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March 27, 2021

COVID-19

Warning: these posts are for 'adults'; people with the ability to think for themselves, take responsibility for their actions, and prepared to work for the greater good. If that isn't you, remember to wash your hands and face with soap regularly and don't touch anything. Stay home. The Internet has plenty of content to entertain you.

It feels as though we're stuck on a looping cycle. The plague provinces keep trying to re-open everything, while losing the battle of vaccinations to the variants. The confusion levels are rising faster than the increasing daily new case numbers. Premier Doug Ford complains about not getting enough vaccines from the federal government, while almost a quarter of the vaccines provided to the provinces have not been administered to citizens (22% in Ontario as of Friday). Given that Premier Ford's approach to increasing vaccine deliveries includes going "up that guy’s ying yang so far with a firecracker, he wouldn’t know what hit him” a couple of months ago, it's strange the Premier hasn't solved the vaccine supply problem already. It couldn't have anything to do with Canada having essentially zero domestic capacity to produce vaccines, or that other countries are practicing 'vaccine nationalism'.

However, I suppose Friday's put-on rant was preferable to talking about the Ontario plan to deal with greenhouse gas emissions now that the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled the not-a-carbon-tax regulatory charge is OK as legislated. It should be fun to see what the province comes up with, because they won't use a cap-and-trade system and they won't impose a new tax according to actions, policies and statements since elected with a majority government.

Perhaps they'll just let the feds collect the provincial minimum share of the not-a-carbon-tax, and let the feds send out quarterly cheques to Ontarians with a friendly note on how they can do more to help create a survivable planet. Queens Park can always order up some more propaganda stickers to put on gas pumps. (Oh, never mind - they lost that court case, too.)

Canada has now reported over 950,000 COVID-19 cases and 22,800 deaths. Daily new case counts are on the rise again. Somehow, I thought we would be smarter than this by now. And the variants are raising the stakes, making dumb more dangerous by the day.

Canada's COVID case count set to hit 1 million next week as variants spread
https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/covid-19-modelling-1-million-cases-1.5965297

60% higher risk of death from coronavirus variants, Ontario analysis finds: sources
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/covid-variants-death-analysis-ontario-1.5964296

India reports 'double mutant' coronavirus variant as daily deaths reach year's high
https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/india-coronavirus-double-mutant-variant-1.5961912

For the next 2-3 months, really watch out for yourselves.

As supply of N95-style respirators grows, some say it's time to upgrade our masks
https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/n95-masks-health-canada-recommendations-1.5951392

While Canada is at about 10% of the population having received at least one vaccination dose, the U.S. is charging ahead since Biden took office, and now with over 130 million doses in arms, that's about 40% of the U.S. population with at least one dose, and on track to have delivered 200 million doses by the end of April. By the end of July, the U.S. expects to have vaccinated everyone in the U.S. who wants it, and have 70 million doses to spare.

That's what having domestic production capacity can get you. If, in the future, Canada had the ability to produce vaccines in response to other outbreaks (e.g. Ebola), that might the kind of vaccine diplomacy that could get a lot more international goodwill.

For current COVID-19 numbers, go to
https://epiforecasts.io/covid/posts/national/canada/
and https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/canada/ .
For Canadian vaccination numbers, go to
https://covid19tracker.ca/vaccinationtracker.html
For word vaccination data, go to
https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations

COVID-19 News Items

1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine arriving from U.S. on Tuesday, Anand says
https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/vaccine-delivery-update-march-26-1.5965611

As supplies run low, a Brazilian town says it could be forced to take patients off ventilators
https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/as-supplies-run-low-a-brazilian-town-says-it-could-be-forced-to-take-patients-off-ventilators-1.5356653

No politician comes off looking election-ready after our botched pandemic response
https://nationalpost.com/opinion/chris-selley-no-politician-comes-off-looking-election-ready-after-our-botched-pandemic-response
I'm not prepared to judge quite that harshly. I think some politicians have been performing pretty well given their circumstances, but by means not all. We'll sort most of that out later; for now, let them focus on the immediate problems. Job 1: vaccines in arms and keep people safe until then and vaccines have had time to take effect.

COVID-19 silver linings: Technology has helped universities be more innovative and inventive
https://theconversation.com/covid-19-silver-linings-technology-has-helped-universities-be-more-innovative-and-inventive-157567

Feds announce funding for domestic vaccine production
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdXIZUVkOHk

Labour ministry investigating after Brampton Amazon site ordered to shut down over COVID-19 outbreak
https://globalnews.ca/news/7697769/coronavirus-amazon-brampton-labour-ministry-investigation/

Life is hard. It's harder during the pandemic.
All children are born engineers. Watch them at play. They're not
just playing; they're experimenting, building and learning. That's
engineering! Then we get them in school and squash it out of them.
(Geoffrey Orsak, Southern Methodist University dean of engineering)
Perhaps COVID-19 is an opportunity to reduce the squashing.

;-) COVID Days: My body has absorbed so much soap, sanitizer
    and disinfectant, that now when I pee, it cleans the toilet.

Injection beats infection. But we gave infection a big head-start.
Spread knowledge, not the virus.
Stay well, stay safe, stay sane, stay home if you can.
We're not done yet, but that day is getting closer.
With thanks to those making the effort, every day, for us all.


March 21, 2021

COVID-19

Warning: these posts are for 'adults'; people with the ability to think for themselves, take responsibility for their actions, and prepared to work for the greater good. If that isn't you, remember to wash your hands and face with soap regularly and don't touch anything. Stay home. The Internet has plenty of content to entertain you.

