Beating the bulge with OOLONG tea

“researchers found that both oolong tea and pure caffeine increased fat breakdown by about 20% in the healthy volunteers compared with the placebo, and that oolong tea continued to have an effect while the participants were asleep”

#metabolism #oolongtea #bodyfat

Subacute Ingestion of Caffeine and Oolong Tea Increases Fat Oxidation without Affecting Energy Expenditure and Sleep Architecture: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blinded Cross-Over Trial

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/12/3671/htm

oolong tea, fat oxidation, metabolism, sleep, caffeine, Camellia sinensis, tea, cup of tea, energy expenditure, whole room indirect calorimetry, respiratory quotient, carbohydrate oxidation, body temperature, caffeine tolerance

Omega–3 For Better Heart Rate Recovery

Omega–3 For Better Heart Rate Recovery

Previous studies have shown that a slow heart rate recovery is associated with increased risk for sudden cardiac death, which fits with higher EPA and DHA levels being linked with reduced risk for sudden cardiac death

#heartraterecovery #heartrhythm #omega3

Higher omega-3 index is associated with more rapid heart rate recovery in healthy men and women

https://www.plefa.com/article/S0952-3278(20)30164-2/fulltext

heart rate, heart rhythm, pulse, heart rate recovery, heart health, omega 3, EPA, DHA, omega 3 index, docosahexaenoic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, exercise recovery, running, jogging, treadmill, longevity, cardiac death, cardiac health, pufa, resting heart rate

Annals of Internal Medicine “Mask Benefit Claims Inconclusive”, Lund University Lockdown Models Heavily Flawed” Plus new Data Vaccine to Population Ratio

Annals of Internal Medicine “Mask Benefit Claims Inconclusive”, Lund University Lockdown Models Heavily Flawed” Plus new Data Vaccine to Population Ratio

This week we review the above plus start mining data in reference to COVID-19 Vaccine rate and Hospital Occupancy correlations overall.

#facecoverings #lockdown #SARS-CoV-2

Update Alert 4: Masks for Prevention of Respiratory Virus Infections, Including SARS-CoV-2, in Health Care and Community Settings

https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/L20-1429

Model used to evaluate lockdowns was flawed

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-12/lu-mut122620.php#.X-0C4mY4JOE.wordpress

data, peer reviewed, study, lockdown effectiveness, pandemic, data analytics, python, matploblib, pandas, biostatistics, corona, sarscov2 data, masks, face covering, danmask19, seaborn, owid, our world in data, covid testing, , vector, danish study, denmark study, virus, micron, aerosolized, covid aerosol, sars-cov-2 micron size, mask filtration, vitamin d, uvc , mask, mask effectiveness, surgical mask harms, nasal deposition, airflow, b cell, denmask, Sweden, owid, healthdata, micronized, airborne

Sars-COV-2 confirmed aerosolized below 1um, Masks may officially do more harm than good, plus data


1. We review now the very strong hypothesis that Sars-COV-2 is now aerosolized on a sub-micron level greatly reducing any impact PPE may have and greatly increasing transmission vectors. 2. Immunity to COVID-19 appears to last at least 8 months with significant B cell memory. 3. Plus deep dive into global Data that really shows there is no real clear pandemic mitigation strategy that is having any real-world effect except unnecessarily causing hardship among the subject populace.

#sarscov2 #aerosolized #covid

Data Sources
HealthData .gov
Our World in Data
Covid Tracking Project

Article Links (Current New) :
Assessment of Air Contamination by SARS-CoV-2 in Hospital Settings
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2774463?s=03

UH Mānoa researcher examines why people choose to wear face coverings
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-12/uoha-umr121820.php#.X-Fc482Kb5o.wordpress

COVID immunity lasts up (at least) to 8 months, new data reveals
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-12/mu-cil122020.php#.X-KF5Sew4mI.wordpress

Common Herbicide May Devastate Future Generations

Common Herbicide May Devastate Future Generations

The study provides evidence that glyphosate-induced changes to exposed rats could be used as biomarkers for determining propensity in subsequent generations for prostate and kidney diseases as well as obesity and incurring multiple diseases at once. In fact, by the time third- and fourth-generation rats whose predecessors had been exposed to the chemical were middle-aged, 90% had one or more of these health problems, a dramatically higher rate than the control group.

Epigenome-wide association study for glyphosate induced transgenerational xxxxx DNA methylation and histone retention epigenetic biomarkers for disease

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15592294.2020.1853319

#glyphosate #herbicide #epigenome

Glyphosate, herbicide, transgenerational, histone, DNA methylation, prostate, kidney, obesity, epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of pathology, toxicology, pesticide, organic, generation, diagnostic tests, germline epimutation, include imprinted-like gene characteristics

Masks may be worse than no mask if COVID-19 is aerosolized. UV light, Cadmium, and Vit. D all Corr,

This week we look at one of the worst cases of media bias to date in reference to the study: Effects of mask-wearing on the inhalability and deposition of airborne SARS-CoV-2 aerosols in human upper airway. Cadmiun and heightened mortality, UV light in relation to COVID and Vitamin D, again.
#sarscov2aerosol #micron #surgicalmask
Study Sources:
‘Alarmingly high’ vitamin D deficiency in the United Kingdom
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-12/uosa-hv121420.php#.X9jqniRdpbA.wordpress

COVID-19 does not damage auditory system, Tel Aviv University and Galilee Medical Center study finds
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-12/afot-cdn121520.php#.X9lCpb8uT8Q.wordpress

LED lights found to kill coronavirus: Global first in fight against COVID-19
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-12/afot-llf121420.php#.X9gQC1QniyA.wordpress

‘The mask matters: How masks affect airflow, protection effectiveness
Effects of mask-wearing on the inhalability and deposition of airborne SARS-CoV-2 aerosols in human upper airway
In this study, we found that the protective efficacy of a mask for the nasal airway decreases at lower inhalation flow rates. Particularly at 15 l/min, the nasal retention of 1 µm–3 µm ambient aerosols is even higher by wearing a 65% filtration mask than without a mask at all.’
https://aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/5.0034580

SARS-CoV-2-like particles very sensitive to temperature
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-12/uou-spv121720.php#.X92jmCoxRLw.wordpress

New study links cadmium to more severe flu, pneumonia infections
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-12/uom-nsl121020.php#.X924gekaJHI.wordpress

COVID-19 spread increases when UV levels decrease
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-12/hjap-csi121620.php#.X92vSB3cwpQ.wordpress

COVID-19 as the Leading Cause of Death in the United States
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2774465?guestAccessKey=d0b5e5b7-a997-49c2-9000-c0f1842ce76c&utm_source=For_The_Media&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=ftm_links&utm_content=tfl&utm_term=121720

Reference to the DENMASK study:
https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M20-6817

API Sources:
Our wold in Data
COVID Tracking Project
HealthData.gov

Added:
Minimum Sizes of Respiratory Particles Carrying SARS-CoV-2 and the Possibility of
Aerosol Generation

New sunspot cycle could be one of the strongest on record, new research predicts

In direct contradiction to the official forecast, a team of scientists led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is predicting that the Sunspot Cycle that started this fall could be one of the strongest since record-keeping began.

In a new article published in Solar Physics, the research team predicts that Sunspot Cycle 25 will peak with a maximum sunspot number somewhere between approximately 210 and 260, which would put the new cycle in the company of the top few ever observed.

The cycle that just ended, Sunspot Cycle 24, peaked with a sunspot number of 116, and the consensus forecast from a panel of experts convened by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting that Sunspot Cycle 25 will be similarly weak. The panel predicts a peak sunspot number of 115.

If the new NCAR-led forecast is borne out, it would lend support to the research team’s unorthodox theory – detailed in a series of papers published over the last decade – that the Sun has overlapping 22-year magnetic cycles that interact to produce the well-known, approximately 11-year sunspot cycle as a byproduct. The 22-year cycles repeat like clockwork and could be a key to finally making accurate predictions of the timing and nature of sunspot cycles, as well as many of the effects they produce, according to the study’s authors.

“Scientists have struggled to predict both the length and the strength of sunspot cycles because we lack a fundamental understanding of the mechanism that drives the cycle,” said NCAR Deputy Director Scott McIntosh, a solar physicist who led the study. “If our forecast proves correct, we will have evidence that our framework for understanding the Sun’s internal magnetic machine is on the right path.

The new research was supported by the National Science Foundation, which is NCAR’s sponsor, and NASA’s Living With a Star Program.

Sunspot Cycle 25 starts with a bang; what will follow?

In McIntosh’s previous work, he and his colleagues sketched the outline of a 22-year extended solar cycle using observations of coronal bright points, ephemeral flickers of extreme ultraviolet light in the solar atmosphere. These bright points can be seen marching from the Sun’s high latitudes to the equator over about 20 years. As they cross the mid-latitudes, the bright points coincide with the emergence of sunspot activity.

McIntosh believes the bright points mark the travel of magnetic field bands, which wrap around the Sun. When the bands from the northern and southern hemispheres – which have oppositely charged magnetic fields – meet at the equator, they mutually annihilate one another leading to a “terminator” event. These terminators are crucial markers on the Sun’s 22-year clock, McIntosh says, because they flag the end of a magnetic cycle, along with its corresponding sunspot cycle, — and act as a trigger for the following magnetic cycle to begin.

While one set of oppositely charged bands is about halfway through its migration toward the equatorial meetup, a second set appears at high latitudes and begins its own migration. While these bands appear at high latitudes at a relatively consistent rate — every 11 years — they sometimes slow as they cross the mid-latitudes, which appears to weaken the strength of the upcoming solar cycle.

This happens because the slowdown acts to increase the amount of time that the oppositely charged sets of bands overlap and interfere with one another inside the Sun. The slow-down extends the current solar cycle by pushing the terminator event out in time. Shifting the terminator out in time has the effect of eating away at the spot productivity of the next cycle.

“When we look back over the 270-year long observational record of terminator events, we see that the longer the time between terminators, the weaker the next cycle,” said study co-author Bob Leamon, a researcher at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. “And, conversely, the shorter the time between terminators, the stronger the next solar cycle is.

This correlation has been difficult for scientists to see in the past because they have traditionally measured the length of a sunspot cycle from solar minimum to solar minimum, which is defined using an average rather than a precise event. In the new study, the researchers measured from terminator to terminator, which allows for much greater precision.

While terminator events occur approximately every 11 years and mark the beginning and end of the sunspot cycle, the time between terminators can vary by years. For example, Sunspot Cycle 4 began with a terminator in 1786 and ended with a terminator in 1801, an unprecedented 15 years later. The following cycle, 5, was incredibly weak with a peak amplitude of just 82 sunspots. That cycle would become known as the beginning of the “Dalton” Grand Minimum.

Similarly, Sunspot Cycle 23 began in 1998 and did not end until 2011, 13 years later. Sunspot Cycle 24, which is just ending, was quite weak as well, but it was also quite short — just shy of 10 years long – and that’s the basis for the new study’s bullish prediction that Sunspot Cycle 25 will be strong.

“Once you identify the terminators in the historical records, the pattern becomes obvious,” said McIntosh. “A weak Sunspot Cycle 25, as the community is predicting, would be a complete departure from everything that the data has shown us up to this point.

