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November 17, 2020 at 18:12 #62406SA
Good Question Steph. It seems that there is a Scottish government run organization in Scotland. There is no equivalent one in England, volunteering is done through a charity: The Royal Voluntary Service whose President is the Queen in waiting. There is a linked charity called NHS Volunteer responders . Like everything else in the anti-Covid efforts, the government is taking a rather aloof attitude to this except by allowing the false NHS badge to be used, in a typical market oriented neoliberal capitalist manner.November 17, 2020 at 18:43 #62407SA
Excuse me: you mean Captain Tom Moore who is now promoted to the rank of Honorary Colonel and is a knight of the realm.
He raised 33 millions for the NHS staff welfare fund. Here the BBC explains how the money is spent.November 17, 2020 at 23:32 #62421Clark
Steph, you very much seem in favour of permitting SARS-CoV-2 infection to spread without social restrictions, so I have some questions for you.
Do you think people should die of covid-19 in their homes without medical care? And who should allocate what medical facilities there are, and on what basis? If large numbers of people struggling for breath turned up at hospitals, or were brought by their families, what should be done with them? And if this policy of no restrictions and letting hospitals be overwhelmed doubled or quadrupled the death rate, would you consider that acceptable, and preferable to restrictions?
Please remember that these are other people’s deaths and final days you’re considering, not just your own.November 18, 2020 at 06:56 #62425SA
I don’t want to speak for Steph but I think Steph, unlike others who post here, asked some genuine questions because she found statements by someone like Yeadon plausible because he is a Scientist. I think some of the questions asked are legitimate. Is the cost of lockdown for what is perceived to be a disease that causes death mostly to those who are probably at the end of their life worth the economic hardship for all of society as lockdown will also have an effect on death rate due to other causes?
There are different aspects to this question. Scientifically and medically it is obvious that the argument is clearly that the measures are in favour of extreme measures to suppress the virus because mortality is not the only factor, you have to take into account the contagiousness and the morbidity and the sequelae of the disease and their secondary effects which also will cause societal and economic disruption.
But there are also other aspects of this pandemic, a sociological, ethical and political aspects and that is why there is so much wide interest in the science by people who would normally not worry about questioning the science.
The problem here is that what people like Boris Johnson and others call ‘the science’ is selected and presented through a politically modified prism (including the selection and makeup and political interference within SAGE) The gross mishandling of the crisis, the lack of strategy and the sleaze accompanying the awarding of contracts to cronies have further amplified the suspicion. Some also see that the measures have failed to prevent a second wave but that is because of the poor application of the measures. Go around the country now, it is not a country in lockdown.
The lockdown should have been a one bite at the cherry attempt. Should have been done properly, a la China (minus some of the worst coercive measures, more like NZ or South Korea). Not that I think lifting the lockdown now will help the economy but I think it is too late for it to have the impact needed.
The lesson here is, when you go to vote, look at the heart of what the system stands for. Many people voted for very narrow reasons and forgetting the nature of whom they voted for. Whereas everyone wants apparently want to improve their lot and that of others, in fact people voted for incompetence and sleaze. Johnson had a good track record in both but seems to have got away with it with the help of the very press that is now trying to convince everyone of their impartiality.November 18, 2020 at 10:06 #62437Steph
Clark – You make the assumption that I am in favour of ‘permitting SARS-CoV-2 infection to spread without social restrictions’ I am not even convinced of that myself, so I think you are stretching it a bit to assign such a position to me. Were you to contend that I seem to have ‘deep reservations about social restrictions’ I would willingly agree, for the reasons I have already set out. You then ask me to answer a series of ‘what if’ questions. And herein lies the difficulty, as we are all dealing with ‘what ifs’ to some extent. I could just as easily ask you ‘what if’ social restrictions result in any number of evils, from extreme and widespread poverty, huge increases in death rates and the destruction of human rights. These are at least fairly well documented as they have happened before. You will no doubt say ‘the science’ proves beyond doubt that terrible things will happen if strict controls are not enforced, but science is still only a series of ‘what ifs’, it is not infallible, it changes over time and is often subsequently proved incorrect. And it hasn’t even begun to look at some of the possible unforeseen effects, such as significant interference with the ‘normal’ circulation of viruses, essential to our survival.
I do consider other people’s deaths and final days, although I am honest enough to say that I think of them in terms of those I know personally and not in terms of a vague mass of souls whom I have never met. The final weeks of my next-door neighbour, who had been long ill and suffered with Alzheimer’s, were quite tragically marred when his little trips out to the garden centre and visits from his children and grandchildren were suddenly stopped by the first lockdown, leaving him wildly unhappy and confused. His health spiralled rapidly downwards and he died shortly after the lockdown was lifted. His wife is left not only with the sadness of bereavement but a desperate feeling of letting him down, despite it being quite beyond her control. His final days were not improved in the slightest by the measures supposedly in place to protect him. If I was as rude as you, I might ask accusingly ‘don’t you care about him or her?’ but it serves no purpose, it is not your fault.