Premiers announce Atlantic Bubble scheduled to reopen by April 19
https://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/premiers-announce-atlantic-bubble-scheduled-to-reopen-by-april-19-1.5352354
While the plague provinces are slowly continue to lose ground in the variants vs. vaccinations race, the mood in Atlantic Canada is markedly different. It's as if there were adults in charge there. TANZANC.

AstraZeneca: German team discovers thrombosis trigger
https://dw.com/p/3qqw2?maca=en-gk-volltext-newsstand-sci-tech-en-20113-xml-googlenews
If Ontario tells me I can get the AZ vaccine somewhere closer than 200 km away, I'll be interested.

It's been a while since I reviewed the cases and deaths numbers here. As of March 20th, 2021, Canada has reported over 930,000 cases (about 2.5% of the total population in Canada, and over 22,600 deaths. The new cases per day rates are rising again in the '3rd wave', rising from the high 3000s into the low 4000s in recent days. At the moment, the deaths per day are fairly level in the mid-thirties per day, but this is likely to rise in the next few weeks as deaths is a lagging indicator and the new variants are more lethal.

The U.S. has surpassed 30 million cases (about 9% of the population) and 550,000 deaths. The U.S. is preparing to send vaccine doses on loan to Canada and Mexico. These are the Astra Zeneca vaccine, which is not yet approved for use by the U.S. FDA, and have a defined shelf-life. Better to send them elsewhere, have them used rather than spoil, and get the same number of doses back later when that vaccine is approved for use in the U.S.

As of March 20, Canada has distributed 4,773,470 vaccine doses to the Canadian provinces and territories. 3,862,685 of those have been injected, about 81%. Over 3,236,471 people have had at least one dose (about 8.5% of the population), and 626,214 have had both doses of one of the mRNA vaccines.

For current COVID-19 numbers, go to
https://epiforecasts.io/covid/posts/national/canada/
and https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/canada/ .
For Canadian vaccination numbers, go to
https://covid19tracker.ca/vaccinationtracker.html
For word vaccination data, go to
https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations

COVID-19 News Items

Ontario reports more than 1,800 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths
https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/ontario-reports-more-than-1800-new-covid-19-cases-11-deaths/ar-BB1eMMdn

Ottawa surpasses 16000 COVID-19 cases with triple-digit increase
https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/ottawa-surpasses-16-000-covid-19-cases-with-triple-digit-increase-1.5355409

48-year-old Toronto man who spent 110 days in hospital due to COVID-19 shares vital warning
https://globalnews.ca/news/7708031/covid-toronto-man-in-icu-hospital-110-days/

More than 3,000 vaccine appointments must be rebooked, city says [Ottawa]
https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/more-than-3000-vaccine-appointments-must-be-rebooked-city-says

Long-term-care homes needed staff during COVID-19. So they turned to gig workers. Inside the 'Uber-ization' of health care.
https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2021/03/19/long-term-care-homes-needed-staff-during-covid-19-so-they-turned-to-gig-workers-inside-the-uber-ization-of-health-care.html

Long-term care staff in Ontario being hired away by Amazon, airports and film industry, association says
https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/ontario-nursing-homes-losing-staff-to-amazon-and-film-industry-association-says

Long-term care homes in Ontario are losing staff to other industries, association says
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-long-term-care-homes-in-ontario-are-loosing-staff-to-other-industries/

Health-Care Pros Aren't More Immune to Fake News. And Other Science Journal Findings.
https://thetyee.ca/News/2021/03/16/Science-Journals-Health-Care-Pros-Fake-News/

Climate Change

'Every euro invested in nuclear power makes the climate crisis worse'
https://www.dw.com/en/nuclear-climate-mycle-schneider-renewables-fukushima/a-56712368

Jet fuel from waste 'dramatically lowers' emissions
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-56408603

Changes in Atlantic currents may have dire climate implications for the next century
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/feb/26/atlantic-currents-climate-oceans-next-century

Electricity needed to mine bitcoin is more than used by 'entire countries'
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2021/feb/27/bitcoin-mining-electricity-use-environmental-impact

Alberta Oil Sands Emissions Alone Are 3 Times The Global Market For CO2
https://cleantechnica.com/2021/02/10/alberta-oil-sands-emissions-alone-are-3-times-the-global-market-for-co2/

Wall Street May Finally Be Taking Climate Change Seriously
https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2021/03/even-wall-street-may-be-warming-up-to-real-climate-action/

Don't worry about being trampled in a stampede here. The financial markets don't care about the future of the species beyond the next 90 days. When they see it is inevitable that losing a habitable planet will lead to *short-term* financial losses, then they will pivot. Until then, they will continue to lobby for continued and increasing subsidies and incentives for the extractive practices which are a foundation for our current climate change tragedy. For example, the article talks about Canada working on a net-zero plan for 2050. That's the most generous possible interpretation of Canada's 'plan', which is more of a wish. While the Canadian government continues to mouth homilies about greening the economy, in practice they continue to prop up the fossil fuel industries.

Life is hard. It's harder during the pandemic.
It's really frustrating to feel like we're coming out of the worst of the pandemic, only to be forced back into stronger restrictions again as premature re-opening leads to rising case counts and higher infection risks. Remember, the measures that kept most of us healthy so far also protect against spread of the newer variants. If you don't actually have COVID, your battle is likely mostly mental and psychological, dealing with boredom, possibly isolation and a sense of powerlessness. If you can identify these, you can take steps to combat them.
If it's powerlessness, pick an issue and change the world.

