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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Hydroxycholoroquine *may* save half the people who were going to die of Covid

 Good news on the HCQ front

The Henry Ford HCQ study is by no means decisive, but with death rates seemingly halved (sorta, maybe, kinda) — it does show how crazy it is to ban hydroxychloroquine. It also shows it’s low risk, and with all the conflicting studies out there, that there are a lot of ways to stuff things up.

With 10 million cases around the world it seems a bit incongruous that it’s taken so many months to get a trial this basic done with 2,000 patients. When the world only had 10,000 patients in January we already knew that the three drugs that were “fairly effective” were  Remdesivir, Chloroquine and Ritonavir. As far back as February 13, the South Koreans were already recommending hydroxychloroquine and telling us the anti-virals should be “started as soon as possible.” They warned that after ten days, doctors “do not have to start antivirals”. South Korea was the experiment that worked — but we ignored it.

Speaking of slow research, the UK hydroxychloroquine trial that was stopped has restarted again as of three days ago.  This is a trial to see if HCQ can prevent coronavirus in 40,000 healthcare workers.

Perhaps [...]

In China severe floods, mud, hail, raise concerns about the Three Gorges Dam

 Something to watch

Spare a thought for people living in China. There have been 31 days of rain, leading to mass flooding, mudslides, a few minor earthquakes, and some ominous warnings like in #Chongqing city, where people have been told they need to be “above the third floor” and to prepare for floods that might reach 193m (presumably “elevation” not depth of water). There is chatter on social media ( and a few news outlets) wondering if the ThreeGorgesDam is about to break.  The chatter has been building for a week and it’s so serious that Chinese government have officially said it’s nonsense. Despite the awesome potential of a failure (or even a serious flood) there is surprisingly small discussion in the media or even on Twitter. Almost like the CCP doesn’t want it discussed?

In the last hours the normal inflow data for the dam has stopped being publicly updated. “Just a glitch”.

As Kate says at SmallDeadAnimals. It’s probably nothing.

The Epoch Times: Floods in China reach biblical proportions

Rains have lasted over 30 days and are continuing. And many other disasters are hitting at once including tornadoes, hailstorms, torrents, mudslides, and earthquakes — in [...]

Koalas extinct? Hardly. “Nearly everything you have read or heard about koalas is wrong”

Since Europeans arrived Koalas have been booming and busting

The calls were out this week saying that koalas will be extinct in New South Wales in 30 years. But they didn’t mention that Koalas thrive and multiply so fast that in the right conditions scientists talk of ‘plagues’. On Kangaroo Island last year, there were so many koalas, the South Australian government has been trying to sterilize or relocate thousands of them over the last twenty years.  Periodically scientists even discuss whether we have to cull them (the horror!).

They’ve survived twenty megafires in 200 years. They can recover. Ponder that Koalas were only introduced to Kangaroo Island in the 1930′s but by the 1990′s there were 14,000 of them and even though they are considered a tourism asset they are also considered a problem and pest too.

“Nearly everything you have read or heard about koalas, is wrong” — Vic Jurskis

Koalas favorite snack  |      Photo by pen_ash

Vic Jurskis is a veteran forester and fire expert who studied them for years. He’s written The Great Koala Scam, Green propaganda, junk science government waste and cruelty.

Jurskis estimates that thanks to European settlers there are more [...]

EVen the UN is warning about the environmental damage Electric Vehicles will cause

Child Labor in Congo mining. Photo Julian Herneis

Welcome to the Clean Green Future. Demand for rechargeable car batteries is predicted to rise 700% in the next four years. But even at current levels, children are already dying in mines in the Congo, and farmers in Chile are being forced off their land.

The UN is now slightly “concerned” about a car battery boom which it helped create.

…a new report from UNCTAD, warns that the raw materials used in electric car batteries, are highly concentrated in a small number of countries, which raises a number of concerns.

