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Messages - SteveMDFP

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Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: September 30, 2020, 11:00:22 PM »
Leonid Schneider wrote a scathing "review" about vitamin D:
I think he is right. Also this is industry-driven.

Did you actually read this?  It's a screed that relentlessly impugns the motives and character of everyone under the sun.  He has virtually no substantive criticism of the clinical trial cited above.

This is not a dispassionate discussion of the relevant evidence available.  Note that while he accuses almost everyone of having corrupt financial motives for lying to the public, he's not above soliciting donations to himself at the end.  How is he not equally liable for denunciation and ridicule?

What's good for the goose....

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

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: September 30, 2020, 08:07:11 PM »
Hydroxychloroquine No More Effective Than Placebo In Preventing COVID-19: Study
Benjamin S. Abella,, Efficacy and Safety of Hydroxychloroquine vs Placebo for Pre-exposure SARS-CoV-2 Prophylaxis Among Health Care Workers: A Randomized Clinical Trial, JAMA Internal Medicine, (2020)

Thanks so much!  Your tireless posting of relevant articles is much appreciated.

This does lay to rest the final use case for HCQ in my mind.  Up until now, it was an open question whether it might be useful as a prophylactic medication, started well prior to exposure.  Some might quibble about whether a longer duration or lower dose might have been successful, but these seems implausible to me.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: September 30, 2020, 05:06:06 PM »
Well, I am upping my vitamin D to 5000 units a day, just in case.
Ditto.  Last time I reviewed the literature, there were no cases of Vit D toxicity at doses below 10,000 IU/d.  One case of a woman taking 10,000 IU.  She developed kidney stones after several years, as i recall.

As a personal anecdote, I'be been taking 5,000 IU/d for a few years.  I did notice a dramatic reduction in getting colds.  It did not spare me two flu-like illnesses this spring, but they both resolved in 72 hours.  Otherwise, not even a cold in all this time.  Your mileage may vary.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: September 30, 2020, 03:23:18 PM »
There will come a point where our treatments wont reduce the death rate much more or anymore as we reach peak treatment. When that happens, death rates will increase alongside case numbers.

I don't think we'll reach a "peak treatment."  There's no shortage of anti-viral agents with good activity in the lab.  They're just lacking completed trials.  Many are orally active.  Right now, the only such agent in widespread use in the US is remdesivir, which has to be given IV.  Thus only people in later stages of infection receive it, in hospital.  Giving an antiviral in the later stages of infection is guaranteed to be only slightly successful.

The next great advance in treatment will need to be an oral agent that can be administered as soon as the infection is diagnosed.  Right now, it's reasonable to give Vitamin D to such a person when diagnosed, before they're sent home to isolation.  We can and will go beyond that treatment modality.  I'm fairly gobsmacked at the lower priority for such trials, in comparison to vaccine development trials.

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.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: September 28, 2020, 06:37:45 PM »
I voted 1-10 million deaths, and prayed I was wrong. Now I'm starting to pray I was right :(

Ditto.  Same vote, same sentiment. 

I've been surprised mostly by 2 things:  how well comparatively mild measures have slowed the growth of the epidemic, and how slow the progress has been on therapeutic interventions.  In terms of numbers, my flawed predictions are cancelling each other out.  This gives me no joy.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« on: September 27, 2020, 05:24:35 PM »
That's diminishing returns: increasing amounts of energy needed to extract decreasing amounts of material each time. And what applies to oil also applies to minerals. And when that extraction, processing, manufacture, and use take place, there's also more pollution and environmental damage in general, which in turn worsens the effects of diminishing returns.

It's a nice theory, but for renewables, reality has been showing the opposite.  Prices for solar energy have been dropping dramatically.  If you want a megawatt-hour of electricity, utility-scale solar is the quickest, cheapest, and cleanest way to generate it.  That's not showing diminishing returns, its showing economies of scale.  We've barely scratched the surface of what's feasible.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: September 27, 2020, 02:04:59 AM »
, RESULTING IN OBESITY WHICH LITERALLY WAS ALMOST NON-EXISTENT BEFORE THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION -- is the problem here, and it is completely ignored while people clamor for a vaccine. It is ludicrous!