;-) Whoever said money can't buy happiness didn't know where to shop.
     ~ Gertrude Stein

Injection beats infection. But we gave infection a big head-start.
Spread knowledge, not the virus.
Stay well, stay safe, stay sane, stay home if you can.
We're not done yet, but that day is getting closer.
With thanks to those making the effort, every day, for us all.


March 18, 2021

COVID-19

Warning: these posts are for 'adults'; people with the ability to think for themselves, take responsibility for their actions, and prepared to work for the greater good. If that isn't you, remember to wash your hands and face with soap regularly and don't touch anything. Stay home. The Internet has plenty of content to entertain you.

Score one more for injections over infections. Today, I took my wife for her COVID-19 first shot. Pfizer. Second instalment: July.

Ottawa goes back to RED at midnight tonight. Indicators changing fast enough that plan to implement next Monday got tanked to move before the weekend.

Director of Ontario's science table calls for three-week lockdown in Golden Horseshoe as province reports more than 1,500 new COVID-19 cases
https://www.cp24.com/news/director-of-ontario-s-science-table-calls-for-three-week-lockdown-in-golden-horseshoe-as-province-reports-more-than-1-500-new-covid-19-cases-1.5350621

The third wave: More than triple the case counts projected for GTA as variants take over — here’s what to expect
https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2021/03/17/the-third-wave-more-than-triple-the-case-counts-projected-for-gta-as-variants-take-over-heres-what-to-expect.html
Note the curve in the graph with B.1.1.7 variant shifting the model.

For current COVID-19 numbers, go to
https://epiforecasts.io/covid/posts/national/canada/
and https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/canada/ .
For Canadian vaccination numbers, go to
https://covid19tracker.ca/vaccinationtracker.html
For word vaccination data, go to
https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations

COVID-19 News Items

How Canadians can use social media to help debunk COVID-19 misinformation
https://theconversation.com/how-canadians-can-use-social-media-to-help-debunk-covid-19-misinformation-155653

From 'COVID toes' to 'COVID tongues,' new symptoms of COVID-19 continue to emerge
https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/from-covid-toes-to-covid-tongues-new-symptoms-of-covid-19-continue-to-emerge-1.5349467

Launch of Ontario's vaccination hotline 'was a shambles,' says worker hired to take calls
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-covid-19-vaccination-hotline-vaccine-help-phone-1.5953350

'Sheer ignorance': Burlington neighbourhood has the highest COVID-19 rate ever recorded in the city, leaving some residents uneasy
https://www.thestar.com/local-burlington/news/2021/03/17/sheer-ignorance-burlington-neighbourhood-has-the-highest-covid-19-rate-ever-recorded-in-the-city-leaving-some-residents-uneasy.html

Canada's COVID Alert app is “completely useless” right now: health expert
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3oyu2i6ndE

Fortress Fossil Fuels Highlights/Gaslights

This Billionaire Governor’s Coal Companies Owe Millions More in Environmental Fines
https://www.propublica.org/article/this-billionaire-governors-coal-companies-owe-millions-more-in-environmental-fines

Coal Continues To Take It On The Chin As Investors Flee
https://cleantechnica.com/2020/12/20/coal-continues-to-take-it-on-the-chin-as-investors-flee/

Stop believing in fairytales: Australia’s coal industry doesn’t employ many people or pay its fair share of tax
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/dec/23/stop-believing-in-fairy-tales-australias-coal-industry-doesnt-employ-many-people-or-pay-its-fair-share-of-tax

Atikokan biomass power plant helped pull NW Ontario through the cold snap
https://www.tbnewswatch.com/local-news/atikokan-biomass-power-plant-helped-pull-nw-ontario-through-the-cold-snap-3448609
The Atikokan generating station was converted from burning coal to biomass (wood pellets) in 2014.

Shareholders push HSBC to cut exposure to fossil fuels
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jan/10/shareholders-push-hsbc-to-cut-exposure-to-fossil-fuels

One way to prevent future spills of oil products like VLFSO is to swap out the fuels for less toxic alternatives. I'm thinking drop-in biofuels like vegetable oil, or electric drives with solar panels and Flettner rotors. Heck, even ammonia is probably less toxic than VLFSO if spilled (ammonia evaporates pretty quickly at ambient temperatures and atmospheric pressure, and dissipates quickly in open air as it is lighter than air).

ShipFC project to demonstrate feasibility of ammonia-fuel cells for deep sea shipping
https://www.manifoldtimes.com/news/shipfc-project-to-demonstrate-feasibility-of-ammonia-fuel-cells-for-deep-sea-shipping/

In the shift to fuel cells as an electric propulsion solution for big, long-haul cargo ships, don't count out direct methanol fuel cells. However, in a highly competitive (financially) industry where on-board safety is critical, don't expect to see pressurized pure hydrogen as an economical choice.

Scientists suggested a method to improve performance of methanol fuel cells
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-12/fefu-ssa122220.php

Methanol is a stable liquid fuel with about half the energy density (volume) of gasoline or diesel. However, if efficiently used in a fuel cell to produce electricity instead in a relatively inefficient internal combustion engine, the methanol energy cycle could come out ahead on overall efficiency and cost of operation. One other thing to note, originally methanol was known as wood alcohol; it could be produced from waste biomass making it a net zero GHG biofuel.

Life is hard. It's harder during the pandemic.
Take a minute to look at a seed catalogue, or learn about container gardening or square-foot gardening. Seeing like take hold is an annual miracle. There's nothing like working soil to make you feel grounded.

;-) I wonder what it was on the Canadian flag
     that they had to cover it up with a big leaf.

Injection beats infection. But we gave infection a big head-start.
Spread knowledge, not the virus.
Stay well, stay safe, stay sane, stay home if you can.
We're not done yet, but that day is getting closer.
With thanks to those making the effort, every day, for us all.


