Monday Message Board

Another Message Board

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

I’ve moved my irregular email news from Mailchimp to Substack. You can read it here. You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin

I’m also trying out Substack as a blogging platform. For the moment, I’ll post both at this blog and on Substack.

45 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. Do you know, in your electorate, how many threatened, vulnerable & endangered species -fauna & flora?

    Calare for example. J-D? Geoff M?

    The  Bathurst copper butterfly (Paralucia spinifera) is endangered, and is known only from a small number of sites. And needs a specific plant, and ant.

    “Paralucia spinifera is believed to be restricted to locations above 900m elevation, requires a specific host plant, Bursaria spinosa and is dependent on the ant Anonychomyrma itinerans.” (^3). Weeds are this butterflies kryptonite.(^4)

    As with (^2) below, “the first recorded instance of human-induced climate-based extinction”, we humans are easily capable of making the “Bathurst copper butterfly” extinct.

    Type in your electorate or postcode to find out now. Shows local member too. Great initiative.

    Go on. Try it. Tell us here how many Threatened Australian species are in your patch of the political ecosystem. 

    Please locate your local vulnerable, threatened and endangered fauna and flora near you at:

    In Calare:
    “Calare has or used to have 34 threatened animals within its boundaries.”

    ” Calare has or used to have 60 threatened plants found within its boundaries.”

    From Threatened Australians site:
    – “How many people know about which species are endangered in their backyards? 
    – And why are they endangered? 
    – And if locals don’t know these facts, how can they possibly alert elected representatives when issues which affect the future of these species arise?

    “This project is guided by two overarching principles:
    Education… &  Communication…

    Threatened Species Indicator group.

    As with the linked study below, of “the first recorded instance of species extinction at the hands of humankind . .. but also the first instance of such extinction induced primarily by climate change of any cause or scale”, by using the Threatened Australians site, you will be aware of what may go missing, depriving the future via inaction.

    “Reassessing the Role of Anthropogenic Climate Change in the Extinction of Silphium

    “Contrary to previous conclusions, this evidence suggests that anthropogenic environmental change was instead the dominant factor in silphium’s extinction, marking silphium as the first recorded instance of human-induced climate-based extinction.”


    “What we know of the famed silphium plant in the modern-day, from characteristics described by our ancient sources, reveal a plant that only germinated within a remarkably narrow band of geography in which a particular microclimate had been sustained. The human-induced change of this microclimate, therefore, had an outsized impact on the ability of silphium to germinate within its native range while cropland expansion to the north prevented the species from migrating to more suitable environments. For the previously stated reasons, we conclude that silphium not only represents the first recorded instance of species extinction at the hands of humankind (argued most recently byParejko, 2003) but also the first instance of such extinction induced primarily by climate change of any cause or scale. This finding bears deep relevance in the modern world, which is plagued by environmental degradation, a rapidly changing global climate, and species extinction on a substantially wider scale than that experienced in ancient Cyrenaica.”
    Paul Pollaro
    Paul Robertson

    “Bathurst copper butterfly (Paralucia spinifera) (also known as the purple copper butterfly) – endangered species listing

    “The Scientific Committee has found that:
    1. Paralucia spinifera Edwards and Common, 1978 is a very small butterfly with purple and green iridescent upper surface and muted brown, black and grey undersides.
    2. Paralucia spinifera is known only from a small number of sites east of Bathurst.
    3. Paralucia spinifera is believed to be restricted to locations above 900m elevation, requires a specific host plant, Bursaria spinosa and is dependent on the ant Anonychomyrma itinerans.

    “The presence of woody weeds at known butterfly sites have the potential to out-compete the native blackthorn, as well as competing for light, water and nutrients. As such, control of exotic weeds is the primary objective of this project.”

  2. The attacks on superannuation balances by the Morrison led LNP government seem to be a deliberate attempt to undermine compulsory superannuation. The original idea of compulsory superannuation was to remove income from current spending and to guarantee retirement savings..
    In 1992, the government made superannuation compulsory to ensure that every working Australian saved for their retirement. The policy aimed to address the challenge of retirement income in three ways: mandatory employer contributions to super funds. more contributions to super funds and other investments. There had been the added benefit of breaking out of the wage-price spiral that impacted consumer inflation.
    “The wage-price spiral is an economic term that describes the phenomenon of price increases as a result of higher wages. When workers receive a wage hike, they demand more goods and services and this, in turn, causes prices to rise. The wage increase effectively increases general business expenses that are passed on to the consumer as higher prices. It is essentially a perpetual loop or cycle of consistent price increases. The wage-price spiral reflects the causes and consequences of inflation, and it is, therefore, characteristic of Keynesian economic theory.”
    Wage-Price Spiral
    By CAROLINE BANTON Updated March 31, 2022
    Reviewed by ROBERT C. KELLY
    Fact checked by MARCUS REEVES
    The Keating Government introduced compulsory superannuation in the form of the Superannuation Guarantee (SG) in 1992 with two objectives in mind. Then Treasurer John Dawkins said it would increase private provision for retirement and increase national savings. It has succeeded on both counts.
    “In the ten years following the wage shocks in the early 1970s labour’s income share
    was on average around 61/2 per cent higher than during the four years prior to the
    wage shocks……… With the wage restraint associated with the wages
    pause and the Accord, labour’s income share is now not substantially different from
    its pre-shock level.” page11
    Lynne Cockerell and Bill Russell
    Research Discussion Paper
    November 1995
    Economic Research Department
    Reserve Bank of Australia
    Now the LNP wants to run down compulsory superannuation and feed in extra spending into an already overheated economy. Both consumer price inflation and asset inflation could be adversely impacted by any significant drawdown of superannuation balances.
    If there is another Wage-Price Spiral developing in Australian markets then the last thing needed is an injection of surplus funds.

  3. Priors, economic & other decisions and media, effect, affect weightings, and are unconscious, usually for enclosure, power retention, or profit.

