Chikunguya virus epidemic collapses Venezuela´s health system

This weekend we have seen increasing reports about an African fever (chikunguya) epidemic in Venezuela. This fever seems to be quite debilitating and has after effects, but it only kills about 2 to 3 victims per thousand (?). 

Here's a quote from the Venezuela-Europa blog:

"On 17 September 2014 the government reported 398 confirmed cases of chikungunya.

On 27 October 2014 the government admitted to about 7072 cases. Last November an opposition politician from Western Venezuela said the cases would be around 25556.

Alejandro Ríguez, epidemiologist of the Universidad Central de Venezuela and not precisely an amateur, declared on 11 December at least over one and a half million people are suffering from chikungunya in Venezuela and that figure, he said, would be extremely conservative. He based his estimates on reports from the Ministry of Health, reports that are now arriving later and patchier than ever."

This item may be of interest to those living in the USA because the first case of native (not traveler´s ) chikunguya was already reported in Florida.  

Here´s a snippet taken from the Centers for Disease Control website:

----- The arrival of chikungunya virus, first in the tropical Americas and now in the United States, underscores the risks posed by this and other exotic pathogens,” said Roger Nasci, Ph.D., chief of CDC’s Arboviral Diseases Branch.

Chikungunya virus is transmitted to people by two species of mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Both species are found in the southeastern United States and limited parts of the southwest; Aedes albopictus is also found further north up the East Coast, through the Mid-Atlantic States and is also found in the lower Midwest.----


A New Parameter to Predict Tornado Frequency Increase as a Function of Global Warming

Fernando Leanme and Amedeo Abruzzo

Journal of Climate Science Peripatetics

Ninety Seven Percent  of expert scientists agree that human CO2 emissions are altering the world’s climate (Cook 2013), but segments of the public stubbornly remain unconvinced by the scientific evidence (Lewandosky, 2012).  Climate models provide a glimpse of the future, and while they do not agree on all of the details, most models predict a few general trends (Randall 2007). First, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will increase temperatures (IPCC 2013). More uncertain outcomes of an increase in global temperatures include increased number of storms, including mid-latitude tornadoes (Riebeek, 2005). According to a very complex study, in 2005, US$2 to US$14 billion of the recorded annual losses could be attributable to climate change  (Estrada el al, 2015). 

Tornadoes (abc.go.com)

Here we report the results of a data manipulation used to derive what we term the “F” parameter or index, which can be used to predict future tornado frequency increases as the earth warms.  Paralleling previous work by Lewandoski, Cook, and others, we have used a conception of free style conjoining of widespread parameters we have selected  to mathematically prove what we did.

We additionally show that the climate anomaly for the USA state of Missouri is a key player in tornado frequency for the continental USA. This provides empirical confirmation of previous suggestions that connecting temperature anomalies to other factors can yield acceptance of science which will be strongly associated with the perception of a consensus among scientists.


At the Earth´s Core

The sensation was frightful. For a full minute neither of us could do aught but cling with the proverbial desperation of the drowning man to the handrails of our swinging seats. Then Perry glanced at the thermometer.

Perry glances at the thermometer 

"Gad!" he cried, "it cannot be possible--quick! What does the distance meter read?"

That and the speedometer were both on my side of the cabin, and as I turned to take a reading from the former I could see Perry muttering.

"Ten degrees rise--it cannot be possible!" and then I saw him tug frantically upon the steering wheel.

As I finally found the tiny needle in the dim light I translated Perry's evident excitement, and my heart sank within me. But when I spoke I hid the fear which haunted me. "It will be seven hundred feet, Perry," I said, "by the time you can turn her into the horizontal."

"You'd better lend me a hand then, my boy," he replied, "for I cannot budge her out of the vertical alone. God give that our combined strength may be equal to the task, for else we are lost."


I´m going underground

After watching Kennedy Jr´s  statement calling me a war criminal and suggesting I should be jailed I decided it was time to worry. Inspired by Kennedy´s words,  I searched “punish skepticism”,  and found a bunch of really creepy articles about the subject. Reading that stuff made me feel like I was about to become  like a Jew in 1930´s Germany.

