Good News

Just the News posted an article yesterday stating the following:

A new study from scientists in the United States suggests that a significant majority of the population may already have some level of immunity to the coronavirus, a possible explanation for why so many individuals seem to experience few to no symptoms from the disease.

Now they tell us.

The article continues:

The study, written by researchers in California, New York and North Carolina and soon to be published in the journal Cell, discovered that certain types of cells in blood samples taken from donors in 2015-2018—well before COVID-19 arose—were reactive against the COVID-19 virus. In other words, those blood samples were at least partially immune from the coronavirus even though they had never been exposed to it. 

“CD4+ T cell responses were detected in 40-60% of unexposed individuals. This may be reflective of some degree of crossreactive, preexisting immunity to SARS- CoV-2 in some, but not all, individuals,” the researchers state in the paper. 

The article concludes:

The research could provide an important clue for public health officials hoping to figure out why significant numbers of COVID-19 infections are either asymptomatic or else largely mild. The disease affects elderly and less healthy individuals most severely, with younger and healthy individuals for the most part spared its worst effects.

Though the term “coronavirus” has become ubiquitous in recent weeks as a way to describe the virus causing the current pandemic, coronaviruses are actually a variegated strain of infectious agents that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to SARS.

The researchers in their paper suggest that the immune response seen in the uninfected blood samples could have been generated by the coronaviruses that cause the common cold.

While I am still convinced of the need to protect the elderly and those with certain medical conditions, I wonder if the full lockdown was necessary. At any rate, it is good to know that large groups of Americans already have immunity to the coronavirus. As the death toll rises (as it most certainly will as the disease runs its course), we need to remember that the 1969 Hong Kong Flu killed 100,000 people in America. We did not lockdown for that epidemic, and frankly, I doubt that we will lockdown for any epidemic in the future. We need to protect the vulnerable, but the rest of us need to get on with our lives.

The Other Side Of The Mask Requirement

Yesterday PJMedia posted an article with the following headline, “Neurosurgeon Says Face Masks Pose Serious Risk to Healthy People.” This is not the first time I have read  that.

The article notes:

As for the scientific support for the use of face mask, a recent careful examination of the literature, in which 17 of the best studies were analyzed, concluded that, “ None of the studies established a conclusive relationship between mask/respirator use and protection against influenza infection.”1   Keep in mind, no studies have been done to demonstrate that either a cloth mask or the N95 mask has any effect on transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Any recommendations, therefore, have to be based on studies of influenza virus transmission. And, as you have seen, there is no conclusive evidence of their efficiency in controlling flu virus transmission.

It is also instructive to know that until recently, the CDC did not recommend wearing a face mask or covering of any kind, unless a person was known to be infected, that is, until recently. Non-infected people need not wear a mask. When a person has TB we have them wear a mask, not the entire community of non-infected. The recommendations by the CDC and the WHO are not based on any studies of this virus and have never been used to contain any other virus pandemic or epidemic in history.

The article continues:

In one such study, researchers surveyed 212 healthcare workers (47 males and 165 females) asking about presence of headaches with N95 mask use, duration of the headaches, type of headaches and if the person had preexisting headaches.2

They found that about a third of the workers developed headaches with use of the mask, most had preexisting headaches that were worsened by the mask wearing, and 60% required pain medications for relief. As to the cause of the headaches, while straps and pressure from the mask could be causative, the bulk of the evidence points toward hypoxia and/or hypercapnia as the cause. That is, a reduction in blood oxygenation (hypoxia) or an elevation in blood C02 (hypercapnia). It is known that the N95 mask, if worn for hours, can reduce blood oxygenation as much as 20%, which can lead to a loss of consciousness, as happened to the hapless fellow driving around alone in his car wearing an N95 mask, causing him to pass out, and to crash his car and sustain injuries. I am sure that we have several cases of elderly individuals or any person with poor lung function passing out, hitting their head. This, of course, can lead to death.

A more recent study involving 159 healthcare workers aged 21 to 35 years of age found that 81% developed headaches from wearing a face mask.3   Some had pre-existing headaches that were precipitated by the masks. All felt like the headaches affected their work performance.

Blaylock (Dr. Russell Blaylock, a neurosurgeon) says studies have also shown that face masks impair oxygen intake dramatically leading to serious problems.

Wear a mask if you choose, but please do not criticize those of us who choose not to.

Interesting Research

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted an article about a recent study of the coronavirus.

The article reports:

A new report by Justin Silverman and Alex Washberne on COVID-19 and featured in The Economist finds that the coronvirus is widespread in the US.

The authors argue that 28 million Americans have or have had the coronavirus.

Yesterday I posted an article that somewhat confirms that conclusion.

The article at The Gateway Pundit includes the following tweet by Andrew Bostom:

The article also includes the following chart:

I realize that the chart is small, but the basic conclusion is that we have overreacted to a virus that is no more dangerous than the flu. That being said, social distancing is still a good idea because it is a relatively new virus that we are still learning about. The game-changer here is that the French researchers have found something that cures the virus at least 95 percent of the time. One has to wonder why the American press is fighting so hard to discredit the findings of the French doctor who has done the research and the trials of the drug combination.

The article concludes:

We don’t know how horrible the economic damage will be but we know it will be huge.
And we are still nowhere near the total flu deaths we see each year.

And now it looks like the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and the global “experts” completely failed in their predictions and talking points!

It’s time to rethink our reaction to the coronavirus and consider opening sections of the country again.

Much Of America Is Focused On Solving The Problem Rather Than Politicizing It

On March 30, The New York Post posted an article about the ways that Americans are fighting the pandemic of the coronavirus. The title of the article is, “Answering the coronavirus: exponential American innovation.”

The article reports:

America has long led the world in innovation, and the coronavirus won’t change that. Indeed, US inventors and entrepreneurs are rising to the occasion, jumping in to fill urgent needs.

