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Messages - SteveMDFP

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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

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.

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.

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.
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.
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.

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

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,

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.

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. 

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! 

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.


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. 

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

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*.

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.

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."

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. 

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

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. 

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.

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.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: September 04, 2020, 10:36:00 PM »
Evidence Slowly Building for Long-Term Heart Problems Post-COVID-19


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.

This article has been debunked and is fake news.

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.

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.

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.,

On the search line, one would type:
"melt pond" physics

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

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,

The rest / Re: Masks
« on: September 02, 2020, 12:20:04 AM »
Face Shields, Masks With Valves Ineffective Against COVID-19 Spread: Study

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.

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.

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.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: August 27, 2020, 12:25:46 AM »
Here's another example of a significant, incremental improvement in treatment for Covid.  Such advances support the wisdom of public health interventions to slow spread of the virus.  Infections today are certainly less lethal than they were in February, likely due in part to such advances.  Delaying transmissions in the coming months may avert death and disability for many people. 

Blood thinners reduce deaths among coronavirus patients, study finds

"Fuster's team said 60% of patients who were not given anticoagulants were discharged alive, 26% of them died in the hospital and 13% were still in the hospital.  When patients got the drug prophylactically to prevent blood clots, 75% were released alive, 22% died in the hospital and 3% were still hospitalized during the study period."

Anticoagulation, Mortality, Bleeding and Pathology Among Patients Hospitalized with COVID-19: A Single Health System Study

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: August 26, 2020, 05:18:13 PM »
Farr's Law exists for a reason. Apparently most posters in this thread are unfamiliar, although I was also unfamiliar with it until recently.

It would be good to have fewer posts that criticize other members.

Note that Farr's Law was an observation of the epidemiology of the naturial history of epidemics.   That is, epidemics in which there are no public health measures,  treatments, or vaccines available.  Farr's initial observations were in relation to smallpox, I believe.

Farr's law is inapplicable for diseases where public health measures, therapeutics, or vaccines are available. 

For Covid, there has been incremental progress on therapy, and promising developments for vaccines.  In this context, institution of public health measures to reduce transmission is more than reasonable.  Such measures delay many, perhaps most, infections until a time when these interventions can become widely available.

Generally, civilizations worthy of that label undertake dramatic measures to prevent avoidable deaths and suffering.  For the worst public health disaster in 102 years, efforts recommended to date by public health experts seem completely appropriate.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020 melting season
« on: August 23, 2020, 04:07:16 AM »
Most contributors choose to remain anonymous.  There's nothing wrong with that, and it may be prudent, in many cases.

Announcing to the whole Forum that you want to know the identity of another participant is inappropriate.  in my view, it's grounds for banishment.  But I'm not in charge here. 

<Removed all personal references. O>

The politics / Re: Elections 2020 USA
« on: August 14, 2020, 07:01:23 PM »
Well, if she wasn't a cop and BLM was a movement at the moment, i would agree

In this regard, I think the selection could actually come across as tone deaf at best and likely insulting to many young voters and activists. Consider the fact that the Dem VP is a former prosecutor who often went after young, black, non-violent offenders in her state for marijuana charges and then proceeded to use a racial stereotype joke involving her heritage to brag about marijuana use on the campaign trail in order to seem "with it" (though don't worry the DNC made sure to vote down any attempts at decriminalizing/legalizing it, so the hardball prosecutor still admitted criminal history). Similarly, she is extremely anti-gun, yet owned and carried a handgun for years. Rights for me, not for thee, I guess. Kamala is a very frustrating and hypocritical politician who I have very little respect for. As such, I think the pick was terrible and there are plenty of other, much better, less authoritarian female and PoC candidates that Biden could have sprung for. There is a realistic and justified potential that she may do more harm than good.

I can understand this position, but I'd like to offer a contrasting perspective.  Neither a prosecutor nor an attorney general has the luxury of ignoring or invalidating statutory law, whatever they think of it.  If the legislature passes a criminal statute, and a police officer arrests someone in violation, these individuals cannot have their charges dismissed on a blanket basis.

