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  • Malartic and Teck Frontier Mines

    Posted on March 1st, 2021 admin No comments

    Facebook meme gets facts totally wrong

    One of our city councilors posted this meme on his Facebook page a while ago.

    No photo description available.
    Top: Quebec’s Malartic open pit gold mine;
    Bottom: a reference to Teck Resources’ proposed Frontier oil sands development

    Mining is a Provincial Matter

    First, let’s remember that mining (except on federal lands) is a PROVINCIAL matter. Provincial governments are responsible for the exploration, development, and extraction of mineral resources, and the construction, management, reclamation, and closeout of mine sites in their jurisdiction. So how does Trudeau, as PM, have anything to say about these mines? More later.

    About Malartic Mine

    Quebec’s Malartic gold mine, the largest open-pit mine in Canada, has been in operation since 1935, according to their website. Kind of predates both Trudeau PMs, no?

    In 2008, “The ore body is located directly beneath a sector in the Town of Malartic. Osisko relocates more than 150 homes in a new neighbourhood.” Justin Trudeau took office in 2015, so how is he responsible for moving those homes?

    The highway that was moved in 2017 was Route 117, an offshoot (TransCanada North) rather than the main TransCanada Highway. The Quebec government approved the mine expansions that necessitated moving both the homes and the highway. Trudeau not required.

    Reasons for Federal Involvement in Mining

    So why does the meme insist that PM Trudeau is refusing to approve a mine in Alberta? Mining is a provincial matter; how does the PM have any say? There are a few reasons.

    1. The Environment. Under the Constitution of Canada, environmental management is a shared responsibility between federal and provincial governments.
    2. First Nations. The federal government negotiates land rights and environmental concerns with aboriginal governments.
    3. Money. Provinces often want financial support from the federal government for large projects.

    Teck Resources Ltd. Frontier Mine

    Since the Teck mine would harm the environment and generate four million tonnes of greenhouse gases annually; since indigenous lands would be affected; and since Alberta needs money, the feds are involved.

    Most of the regulatory process had been completed. Teck had agreed to be carbon-neutral by 2050 (after producing 160 megatonnes of emissions), and the first nations seemed to be onboard with the money and jobs the mine would produce. It was only awaiting parliamentary approval (that is, the whole government, not just the Prime Minister) with a deadline of Feb. 28, 2021.

    A Couple of Post Scripts

    Really, it’s moot at this point. The deadline has passed without federal government approval. Teck has withdrawn their regulatory application. Read their letter here. Don Lindsay, Teck president and CEO, had actually questioned whether the mine would ever be built, in part because oil prices were not high enough.

    PS: Malartic was in 2016 the subject of a class action suit by the townspeople; the suit was settled in 2019. https://miningwatch.ca/news/2019/10/15/largest-gold-mine-canada-settles-affected-citizens-out-court

  • Biased Anti-Tesla Headline

    Posted on February 26th, 2021 admin No comments

    Deceptive and biased headlines are a nuisance, and Tesla motors still seems to get more than it’s due share of negative press, driven by short-sellers, market bulls, and manufacturers of ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles.

    Read this headline: Tesla to recall 135,000 vehicles under pressure from safety regulators

    To my mind, this headline makes it appear that

    1. Only Tesla vehicles were involved
    2. Tesla was reluctant and had to be “pressured” to do the recall.
    Tesla Model Y – Tesla Motors


    When you read the article, which seem to be largely factual, you learn that

    • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had found a “tentative” issue with touchscreen failures;
    • Tesla “agreed immediately” on the same day of being advised of the recall;
    • “Other automakers issued numerous recalls for similar safety issues stemming from the touchscreen failure”.
    • Even if the touchscreen fails, you can continue to drive your vehicle, Tesla or otherwise, by using the mirrors and doing shoulder-checks (duh, like most of us do!)

    So why the biased headline? Why the focus on Tesla? Why make it sound like the company had to be “pressured” to do the recall?

    Chain of Ownership

    Well, let’s dig a bit… Driving Magazine is part of PostMedia, which is owned by Chatham Asset Management, a right-leaning New Jersey corporation said to have close ties to the Republican party, which denies climate change and heavily supports fossil fuels.

    So it is quite possible that Driving has an agenda from the top, accounting for their high proportion of anti-Tesla headlines.

  • Churches Defy Public Health Regulations

    Posted on February 22nd, 2021 admin No comments

    A couple of churches in Alberta have been holding services with packed pews and no masks. This is in clear defiance of public health restrictions that call for “attendance to be capped at 15 per cent of capacity and congregants to practise physical distancing and wear masks,” according to a recent CBC story.

    Pastor James Coates of the GraceLife Church in Parkland County, west of Edmonton, has been charged with contravening Section 73(1) of the Public Health Act after police found the church over capacity on Sunday and people failing to adhere to physical distancing requirements. Twice arrested, he is now refusing to meet bail requirements, choosing instead to remain in custody.

    Fairview Baptist Church, south of Calgary, has likewise been defying the regulations. In January, Pastor Tim Stephens was fined $1,200 by Calgary bylaw officers for violating public health orders. But the church has continued to encourage congregants to break rules by holding gatherings larger than allowed capacity and not enforcing the wearing of masks.

