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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So far Woke they’ve become the racists they’re looking for…

What happens when the left overreach so far they lap the whole argument and hit themselves from behind?

When Wokes and Racists Actually Agree on Everything

by Ryan Long.


“We kicked someone out for marrying a black woman, but if you can prove hes still a racist we’ll let him back in”

When there is no rational debate left, there is always satire. Brilliant.

h/t David E

Interferon Beta reduced risk of severe Covid by 80%

Welcome to the Era of the Anti-Virals. They’re everywhere.

A legacy of the coronavirus pandemic is the dawn of new ways to stop viruses. Here’s another new (old) one — it’s only a small trial, but if it can stop 4 out of 5 people developing the severe form of the disease it will be a gamechanger. If this gets similar numbers on larger trials, then we still need mass production. But national policies will swing on a dime if a safe drug with this much potential appears.

After Coronavirus we might not be so content to accept the annual seasonal virus scourge.

Postenote: These are preliminary results, not a large trial, but at least it is placebo controlled and randomized.

Breakthrough’ treatment slashes virus death risk: study

by Patrick Galey, MedicalXpress

In a randomised trial of 100 patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19, those who received an inhaled formula of the protein interferon beta were at 79 percent lower risk of developing severe disease compared to those who received a placebo.

They were also more than twice as likely to make a full recovery compared with the control group.

The firm [...]

Death rate amongst infected US healthcare personnel running at 0.5%

It says something about the mortality rate of Covid19, and also about the burden on the healthcare sector

According to the CDC, there have been 103,643 cases of Covid-19 in US Healthcare workers of which 543 have died. That makes the death rate per infection a hefty 0.5% among these working age people. Obviously some of these people have co-morbidities, but would be under the retirement age.

We would hope US Healthcare workers are reasonably well tested. They may have a higher death rate because they are subject to a higher viral load and working under long hours in a stressful situation. But they also (presumably) wear PPE and are trained to use it.

An Amnesty International report estimates at least 3,000 health care workers have passed away around the world, with the highest tally from Russia  (545) and the UK (540).

Elsewhere, the countries with the highest numbers of health worker deaths are USA (507), Brazil (351), Mexico (248), Italy (188), Egypt (111), Iran (91), Ecuador (82) and Spain (63).

These numbers may be underestimates. The Guardian has a list of US Health care worker deaths, and lists the names 787 frontline workers.

Medscape has a memorial [...]

Go on, just eliminate it: Supression is for people who love lockdowns

Scott Morrison says eliminating the virus is not viable, despite most states in Australia effectively managing to do that already. See the chart below. Instead he talks of suppression as if it’s viable to ride an exponential curve with a default position of “moonshot”.

At the start of June, Victoria was getting 20 new cases a week.  In the last three weeks Victoria has added 3,000 cases.

State premiers are being urged to reject an elimination strategy for coronavirus, with Scott Morrison and leading business groups warning the move would double unemployment and wreck the economy.

The Prime Minister, who has conceded the lockdown of Greater Melbourne was necessary given the size of the outbreaks, warned that any pivot to an elimin­ation strategy would double­ unemployment.

Suppression sounds like a management plan but means rolling waves of infection and isolation, with outbreaks of chaos and a constant higher level of fear and avoidance. This does not seem like a jobs creation machine.

Would we prefer one lockdown or three?

1. The hospitalization rate means hospitals will be overwhelmed within weeks (see Victoria). Therefore repeat lockdowns are inevitable.

2. It’s hard to protect [...]

Solar panel owners asked to pay “to sell back to the grid”

Solar Owners in South Australia are furious that they might be charged to sell back to the grid. They are used to getting all the transmission lines and power plants for free.

The awful truth:

Mr Preus said he had installed his household solar PV system to save money and help the environment, but was now questioning his investment.

“We’ll never, ever in our lifetime recoup our investment, the return is just not there.”

“People will just disconnect them, and tell them to get stuffed, that’s what I would do,” he said.

They’ve been sold a lemon: misled into believing the energy the panels made was useful and economic. Instead solar owners without batteries can only provide excess energy no one needs at lunchtime. Lunchtime voltages are surging and their inverters are tripping off anyhow. And they themselves need to be hooked up to the grid to get the electro-juice they want, most hours of the day.

Finally there is some attempt to fix the Soviet-level planning disaster. People are just starting to notice that the poor are paying for the networks to supply the rich.

But the call to [...]

Cuomo’s big “unAmerican” backflip: NY does soft border closure to 22 US States

If only they had done that 3 months ago

As I predicted, borders need to close. Places that don’t close the state border end up putting a border around every single home. It’s the same all over the world. But no one seems to have noticed how spectacular this backflip is.