You seem very concerned by a vision of huge numbers of people gasping for breath and bodies piled up. I personally do not share that vision, my fears lie elsewhere, for the future of my children and grandchild and for others that I know who are being badly knocked about in all this. But neither of us can accurately predict the future and nor can the scientists. Look more kindly on your fellow man, even if he doesn’t agree with you, it’s all you can really do to make the world a better place.
SA – Thank you for making some very important points, although I did not find Yeadon plausible because he was a scientist. Had he been a milkman I would still have found what he has to say of interest! It is a very very complex situation and not at all as clear cut as I think Clarke feels. I agree entirely that there is something disturbingly wrong with the way we all keep voting for ineffectual and power-hungry governments. To be fair, we don’t have much choice. I suppose every system is inherently flawed, as soon as someone stands up and says ‘Vote for ME’ we know that is not really the kind of individual we need. The only exception I can think of is Corbyn, but without the killer instinct he was lost. An unsolvable contradiction it seems.November 18, 2020 at 11:53 #62440Clark
Steph, please quote my “rudeness” in the comment you’re replying to.
I am quite fed up with the complements and insinuations, which you apply very selectively. If your personal account earlier is genuine, you should know better than to deploy such techniques of propaganda.
– “You seem very concerned by a vision of huge numbers of people gasping for breath and bodies piled up. I personally do not share that vision”
It is not a vision as you again insinuate, you need only look at Bergamo in Italy, or the first waves in Spain and New York, or the outbreak aboard Diamond Princess. It is not a matter requiring scientific interpretation that you may raise seemingly reasonable doubt about (as the corporate media is so adept at); it is simply experience so far.November 18, 2020 at 11:55 #62441Clark
And please explicitly retract your accusations and insinuations that I don’t care about human rights or children.
“Rudeness” indeed. There are ways to insult and smear people without vulgarity, and I’m discovering that you are expert in them.November 18, 2020 at 12:15 #62443Clark
Look! In many buildings fire broke out, in various cities across the world. In cities with neoliberal mayors the fire brigade were ordered to wait an hour, because if the fires went out on their own council money would be saved. These burned to the ground, whereas elsewhere prompt action saved the buildings.
But combustion is a complex scientific matter, and there is no certainty that the pattern will be repeated. We can find a few people, whose scientific qualifications we always quote at length, who tell us that the ruined buildings were exceptional. Speeding fire engines are a danger to the public.
All these experts are warm and nice; very commendable people. Those fearful souls who advocate action are rude, and don’t care about children or human rights!
Pah!November 18, 2020 at 12:42 #62444SA
I find myself here as a self appointed adjudicator. No doubt both you and/or Steph will tell me to pxxx off, and I will accept that. I feel you are both concerned and honest and seek the truth but with different perspectives. I think we should all take less offense if our views are challenged and take it in our stride. Please don’t take offence.November 18, 2020 at 13:32 #62446Steph
Clark – You previously accused me of ‘walking away’ from a discussion. I have attempted not to do that. However I am now holding up my arms, waving a white flag and surrendering. I find you utterly impossible to debate sensibly with.November 18, 2020 at 14:56 #62453SA
Sorry to see you go. Please take care. I know it is not the right season at the moment for gardening, but maybe it is for garden design? Anyway my cyclamen is my joy in the garden at present and are so nice over this relatively colourless period until early spring, where one species or other will be in flower.
Take care and all the best.November 18, 2020 at 15:51 #62454Steph
SA – Thank you! It is most certainly a good time to be gardening, as well as designing. In fact there is never really a time when it is not good to garden, it keeps you sane. Cyclamen are cheery little plants aren’t they. There is one, Cyclamen purpurescens, which flowers a little earlier, in late summer, which has the most beautiful scent.
Enough wasting of Craig’s space I think, all the very best to you too.November 18, 2020 at 21:24 #62461N_
“(S)cientists warned that every day of festive respite would require five days of restrictions.” (Guardian.) I’m sure they worked that out oh-so scientifically and expertly.
Hell, the rulers are nudging Passive Gratefulness like nobody’s business!
This is likely to be an “NHS” Christmas.
Why not get little signs saying “NHS” and hang them on your Christmas tree? Or maybe make a placard saying “NHS” for the angel at the top to hold?
What if the “new normal” is psycho?November 19, 2020 at 00:30 #62463N_
Today so far, 1905 deaths with Covid (I’m not sure of the exact criterion) have been reported in the US. That will be the highest daily reported figure since May.
*Hoard food*.November 19, 2020 at 02:28 #62465Clark
Steph, thank you for persevering with discussion, as I requested. I regard “hit and run” commenting (for want of a less critical term) as detrimental to understanding; it creates merely an impression, which many people simply empathise with or react against, according to how they feel. Decent people’s feelings are generally good guides for their interpersonal behaviour, but unsuitable for assessing matters of fact, so I prefer, and recommend, assessing practical situations thoroughly by use of evidence, reason and rationality, such that we distil the best understanding we can of our actual situation, before using our emotional judgement to decide our course of action.