My understanding is that she has been an advocate for drug courts and mental health courts, which seek to divert cases out of criminal justice punishment.  These are inadequate efforts, but from the perspective of a prosecutor, that may be the best that can be done within the system.

As for owning a gun while advocating gun control, I see that as being analogous to a rich progressive who advocates for higher taxes on the wealthy while paying only the required tax.  It's not inconsistent.  Seeking a gun-free society is not in conflict with owning a gun while living in a society that is far from gun-free.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: August 14, 2020, 04:34:33 PM »
New York's CFR appears to be simply around 10%:  234K positive cases, and 23,610 deaths.

How is that 0.1% or 1%?  That's 10% death rate, no?

French figures indicate a 7% CFR.

Italy is 13% CFR.

One figure that also accurately defines this virus is the R0 value, which has been published by the CDC to be well north of 4.0, and the 95% CI of 3.8-8.9.

I am legitimately curious where posters are coming up with this 0.1%-1.0% CFR?   Can you please pass the peace pipe?

It's about CFR vs IFR.  Case fatality rate is the rate of death of diagnosed persons.  Infection fatality rate is the rate of death of all those infected.  Since most infections are not diagnosed while the infection is happening, the IFR is much smaller than CFR.

IFR can only be assessed well with post-hoc antibody testing (assuming the antibody testing is sufficiently sensitive and specific).  It then captures more or less all those who were infected in the sample.  IFR = deaths divided by infections+deaths (from Covid). CFR = deaths divided by diagnosed persons.

We've gone into much discussion here, and estimates have varied quite a bit, but as a rough ballpark 1% or a bit less seems to be a fair IFR estimate for a typical Western population.

Older populations (e.g., Italy) can be expected to have a somewhat higher IFR, also those with high riates of obesity/hypertension/diabetes/etc.  Younger populations (e.g., India, prison populations) may be expected to have a lower IFR.  I do suspect that population Vit D levels may well have a role, with higher levels in some geographic belts (seasonally in some) and perhaps fish-eating nations.

IFR is important because, absent a vaccine, we can expect most of the world to be infected eventually.  IFR tells us the potential ultimate death toll.  CFR doesn't.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: August 12, 2020, 04:08:41 PM »

There are like a thousand murderers in Germany. Every time someone gets killed, it's in the news. I guess you wouldn't call that alarmist media cabal, would you? But you do when the media reports on hundreds of thousands of deaths? WTF?

I agree.  My country has had more preventable deaths in a few months than in major wars over multiple years.  It's damn peculiar for an anti-war individual to shrug over this carnage.

The needed response to this is less draconian than what happens in a major war.  Though there is some pandemic profiteering going on, I think there's a lot less profiteering per dollar spent than we see in major wars.

It's also completely false to claim that Covid is only a problem in "unhealthy" societies.  The opposite is true.  Healthy societies control their birth rate, and so have a smaller proportion of young people.  Healthy societies succeed in keeping people alive and active into late age.  Age is the overwhelming risk factor for bad outcomes.  Societies with a higher average age are the healthiest societies.  These are the societies hardest hit by Covid.

It is playing into the hands of corporate capitalists to suggest we should be less assertive in addressing this pandemic.  This is the worst global public health crisis in 102 years.  Halting non-essential activities for some months to save many thousands of lives is not a disproportionate response at all.

The core response we need to agitate for politically is some version of universal basic income, to avoid suffering of the unemployed. 

Shutting down many airline flights, tourism, hospitaltiy, sporting events--these are the kinds of things that need to happen to address the climate crisis anyway. 

The forum / Re: Forum Decorum
« on: August 06, 2020, 04:50:12 PM »

  Perhaps the coffee drinking pooch can access a no-spill cup when on the computer in future ..

