Momentum is growing. In Federal Parliament this week George Christensen (Nationals party, Qld) gave an excellent summary of questions Jennifer Marohasy and I have been raising about the Bureau of Meteorology, and announced he would be calling for an inquiry.
It’s long past time. Why does the BOM have so little curiosity about the burning Australian heat before 1910? Why do older thermometers seem to need correction 90 years later for reading “too warm”? Why do so many hot or dry empirical measurements remain invisible in our national conversation about the climate? And with so many questions, why do the Bureau insist they are 95% certain they know what they are talking about?
The Transcript from Quadrant — Wanted: Straight Answers from the BoM.
“I rise to paint a picture of climate change — a picture where Camden, just to the south-west of Sydney, is sweltering in 50-degree heat. Over in the west it is 51 degrees in the shade at Geraldton. Perth is 44, Geelong is 43, Wilcannia 48, Carnarvon 49½ and Southern Cross is 50 degrees. The death rate is 12 in 100,000 from heat-associated deaths—435 dead over the summer!
This is not a Greens scare campaign but the Federation Drought, 118 years ago. It has never been as hot since.
See our post about the extreme heat of 1896 for the original links to the news archives that underlie what Christensen is talking about. Much of this work is fueled by the number crunching and research of Ken Stewart, Chris Gilham, Lance Pidgeon and others on the independent BOM audit team. See also the heat map of Australian 50+ temperatures, and all my posts on Australian Temperatures. It’s great to see this material being spoken in Parliament yet again.
The Media — the gatekeepers
As I watched his speech, I wondered if anyone in Parliament was listening. Speeches like this can disappear. Cory Bernardi, I and others called for an independent audit in 2011, and Dennis Jensen called for an audit of the BOM and the CSIRO in March 2014. But perhaps the time is right. The story was picked up by The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian and the Daily Mail Australia. Don’t miss my message, this time the media is paying attention. (Finally). But the Media IS the problem. Politicians have little power if the media ignore them. We need to fix the media first. The rest will follow. Improve the journalists, and we’ll get better policies, better politicians, and better bureaus too.
The mysteries of the Bureau of Meteorology:
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Is the latest sea-level rise unusual? Kurt Lambeck said it was, based on his version of the Holocene seas, calculated with modeled crustal movements (to try to guess the rises and falls of the beaches where the sea levels were changing). Obedient science reporters
broadcast his message to the world without asking a single hard question. But when the error bars are 2 meters wide and the dating estimates range over hundreds of years, I thought it beyond silly to think we could estimate 100-year average sea level rises in the time of Moses. Nils-Axel Mörner agrees, and shows data below from 50 years of research which demonstrates that sea levels are always oscillating, and that in Europe, the US, the Indian Ocean past changes are larger than the current ones. Nils has published nearly 600 papers on observations of sea-levels around the world. He calls the Lambeck paper an “insult” to geologists and sea-level researchers. — Jo
An insult to geology and sea level research
by Nils-Axel Mörner
Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics, Stockholm, Sweden, (morner AT pog.nu)
In the 60s, there was a vigorous debate whether the postglacial sea level rise occurred as a smooth rise (Shepard, 1963) or an oscillatory rise (Fairbridge, 1961). My own low-amplitude oscillations sea level curve (Mörner, 1969) came as some sort of intermediate solution (Fig. 1). It was derived by the isolations of the isostatic and eustatic component in the spectrum of 40 individual shorelines recorded over 300 km in the direction of tilting in the periphery of the Fennoscandian uplift and dated by numerous C14-dates (Mörner, 1969, 1971). Numerous subsequent records from places scattered all over the world indicate that, indeed, the postglacial rise in sea level occurred in a mode of low-amplitude oscillations (e.g. Pirrazoli, 1991). This is even true for the Late Holocene and the last millennium (e.g. Mörner, 1980; van de Plassche, 2000; Hansen et al., 2012).
Fig. 1. Regional eustatic curve for northwest Europe according to Mörner (1980).
In a recent paper, Lambeck et al. (2014) claim – with respect to the Holocene to present sea level changes –
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Clive Palmers done a deal to pass the Direct Action plan. Earlier this year Palmer declared that Direct Action was “hopeless” and “dead” – saying it would be too expensive and achive little for the environment. Now he’s done a deal to pass it, insisting we get a review of an emissions trading scheme, something not so long ago he would have mocked too. The man has no principles.
