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August 8, 2020

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.

On Friday (August 7), Canada reported 424 new cases - Alberta contributing the most of any province, and there is a new outbreak in Manitoba. Only 4 deaths. Active cases up to 6,580.

The world will likely pass the 20,000,000 cases mark by Monday. Deaths will surpass 725,000 by then. Over 6 million active cases.

Antibody Testing Results Are Rolling In Across Canada. Here’s What We’ve Learned.
https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/antibody-test-herd-immunity-canada_ca_5f2c32aec5b6b9cff7eeadcc

School Re-openings

‘So many unanswered questions’ as teachers brace for school reopenings, says Hamilton union
https://www.thespec.com/news/hamilton-region/2020/08/06/so-many-unanswered-questions-as-teachers-brace-for-school-reopenings-says-hamilton-union.html

Education unions in Toronto call on TDSB to rethink school restart plan
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/unions-bargaining-units-open-letter-toronto-district-school-board-reopening-plan-1.5675933

Ontario's back-to-school plan puts teachers at risk, says union leader
https://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-the-thursday-edition-1.5669365/ontario-s-back-to-school-plan-puts-teachers-at-risk-says-union-leader-1.5669367

Premier, education minister defend Ontario's back-to-school plan amid class size concerns
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ford-lecce-ontario-school-plan-distancing-1.5677727

Toronto Public Health has ‘concerns’ with Ford government’s schools reopening plan.
https://www.ourwindsor.ca/news-story/10133046-toronto-public-health-has-concerns-with-ford-government-s-schools-reopening-plan/

Personal Opinion: From my reading, I don't think we're ready to safely re-open the schools in Ontario. I don't think we know enough to make good, informed decisions which will impact our kids lives for 5-8 decades, or the potential for virus spread from these new connection points - young children do not physically distance by nature. In my day (some days I feel very old saying things like this), Kindergarten was recognized as a virus transmission hot zone.

I do agree there's a potential impact on social development of our youth, but I have thought that since they started using personal smart phones and other electronic devices - well before COVID-19. I don't think our elected leaders have thought through the potential impacts on the adult staff who will be engaged: teachers, teaching assistants, custodians, food services, bus drivers ... Do we have the facility to wipe down every school bus between every run? I understand in Ottawa a school bus may do 3-4 runs per morning and again in the afternoon, with very little time between runs; none on days when it snows.

In my opinion, the key determinant on re-opening schools should be when virus transmission in the community after lifting some socializing restrictions has been suppressed to near zero, as measured by new cases with wide scale testing. School by school if necessary. No sharing of staff across schools. No second jobs. A curriculum that covers COVID-19 in depth and all transmission suppression methods, including training and practice. Community contact tracing which is tweaked to focus on schools whenever each school re-opens - these are going to be cluster outbreak high-risk zones. There will be spread into homes and existing social circles/bubbles/networks. Do kids who have been largely isolated at home for months have to break their existing social bubbles - which might include grand-parents - once they return to school?

Until there are vaccines providing protection and immunity, I think the goal should still be eradication of virus via transmission suppression and hygiene. Especially before consciously creating a high number of new daily mass-gatherings.

However, my opinions don't drive high-level decision-making. That's done by people with money and power.

Could a Janky, Jury-Rigged Air Purifier Help Fight Covid-19?
https://www.wired.com/story/could-a-janky-jury-rigged-air-purifier-help-fight-covid-19/
Perhaps we should put one of these in every classroom, on a stand to be even with head-height of seated students. Noting that used filters should treated as biohazard waste. Perhaps also UV-C air cleaners (though I have found these to be noisy, while others don't notice the sound).

Additional protection for teachers and other adults.
We know that procedure and cloth masks degrade communication by obscuring facial body language and muffling voices. (If effective communication and education aren't the point here, why are we sending kids back to school in the first place?) I think face-shields with curtains for teachers, assistants and others communicating with students would be a better solution than cloth masks.
https://www.econogics.com/c4c/COVIDCurtain.htm

PPE

Labour ministry orders eye protection for Rainforest Cafe servers
https://www.niagarafallsreview.ca/news/niagara-region/2020/08/07/labour-ministry-orders-eye-protection-for-rainforest-cafe-servers.html

Healthcare is still hooked on single-use plastic PPE, but there are more sustainable options
https://theconversation.com/healthcare-is-still-hooked-on-single-use-plastic-ppe-but-there-are-more-sustainable-options-143940

Digital Deception

Fraudsters create fake Canadian company, steal foreign website to victimize job seekers
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/fake-company-job-scam-gux-it-1.5677217

;-) Q: Where's the best place to hide a body?
     A: Page two of Google Search.