    Limited News, Clive Palmer & advertising know and use this, making us susceptible towards their own ends.

    “You can unconsciously estimate averages. Unconscious perceptions can control your attention.”

    “Unconscious perceptions can induce negative emotions, and you can unconsciously distinguish faces and abstract categories like “object” and “animal”. You can unconsciously estimate averages. Unconscious perceptions can control your attention. An unconscious “stop signal” will activate your executive control center in the brain. Sometimes this prevents you from pressing a button that you were supposed to press, which seems like a mysterious mistake to you. You can also unconsciously detect errors: when you make a mistake in an eye-tracking task, your error control system will flash even if the signal never reaches your consciousness (in which case you don’t notice that you have made a mistake).

    You can even learn new things unconsciously. If you get a reward after each unconscious presentation, and you get more reward after image A than after image B, then you learn that A is worth more — even if you never consciously see any images at all! For you, it seems like you look at a screen where nothing interesting happens, and you get completely random rewards.

    “Consciousness And The Brain”
    Finalist #1 of the Book Review Contest

  4. Forget “Keep the bastards honest.”

    The Greens election slogan should be: “Make the bastards honest for the first time!”

    Here’s hoping the Greens hold the balance of power in both houses. That implies a Labor minority government that will have to negotiate with the Greens to get things through.

    The times really are a-changing. Even a reference to floods.

  5. Sunk costs. Apt Ikon “Even a reference to floods.”

    Sunk, economically, psychologically, literally & metaphorically – “Many farmers in the Sundarbans planted salt-tolerant rice varieties and grew shrimp in brackish water. Now cyclone damage and saltier water are making those changes increasingly ineffective. Unable to cope, many families are migrating out, often in precarious circumstances. Cases of human trafficking rise after every climate hazard, such as cyclones and floods.”

    Or, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. “… good intentions are not sufficient to solve our problems.”
    — Mary Parker Follett

    Sunk cost example fom;
    “Climate change: put water at the heart of solutions

    “Water has been called the most crucial link in climate adaptation, and also the most ignored.

    “To limit warming to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels requires carbon emissions to plummet immediately, but too many carbon-removal efforts overlook demands on water.

    “And those who bear the brunt of climate impacts are the least responsible for them. The carbon footprint of a typical resident of the Sundarbans is minuscule. (In 2020, the average US resident was responsible for 13.7 tonnes of carbon emissions a year, the average Indian 1.7 tonnes, a Sundarbans resident less than that.) Many villages still do not have electricity or basic services. My ancestral village, for instance, got grid electricity only in the early 2000s. The people of the Sundarbans have always led a precarious existence: colonial exploitation and neo-liberal policies have systematically neglected the welfare of such marginal areas. Their plight underlines that climate change is an issue of justice, equity and inclusion.

    I co-wrote the chapter on water in this year’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on harms caused by global warming and how to adapt (see

    Mary Parker Follett “was one of the first theorists to actively write about and explore the role people had on effective management, and discuss the importance of learning to deal with and promote positive human relations as a fundamental aspect of the industrial sector. ”

  6. It’s a pity that neither party has the constitution to truly attack the issue of housing and house prices rising beyond at unsustainable rates. It’s hard to see how the use of super would do anything but fuel ongoing price increases in housing. Supply side needs addressing, but also we need policies that do not simply feed price growth of housing stock. Gone are the days when a single median income could support a home loan. And, it seems that every time we get a surge in house price growth, the proportion of buyers who are first time buyers shrinks, a fairly clear illustration of the drop in affordability.

    One of the interesting statistics is the number of business insolvencies per annum: pre-pandemic, it ran at an average of 9300 p.a.; in the two and a half years of the pandemic, there has been around 10K insolvencies for that entire period. The implication is that JobKeeper and other government assistance has kept afloat a lot of zombie companies, ones that will go bust in the near to medium term, as they drain their personal finances of the owners (SME, mainly). In the building trade, inflation is having a deleterious impact of making fixed price contracts profitless, for the raw materials go up in price by so much, it wipes out the profit margin; there are many dead-man-walking subcontractors stuck in this hellish predicament as well. So, throwing super money at the housing market is like putting a bandaid over a gunshot wound at best, and at worst, will inflate housing prices even as the building contractors suffer from profitless contracts due to such high inflation, essentially propping them up for slightly longer, before the inevitable collapse. It’s worth noting that the ATO gave people something of a tax debt holiday, but that’s over now; if businesses go insolvent, or struggle on with profitless contracts, the ATO has quite a challenge in collecting tax arrears from them.

    So, for a non-economist like me, the super for housing seems like a stupid idea with lots of potential downside, and on the upside, mere political benefit for the LNP government, at substantial risk for the rest of us.

  7. The road to hell is (allegedly) paved with good intentions but surely the short-cut to hell has none. Do-gooder, woke… I do wonder at those who see good intentions as cause for derision. I suspect it is more often a case of “you care so much, you fix it” followed by “not like that”.

  8. Ken Fabian, the example is a bit bigger than woke. Not derision, just an example. I doubt Mary Parker Follett was being derisive.

  9. Do-gooder, woke… I do wonder at those who see good intentions as cause for derision.

    A person who is motivated solely by a narrowly conceived self-interest may be unable to conceive of any other kind of motivation and may therefore perceive purported altruistic motives as necessarily being mere pretence cloaking ulterior motive. ‘We know that it’s impossible that you really care about that, so you must have some angle you’re working.’

  10. The global COVID-19 pandemic is on a runaway path. This is going to spiral completely out of control unless emergency action is taken very soon.

    Let us look at what is happening:

    “The Covid Capitulation – As the virus accelerates its evolution, humans retrogress” – Eric Topol.

    To sum up the above with a quote, though it is still definitely worth reading in full.

