Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Dr. Deborah Birx is a natural treasure. She’s the voice of calm expertise in a time of panic. Yesterday, Dr. Birx addressed the media on the point of computer models that the media is citing.

In her presentation, Dr. Birx said “I’m sure you have seen the recent report out of the U.K. about them adjusting completely their needs. This is really quite important. If you remember, that was the report that says there would be 500,000 deaths in the U.K. and 2.2 million deaths in the United States. They’ve adjusted that number in the U.K. to 20,000. Half a million to 20,000.”

A few days ago, this report was used to frighten people. The implication at the time was that President Trump wasn’t doing a good job of eliminating the virus. Dr. Birx continued, saying:

Models are models. We are — there is enough data of the real experience with the coronavirus on the ground to really make these predictions much more sound. So when people start talking about 20% of a population getting infected, it’s very scary, but we don’t have data that matches that based on our experience.

And the situation about ventilators. We are reassured in meeting with our colleagues in New York that there are still I.C.U. Beds remaining and still significant, over 1,000 or 2,000 ventilators that have not been utilized.

The media should devote infinitely more time on reporting actual statistics than on these frightening and misleading computer models. As Dr. Birx just showed, the model wasn’t accurate. Finally, Dr. Birx finished by saying this:

Please for the reassurance of people around the world, to wake up this morning and look at people talking about creating DNR situations, Do Not Resuscitate situations for patients, there is no situation in the United States right now that warrants that kind of discussion. You can be thinking about it in the hospital. Certainly, hospitals talk about this on a daily basis, but to say that to the American people and make the implication that when they need a hospital bed it’s not going to be there or a ventilator, it’s not going to be there, we don’t have evidence of that.

Almost 3:30 into this video, Dr. Birx gets into that presentation:

It’s time for the media to stop frightening people. It’s time for them to start reporting.

If you’re reading articles predicting the Apocalypse, put the computer down, stop reading what you’re reading, then start trusting Dr. Anthony Fauci. That’s Dr. Drew Pinsky’s RX to the nation. Pinsky calls Dr. Fauci the nation’s “North Star” on these things. Pinsky then said that he’s got faith in Dr. Fauci and in the research doctors at the CDC and NIH.

Dr. Pinsky said that he’s intrigued by the hydroxychloroquine and the azithromycin. In fact, he said “I see a lot of good news in a lot of domains. I was on television with Dr. Oz last night. We both agreed that we both need 2 pieces of information to really change the course of this thing. I want a little more peer review data on the use of the malaria medicine, the Hydroxychloroquine showing significant benefit of treatment and, perhaps, prophylactic activity of the same medication.”

The point is that there’s tons of reasons to be optimistic. As Dr. Drew points out, there are a number of treatments that wouldn’t need to go through the entire approval process because they’ve already been through that process for a different use. In his interview with Greg Gutfeld, Dr. Drew said that he’s upset with the reporting, saying that the media seems intent on pushing the most extreme stories in their attempt to panic people.

The media’s goal is to increase readership. What actually happens, though, is that people panic. The media have done a fine job of increasing the panic

One positive thing that’s happened as a result of the outbreak of the coronavirus is that we’re seeing the importance of the U.S.’s public health system. We’re seeing the roles that the National Institutes of Health, aka the NIH, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, aka the CDC, play in public health, especially when the world is suffering through a health crisis like what’s happening now.

Another positive that might happen as a result of this is the use of existing laws to expedite the production of protective garments. Specifically, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said that he’ll use the Defense Production Act to “acquire anything we need to acquire.”

One thing that’s been highlighted is the fact that many medical products are manufactured in China. According to this commentary, “there are a surprising number of medicines, face masks, syringes and other medical supplies which come from China. There are a significant number of American companies who will have their production disrupted because they rely on Chinese parts in the logistics chain.” It’s time to bring those companies home as quickly as possible.

We the people have a role to play, too. This video isn’t dramatic but it highlights what we should do:

Simple practices like this will help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Apparently, getting into a routine of best practices goes a long way towards eliminating exposure to the virus.