Hardly.  Obesity is far from irrelevant for Covid mortality, but neither is it the most determinative factor.  Age is.  Obesity approximately doubles risk of a bad outcome with Covid.  That's not nothing, neither is it a factor deserving of such attention:

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: The Climatic Effects of a Blue Ocean Event
« on: September 25, 2020, 01:29:50 PM »
How is DMI N80 heavily skewed?

As I understand it, not all areas N of 80 are equally weighted in their "average."  Weighting increases as you approach the pole.  I can't fathom why it was set up this way.  But having started with this algorithm, it needs to be continued to enable direct year-to-year comparisons.

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 25, 2020, 12:46:53 PM »
Last try

The EROI “problem” is non-existent for renewables, there is ample surplus energy available from Solar, Wind and other renewables.

There are no diminishing returns, there is expansion in RE. It’s self-replicating, as a new source of energy, one RE device pays back and then produces enough to build another in 1 year, so energy production capacity can double every year without the need for FFs.
7 years 0 to 100%

Scotland got to net 100% electricity mostly with wind in just over a decade without trying too hard. Still more planned to cover transport, heating etc.

Nice summation.

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, 07:14:57 PM »
  Several seasons of food calories worth so you need your equipment to last several seasons more to come out ahead. I think doing the same calculations for calorie payback of large items like tractors would result in manufacturing energy that never gets repaid in food calories. That is the 10 calories of fossil fuel energy used to manufacture and operate equipment never yields 10 calories of food.

There's nothing wrong or unsustainable about using 1000 calories of energy to produce 10 calories of food -- unless your energy form is human muscle power.  Then you've got an immediately unsustainable system.

For using solar/wind/hydro energy of 1000 calories per 10 calories of food, the question is simply that of the cost of the renewable energy calories versus the value of the food calories.

Then the sustainability question comes down the level of environmental damage per 10 calories of food.  If the environmental damage is negligible and the price economics work, then it's a go.

The amount of environmental damage can be brought into the price calculations with an appropriate level of carbon tax.  A more generic environmental impact tax could be applied to the renewables as well.

This is why looking at EROEI is a poor way to analyze these questions.  Price calculations give far easier and more actionable answers.

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. 

The politics / Re: Elections 2020 USA
« on: September 22, 2020, 02:43:45 PM »
My understanding of the article was that the votes could be mailed until Friday. Is that incorrect?

The author didn't clarify that, did he?  You suppose there's a reason he left that ambiguous, even misleading?  Better to gather clicks and readers.  Got to make people worried.  That's where the money's made, for a poor writer who can't find an actual job.

Why read these mercenary authors?  Why muck up this forum with their excrement?

The politics / Re: Elections 2020 USA
« on: September 22, 2020, 02:11:08 PM »
Mike Snyder is Right Wing so I know he is like the skunk at the picnic here, but his latest blog post brings up so many clouds over the election I didn't know it is scary, and I was already expecting a mess this November. Pennsylvania might throw out 100,000 ballots unopened and allow voting till the Friday after the election. There are other things in this post that worry me. He has links to where he gets this information, so it is not just him making stuff up. See here:

A load of nonsense in this fear-mongering click-bait.  Items postmarked by the due date are considered timely submissions to the government, as with tax returns.  So it should be with ballots.  A reasonable deadline for receipt, say 3 days or so, is a practical necessity for timely  reporting of results.

Ballots are sent out with security envelopes.  The signature goes on the return envelope, often with a bar code for tracking.  If someone uses their own envelope, these security measures are gone, and the ballot cannot be assured of being genuine.  Of course it should be discarded.

We won't be assured of the election outcome on election night.  So what?  For most of US history, results weren't known for weeks.  That's exactly why we vote in November, but the winner takes office in January.  This never caused the Republic to fall before, so why should it now?  Where's the problem?

