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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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

Congrats! US, Sweden, Australia have more climate “deniers” than anywhere

There are more skeptics in the USA than anywhere, followed by Sweden, Australia, Norway, Netherlands, Canada, Finland, and Germany. And in the same large report, we find that Australian “trust” in the media has fallen yet again from 44% last year to 38% this year.

As well as those listed dismissively as “deniers” (see the graph below) another 10% say climate change is “not very serious”. So about 1 in 5 people, are outspoken skeptics — which doesn’t add up with the “Four out of five news consumers say they consider climate change to be either somewhat, very or extremely serious (79%).” They had to rule out those who aren’t “news consumers” to get the figure up to 79%. It also doesn’t fit with many past surveys that show that half the people in Australia, and the UK and the US are skeptics.  (See “Polls“)

They don’t say how many people were neither concerned, nor unconcerned. Where is that data?

Skeptics, country by country. USA, Sweden, Australia lead list of “deniers”  | Click to enlarge.

From this report we can see why censorship is the main tool of the climate believers. People exposed to both sides of the story [...]

FDA bans Hydroxycholoquine use in USA, but Yale expert (and many doctors) say it should be used early and asap

The most popular drug with doctors all over the world will seemingly now not even be allowed in the US for Covid related treatment: HCQ No Longer Approved Even a Little for COVID-19

Molly Walker, MedPage

 The FDA rescinded its emergency use authorization (EUA) of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to treat COVID-19 patients, citing concerns about efficacy and risks associated with its use, and saying the drug no longer meets the criteria for an EUA, the agency said on Monday.

Moreover, the FDA now says the benefits of the drug “no longer outweigh the potential risks,” citing the serious cardiac adverse events associated with the drug.

Comments underneath reveal just how contested this will be.

It’s a strange situation where patients in many poorer nations are being offered drugs that patients won’t be able to get in the richest nation in the world:

Substantial fractions of physicians treating Covid-19 patients in Europe and elsewhere report use of HCQ+AZ: 72% in Spain, 49% in Italy, 41% in Brazil, 39% in Mexico, 28% in France, 23% in the US, 17% in Germany, 16% in Canada, 13% in the UK (45), much of the non-US use in outpatients.


Estimates from crematoria and urns in China of 2.2 million cases, 36,000 dead

Watching the photos and twitter feed from China it was obvious something terrible was happening and the official numbers did not add up.

For example, there were reportedly 90,000 hospital beds in Wuhan in 2018, yet another 100,000 beds were suddenly urgently added in schools, hotels, and pop-up new hospitals, even though there were only 30,000 official cases. Some 169,000 ventilators were supplied to Wuhan, which was inexplicable if there were only 50,000 total cases during the whole pandemic.

Remember on February 6th when keen observers noticed that the Tencent Virus tally board had been flickering with a ghostly alternate count that was ten times higher than official numbers (and 80 times higher in deaths). We wondered if someone was trying to leak out the real situation.

The official statistics:

The official Coronavirus count in China Image by Pheonix7777

Three months after all these discrepancies,  CNN, BBC and co. would still be treating Chinese figures like they meant something. Most media institutions were reporting meaningless “sombre moments” as one country after another overtook a mythical Chinese data point. “Italy has overtaken China”, Spain has…. None of the news giants looked further or even said “alleged figures”.

The new study [...]

Found! Crystal Ball for wine regions “charting” climate to 2100

Somewhere in Victoria.  | Image by veronoumea

It’s just another day in the death of investigative journalism

Notice the way the words shift. The ABC told us tonight that a new “Atlas” will “chart” the temperature for wine growing regions in Australia, as if charting is what we do when we are taking a blind guess with a broken model at the future. Once upon a time, atlases mapped things that already existed.  The ABC and Uni Tas are just staring right into the future. Neat advertising eh?

Makes you wonder why we bother with thermometers.