Source: New sunspot cycle could be one of the strongest on record, new research predicts

Molnupiravir, may fully suppress virus transmission within 24 hours – Green Tea inhibits Sars-COV-2

Today we look at this week’s COVID data and research 1 Molnupiravir ( MK-4482 ), may fully suppress virus transmission within 24 hours 2 Chemical compounds in foods can inhibit a key SARS-CoV-2 enzyme 3 Vehicles and Testing Sites possible COVID vectors 4 BMJ says no to Many school COVID restrictions Plus tons of HeatMaps, Correlations, Graphs, and Charts questioning whether many world leaders have any clue about anything actually. 😉

#molnupiravir#mk4482#greentea

https://clinicalnews.org/2020/12/03/o…https://clinicalnews.org/2020/11/30/r…https://clinicalnews.org/2020/12/04/r…https://clinicalnews.org/2020/11/30/c…

Plant-based diet ramps up metabolism

Plant-based participants increased after-meal calorie burn by 18.7% after 16 weeks

The study randomly assigned participants–who were overweight and had no history of diabetes–to an intervention or control group in a 1:1 ratio. For 16 weeks, participants in the intervention group followed a low-fat, plant-based diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes with no calorie limit. The control group made no diet changes. Neither group changed exercise or medication routines, unless directed by their personal doctors.

#plantdiet #metabolism #diet

Hana Kahleova et al, Effect of a Low-Fat Vegan Diet on Body Weight, Insulin Sensitivity, Postprandial Metabolism, and Intramyocellular and Hepatocellular Lipid Levels in Overweight Adults, JAMA Network Open (2020). DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.25454

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2773291

https://www.pcrm.org/

New cyberattack can trick scientists into making toxins or viruses — Ben-Gurion University researchers

BEER-SHEVA, Israel…November 30, 2020 – An end-to-end cyber-biological attack, in which unwitting biologists may be tricked into generating dangerous toxins in their labs, has been discovered by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev cyber-researchers.

According to a new paper just published in Nature Biotechnology, it is currently believed that a criminal needs to have physical contact with a dangerous substance to produce and deliver it. However, malware could easily replace a short sub-string of the DNA on a bioengineer’s computer so that they unintentionally create a toxin producing sequence.

“To regulate both intentional and unintentional generation of dangerous substances, most synthetic gene providers screen DNA orders which is currently the most effective line of defense against such attacks,” says Rami Puzis, head of the BGU Complex Networks Analysis Lab, a member of the Department of Software and Information Systems Engineering and Cyber@BGU. California was the first state in 2020 to introduce gene purchase regulation legislation.

“However, outside the state, bioterrorists can buy dangerous DNA, from companies that do not screen the orders,” Puzis says. “Unfortunately, the screening guidelines have not been adapted to reflect recent developments in synthetic biology and cyberwarfare.”

A weakness in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) guidance for DNA providers allows screening protocols to be circumvented using a generic obfuscation procedure which makes it difficult for the screening software to detect the toxin producing DNA. “Using this technique, our experiments revealed that that 16 out of 50 obfuscated DNA samples were not detected when screened according to the ‘best-match’ HHS guidelines,” Puzis says.

The researchers also found that accessibility and automation of the synthetic gene engineering workflow, combined with insufficient cybersecurity controls, allow malware to interfere with biological processes within the victim’s lab, closing the loop with the possibility of an exploit written into a DNA molecule.

The DNA injection attack demonstrates a significant new threat of malicious code altering biological processes. Although simpler attacks that may harm biological experiments exist, we’ve chosen to demonstrate a scenario that makes use of multiple weaknesses at three levels of the bioengineering workflow: software, biosecurity screening, and biological protocols. This scenario highlights the opportunities for applying cybersecurity know-how in new contexts such as biosecurity and gene coding.

“This attack scenario underscores the need to harden the synthetic DNA supply chain with protections against cyber-biological threats,” Puzis says. “To address these threats, we propose an improved screening algorithm that takes into account in vivo gene editing. We hope this paper sets the stage for robust, adversary resilient DNA sequence screening and cybersecurity-hardened synthetic gene production services when biosecurity screening will be enforced by local regulations worldwide.

Source: New cyberattack can trick scientists into making toxins or viruses — Ben-Gurion University researchers

23% Wrinkle Reduction with Ataulfo Mangoes

23% Wrinkle Reduction with Ataulfo Mangoes

Postmenopausal women who ate a half cup of Ataulfo mangoes four times a week saw a 23 percent decrease in deep wrinkles after two months and a 20 percent decrease after four months.

#ataulfo #skinwrinkles #wrinkles

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/11/3381/htm

Vivien W. Fam et al. Prospective Evaluation of Mango Fruit Intake on Facial Wrinkles and Erythema in Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Clinical Pilot Study, Nutrients (2020). DOI: 10.3390/nu12113381

COVID-19 Surgical Mask Random Trial Offer Little to No Protection, British Gov’t Wrong on most Data

This week we run the data analytics on Face Coverings and Country Stats using Seaborn and Pandas as well as cover the DANMASK-19 randomized trial, The Daily Mails fight with the British Government attempt to terrorize it, citizens, with bad COVID data. The Possible transmission of COVID-19 from pets to humans continues to gain traction, etc… #covid19 #masks #facecoverings Data API Sources: Our World in Data Covid Tracking Project Effectiveness of Adding a Mask Recommendation to Other Public Health Measures to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Danish Mask Wearers https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M20-6817 A cluster randomised trial of cloth masks compared with medical masks in healthcare workers https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4420971/ https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8973737/Fury-government-uses-Twitter-propaganda-tool-attack-Mails-covid-analysis.html https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/11/20/mask-danish-study/ https://clinicalnews.org/2020/11/19/how-the-polio-vaccine-virus-occasionally-becomes-dangerous/ https://clinicalnews.org/2020/11/18/two-k-state-studies-focus-on-sars-cov-2-transmission-in-domestic-cats-pigs/ https://clinicalnews.org/2020/11/16/alarming-covid-19-study-shows-80-of-respondents-report-significant-symptoms-of-depression/

COVID – Vitamin C breakthrough, Baricitinib dramatically improves Survival, Lockdowns and Endemics

This week in Data analysis we start building a face covering (mask) data frame and disease outbreaks. Breakthrough discoveries in Vitamin C and an Arthritis drug Baricitinib. As well as future disease outbreak concerns, vaccine hazards, and sars-cov-2 animal transmission. #covid19 #vitaminc #Baricitinib https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releas… #sarsvac https://journals.plos.org/plosone/art… #polio https://www.pnas.org/content/115/5/10… #influenza https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releas… #endemic https://science.sciencemag.org/conten… #zoo https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releas… #lancetpred https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releas… #arth

Researchers identify melatonin as a possible COVID-19 treatment

Analysis of patient data from Cleveland Clinic’s COVID-19 registry also revealed that melatonin usage was associated with a nearly 30 percent reduced likelihood of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) after adjusting for age, race, smoking history and various disease comorbidities. Notably, the reduced likelihood of testing positive for the virus increased from 30 to 52 percent for African Americans when adjusted for the same variables

#melatonin #covid19 #sarscov2

https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.3000970#pbio-3000970-g007

Yadi Zhou, Yuan Hou, Jiayu Shen, Reena Mehra, Asha Kallianpur, Daniel A. Culver, Michaela U. Gack, Samar Farha, Joe Zein, Suzy Comhair, Claudio Fiocchi, Thaddeus Stappenbeck, Timothy Chan, Charis Eng, Jae U. Jung, Lara Jehi, Serpil Erzurum, Feixiong Cheng. A network medicine approach to investigation and population-based validation of disease manifestations and drug repurposing for COVID-19. PLOS Biology, 2020; 18 (11): e3000970 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000970

The universe is getting hot, hot, hot, a new study suggests

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The universe is getting hotter, a new study has found.

The study, published Oct. 13 in the Astrophysical Journal, probed the thermal history of the universe over the last 10 billion years. It found that the mean temperature of gas across the universe has increased more than 10 times over that time period and reached about 2 million degrees Kelvin today — approximately 4 million degrees Fahrenheit.

“Our new measurement provides a direct confirmation of the seminal work by Jim Peebles — the 2019 Nobel Laureate in Physics — who laid out the theory of how the large-scale structure forms in the universe,” said Yi-Kuan Chiang, lead author of the study and a research fellow at The Ohio State University Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics.

The large-scale structure of the universe refers to the global patterns of galaxies and galaxy clusters on scales beyond individual galaxies. It is formed by the gravitational collapse of dark matter and gas.

“As the universe evolves, gravity pulls dark matter and gas in space together into galaxies and clusters of galaxies,” Chiang said. “The drag is violent — so violent that more and more gas is shocked and heated up.”

The findings, Chiang said, showed scientists how to clock the progress of cosmic structure formation by “checking the temperature” of the universe.

The researchers used a new method that allowed them to estimate the temperature of gas farther away from Earth — which means further back in time — and compare them to gases closer to Earth and near the present time. Now, he said, researchers have confirmed that the universe is getting hotter over time due to the gravitational collapse of cosmic structure, and the heating will likely continue.

To understand how the temperature of the universe has changed over time, researchers used data on light throughout space collected by two missions, Planck and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Planck is the European Space Agency mission that operates with heavy involvement from NASA; Sloan collects detailed images and light spectra from the universe.

They combined data from the two missions and evaluated the distances of the hot gases near and far via measuring redshift, a notion that astrophysicists use to estimate the cosmic age at which distant objects are observed. (“Redshift” gets its name from the way wavelengths of light lengthen. The farther away something is in the universe, the longer its wavelength of light. Scientists who study the cosmos call that lengthening the redshift effect.)

The concept of redshift works because the light we see from objects farther away from Earth is older than the light we see from objects closer to Earth — the light from distant objects has traveled a longer journey to reach us. That fact, together with a method to estimate temperature from light, allowed the researchers to measure the mean temperature of gases in the early universe — gases that surround objects farther away — and compare that mean with the mean temperature of gases closer to Earth — gases today.

Those gases in the universe today, the researchers found, reach temperatures of about 2 million degrees Kelvin — approximately 4 million degrees Fahrenheit, around objects closer to Earth. That is about 10 times the temperature of the gases around objects farther away and further back in time.

The universe, Chiang said, is warming because of the natural process of galaxy and structure formation. It is unrelated to the warming on Earth. “These phenomena are happening on very different scales,” he said. “They are not at all connected.”

Source: The universe is getting hot, hot, hot, a new study suggests

Nuclear war could take a big bite out of the world’s seafood

A new study reveals the damage that a nuclear war might take on wild-caught seafood around the world, from salmon and tuna to the shrimp in shrimp cocktails.

The aftermath of such a conflict could put a major strain on global food security, an international team of scientists reports. The group estimates that a nuclear war might cut the amount of seafood that fishing boats are capable of bringing in worldwide by as much as 30%.

In short span of time, in other words, those impacts could rival the toll that climate change is taking on fisheries across the globe, said study coauthor Nicole Lovenduski.

“It’s similar to what’s going to happen by the end of the century, and that’s already concerning,” said Lovenduski, an associate professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder. “To have something of the same magnitude happen over such a short period of time is really remarkable.”

The researchers published their findings today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The effort is part of a multi-year project led by CU Boulder Professor Brian Toon and Alan Robock of Rutgers University to examine the global costs of a potential nuclear war. The team’s latest findings, however, come with a rare silver lining, said Kim Scherrer, lead author of the new study.

With a bit of planning and proper management today, humans could help to keep fisheries productive, even in the event of a nuclear war–potentially allowing these vital sources of food to make up for the loss of crops on land. For Scherrer, a graduate student at the Autonomous University of Barcelona in Spain, the results are a wake-up call.

“This is the extreme example of how our technology has made us capable of influencing the oceans, and how that could lash back at us,” she said.

Darkening skies

The team’s findings come just weeks after United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres declared that “the world continues to live in the shadow of nuclear catastrophe.”

