The Playground - No more Covid Games Please.

  • Examining the role of solar activity, climate, and the socio-historical context in high all-cause mortality (northern Portugal, 1700–1880)


    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/bor.12563


    Abstract

    The far-reaching impact of the Sun on Earth's climate and on people's health and well-being is a poorly understood and non-consensual scientific issue, with empirical literature stressing the need to expand the knowledge of such relationships. Here, the interplay between solar activity (SA) and climate, and its likely cascading effects on all-cause mortality, were examined at several time scales. To this end, the parish records of Braga (1700–1880) and Torre de Moncorvo (1700–1850), in two different geographical locations of northern Portugal (Iberia, SW Europe), were used. Crude mortality rate (CMR) and winter–summer ratio (W/S) values were computed to characterize mortality patterns/trends and couple them with potential relevant drivers: total solar irradiance (TSI) as a proxy of SA, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and key historical events. What emerged, albeit incomplete, was a complex picture of death deeply embedded in people’s physical and socioeconomic environments, at a time when ubiquitous poverty (and co-morbid malnutrition) was the most inveterate cause of ill health. After identifying the positive mortality episodes in both municipalities, their incidence was found to be higher in periods of weakened SA (normal/grand minima). Standard inference statistics were used to estimate the significance of the observations. The highest CMR peaks matched not only with wars but also with known wide-ranging mortality crises, which seem to have been triggered by major agricultural production shortfalls, followed by substantial increases in food prices, driven, in turn, by climate deterioration, including extreme weather occurrences. The outcome was social unrest, famines, and outbreaks of infectious diseases, heightening the death toll. The influence of prominent solar/climate variations was investigated using wavelet transform coherence analysis (WTC). The results showed (multi)decadal oscillations in both (TSI and NAO) somehow regulating mortality. But the WTC analysis also estimated SA signals in low-frequency mortality dynamics disguised by time-varying determinants, where distinct players of space weather might have been implicated.


    Conclusions

    Several data sources and methodologies were combined to explore the role of the physical and socioeconomic environments in explaining mortality patterns/trends (and peaks) in two pre-industrial Portuguese municipalities (1700–1880). The results of the analyses together with the currently available historical testimonies suggested: (i) (multi)decadal oscillations in solar/climate-related parameters influencing death rates; and (ii) shorter-term detrimental changes in regional climate harmfully impacting agricultural and human (social and biological) systems, which led to increased mortality. Importantly, high all-cause mortality was found to be preferentially associated with periods of weakened SA (quasi-11-year minima “half-cycles” plus grand minima), implying lower levels of radiant energy emitted at all wavelengths, less solar magnetic shielding, and more GCR reaching the Earth. On the face of this, greater frequency of anomalously high mortality over (grand) solar minimum conditions, in Braga and Moncorvo, might have been the aftermath of the cumulative impact of low TSI/high GCR-particle on individuals and their health condition. Two probable causal pathways for such solar influence have been described here. The results of the WTC analysis also highlighted the existence of convoluted relationships between SA, climate, and human mortality (nonlinearity and nonstationarity), concerning the oscillatory modes (periods/frequencies) detected in the analysed data. Additional time series (populational and environmental) and further explorations are needed to support both the accuracy of our inferences/suggestions and their underlying assumptions, leading to a better understanding of these challenging scientific questions. From a historical perspective, major restrictions stand in the way. The under-registration of infant/child deaths (introducing biases in death estimates or in stratified analyses), misleading diagnoses of diseases (preventing the establishment of a parallel with those from more recent times), the advent of vaccination (eradicating many prevalent infectious diseases), and increases in life expectancy (with the emergence of new illnesses associated with ageing and genetic damage) are just a few. To conclude, as the essence of the main subject explored here continues the same, it should not be disregarded by contemporary analysts/policy-makers. Some of their goals might be to make surveillance/monitoring of drivers available (or improve it); formulate and implement strategies to selectively address the problems posed by the Sun–climate interaction on populations – agrarian and non-agrarian livelihoods – and mitigate its demographic consequences (targeting the most vulnerable); and raising (local/global) awareness of these lesser-known natural hazards, particularly among environmental/public health professionals.

