Science Ain't What It Used To Be

Using an array of satellite observations, researchers have found that the climatic influence of global air pollution has dropped by up to 30% from 2000 levels. Although this is welcome news for public health—airborne fine particles, or aerosols, are believed to kill several million people per year—it is bad news for global warming. The cleaner air has effectively boosted the total warming from carbon dioxide emitted over the same time by anywhere from 15% to 50%, estimates Johannes Quaas, a climate scientist at Leipzig University and lead author of the study. And as air pollution continues to be curbed, he says, “There is a lot more of this to come.”

…Hansen thinks there’s little hope of cutting emissions fast enough to meet the 1.5°C target he and other scientists have called for. And so the solution, he says, could come back to aerosols, this time ones spread deliberately through solar geoengineering—the controversial idea of lofting sulfate particles into the stratosphere and creating a global, reflective haze. “It will be necessary to take temporary corrective measures,” he says, “almost surely including temporary purposeful use of aerosols to avoid catastrophic implications.”

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The same Hansen that uses the six graders excuse? The dog ate his homework too.

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Here’s a story about molecular motors made of organic material. 4th industrial revolution anyone?

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Magus, all I have to say about this is….bwahahaha! Clean air adds to “global warming.” Oh there is a glitch in the greenie weenie matrix.

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They typeset it in LaTeX, probably using one of the charting powertools used by physicists like the authors. I don’t mind nitpicking, if it’s factual.

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This would be a terrible repeat of the same mindset behind pandemic lockdowns: let’s definitely incur actual costs now that come with potential benefits we don’t know/think would manifest.

This is sometimes referred to as “politician’s fallacy” (another source refers to it as “We Have to Do Something”)

What is the basis in fact for the arbitrary 1.5°C target “he and other scientists have called for”? Other the current perception that the “scientist” designation is akin to Grand Priest of this new secular religion we call capital “S” science? Irrespective of whether there is an answer for this question, we are pressing ahead with half baked interventions.

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Pandemic lockdowns are a very expensive RESULT of government ineptitude at preventing entry, lowering transmission, tracking, and testing.

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I will push back on this because lockdowns never had any credibility within the so-called medical community until the political decision makers saw China showing it can be done in what we can effectively call the early stage of the pandemic.

Leaving aside the economic miscalculation of realizing downsides in the presence of very vague uncertain pandemic fighting upsides, I would argue the main lockdown upsides were the perceived political gains from the opportunity to mortally wound Donald Trump’s chances at reelection. I am not aware of any evidence of lockdown effectiveness across multiple COVID waves in the US or other jurisdictions.

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Japan hasn’t even needed lockdowns because the population voluntarily adopted masking, and avoided risky activities.
Human mind likes to find conspiracies, but in this case it’s unwarranted: lockdowns have been pretty clearly empirically proven, and we’ve built pretty detailed simulations that were aligned with empirical data, e.g. Simulation of the COVID-19 epidemic on the social network of Slovenia: Estimating the intrinsic forecast uncertainty

Citation needed?

Simulation studies only bring to mind George Box’ quip: “all models are wrong, but some are useful”. Are there any modeling studies in the COVID-19 pandemic literature that incorporated intervention costs and upside benefits

Assuming costless interventions that lead to desired outcomes of very high value with very high probability does not seem to be very realistic.

Separately, the COVID-19 virus is apparently not keeping up with the literature, or if it does, it seems to ignore the so-called science that anticipates its next move. From the “book of knowledge”:

Slovenia’s initial handling of the coronavirus outbreak was cited as a significant success when Europe faced the first wave of the pandemic, and earned praise for its effectiveness.[4] In May 2020, Vox listed Slovenia, together with Jordan, Greece, Iceland and Vietnam as among the most effective in handling of the coronavirus outbreak.[5]

However, the government neglected second wave warnings from experts and did not properly prepare the health care sector to cope with the second wave, which spread out of control for the administration, even after more than three months of lockdown,[6] and in March 2021, Slovenia had the fourth highest death rate per capita in the world (according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University).

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About Slovenia, when the government locked down quickly, it eradicated the virus with much less cost than other countries, and was the first in Europe to fully reopen with the virus basically eliminated - so effectively that some of the populace believed the disinformation that the virus is a myth.

The political adversaries over the summer then used the pumped-up lockdown and masking grievances to discredit the government and force early elections. The political infighting using Covid as a politicized wedge issue made effective policies impossible, the competing political parties bought anti-mask ads in the media, and the result was a deadly second wave.

This was a defeat for science, and a victory for destructive political activism.

“Proven” to do what? And at what cost?