That's it from here for a while.
Spread knowledge, not the virus.
Stay well, stay safe, stay sane, stay home if you can.
We're not done yet. Not nearly.


August 7, 2020

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.

On Thursday, Canada reported 374 new COVID-19 cases and 4 deaths. Active cases at 6,347.>/P>

The U.S. has surpassed 5 million cases (over 58,000 yesterday), and 160,000 deaths (over 1,200 yesterday).

The world added over 280,000 cases and almost 6,500 deaths yesterday.

Physical distancing, mask-wearing could be in place for 2-3 years even with vaccine, Tam warns
https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/covid-19-vaccine-tam-1.5673729

A second COVID-19 wave? Here are 6 lessons from the first
https://theconversation.com/a-second-covid-19-wave-here-are-6-lessons-from-the-first-142629

Vaccines Canadian company urges human trials for its COVID-19 vaccine
https://www.nationalobserver.com/2020/08/05/news/canadian-company-urges-human-trials-its-covid-19-vaccine

COVID for Cover Alberta, Ottawa reduce oilsands environmental monitoring budget due to pandemic
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alta-oilsands-monitoring-1.5673433

COVID Collateral Harm 25,000 Canadians hospitalized or killed by self-harm last year, research says
Experts fear numbers will climb due to stress brought on by the pandemic
https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/self-harm-suicide-canada-covid19-1.5675451

Fossil Fuel Industry Updates
Big Oil Companies Lose Billions, Prepare for Prolonged Pandemic
https://www.wsj.com/articles/chevron-swung-to-second-quarter-loss-as-oil-demand-slumped-11596195007

Oil nosedives while renewables rise.
https://www.corporateknights.com/channels/energy/oil-nosedives-while-renewables-rise-15965425/

World is now shutting down coal plants faster than it's opening them
https://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/world-global-coal-power-capacity-has-fell-in-2020/12523904

Vietnam considers scrapping half of coal power plant pipeline in favour of gas and renewables
https://www.eco-business.com/news/vietnam-considers-scrapping-half-of-coal-power-plant-pipeline-in-favour-of-gas-and-renewables/

Total’s Alberta oilsands writeoff is a wake-up call — not a cheap shot
https://thenarwhal.ca/opinion-total-alberta-oilsands-fort-hills-writeoff/

Why scientists intentionally spilled oil into a Canadian lake
https://theconversation.com/why-scientists-intentionally-spilled-oil-into-a-canadian-lake-132077

Dakota Access pipeline staves off shutdown order once again
https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/dakota-access-pipeline-staves-off-shutdown-order-once-again-1.1475989

Tracking diesel reduction progress in remote communities
https://www.pembina.org/blog/tracking-diesel-reduction-progress-remote-communities

Digital Deception
BlackBerry launches open-source tool to help reverse engineer malware
https://www.itworldcanada.com/article/blackberry-launches-open-source-tool-to-help-reverse-engineer-malware/434007
(not for the typical computer user, but good to see a key player in the computer security space is fighting back)

Garmin secured decryption key, paid ransom to hackers
https://cyclingtips.com/2020/08/report-garmin-secured-decryption-key-paid-ransom-to-hackers/
Garmin Coming Back Online After Hack — Was $10M Crypto Ransom Paid?
https://cointelegraph.com/news/garmin-coming-back-online-after-hack-was-10m-crypto-ransom-paid

Microsoft Edge is malware, says angry Windows 7 user
https://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-edge-is-malware-says-angry-windows-7-user/

VERIFY: Viral post shows CDC notice saying cloth masks 'do not filter anything'
https://www.wusa9.com/article/news/verify/verify-cdc-put-out-a-notice-saying-cloth-masks-dont-do-anything/65-d5377949-d1ea-4388-865e-b42b0c98d803
(If someone sends you an attachment for something likely on an official website, verify for yourself on the website.)