    “To recap, we have a highly unfavorable picture of:
    (1) accelerated evolution of the virus;
    (2) increased immune escape of new variants;
    (3) progressively higher transmissibility and infectiousness;
    (4) substantially less protection from transmission by vaccines and boosters;
    (5) some reduction on vaccine/booster protection against hospitalization and death;
    (6) high vulnerability from infection-acquired immunity only; and
    (7) likelihood of more noxious new variants in the months ahead.” – Eric Topol.

    The government and population denial are at their height right at this point where we are about to enter a runaway crisis with this disease. We are very possibly moving into medieval-style plague casualty levels where something like 25% of the population could die or else be rendered permanently disabled, before later dying prematurely. The trends are directly towards this outcome while we continue to do nothing substantive.

    I will add another post on the superantigenic dangers of SARS-CoV-2 when this post has had a chance to sink in and people have had a chance to comment. Our reality going forward looks very, very grim. Better to realize this and act soon rather than persist in Pollyanna delusions. The longer we delay the worse this gets.

  11. Ikon “We are very possibly moving into medieval-style plague casualty levels”. Ah, a bit overblown so long as IP removed from vaccine & drug patents.

    Ikon, for current reinvention reference, including all the “systematic reviews have already been published [20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27], but they have many limitations”.

    It seems long covid tail will get bigger and longer, yet the experts continue to hedge language and want more studies. And agreed, “we” have “covid amnesia.

    – I am very very glad I am not imunocompromised.
    – Jabs for foreseeable future.
    – “Conclusions… “Therefore, individuals, regardless of history of prior infection, should continue to participate in mitigating the spread of infection by practicing social distancing and mask-wearing.”… 

    And the last “reinfection not worse” study posted in the longest thread ever, was not a study. It was a “Editor’s Note: This letter was published on February 9, 2022, at
    Protection against the Omicron Variant from Previous SARS-CoV-2 Infection March 31, 2022
    N Engl J Med 2022; 386:1288-1290 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc2200133

    Decent as early 1 off tiny not peer reviewed letter. – “Editor’s Note: This letter was published”…, at NEJM as CORRESPONDENCE. Relevant to what was observed, but picked up by news outlets as a study, promoted widely and wildly, and promoted by Nature News, as it was first, and easy clucks for all. Slack by scientific and journalism standards imo. Excellent as fodder and confirmation bias reinforcement. See above linked refs to a better reinfection reality. I am keen to see more and better longitudinal studies over time.

    “Reinfection in patients with COVID-19: a systematic review”
    Published: 29 April 2022

    Table 1 Characteristics of the included studies (a) Part 1 and (b) Part 2

    Eight systematic reviews have already been published [20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27], but they have many limitations, such as not reporting the results of viral gene sequencing [20,21,22], or defining reinfection based on RT-PCR results [20, 27]. Thus, we decided to conduct this current review to address these limitations.

    “In conclusion, our study shows that for some patients, the immune response to the first infection was not adequate to protect against reinfection. And reinfection is not specific to any specific strain. Therefore, individuals, regardless of history of prior infection, should continue to participate in mitigating the spread of infection by practicing social distancing and mask-wearing. More high-quality cohort studies based on viral gene sequencing are needed in the future to help us better understand the causes of reinfection and formulate vaccination strategies.”

    Xiangying Ren,Jie Zhou,Jing Guo,Chunmei Hao,Mengxue Zheng,Rong Zhang,Qiao Huang,Xiaomei Yao,Ruiling Li &Yinghui Jin 

    Global Health Research and Policy 
    volume 7, Article number: 12 (2022)

  12. Ikonoclast: – “The global COVID-19 pandemic is on a runaway path. This is going to spiral completely out of control unless emergency action is taken very soon.

    Have you written/emailed to your local state MP yet? Have you asked your MP to put your question(s) to the Health Minister re what the government is doing to mitigate the worsening death rate and ‘long-COVID’ risks?

    I did on Saturday (May 14), and received an acknowledgement today from the office of Paul Toole MP that my questions had been forwarded to Brad Hazzard MP. I referred to some of the links highlighted at this blog in my preamble to my questions.

    I’d suggest the more people that raise concerns the more likely something will be done.

    Meanwhile, it seems to me we have grossly irresponsible people like broadcaster Ben Fordham alleging: “There is no bigger fearmonger than Dr Norman Swan.”

  13. There is considerable concern now that COVID-19 contains a superantigen or superantigen-like factor.

    “Superantigens and SARS-CoV-2” by Adam Hamdy and Anthony Leonardi.

    If SARS-CoV-2 is the first “widely circulating, airborne pathogen that may be a superantigen, superantigen-like or trigger a superantigenic host response” then this will be profoundly dangerous for all of humanity. The scope for damage to the entire global population may be almost unlimited. This is especially as we are not controlling the disease at all, apart from using progressively failing vaccines, only delivered to first world countries in the main and not even well delivered there. Young children are also completely unprotected.

    The profundity and the impacts of these terrible mistakes we have made in relation to COVI-19 disease and the possible consequent results are almost beyond imagination. And these consequences are about to fall on us with terrifying force.

    I am waiting for the Federal Election to go through. Then we have to try to change things at all levels. It is virtually impossible to change anything right now. People are in total denial. Right wingers completely oppose any changes or any answers in relation to climate change or COVID-19. They have to be swept from power completely and never let near it ever again. Our entire system has to be radically changed or we face rapid extinction from threats on multiple fronts.

  14. And now for a complete change of pace (so that I am not just posting downers).

    Q. Why was/is Bob Dylan such a bad harmonica player?

    My answer?

    A. Dylan could not or would not consistently form a correct tongue-block embouchure on the harmonica.

    If that’s not the answer then it is probably somewhere in the arena suggested by this Neil Innes satirical performance.

  15. Back to more serious matters, Lancet authors wrote in Oct. 2020.

    They called the “herd immunity” infection approach a “dangerous fallacy”. They were so right.
    They wrote “Such a strategy would not end the COVID-19 pandemic but result in recurrent epidemics..” They were so right. Here we are today and the situation is worse than ever.