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There is plenty of evidence that masks didn’t work before C-19, didn’t work during it, and still don’t work. Not talking about N-95, so don’t get started about No True Masks. I’m talking about the masks that people actually wore, and how they wore them.

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Maybe the best way to understand masks is through highly detailed epidemological surveys, like https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7228242/pdf/IRV-14-472.pdf

One male patient with COVID-19 found himself coughing. Unaware of the fact that he might have been infected with COVID-19 and in a hurry, he did not manage to get a face mask before he took the coach bus from the city back to his county. Many passengers did not wear face masks on the same coach bus. The duration of this bus was 2 hours and 10 minutes, and there were 39 other passengers on the same coach bus. According to epidemiological survey, 5 other passengers on the same coach bus were infected.

Upon arrival in the county, this male patient bought a face mask and took a minibus to his final destination wearing the mask. The duration of minibus was 50 minutes, and there were 14 other passengers on the same minibus.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention conducted an epidemiological investigation and close contact tracing management. The passengers on the minibus were screened and treated as suspected cases. A 14-day medical observation period was conducted. During the observation period, passengers were taken temperature twice a day and and were asked whether they had respiratory symptoms such as fever and dry cough, or digestive symptoms such as diarrhea. All the passengers did not have fever, cough, or other abnormal symptoms, and two quantitative reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) test results were negative. No passengers were infected COVID-19 in the same minibus.

There’s many more examples of such studies.

This seems made up from the start. How exactly would an epidemiologist find this situation and be able to study it? Some unknown person, located somewhere in the vast expanse of the world got on a bus with a cough and no mask. Then got on another bus with a mask and the epidemiologist finds out about so quickly that they are able to study it?

The guy was under the belief that he should wear a mask, why didn’t he use his shirt to cover his mouth or for that matter not get on the bus. This actually highlights one of the problems with the mask propaganda. It made people think the mask worked such that they could go out in public sick. That they could be physically closer to others and it was ok.

If this is the type of “study” that proves mask work, we can start using tribal knowledge to draw conclusions. There was a time when I went 4 for 4 and I had on my gold watch. The next game I remembered to remove my watch and I went 0 for 4. I now wear my gold watch all the time.

I don’t disagree that covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze reduces the probability of transmitting a virus, but rare circumstances do not translate into proof something works in the sense of having a major impact.

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How exactly would an epidemiologist find this situation and be able to study it?

Every case or even a suspected case gets studied through the contact tracing protocols. If the infection goes out of control, then this becomes impossible.

There are much more detailed studies, such as Coronavirus Disease Outbreak in Call Center, South Korea - Volume 26, Number 8—August 2020 - Emerging Infectious Diseases journal - CDC that got me to pull all my partner out of an open plan offices with folks doing a lot of talking. Studies like Absence of Apparent Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from Two Stylists After Exposure at a Hair Salon with a Universal Face Covering Policy — Springfield, Missouri, May 2020 | MMWR (with media coverage at say NYT) reassured the decision makers about the safety of reopening the economy while mandating masking.

I think many people have immersed themselves in very toxic politicized disinformation environments with ‘influencers’ dis-interpreting science, very much a component of the ‘ideological subversion’ tactics, see KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov's warning to America (1984) - YouTube

He was coughing. He bought a useless mask and put it on. Did he stop coughing or not?

Observational studies are almost completely useless because of unobserved confounders like this.

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Obvious question #1: How many of those 5 other passengers were infected before they got on the coach?

Obvious queston #2: What was the typical number of passengers on other coaches who tested positive for Covid?

Without some reference frame, it is difficult to interpret this kind of event. And let’s not ignore the big conclusion from the global experience with Covid – This has been one of the most benign, least damaging “pandemics” in history! If we had not had “testing” (of questionable reliability), we would have considered this “pandemic” to be merely one of those occasional bad flu years.

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Again, this is just one of many studies, scrutinized by the scientific community.

This happened early in the process when infections were rare, every case went through an interview, and the timing of onset of symptoms has been controlled for. See the detail of investigation about the earliest cases in Germany.

They didn’t just do simple arithmetic, they drew maps of the bus seats.
Screen Shot 2022-07-30 at 9.51.36 PM

It’s possible to verify that all the infected individuals carry the same variant, establishing one infection source. There’s enough studies out there with larger samples.

Surgical masks are indeed useless for the wearer when in an enclosed space with infected air. They might have helped a bit early on, but with Omicron, they just give a false sense of safety, and one needs at least a FFP2 or (K)N95/94 and ensure it’s fitted.

But they’re highly effective when it comes to protecting others. In fact, surgical masks have been developed to protect the patient with an open chest from a surgeon’s spittle and sniffles.