    “It is … Jesus Christ, not civil government, that defines what is essential for the gathered church,” Stephens wrote in a blog post on the church’s website on Saturday. “Jesus promises that those who are persecuted for his namesake will be blessed,” said Coates. “He’s the one that blesses, and I’m content to leave that in his court.”

    Parkland GraceLife has a statement on their website (if it doesn’t open, click Notice, at the left of the home page) that explains the reasons behind their decision to operate contrary to the law. They argue that the pandemic is not really a pandemic; that it is not all that dangerous; that the government “cure” of restrictions is worse than the disease itself; that civil liberties are being unnecessarily infringed, etc. The church’s lawyer, James Kitchen, said, “Their first loyalty is to obey their God, not government.”

    Somehow, they overlook this: Romans 13:1-2 says: “Obey the government, for God is the One who has put it there. There is no government anywhere that God has not placed in power. So those who refuse to obey the law of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow.

    So aren’t these pastors and church boards actually choosing to disobey God and leading their congregations into sin?

  • On Covid-19 Censorship

    Posted on February 20th, 2021 admin No comments

    Recently, my friend Lorraine wrote to me:

    I think it is highly obvious the internet is completely censored because anybody with a dissenting point of view on covi/vaccines are being trashed and their videos are being immediately taken down.  Legitimate doctors are being shamed, shunned, and vilified. There is only one narrative on the internet and in the media.

    Here’s my response:

    Yes, you are quite right about this — there is a definite effort to control the spread of certain information, and this can be considered a form of censorship.   Here’s a good discussion of this from the UK, explaining why this censorship is happening.  Do read it. $4000/month is a good reason to put up a page, however spurious its content.  Also, pay heed to the part about Russian bots spreading misinformation:  False health information can be disastrous, but “alternative” doesn’t always mean illegitimate. Can Facebook tell the difference?

    The internet is not “completely” censored.  I’ve been looking around, and it seems that it conventional medical sites, research sites, universities, and health authorities are not being “censored”, nor are alternative health websites being taken down quite as much as are particular posts and pages in social media.  It is, as you say, the dissidents, the off-shoots, the fringe, the outré, the mavericks who go against accepted methods and treatments that are under dispute.

    I’ll continue my discussion of censorship, to look at why this information is being removed, and to debate whether or not, in my opinion, such removal is in the public interest. Please read the whole essay, don’t just stop and respond to the first one or two sections.

    Censorship is  the deliberate suppression or prohibition of information that is considered obscene, politically or socially unacceptable, totally incorrect, or a threat to the security or safety of the public.    So for this, we have to consider whether those “different opinions” you refer to that are “shamed, shunned, and vilified” (lovely phrasing!)  are any of  1) Obscene; 2) Unacceptable; 3) Incorrect; 4) A threat to security; 5) A threat to the safety of the public.

    1. Are their views obscene?  Probably not.

    Obscenity is a poorly defined construct, but generally considered to refer to words, actions, or images which are lewd, filthy, disgusting or offensive.  These in turn are vague; what is offensive to you might not bother me a bit, public nudity for example.  Things I find obscene, such as the steady diet of murders, rapes, and violent crime shown on TV as “entertainment” are apparently not offensive to the general public.   So the first question I ask is, ‘Can any of the views or actions of these people be considered obscene?”

    Rashid Buttar, to pick just one example of the anti-vax movement,  has been reprimanded by the North Carolina Medical Board for exploiting patients by charging exorbitant fees for unproven therapies, and ordering expensive tests to make more money.  (The reprimand and high fees are facts; the “unproven therapies” is opinion but could be discussed later. )  Is exploiting patients not only a violation medical ethics but also a form of obscenity?  He was also reprimanded for treating a child he had neither seen nor examined, another violation of medical ethics.  Do you consider these actions acceptable?  

    I suppose the obverse is that in a capitalist economy, you charge whatever the market will bear, getting rich is a worthy goal, and there are suckers born every minute so why not take advantage?  I think Buttar appears to be something of a greedy scumbag. You may argue that his treatments are both effective and worth the money, and that the stories about him are malicious fabrications, or that he is being “shamed, shunned and vilified” unfairly; if that is the case, we are blocked, and can go no further.  We examine the same evidence and reach differing conclusions.

    On the whole, however, although the actions of some practitioners may be “obscene”, I can’t see these alternative medical views in and of themselves as being “obscene”.

    2. Are these views unacceptable to mainstream thinking?  A definite yes.

    There is right now a great pressure for “political correctness”, and we are all expected to migrate with the herd.  There is a great distrust of government; even democratic governments are historically corrupt, and an election merely exchanges one set of criminals for a new set.   Mega-businesses like Facebook and Google are starting to be revealed as agents of control and enemies of privacy.   Nonetheless, the social media giants are under scrutiny and being held responsible for cleaning up their acts, which I see as progress.

    So, yes, unpopular views which are considered unacceptable — to whatever agencies are involved — may be cast aside, disregarded, or even shut down.  This has been common in the history of science and medicine.  Consider Gallileo Gallilei, threatened by the church with being burnt at the stake (a far worse punishment than having your Facebook page removed!) for his dissident view that the earth orbited the sun.  Or consider Marshall and Warren’s theory that ulcers were caused not by stress and spicy food but by a bacterium, h. pylori; they were met with skepticism and criticism from the medical establishment, and it was years before their work was accepted (and won them a Nobel prize).

