Monday Message Board

Back again with another Monday Message Board.

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link. You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page

30 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. Lunar Oversight Authority (^1.)
    preferred by CHOH over 
    U.S. Space Force (^2.)

    Tax the Moon, but how about a sovereign wealth fund first. And we do not need the US to use… “all DOD satellites, satellite operators provide force-multiplying effects” which “will maintain and enhance the competitive edge of the DOD in space while adapting to new strategic challenges.”^2.

    “Tax the Moon That the Earth May Prosper: How to Tax Lunar Occupation

    “This author believes that humankind’s exploitation of outer space, beginning with the moon, should be subject to a minimal tax at the global level. This tax should be collected by a nongovernmental organization with the resulting revenue used to fund solutions to global problems, such as supporting the WHO’s effort to guarantee that everyone has access to basic healthcare. If outer space is the shared heritage of humankind, then its economic development should ensure the welfare of all people. Notably, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director-general, recently released a letter signed by several world leaders calling for global coordination to “build a more robust international health architecture that will protect future generations” from threats like COVID-19.(6) As Tedros’s initiative moves ahead, many will ask how to pay for it, and this article offers a novel, practical solution.

    “While the spirit of this proposal has been voiced by tax scholars for years,(7) this article is the first to articulate the need for and mechanics of a moon tax — that is, a workable approach to taxing lunar activity based on an international agreement, with the revenue used to address global-scale problems. A thorough search of online resources and legal secondary sources yields some discussion of the implications of taxing outer space activity on a nation-by-nation basis, including summaries of the various treaties that govern outer space activity, but the author is unaware of any article presenting a proposal like the one articulated here for organizing and taxing activities that take place on the moon.

    “After summarizing the law governing extranational areas, this article develops the above proposal by addressing six issues:
    – What about the moon is worth taxing?
    – How should this tax be administered?
    – Why levy this type of tax at all?
    – How can compliance with the tax be facilitated?
    – How can a transparent and simple payment system be constructed?
    – How should the revenue be spent?

    “The proposed answers are intended to offer a practical framework that can be used when the time comes for nation-states to confront the inevitability of taxing outer space activity at the global level. A similar but less-developed framework, deriving in large part from the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),8 already applies to the extraction of material from the deep seabed in international waters.9
    “F. Spending the Revenue: Funding the WHO
    “This article assumes that the CHOH (Common Heritage of Humankind) principle is a legitimate part of customary international law that justifies subjecting commercial lunar activity to a tax akin to the article 82 payment outlined in UNCLOS (U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea). If we must have the tax, then what should the LOA (Lunar Oversight Authority) spend it on? Given our recent experience with COVID-19, investing the revenue in the WHO seems like a solution that all humans should be able to stand behind.

    “Not only would helping the WHO ensure access to robust, basic healthcare for every human being benefit individuals, it would likely cause a variety of beneficial ripple effects as well. Political proponents of foreign aid and the funding of international health organizations could rest assured that the WHO would remain robustly funded even if opponents of those efforts cut the relevant government spending (as President Trump briefly did in 2020).”…

    “The new, independent U.S. Space Force will maintain and enhance the competitive edge of the DOD in space while adapting to new strategic challenges. 

    “Spacelift operations at the East and West Coast launch bases provide services, facilities and range safety control for the conduct of DOD, NASA and commercial space launches. Through the command and control of all DOD satellites, satellite operators provide force-multiplying effects –continuous global coverage, “…

  2. Thank you unemployed “Team Inflation Control”

    We have used you “without [your] knowledge. And for [your] patriotism, [you’ve] been ridiculed for being unemployed”!
    (nuance please JQ et al)

    “We should thank the unemployed for their service. They’ve been used to control inflation

    By Gareth Hutchens
    “The majority of journalists have no idea about it and few politicians would, either.

    “But it affects everyone and it shouldn’t be something only economists know about.

    “Those unemployed people have been assigned to Team Inflation Control without their knowledge. And for their patriotism, they’ve been ridiculed for being unemployed.”

  3. Yours truly, here, June 15, on covid vaccine supply (
    “A socialist plan, my own preference, is for rich countries to pay or coerce their big pharma companies to build another ten billion-dose-a-year plants, buy the output, and donate the shots.”

    Simon Wren-Lewis links to this report ( on a Delphi survey of well–known economists by the Chicago Booth business school:

    “A strong majority (87% of the panelists) agrees that rather than waiving patent protection on Covid-19 vaccines, the rich countries should pay the pharmaceutical companies to manufacture and distribute the vaccines (or to license production and support licensees).”

    I’m not particularly overjoyed to find myself in he company of a pretty conservative panel of people (eg. Nordhaus) with no more real expertise than mine in vaccine production, but these guys are a thousand times more influential, and the proposal is based on common sense. It is amusing that the economic establishment is endorsing a plan that could be accurately described as Cuban war socialism.