…two-thirds of all cobalt production happens in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). According the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), about 20 per cent of cobalt supplied from the DRC comes from artisanal mines, where human rights abuses have been reported, and up to 40,000 children work in extremely dangerous conditions in the mines for meagre income.

And in Chile, lithium mining uses nearly 65% of the water in the country’s Salar de Atamaca region, one of the driest desert areas in the world, to pump out brines from drilled wells. This has forced local quinoa farmers [...]

Cheap ways to starve a virus: Masks reduce spread by 70%, Distance by 80%

One good thing about Coronavirus is that people are suddenly paying attention to all the cheap easy ways to slow viruses. Hopefully we will get a bit better at preventing other respiratory infections too. 

As I’ve mentioned before, masks stop as much as 75% of influenza, and now we know the number is similar with Coronavirus. If any drug was this effective, it would be hailed as a Gamechanging Breakthrough (!).

Indeed, just yesterday Anthony Fauci said he’d settle for 70%, 75% effective vaccine, but masks are here already. And we don’t have to wear them forever, just til we starve the virus, set up border checks, and get the cases to zero. Then we wait for a long term solution. 2020 is going to be the year of the mask.

With Coronavirus cases ramping up again all over the world, people like Mike Pence, and Australia’s Health Minister are talking about them. If we add Vitamin D at 5c a dose (which can reduce the spread of influenza by 40%) perhaps some states could avoid a repeat mass lockdown?

Given the cost in deaths and dollars of the spread of this virus, it would be cheaper to give [...]

“Apologizing for the climate scare” — Another Environmentalist joins skeptics

Click to go to Amazon*

UPDATE: The page this links to may or may not be “inactive” at Forbes. Perhaps they’ve run out of electrons? If the article link doesn’t work. Try Google Cache. Web archive. Or Tallblokes PDF.

At some point there will be a rush — a phase change as real environmentalists realize they are being used as useful idiots for multinational giants and Big Bankers. Then there will be a scramble to outgreen the establishment Greens by denouncing some key aspects of false alarm. We’re not there yet. But the Michael Moore documentary is significant and Michael Shellenberger fits a similar mold. We’ll know the moment has arrived when there is more cheering for rather than vitriol against the “traitors”.

Michael Shellenberger was, a long time ago, very Green. Among other things, he was named a Time magazine Heroes of the Environment (2008), winner of the 2008 Green Book Award.  In 2015, Shellenberger joined with 18 other self-described ecomodernists to coauthor An Ecomodernist Manifesto. He’s been shifting through a transition over the years from extreme Green, to pragmatic Green (pro nuclear in 2004, see his TEDX in 2017) and now to a pro-civilization, pro power, anti-alarmist. But seemingly not as far [...]

Climate skeptics are terrorists now (the “terror”is talking about coal)

We can tell skeptics are winning by the scale of the panic

Labor made a “big” concession this week and it has triggered the Anti-carbon Tribe. Anthony Albanese dared to concede that coal might have a future but only with impossible fantasy carbon capture limits. In his horror at this, Bernard Keane of Crikey.com puts forward his best scientific argument — essentially that 50% of Australians who don’t hate coal like he does, are ignorant denialist terrorists who vote for pork barrelling representatives who are willing to “blow up their own government”.

As usual, he is projecting his own destructive politics onto those who disagree. He aims to silence debate through personal denigration, to win an argument through character assassination, and to continue being (in his terms) a debate-denialist who pretends that tens of thousands of skeptical engineer’s and geologist’s and meteorologist’s opinions should be mocked and ignored. He’s also a voter-denialist suggesting that the representatives of half of Australia could not possibly represent a genuine point of view. They work as agents of  “Murdoch”.

Bernard Keane promotes the science of tribal namecalling

Bernard Keane, Crikey.com

Labor offers to deal with terrorists in climate wars

The worst possible [...]

Penguins pretty happy about melting sea ice

Adelie Penguins would probably benefit from a bit of global warming. When 175 were tagged and tracked it turned out that they ate more krill when there was less sea ice. This is not so surprising given that they swim better than they waddle, so long stretches of sea ice make it harder to get to the supermarket and back.

