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Wed, 15 Jul 2020
The World for People who Think

Plagues


Bizarro Earth

Mysterious new invasive algae smothering Hawaii's coral reefs

Invasive Algae
© Taylor Williams/NOAA
College of Charleston professor of biology Heather Spalding documents a mat of invasive-like algae at Pearl and Hermes Atoll. The alga has smothered all native algae and corals.
Hawaii is famous for a lot of things. Perfect waves and perfect weather, to name a few. Stunning views and crystal clear water to name a few more. One of the most famous things it is famous for, however, is its coral reefs. And according to a study in the journal PLOS One, those reefs could be in some serious trouble.

Back in 2016, survey cruises conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) picked up strange specimens of an undetermined red alga. It "rapidly attained alarming levels of benthic coverage at Pearl and Hermes Atoll, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, Hawaiʻi," which, in layman's terms, means it spread like wildfire in shallow shoreline waters. A few years later, they went back to have another look, and what they found was strange indeed.

"By 2019 the seaweed had covered large expanses on the northeast side of the atoll with mat-like, extensive growth of entangled thalli," the abstract from the study reads. "Specimens were analyzed using light microscopy and molecular analysis and were compared to morphological descriptions in the literature for closely related taxa. Light microscopy demonstrated that the specimens likely belonged to the rhodomelacean genus Chondria, yet comparisons to taxonomic literature revealed no morphological match."

In short, it appears that the alga is likely to be an unknown species. That's a problem, because the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is uninhabited, remote, and pristine — which makes it susceptible to invasive species like this one.

Biohazard

48 confirmed Ebola cases in Congo, WHO declares it an 'active outbreak'

ebola
Ebola is spreading in western Democratic Republic of Congo, with nearly 50 known cases across a large region bordering the Republic of Congo and Central African Republic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday.

Since authorities announced the outbreak on 1 June, 48 cases have been confirmed in Congo's Equateur province, with a further three probable cases and a total of 20 deaths, WHO's top emergencies expert Mike Ryan said. "This is still a very active outbreak, and I would say it is still a great concern," Ryan told a news briefing.

Comment: See also:


Map

Suspected case of bubonic plague registered in China, days after cases in Mongolia

plague mask
© Global Look Press / DPA / Arved Gintenreiter
FILE PHOTO.
A suspected case of bubonic plague has been registered in China's north, according to local health authorities. The news comes after two similar cases were detected in neighboring Mongolia.

The case was registered at a hospital in China's Inner Mongolia region, its health commission said in a statement on Sunday.

This prompted a third-level warning of a potential epidemic in the region. The alert comes into force immediately and will be in place until the end of this year. It's believed the patient in question is suffering from the bubonic form, which causes swollen lymph nodes, and is considered to be the most easily treated variant of the disease.

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Attention

Big Pharma has been busy distorting science during the pandemic

Pills and Tablets
© Getty Images / SOPA Images
I've lost all trust in medical research - the financial muscle of Big Pharma has been busy distorting science during the pandemic

Evidence that a cheap, over-the-counter anti-malarial drug costing £7 combats COVID-19 gets trashed. Why? Because the pharmaceutical giants want to sell you a treatment costing nearly £2,000. It's criminal.

A few years ago, I wrote a book called Doctoring Data. This was an attempt to help people understand the background to the tidal wave of medical information that crashes over us each and every day. Information that is often completely contradictory 'Coffee is good for you... no, wait it's bad for you... no, wait, it's good for you again,' repeat ad nauseam.

I also pointed out some of the tricks, games and manipulations that are used to make medications seem far more effective than they truly are, or vice-versa. This, I have to say, can be a very dispiriting world to enter. When I give talks on this subject, I often start with a few quotes.

For example, here is Dr Marcia Angell, who edited the New England Journal of Medicine for over twenty years, writing in 2009:
"It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgement of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as editor of the New England Journal of Medicine."
Have things got better? No, I believe that they have got worse - if that were, indeed, possible. I was sent the following e-mail recently, about a closed door, no recording discussion, under no-disclosure Chatham House rules, in May of this year:
"A secretly recorded meeting between the editors-in-chief of The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine reveal both men bemoaning the 'criminal' influence big pharma has on scientific research.

"According to Philippe Douste-Blazy, France's former Health Minister and 2017 candidate for WHO Director, the leaked 2020 Chatham House closed-door discussion between the [editor-in-chiefs] - whose publications both retracted papers favorable to big pharma over fraudulent data.

"Now we are not going to be able to, basically, if this continues, publish any more clinical research data because the pharmaceutical companies are so financially powerful today, and are able to use such methodologies, as to have us accept papers which are apparently methodologically perfect, but which, in reality, manage to conclude what they want them to conclude," said Lancet [editor-in-chief] Richard Horton."
A YouTube video where this issue is discussed can be found here. It is in French, but there are English subtitles.

USA

Michigan state passes controversial bill to microchip humans voluntarily 'to protect their privacy'

Microchip
© GreatMediaIndia
The Michigan House of Representatives has passed a controversial bill to microchip humans voluntarily in the state under the guise of protecting their privacy. The Microchip Protection Act would allow Michigan employers to use microchipping of their workers with their consent. However, research has shown that RFID transponders causes cancer.