  4. I would be interested in thoughts on Peter Tulip’s role at the CIS. He seems to be fairly data driven and practical, rather ideological. And his focus also seems to be on issues that have broader support across the political spectrum (with little focus on topics outside of these areas).

    His main areas of focus are relaxing zoning height restrictions (i.e. build up rather than build out) and on various changes to the monetary policy framework (i.e. the RBA should be held more accountable for achieving its inflation target and put more weight on its full employment objective). On the latter, his views are in line with commentary provided by Andrew Leigh, Grattan and academics such as Bruce Preston and Chris Edmond.

    His views on fiscal policy also seem fairly pragmatic. E.g.

    I think this is a good move from the CIS. Hire someone that has some credibility and then have them push for change on issues that have broader support. It would be promising to see more CIS hires that fall into this category, though I’m not holding out too much hope.

  5. Having read of some of the comments by our ministers, with respect to Covid-19 and “living” with it—euphemism for opening up the borders and economy—I wish to impress upon them that the original version of SARS-Cov-2 (alpha?) had a much lower transmissibility and virulence than the more recent variants. Mistakes we made and recovered from when threatened by the original version, will be severely punished by the more transmissible and/or virulent variants now in wide circulation overseas.

    I know I keep harping on about it, but the safest and most effective way to bring people into the country while protecting the rest of us is to have regional, built-for-purpose, quarantine, controlled by people who understand the technical details of an epidemic or pandemic. Clearly we have a few of those people available, so surely we Aussies can rise to this and just do it. Using inner city hotels is a rotten, last resort of an idea for any highly transmissible virus, but for the so amazingly adaptable SARS-Cov-2 variants, we know that transmissibility has gone stratospheric, meaning the slightest human error could cause yet another serious outbreak and shut down of our economies.

    There are many good reasons for wanting people to be able to fly in to Australia. The risk calculus has radically changed though, for the latest circulating variants are multiple times the original risk we faced with the first version of Covid-19. Get people into purpose-built facilities. They need plumbing, heating/cooling, and a simple way of passing laundry/linen through to PPE-clad people, and same for food. It can’t be that difficult, for in six months I have seen a high rise pop up from the foundations. Some tents, dongas, transportables; surely this can be arranged?

    We probably need enough to allow somewhere between 50K and 100K arrivals per month, for the foreseeable future. Rolling averages of arrivals can be fairly simply calculated, and thus the appropriate budget for erecting these facilities should be possible to work out. Can’t be more difficult than “carpark” allocations during an election campaign, could it be? The billions it will cost is nothing, when compared to the loss to the economy and mental health (and medical health) of people affected by each of the shut downs. It is surely a drop in the ocean of debt this government has incurred—and I am not critiquing that debt—so why not just fund it? I’d love to know the answer to that.

  6. Don.

    You are absolutely correct to harp on about this. I agree with you on every point bar one which I will come to. The Australian people have every right to be be furious with the incompetent Morrison government. Only the states have saved us from disaster so far. If the Morrison government had had it’s way we would be in a disastrous situation, perhaps almost as bad as that of the UK.

    As I say, I agree with everything you write except that a goal of 50 K to 100 K arrivals may be far too ambitious for the foreseeable future, even with quarantine stations. This is given the disastrous path the global pandemic is following. Boris Johnson has lost his sanity, opening up UK completely to all activities just as they face a new delta strain wave.

    This pandemic will only get worse and worse globally. It was all so avoidable too. Every nation should have locked down against all non-essential international travel from March 2020 or earlier. It was obvious to virology experts, epidemiologists, non-neoliberal economists and science literate laypersons that such a path was necessary.

    Even though the specific characteristics of SARSCoV2 (the cause of COVID-18 disease) were unknown as at March 2020 (and some characteristics are still unknown), its genus characteristics (coronaviruses and especially MERS and SARS1 were already known. This knowledge SHOULD have given rise to great caution. It was clearly very probable even then that SARSCoV2 would be

    (a) quite lethal (actually demonstrated before March 2020 in China)
    (b) very transmissible (actually demonstrated before March 2020 in China)
    (c) able to mutate (standard for coronaviruses and RNA viruses).
    (d) likely to mutate at a high rate (RNA viruses have high mutation rates—up to a million times higher than their hosts—and these high rates are correlated with enhanced virulence and evolvability,)
    (e) able to mutate to achieve higher transmissability and

    Given that this was all standard scientific knowledge at the outset of the pandemic, one wonders how the moronic idiocy of advocating flattening the curve, achieving herd immunity by infection and not locking down eradicating the virus was not ever contemplated. This was rampant neoliberal capitalist idiocy over scientific good sense.

