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Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End

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  1. Yesterday
  2. It is astounding what the UK Government think they can get away with. Their incompetence and lies in the face of horrific death toll in UK is unbelievable. Known from outset that Serco's track and trace would not be up and running until Autumn. 'a leaked email from the chief executive of Serco – one of the main companies contracted to deliver the service – revealed how he doubted the scheme would evolve smoothly but said he wanted it to “cement the position of the private sector” in the NHS supply chain. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/jun/04/nhs-track-and-trace-system-not-expected-to-be-operating-fully-until-september-coronavirus
  3. That is an awful lot to take in, Yonza. It seems trite to ask with the scale of what you have described - whether the much reduced traffic and, in particular, air traffic makes any difference regarding climate change?
  4. Last week
  5. Today (June 1st) is the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season. The eastern Pacific's first named storm of the year, Amanda, has tracked across central America, causing a lot of flash flood damage, and is now entering the Bay of Campeche, after staying offshore and drenching the Yucatan peninsula. The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) gives it a 90% chance of restrengthening to a tropical storm in the next 48 hours, which would make it the earliest third named Atlantic storm on record. It would be rechristened 'Cristobal'. The current record for the earliest third Atlantic named storm is Colin, which was named on June 5, 2016. This very strongly suggests that global warming is extending and intensifying the hurricane season, which has always been a 'no brainer' prediction by climate scientists. The NHC predicts an above average hurricane season. https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/deadly-flooding-in-central-america-from-amanda-new-development-in-western-gulf Did some googling, and found that current Arctic Ocean ice volume is only the sixth lowest on record, which makes the current extremely high Jan-Apr global temperature anomaly pretty mysterious. I still think it's related to decreasing winter Arctic ocean ice volume, but global warming is going to spring many surprises. Awaiting the May global temperature anomaly with interest. Should be out in two weeks.
  6. As long as i'm here.....some time ago I watched a video about Gregory Peck, some of that was in regards to "To Kill a Mocking Bird". Harper Lee visited the set and Peck told how he had finished a scene and noticed that Harper had tears in her eyes. He admitted that his first thought was that he had done something right which caused the tears. Harper explained, "it's just that when you took out the watch it reminded me so much of my father". Harper gave the watch to Gregory and he was most appreciative. Mention was made of his Academy Award and Gregory said, "Bob Duvall, a major role, almost two hours and he never said a word, now that was acting".
  7. tamd

    Cannot access the section I want and will try again. In case I cannot find what I am looking for: read on BBC Scotland how the virus had arrived and been dealt with on the Shetlands. I thoroughly enjoyed the writing and the information.

    Also read the article in regards to the top ten Scottish writers. No problem with Sir Walter and I am aware of how Denise (God love her) feels about Sir Walter. Surprised that we are claiming J K Rowling. Brilliant yes but why Scottish ?

    If we are going to claim Rowling then why not Robert Service or even Byron.....

    BUT, wondering if Denise Mina has peed in someone's porridge.

