JoNova

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


Handbooks


Advertising


Australian Speakers Agency



GoldNerds

The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX



The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper



Archives

Books

Weekend Unthreaded

The UK’s “End of Coal” lasted a whole week

What happens when the Glorious Coal Free Future meets summer:

How a ‘coal-free’ UK has returned to coal

Terry McCrann, The Herald Sun

Back in June, they separately sprung tweet-style to deliriously hail the ‘end of coal’ in the UK.

[Former PM, Kevin] Rudd tweeted: “For anyone who thinks it cannot be done: the UK has not produced any electricity from coal for the last two months — the longest period since the Industrial Revolution. Let that sink in,” he concluded with all the deadening portentousness he could muster.

But then it got warm, calm, and everyone wanted to use the air con:

..not only did the Brits go back to coal to keep the lights on – and, as they baked in a mid-20s ‘heatwave’, the aircons as well – they really shovelled some coal.

At its peak this week, the UK was getting nearly 3000MW from coal, well more than three times the 800MW or so coming from all the wind turbines, both those that despoil the British landscape and those parked equally hideously offshore.

Where are the headlines: Victorious coal saves the day?

Dr. Li-Meng Yan claims The virus is man-made and spread to make damage

Dr Li-Meng Yan worked in the WHO Coronavirus Reference Lab in Hong Kong. She has just published a detailed paper claiming that the SARS-2 coronavirus was artificially made in a laboratory and appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show today.  She also claims it was deliberately spread (though this was slightly ambiguous– listen closely).

We already had enough evidence to know that SARS-Cov2 is a likely bioweapon. (The virus it supposedly evolved from appears to be fake.) This is largely what her paper covers.

 Chinese defector virologist Dr Li-Meng Yan publishes report claiming COVID-19 was made in a lab

Phoebe Looms, News.com

Dr Yan had been working at Hong Kong University’s public health laboratory sciences division, a World Health Organisation infectious diseases research centre, when her boss was asked to investigate the outbreak in Wuhan.

Dr Yan claimed her and her team’s scientific findings were suppressed, and they were told only to report cases linked to the Huanan seafood market. After becoming fearful of her safety, she fled China on a flight bound for Los Angeles in late April.

 Others in her lab said: “ Dr. Yan’s statement does not accord with the key facts as we [...]

Winning: Labor party drops 2030 renewable target, Libs build gas plant, (still scared of climate bullies)

Losing unloseable climate change elections has some effect:

In the 2019 election the Labor emissions ­reduction target was a 45 per cent cut from 2005 levels by 2030:

New Labor manifesto drops emissions targets for 2030

Greg Brown, The Australian

Anthony Albanese has been given the green light to go to the next election without specific climate change targets for 2030, under an ALP draft policy platform that outlines plans to turn Australia into a “renewable energy superpower”.

The party’s preliminary draft platform — obtained by The Australian — was backed by shadow cabinet this month. The document, a third of the size of the 2018 national platform, makes no mention of a 2030 or 2035 emissions reduction or renewable energy targets. The Labor leader is facing an internal push to drop medium-term targets and focus on a policy of net-zero emissions by 2050.

“Labor will ensure that Australia becomes a renewable energy superpower, harnessing our natural advantages in clean energy to become energy independent from the world, while lowering power prices, reaching zero net emissions by 2050,” the document says.

Labor’s overall direction hasn’t changed, they are still captive to the [...]

Signs of life on Venus?

All around the world are dawning headlines wondering if we have founds signs of life on Venus.

Despite the hunt for life on star systems that are lightyears from Earth, it turns out there may be something on the Planet-next-door. “May” being the operative word. A team found phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus and can’t think of any other way it could have got there. Phosphine is considered to be a biomarker. And microbes on Earth would have no trouble making it, though none of them could easily survive on Venus where the atmosphere clouds and rain are nearly pure hot sulphuric acid.*

Scientists find gas linked to life in atmosphere of Venus

Ian Sample, The Guardian

Sara Seager, a planetary scientist on the study at MIT in the US, called the finding “mind-boggling”. She hypothesises a lifecycle for Venusian microbes that rain down, dry out and are swept back up to more temperate altitudes by currents in the atmosphere.

For 2bn years, Venus was temperate and harboured an ocean. But today, a dense carbon dioxide atmosphere blankets a near-waterless surface where temperatures top 450C. The clouds in the sky are hardly inviting, containing droplets [...]

