Tuesday, May 26, 2020

A Mask = MAGA Hat or AIDS Ribbon

Staggering Statistics Pertaining to the COVID-19 Tragedy in Our Nation

  • For every death in the USA due to COVID-19, 385 jobs have been lost. Many forever; as there are many businesses that have gone bankrupt or may not otherwise be able to reopen
  • For every case of COVID-19, 24 jobs have been lost.
  • In most age groups, the recovery rate after contracting COVID-19 is 99%. More on this, below. 

After 48 hours of utter, utter nonsense regarding COVID-19's transmissibility outdoors, the genuine situation with regard to wearing masks at all times (including outdoors) emerges. It is a token of one's 'caring.' 
Put another way, wearing a mask = MAGA hat or AIDS Ribbon. It is merely a symbol of one's beliefs and has nothing to do with science or disease presentation. As Luke puts it below:
Clown show? You bet! The mainstream media continues this hypocrisy in examples like this afternoon where the MSNBC reporter (outdoors) complains people are not wearing a mask. But, what you don't see until someone shouts it out, is that his cameraman isn't wearing one, either!
All this is "COVID Theatre" in the same way the TSA is "Security Theatre." 

Attempting to get back to the science, I asked the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) this morning for the science justifying its call for everyone that went to the Lake of the Ozarks to self-quarantine for 14 days. I asked a total of three times with no response.

I then watched Governor Kelly's press conference at 3:30, hoping she would provide an answer.
Please note: Gov. Kelly is INDOORS with a
bunch of people in the room and she is NOT wearing a mask.
She did not.

A nurse contacted me on Twitter this afternoon and was critical of my position regarding the quarantine. I requested she point me to the science. Her response:
I have no idea why doing a study as to the transmissibility of the virus outdoors would be "unethical."But, again, no science behind the quarantine idea.

So, we can conclude the quarantine request boils down to a frustrated governor slapping the wrists of those who dared to have fun in the sun and mild weather (it was 74°F at this time yesterday at the Lake) rather than hiding, which is evidently what Gov. Kelly would have preferred.

Consider these updated statistics: Per the New York Times, today:
I live in the very low risk Sedgwick County, Kansas (4 deaths/100K population). We had plans to go to moderate-risk Johnson Co. over the weekend where they have had 10 deaths/100K. Had we done so, we would not have been asked to quarantine.

But, if I had gone from very low risk Sedgwick Co. (4)  to extremely low risk Camden Co., Missouri,
(just 2 deaths/100,000 population) we would be asked to quarantine. This makes no logical nor scientific sense. Based on the fact the KDHE chose not to answer my multiple requests for the underlying science in calling for the quarantine, and that Gov Kelly did not address it this afternoon, it appears the request is a form of political correctness (people outside having fun = bad!) -- and/or caution taken to the extreme -- rather than something grounded in medical or epidemiological science. 

With inspiration from radio financial guru Dave Ramsey this morning, I did a little math this afternoon.
As tragic as everyone of these deaths happens to be, the economic toll, and the toll on our national psyche and sense of community, will end up being far worse than the coronavirus itself. 

Twenty-four jobs lost, some forever, for each case of the illness. This is political and epidemiological malpractice at its worst. The lockups should have ended long ago. Yet some, like Virginia this afternoon, are extending them or aspects of them

The bottom line: None of this is science, anymore. Like global warming, it started out with the best of intentions but has morphed into a cancerous political situation which is dangerous for our nation. 

1. Stop with the masks outdoors. 
2. Lift the lockups - immediately - except for nursing homes
and other high-risk areas.

We'll See What They Have to Say

The Kansas Department of Health tweeted this earlier this morning:
This seems like gross overkill to me. Yes, there are videos of people close together in pools. But, they were (in the two videos I have seen) in sunshine with warm weather -- conditions my board-certified immunologist has gone on record as saying are poor conditions for transmission of the virus.

Plus, KDHE is asking everyone who went to the Lake of Ozarks to quarantine in summer, which seems completely unreasonable to me.

So, I replied to KDHE with the following request:
I'll let you know.

More Evidence: Why Wearing Masks Outdoors Is a Bad Idea

As I wrote yesterday, wearing a mask outdoors in an unconstrained area is pure theatre. Others are calling it "virtue signaling."