In March when New York was the epicentre begging for ventilators, Donald Trump suggested quarantining the tri-state area  to stop infections spreading to the rest of the US.  It was exactly the right thing to do, but Governor Cuomo was enraged — declaring the idea was “preposterous”, “anti-American” and a “declaration of war”. Cuomo even argued it would be illegal for Trump to do so, and threatened to sue:

“I’ve sued the federal government a number of times over the years. I do not believe it’s going to come to that on this,” Cuomo said. “This would be a declaration of war on states, a federal declaration of war.“

Right now there are 22 US states which could threaten to sue Cuomo for the infections New Yorkers gave them.

It was weapons grade bluster on March 28, 2020, but which media outlets and creatures from the Swamp supported [...]

Climate modelers can be wrong for the next thirty years and still be right

Natural Variability is the get-out-of-jail card for climate modelers that lasts 30 years

What does a climate scientist say when they can’t predict the climate on a local, regional, or continental scale, in the near future or the historic past, and they can’t do rain, clouds, humidity or drought either?

They say the models are better than ever, and any discrepancy is just natural variability.

Climate modelers are prepared now for 30 more years of failure:

‘Most Of The Globe’ Could Experience ‘No Warming’ For 30 Years Due To Temperature-Driving Internal Variability

By Kenneth Richard on 13. July 2020, NoTricksZone

A new study documents the dominance of internal variability in decadal-scale global temperature changes and suggests we may experience a global cooling trend during the next 15 or even 30 years despite rising greenhouse gases.

Maher et al. (2020) acknowledge that internal variability in global surface temperature variations is “a difficult concept to communicate” because we have very few observations of its impact and so we must rely on assumptions about how the climate system might work.

From the paper:

We confirm that in the short-term, surface temperature trend projections are dominated by internal variability, with [...]

Surprise: Mass BLM protest linked to coronavirus cluster

Mass gatherings linked to mass outbreaks. Who could have seen that coming?

But many details are missing or unknown. They’re not saying that the protest caused the megacluster, or whether the protestors live in the towers, or whether the virus spread from the family outbreak to the tower or the other way.

We do know that four weeks after the BLM rally the state was in deep trouble.

Coronavirus: Black Lives Matter protest linked to tower cluster

Rachel Baxendale, The Australian

Victorian health authorities have confirmed a link between two COVID-19 cases in people who attended the Black Lives Matter protest in Melbourne’s CBD just over a month ago, and the cluster of at least 242 cases in public housing towers in the city’s inner northwest.

But the Department of Health and Human Services has refused to say whether members of the cluster, which includes the protest attendees, live in the public housing towers.

One H&M worker was at the rally and later tested positive and that three other H&M workers eventually tested positive. The H&M cluster become “North Melbourne family cluster” which grew to 30 cases. Three weeks after the rally the North [...]

Coronavirus forces cells to grow tentacles to help it invade other cells

It’s a molecular monster

The SARS-Cov2 virus can take over and does some pretty cool engineering. (At least in the case of monkey cells.)

The infected cells produce hairy tentacles that poke holes in nearby cells to help spread the virus.

Coronavirus tentacles with small yellow virus particles attached.

So once a virus is inside it can not only hijack the cell to make more viruses (the little yellow prickly balls in the photo) it also forces the cell to make all these hairy tentacles to push the viruses into neighboring cells. Apart from being a neat gee-whiz moment in molecular construction, this is worth knowing because it gives us more targets to aim for. (More moving parts to throw spanners at).

To that end, the team found 87 drugs that are already either FDA approved or in clinical trials that might help. And 7 of them have already shown they can inhibit the virus in both human and monkey cells.

There are some major molecular engineering battles going on

Coronaviruses are larger RNA viruses than most, so that gives the virus more tools to work with. All up we know that there are 27 SARS Cov2 proteins which [...]

More cheap potential Covid treatments, Ivermectin saves 50%

Coronavirus may leave a trail of benefits in its wake. Who knew that there were so many cheap antivirals around? Will people get fed up with the limited choices on offer next time there is a quarantine.

While newspapers in Australia were pretty keen to share the discovery of an antiviral role for HCQ, not so many were interested in the followup studies.

Ivermectin, like hydroxychloroquine is a kind of superdrug — in the sense of being in worldwide mass use.  Some 3.7 billion doses are estimated to have been given since its approval. It has been called the Japanese Wonder Drug. It’s the farm drench, a head lice treatment, and works against worm, mites and ticks too.

It was estimated to reduce viral loads in vitro massively but most people didn’t think it would work at lower safe doses. Then Bangladeshi doctors claim it was “astounding”. Last month US tests suggest that it reduced deaths by 40%. (Rajter)

These are all every priminary results.  More studies are promised for Ivermectin. Especially in Peru, where a grassroots movement of Doctors has ensured it will be used.

A US clinical trial of the drug ivermectin found that it reduced [...]

For 80 years cholesterol experts said ‘eat less fat’. But where was the evidence?

Depressing. A consensus based on nothing much, still lasted three generations

And it’s not dead yet: Groups like the American Heart Association, UCSF Guidelines, VicHealth, etc are all still advising that people avoid saturated fats, and eat whole grains.