  8. Earlier
  9. It's early days, but 2020 is shaping up to be the warmest year, globally, since records began in the 19th century, and very probably the warmest year Earth has experienced since the end of the last Ice Age, 11,500 years ago. Usually, when a new record is set, it coincides with an above average intensity El Nino, which is a periodic warming of the tropical Pacific. This was the case during the record intensity 2016 El Nino (on a par with the then record 1997-98 event). 2016 is the current global temperature record year. El Ninos usually last for several months, straddling the end of one year, and the start of the following year. The global temperature anomalies for the first four months of the following year are almost always the most extreme, and this was the case in 2016. According to the NASA GISS data, 2016 was 1.02 C warmer than the average for 1951-80. The Jan-Apr anomaly averaged 1.26 C, but only some of this large anomaly would have been due to El Nino. Something else is going on, which I'll get to later. For comparison, the weak or non El Nino (ENSO neutral) years of 2017, 2018 and 2019 had global temperature anomalies of 0.92 C, 0.85 C and 0.98 C, respectively. The Jan-Apr average for those three years was 0.98C. The May-Dec average for 2017-19 was 0.89 C, or 0.09 C less than the Jan-Apr average. Despite no El Nino, the average anomaly for the first four months of 2020 was a whopping 1.19 C. If we assume that May-Dec monthly anomalies average the same 0.09 C less, this would give an annual global temperature anomaly of 1.13 C, obliterating the 2016 record in an ENSO neutral year. This is quite dramatic stuff, and the questions that arise are 1) is this the start of a global warming surge, probably due to positive feedback effects starting to kick in, and 2) if so, what's causing it? Most of the warming caused by greenhouse gases (GHGs) is not due to the direct reradiation of outgoing infrared radiation back to the surface. It's caused by positive feedback effects. For example, water vapour is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and the relatively modest amount of direct warming caused by CO2, methane, and other greenhouse gases, causes more water to evaporate from the ocean, amplifying the initial warming. Cloud formation prevents this feedback effect from becoming 'runaway' global warming, which is what's believed to have happened on Venus. Other positive feedback effects include the reduction of snow and ice cover, decreasing Earth's albedo, so that more sunlight is absorbed, and the release of CO2 and methane from melting permafrost, and from warmer soils due to increased bacterial activity. The release of methane from methane ice below the sea bed as the sea temperature rises, particularly under the Arctic Ocean, has also received much attention, but this is more conjectural, although there's no doubt that vast amounts of methane in ice exist there. The ocean is the 'sleeping giant' of climate change. It's an enormous heat sink, and it's estimated that 94% of the extra energy trapped by GHGs is absorbed by the ocean, and most of that is transported to the depths. There is enormous potential for various positive feedback effects to kick in as a result of warming in the ocean, which are poorly handled by the computer models, so we don't hear much about them. It seems very likely that the recent strong anomalies in the early months of the year are due to heat being given off by the Arctic Ocean in winter. At first glance, this seems counter intuitive. Although the September minimum ice cover area in the Arctic Ocean has decreased considerably in recent years, winter cover has not changed much, but what has changed is the depth of the ice. Although satellite pictures show little change in winter area of Arctic Ocean sea ice, what they don't reveal is how much it has thinned. And, it's thinned a lot. Typically, it may only be a metre thick, when it was several metres thick in the past. Syukuro Manabe is a retired Japanese climatologist who spent most of his career working in the US, and was an early pioneer of computer modelling of greenhouse gas effects on climate, particularly in the area of coupled ocean-atmosphere modelling. A few years ago, I watched a Youtube video of him explaining how thinning Arctic Ocean ice in winter could have a profound effect on global climate. Annoyingly, I haven't been able to find it, since. When the ice is thick, the heat from the ocean can't get through to warm the air above. But, when the ice thins appreciably, it can permeate through to warm the air above. The water below the ice is about -2 C, while the air above may be -40 C or lower in winter. So, there is enormous potential for a positive feedback effect involving warming of the air above the Arctic Ocean in winter as the sea ice thins. And what goes on in the Arctic doesn't stay in the Arctic. This may be responsible for the high monthly global temperature anomalies in the Jan-Apr period in recent years. If it is, then the extremely high 2020 anomalies is cause for concern, as it might be an early indication that this largely unheralded, but potentially large, positive feedback effect may be about to take off. Many ice core studies in recent years have overturned the previous misconception that climate change is always a gradual process. Analysis of Greenland ice core samples have shown that there have been very rapid sustained temperature changes in Greenland of around 10 C in the past, occurring in just a few years. The ocean surface