I believe outdoor mask wearing is scientific nonsense and is terrible for our social cohesion. Hours after posting, yesterday, the item at the above link, this encounter surfaced from yesterday in New York City's Central Park. Please watch and then I'll comment.
Forget the terrible fact this NYC resident behaves like a bigot. Her wearing the mask is pure theatre: She approaches him (no one worried about a disease gets closer to someone who may be a carrier) then removes it to speak on the phone even though it is easy to speak on the phone while wearing the mask. In fact, removing the mask seems to make things more difficult (dialing the phone and controlling the illegally unleashed dog).

No reasonable person who is genuinely worried about catching the disease would remove the mask or walk toward another, passive, person. He is not threatening in any way. 

The Supreme Court has ruled, over and over, there is no expectation of privacy when in a public location. His taping her (for his own protection, obviously) is perfectly legal and ethical.

America, especially at this critical time, cannot afford more items that separate us. We need more social cohesion and better science. We don't need more virtue signaling. Lose the masks when in the wide-open outdoors. 

[Update, 3p CDT: The woman was fired for her obvious racism. They should have also cited her lying to the police.] Details, here.

Monday, May 25, 2020

"World To End Tomorrow; Women and Minorities Most Affected"

Don't Live Your Lives in Unreasonable Fear

The purpose of this post is to counteract some of the silliness illustrated by the mainstream media today. 
If you are on a moving bicycle, you have zero chance of giving someone else COVID-19 and you have zero chance of contracting it that way. I'd worry more about a cyclist getting enough oxygen or the mask slipping and distracting the driver while in traffic or at another critical time.

I'd make a similar comment after viewing the photos of former Vice President Biden's wreath laying with his wife, Jill, at a Delaware military memorial today.
I intentionally chose the photo above as it is the closest he came to others -- the people who were driving his SUV.

Unless the news coverage is somehow defective (I checked several news media web sites, including the Wall Street Journal), Mr. and Mrs. Biden were not around others at any point in the ceremony.

Per the Wall Street Journal, NPR, The Guardian, and others, the masks were intended to draw a "contrast" with President Trump. Bottom line: they were mere theatrics.

From where I sit, the contrast to the President is unfavorable. There is zero chance of contracting or transmitting the illness in a wide open space like this. So, instead of projecting leadership, they are projecting unreasonable fear and timidity. Or, Darth Vader.

Unfortunately, today's Democrats' thinking seems to have evolved in the wrong direction from the great Democrat Franklin Roosevelt. His words, on March 4, 1933:

This is pre-eminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great nation will endure, as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyses needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

Please do not misunderstand: Precautions are still needed when in confined spaces (indoors or out) and around the elderly, immune-compromised and others. 

But, the idea that we cannot be outdoors enjoying the sunshine and warmer weather without masks, etc., is utter nonsense. It is, "fear itself."

Daddy Needed to Record a Weather Promo. Henry Needed to Go on a Bike Ride With Daddy

This is the funniest, sweetest, 78 seconds you will ever watch. Just click here

I'm still laughing. 

Extremely Disappointed in Apple

I would have expected this from Android but not Apple. Unfortunately, to my knowledge, there isn't a good alternative to the iPhone if you wish to preserve any privacy.
The article, which includes at least a temporary way to stop a tracking app, is here.

Steve Jobs would never have allowed this.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Even Worse: The Washington Post's Shocking Disregard of Facts

You know, if you are going to purport to publish a "fact-checking" book, you might want to check your facts. See below.
And, the mainstream media wonders why no one trusts it. What a bunch of clowns.

Running An Experiment

I'm running a small meteorological experiment at the moment. Check back by around 11 and we'll find out together if it worked.

It didn't work. I was trying to capture the swirl of the low pressure system in the upper atmosphere but, somehow, the time-lapse speed was just to slow to illustrate what I was hoping to show.