What I have to say next is critical of your approach to the predicament of the pandemic; I hope that this does not upset you too much. I contend that I am not “impossible to debate with”, but rather that there are parts of “the debate” – or more correctly, humanity’s actual predicament – that you have so far found too distressing to consider. I am not a doctor nor a hospital administrator, nor anyone else whose job it is to allocate finite resources in this crisis, but by accepting the facts of events so far I have come to understand what heart-wrenching decisions people in these positions are having to make. The faster SARS-CoV-2 is permitted to spread, the more sick people these decision-makers will have to abandon, casting them aside to spend their last days in a doomed, futile and increasingly desperate struggle for breath. This is not some nightmare conjured from my sadistic soul; if only it were so insubstantial! It is the unpleasant reality of how covid-19 kills; ask Dredd, who used to comment as Dr Edd, a doctor who has been treating covid-19 patients.
This is why I asked you the questions above. You didn’t attempt to answer any of them. Instead, you retreated to the domain of opinion, where our equality to the right of self-expression is widely but misleadingly believed to make wrong as good as right. To claim that the suffering I describe above won’t happen here is tantamount to claiming that it hasn’t happened already elsewhere. It is wishful thinking; it is to permit what we wish to override what we know. But to make ethical decisions, our emotional judgement must be based on reality rather than what we wish to be true. That is the meaning of being adult, and why we’d be wrong to foist such decisions onto children.
– – – – – – – –
Thank you for your personal account of your circumstances. I wrote you a long reply shortly after, but due to a technical problem it was lost upon posting, which greatly disheartened me at the time. I strongly approve of describing personal context around our political opinions; improving as many’s personal circumstances as much as possible should be the highest purpose of politics. I wish you the best for your treatment. I also hope, when your time comes, that the medics can ease your passage from this world as much as possible. I hope for you, as for everyone, that the facilities to do so are not overwhelmed by ill-informed choices made by the “government”. But sorry to say, it’s looking no better for that than it is for the climate and ecological emergency. Ultimately, our imagination, such a joy to us when we played make-believe as children and so vital to our creativity, is something that we need to learn to recognise and hold in context; while continuing to cherish it, we must vigilantly guard against lapses into self-deception. This difficult task calls for life-long self discipline.
– “Mental health is an ongoing process of dedication to reality at all costs.”
M Scott Peck, psychiatrist; The Road Less Travelled, 1978.November 19, 2020 at 02:35 #62466Clark
N_ – “I’m sure they worked that out oh-so scientifically and expertly.”
Well it’s not exactly difficult, is it? Just compare the gradient of the graph when it’s rising with the gradient when it’s falling. It’s the Grauniard’s fault, printing that absurd “scientists say” (as they always do) rather than pointing out the bleedin’ obvious!November 19, 2020 at 04:11 #62469Clark
Steph, if we weren’t continually returning to discussions about “lockdown”, we could have progressed to much more interesting and important matters, such as, what will the course of covid-19 really turn out like, and what can we do to regain democracy?
But the agendas are set by the corporate media, and they are its own, so we’re forever “debating” irrelevancies such as the opinions of Ioannidis and Yeadon. I’m frustrated because I’m up against a force many orders of magnitude more powerful than myself, and I’m frustrated with you because you unwittingly permit yourself to be a channel for it – yet another channel, of the millions that it cultivates. It makes so much noise that it isn’t even possible to achieve an atmosphere conductive to reasonable discussion. It propagates hideous sound-bites like “the new normal”, as if we’re going to have masks and social restrictions forever from now on – which ignores every realistic scenario by which covid-19 could develop.
Please. Pointing out that covid-19 could overwhelm the hospitals and cause hundreds of thousands of deaths in a couple of months is not fear-mongering, nor a reflection of my fears. It is merely the most likely extrapolation of what we’ve seen so far. And if Yeadon says otherwise, ask yourself; is it likely that he’s doing so on Delingpole’s blog rather than in Nature because Nature is part of a global scientific conspiracy to rob the poor? Or is it because he’s talking crap?
We mustn’t mix up what we’ve got with what we want, and we certainly mustn’t pretend that covid-19 is less serious than it is just because we don’t like what the “government” is doing.November 19, 2020 at 08:26 #62472Steph
Clarke – Thank you. It must be a wonderful thing to be so completely assured of one’s own rightness that, having been granted total submission from one’s opponent, one feels obliged to painstakingly patronise them as well.November 19, 2020 at 12:15 #62477N_
@Clark – I don’t like “arguments” that depend solely on shouting loaded phrases either. But let’s unpack that very carefully so as not to fall into the trap of doing the same thing. In a nutshell, what happens is that assumptions are slipped through as hidden premises. The classic example is the question “When did you stop beating your wife?” This is the standard methodology of the moron who hasn’t thought about a topic very deeply at all (or about anything), but who can’t admit it to himself and who likes to address those who have thought about it more deeply than he has, or indeed who may have only thought about it equally or comparably deeply, or who are simply asking intelligent questions so as to improve their understanding, as themselves being morons. Morons do even this without thinking about it! Nobody ever advances their understanding by habitually behaving like that. All they do is stay sunk in the mud. You can can think of it as “character armour” or whatever. You get it all over the internet. It’s a major disease of our time. It’s like a plague. It’s particularly bad in Britain, where sarcasm is its usual vehicle and where the dominant culture is one of caste-upholding putdowns. Britain is absolutely chockful of the browbeaten. (Just look at how people in Britain look up to medics, whom they call “doctors”. It’s not like that in Russia.) If I had a pound for every time I’ve been patronised by a stupid ignorant moron in Britain I’d be very rich. Morons hate it that someone who isn’t from the elite thinks for themselves. They think the person wants to be “Mr Posh”. The person irritates something inside of them – namely their unverbalised knowledge that they have actually chosen to be morons and keep on choosing to stay being morons.