With ramped-up testing the best way to discover who has the virus and so learn what the fatality rate really is, the news from Abbott Laboratories couldn’t be better. The Food and Drug Administration gave emergency-use approval to Abbott’s new test, the fastest available at the point of care: It can deliver a positive result in five minutes and a negative result in under 15.

…Even more promising are serology tests that can find antibodies in a finger-prick of blood — proving that you had COVID-19 even without any symptoms. That will make it easier to track contacts and clear some people to stop isolating. Biomerica has developed one that can deliver results in 10 minutes at a cost of $10; it’s already shipping kits to Europe but needs emergency-use Food and Drug Administration approval for US use. (Get going, FDA.)

The list goes on. Startup BioIntelliSense has developed the BioSticker, a wearable sensor that can measure vital signs — temperature, heart and respiratory rates and coughing — and transmit it to clinicians in near-real time.

Vici, an InTouch Health robot with a camera forehead, tablet chest and keyboard navel, let docs in Washington state communicate with the first US COVID-19 patient in isolation. And Stanford researchers are using the Crispr gene-editing tool to see if they can stop the coronavirus from hijacking human cells.

Other companies are at work to end shortages of vital equipment: The FDA on Sunday approved the nonprofit Battelle’s request to sterilize N95 masks without limit (after the agency at first tried to set a 10,000-a-day limit — why?). Battelle’s seeking approval to sterilize other equipment, such as ventilator parts, as well.

Here in New York, the Northwell hospital group is converting anesthesia machines and BIPAP devices (used for sleep apnea) into ventilators.

With the pandemic’s peak still ahead, take some consolation in the fact that innovators’ responses are expanding exponentially, too.

The test that can detect antibodies will be a game-changer. Once we can discover who has the disease, who has had the disease, and who is immune to the disease, we can limit our lockdowns to the people and places that are necessary. One of the reasons we are seeing the numbers in New York and some other places is that those places are densely populated and people we out eating, gathering together for plays and music, and generally spending time in close proximity for at least a month without anyone understanding the risk. When we reach the point where we know the risk and can test freely, we should be able to gradually open our economy back up.

A Very Interesting Possibility

Townhall is reporting today that a group of scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine believe that they may have found a vaccine for the coronavirus.

The article quotes The New York Post:

The researchers announced their findings Thursday and believe the vaccine could be rolled out quickly enough to “significantly impact the spread of disease,” according to their study published in EBioMedicine.

The vaccine would be delivered on a small, fingertip-sized patch. When tested on mice, the vaccine produced enough antibodies believed to successfully counteract the virus.

[…]

“These two viruses, which are closely related to SARS-CoV-2, teach us that a particular protein, called a spike protein, is important for inducing immunity against the virus,” read a statement from co-senior author Andrea Gambotto, M.D., associate professor of surgery at the Pitt School of Medicine.

“We knew exactly where to fight this new virus.”

[…]

Researchers said they sided with using a patch, rather than a traditional needle, to deliver the spike protein to the skin, which elicits the strongest immune reaction.

The patch contains 400 tiny “microneedles” made of sugar and protein pieces. It would be applied like a Band-Aid with the needles dissolving into the skin.

The vaccine would be “highly scalable” for widespread use, the researchers said in a news release.

Stay tuned. This may be the best news we have had since January.

 

Be Careful Out There (Or Better Yet, Stay Home)

It’s hard to fight an enemy you can’t see, yet that is what Americans are being asked to do. We can debate the seriousness of the coronavirus if we choose, but we can’t debate that it is here and that it is killing people.

MSN posted an article yesterday about the death of two people in Washington state. I realize that compared to the growing number of coronavirus deaths in America, two people may seem insignificant (not to their families), but their story is significant.

The article reports:

With the coronavirus quickly spreading in Washington state in early March, leaders of the Skagit Valley Chorale debated whether to go ahead with weekly rehearsal.

The virus was already killing people in the Seattle area, about an hour’s drive to the south.

But Skagit County hadn’t reported any cases, schools and business remained open, and prohibitions on large gatherings had yet to be announced.

On March 6, Adam Burdick, the choir’s conductor, informed the 121 members in an email that amid the “stress and strain of concerns about the virus,” practice would proceed as scheduled at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church.

“I’m planning on being there this Tuesday March 10, and hoping many of you will be, too,” he wrote.

Sixty singers showed up. A greeter offered hand sanitizer at the door, and members refrained from the usual hugs and handshakes.

…After 2 1/2 hours, the singers parted ways at 9 p.m.

Nearly three weeks later, 45 have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or ill with the symptoms, at least three have been hospitalized, and two are dead.

The outbreak has stunned county health officials, who have concluded that the virus was almost certainly transmitted through the air from one or more people without symptoms.

The fact that the virus was transmitted at the rehearsal raises questions about the virus.

The article notes:

In interviews with the Los Angeles Times, eight people who were at the rehearsal said that nobody there was coughing or sneezing or appeared ill.

Everybody came with their own sheet music and avoided direct physical contact. Some members helped set up or remove folding chairs. A few helped themselves to mandarins that had been put out on a table in back.

Experts said the choir outbreak is consistent with a growing body of evidence that the virus can be transmitted through aerosols — particles smaller than 5 micrometers that can float in the air for minutes or longer.

The World Health Organization has downplayed the possibility of transmission in aerosols, stressing that the virus is spread through much larger “respiratory droplets,” which are emitted when an infected person coughs or sneezes and quickly fall to a surface.

But a study published March 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that when the virus was suspended in a mist under laboratory conditions it remained “viable and infectious” for three hours — though researchers have said that time period would probably be no more than a half-hour in real-world conditions.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has not behaved well during this pandemic. There is a video of an official of the organization obviously avoiding a question about helping Taiwan. There are also indications that the WHO has made statements based on Chinese propaganda rather than actual facts (misinformation that has helped spread the virus).

At any rate–STAY HOME. Choir practice is fun, but when you sing, you may be projecting more than your voice. Normally that is not a problem–right now it is.

