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Tue, 20 Oct 2020
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Plagues

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.

Binoculars

Worst locust swarm in two decades moves on to devastate crops in South & Central Asia

locusts

The southern regions of Iran have been badly affected by swarms of desert locusts.
Along with the invisible invader aka the coronavirus, several countries in South and Central Asia are also under a vicious attack by swarms of locusts.

The locusts first spread across East Africa in 2018 and hordes of them also made their way to Yemen, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Iraq before heading eastward into Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India.

And lately -- due to optimal weather conditions for massive breeding -- locusts in the north have brought their voracious appetites to parts of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan in what is being called the worst plague of the pests in two decades.

As they devour vegetation along their journey, crops in the regions that the locusts have infested are suffering immeasurably.

Comment: See also:


Info

Energy exchange between troposphere and ionosphere revealed in study

Atmospheric Wave
© Babalola Ogunsua
An illustration of the atmospheric wave dynamics from convective processes and ionospheric responses.
The Earth's ionosphere, extending about 80 to 1,000 km above the Earth's surface, connects outer space and the middle atmosphere. It's an important part and key layer in the whole Sun-Earth system.

However, the understanding of the equatorial ionospheric responses to thunderstorms remains a mystery due to the peculiarities in the dynamics of the ionosphere over this region.

A recently published study in Scientific Reports focuses on the Congo Basin, located in the equatorial region, where lightning and severe thunderstorms are considered to be the most active in the world.

Biohazard

From 9/11 to Covid-19: The US is in a perpetual state of emergency

"The fundamental political question is why do people obey a government. The answer is that they tend to enslave themselves, to let themselves be governed by tyrants. Freedom from servitude comes not from violent action, but from the refusal to serve. Tyrants fall when the people withdraw their support." — Étienne De La Boétie, The Politics Of Obedience
State of Emergency
© VOX
Don't pity this year's crop of graduates because this COVID-19 pandemic caused them to miss out on the antics of their senior year and the pomp and circumstance of graduation.

Pity them because they have spent their entire lives in a state of emergency.

They were born in the wake of the 9/11 attacks; raised without any expectation of privacy in a technologically-driven, mass surveillance state; educated in schools that teach conformity and compliance; saddled with a debt-ridden economy on the brink of implosion; made vulnerable by the blowback from a military empire constantly waging war against shadowy enemies; policed by government agents armed to the teeth ready and able to lock down the country at a moment's notice; and forced to march in lockstep with a government that no longer exists to serve the people but which demands they be obedient slaves or suffer the consequences.

It's a dismal start to life, isn't it?

Unfortunately, we who should have known better failed to maintain our freedoms or provide our young people with the tools necessary to survive, let alone succeed, in the impersonal jungle that is modern America.

We brought them into homes fractured by divorce, distracted by mindless entertainment, and obsessed with the pursuit of materialism. We institutionalized them in daycares and afterschool programs, substituting time with teachers and childcare workers for parental involvement. We turned them into test-takers instead of thinkers and automatons instead of activists.

We allowed them to languish in schools which not only look like prisons but function like prisons, as well — where conformity is the rule and freedom is the exception. We made them easy prey for our corporate overlords, while instilling in them the values of a celebrity-obsessed, technology-driven culture devoid of any true spirituality. And we taught them to believe that the pursuit of their own personal happiness trumped all other virtues, including any empathy whatsoever for their fellow human beings

No, we haven't done this generation any favors.

Given the current political climate and nationwide lockdown, things could only get worse.

For those coming of age today (and for the rest of us who are muddling along through this dystopian nightmare), here are a few bits of advice that will hopefully help as we navigate the perils ahead.

Attention

India's worst locust attack in 27 years, and worse is yet to come

locusts
© PTI
Swarm of locusts in Jaipur
Swarms of the desert locust, which invaded India via Pakistan in April, have made their way to at least five states, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. Desert locust move in large groups, called swarms, and can eat crops up to their own weight every day. When millions of locusts descend on a crop, they destroy everything.

The desert locust is considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world and a single swarm covering one square kilometre can contain up to 80 million locusts. As per eyewitnesses, the swarm which entered India from Pakistan was about two to three kilometres long.

In December 2019, when the parts of Gujarat were invaded by locust, they had destroyed crops spread over 25,000 hectares of land. This time, the attack is more widespread.

Comment: Biblical-style events appear to be a pretty common occurrence in our days.


Biohazard

US flu season arrives earliest in 15 years, driven by unexpected virus


Comment: Note the date this article was published. Could these have been Covid-19 cases? They apparently weren't testing, so we may never know, but the US joins the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Iran and Israel in reporting 'early', 'many' and/or 'strange' 'flu cases' back in December last year... concurrent with the Wuhan outbreak. I.e, it's already been and gone, so all of this lockdown malarkey is thoroughly useless.


influenza virus microscopy
© CDC
Electron microscopy of influenza virus.
The U.S. winter flu season is off to its earliest start in more than 15 years.

An early barrage of illness in the South has begun to spread more broadly, and there's a decent chance flu season could peak much earlier than normal, health officials say.

The last flu season to rev up this early was in 2003-2004 — a bad one. Some experts think the early start may mean a lot of suffering is in store, but others say it's too early to tell.