You do battle in passing (and it’s important that it’s in passing) against the notion that you describe as the idea that “Nature [the journal] is part of a global scientific conspiracy to rob the poor”. I suggest without any sarcasm or intent to be patronising that you cogitate some more about the nature of social exploitation, the use of the concept of “science”, and the function of the hierarchy of academic journals.
I note that you refer to the “corporate media” but not “corporate science”. Seriously if you can criticise the way the media works you ought to be able to criticise the way scientific “opinion” works, and the system in which decisions are made regarding what actually gets researched by “scientists” and what doesn’t. (We can agree that those decisions affect scientific opinion, right?) It’s all about money and power and jobsworthery and it’s highly centralised.
An awful lot is slipped through with the use of words such as “science”, “scientist” and “expert”. I see their usage as akin to the use of words such as “Aryanology” in Nazi Germany. They mostly mean “shut the f*** up and salute the flag”.
We really are living under fascism, and it really is only in a very early stage. That’s not exaggeration. In Britain within the space of 8 months it has already slaughtered, what, a few tens of thousands in old people’s homes, in which the residents are (or were) among the most isolated people in a culture that has an awful lot of isolation. The notion of “be grateful to your betters” has spread from health treatment to Christmas. Soon it will spread to food.
Economic production practically stopped for a few months, it is about to stop again, and meanwhile the government has announced its plan to increase military spending dramatically.
“The new normal” is a great phrase to use. Anybody who doesn’t realise that the rulers really are turning the ratchet and that they do NOT intend to reach a point where they remove all the anti-socialisation restrictions but on the contrary they plan to INCREASE them, and not gradually but in sudden jumps, must be some kind of Pollyanna whose address is “Cloud Cuckoo Land”.f
Resisting the planned mega-cull is impossible unless one gets a handle on what it will be all about. I use the future tense, because we “ain’t seen nothing yet”. As they ask on the Cryzine website, “When the “helpy gas” vans roll into the “social housing” estates, what identification letters will they carry on their sides?” (Answer: “NHS”.) That’s an excellent way of putting it because it can make hearers’ blood run cold, which for some may be exactly what’s needed to jolt them onto the road of wising themselves up.November 19, 2020 at 15:29 #62483Clark
Steph, I am not “completely assured of [my] own rightness”; I just look at the graphs and the timing of social restrictions. What they indicate is obvious, and entirely in accordance with common sense – social restrictions slow the spread of infection. This has been known for centuries eg. leper colonies, and it’s part of common etiquette, “keep your distance / don’t visit me this week; you don’t want to catch my cold”.
But as soon as it got serious enough to affect the economy, suddenly it was up for “debate”, and our “news” media rapidly became saturated by the tiny minority of “experts” who claim that social restrictions are inappropriate. The fact that the media makes money from advertising whereas sales fall during social restrictions is just a coincidence, of course. Where have I seen such cherry-picking before? Oh yes; three decades of global warming denial, eventually conceded when the North Pole had nearly melted, the advance warning from science squandered. The next chapter has already begun; “human activity isn’t really starting Earth’s sixth mass extinction event; hear our fearless right-wing journalists interview a handful of people with all these following letters after their names explaining why the obvious signs, painstakingly quantified by thousands of field scientist and reviewed and summarised by the IPBES, is actually a conspiracy by the UN to incite public fear and justify yet more taxes on you, our unfairly exploited audience whose opinions ought to count”.
If you hadn’t been fighting Steph you wouldn’t have felt the need to “submit”. I’m just the messenger; the mortality graphs speak for themselves. I won’t apologise for your feelings of being patronised because I didn’t intend to do so, but I’ll apologise for not apologising if you like, since not apologising is at least my own decision rather than your interpretation.
Yours, torture apologist and child exploiter Clark 🙂November 19, 2020 at 15:43 #62484Clark
N_, I’ll answer later; right now I need some fresh air and I’d like to catch the last of today’s sunshine.November 19, 2020 at 19:22 #62487SA
“I note that you refer to the “corporate media” but not “corporate science”. Seriously if you can criticise the way the media works you ought to be able to criticise the way scientific “opinion” works, and the system in which decisions are made regarding what actually gets researched by “scientists” and what doesn’t. (We can agree that those decisions affect scientific opinion, right?) It’s all about money and power and jobsworthery and it’s highly centralised.”