March 17, 2021

COVID-19

Warning: these posts are for 'adults'; people with the ability to think for themselves, take responsibility for their actions, and prepared to work for the greater good. If that isn't you, remember to wash your hands and face with soap regularly and don't touch anything. Stay home. The Internet has plenty of content to entertain you.

I remain concerned that the 're-open now' drumbeat is going to allow the variants to win out in the race against vaccinations.

Study finds COVID U.K. variant 55 per cent more lethal, as ICU admissions in Ontario creep up
https://nationalpost.com/news/study-finds-further-evidence-covid-u-k-variant-more-lethal-as-icu-admissions-in-ontario-creep-up

Ottawa likely moving to Ontario’s COVID-19 red zone within the week: Dr. Etches
https://globalnews.ca/news/7700111/ottawa-coronavirus-red-zone-etches/

Ontario reporting highest COVID-19 positivity rate since Feb. 2
https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2021/03/16/ontario-reporting-highest-covid-19-infection-rate-since-february.html

In Ontario, we seem on-track to snatch defeat from the jaws of vaccine victory.

Cognitive dissonance: yesterday Ontario Premier Doug Ford whined about the change in NACI guidance on giving Astra Zeneca to people over 65 years of age, complaining that this moved the goalposts when they were just getting organized to do distribution under the rules from the day before. (For future reference, the correct response was "it's great to have another tool at out disposal to protect the seniors of Ontario from the pandemic which has already taken so many of them.")

Coincidentally, yesterday's Supreme Court of Canada hearings included the act of Doug Ford to completely undermine the last City of Toronto municipal elections during the actual election period. Good to see Doug wouldn't move the goal posts on anything within his control. Remember, this is who is making the key decisions on how Ontario deals with the pandemic, not health officials.

For current COVID-19 numbers, go to
https://epiforecasts.io/covid/posts/national/canada/
and https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/canada/ .
For Canadian vaccination numbers, go to
https://covid19tracker.ca/vaccinationtracker.html
For word vaccination data, go to
https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations

COVID-19 News Items

Ontario now in third wave of COVID-19, province's hospital association says
https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/ontario-now-in-third-wave-of-covid-19-province-s-hospital-association-says-1.5347940

Unions say health-care workers still struggling to get enough PPE
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/ontario-unions-ppe-womens-day-1.5940680

COVID-19: Ontario surpasses one million vaccinations on first-year anniversary of COVID pandemic
https://ottawacitizen.com/news/covid-19-ontario-surpasses-one-million-vaccinations-on-first-year-anniversary-of-covid-pandemic

A look at the difference between COVID-19 vaccine efficacy and effectiveness
https://globalnews.ca/news/7695075/coronavirus-vaccine-efficacy-versus-effectiveness/

When Will We Need COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters? Here's What We Know So Far.
https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/coronavirus-second-vaccine-booster-shot_l_6048db31c5b6cf72d09365bd

Why did we ever trust China on vaccines?
https://nationalpost.com/opinion/matt-gurney-why-did-we-ever-trust-china-on-vaccines

Fortress Fossil Fuels Highlights/Gaslights

Big U.S. Banks May Curb Lending to Fossil Fuel Companies
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/big-u-s-banks-will-curb-lending-to-fossil-fuel-companies/
Seen as a response to the shift in U.S. White House goals and policy shift.

No such thing as a small oil spill
https://www.focusonvictoria.ca/issue-analysis/47/
There absolutely are 'small oil spills' if you are in the oil industry, and notably in the oil tanker industry.
Anything under 50 barrels is considered too common to bother reporting. 50 barrels is about 7 tonnes, or 2100 U.S. gallons or 9,500 litres. Yep, 'small'.
Oil Tanker Spill Statistics 2020
https://www.itopf.org/knowledge-resources/data-statistics/statistics/

This B.C. golf cart company is now making low-speed electric cars
They’ve got a 2-door, 4-door and even a little ute!
https://driving.ca/auto-news/news/this-b-c-golf-cart-company-is-now-making-low-speed-electric-cars

Most people don't know that the low-speed electric vehicle (LSEV, LSV, LZEV, etc.) was invented in Canada, and we had a solid growth industry - until federal and provincial governments killed it.
http://www.econogics.com/ev/T2M%202008%20LSVs.pptx
http://www.econogics.com/ev/The%20LSV%20-%20Made%20in%20Canada%20Solution.doc

Nigerians win U.K. court OK to sue Shell over oil spills
https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/nigerians-win-u-k-court-ok-to-sue-shell-over-oil-spills-1.5307066

100% of New US Power Capacity Came from Solar & Wind in November
https://cleantechnica.com/2021/02/08/100-of-new-us-power-capacity-came-from-solar-wind-in-november/

What you need to know about Line 5, the latest pipeline fight
https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/01/29/news/heres-what-you-need-know-about-line-5-latest-pipeline-fight

Boeing commits to sustainable-fuels commercial airplanes
https://www.aerospacemanufacturinganddesign.com/article/boeing-commits-sustainable-fuels-commercial-airplanes/

GME: finally, today's pick from the GameStop saga - kind of explains the 'game'. A bit dense, feel free to skip.
https://iamnotafinancialadvisor.com/discord/DD/GMEv10.pdf

Life is hard. It's harder during the pandemic.
If you find that your life is still somewhat 'on pause' as you wait for winter to end and COVID-19 to succumb to vaccines, take the time to hone a skill or learn about something new.