  • Interesting


    Quote

    Similar control techniques have been used to create a model of the solar system within an atom by placing the electron in an orbit that mirrors the behaviour of Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids. These asteroids, named after figures in the Trojan Wars, orbit the sun at a similar radius some 60 degrees ahead of, and behind, the planet. In the future it appears possible to create a ‘planetary atom’ with two highly-excited orbiting electrons. -end quotes



    Rydberg Atoms: Giants of the Atomic World

    Jun 2, 2021 | Engineering and Tech, Physical Science https://www.scientia.global/ry…ants-of-the-atomic-world/

  • Influence of Solar Minimum on Cosmic Ray Flux, Mutations in viruses and Pandemics Like COVID-19


    Influence of Solar Minimum on Cosmic Ray Flux, Mutations in viruses and Pandemics Like COVID-19


    Abstract

    This interdisciplinary study takes into account the effect of the cosmic ray flux on mutations in viruses that result in virulent forms that lead to the occurrence of pandemics. Solar minimum, the reduction in the activity of the Sun which occurs cyclically every 11 years and deep solar minimum that occurs once in a century or so, results in increased cosmic ray flux to the Earth, which in turn generate mutations in viruses harboured in bats and other nocturnal animals. Almost all the previous pandemics occurred during solar minimum years when the Sun spots were lowest or absent and when the solar activity was at the lowest. This study suggests that the present COVID-19 pandemic is triggered by the mutated viromes in bats from latitudes above 30 degrees N. The increase in cosmic ray flux during the solar minimum of solar cycle 24 has contributed to this. It is improbable that SARS-CoV-2 emerged through laboratory manipulation of a related SARS-CoV-like coronavirus. This study indicates that SARS CoV 2 emerged as a result of biological and astrophysical processes.

  • This study suggests that the present COVID-19 pandemic is triggered by the mutated viromes in bats from latitudes above 30 degrees N. The increase in cosmic ray flux during the solar minimum of solar cycle 24 has contributed to this. It is improbable that SARS-CoV-2 emerged through laboratory manipulation of a related SARS-CoV-like coronavirus. This study indicates that SARS CoV 2 emerged as a result of biological and astrophysical processes.

    Maybe cosmic ray flux also alters the mental ability of researchers to reach proper conclusions.

    There are not merely accumulations of point mutations in the original Wuhan strain, there are wholesale insertions of humanized sequences at strategic locations in the virus genome.

  • Maybe cosmic ray flux also alters the mental ability of researchers to reach proper conclusions.

    There are not merely accumulations of point mutations in the original Wuhan strain, there are wholesale insertions of humanized sequences at strategic locations in the virus genome.

    If you make a virus, you make a vaccine. Check for live virus vaccine trials is late 2016- 2017 concerning Chinese military. Then look at the detection in wastewater. Covid was found as early as spring of 2018 in Barcelona and early 2019 in Italy. Both have Chinese consulate. Just a thought.

  • Good thought. Yes Milan and Barcelona have Chinese consulates.

    Then there were the Military Games held in Wuhan in October 2019.

    A city of over 10 million was already in lockdown - in October.

    About one third of the 180 Canadian military athletes got sick with Covid like symptoms and were put in isolation at the back of the plane in the return trip.

    Were they tested for Covid antibodies when the tests later became available? Of course not!


  • It wouldn't be the first time according to some experts


    The Reemergent 1977 H1N1 Strain and the Gain-of-Function Debate

    The Reemergent 1977 H1N1 Strain and the Gain-of-Function Debate
    The 1977-1978 influenza epidemic was probably not a natural event, as the genetic sequence of the virus was nearly identical to the sequences of decades-old…
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

  • The great resignation has hit academia

    A wave of researchers is joining the ‘great resignation’ and quitting academia for good. Many scientists were already unhappy with long hours, crushing workloads, poor salaries and limited job prospects, and now they say the pandemic has sparked a re-evaluation of their careers and lifestyles. Some are announcing their exit to the world with the #leavingacademia hashtag. “COVID-19 is the straw that broke the camels’ backs,” says career coach Karen Kelsky.

    Nature | 13 min read

  • The great resignation has hit academia

    A wave of researchers is joining the ‘great resignation’ and quitting academia for good. Many scientists were already unhappy with long hours, crushing workloads, poor salaries and limited job prospects, and now they say the pandemic has sparked a re-evaluation of their careers and lifestyles. Some are announcing their exit to the world with the #leavingacademia hashtag. “COVID-19 is the straw that broke the camels’ backs,” says career coach Karen Kelsky.