The plan to microchip humans is sponsored by Rep. Bronna Kahle under the guise of protecting the privacy of workers. The stated objective of the bill is that it will protect the privacy rights of Michigan workers and promote further growth for job providers as it relates to microchipping - a cutting-edge technology on the rise that increases workplace efficiency.
"With the way technology has increased over the years and as it continues to grow, it's important Michigan job providers balance the interests of the company with their employees' expectations of privacy."

"Microchipping has been brought up in many conversations as companies across the country are exploring cost-effective ways to increase workplace efficiency. While these miniature devices are on the rise, so are the calls of workers to have their privacy protected."

Rep. Bronna Kahle, the Republican who sponsored the bill, said in a press statement.

Attention

Gigantic COVID case-counting deception at the CDC

COVID 19
© Wikipedia
For this piece, we have to enter the official world (of the insane) — where everyone is quite sure a new coronavirus was discovered in China and the worthless diagnostic tests mean something and the case numbers are real and meaningful. Once we execute all those absurd maneuvers, we land square in the middle of yet another scandal — this time at our favorite US agency for scandals, the CDC.

The Atlantic, May 21, has the story, headlined, "How could the CDC make that mistake?"

I'll give you the key quotes, and then comment on the stark inference The Atlantic somehow failed to grasp.

"We've learned that the CDC is making, at best, a debilitating mistake: combining test results that diagnose current coronavirus infections with test results that measure whether someone has ever had the virus...The agency confirmed to The Atlantic on Wednesday that it is mixing the results of viral [PCR] and antibody tests, even though the two tests reveal different information and are used for different reasons."

"Several states — including Pennsylvania, the site of one of the country's largest outbreaks, as well as Texas, Georgia, and Vermont — are blending the data in the same way. Virginia likewise mixed viral and antibody test results until last week, but it reversed course and the governor apologized for the practice after it was covered by the Richmond Times-Dispatch and The Atlantic. Maine similarly separated its data on Wednesday; Vermont authorities claimed they didn't even know they were doing this."

"'You've got to be kidding me,' Ashish Jha, the K. T. Li Professor of Global Health at Harvard and the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told us when we described what the CDC was doing. 'How could the CDC make that mistake? This is a mess'."

"The CDC stopped publishing anything resembling a complete database of daily [COVID] test results on February 29. When it resumed publishing test data last week [the middle of May]..."

Arrow Up

Sweden's COVID statistics update

COVID 19 deaths in Sweden continue their downwards trend towards zero, and are about 95% lower than model forecasts.

Covid Deaths Sweden
The same people who over predicted deaths in Sweden by 2000% now claim they have "the highest death rate in the world." But death rates in Sweden are lower than San Marino, Belgium, Andorra, UK, Spain, Italy, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Washington DC, Louisiana, Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Arrow Down

The very talented Greta Thunberg

Besides being able to see CO2, Greta is also a virus expert.

Greta Thunberg
Greta can see CO2!

Attention

Norwegian scientist claims coronavirus was lab-made and 'not natural in origin'

COVID19
© TechStartups
Just after we thought the question about the origin of coronavirus has been settled, a new study from Norwegian virologist Birger Sørensen is now reigniting the debate about the possible origin of the deadly coronavirus. In a new peer-reviewed paper published together with Professor Angus Dalgleish of St George's Hospital at the University of London, Sorensen claimed the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is not natural in origin.

According to the study, which was published in the Quarterly Review of Biophysics, the authors found that the coronavirus's spike protein contains sequences that appear to be artificially inserted. "The inserted sequences should never have been published. Had it been today, it would never have happened. It was a big mistake the Chinese made. The inserted sequences have a functionality that we describe. We explain why they are essential. But the Chinese pointed to them first," Sørensen told the NRK.

The eye opening claims also found that the virus had been doctored to bind to humans: "We are aware that these findings could have political significance and raise troubling questions." The two researchers also pointed out that the virus has hardly mutated since it began to infect humans, suggesting that it was already fully adapted to humans. According to Sørensen, this is quite unusual for viruses that cross species barriers. According to Sørensen, the virus has properties that differ greatly from SARS, and which have never been detected in nature.

Attention

India stands up to the CDC

India and the CDC
© Corbett Report
Flying completely under the radar of the various crises that have come to define 2020, an interesting story is playing out in India. This story shines a light on the increasingly globalized nature of medical research and on the dark practice of using poor people in third world nations as guinea pigs in that research.

In early May, the US Centers for Disease Creation and Propaganda (CDC) announced a $3.6 million grant to "further strengthen and support the Indian government's efforts to increase laboratory capacity for SARS-COV-2 testing." But just days later, it was reported that the grant may be delayed because the CDC was placed on a "watch list" by the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs last December.

Wait, what? The Indian government placed the CDC on a "watch list" last year? Why?

Well, according to The Hindustan Times, the Indian government specifically asked the CDC to "stop funding research in India without government approval" after they discovered that the US health agency had helped an under-qualified Indian research facility to study a potential bioweapon. The facility in question — the Manipal Centre for Virus Research — was researching the Nipah virus, a so-called "Risk Group 4" (RG4) pathogen that is "likely to cause serious or lethal human disease for which preventive or therapeutic interventions are not usually available."

Given their extremely dangerous nature, RG4 pathogens can only be handled in special "biological safety level 4" (BSL4) laboratories. BSL4 labs are completely sealed off from the outside, with dedicated supply and exhaust air systems and rigorous procedures for decontaminating all personnel and materials leaving the building. As a result, BSL4 laboratories are very rare, with only a handful of facilities in the world able to meet the stringent security protocols. Like the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

. . . Oh, wait.