Possibly the dog just wanted to join in the conversation.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: August 02, 2020, 08:29:33 PM »
To be honest, this thread has been a good source of information, and the debates in it helped me by pointing me towards different sources and different points of view.

Absolutely.  The content of this thread, and contributions by the impressive readership here, has been far more educational, useful, and valuable than any other single source I've seen.  This is true for arctic matters, climate matters, and Covid matters.

Bringing material from an anonymous website here is like bringing brown coal to Newcastle.

The forum / Re: Suggestions
« on: July 22, 2020, 04:11:50 PM »
I'd certainly vote to keep him on.


Some posts should be removed.  We depend on mods to exercise their judgment.  Folks who object can set up their own forums. 

Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: July 16, 2020, 04:34:44 PM »
Sig, I wil hardly reach any members/readers there because this one is by far the most active one regarding posts and therefore readers.

I want to be able to influence people with strong scientific arguments against green BAU. I think that should not be hindered and I am not shouting it all over the forum. Can I please have some room to move? The chance to influence others is the primary reason why I came to this forum.

As Sigmetnow quoted from Neven:  "This thread is for discussing the latest in EV technology and infrastructure. The original Cars, cars and more cars thread can be used to discuss what it all means as a solution in the greater scheme of things."

Please respect the community here.  If your chief aim is to influence the readership, you're on the wrong forum entirely.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: July 06, 2020, 12:59:00 PM »
The question of immunity is of utmost importance for many reasons (economic/social/epidemiological)

I understand the point that respiratory RNA viruses often confer only short term immunity but that in itself is no proof about COVID immunity although definitely worrisome. As I previously said above, all I read so far is that you still have immunity after 6 months

If anyone has solid research on this subject I would be delighted to read it.

As COVID is most closely related to the original SARS, that might be the best paralell:

"Among 176 patients who had had severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), SARS-specific antibodies were maintained for an average of 2 years, and significant reduction of immunoglobulin G–positive percentage and titers occurred in the third year. Thus, SARS patients might be susceptible to reinfection >3 years after initial exposure."


"Eighty-nine percent of the recovered patients have detectable IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV at 24 months post-infection...IgG is only detectable in 2 of 23 recovered donors at 6 years after illness onset " BUT:
"Both SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV-recovered donors have had long-lasting memory T-cell immunity."

Good information here, thanks.  The gradual fall in antibody levels does not mean there is a fall in immunity.  The antibody part of immune function isn't static, it's highly dynamic. That is, there are memory lymphocytes that go quiescent when they're not being stimulated by the presence of foreign antigens.  But they "wake up" when again stimulated, years later.  They can ramp up production of effective antibodies very quickly.

I think this idea of risk of reinfection is overblown.  Very, very few viral infections can re-infect a person whose immune system has previously cleared the infection.  In all examples (other than the special case of dengue fever) subsequent infections are much milder in severity. 

We don't know for sure that this pattern will hold for Covid, since it's only existed in recognized form for 6 months.  But the closest examples are SARS and MERS, and reinfections  have not been observed (though there have been limited opportunities for anyone to be re-challenged by these pathogens).

Certainly, humanity has had centuries of experience with viral infections in a time where no vaccines or medications were available.  Reinfections after clearance have not been an issue, with dozens of examples of this robustness of immune function.

The issue of people testing positive after having been infected and then testing negative is challenging.  It seems much more likely that these are actually cases of failure of immune function to actually clear the infection.  I think proving this would require RNA sequencing of the supposed reinfection, to see if the genotype is identical to the first.  I'm unaware of this kind of study having  been done as yet.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: June 24, 2020, 06:19:46 PM »

"No Religion" had a lower death rate than "Christian". Nobody's quite sure why, nor why Jewish people are at the top of the death table. That really IS surprising to me – Judaism sets out a lot of hygiene rules, which are followed pretty thoroughly even by the non-devout. 

My hypothesis would be that those who identify with a minority religion may be more likely to attend services.  This is how they stay in contact with the group they identify with.  If you're a member of a majority religion in a nation, attending religious services may not serve the same purpose.