For those of you who haven´t heard, here´s the scary quote that got me going:

“I think it’s treason. Do I think the Koch Brothers are treasonous — yes, I do…..They are enjoying making themselves billionaire by impoverishing the rest of us. Do I think they should be in jail — I think they should be .(garbled)…. at the Hague with all the other war criminals. Do I think the Koch brothers should be tried for reckless endangerment? Absolutely, that is is criminal offense and they ought to be serving time for it.”

I´m not a Koch Brother, but I did work for an oil company. And when it comes to the slippery slopes of  self-righteous inquisition and repression I´d rather not wait until they come to arrest me. 


Why does the NY Times Editorial Criticize Venezuela’s Maduro?

The NY Times criticized Venezuela´s dictator, Nicolás Maduro, in an editorial,  "Venezuela’s Crackdown on Opposition¨. Venezuela has been undergoing a tragic black comedy since 1999, when Hugo Chávez took power after deceiving the people as to his true political beliefs. The New York times editorial tries to summarize recent events. But it leaves out the ugly details...

When he took over in 1999, Chávez´political beliefs seem to have mirrored Fidel Castro´s (he never hid his admiration for the Cuban dictator). 

The early planning  days: Fidel Castro 
greets Hugo Chavez in Havana (elmundo.es) 

Fidel´s ideas in turn have been changing over time. The Soviet Union´s fall, China´s conversion to a fascistoid state/corporatist/capitalist entity with very high inequality, the rejection of communism by Eastern Europeans and Russians, and the inability by some of his former communist allies (Vietnam, Angola)  to implement the communist utopian state must have had an impact.


The Criminal Case of the "Republic" of Venezuela vs. Ricardo Hausmann

Venezuela´s dictator, Nicolás Maduro, ordered his ministers to prepare a criminal investigation  against Ricardo Hausmann, a Harvard University professor who criticized his regime.

Harvard Kennedy School 
Professor Ricardo Hausmann

The following statement, by Harvard Kennedy School Dean David T. Ellwood and Harvard University Provost Alan Garber defends Haussman´s rights to write about Venezuela´s government: 

Statement in Support of Harvard Kennedy School Professor Ricardo Hausmann

 “We stand in strong support of Harvard Kennedy School Professor Ricardo Hausmann's freedom to express his views in the public arena, where others are free to question and debate the merits of his arguments. The most important issues that any nation faces are often subjects of great controversy as well as great interest. Without the opportunity to hear a range of opinions on such issues, both public understanding and the quality of decisions suffer. That is why we are deeply troubled by reports that Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has instructed his attorney general and public prosecutor to take actions against Professor Hausmann for voicing his opinion on matters of public debate. Whatever their intent, such tactics intimidate and can stifle the expression of dissenting ideas. 


Burn baby burn (CO2 Atmospheric Concentration from Fossil Fuels)

The following documents an estimated worldwide  CO2 emissions profile to the year 2075.  It was triggered by my curiosity after reading the following statement made by Christiana Figueres1:

"There is no doubt that most of the fossil fuel reserves we have world-wide will have to stay in the ground"….."Two-thirds of the fossil fuels we have will have to stay in the ground.2"

In other words, Figueres believes we can´t burn two thirds of our fossil fuel reserves?. She says this is necessary  to keep the world´s surface temperature from rising 2 degrees C versus the temperature prior to the mid 19th century.

Note: in a later post I compare the case I describe below with the results from the Obama, EU, and China proposals: http://21stcenturysocialcritic.blogspot.com.es/2014/11/obama-china-europe-co2-plan-results.html

Christiana Figurers as shown in The Guardian
 (Photograph: Scott Eells/Getty Images)

I´m very  familiar with the oil and gas industry, and I know a little about coal. My background really helped, this estimate took me about three hours….


Venezuela to be elected to the UN Security Council

Venezuela is reported to be Latin America´s top candidate for their allotted  United Nations´ Security Council post coming up for election later this year. Venezuela´s selection by the Latin American group of nations is said to be  the result of a previous compromise reached when Venezuela tried to get elected a few years ago.  