    “In the initial phase of the pandemic, many countries instituted lockdowns (general population restrictions, including orders to stay at home and work from home) to slow the rapid spread of the virus. This was essential to reduce mortality, prevent health-care services from being overwhelmed, and buy time to set up pandemic response systems to suppress transmission following lockdown. Although lockdowns have been disruptive, substantially affecting mental and physical health, and harming the economy, these effects have often been worse in countries that were not able to use the time during and after lockdown to establish effective pandemic control systems. In the absence of adequate provisions to manage the pandemic and its societal impacts, these countries have faced continuing restrictions.

    This has understandably led to widespread demoralisation and diminishing trust. The arrival of a second wave and the realisation of the challenges ahead has led to renewed interest in a so-called herd immunity approach, which suggests allowing a large uncontrolled outbreak in the low-risk population while protecting the vulnerable. Proponents suggest this would lead to the development of infection-acquired population immunity in the low-risk population, which will eventually protect the vulnerable.
    This is a dangerous fallacy unsupported by scientific evidence.

    Any pandemic management strategy relying upon immunity from natural infections for COVID-19 is flawed. Uncontrolled transmission in younger people risks significant morbidity and mortality across the whole population. In addition to the human cost, this would impact the workforce as a whole and overwhelm the ability of health-care systems to provide acute and routine care. Furthermore, there is no evidence for lasting protective immunity to SARS-CoV-2 following natural infection, and the endemic transmission that would be the consequence of waning immunity would present a risk to vulnerable populations for the indefinite future. Such a strategy would not end the COVID-19 pandemic but result in recurrent epidemics, as was the case with numerous infectious diseases before the advent of vaccination. It would also place an unacceptable burden on the economy and health-care workers, many of whom have died from COVID-19 or experienced trauma as a result of having to practise disaster medicine. Additionally, we still do not understand who might suffer from long COVID.3
    Defining who is vulnerable is complex, but even if we consider those at risk of severe illness, the proportion of vulnerable people constitute as much as 30% of the population in some regions.8
    Prolonged isolation of large swathes of the population is practically impossible and highly unethical. Empirical evidence from many countries shows that it is not feasible to restrict uncontrolled outbreaks to particular sections of society. Such an approach also risks further exacerbating the socioeconomic inequities and structural discriminations already laid bare by the pandemic. Special efforts to protect the most vulnerable are essential but must go hand-in-hand with multi-pronged population-level strategies.”

  16. No country gave up on Covid-19 control more disgracefully than Australia from an original high base of early luck and success. It has a blot on Australian governance and Australians themselves.

    I will post this link again to save people lookin above for it.. If SARS-CoV-2 is the first “widely circulating, airborne pathogen that may be a superantigen, superantigen-like or trigger a superantigenic host response” then this will be profoundly dangerous for all of humanity. The scope for damage to the entire global population may be almost unlimited. This is especially as we are not controlling the disease at all, apart from using progressively failing vaccines, only delivered to first world countries in the main and not even well delivered there. Young children are also completely unprotected.

    “Superantigens and SARS-CoV-2” by Adam Hamdy and Anthony Leonardi.

  17. The world of virology needs to get to the bottom of this issue as quickly as possible.

    “Is SARS-CoV-2 a Superantigen?” – By Dr. Priyom Bose, Ph.D. Mar 29 2022.

    Of course, SARS-CoV-2 is new and it is being studied hard. Plus it is evolving rapidly. These factors mean the rate of discovery (and conjectures) about aspects of SARS-CoV-2 is going to be high. Are we finding many concerning things about SARS-CoV-2 because there are many (more than usual) concerning things about it OR are we finding many concerning things because we are studying it so hard? I think, very likely, it is both.

    The precautionary principle should have been applied, and now should be reapplied, to SARS-CoV-2. There were many markers, many reasons, to be super-cautious about SARS-CoV-2 from the moment of its discovery. I shouldn’t need to rehearse these reasons for educated people but here goes;

    (a) it is member of the same family of viruses as SARS and MERS – Red Flag!
    (b) it is an RNA virus, theoretically capable of rapid evolution. – Red Flag!
    (c) no vaccine had ever been made before (at the time of emergence of SARS-CoV-2) against any coronavirus except an enteric one infecting canines. Red Flag!
    (d) all our experience of coronaviruses in humans was that immunity did not last. – Red Flag!
    (e) many coronaviruses are airborne – Red Flag!

    How and why did we ignore these red flags? The answers clearly are political-economic and not scientific. Misinformation about the virus was promulgated at orders of magnitude greater than scientific information.

    What have we found out since? Actually things have gone wrong and facts have emerged which completely validate all the red flags above.

    (a) SARS-CoV-2 has a high lethality compared to influenza and morbidity issues are both immediate and long term and also extensive.
    (b) It is now evolving super-rapidly.
    (c) A vaccine was made but is now progressively failing (leaky vaccine).
    (d) Immunity (natural and from vaccines) is fading faster and faster as new variants evolve.
    (e) SARS-CoV-2 is now the most dangerous and super-contagious pathogen known to humanity after just two and bit years of mutation and evolution.

    All the chickens fathered by the “Red Flag rooster” have come home to roost with a vengeance. The COVID-19 minimizers have been proven totally wrong as I and the scientists and economists I follow ALL predicted from about early to mid 2020. The damage to human health and the economy has been horrendous. What is more the crisis is still worsening rapidly to this very day. The global governing elites have completely messed this up and shown their total ignorance and callousness.

    Just as neglecting climate change has led to super-outbreaks of fire thunderstorms, pyroCb events, (and many other crucial problems) so neglecting to control COVID-19, a novel, airborne, super contagious and likely superantigenic virus has led to a runaway super-pandemic. This is no longer “just” a pandemic.

    The qualities of SARS-Cov-2 have been and are still being discovered to be absolutely horrendous. Add to that the quantities of virus being permitted to replicate and evolve by having no real controls and we move into the zone of a “wicked superphenomenon”.