Stay safe.

Your Tax Dollars At Work

On Thursday, Just The News posted an article about some of the things the National Institute of Health (NIH) is spending your tax money on.

The article reports:

On a steamy summer day inside the lecture auditorium of the storied National Institutes of Health headquarters, Dr. Michael Bracken delivered a stark message to an audience that dedicated its life, and owed its living, to medical research.

As much as 87.5% of biomedical research is wasted or inefficient, the respected Yale University epidemiologist declared in a sobering assessment for a federal research agency that spends about $40 billion a year on medical studies.

He backed his staggering statistic with these additional stats: 50 out of every 100 medical studies fail to produce published findings, and half of those that do publish have serious design flaws. And those that aren’t flawed and manage to publish are often needlessly redundant.

The article notes where the NIH has spent money instead of researching cures for a coronavirus pandemic:

As you weigh that question, consider this: In the 15 years since evidence first emerged that drugs like chloroquine might help in a coronavirus pandemic, NIH spent:

Just two days ago, in the midst of surging coronavirus deaths in America, NIH released a joint study by its National Cancer Institute and the National Institute on Aging that came to a heady conclusion: If you walk more, you are likely to live longer.

If the NIH had investigated chloroquine fifteen years ago, we might not have governors forbidding doctors to use it to treat coronavirus. It really is time to go through the federal budget line by line and get rid of stupid research projects and useless programs. We could probably pay for the stimulus package with what we cut and have money left over.

 

Nature Is Amazing

On February 6th, Fox News reported the following:

A type of black fungus that eats radiation was discovered inside the Chernobyl nuclear reactor.

In 1991, the strange fungus was found growing up the walls of the reactor, which baffled scientists due to the extreme, radiation-heavy environment.

Researchers eventually realized that not only was the fungi impervious to the deadly radiation, it seemed to be attracted to it.

A decade later, researchers tested some of the fungi and determined that it had a large amount of the pigment melanin — which is also found, among other places, in the skin of humans.

The article concludes:

In a 2008 paper, Ekaterina Dadachova, then of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, noted that the fungi attracted to radiation are unlikely to be the first examples of their kind.

“Large quantities of highly melanized fungal spores have been found in early Cretaceous period deposits when many species of animals and plants died out. This period coincides with Earth’s crossing the “magnetic zero” resulting in the loss of its “shield” against cosmic radiation,” the paper’s introduction states.

The fungi indicate that there could be places in the cosmos — which we are unaware of — where organisms could live in radiation-filled environments.

Just amazing.

The Overlooked Impact Of Illegal Immigration

Breitbart posted an article yesterday about an aspect of illegal immigration that is often overlooked.

The article reports:

Research by the Center for Immigration Studies’ Steven Camarota and Karen Zeigler finds that annual illegal and legal immigration to the U.S. will redistribute political power in the form of 26 House seats away from a number of red states and towards massively populated blue states like California and New York.

“To put this number in perspective, changing the party of 21 members of the current Congress would flip the majority in the U.S. House,” Camarota and Zeigler note.

Ohio, a swing state that voted for President Trump in 2016, will get three fewer congressional seats in 2020 due to mass immigration in other states. Michigan and Pennsylvania, also states that voted for Trump in 2016, will each have two fewer congressional seats. Wisconsin, a Trump-supporting swing state, will have its congressional seats cut by at least one.

Red states such as Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia, Camarota and Zeigler predict, will all get one less congressional seat in 2020. Smaller blue states such as Minnesota and Rhode Island will each receive one less congressional seat.

Those seats cut from mostly red states will be redistributed to California, the most immigration-inundated state in the country. California, by 2020, is set to gain 11 congressional seats solely due to the fact that noncitizens, rather than just American citizens, are counted in congressional apportionment.

Likewise, New York — where nearly 40 percent of residents are foreign-born — is set to gain four more congressional seats and New Jersey, with a more than 22 percent foreign-born population, will also take an additional two congressional seats.

Texas, which has become increasingly blue due to immigration and out-of-state young people, will gain another four congressional seats, as will the swing state of Florida with its foreign-born population of 4.1 million.

The deeply blue states of Illinois and Massachusetts, both of which went 55 to 60 percent for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, will each gain one congressional seat.

What this is saying is that the influx of non-citizens into blue states will lessen the impact of voters in red states. This is a glaring example of the reason only citizens should be counted when allotting seats in the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives is supposed to represent American citizens. Americans are leaving California and New York in droves. These two states should be losing representatives–not gaining them.

Ignoring The Real Purpose Of Government

Theoretically the purpose of our government is to secure the rights of the people. It’s not supposed to limit our rights–we are supposed to limit government’s power. There are, however, some basic responsibilities of government. One of those responsibilities is infrastructure. However, Congress is so busy trying to undo the 2016 presidential election that they are neglecting more pressing items.

Yesterday The Hill posted an article with the following headline, “Scores of US dams found in poor condition, endangering thousands of people: analysis.” If I remember correctly, President Trump has asked Congress to work with him on an infrastructure bill, but Congress has been busy doing other things.

The article reports:

Scores of dams in the U.S. are in poor or unsatisfactory condition, according to an Associated Press analysis of federal and state data.

The AP found in its two-year investigation that 1,688 dams were classified as high-hazard, meaning their failure could result in people’s deaths, and that thousands of people are at risk.  

The article concludes:

Overall, the number of deaths from dam failures has decreased since the 1970s, when state governments improved their oversight, the AP reported. It also cited Stanford University research that showed  about 1,000 dams have collapsed in the past 40 years, resulting in 34 deaths. The average age of dams across the country is 50 years old, the AP reported.

The White House named an infrastructure week in 2017, which was quickly overshadowed by the hearing for former FBI Director James Comey. Attempts to refocus on infrastructure in the next two years have not produced results.

Obviously it is time to elect a Congress that will pay attention to the safety of the American people.