In the end, this is $2 billion wasted. We may get a few new trees and some slightly richer soil as a side effect, which is good, but this is an inefficient way to do it.
It’s good news that Abbott did not pander to the Gore’s great wish to get a promise of an Emissions Trading Scheme. That would have been a win for Gore. He would have loved to wave “Australia’s committment”. Instead he will wave that Australia is still planning and considering an emissions trading scheme.
But the continued wasted funds to groups like the Climate Change Authority means there will be another two or three years of full gloss press releases urging the public to be afraid. The Coalition needs to wise up and fund alternate views. We need a national debate, and either we fund no campaigners or we fund both sides of the debate.
With the government only funding the side-for-alarm, the public and media only see official or “credible” claims that are alarming. Those claims are never tested by anyone or any organization with any government backing. Without a government funded audit team on the BOM or on climate science, the Coalition is just setting itself up for failure on climate issues because the only “credible authorities” will be ones determined to make any Coalition reluctance to go the full carbon agenda look foolish. Climate is a major policy area and needs auditing – just like finances are audited, a court trial has a defense, or governments have oppositions.
The public need to hear both views so they can make up their own mind.
Don’t we owe it to the environment?
PS: Post edited and updated on the fly. Sorry, it’s a busy day.
In the past, David and I have written about how money supply is rampantly expanding, and how this benefits the spenders and the speculators while punishing the producers and the savers (in a relative sense of course). We’ve been called conspiracy theorists for pointing out systematic problems with paper currencies.
Today in The Australian we find some more people who agree with us: Rupert Murdoch, Veteran Reserve Bank economist Peter Jonson, Warwick McKibbin (former Reserve Bank Board), and Bob Gregory (Professor of economics at ANU and another former Reserve Bank Board member). It’s good to see this issue make the front page. Shame it wasn’t there 15 years ago.
“Rupert Murdoch had warned G20 finance ministers that money printing by central banks had exacerbated inequality…”
“Mr Murdoch is saying what a lot of people including central bankers are saying in private and increasingly in public,” said Warwick McKibbin
Here’s the latest US money base* graph. The massive injections started in August 2008, the numbers ran right off the old graph scale. It was a temporary liquidity injection to tide us over difficult times. It took 90 years to grow the US base money to $800 billion. Now six years later the money base of the US has grown by 500% to $4.5 trillion. No one is pretending the money base will ever return to what it was. Instead officials try to manage the market and the money supply with repeated warnings of “the end of tapering” and markets leap or dive depending on the phrasing. Stock investing is not about company valuation anymore, as about predicting the bureaucrat. Markets have become bets on what interest rate committees will do.
The bank bailouts in 2008 and this little-known graph are what underlie both the Tea Party and the Occupy movement. People know something is wrong. It’s long past time to discuss it.
US Money Base, 1918 – 2014
St Louis Federal Reserve
Central banks are printing money (with digital wheelbarrows). Like temperature data, officials can adjust inflation figures to hide the effect of the extra dollars (look up hedonic adjustments, and changes to the weighting of “fixed” baskets). Like temperature data, there doesn’t need to be an overt conspiracy, just a systematic culture that rewards bureaucrats who think of reasons to reduce CPI. Which government minister will reward the senior bureaucrat who finds that inflation figures are biased low, and need adjusting upwards? Which government has an incentive to expose hidden inflation, and pressure the central banks to put up interest rates and make voters pay more in mortgage repayments?
If you or I print money, it’s counterfeiting and a crime. When central banks and large financial institutions do it, they’re saving the economy.
Money begets money
Ultimately the winners are the ones who get to spend the newly printed money first — that’s borrowers and speculators. To borrow, you need collateral, so wealthier people can borrow more. The commercial banks create new money for them to spend on assets, and because lots of people with newly created money are bidding up the price of the assets, those asset prices go up. Which means more collateral, so repeat.
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New Global Placebo Effect (GPE) announced by Baroness Verma in the UK.
It’s a scientific breakthrough. Global warming may be stopped by the mere thought of trying to reduce CO2, even if that thought fails to bring down actual CO2 levels.