    A so-called wicked problem “is a problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements..” – Wikipedia. A superphenomenon is a phenomenon that goes beyond the typical qualities of the phenomenon type in question.

    It seems a superphenomenon (so-called) turns on the issue of sheer quantity generating new qualities as emergent behaviors never seen before. System boundaries are crossed which were never seen to be crossed before or even never seen until crossed. It’s like a multi-system phase-change. What happens is outside the predictive models of previous science and also outside the prescriptive model agency of extant political economy governance, not just because of combinatorial complexity, rapidity of change and humans being non-amenable to rational, community based measures (standard wicked problem issues) but also because the super-system (the system of systems including non-human and human systems) moves to a new, non-equilibrium chaotic state.

    Short translation? Nobody has a clue what’s going to happen next. Short answer. Put out the super-conflagrations. Try to move the system back to conditions where we understand what is happening and where our prescriptions used to work, somewhat. If you had super-fires across your nation, would you light everything in between, natural and built, to try to connect all the super-fires up? Of course you would not. You would work in the other direction, trying to damp and isolate the super-fires, turn them back into “mere” fires and then douse them one by one.

  18. Read:
    – sell off,
    – contract out &
    – privatise.

    “Cuts to public sector spending underpin Coalition’s forecast budget improvement
    “The opportunities for departments, which they’ve demonstrated time and time again in meeting efficiency dividends, exist in relation to management of their accommodation, their properties, management of technology, management of staffing arrangements,” he said.

    “This is about public sector administration, administration by government departments.”

    This policy guidebook was written by hypertheical firm named “Selloff, Contractout & Private Eyed”.

  19. And here it is again, reinfecting via promotion in media.

    No wonder covid misinformers / gullible / seekers if confirmatiin bias, are able to ignore reinfections & mutations. This article has confounding studies, done in early 2021. I wish I had not read it.

    And “This letter” again. Linked in the article in the word “media” is, as always an “Editor’s Note: This letter was published on November 24, 2021, at NEJM org.

    “For those who get a reinfection, disease severity appears to be milder and less likely to result in hospitalisation. This is likely because the immune memory can recognise at least part of the re-infecting virus.”

    Then the article goes on to say;

    “However it’s difficult to measure disease severity on a population level. A systemic review of case studies found that while some second infections were milder, this was not so in all cases. Some reinfections resulted in worse outcomes, including death. (During this study period, one of the original strains, B.1, caused most primary infections, with reinfections caused by Alpha or Beta variants.)

    “But while Omicron appears to be causing more reinfections than other variants, there isn’t enough robust data to make firm conclusions about the severity of reinfection with Omicron or other variants.

    “What we know for certain is we need more data from more people to say that reinfection is less severe.”

    Reinfections – I await more data, yet even if 0.5% of 25m infections, we have another burden of 125,000 every 2yrs, seemingly treated as a zero in datasets and modelling.

    I want science. A letter in NEJM as the most promoted “fact” is misleaeing at best. I am going to wait 3 months before reading anymore about reinfections. And then, only peer reviewed longitudinal studies. Not journalism however qualified. Nor letters in the NEJM.

  20. KT2,

    Yes, of course. I understand your frustration. This is the basic problem. We let COVID-19 rip without understanding its full character and capabilities. And indeed as it changes (mutates) it changes its character and capabilities. The science is always at least 3 months behind and in some crucial and fundamental questions it may be 18 months behind or more. This problem is insuperable at least while this crisis moves this fast and indeed shows no sign of slowing. Careful, peer reviewed science takes time.

    What really annoys me is the asymmetrical optimism bias of the authorities and most people, it seems. It is fully accepted for some minimizer scientists and nearly all leaders to say “Omicron may be milder” which soon becomes “Omicron is milder” in many media re-statements and then the mantra of the public. That turned out to be a complete myth. Science has caught up and shown Omicron is NOT intrinsically milder and because of greater infectiousness it caused much more damage on an intrinsic scale.

    Yet as soon as someone says, before all the science is in, “Omicron may not be milder and by the way we already know it is much more infectious which has its own dangers.” this person is disregarded as “an alarmist”. In every significant case with COVID-19 that I can think of so far, the scientists and economists recommending ultra caution and stringent control have been proven right. We have faced untold damage by ignoring them. Still, many of them are derided as alarmists and unrealistic.

    I would make the presumption that COVID-19 is very dangerous, with still more hidden dangers to be discovered. Take every precaution possible. When that fails from time to time, as it may do, you can say to yourself, “After all, let me hope it is not that bad, so I don’t go crazy with worry. At the same time, I will reinstate all my efforts to not catch it again.” That’s the most anybody can do.

  21. Ikonoclast (at MAY 16, 2022 AT 5:22 PM): – “I am waiting for the Federal Election to go through. Then we have to try to change things at all levels. It is virtually impossible to change anything right now.

    I disagree. Start the ball rolling with the state/territory jurisdiction. In my experience a written response to my questions to NSW Ministers usually takes about 8 to 10 weeks. How many people will die from COVID-19 or acquire and begin their suffering from ‘long-COVID’ in that time? 🙄

    The states/territories have jurisdiction over civil behaviour and can order effective social restrictions that reduce the risks of transmission, NOT the Feds. IMO, there’s no time to waste, or have you given up?

    I’d suggest you should stop procrastinating and start making some ‘noise’ where it can/should make a difference. 😉

  22. Geoff Miell,

    I was in some of the Bjelke-Petersen street protests circa 1978. Where were you? 😉

  23. What is the simplest and most effective “save lives” Covid graphic you have seen? Unfortunately I do not know of such. Anyone?

    “Survival above ground in wooden framed house”

    We need such simple graphics for masks etc re Covid transmission and deaths.

