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Messages - Paddy

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Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: June 28, 2020, 08:28:34 AM »
Covid cases worldwide have passed 10 million, and deaths have passed 500 thousand:

Probably Covid deaths will pass 1m before the end of the year, meaning exactly one punter will have got their prediction right, despite all the advances made with Remdesivir, dexamethasone, convalescent plasma, increased ITU capacity etc., since the daily worldwide death rate has been pretty constant around 5k per day for the last two months, and there are 187 days till the end of the year.

Given the rest of the 2020s are yet to come, and that this isn't covering the indirect deaths... but also that at some time in 2021 we should hopefully have a vaccine, I'd reckon either the 1m to 10m or the 10m to 100m bin is likely to be the correct one.

Arctic sea ice / Re: September predictions challenge 2020
« on: June 10, 2020, 09:04:31 AM »
June predictions:
JAXA: 3.75 to 4.25 (Medium confidence)
PIOMAS: 4 to 4.5 (Medium confidence)
NSIDC: 4.25 to 4.75 (Medium confidence)

Going for "between 4.25 and 4.75", which has been a frequent bracket across previous years

Alright, binntho has convinced me - going for the 3.75 to 4.25 bracket as well

 May 1st 12:00 GMT

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars Part Deux
« on: April 03, 2020, 05:49:33 PM »
Are any car companies likely to go bust courtesy of this outbreak?  New car sales must have dropped massively all over the world...

Policy and solutions / Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« on: April 03, 2020, 05:47:10 PM »
One thing that I expect will happen from this at an individual level is that a lot more people will start to maintain a store of long lasting goods that they need at home, so that they don't end up out of pasta / tinned tomatoes / toilet roll / whatever the next time there's a crisis.

I also wonder if fewer people will want to board a cruise ship, after the various plague ship occurrences we've been seeing with this.

On a medical level, it's possible we may identify some new broad-spectrum antiviral treatments.  We'll certainly be able to rule out a lot of candidates for such treatment, given the number of trials under way.  And I'd imagine the world's intensive care capacity may get a significant upgrade.

On a systematic level of how the world runs?  Many countries may be a little quicker to respond the next time a new infection shows similar behaviour.  But remember that there have been a lot of false alarms and contained situations while waiting for the next viral pandemic, and there will be a lot more to come after this... which will likely wear down responsiveness all over again, over time.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 03, 2020, 05:36:28 PM »
Does the fact the western european countries are in the 'top' with deaths/million say something about how bad we are reacting on the virus or how bad the statistics in other countries are?

A little of both, plus a few other factors. 

Western European countries have generally been hit harder than East Asian countries, which may be partly attributable to the SARS experience in East Asia previously, and general precautionary attitude maintained by much of the population with regards to respiratory infections, e.g. widespread wearing of masks etc.  Some Western European countries may have been particularly complacent (e.g. the UK). 

As for the stats, there may also be some dodgy stats from China, but Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea all genuinely seem to have escaped the worst of this and kept such outbreaks as they have had under control.

A particularly vulnerability of Western European countries to this has lain in many having generally high population density + old populations + lots of airport links with the rest of the world, which is not so much a matter of a bad reaction as just bad luck in this regard.

Then, of course, you have other countries whose outbreaks are just getting going now.  We don't know how bad things are going to get in the USA, Russia, or Brazil, for example, but there seem to be issues in the response in all these countries... and a fair few factors to suggest it's going to get pretty bad. 

I imagine future epidemiologists will pore all over the data in months and years to come.  And many historians and political pundits will argue the toss over the justifiability of different countries' responses.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: April 02, 2020, 05:08:48 PM »
Given how much production has been shut down as unprofitable, how soon will production bounce back once demand picks up, as and when we have a vaccine and business goes back more or less to usual?

And will there be slightly less demand than prior to lockdown due to general economic fallout, people having got used to videoconferencing / working from home?  Or more, because many people will have unfinished business to catch up on?

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: March 30, 2020, 07:28:29 AM »

Apparently it's not just individuals, but countries that are stockpiling food.