The ABC News is like reading Harry Potter. The Hunter Valley is not predicted to get warmer, it’s “destined” to. Gone are the qualifiers: where once people might have to adapt, now they’ll be forced to.  In gushing form, the ABC quotes shocked farmers saying “It’s pivotal”, “a line-in-the-sand body of work” a “wow moment” and a “world first”, as if Tasmanian scientists discovered the magical Marauders Map itself.  It’s also like no group on Earth has ever tried to predict the climate of wine regions before. If the ABC interviewed a skeptical farmer it would have broken the camera.

If Uni of [...]

Imagine that? Coronavirus flew in to UK at least 1,356 times — Open Borders is deadly

New research of the WuFlu “gene” lineage in the UK show that the virus kept being introduced via planes, trains and cars. The entire time that UK residents were being restricted in lockdown, tens of thousands of people were allowed to bring virus in through the border. Sabotage or Incompetence? The single failure to quarantine arrivals in the UK means the lockdown has gone on longer than it needed, cost more than it had too, has been less successful, and now, as the UK reopens, it does it with infections still running, when it could be doing it “like New Zealand”.

The BBC news mentioned that there were a lot of imported cases, that the biggest variety of genetic variants came from Spain, France and Italy and not China. But one tantalizing finding was that the UK transmission lines now appear to be “very rare or extinct”. Which surely implies that the lockdown is working, the UK lines are dying out, and that … by golly, the new infections must be regular incoming virus?

Three Key Conclusions: The UK epidemic comprises a very large number of importations due to inbound international travel2. We detect 1356 independently-introduced transmission lineages, however, we [...]

Desperate signs: Australian companies will be paid to use less electricity

Another hidden renewables tax buried in complexity

Here in Renewables World we now have to pay companies to make less of the products we want. It’s a sign of how fragile and dysfunctional the Australian grid is.

“Big energy users like factories and farms will be able to earn money by saving energy during heatwaves and at other times when electricity prices are high,” the Australia Institute’s energy lead Dan Cass said.

They call it “wholesale demand response”. We call it planned blackouts. All over the country equipment will be switched off when its needed most so that our green grid doesn’t fall over, or create billion dollar price spikes.

With some of the most expensive electricity in the world, there is already a strong price signal driving companies to use electricity efficiently. This new “price signal” drives them to be less efficient. Because the grid is now incapable of providing regular reliable electricity whenever it’s most useful to companies, the government is adding a whole new layer of complexity to try to squeeze out the spikes they can’t handle.

This move will mean more people will have to be employed in account-management, but the products made will shrink, [...]

Tucker: Black Lives Matter is now a political party

Watch this:

Tucker Carlson asks whether the insane, unpopular idea to “defund the police” means getting rid of the current police and bringing in a new BLM-compliant “force”? Is this just The March through yet another Institution?

No one is allowed to say anything against this ideology. People are losing their jobs for  the merest hint they they don’t wholeheartedly adopt an activist supporting role. But bullies thrive on grovelling obedience.

Virus Eliminated: NZ is free

Just pausing for a moment to say “cheers, New Zealand”.

The last remaining barrier there are closed international borders.

LiveScience Updates


— New Zealand has no active cases of the coronavirus, and no new positive cases reported in the past 17 days, according to CNN. For the past 12 days, there are no patients in the hospital receiving treatment for COVID-19 and for the past 40 days, there is no evidence of community transmission, according to CNN. Now, New Zealand is lifting almost all of its coronavirus restrictions, while still encouraging social distancing, keeping borders shut to non-residents and requiring that residents traveling into the country to quarantine for 14 days, according to CNN. New Zealand will be under “alert level 1” rules which means there will be no restrictions on domestic transport and no restrictions on workplaces or services, according to CNN and New Zealand’s government website.

New Zealands daily new cases graphed. Black marks deaths. Wikipedia NZ timeline

New Zealand 1,500 cases and only 22 deaths. The peak of the curve is somewhere around March 30th. The quarantine measures were ramped [...]

Coronavirus may cause acute kidney damage in one third of hospital cases

Just another reason to keep the virus out until things improve.