water mixes with water at depth. If it didn't, there would be no oxygen, and no life, in the deeper parts of the ocean. This mixing is dependent on salinity and temperature differences. Warmer surface water expands due to the heat, so is less dense than deeper water, and therefore less able to mix. But, the evaporation at the surface makes it more saline, and this makes it more likely to sink. Recent research concludes that, as the surface of the ocean gets warmer, it will become more stratified, and less prone to sinking, so that less heat is transported downwards, thus greatly enhancing surface warming. Presumably, this will mean that the 94% figure for the amount of energy trapped by GHGs that is absorbed by the ocean will drop, and there will be a surge in atmospheric warming as a result. Yet another potentially large feedback effect that you don't hear much about. Much of the CO2 produced by man goes into the ocean. This is dependent on the temperature of the ocean surface, and the amount of CO2 already dissolved. The colder regions absorb CO2, while the warmer regions actually outgas it. Therefore, as the oceans warm, there will be less uptake, and more outgassing. In theory, the ocean could eventually become a net emitter of CO2 to the atmosphere, a nightmare scenario. The same thing happens with oxygen. Marine phytoplankton and seaweeds produce oxygen, but it is also absorbed from the air. As with CO2, this is temperature dependent, and some warmer regions may outgas oxygen to the point where they become anoxic 'dead zones'. Such zones are often seen close to shore, as a result of fertiliser runoff, but anoxic dead zones are increasingly being identified in warmer oceanic regions far from the influence of agriculture. In the distant past, mass extinction events were associated with high atmospheric CO2 levels, global warming, anoxia in the oceans, and a mysterious terrestrial charcoal layer, indicating that the world burned. It only takes a small increase in atmospheric oxygen to make the world much more combustible, and high levels of atmospheric oxygen, due to outgassing from warmer oceans, and increased lightning due to a warmer climate is a plausible explanation for the charcoal layer. https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata_v4/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt
  10. What a debacle with Dominic Cummings – accusations of flouting guidelines and then the Advisor to Boris Johnson addressing the nation with risible explanation.
  11. Useful information about conspiracy theories: Devi Sridhar Prof on Global Health at Edinburgh University is very wise and provides balanced, knowledgeable views on issues relating to pandemic. Super article. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/devi-sridhar-scotlands-strategy-contain-covid-19-unclear-westminster/?fbclid=IwAR3-mS7Btju-foIZopd8V55o1QOv1iK2H1zqEg4PU5k45QV4ROV63r_2_JQ
  12. I have no idea how anyone would vote for Johnson, Tam.
  13. That is good to here, Pat. No disrespect to the health care workers in England, I think they have a tough row to hoe, I just do not understand the people who are praising their PM, seems to me he spent three to five weeks shaking hands and doing photo ops with him visiting hospitals etc. I said on another web site that when he was diagnosed they gave him a hospital bed immediately and not sure I would have.
  14. The recoveries are announced every day at first minister's briefings in Scotland, Tam. Scotland have higher than global rates of recover and much higher rate of recovery than England.
  15. Not claiming this to be true but I did look at some figures, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and all three have diagnosed, deaths but no recoveries, are we to assume that diagnosed less deaths would leave recoveries ?
  16. Some interesting vaccine developments. 'A coronavirus vaccine being developed by Oxford University has begun human trials with the first two patients being injected with the potential vaccine. Two volunteers were injected on Thursday, with one receiving the vaccine and the other receiving a control - a widely available meningitis vaccine, the University said. The pair will be monitored for 48 hours, before six more people enter the trial on Saturday and a larger number will join at the beginning of next week. Researchers said if transmission in the community remains high they may have enough data to see if the vaccine works “in a couple of months”, but if transmission levels drop it could take up to six months. Scientists at Oxford have previously said the aim is to produce a million doses of the vaccine by September. Around 1,110 people will take part in the trial with half being injected with control and half with the vaccine. Professor Sarah Gilbert, who is leading the Oxford vaccine team, has previously said she’s “80% confident” the vaccine will work. The vaccine has been made from a weakened version of a common cold virus that causes infections in chimpanzees, which has been modified so it is impossible to grow in humans. Proteins from the Covid-19 virus - Spike glycoprotein - have then been added. “We are hoping to make the body recognise and develop an immune response to the Spike protein that will help stop the SARS-CoV-2 virus from entering human cells and therefore prevent infection,” the University said.' https://www.marketwatch.com/story/oxford-university-coronavirus-vaccine-to-begin-human-trials-on-thursday-as-uk-throws-everything-at-vital-breakthrough-2020-04-21?mod=mw_more_headlines
