Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Increasing in Cases in Ontario

As L noted, there is currently an increase in cases in Ontario. Ontario has an excellent data page with lots of interesting graphs that is extremely well done.

Hopefully this surge will end with better weather. And by May 2nd, the start of the NHL playoffs. The Leafs are currently in third place in their division, but would face the Tampa Bay Lightning if the playoffs were held today. The Bolts are back-to-back champions and still have plenty of big bruisers, so the Maple Leafs will need all the home ice advantage they can get.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

COVID Case Numbers No Longer Declining

Worrisome--weekly COVID case numbers have stopped falling in both the US and Canada, but that trend has reversed in the EU:

Monday, March 21, 2022

Both of Earth's Poles Blazing Hot*


Both of the Earth's polar regions had a heatwave over the weekend: +30°C in the north and +40°C in Antarctica. Here's a telling graph from Berkeley Earth showing the spike in eastern Antartica:

It beat the old March record by 20°C. That just seems unreal... Here's an explanation:
"... [T]he warm conditions over Antarctica were spurred by an extreme atmospheric river, or a narrow corridor of water vapor in the sky, on its east coast. ... The excessive moisture from the atmospheric river was able to retain large amounts of heat..."
Of course it's never as simple as just "global warming," but it seems hard to imagine global warming isn't somehow behind it. We'll see what attribution studies say....

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Michael Mann Headed to the Ivy League

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Governors DeSantis, Abbott Killed People

There's really no other conclusion to make than the headline to this post.

The governors of red states, by their lax policy choices during the COVID-19 pandemic, have effectively left their citizens to early and needless deaths. 

This figure comes from JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), in the article "The Growing Influence of State Governments on Population Health in the United States" by Steven H. Woolf, MD, MPH. Where you live makes a difference to your life expectancy, both comparing the US to other countries and within the US as well--and not just with respect to the pandemic. Woolf writes:
For decades, the population of the US has experienced shorter life expectancy and higher disease rates than populations in other high-income countries. The gap in life expectancy between the US and 16 peer countries increased from 1.9 years in 2010 to 3.1 years in 2018 and 4.7 years in 2020.1 The US health disadvantage is even worse in certain states, with states such as Alabama and Mississippi having the same life expectancy as Latvia (75 years).

Disparities in health across the 50 states are growing, a trend that began in the 1990s. For example, in 1990, life expectancy in New York was lower than in Oklahoma, but the trajectories separated sharply in the 1990s and, by 2016, New York ranked third in life expectancy, whereas Oklahoma ranked 45th. By 2019, mortality rates at ages 25 to 64 years differed by a factor of 216% between the states with the highest mortality rate (565.1 per 100 000) and the lowest rate (261.9 per 100 000), up from 188% in 1999. The widening gap cannot be explained by changes in the racial and ethnic composition of states, because the same trend occurred within racial and ethnic groups.
Someone should download these data and integrate under the curves to find the total difference in deaths. (I've already heard some of DeSantis's excuses: vaccine tourism, older population.) Woolf continues:
For example, excess death rates in Florida and Georgia (more than 200 deaths per 100 000) were much higher than in states with largely vaccinated populations such as New York (112 per 100 000), New Jersey (73 deaths per 100 000), and Massachusetts (50 per 100 000). States that resisted public health protections experienced higher numbers of excess deaths during the Delta variant surge in the fall of 2021 (Figure). Between August and December 2021, Florida experienced more than triple the number of excess deaths (29 252) as New York (8786), despite both states having similar population counts (21.7 million and 19.3 million, respectively).
And it's only going to get worse:
State control over health outcomes shows no signs of waning. Legislatures have passed and are considering numerous laws designed to transform elections, civil rights, school curricula, and climate policy. New laws and court decisions could affect health and health care and exacerbate inequities. The Texas abortion bill and other challenges to Roe v Wade, new state laws to nullify gun regulations, and other sweeping measures suggest that states will be wielding greater control over the health and safety of their populations. Increasingly, an individual’s life expectancy in the US will depend on the state in which they live....

States are laboratories for experimentation, but fragmented health policy has consequences. While other countries mounted a national response to COVID-19, the US was hobbled by 50 response plans and, to date, has lost more than 1 million lives. Although state governments have the right to set their own path and policies, the public should decide whether life expectancy should be part of the experiment.
I'm afraid that the American public is, at least via their votes for primarily Republican legislatures and governors, deciding that, astonishingly, there are some things more important than their health and their lives.

Flyers' Worst Nightmare

The clip is better when it loops, which I can't seem to arrange here. 
I guess you need to be a Pittsburgh Penguins fan -- the Philadelphia Flyers are their cross-state rivals, one of the deepest rivalries in sports. Sidney Crosby has tormented them for years....

Wednesday, March 09, 2022

Price of Wheat, and the Price of Peace

 Global price of wheat, percent increase over the last month: 

The nominal price is in Euros/kg. What will hurt more, the price of wheat or the price of gas? I'm willing to pay both if that's what I'm asked to do to help win the Ukrainian War. I decided that after seeing this photograph.

Wednesday, March 02, 2022

Fossil Fuel Use Up Since Biden Took Office

I keep reading claims that Biden is blocking energy development in the United States. For example, this is from the Wall Street Journal, via Judith Curry's blog:

“Europe offers another reminder to the U.S. that blocking fossil-fuel development here won’t keep carbon “in the ground.” It merely hands a strategic weapon to dictators that they will turn around and use against us.”

In fact, oil, gas and coal production are all up since Biden took office in January 2021:

Source: https://www.eia.gov/coal/production/quarterly/

And this is from today's Morning Energy report (a daily email) from Politico:

The Biden administration has approved oil and gas permits on federal land at a faster clip than former President Donald Trump's final year, the U.S. still exports more crude oil and petroleum products than it imports and Keystone XL never started while much of the oil it would have transported got to market through rail and other means. Plus, the U.S. has never been closed off from oil imports, even bringing in 7.9 million barrels per day in the first year of the coronavirus pandemic when demand cratered.

Some people are eager to use the Ukraine crisis to blame Biden for everything, and to take advantage of it to further fossil fuel use even in light of the climate crisis (which Curry denies). 

Tuesday, March 01, 2022

Great Interview of a Russia Expert

I found this to be a very interesting and informative article in Politico interviewing Fiona Hill, a Russia expert who has studied Putin for decades. Among other things she says we're already in World War 3, and that Putin might well use nuclear weapons to get what he wants. Frightening. 

I recommend it, FWIW.