If the administration uses the tools that are available to them, they will solve this situation. That will redound to their political benefit, as it should, because they will have made lots of people’s lives better. Solving this situation would help the administration say ‘We were the adults in the room. You can trust us.’

Just once, I’d love to see Democrats put public safety ahead of partisan gain. That won’t happen with the Coronavirus, aka Covid-19. Sen. Schumer hasn’t been interested in bipartisanship. Based on this article, he’s mostly been interested in partisanship.

Schumer said “Trump’s move to repurpose funding previously appropriated for the prevention and treatment of Ebola [is] ‘indicative of his towering incompetence and further proof that he and his administration aren’t taking the coronavirus crisis as seriously as they need to be. We’ve seen no sign that President Trump has any plan or urgency to deal with the spread of the coronavirus — we need real leadership and we need it fast.'”

During this afternoon’s news conference, President Trump said that the annual average number of deaths from influenza in the United States is “between 26,000 and 69,000.” At the time of the news conference, there have been reports of 81,000 cases of coronavirus and fewer than 2,800 deaths worldwide.

Please explain to me why I should panic over a virus that has as many reported cases worldwide than we have deaths from the influenza virus each year in the United States. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t take this seriously. We’re already doing that. Our medical infrastructure, something Bernie never talks about, has already issued statements on what symptoms to watch out for. They’ve instructed people to stay home from work if they experience these symptoms. We’re told to wash our hands with soap and water frequently.

These mundane-sounding steps don’t sound like life-saving advice. When Memorial Weekend rolls around, I wonder if we’ll find out that following the CDC’s instructions will have prevented the spread of this virus. Something tells me we’ll be just fine.

There’s 3 important things to implement:

  1. Put in place a management team to monitor conditions on the ground and communicate with state and local levels of government.
  2. Instruct scientists at the CDC and NIH to do the research and experimentation to finding a vaccine that will stop this virus in its tracks.
  3. Instruct the medical manufacturers to manufacture this vaccine.

As I’d expected, the first 2 points are already in place:

President Trump has assigned the responsibility of coordinating with state and local governments to Vice President Pence, formerly known as Gov. Pence. This is right in VP Pence’s wheelhouse. I can’t think of a better person for this important responsibility.

Dr. Anne Schuchat reported that “As you know, this has been a difficult and challenging time and our hearts go out to the individuals who have been directly affected by the virus and to all those who have been working tirelessly in responding to it. Our aggressive containment strategy here in the United States has been working and is responsible for the low levels of cases that we have so far. However, we do expect more cases and this is a good time to prepare.”

There’s a management component to this effort. There’s a scientific component to the effort, too. The final piece to this puzzle is the manufacturing piece. I’d expect this solution to be well underway within 6 months, perhaps less. No other nation on earth can do that.

This is what putting a solution together looks like. The task force will continue meeting each day until the virus is eliminate. That means finding a timely solution instead of just working on something. In light of these productive steps, Sen. Schumer’s statements sound more partisan than productive.

Anyone that thinks that Democrats talking about climate change aren’t elitists needs to read Thad McCotter’s article on the subject of climate change.

In the article, Rep. McCotter extols the virtues of comedian Evan Sayet and cartoonist A.F. Branco for the work they did in producing a book titled “Apocali Now.” Rep. McCotter writes “Apocali Now! walks readers and listeners through the cynical history of the Left’s false alarms of environmental end-times: global cooling, the ozone layer, acid rain, swine flu, mad cow disease, killer bees, missing bees, etc. Moreover, this fun, provocative book continues to punch above its weight by explaining the motive behind the Left’s bogus doomsaying—and why acquiescing won’t save the world, but will ensure the end of freedom—free thought, free speech, and free markets.”