Good News From The Medical Sector

Bloomberg News is reporting today that a blood test that may be able to detect breast cancer up to five years before symptoms develop could be available by 2025 if development is fully funded, U.K. researchers said. This is wonderful news. Breast cancer can be cured if it is detected early.

The emedicinehealth website includes the following chart:

The article at Bloomberg News reports:

“A blood test for early breast cancer detection would be cost effective, which would be of particular value in low and middle income countries,” Daniyah Alfattani, a PhD student at the University of Nottingham said in a statement. “It would also be an easier screening method to implement compared to current methods, such as mammography.”

About 2.1 million women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually, according to the World Health Organization. It killed an estimated 627,000 women last year, accounting for 15% of all cancer deaths among women.

…“We need to develop and further validate this test,” Alfattani said. “However, these results are encouraging and indicate that it’s possible to detect a signal for early breast cancer. Once we have improved the accuracy of the test, then it opens the possibility of using a simple blood test to improve early detection of the disease.”

The research was presented at the U.K. National Cancer Research Institute cancer conference in Glasgow.

Wow. Wonderful news.

Common Sense From The Detroit Police Chief

Breitbart posted an article today about a recent statement by the Detroit Police Chief.

The article states:

Detroit Police Chief James Craig suggested concealed carry by law-abiding citizens “is about staying alive” during an October 30, 2019, interview on Tucker Carlson Tonight.

Craig, a vocal advocate of concealed carry for self-defense, said, “There’s been research that shows criminals fear armed citizens more than they fear police.”

He explained police are not ever-present, thus they usually arrive after a crime not during one: “By the time we’re called it’s usually after the fact, so we’re reacting to the crime.” But armed, law-abiding citizens can be present to act as the crime is unfolding.

That makes sense. There is a lot of validity to the idea of every citizen learning to be responsible for their own safety. I personally think everyone should take a Concealed Carry class simply to understand their rights and responsibilities in regard to gun ownership.

The article concludes:

On January 2, 2014, Breitbart News reported Craig noting that “good community members who have concealed [licenses]” deter crime and save lives.

On December 1, 2015, Breitbart News reported Craig saying armed citizens also help fight the threat of terrorism. The  Detroit News quoted Craig saying, “A lot of Detroiters have CPLs, and the same rules apply to terrorists as they do to some gun-toting thug. If you’re a terrorist, or a carjacker, you want unarmed citizens.”

He suggested the knowledge that citizens  “would shoot back” probably makes “extremists…reluctant to target Detroit.”

Armed citizens are one of the best crime deterrents available. The idea of taking guns away from law-abiding citizens collapses when you realize that criminals will not surrender their guns–leaving the general public unarmed and vulnerable.

A Unique, But Logical, Approach To Gun Violence

Yesterday PJ Media posted an article with the following headline, “To Reduce Gun Violence, Arm All Americans.” That is probably the only real solution.

The article reports:

So there was another shooting in Texas. At last count, including the perpetrator, there are seven dead and around 20 injured. We don’t really know anything much about the perpetrator except that he’s been identified as white. Apparently, what prompted the shooting was the perpetrator was stopped by the police, shot his way out, and then raced off, shooting other people until he was finally cornered and shot dead. (Prediction: we’ll find out he had a long criminal record and active arrest warrants for major crimes.)

Now because I’m sure some rental commenter is just waiting to start typing, yes I think it’s awful that people got shot and killed. On the other hand, five people have been killed and 42 injured in Chicago already this weekend. Just this weekend. And I can’t help but wonder why the extremely high murder rates in places like Chicago and Baltimore don’t seem to be news stories.

I’ll leave that for another rant, however, and point out that when you consider murder rates there is a very very high correlation between really stringent gun laws and really high gun violence.

Or put that another way: research shows that very high gun ownership rates correlate with low gun violence. This is true on a local level, and it’s true nationwide where gun ownership has grown dramatically while nationwide gun violence has dropped about 25 percent.

It’s also true that beyond a simple statistical observation, most of the specific recommendations or approaches that people have suggested have no effect. The famous assault weapons ban from the Clinton administration showed no particular effect, and when it expired there is no particular effect. When, after the Heller decision, gun ownership in D.C. went up, gun crime went down.

The only thing that we know is effective to reduce gun violence is to increase gun ownership.

That makes sense–criminals (who generally obtain their guns illegally) are less likely to attack a population that may be armed. A soft target, such as a school, restaurant, or movie theater is much more likely to be attacked. If the criminal knows that a restaurant or theater allows concealed carry, he is likely to pick another target.

We need to accept the fact that there are people who live among us that do bad things. Disarming law-abiding citizens does not stop people who want to do bad things from doing bad things. Law-abiding citizens with guns cause people who do bad things to think twice about doing them.

Maybe There Is A Solution Not Yet Tried

Breitbart posted an article yesterday about an aspect of the transgender population that has not yet been fully considered.

The article reports:

A new study that examined students who claim to have gender identity issues found that, compared with 45 percent of students who are comfortable with their biological sex, 78 percent of gender-disturbed students met the criteria for at least one mental health problem.

Researchers affiliated with the Boston University School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School, and University of Michigan School of Public Health, conducted the expansive study, published at the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The study, which included more than 1,200 college students with gender identity issues across 71 U.S. college campuses, found that, across commonly used mental health measures, 78 percent of the gender-disturbed students met the criteria for one or more of the outcomes of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self-injury, and suicidality.

The article concludes:

In 2018, Dr. Lisa Littman at Brown University set out to learn more about why the number of adolescent girls identifying as transgender at Britain’s Gender Identity Development Service had increased from 41 percent in 2009 to 69 percent in 2017.

The researcher said she had observed teens without a history of gender dysphoria – a clinical term describing psychological discomfort caused by a sense one’s gender is incompatible with one’s biological sex – were “coming out” as transgender “after a period of immersing themselves in niche websites after similar announcements from friends.”