    Now we see Boris Johnson has gone entirely insane (maybe COVID has affected his mental competency and degraded it even further) and he is completely opening he UK domestically in the face of a new wave of the delta strain. This will lead to disaster and make the UK a petri dish for new dangerous variants. Given what’s happening in the UK and the third world, we headed to the point where the evolution of a “variant from hell” is now more probable than not. Vaccine escape will also increase. This disaster will only worsen and the only way to be truly safe may be to lock down non-essential travel for 5 years or more, maybe much more.

  7. The RBA seems a bit lost in its forward planning. Yesterday they slightly changed their tune on maintaining the official cash rate. This seemed to be in response to the rhetoric coming out of the
    US Federal Reserve. With so much supply of our consumer goods sourced from overseas producers, Australia is exposed to imported inflation. This may be worrying the RBA. They still cling to their inflation target. And they rightly mention the need for wage rises.But beyond those motherhood statements, the RBA gets vague about long term price stability.Some of its pearls of wisdom seemed contradictory. For example
    “Today’s decisions are taken against the backdrop of an economy that has bounced back earlier and stronger than expected…”
    Contrasted that with this
    “On the nominal side of the economy, we have not seen the same upside surprises in wages and prices that we have experienced in jobs and output.”
    Leading to this admission
    “This means that the probabilities have shifted and the decision to adjust the approach to the yield target reflects this shift in probabilities.”
    Then came the clincher
    “The condition for a lift in the cash rate relates to inflation, not wages. It is clear that inflation can increase for reasons unrelated to wages and there will be another example of this in the June Quarter, when the CPI spikes to (three and a half percent)…”
    After expounding on all these statements the RBA governor concluded by saying
    “Even so, we are well short of our goals of full employment and inflation consistent with our target. The RBA is committed to achieving these goals”

    Is the RBA trying to have a bet each way? That seems unlikely. But unless they get their messaging right they can begin to be responsible for talking prices up. Once that starts, there may be no way to stop much higher inflation outcomes IF there is a sustained bout of imported inflation. .

  8. Indeed, Ikonoclast. An arrival rate of 50–100K per month is probably too ambitious. However, it seems to be what the government has been doing, even as it goes on about closed borders, so I used that range as what should be planned for, if it were government policy to enable such a high number of arrivals. They haven’t been straight with us on this, so I used figures from the ABS’ temporary product for recording monthly numbers of international arrivals. Given that at one recent press conference, the minister implied (stated?) that the ABS had it wrong. Can’t see how.

    In any case, if 100K per month is the policy, then we need secure quarantine facilities that can handle substantially more than 100K per month, spread around the country. That’s the size of a large city. It could have been started, a year ago, and we could have been allowing however many arrivals the camps could handle. They didn’t plan ahead; well, if they did, they didn’t really tell us their plans.

  9. 100 K a month is 1.2 million a year. What are outgoings per month? If we are truly running at these numbers we are in for a total disaster. Morrison is clearly nearly as crazy as Boris Johnson is.

  10. I am worried Sydney isnt going to get to zero cases in a weeks time .There now seems to be a rising chorus of chatter from Conservatives about living with the virus. The markets are getting nervous. Gladdys was too slow ,too late and not hard enough. Like Scomo ,always a day late and a dollar short. Inadequate testing numbers and compliance (a fragile thing) in Sydney is the fault of political point scoring by Conservatives .Opening up with cases bubbling along at 20 – 30 per day will be running up the white flag. With things as they are I am worried they wont go much below that . There is great reluctance ,easily dectable from the Premier at todays press conference, to extend the lockdown again . I think (?) she actually spoke literally of ‘ living with the virus ‘ – that will further diminish compliance . .NSW shouldnt be allowed to decide this for the rest of us. The way Gladdys walks out of the daily presser mid way is not a good look .

  11. “Live with the virus” means “Die with the virus” for a very significant number of people. Our total death count could very easily go to 10,000 or 20,000. And many more will live with long covid for months or years. The UK so far has had 128,000 deaths and some estimates put the long covid count at 1 to 2 million.

  12. Ikon:

    ABC says there were 1.8 million incoming during 2020. That was a massive drop on the previous years. It’s insane, but that’s what is going on.

    For the original virus, the risk to benefit ratio could arguably be made for a certain number of arrivals per month, checked into hotels. It’s not an argument I would have made, not for inner capital city hotel quarantine. That seemed like a risk-multiplier that was entirely unnecessary to begin with. Anyway, once the new and much more transmissible variants were identified, we should have been moving towards regional/rural quarantine, in purpose-built, purpose-run, facilities. We can see the risk of exposure will be around for yet another year—longer, most like, so why aren’t such facilities being erected?

    Got me beat.