;-) The pandemic medley from the final episode of Season 28 of
     This Hour Has 22 Minutes (scroll ahead to 18:40 in the video)
     https://gem.cbc.ca/media/this-hour-has-22-minutes/season-28/episode-19/38e815a-013b57b567e

Injection beats infection. But we gave infection a big head-start.
Spread knowledge, not the virus.
Stay well, stay safe, stay sane, stay home if you can.
We're not done yet, but that day is getting closer.
With thanks to those making the effort, every day, for us all.


March 16, 2021

COVID-19

Warning: these posts are for 'adults'; people with the ability to think for themselves, take responsibility for their actions, and prepared to work for the greater good. If that isn't you, remember to wash your hands and face with soap regularly and don't touch anything. Stay home. The Internet has plenty of content to entertain you.

This week, there have been a lot of COVID anniversary recollections. Today is a year from when it hit home for me. On March 11th, 2020, I had lots of inventory for usual end-of-March orders for health equipment, and four contracts lined up with past or current clients to start in April or May. It was going to be a great year. By March 16th, it was over. One of my research projects was shut down because the university closed the labs. The health product orders never came as budgets shifted to unobtanium PPE and ventilators. The health systems and environmental consulting work was put 'on hold' (and still is).

It's been a year of pivot after pivot after pivot. A year of networking, pitching, writing proposals, doing research and analysis, but nothing landed and stuck on the revenue side. Still, it's been a strangely productive year in some ways (like this blog), and an opportunity to 'sharpen the saw' in the language of Stephen Covey's 7 Habits. It's been interesting to watch others adjust to working from home, something I've been doing for decades, part-time and full-time.

Still, like most everyone, I'll be happy to see the vaccinations hit critical mass, and let most people shift back towards 'normal'. My wife is scheduled for her first injection on Thursday. She's on a priority list as a front-line pharmacy worker. I will sign up for mine once it's my turn. And then I'll wait my turn for the second injection - if that's appropriate - and the recommended time for the injections to take effect. Waiting is a habit I have honed during COVID-19.

It sounds like there were some glitches in the first day of Ontario's new online / telephone sign-up system for vaccinations. Not surprising. Good systems design and software construction is hard work, and getting off to late starts with arbitrary deadlines is a recipe for problems. Still, it sounds like a lot of people managed to get appointments booked yesterday. The next hurdle is making sure the logistics are made to work on the ground to make it all real. Also not to be taken for granted. I'm pleasantly surprised to see how much volunteer support there seems to be in setting up the vaccination sites and operating them.

For now, look after yourselves, and understand that the apparent chaos means that people are working as hard and as fast as they can to provide you with the vaccination(s) you want.

For current COVID-19 numbers, go to
https://epiforecasts.io/covid/posts/national/canada/
and https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/canada/ .

COVID-19 News Items

Chinese government interference derailed Canadian vaccine partnership: researcher
https://nationalpost.com/news/chinese-government-interference-derailed-canadian-vaccine-partnership-researcher

Ontario doctors ‘frustrated’ by Ford government’s vaccine rollout plan
https://globalnews.ca/news/7680796/ontario-doctors-frustrated-vaccine-rollout/

The social and economic impacts of COVID-19
https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/enormous-amount-of-change-new-data-reveals-impact-of-covid-19-on-canadians-1.5343991

The dead, the ill, the ill-at-ease — a virus that forgot no one
https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/egan-the-dead-the-ill-the-ill-at-ease-a-virus-that-forgot-no-one

Ontario releases new detailed list of those eligible for COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 2
https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/ontario-releases-new-detailed-list-of-those-eligible-for-covid-19-vaccine-in-phase-2-1.5334968
Obsolete before it was distributed. Rules vary by each of the 34 regions, and in some cases by area within a region. Online registration gets announced, and then doesn't work or gets overwhelmed within minutes. Pop-up clinics don't seem connected with online registrations, and don't appear to particularly follow 'Phase 1' vs. 'Phase 2'. When we start getting ten million doses a week in Canada (next week), this sort of ad hoc, creaky approach isn't going to work.

Why hospitals are beginning to reuse or recycle masks, IV bags, drills they used to throw out
https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/reuse-recycling-hospitals-ppe-1.5936823

Barrie-based PPE manufacturer 'held out to dry' as government looks overseas, says CEO
https://www.collingwoodtoday.ca/coronavirus-covid-19-local-news/barrie-based-ppe-manufacturer-held-out-to-dry-as-government-looks-overseas-says-ceo-3539858

Alberta Health Services brags about making list of world's best hospitals; it did not
https://edmonton.ctvnews.ca/alberta-health-services-brags-about-making-list-of-world-s-best-hospitals-it-did-not-1.5335621
Sigh.

Fortress Fossil Fuels Highlights/Gaslights

Canada Increasing Fossil Fuel Subsidies As U.S. Moves To End Them, Study Finds
https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/fossil-fuel-subsidies-canada-iisd_ca_6037bd06c5b67259f8943314

Analysis: How Exxon Is Being Forced To Accept The Reality Of Bad Fossil Fuel Investments
https://www.desmogblog.com/2021/02/26/exxon-reality-bad-fossil-fuel-investment-tar-sands-fracking

Exxon casts out Canadian oil sands in massive reserves slump
https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/exxon-casts-out-canadian-oil-sands-in-massive-reserves-slump-1.1568533

Beijing skies turn orange as sandstorm and pollution send readings off the scale
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/mar/15/beijing-skies-turn-orange-as-sandstorm-and-pollution-send-readings-off-the-scale

Study: Shift to electric trucks and buses could save 57,000 lives
https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1131476_study-shift-to-electric-trucks-and-buses-could-save-57-000-lives

Infertility risks greatly increased by air pollution, study finds
https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/02/18/news/infertility-risks-increased-air-pollution-study

Pembina Pipeline posts $1.2 billion loss on petrochemical, LNG project impairments
https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/pembina-pipeline-posts-1-2-235809629.html

Renewable methanol is ‘uniquely positioned’ to be a future-proof fuel
https://splash247.com/renewable-methanol-is-uniquely-positioned-to-be-a-future-proof-fuel/
A variant on 'green hydrogen'; they're both about as real as unicorn farts.