Don't fall for click-bait.  There are reasons why fringe authors remain on the fringe.  They're following a basic business model to keep their revenues up.  We don't have to buy what they're selling.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: September 21, 2020, 03:19:45 PM »
This is an interesting trial that started five months ago, but won’t have results until December

I wouldn't hold my breath.  The regimen *does* need to be studied, but there are two treatment arms with no placebo arm.  Both treatment arms receive HCQ.   If it shows a difference between the doxy arm and the azithromycin arm, I'm not sure what meaningful conclusion one could draw.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: September 21, 2020, 01:21:15 AM »
I have read from twitter that there’s a second volunteer in Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine tests with neurological problems post vaccination. Didn’t find any news source reliable of this, but it could be a real bummer if so.

Thanks for the heads-up.  It seems there have indeed been two cases of transverse myelitis:

Human trials of Oxford vaccine on hold in the US over spinal-cord disease fears

"Trials of the Oxford vaccine have been paused twice after two participants, both British women, sequentially developed transverse myelitis, an inflammation of the spinal cord that can cause paralysis.

The first pause, in July, was not publicly revealed and the trial was restarted after it was determined the volunteer had multiple sclerosis, a condition that can cause the same neurological reaction.

The second pause, widely reported two weeks ago, followed the second suspected case of the condition in a volunteer who is said to have been hospitalised but now recovered."

More details at the link.  I find it peculiar indeed that there hasn't been more press coverage of this issue. 

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.

Arctic sea ice / Re: MOSAiC news
« on: September 20, 2020, 06:30:18 PM »

Vortex effect: it either engulfs all the buoys in which case we would observe all buoys also rotating around a common center, or many vortices would be affecting the different buoys in which case the movement synchronicity would be lost.
So this factor must be really small

Yes, you're right here.  My thinking hadn't fully developed on the possibility.  I'm sure there are lots of vortices in the region, but you're right that this idea does not explain the observed motion. 

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: September 20, 2020, 06:24:50 PM »
I suspect it may be a pan-Earth problem.
It's a Northern Hemisphere problem.

It is also mostly why Melbourne's numbers are now plunging but of course they will credit the lockdowns as they did in NYC.

Of course the lockdowns are to be credited.  A very small but rapidly expanding outbreak was tamped down successfully with public health measures.  Zero possibility of any herd immunity at play.  Impose the measures and the epidemic fades.  Relax them and cases spike.  How many examples from around the world are needed to demonstrate this basic dynamic?

And, of course, the Southern Hemisphere includes South America and South Africa.  So, it is pan-global, except for Antarctica.  For now.

Arctic sea ice / Re: MOSAiC news
« on: September 20, 2020, 05:14:39 PM »
Amazing! I must admit that I have never heard of this inertial oscillation phenomenon. So no, I had not considered it ...

From the paper u300673 linked to above, and from A-Team's excellent post (as how could it not be) it seems that tidal oscillation and inertial oscillation have the same frequency and can easily be confused with each other.

Quote from: Sea ice inertial oscillations in the Arctic Basin
As the Arctic Basin lies between 70◦ and 90◦ of latitude, the inertial oscillation frequency varies from −1.88 to −2 cycles day−1 at these latitudes and is thus merged with the semi-diurnal tidal oscillation frequency. The differentiation of these two types of oscillations can be done by looking at the amplitude of the Fourier spectrum with respect to signed frequencies ...

So having considered inertial oscillation I find it easy to dismiss - it cannot explain the cyclical path of the buoy and so we are back to my first guess of changes in wind direction.

The inertial oscillation phenomenon is new to me, too.  But I suspect the quasi-circular motion of the buoys may depend on a confluence of factors--tides, inertial oscillation, wind, and also ocean turbulence with vortex formation.  The last might be the dominant factor here, just my guess.  In a region where vast flows are moving both north and south, vortex formation is inevitable.  And vortices are circular in motion.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« on: September 18, 2020, 07:35:10 PM »
I feel I have to stand up for fellow members with a different view, especially new ones, that get treated not so respectfull.