  17. That's very interesting, Yonza. I wonder f this is the case would it be helpful in the production of a new vaccine?
  18. This is interesting - very. Someone is suggesting that the MMR vaccine may be the reason why so few younger people are being seriously affected by COVID-19. Correlation is not causation, of course, and I'm sceptical, but definitely something worth looking into. Here's a cut and paste. MMR Vaccine Link to COVID-19: Fewer Deaths and Milder Cases from SARS-CoV-2 in Measles-Rubella Vaccinated Populations v4.0 MMR vaccine studied as possible way to protect vulnerable people from COVID-19 Principal Investigator: Jeff Gold; Co-Investigator: Dr. Larry P. Tilley, Diplomate, ACVIM (Internal Medicine) Correspondence: Text/Phone: 202-642-4445; Email: media@world.org Widely deployed measles-rubella containing vaccines (MRCV) including MMR, MR, and MMRV are theorized by the Principal Investigator to be why children, teenagers and other young adults often have few severe symptoms from COVID-19, and few deaths are attributed to COVID-19 in young age groups. We believe it is possible MRCV are responsible for widely varying outcomes related to COVID-19 in different age groups and different countries. COVID-19 has what appears to be a clearly defined fatality rate pivot point close to 50 years old. From birth to age 49 the fatality rate from COVID-19 increases only slightly with each year of age. After age 50 the fatality rate from COVID-19 climbs quickly and steadily. This is very different from most other diseases. The MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine was introduced in 1971. It was most commonly given as a single vaccination from 1971-1978 then as a set of two vaccinations at least 28 days apart starting in 1979. Based upon its year of introduction, most people today aged 49 and under would likely have had at least one MMR vaccination, and those 41 and under would most likely have had two MMR vaccinations. This vaccine history may be a possible explanation for a COVID-19 death rate pivot point close to age 50. The fact that some aged 40-49 only received a single MRCV dose is a possible reason why this age range has a marginally higher death rate than those under 40. In countries where vaccination "catch up" programs have been instituted in recent decades there appears to be the lowest incidence of death from COVID-19, and in a few countries no deaths at all. In many of these countries, two doses of MRCV were given to older teenagers, and in some cases also to young adults, in addition to children. Full article here https://world.org/COVID-19-MMR.pdf PS Looks like page 5 has disappeared.
  19. Yes, had read about the children who were becoming ill. Does seem very odd. Frightening that this virus is so sinister and dangerous. Hope they will find a vaccine miraculously quickly.
  20. In 1918-19, Spanish flu infected around 500 million people, almost a third of the world population at the time. It's believed to have killed an estimated 20 to 50 million people, although the often quoted case fatality rate of 2.5% would give a figure of 12.5 million. The first wave, in the spring of 1918, was generally mild, affecting mainly old people. As with typical flu, people recovered after about a week. The second wave, in autumn, was very different. People sometimes died within hours of developing symptoms, their skin turning blue, and their lungs filling with fluid. Others would hang on for longer, eventually succumbing to secondary bacterial infection. It was before the discovery of antibiotics.The third wave in the spring of 1919, had twice the mortality of the first wave, but was much less deadly than the second wave. In the deadly second wave, nearly half of all deaths were in young adults aged 20-40, whereas in the first wave, young, healthy adults recovered easily. Something had changed big time, but what? If you read up on the subject, you'll frequently come across the assertion that the virus mutated to a more deadly form, and mutation is something that flu viruses do best. But, there's actually no evidence for the deadly second wave being due to the virus mutating. It's an assumption. Moreover, when such viruses mutate, they almost always mutate to a less deadly form, but 'fitter' in the Darwinian sense. Viruses are not 'interested' in killing the host, because that also kills the virus. They are only 'interested' in proliferating and spreading, and that is best achieved by only causing mild illness. Not causing any illness would be even better from the virus's point of view. So, what actually changed? In the current COVID-19 pandemic, it's becoming more and more clear that the severe hospitalised cases are just a tiny tip of a much larger iceberg of mild and asymptomatic cases. There may have been many mild and asymptomatic cases during the first wave of the Spanish flu also, particularly among the fitter younger population. It's known that those who had a typical bad case of flu during the first wave were immune to infection during the second wave. The more severe illness would have resulted in them producing lots of antibodies, which would have prevented future infection. Now, this is where things start to get a bit speculative. I've