The central dilemma: CO2 levels have been rising “faster than expected” for the last twenty years, yet global warming has been rising “slower than expected” for almost as long.
Matt Ridley was questioning Baroness Sandip Verma at the House of Lords this week. He pointed out to the peers that even the IPCC admits there is “hiatus” that modelers can’t explain. Verma responded: “‘It [global warming] may have slowed down, but that is a good thing. It could well be that some of the measures we are taking today is helping that to occur.’” [Source -- Dailymail]
Verma raises the intriguing possibility that windmills and solar panels that were built after 2005 have managed to keep global temperatures constant starting from ten years before they were constructed.
What’s even more remarkable is that none of these projects or activities have reduced global CO2 levels. It follows then, that the mere thought of building windmills is enough to change the weather.
Furthermore, it’s well known that more expensive placebo’s are more effective. Hence the final-final copy of the latest IPCC report — issued on Friday after the leak, the draft, and the redraft — will explain that they are 95% certain that if we spend $2 billion dollars a day on renewable energy (instead of just $1 billion) there will be no more category five storms, seas will stop rising, and goats will stop shrinking.
This morning, the UK Prime Minister David Cameron offered to give The Royal Society 350 billion pounds to research the new GPE. Sir Paul Nurse promised to start experiments straight away — beginning by asking seven million British school students to do a coloring in competition on emissions reduction every Monday in 2015 to see how much global temperatures can be reduced compared to other days of the week.
The University of East Anglia announced they will simultaneously set up a new division to monitor Mondays on HadCRUT and also on their Global Climate Models. “We don’t know whether models are subject to the placebo effect, but we suspect they might be” said a spokesman. The project is due to start in January. Nature has already accepted their paper.
But Dr Roy Spencer was skeptical, and suggested that the correlation may work the other way in models. “The more money we spend on models that predict warming, the less warming we seem to get“ said Spencer.
Filed under: satirical press.
Hat tip to Marc Morano & Climate Depot.
David Rose at the Daily Mail has been following a network of money. The big machine funding climate activism is Climate Works, which was kicked off with a half billion from a Hewlett Foundation in 2008 (as in Hewlett-Packard). Other donations are in the order of $60 - $100 million, any one of them vastly larger by orders of magnitude than budgets that skeptical groups operate on (if they have a budget at all).
It takes a lot of money to keep a false idea alive. This is just another Wall of Money. Yet despite that, skeptics are winning battles, unwinding schemes, shrinking the Green gravy trains, and spreading the word. It’s amazing what a small group of volunteers and barely funded skeptics can achieve with only their wits and truth on their side. (Thank you to the readers who help us, it makes a big difference.)
ClimateWorks feeds money to the whole gamut of groups like Greenpeace, WWF, and the usual suspects, and it partners with the European Climate Foundation, and in the US, the Energy Foundation. There are Chinese and Indian branches and an Australian Climate Works as well (but it’s not clear how or if the latter is connected.)
Ultimately, the Billionaires Clubs in the US were dodging tax using loopholes to gain more political influence for their buck, and quite a few boards are filled with positions of former politicians and bureaucrats (more jobs for the boys?). It’s a money-go-round.
The Climate Change Scare Chart was created in 2011. It needs an update and more details. Layers and layers of details.
Follow the money
The most significant source for the ECF’s millions is a body called Climate Works – a private foundation which channels colossal sums to climate campaigners worldwide.
The Climate Works manifesto was set out in 2007 in a document entitled ‘Design to Win: Philanthropy’s Role in the Fight Against Global Warming’. It said that to be effective, a campaign to change government policies on energy and emissions would need at least $600 million from donors.
According to leading energy analyst Peter Atherton of Liberum Capital, current UK energy policies shaped by the Blob will cost between £360 billion and £400 billion to implement by 2030. He said this will see bills rise by at least a third in real terms – on top of the increases already seen over the past ten years.
It was driven by the belief that without radical action, ‘we could lose the fight against global warming over the next ten years’.