Quote from: SteveMDFP
It seems ralfy only wants to look at EROEI, not prices.

Why do you write about him in the third person?

"ralfy, you seem to only look at...." would be more respectfull. Please.

Yes, I know this is off-topic and I should post this in Forum Decorum, but then it is lost. I will remove this post tomorrow morning

No.  This is a public forum.  My words were addressed to the forum, about ralfy's posts.  The third person was the correct tense.  Any disrespect you perceive is imaginary.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: September 18, 2020, 04:40:50 PM »

"The economist" is not hard data.

Snort.  Just because they don't publish original epidemiological research doesn't mean that it isn't among the highest quality publications.

The link goes to a page of graphs looking at the Southern Hemisphere's 2020 flu season, in comparison to previous years.  It looks persuasive to me,  and it also makes biological sense, as I believe El Cid explained succinctly and persuasively.  They cite the data source for the graphs as "WHO’s Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System."

So, are you suggesting that The Economist fabricated the source data?  Or that the WHO doesn't provide meaningful data on global influenza epidemiology?  What, exactly, is the supposed deficiency here?

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« on: September 18, 2020, 04:21:40 PM »

Next, how about a study from 2020 (since anything before that appears to be outdated) that shows high energy returns for renewables, and more important, assurances that economies of scale can be achieved easily to translate those high returns to quantity?

In the end, I think studies (and preferably global) rather than news articles are more important.

It seems ralfy only wants to look at EROEI, not prices.  I find this peculiar.  I'm no expert in the field, but most of the better work I've ever read on the economics of energy focus on price, rather than EROEI. 

EROEI ignores all resources other than energy expenditures that go into production.  It also ignores the form of energy.  A kilojoule of gasoline is fairly useless when you need a kilojoule delivered to the grid.  So an attractive EROEI for gasoline is deceptive when a lower number for electrical production from other sources is entirely feasible and profitable.

A low-carbon economy appears to require an electricity-dominated use of energy.  With electricity, one can use, for example, heat pumps that deliver more than a kilojoule of heating for each kilojoule of electricity.  This is just one example of how a kilojoule of electricity can do far more than a kilojoule of any fossil fuel.

For economic comparisons of electricity production costs, most look to "levelized cost of energy."  There's a wealth of carefully developed information for comparison purposes.  This is the kind of analysis actually used for those planning and deploying power plants.  It's far more hard-nosed, objective, and verifiable than estimates of EROEI. 

It would seem utility-scale photovoltaic energy is approximately the least expensive way to get a kilojoule of electricity:

Levelized Cost of Energy and Levelized Cost of Storage 2019

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, 06:52:35 PM »
The current IFR of around 1%-3% is only possible because we have strict lockdown and travel restrictions.

The IFR will spike much, much higher if these restrictions are ever lifted.

The IFR doesn't directly vary with increased prevalence.  Perhaps you mean that infections will have higher mortality when healthcare resources are overwhelmed.  A bit under 1% would be much closer to our rough consensus on this forum.  But I don't think we need to re-ignite that point of disagreement.
My own sense is that we'll likely see a gradually falling IFR as treatments incrementally improve.  It may drop dramatically if/when we have an effective treatment that can be given orally, and started as soon as Covid is diagnosed, for high-risk individuals.

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. 

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: September 11, 2020, 06:21:55 PM »

The funny thing (and good thing) is that I find more and more testimonies of doctors that use HCQ no matter what, especially in limited-resources countries.
Too many doctors with too little political influence cannot be lying or Hurting their patients on purpose.
I can't agree that this is persuasive at all.  When treating an infection with a 99% survival rate, a doctor treating individual patients cannot reliably discern what works from what doesn't.  Thus, there's no shortage of individual doctors who are wildly enthusiastic about, say, homeopathy.  Or ozone therapy. Or IV vitamin C.  Or, or, or.  Generally, they're completely sincere and convinced.  But they're surrounded by trees, and can't perceive the forest.
There’s a new clinical study in Spain analyzing Vit D effectiveness, it is really powerful in its conclusions. Like they give calcifediol (analogous of vit D) with an initial dose equivalent of several weeks recommended amount, followed by a very high maintenance  daily dose, and the number of bad outcomes virtually goes to zero