Vitamin D reduced the rate of ICU admission from 50% to 2%. Do black lives matter?

Given that people with dark skin are more likely to be deficient in Vitamin D, wouldn’t studies like these be the best way to show that black lives actually matter? Would you like training in cultural sensitivity or to avoid the intensive care unit?

A free antiviral shining down on you?

In the Castillo study in Spain, 76 patients were randomly assorted into Calciferol treatment ( 0.532 mg Vitamin D ). Of the 26 who didn’t get it, 13 were admitted to the ICU. Of the 50 who got Vitamin D doses on days 1, 3, and 7 — only one ended up in the ICU. It’s worth noting that all patients got HCQ as well, and azithromycin too.

A second study tested 500 people to find out if they were deficient and followed them to see if they caught Covid.

Why has it taken 6 months of pandemic to do these small studies?

Before the pandemic came there was already ample evidence suggesting that it mattered.  Vitamin D influences over 200 genes. Its levels also correlate with lower rates of cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, heart disease, dental caries, preeclampsia, autoimmune disease, depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. One recent long German study showed half [...]

They Know How to Prevent Megafires. Why Won’t Anybody Listen?

The sitation in California is just like the one in Australia

Tim Ingalsbee has been fighting fires or trying to prevent them since 1980. He founded Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, and Ecology.

They know how to prevent megafires

Elizabeth Weil, ProRepublica

So what’s it like? “It’s just … well … it’s horrible. Horrible to see this happening when the science is so clear and has been clear for years. I suffer from Cassandra syndrome,” Ingalsbee said. “Every year I warn people: Disaster’s coming. We got to change. And no one listens. And then it happens.”

The pattern is a form of insanity: We keep doing overzealous fire suppression across California landscapes where the fire poses little risk to people and structures. As a result, wildland fuels keep building up.

This week we’ve seen both the second- and third-largest fires in California history. “The fire community, the progressives, are almost in a state of panic,” Ingalsbee said. There’s only one solution, the one we know yet still avoid. “We need to get good fire on the ground and whittle down some of that fuel load.”

Modern Californians are burning 0.1% of what [...]

Good news: masks, means more asymptomatic infections and less severe ones

It appears people who wear masks are much less likely to get severe infections

This will make some heads spin.

Child Wearing a a Mask. Author vperemen.com

Not only do masks reduce the odds of getting infected, but if people do get infected while wearing a mask — the severity of Covid is so much milder. With masks on, the odds of getting an asymptomatic infection improve. Masks don’t stop all viral particles but they stop the large droplet clusters, and thus reduce the viral load. If asymptomatic people get some protection (and we still don’t know for sure) it could solve so much.

Consider the two cruise ships where the asymptomatic rate varied from 18 to 81%:

One used masks and one didn’t:

In February, one of the first outbreaks of COVID-19 outside of China occurred on the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama, Japan. Of the 634 people on board who tested positive, about 18 percent of infections were asymptomatic. In March, an Argentinian cruise ship found itself in a similar predicament, but of the 128 people on board who eventually tested positive, 81 percent were asymptomatic–   Ghandi et al.

Nations that use masks have [...]

A quarter of UK drivers won’t even buy an Electric car “in their lifetimes”

The UK parliament has decided to phase out fossil fueled cars entirely by 2040 or even 2035,  but right now only 4% of the UK public are even planning to buy an EV, which makes it a very forced transition.  Forty four percent say they won’t even be ready in fifteen years time, and a quarter effectively say “over my dead body”.

Half of Britons say a 2035 deadline to switch to an electric car is too soon!

Rob Hull and Grace Gausden, ThisIsMoney.co.uk

But despite the growing availability and wider selection of motors to choose from, a survey commissioned by the SMMT found that almost half of drivers are not only unprepared to make a transition to zero-emission motoring now but don’t think they will be in 2035 – five years ahead of the existing deadline for the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars to be banished.

A quarter (24 per cent) of the 2,185 drivers interviewed claimed they don’t foresee themselves ever buying an electric car in their lifetimes, despite the impeding ban in 2040.

96% say they are not even thinking of buying one at the moment Hardly anyone [...]

Green groups save the coal underground but destroy the forest above

Building the future one log at a time.

Thanks to climate activists, coal deposits underground are safe but Europe’s old forests are being converted to industrial plantations and wood pellets

 Pierre Gosselin of NoTricksZone thinks the media, which raged over Brazil’s Amazonian forest fires may be finally noticing their own man-made disaster.