    ” Bert the Turtle is an absurd avatar. It is a minor accommodation to a grim reality, a simple answer of what to do that avoids the harder task of trying to ensure we see a tomorrow with no nuclear weapons. Yet despite all that, I can’t help but imagine what 2022 would look like if the federal government applied any of the same driving vision to our current crisis, that not only was it survivable but that proactive action, federally directed, could safely shepherd people through a long emergency and usher about a safe future.”

    “Inert? Call Bert!Lessons for managing expectations in a long emergency from the protagonist of Duck and Cover.”

    “If the pandemic deaths had happened all at once, if they had been bound together temporally in the way that deaths from nuclear war would be, the loss would feel abrupt. There would be a clear after as well as a distinct before-time. We do not have that. Pandemics operate on different logic and by a different mechanism. While there is no clear after, yet, people have adjusted expectations to the long now of the crisis, with all approximations of pre-pandemic normal coming in the dips between waves.”

  24. Relax a bit Ikon.
    “Ikon “We are very possibly moving into medieval-style plague casualty levels”. Ah, a bit overblown so long as IP removed from vaccine & drug patents.”

    Finally good news re patents. This is definitely:-

    ‘A pretty big deal’: U.S. makes COVID-19 technologies available for use in developing countries

    “Biden administration has agreed to put licenses for 11 federally funded inventions in a global patent pool

    “MPP today has patent agreements for several anti-HIV drugs and recently added two treatments for COVID-19, Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merck & Co.’s molnupiravir. The new agreement also covers inventions used by companies that make existing COVID-19 vaccines, such as a modification that stabilizes spike, the surface protein of SARS-CoV-2. Companies could also use the technologies to make entirely new products. Research tools for drugmakers and diagnostic assays are also part of the agreement.

    I’ll post re “96% pathogens remived” – UVC sterilsation & ventilation – tomorrow.

  25. Published yesterday (May 17) at was a post headlined 1.5 degrees Paris climate target not ‘safe or appropriate’ given climate tipping point risks, ‘major rethink’ required: new report. It begins with:

    Climate tipping points in the Antarctica, the Arctic and the Amazon are at risk of being reached before or at the current level of global warming of 1.2 degrees Celsius, requiring a “major rethink” of global climate goals and the action necessary to achieve them, according to a report released today.

    And further along:

    Writing in the report’s foreword, Professor Sir David King FRS, a former UK Climate Envoy, says: “This is a code red situation. No government is taking it seriously enough.”

    The post includes a link to the latest report by David Spratt & Ian Dunlop titled Climate Dominoes: Tipping point risks for critical climate systems, published yesterday by Breakthrough – National Centre for Climate Restoration Australia. Or find it at:

    Many people are questioning/asking were they wrong about safe CO₂ levels. Unfortunately, the answer is yes.

  26. “we could render 96% of COVID and flu viruses inert in a very short period of time.” – Divya Manian.

    A bold, and it seems provable claim, if ventilation upgraded + HEPA filtration +  Upper-Room Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI). Physically easy. Provable health & eonomic rationale. Just dogma to get over.

    Divya Manian: 
    “We have known since 2020 that COVID is airborne, so why has the government not focused on a structural solution for clean air? We even have an effective technology that is proven to kill airborne pathogens – upper-room ultraviolet germicidal irradiation – a disinfection zone of UV energy that is installed high up in a room, killing airborne pathogens in that area. Combined with a Corsi-Rosenthal box, we could render 96% of COVID and flu viruses inert in a very short period of time. 

    “In March, the Biden administration unveiled the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge, which mentions this technique, but sadly “recommending” something is hardly as effective as making these techniques mandatory or at the very least the default choice. In fact, Belgium has already started this process: There is a national ventilation plan that all spaces open to the public are required to adopt within a year.”
    [The question above re simple Covid graphics (May 17, 2022 at 5:09 pm) and “96%” claim from Divya Manian at:]

    Links from “render 96% of COVID and flu viruses inert”:

    “Upper-Room Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI)
    (CDC – explanation and references to science)

    DIY box fan air filters – Corsi-Rosenthal box

    Clean Air in Buildings Challenge

    Click to access 508-cleanairbuildings_factsheet_v5_508.pdf

    Belgium requires Co2 monitors in public with display, and “If the sensors show carbon dioxide levels of 900-1,200 parts per million, venues are required to take action to improve it”. 

    “There is a lot of protest, or lack of support from especially the education system with regard to the idea of putting CO2 meters in each classroom, because this has a certain cost,” he said.

    “However, it is not that much. In Flanders it would cost about €5 million. It’s not that much if you see what we have invested in disinfectant gels and surface cleaning, it’s only a small amount.”

    Australia Co2 monitors in schools 

    Flanders in Belgium has 2,300 schools. €5m÷2,300 = €2,200 or 1.5x = AuD $3,300 for Co2 monitoring. 

    ABS says 9,581 schools in Australia.  Co2 monitors Au schools say 10k x $3,300 = $33,000,000.

    Yet we haven’t even finshed air conditioning schools!

    Optimal Benefits & Savings = positive feedback if health and budgets
    – 9.96% popn long covid prevented. 
    – Health care system less stressed 
    – Able to return to timely chronic health condition minitoring and elective surgeries 

    If as… “Brisbane Independent School prevented outbreaks of COVID-19, despite Omicron wave” … has achieved,  I see no reason why we can’t stop 96% of infections. 

    “Key points:
    > Using a smoke machine, a group of dads studied airflow patterns in the school’s five classrooms and administration areas
    > Their goal was creating clean-air classrooms at the school to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission
    > An air quality expert says she is impressed by the working group’s innovation and methodology

  27. Yes, they were/are wrong about safe CO2 levels. Also they were/are wrong about safe COVID-19 levels. The relatively safe (nothing is perfectly safe from all dangers) CO2 level is the pre-industrial level of about 280 ppm (rounded to the nearest factor of 5). The safe level of SARS-CoV-2 in humans and human society is zero.