It advocated the giving of generous grants to local campaigners in count
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Using layers of ash in lake sediments in Italy, researchers claim to have dated the last flip of the Earths magnetic field more accurately than ever before — at 786,000 years ago. The spot has unusually high resolution during the right 10,000 year era, which gives better detail on the process of this major event. Curiously the flip started with two periods of magnetic instability that spanned first 6,000 years then, later, 2,000 years. At the end of the second period, suddenly the magnetic flip occurred. It was so fast that researchers guess it was in less than 100 years.
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The New Yorker has the best article I have read yet on the Ebola outbreak. Finally we get human story and details of how this outbreak started and spread, along with the outstanding heroic efforts of those on the front line. The article has details on everything, the genetics, the virology, the story of escalating fear as health workers started to get infected, and the hard decisions.
Who would get doses of ZMAPP, and which other experimental therapies would be tried? ZMAPP is the genetically engineered copy of antibodies against Ebola, and it does appear to be useful, even though it has not been properly tested. Kent Brantly, the US doctor who contracted Ebola, improved within hours of receiving ZMAPP. His recovery was so fast his medical staff wondered if it were possible, but his colleague Nancy Writebol did not show the same progress.
Know thy enemy: only six proteins and one line of code, yet so incredibly deadly. The virus is not one virus, but a swarm of particles — an evolving population.
Since Ebola makes errors as it replicates, each genome was like a hand-copied text, and detectable differences would emerge among the genomes; there isn’t just one “strain” of the virus. Ebola is not a thing but a swarm. It is a vast population of particles, different from one another, each particle competing with the others for a chance to get inside a cell and copy itself. The swarm’s genetic code shifts in response to the changing environment.
As far as the the current news goes, I am heartened that so far there are no new cases spread from the two Texas Nurses. That is a good sign. Their contacts are not out of quarantine yet, but the peak incubation period is 6 -12 days. Amber Vinson flew on Oct 10 and 13.
The simple particle of information and the devastating medical progression:
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Sharing data is one of the most essential principles of good science and has led to remarkable advances in areas like genetics. But one recent study showed the worst sharers were ecologists, as only 8% shared their data. This new paper by Soranno et al describes sharing data through publicly available datasets as “ethically obligatory”. (Did we need a paper to say that?) And she further claims environmental scientists are out of date. (Which all seems rather bleedingly obvious to anyone in the climate debate.) Soranno argues a cultural change is needed. Indeed.
It’s good to see recognition here of the value of citizen scientists, but the paper misses the elephant in the room. There is no recognition that the largest pool of citizen scientists on the planet are often formally trained, experienced, and seeking data from public institutions on such controversial, dangerous areas as tree rings and thermometers. Nor that the scientists with the worst sharing habits are not the ones who don’t release data, but the ones who ignore FOIA requests, then threaten legal action as well.
One day perhaps social scientists will recognize the real ethical fire burning in science.
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Have you booked your place? He’s in Melbourne today and Monday; Canberra, Thursday; Perth next Friday and Saturday; Hobart, Brisbane and Noosa the next week. Post bumped up as a reminder. Book Now! -Jo
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The Australian National University (ANU) created a bit of media storm in Australia in the last week when it declared it would divest itself of “socially irresponsible investments“, with a focus on fossil fuel use. ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young was emphatic:
“I have repeatedly said climate change is the most serious issue ever to have faced humanity.”
And later, “fossil fuel-reliant companies will not survive the next 20 to 30 years unless they diversify into new energies.”
Applause and recriminations followed.
Sinclair Davidson rather callously suggested this was just a token gesture of pointless political symbolism. (Golly. You are such a cynic Sinclair.) Obviously, if climate change is THE most serious issue, the next step for ANU is to light the way, and stop using the products of fossil fuel companies too. It is surely time for a Fossil Fuel Free Zone (FFFZ) on campus. Like a Nuclear Free Zone, all forms of Fossil Fuels and Fossil Fuel Bombs will have to keep away.
All petrol and diesel powered machines would be barred at the gates. Truck deliveries will have to be by electric and solar powered trucks. Hey, other trucks can drop the goods at the gates. I’m sure students won’t mind carrying the boxes as they arrive, or perhaps Delivery-Rickshaws are the answer? General fitness and health on campus would improve. What’s not to like?
Heating on campus during the long cold Canberra winter could be solar powered, or fired by waste paper (like recycled peer reviewed papers?). Buildings could be made from wood collected from sustainable plantations (like the Chemistry lab in Nottingham — but without the part where it burns down).