What is real today is green electricity produced from zero GHG renewable sources like wind and solar energy. And instead of 2050 as a target to make it real, how about tanker ships using electricity in 2022, based on Canadian battery technology? Now that's the stuff of real fantasy.
Except it isn't.
Zero-emissions tanker project inks battery deal
https://www.rivieramm.com/news-content-hub/zero-emission-tanker-project-inks-battery-deal-63112

I wonder where that fits in Canada's Electric Vehicle Export Strategy? Oh right, that IS a fantasy.

Life is hard. It's harder during the pandemic.
You cannot control events or the actions of others. You can control your response to them.
When provoked, is your best response to escalate, retaliate, or take a moment?

;-) COVID-world - Definiton: Coronacoaster (noun)
     The ups and downs of a pandemic. One day you're loving
     your bubble, doing work-outs, baking banana bread and
     going for long walks, and the next day you're crying,
     drinking gin for breakfast and missing people you don't
     even like.

Injection beats infection. But we gave infection a big head-start.
Spread knowledge, not the virus.
Stay well, stay safe, stay sane, stay home if you can.
We're not done yet, but that day is getting closer.
With thanks to those making the effort, every day, for us all.


March 15, 2021

COVID-19

Warning: these posts are for 'adults'; people with the ability to think for themselves, take responsibility for their actions, and prepared to work for the greater good. If that isn't you, remember to wash your hands and face with soap regularly and don't touch anything. Stay home. The Internet has plenty of content to entertain you.

Canada expecting 1M Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses a week until early May
https://globalnews.ca/news/7692884/covid-canada-pfizer-vaccine-spring/

That's another 8 million doses. Enough for more than 25% of the remaining adult Canadian population to get an injection.
That doesn't count the other vaccines also being delivered (Moderna, Astra Zeneca, J&J), and possibly a couple more could be approved in the next few weeks. About 8% of Canadians have received at least one injection at this point. This is the light at the end of the tunnel.

Building on that news, it is disheartening to see that the plague provinces still seem determined to do as much damage to our collective health as possible before they actually get needles into arms.

Is it too much to ask that we collectively suck it up until we reach a critical mass of vaccinations so that we can ALL look forward to a summer which might resemble what we used to call 'normal'?
Apparently so.

A couple of local stories that appear to be representative for the provinces from Quebec west.
Ontario reports 1,747 new COVID-19 cases, 15 new deaths
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-covid19-cases-sunday-1.5949389

Not only are the new cases counts in Ontario rising again in spite of the arrival of vaccines in quantity, the province likely still hasn't figured out how to accurately record and report the data, but are at least pretty consistent in always under-reporting.
Ontario criticized for reporting ‘misleading’ ICU numbers for COVID-19 patients
https://www.thestar.com/politics/provincial/2021/03/12/ontario-criticized-for-reporting-misleading-icu-numbers-for-covid-19-patients.html

Another Ontario Region Is Going Into Lockdown & Others Are Moving To More Restricted Zones
https://www.narcity.com/en-ca/news/toronto/ontarios-lockdown-will-include-lambton-other-regions-are-moving-zones

Ottawa sees highest one-day increase in COVID-19 cases since Jan. 23
https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/ottawa-sees-highest-one-day-increase-in-covid-19-cases-since-jan-23-1.5346136

For current COVID-19 numbers, go to
https://epiforecasts.io/covid/posts/national/canada/
and https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/canada/ .

COVID-19 News Items

Vaccines won't be the end of masks, physical distancing, Tam says
https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1870121027512

Contrary to sensational reporting, Indigenous people aren’t scared of a COVID-19 vaccine
https://theconversation.com/contrary-to-sensational-reporting-indigenous-people-arent-scared-of-a-covid-19-vaccine-156444

$4/hour pandemic pay boost urged for Ontario health-care workers
https://www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com/news/peterborough-region/2021/03/08/4hour-pandemic-pay-boost-urged-for-ontario-health-care-workers.html

When governments fell short during COVID-19, long-term care workers stepped up
https://theconversation.com/resistance-innovation-improvisation-when-governments-fell-short-during-covid-19-long-term-care-workers-stepped-up-156896

Brampton suspending bus route, testing drivers after coronavirus outbreak at Amazon fulfillment centre
https://www.cp24.com/news/covid-19-outbreak-reported-at-amazon-warehouse-as-brampton-transit-suspends-service-on-route-1.5339526

Canada falls behind on barcode technology for COVID-19 vaccine tracking
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-canada-falls-behind-on-barcode-technology-for-covid-19-vaccine/

Analysis: Presumptive COVID-19 variants spread sharply across Quebec
https://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/analysis-presumptive-covid-19-variants-spread-sharply-across-quebec

A new COVID-19 side effect? Some patients are developing sudden onset diabetes
https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/a-new-covid-19-side-effect-some-patients-are-developing-sudden-onset-diabetes-1.5346561

(Digital) Deception

Another item from the GameStop files. It's not over, but the FUD factor is still revving up. Trying to counter that with some more substantial analysis and less misdirection.
Why the GameStop story is far from over