If it is important to you to keep the data on your mobile devices (e.g. banking information, personal information, address book, content of emails and texts ...), then encryption and passwords should be standard issue for you. How secure is encryption? Here's one story.
It took five years to crack an encrypted Blackberry.
https://fudzilla.com/news/51288-it-took-five-years-to-crack-an-encrypted-blackberry

;-) There are 10 types of people in the world.
     Those that understand binary and those that don't.

Spread knowledge, not the virus.
Stay well, stay safe, stay sane, stay home if you can.
We're not done yet. Not nearly.


August 6, 2020

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.

On Tuesday, Canada added 761 new COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths. On Wednesday, the numbers were 395 and 4. Active cases at 6,347, down slightly from 2 days earlier.

Even if there's a vaccine, pandemic may persist for years to come: Tam
https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/even-if-there-s-a-vaccine-pandemic-may-persist-for-years-to-come-tam-1.5050584

New study suggests a tiny fraction of Ontario has been infected with COVID-19
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/new-study-finds-a-tiny-fraction-of-ontari-has-been-infected-with-covid-19-1.5673201

Contact Tracing App

COVID Alert app could result in some people being ID'd
https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/covid-alert-app-privacy-1.5674392
(Already people are also reporting they can't download the app because their smartphones are ' too old'. e.g. iPhone 6. If the objective is 70% coverage, that's going to be tougher if the app disqualifies a lot of phones.)

Remdesivir

https://www.medchemexpress.com/GS-441524.html
"GS-441524, predominant metabolite of Remdesivir and superior to Remdesivir against Covid-19, shows comparable efficacy in cell-based models of primary human lung and cat cells infected with coronavirus."
Made by the same company as makes Remdesivir. Wonder why I haven't heard of it before now.

Sanitizer and PPE

Health Canada recalls more than 50 hand sanitizers in evolving list
https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/sanitizer-recall-expands-canada-1.5675182

Clorox won’t have enough disinfecting wipes until 2021, CEO Benno Dorer says
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/international-business/us-business/article-clorox-wont-have-enough-disinfecting-wipes-until-2021-ceo-benno/

N95 masks unsafe to use after 2nd sterilization: Winnipeg hospital study
https://globalnews.ca/news/7251871/n95-masks-unsafe-second-sterilization-winnipeg-hospital-study/

Virus Transmission

Fauci Says Face Shields Good Idea for Teachers Back in Schools
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-08-03/fauci-says-face-shields-good-idea-for-teachers-back-in-schools

Droplet spread from humans doesn't always follow airflow
https://phys.org/news/2020-08-droplet-humans-doesnt-airflow.html
(So, I'll say again, better protection for individuals would use shielding all the way around the head of the wearer to protect the eyes, nose and mouth.)

I think there is a better solution for personal protection against virus transmission than face masks or face shields - if you have to go out with other people outside your bubble and can't maintain appropriate physical distancing. I call it Curtains for COVID.

In the past couple of weeks, I have obtained a face shield from ETM Industries (Renfrew ON), and I have designed a curtain specifically for it. I have now put the design for that curtain up on this website and you can acquire rights to make a couple of curtains for your own use for $2.
Curtains for COVID page: https://www.econogics.com/c4c/
ETM Industries curtain page: https://www.econogics.com/c4c/ETM_Curtain.htm

Should You Buy a Face Shield?
https://slate.com/technology/2020/08/face-shields-what-you-need-to-know.html
'One of the big reasons extra protection—whether from a mask and a shield, or possibly some kind of beekeeper-eqsue contraption—can be useful isn’t eye protection. It’s additional protection, on your whole face, from other people. That includes people who outright refuse to wear masks, and also children who have trouble keeping them on throughout the day. Having not just some eye protection, but extra protection overall, stands to cut down on the viral load wearers might receive. Of course, Perncevich offers the caveat that schools in areas with high case counts shouldn’t be opening at all; the PPE is meant to be a backstop, not a permission slip. But if you’re obligated to go to work under risky circumstances, protecting yourself as much as possible is wise. “With a face shield,” says Perencevich, “you’re less dependent on other people.”'

I have said before that the deaths in long-term care homes was likely the easily identified harbinger of a more dispersed problem occurring in home-based care, where the stats are harder to collect. But, it's still a better solution for most people than being warehoused. Home care is key to improving care for all seniors.
https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2020/07/29/home-care-is-key-to-improving-care-for-all-seniors.html

Here's the catch. It isn't news; it's standard operating procedure for at least 20 years.
Home health workers stressed, overlooked amid COVID-19
https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/08/survey-home-health-workers-stressed-overlooked-amid-covid-19

;-) Failure is not an option -- it comes bundled with Windows.