I expect henceforth that campus staff will be happy to travel to conferences by foot, bike, yacht and/or nuclear sub. Or they could just Skype international colleagues from their windmill powered computer (the “Skype and skip” conference initiative). Nothing is more important than the climate.
Australia should not just be an adopter of alternative energy, we should be a producer,” he wrote. “I have often said the real debate in climate should be about producing cost-effective alternative energy. Sticking our collective heads in the sand and ignoring a changing world will ensure we do destroy jobs. “Universities like ANU should be the powerhouses to produce the new technologies for such a world.
And it’s not like Prof Young’s job, status or grants are affected in any way by climate PR and the level of political conviction and public pressure about CO2.
“As well as being Vice-Chancellor of ANU, I am also an active researcher. Climate and changes to climate figure heavily in my research into physical oceanography, global ocean climate and extreme meteorological events.” – Prof Young, ANU
Perhaps instead of rejigging investments, and releasing press releases about that, Prof Young will explain the Pause, find the missing heat, or the lost hot spot?
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What’s almost as good as an actual record? A could-be-a-record Headline!
“2014 could become the hottest year on record” – said CBS, The Guardian, Time, Washington Post, Discover Magazine, The Japan News, Wired, and 319 other outlets.
None of the investigative hardened editors or science reporters knew enough to ask the question, “what do the satellites say?” Which would have been interesting because the satellites say “bollocks”. h/t SPPI
On his site, Dr Roy Spencer explains that 2014 won’t be the warmest year on record. Satellites track almost all of the Earth for 24 hours a day and the data shows that we don’t need to go back to the Medieval Warm Period to find a hotter year, just back to 2010.
It might be the hottest year if you live in a white louvered box above a carpark, next to a concrete-heat-sink-superstructure, and not far from a runway. Though even then you might need to be homogenized and adjusted to really feel the heat. But for the rest of the surface of the Earth, 2010 is not a record, not even close.
It’s all pretty pointless anyway Roy points out — we’re arguing over a hundredth of a degree.
See Roy’s great blog
In case you’ve missed this — stem cells have been used to partially restore movement in a 38 year old man who had his spinal cord completely severed by a knife attack in 2010. The cells came from his nose, and are technically olfactory ensheathing cells (OEC). They are unique cells — the only nerve fibres we know of that grow and make connections with the central nervous system. It’s no magic instant bullet, but a first step. It’s taken 19 months of intensive rehab after the transplant, but he is now able to drive. It’s not known if this procedure can help with paralysis caused by other, more messy causes of spinal breaks. The stab wound was a very clean cut.
It is almost 30 years since Prof. Geoffrey Raisman first identified the potential of OEC’s to repair nerve damage in mice. In November 2012 researchers in Edinburgh were able to restore a dogs ability to move hind legs.
Speaking earlier today Geoffrey Raisman described the results as “more impressive than man walking on the moon”. — speakingofresearch
There are at least three different methods of possibly curing paralysis which have all made announcements this year. In May a different group announced that electrical stimulation helped four men to voluntarily move limbs. Another group, also in May, announced that a different kind of electrical stimulation helped macque monkeys.
We can become experts in windmills, or we can help quadraplegics walk. Every dollar wasted on carbon sequestration is an opportunity missed, a cure delayed.
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I am glad that Nigeria is officially free of Ebola now. The story is reassuring. New outbreaks of Ebola are stoppable. But the numbers are sobering. They show how far gone the situation is in West Africa.
The index patient (as the source of the outbreak is known) arrived in Lagos, a megacity of 21 million people, on July 20th — a recipe for disaster. Over the next six weeks 19 further people were diagnosed with Ebola. The death toll was eight people, many of them health workers. Those infected generated 989 contacts, and it took 18,500 in-person, follow up visits to make sure that the virus did not spread further.
Translate those ratios to West Africa, where the latest WHO situation report shows there were 2,638 new cases between September 26 and October 17. In Nigeria, each infected person on average generated 50 contacts, and each contact generated 18 follow-up visits. This is only the roughest of ballpark estimates, but if the ratios were similar, it means that solving the spread in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea would generate 130,000 contacts and require 2.4 million follow-ups in the next three weeks. By mid November that will double. Obviously things are too far gone to use the same techniques in West Africa, and the strategy must be to strategically prioritize the actions that reduce the Ro (reproduction rate) to slow that exponential curve.
