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Doesn’t mean quite what some will think

Chinese researchers may have begun developing two Covid vaccines in November 2019, before the official start of the outbreak, a US senate report has claimed.

The claims come in a 300-page document, which concluded that the pandemic most likely came from a lab leak and was the result of a “research-related incident” in Wuhan.

Imagine that you are doing that research. So, the reason is to test a) new covids and b) new vaccines for covids.

Create a new covid, then can you develop the vaccine for it?

So, if you’ve developed a new covid then you will – whether there is a leak or not – develop a new vaccine.

This is possible proof that Wuhan did develop the covid. It’s highly suggestive that it was a lab leak. But not whole and absolute proof – because if you were doing that research then you would be developing the new vaccine as a part of that research, leak or no.

Now, me, sure it’s a lab leak. Matt Ridley told us so and that’s good enough for me. But that’s belief, not proof.

Umm, well

The widower of a BBC presenter who died due to complications from the Covid-19 vaccination said he’s been left with “no alternative” but to take legal action against AstraZeneca.

Lisa Shaw, who worked for BBC Radio Newcastle, died a week after her first jab in May 2021.

A coroner ruled in August 2021 that the 44-year-old had died from a “vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia”, a rare condition linked to the vaccination.

Gareth Eve, her widower, said he had been trying to “engage with the government, MPs and three prime ministers” and no one had “reached out” in return.

Haven’t they legal immunity?

The vaccine compensation scheme exists for this very reason?

Language here Guardian, language

Food experts condemn UK supermarkets over failure to tackle sugar levels

They’re not, in fact, experts. They’re very naughty boys:

UK supermarkets have been accused of encouraging people to consume more sugar, despite the huge concern about its significant role in causing obesity, rotten teeth and type 2 diabetes.

Food campaigners claim supermarkets are doing little to reduce the amount of sugar they sell across their product ranges and are misleading people about how much they are doing to tackle obesity.

In a report, the scientific research group Action on Sugar and environmental charity Global Feedback condemn leading supermarkets including Tesco, Aldi and Waitrose for increasing the amount of sugar people consume, while pretending to be committed to helping them adopt healthier diets.

They’re not a scientific research group either. They’re a campaign group of puritan prodnoses.

A close analogy would be the Mary Whitehouses de nos jours.

Here’s where you’re going wrong

Rates of obesity among US adults have increased from 14% in 1980 to 42% today, and half the world is expected to be overweight or obese by 2035, with children and teens facing the sharpest increase in obesity and its consequences. Because data doesn’t support the idea that overeating and lack of exercise are squarely to blame,

Calories in, calories out, works very well indeed. Purely anecdotally – and yes, data is not the plural of anecdote, we know that one, even though actually* it is – my weight goes up when I don’t cycle for a couple of weeks. Goes down again when I get back to it.

If you want something a bit more scientific. I have long maintained that it is actually central heating which is the cause of modern obesity. We’re mammals, our major energy use is temperature regulation. America got fat before Britain – America got efficient central heating before Britain. QED. And I’m sure that real scince™ could be done here. Track the expansion of decent central heating across a population against the rise in obesity. I am absolutely certain that there will be a correlation across nations on this. Correlation doesn’t prove causation but still, I think that will be enough to explain much of what is happening here.

Anyone any good at actual real science™ and want to have a go at this?

*Where do anecdotes come from? Things that happen. What is data? Things that happen……

Seems reaonably logical

Humans may have spread Covid to Wuhan market, say scientists

We have species which can all catch covid in the same place. We have covid n that place. There’s nothing in those two points which tells us which way the transmission went, is there?

That we don’t find covid in those other species anywhere else might tip the balance of our belief……

Vox is goddamn insane

There are two problems keeping the price of EpiPen and its peers high. First, it’s a combination of a drug (epinephrine) and the device that delivers the drug. This drug-device combination is governed by a complex web of regulations that prevented the significant price drops you would expect when new competitors are introduced. And second, across the US health system, more of the cost of medical care is being passed on to patients, via high-deductible health plans and other benefit design changes, which means that many people are still exposed to high costs even if the topline price for epinephrine has started to come down.

That second argument is “It’s expensive because people have to pay for it”.

The answer to the first one is, of course, abolish the FDA.

Not a high risk thing then

The number of deaths registered in England involving Covid-19 vaccines causing adverse effects is miniscule compared to the number administered – 59 compared with 144.7 million.

I’d be surprised if a 144 million of absolutely anything at all – walking upstairs, packets of Smarties, lying in bed of a morning – does not cause that many deaths.

Just what is the problem here?

‘Eunuch maker’ appears in London court on GBH charges
Marius Gustavson is accused of broadcasting castration footage on website in wide-ranging conspiracy

Note that it’s not the broadcasting, nor charging for access to it. It’s the bodily harm:

They will also appear at the Old Bailey with their co-defendants next month. None of the men have entered pleas to any of the charges.

All of the alleged victims are said to have been part of a society in which people willingly undergo extreme body modification.

The practice is linked to a subculture where men become “nullos”, short for genital nullification, by having their penis and testicles removed.

Oh Well, guess we’ve another series of charges we can levy against the Tavistock then.

Idiot, idiot, tosser

It’s a tale of Americans who sell their blood proteins to get by financially, and my own physical dependence on them (I need regular plasma injections to keep me healthy). It’s also a tale of a system that relies on economic precarity, a hidden part of the US economy shunted off in strip malls by the Dollar Store or relegated to the poorer sides of the tracks in major cities, in places often neglected and ignored.

By the roughest guess, working backward from the number of plasma units collected in a single year, you could surmise that up to 20 million people in the US donate or sell their blood plasma, the yellowish liquid protein component of blood, in a year.