    Discovery of Galileo's Long-Lost Letter Shows He Edited His Heretical Ideas to Fool the Inquisition
    Galileo Galilei at the Inquisition. Source: Getty Images via Scientific American

    Don’t you agree that some censorship is necessary for the overall social good?  I wouldn’t want my grandkids exposed to snuff porn (I don’t want to be exposed to it myself).  Death threats are illegal and need to be taken down.  Cyber-bullying, the cause of so many young suicides, needs to be controlled.  Censorship of hate speech is acceptable to most of us.

    Overall, though, I think suppression of ideas is not a great idea.   That means that I have to put up with such things as Satanism, Flat Earthers, UFOlogists, and such, as well as anti-vaxxers and that psychiatrist who claims viruses don’t exist, because where do you draw the line?   Ultimately, enough evidence of the reality of the solar system piled up to convince the Catholic Church of their error.  Eventually, enough evidence of bacteria causing ulcers convinced the medical establishment (though there is still debate).  It is my contention that enough evidence already exists that the anti-vax movement contains substantial errors.  See the next point.

    3. Are these views correct or valid?  Debatable.

    This will be a central point of contention.  You hold that they are; I suggest that they are not.  We’ll probably spend a lot of time exchanging studies and evidence.

    Let’s take Rashid Buttar again as an example.  Called “the chelation evangelist”, he uses chelation for almost everything.  Yet I easily found recent studies showing that chelation is “little better than a placebo” for anything other than lead poisoning (and some other metals).  The Federal trade Commission, whose goal is “Protecting consumers and competition by preventing anticompetitive, deceptive, and unfair business practices through law enforcement, advocacy, and education”, went so far as to call this form of treatment fraudulent   and to levy charges against physicians who use it for anything other than lead. A more balanced treatment is in this article though it does stress that the major study supporting chelation for other conditions was poorly done and its findings only marginal.