If this goes on, especially if harvests in western nations are disrupted due to barriers to seasonal migrant workers, the food supply situation could yet get a bit ugly.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 18, 2020, 12:33:11 PM »
There's been mutterings on the interwebs about maybe repurposing some small animal ventilators (usually used by vets for managing cats and dogs, but able to cover a respiratory cycle quite adequate for humans, as some dogs are human sized) to manage Covid19 patients.  Not sure where they'll find the staff to manage these - perhaps they'll hire vets and vet nurses for this as well? 

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 16, 2020, 06:48:44 PM »
Quote from: Paddy
...The USA, however, has them in abundance, at 29.3 per 1000

That would be 29.3 (ICU beds) per 100,000 people according to your source.

Whoops! Corrected that

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 16, 2020, 06:26:41 PM »
headline reads like 79 million , but 7.9 million hospitalized is not possible .. not the beds so not likely . Millions dead more likely . How do we deal with that ?   b.c.
Those millions do not require hospital care at the same time if all goes well.

And this is the number that would need hospitalization. When the beds are not there, that means that the CFR goes up a few percentage units.

241,000 hospital beds in the UK.

Do you have a source for that number SH

Last time I checked .

The UK has 127,000 total including mental health and rehab.(... not counting hotels)

The number of beds in general and acute hospitals in the UK has fallen from 110,568 in April-June 2010 to 100,406 in the same period this year (2019). Current occupancy is already 85-95% - without a pandemic.


Also, according to Dr Fauci the US has 12,700 spare ventilators.

IMHO, if Italy have been struggling so much with 3.18 hospital beds per 1000 people, any developed country with fewer hospital beds than that per capita is really going to struggle. 
Both the USA, with 2.77 hospital beds per 1000, and the UK, with 2.54 beds per 1000, would certainly be on the list of countries in difficulty

The situation is a little different with regards to ICU beds.  Italy has 12.5 per 100,000.  The UK is clearly at high risk of running out with 6.6 per 100,000.  The USA, however, has them in relative abundance, at 29.3 per 100,000.

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: March 14, 2020, 08:34:00 AM »
I was worried about coronavirus with regards to food supplies, but now I think it might be a slight alleviating factor in this regard.
- The collapsing oil price disincentivises the use of foodstuffs as biofuels, and also makes fertiliser, food transport and various other farming related activity cheaper.
- The reduction in particulate emissions in countries in lockdown should help crop growth, livestock health etc.
- Assuming we do, sadly, see millions of deaths worldwide, we can also expect to see a small commensurate dent in food consumption.

Consequences / Re: Chinese coronavirus
« on: February 15, 2020, 11:41:03 PM »
The whistle-blowing doktor was 41, and he's gone.


Consequences / Re: Chinese coronavirus
« on: February 12, 2020, 08:59:44 AM »
Quote from: vox_mundi

We have to treat the new cases with a dose of scepticism as Chinese authorities appeared yesterday to change the way these were counted.[/b] Previously anyone diagnosed with the virus was included as a new case, but from now on only people with symptoms of infection will be included in this number

Do you have a source for this statement?

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: February 11, 2020, 06:44:14 AM »
Paddy, what is your idea of how agriculture and food supplies will be affected because of the virus?  Lack of human labour? Lack of transport freedom? Am I missing something?

Primarily human labour, secondly lack of transport freedom, thirdly closure of factories producing key goods like fertiliser (potentially).

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: February 10, 2020, 07:54:33 AM »
The food price index rose again last month:

Query: does the coronavirus outbreak have the potential to disrupt agriculture / food supplies? It seems like it may rise to a peak in the northern hemisphere's main planting season. EDIT: And one effect it does seem to have had in China (and perhaps may also be having elsewhere) is to cause more people to hoard food, driving up prices in the short term

Consequences / Re: Chinese coronavirus
« on: February 06, 2020, 10:10:32 PM »

And become endemic, joining the four other known coronaviruses that cause 25% of all common colds.

Not really equivalent - the common cold has a vastly lower (effectively negligible) mortality rate than this new zoonosis.

Consequences / Re: Chinese coronavirus
« on: February 06, 2020, 09:28:47 PM »
If the economy crashes Trump is unlikely to get reelected.

Not necessarily. People often elect reactionaries when times are tough.