Spread knowledge, not the virus.
Stay well, stay safe, stay sane, stay home if you can.
We're not done yet. Not nearly.


August 5, 2020

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 had a full edition about ready to go, when I received a pointer to this article.

Here's a teaser paragraph that made me go read it, right then.

"The countries that fared better against COVID-19 didn’t follow a universal playbook. Many used masks widely; New Zealand didn’t. Many tested extensively; Japan didn’t. Many had science-minded leaders who acted early; Hong Kong didn’t—instead, a grassroots movement compensated for a lax government. Many were small islands; not large and continental Germany. Each nation succeeded because it did enough things right."

Then I read it again.

Here's the link:
How the Pandemic Defeated America
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/09/coronavirus-american-failure/614191/

Go read it. Nothing else for today. Just read this one article.


August 4, 2020

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.

Reported numbers for Monday likely reflect long weekend reporting gaps. Canada reported only 147 new COVID-19 cases, well below the trend line. Only 2 additional deaths. Active cases rose to 6,487.

While the mainstream media likes to focus on the daily and total numbers of deaths, I prefer to look at the cases and deaths per capita to get a sense of how different countries, states and provinces are managing the pandemic. Where there are low numbers, I look to see what those places are doing differently. For high numbers, the background is depressingly similar: don't take this virus seriously. Still, while North American media like to point at the U.S. data, which is truly depressingly staggering, the U.S. is actually number 10 on the list of deaths per capita. Belgium is number 2, followed by the UK. Spain, Italy and Sweden are at 5,7, and 8.

Transmission trouble: Statistician concerned over back-to-school plan.
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/statistician-worried-back-to-school-plan-risky-1.5671012

260 Kids and Staff Test Positive for Coronavirus at Georgia Overnight Camp, CDC Says
https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/us/260-kids-and-staff-test-positive-for-coronavirus-at-georgia-overnight-camp-cdc-says/ar-BB17sfSl?li=AAggNb9

Two schools which re-opened in the U.S. were open a week or less before outbreaks were reported. Knowledgeable commentators are suggesting that communitiy spread levels need to be low and well managed before schools are re-opened in those areas. Makes sense to me. We simply don't know enough about the long-term effects of the SARS-CoV-2 virus on children in later life to be taking a cavalier attitude to their short-term and long-term health.

Even With Proper PPE, Frontline Healthcare Workers 3x More Likely to Test Positive for COVID-19
https://scitechdaily.com/even-with-proper-ppe-frontline-healthcare-workers-3x-more-likely-to-test-positive-for-covid-19/

'It's been 19 weeks now': COVID-19 'long-hauler' describes her lasting symptoms
https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/it-s-been-19-weeks-now-covid-19-long-hauler-describes-her-lasting-symptoms-1.5048558

WHO says pandemic will likely be 'lengthy,' warns of 'response fatigue'
https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/who-says-pandemic-will-likely-be-lengthy-warns-of-response-fatigue-1.5048701

Association of Cardiac Infection With SARS-CoV-2 in Confirmed COVID-19 Autopsy Cases
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamacardiology/fullarticle/2768914?appId=scweb

Dangerous Hand Sanitizers Keep Getting Recalled In Canada & There Are Health Risks
https://www.narcity.com/news/ca/hand-sanitizer-recall-in-canada-has-happened-again-there-are-health-risks

Mounting poisonings, blindness, deaths as toxic hand sanitizers flood market.
https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/07/mounting-poisonings-blindness-deaths-as-toxic-hand-sanitizers-flood-market/

Speaking of hand sanitizer, I bought a bottle a couple of days ago from a business a few kilometres away which re-oriented its distillery business to add the hand sanitizer to its product line in response to the demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They also sell a product for internal consumption with antiseptic qualities: vodka. Looking forward to sampling the latter. The former seems fine. Best not tell the White House; the occupant might get the two different products confused.
Vodkow Website
https://www.dairydistillery.com/