If airborne transmission occurs, it must be reasonably small. The message from Nigeria is that patients are not that infectious until they hit the late stages and are hospitalized or close to it. Dr Stella Adadevo probably saved Nigeria from disaster, but tragically died from Ebola herself. We must do more to save the heath workers. (Surely we can organize blood transfusions from survivors?)
A new study suggests three people a month will fly from West Africa with the virus if no exit screening takes place. (I’m not sure how useful that number is, given the exponential growth curve, and the non-random selection of high risk people seeking better hospitals.)
Scientific American discusses the way Nigeria controlled the outbreak. It was not rocket-science:
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Kurt Lambeck at ANU scored a Climate Bingo moment in the modern media last week with declarations that the 20cm rise in sea levels last century was “unprecedented” in the last 6,000 years! But sea level is fiendishly difficult to measure thanks to rising and falling bits of land. Present day scientists argue over sea level changes in the last 10 years, yet Lambeck seems to have figured out the sea levels in 4000BC. Tricky, what.
When Nils Axel-Morner tried to figure out which modern spot in Denmark is tectonically stable he looked at 60 years of detailed data, from 40 beaches around Denmark. Lambeck has a model that kinda does all that and more. It works out the mass of the icesheets circa Tutankhamen and calculates the mantle conditions. He sorts out the geoidal bulge with assumptions about mantle viscosity to look at tectonic displacement. Hmm. Could be some uncertainty there?
This is Fig 1 from Lambeck et al 2014. Note the scales. Really. Figure how large the 15-20cm rise of the last century would look on the y axis here which doesn’t just cover 150cm, it covers 150 meters. Who would be brave enough to declare that sea levels did not rise by 15 or 20 centimeters per century at least once during the last 6,000 years?
Fig. 1. Distribution of far-field sea-level data for the past 35 ka. (A) Depth−
age relationship of all data with 2σ error estimates.
Here’s a closeup of the graph for scale. As best as I could, I marked what a one meter rise would look like (the little red dot). That’s five times the size of the warming in the last century. I searched for a more detailed graph of the last 6,000 years in the paper or the supplement, but couldn’t see one. Perhaps I missed it?
Close up of Fig 1.
The PR certainty in this is out of all proportion. See the spread on that holocene data in Australian sea levels to get a better idea of what sea level data is like. Would Lambeck really declare that in Moses day seas definitely weren’t rising at the same rate from, say, 1310 BC to 1210 BC? I ask, because in Greenland at least, things were heating up quite a bit around then. (Not that I care about the exact years, just the principle.) Lambeck has “found” a form of natural historic data smoothing. As Eric Worrall points out, when the dates of proxies are uncertain the peaks and troughs tend to blend. It is only the more accurate data today that will pick up steep rises and falls.
A case of PR Amplification?
The headlines bear little resemblance to the data or the body of the paper:
The Guardian: “Sea level rise over past century unmatched in 6,000 years, says study”
Research finds 20cm rise since start of 20th century, caused by global warming and the melting of polar ice, is unprecedented”
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Compare the response of The Firestone Rubber Plantation in Liberia to the Hospital in Dallas, Texas.
The rubber plantation has 8,000 workers with 71,000 dependents. It is an hour north-east of Monrovia, surrounded by Ebola outbreaks. The virus arrived on the plantation in March. Knowing that the UN and the Liberian government were not going to save them, the managers sat around a rubber tree and googled “Ebola” and learned on the run instead. They turned shipping containers into isolation units, trucks into ambulances, and chemical cleaning suits into “haz-mat” gear. They trained cleaners, and teachers, they blocked visitors, and over the next five months dealt with 71 infections, but by early October were clear of the virus. There were only 17 survivors (the same 70% mortality rate as elsewhere). But without good management, there could have been so many more deaths.