There is no such thing as corporate science. You made that up. Corporate media is very clearly defined and owned and funded by rich men and corporations. In the case of scientific research there is no such centralised funding and control. You are right in one respect, before Thatcher and Blair, science was funded to a certain degree by government funding based purely on the scientific merit of the proposed research, its utility in advancing knowledge and also eventually to be translated to practical uses such as new treatments, drugs vaccines an so on. This meant that there was a good chance of getting funding for basic research, asking questions or defining parameters which advanced our knowledge but may not have a direct commercial or monetary value. After Thatcher and Blair’s ‘reforms’ government funding for research was considerably reduced and many researchers were encourage to seek industrial sources for funding to targeted ‘translational research’. This gave priority to research that could lead to results with a commercial value that could be exploited later.
But none of these have led to ‘centralisation’ of the research itself or direct control on how the research was done or the results or of the workforce. Of course a lot of commercially funded research but not all, had clauses controlling publication and confidentiality, but a sizeable amount remains whereby the researchers have free reign to explore other subjects.
Science, like anything is as reliable as its practitioners and the various professional checks on its operation. Many of the scientific and medical journals have established a long tradition and reputation of impartiality and interpreting the science according to the methodology and the derived data. This system generally works but occasionally there are corrupt scientists that sneak falsified data, or dubious methodology past a journal which is later refuted or retracted. There is no overarching corporate control of this process and it works well. And why does it work well? Because falsified or unreproducible results in science usually die a natural death, advances that are genuine and useful are taken up and lead to more advances. It is almost a self selecting process.
But to lump science as one monolith and equate it to corporate media is an oversimplification. Having spent a lot of time describing and decrying the methods of the ‘morons’ you should have been more careful not to make the same errors that they do.November 19, 2020 at 19:36 #62488Clark
N_, yes, capitalism distorts science; one interesting book about its methods is Bad Pharma by Ben Goldacre. Capitalism inevitably distorts everything, and in that sense Nature indeed plays a part in robbing the poor.
But systems vary in their robustness and vulnerability to capitalist pressures, and science is far more robust than the corporate media or, say, government foreign policy based on briefings by spooks. Ultimately, science has to continually refine its reflection of facts, so it is anchored in reality, which transcends and is greater than capitalism or even humanity. It is less vulnerable for a similar reason; its value to commercialism is dependent upon it correctly representing reality, so too much corruption would destroy its utility. There are also significant parts of science still within the diminishing public sector.
My comment wasn’t meant to imply unqualified praise for the journal Nature, it was a specific comparison between the scientific literature and the personal blogs of journalists for the right-wing press. And Yeadon also seems to be more businessman than scientist.
I don’t believe there’s a secret plot for a cull. Firstly, our old folk are a massive cash cow that moves public and working-class money to the big medical corporations and private care companies, propelled up by the guilt felt by their offspring, deprived of time and energy by neoliberal employment conditions. Secondly the older population are an important element of the Right’s voter base. Thirdly these bozos couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery and can’t even keep their corrupt deals secret.
Is Cryzine your blog? I read some bits; I too find it heartbreaking that so many of the population have been so desensitised and – I’m lacking a word – many people have stopped looking in depth, their curiosity seems to have been leached out of them, they resort to slogans and blame. Variations in intelligence shouldn’t be a problem; people vary in every aspect, diversity is nature’s method of building collective resilience, and some less-bright people nonetheless have good hearts. But appealing yet divisive and self-absolving memes flood from the corporate media like sweeties stacked near the supermarket checkout positioned to exploit immature and under-exercised minds – the result is depressingly ugly.
Capitalism is a system, not a conspiracy – at least, not a formal one. Capitalism includes conspiracies, and acts as an incentive to conspire, but even those at the pinnacles of the pyramids it creates are trapped and manipulated by the system; many live in constant fear among elaborate alarm systems and security guards, while “lesser” folk may still leave their homes unlocked, thereby helping to nurture community.November 19, 2020 at 21:38 #62493Clark
Hey N_, I just followed your @Clark link, and found that I have a profile on these forums! I suppose it must have been automatically generated from my old moderator’s credentials. The e-mail address must be out of date because my Gravatar doesn’t appear, and it has a link to my old Plusnet webspace, which Plusnet took down after Craig linked to my copy of The Catholic Orangemen of Togo causing the outgoing data limit to be exceeded.
It’s a funny old site, this; it has things forgotten in disused corners.November 20, 2020 at 00:32 #62499N_
More bad news from the US: 1965 deaths with Covid have been reported already for today, with about 1-2 hours left. (Reporting slows down during those hours, so hopefully today’s figure won’t climb much higher.) Yesterday there were 1971. The last time before yesterday when there was a daily figure above 1920 was six and a half months ago on 7 May, during the decline of the first wave. The current daily figures in the ongoing third wave (Oct-?) are higher than any daily figures during the second wave (Jul-Sep), and about 35% higher than figures for corresponding days last week. And temperatures are getting colder. The graph may be about to go convex. For what it’s worth, the highest daily figure during the first wave was 2744, or only about 40% higher than today’s figure so far.November 20, 2020 at 15:21 #62517N_
From Wales Online: “Christmas Day rules could include a ban on arguing or hugging“.