In this case, that shadow can be a literal one.

Previous research from Toon and Robock’s team has revealed that even a relatively minor nuclear conflagration could loft humungous amounts of black soot high into Earth’s atmosphere. There, the debris would cause the globe to grow darker and colder. Farmers, in turn, would likely struggle to grow important crops like corn, wheat and rice.

“If we ran out of food on land, would we have enough food in the ocean to feed the world’s populations?” said Lovenduski, also of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at CU Boulder.

She and her colleagues wanted to find out. To crunch the numbers, the team first used complex computer simulations to estimate how a large-scale nuclear war could affect what Lovenduski called “the thing that everybody else in the ocean eats.”

That means plankton–or floating organisms, from single-celled algae to tiny crustaceans like krill. Like corn plants, many of these organisms need sunlight to thrive.

“Because the amount of sunlight reaching the surface of the ocean is reduced so much, the growth of plankton is also reduced,” she said.

The team discovered that a full-scale nuclear conflagration, such as a fight between the U.S. and Russia, could shrink the growth of plankton around the world by almost 40%.

Emptying seas

A lot of fish could go hungry as a result. But what happened next would likely depend on people, said Scherrer, a fisheries scientist.

If humans fished like normal after such a globe-altering event, hauls of wild-caught fish might fall by anywhere from 3-30% in the decade after a nuclear war, depending on the severity. That could amount to tens of millions of tons of lost seafood every year.

But these losses are not inevitable. Many fisheries around the world are already struggling because of overexploitation, climate change and other factors. If these resources were all managed sustainably, however, they could act as a much more reliable source of food. Such healthy fisheries might even be able to replace roughly 40% of the protein that humans currently get from land animals for a few crucial years.

“I was surprised by how big those numbers were,” Scherrer said. “It’s a great challenge to effectively manage the world’s fisheries, but this shows that beyond all the other benefits, strong management would also help to buffer against global food crises.”

The team’s findings carry extra meaning for the researchers now that the world is in the middle of a different kind of disaster: the coronavirus pandemic. Lovenduski remembers walking through grocery stores in March and seeing completely empty shelves.

“It was terrifying to live in that world,” Lovenduski said. “It made me wonder if we are prepared for a disaster like a nuclear war as a global society. I think the answer is ‘no.'”

Source: Nuclear war could take a big bite out of the world’s seafood

New study reveals disturbing surge in violent injuries during stay-at-home orders

CHICAGO: The social isolation brought on by stay-at-home orders (SAHO) issued in the early phase of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic may have a deadly and dangerous side effect: an increase in intentional penetrating injuries, especially firearm violence, that has remained at high levels even as stay-at-home orders have subsided and as COVID-19 cases are on an upswing. Philadelphia-area researchers released these findings in an “article in press” published on the Journal of the American College of Surgeons website in advance of print.

Jose L. Pascual, MD, PhD, FACS, and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia report that while emergency department (ED) visits fell drastically during stay-at-home orders, visits for intentional injuries reached historic highs and have stayed there since. As of October 19, Philadelphia has experienced 386 homicides, a 39 percent increase over the same time last year, reported KYW/AM Newsradio.

“We are now looking at the fact that even though main emergency department admissions have pretty much settled back to numbers pre-COVID–including trauma admissions, falls, motor-vehicle and motorcycle collisions, pedestrian accidents–and elective operations have mostly returned to normal, penetrating injury still remains high,” Dr. Pascual said. Importantly, he noted the same demographic–young African-American men–has been disproportionately impacted by these injuries, before as well as after statewide SAHO were eased.

The study evaluated trauma and emergency ED visits to the University of Pennsylvania Presbyterian Medical Center between February 1 and May 30, 2020, using the March 16 start of SAHO in Philadelphia as a demarcation of before and after periods. Penn Presbyterian is one of four adult level 1 trauma centers in Philadelphia and serves West Philadelphia and its western suburbs.

The analysis found significant differences in trauma trends in three key demographics between post- and pre-SAHO: a higher proportion of men presenting for trauma, with men accounting for 64.4 percent of cases before SAHO and 72.1 percent after (p=0.019); more younger patients presenting, with the mean patient age of 47.4 (range 22.1 years) before and 42.9 (range 20.3 years) after (p=0.009); and a higher proportion of non-white trauma patients, accounting for 69.5 percent before and 77.7 percent after (p=0.008). Specifically, the proportion of visits for gunshot wounds nearly doubled, from 12.6 to 22.9 percent (p<0.0001).

“The demographic that was most evidently involved here was the young black male, which is a demographic that was seen before in that violent injury category,” Dr. Pascual said. “Therefore it appeared that either the pandemic or the stay-at-home order, or both, may have had a direct result in augmenting the existing urban violent reality for that demographic.”

To get a more historical perspective on the impact of SAHO, Dr. Pascual and colleagues compared trauma injuries for the March 16 to May 30 period for 2016 through 2019. Up until March 16, trends of violent injuries were similar in 2020 to previous years, but Dr. Pascual noted, “After March 16, 2020, they were truly different, in that numbers for gunshot wounds increased by nearly 40 percent compared with the average of previous years.”

During the COVID-19 surge earlier this year, Penn Presbyterian implemented a host of recommendations to maintain its emergency department, including World Health Organization guidelines and the American College of Surgeons guidance statement on maintaining emergency care, released April 7. Before that, Dr. Pascual said they were relying on “hearsay” from physicians in Milan, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong for COVID-patient-care early on in the pandemic.

“We had to make emergency decisions on how to put personal protective equipment (PPE) on the providers and how to separate the patients from each other in the trauma bay, which was as important when PPE was not readily available,” he said. The ACS statement helped in that regard. “Although I have to say,” Dr. Pascual added, “that the concurrent presence of both the pandemic and the endemic penetrating trauma did not get really defined or explained by any plan.”

The findings raise a host of questions about urban firearm violence as COVID-19 cases rise. Dr. Pascual notes, “How do we rid ourselves, as an urban center, as a trauma center, as a country of this very devastating change in trauma mechanism and in trauma distributions across a given demographic that is most at risk and most suffering from it? I’m very worried that this is not a story that is done. Although cases may rise in the weeks or months ahead, the numbers for COVID-19 and for trauma overall–pre- and post-COVID-19–have for at least a brief time settled, but the numbers for violent injury have not.”

Source: New study reveals disturbing surge in violent injuries during stay-at-home orders

Researchers present wild theory: Water may be naturally occurring on all rocky planets

The emergence of life is a mystery. Nevertheless, researchers agree that water is a precondition for life. The first cell emerged in water and then evolved to form multicellular organism. The oldest known single-cell organism on Earth is about 3.5 billion years old.

So far, so good. But if life emerged in water, where did the water come from?

“There are two hypotheses about the emergence of water. One is that it arrives on planets by accident, when asteroids containing water collide with the planet in question,” says Professor Martin Bizzarro from the Centre for Star and Planet Formation at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen.

Together with Assistant Professor Zhengbin Deng he has headed a new study that turns the theory about the emergence of water upside down.

“The other hypothesis is that water emerges in connection with the formation of the planet. Our study suggests that this hypothesis is correct, and if that is true, it is extremely exciting, because it means that the presence of water is a bioproduct of the planet formation process,” Martin Bizzarro explains.

If Martin Bizzarro and Zhengbin Deng’s theory proves correct, life in planetary systems may have had better chances of developing than previously assumed.

The researchers’ studies show that there was water on Mars for the first 90 million years of the planet’s existence. In astronomical time, this is a long time before water-rich asteroids bombarded the planets of the inner Solar System like Earth and Mars, according to the first hypothesis. And this is very sensational’, Martin Bizzarro explains.

“It suggests that water emerged with the formation of Mars. And it tells us that water may be naturally occurring on planets and does not require an external source like water-rich asteroids,” he says.

The study is based on analyses of an otherwise modest black meteorite. But the meteorite is 4.45 billion years old and contains invaluable knowledge about the young solar system. Black Beauty, which is the name of the meteorite, originates from the original Martian crust and offers unique insight into events at the time of the formation of the solar system.

“It is a gold mine of information. And extremely valuable,” says Martin Bizzarro. After having been discovered in the Moroccan desert, the meteorite was sold for USD 10,000 dollars per gram.

With help from funds, Martin Bizzarro managed to buy just under 50 grams for research purposes back in 2017. With the meteorite in the laboratory they are now able to present signs of the presence of liquid water on Mars at the time of its formation. First, however, they had to crush, dissolve and analyse 15 grams of the expensive rock, Zhengbin Deng explains:

“We have developed a new technique that tells us that Mars in its infancy suffered one or more severe asteroid impacts. The impact, Black Beauty reveals, created kinetic energy that released a lot of oxygen. And the only mechanism that could likely have caused the release of such large amounts of oxygen is the presence of water,” Zhengbin Deng says.

Another bone of contention between researchers is how Mars with its cold surface temperature could accommodate liquid water causing the depositions of rivers and lakes visible on the planet today. Liquid water is a precondition for the assembling of organic molecules, which is what happened at least 3.5 billion years ago at the emergence of life on Earth.

The researchers’ analysis of Black Beauty shows that the asteroid impact on Mars released a lot of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.

According to Zhengbin Deng, ‘this means that the CO2-rich atmosphere may have caused temperatures to rise and thus allowed liquid water to exist at the surface of Mars’.

The team is now doing a follow-up study examining the microscopic water-bearing minerals found in Black Beauty. The age-old watery minerals are both original and unchanged since their formation, which means that the meteorite has witnessed the very emergence of water.

Source: Researchers present wild theory: Water may be naturally occurring on all rocky planets

COVID cases skyrocket mysteriously prior to the election while the mortality rate sharply declines

This week we look at the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases prior to the Election (Data Analytics), while mortality globally continues to naturally decline with many modern countries now reporting few to no related deaths. In addition, we pull in the Census.Gov Household Pulse Survey Data to review pandemic lockdown hardships. #covid19 #pandemic #dataanalysis Sources: covidtracking, OWID, U.S.Census

Pay people to get COVID-19 jab to ensure widespread coverage, says leading ethicist

Governments should consider incentivising people to get a COVID-19 jab, when the vaccine becomes available, to achieve the required level of herd immunity–which could be up to 80%+ of the population–and stamp out the infection, argues a leading ethicist in an opinion piece accepted for publication in the iJournal of Medical Ethics/i.

Source: Pay people to get COVID-19 jab to ensure widespread coverage, says leading ethicist

A safer UV light effectively Inactivates virus causing COVID-19, study shows

A safer UV light effectively Inactivates virus causing COVID-19, study shows

An in vitro experiment by HU researchers showed that 99.7% of the SARS-CoV-2 viral culture was “Inactivated” after a 30-second exposure to 222 nm UVC irradiation at 0.1 mW/cm2. The study is published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

A wavelength of 222 nm UVC cannot penetrate the outer, non-living layer of the human eye and skin so it won’t cause harm to the living cells beneath. This makes it a safer but equally potent alternative to the more damaging 254 nm UVC germicidal lamps increasingly used in disinfecting healthcare facilities.