The article highlights the Left’s penchant for predicting doom and impending gloom. Here’s one example:

At the time of this particular leftist false alarm, I was a young lad in Michigan who wasn’t particularly fond of winter. To this day, I’d still love to know the whereabouts of the clowns who spread this scam, so I can send them an invoice for the boxes of long underwear, ski masks, mittens, scarves, snowmobile boots, skates and Chapstick we bought back in the day to survive their “inevitable” Ice Age.

Mr. Michael Crichton, the late author of many brilliant novels, once testified in front of a Senate panel on climate change. Here’s part of his testimony:

Drawing on what he said was experience from his medical background, he told the assembled senators that any study where a single team plans the research, carries it out, supervises the analysis, and writes their own final report carries a “very high risk ” of undetected bias.

He then said this:

“In closing, I want to state emphatically that nothing in my remarks should be taken to imply that we can ignore our environment, or that we should not take climate change seriously. On the contrary, we must dramatically improve our record on environmental management. That’s why a focused effort on climate science, aimed at securing sound, independently verified answers to policy questions, is so important now.”

This is the type of idiot we shouldn’t listen to, according to Dr. Crichton:

If hyperbole was money, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez would be the richest person on the planet.

The headlines in the media about President Trump and his decisions have been so over-the-top that they can’t be believed. The latest headline that shows the Democrats’ inability to connect with blue collar workers quotes Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer saying that President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement is “a devastating failure of historic proportions.”

The truth is that few people will notice the difference.

In total, Sen. Schumer said “President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement is a devastating failure of historic proportions. Future generations will look back on President Trump’s decision as one of the worst policy moves made in the 21st century because of the huge damage to our economy, our environment and our geopolitical standing.”

Sen. Schumer is getting pushed around by the people behind the Resistance Movement. He doesn’t believe the things he said. It’s just that he’s forced to say those things to keep the money coming in from those special interest groups. Republicans should highlight the fact that Sen. Schumer (and the rest of the Democrats) listen more intently to the special interests than they listen to Main Street:

It’s becoming clear that the Democratic Party is the party of uncontrolled hysterics and the party of the special interests.

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Kirsten Powers’ latest column is, being charitable, misguided:

Pope Francis will release a teaching letter, known as an encyclical, on Thursday that’s thought to be the first in the church’s history to focus on the environment. A leaked version of the document endorses the notion that human activity contributes to climate change and that this menace disproportionately harms the poor.

Many U.S. conservatives are not pleased, believing that that the Vatican is blindly bending to elite opinion and stepping out of its lane. Leave the climate change issue to the politicians, they argue. Some conservative Catholics have expressed concern to me that Pope Francis is pulling a “reverse Galileo” by endorsing science that could turn out to be wrong, thus harming the credibility of the Catholic Church.

Perhaps there should be more concern in the alternative. If the science is correct, then how would the church’s silence in obeisance to conservative climate skepticism enhance its credibility? After all, the American Association for the Advancement of Science announced in 2014 that the scientific consensus that “climate change is happening, and human activity is the cause” is as airtight as the “science linking smoking to lung and cardiovascular diseases.”

Climate change isn’t science. It’s conjecture built on models that don’t use accurate temperature data. The process itself is flawed, too. They don’t use the double blind procedure. That’s the gold standard in scientific testing because it ensures that the person who does the data analysis doesn’t do the data collection or inputting the data.

As for this consensus, it’s overrated when the scientists are corrupt. This is the Hockey Stick graph used in the IPCC’s report:

Here’s the modified hockey stick graph used in a later release of the IPCC report after scientists objected to the first Hockey Stick graph:

Those graphs don’t look like each other. At all. So much for consensus and the airtight nature of the science.

The Catholic Church’s credibility won’t crumble because of Pope Francis’ encyclical. Pope Francis’ credibility, though, is already struggling. Thus far, he seems more like a far left activist than a pontiff.