"It really depends on what viruses are circulating. There's not a predictable trend as far as if it's early it's going to be more severe, or later, less severe," said Scott Epperson, who tracks flu-like illnesses for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Comment: This, just after 2018 was dubbed as one of the worst flu seasons in the US in nine years, and the UK fared just as badly: NHS cuts and flu crisis push UK hospitals to the brink

See also: And check out SOTT radio's:


Cloud Precipitation

Adapt 2030 Ice Age Report: Desert jet streams signal global moisture shift

Shelf cloud near Saudi Arabia
© YouTube/Adapt 2030 (screen capture)
Dust storms pushing offshore into the Red Sea, 3.5 years worth of rain in a day Yemen, locusts in the trillions feasting on new plant growth in the original Cradles of Civilization. The food supply globally will be more expensive as the U.S. Federal Reserve prints to infinity with all other central banks. Times up, a new turning begins.


Eye 1

After the lockdowns: The Chinese system comes to America

china mass surveillance cctv
The plan: use the "pandemic" as the rationale for "re-imagining" the guts of society — education, the workplace, medical care, transportation, public events, social relationships, the family...

Thus installing a new culture.

That desiccated dusty vampire, NY Governor Cuomo, and the cosmically psychopathic Howdy Doody, Bill Gates, are in the process of re-imagining education in NY State. Naturally, it's all about more computers, and remote learning.

I guess the dinosaur called BOOKS won't work, because there's no glowing screen, and the ability to read is a prerequisite.

In other news, the Chinese social credit system is coming to corporate America. (The Wall St. Journal has a relevant podcast, "Welcome Back to the Office, Your Every Move Will Be Watched.") Huge companies are scrambling to put together packages to sell to other huge companies:

Social distancing in offices, automatically monitored in real time; a caste system for employees based on health indicators; a credit score for each worker at the end of the day showing up on his cell phone; wall-to-wall surveillance...

Not just for now. For the new "re-imagined" America after the lockdowns are relaxed.

Unconstitutional, you say? Yes, there will be legal cases. This is called at-will employment. A corporation tells an employee: "You don't want to submit to an antibody test? Or a vaccine? You don't want to carry your cell around with you at work, so we can accomplish minute-to-minute contact tracing? You don't want to wear a wrist band that measures social distancing? Fine. We understand. This is a free country. But you can't work here anymore..."

How could this happen?

Info

Vitamin D deficiency linked to COVID-19 deaths

Sunshine
© Northwestern University
After studying global data from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, researchers have discovered a strong correlation between severe vitamin D deficiency and mortality rates.

Led by Northwestern University, the research team conducted a statistical analysis of data from hospitals and clinics across China, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States.

The researchers noted that patients from countries with high COVID-19 mortality rates, such as Italy, Spain and the UK, had lower levels of vitamin D compared to patients in countries that were not as severely affected.

This does not mean that everyone — especially those without a known deficiency — needs to start hoarding supplements, the researchers caution.

"While I think it is important for people to know that vitamin D deficiency might play a role in mortality, we don't need to push vitamin D on everybody," said Northwestern's Vadim Backman, who led the research. "This needs further study, and I hope our work will stimulate interest in this area. The data also may illuminate the mechanism of mortality, which, if proven, could lead to new therapeutic targets."

The research is available on medRxiv, a preprint server for health sciences.

Info

Infectious disease modeling study casts doubt on the Justinianic Plague's impact

Justinianic Plague’s Impact
© SESYNC
Annapolis, MD — Many have claimed the Justinianic Plague (c. 541-750 CE) killed half of the population of Roman Empire. Now, historical research and mathematical modeling challenge the death rate and severity of this first plague pandemic.

Researchers Lauren White, PhD and Lee Mordechai, PhD, of the University of Maryland's National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, examined the impacts of the Justinianic Plague with mathematical modeling. Using modern plague research as their basis, the two developed novel mathematical models to re-examine primary sources from the time of the Justinianic Plague outbreak. From the modeling, they found that it was unlikely that any transmission route of the plague would have had both the mortality rate and duration described in the primary sources. Their findings appear in a paper titled "Modeling the Justinianic Plague: Comparing hypothesized transmission routes" in PLOS ONE.

"This is the first time, to our knowledge, that a robust mathematical modeling approach has been used to investigate the Justinianic Plague," said lead author Lauren White, PhD, a quantitative disease ecologist and postdoctoral fellow at SESYNC. "Given that there is very little quantitative information in the primary sources for the Justinianic Plague, this was an exciting opportunity to think creatively about how we could combine present-day knowledge of plague's etiology with descriptions from the historical texts."

White and Mordechai focused their efforts on the city of Constantinople, capital of the Roman Empire, which had a comparatively well-described outbreak in 542 CE. Some primary sources claim plague killed up to 300,000 people in the city, which had a population of some 500,000 people at the time. Other sources suggest the plague killed half the empire's population. Until recently, many scholars accepted this image of mass death. By comparing bubonic, pneumonic, and combined transmission routes, the authors showed that no single transmission route precisely mimicked the outbreak dynamics described in these primary sources.