read a suggestion that those who had a mild or asymptomatic infection in the first wave would probably not have made enough antibodies to protect them from future infection. Moreover, the initial infection may have sensitised their immune systems, so that subsequent infection resulted in what's commonly referred to as a 'cytokine storm'. This is similar to an extreme allergic reaction. For example, there's a tiny number of people who, when stung by a bee for the first time, have no adverse immune response. But, this initial provocation changes the immune system in a way that, if they are stung by a bee in the future, even if the second bee sting is decades later, they could have what's called an 'anaphylactic shock' reaction, and could die as a result. I'm more inclined to believe that the explanation for the second wave being so much more deadly than the first wave, is that the immune system of those mildly affected in the first wave was sensitised in a way that made it overreact to future infection, than that the flu virus mutated to a much more deadly strain. If that's the case, is it possible that something similar might happen with COVID-19? This pandemic has been ongoing for four months now, and children have been largely immune to its effects, although there have probably been many asymptomatic infections among children. Now, we are seeing the emergence of a disease in the UK, in children infected by SARS-CoV-2, driven by a systemic overreaction of the immune response, resulting in what doctors are calling toxic shock syndrome, or atypical Kawasaki disease. When I first heard about it, I assumed that it was something that had probably been around since the beginning of the pandemic in the UK, but had not been identified. That idea now seems to be wrong. This is a very recent development. Doctors are saying that the situation with COVID-19 is 'fluid and rapidly changing'. So, what do they actually mean by 'fluid'? That the virus is mutating, or that our immune systems are 'mutating' after exposure to it? I think the children who are suffering from toxic shock syndrome, or atypical Kawasaki disease, are either being reinfected, or the virus is reactivating from a previous infection, after lying dormant inside cells, and causing an extreme systemic immune hypersensitivity reaction. It's possible that the virus is changing our immune systems, and that there is going to be a 'second wave' in which previously mild or asymptomatic cases who are reinfected will have serious symptoms, but it will be a small minority of people who are genetically predisposed, who will be most at risk from this.
  21. Thanks, Yonza. I saw that report about the numbers of children developing inflammatory illness. Very interesting about the smoking. A while back I had seen that one of the reasons for higher numbers of male deaths in China had been related to higher incidence of mortality among males as few women smoke in China. Now we see that deaths in China much lower than in number of European countries. I think the discussions around Vit D3 are interesting as people with darker skins do not absorb D3 through sunlight so easily. I read a very interesting feature about the numbers of black population dying in Detroil from Covid-19. https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-coronavirus-and-inequality-meet-in-detroit The Panorama Programme on Coronavirus and PPE is absolutely damning. Abysmal failures by UK Government – ignoring warnings regarding stockpiling PPE, then downgrading of pandemic and guidelines changed so that NHS frontline staff's protection reduced. Horrifying and hard to watch. https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000hr3y/panorama-has-the-government-failed-the-nhs
  22. Absolutely damning Panorama. UK Government's many failures regarding provision of PPE and attempts at cover up disclosed. https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000hr3y/panorama-has-the-government-failed-the-nhs
  23. From The Independent: An urgent alert has been issued to doctors about a new coronavirus-related condition seen emerging in children. The warning says there has been an “apparent rise in the number of children of all ages presenting with a multi-system inflammatory state requiring intensive care across London and also other regions of the UK” over the last three weeks. The NHS England alert, shared by the Paediatric Intensive Care Society on Sunday evening, adds: “There is a growing concern that a [Covid-19] related inflammatory syndrome is emerging in children in the UK, or that there may be another, as yet unidentified, infectious pathogen associated with these cases.” It is not known how many children have been affected, however the illness has been seen in children who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, as well as those who have not had the disease. The condition has the characteristics of severe Covid-19, and also shares certain features of toxic shock syndrome and atypical Kawasaki Disease, according to the alert. Abdominal pain and gastrointestinal symptoms “have been a common feature” of the illness, as has cardiac inflammation. Doctors have been asked to urgently refer any patients showing signs of these.