It's possible that a similar pattern may hold for racial/ethnic minorities.

The politics / Re: Elections 2020 USA
« on: June 21, 2020, 07:15:46 PM »
Tik-Tok users and K-Pop fans were behind the smaller than expected numbers at US President Donald Trump's first campaign rally in months, social media users have claimed.

Mr Trump's campaign manager had blamed "radical" protesters and the media.

But political strategist Steve Schmidt said teenagers across the US ordered tickets without intending to turn up to ensure there would be empty seats.

The campaign had reported at least one million ticket requests for the event.

James Buchanan
"And I would have more followers show up, if it weren't for you meddling kids"
#TrumpMeltdown #tiktokteens #TulsaFlop

The rest / Re: George Floyd murder and blowback
« on: June 19, 2020, 05:09:39 PM »
Also, I always wondered...when these race riots happen, why do they always seem to happen in black neighborhoods? Why don't the rioters go over to white neighborhoods and riot these? Why do they destroy their own space?

In recent disturbances, there are several examples of "boogaloo" white supremacists going into peaceful protests and creating mayhem.  Some people are indeed going into other neighborhoods to engage in destruction.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: June 16, 2020, 05:24:44 PM »

I'm a bit bewildered by the sudden hype over Dexamethasone for COVID-19. Having been there for the final stages of lung cancer treatment with my mom, every time she went through a rough patch and was having trouble breathing, it would be standard procedure to either restart her on dexamethasone or up her dosage.  It seemed like an absolutely standard approach to improve her pulmonary function.  So this is new for COVID?

What's new, and semi hype-worthy, is that it's shown a modest reduction in mortality for severe Covid cases.  It's not surprising that a potent anti-inflammatory would be helpful in the context of an inflammatory cytokine storm.  So you're right that this isn't surprising.  The reduction is modest.  But when there's nothing that definitely helps, any such advance is noteworthy.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: June 13, 2020, 08:09:29 PM »
There was a CDC report back before they got muzzled that had a similar finding. Obesity in the young looked like it could be a risk factor while in general it wasn't. Health effects from obesity tend to get stronger as BMI goes up, so its also quite possible that there isn't a discernable effect at 30, but there is over 35.

I would caution against using US-based data on this question.  In the US, outpatient primary care health care information is generally unavailable to hospital-based physicians.  One should probably look at Scandinavian data.  In the US, it's the primary care system that measures height and weight to determine BMI.  When a Covid patient presents to the ER, nobody puts that person on a scale to measure weight, nobody measures his height.  Height and weight, if recorded at all, is by verbal report.  I'd expect most measures to be merely by eyeball, at best.

To address this question, we really need to look at systems in which outpatient medical records are integrated with hospital records.  My impression is that the Scandinavian systems are best in this regard.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: June 13, 2020, 07:48:59 PM »
Just wanted to say that I didn't have a problem with Gandul's comment at all and I didn't feel insulted. It's a good thing to scan every source of information, whether it's a person, media outlet or institution.

As for my agenda: I have stated what it is multiple times in the Lessons thread.

SARS-CoV-2 is a logical outcome when one looks at the system that is at the core of all societies around the world. The goal of this system is the endless growth and further concentration of concentrated wealth. Every global problem is directly or indirectly caused and influenced by this system. To think that this system stands by idly when a crisis occurs is naive. The system will exploit this crisis, which is why I'm extremely wary of any official narrative. Call me paranoid, if you will.

The disease is real, the reaction is manipulated through propaganda and distractions.

That's how I see it.

I think a historical perspective is lacking here.  We have in 2020 a virus that is approximately as lethal and approximately as contagious as the virus of 1918.  In human living terms, it is having a similar effect.  The prescribed public health measures are similar (closing schools and public gatherings, wearing masks, etc.).  There is similarly no effective treatment or vaccine.