And Krill (dinner) apparently like less sea ice too. Phytoplankton bloomed when the sea ice was gone.

Penguins on sea ice.  Photo by Danielle Barnes on Unsplash

Penguins may be an unlikely winner from climate change

Tom Whipple, The Australian

“Counterintuitively for this ice-dependent species, body conditions and breeding success ­improved in the ice-free environment,” wrote researchers from the Japanese National Institute of Polar Research, in the journal Science Advances.

The scientists used accelerometers, video cameras and tracking devices to plot each hunt. They found that when there was no ice the penguins did a lot more swimming — and this was a good thing.

“For penguins, swimming is a whopping four times faster than walking.

For the first three seasons the sea ice was large, then it shrank and the penguins went crazy:

[...]

Labor in Australia finally gets a message from the voters and “wants to end climate wars”

Labor dumps a bit of green extremism, but it’s mostly symbolic

Anthony Albanese says “Yes” to Coal (only with Carbon Capture) but still “No” to Nukes.  Keeps the same emissions target.

After losing three elections in a row on and with help from SARS-2, the Labor Party have realized they can’t wedge the coalition by being holier-than-all-the-workers that used to vote for them. They can’t be seen as anti-coal. So just in time for a key marginal byelection, Anthony Albanese, leader of the Opposition, offers a token olive leaf.

He’s got his eye on the Queensland election due in October, and all those seats the Labor party lost one year ago.

Anthony Albanese urges Scott Morrison and Coalition to work with Labor on energy policy

Federal Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has urged the Coalition to work with Labor on a bipartisan energy policy…

So Labor will support “development” of Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS). This is the impossible idea of stuffing a gas back down the small hole it used to live in, when it was a rock and before it met O2 and grew threefold in weight and 2,000 times in volume.* Everyone in polite society knows [...]

One in three hospitalized with Covid may be “harmed for life” say UK docs

It is never a good idea to let a mystery virus with likely man-made “Gain of Function” changes run free in the population.

Virus scars for life as doctors warn of long-term health damage

London: One in three patients who recover from COVID-19 could be harmed for life, with long-term damage to their lungs, as well as chronic fatigue and psychological disturbances, research suggests.

Experts said there was growing evidence that the virus could cause persistent or even permanent trauma, including impairment to the brain and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr Hilary Floyd, clinical director at the NHS Seacole Centre in Surrey, said she had been shocked by how young many of its patients were. Healthy people who were in their 40s and 50s when the virus struck were now facing long-term fatigue and disability.

“These are people who were independent, they might be running their own business, going to the gym, swimming, active – now they are at the point they can’t get out of bed,” she said.

“We have a couple of patients in their 40s at the moment; we really didn’t expect that. We were [...]

In the pandemic, investors fled from “Green Energy”. Desperate industry predicts 40 deaths a month in wake

Is that the dark smell of desperation?

Green energy is so essential and profitable that when the chips are down, investors ran a mile.

IEA: COVID-19 crisis causing the biggest fall in global energy investment in history 31 May 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has set in motion the largest drop in global energy investment in history, with spending expected to plunge in every major sector this year—from fossil fuels to renewables and efficiency—the International Energy Agency said in a new report.

The unparalleled decline is staggering in both its scale and swiftness, with serious potential implications for energy security and clean energy transitions.

global investment is now expected to plummet by 20%, or almost $400 billion, compared with last year, according to the IEA’s World Energy Investment 2020 report.

Not only has the money gone, but renewables have been out-competed at the thing they are supposed to do best.

The Global Pandemic is the world’s greatest carbon reduction program since the Black Plague:

Those short-term benefits [of the Coronavirus] have been substantial. Consumption for jet fuel and gasoline, for example, declined by 50 and 30 percent, respectively, from early March to June 7, while electricity demand [...]

