JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Windfarms threaten peat bogs and turn them into carbon emitters

More ironies.  One fifth of all soil carbon is stored in peat bogs.  Unfortunately when industrial wind turbines are built on them, the damage turns them from carbon sinks to carbon sources thus neutralizing the point of building the wind farm.

The headline evokes some supernatural power:

Wind farms built on carbon-rich peat bogs lose their ability to fight climate change

As if the magical whirly totem stick loses the gift of weather control when placed on a peat bog?

But the real damage is not just to wallets for another pointless windfarm. Peat bogs are so much more than carbon sinks — they are also an archive of paleohistory and the  ancient climate. Indeed, even though cattle, wind and rain can damage the bogs, the researchers now say the wind farms now pose the “most serious risk” of all. Apparently the vehicle access tracks create artificial streams that drain the peat. The drainage changes are pervasive and “affect the whole peatland” not just the part near the track.

The “blanket bogs” are rare, but occur from Spain to Norway in Europe as well as in Canada, New Zealand and Korea.

The paper is a thinly disguised plea from bog experts to save [...]

Unthreaded Explosions

An open thread, with remarkable footage and terrible state of affairs in Lebanon. Pray for the people of Beirut.

Apparently someone didn’t think much about storing 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer in one spot in a city for six long ticking years. Two tons of the same was used to kill 168 people in the Oklahoma terrorist bombing. In this case, the worst “terrorist” appears to be bureaucratic negligence. Lebanon is in a dire state, with hyperinflation ruining life savings, and coronavirus accelerating.

Chatter suggests the explosion was set off by workers welding the doors to stop thieves?

Because there was a smaller fire, many cameras were on when the second explosion started.

Phenomenal footage and news on #BeirutBlast

Afterwards

Beirut port after explosion.

Fully destroyed. Too much bodies to count. #beirutexplosion @akhbar pic.twitter.com/TYMVx0WZVo

— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) August 4, 2020

The danger of uncontrolled chemistry.

China now has half of the worlds coal power fleet

The global economy has been sucker punched by a world wide pandemic, but ABC propaganda writers don’t miss the chance to push their ultimate fantasy, that coal has turned a magical point in a terminal decline. Global coal fired capacity fell by an awesome 0.14 percent for the “First Time On Record”. Hyperbole knows no bounds.

How excited can someone get over a decline of one sixth of one percent? This much:

The world is now shutting down coal plants faster than it’s opening them

by James Purtill, ABC

The world’s combined coal power capacity has fallen for the first time on record as the closure of generators outstripped stations being commissioned. That’s good news for global emissions.

Note the numbers:

Coal power capacity fell by 2.9 gigawatt in the first half of 2020 — a small though significant drop of about 0.14 per cent, according to US research group Global Energy Monitor, which monitors fossil fuel developments.

By comparison, the global coal fleet had grown by an average of 25GW every six months over the previous two decades, from 2000-2019.

In a nutshell, or just a nut, coal power grew by 50GW [...]

Freedom and hard borders are 96% popular — a third of West Australians want to secede

A telling incident in Western democracies about borders

The electoral power of strong borders is vastly underestimated.

Western Australia has hard borders at the moment, and no coronavirus — other than a few cases getting caught in the mandatory quarantine. That’s 2.5 million people who are almost living a normal life.  This is not to boast (we wish you could be here), but to point out how politically popular closed borders are in the current pandemic. The Premier is wildly popular, polling close to 90%. To all the people who said “states can’t close borders” the message is that it’s bonkers not to close borders. When the Commonwealth government joined the bizarre High Court push to force them open, the pushback was ferocious. A poll today showed that West Australians are fed up. The West Australian collected 245,000 signatories to a petition supporting the border closure.

Not only do 96% say the borders should stay shut, but when asked, a whopping 34% of Western Australians said the state should secede. How fast did it come to that?

Never, have I seen such vitriol towards the Commonwealth from WA. …the Commonwealth’s decision to effectively join hands with Palmer [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Three quarters of mild to moderate Covid illnesses show heart damage

No wonder the Chinese lockdown a million people with every outbreak. Two thirds of these cases were not hospitalized.

These studies are small and need confirmation, but the medical specialists are asking if it is possible that Covid infections create new cases of heart failure which may trigger problems long after infection?

A startling number of COVID-19 patients suffer lasting heart damage

Fermin Koop, ZME Science

A study from the University Hospital Frankfurt looked at the cardiovascular MRIs of 100 people who had recovered from the coronavirus and compared them with heart images of people who hadn’t been infected.

Most of the patients hadn’t been hospitalized and recovered at home, with symptoms ranging from none to moderate. Two months after recovering from COVID-19, the patients were more likely to have troubling cardiac signs than people in the control group. Up to 78% of them had structural changes to the heart, while 76% had evidence of a biomarker signaling cardiac injury typically found after a heart attack, and 60% had signs of inflammation.

The Puntmann study was based in Germany, and the average age of cases was 49. Troponin is a marker used in standard [...]

The first interview of the US president where he’s treated like a human being

 

A guy called Dave does his first interview ever, with another guy called Donald Trump.

Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports achieves something none of the Pullitzer prize winners have.

What are the odds the ABC would play this?

“It’s the retweets that get you in trouble.”

Dave wonders if Trump regrets winning because he was living the dream — he had a great life.

“The best day in my life in terms of business and life and everything was the day before I announced I was running for president,” Trump said. “Everything was good…Now I’m really glad I did but I was treated very unfairly.”

Trump recalled a time soon after announcing his presidential bid when he was publicly booed, saying he had “never been booed before”.

“[Before that] I had a popularity rate … I was close to 100 percent popular.” — The U.S. Sun

How much does he want to win in 2020? A billionaire could walk away and holiday for the rest of his life.

As for “delaying the election???” — Surely it’s bait. He wants people to talk about mail in voter fraud, or perhaps not [...]