. It's not consuming goods and services, but rather, it's helping create more capacity for goods and services. Let me reiterate: *money that's invested is a good thing*.
https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1306247517877743617.html

https://mobile.twitter.com/enn_nafnlaus/status/1306247517877743617

It's good, thoughtful writing.  But the paragraph here is incomplete.  Wealth inequality has led to an unproductive amount of wealth going into investable assets.  Bonds have been bid up to prices that produce a negligible yield.  Stocks are bid up to absurd prices.  Real estate has been bid up to prices that produce unaffordable housing, contributing to homelessness world-wide.

Meanwhile, there isn't enough economic growth attainable to productively use the multiple trillions of dollars put into investments.  It's mostly just making investment assets expensive and unrewarding.

In macroeconomic terms, all this "investment" may be producing more harm than good.  Much of it should be taxed and thus put to better use.  But good luck getting that kind of policy enacted.

39
The rest / Re: George Floyd murder and blowback
« on: September 18, 2020, 02:16:37 PM »
Can anyone refute this (except by ad hominem)?

Who Killed George Floyd?
 

Absurd obfuscation.  Opioids suppress respiratory drive.  At toxic levels, people cease feeling a need to breathe.  Nobody who stopped breathing because of opioid overdose ever said "I can't breathe."

40
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: September 16, 2020, 06:16:41 PM »
You can twist it and turn it harpy as much as you like, but the basic numbers are already in and have been for months. We pretty well know the likelyhood of death for various age groups and illnesses. For an average developed world population it is cca 1%, and for a young, developing world population it is likely 0,1-0,3%. Read upthread, many citations and data there.

I agree with your estimates.  Harpy's over-estimate was likely sincere.

We do need to recognize that this infection seems to have a far higher rate of long-term consequences than any ordinary acute viral infection.  We need a new terminology.  In addition to IFR (infection fatality rate), we need maybe IMR (infection morbidity rate).  Perhaps defined as significant residual problems beyond, say, 3 months.   

I *think* there's maybe enough higher-quality data to start to estimate a very rough ballpark estimate. I've only glanced through a couple of relevant articles.  My wild guess is that it's several times higher than the IFR. 

41
Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: September 08, 2020, 04:53:25 PM »
Of course I believe Nikola is a scam.  But it claims to be an electric vehicle company, and it’s in the news right now, so ignoring it makes no sense, either.  My objective is to shine a light on Nikola’s progress — or lack of same — as part of the effort to document the challenging transition to electric vehicles.  Not all will succeed.

Case in point:  GM’s just-announced partnership with Nikola.  Does this make Nikola more promising — or GM less so?

Nikola Stock Is Soaring After Announcing a Partnership With GM
https://www.barrons.com/articles/nikola-stock-soars-on-gm-partnership-why-the-deal-is-a-win-win-51599568639
https://apple.news/AD6ez2k1cQKGqi-rMgfxhJQ

I share a lot of skepticism about Nikola.  But a fresh video from an engineer raises some plausible benefits of the Nikola plan, specifically for hydrogen fuel cell technology for long-haul trucking. 


42
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« on: September 07, 2020, 05:12:07 PM »

Because the price does not correctly reflect energy return given the point that it is ultimately driven by increasing credit which is used to fund increasing production.

It's true that embedded energy in a product is only one component of cost of production.  But you seem to be suggesting that availability of credit can cause production to proceed at a price below cost of production.  That's nonsense.  Nobody continues to produce at a price below cost of production, at least not for very long.

If solar equipment is cheap, it's because the embedded costs of energy+material+labor+capital are cheap.

43
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« on: September 05, 2020, 08:12:16 PM »

The energy needed to construct materials used for renewable energy involve fossil fuel inputs for up to 70 pct of mining equipment, up to half of manufacturing, and much of shipping. The same applies to the infrastructure, from roads to electric grids, to distribute electricity to end users, and the consumer goods that use that electricity.

That's a valid point, of limited long-term significance.  These activities may depend today at 70 percent on fossil fuels, but they are all trending towards electrification, and electricity is trending towards renewable sourcing.

When industrial processes are run on electricity and electricity is generated by renewables, then we'll have an economy fully based on renewable energy.  Some industries present special challenges in this regard, like agriculture, mining, ocean shipping, and air travel.  None of these cases are truly intractable.  Worst-case scenario for these is using biofuels.