#uvc222nm # SARSCoV2 #disinfection

https://www.ajicjournal.org/article/S0196-6553(20)30809-9/fulltext#seccesectitle0002

  1. Hiroki Kitagawa, Toshihito Nomura, Tanuza Nazmul, Keitaro Omori, Norifumi Shigemoto, Takemasa Sakaguchi, Hiroki Ohge. Effectiveness of 222-nm ultraviolet light on disinfecting SARS-CoV-2 surface contamination. American Journal of Infection Control, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.ajic.2020.08.022

Uvc222nm, uvc254, h1n1, covid19, sars-cov-2, germicidal, disinfection, non-living layer, safe uvc, sanitize,

Rooms, public places, wavelength, covid 19, coronavirus, influenza, pandemic, 222, 254

Vit. D the Most underutilized COVID tool, Low Income Households Crushed by Lockdowns, Plus Data

This week we look at how bad the lockdown is affecting low-income families, and ask why after so many months Vitamin D has been ignored. As well as Low Dose Aspirin has a powerful benefit against COVID. #aspirin #covid #lockdown Study finds over 80% of COVID-19 patients have vitamin D deficiency https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-10/tes-sfo102220.php#.X5ibhuBizBU.wordpress Death rates among people with severe COVID-19 drop by a half in England https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-10/uoe-dra102720.php#.X5iZJ_Rg_T8.wordpress New study: aspirin use reduces risk of death in hospitalized patients https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-10/uoms-nsa102220.php https://www.census.gov/data-tools/demo/hhp/#/?measures=EVR

Study: Republicans and Democrats hate the other side more than they love their own side

EVANSTON, Ill. — The bitter polarization between the Republican and Democratic parties in the U.S. has been on the rise since Newt Gingrich’s partisan combat against President Bill Clinton in the 1990s. But according to a new Northwestern University-led study, disdain for the opposing political party now — and for the first time on record — outweighs affection for one’s own party.

The study, titled “Political sectarianism in America,” will be published Oct. 30 by the journal Science. The authors provide a broad survey of current scientific literature to interpret the current state of politics.

The paper introduces the construct of “political sectarianism” to describe the phenomenon. Political sectarianism has the hallmarks of religious fervor, such as sin, public shaming and apostasy. But unlike traditional sectarianism, where political identity is secondary to religion, political identity is primary.

“The current state of political sectarianism produces prejudice, discrimination and cognitive distortion, undermining the ability of government to serve its core functions of representing the people and solving the nation’s problems,” said lead author Eli Finkel. “Along the way, it makes people increasingly willing to support candidates who undermine democracy and to favor violence in support of their political goals.”

Finkel is professor of social psychology with appointments at Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and Kellogg School of Management.

To ensure that their synthesis captured the collective knowledge base, Finkel recruited coauthors from six academic disciplines: political science, psychology, sociology, economics, management and computational social science.

A systematic review of dozens of published research studies led the authors to identify three key ingredients of political sectarianism, which, when combined, form the “poisonous cocktail” seen today. They include seeing the other side as different (othering), as dislikeable (aversion) and as immoral (moralization).

Using nationally representative survey data since the 1970s, the authors calculated the difference between Americans’ warm feelings toward their fellow partisans and their cold feelings toward opposing partisans. While feelings toward fellow partisans have remained consistently warm, feelings toward opposing partisans have chilled further from tepid to frosty. Indeed, those feelings have grown so frigid that they now exceed warm feelings toward fellow partisans, turning out-party hate into the dominant feeling in American politics.

“Things have gotten much more severe in the past decade, and there is no sign we’ve hit bottom,” said co-author James Druckman, Payson S. Wilder Professor of political science and Institute for Policy Research fellow at Northwestern. “As much as the parties differ from one another, partisans perceive even greater differences, believing, for example, that the other party is ideologically extreme, engaged and hostile. Correcting these types of misperceptions could partially vitiate sectarianism.”

The researchers identify the multiple causes of political sectarianism and suggest potential approaches to address and mitigate it. The three causes include:

 

  • Identity alignment, meaning political party identities have sorted into a “mega-identity” separated along racial, religious, educational and geographic lines;
  • The rise of partisan media, impacted by the termination of the FCC “fairness doctrine” in 1987, which required broadcasters to discuss controversial topics in an unbiased way; and
  • Elite ideological polarization, with Republican politicians moving further right and Democratic politicians moving further left — and politicians in both parties becoming increasingly reliant on ideologically extreme donors 

A proposed behavioral intervention includes correcting misperceptions of opposing partisans and encouraging people to engage in cross-party interactions.

“If the differences between Democrats and Republicans really were as extreme as Americans believe, that could help to explain the contempt,” Finkel observes. “But these differences exist more in people’s heads than in reality. There’s a whole lot of common ground, but Americans struggle to see it.”

Finkel offers that simply reminding people of what they have in common reduces out-party hate.

The researchers advise that structural fixes are also required, including tweaking social media algorithms to limit the reach of false or hyperpartisan content and incentivizing politicians to appeal to a broader proportion of Americans. Reforms around campaign finance and partisan gerrymandering are suggested as ways to reduce sectarianizing behaviors and to generate more robust competition in the marketplace of ideas.

Source: Study: Republicans and Democrats hate the other side more than they love their own side

How Twitter takes votes away from Trump but not from Republicans

A popular narrative holds that social media network Twitter influenced the outcome of the 2016 presidential elections by helping Republican candidate Donald Trump spread partisan content and misinformation. In a recent interview with CBS News, Trump himself stated he “would not be here without social media.”

A new study by Carlo Schwarz (Bocconi University) with Thomas Fujiwara and Karsten Müller (both Princeton University) casts doubt on this hypothesis by comparing electoral results in American counties with similar characteristics but differences in Twitter usage in the run-up to the 2016 presidential, House, and Senate elections. Their conclusion is that Twitter disadvantaged Donald Trump, by making independent voters less likely to vote for him.

“We estimate that doubling a county’s number of Twitter users would have lowered the vote share of Trump by roughly 2 percentage points,” Prof. Schwarz says. “On the other hand, we find no effect of Twitter on the 2016 House and Senate elections. Although voters had the choice to vote for Trump and other Republicans on the same day, Twitter only affected who they wanted for President.”

Survey data on individuals’ voting decisions also suggest that Twitter usage has no significant effect on voters with strong Democratic or Republican views, but it can persuade centrist voters to stay away from more extreme candidates. In 2016, the effect was strongest on independent voters, with little evidence that those feeling strongly aligned with the Republican or Democratic party were persuaded. Similarly, Twitter likely affected voting decisions in swing counties more than in counties with a consistent streak of Republican or Democratic wins.

Importantly, Twitter usage is not associated with a uniform shift away from Republican candidates. Instead, it is linked to a pronounced shift towards higher approval of Hillary Clinton at the expense of Donald Trump, especially among independents, those who are most likely to be persuaded by social media content.

The findings are consistent with the idea of a predominately liberal atmosphere on Twitter. For example, people using Twitter are disproportionately more likely to be young, well-educated liberals living in urban areas, while Trump’s broadest support came from older whites without college education in rural areas, who are among the least likely people to actively use social media. As the authors document, Democratic politicians are considerably more popular on Twitter than Republicans and, in 2016, three quarters of the tweets mentioning Trump were likely sent by users who most likely opposed his politics.

Prof. Schwarz concludes: “While our study does not speak to the effect of social media platforms other than Twitter, such as Facebook, and on the potential role of foreign government interventions or misinformation, our findings suggest that social media may indeed be able to affect the outcomes of elections.”

Source: How Twitter takes votes away from Trump but not from Republicans

Experts see substantial danger to democratic stability around 2020 election

On the eve of the November 3 election, Bright Line Watch–the political science research project of faculty at the University of Rochester, the University of Chicago, and Dartmouth College–finds that experts are concerned about substantial risks to the legitimacy of the election, including potential problems in the casting and counting of votes, the Electoral College, and in the resolution of electoral disputes.

Meanwhile, among the US public surveyed, a majority of those who support Trump–as well as a plurality of those who oppose him–believe voter fraud to be far more prevalent than the evidence shows.

These are among the findings of the watchdog group’s latest (October 2020) surveys.

“It’s really disconcerting that the myth of voter fraud is so broadly accepted,” says Gretchen Helmke, professor of political science at Rochester and one of the founders of Bright Line Watch. “There is absolutely no systematic evidence to support any of the various claims made about widespread voter fraud, yet more than three quarters of Trump supporters continue to believe that this is a real danger, as do more than 20 percent of Trump opponents.”

Helmke says that this myth has long been used as a pretext for laws that suppress votes. “In the short run,” she adds, “it also potentially allows Trump to sow doubt and chaos about any election results that do not go his way.”

The group’s immediate past survey, released in August, found the health of democracy in the United States at its lowest point since Bright Line Watch began tracking its performance in 2017.

As they had done before, the group fielded two separate surveys in October: one to political experts and one to a representative sample of the US population.

As in previous surveys, the team asked each group to assess the quality of US democracy overall and to rate the performance on 30 distinct democratic principles. Additionally, the Bright Line Watch team asked the experts to rate the likelihood of 28 election scenarios that could produce political crises, while they polled the public about the legitimacy of different 2020 election results, their confidence that votes will be counted fairly, their beliefs about voter fraud, and their willingness to tolerate political violence.

Key findings

 

  • The experts anticipate a flood of online misinformation and potentially destabilizing rhetoric from President Trump during and after November 3. 
  • The experts see substantial risks of scenarios that could threaten the election, including potential problems in the casting and counting of votes, the Electoral College, and in the resolution of electoral disputes. 
  • The experts rate President Trump’s statement that the 2020 election should be delayed and his refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power as the most important and abnormal of the 169 events they have rated over the course of his presidency. 
  • Americans are generally confident their votes will be counted as intended at the local level and as voters intend in their states, but somewhat less confident in the process at the national level. 
  • Only 44 percent of Trump supporters say they would regard a Biden victory as legitimate and only 34 percent of Trump opponents said they would view a Trump victory as legitimate. 
  • Both supporters and opponents of President Trump recognize that the election result may not be clear on November 3. Majorities of both groups say they are prepared to recognize outcomes that differ from the initial count on election night as legitimate. 
  • Trump’s supporters and opponents have starkly different beliefs about the prevalence of voter fraud in US elections. 
  • Most Americans, regardless of political affiliation, reject the use of violence to advance political goals, but substantial minorities are willing to condone violence and incivility. 
  • Americans’ confidence that their government protects them from political violence and guarantees their right to peaceful protest has declined since March. 

The result of their survey of the American public shows a clear partisan divide over the allegation of possible voter fraud: the percentage of Americans who believe that thousands of each type of illegal votes are cast in elections ranges from 41 to 50 percent overall. However, it never rises above 29 percent among those who disapprove of President Trump, whereas the percentages range from 67 percent (voting more than once) to 78 percent (non-US citizens voting or stealing or tampering with ballots) among Americans who approve of Trump.

2020 election nightmare scenarios

The team asked the experts to rate the likelihood of a catalogue of potential crises scenarios.

The scenarios rated as most likely concern potential problems on Election Day, such as widespread false claims on social media about the integrity of the election, and misleading reports about long lines and delays at the polls.

The experts also ranked near the top several items directly related to President Trump–that he would decry as false an anticipated “blue shift” as mail-in ballots are counted and instead insist that the initial totals on election night were correct; that he would encourage violence and intimidation during voting or ballot counting; and that he would refuse to concede the 2020 election after having been declared to have lost by the Associated Press.

Bright Line Watch’s experts also predicted that the disqualification of mail-in ballots will surpass 5 percent in at least one state, that early vote counts, which are expected to underrepresent mail ballots, will lean Republican, and that at least one candidate will declare victory before the Associated Press regards the outcome as sealed.

“Our experts rate President Trump’s discussion of delaying the election and refusal to commit to the peaceful transfer of power as the most important and abnormal of his presidency,” says Brendan Nyhan, professor of government at Dartmouth College, and one of the founders of Bright Line Watch. “This finding reinforces the need for concern about democratic stability in this election and in the future.”