In her study of 256 parents, which was condemned by LGBT activists, Littman found 87 percent of the young people were reported to have “come out” as transgender after increased time spent on social media and the Internet and after “cluster outbreaks” of gender dysphoria among their groups of friends. Most of the teens who ultimately identified as transgender also showed increased popularity with peer groups afterward, according to their parents’ reports.

Additionally, Littman found nearly two-thirds of the young people whose parents participated in the survey had already been diagnosed with at least one psychiatric developmental disorder prior to the onset of the gender dysphoria. For example, nearly half of the young people had already attempted to harm themselves or had experienced a trauma, suggesting the mental health issues preceded the reported gender identity disturbance.

Recently, the academic response to a child who expresses a desire to change their sex has been to aid them in the process, sometimes without parent knowledge or consent. It would make more sense to search for underlying issues and deal with those issues before encouraging a child to walk down such a life-changing path. I recently read an article about a young boy, about nine or ten, who told his parents he wanted to be a girl. The parents sought counseling for the child, rather than simply go along with his wishes. The counseling revealed that because the child noticed that his younger sister who was handicapped got more attention from his parents than he did, he thought that if he were a girl, he would get more attention. His going through the transgender process would not have helped his problem at all. After counseling, the family dynamic was altered, and the boy went happily along the way as a little boy.

Not every person who claims to be transgender is actually transgender. Some have simply walked down that path in a desperate attempt to deal with other underlying issues. We do these people a disservice when we don’t look for and attempt to solve those underlying issues.

A Program That Is Getting Results

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, the oldest voucher program in the United States. This program began in 1990. The program offers private school vouchers to low-income Milwaukee kids using a lottery system. The article reports that just 341 students participated in the program’s first year. Today, that figure is nearly 30,000 across 126 public schools.

The article reports:

Because it has been running for so long, the MPCP has been widely studied. Past analyses have found that it increases math scores (although not reading), as well as high-school graduation and college enrollment rates. Other voucher experiments have also shown encouraging results: A 2013 study found that Washington, D.C.’s voucher program increased graduation rates by 21 percentage points, while a 2015 analysis of New York’s voucher system saw an increase in college enrollment among students with black mothers.

The authors of the new paper looked at data on students from elementary school through ninth grade who were enrolled in Milwaukee private schools in 2006. They identified 2,727 MPCP students, then used a detailed methodology to “match” them to comparable students in the Milwaukee Public School (MPS) system based on where they lived, their demographic information, their parents’ educational backgrounds, and other controls.

Having constructed their “treatment” and “control” groups, the researchers then looked at how each group faired in relation to pivotal achievement milestones: completing high school, ever enrolling in college, completing at least a year of college, and graduating from college.

The article concludes:

“MPCP students are more likely to enroll, persist, and have more total years in a four-year college than their MPS peers,” the authors write. “We also find evidence that MPCP students are significantly more likely to graduate from college, although that college completion finding is only statistically significant in our sample of students who entered the program in third through eighth grade.”

Specifically, MPCP students who were in ninth grade in 2006 were 6 percentage points more likely than their MPS peers to enroll in a four-year college—46 percent versus 40 percent. MPCP students who were in third through eighth grades were 4 percentage points more likely to enroll in a four-year college, and 3 percentage points more likely to graduate (all effects statistically significant).

These results contribute to what the authors call “a growing body of evaluation results indicating that private school voucher programs positively affect student educational attainment.” They point in particular to a Florida program, the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, the effects of which on graduation are “nearly identical.”

“The collective evidence in this paper indicates that students in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program tend to have higher levels of educational attainment than a carefully matched comparison group of Milwaukee Public School students,” the authors conclude. “The MPCP students are more likely to enroll, persist, and experience more total years in a four-year college.”

Obviously the children using the vouchers to attend private schools are getting a better education than the students in public schools. I would guess that children involved in the voucher program also have a higher level of parental involvement–one of the keys to success for students. The children involved in the voucher program probably also know that there may be penalties for not doing the work required. I suspect that discipline in the private schools is probably more prevalent than in public schools. Our public schools have become places where children are not held to an academic or behavior standard. The success of the children in the voucher programs is an indication of problems in our public schools.

I Guess We Really Don’t Have All The Answers

A website called The Watchers posted an article yesterday about the Jakobshavn Glacier in western Greenland, Greenland’s largest glacier.

The article reports:

Data collected in March 2019 confirm that the glacier has grown for the third year in a row, and scientists attribute the change to cool ocean waters, Kathryn Hansen of NASA’s Earth Observatory reports.

“The third straight year of thickening of Greenland’s biggest glacier supports our conclusion that the ocean is the culprit,” said Josh Willis, an ocean scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and principal investigator of the Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) mission.

The maps below show how the glacier’s height changed between March 2016 and 2017 (top); March 2017 and 2018 (middle); and March 2018 and 2019 (bottom). The elevation data come from a radar altimeter that has been flown on research airplanes each spring as part of OMG. Blue areas represent where the glacier’s height has increased, in some areas by as much as 30 m (98 feet) per year.

These are the maps:

The article concludes:

The change is particularly striking at the glacier’s front (solid blue area on the left) between 2016 and 2017. That’s when the glacier advanced the most, replacing open water and sea ice with towering glacial ice. The glacier has not advanced as much since then, but it continues to slow and thicken.

Willis and colleagues think the glacier is reacting to a shift in a climate pattern called the North Atlantic Oscillation, which has brought cold water northward along Greenland’s west coast. Measurements of the temperatures collected by the OMG team show that the cold water has persisted.

The team will go back to Greenland in August.

Obviously we do not understand as much about how earth works as we think we do.

In Case You Were Worried About This…

Anthony Watts at wattsupwiththat is reporting today:

A new Policy Brief from The Heartland Institute shows there is no evidence of acceleration in the rise of global sea levels since the 1920s and concludes the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) concerns over this issue is “without merit.”