44
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: September 04, 2020, 10:36:00 PM »
Evidence Slowly Building for Long-Term Heart Problems Post-COVID-19
https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/09/evidence-slowly-building-for-long-term-heart-problems-post-covid-19/
...
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/covid-19-can-wreck-your-heart-even-if-you-havent-had-any-symptoms/

https://www.centredaily.com/sports/college/penn-state-university/psu-football/article245448050.html

 ...
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamacardiology/fullarticle/2763524

In July, a German group reported MRI imaging of a cohort of 100 patients who had been diagnosed as having a SARS-CoV-2 infection. The median age of these patients was just 49 years, meaning they were far younger than the group that's considered to be high risk for COVID-19 complications. And the group had already recovered from the virus (two-thirds without requiring hospitalization), suggesting anything that turned up was due to a lingering problem rather than a direct impact of an ongoing infection.
....
... While details of what the virus might be doing hasn't yet hit the peer-reviewed literature, there is a draft paper that seems to fill in many of the details. To figure out what cells the virus might infect, the researchers directed stem cells to produce cardiac muscle cells, then exposed those to the virus. These could be infected by the virus, although it's relatively easy to infect cells in culture dishes.
...

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.08.25.265561v1

This article has been debunked and is fake news.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Coronavirus/comments/im7r70/evidence_slowly_building_for_longterm_heart/

The thread on reddit is not a debunking at all. None of these articles have been retracted, nothing debunked.  The statistical error corrections cited are already applied to the JAMA Cardiology  article.   Nothing it it has been "debunked."  Nothing retracted.

Both the mis-statement by the college team's doctor and his later correction are irrelevant.  He's neither unbiased nor a cardiologist.

Yes, viral myocarditis is not rare with respiratory viruses.  It does not follow logically that the cardiac anomalies found after Covid can be casually dismissed.  These other viruses don't cause fulminant cardiac failure, Covid does, in 5 percent of fatalities.

The attacks on Vox and others is inappropriate.

45
The forum / Re: Forum Decorum
« on: September 04, 2020, 02:28:21 PM »
  If all started pointing out the other party`s flaws, it would escalate quickly and many more would leave.

Well said.  Even oblique ad hominems should be removed, unapologetically.  We're here to discuss things, not each other.

46
Arctic sea ice / Re: Melt Ponds
« on: September 03, 2020, 05:55:18 PM »
I did a search and nothing came up.
I already moved my initial message to the old Melting Ponds Thread. So you can close this one Oren. Better to continue on the old thread with its last message from 2013?  ???

The built-in search function is rubbish, I'm afraid.  For future reference, Google does a better job of finding threads. E.g.,
https://www.google.com/search?q=%22melt+pond%22+physics+site%3Bforum.arctic-sea-ice.net

On the search line, one would type:
"melt pond" physics site:forum.arctic-sea-ice.net

The "site:" part is incredibly useful for restricting to a domain or site.  You can also specify, e.g., "filetype:"  And more.

47
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: September 03, 2020, 03:27:03 PM »

Let's look at the below data.

Which countries here are accurate? I'd wager, it is Singapore, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Iceland, Kuwait, and Malta.

All of them have CFRs of .6% or below, including Kuwait, which has an extremely obese population. The data confirms that the worst outcome of the virus is the lockdowns and authoritarianism and not the death toll. These will probably end up killing way more people through economic disruption (famine, etc).

Funny enough, the above countries are all islands, or for all intents and purposes, islands (UAE, and Kuwait, both surrounded by desert, although I guess you have some Iraqis near Kuwait).

Singapore, Qatar, Bahrain, Iceland, and Malta all provide ideal case grounds a la cruise ships for ACCURATELY gauging fatality rates. Better than New Zealand, Taiwan, or Australia, all of which are way bigger and more populous / spread out. The data from ALL OF THESE POINTS confirms that the true case fatality rate is well under 1% and for young / healthy people it is almost 0.

Source?  "Screen shot" is a notoriously unreliable source.
Some places have quite low fatality rates, some much higher.  What's the rationale for dismissing places with higher rates?  People manufactured corpses for their statistics in the UK?

Civilized societies go to great lengths to prevent avoidable deaths.  That's what makes them civilized.  The main cost to avoiding deaths is suspension of non-essential activities for some months.

Dismissing concerns about avoidable deaths as insanity is itself insane,

48
The rest / Re: Masks
« on: September 02, 2020, 12:20:04 AM »
Face Shields, Masks With Valves Ineffective Against COVID-19 Spread: Study
https://phys.org/news/2020-09-shields-masks-valves-ineffective-covid-.html

Thanks for posting this.  Early in the pandemic, I got a box of N95s--with exhalation valve.  Pretty clearly, I've been protecting myself, but not protecting people I expose.  I'll be covering the inside of the vents with tape.  Glasses will fog up more.  Small price to pay for being socially responsible.

49
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: September 02, 2020, 12:01:35 AM »
  If we want to assume that these anti-body tests are accurate, despite the literature NOT recommending their use,

Put that recommendation into context.  Your source was pretty clearly talking about use in individual clinical care, and that's true.  Accuracy is insufficient for this use.

However, for purposes of an academic discussion trying to estimate an IFR for this virus, the tests are good enough to give meaningful tentative conclusions.

50
Walking the walk / Re: Gardening
« on: August 27, 2020, 10:22:17 PM »
The mole didn't create any trouble in my garden, and I read that it eats the babies of the vole, too bad my mole seems to have left my garden

There's a role for a mole with a vole.

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