Lockdown worked for the rich, but not for the poor. The untold story of how COVID-19 spread across Toronto, in 7 graphics
https://www.ourwindsor.ca/news-story/10129678-lockdown-worked-for-the-rich-but-not-for-the-poor-the-untold-story-of-how-covid-19-spread-across-toronto-in-7-graphics/

Does stage 4 'shock and awe' in Melbourne mean we should have gone for elimination of coronavirus after all?
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/aug/02/does-stage-4-shock-and-awe-in-melbourne-mean-we-should-have-gone-for-elimination-of-coronavirus-after-all

Pressure easing on PPE procurement
https://www.tbnewswatch.com/local-news/pressure-easing-on-ppe-procurement-2609461

US imports of PPE drop, even as coronavirus cases soar
https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/3095363/us-mask-and-ventilator-imports-plummet-despite-soaring

University of New Brunswick developing portable coronavirus diagnostic tests
https://globalnews.ca/news/7240898/university-of-new-brunswick-portable-coronavirus-covid-19-tests/

McMaster engineers score breakthrough in COVID19 testing https://bayobserver.ca/2020/08/02/mcmaster-engineers-score-breakthrough-in-covid19-testing/

The land with no face masks: Holland's top scientists say there's no solid evidence coverings work
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8583925/The-land-no-face-masks-Hollands-scientists-say-theres-no-solid-evidence-coverings-work.html
(Netherlands are at number 15 in terms of deaths per capita, so take this finding with that in mind.)

There are now face mask vending machines in Toronto malls
https://www.blogto.com/city/2020/08/face-mask-vending-machines-toronto-malls/

North Edmonton business plans to give out 1,000 face masks
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/north-edmonton-business-plans-to-give-out-1-000-face-masks-1.5672003

Rainforest Cafe worker will be allowed to wear face shield
https://www.niagarafallsreview.ca/news/niagara-region/2020/08/03/rainforest-cafe-worker-will-be-allowed-to-wear-face-shield.html

;-) DIY Hand Sanitizer (it's humour - don't actually do this)
     If you mix Tabasco in your hand sanitizer, it will not only
     kill germs but also teach not to touch your face and eyes.

Spread knowledge, not the virus.
Stay well, stay safe, stay sane, stay home if you can.
We're not done yet. Not nearly.


August 3, 2020

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.

Remember it's a long weekend in most of Canada, so reported data is likely subject to the weekend effect. Also keeping our fingers crossed that people are celebrating with COVID-19 infection guidance in mind. 285 new COVID-19 cases reported in Canada on Sunday, and 4 deaths. Active cases rose to 6,385.

Oil Edition

Are you tired of all the COVID-19 gloom and doom stories? Me, too. So for today, a change of topic. Recent 'delights' from the oil industry, in Canada and abroad. This is 'Now'.

Offshore Driller Noble Corp. Files for Bankruptcy.
https://gcaptain.com/offshore-driller-noble-corp-files-for-bankruptcy/

Seafloor damage from BP spill vastly underestimated in rush for legal settlement
https://www.nola.com/news/environment/article_944018de-c776-11ea-a8f8-9738b904d580.html

The Great Stain: 10 Years after the Kalamazoo River oil spill
https://www.secondwavemedia.com/southwest-michigan/features/Blog-The-Great-Stain-10-Years-after-the-Kalamazoo-River-oil-spill-072720.aspx

Environmental damages from oil spill in Norilsk estimated at $2.1 bln
https://tass.com/emergencies/1175379

Oh sure, the oil industry might be destroying our chances of survival on the planet, and they're continuing to hoover up our tax dollars with more taxpayer and non-financial subsidies than governments can even count or remember, but at least they're great business investments with safe, solid returns.

Oil Major Shell Reports Record Quarterly Loss After $16 Billion Write-Down
https://www.barrons.com/articles/oil-major-shell-reports-record-quarterly-loss-after-16-billion-write-down-51596116600

Global oil demand is shrinking and Canada is being squeezed out even before the Great Oil End-Game nears
https://financialpost.com/executive/posthaste-global-oil-demand-is-shrinking-and-canada-is-being-squeezed-out-even-before-the-great-oil-end-game-nears
(Emmm, this from the Financial Post - Canada's ultimate media cheerleader for the oil industry.)