  13. It does appear that NSW is about to give up, already.

    Look at how well Victoria did fighting off multiple waves and now NSW wants to give up??? I find this kind of stupidity and weakness of resolve inconceivable. If they give up with Delta variant we will rapidly look like the UK or Brazil. Is this what they want? Apparently so. We only have about 6% to 8% fully immunized FFS. It will be a total disaster. There must be very strong pressure behind the scenes on Morrison and Berejiklian to give up and open up. There’s big money behind this push and the players don’t care how many people die. What they don’t realize is they will wreck the whole nation.

    China must be looking on in disbelief at how insanely stupid Western people are now. If I was Chinese and a CCP supporter, I would be very confident that the West will implode and China will rule the world. No civilization as stupid as contemporary Western civilization can possibly survive.

  14. Useful ranking of uses for hydrogen from Michael Liebreich, based on the European labelling of energy efficiency for domestic appliances:×900

    I take it that the top row are current industrial uses. He’s a bit hard on power system balancing, relegated to the bottom row of no-hopers. If like already have huge salt caverns storing months of fossil gas, using them to store hydrogen instead as a strategic reserve might be sensible. Strategic reserves by definition are rarely called on, so the annual consumption from this use will be low.

    I also feel that his alarm about the bad faith of the European oil majors’ green pledges is overdone. Of course they are acting in bad faith, and will go green just as far as markets and governments force them to. But their investments in green hydrogen are a good thing anyway. There is a good chance they are over-investing, and their hopes on FCEVs and hydrogen heating will be dashed. The effect of that will be a hydrogen glut, falling prices, and faster adoption by steelmakers and fertiliser companies.

  15. Don: “why aren’t such facilities being erected?”
    Roman legions on the march in hostile territory built a fortified encampment for themselves every night, equipped with nothing more than spades and saws. This was a war-winning tactic: the legionaries got a proper meal and a good night’s sleep, undisturbed by the locals.

  16. Water from where we do not know but we approved extraction anyway, even after CSIRO & Geoscience Australia – “found “uncertainties” about whether Adani had identified the source aquifer.”

    We – the royal ‘we’, I assumed, are supposed to know about out most precious resource, water. What law needs to change to place responsibility for water at the feet of the federal government, no excuses, no third parties?

    “Drop in aquifer levels near Adani mine sparks concern for sacred wetlands

    “Hydrogeologist says groundwater changes may have already caused irreversible damage to nearby Doongmabulla Springs

    “Aquifer levels have dropped “significantly” near the Adani Carmichael coalmine since 2019, prompting concern from groundwater experts that the large volumes of water being pumped may have already “locked in” irreversible damage to sensitive wetlands.
    “Adani said current groundwater monitoring demonstrated there had been “no measurable groundwater impact on the Doongmabulla Springs, which is located 11km from the Carmichael mine site”.

    “Currell said impacts to the springs from the mine may not be fully felt for decades but that actions taken now would be critical for their future.

    “Adani claimed the Doongmabulla Springs and the Carmichael mine would “draw water from different underground sources”.

    “The CSIRO and Geoscience Australia review found “uncertainties” about whether Adani had identified the source aquifer.”

  17. Gladdys at todays press conference ;-
    ‘we need to be real ‘ , ‘if people do the right thing’ , ‘no jurisdiction on the planet has beaten Delta’ (what about Victoria ?), ‘please ‘ ,’please ‘ ,’please ‘ ,’nsw cant control the vaccine rollout’ , ‘after 18 months of this we are all fatigued by it’ , ‘I must say it like it is’ , ‘I must highlight the risks of what your behavior might mean’

    Kerry Chant ;-
    ‘cases popping up everywhere’ , “please’ ,’please’ , ‘please’ , ‘ many people are doing the right thing’ , ‘we needed this lockdown’ ,’we have tried’ ,’there is confusion’ ,’we need 80% of adults vaccinated and then accept community transmission’, ‘effective vaccines are coming shortly’

    Brad Hazzard ;-
    ‘we have had 500 press conferences ‘, ‘we need more vaccines’ ,’we are tired of everything but must not leave our homes’, ‘we are trying to stop community transmission’

    All refused to answer the simple question repeatedly asked ‘do we need to get to zero before the lockdown ends ?’ . The presser was walked out of prematurely again – at least no one appeared overly irritated today .I think Victoria’s Dictator Dan did over 100 pressers in a row where he stayed until all questions were answered .

    God help us ,they are incompetent.

  18. sunshine,

    Yes, they are all incompetent in the NSW government. A New Zealand study shows we may need a 97% vaccination rate to stop COVID-19, especially delta strain, or worse. It’s not good enough to imply that it’s all too hard and we should give up. That way lie tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths. Australia is still less than 10% fully vaccinated.