Consequences / Re: Chinese coronavirus
« on: February 06, 2020, 08:23:32 PM »
I'm pretty sure this virus has already slipped containment. Don't just look at the countries reporting confirmed cases, look at the countries that haven't. Indonesia. Laos. Myanmar. Pakistan. Mongolia. North Korea.  Every country in Africa and South America.

China's economic growth means that the whole world has lots of transport links with it. Many of the icountries I've picked out have particularly strong economic links and two-way traffic, but no confirmed cases. I expect, personally, that this is more from a lack of monitoring than a lack of actual cases, given the non-specific symptoms and the hundreds of cases already seen in other, higher surveillance countries. Unlke its antecedants SARS and MERS, I very much expect this virus is going global.

Arctic sea ice / Re: 365 day average extent poll
« on: January 19, 2020, 07:40:49 AM »
I'm going to call it - the majority of us, myself included, were probably wrong. I think there's too much ground to make up in the next two months with recent gains.

Policy and solutions / Re: The Most Ambitious Plan of the Human Race
« on: January 16, 2020, 05:28:15 PM »

So I looked at the UK. Essentially it is all wind or solar divided almost totally down the middle.  Yet, today, around 12% of our energy is produced by Nuclear and that will not change in the short term.

There is NO mention of storage at all and we are very aware that thera is at least one period, of 1 week long, per year, where wind produces close to 0% power.  That is half your power mix and with no storage, what do you do at night.

This situation is ameliorated significantly by the fact that we can import power from other European countries via interconnectors when ours is insufficient to meet demand.  Thus, we don't need to build quite so much more storage or baseload power as long as we can depend on the French, who have already built plenty of nuclear power stations, Irish, Dutch, and, in future, Norwegian, Belgian and Danish grids, all of which have their own energy mixes, and would likely also have different weather at any given time to us.  Equally, in times of surplus, we have energy to export.

(Admittedly, all of this is a bit at risk since Brexit means that tariffs may be applied, making interconnectors less viable... but it's working for now, anyway).

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: January 16, 2020, 04:31:05 PM »
"Over 1 million fires..."

but muh arsonists...  ::)

The arsonists thing is just so painfully stupid.  It relies on statistics that anyone could learn were false in 1 minute using google; it supposes that environmentalists would secretly conspire to torch the very environment they want to protect in order to make a political point; it ignores record breaking heat and dryness; it also ignores all expert opinion from fire fighters as well as scientists.  Too many people are living in a post-truth world.

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: January 09, 2020, 11:36:01 AM »
The FAO food price index December figures are out, and it's climbed to a 5 year high:

I doubt the January situation (Australian wildfires, oil price scares, Chinese New Year etc) will be helping food prices to stop rising. On the bright side, it's still significantly below 2011-2014 figures.

Consequences / Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« on: December 22, 2019, 08:17:53 AM »
Not just rich countries. Every country on the planet today has a greater life expectancy than, say, the USA did in 1900 (49.8). The global average life expectancy today is 72.6 and climbing.

Consequences / Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« on: November 22, 2019, 09:11:06 AM »
Except that it is happening, among the religious and the irreligious.  The net reproduction rate has fallen to 1.09 daughters per woman.  9% fewer and we're at replacement fertility.
I thought replacement was about 1.05 daughters, to allow for a few who don't reproduce (die early, never marry, etc.)
I'm not sure where the 1.09 number comes from, but I'm sure it already takes into account those that don't bear children, averaging with those that do.


Consequences / Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« on: November 21, 2019, 09:44:46 AM »
As has been said in this thread a few times before, population growth can be reduced quite ethically by increasing women's access to education, employment and contraception, all of which reduces the fertility rate and population growth; women have fewer children later when they have education and jobs to focus on.

Yes, I know, but that's a very long term solution.  It doesn't help us in the next 10 or 20 years.  Also, it probably won't happen at all because the big religions are all opposed to women's rights and access to contraception and education.  If religion wins the war of culture and ideology then it will be because they can outgrow all of us sophisticated, ethical, secular types.

Except that it is happening, among the religious and the irreligious.  The net reproduction rate has fallen to 1.09 daughters per woman.  9% fewer and we're at replacement fertility.