Friday, May 22, 2020

The Evil of False Science

Rabbi Michael Barclay writes,
I have two responses:
  • "No kidding?!" (sarcasm in case you were not sure)
  • "What science?" (dead-on serious)
Rabbi Barclay begins,
As a rabbi, I have always looked at patterns and historical repetitions, and I have to admit… I am starting to get truly frightened. Not of coronavirus, earthquakes, or an increase in crime.
I am starting to get scared of “science”.
Not the scientific method that I grew up with of hypothesis, proof, and conclusion. But this strange and questionable “science” upon which public policies are now getting based. It is starting to remind me all too much of other policies based on “science” in the past. Historically, when public policies have been based in the science of the time, the policies have often led to dangerous and painful results.
When over 100 Chicago clergy opened their doors this past weekend to provide the essential services of spiritual nurturing through prayer in defiance of the stay-at-home order of Illinois Gov. Pritzker (D), the governor tweeted that he had “sympathy for leaders struggling with those choices — but not for those so intent on disregarding science & logic that they put people’s lives at risk.” 
Governors Cuomo (D-New York) and Newsom (D-Calif.) have imposed draconian measures of quarantine and isolation based on “science” and in the process have determined that cannabis clubs, abortion clinics, and bike shops are all more “essential” than religious institutions.
Strongly recommend the rest of his piece. It is compelling, so I will pause for a moment to give you a chance.... 

Welcome back. 

As I wrote three days ago, there is almost no genuine science (as Rabbi Barclay and genuine scientists define it) informing these decisions: It is toxic combination of power, politics, and voodoo. 

Another example of anti-humanity 'science' from earlier this week is here

Since World War II, people have asked, over and over, how Stalin and Hitler got away with slaughtering tens of millions of their countrymen. Answer: Hitler didn't start with the ovens. These demons took one small step at a time. 

Regardless of the likelihood of something like this in the United States, just as they do with Rabbi Barclay, red lights and sirens should sound in everyone when we even take even a quarter-step down the same road as a Josef Mengele. 

Ninth Anniversary of the Joplin Tornado

The Joplin Tornado about twenty seconds after it touched down.
Basehunters' photo. Used with permission. 
Today is the anniversary of a tragic event in American history. The City of Joplin was blindsided by the tornado. It was one of the rare days in which weather science let down its fellow countrymen.  Joplin has rebuilt and is proud of what it has achieved in the wake of that awful evening. We salute them.

And, while -- even today -- some tornadoes are incredibly difficult to warn-of effectively, that wasn't the case for Joplin's. It was straightforward. Still, weather science and emergency management both failed. Plus, everything that could have gone wrong did, all the way town to the fact that the tornado was rain-wrapped and no one could see visually (the above photo was from behind the tornado). One hundred sixty-one people died; probably 100 to 120 more than necessary (a tornado of this violence in a densely populated area kills regardless of the quality of the warning).

Here is a brief blog post as to what went wrong; my book on the subject is here. Here is a podcast about the Joplin tornado.

Science fails from time to time. That's okay, even though it can be incredibly painful. Failure is an intrinsic part of science: advancing a hypothesis which sometimes fails. What we cannot allow to happen, whether it is with tornadoes, coronavirus or global warming, is to fail to learn and do better the next time. 

At Long Last: Huge News

Want to decarbonize? Want energy independence at low to reasonable cost? Finally, the government of the United States (and, separately, Canada) are moving forward on Next-Gen Nuclear.
This is a great move.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Let Me Get This Straight: The Additional Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere is Preventing Another Ice Age -- And, That is a BAD Thing?!

We knew that once the coronavirus crisis began to ease, Big Climate would try to get back on the front page. No surprise there. Still, I have to give Big Climate and their expensive public relations agencies credit for moxie for trying to twist wonderful news for humanity into something bad.

After twenty years of, preposterously, asserting that changes in the sun's energy don't matter to earth's climate, even the climate alarmists have to now concede something is very wrong with the sun. As this blog and numerous other publications have pointed out, our sun is on vacation: record low numbers of sunspots which many scientists believe is morphing into a Grand Solar Minimum (GSL).

In past centuries, GSL's have been associated with extreme cold and even the "Little Ice Age."

What happened during the last Little Ice Age? According to Wikipedia,
Historians have argued that cultural responses to the consequences of the Little Ice Age in Europe consisted of violent scapegoating. The prolonged cold, dry periods brought drought upon many European communities, resulting in poor crop growth, poor livestock survival, and increased activity of pathogens and disease vectors. Disease tends to intensify under the same conditions that unemployment and economic difficulties arise: prolonged, cold, dry seasons. Both of these outcomes – disease and unemployment – enhance each other, generating a lethal positive feedback loop.

In North America,
Early European explorers and settlers of North America reported exceptionally severe winters. For example, according to Lamb, Samuel Champlain reported bearing ice along the shores of Lake Superior in June 1608. Both Europeans and indigenous peoples suffered excess mortality in Maine during the winter of 1607–1608, and extreme frost was reported in the Jamestown, Virginia, settlement at the same time. Native Americans formed leagues in response to food shortages.