The Policy Brief, titled “Global Sea Level Rise: An Evaluation of the Data,” authored by Dr. Craig Idso, chairman of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, Dr. David Legates, professor of climatology in the Department of Geography at the University of Delaware, and Dr. S. Fred Singer, is taken from a chapter of Climate Change Reconsidered II: Fossil Fuels, a report fromthe Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC).

According to IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, “it is very likely that the rate of global mean sea level rise during the 21st century will exceed the rate observed during 1971–2010 for all Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) scenarios due to increases in ocean warming and loss of mass from glaciers and ice sheets.”

However, Idso, Legates, and Singer argue “sea-level rise is a research area that has recently come to be dominated by computer models. Whereas researchers working with datasets built from long-term coastal tide gauges typically report a slow linear rate of sea-level rise, computer modelers assume a significant anthropogenic forcing and tune their models to find or predict an acceleration of the rate of rise.”

…Instead of accelerated sea-level rises, the authors find “the best available data” shows “evidence is lacking for any recent changes in global sea level that lie outside natural variation.” They point out that if the negative effects of the claimed accelerated rise in sea level, such as a loss of surface area, were to be visible anywhere, it would most likely be in the small islands and coral atolls in the Pacific Ocean. However, research indicates many of these islands and atolls are actually increasing in size. Simply, they are “not being inundated by rising seas due to anthropogenic climate change.”

Fears of an accelerated rise in sea levels caused by anthropogenic climate change are misplaced and overblown. Further, this fearmongering should not be used by policymakers in coastal states and cities to advocate for policies that would seek to limit or eliminate carbon dioxide emissions.

No, we are not all going to drown in five years because of sea-level rise. Some politicians are screaming ‘the sky is falling’ because they believe it will get them the votes of young people who are not scientifically schooled. The earth’s climate is cyclical, we are in a cycle. There will be another cycle. We need to do what we can to limit pollution, but in the end, we are not important enough to make a significant difference. Pride is one of the things the fuels the extreme environmental movement.

Wisdom From A Friend

John Droz, Jr., is a physicist who has spent a lot of time studying the impact of wind farms and wind energy. The following is the result of some of his research:

Wind Energy: Local Economics 101

What about the claim that industrial wind energy projects are a “financial boon” to hard-pressed rural communities? On the surface that sounds plausible, but to evaluate this assertion this we need to look a bit deeper. This is a two part answer…

First, we do not select our electrical energy sources based on the economic impact to host communities. Instead our electrical energy sources are chosen because of their reliability, true cost to ratepayers & taxpayers, proximity to demand centers, dispatchability, etc.

Wind energy fares poorly on ALL such metrics — which is why wind salespeople try the sleight-of-hand tactic to talk instead about local taxes, local lease payments, etc. We need to be careful about getting tricked by such marketing tactics.

Secondly, the only way that we can know if these projects are genuinely an economic asset, is if a proper NET financial analysis is done. In other words we need to do a comprehensive and objective investigation into the pros and cons of these projects.

We know the positives, as the developers and their proponents have done a fine job at spelling out the possible benefits: property tax income, lease payments to selected landowners, several construction jobs, a few permanent jobs, etc.

But what about the negatives? How do we come up with the numbers on the other side of the equation, so that we can do an accurate NET financial assessment? The answer is to carefully research studies done by independent experts — i.e scientists, academics, economists, physicians, etc. who generally have no dog-in-the-fight.

After carefully doing that research here are some reasons why a wind project can be an economic liability to a host community:

1 – Independent experts have concluded that local agricultural income can decrease as: a)bats being killed will reduce crop yields, b) turbines can affect local weather [up to 15 miles away!] which will also lower crop yields, and c) in some cases, farmers with turbine leases will reduce or terminate operations. For much more on this, see here.

2 – Studies from independent experts have concluded that there can be serious hydro-geological consequences from wind projects. Here is a sample study done in Vermont.

3 – Studies from independent experts have concluded tourism will drop in the region. For example, North Carolina State University (avid wind proponents) surveyed tourists. Although the majority of the visitors stated that they supported wind energy, 80%± said that they would not vacation in an area where wind turbines were visible. Some other studies that have concluded that tourism will be reduced are listed here.

4 – Studies from independent experts have concluded that property values will decrease for residences within 1± miles of a wind project. This was the conclusion of largest study in the world on this topic, done by the London School of Economics. Here is an extensive list of other studies and articles that came to the same conclusion.

5 – Studies from medical professionals have concluded that some nearby citizens will experience adverse health effects. The biggest concern is from infrasound (noise we can not hear). The World Health Organization has stated (p53) that infrasound is more problematic than audible sound. Infrasound can be so harmful that the US military is researching weaponizing it. Over a hundred studies have concluded that there will be health consequences (here is a representative sample, including cancer).

6 – Studies from independent experts have concluded that industrial wind projects can cause major eco-system damage. See this sample study (esp. pages 103-122).

7 – Studies from independent experts have concluded that industrial wind projects can harm wildlife and livestock animals. Sample reports: here, here, here, here and here.

8 – Studies from independent experts have concluded that industrial wind projects can adversely affect local hunting (and possibly fishing). Here is an explanation of that.

9 – Research by independent experts has shown that wind projects can cause serious interference with military facilities. Here is an overview of the topic.

10-Despite implications otherwise, leaseholders can suffer economic losses. See this explanation of 40+ possible legal and financial liabilities to signing turbine leases.

So what might the NET be after taking the positives and negatives into account? A sample analysis was done of the proposed NY Horse Creek wind project. The conclusion is that the NET economic impact would likely be a loss of $10± Million a year. For comparison, an analysis of the NC Timbermill wind project was also done. The conclusion is that there could be a NET economic loss of $12± Million a year.

So before any community can say that a “wind project is a financial windfall,” a comprehensive and objective financial analysis must be done. Right now, no one in any federal, state or local agency, is thoroughly investigating these wind energy liabilities.

Without such an analysis, all financial claims are simply one-side of the economic equation — and are not an accurate representation of the NET economic impact. The evidence to date indicates that wind energy is the “gift” that keeps on taking.