The Reddit Herring bit is offensive. Imagine that a social media platform would be caught acting like a, like a, like a social media platform. That's a distraction. In my opinion, the GameStop story is a battle of the investment house 'whales'. One group got overly greedy and got caught out publicly by some retail investors, which made it a social media story (and still not really being covered by the corporate mainstream media), while another group have decided to profit from the mistake of the first group. Retail investors are largely irrelevant to how this will play out. On a daily basis, the big players are buying or borrowing tens of millions of shares; retail investors are buying one to a hundred. The tail isn't wagging the dog here. Some small investors are essentially playing a side bet on one side, for a variety of reasons. Trying to make a quick profit isn't the only one. No doubt, some small investors will lose money on this adventure. Small investors lose in the stock market daily, and some were wiped out in 2008-9. The big investors didn't care then about the small investors, and they don't care now. So the crocodile tears you see in mainstream media are more a sign of the vulnerability of the exposed big investment houses who were shorting the stock up until the end of February. Given the inability of the SEC to effectively report on the U.S. equity markets, let alone regulate them per their mandate, it's anybody's guess where the various investment houses are positioned now. But somebody has continued to borrow a lot of shares so far in March, so the game continues. And some big investment houses are clearly angry to have been called out by a few retail investors, which likely means they did have their hands in the cookie jar. For now, this story is NOT about the company's fundamentals.

I have recently agreed to revisit the hydrogen energy disinformation file and will be doing a presentation on it at the end of this month. I'll likely share that here around that time. If you're interested and want to dive into the topic before that, my award-winning book on the topic is still in print, and still frighteningly on the mark. Available in e-book format at https://www.iuniverse.com/en/bookstore/bookdetails/126185-The-Emperor-s-New-Hydrogen-Economy

Life is hard. It's harder during the pandemic.
Beware the Ides of March (that's today).

;-) I got my royalty cheque for book sales this past week.
     US$1.96. For a year.
     That's up from last year's amount, so I'm clearly profiting
     from the renewed interest in hydrogen energy.

Injection beats infection. But we gave infection a big head-start.
Spread knowledge, not the virus.
Stay well, stay safe, stay sane, stay home if you can.
We're not done yet, but that day is getting closer.
With thanks to those making the effort, every day, for us all.


March 12, 2021

COVID-19

Warning: these posts are for 'adults'; people with the ability to think for themselves, take responsibility for their actions, and prepared to work for the greater good. If that isn't you, remember to wash your hands and face with soap regularly and don't touch anything. Stay home. The Internet has plenty of content to entertain you.

I haven't posted for a bit. Been busy, and not much news on the COVID-19 front; whining of plague province premiers isn't news, just noise.

Yesterday, there were a lot of reflection pieces on a year since the pandemic announcement by the WHO. Somehow, not so much about what we have to do for the next few months to really get out from under the COVID-19 lingering traps. Until we have a very high percentage of people vaccinated, and we know we have the variants under control, stick to the health guidance plan. Over 22,000 Canadians have died of COVID-19; more continue to die every day.

Deaths aren't the only negative outcome from COVID-19. Here's the story of someone who has 'recovered' from COVID. https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1872474691906
(segment starts around the 23:24 to 31:40)

The 1-year mark doesn't mean we're done, it's just a date. We're not all vaccinated. The variants are spreading.

Speaking of 1 year COVID-19 anniversaries, here's Ontario Premier Doug Ford a year ago today, the day AFTER the WHO called COVID-19 a world-wide pandemic.
https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/coronavirus-doug-ford-tells-families-they-should-travel-and-enjoy-themselves-on-march-break/ar-BB116ty4
Yep, he made international news that day.

For current COVID-19 numbers, go to
https://epiforecasts.io/covid/posts/national/canada/
and https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/canada/ .

COVID-19 News Items

Novavax Says Vaccine Is 96% Effective At Preventing Original Covid-19 Virus
https://www.forbes.com/sites/leahrosenbaum/2021/03/11/novavax-says-vaccine-is-96-effective-at-preventing-original-covid-19-virus/
86% effective against the B.1.1.7 (UK) variant, which is currently the major threat in Canada.

(Digital) Deception

The GameStop saga isn't over. Again. Again. You can tell by how hard the exposed hedge funds are working to hide their exposures, and investing in mass deception via the mainstream media who largely don't understand the equity markets any more than they understand economics, science or technology.

This is just one example of the games they're playing to mislead causing Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD).

On Wednesday this week, starting at precisely 12:15 p.m. the price of GameStop stock - traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), plunged from US$347 to US$216 within 25 minutes. The massed sell-off ended at 12:40. That was a 38% drop in a flash crash based on big borrows of shares by hedge funds a few hours beforehand.

Market manipulation is illegal in the U.S. If it was just one hedge fund, I'd say they're entitled to use their money in the equity markets however they want. Here's the catch, in my opinion. This article was published at 11:55 a.m. the same day - 20 minutes before the flash crash started.
The versions of the article at MarketWatch and Imgur have since been removed, but this artifact still remains. (I'm also reproducing a screenshot below, in case this also disappears.)

For the squinty-eyed amongst us, the headline reads:
"MW UPDATE: GameStop stock was reaching new heights, but the meme stocks [sic] just plummeted"
That's either clairvoyance or collusion. If the former, Mr. Witkowski should be buying lottery tickets and not wasting his time writing for MW. If the latter, that's pretty clearly market manipulation.