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YRevAutwhcqkqWDjLmZlOz4XCrd0hPPHHGwkntYFZ8a6fT5Mrvp8SMRs2LY2kHab3Xwee189q4nMkmuSSqcoyW0jrnSRpseLOEKEIpfErHar1a3Z8rUVvj7GUoRlNOXbPBtLVxhP03y+nHCz+f2OZr/ABjkyYvgUoBA2izbEUfm9uO0mnJyXsR6emFMt2cy7e5ixYBmx294nVGZnICqm3ueO/FffmQr9WFyaU2nVvnlNdyveK+sYHwYtPiyHKUYsX2so7EV5qJPPepYqrcW2zF1+rhdGMIc47lTk5mCAIAgCAIAgEwCIAgCAIAgEiARAEAQBAEAQBAJRSSAO54EAu2bwzpsaLiyB/jV58obyo3sFqio7e55kHrfN7Gr/p3+0m/1M9T8GHRZfw2FGwsMSebErHYpUDc43AFiTbc82eZ7WvmbyVr+K4x24x38nK6posGL4pwrtV2IDH1AJ7X2H0HpJFFLoQ2XTsxuecHK1uNlfaqhsYQk5LFkk2vA5ry+tH5ZxXOUs7lg7vqjBRcZZyYQ4QZC1AEKLF7u/Jv9PY+v+ROpy2rOBpqPWns3Y7m9otYiKp3LtavlC+a/MRXBs0LvtzzPVOL6HNmntr5knjz2+5WOpa8NlJA4G5jVgm1Uj1skspFUPNuI9J0QnQ0GhQ4gb523wGqwwBA49AyChXzKRf6o51qXJc0uslR8uMps+cWl25C7AFz5LVtpRfmA7WTyT2rvZ9BXnCUV7Gvp9TTbNtfqx34wvHvjv/PjpYFytmx4hj/1G2Bht8tgsWO4WVKpj4JvygAt3azOahHcz5+MHKW2P/X/AIbOo8P2NRjyOwzJkbZYpWWhQIPAG0qdw4sHkkMshjZOU04rMWTzhSqlz83f/BW9PjyYciruPuvAbgn9NfOB3Ndqklk3FcHei00b5tSfTx1/EdnU+IdT8FsZOEr8Pc35d/KOe5Pm2m7axweO0h9Vvg0n8Orj8zbeOW8loxeE9Jk0GM5sS/Eb5cgXbkXcfLZWuRY+nE7rj8mWVdba/wD9OyPbC/f2KB4u1I0a5On4WOfOfy8rhHpQQKUCzbnjnmvv28qr53MavXbqlTD9zz7V6PLiIXIjIxAIDKQa9+fsR+xlnJlNNdTBB4IAgCAIAgCATAIgCAIAgCASIBEAQBAEAQBAEAzaLKEyIxulZWNVdAgmr9YCPQep4WyE5VYnGWsMvmDXyAK7Sk4tPofSRtjZFNSNLQYMmMtnW/iKaTb2od1Yet9uZ0rMNYOJaT1IScv2wdPq/iVSiqiEuhVijKQvB5DHtzVfaTyknHr1MiOnsjPDj089Da0nV8eoFooQWw23dA+gNe47dpHTS4vc5ZJNTqYzj6cYJYZGryflsAwRvLtY3XmPqBx3F2T6/adXYxyd/DXL1Gk8cfmfv2NDRafao3MbBIckGzkogj/2Ebjxx6+lyvhyfCNdTrphmyX19306eP29zl5ekMQ2Rcyi8rqU9RibbRF/MaHb6fcGxvmpbcduvuYcq6ZJzUv6unfGS648YX8vEwcBE3E0V+IcbWVsnuNoo3Ww+p49pc3HM+pHqFWp4r6HE1OpVDdUDyQFPJIoC1FFgCRx9B68ykAwddUMBZLEWKBDMRtAIo8Ui3wao8m6nksY5O4RlKSUevsWbRdRx5Dxud6TduDENa7SCCQR6Gj3o/YcRsjnaieejujB2SXC+5n8QquVCpKBjxubggEHbe0XxQNcVf0FdT/S+MkVDxYuce5zMPhByMD4NubHkZt4R/y8bAgmrIO2ge54oD9UpR3Tzx3wbkL662lJ8Yzl9/p+fsXHx1jzLoKxbmZCvm9aDdzQEuP5YGPDF1+cYy+h5O2v1rkl8r3z3Yi/e/eVm0bMK2uyPrxnp9ONCrLf+qnw+OxZX+Jyedp2g8eoWe6dy3NMi+L11KuEo+Tz2WzBEAQBAEAQBAJgEQBAEAQBAJEAiAIAgCAIAgCAIBc+jgDR4W3kD4mQnaapuKB+tUf3le1vca+gjB1tvybuhw7jtveRuJskAXzZ55kE5Y5NKtL9OcmbH0JcooMaBNnfe4n0+lSauLfLM7WX1wWyHL78m10vw+MJpTdnt/iWTIOqoRlJ78X61bcL2PezXfi5zKKl1Jab51PMHgxZGVjsO0jgVyeABfB/b+LnvQjbbeX1ObqtKxezwKJ7gWCxuxzzZYjt8onp4fehd8dr3YDlQQw3XxxdADg37gc8CVJ2y3cdD6DT6Cp1Ykvma/dZ/jBrP0tixIa0UKC26rBBO5SpJ78c9tl+oDWYS3LJi30umxwfYz5ei7FOYk7wxo+UEgAeQLXHBUXfq3oBfNuNvJNoVJ3pxXT+Pzg+Ol61sbLWMkEmmugCPMfi/Qc/Q+sqe+fz2N7OVs25Tzz4/wDr6diPFR1DFdnAILE9yDd83zXFE/axLSszHcYVmjdd/pN9upHgzxhqNKVxLjw7Cw77wWJoGqNXSgdpxlRbkkTxodrjXJ4S6Hovi3xRj1OhddJbZjtGRB82Nfc16cdx7idSsTj9TinSTruee3f+Dybp2m1BzAuTTGrJvafXvIZOODQ09drsTfRmn/6ha1jqPw9/l4FVQAe7EBmY/Wzt/wDjJ6Y4iZnxK52XtdlwiqyUoCAIAgCAIAgEwCIAgCAIAgEiARAEAQBAEAQBAEAtfgzM7Jnxd1AGQChw1hSR+1fxIblxk0fh02rNvY2+pauhtXtwTXFn1uQxWepp3zS4ibPhPUEZXB4Vj8vsfeWK32MfVRblvLz01lTMu4Wt/wAH0IPpJCofPXemqjocI8rq7sAykBiwNcdu5+9QCp9TZkDgOAUW778kHy8+pFj9wJDOzEkkaGn0SsqlZJ48Gf4mbybjbMv9NWdxWhVAfNft83vYQk5Rfk81NFdF0VJPbjL/AL/9GsNIpyC3Y8hmK2LTazFTdcXQ7eqzj0pFqWupWMZ4f04x/GezOhnyrjxlUAJqgLAVa3UO/bzH+f4krrcXy+Crq9VXdCKUcNd/8L2LF1LX9NQYwM6Zibdtw4D0oAG0WoOw8UfXvYkVUpzi/Wjjnggqc4TzS+TLqNTp8ONs4RQnlbeo3bg3qvf2B/n17zqMVyJW3yext5/Gb+ly4kvJlABUKx3AWVIoGvTgV9zI4X1yltidW6a6MXZP/ko2ow6bPqmyaZQuFKphQG9RbN7f2NmR29cI1fh6Xpqc336k+Iuvr0/SnFp7fUalNmTKVO1Me3aAhFDfXt2qz6TymDk9z/Yg+JXtP01+ditP4224m+FiKah/mcsCq+7ICL3H69rk3ordllZfEJxp9OPHuVDI5YkkkkkkkmySe5J9TJjPPmAIAgCAIAgCATAIgCAIAgCASIBEAQBAEAQBAEAQDa6brnwZFyJ3X+CPUH6TxrJ7GTi8osPT+oaXJkxuVcZCwX4XdWJNCmJ4HPrI/TwXVqs8vqbmrxPjyFsTA0zbSR7cdvaQxkkzQtplOHPcz9D6pnIzO+N8pIRQQa2m+a+nInUoyk1tljBUjKuuGJQznj9y3ajWBAELg5Atm+FDV2J/idVXOyLeMeCK/SxpnGOc+UuxwtN07UmyXQbmLFiCe4JtPTuR7yNwbzwadeqhBRSmscrPVrC/OxuhjjQK7bhwVDEFgaINkelV9rPeSVKSbTRT+ISqsjGcZZfT9vcy6XSaMlguRBndWRdzsBu8tnnnij27z2cW5JqWPYq1SxVKOzOej8f+GPqvh1rUIw5FEWe5si/b3+nH0nlDsae/ydayNMZL0umOTQ6p0M6XEGKFi/Ao8mjxX7bv+Iu6osfDXiM+M9DueFOvYtMowZioxkHYSB8/mORTQ+UAqb9DOap9n0J9fplhSh+rp9euftwWT/oGXX5HTkYWULkeu6hr2hvuPSS+lDKaXQyvXsw4t9TyTqnh9MOqKrkVtOcrqrI24UrUQSPUWBOJvBe0te9pt8dzsIGxuy2WxuFQIV3Kx3MPMG4+UCV1J44NWzTxcmpLKeEvu/8ABS/FunxY9ZnTENqKwFA2A20bwPoG3CXYNuKyfOamMI2yUOmTkTogEAQBAEAQBAEAmARAEAQBAEAkQCIAgCAIAgCAIAgCAfWNypDA0QQQfYjtALp+P0+pB2ZRidudjAKQ3qA/ykfxKzraeUbFethOO2Twyy9E1q6XCqZCMgJdSibDtbcrBnI9aPy+xnFiaj8vDZLTFWWcvMV2+vc5ev0h1G5gDj83a+4H09L5E89Qsw0ScXjKef3NvSdL1auowkOpWqvsByftJnYq68syHT62ocYrCRZ9R05DkCupoqrXVd+Of2ntFjshuaItXTGmzbF5RSeoaNG1GWi3w8dgGj5jyKHud370BIrJc8Gto6MQW7jC++S/9G1isqhSDkIBagDyBVEn+31nfrKNe6RQv0cnqJQi15+//BXvGWtR2Xc2QKm5Qm01dtZsnsbq/pOJy3y46FvSx9GvEly2/wC3HPsdXo2HpGPCmoyN8VioFWTVnnyj5RfeEoY5+x1OzUuea1hefb854Nnxf4vbLpdRpNLsJYKibcgThjb01i2Har9f2iu2U3l8LwVtRo1CGY8vJ5Z0HquLTfkapMitjd62gcFtobcCR22g8e8lsr39CLR6paeTU0dvXeLdCg3Y92Z+KXYUXcOxYn0+0hjp3nk0bvi9e35Fyee6vUNkd8jG2dmZj9SbP95cXB8/JtvLMUHggCAIAgCAIAgEwCIAgCAIAgEiARAEAQBAEAQBAEAQBAEA7nhLqBx5lxEbseZkxldxFEsoDj6j+xM4nFSRPp7pVTyi2Z+oqNyi8YWwAQbJ7CzfepT2cn0q1CUcPg1OlZdSLGHIRkZXbaLsotbj9f79/aSmfLbnDeGzbXr+ofduyNypBA7n0iU5dDqrT1Z3NZZ3dF4ewLgfLk1QQDGMgFr8QDdTeXv7AESCW98xRYlfGufp85/wfHhnqmm02DUuiefHidsamwCE3FSf6Sb59TwPadR3uxZ6dyPVbVRmCxj+Di9Y6z+OwYczKMWQll+GvKsFb5we45O2j6gyeawyppG5w5Nfo2kf4T7vLW5QCfc/8SGbWeDT01UvTe7jsZsOkwAPkyEpgwMSf9zEWFF92J4E9WZPHk4sddUXJ9Ivp5ZR+t9SbU58mZgFLkcD0AAVRfrwALlyMdqwfOW2Oybm+5oz0jEAQBAEAQBAEAQBAJgEQBAEAQBAJEAiAIAgCAIAgCAIAgCAIBIMAtWm8Q6fKoGqR/iKB50o7yO25TVNVc3zUilX3Rfq1iS22LODL0rrOm/F2pbCnwnx43evy8jHljV1Y3LfpuuNjUcI8eohO5SksI6mPw/q/iClNcWwFhvYgjg8c8SvJ4XJrVQc5JxawdvqHTUy7sWNlOpXFjTMt+YIPzEAX1skE17CdfMoLgj/ANqzUS+bnGDl9P6PqcTbQm1CoOU5KClW4IO/grU5y3yupJKEYrZJrb3OPrPEmPTZsuHDjxZ9KHtb3AruALrjcH5d26rB95Ydakk5dTJjq5USlGr9Oe5uabx1pKffpHU0AuzIDY/3FhwfsJG9On0Zbr+MTi3uinkrfiLxE+qpQi48QYsEW+54tie5rj+ZNCCj0M/Uaqd7+Y4k7KwgCAIAgCAIAgCAIAgEwCIAgCAIAgEiARAEAQBAEAQBAEAQBAEAQBAEA28PU9Qi7VzZVWiNoyMBR7igYwe5ZrjK27duO67uzd+9+8Hhm1PUM+QVky5HHemdjz+5jB6231NaDwQBAEAQBAEAQBAEAQBAEAQCYBEAQBAEAQBAJuALgC4AuALgC4AuALgC4AuALgC4AuALgC4AuALgC4AuALgC4AuALgC4AuALgC4AuALgC4AuAIBEAQBAEAQBAEAQBAEAQBAEAQBAEAQBAEAQBAEAQBAEAQBAEAQBAEAQBAEAQBAEAQBAEAQD/9k=
    Coronavirus illustration – source unknown