    Nature | 13 min read

    I have to say: those who love the work, and have good jobs, are OK. Though not paid as much as could be got in industry. Internationally competitive UK universities are adapting to weird government requirements for funding and surviving.


    Maybe we need more good jobs. But we do not need the large number of marginal not good jobs which anyone with sense would resign from.


    THH

  • Patients With Autoimmune Thyroiditis Present Similar Immunological Response to COVID-19 BNT162b2 mRNA Vaccine With Healthy Subjects, While Vaccination May Affect Thyroid Function: A Clinical Study


    Patients With Autoimmune Thyroiditis Present Similar Immunological Response to COVID-19 BNT162b2 mRNA Vaccine With Healthy Subjects, While Vaccination May Affect Thyroid Function: A Clinical Study
    BackgroundThis is the first study, that aimed: a) to compare immune response, namely the kinetics of neutralizing antibodies (Nabs), after vaccination with…
    www.frontiersin.org


    Background: This is the first study, that aimed: a) to compare immune response, namely the kinetics of neutralizing antibodies (Nabs), after vaccination with BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine (Comirnaty, Pfizer/BioNTech) between patients with autoimmune thyroiditis and controls, and b) to investigate changes in thyroid function in healthy subjects with no history of thyroid dysfunction before and after vaccination with BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine (Comirnaty, Pfizer/BioNTech).


    Methods: The entire study consisted of two sub-studies. In the first sub-study, NAbs levels after BNT162b2 mRNA vaccination were compared between 56 patients with autoimmune thyroiditis and 56 age and gender-matched healthy controls from the day of the first dose until a period of up to three months after the second dose. In the second sub-study, thyroid hormones (T3, T4, TSH) and thyroid auto-antibodies levels (anti-TG, anti-TPO) of 72 healthy subjects with no history of thyroid disease were examined before (D1) and one month after completion of the second dose (D50).


    Results: Among patients with autoimmune thyroiditis, the median neutralizing inhibition on D22, immediately before second dose, was 62.5%. One month later (D50), values increased to 96.7%, while three months after the second dose NAbs titers remained almost the same (94.5%). In the healthy group, median NAbs levels at D22 were 53.6%. On D50 the median inhibition values increased to 95.1%, while after three months they were 89.2%. The statistical analysis did not show significant differences between two groups (p-values 0.164, 0.390, 0.105 for D22, D50 and three months). Regarding changes in thyroid function, the mean value for T4 before vaccination was 89.797 nmol/L and one month after the second dose was 89.11 nmol/L (p-value=0.649). On D1 the mean T3 value was 1.464 nmol/L, which dropped to 1.389 nmol/L on D50 (p-value = 0.004). For TSH, mean levels were 2.064 mIU/ml on D1 and fell to 1.840 mIU/ml one month after the second dose (p-value=0.037). Despite decrease, all thyroid hormone levels remained within the normal range. No changes were found for anti-TPO or anti-TG.


    Conclusions: This study provided evidence that patients with autoimmune thyroiditis present similar immunological response to COVID-19 BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine (Comirnaty, Pfizer/BioNTech) with healthy subjects, while vaccination may affect thyroid function.

  • Military Artificial Intelligence as Contributor to Global Catastrophic Risk

    A new pre-print by Matthijs. Maas, Kayla Matteucci, and Di Cooke explores the potential global catastrophic and existential risks posed in the short to medium term by military applications of artificial intelligence.

    Recent years have seen growing attention for the use of AI technologies in warfare, which has been rapidly advancing. The paper explores in what ways such military AI technologies might contribute to human extinction or civilisation collapse. After reviewing the GCR field’s limited previous engagement with military AI, and giving an overview of recent advances in military AI, it focuses on two risk scenarios that have been proposed. First, it discusses arguments around the use of swarms of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems, and suggests that while these systems are concerning, they appear not yet likely to be a GCR in the near-term, on the basis of current and anticipated production limits and costs which make these systems still uncompetitive with extant systems for mass destruction.

    The paper then delves into the intersection of military AI and nuclear weapons, which it argues has a significantly higher GCR potential. It reviews historical debates over when, where, and why nuclear weapons could lead to GCR, along with recent geopolitical developments that could raise these risks further. It then outlines six ways in which the use of AI systems in-, around-, or against- nuclear weapons and their command infrastructures could increase the likelihood of nuclear escalation and global catastrophe.