Is talking OK? What about looking at somebody and recognising that they are actually there?
I bet picking a phone will remain lawful for the foreseeable future! (Or at least so long as there’s an electricity supply to recharge its battery with.)
The gob that the idea of banning arguing at Christmas came out of belongs to David Spiegelhalter, the “University of Cambridge professor”, “statistician”, “chairman of the Winton Centre for risk and evidence communication” (a David Harding-funded outfit housed by Cambridge University’s pure maths department), and royal-decorated knight of the realm. In other words he is a propagandist for big business and its state.
In his sneering view of what working class families do at Christmas, combined with is fanatical commitment to changing their behaviour by showing them who is boss, he reminds me of Eyal Winter, who said a few months ago that for pubs to reopen drinkers could be rationed to two or three pints of beer before being politely asked to go home.
This is close to what some call “gaslighting”, and it’s deliberate.
When TB was rampant, the authorities didn’t tell people “Don’t spit more than twice in a row”. Nor during WW2 did they say “Don’t smile at babies”.November 20, 2020 at 18:11 #62519N_
Wow – what an effort there is to change the culture right now!
Don’t go near other people…don’t go out much…if we let you go to the pub then don’t drink a third pint…don’t hug your grandchildren…don’t argue with family members if we let you see them at Christmas…don’t date anyone… And the latest is don’t send too many emails because they cause climate change.
That’s according to British officials, as reported in the Financial Times. “Thanks for polluting the planet: emails blamed for climate change” is the article’s headline. The details don’t really matter. It’s all about “Change your ways when we tell you to, and when we say jump don’t ask ‘how high?’ – just jump without thinking, because otherwise you’re a danger to public hygiene and the public good…and we mean it”.
The FT practically say as much: “Officials have been particularly taken by research suggesting that more than 64m unnecessary emails are sent by Britons every day, pumping thousands of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere owing to the power they consume.”
Yeah right. Got an idea about a behavioural change that can be decreed so as to condition people to being even more obedient than they are already? “Never hold the handle of a cup.” “Don’t give your dog any treats.” “Wipe your bum in the shower to save on toilet paper”? The stupider it sounds, the better – because that makes it easier to identify who’s got a tendency to LAUGH when they are ORDERED to do something. (This is very much like school.) Then send it to Britgov and they might run with it. “Do not disrespect order-givers, whatever orders they just gave you” is the message.
At least emails are better than tweets, Facebook posts, etc.
Basically people are being told “You thought it was your internet, did you? You thought the internet was a public service? Well think again, suckers!”November 21, 2020 at 01:04 #62523N_
And hot on the heels of the “don’t argue or whatever it is you proles usually do with your smelly families over Christmas” “nudge” from an “expert” advising the government, whaddayaknow, here’s another learned professor. This one is saying that the ROADS should be closed, so that people can do more cycling and get more “exercise” during these difficult “Covid” times.
This time the c*** is called “Gabriel Scally”, he works at Bristol University, and yes he is a member of SAGE. Here is the man’s CV, if anyone wants to pick through it.
The rulers don’t like us moving around too far, do they?November 21, 2020 at 14:39 #62537Clark
N_, you repeatedly argue for official action to strengthen people’s immune systems, but when someone actually does you start arguing for private transport. And pointless e-mails; “key-boards good, touch-screens bad; key-boards good, touch-screens bad”? Should everyone be just like you?November 22, 2020 at 10:00 #62539SA
As usual you have a point, but sadly you take the wrong turn and make the wrong deductions, in my opinion. I agree with you about the mumble jumble that has become part of this ‘control’ of the virus, which is by trying to ‘control’ and micromanage all of our actions. I agree with you about the farcical nature of this advice. ‘Rule of 6’? Pubs closing at 10 PM? and so on it goes. I saw somewhere that the rule of 6 was invented by Boris (probably by the now disgraced Cummings) to try and forestall lockdown when that was suggested by SAGE. Also we now seem to be concentrating so much on ‘Christmas’, not as the pure Christian story or even the fairy tale Shepherds and mangers, but on the hyper commercial materialistic neoliberal Christmas, as what will make or break the spirit of this nation.
The story we are trying to evade here is really much simpler:
Proper effective lockdown means simply: social distancing, wearing face masks, avoid gatherings in small spaces, but even most important, test and trace and properly isolate contacts. But this is not palatable to the Pharisees and money grabbers. But when we find that 6 Tory MPS from the red wall went to no.10 and a had a bit of social closeness without the need of wearing masks, and even had the audacity to flaunt this, and when the PM then poses again as a joker-in chief, and when the same joker in chief then decides to rule like Caligula and insists that his horse must remain home secretary , oops… I meant senator despite advice to the contrary then one wonders about where we are heading. These are all diversions, the whole press should be calling for Johnson to go rather than concentrating on Corbyn, but there you are.November 22, 2020 at 22:00 #62543Clark
SA, Dredd, what do you make of this?