    Also, we MUST require all hospital staff, doctors, nurses and care staff (aged and disability) to be fully vaccinated. It should be a job safety requirement. Nobody is allowed to walk on a building site without a hard hat. Nobody should be allowed to work in these fields without all safety equipment, one “part” of which is the immune system improvement delivered by a vaccination. Make the vaccine free to these people at their place of work, in work time, and pay $100 bonus in their pay upon getting the vaccine. It’s a no-brainer. But then LNP politicians have no critical-thinking brain cells left after the virus-like memes of neoliberalism have taken over their minds.

  19. The CDC global covid-19 deaths estimate has hit 4 million. An Eonomist Magazine model uses 121 different indicators to estimate excess deaths and then to estimate covid-19 deaths. This modelling suggests the real covid-19 death count is 3 to 4 times the CDC count. That comes to an estimate of 12 million to 16 million covid-19 deaths… and counting.

    I suspect that the pandemic will run for another 5 years at least, with only double vaccinated (and booster vaxed) people reducing the count. Waves will increase in poor un-vaccinated countries and worse variants will likely evolve. If these factors about counter each other then we can expect about 40 to 45 million total deaths by the end of 2026. I further suspect it might be a lot worse than this but let us wait and see. If each of us lives that long, that is.

    Spanish flu (Kansas flu) 1918-? death estimates run at 17 million to 100 million. Covid-19 is certainly going to hit somewhere in that ballpark. Covid-19 might prove worse than Spanish flu if breakthrough infections and deaths increase from the virus winning the evolution war against vaccines.

    We need to continue to take this threat deadly seriously

  20. I’m seeing the odd reference in the media to “climate crimes”, eg from George Monbiot in today’s Guardian. Are climate politics about to get rougher?

    Kim Stanley Robinson touches on ecoterrorism in The Ministry of the Future. For the record, IIRC it’s pretty well established that non-violent protest is more effective than political violence in securing lasting change, though the exceptions are large and important. I don’t want to see Exxon executives hanging from lamp-posts, but it would be salutary if they had to fear personal consequences from their fiduciary misdeeds.

  21. Sydney is moving into a blame the immigrants stage now that the virus is in the South West where more less advantaged essential workers live who cant work from home or easily take time off (the same thing happened in Melbourne). It seems Sydney s lock-down has only been an inadequate half hearted one so far .Morrison has been absent. Listening to Gladdys now it seems she has finally realised .She is finally talking about needing to get to zero now. By this stage a few weeks ago Melbourne had successfully dealt with a similar Delta outbreak .Done properly that took that took two weeks. When this is over it wil be easy to compare the two and work out the extra cost of the NSW Conservatives arrogance .The lessons were all there , in plain sight, to be learned from the Victorian experience .It will take a while to get this under control now that the virus has been given a head start and that public confidence and willingness to comply have been eroded by the complacent ,arrogant and reckless attitude from leaders so far .

    I believe it is one year today since Melbourne went into its long hard lockdown last year just after trying ring fencing suburbs and contact tracing but daily cases topped 700. NSW seemes to have learned nothing from that. When all this started I among others wondered if Australians could do it ,there was no doubt for example that Americans couldn’t and we are substantially an Americanised culture .I was very pleasantly surprised ,but compliance and confidence are a delicate thing .I hope Sydney can do this ,the nation is relying on them. The threat from other state premiers to make permanent hard borders with NSW must have helped the NSW government finally make up its mind. Its desperate of Gladdys to be blaming the Delta variant for this as if it took everyone completely by surprise .Gladdys today suddenly sounds very different, thats a good start. Journalists at the daily presser now are sounding aggressive ,I hope the traditional walk out isnt about to happen. Where is Peta Credlin now ? She was famous for relentlessly battering Dictator Dan at his endless daily pressers .

  22. I have a yellow blob in a graph for you, which NSW can’t see.

    -sunshine says: ” NSW shouldnt be allowed to decide this for the rest of us. The way Gladdys walks out of the daily presser mid way is not a good look .” & “God help us ,they are incompetent.”

    – Ikonoclast says: “Live with the virus” means “Die with the virus” for a very significant number of people.”

    The NSW claytons lockdown & the time to overwhelm contact tracing is – TODAY – from Lancet paper below “we found that the mean reproduction number was less than 1 ONLY for mobile app-based contact tracing”.(my caps)

    16th of June 2021 a limousine driver tests positive. Today is July 9th. So we have had delta variant for 23 days.

    No chance of containment or elimination now. Let fly the pandemic. Grrrrr…. 14 day hard lockdown after limo driver and we may have dropped Re 1. Yesterday 38 cases and +15,000 contacts. 44 today with 29 in community. So 22.5k+ to contact – today? (Wonkish – 7k + 14k close contacts so 21,000 to isolate + 2nd order x ? 5 per house = 100,000 to contact & trace – today! see ABC below). Feel free to fix wonkish #’s.