    4. Are they a threat to the security of the nation?  Maybe.

    There is a possibility of a national threat, if a reduction in vaccinations leads to an upsurge in diseases made almost extinct by previous vaccination efforts.  Polio, smallpox, tetanus, mumps, diphtheria, rubella…the list of ills eradicated by vaccination is long, and represents tremendous gains in public health.

    The result of their return would be considerable suffering and death, along with stress on public health services. It is a bit scary to think that some parents would buy into the conspiracy theories to the point of putting their own children, and society as a whole, at risk of these diseases resurfacing. I consider this a legitimate concern, and in and of itself is sufficient to justify the censorship of the wilder “alternative” medicine claims..

    5. Are they a threat to the safety of the public?   Many fear so.

    Your right to expression may reasonably be restricted if it will clearly cause direct and imminent harm to an important social interest. The classic example is falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater and causing a stampede.  The question then becomes “Is shouting that vaccines are dangerous and nobody should get vaccinated” during a pandemic roughly equivalent to yelling “Fire!”?

    You mention  Dr Dolores Cahill, who was asked to resign as vice chair of the Scientific Committee of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI).  She was asked to resign because one of her views on covid-19 — that people who recover are then “immune for life” after 10 days — is demonstrably false.  She simply cannot know how long immunity will last; the disease hasn’t been around all that long, and the new variants are still an unknown. We also know that people can get covid-19 twice.  Reinfections hint that immunity against COVID-19 may be fragile and wane relatively quickly, notes that article about covid-19 reinfection.  

    Cahill’s assertion that  “deaths and illnesses could have been prevented by extra vitamins” is a bit of a stretch. The Mayo Clinic, for example, in their article on covid-19 myths, says that vitamins do not directly prevent infection. My reading of the evidence I’ve seen is that they do not by themselves directly prevent covid-19, etc.

    Please note that I am not denying that vitamins and minerals play a vital role in our health, nor that they are essential in supporting a healthy immune system. (Belief that they may prevent illness is another story.  Faith can be a powerful healer. It’s just that science works whether you believe it or not.)

    Now you are welcome to ignore the facts showing that people don’t have life-long immunity, and you can disregard the Mayo Clinic and the many studies showing that vitamin therapy is ineffective as a direct preventative or cure, and you can deny that Cahill is wrong in her views — but if you do aren’t you just closing your mind to part of the evidence? 

    Lorraine again: I came across this letter from parents in U.S. arguing for exemption from child mandated vaccines.  I thought it was highly interesting about vaccine injury in general.  Speaks to how pharmaceutical companies have been convicted of fraud so many times.

    Here’s another point of agreement.   I am not at this time in favor of mandatory vaccination.  I won’t jump up and down and say, Lorraine, you MUST be vaccinated.  But by the same token, I’ll be really annoyed with you if you jump and down and say I MUSTN’T be.

    In the event of a more severe pandemic, with a higher infection rate and more severe mortality rate, I might come to view mandatory vaccination more favorably, with mandatory and enforced quarantine for those who refuse to be vaccinated. But I don’t consider covid-19 to be that severe.

    She goes on: This morning I located this:  https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2771841  statistics about covid 19 grouped by country.  Fascinating how the numbers are so radically different, based on what country you are in.  It certainly supports the view that covi is not a deadly virus but is a function of  your immune system.  People in the U.S. are very unhealthy, people in Japan are very healthy and have optimal levels of vitamin D, C and zinc.  These are proven, have won nobel prizes. 

    I consider the Journal of the American Medical Association a reputable source.  The article, which I read carefully, concludes that the high number of deaths in the US “may have been a result of several factors, including weak public health infrastructure and a decentralized, inconsistent US response to the pandemic.4,5 Limitations of this analysis include differences in mortality risk: the US population is younger but has more comorbidities compared with the other countries.” 

    So yes, Americans are less healthy than folks in other countries.  BUT– Nowhere in that article does it “support the view that [covid-19] is not a deadly virus”.   You are assuming facts not in evidence.   You’ll also have to direct me to the study proving Japanese have optimal levels of D, C, and Z, and the Nobel prize to which you refer.  Probably not this one. But I did try to find it.

    I also found this lengthy review of the literature on the effect of vitamins and minerals (especially zinc) on the immune system. It’s a long read, but worth the effort.  I note that many of the studies cited are for really young children, use low numbers of subjects and short treatment periods, and have other limitations.  There are a lot of vague conclusions such as “may represent a promising pharmacological tool” and “showing promise”and “could be a potential therapeutic approach to COVID-19” but that is just the usual scientific caution.  It looks pretty solid that having too little of these things increases your risk of getting covid-19 (and a whack of other illnesses!) and that ensuring you have enough might help prevent it in some folks (not everybody, those comorbidities get in the way).   Another JAMA article found vitamin D useless for treatment: “The study does not support the use of a high dose of vitamin D3 for treatment of moderate to severe COVID-19 in hospitalized patients.”  Probably evidence either way, here.