The ARD’s “Das Erste” reports how satellite images show deforestation has risen 49% since 2016 in Sweden, Finland and the Baltic countries. The reason: “Because of the CO2 targets.

Who needs massive hardwoods anyway?

For “CO2-neutral” wood pellets

Where once massive hardwoods once stood now grows tiny fir trees. The harvested trees, the report says, were used for wood pellets – a form of renewable green energy. The trees, the pellet industry says, will grow back.

Not only are the forests taking a hit, but so is the wildlife that once inhabited in them. According to Ms. Steinberg, bird life has fallen some 25%. “It’s wasted. Now we have to start all over again.”

 The problem is particularly severe in Estonia where one sixth of the forest has been razed since just 2001 to feed the worlds second largest [...]

Good news: Mystery cases falling fast in Victoria, staying low in Sydney

Finally, some unexpectedly good news on community spread in Victoria:

Untrackable new cases in Victoria are drying up.  The incidence of community spread cases with an unknown source are every epidemiologists nightmare. So their absence is a marker of how well the restrictions work– and whether the “fire” is under control. It’s cheery news.

Community spread is the number that matters most — more than daily infections. Known cases can be track-and-traced. Unknown cases mean whole clusters are spreading invisibly and restrictions need to be wider. Despite the depressing schedule planned in Victoria, if this reduction in unknown cases is sustained, then other options for pandemic management become possible.  The NSW-style-management with intense tracking and tracing may suddenly become an option within weeks.  (Though there may be a 50 case spike tomorrow just to prove me wrong.) Tracking and tracing works best at lower levels, and becomes overwhelming quickly as the number of clusters rise.

With strong restrictions, the exponential rise in infections can become an exponential fall. Where before each person might infect three new people, now three people staying home are only infecting one (or something like that). Two lines get extinguished instead of amplified, as the virus [...]

The incredible arrogance of Andrews in The State of Incompetance

What does an apology even mean?

While the New Zealand Public service took a pay cut of 20%, in Victoria, MPs and Public servants got a pay rise of 2%. Dan Andrews will take home an extra $46,000 per annum despite presiding over the most costly public policy failure in Australian history. The private sector pays for the mistakes, while the public sector earns even more.

Dan Andrews asks so much, but gives so little. And it is a scandal that so many cheap, well known treatments and preventions are not being tested in large trials — Vitamin D, HCQ, Ivermectin, and all the other potential anti-virals like Interferon, Bromhexine, Melatonin, steroids, asthma drugs etc etc.

Voters slam ‘unfair’ public sector pay rise

Adam Creighton, The Australian

Private sector wages in Victoria dropped by $1.9bn in the June quarter, while wages in the public sector increased by $88m, according to the IPA’s analysis…

The poll, of just over 1000 Victorians, found only 7 per cent supported the 2 per cent pay rise that MPs and public servants received in July…

In the last five years, the Victorian population grew 12% but the bill for [...]

Ran out of arguments? Extinction Rebellion ban newspapers instead

Extinction Rebellion blockade the Murdoch Press in the UK because climate reporting is supposed to be one-sided

After thirty years of saturation media on climate change, XR realize there is absolutely nothing new they could say that hasn’t already been said 4,000 times. So they attack the newspapers that put forward a few opposing views among the wall-to-wall propaganda.This helps keep the compliant newspapers in line.

So any self respecting editor ought be asking: If Extinction Rebellion aren’t blocking us, what are we doing wrong?

Pity the poor newsagents and delivery  boys and girls who lost money so XR could do grand-standing camping, blocking trucks and newspapers from getting out.

Extinction Rebellion: Printworks protest ‘completely unacceptable’ says Boris Johnson

More than 100 protesters used vehicles and bamboo lock-ons to block roads outside the printing works at Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, and Knowsley, near Liverpool. By Saturday morning, police said some 63 people had been arrested.

The presses print the Rupert Murdoch-owned News UK’s titles including The Sun, The Times, The Sun on Sunday and The Sunday Times, as well as The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, and the London Evening Standard.

 If only they had evidence instead of bamboo sticks?

What It’s Like Getting Censored on YouTube

By AwakenWithJP. Posted by David E.

Yup.

“When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.” — George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings

“Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners.” — George Carlin

Weekend Unthreaded