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I’ve written before about Pope Francis’ trip into the world of climate change. When he was picked to be pontiff, he wasn’t picked to be a delegate to UN climate change events. That hasn’t stopped Francis from throwing the weight of his office behind his ultra-liberal causes:

Pope Francis will this week call for changes in lifestyles and energy consumption to avert the “unprecedented destruction of the ecosystem” before the end of this century, according to a leaked draft of a papal encyclical. In a document released by an Italian magazine on Monday, the pontiff will warn that failure to act would have “grave consequences for all of us”.

Francis also called for a new global political authority tasked with “tackling … the reduction of pollution and the development of poor countries and regions”. His appeal echoed that of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, who in a 2009 encyclical proposed a kind of super-UN to deal with the world’s economic problems and injustices.

I wasn’t aware that Pope Francis had gotten a doctorate in climate science. If he hasn’t gotten that type of degree, perhaps he should stick tradition papal responsibilities like preaching the Gospel and explaining who Jesus Christ is.

The Great Commission and the Great Commandment, which certainly pertain to Christian leaders, instructs those leaders to “preach the Gospel wherever you go” and to “love your neighbor as yourself.” It’s difficult to understand how writing encyclicals about climate change fits in God’s job description for Christian leaders.

“Humanity is called to take note of the need for changes in lifestyle and changes in methods of production and consumption to combat this warming, or at least the human causes that produce and accentuate it,” he wrote in the draft. “Numerous scientific studies indicate that the greater part of the global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases … given off above all because of human activity.”

Perhaps, this is Pope Francis’ attempt to be relevant beyond the church walls. Perhaps he’s just an attention-seeker. Perhaps it’s both. Either way, his upcoming encyclical is based on junk science.

This encyclical doesn’t meet the church’s definition for encyclicals:

From the nature of the case encyclicals addressed to the bishops of the world are generally concerned with matters which affect the welfare of the Church at large. They condemn some prevalent form of error, point out dangers which threaten faith or morals, exhort the faithful to constancy, or prescribe remedies for evils foreseen or already existent.

It’s difficult to see how this encyclical about climate change will highlight the “dangers which threaten [the] faith or morals” of the church or “exhort the faithful to constancy.” This encyclical seems more political than biblical.

It’s bad enough when politicians think that they’re scientists. It’s worse when pontiffs think they’re scientists.

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A friend of mine sent me this table to illustrate how much environmentalists’ policies have hurt families in St. Louis County:

Terry used U.S. Census Bureau information to compare St. Louis County’s median household income with Minnesota’s median household income.

As you can see, Minnesota’s median household income for 2008-2012 was $59,126. The median household income for St. Louis County was $46,231 for the same time period. That doesn’t tell the entire story, though. Terry’s table does a better job of highlighting the differences.

Eveleth, which is part of the heart of the Iron Range, has a median household income of $35,500, which is $23,626 less than Minnesota’s median household income.

Not coincidentally, the Iron Range gets the most of the Metrocrat environmental activists’ attention. That’s because the activists’ highest priority is preventing mining. It isn’t coincidence that cities and counties that have the highest poverty rates and lowest incomes are the cities and counties that get most of the environmentalists’ attention.

There’s another worthwhile comparison to make, this time between Chisago County and International Falls. The median household income in Chisago County is $67,075. The median household income for International Falls is a paltry $30,094, a whopping difference of $36,981.

International Falls, where the MHI is $30,094, has been governed by Democrats since before I was born. FYI- I’ll turn 58 in July. Chisago County, where the MHI is $67,075, isn’t governed by liberals. Environmental activists haven’t paid much attention to Chisago County, either. Again, it isn’t coincidental that the income disparity is breathtaking between Chisago County and International Falls.

Chisago County has a diversified economy with relatively few environmental regulations. Environmental regulations heavily influence International Falls’ economy even though they aren’t technically part of the Iron Range. They’re affected by environmental regulations on the logging industry and because of their proximity to Superior National Forest, aka SNF, and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, aka the BWCAW.

Organizations like Friends of the Boundary Waters, Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, the Sierra Club and Conservation Minnesota have worked overtime to keep the Range’s economy from flourishing. They’ve done everything, including lying, to stop PolyMet from becoming reality.