The number stunned me then, but in the bigger picture, maybe it’s not that hard to believe. The business centered on Americans’ blood plasma is a massively profitable one. In 2021, the global blood plasma industry was valued at $24bn. As one of only five countries – including Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany and Hungary – in the world that allows donors to be paid for their plasma, with a large and growing population of people on the economic ropes, the US has become a primary source provider of an essential bodily fluid that is spun into profit-making medicines.

There is no country in the world that produces enough plasma for its own demand from voluntary donations. None.

All countries are dependent upon supplies from those limited number of places where plasma is paid for. All.

Without paid for plasma you’d be dead, Honey. Chew on that.

Yes, plasma is different from blood. Just one of those things.


Obese people were more at risk of severe Covid for the opposite reason to what doctors originally thought, a new study suggests.

Experts initially believed that severely overweight people were becoming more ill when they caught coronavirus because their bodies were already highly inflamed, triggering a dangerous immune overload.

But now Cambridge University has found that obese people actually mount a poorer inflammatory response than healthy weight individuals, meaning they struggle to fight off the virus.

Patients suffering from severe Covid are often given anti-inflammatory drugs to help dial down the immune system, but the new study suggests the opposite might be needed for obese people.

All knowing those doctors, right?

Hmm, gosh, dunno

In the UK, being a woman means you’re three times more likely than a man to have a mental health problem. Rates of self-harm among young women have more than tripled since the 1990s. For those facing interlocking systems of oppression, it gets worse. Black British women are more likely to be diagnosed with a mental health problem than white women. South Asian women are 2.5 times more likely to attempt suicide than white women. Trans women and gender non-conforming folks face a “crisis of trans mental health”. But are women really becoming more “mentally ill”, or are we simply having understandable responses to a traumatising and unjust world?

Could be, could be.

Could also be that women are simply more neurotic about the shittiness of parts of life.

In one way this isn’t intelligence at all

Rather, it’s the removal of it from the process:

AI robots are better at picking organs for transplants than surgeons, say scientists
More than a £1m is to be invested in an algorithm in a move that could help hundreds more people get new kidneys and livers

Here’s the set of rules that make this work. Adding human decision making – intelligence – to the system lowers success rates from just following the rules. So, one way to think about this – just as fun d’ye see – is that this is removal of intelligence from the system.

Just a little observation

From Piltdown Man to anti-vaxxers … What science’s worst hoaxes can teach us

When being anti-vax was the preserve of the woo crowd with their crystals and Glastonburies being anti-vax was a real and valid concern. American schoolkiddies could go to school unvaccinated for example, if the parents were into woo enough that they insisted so (the American system of enforcing vaccination is to insist that schoolkids be so, but there are get outs).

Once being anti-vax became a right-wing (OK, falling off the edge of right-wing in some cases) concern then being anti-vax is a afraid.

Note, this is not to discuss being pro- or anti-vax for either childhood disease or covid. It’s a comment on how definitions of fraud change dependent upon which corner of the political square is agin’ ’em.

Bad but not exactly surprising

A severe and “horrific” form of mpox has been identified in immunosuppressed people living with HIV, which appears to be deadly in about 15% of cases.

Solid organ transplant recipients, and those with blood cancers, may also be at risk, although no cases have yet been detected in such individuals.

Scientists are calling on people at high risk of HIV to get tested for the virus, along with anyone who tests positive for mpox, which was formerly known as monkeypox.

Those who have suppressed immune systems suffer worse from infections. Oh Aye?

The other point to make is that while there are several forms of suppressed immune system it does appear to be only one of the subgroups that is actually getting this. Wonder if there’s some behavioural component to it, eh?


Pacemaker patients could be at risk from wearing a smartwatch, after scientists found that electric signals from fitness trackers can cause deadly interference in heart devices.

Fitness gadgets work by sending a small, imperceptible current of electricity into the body, but researchers say it can disrupt the electrical pulses that keep heart implants functioning.

Experts from the University of Utah warn that the current could trick pacemakers into thinking the heart is beating correctly when it needs help, or give an unneeded painful electric shock to people with internal defibrillators.

Although the electrical current cannot jump though the air between people, it could flow from one person to another if they are touching, the researchers also warned.

It suggests that people could be at risk from partners, children or other family members if they share close contact.

Is this a “could happen but unlikely” sorta thing? Or a here’s the row of coffins already filled as a result of it thing?

Isn’t this excellent?

Hundreds of thousands of women could benefit from cheaper hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as part of a scheme to cut prescription costs, the Department for Health has said.

From April 1, women prescribed HRT as part of menopause treatment will be able to access a new scheme to enable access to a year’s worth of treatment for just under £20, under a previously-announced scheme.

Health officials estimate that the change will benefit about 400,000 women, with a prescription pre-payment certificate for HRT valid for 12 months.

Just as there’s a nationwide shortage of HRT drugs. Let’s increase demand at a time of reduced supply. Stonks!

Note that it’s the NHS, not The Europeans, responsible for this Brexit problem

NHS patients claim they are being “blocked” from using a reciprocal post-Brexit healthcare agreement which would allow them to receive treatment quicker abroad.

The scheme, known as the S2 funding route, allows patients to undergo planned treatment, such as hip operations, in a European Union country through its state healthcare system.

The UK remained part of the scheme after exiting the EU as part of the Withdrawal Agreement, and EU residents are similarly entitled to apply for treatment on the NHS.

But patients report having to “jump through hoops of fire” to be approved, while waiting months in pain in NHS backlogs. To be approved under the scheme a doctor must confirm the wait for treatment on the NHS would count as an “undue delay”.

This is home grown that is. Actually, nowt to do with Brexit at all – the NHS weren’t ‘appy about doing this before freedom either.