Regardless of COVID, the outlook for the oilsands gets dimmer year after year
https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/oilsands-oilpatch-covid-19-forecast-1.5666151

Total takes $7-billion writedown on oilsands projects, labels Fort Hills, Surmont as 'stranded' assets
https://financialpost.com/commodities/energy/total-takes-8-1-billion-writedown-as-pandemic-devalues-oil-gas

Headache for OPEC as oil market structure signals return of glut.
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/investing/investment-ideas/article-headache-for-opec-as-oil-market-structure-signals-return-of-glut/

Canadian Oil Drilling Forecast Gets Slashed Again.
https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Canadian-Oil-Drilling-Forecast-Gets-Slashed-Again.html

Marathon Petroleum Won’t Restart Two Idled Oil Refineries
https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/marathon-petroleum-says-won-t-234632528.html

Fire breaks out at Norman Wells Imperial Oil plant
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/fire-imperial-oil-norman-wells-1.5671781

Dakota Access Pipeline Saga Stalls Oil Production Recovery In The Bakken
https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Dakota-Access-Pipeline-Saga-Stalls-Oil-Production-Recovery-In-The-Bakken.html

Deutsche Bank Immediately Ends Funding For Oil Sands And Arctic Oil Projects
https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Deutsche-Bank-Immediately-Ends-Funding-For-Oil-Sands-And-Arctic-Oil-Projects.html

Zurich drops cover for Trans Mountain pipeline
https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/ca/news/environmental/zurich-drops-cover-for-trans-mountain-pipeline-228697.aspx

UK's biggest pension fund begins fossil fuels divestment
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jul/29/national-employment-savings-trust-uks-biggest-pension-fund-divests-from-fossil-fuels

Coal is continuing on its road to demise (not for environmental or climate change benefits)
Creative destruction: the COVID-19 economic crisis is accelerating the demise of fossil fuels.
https://theconversation.com/creative-destruction-the-covid-19-economic-crisis-is-accelerating-the-demise-of-fossil-fuels-143739

OK, but at least they're lovely, cuddly, friendly organizations that give back to the areas where they operate.

This lawyer took on Chevron and won the largest human rights and environmental court
judgment in history. Then he lost his freedom.
https://www.nationalobserver.com/2020/07/31/opinion/lawyer-took-chevron-and-won-largest-human-rights-and-environmental-court-judgment

How the fossil fuel industry drives climate change and police brutality
https://grist.org/justice/how-the-fossil-fuel-industry-drives-climate-change-and-police-brutality/

Last word for this post goes to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers CEO, chief lobbyist for the oil industry operating in Canada, who doesn't understand that a major oil company operating outside Canada might actually respond to financial reality. Or perhaps he has confused Total with another foreign environmental organization that the Alberta government is looking at in their extended inquiry.
Whatever, when somebody says they're trashing $9.3 billion in assets, I think they might deserve to be taken seriously.
Total ‘virtue signalling’ by writing off oil sands assets: CAPP CEO
https://energynow.ca/2020/08/total-virtue-signalling-by-writing-off-oil-sands-assets-capp-ceo/

It may feel like I've been saving up for months to deliver all that material. Actually, that's just part of the haul in my inbox in the past 5 days.

It's time to take your car for a short drive if you haven't been using it for a while, to make sure it starts, circulate the fluids and scrape the rust off the brake surfaces.

;-) The oil change shop tried to scam a customer by telling him
     that his car needed "blinker fluid". The customer said,
     "Nice try, you can't trick me. My BMW doesn't have blinkers!"

Spread knowledge, not the virus.
Stay well, stay safe, stay sane, stay home if you can.
We're not done yet. Not nearly.


August 2, 2020

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.

On the Saturday of a long weekend, Canada reported 287 new COVID-19 cases and 6 additional deaths. The active case count rose slightly to 6,222.

COVID-19 linked to heart damage in healthy people, small study suggests
https://www.livescience.com/covid-19-causes-heart-damage-healthy-people.html
The JAMA Paper
Outcomes of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Patients Recently Recovered From Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamacardiology/fullarticle/2768916

How does COVID-19 spread? U of T infectious disease expert breaks down the latest research.
https://www.utoronto.ca/news/how-does-covid-19-spread-u-t-infectious-disease-expert-breaks-down-latest-research

Federally-backed COVID alert app now available in Ontario.
https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/federally-backed-covid-alert-app-now-available-in-ontario-1.5046667

Mixed Messaging - Masks and Shields

So far, to my knowledge, there is no definitive evidence of how effective mask wearing is for reducing the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. That will be hard to prove because there are no standards for the cloth masks, there are a wide range of types commercially available, there are no controlled trials, there is not high observance of mask wearing - especially where re-opening includes dine-in restaurants, and it is clear from personal observation and video clips in media that many people are not wearing, handling or storing masks in accordance with guidance. And guidance is another problem; it is inconsistent across jurisdictions and authorities.