Freedom is closed borders, crowd limit now “30,000″

Western Australians will be allowed have 30,000 spectators at the biggest venue in the state this weekend. Phase four means half packed stadiums, nightclubs bars and gyms are all back in action. Venues will be allowed to pack in people to the two square meter rule. Phase five starts July 18th where all rules are dropped, bar two — the state border will stay shut and so will remote indigenous communities.

The state border is the reason nearly everything else within it, is close to normal. Coronavirus crisis: Stage four of roadmap allows 30,000 fans to attend football at Optus Stadium from this Saturday

 The West Australian: “Big events at these venues can be organised over the next few weeks. Western Australians will hold the largest crowds in the country by far.

Suddenly open borders doesn’t look so appealling to NSW

All states in Australia closed their borders, except for New South Wales and  Victoria. For the last month the states with the most virus to share have been demanding the states without virus open up their borders. But after 160 new infections in Victoria this week, the Premier of NSW is now advising constituents not to visit [...]

Protest hypocrisy blows away social distancing. How much did that feed second waves?

As lockdown restrictions are released, and social distancing is blown away by riots and rallies, the virus is coming back in some parts.

Victoria gets 25 new cases, cancels “reboot” and ramps up restrictions again

Two weeks after restrictions were partially released and the BLM rallies took place in Melbourne, the surge comes. Actual spread at the BLM rallies is hard to pin down but the rank hypocrisy that allowed the rallies to take place skewered the community commitment to social distancing. With thousands congregating, almost entirely without fines and in breach of the rules, no wonder family gatherings grew. People had given up so much during the lockdown, but indulgent rally organizers could not delay the rallies by another month, or shift them to an online form.

Among a new string of coronavirus cases in Victoria are people who knew they were infected but continued to work and socialise anyway, Premier Daniel Andrews has revealed.   The state will reintroduce restrictions after recording another 25 new coronavirus cases in the past day, with concerns that a second wave of COVID-19 is possible.

Blaming families seems a bit rich given the flagrant disregard shown by protestors and the politicians, [...]

Asymptomatic covid patients with no symptoms still get lung damage

Results from China, Japan, and USA show that half or more of asymptomatic cases have lung damage

Asymptomatic cases show a weaker immune response. In a small study in China, the asymptomatic cases had a lower, slower immune response, which means they shed virus for longer than the symptomatic cases, perhaps even as long as 14 days. Though the presence of viral RNA does not necessarily mean they can infect other people. It may be fragments of the whole virus.

a, CT scan of a 45-year-old female showing focal ground-glass opacities in the lower lobe of the left lung (arrow). b, CT scan of a 50-year-old female showing ground-glass opacities and stripes coexisting in the lower lobe of the right lung (arrows).

Below, a Scripps review found the rate of lung damage was as high as 70% of asymptomatic cases. Both these studies are small, non randomized, retrospective studies.

It’s not surprising that people might not notice that their lungs were underperfoming. We have so much extra lung capacity for day to day living that many people don’t notice damage.  In cases of lung cancer, people are often not diagnosed until they are in an advanced late stage.  Presumably, [...]

Despite pandemic China increases coal production, has 5,000 coal mines, and a glut of new plants

Due to the pandemic fully eighty percent of China’s economy ground to a halt in February, but even despite that — coal use still grew in China by 0.9% in 2020. Another nine billion more tons of coal was discovered in 79 northern regions. And China has as much coal generation being built or planned as the USA has in total.

The numbers are still the conversation stoppers they always were. Ponder that China uses half the worlds coal. While the USA closed 32 GW of coal plants over the last two years, China added 43 GW just last year.

China has promised a few meaningless deck-chair-type vows which it then ignores anyway. The government vowed to cut the number of coal mines,  as if that matters. It’s just closing the smaller less efficient mines and opening larger ones instead. As it happens, the number of coal mines was 3,373 in 2018 but now China is aiming just to cap it at 5,000.

Talk of reducing coal use is still just a performance for the West. Two years ago China was caught building coal plants that it said it had abandoned.

China outlines coal capacity plan for 2020