Consequences / Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« on: November 18, 2019, 10:50:21 PM »
As has been said in this thread a few times before, population growth can be reduced quite ethically by increasing women's access to education, employment and contraception, all of which reduces the fertility rate and population growth; women have fewer children later when they have education and jobs to focus on.

I may have been projecting... my own cold tolerance generally seems to have dropped off a lot in recent years. But partly that might be that I'm no longer able to keep up the habit of regularly cycling to work in all weathers with my current living / working arrangements, and partly due to my partner having a significantly lower cold tolerance still, meaning that a home environment that's comfortable for her does nothing to keep my tolerance up.

Premise one: human bodies to an extent generate their own body heat, primarily in response to the actions of their muscle mass; more muscular and physically active bodies generate more body heat than less muscled and less active bodies.

Premise two: muscle mass tends to peak in a person's twenties

It follows that each year would tend to feel warmer than the last to people until they hit peak muscle mass in their 20s, after which each year would tend to feel colder

It would seem to follow from this that climate change would seem more in keeping with subjective experience for younger people, and less in keeping for older people. Might this not extend to how people at different ages respond emotionally to climate change, and differing political beliefs regarding the need for action?  (Speaking in terms of overall population tendencies with many individual variations, of course).

The politics / Re: Brexit...
« on: November 05, 2019, 03:58:53 PM »
Labour's Brexit position is a two step plan.
Step one: spend three months trying to negotiate a better deal
Step two: have a referendum on whatever deal they get vs remaining.

I can see the rationale behind the second ref part being more democratic than simply cancelling Brexit, and I respect the principles shown.  At the same time, this whole plan is not without a couple of obvious pitfalls (the EU may well not be in the mood for yet more renegotiation, and a second ref could go either way).

Overall, I'm likely to vote for whichever party out of the Liberal Democrats and Labour looks more likely to unseat the Conservative incumbent in my local constituency.

In answer to your second question: there are many other divergent party positions on everything besides Brexit to consider. As well as such factors as the personality and trustworthiness of the different party leaders and local candidates. However, Brexit is the preeminent concern in the minds of most voters at this time.

Arctic sea ice / Re: 365 day average extent poll
« on: October 19, 2019, 07:13:57 PM »
IF (if & only if) 2019 extent gains are generally at or below average, we could see a record 365 day average low late in this year.

That would be a pretty shocking outcome.

Arctic sea ice / Re: September predictions challenge 2019
« on: September 30, 2019, 11:48:39 AM »
So, now that we can safely call the correct NSIDC bins as being 4.00 - 4.50 & 4.25 - 4.75 M km2, does anyone have the free time and inclination to tot up the final scores?  Apologies for being lazy / distracted by other nonsense...

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019/2020 freezing season
« on: September 21, 2019, 11:59:31 PM »
I think it is time to open it.

It is now, one month later.

Changing over on the equinox as we are seems highly appropriate (even if it would have been a little early last year)

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019 melting season
« on: September 19, 2019, 11:59:52 AM »
JAXA/ViSHOP extent has just increased marginally, and now measures 3.98 million km²:

That puts the (very!) tentative minimum for 2019 at 3.96 million km² on September 17th.

Has the 2019/20 freezing season begun yet?!

I wouldn't quite call it yet. The remaining loss last year would still be enough for a new minimum. Perhaps in another day or two with further rises.

Arctic sea ice / Re: 2019 sea ice area and extent data
« on: September 19, 2019, 11:56:14 AM »
I wouldn't quite call minimum /freezing season  yet, but perhaps in another day or two.

Unless something extraordinary happens it looks like more than 50% of the voters got this poll right. This applies even if extent drops another 250K.

Curiously, it looks like the hit rate in June this year (49.1%) was better than the hit rate in July (33.6%).
I'm assuming it doesn't drop another 250k. but that seems a very safe bet right now.

Arctic sea ice / Re: 2019 sea ice area and extent data
« on: September 18, 2019, 05:53:14 AM »
So we now enter the "3"'s decade ...

I would generally anticipate the coming decade will average in the "3"s, but would expect it would have the odd "4" and quite possibly at least one "2".