Yet, in 2020, the world is not starving (so far) due to cold associated with the current grand minima. Here's why, according to climate science:
click to enlarge
"But this solar minimum won't spark another ice age, they say. And, that's likely due to climate change. The warming caused by the greenhouse gas emissions from the human burning of fossil fuels is six times greater than the possible decades-long cooling from a prolonged Grand Solar Minimum." [note: this was determined by computer models]

Of course, if earth's temperatures plummeted, growing seasons would drastically shorten and crop production would drop correspondingly. There would not be enough food and tens of millions would starve. It would make the COVID catastrophe seem like a picnic by comparison. And, while we will hopefully be able to find a vaccine for COVID, there is no way to fix* the sun.

So, in the through-the-looking-glass world of Big Climate, we are supposed to be upset that we are not having extreme cold throughout the world.

My thought? Pass the iced tea!

And, I hope you have wonderful weather for the Memorial Day weekend.

*Why aren't crops more tolerant of low temperatures? They could be made so. But, Big Environment considers excess cold to be a "pest" -- and blocked efforts to make resistant crops a reality. That surreal story is here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

To: Kansas City-Area Readers

The Ruskin Heights Tornado near Ottawa, Kansas,
on its way to the south Kansas City suburbs
Photo permission: "The Ottawa Herald"
As this exact moment in 1957, a tornado that would later inspire huge advances in weather science was touching down near Williamsburg, Kansas, and would stay on the ground continuously for 71 miles. It came to be known as the Ruskin Heights Tornado (RHT). It killed 44 and injured between 500 and 1,000. This morning, Kathleen and I were discussing this terrible storm and its victims. That, plus an email by meteorologist Lisa Teachman, got me thinking.

The RHT would inspire myself, Dennis Smith (no relation), and Les Lemon to become meteorologists. We matriculated through Grandview High School in south KC and the University of Oklahoma School of Meteorology. The three of us accounted for the following inventions and innovations:
Please do not misunderstand: in no way am I saying this to boast. I am bringing it up to, hopefully, provide some small measure of consolation to those that lost friends and family members in the storm. 

Any one of the above would be a major scientific accomplishment; cumulatively, they are responsible for saving tens of thousands of lives and billions of dollars in averted property damage. 
The next day
As the dazed victims looked around the devastation the next morning they probably could not imagine that any good could possibly come from that horrible night. I wish to assure them in the strongest possible terms that tremendous good did come from that storm. 

15 Hours of Headlines: Whatever This Is, It Isn't Science

From Drudge today:

Haven't the epidemiology models taken us down this road before? Like, three months ago*?

Meanwhile, at the time time as Drudge:

And, from NBC News' correspondent Carl Quintanilla, at the same time as the above:

Glenn Reynolds accurately describes this fiasco:
AND YET POOLS WERE CLOSED EVERYWHERE, WITH NO SCIENCE BEHIND THE DECISION:  ‘No evidence’ COVID-19 can be spread in swimming pools, CDC says.
Apparently the only coronavirus countermeasure that can’t be deployed without peer-reviewed, double-blind studies involving thousands is hydroxychloroquine. For everything else it’s just go with your gut and shout “Science!” at anyone who expresses doubts.

Other sciences are learning what meteorologists learned a full century ago: Forecasting, with any consistent accuracy, is extraordinary difficult. It is not accomplished by throwing something at the wall and seeing if it sticks. How will epidemiologists count (they won't) the people who have to work another 2-4 years before retiring because they lost a significant amount of their retirement funds when the stock market collapsed? 

Lives and livelihoods are still being destroyed because of what history will likely view as one of the five worst public policy failures in United States history. 

Yes, the lockdowns for 2-3 weeks to "flatten the curve" (allow hospitals and public health time to gear up) were justified. If you were a governor and public health officials were practically demanding the shutdown, it would be been irresponsible to do otherwise...given what we knew at the time. 

Now, we know: For the population as a whole, this was catastrophically incorrect. Open up everything immediately!

* I believe it is also worth pointing out that medicine doesn't even seem to be able to consistently determine what is, exactly, the scientific definition of a COVID-19 death. See below.

Update since yesterday: The "what is a coronavirus case?" scandal (and, that's what it is) has widened. Wait until you read this! President Trump needs to start all over again with the CDC. Top to bottom. 