    “Lancet Graph above Caption: ” For parameter values, see table 1. The isolation only strategy is shown in green for comparison. We assumed that testing coverage is 80% for the conventional contact tracing strategy and 60%, 80%, and 100% for the mobile app contact tracing strategy. For the mobile app strategy, it is assumed that the tracing coverage equals the testing coverage—ie, it is 60%, 80%, and 100%, respectively. Expected reproduction numbers are shown as a function of testing delay D1. Re=effective reproduction number.” End Lancet caption. 

    “When considering the distributions of individual reproduction numbers for the assumed testing delays—ie, 4 days for isolation and conventional contact tracing and 0 days for app-based contact tracing—we found that the mean reproduction number was less than 1 only for mobile app-based contact tracing (figure 3).”

    “Our study adds to results from other modelling studies, which have shown that contact tracing can be an effective intervention if tracing coverage is high and if the process is fast.

    ” A determining factor is the proportion of transmissions occurring before symptom onset, which determines the urgency of tracing and isolating contacts as fast as possible. Our study showed in detail what the role is of each step in the contact tracing process in making it successful. Our model differs from other published models in that it makes a distinction between close and casual contacts and we consider scenarios for conventional contact tracing and mobile app-based contact tracing characterised by specific delays and coverages.

    “Our findings also provide strong support to optimise contact tracing. In the Netherlands, the contact tracing strategy was based on establishing contact between an index case and a public health officer, followed by an interview after which contacts are traced. This procedure is labour intensive, time consuming, prone to recall bias, incomplete (anonymous contacts cannot be traced), and usually takes several days. ”

    “New restrictions as NSW records 44 new locally acquired COVID-19 infections
    “As authorities pleaded with people to comply with stay-at-home orders, it was revealed that 14,000 “close contacts” had been plunged into isolation.

    “That number has doubled in 24 hours — from the beginning of the current outbreak to yesterday, about 7,000 people had been directed to self isolate because they had been to a COVID-19 exposure site.”

    The CDC has a different timeframe for effective contact tracing of up to 4 days. Yet “only a modest reduction in overall transmission can be expected to result” confirming above finding that Re will not get below 1 unless traced on day 0.

    “There is a steep trade-off between the speed of contact tracing and the recruitment rate (Figure 4).  If fewer than 60% of incident cases (without previously being identified as a contact) are followed up through case investigation and subsequent contact tracing, only a modest reduction in overall transmission can be expected to result. Similarly, an increase in the follow-up lag (i.e., delay) in contact tracing, (e.g., >6 days) resulted in modest reductions in overall transmission.”

    …” In addition, because not every contact will be reached, the impact of incomplete (or preferential) contact follow-up, and of active recruitment into contact tracing, are explored. We conducted a sensitivity analysis sampling an additional 100 infectiousness profiles. Figure 1 illustrates this analysis.

    “Figure 1 depicts the infectiousness profile for people infected with SARS-CoV-2. Data were derived from a study 5 of 77 infector–infectee transmission pairs. Supported by a recent study 6, we assumed that people with symptomatic and asymptomatic infections had similar infectiousness profiles. A few key terms are defined visually on this figure. We defined the term t0 (case) as the time, in days, from when an index case is infected (in practice, this is not observed) to initiation of contact tracing and simultaneous isolation of the case. We defined the term Δt as the timeframe for the recall of contacts during an initial case investigation interview.

    “We estimated the following:
    – Transmission events that were averted through self-isolation of the index case upon detection are depicted in light blue.
    – Traced and then quarantined contacts who were infected prior to the index case interview date (i.e., the secondary cases infected by the index case) are depicted in dark blue.

    “Figure 1: Infectiousness profile and key terms

    “Prioritizing COVID-19 Contact Tracing Mathematical Modeling Methods and Findings
    Updated Nov. 23, 2020

    It is a damn shame Glady’s & NSW Health don’t seem to see the yellow in either graph, especially the “CDC Figure 1: Infectiousness profile and key terms” above. It has a big yellow blog entitled ” missed opportunities”. How appropriate, ironic and “we haven’t defined essential”-ly stupid.

    23 days of …Exponential Arrogance leads to Delta disaster in NSW by NSW Government. 
    (My choice of headline.)

  23. Creators, Authors take note;

    “Quantifying copyright reversion 

    “Which is why “U.S. Copyright Termination Notices 1977-2020: Introducing New Datasets,” published today, represents such a milestone. A group of Australian scholars present the first ever comprehensive data on US copyright reversions.

    “The authors – Joshua Yuvaraj, Rebecca Giblin, Daniel Russo-Batterham, Genevieve Grant – scraped all Copyright Office data pertaining to reversion, painstakingly processed it, and published it. Here’s the data:

    “and here’s the codebooks:

    “The paper is up on SSRN today, and has been accepted for publication in the prestigious Journal of Empirical Legal Studies. It’s an eye-popping read, and it reveals the truly dismal state – and vital necessity – of reversion.