I think this is a big deal. This morning, as I watch the major North American stock indexes (indices if you must) showing a lot of red (losses), GameStop stock is one of the few items showing green (gains). This link has been shown on a few days previously in 2021. It's expensive to run ever-growing short positions when you're on the wrong side of the price line. So, are the exposed hedge funds having to sell off other assets to cover the short term bills for maintaining highly leveraged short positions? If that's really the link, the GameStop gamble is huge.

Life is hard. It's harder during the pandemic.
It's harder when the economic bullies aren't subject to the same rules as the retail investors.
Perhaps there's a light at the end of that tunnel now.
Gary Gensler, Biden’s Pick to Head SEC, Approved by Senate Committee
https://www.wsj.com/articles/gary-gensler-biden-s-pick-to-head-sec-approved-by-senate-committee-11615404521

;-) Apparently it's Friday. I think that used to be important.

Injection beats infection. But we gave infection a big head-start.
Spread knowledge, not the virus.
Stay well, stay safe, stay sane, stay home if you can.
We're not done yet, but that day is getting closer.
With thanks to those making the effort, every day, for us all.


March 6, 2021

COVID-19

Warning: these posts are for 'adults'; people with the ability to think for themselves, take responsibility for their actions, and prepared to work for the greater good. If that isn't you, remember to wash your hands and face with soap regularly and don't touch anything. Stay home. The Internet has plenty of content to entertain you.

It's been a little bit since I have posted here. Mostly because I try to keep this a bit upbeat despite the general tone of the news, and recently many things have been making me cranky. So let's start with some good news.

Canada clears Johnson & Johnson vaccine, first to approve 4
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/canada-clears-johnson-26-johnson-vaccine-first-to-approve-4/ar-BB1ehZ4f
The J&J vaccine can be stored in conventional refrigerator and takes only one injection to become effective.

8M vaccine doses to land in Canada by end of March after Pfizer moves up delivery
https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/8m-vaccine-doses-to-land-in-canada-by-end-of-march-after-pfizer-moves-up-delivery-1.5335386

Now let's see if the ever-critical provinces who have bungled the pandemic from the get-go can actually get going on delivering vaccines to residents. So far, in low volumes, that's been a bumpy ride in the plague provinces.

I'm also going to voice a special thanks to all those in the federal government who have done the actual work to get us this far, despite the cheap shots from the politicians of other stripes and their vocal allies in the mainstream media which have continually tried to foment hysteria about 'mismanagement' by the feds. For a crew that typically crow about how we should rely on the private sector to deliver, that side of the ideological spectrum, big business in Canada has been pretty weak on moving the response forward.

The big responses on PPE have come from community and small business. Major retailers had to be shamed and then regulated into providing PPE for front-line staff. For-profit long-term care homes in Ontario still have not provided pandemic pay to their staff.

And the core reason for Canada 'lagging' in delivering vaccines is that they were dealing with the international 'free-market' economy, so it's ironic that the right-wing whiners in Canada keep overlooking the profit motive and vaccine nationalism are the key hold-ups, after their brethren gutted Canada's historic capacity to produce vaccines. Uncertainty and risk-taking are hallmarks of the capitalist system, so the cheerleaders of that philosophy need to own that Canadians aren't going to get a date, time and place for their injections next week.

For current COVID-19 numbers, go to
https://epiforecasts.io/covid/posts/national/canada/
and https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/canada/ .

COVID-19 News Items

Ottawa Hospital to manufacture COVID-19 vaccine
https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/ottawa-hospital-to-manufacture-covid-19-vaccine-1.5324501

Ontario says counterfeit N95 masks may have been distributed to healthcare providers amid coronavirus pandemic
https://www.cp24.com/news/ford-government-warns-of-potential-counterfeit-n95-masks-in-provincial-stockpile-1.5326025

Rapid Testing Kit Use to be Expanded in Saskatchewan
https://swiftcurrentonline.com/local/rapid-testing-kit-use-to-be-expanded-in-saskatchewan

(Digital) Deception

You may have noticed that share prices in the U.S. equity markets have been taking a fairly broad beating over the past 2 weeks, but the mainstream media are strangely silent on the matter.

For a couple of months there has been a general fear that the bull market could not last indefinitely, and a correction (euphemism for dropping values) was overdue. This in the face of a stimulus package on its way from the U.S. government that should jolt the U.S. economy back into a higher gear, reduce consumer debt and increase consumer spending.

My bank account attests I'm no expert on judging how the economy will move, but I do have a growing theory on what's happening in the U.S. equity markets this past week. This isn't the 'market correction'. It's the continuing GameStop story, and it isn't over.

Major market players have lied about their financial positions on shorting this company's stock, and they are now deeply vulnerable. The sell-off on Thursday and Friday was the result of those exposed funds selling other assets to continue manipulating the market price of the target stock. By Friday afternoon, it looked like they were getting off cheap this week, and other equity prices started to recover. Don't be surprised to see a repeat next week. In short, if you are listening to mainstream media on what's happening in U.S. equities this month, you're likely being misinformed.

In another bit of sleight of hand in the media game, CBC management has dissed its own journalists and chose to engage in the 'Trust Project', which is a Trojan Horse funded by Google and Facebook - the entities that want free use of news produced by others, for their own profit.

Life is hard. It's harder during the pandemic.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
~ Albert Einstein

;-) My wife thinks I'm crazy. She's perceptive that way,
     but I'm not the one who married me.

Injection beats infection. But we gave infection a big head-start.
Spread knowledge, not the virus.
Stay well, stay safe, stay sane, stay home if you can.
We're not done yet, but that day is getting closer.
With thanks to those making the effort, every day, for us all.


For earlier entries, see earlier blog file.
For the current blog, see the Econogics Blog.

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