These organizations didn’t hesitate in trying their time-tested method of fear-mongering, which Harlan Christensen exposed in this article. Here’s how he started his article:

“Minnesota and mining: Our children, our waters and wild rice are political pawns,” published April 15 by Ely resident C.A. Arneson, paints a frightening picture of political intrigue and dangers to our children and communities. With this masterpiece of environmental fear-mongering, Arneson reveals a disturbing problem with the environmental lobby in Minnesota.

Here’s how Mr. Christensen exposed the environmentalists’ fearmongering:

I will not argue Arneson’s contention of sulfide effects on wild rice and methyl mercury. What I will argue, however, are some key omissions.

Important MPCA evidence and other scientific studies offer evidence that rice beds and waters containing elevated levels of iron significantly reduce mercury methylation and make sulfide nontoxic to wild-rice seedlings. Iron makes the difference, and we are talking about the Iron Range, right?

Organizations like the Sierra Club, Conservation Minnesota and others know the mitigating effects iron has on wild rice seedlings. Mr. Christensen highlights things in this paragraph:

The March 2014 MPCA Wild Rice Sulfate Standard Study Preliminary Analysis revealed that iron presence in mud at levels greater than 1 milligram per liter causes sulfide to bond with the iron and renders it nontoxic to wild rice. Field testing revealed a whopping 8.0 to 84.6 mg/L of iron present in waters throughout the proposed future copper/nickel/PGM mining area in northeastern Minnesota.

This is proof that these environmental organizations are using any tactic to prevent PolyMet from happening. Gov. Dayton has said that he won’t take a position on the PolyMet project until all of the studies are done, which sounds reasonable…until people realize that a ton of verifiable, pertinent scientific information is already known.

Gov. Dayton’s position to not take a position isn’t based on a shortage of scientific information. Gov. Dayton’s position is based on his wanting to have it both ways politically.

This proves the age-old axiom that the DFL will always do the right thing…when it’s the only option left.

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Thanks to George Will’s response to Chris Wallace’s question about climate change, we have clarity on the issue:

Here’s a partial transcript of Brother Will’s response:

GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: …I’m one of those who are called deniers. And the implication is that I deny climate change. It’s impossible to state with clearer precision the opposite of my view, which is that, of course the climate is changing. It’s always changing. That’s what gave us the medieval warm period. That’s what gave us, subsequent to that for centuries, the little Ice Age. Of course it’s changing. When a politician on a subject implicating science, hard science, economic science, social science, says the debate is over, you may be sure of two things. The debate is raging and he’s losing it. So I think, frankly, as a policy question, Chris, Holman Jenkins, Kim’s colleague at the “Wall Street Journal” put it perfectly. The only questions is, how much money are we going to spend? How much wealth are we going to forego creating in order to have zero discernible effect on the environment?

There’s actually another question worth asking in light of President Obama’s recent golf outing in California:

Regulations for new coal plants would increase electricity prices by as much as 80 percent, an Obama administration official told lawmakers on Tuesday.

Julio Friedmann, deputy assistant secretary for clean coal at the DEPArtment of Energy, told members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s oversight board that carbon capture and storage technology was still not ready for prime time.

“The precise number will vary, but for first generation we project $70 to $90 per ton [on the wholesale price of electricity],” Friedmann said. “For second generation, it will be more like a $40 to $50 per ton price. Second generation of demonstrations will begin in a few years, but won’t be until middle of the next decade that we will have lessons learned and cost savings.”

This means that the CCS technology the administration is pushing for would increase electricity prices initially, but that prices would come down a bit once better technology is developed. But electricity prices would still be higher than they are now.

It’s disgusting that President Obama insists that he’s the champion of the middle class. The middle class will get hit hardest by this rate increase. While it isn’t technically a middle class tax increase, there’s no question that this is another Obama administration policy that hurts the middle class.

President Obama is the champion of the middle class the way Bonnie and Clyde were bank security advocates.

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