This matters because we're talking about a societal health issue and an infectious disease, and if we want people to follow guidance, the authorities need to be credible. There are active disinformation campaigns on social media eroding the credibility of government and civil society leadership, which makes the job more difficult.

This story summed up my sense of confusion over regarding guidance on preventive measures.
Rainforest Cafe server sent home for wearing face shield.
https://www.niagarafallsreview.ca/news/niagara-region/2020/07/31/rainforest-cafe-server-sent-home-for-wearing-face-shield.html
Niagara Falls Rainforest Cafe server Camille Sneddon says she was sent home from work Wednesday for wearing a protective face shield in addition to her mask.
The health authority advice included in the article really isn't helpful for people trying to figure out what they're supposed to do to protect themselves and others effectively. I continue to note that while jurisdictions are now requiring people to wear cloth masks, they are not providing such masks, or indicating which masks are of adequate quality, nor providing good communication on how to don, wear, doff, store and wash/clean/sterilize the masks, nor speaking to the risks which come with mask wearing and how to address those.
Much of the guidance I am seeing doesn't do a good job of distinguishing between source control (stopping the spreading of the virus from the person wearing the mask or shield) and personal protection (stopping the free virus from infecting the person wearing PPE).

Face mask or shield? It's all down to personal preference, health expert says.
https://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the-current-for-july-30-2020-1.5668481/face-mask-or-shield-it-s-all-down-to-personal-preference-health-expert-says-1.5668563
That doesn't align with jurisdictions which are requiring citizens to acquire their own masks at their own cost, but recommending against or even forbidding the use of face shields.

UNB professor working on a mask that would kill the coronavirus.
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/developing-mask-to-kill-coronavirus-1.5667682
Note reference to used masks as biohazards. Outside hospitals and health clinics, I'm not aware of anyone treating used masks as biohazards. I certainly don't see that being indicated in guidance from chief medical officers from Canadian jurisdictions.
I'm hoping that the copper alloys will be resistant to build-up of verdigris due to oxidation, as well as retaining anti-viral and anti-microbial properties.

What To Look For In A Face Mask, According To Science
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/what-to-look-for-in-a-face-mask-according-to-science/

How to properly disinfect your cloth face masks, according to an infectious disease specialist - Insider.
https://www.insider.com/how-to-clean-face-masks

Sometimes a graphic demonstration is an effective way to communicate information, and a little humour is also helpful. Just before you click the video link below, one piece of relevant information. Droplets from sprayed paint are typically about 20-40 microns (micrometres) in diameter.
Particle Size Distribution of Automobile Paint Sprays
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1047322X.1992.10388052
The SARS-CoV-2 virus is about 60 to 140 nanometres (nm 1000 times smaller than a micron) in diameter.
A Novel Coronavirus from Patients with Pneumonia in China, 2019
https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMoa2001017
Cough droplets range from 80 to 1000 microns. Sneeze droplets are similar, but a very small quantity are smaller, as small as 5 microns.
Despite the overlapping ranges of droplet sizes, my belief is that the spray from the shaker can is a reasonable proxy for for particle size from coughs and sneezes, but I suspect the velocity/force of the spray can is somewhat less than a cough or sneeze.

Now click the link (runs almost 4 minutes):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6cTDGqcUpA&feature=youtu.be
Fun with COVID, citizen science and painless education. More please.