    “Few creators have managed to revert but the ones that have are fascinating. Stephen King is a leading reverter, as are George RR Martin, Nora Roberts and David Eddings. – successful authors who are able to claim back their works and seek new deals based on their track records.”…

  24. And while many are distracted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the far greater danger to humanity and civilisation from the escalating climate crisis is forgotten/ignored.

    Tweeted by NOAA earlier today:
    “Just in: #June 2021 was the hottest June on record for U.S.;

    Nation has also experienced 8 #BillionDollarDisasters so far this year.”

    The Climate Crisis Advisory Group tweeted on Jul 8:
    “Direct, vast and unprecedented policy actions must be taken to tackle the climate crisis.

    Read more in our first report:”

    The Scripps Institution of Oceanography published an animation on YouTube on Jun 4 titled “The Keeling Curve Hits 420 PPM”, duration 59 seconds.

    The paleo-historical evidentiary record indicates the so-called Mid-Pliocene period was 3 to 4 million years ago, where the atmospheric CO2 levels were in the range of 400 to 450 ppm, global mean temperatures were in the range +2 to +3 °C (relative to Holocene Epoch pre-industrial age), and sea levels were in the range 10 to 22 metres higher than now.

    The same paleo-historical evidentiary record also indicates the so-called Mid-Miocene period was 15 to 17 million years ago, where the atmospheric CO2 levels were in the range 300 to 500 ppm, global mean temperatures were in the range +4 to +5 °C (relative to Holocene Epoch pre-industrial age), and sea levels were in the range 10 to 60 metres higher than now.

    Where are we/humanity heading within this century: Mid-Pliocene (and human civilisation **MIGHT** survive/prevail) or Mid-Miocene (and likely civilisation collapse)?

  25. In Australia, we don’t ignore it, we actively undermine any chance of Australia contributing to helping. Our coal-loving Spud has a cabinet that wants to bake in Australia’s anti-contribution to dealing with Anthropogenic Global Warming. Kind of like how they have anti-contributed to our vaccination rate for Covid-19.

    We have to expect major climate disruptions, especially in the latter half of this century. Imagine if sea level rise rate was to double? Not only would that undermine buildings going way back from the shore line, it would make the force and size of storm surges that much worse. Could this happen? Yes, yes, and yes. The IPCC reports tend to lag the actual behaviour of the changing climate system, as new scientific discoveries take a while to be convincingly verified and accepted in the scientific community. The behaviour of ice, sea ice, landed ice sheets and glaciers; it has taken a while for enough observational data to show that this landed ice is quite capable of rapid melt and run-off, for it doesn’t melt like an ice block does, i.e. from the surfaces inwards; great big dirty crevasses form, melt water runs in and refreezes, cracking the ice sheet even more so, and increasing the surface area exposed to open air. Smoke and dust find their way to the polar regions, and coat the ice. Dirty ice layers become exposed, and they cause surface melt water. Pitting causes thermally insulated spots to form, wind-protected, where water can initially pool. Process repeats. With an ice sheet that is kilometres in height, the forces at play are truly astronomical. If melt water makes it to the grounded base, it lubricates, allowing that ice sheet to shift, no longer being fully grounded. These are just a few of the things that we are only just learning to be *actually* important, rather than just theoretically possible.

    So, we might find the sea level rise estimates are rather optimistic, given the GHG trajectory the world is still on.

  26. Don states: – “We have to expect major climate disruptions, especially in the latter half of this century.”

    It’s already happening. Don, have you forgotten the so-called ‘Australian 2019-20 Black Summer’? Or what’s happening in the US (see the NOAA tweet in my comment above) at the moment?

    Death Valley, California USA reached a preliminary reading of 130 °F (54.4 °C), yet to be validated, and may see similar temperatures on Saturday and Sunday. IMO, this is a portent of more places getting hotter.

    1.5 °C global mean warming is already ‘locked-in’, irrespective of ANY human actions to drastically reduce GHG emissions, and probably will be reached before 2030, and on current GHG emissions trajectory, is likely to surpass +2.0 °C global mean warming threshold before 2050.
    See Table 1 in:

    There’s an increasing risk of multiple ‘breadbasket failure’ under 1.5 and 2 °C global warming, so surpassing the 1.5 °C threshold (likely before 2030) will represent an escalating threat to global food security.

    So I’d suggest the evidence is indicating that major climate disruptions are likely to begin manifesting well before 2050.

    Don: – “Imagine if sea level rise rate was to double?”

    Entirely probable in the second half of this century, and more.

  27. Thanks Geoff,

    No, haven’t forgotten the major climate events that have already hit, and which we risk as normalising as the new normal. Especially not bushfire in Aus. Plenty of my earlier posts, going back a decade, talk about these sorts of here-and-now climate change related events, human provoked.