Source: Experts see substantial danger to democratic stability around 2020 election

Muscle Mass and Vitamin C

“We know that Vitamin C consumption is linked with skeletal muscle mass. It helps defend the cells and tissues that make up the body from potentially harmful free radical substances. Unopposed these free radicals can contribute to the destruction of muscle, thus speeding up age-related decline.”

#vitaminc #muscle #skeletalmuscle

  1. Lucy N Lewis, Richard P G Hayhoe, Angela A Mulligan, Robert N Luben, Kay-Tee Khaw, Ailsa A Welch. Lower Dietary and Circulating Vitamin C in Middle- and Older-Aged Men and Women Are Associated with Lower Estimated Skeletal Muscle Mass. The Journal of Nutrition, 2020; DOI: 10.1093/jn/nxaa221

https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/150/10/2789/5897318

sarcopenia, skeletal muscle, frailty, vitamin C, ascorbic acid, muscle mass, muscle loss, aging, gain muscle, muscle growth, body mass index, diet ,frailty, skeletal muscles, plasma, ascorbic acid, sarcopenia, calcium ascorbate,

COVID Vaccines not being tested to work, CBD a COVID Lung Saver?, Shoes thee COVID carrier and Data.

This week we review disturbing vaccine study requirements, CBD an incredible gem if possibly protecting the lungs and restoring oxygen levels, and a strong correlation as to shoes being an unrecognized major disease vector. In addition to looking at COVID data correlations to which countries are locking down in response Sars-COV-2 to those which have not or have done little. #covidvaccine #covidvector #covidnews Data Sources API for DataFrames: The COVID Tracking Project Our wold in Data (Oxford) Links: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-10/uoo-ecw102220.php#.X5N_7_DuPM0.wordpress https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-10/b-cvt102020.php#.X5OGbCHAYR8.wordpress https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-10/mcog-chr101620.php#.X45lOsCeu4k.wordpress https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/7/20-0885_article

Democracy: Millennials are the most disillusioned generation ‘in living memory’ – global study

Young people’s faith in democratic politics is lower than any other age group, and millennials across the world are more disillusioned with democracy than Generation X or baby boomers were at the same stage of life.

This is according to a report from the Centre for the Future of Democracy at the University of Cambridge, which finds that in almost every global region it is among 18-34 year olds that satisfaction with democracy is in steepest decline.

Researchers also found that young people are most positive about democracy under populist leaders of both left and right, and millennials in advanced democracies are more likely to view political opponents as morally flawed.

The findings come from the largest-ever global dataset of democratic legitimacy. Cambridge researchers collaborated with the HUMAN Surveys Project to combine data from close to five million respondents in over 160 countries between 1973 and 2020 who were asked about their degree of satisfaction with democracy in their country.

“This is the first generation in living memory to have a global majority who are dissatisfied with the way democracy works while in their twenties and thirties,” said Dr Roberto Foa, lead author of the report from Cambridge’s Department of Politics and International Studies.

“By their mid-thirties, 55% of global millennials say they are dissatisfied with democracy, whereas under half of Generation X felt the same way at that age. The majority of baby boomers – now in their sixties and seventies – continue to report satisfaction with democracy, as did the interwar generation.”

In the UK of 1973, for example, 54% of 30-year-olds from the interwar generation reported satisfaction with British democracy. An even larger majority of UK baby boomers (57%) felt satisfied on turning 30 a decade later, and for 30-year-old Gen Xers in the 1990s and 2000s it reached 62%.

However, among UK millennials who turned 30 during the past decade, less than half (48%) felt satisfied with democracy on reaching that birthday.

Globally, as the first millennials began university at the turn of the century, satisfaction with democracy was higher than in their parents’ generation. It fell sharply following the financial crisis of 2008, with millennials losing faith harder and faster than older generations.

Foa points to the United States: almost two-thirds (63%) of US millennials were satisfied with American democracy in their early 20s, but by their mid-30s it had fallen to just a half (50%). Whereas three-quarters (74%) of US baby boomers were satisfied with democracy by their mid-30s and over two-thirds (68%) have remained so throughout their lives.

In fact, the idea that young malcontents soften in attitude as they age is now reversed the world over. Millennials and Gen Xers have grown steadily less satisfied with democracy as they have advanced in life.

Researchers argue that, in developed democracies, the biggest contributor to this trend is “economic exclusion” caused by high youth unemployment and wealth inequality: the strongest predictors of the satisfaction age gap.

Nations where wealth distribution is relatively flat, such as Iceland or Austria, see only minor generation gaps in attitudes to democracy, while those with persistent wealth inequality – such as the US – have large and growing divides.

“Higher debt burdens, lower odds of owning a home, greater challenges in starting a family, and reliance upon inherited wealth rather than hard work and talent to succeed are all contributors to youth discontent,” said Foa.

In the emerging democracies of Latin America, Africa and southern Europe, the team find “transition fatigue”: marked drops in satisfaction after 25 years of democracy, as generations come of age who lack the memory of previous dictatorships and fights for political freedom.

“Right across the world, we are seeing an ever widening gap between youth and older generations on how they perceive the functioning of democracy,” said Foa.

“This democratic disconnect is not a given, but the result of democracies failing to deliver outcomes that matter for young people in recent decades, from jobs and life chances to addressing inequality and climate change.”

While signs of millennial positivity towards democracy include an uptick in new EU member states, the most significant increase came from the “populist wave” of the last five years.

An average 16 percentage-point increase in satisfaction with democracy was detected among voters under 35 during the first two years of populist leaders. No comparable swell was seen when moderate politicians narrowly beat populists.

Whether the rise of leftwing Syriza and Podemos in Greece and Spain, or the populist right of Hungary’s Viktor Orbán and Poland’s Law and Justice party, all boosted pro-democracy attitudes among millennials, as did political realignment in countries from Brazil and Mexico to the Czech Republic.

“Countries electing populist leaders see sharp turnarounds in disenchantment, to the point where young people appear more satisfied with democracy under populists than under moderates,” said Daniella Wenger, one of the millennial team who co-authored the report.

Populism feeds on division, and the report shows that many millennials in today’s developed democracies see those on opposing sides of the political divide as morally flawed – a more “Manichaean” worldview, according to researchers.

In western democracies, 41% of millennials agree that you can “tell if a person is good or bad if you know their politics”, compared with 30% of voters over the age of 35. Very few elderly respondents hold this view in stable democracies such as Germany and Sweden. “This is not just an effect of individual life cycles, as we do not find these age gaps in emerging democracies,” said Foa.

“The prevalence of polarising attitudes among millennials may mean advanced democracies remain fertile ground for populist politics.”

“The populist challenge must shock moderate parties and leaders into action beyond cosmetic rebrands. If it does so, populism may still prompt democracy’s rebirth, rather than the onset of its gradual decay,” he said.

Source: Democracy: Millennials are the most disillusioned generation ‘in living memory’ – global study

Only 7% of US school districts in poorer, ethnic minority populations to reopen this fall

US schools in poor districts with large non-white student populations are less likely to reopen fully this academic year, according to a major new study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of School Choice.

The data suggests race and deprivation are significant factors influencing education decisions during the pandemic. The findings are based on an analysis during August of back-to-the-classroom plans from every US state and 120 of the largest school districts.

Just 13% of the most disadvantaged education areas intend to offer face-to-face lessons this fall. The picture is similar for those serving a high number of non-white students, with fewer than one in ten (7%) reopening campuses.

The figures compare with more than two-thirds overall of the largest school districts who intend to restrict options to remote learning. This is in the 2020 to 2021 academic year.

The authors say possible explanations include the disproportionate impact the virus has had on people of color. People of color are also more likely to be frontline workers and “place less trust in the government’s response to the pandemic.”

However, the pandemic is resulting in more learning choices for the majority of children which may or may not transform the public school system, according to the study.

“The disruption caused by the pandemic represents a crossroads for public education in the United States,” says lead author David Marshall, from Auburn University.

“Parents may emerge from this moment more empowered than before and be ready to take greater responsibility over their children’s education.

“Or they may find themselves weary of the stress caused by the pandemic and ready for a return to what they were accustomed to prior to this disruption.”

Their snapshot of reopening guidance from policymakers also provides evidence that:

 

  • Nearly all states have strongly recommended mask-wearing or made this mandatory, some for children as young as two. 

     

  • However, students are allowed mask ‘breaks’ when social distancing such as outdoors or in ventilated rooms. 

     

  • Policies vary widely over school sports, with some states postponing football until the spring and switching to lower risk activities. The 19 states proceeding with high school American football seasons are more likely to have backed Donald Trump in the 2016 elections. This is compared with those that have cancelled because of COVID-19. 

     

  • Among the 18 states with case rates under 10/10,000 (as of 21st August), almost half of them were not playing American football. 

     

  • Students most at risk from COVID-19 are being offered alternative ways of learning by almost every state. This even applies in districts where children are being sent back to classrooms. Several states are also providing vulnerable staff with options such as remote learning. 

     

  • Policies on teaching methods vary, with some states switching to remote learning if transmission rates spike. Others say that in-person learning remains the goal and digital alternatives are no replacement.

 

The academic team are now calling for further research in several areas, including how students fare academically under the various modalities employed, and whether these academic outcomes – or mental, physical, and social health outcomes – vary according to racial and demographic characteristics.

Limitations, the authors state, of this current research include that the reopening of America’s schools in the fall of 2020 is a “very fluid event”.

“It is highly possible that districts that made one decision as of August 21, 2020 will choose differently before the school year begins, or that individual states’ plans will have shifted since our review,” they add.

Source: Only 7% of US school districts in poorer, ethnic minority populations to reopen this fall

Forty percent of renters can’t afford essentials as a result of COVID-19

  • 40% of tenant households across Australia indicated that after paying rent there was not enough money left over to buy essentials due to COVID lockdowns
  • One third of renters surveyed were ignored or unable to negotiate a rent reduction with their landlord
  • 5% of renters were issued with an eviction notice during the pandemic
  • Around half of survey respondents indicated that their mental health had been negatively affected by COVID-19 lockdowns. 

Almost 40% of Australian tenant households can’t afford essentials such as bills, clothing, transport and food, after paying rent, because their incomes have reduced significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, new research from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute has found.

The research, ‘Renting in the time of COVID-19: understanding the impacts’, led by the University of Adelaide surveyed 15,000 public and private renting households across all Australian states and territories during July and August 2020.

The research identified challenges for the rental sector and brings insights into how the rental market is performing, the uptake of existing support measures and the demand for future assistance.

According to the research, as a result of the COVID-19 lockdowns, Australian tenant households earning less than $90,000 per year had higher rates of reduced working hours (up to 26% of households), temporary job loss (up to 16%) or reduction to overall income (up to 11%) when compared to higher income households.

One in six respondents reported that they had accessed government income assistance, such as JobKeeper or JobSeeker, for the first time, with low-to-moderate income households having a higher need for assistance.

Around half of survey respondents indicated that their mental health had been negatively affected by COVID-19 lockdowns and just over 10% reported that this had been significant.

‘COVID-19 has been devastating for many Australians but those in the rental sector have been particularly impacted,’ says project leader Professor Emma Baker, University of Adelaide Professor of Housing Research.

‘The pandemic, and the subsequent economic and social lockdown, has rapidly changed our housing system: the way we use our homes, our ability to afford them, and the role of government safety nets. The pandemic has placed many people in the rental market at risk; they face uncertainty, tenure insecurity, financial hardship and significant mental health effects.’

In examining the stability of tenancies during the pandemic, researchers found that just over 5% of respondents had been issued with an eviction notice during the pandemic. Even though some of those tenants benefitted from state and territory eviction protections, just over half of households issued with eviction notices went on to be evicted.