The Joplin Tornado: NOVA Got It Wrong

Kathleen and I knew yesterday evening was going to be special. I was especially looking forward to Mr. Tornado because of the many hours I spent assisting the producers. And, I was also looking forward to the NOVA episode on tornadoes that immediately preceded it.

As sublime as yesterday's Mr. Tornado was (review below), the NOVA episode was just awful. Error after error after error plus just plain falsehoods. For example, the image below was most definitely not how Joplin appeared ten minutes before the tornado.
Doppler radar was not "introduced" in 1973. Major tornadoes are not getting worse because of global warming, et cetera. I do not wish to produce a litany of its errors. If you want to learn the history of the tornado warning system, I recommend my book, Warnings.

But there is one item from NOVA about which I do want to focus: like the movie Twister, NOVA kept harping on warnings needing more lead time. The research of Dr. Kevin Simmons and others convincingly shows just the opposite: The ideal "lead time" (the interval between receiving a warning and the arrival of the storm) is 12-15 minutes. Much longer, and deaths increase. People will crouch in a dark closet or bath for only so long.
The gentleman (above) they interviewed in Joplin is incorrect about the warning "system." The one we have works amazingly well. That is not to say warnings cannot be improved. They need to be made more accurate (fewer false alarms, smaller in size, etc.). But, the idea of a "one hour tornado warning" is dangerous and will not save lives.

As to Joplin in particular, the warnings that day were simply wrong. They were so wrong, they were misleading -- which is why 161 died. That is the topic of my book, When the Sirens Were Silent.

P.S., On a personal note: Today is the anniversary of the F-5, 1957, Ruskin Heights Tornado. It was the day that transformed my life: not only did it determine my career, it played a significant role in getting acquainted with my future wife, Kathleen.
"Life" magazine
The day after, my mother drove a neighbor and my brothers down Bennington Street (circled) where I had the impulse, "Anything that could do all of this had to be pretty interesting." It was the day, at the age of five, I knew I wanted to be a meteorologist. What a career it has been! Thank you to my family, friends and colleagues for coming along for the ride. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

"Mr. Tornado:" A Documentary Worthy of Ted Fujita

"The Superoutbreak was one big crime scene."

Those words, spoken in the opening moments of Mister Tornado, told me that Michael Rossi and his team "got it." They understood the extraordinary scientist that was Ted Fujita. Their documentary reflects that understanding in the best way possible. In no way is this a dry 'science' program. It is about the man and his remarkable achievements. 
Ted visiting WeatherData, Inc. in 1993. I have
my back to the camera as I gave him a tour. This was
the second of his two visits.
We can't even begin to conceive what the United States (home of the most violent weather on earth) would be like today had Ted never become a meteorologist (after starting in engineering) or come to the University of Chicago. It is quite possible commercial airliners would still be catastrophically crashing in microbursts and that deaths due to tornadoes would be incrementally higher. 

Ted's former students, Dr. Roger Wakimoto and Dr. Greg Forbes, do a wonderful job of providing color on his life as did Mr. Tornado's other guests. 

My only criticism is that I wish they had spent a little more time on the downburst controversy. I 've always believed the almost unbearable stress he endured might have played a role in his later health problems. At the time, other meteorologists were vicious because they thought they finally had a "gotcha." I surmise the producers may not have wanted to spend much more time on it because Fujita "solved" the downburst problem (along with his student -- and also a pilot -- John McCarthy) and tornadoes are not solved. 

I'm just amazed. Mister Tornado is clearly the best science documentary I have ever seen.

"Mr. Tornado:" Tonight's the Night!

Mr. Tornado premiers tonight on PBS (8pm in Wichita). It is the much-anticipated story of his life and career.
Kathleen obtained the perfect desert for the occasion. If you want to make a quick run to the store, it was purchased at Target.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Why We Should Be VERY Skeptical of Public Health Officials

Tragically, we live in a society where morals and ethics have, too often, been discarded in favor of money and glory. There is no reason to believe public health officials are any more moral than anyone else.

As a result, this is absolutely required reading regarding CV research.

Once you have become outraged by the above, you can learn the reason for why cheap, safe, hydroxychloroquine (with zinc) treatment is being railroaded: all of the money is being made by doctors promoting Remdesivir.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Sunday Fun: The Perfect Description of Flying

This is a perfect depiction of United Airlines (my least favorite) which was caught earlier this week cramming people into an airplane in violation of its own policy pertaining to its passengers in the coronavirus situation. Note United's globe logo on the tail.