    Nor can I damn well forget the Scomo approach to dealing with the victims (later on saying he used a `laying on of hands’ with the victims, when at the time they pretty clearly did not want to be in the same location, let alone be touched by him). Anyway, that’s his style.

    The climate issue is one I have watched develop during the past thirty five years, since I’ve been old enough to understand it. My general impression is that most scientists were relatively sceptical of how rapidly a climate paradigm could shift, and become an entirely new climate paradigm. My point about sea level rise is that I suspect it is in the same category, whereby there is a tipping point, and then reversal is impossible, for practical purposes, but scientists follow the data, putting them behind the actual pace of the changes (now, and ahead). It’s not a criticism, for science is about having strong enough empirical evidence and/or models to explain, and hopefully to predict. The nature of prediction with respect to an entire world is that many predictions end up in the dustbin, and in ink on Murdoch news, stripped of all the caveats and assumptions that went into the models.

    However, I think we are now at the point that cryogenic modelling and the empirical data have largely converged, but still the scientists are reluctant to speak of the risks of much greater change than their current models would forecast. It’s only once their models start to be verified, that the scepticism dissipates. That’s the nature of scientific endeavour.

    The human issue is that it can take decades to centuries to truly verify some of the modelling with real life data. In other words, for humans it is a question of acting in the face of uncertainty, but for science it is about establishing the various models, theories, what-have-you, as essentially in agreement with the data…or not. It takes much longer to acquire the data for that level of certainty the scientists quite reasonably demand, than it takes for the very changes being predicted to arise. That’s the current risk we face, in my opinion. The way in which vast ice sheets behave is just one aspect of this basic issue.

    Anyway, thanks for your efforts on keeping this in the forefront of long term issues with actual short term implications. Like USA, right now.

  28. Don: – “The human issue is that it can take decades to centuries to truly verify some of the modelling with real life data.”

    The global scientific community already has overwhelming empirical evidence/data in the paleo-historical record of what effects manifested (for 420 ppm atmospheric CO2 levels) that occurred millions of years ago, and what it now means for us/humanity in the coming decades. Is that not enough to urgently and effectively act on? What more evidence/data is needed?

    Meanwhile, a judgement on Thursday (Jul 8) by Australian Federal Court Justice Mordecai Bromberg declared that the Federal Minister for the Environment had a “duty to take reasonable care” to “avoid causing personal injury or death” to Australians under 18 years of age that arose “from emissions of carbon dioxide into the Earth’s atmosphere.”

    The incumbent Minister, Sussan Ley announced on Friday that she would appeal the decision (no doubt using taxpayers’ funding). The appeal is likely to be heard by a full-bench of the Federal Court.

    Earlier this year, then Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said: “We are not worried, or I’m certainly not worried, about what might happen in 30 years’ time.”

    I wonder what McCormack’s three children, Georgina, Alexander and Nicholas, and Sussan Ley’s three children, think about their respective parent’s apparent attitudes for their futures and for the generations they are members of.

    It seems to me there’s an evidentiary pattern forming that the Coalition don’t care about the futures of Australia’s children/grandchildren. IMO, not a good political look.

  29. World Weather Attribution reports:
    “Western North American extreme heat virtually impossible without human-caused climate change”

    These are truly terrifying events. Witness the ocean littoral zone kill off or near Vancouver, B.C.: low tides plus the heatwave cooked everything, molluscs, oysters, seaweed etc, Oregon is seeing the first big bush-fires of this season after the huge bush-fires there in 2020. Northern California has another “flash drought”, a new phenomenon which has needed a new name. “Flash drought” refers to drought conditions that develop unusually quickly, in effect sneaking up on farmers and policy managers. This year the flash drought developed despite a snow pack from last winter which seemed mediocre but still adequate, The snow pack and its summer run-off just seemed to evaporate away without swelling streams or filling any reservoirs.

    Things will turn apocalyptic. Indeed, they are turning apocalyptic right now. The next five years will radically change the world; climatologically, epidemiologically and politically. The old normal is over. There will be no new normal. Just a cascade of unmanageable, intense and grinding crises. Hold on to your butts. You can tell your grandchildren, “I was at the end of the world.” Oh wait, you won’t be able to them that. Sorry folks, but black humor is all I got now.

  30. It has become clear that Annastacia Palaszczuk’s government, while doing a generally good job on COVID-19 suppression, is actually being politically beholden to and/or manipulated by and/or susceptible to special pleading by the NRL and QRL. We can notice that every lock-down and border lock-down for Qld. is timed to end before or not occur until after each state of Origin Match or Broncos match and/or timed to not interfere with NRL teams being moved to Qld. Football dates are clearly influencing and moving shut-down timings and opening-up timings around. This is completely unacceptable and very dangerous now with respect to the NSW delta variant outbreak. It’s not worth risking the lives of members of the public to satisfy the football lobby and football fans.

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