In addition, 16% of tenant households surveyed had requested a rent alteration (either a deferral or reduction) as a result of COVID-19-related hardship, and of those households, 30% said that the landlord would not negotiate or did not respond to their request.

The report also found there is considerable uncertainty about the need for government income support into the future. When households were asked if they think they will need financial assistance in the coming 12 months, 28% responded that they would, 31% said they did not know and 40% said that they would not.

‘Many renters are currently buffered from the full economic effects of the pandemic by their savings, their superannuation and rent deferment, as well as a temporary government supports in the form of eviction moratoriums, JobKeeper and JobSeeker,’ says Professor Baker.

‘With the on-going health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic still evolving, if these savings and superannuation buffers eventually run out, renters will be entirely dependent on packages of government support. In the absence of an effective and accessible vaccine, it is likely that the situation for renters captured in this mid-2020 snapshot will be different–and almost certainly worse–by mid-2021.’

Source: Forty percent of renters can’t afford essentials as a result of COVID-19

COVID19 Analytics – Mask Trash and Shoes a Major Spreader, Newsom & Fauci Being Odd, Florida Wins

Our weekly review of the current COVID data and country comparisons as well as other oddities such as Mask Litter, Trash Cans, and Shoes being unintended spreaders. All this under the guise of Amateur Python Analytics. Brief CSV File Request Code below (Pandas). That will allow you to pull Oxford University Data up to the current date. Enjoy 😉

This is a long one, next week I will make it A LOT shorter.

#covid19 #sarscov2 #data

Code Snippet:
import pandas as pd
import csv
import requests
younameit = pd.read_csv(‘https://covid.ourworldindata.org/data/owid-covid-data.csv&#8217;)

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsduetocoronaviruscovid19comparedwithdeathsfrominfluenzaandpneumoniaenglandandwales/deathsoccurringbetween1januaryand31august2020

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/7/20-0885_article

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-10/uoh-rci100120.php#.X3fUGZsAGM0.wordpress

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/04/commentary-masks-all-covid-19-not-based-sound-data

Candidates who lie more likely to win elections – new study

The public may have grown tired of candidates who say one thing on the election trail then do another when in office, but a new study suggests truthful candidates might be less likely to make it through to elected office.

Drawing on findings from a lab-based election experiment involving 308 people, research from economists at the University of Bath (UK) and University of Konstanz (Germany) highlights how even though voters indicate trust and legitimacy are important factors in deciding on how to cast their votes, candidates who progress in politics are those most prepared to renege on electoral promises.

In their study, the economists designed a game-theory experiment to test the importance of trustworthiness and to see how individuals react when faced with various different election scenarios. Their two-stage election process first involved individuals vying against each other to win their party’s candidacy (similar to US primaries).

They then asked ‘candidates’ in the experiment how much they would invest (on a scale of 100) as a measure of how eager they were to gain selection in terms of money, time or effort they would put in to get through the selection phase. Those who invested the most had the highest probability of getting through to round two.

If selected to stand for office, candidates next had to choose how much money they would promise to voters in an election, attempting to win over an undecided public. This could reflect campaign promises on tax and spending, for example. Finally, if elected, politicians had to decide how to actually make decisions outside the election race, choosing how much they would transfer to voters or whether to renege on promises.

Their findings highlight that those most likely to make it through the selection process because of their high investments in the first stage were those who reneged on their promises most when elected into office. In other words, those who had been most eager to be selected were also those most likely to deviate from what they had promised.

Lead researcher from the University of Bath’s Department of Economics Dr Maik Schneider explains: “Our study highlights why it may not be too surprising to find candidates on the campaign trail who lie. This should concern us all given the low levels of trust in politics.

“There is a clear paradox here in terms of an electorate which says what’s missing in politics is greater trust, yet results which indicate that candidates who lie more, somehow still have a higher chance of gaining office.

“From a game theory perspective the reason why this is the case is clear, but these results should serve as a reminder about the importance of challenging untruths among candidates and, more broadly, increasing and improving transparency in the system.”

The researchers stress that it is also the case that honest individuals invest time and resources to making it into office, however from these results they were unable to cut through in the same number as their more dishonest rivals.

The team behind the study suggest to improve trust, much more robust fact-checking, transparency around campaign finances and public scrutiny of campaign promises would help. They also argue that schemes to reduce the incentive for dishonesty could include new mechanisms to make campaign promises binding. In the study, when the first stage of the election process was transparent, they found the correlation between ‘lie size’ when in office and how eager a candidate had been to be selected disappeared.

The new research from Dr Schneider and colleagues, ‘Honesty and Self-Selection into Cheap Talk’ is published in the Economic Journal.

It builds on earlier work from the same team titled ‘Honesty and Self-Selection into Politics’.

Source: Candidates who lie more likely to win elections – new study

Media trust correlated with COVID-19 prevention behaviors

Whether someone wears a mask, practices physical distancing or performs other behaviors to prevent COVID-19 infection may be linked to what media outlets they trust.

In 2020, individuals’ behavior in response to the pandemic has closely correlated with the kinds of mass media outlets they trust, according to a study authored by USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology PhD students Erfei Zhao and Qiao Wu. The article was co-authored by University Professor Eileen Crimmins, holder of the AARP Chair in Gerontology, and Associate Professor of Gerontology and Sociology Jennifer Ailshire and appeared online in the journal BMJ Global Health on October 8, 2020.

Zhao, Wu and colleagues analyzed response data from the Understanding America Study’s COVID-19 panel on how often more than 4800 participants performed five virus-mitigating behaviors during the coronavirus pandemic: (1) wearing a face mask, (2) washing hands with soap or using hand sanitizer several times per day, (3) canceling or postponing personal or social activities, (4) avoiding eating at restaurants, (5) and avoiding public spaces, gatherings or crowds. In addition, the team also looked at risky health behaviors, including going out to a bar, club or other place where people gather; going to another person’s residence; having outside visitors such as friends, neighbors or relatives at one’s home; attending a gathering with more than 10 people, such as a party, concert or religious service; or having close contact (within six feet) with someone who doesn’t live with the respondent.

Using CNN as an example of a left-leaning news source and Fox News as a news source on the right side of the political spectrum, the study identified the relative amount of trust participants reported in either news source with the risky or positive behaviors they engaged in. Around 29% of respondents said they trusted CNN more than Fox News; roughly half (52%) expressed no preference between the two, and one in five (20%) said they trusted Fox more than CNN.

Risky behaviors were highest among participants who reported more trust in Fox News with an average of 1.25 risky acts in a 7-day period, followed closely by those who reported trusting neither outlet, while CNN viewers reported an average of .94 risky behaviors during the same time period. Positive behaviors were more frequently reported among those who trusted CNN (an average of 3.85 preventive actions in a 7-day window) more than those who trusted Fox News (3.41 positive behaviors on average).

The results imply that behavior sharply differs along media bias lines, indicating that partisan narratives are likely getting in the way of solid health messaging that encourages healthy behavior change.

“In such a highly partisan environment, false information can be easily disseminated. Health messaging, which is one of the few effective ways to slow down the spread of the virus in the absence of a vaccine, is being damaged by politically biased and economically focused narratives,” said Zhao and Wu.

Source: Media trust correlated with COVID-19 prevention behaviors

Vitamin D may be more effective than masks and distancing combined for COVID ?

Vitamin D may be more effective than masks and distancing combined for COVID ?

In patients older than 40 years they observed that those patients who were vitamin D sufficient were 51.5 percent less likely to die from the infection compared to patients who were vitamin D deficient or insufficient with a blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D less than 30 ng/mL.

Holick, who most recently published a study which found that a sufficient amount of vitamin D can reduce the risk of catching coronavirus by 54 percent, believes that being vitamin D sufficient helps to fight consequences from being infected not only with the corona virus but also other viruses causing upper respiratory tract illnesses including influenza. “There is great concern that the combination of an influenza infection and a coronal viral infection could substantially increase hospitalizations and death due to complications from these viral infections.”

#covid19 #sarscov2 #vitaminD

Kaufman HW, Niles JK, Kroll MH, Bi C, Holick MF (2020) SARS-CoV-2 positivity rates associated with circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels. PLOS ONE 15(9): e0239252. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0239252

Venus might be habitable today, if not for Jupiter

Venus might not be a sweltering, waterless hellscape today, if Jupiter hadn’t altered its orbit around the sun, according to new UC Riverside research.

Jupiter has a mass that is two-and-a-half times that of all other planets in our solar system — combined. Because it is comparatively gigantic, it has the ability to disturb other planets’ orbits.

Early in Jupiter’s formation as a planet, it moved closer to and then away from the sun due to interactions with the disc from which planets form as well as the other giant planets. This movement in turn affected Venus.

Observations of other planetary systems have shown that similar giant planet migrations soon after formation may be a relatively common occurrence. These are among the findings of a new study published in the Planetary Science Journal.

Scientists consider planets lacking liquid water to be incapable of hosting life as we know it. Though Venus may have lost some water early on for other reasons, and may have continued to do so anyway, UCR astrobiologist Stephen Kane said that Jupiter’s movement likely triggered Venus onto a path toward its current, inhospitable state.

“One of the interesting things about the Venus of today is that its orbit is almost perfectly circular,” said Kane, who led the study. “With this project, I wanted to explore whether the orbit has always been circular and if not, what are the implications of that?”

To answer these questions, Kane created a model that simulated the solar system, calculating the location of all the planets at any one time and how they pull one another in different directions.

Scientists measure how noncircular a planet’s orbit is between 0, which is completely circular, and 1, which is not circular at all. The number between 0 and 1 is called the eccentricity of the orbit. An orbit with an eccentricity of 1 would not even complete an orbit around a star; it would simply launch into space, Kane said.

Currently, the orbit of Venus is measured at 0.006, which is the most circular of any planet in our solar system. However, Kane’s model shows that when Jupiter was likely closer to the sun about a billion years ago, Venus likely had an eccentricity of 0.3, and there is a much higher probability that it was habitable then.

“As Jupiter migrated, Venus would have gone through dramatic changes in climate, heating up then cooling off and increasingly losing its water into the atmosphere,” Kane said.

Recently, scientists generated much excitement by discovering a gas in the clouds above Venus that may indicate the presence of life. The gas, phosphine, is typically produced by microbes, and Kane says it is possible that the gas represents “the last surviving species on a planet that went through a dramatic change in its environment.”

For that to be the case, however, Kane notes the microbes would have had to sustain their presence in the sulfuric acid clouds above Venus for roughly a billion years since Venus last had surface liquid water — a difficult to imagine though not impossible scenario.

“There are probably a lot of other processes that could produce the gas that haven’t yet been explored,” Kane said.

Ultimately, Kane says it is important to understand what happened to Venus, a planet that was once likely habitable and now has surface temperatures of up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit.

“I focus on the differences between Venus and Earth, and what went wrong for Venus, so we can gain insight into how the Earth is habitable, and what we can do to shepherd this planet as best we can,” Kane said.

Source: Venus might be habitable today, if not for Jupiter

COVID-19 pandemic has created flood of potentially substandard research

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a flood of potentially substandard research amid the rush to publish, with a string of papers retracted or under a cloud and a surge in submissions to pre-print servers where fewer quality checks are made, a leading ethicist has warned in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

Source: COVID-19 pandemic has created flood of potentially substandard research

Turmeric supplement more effective than placebo for osteoarthritis knee pain

Turmeric supplement more effective than placebo for osteoarthritis knee pain

An extract of Curcuma longa (CL), commonly known as turmeric, was found to be more effective than placebo for reducing knee pain in patients with knee osteoarthritis.