There's a long history of suggestions that Vit D may be of major importance in resistance to respiratory viruses.  Previously, there's not been compelling reason to undertake clinical trials.  But when a new, fairly lethal pandemic arises without satisfactory treatments, there is indeed strong justification for undertaking trials.

The positive findings don't surprise me.  If the stuff had any significant toxicity at the suggested doses, one should advise caution. 

Institutions issue treatment recommendations only very cautiously, for rational reasons.  One needn't invoke financial conspiracies to explain this.

Fortunately, very many individual physicians make independent judgments about treatment decisions.  Well, in this case, that may be "fortunate."  In other circumstances, it's lamentable.  I suspect we'll see use of Vitamin D in actual practice increase briskly. 

We may well see a further decrease in estimated IFR, quite possibly as a consequence.  Certainly, incremental advances are being made, regardless of Vit D.  I'm cautiously optimistic that the global picture may be dramatically improved over the next 6 months.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« on: September 09, 2020, 04:03:25 PM »

I don't see that as a problem because it's below what many places can afford to produce it, and even when it isn't the low price means the income available in profit from producers selling it is hugely reduced.  Not forgetting that the price of oil is just the start of the process to it being used in a car or power station and much of the cost is tied up in initial capital expenditiure. 

As demand falls it is inevitable that price falls and the extraction of oil becomes a less attractive investment.

It's definitely a problem because one reason why investors were switching to renewable energy was because oil was too expensive. Second, in order to get that oil--and which was also used to manufacture renewable energy components--the oil industry had to take on, as the BIS estimates, a total of $2 trillion in debt. In order to cover just part of that debt oil prices will have to rise to around $100. But when that happens the global economy falls apart, and that imperils renewable energy manufacturing as well.

Do you see the problem? The global economy which produces and uses that renewable energy needs a lot of cheap oil for the transition, but by that they mean oil extracted at very low energy costs, not prices.

Not at all  true.  Your arguments keep focusing on debt related to fossil fuel use.  The debt is largely irrelevant to the discussion.  It's not central at all.  We're currently in a setting where oil is around $40/barrell, down from near $100.  High oil cost producers (frackers, deep sea drillers, coal) are indeed going bankrupt.  This is a consequence of the economic downturn, not a cause.

In bankruptcy, debts are wiped out, and productive assets sold at pennies on the dollar, and those that can be operated profitably remain in production.  Investors lose money.  The consumer side of the picture hardly changes at all.

In the macroeconomic picture, even $2 trillion in bad debt is not a catastrophe if it's all liquidated in bankruptcy.  Note that the Federal Reserve recently created $2 trillion in a matter of weeks.  There will be no collapse from fossil fuel debt.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« on: September 09, 2020, 03:42:24 PM »

As for propaganda, the only thing I've seen about that besides press releases are your preposterous claims that I shared outdated information, when the only thing you've shown to prove that are references to lower prices. That makes absolutely no sense at all, especially given the point that even oil prices now are low! Does that mean that energy returns for oil have now increased dramatically?

Bad analogy.  Renewables are like power stations, not like petroleum.  If fossil fuel power plants were becoming dramatically cheaper to build, yes, that would fairly directly indicate a better EROI.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: September 09, 2020, 03:36:30 PM »
US Data from

Steep reductions in daily new cases and daily deaths.

It notable how the curve of cases changed abruptly just when data reporting switched from the CDC to a private contractor with HHS....

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.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: September 06, 2020, 09:23:16 PM »

Also a case in a higher positivity environment probably has a higher IFR than a positive test in a low positivity environment.