    The paper concludes with suggestions for a research agenda that can gain a more comprehensive and multidisciplinary understanding of the potential risks from military AI, both today and in the future.
  • Alan Smith - what is extremely worrying is the potential of such digital nuclear systems to go out of control - the greater the complexity the greater the probability of a mistake, or just a computer virus making such control systems fail. Back in the '70's we academics all marched with CND, protests at Greenham Common, the anti-nazi league etc., etc. The risks of Global Catastrophy are much higher now in 2022.

  • The COVID Cult Did Lasting Damage to Our Kids - Tablet Magazine


    "There was “a small cartel of experts who controlled the policy, who controlled the messaging, who controlled even who was allowed to participate in this debate or discussion,” Dr. Bhattacharya said. “We can never let that happen again."


    Amen.


    Is the US really that naive?


    We had those same debates - lockdown or no lockdown. The decision was nakedly political - even though our craven government tried to avoid responsibility everyone knew that.


    Just as in many other areas:

    • Do you increase universal credit or other targeted benefits which cusions life for the poorest families with kids, reducing (the figures from the Uk starkly show this) all measures of child deprivation at the expense of reducing their incentives? Political
    • Do you spend public money on providing access to the latest most expensive anti-cancer drugs? Political
    • Do you allow easy access to semi-automatic weapons? Political
    • Do you subsidise projects (like big infrastructure - a classic example our Channel Tunnel) that have returns much too long term to be commercial? Political
    • Do you prohibit the dumping of household waste anywhere it might do long-term environmental damage? Political
    • Do you spend billions of dollars and reduce freedoms internally to go after terrorist threats which realistically kills very few people but make headlines? Political



    You will notice all these points involve balancing advantage and disadvantage. And in a rational debate the evidence on that balance needs to be considered - in all cases you need experts (who will argue) to determine what it is - if you care about anything other than going with your gut feeling or your tribe.


    My view is the US is so unhappy about it because politics has got broken there. Republican Senators cannot vote with their conscience on gun control because they know that in spite of it being overall popular, they will be deselected in Primaries by a small but powerful Republican base if they compromise on an issue that will clearly always be a compromise between freedom (to have guns an important part of everyday society) and risks (like cars, only more so, guns are dangerous). Most countries - Canada a great comparison - take the view that guns are like cars only more so and any government has the duty to protect citizens from their untrained or badly trained use.


    (Just so I do not annoy Shane here too much - the same "doing what your base require" applies to the Democrats and their activists - although for various known reasons it is not currently as strong an influence as it is in the Republican Party. All these things that force democratic debates to be driven by extremes are bad for democracy. There is an exact parallel with social media where people are actually indoctrinated to take extreme tribal political positions).


    THH


    PS - about the only debate of this kind which really does come down to gut feeling is abortion. Do you feel that foetuses deserve the same right to life that humans do? Not much experts can say. It is principled, but weird, to argue that sperm + egg => no protection, as soon as sperm + egg fuse (even before any cell division) => same right to life as a post-natal human. Why weird? Because it is such a big change in value to put on a single biological event. If we really valued these early foetuses we would for example view as 3rd degree murder anything (like poverty) that increased the chances of miscarriage from nutrition.


  • It looks like the unvaxx North Korea does best with Omicron.


    No 3x vaccine induced deaths like in Kerala India or USA/Israel..


    In the west the FM/R/B Mafia usurped the communication and in all states their servants ordered drugs/vaccines without following the law and state rules.


    Durining the last 2 years the FM/R/B Mafia has stolen at least 2'000'000'000'000 $ of tax payers money.


    Now with the FM/R/B Mafia internal war in Ukraine the can level up this by at least 10x.

  • About 2 years ago Navalni published all Putin friends that hold his > 40 billion assets in the west.


    Now!!!! After 3 months, finally, it looks like a first guy on the list of Putin friends is sanctioned by the USA/Biden


    Billionaires, yachts and Putin-linked cellist on latest list of US sanctions against Russia
    The latest targets include some of the richest men in Europe, as well as Kremlin officials, businessmen linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin, their…
    www.abc.net.au


    For FM people it is so hard to sanction an other FM guy. So please do not believe what is written. Biden will no way sanction his FM friend Putin. Just some comedy with blocking ships...