What is mostly different is the economic system in which this pandemic occurs.  In 2020 the global supply chain of manufacturing and food production is disrupted far more than in 1918.  Health care costs are far higher now, because there was no pricey health care in existence a century ago. 

Yet, overall, we've essentially been here before, with broadly similar effects.  There is no need to blame evil powers for any of this situation (not to say that there aren't evil powers in existence).

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: June 12, 2020, 06:21:10 PM »
However, the numbers you cited simply don't add up. There is no better method to understand mortality of COVID than excess mortality, and I use that in every case I can. That is the right method.

There are those Italian towns, where cca 1% of the population died and 60% has antibodies. If what you said were true, than at most 15% should have antibodies (as 50-60% would have fought off the diesease without antibodies).

Same stands for NYC. 25% of people have antibodies which by itself refutes the claim that 5 times as many fight off the disease without antibodies than those with antibodies.

Also, Icelandic data (the most widespread random testing I know of) show that the age distribution of antibodies is age-independent, ie. as many young have antibodies as old. If your claim was true, you would expect very few young people to have antibodies as they resist the disease without antibodies. 

So, based on facts, I find you hypotheses unacceptable and unsubstantiated.

This is the key quote i think

At the end of May, however, Swiss immunologists led by Professor Onur Boyman published what is probably the most important study on Covid19 lethality to date. This preprint study comes to the conclusion that the usual antibody tests that measure antibodies in the blood (IgG and IgM) can recognize at most one fifth of all Covid19 infections.

The reason for this is that in most people the new coronavirus is already neutralized by antibodies on the mucous membrane (IgA) or by cellular immunity (T cells) and no or only mild symptoms develop.

So basically for all these examples you have to look at the type of tests they did perform.

It would be nice to know how similar the tests are (both blood tests and swabs). All kinds of companies make them to different specifications and then actual swabbing protocols can make a difference.

The Iceland example is interesting too. Would love to read more about it if anyone has a link at hand about the tests they did.

We do not know how the pattern expresses over age groups yet.

So i think it might be a bit more complicated.

Excellent points all around.  Yes, the many available different antibody tests vary widely in sensitivity and reliability.  The specific test used is important.

With a good test, I'm very skeptical that only a fifth of past infections can be detected.  But it's possible that nasal swab IgA testing should now be a routine part of antibody testing.

I'm skeptical that one would develop T cell-mediated immunity without also developing antibodies, but it's possible.  It's difficult to assess this arm of the immune response.  But in the US, we do this for TB with a PPD skin test.  (in the case of TB, finding this immune response does not mean immunity, TB can progress despite such immune response.  Here, it's considered a marker of latent infection.  But this detail is irrelevant for Covid).

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: June 09, 2020, 10:33:44 AM »
“Something was happening in October,” John S Brownstein of Boston Children’s Hospital told ABC News. “Clearly, there was some level of social disruption taking place well before what was previously identified as the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic.”

Influenza B/Victoria was widespread in that time frame.  These data likely reflect a bad influenza season.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: June 04, 2020, 03:53:51 PM »
Son of a mother what is wrong with people?

A New Right-Wing Conspiracy Theory Claims COVID Contact Tracers Are Stealing Children

Link >>

Wikipedia:  "Folie à deux, shared psychosis, or shared delusional disorder is a psychiatric syndrome in which symptoms of a delusional belief and sometimes hallucinations are transmitted from one individual to another."

Pehaps we need a modified terminology for the social media age:  Folie à deux en masse
Stupid people in groups can be very dangerous.

Policy and solutions / Re: Cannabis can help save this planet
« on: May 21, 2020, 02:27:55 PM »

So the problem was the alcohol I consumed?
Thanks for that!

I hate you!
Not... ;)

LOL.  The moral of this may be to stick to weed instead.  ;-)

The port at 8501 is unfortunately a must, and wont be going away any time soon

"Any port in a storm."

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020 melting season
« on: May 16, 2020, 12:37:52 AM »

I was nearly gobsmacked to read such a clear, accurate and nuanced article in the mainstream press--about *any* technical subject, let alone the arctic.