Arctic sea ice / Re: September predictions challenge 2019
« on: September 17, 2019, 12:23:20 PM »
My June predictions are as follows:
JAXA: 3.75 to 4.25, medium
NSIDC: 4.25 to 4.75, medium

My July predictions are as follows:
JAXA: 3.75 to 4.25, medium
NSIDC: 4.0 to 4.5, medium

Droping my JAXA bin a half step further to 3.5 - 4.0.  Still Medium confidence.

My August predictions are as follows:
JAXA: 3.5 to 4.0, high
NSIDC: 3.75 to 4.25, high

Deadline for entries is the 15th of the month, as per precedent.

My JAXA predictions have been lucky enough to be fine throughout, but not so much NSIDC... either I guessed too high in June or too low in August. So probably either 26 or 24 points for me, depending.

Arctic sea ice / Re: 2019 sea ice area and extent data
« on: September 15, 2019, 10:57:48 PM »
What would the area and/or extent have been in the early-mid 20th Century?

You may want this thread:,1461.0.html

Or maybe one of a few others in the "Arctic Background" section

Arctic sea ice / Re: 365 day average extent poll
« on: September 12, 2019, 01:40:49 PM »
I went for "within the first 3 months of 2020", since we had a long period at or near record minimum between the end of March and August this year, which might well contribute to an overall average 365 day minimum if extent stays pretty low for the next 6 months or so; but from late October last year to March of this year the extent was relatively high, so we'd need much of that period to no longer be part of the trailing average to make a new record. 

Time will tell, though.

Arctic sea ice / 365 day average extent poll
« on: September 12, 2019, 11:37:24 AM »
Based on Gerontocrat's 365 day Arctic sea ice trailing average extent graphs. When would you next expect to see a new record low 365 day trailing average?

Currently the average is about 160k above the record in 2016 (eyeball estimate from said graph, so please take with a pinch of salt).

EDIT: As pointed out by Gerontocrat, please note that we're talking about JAXA extent here.

Consequences / Re: Hurricane Season 2019
« on: September 02, 2019, 11:48:31 PM »
Judging by that link this is an almost annual occurrence since around the 2000's. Before that it was rare but not unheard of.

Worth noting that not all the hurricanes listed under that link were still at hurricane strength when they got to Canada.

Consequences / Re: Hurricane Season 2019
« on: September 02, 2019, 10:59:04 PM »
"Rare but not unheard of"

I was about to use those exact words:

Consequences / Re: Hurricane Season 2019
« on: September 02, 2019, 04:01:03 PM »
Decent article in the Washington Post about Dorian:

One new record has been flagged up in the article - this is the first time on record that there have been four successive years with at least one Cat 5 hurricane. What are the odds that 2020 will make it five years, I wonder?

Consequences / Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« on: September 02, 2019, 03:08:00 PM »
The thing is, that "population collapse" sounds thoroughly scary... but Japan is continuing to run just fine in spite of negative population growth. Probably something to look at for how we might be doing with this later...

Technically, the middle finger is the modal value...although from eyeballing it, the mean may possibly fall within the same range, if the data isn't sufficiently skewed for it to be the folded finger below.

The rest / Re: Are you hoping for a global civilisational collapse?
« on: August 27, 2019, 12:19:35 PM »
I went for a straight "I hope not". I'm not going to try to predict events decades in the future. Some parts of our global civilisation may see major stress in the fairly near future (eg Britain post Brexit), but we've seen big chunks of the world go through major stress without global civilisational collapse (eg Russua post USSR). What I'd expect is that the locus of power may swing... firstly towards China, and then, as China ages, towards the next rising power, whomsoever that may be. Which will be difficult for the Western world to reconcile to, but not global collapse difficult.

I think it would need something like global thermonuclear war to trigger global collapse. Not just increasing food and water stress etc... civilisation has weathered these storms on a local level many times before.

Why is this in Arctic sea ice section?

Good question.

Arctic sea ice / Re: September predictions challenge 2019
« on: August 26, 2019, 12:51:27 PM »
Anyone else feeling bemused that their June prediction is looking a lot better than their August one right now?

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