    That’s it for today.   I’ve certainly learned a lot.  We are not as far apart as I thought in a lot of things.  I recognize the value of vitamins and minerals as a preventative (and have in fact been taking a multivitamin and extra vitamin D since last March).  I am not in favor of mandatory vaccination.  There will probably be other areas too.

    Tom

  • Using the INA219 Voltage/Current Sensor

    Posted on February 20th, 2021 admin No comments

    For some time as a fun project I’ve been working on Debasish Dutta’s PWM Battery Charger which, using an Arduino microprocessor, turns on a load (garden lights, in my case) when it gets dark. He originally used ACS712 sensors to measure current in the charging and load sides of the circuit. So I ordered a couple, and followed some simple online tutorials to try them out. Not sure if I burned them out by following a bad tutorial or if I just got bad boards, but they didn’t perform as expected. When I hooked them up as shown in his circuit diagram, neither worked.

    Replacing the ACS712 with INA219

    INA219 Breakout board from Amazon.ca

    At any rate, in the comments on Dutta’s excellent Instructable, someone asked why he hadn’t used the INA219 sensor, which detects both voltage and current and uses the I2C protocol. This made sense, as the project also uses that protocol to communicate with a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD). So I ordered a batch to try them out.

    Just Show Me a Circuit Diagram, Please

    adafruit_products_2012_10_26_IMG_0725-1024.jpg

    When they came, I checked several online tutorials, but initially found them a bit confusing. Most of them are done by amateurs, hobbyists, who use photos of their hookup or brightly colored wiring diagrams made with Fritzing software. These are fine if you are exactly duplicating their project, but a bit difficult if you want to do something different. For that, a schematic diagram is most useful.

    Adafruit has a detailed explanation of the boards, but again uses Fritzing wiring diagrams and photos such as the one above right. While I can follow that tangle of wires to see what is hooked to what, it’s not as clear or simple as a schematic diagram. After studying a few tutorials online, I wound up summarizing them all in this rough sketch:

    Basic circuit diagram for INA219, showing exactly what is hooked to what

    Vsupply is in one part of Dutta’s circuit the solar panel, and in the other part of the circuit it is the storage battery. The first part measures current through the charger, the second current through the load.

    What, You Need Resistors?

    After I got one INA219 hooked up properly and working well, having adapted the Adafruit Arduino code to show the voltage and current on the LCD, I added a second INA219… which didn’t work. A little head scratching and research revealed that adding 1K8 pullup resistors on the data (SDA) and clock (SCL) lines — not mentioned in any of the INA219 tutorials I’d seen — might be helpful. I added them to my rough sketch.

    It was helpful, and now I have two different INA219 modules reporting voltage and current in two different parts of Dutta’s circuit to the LCD, just as required.

  • Arduino Bar Graph

    Posted on February 16th, 2021 admin No comments

    As part of my fooling around with the PWM solar charge controller developed by young Indian electronics engineer and hobbyist Debasish Dutta, I decided to include a LED bar graph to show both photovoltaic and load current. One graph will do both, since the PV works only during the day and the load (a series of LED path lights) will run only at night.

    So I happily started writing code, and was quite pleased when I got it to work. Then I happened to be looking at the Arduino examples, and noticed (File > Examples > Display > Bar Graph). What, did I re-invent the wheel, so to speak?

    Yes, I did, even to the point of using an array to define the LEDs and assign them as outputs:

    segment[10] = {44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53};
    }
    for (int i = 0; i <= 9; i++) {
    pinMode (segment[i], OUTPUT);
    }

    Ditto for using the map() function to reassign the range, then using a for loop to turn the LEDs on (and off, code not shown)

    int solar_val = map(solar_current, 0, max_solar_current, 0, 9);
    for (int i = 0; i <= solar_val; i++) {
    digitalWrite(segment[i], HIGH);
    }

    Here’s the corresponding code from the Arduino tutorial (many parts omitted; this code will not work!)

    int ledPins[] = { 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 };
    // an array of pin numbers to which LEDs are attached
    void setup() {
    // loop over the pin array and set them all to output:
    for (int thisLed = 0; thisLed < ledCount; thisLed++) pinMode(ledPins[thisLed], OUTPUT);
    // map the result to a range from 0 to the number of LEDs:
    int ledLevel = map(sensorReading, 0, 1023, 0, ledCount);
    //turn on individual leds
    for (int thisLed = 0; thisLed < ledCount; thisLed++) {
    // if the array element's index is less than ledLevel,
    // turn the pin for this element on:
    if (thisLed < ledLevel) {
    digitalWrite(ledPins[thisLed], HIGH);
    }

    I’m no expert at writing code for Arduino, so I was relatively pleased that I worked this out for myself, even if it was “re-inventing the wheel”.

  • Is it true that mainstream media are liberal?

    Posted on February 13th, 2021 admin No comments

    This question recently came up in the discussion forum Quora.com.

    To answer, I turned to the Ad Fontes Media Bias Chart and examined the distribution of media outlets to both the “left” and “right” on the political spectrum (x-axis) axis of the chart, and also noted the distribution on the “news value and reliability” which forms the y-axis.