Then I looked at the article, by Andrew Freedman, of the "Capital Weather Gang."  The group produces excellent meteorological and climatological reporting.   As I'm in that capital area, I've benefited from their expertise before.

Surely you cannot mean that the 4 trillion USD  fed rollout means that the US deficit has decreased by 4 trillion ? 

But this discussion probably needs moved to another thread.


It's still relevant, because the Federal Reserve is again pursuing quantitative easing and related measures right now in dramatic fashion.  This is a potent tool to fight economic contraction/deflation/contraction of the money supply (these are three facets of a single economic phenomenon).

The Federal Reserve balance sheet is a collection of assets (treasury bonds and now some commercial bond assets).  And these are true assets, with a real rate of return--that goes to the Treasury, to help pay for the fiscal budget.  This is exactly like a sovereign wealth fund.

So, acquiring these assets doesn't reduce the deficit, it reduces the debt, in real macroeconomic terms.

The Federal Reserve doesn't give money to any entity other than remitting profits to the Treasury.  It lends, and it buys.  It lends to banks at a policy-derived interest rate, and it buys mostly Treasury bonds at the market rate.  In severely troubled times like this and the Great Recession, it can buy other assets.  They just announced they will be buying corporate bond ETFs.  This isn't some taxpayer giveaway, plenty of normal investors are buying corporate bond ETFs.  And the Fed will receive interest payments, which then will be remitted to the Treasury.

In effect, when the Treasury sells a trillion dollars of bonds to the market, and the Fed buy a trillion dollars of Treasury bonds from the open market, then the government has just printed a trillion dollars to pay for a trillion dollars in spending.

This sounds terribly reckless, a prescription for hyperinflation.  But it's not.  Most of the money in circulation in the economy never was created by the Fed, nor the Mint, nor the Treasury.  Most money gets created in the process of credit/debt, borrowing/lending.  This majority component of circulating money is inherently unstable in amount.  In a recession, borrowing and lending stops, and the money supply contracts, creating deeper recession, further suppression of borrowing and lending, causing further contraction of the money supply.  Positive feedback is present.  There's also positive feedback in the other direction with inflation.

The macroeconomic system is thus dominated by positive feedbacks.  Systems dominated by positive feedbacks display oscillations.  In macroeconomics, the inevitable oscillations from these positive feedbacks are called "the business cycle."

Deflation is deeply destructive, and high inflation is also bad.  The oscillations can really only be effectively tamped by actions of the Federal Reserve.  Essentially it's entire function is to be the economy's thermostat. 

These ideas are part of the foundation of Modern Monetary Theory.  We could do a lot of progressive good by gradually replacing much of the credit/debt-based circulating money with government-issued money.  Doing so could go far in eliminating the positive feedback cycles that produce the instability and oscillations that plague economies.  It can also fund massive amounts of federal spending without causing inflation.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: May 15, 2020, 04:33:12 AM »
Thanks for all the warm wishes and good advice!
Terry, are you okay?
Terry? I hope all is well. We would all appreciate a quick hand wave.

Terry's silence is concerning, since his last posts described Covid-like symptoms.
The forum software reports:
Last Active: May 09, 2020, 02:52:07 AM
Last post:  April 23, 2020, 12:19:38 AM

Anyone have a back-channel way to contact him?

Thanks for giving arguments against the points instead of just calling Zerohedge names, Steve.
The article projects we won’t get Unemployment beck down to 5% until 2026. Do you think that is overly pessimistic too?

I don't know, but I think it may be plausible.  The economy has instantly shed a large proportion of non-essential jobs (which is bad) and also a lot of non-essential economic activity and carbon emissions (which is good).

What I think needs to happen (and has suddenly become politically feasible) is institution of a universal basic income.  Rather than have vast numbers of people being forced to take bullshit jobs to earn a paycheck, provide everyone with a basic income and stop creating bullshit work.  In the short-term, paying for this with deficits/quantitative easing is not a problem.  Longer-term, money will need to come out of concentrated wealth and those with exorbitant incomes.  That will be a challenging political battle.

