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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Censorship is Weapon #1: Trump orders online Tech Giants to stop

Censorship trumps everything else. Without free speech, there are no free elections, and no progress in politicized science. The base temptations of the human condition thrive in the dark.

Ten years too late, the House Judiciary Hearing on antitrust laws is on:

Republicans tear into big tech CEOs

Katelyn Caralle, Nikki Schwabm, The Daily Mail

For more than five hours the world’s richest man, Bezos; fourth-richest, Zuckerberg; CEO of the world’s most valued corporation, Cook; and its key search engine, Pichai; were repeatedly ripped as copycats, liars, bullies, drug dealers and traitors.

…big tech’s out to get conservatives. That’s not a suspicion, that’s not a hunch. That’s a fact,’ Representative Jim Jordan asserted at the top of his opening remarks.

‘We’re 97 days before an election, and the power – as the previous chairman and ranking member have said – the power these companies have to impact what happens during an election, what American citizens get to see before their voting, is pretty darn important,’ he said.

Trump issued an Executive Order to prevent social media giants from altering or editorializing free speech. He declared that if Congress won’t act, [...]

Thursday Open Thread

Peter Ridd will take the fight for free speech to the High Court

For Peter Ridd, it would have been so much easier if he had gone quietly. This battle is not for him, but for our Australian Universities. He shouldn’t need to take this to the High Court, or even the Federal Court. The Scott Morrison government could turn off the tap to every institution which won’t guarantee free speech and enshrine it in their employee contracts. Dan Tehan is reviewing the university model code, but they don’t need a review. They know, we know, everyone knows, without free speech our universities are just Big Government advertising agencies, or victims of the latest FashionThink trend. Those funds could be frozen tonight, and watch how fast the universities can rewrite their contracts. At the speed of light…

Donations are already flowing in for the High Court Battle. Thank you to all who can help his GoFundMe Campaign.

From John Spooner, The Australian.

Peter Ridd Seeks High Court Appeal

Charlie Peel, The Australian

Sacked James Cook University professor Peter Ridd will go to the High Court over his controversial sacking for publicly criticising the institution and his colleagues over their climate change science.

A week after the Federal Circuit Court overturned [...]

Older children may spread Coronavirus even faster than adults do

New research shows that families with teenage children were three times more likely to get Covid (odds of spread , 18%) than families with children under ten (5%). It appears that it’s more dangerous to live with teens than to live with adults (12%). It may be that teens are more likely to be asymptomatic which means people don’t realize they need to isolate from them.

The question of opening primary schools is potentially very different to high schools. Quite possibly puberty affects immune systems in ways that make teens effectively young adults.

Older Kids May Transmit COVID-19 as Much as Adults Do, New Evidence Shows

ScienceAlert

The results also showed up something unexpected, however. When index patients were categorised by age (0–9, 10–19, 20–29, 30–39, 40–49, 50–59, 60–69, 70–79, and >80 years), households with older children (index patients of 10–19 years) had the highest rate of infection spread to household contacts, with 18.6 percent of household contacts later showing the infection.

By contrast, young children (index patients 0–9 years of age) seemed to confer the least amount of spread of the virus, with just 5.3 percent of household contacts contracting the infection, which [...]

Tuesday Open Thread

Still no vaccine to Typhus, but it was beaten in overcrowded ghettos of Warsaw in 1941

For 450 years Typhus ravaged Europe. The death rate without antibiotics is somewhere from 10 – 40%.

Warsaw Ghetto workers

There is still no vaccine to typhus, but overcrowded ghettos of partially starving people managed to stop the spread in 1941. The Nazis crammed some 450,000 people into a 3.4km2 area in Warsaw. In the first round, typhus spread rapidly, infecting 120,000 people and killing 30,000. But the Jews got organized and just as everyone was expecting rates to rocket with winter approaching, the exponential curve fell off suddenly “to extinction”. A new paper claims they beat it with social distancing, hygiene, and home quarantine.

Typhus is due by a bacterium transmitted by lice and fleas. It causes a fever, headache and rash. It was such a scourge that in 1759 one estimate suggests as many as a quarter of all prisoners in England died from typhus. Infection rates were so bad in prison that the disease was called ‘gaol fever’ and prisoners on trial would even infect court members from time to time. In the early 1600′s more than 10% of the total German population may have been killed by typhus. Currently it is infrequent except for in [...]