    Until we accept this in each case and rapidly implement emergency programs to get to safe levels, human civilization is, to a high degree of certainty, headed for total collapse and humans probably headed for extinction. The longer we obfuscate, deny and delay action, the more perilous our situation becomes. Denial will eventually become impossible but if we are already past the points of no return, as tipping points, then we would have no chance of saving more than a remnant of humans and a humanly livable environment.

  28. Hello everyone. thank you all very much for an interesting conversation.

    Can anyone explain to me why the Chinese waste so much economic and man power on spraying anything that doesn’t move and some the does? Also after watching the rest of the deal with this deadly pandemic were they so terribly unprepared for lockdowns? Are they afflicted with very serious dose of exceptionalism? Not even their vaccines are really effective and a whole lot less so if you don’t get them in arms. I guess what I’m trying to say/ask is that is everyone on this planet, all talk and no action or maybe an example of fake it till you make it (others believe the hype)?

    Then we have morrisscum & perrottet, who very kindly provided us with a Xmas present, Let-a-Rip. Because the business councils had had enough. Since then Australia has managed to be number one, numerous times, in cases/population, and that’s without proper testing. None of the European/developed world cares anymore. This of course makes the epidemiologist job almost impossible. And we need them. Sorry about the rant, could go on and on. Will add just one more thing.

    Climate change. I have one grandchild and another on the way (don’t think this matters so much, as it just makes it mite personal). My thoughts are so mixed up, my ideas all mixed up and probably incoherent to others. But I can state one thing clearly, we must begin/continue NOW; no more coal or gas mining approvals, stopping the use of coal by 2030 (not so sure about gas), the electrification of everything, large subsidies for EV, major changes in farming and support for those whose livelihood will bee effected by these changes. This s an investment in our future SURVIVAL. The wealthy must be convinced to cover this. I see no reason why they will not be able to increase their wealth yet again and maybe even realise that helpin others ca feel good ( I know, ha, ha).
    For those who got to the end thanks for reading

  29. “Want to prevent pandemics? Stop spillovers. (^5.)

    “primary pandemic prevention actions cost less than 1/20th the value of lives lost each year to emerging viral zoonoses and have substantial cobenefits.”(^1.)

    “we estimate that the yearly probability of occurrence of extreme epidemics can increase up to threefold in the coming decades.”(^2.)

    Dollar Damage!
    “Total Disease Damage
    Lowest – $8.1T
    Middle – $11.5T
    Highest -$15.T”(^3.)

    Ahh. A Bargin!
    “We estimate the present value of prevention costs for 10 years to be only about 2% of the costs of the COVID-19 pandemic.”(^3.)

    Yay. Targeted:
    “”Targeting Transmission Pathways for Emerging Zoonotic Disease Surveillance and Control”(^4.)

    “The costs and benefits of primary prevention of zoonotic pandemics

    ” We compute the annualized damages from emerging viral zoonoses. We explore three practical actions to minimize the impact of future pandemics: better surveillance of pathogen spillover and development of global databases of virus genomics and serology, better management of wildlife trade, and substantial reduction of deforestation. We find that these primary pandemic prevention actions cost less than 1/20th the value of lives lost each year to emerging viral zoonoses and have substantial cobenefits.”

    “Intensity and frequency of extreme novel epidemics

    Marco Marani et al. 
    “Observational knowledge of the epidemic intensity, defined as the number of deaths divided by global population and epidemic duration, and of the rate of emergence of infectious disease outbreaks is necessary to test theory and models and to inform public health risk assessment by quantifying the probability of extreme pandemics such as COVID-19. Despite its significance, assembling and analyzing a comprehensive global historical record spanning a variety of diseases remains an unexplored task. A global dataset of historical epidemics from 1600 to present is here compiled and examined using novel statistical methods to estimate the yearly probability of occurrence of extreme epidemics.

    The slow decay of probability with epidemic intensity implies that extreme epidemics are relatively likely, a property previously undetected due to short observational records and stationary analysis methods. Using recent estimates of the rate of increase in disease emergence from zoonotic reservoirs associated with environmental change, we estimate that the yearly probability of occurrence of extreme epidemics can increase up to threefold in the coming decades.”

    “Ecology and economics for pandemic prevention”

    “We estimate the present value of prevention costs for 10 years to be only about 2% of the costs of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

    “Total Disease Damage
    Lowest – $8.1T
    Middle – $11.5T
    Highest -$15.T

    “Summary of prevention costs, benefits, and break-even probability change

    We recognize that as the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, economic priorities may shift to deal with soaring demands from unemployment, chronic diseases, bankruptcies, and severe financial hardship of public institutions. Nonetheless, there is substantial evidence that the rate of emergence of novel diseases is increasing (2, 3) and that their economic impacts are also increasing. Postponing a global strategy to reduce pandemic risk would lead to continued soaring costs. Given the barrage of costly emerging diseases in the past 20 years, we urge that stimulus and other recovery funding include the strategies we have laid out to reduce pandemic risk. Society must strive to avoid some of the impacts of future pandemics.”

    “Targeting Transmission Pathways for Emerging Zoonotic Disease Surveillance and Control”

    [Land use change major driver, far ahead of agriculture & international travel – stop chopping:

    “Slowing Amazon deforestation through public policy and interventions in beef and soy supply chains” ]

    “These results can be used to develop better targeting of surveillance for, and more effective control of newly emerged zoonoses in regions under different underlying pressures that drive disease emergence.”

    Above from primary article;

    “Want to prevent pandemics? Stop spillovers

    “Decision-makers discussing landmark agreements on health and biodiversity must include four actions to reduce the risk of animals and people exchanging viruses.”

  30. Small government.

    “the decision to outsource much of the work on it was a “huge mistake”….”according to the government’s former chief information officer, Glenn Archer”

    “Archer – who was closely involved with the early days of the digital identity programme as chair of the government authentication governance committee – also told that he “despairs” of the lack of progress on the myGov portal linked to the identity verification system and that the decision to outsource much of the work on it was a “huge mistake”.