#arthritis #pain #turmeric

Wang Z, Jones G, Winzenberg T, Cai G, Laslett LL, Aitken D, Hopper I, Singh A, Jones R, Fripp J, Ding C, Antony B. Effectiveness of Curcuma longa Extract for the Treatment of Symptoms and Effusion-Synovitis of Knee Osteoarthritis : A Randomized Trial. Ann Intern Med. 2020 Sep 15. doi: 10.7326/M20-0990. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32926799.

https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M20-0990

turmeric, curcumin longa, curcumin, osteoarthritis, knee pain, arthritis, pain effusion, synovitis, effusion synovitis

Pandemic Charting – Weaponizing Uncertainty – Countries Do better with a Light touch – Python Data

Young physicist ‘squares the numbers’ on time travel

Paradox-free time travel is theoretically possible, according to the mathematical modelling of a prodigious University of Queensland undergraduate student.

Fourth-year Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) student Germain Tobar has been investigating the possibility of time travel, under the supervision of UQ physicist Dr Fabio Costa.

“Classical dynamics says if you know the state of a system at a particular time, this can tell us the entire history of the system,” Mr Tobar said.

“This has a wide range of applications, from allowing us to send rockets to other planets and modelling how fluids flow.

“For example, if I know the current position and velocity of an object falling under the force of gravity, I can calculate where it will be at any time.

“However, Einstein’s theory of general relativity predicts the existence of time loops or time travel – where an event can be both in the past and future of itself – theoretically turning the study of dynamics on its head.”

Mr Tobar said a unified theory that could reconcile both traditional dynamics and Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was the holy grail of physics.

“But the current science says both theories cannot both be true,” he said.

“As physicists, we want to understand the Universe’s most basic, underlying laws and for years I’ve puzzled on how the science of dynamics can square with Einstein’s predictions.

“I wondered: “is time travel mathematically possible?”

Mr Tobar and Dr Costa say they have found a way to “square the numbers” and Dr Costa said the calculations could have fascinating consequences for science.

“The maths checks out – and the results are the stuff of science fiction,” Dr Costa said.

“Say you travelled in time, in an attempt to stop COVID-19’s patient zero from being exposed to the virus.

“However if you stopped that individual from becoming infected – that would eliminate the motivation for you to go back and stop the pandemic in the first place.

“This is a paradox – an inconsistency that often leads people to think that time travel cannot occur in our universe.

“Some physicists say it is possible, but logically it’s hard to accept because that would affect our freedom to make any arbitrary action.

“It would mean you can time travel, but you cannot do anything that would cause a paradox to occur.”

However the researchers say their work shows that neither of these conditions have to be the case, and it is possible for events to adjust themselves to be logically consistent with any action that the time traveller makes.

“In the coronavirus patient zero example, you might try and stop patient zero from becoming infected, but in doing so you would catch the virus and become patient zero, or someone else would,” Mr Tobar said.

“No matter what you did, the salient events would just recalibrate around you.

“This would mean that – no matter your actions – the pandemic would occur, giving your younger self the motivation to go back and stop it.

“Try as you might to create a paradox, the events will always adjust themselves, to avoid any inconsistency.

“The range of mathematical processes we discovered show that time travel with free will is logically possible in our universe without any paradox.”

###

The research is published in Classical and Quantum Gravity (DOI: 10.1088/1361-6382/aba4bc).

Source: Young physicist ‘squares the numbers’ on time travel

COVID-19 Made worse By Social Distancing?

We are led to question whether the recommended social distancing measures to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission could increase the number of other serious instabilities. The breaking of the contagion pathways reduces the sharing of microorganisms between people, thus favoring dysbiosis, which, in turn, may increase the poor prognosis of the disease. #covid #microbiome #dysbiosis Célia P. F. Domingues, João S. Rebelo, Francisco Dionisio, Ana Botelho, Teresa Nogueira. The Social Distancing Imposed To Contain COVID-19 Can Affect Our Microbiome: a Double-Edged Sword in Human Health. mSphere, 2020; 5 (5) DOI: 10.1128/mSphere.00716-20 https://msphere.asm.org/content/5/5/e00716-20

Lockdowns a Complete Failure compared to controls – Countries that did not? Python Analysis Part 2

Part 2 as promised. We compare cases and death per million from industrialized countries which did little to nothing to Great Britain and the United States. The Data extrapolated is from: https://ourworldindata.org/coronaviru…
#covid19 #lockdown #socialdistancing

(Volume is kind of Choppy midpoint)
Additional Code: From Part 1:
datasw = data.loc[data.iso_code==’SWE’, :]
datagb = data.loc[data.iso_code==’GBR’, :]
dataus = data.loc[data.iso_code==’USA’, :]
datasg = data.loc[data.iso_code==’SGP’, :]
datajp = data.loc[data.iso_code==’JPN’, :]
datako = data.loc[data.iso_code==’KOR’, :]
datatw = data.loc[data.iso_code==’TWN’, :]
dataall = [datagb,dataus,datasw,datasg,datajp,datako, datatw]
dataall = pd.concat(dataall)
dataall
dataall.datetime = pd.to_datetime(dataall.date)
dataall.set_index(‘date’, inplace=True)
fig, ax = plt.subplots(figsize=(50,25))
dataall.groupby(‘iso_code’)[‘new_cases_smoothed_per_million’].plot(legend=True,fontsize = 20, linewidth=7.0)
ax.legend([‘Great Britain = Lockdown’,’Japan = No LD’, ‘South Korea = No LD’, ‘Singapore = LD JUNE -Migrant LD HIghest POP Density’, ‘Sweden = No LD’, ‘Taiwan = No LD’,’USA = Lockdown’],prop=dict(size=50))
comp = dataall.loc[‘2020-09-18’]
comp.set_index(“iso_code”, inplace=True)
comp= pd.DataFrame(comp[[‘total_cases_per_million’,’total_deaths_per_million’]])
plt.rc(‘legend’, fontsize=50)
comp.plot.bar(rot=0, figsize=(20,20),fontsize=30)

Amid pandemic and protests, Americans know much more about their rights

In a period defined by an impeachment inquiry, a pandemic, nationwide protests over racial injustice, and a contentious presidential campaign, Americans’ knowledge of their First Amendment rights and their ability to name all three branches of the federal government have markedly increased, according to the 2020 Annenberg Constitution Day Civics Survey.

Among the highlights of the annual survey, released before Constitution Day (Sept. 17):

 

  • Americans are much more aware of all five rights protected by the First Amendment when asked unprompted to name them;
  • Nearly three-quarters of Americans (73%) correctly named freedom of speech as one of the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment, up from 48% in 2017;
  • More than half of those surveyed (51%) accurately named all three branches of the federal government, up from 39% last year, the prior high point in this survey.

 

The civics knowledge survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) of the University of Pennsylvania was conducted among 1,009 U.S. adults from August 4-9, 2020, prior to the political conventions. It has a margin of error of ± 3.6%.

“Divided government, the impeachment process, and the number of times political leaders have turned to the courts probably deserve credit for increasing awareness of the three branches, while controversies over the right to peaceably assemble, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech may have done the same for the First Amendment,” said Annenberg Public Policy Center Director Kathleen Hall Jamieson.

Improved knowledge of First Amendment rights

Americans’ ability to name the five rights protected by the First Amendment has jumped since 2017, when we last asked this question. Their ability to specify some of them more than tripled. Asked to name any of the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment of the Constitution:

 

  • 73% of Americans named freedom of speech, up from 48% in 2017;
  • 47% named freedom of religion, up from 15% in 2017;
  • 42% named freedom of the press, up from 14% in 2017;
  • 34% named right of assembly, up from 10%;
  • 14% named right to petition the government, up from 3%;
  • Those who could not name any First Amendment right fell to 19% from 37% in 2017 (total of “can’t name any” and “don’t know”).

 

This upturn in unprompted recall of First Amendment rights is consistent with increases seen in 2018 and 2019 surveys by the Freedom Forum. (See the Appendix.)

Over half can name the three branches

This year, an unusually high 51% of the U.S. adults surveyed could name the three branches of government – the executive branch (White House), the legislative branch (Congress) and the judicial branch (Supreme Court). That compares with 39% in the 2019 survey, which was the high point in 10 prior surveys, since 2006, when APPC asked this question. In addition:

 

  • 17% of respondents could name two branches of government, in line with our data since 2006, ranging from 12% to 18%;
  • 8% could name one branch of government, a large drop from 25% in 2019;
  • 23% could not name any branches, essentially unchanged from last year’s 22%.

 

How Supreme Court justices rule

The survey also asked Americans about the fairness and impartiality of the Supreme Court. Asked which is closer to their view of what guides Supreme Court justices in issuing rulings:

 

  • 56% of respondents agreed that Supreme Court justices set aside their personal and political views and make rulings based on the Constitution, the law, and the facts of the case – a significant increase from 49% in 2019;
  • By contrast, 37% said that Supreme Court justices nominated by Democratic presidents are more likely to make liberal rulings and that Supreme Court justices nominated by Republicans are more likely to make conservative rulings, regardless of the Constitution, the law, and the facts of the case – down slightly though not significantly from 41% in 2019.

 

“The actions of the court in the past year appear to have effectively signaled that the justices who cast the decisive votes were guided by the Constitution, laws, and facts of the case more so than by which political party would applaud the outcome,” Jamieson noted. “The public probably got that signal from the widely covered rulings that upheld the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the one written by Justice Gorsuch and supported by Chief Justice Roberts that held that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay, lesbian and transgender employees from being discriminated against by employers because of sex.”

The balance of power

The survey asked if the president and the Supreme Court differed on whether an action by the president is constitutional, who would have the final responsibility for deciding whether it is constitutional:

 

  • Just half the respondents (51%) correctly said the Supreme Court, lower than the 61% in 2019. A growing minority (29%) said it was up to Congress to decide whether the president’s acts are constitutional, up from 21% in 2019, which may reflect overgeneralization about congressional authority in a period in which impeachment over alleged unconstitutional action clouded the meaning of the question.

 

When asked what it means when the Supreme Court rules 5-4 on a case:

 

  • Just over half of respondents (54%) correctly knew that the decision is the law and needs to be followed, down significantly from 59% in 2019;
  • 17% of respondents thought the decision is sent back to Congress for reconsideration, up significantly from 12% in 2019;
  • 13% thought the decision is sent back to the federal court of appeals to be decided, up from 10%.

 

Finally, the survey also asked how much of a majority is required for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to override a presidential veto. Only 47% correctly said it takes a two-thirds majority to override a veto – the lowest percentage since 2007. There have been no efforts to override a veto in the past year.

Constitution Day and civics

The Annenberg Constitution Day Civics Survey was conducted for APPC by SSRS, an independent research company. For the question wording and other data, see the Appendix.

The Annenberg Civics Knowledge Survey is released by APPC for Constitution Day, which celebrates the signing of the Constitution in 1787. APPC’s activities to enhance civics education include Annenberg Classroom, which offers free classroom resources for teaching the Constitution, and the Civics Renewal Network (CRN), a coalition of over 30 nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations seeking to raise the visibility of civics education by providing free, high-quality resources for teachers.

Source: Amid pandemic and protests, Americans know much more about their rights

Possible marker of life spotted on venus

“When we got the first hints of phosphine in Venus’s spectrum, it was a shock!”, says team leader Jane Greaves of Cardiff University in the UK, who first spotted signs of phosphine in observations from the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT), operated by the East Asian Observatory, in Hawai’i. Confirming their discovery required using 45 antennas of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, a more sensitive telescope in which the European Southern Observatory (ESO) is a partner. Both facilities observed Venus at a wavelength of about 1 millimetre, much longer than the human eye can see — only telescopes at high altitude can detect it effectively.