In contrast, the nanny-state takes a good brain and stops it thinking. In Texas, trained health professionals were caught unprepared, following inadequate protocols they assumed were good enough, and even risking their own lives. A nurse who cared for a dying Ebola patient — and knew how bad Ebola could be — still needed to phone someone to ask if it was OK to board a plane with a slightly raised temperature (99.5F or 37.5C). The official she spoke to “didn’t Google”, they just said yes because her temperature was lower than the official threshold of 100.4F. Let’s not blame her, she was doing her job, is now fighting for her life, and almost certainly did what so many others would have done. Let’s ask instead how we train workers to know that officials can sometimes get it wrong and they need to think for themselves. When the officials fail so badly, in so many ways, the failure is not single-point, or bad luck, but systemic. The nanny-state is selecting networkers and smoochers instead of decision-making leaders. Officials rarely lose their jobs and golden handshakes, or face a seriously investigative media — which would keep them on their toes. Surely either the nurse who called or the bureaucrat who answered would, if left to their own devices, have figured it was not ok to fly–but by the smothering dumbness of of bureaucracy she ended up flying.
Stability is good, but the system is so stable it’s ossified. Executives were so busy telling everyone not to worry, they forgot to worry themselves. The Firestone plantation is an inspiring story. It gives me hope.
Liberian Rubber Farm Becomes Sanctuary Against Ebola
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Hope you are having fun…
The bad news -Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said the disease was still out of control. Thanks to the mistake with a plane, a few US schools have closed, and whole neighborhoods are being roped off. How fast does a 19Kb string of information spread? Outside Africa, Norway has one case, Germany has had one death, one survivor, and one case. Spain has lost two, and is treating one. France and the UK have a survivor each. Today, at least, Senegal has been declared free of Ebola.
The WHO organization has admitted it botched the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
“In a draft internal document obtained by The Associated Press, the agency says “nearly everyone” involved in the response failed to notice the potential for Ebola’s explosive spread.
The agency acknowledged that its own bureaucracy was a problem, pointing out that the heads of WHO country offices in Africa are “politically motivated appointments” made by the WHO regional director for Africa.”
The good news - CSL have said they will develop a plasma product from survivor’s blood. At the moment this is the most pragmatic possible treatment. There are 3000+ survivors who have antibodies, which appear to save the lives of victims (Brantly, Writebol, an American journalist, and hopefully the Texan nurses). It could still take a long time to produce, and it all hinges on how fast it can be done. It could save the medical staff who are so at risk and so important. That would mean more medical staff and other volunteers would be happy to volunteer. Then it could be provided to some patients and their sole carer to potentially stop transmission from wiping out whole families, or leaving children orphaned, and importantly reduce the Ro rate.
CSL say the biggest problem is getting blood of survivors. Dare I suggest: pay them, and the free market will provide. The survivors will benefit. The GDP per capita in these West African nations is $400 – $800 US a year. Our money makes much more difference there than waiting to spend it on victims here. Stop it at the source.
What will stop this if we don’t?
Evolution of viruses on a continent of one billion people and countless billion animals that may act as reservoirs and future carriers is a risk we don’t want to run. The exponential curve is relentless — there are ten million people in Sierra Leone and Liberia, and while the disease has only afflicted a tiny 0.2% of their populations so far, the only thing stopping that growing to 100% is the West. As Albert Einstein said, compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe. The number of cases doubles every 3 to 4 weeks. We may be
twelve eleven doublings away from wiping out 7 million people and unleashing who-knows-what mutation on the world. Does anyone think that border control will keep that carnage within their national boundaries? Ebola has been detected in rats, chimps, antelopes, monkeys, dogs and bats. They won’t stop at the border checkpoint.
The West is already surely a magnet for any potentially exposed people in West Africa who have a passport to get to there. If you had the means, and knew you were at risk, would you stay in Monrovia?
The latest UN Situation report – 15 October 2014 listed around 600 new cases a week in Liberia as of a few weeks ago. Ominously, the statistics are falling, but no one is happy, because it’s believed the real numbers are getting worse and the reporting is falling rather than the infections. There are around 500 new cases in Sierra Leone each week, and 200 new cases in Guinea. Approximately half the new cases are from the capitals — showing the virus is now well established in Monrovia and Freetown. There a pockets of good news. “There does appear to have been a genuine fall in the number of cases in Lofa district…”
The Australian – CSL, the Australian maker of blood-plasma therapeutics, has been asked by Bill Gates to explore whether it can develop a plasma product to treat Ebola.
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