Acute Kidney Injury Seen in Most Severe COVID-19 Cases — One third of all hospitalized cases also affected in NYC data

New data from two health systems in New York City — where hospitals struggled to keep up with dialysis demands as they were flooded with COVID-19 patients — detailed a high rate of acute kidney injury among infected patients.

In the first 1,000 patients with COVID-19 at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, 33.9% developed acute kidney injury. Of the 236 who ended up in the ICU, 78% developed AKI, Ruijun Chen, MD, and colleagues reported in The BMJ.

In another study of 5,500 patients the rate was 36% of those hospitalized, and 89% of those in ICU on ventilators. Quite a few of these people went on to die, so, to put it bluntly, they wont be in need of dialysis or further care. But some part of the population in a post corona world will need ongoing care and won’t be able to work at their former level.

At least one person in the US likely died because there wasn’t enough dialysis equipment.

Docs are [...]

Powerful: Protesters Spell Out ‘Love’ With Burning Homes

The Babylon Bee “reports”

Powerful: Protesters Spell out ‘Love’ with Burning Homes

MINNEAPOLIS, MN—In a powerful display of their care for love and justice, protesters in Minneapolis burned the word “LOVE” into the city, arranging the inspiring message with homes and businesses set ablaze by their riots.

Heartfelt and moving.

The Bee is Dan Coats.

Be aware, the Bee’s point is very serious, but the reporting isn’t.

*  *  *

Commentators, due to Section 18C in Australia it’s illegal to discuss race or color since it may offend someone somewhere. Therefore the words black, white, yellow, red, skin, color, indigenous, indian, african, eskimo, asian,  european, sub-saharan, BLM, WLM, ALM, will go straight to moderation, and can only be published after Section 18C is repealed in 2073AD or thereabouts. We can have a no color conversation. Which means, we here, have arrived in Martin Luther King’s world, ahead of the protestors and looters:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation

where they will not be judged [...]

Humans do Ultimate Paris Lockdown, CO2 hits record high anyway

The new figures from the Mauna Loa Observatory show humans are irrelevant

Despite the Ultra-Revolutionary-Carbon-Reduction-Program far beyond anything the UN has every dreamed of,  Global CO2 hit 417ppm. This is a record high since humans discovered test tubes but the 300 millionth time since life on Earth evolved.

It shows how all plans for carbon reduction known to mankind are futile. Obviously Ecoworriers want to take that failure and do more of it.

The world just broke a disturbing trend despite the global lockdown

Tracey Keeling

…the data reveals that two months of significantly reduced human activity did not make a dent in the damage we’ve done to the planet. It ultimately confirms that nothing short of wholesale systemic change will do – with the rejection of fossil fuels at the heart of that transformation.

 ”Surprised” is not the word. When the punters realize that empty streets and skies makes no difference, there could be a monumental crisis of motivation coming. Games up?

The Scientists Just Told Us Coronavirus Won’t Save Us from Climate Change

The National Interest

“People may be surprised to hear that the response to the coronavirus outbreak hasn’t done more to influence CO2 [...]

Huge Lancet study that was used to stop HCQ trials has been retracted

We discussed the inadequacies of the large Lancet study of hydroxychloroquine supposed used on 96,000 Covid patients from 671 hospitals. It was largely useless because it ignored zinc, wasn’t randomized and was mainly used on people who were already very ill, with a terrible 12% death rate. But it is far worse than that and has now been retracted. The number of deaths listed in Australia was higher than the official Australian tally on April 21. The number of Covid cases in Turkey was 80 times higher than official numbers.

All over the world the study spooked doctors and governments (with WHO help) into stopping the use of HCQ in their large trial across in 17 countries .That trial has since been restarted.

The authors have now retracted the paper after Surgisphere refused to transfer the full dataset “due to confidentiality”.

The Guardian investigated the company that came out of nowhere with this enormous dataset which was used in both The Lancet paper and a New England Medical Journal paper. It turned out to be small,  with a handful of employees and that include a science fiction writer, an adult content model, and few scientific qualifications.  When The Guardian contacted [...]