From zerohedge, and pushes gold, but makes some good points:

Zerohedge is an awful source, peddling conspiracy theories, doom and gloom predictions.  It's filled with click-bait garbage.

Whoever wrote this failed Econ 101.  A nation's national debt is a complex issue, but when that debt is in the nation's own currency, options for managing it are easier to manage than most realize.

Japan is considered a very strong (though slow-growth) economy.  It has a debt-to-gdp ratio of about 200%.  It's not an unmanageable problem, it's definitely not a crisis.

Yes, a deep recession is already present.  The recovery may well be slow.  It's true that deflation is a profoundly destructive process.  But the Federal Reserve has literally infinite ability to reverse deflation.  The Great Depression dragged on because economists then didn't understand the importance of the money supply.  Since the Great Recession, the Federal Reserve has learned to be aggressive in fighting deflation.  Quantitative easing was initially controversial, but 4 trillion of that easing during that recession did not create the feared  hyper-inflation, it barely avoided deflation.  QE now could increase that 4 trillion to several multiples of that amount.  This Federal Reserve balance sheet represents a *negative* debt, and in macro-economic terms, should be taken as effectively reducing the nominal national debt.

The zerohedge article is click-bait nonsense.  It's a terrible source for a discussion forum.

The politics / Re: Economic Inequality
« on: May 13, 2020, 11:21:05 PM »
Steve, google "Pelosi double-dipping". First hit (at least for me) is:

Link >>

House leadership is also working on narrowing down the guidelines for how these funds are allocated to ensure that people aren't "double dipping" into the different pots of money, a senior Democratic aide told Axios.

PS: Dixon ain't lying!

Thanks for tracking the article down.

But no, Dixon is lying, or grossly incompetent.

He says that democrats are seeking to avoid double-dipping by receiving both enhanced unemployment benefits and the economic stimulus payments.  The economic stimulus payments would generally be taken to mean the $1200 direct payments to Americans.

That's not at all what the Axios article says.  It says:
"House leadership is also working on narrowing down the guidelines for how these funds are allocated to ensure that people aren't "double dipping" into the different pots of money, a senior Democratic aide told Axios.

For example, they do not want someone who is receiving more unemployment money to also receive money through the Paycheck Protection Program. However, it’s still unclear whether the PPP fund will be replenished."

The economic stimulus payments are separate from the PPP program.  The PPP program pays employers to keep employees paid, despite businesses being closed.  If your employer is paying your salary while not working, you should not also receive unemployment benefits.  This seems completely appropriate, and necessary to avoid sniping and vetoes by conservatives.

He's just wrong, and smearing democrats with no justification.  Read the Axios article.  Democrats are trying to put money exactly where the need is greatest.  He could have included the link to the article in his bit below the video, but didn't.  Here, he's a demagogue and a hack.

YouTube clips are terrible material for a discussion forum.

The politics / Re: Economic Inequality
« on: May 13, 2020, 03:47:18 PM »
Democrats More Worried About Poor People Double Dipping Than Corporations Getting Trillions

This is an excellent example of why YouTube clips are a terrible source for a discussion forum.

He says this information came from an Axios article  I can't find it.
He says Axios was quoting an anonymous aide to some congressional democrat.  We don't know who.  We don't know if there was any journalistic confirmation.  We don't know if any democratic legislator was offered a chance to comment, explain, or provide context.

The only legislator I know of who has raised a concern about "double-dipping" is Lindsay Graham. 

The Senate Republicans can derail any initiative to provide relief.  Was means-testing being contemplated in the interest of getting something of use beyond the roadblock?

Maybe the reality is as disturbing as this YouTuber claims.  Maybe the reality is more nuanced.  We really don't know, and meanwhile all we have is click-baity demogoguery without the least ability to fact-check anything.

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