Possibly so, but I'm sure what your envisioned mechanism would be for this difference.
Higher positivity rates in local community mean the health care system is more likely to be overwhelmed?

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.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: September 03, 2020, 07:37:12 PM »

I remain unconvinced. A much higher standard of evidemce is given by randomised controlled trials, since there can always be hidden confounding in observational studies, and in RCTs hydroxychloroquine has shown zero benefit vs placebo.

yes, but all your linked studies have the defect Dr. Campbell mentions. They used a very high HCQ  dose. The so far unverified claims of efficacy use a low dose. We need RCTs that measure low dose efficacy before we can rule it out.

I too remain unconvinced but open to change my mind.

The video was above-average in quality, but painfully long for the content provided.

He doesn't seem to grasp the pharmacokinetics of hydroxychloroquine (and chloroquine).  These agents have an extraordinarily long half-life, in the ballpark of 40 days.  This means that a Lupus patient taking 200-400 mg daily builds up to a therapeutic blood level over months.

Trying to build up to such a level within a few days, in order to treat an acute infection, would require higher doses than any of the studies discussed.  Interpreting the Belgian study as supporting the lower dose as providing superior efficacy is not plausible in my mind.

Not to say I'm disputing the Belgian study, just the presenter's interpretation of the disparity.  Essentially all anti-viral treatments for acute viral infections depend crucially on starting treatment as soon as possible after infection (or start of symptoms).  A comparison of mean time between symptom onset and initiation of treatment might explain the discrepancy among studies better, and would make more biological sense.

I recall one study from India that showed positive results for hydroxychloroquine when given prophylactically to health care workers at risk of infection.  I believe there were notable methodological shortcomings.  Still, this strikes me as a more plausible (and safer) approach biologically.  Perhaps in a few months, we might see high-risk individuals going on a stable prophylactic dose where community transmission is occurring.  We'll just need to wait for other studies to report out.

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.

Arctic sea ice / Re: Melt Ponds
« on: September 03, 2020, 05:00:44 PM »
Wouldn't the fresh water drain until it reaches the level of the fresh water/salt water boundary?

Since the floe is floating, the drained melt pond will reach a level matching that of the surrounding sea.

Or, actually, very slightly higher, as the still-fresh water is slightly less dense than sea water.  The weight of a water column inside the floe must match the weight of a corresponding column outside the floe (down to the same arbitrary depth), to be in equilibrium.

Edit:  Ooops.  We already have a melt ponds thread, at least one other:

Melt Ponds!,427.0.html

This thread should be closed/locked.

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,

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: September 03, 2020, 03:14:44 PM »
RE:  Brain Damage from SARS-CoV-2

The worst thing about COVID is the brain damage it causes in people who aren't infected. It has helped foster the rise of CCP-style authoritarianism globally. It truly is the Chinese virus in that it seemingly turns random Westerners into CCP-style authoritarian automatons. I wonder if a virus has ever previously caused more damage amongst those it didn't infect vs those that it did?

Please stop trolling.

Some have rather little to fear from this virus, some face serious risks of a very bad outcome.  Some care about the welfare of those at serious risk.

Historical context is important.  This isn't the first serous pandemic humanity has faced, without treatment or vaccine. 

Public health measures being advanced now are much less drastic, less disruptive, less authoritarian than measures that have been imposed throughout history.

The public health control measures being suggested are not the problem.  Failure of society to adjust more nimbly to avoid socio-economic suffering is the problem.  Universal basic income, and prioritizing resources for child care and education would resolve most of these difficulties.

The rest / Re: Masks
« on: September 02, 2020, 03:37:06 AM »
Steve, Just wear a surgical mask over your n-95.
Do you think enough people wearing masks will modify this years influenza season? 

Covid seems substantially more contagious than influenza.  Any measures that reduce Covid's R-nought to near 1 should drop influenza's R to well below one.  I'm expecting the mildest influenza season in recent history.

I read just the other day, somewhere, that there's no sign of influenza spread in the southern hemisphere yet.  So that, so far, supports my surmise.

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.

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