Let me know any questions (email: “aaprjohn at northnet dot org”). john droz, jr. physicist 5/31/19

PS — For additional information on all of these costs, please see WiseEnergy.org.

Wind energy is probably a good idea, but we are not there yet in terms of technology. If the free market were allowed to function in the energy industry, we might get there faster.

Note:  I have linked a few of the studies listed in this paper. To go to the original paper and get the complete list go here.

The Court Gets It Right

The Guardian is reporting today that an Australian court ruled James Cook University had unlawfully sacked a professor who had criticised scientific research about the climate change impact on the Great Barrier Reef. Peter Ridd was a professor at James Cook University in Australia before he was fired for his criticism of some of the research on climate change.

The American Thinker posted an article today noting the following:

The greatest “tell” for non-scientists evaluating the likelihood that the anthropogenic global warming theory is a fraud is that instead of critically examining the facts, warmists try to silence skeptics, with some of them even demanding jail for the thought-crime of questioning their unproven theory.  So thorough has been the pressure to keep the fraud going and keep the billions of dollars a year in research funds flowing to universities and other research institutions pushing the party line that skeptics are under threat of firing — and some have been fired.

The Guardian explains:

Judge Salvatore Vasta ruled on Tuesday the 17 findings made by the university, the two speech directions, the five confidentiality directions, the no satire direction, the censure, the final censure and the termination of Ridd’s employment were all unlawful.

…Judge Vasta said the university has not understood the whole concept of intellectual freedom.

“[The] university has ‘played the man and not the ball’,” he said.

 “Intellectual freedom is so important. It allows academics to express their opinions without fear of reprisals. It allows a Charles Darwin to break free of the constraints of creationism. It allows an Albert Einstein to break free of the constraints of Newtonian physics. It allows the human race to question conventional wisdom in the never-ending search for knowledge and truth.”

The Townsville-based university’s provost professor, Chris Cocklin, noted the judgment does not refer to any case law.

“We disagree with the judgment and we maintain we have not taken issue with Dr Ridd’s nor any other employee’s rights to academic freedom,” Cocklin said in a statement.

“Dr Ridd was not sacked because of his scientific views. Dr Ridd was never gagged or silenced about his scientific views, a matter which was admitted during the court hearing.”

The case has been adjourned for a further hearing to award a penalty.

My biggest problem in science classes was jumping to conclusions without examining all the facts. I think the entire concept of man-made global warming rather than natural climate cycles is a result of that sort of thinking.

 

What Happened To Ethics In Science?

Yesterday CNS News posted an article about research going on at the University of California at San Francisco. This research is so horrific I can’t even believe it is being done in America, much less being partially financed by the government.

The article reports:

The Department of Health and Human Services says it has granted a second 90-day extension to a contract it has with the University of California at San Francisco that requires UCSF to make “humanized mice.”

These creatures are made by implanting mice with human tissues taken from late-term aborted babies.

The HHS’s multi-million-dollar contract with UCSF that requires the construction of these “humanized mice” creates a demand–driven by federal tax dollars–for tissue taken from late-term aborted babies. According to an estimate it has published on its website, the National Institutes of Health (which is a division of HHS) will spend $95 million this fiscal year alone on research that–like UCSF’s “humanized mouse” contract–uses human fetal tissue.

Under the new 90-day extension, the contract—which the government calls “Humanized Mouse Models for HIV Therapeutics Development”–will run through June 5.

HHS also is still in the process of conducting the “comprehensive review” it announced last September “of all research involving fetal tissue.”

It’s bad enough that we are killing the unborn. Now we are using them for scientific experiments. That is beyond repulsive.

Oops!

The National Review is reporting today that some climate scientists have discovered a significant error in their recent calculations of rising ocean temperatures.

The article reports:

Two researchers have been forced to issue a major correction to a recent study indicating oceans have been warming at a significantly higher rate than previously thought due to climate change.

The paper, published October 31 in the scientific journal Nature, suggested ocean temperatures have risen roughly 60 percent higher than estimated by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But, after errors in the authors’ methodology were identified, they realized their findings were roughly in line with those of the IPCC, after all.

The researchers’ alarming findings were uncritically reported by numerous mainstream-media outlets but Nic Lewis, a mathematician and popular critic of the consensus on man-made climate change, quickly identified errors.

The scientists who did the original research quickly realized their mistake:

Ralph Keeling, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography who co-authored the paper, said he and his partner, Laure Resplandy of Princeton, quickly realized the implications of their mistake once Lewis pointed it out.

“When we were confronted with his insight it became immediately clear there was an issue there,” he said. “We’re grateful to have it be pointed out quickly so that we could correct it quickly.”

After correcting their mistake, Keeling said their research indicates oceans are warming only slightly faster than previously thought, not dramatically faster as they initially reported. Keeling said the miscalculation was made when they were calculating their margin of error, which had a larger range (10 to 70 percent) than they initially believed.

When the initial report came out, the alarmists were quick to alarm:

The IPCC released a report last month calling on governments to take drastic action to combat climate change. According to the report, global carbon emissions must be cut by 20 percent by 2030 and completely eliminated by 2075 in order to prevent temperatures from rising two degrees above pre-industrial levels, at which point coastal areas would be completely flooded and hundreds of millions of people would be in danger of starvation.

I am not yet convinced that man is responsible for any global warming that may be occurring–cyclical climate change has been a part of the earth’s existence since the earth existed. I do believe that we have a responsibility to limit pollution as much as possible, but I don’t believe we are significant enough to interfere with the earth’s cyclical climate changes.

An Article From September That I Missed

Reason posted an article in September with the following title, “New Research Confirms We Got Cholesterol All Wrong.”

The article reports:

A comprehensive new study on cholesterol, based on results from more than a million patients, could help upend decades of government advice about diet, nutrition, health, prevention, and medication. Just don’t hold your breath.