For years, people with the kind of high cholesterol linked to their genes, were told they could lower their cholesterol if they stopped eating things like butter, cream, eggs, cheese, chocolate, and even coconut oil.

A new study looked for evidence to justify that advice and couldn’t find any. They are, of course, not the first –  even in the 1950s John Yudkin was already warning people about the dangers of sugar. But the vested interests and fat-police leapt into gear, and thus and verily a million low-fat products filled the shelves, most of them with added sugar.

How many people did this consensus kill?

People with high cholesterol should eliminate carbs, not saturated fat, study suggests

“For the past 80 years, people with familial hypercholesterolemia have been told to lower their cholesterol with a low saturated fat diet,” said lead author David Diamond, professor and heart disease researcher at the University of South Florida. “Our study showed that [...]

Hottest Day recorded and deleted in Australia was 51.7 C in Bourke in 1909

Do the BOM even care about Australia’s climate?

Craig Kelly in our National Archives yesterday

The hottest day ever recorded in Australia with modern official equipment was Jan 3rd, 1909 in Bourke where the temperature blistered at 51.7C (125F).

Yesterday the Honorable Craig Kelly MP trawled through historic archives looking for temperature records from a century ago to see if he could confirm that it really was 125F in Bourke that day, and whether it was almost that hot in Brewarrina too.  Craig Kelly wants the record restored.

The site at Bourke is one of the oldest in Australia, starting in 1871. It’s also very influential because it was used to estimate the temperatures of vast remote areas around it. By 1909 there was already nearly 40 years of data at Bourke, and the Stevenson Screen had just been replaced so it was almost brand new. There was no airport tarmac either, so in 1909 the site was probably better than most modern sites are today. But the 1909 “hottest ever record” was deleted after an investigation in 1997 by Blair Trewin.  It was written off as an error partly because it was recorded on a Sunday and [...]

Tweet mining in the Cancel Culture era

Skeptics have been living with “cancel culture” for years, but now, suddenly, nearly the whole Western world is.

Inside Cancel-Culture whole people and even statues are sliced out of public debate because of one breach of some optional movable rule. No matter how many years of experience or how great their achievements, one single “mistake” in the game of virtue signalling in any area means all their opinions on every topic are deemed unworthy.

Obviously, those that can’t persuade seek to cancel instead.

Here’s the brilliant Remy from late last year mocking journalists with twitter trawling fixations.

Imagine what would happen if an anchorman could say what they really thought?

“Toss him in a well and see if he floats”

PS: It’s good to see a few grown-ups like JK Rowling speaking up to end the cancel culture toxicity. It’s a shame they had to toss crumbs to the TDS crocodile. (People are looting and pillaging, but Trump‘s a “threat to Democracy”?) But otherwise they fight the good fight for free speech.

“We need to preserve the possibility of good-faith disagreement without dire professional consequences.”

And so we do.

Watching the Three Gorges Dam

Eyes are still on the Three Gorges Dam as a rare flooding event spreads across Asia. Bridges that have stood for 500 years have succumbed.

Pity the poor people of Wuhan, the flood waters released from the Three Gorges Dam have arrived. That dam and all upstream dams have opened the flood gates, and cities as far downstream as Wuhan are flooding.

According to the South China Morning Post, 19,380,000 people have been affected by flooding across China as of July 3rd. Chriss Street says “a record 16.8 inches falling between Sunday and Monday morning, and inflows running at 40 acre-feet per second after, CMA on July 4 issued an 80-percent risk of thundershowers for each of the next 11 days.”

Check out the brief shot of the flood in a supermarket.


— 全智胜 (@MgOqkzLBRPLCHyN) July 7, 2020


Apparently the dam is so large and heavy it even ranks in discussions of seismic potential – namely that some people are concerned the weight of the water may trigger earthquakes.

The “word on the street” according to Gravitasis that Chinese people are wondering if the flooding water released from  is convenient for the CCP government to wash away [...]

Some offer shame and division, Trump offers heroes and unity

Some can inspire others to do great things. Others inspire people to wreck statues.

The NY Times called his speech an effort to “sow division” to “exploit race”.The Washington Post said it’s dark and divisive. The National Review said the reaction was unhinged.  A guy called Roger Kimball argues the Mt Rushmore Speech was the moment Donald Trump won reelection.

So, if you haven’t already, read it yourself, extracts below, or watch it.

President Trump at the 2020 Salute to America

July 4th 2020

“We want free and open debate, not speech codes or cancel culture”— Donald Trump

 Greatest nation on Earth:

Two hundred and forty-four years ago in Philadelphia, the 56 signers of our Declaration of Independence pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to boldly proclaim this eternal truth: that we are all made equal by God.  (Applause.)

Thanks to the courage of those patriots of July 4th, 1776, the American Republic stands today as the greatest, most exceptional, and most virtuous nation in the history of the world.

Our workers, our factories have revolutionized industries and lifted millions into prosperity.  Our artists, architects, [...]