'Back to basics' to limit COVID-19 transmission in Ottawa; Dr. Etches.
https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/back-to-basics-to-limit-covid-19-transmission-in-ottawa-dr-etches-1.5045827

Ottawa officials brace for 'perfect storm' as COVID-19 contributes to increased drug overdoses.
https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/ottawa-officials-brace-for-perfect-storm-as-covid-19-contributes-to-increased-drug-overdoses/wcm/99c73582-e97d-4027-a765-75b9c0d9ba12/

Vitamin D and COVID-19: Experts say any possible link is ‘premature’.
https://globalnews.ca/news/7229458/coronavirus-vitamin-d-studies/

Lessons Not Learned
Doug Ford won't commit to providing nursing-home residents with four hours of daily hands-on care.
https://www.wellandtribune.ca/ts/politics/provincial/2020/07/31/doug-ford-wont-commit-to-providing-nursing-home-residents-with-four-hours-of-daily-hands-on-care.html

;-) What's the easiest way to get straight As?
     Use a ruler.

Spread knowledge, not the virus.
Stay well, stay safe, stay sane, stay home if you can.
We're not done yet. Not nearly.


August 1, 2020

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 reported 513 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and 6 additional deaths. Active cases count now at 6,150, a jump from Thursday.

The U.S. COVIDpocalyse continues unabated with over 70,000 new cases on Friday, over 2.2 million active cases and 1,462 additional deaths.

Vaccines

No, not for COVID-19 this time, but Lyme Disease. As climate change is increasing the range of Lyme Disease into more and more of Canada, this will be of topical interest when we're allowed to leave the house again (yes, I exaggerate, but there are a lot of stories of nature taking back territory as human activity has retreated and reduced during the pandemic response).
Valneva Announces Positive Initial Results for Phase 2 Study of Lyme Disease Vaccine Candidate
https://apnews.com/155d0664ebbd85a3d2ee9c9b0271ed14

We could be staying home and working from home for quite a while, based on what some big businesses are concluding and planning.
Royal Bank of Canada follows Scotiabank, TD in telling staff to work from home into 2021.
https://financialpost.com/news/fp-street/rbc-follows-rivals-in-telling-staff-to-work-from-home-into-2021

Personally, I find it hard to square that kind of announcement with the indecent haste some provinces are putting into re-opening schools in September given our current state of knowledge of how the COVID-19 virus affects infected children in the long term, and our established knowledge of how children behave in groups (physical distancing isn't a typical behaviour in my experience or observation in young children).

Other Health Issues (yes, there are health issues other than COVID-19)

While thinking about health beyond COVID-19, new research published on preventing / delaying dementia. A review published in the Lancet indicates people can partially protect themselves by not smoking, drinking less than 21 units of alcohol per week, maintaining a systolic blood pressure of less than 130 mmHg, avoiding activities that could lead to head injuries, using hearing aids if needed, eating a healthy diet, mental activity, treating/avoiding depression, exercising and socialising regularly. (Hmmm, COVID-19 might not be helping with the last few items on that list. On the other hand, getting people to take basic preventative health meassures to try to avoid undesired future health problems seems like a familiar topic in recent times.)

Dementia prevention, intervention, and care: 2020 report of the Lancet Commission
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30367-6/fulltext#seccestitle20

A couple of media articles in easier-to-read styles follow. I'll just note that despite the usage in mainstream media, dementia and Alzheimer's are not synonymous.

12 risk factors key to preventing nearly half of dementia cases, report says
https://globalnews.ca/news/7235872/preventing-dementia-risks/

Forty percent of dementia cases could be prevented or delayed by targeting 12 risk factors throughout life
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-07-forty-percent-dementia-cases-factors.html

All of which reminds of a good book I read on the topic years ago, and have previously recommended elsewhere, by a Canadian doctor, Dr. Antoine Hakim. I'm happy to recommend it again.
Save Your Mind (2017)
https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/save-your-mind-seven-rules/9781988025216-item.html
French version: Préservez votre vitalité mentale
https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/pr%C3%A9servez-votre-vitalit%C3%A9-mentale/9782761947138-item.html

Computer Health

That job offer in your inbox might be part of a North Korean cyberattack
https://www.techrepublic.com/article/that-job-offer-in-your-inbox-might-be-part-of-a-north-korean-cyberattack/

Ransomware: How clicking on one email left a whole business in big trouble
https://www.zdnet.com/article/ransomware-how-clicking-on-one-phishing-email-left-a-whole-business-in-big-trouble/

;-) Did you hear about the crossed-eyed teacher who lost
     her job because she couldn’t control her pupils?

Spread knowledge, not the virus.
Stay well, stay safe, stay sane, stay home if you can.
We're not done yet. Not nearly.


For earlier entries, see earlier blog file.

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