  24. Yet another Guardian article claiming systemic racism in the US health system, because black people make up a majority of COVID-19 deaths in some places, despite being a minority in the community. As an example, 64% of patients in St Louis are black, despite only being 45% of the population. Here's a quote from today's article: "COVID-19 has begun to divide the country between those ready to explore the structural racism ingrained in America's public health care outcomes, and those who are not". https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/25/coronavirus-racial-disparities-african-americans The London mayor, Sadiq Khan, had a similar article imputing systemic racism in health care printed in the Guardian last week. This is a cut & paste from a post I made elsewhere. Saves me typing it all out again. For some reason, it's posting with the blue cut & paste background. The virus also takes a more deadly toll in males, irrespective of ethnicity, which is almost certainly due to genes. Obesity is very strongly associated with more severe COVID-19, and black Americans are more prone to obesity. They also have a higher incidence of the metabolic syndrome diseases - diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease - that are associated with obesity, and are the underlying health conditions seen in severe COVID-19. Although black American males actually smoke slightly less than white American males, they are three times more likely to get lung cancer. All of these conditions - obesity, metabolic syndrome and cancer - are associated with chronic activation of the NF-kB driven immune response, which is also activated in COVID-19. It seems that they are more genetically predisposed to chronic activation, and some genetic differences associated with increased NF-kB activation include immune system, receptor, and enzyme polymorphisms, particularly enzymes in the cytochrome P450 superfamily. It's the overly strong immune system activation that causes the disease symptoms. Also, they tend to have less vitamin D, which has been shown in some research to have a protective effect against the virus, and probably live in more air polluted regions, which has also been identified as a risk factor.
  25. Evidence continues to mount that smoking helps to prevent COVID-19 infection, or that it prevents severe disease, requiring hospitalisation. This was first seen in China, where there is a very high smoking rate among males, but the number of daily smokers was under represented by more than half in hospitalised cases. The same thing has been seen in France, and trials are now underway there with nicotine patches, although I tend to think patches may not be a good substitute for nicotine absorbed directly into the lungs. https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-nicotine-patches-to-be-tested-on-patients-after-study-suggests-smokers-less-likely-to-catch-covid-19-11977460 Smoking is pro-inflammatory, so you might expect it to worsen the harmful effects of COVID-19. I've a pretty convoluted hypothesis for what may be happening, so here goes. Nicotine binds to the acetylcholine NACH receptor as an agonist (activating it). The 'N' stands for nicotinic. This appears to cause narrowing of the arteries and hypertension. One way for the body to try to correct this would be to increase the number of ACE-2 receptors, and smokers are known to have more ACE-2 expression. The function of ACE-2 is to act as a counterbalance to the vasoconstricting angiotensin-2, by converting it to the vasodilating angiotensin-(1-7). So, it could also be used to counter the effects of nicotine. ACE-2 is also the receptor that the virus uses to enter cells, so you would expect increased expression to result in a higher risk of becoming infected. However, in patients severely affected by COVID-19, blood vessels are constricted in the lungs and elsewhere, resulting in reduced oxygen transport from the lungs and systemic hypertension. This probably results from the NF-kB driven immune response attempting to prevent infection by decreasing the expression of ACE-2. Since smokers have increased ACE-2 expression, they would be more resistant to the harmful effects of this decrease.
  26. New study, published in The Lancet, suggests that COVID-19 infection may cause diabetes: https://7news.com.au/news/health/coronavirus-may-trigger-diabetes-study-c-997082 It has been known for some time that underlying medical conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular and kidney disease make the development of severe COVID-19 more likely. It's now becoming clear that this is a two way street. For example, the virus elicits the NF-kB driven immune response, which attempts to reduce infection by decreasing the expression of the ACE-2 receptor it uses to get into cells. This causes blood vessels to narrow, resulting in hypertension and increased risk of heart attacks. This is a quote from a 2010 paper: "In ACE2 deficient mice, alterations in glucose tolerance and reduced first phase insulin secretion have been described, suggesting a potential role of ACE2 in the development of diabetes". https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2992757/
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