    The media organizations at the top of the curve are generally considered “mainstream”, and there is indeed a grouping that is slightly to the left of center. Oddly enough, that group is also rated high for factual and accurate reporting.

    For complete details and discussion, check my answer to the question at Quora.

  • Lilium Air Taxi Stalled?

    Posted on February 10th, 2021 admin No comments

    Lilium GmbH is a German company working on an electric VTOL air taxi, starting with a two-seat prototype and working towards five- and seven-seat production models. The canard-wing craft, which the company calls “Lilium Jet”, uses 36 ducted fans for both lift and–when the wing rotates–for thrust.

    The Lilium Jet in flight. Image: Lilium GmbH. Used with permission.

    I think Lilium has a lot going for it — innovative concept, attractive design, talented staff, impressive funding, solid partnerships, a design award…. I’ve been waiting for a possible IPO, with an interest in owning a few shares.

    An article today by Forbes, based largely on comments from previous employees, is critical of Lilium and its operations, even as that potential public offering approaches. Is this just FUD to drive the opening price down? Is somebody already planning a Tesla-style short campaign? https://www.forbes.com/…/10/lilium-evtol-spac-air-taxi/…

    Indeed, it seems that Lilium GmbH has been stalled since their five-seat unmanned prototype flight video of Oct. 2019. The only media releases from the company since then have concerned new hires and business partnerships, with a lot of hype about vertiports. There has been no information from them at all about flight tests, tech innovations, or progress on building the second factory in Munich. The company website does not even contain a story about the Feb. 2020 fire.

    Lilium vertiport (artist conception) Image: Lilium GmbH. Used with permission.

    Yes, the pandemic may have restricted the assembly of design teams, construction crews, production staff, or flight test crews; but that’s no reason for progress to halt or for the flow of information to dry up completely.

    Is Lilium in a tip-stall and ready to crash?

  • Philippines to Shoot Coronavirus Victims Who Violate Lockdown Laws

    Posted on April 2nd, 2020 admin No comments

    Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is allowing for the use of deadly force against those found violating lockdown standards implemented in an effort curtail the spread of the coronavirus, according to a report by NYDailyNews.com.

    The country of 107 million has had a whopping total of 2084 cases with 88 deaths, the report states. That’s an infection rate of .000019 and a relatively high death rate of 4.3 %. Other areas report a death rate of 2.3 to 3.9%

    National police chief Gen. Archie Gamboa on Thursday clarified the president’s remarks, noting authorities understood he “just overemphasized” the law and that lethal force would only be used when absolutely necessary, Bloomberg News reported.

    Man, I think we’re really going overboard on this. The thing isn’t THAT deadly, even in the Philippines.

    Compare it to the related viruses MERS-CoV (30-40% death rate) and SARS (9.6% ); or to other viruses such as Ebola (up to 71%), Influenza (Spanish Flu, up to 40%) or Hantavirus (12 – 36%). This one is a pussycat by comparison. Source: Deadliest Viruses on Earth.

    Perhaps one reason we’re scared is that most of those other more deadly killers were largely “over there” foreign diseases–the same psychology that had Trump at first calling it “the Chinese virus”. This one is making itself at home in a lot of countries.

  • Parts of an Axe

    Posted on April 12th, 2019 admin No comments

    Basic Parts

    Asked to name the parts of an axe, the average person will say, “Uh… the head…and the handle… and, uh…” And that’s a pretty good start, since the head and the haft or handle are in fact the two basic parts.

    Basic Parts of an Axe

    The Head

    The head is the working end of the axe, the entire V-shaped metal (usually steel) cutting portion. There is a wide variety of head styles developed in various locales and for various purposes, and the names of the parts may vary as well.

    • Bit or blade – the tip of the “V”, that cuts into the wood (the sharp part is sometimes called the cutting edge)
    • Toe and Heel – being the top and bottom portions of the blade
    • Cheeks – the two sides of the head between bit and the hole where the handle goes. Each side may also be called a Face.
    • Eye – the hole through the head where the handle passes (or the portion at the top of the head where the handle sticks through or can be seen)
    • Wedge – a smaller V of wood, metal, or plastic driven into the top of the handle to secure it firmly in the eye
    • Butt or poll — the flat end opposite the V of the blade
    • Beard – oddly named, the underside of the blade immediately forward of the haft on the blade side
    • Shoulder – the underside of the blade immediately behind the handle on the butt side.

    The Handle

    Variously called handle, haft, or helve, depending on region, this is the user end of the axe. Traditionally made of wood but today of fibreglass, composite, or steel, the handle can be curved or straight and in various shapes and lengths.

    From axebyp.com
    • Back and Belly refer to the rear and front surfaces of the handle
    • Knob is a swelling on the “bottom” of the handle, furthest from the head, designed to keep the handle from slipping out of the user’s hands
    • Some types of handle have other parts, such as Toe, Heel, and Grip, as shown in the diagrams.
    • Throat – shown in the top diagram as being the highest part of the Back, but sometimes (by comparison with human anatomy), the part of the Belly just below the head.

    Axes come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, designed at various times and places for a range of users and purposes. Although the names of the parts may differ from place to place, those shown here are fairly common.

    Further Reading

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