The study, published in the Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology, centers on statins, a class of drugs used to lower levels of LDL-C, the so-called “bad” cholesterol, in the human body. According to the study, statins are pointless for most people.

“No evidence exists to prove that having high levels of bad cholesterol causes heart disease, leading physicians have claimed” in the study, reports the Daily Mail. The Express likewise says the new study finds “no evidence that high levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol cause heart disease.”

The study also reports that “heart attack patients were shown to have lower than normal cholesterol levels of LDL-C” and that older people with higher levels of bad cholesterol tend to live longer than those with lower levels.

It is estimated that 11 million Americans take statins to lower their cholesterol. A Forbes article from 2008 states that ” 25 million more should be on them (statins).”

The article at Reason concludes:

What’s more, if bad cholesterol isn’t so bad, then the benefits of so-called good cholesterol are also under assault. Recently, *HDL, the so-called “good” cholesterol, was itself deemed suspect in some cases.

Dietary fat also appears not to be the danger the government says it is. Another new study, reported on by Ron Bailey this week, suggests, as he writes, that the federal government’s warnings to avoid dairy products that are high in fat “is bunk.”

I’m not a nutritionist. I don’t know if the science on cholesterol is settled. But the federal government has warned us for decades about cholesterol in our bodies and in our food. The fact those warnings are now changing means the government has, despite what I’m sure are the good intentions of everyone involved, been handing out poor dietary advice and developing regulations that reflect that poor advice.

I’m one of many who has called out the DGAC and the federal government for foisting “decades of confusing and often-contradictory dietary advice” upon the American public. I also suggested, in a column last year, that one way the government might back up its claims to possess invaluable and unparalleled expertise in the areas of food policy and nutrition would be stop regularly reversing or altering its recommendations.

“The reason that we don’t know about these huge reversals in dietary advice is that the nutrition establishment is apparently loathe to make public their major reversals in policy,” Teicholz says. “The low-fat diet is another example: neither the AHA or the dietary guidelines recommend a low-fat diet anymore. But they have yet to announce this to the American public. And some in the establishment are still fighting to retain the low-fat status quo.”

I am not your doctor, nor your nutritionist. I have no idea what you should eat. Maybe the government should adopt that mantra, too.

We really don’t know as much about our bodies as we think we do.

Your Tax Dollars At Work

WJLA posted an article on Monday about a recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The article reports:

You can learn a lot from studying birds and every year government funded research does just that.

But it’s one study in particular Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has been railing against for years.

“$356,000 was spent of your money studying whether or not Japanese quail are more sexually promiscuous on cocaine,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in a speech on the Senate Floor.

According to scientists, the effects of drugs like cocaine have similar brain effects in quails as in humans. The study looked at behavior patterns while on the drug and found “repeated exposure to cocaine during sexual activity may increase sexual motivation which may, in turn, may lead to high risk sexual activities.”

It cost us $356,000 to find out that cocaine use during sex might be a problem. Most of our mothers could have told us that cocaine use at any time is a problem. Rather than look at the impact of cocaine on sexual activity, why not divert that money to helping combat the opioid crisis in America? The quail on cocaine study is truly a waste of taxpayer money.

More Research Needed

On Thursday the U.K. Daily Mail posted an article about some recent studies involving treating pain with marijuana.

The article reports:

A small study found people who use cannabis require higher doses of painkillers than non users after major traumatic event like a car crash.    

The drug, which is legal for medical use in the majority of US states, is mainly prescribed to ease pain. 

But this new research conducted in Colorado – which was the first state to legalize – suggests that short-term pain relief could weaken the body’s resilience to pain over time. 

The researchers, from the Swedish Medical Center, Colorado, analyzed around 260 people who were involved in minor vehicle accidents and admitted to trauma centers. 

Of these, 54 tested positive for recent marijuana use while 16 claimed they used the drug more or less every day.

Around nine percent of the participants tested positive for other prescription or illegal drugs, such as cocaine and opiates.

On average, the marijuana users required 7.6mg of opioid painkillers a day in hospital, compared to 5.6mg for non-drug users.

This is probably not a surprise to people in the medical profession. I have been told by nurses who work in the operating room that people who are heavy users of alcohol require larger doses of anesthesia to put them to sleep. The body builds up a tolerance for drugs, whether the drug is alcohol, opioids, or marijuana. Those who blame big pharma for the fact that marijuana has not been legalized need to remember that just as big pharma has a huge lobby with lots of money, big marijuana also has a big lobby with lots of money. Legalizing marijuana in Colorado has brought the drug cartels into the state to mass produce their product for the local market. I don’t think that is what we want.

The medical values of marijuana are not proven and the unintended consequences of legalization are still unfolding. I think we need more research.

Preventing Truth

One of the major ideas the political left is currently supporting is transgenderism. The traditional idea of two genders–male and female–is regarded (by the left) as old fashioned and (in some cases) bigoted. Never mind what your DNA says–it’s how you feel that matters. There have been a number of people who have gone through the process of a sex change and regretted it, but somehow they have not received the positive coverage of those who parade their change around. Well, even science has gone political on the matter.

Breitbart is reporting the following today:

Bath Spa University stopped Psychotherapist James Caspian from examining cases of people who had surgery to reverse a “gender reassignment” after finding they regretted the decision.

…He pointed out that studies of the percentage of people regretting “transitioning” their gender ranged from a couple of per cent to 20 per cent, and said new research was needed as attitudes changed and practitioners observed a rise in those reversing surgery.

The university initially approved his research, but after he proposed finding more participants online and sent his ideas to the ethics sub-committee for clearance, he was told: “engaging in a potentially politically incorrect piece of research carries a risk to the University”.

“Attacks on social media may not be confined to the researcher but may involve the university,” university authorities added, The Times reports. “The posting of unpleasant material on blogs or social media may be detrimental to the reputation of the university.”

So if the truth may be unpopular or cause anything negative to be said about the University, the University does not want to know what the truth is. Wow. So much for the scientific method!