    “A pilot of the identity scheme, called myGovID, was announced in 2018 and launched the following year. It was intended to allow government entitles to use the same system by replacing standalone programmes such as the Australian Taxation Office’s AUSkey system, but the programme has hit a number of stumbling blocks in the years since and costs have spiralled.

    “The Coalition government allocated AUS$250m (US$173m) to the programme in the 2020 budget,on top of the AUS$92.4m (US$66m) initially invested in it and a separate AUS$67.2 (US$48m) funding boost.”

    ‘Not a lot to show’ for Australia’s $400m digital ID programme, says former government CIO

  31. I’m not an economist so please excuse this possibly naive question. Given that we live on a finite planet and than unrestricted growth will inevitably lead to resource shortages, conflict and chaos, what does economic theory say about the possibility of a peaceful and prosperous society (at the national level) *without population growth*? Examples where this seems to be possible are Japan and several western European nations. But in Australia, (almost?) all public figures assume without question that population growth is required to just maintain our standard of living. Are there standard books and articles that address this question?

  32. “The diffusion of public private partnerships: a world systems analysis
    February 2019
    Globalizations 16(1):1-19
    John Quiggin

    “This paper analyzes the diffusion of neoliberal policies from the UK to Australia and New Zealand, and then to the Asia-Pacific region. The analytical framework employed is the world systems model developed by Immanuel Wallerstein. The primary focus of attention is the spread of public-private partnerships (PPPs) modelled on the UK Private Finance Initiative (PFI). Despite the demise of the PFI in its country of origin, and repeated failures in Australia and New Zealand, there is still considerable enthusiasm for the model in Australasia reflected in eagerness to export national expertise through aid and financial links.”

    “The continued dominance, in Australia and New Zealand, of ideas derived from the UK model reflects the persistence of institutional patterns derived from the older British world system.

    The chapter is organized as follows.
    Section 1 describes the world systems approach and its relationship to financialised capitalism.
    Section 2 considers attempts to locate Australia and New Zealand in the world system model of Wallerstein (1974).
    Section 3 deals with the rise of neoliberalism in Australia and New Zealand.
    Section 4 describes the rise of public-private partnerships (PPPs) with a particular focus on the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) in the UK.
    Section 5 summarizes critiques of the PPP approach.
    Section 6 describes the rise and fall of the PPP model Australia and New Zealand. Section 6 deals with the re-export of the PPP model from Australia to countries in Asia. Finally some concluding comments are offered.1. ”

    “Financialised capitalism and the world systetem”…

    World-systems theory

  33. The last big public private partnership in Germany turned out to be an unexpected loss for investors. And it was not some kind of overconfident handfull of investors thing – the vast majority consenus prognosis was that the investors would earn a lot on the publics expense. So far so good hm? No, the lobby knows no shame , the business newspapers were full off demands that the government should compensate the losses. Don´t think that went through, still that it was even up for discourse…..

  34. AV “not out of date. -a.v.”

    AV, when Ukraine gets back to normality, will your linked article be more or less relevant?

    It has:
    -no numbers of suspects
    – state American who was going to meet up with Azov stopped by his own family
    – Azia troublemaker kicked out of military

    So with a reformed Ukraine, I won’t Azov be less of a threat?
    And Put in influence then the main problem?

    Careful reply AV. The future please, not “not out of date.”

  35. The US state of Washington is reportedly short on fuel supplies, and retail fuel price boards are reportedly being modified to accommodate $10+ per gallon pricing.

    Per ABC, global food supplies ‘on the cusp of something fairly serious’ as grain prices soar during war and India bans exports.

  36. US petroleum geologist Art Berman tweeted on May 18:

    Record 77.43 bcf/d shale & associated gas production in December 2021.
    DUC completions have fallen from 48% in October 2020 to 7% in April 2022.

    And on May 19:

    Tight oil drilling productivity gains have declined -23% since February 2021 led by poor performance in the Eagle Ford and Bakken plays.

    Meanwhile, US gasoline fuel prices continue to rise despite US President Biden ordering the release of 1 Mb/d from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve since the beginning of May.

  37. It’s been reported in the U.K. parliament that the decommissioning costs of nuclear could reach £23.5B. This amount was not expected and the taxpayer will have to supply a significant proportion of these funds.

    They also advise that there are no plans for replacement generation – they will have to import energy.

  38. “Your Book Review: Making Nature

    …”but unlike the other periodicals that existed at the time, it would be written by the prominent men of science themselves. It would have a simple, evocative name: Nature.

    Lockyer summarized the two aims of Nature like this:

    FIRST, to place before the general public the grand results of Scientific Work and Scientific Discovery, and to urge the claims of Science to a more general recognition in Education and in Daily Life;

    And, SECONDLY, to aid Scientific men themselves, by giving early information of all advances made in any branch of Natural knowledge throughout the world, and by affording them an opportunity of discussing the various Scientific questions which arise from time to time.

    In other words (and getting rid of the old-fashioned capitalization of random adjectives and nouns), Nature was meant to do two things: communication from scientists to the public, and communication among scientists. It was an interesting idea. It was also a new one; until then the two aims had been separate.

    Recall that scientific journals have existed since 1665. During their first two hundred years, they primarily served to…”…

  39. New record daily average atmospheric CO₂ concentration reading at the Scripps Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO) on 13 May 2022 was at 421.68 ppm.

    The NOAA MLO atmospheric CO₂ concentration average weekly reading for May 8 – 14 was the highest ever with humans on Earth, at 421.13 ppm, up from 418.34 ppm a year ago.

    NOAA MLO atmospheric CO₂ concentration daily averages:
    May 10: 421.13 ppm
    May 11: 421.71 ppm
    May 12: 421.87 ppm
    May 13: 421.95 ppm
    May 14: 422.04 ppm
    May 15: 421.84 ppm
    May 16: 421.72 ppm
    May 17: 421.64 ppm
    May 18: 420.16 ppm
    May 19: 420.29 ppm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s