Superantigenic character of an insert unique to SARS-CoV-2 spike supported by skewed TCR repertoire in patients with hyperinflammation
PNAS October 13, 2020 117 (41) 25254-25262
– “The binding epitope on [the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein] harbors a sequence motif unique to SARS-CoV-2 (not present in other SARS-related coronaviruses), which is highly similar in both sequence and structure to the bacterial superantigen staphylococcal enterotoxin B”
Staphylococcal enterotoxin B – SEB – is pretty nasty. It’s produced by staphylococcus bacteria, of course, but was also developed as a bioweapon:
– “Staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) is the prototype of a non-egc-associated potent SAg. It is categorized as a category B select agent because it is the most potent staphylococcal enterotoxin, and much lower quantities are sufficient to produce a toxic effect than with synthetic chemicals. Furthermore, SEB is extremely stable and easily produced in large quantities. At low concentrations, SEB can cause multi-organ system failure and death. During the 1960s, when the United States had an offensive biological warfare program, SEB was studied as a biological weapon and stockpiled with various other bioweapons prior to its destruction in 1972 (4). Based on those investigations, the effective dose of SEB that would incapacitate 50% of the exposed population was estimated to be 0.0004 μg/kg of body weight, whereas the 50% lethal dose was estimated to be 0.02 μg/kg of body weight for humans exposed by the inhalation route”
Obviously viruses can’t make any proteins themselves, so in some cases, thankfully rare so far, SARS-CoV-2 is inducing hosts’ own cells to make SEB or something very similar to it. Do you know if harbouring something like this is common for viruses?November 23, 2020 at 11:40 #62549SA
Thank you, very interesting. Viruses of course are packets of genetic material that then highjack the host cells to reproduce and to manufacture the various proteins that are coded for by the virus genome, so you are right they get the host to produce these proteins. As to superantigens, they are mostly associated with bacteria but some viruses also produce them such as rabies and EBV but the most studied is the Mouse Mammary Tumor Virus Superantigens.
What is also important to realise that the host response to these superantigens can also be variable due to genetic, environmental and other factors so that not everyone who is exposed to superantigens would react in the same way with a cytokine storm, or also weather the effects of such a storm. This is why the severity of the disease is different according to age, sex, ethnic background and comorbidities.November 23, 2020 at 13:49 #62552Clark
The SEB superantigen specifically must be quite consistent in its effects or it wouldn’t have been produced as a bioweapon, and there wouldn’t be 50% of population incapacitation / death concentrations for it. I think it unlikely that the US stockpiled a bioweapon that killed predominantly the elderly. So presumably, either SARS-CoV-2 consistently causes production of something similar but not identical to SEB, or it only causes production of SEB in a minority of infections. It’d be very nasty should a mutation produce a strain that produced SEB more consistently.
Are there any other viruses that produce, specifically, SEB, or was SEB hitherto only a bacterial product? And did you notice this bit? –
– “What is even more interesting is that SARS-Cov-2 motif showed a palindromic behavior with respect to this superantigenic SEB sequence, in the sense that a broader stretch, from E661 to R685, could be aligned to the SAg peptide in the reverse direction as well (Fig. 3A, right). This brings to our attention the versatility and high propensity of the SARS-CoV-2 S TCRVβ-binding site residues to potentially elicit an SAg-like response.”
Maybe I’m being unduly suspicious, but does that happen often?November 23, 2020 at 15:56 #62554N_
The British government’s media operation is currently describing how obedient and sufficiently grateful boys and girls will receive “freedom passes” that they can show to policemen, security guards, supermarket officials, etc., in order to be allowed to enter a cafe, walk down the street, or go into a shop the way they want to.
At the moment they are saying that
1) the condition for getting a “freedom pass” will be that you’ve been tested x times in y days for SARS-CoV2,
2) the main thing you’ll be allowed to do if you’ve got a “freedom pass” is keep your face uncovered.
Both 1 and 2 are likely to change.
Condition 1 will become that you can prove from a piece of electronic equipment that you’ve been vaccinated – and obviously there will have to be a way to prove that you are the person whom the equipment says has been vaccinated.
Permitted Behaviour 2 will include many other things, such as
* being allowed to buy food at all
* being allowed to travel
* and perhaps soon, being allowed to leave your house.
The term “freedom pass” sounds very mobile phony. You can see why the criminal thug Dido Harding from TalkTalk got appointed.November 23, 2020 at 16:06 #62556N_
Other things that might come under 2 are:
* being allowed to receive medical treatment
* being allowed to get through the front door of a hospital, “GP’s” “surgery”, prison, or school (but once you’re dead they’ll probably allow you into a fast-throughput crematorium)
* being allowed to use a bank’s automatic teller machine
(Not sure about this one. It all depends on the lines along which the financial system cracks. Certainly “borrow borrow borrow” depends on “spend spend spend”. But many people are in such enormous debt and the crash is coming so soon that it might not matter so much to the moneylenders that they borrow a hugely gigantic amount in the next few months rather than only a gigantic amount.)