The international team, which includes researchers from the UK, US and Japan, estimates that phosphine exists in Venus’s clouds at a small concentration, only about twenty molecules in every billion. Following their observations, they ran calculations to see whether these amounts could come from natural non-biological processes on the planet. Some ideas included sunlight, minerals blown upwards from the surface, volcanoes, or lightning, but none of these could make anywhere near enough of it. These non-biological sources were found to make at most one ten thousandth of the amount of phosphine that the telescopes saw.

To create the observed quantity of phosphine (which consists of hydrogen and phosphorus) on Venus, terrestrial organisms would only need to work at about 10% of their maximum productivity, according to the team. Earth bacteria are known to make phosphine: they take up phosphate from minerals or biological material, add hydrogen, and ultimately expel phosphine. Any organisms on Venus will probably be very different to their Earth cousins, but they too could be the source of phosphine in the atmosphere.

While the discovery of phosphine in Venus’s clouds came as a surprise, the researchers are confident in their detection. “To our great relief, the conditions were good at ALMA for follow-up observations while Venus was at a suitable angle to Earth. Processing the data was tricky, though, as ALMA isn’t usually looking for very subtle effects in very bright objects like Venus,” says team member Anita Richards of the UK ALMA Regional Centre and the University of Manchester. “In the end, we found that both observatories had seen the same thing — faint absorption at the right wavelength to be phosphine gas, where the molecules are backlit by the warmer clouds below,” adds Greaves, who led the study published today in Nature Astronomy.

Another team member, Clara Sousa Silva of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US, has investigated phosphine as a “biosignature” gas of non-oxygen-using life on planets around other stars, because normal chemistry makes so little of it. She comments: “Finding phosphine on Venus was an unexpected bonus! The discovery raises many questions, such as how any organisms could survive. On Earth, some microbes can cope with up to about 5% of acid in their environment — but the clouds of Venus are almost entirely made of acid.”

The team believes their discovery is significant because they can rule out many alternative ways to make phosphine, but they acknowledge that confirming the presence of “life” needs a lot more work. Although the high clouds of Venus have temperatures up to a pleasant 30 degrees Celsius, they are incredibly acidic — around 90% sulphuric acid — posing major issues for any microbes trying to survive there.

ESO astronomer and ALMA European Operations Manager Leonardo Testi, who did not participate in the new study, says: “The non-biological production of phosphine on Venus is excluded by our current understanding of phosphine chemistry in rocky planets’ atmospheres. Confirming the existence of life on Venus’s atmosphere would be a major breakthrough for astrobiology; thus, it is essential to follow-up on this exciting result with theoretical and observational studies to exclude the possibility that phosphine on rocky planets may also have a chemical origin different than on Earth.”

More observations of Venus and of rocky planets outside our Solar System, including with ESO’s forthcoming Extremely Large Telescope, may help gather clues on how phosphine can originate on them and contribute to the search for signs of life beyond Earth.

Source: Possible marker of life spotted on venus

Do-it-yourself COVID-19 vaccines fraught with public health problems

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Well-intentioned “citizen scientists” developing homemade COVID-19 vaccines may believe they’re inoculating themselves against the ongoing pandemic, but the practice of self-experimentation with do-it-yourself medical innovations is fraught with important legal, ethical and public health issues, according to a new paper in the journal Science co-written by a University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign legal expert who studies the policy implications of advanced biotechnologies.

As the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the globe, several citizen science groups outside the auspices of the pharmaceutical industry have been working to develop and self-test unproven medical interventions to combat COVID-19. Although some of the interest in a DIY approach stems from the idea that self-experimentation can’t be regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other public health authorities, that belief is legally and factually incorrect, said Jacob S. Sherkow, a professor of law at Illinois.

“Citizen science” broadly describes activities having a scientific aim that invite public participation. While citizen science is important and has a strong tradition in the U.S., “a homemade COVID-19 vaccine is perhaps more dangerous than people would like to believe,” Sherkow said.

“We’re all sympathetic to the notion that people want to inoculate themselves against the virus,” he said. “But people need to understand that every home remedy is not necessarily going to help, and some may very well be fatal.”

The interest in a do-it-yourself approach stems from a mistaken belief that self-experimentation wouldn’t be subject to laborious ethics board review or federal regulation. But that misunderstanding has potentially dire public health implications, said Sherkow, also an affiliate of the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology.

“People should be aware that just because they’re experimenting on themselves doesn’t make it legal without approval,” he said. “Some self-experimentation can qualify as human subjects research that is required to undergo ethics review, by law or institutional policy. Just because it’s self-experimentation doesn’t give you carte blanche.”

Similarly, simply publishing medical information on the internet is, generally speaking, not regulated by the FDA. But developing a possible therapeutic product using typical equipment, chemicals and reagents would likely be regulable by the FDA, Sherkow said.

“Taking information that you found in some dark corner of the internet but using it to develop your own materials and needing to ship materials or reagents across state lines – that is interstate commerce and is what triggers FDA oversight,” he said. “At that point, that’s essentially where the FDA can stop you.”

Homemade interventions exist in stark contrast to traditional paths to vaccine development, which require randomized controlled trials with well-defined endpoints, such as demonstrated immune responses, and protocols concerning the retention and use of data. Biohackers creating and self-administering unapproved and unproven medical interventions run the risk of not only endangering public health, but also undermining public trust in all vaccines, Sherkow said.

“We’re living in an age of vaccine disinformation,” he said. “It’s one of the reasons why we have phased clinical trials for the development of vaccines and medical treatments. It’s not just a matter of figuring out whether something is effective or whether it works. It’s also a matter of figuring out the gross toxicity of the treatment, and if it’s been manufactured in such a way so that it’s not going to harm people.”

Characterizing or positioning research as self-experimentation does not eliminate risks to bystanders or the collective good.

Citizen scientists, especially those professional scientists moonlighting as homemade vaccine makers, “must take their heightened ethical responsibilities seriously when promoting DIY interventions or treatments, especially those with potentially serious public health and societal effects,” Sherkow said.

“Although many citizen scientists appear to take seriously the ethical responsibilities associated with their activities, it is important to recognize that those responsibilities expand when public health is at stake, such as with COVID-19 vaccine development,” he said. “But just because there’s a list of instructions on the internet created by a lot of well-respected and well-trained scientists doesn’t mean that something can’t go wrong.”

Source: Do-it-yourself COVID-19 vaccines fraught with public health problems

Momentum of unprecedented Chilean uprising stalled by COVID-19 pandemic

The uprising that erupted in fall 2019 in Chile against the post-dictatorship government may be diminished by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Despite a reputation for equitable development and robust democratic institutions, post-dictatorship Chile proved incapable of guaranteeing economic and social protections for vast swaths of the population and of adequately representing their needs and policy preferences, according to René Rojas, assistant professor of human development at Binghamton University. Over the last 10 years, stagnation, intensified insecurity and oligarchic politics promoted an upsurge in popular protests that finally erupted in October 2019, as a furious and seemingly uncontainable rebellion. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, may give the post-authoritarian regime a new lease on life, as it undermines possibilities for ongoing collective action and places the prospects for meaningful reform on hold.

“As the insurgency set about to resolve its differences and confront inevitable exhaustion, the arrival of the coronavirus and its recent surge have placed mobilizations on hold, threatening to restore the fragile balance of the pre-rebellion order,” wrote Rojas in a new paper in New Labor Forum. “In one swoop, the pandemic snatched from the movement its crucial weapon for securing concessions — its capacity for disruption.”

Fear of the virus and its economic consequences has stymied the uprising, and Chileans have redirected their energies toward holding on to work and whatever income they might secure. Whether the uprising can find its momentum again amidst the ongoing pandemic remains to be seen. Some developments indicate that as the pandemic reveals the inadequacy of official relief measures and re-exposes deep inequalities at the heart of the Chilean governing model, mass mobilization might retake center stage, wrote Rojas.

“The question in coming months will be whether Chile’s new mass movement can regroup and win the reforms it forced onto the national agenda or whether neoliberal elites will succeed in reviving the developed world’s least representative and most unequal political system,” said Rojas.

Source: Momentum of unprecedented Chilean uprising stalled by COVID-19 pandemic

Pandemic Over? COVID-19 World data Amateur Python Analysis

From an educational perspective, we review current COVID-19 data and arrive look at lockdowns and population density appears to have no numerical effect currently on COVID-19. In any case, this is more about exploring the code from a beginner’s standpoint with Python and DataFrames.
#covid19 #pandemicover #coviddata
CSV files found here:
https://ourworldindata.org/coronaviru…
Code: (Had to remove the angle brackets)
import numpy as np
import pandas as pd
from scipy import stats
import statsmodels.api as sm
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import pandas as pd
from scipy.stats import spearmanr
from scipy.stats import kendalltau
from scipy.stats import pearsonr
from scipy import stats
import seaborn as sns
import warnings
warnings.filterwarnings(“ignore”)
#Pandemic
Claim Currently Invalid —Ralph Turchiano
data = pd.read_csv(‘owid-covid-data-19SEP2020.csv’)
data.info()
pd.set_option(‘max_columns’, None)
data.tail(5)
data[‘date’] = pd.to_datetime(data[‘date’])
data.info()
data_18SEP = data[data[‘date’]==’2020-09-18′]
data_ind = data_18SEP[data_18SEP[‘human_development_index’]=.8]
data_ind.head(10)
data_ind.drop([‘iso_code’,’continent’,’handwashing_facilities’,’stringency_index’,], axis=1, inplace=True)
data_ind.columns
data_ind[‘extreme_poverty’].fillna(0, inplace=True)
data_compare = pd.DataFrame([data.loc[37991],data.loc[41736]])
data_compare
data_compare.set_index(‘location’,inplace=True)
data_compare[‘total_cases_per_million’]
data_Swe_USA=pd.DataFrame(data_compare[[‘total_cases_per_million’,’new_cases_per_million’,’new_deaths_per_million’]])
data_Swe_USApd.DataFrame(data_compare[[‘total_cases_per_million’,’new_cases_per_million’,’new_deaths_per_million’]])
data_Swe_USA
data_ind.drop([‘date’,’new_cases’,’new_deaths’,’total_tests’, ‘total_tests_per_thousand’,
‘new_tests_per_thousand’, ‘new_tests_smoothed’, ‘new_tests’,
‘new_tests_smoothed_per_thousand’, ‘tests_per_case’,’tests_units’,’new_deaths_per_million’,’positive_rate’ ], axis=1, inplace=True)
data_ind.tail()
data_ind.dropna(inplace=True)
data_ind.corr(“kendall”)
data_18SEP.tail()
data_18SEP.loc[44310]
data_18SEP.loc[44310,[‘new_cases_smoothed_per_million’,’new_deaths_smoothed_per_million’]]
New =pd.DataFrame(data[[‘new_cases_smoothed_per_million’,’new_deaths_smoothed_per_million’]])
New.corr(‘kendall’)
dataw = data.loc[data[‘iso_code’] == ‘OWID_WRL’]
dataw
dataw.datetime = pd.to_datetime(data.date)
dataw.set_index(‘date’, inplace=True)
data_cl = pd.DataFrame(dataw[[‘new_deaths_smoothed’,’new_cases_smoothed’]])
data_cl.dropna(inplace=True)
data_cl.plot(figsize=(30,12))
data_cl.tail(20)