(Remember – disobedient equals dirty! That’s how Daily Mail readers think!)
Certainly the fact that a fascist government is talking about “freedom passes” should make us very afraid.
“When the rulers talk of peace, war is already being prepared”.November 25, 2020 at 22:23 #62606nothinguptop
You talk regularly about symbolism, but seem to have no problems with the obvious symbol of this overplayed hysteria.
The mask(made of anything you like according to official advice, which does kind of give the game away).
Why do you go along with this unscientific, but very emotional approach?
This appears to be the best study of the insanity currently infecting people.
Industry sponsored fact checkers(sic) have obviously been doing what they are paid to do(making fools of themselves?).
“A Danish study found the Covid-19 infection rate was lower among mask-wearers than non-mask wearers but not significantly so. However this is not proof that masks don’t have a significant effect, as the study didn’t look at whether mask-wearing protects others by stopping wearers from exhaling the virus.”
That last sentence gives their fraudulent game away. There is and never has been any real science that goes along with this and if, as they claim,they check facts, they’re rather inept in their chosen career.
You know the kind of idiot that would parrot the media led idiocy with things like “super spreader” without even realising the unscientific TV language they are engaging in.
How anyone can still think the devastating consequences placed on people are proportionate to the tiny risk involved is a staggering insight into the world of industry led propaganda.November 26, 2020 at 00:49 #62607Clark
Nothinguptop, you’ve never worked with microphones, right? ‘Cos if you had you’d know how essential a ‘pop shield’ is. Hold your hand in front of your face and say “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers”; feel all those little puffs of air hitting your hand? If you could see the air they’d look like smoke rings. Now try again with any old bit of fabric as a mask. That’s why you always put a pop shield on vocal mics, and that’s one reason that any old bit of fabric helps prevent other people being infected.
No reference to “MSM” at all, just a little experiment anyone can do for themselves. No “MSM” reference in all the citations from the scientific literature that Dredd gave you either; why have you ignored this evidence? Here they are again:
Howard et al (2020). Face Masks Against COVID-19: An Evidence Review. Preprints.
The use of masks to protect against respiratory infections: an umbrella review. Enfermedades Infecciosas y Microbiología Clínica.
Kähler & Hain (2020). Fundamental protective mechanisms of face masks against droplet infections. Journal of Aerosol Science.
Landi et al. (2020). Should face masks be worn to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the postlockdown phase? Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene.
Salter (2020). Reinventing Cloth Masks in the Face of Pandemics. Risk Analysis.
Lima et al. (2020). Cloth face masks to prevent Covid-19 and other respiratory infections. Revista Latino-Americana de Enfermagem.
And for anyone who wishes to read those reviews’ conclusions, they’re here.
Seeing as you’d been informed of the science (and I know you read it because you accused Dredd of being “part of the conspiracy” in reply), I have to assume that you’re actually trying to encourage the spread of infection and thereby increase the death rate. So why are you doing that?November 26, 2020 at 01:24 #62608Clark
– There are COVID-19 incidents in which a single person likely infected 80 percent or more of the people in the room in just a few hours. But, at other times, COVID-19 can be surprisingly much less contagious. Overdispersion and super-spreading of this virus are found in research across the globe. A growing number of studies estimate that a majority of infected people may not infect a single other person. A recent paper found that in Hong Kong, which had extensive testing and contact tracing, about 19 percent of cases were responsible for 80 percent of transmission, while 69 percent of cases did not infect another person. This finding is not rare: Multiple studies from the beginning have suggested that as few as 10 to 20 percent of infected people may be responsible for as much as 80 to 90 percent of transmission, and that many people barely transmit it.
So if “super-spreader” doesn’t sound “scientific” enough for you, you can refer to overdispersion instead. Links in the above passage lead to CDC, The Lancet, NCBI (2), PNAS, medrxiv, Nature (2), Welcome, and arxiv.
But of course, “they” are all “in on the scam”, right? Science is a conspiracy, right? But you’re not to be called a “conspiracy theorist”, because that’s just a “weaponised term” for the sheeple, right?
Wake up!November 26, 2020 at 01:28 #62609Clark
I am so sick of conspiracy theorists. The Internet gave us a wonderful new uncensorable channel bypassing the corporate media’s propaganda and gatekeeping, but conspiracy theorists have flooded it with shit.November 26, 2020 at 02:07 #62610Clark
Nothingontop (appropriate moniker) linked here:
The very first paragraph describes the objective of the trial:
– “Observational evidence suggests that mask wearing mitigates transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It is uncertain if this observed association arises through protection of uninfected wearers (protective effect), via reduced transmission from infected mask wearers (source control), or both.”
So the paper accepts widespread pre-existing findings that mask use reduces cross-infection, and disproves Nothingontop’s earlier lie that using a mask increases infection risk for the wearer.
Nothingontop, do you encourage drunk driving, littering, and spitting in people’s faces too?
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