However, I believe significant support is also due to the petrodollars given away and empty promises  it has made to small Caribbean nations,  and the fear of retaliation by what many consider an increasingly unstable regime. An additional consideration could be the use of blackmail to pressure other nation´s political leaders using Cuban spy service information gathered over the years on their personal lives. 

Venezuela´s election sure looks like it´s the result of unusual pressure. A Latin American nation with such a lousy human rights record hasn´t been elected for a long time…

Basil da Costa, killed by Maduro´s secret police
 during a student demonstration in Caracas


Join the People´s Climate March

The People´s Climate March is just the beginning of a new social(ist) revolution.  All of us ought to consider joining it to publicize our individual political demands. I´ve prepared this sample Watermelon Party poster to show you how it can be done:

 People´s March Watermelon
 Party Poster (updated Soviet poster)

By now you probably figured out I´m not very fond of communists because I have seen the poverty and human rights abuses which seem to be congenital to communism.


Jane Tao and Friends

When I saw a Climate Etc link to a piece by Naomi Klein I went ahead and googled her and eventually fell in a Common Dreams article about a film called Disruption (the link is below).

Screen print cut out from Common Dreams

The film clip is a gem. It shows how we can get together to disrupt the ruling elites to start our own revolution and everything. 

But what I liked the most was the comments section. It included very moving comments about embracing our inner peasant, building our own houses,  starting an organic fiber industry, getting in touch with the electrochemical/biochemical inputs...and killing all the rich.   

Anyway, rather than bore you with my weird writing I bring you Jane Tao and friends (I´m the lemur head):


New Dietary Recommendations to fight Global Warming

The United Nation´s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a new report, “Dietary Recommendations to Reduce Green House Gas Emissions”. The report was written as a direct response to the United States´ government dietary recommendations. These are estimated to increase greenhouse gas emissions by 11 % versus today´s American diet. On the other hand, the IPCC dietary recommendations yield an 11 % emissions reduction versus today´s diet, and a whopping 20 % reduction versus the USA recommended guidelines.

US Government Food Pyramid
 requiring  changes to fight global warming

The IPCC nutrition guidelines report is a cooperative effort by 540 scientists from 25 nations, who achieved a 97 % consensus over its contents. Lead authors Dr. Zbigniew Dnivorski from Warsaw´s Kielbasa Institute and Dr. Zhāng Min from Taiwan´s International Culinary Arts School, held a brief science communications event in Dallas, Texas, to publicize their findings.  


Forecasting the Future

Conventional wisdom tells us forecasting the future is extremely difficult. Humanity must have millions of experts in the field. Some use simple methods (a crystal ball comes to mind), others use past history and extrapolate tendencies, and still others build very complex mathematical models, some of which require years of development and are run in giant super computers.

After reading another set of arguments about global warming, whether the world will hit 4 degrees C by 2100, sea level rise by 2 meters and such niceties I decided to take a simple look at USA oil production forecasts and see what I could learn about forecasting in general…


Venezuela falling into economic and moral ruins

I wish to quote from the leftist diary El Pais about the tragedy caused by Chavez in Venezuela. As some if you know I lived there for many years and saw first hand the destruction and thievery of the monster who became the darling of  American "progressives" and their red brothers in other nations. So here is the El Pais editorial with graphics added by me:

Maduro surrounded by his loyal narco military

"The demolition of the Venezuelan economy has entered a phase that will be difficult to curtail for a government that is focused on adopting inefficient, headline-grabbing measures rather than seriously addressing the deep reforms necessary to prevent Venezuelans’ living standards from declining to the lowest levels in decades.


Drowning Islands

My favorite newspaper has an article calling for us to help small Pacific islands from drowning.  Being a nice guy I decided to create my own charity fund and  get donations to help these islands stay above rising sea level (If this proves technically challenging I plan to move their people to Australia).

Funafuti in Tuvalu, from triballink.org

To sell you the idea, here´s a quote from The Guardian´s article by Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme:

“Many of the planet’s most prized destinations, places considered exquisite and idyllic, where nature seems bountiful and people appear at ease, are under threat. In less than a decade, climate change-induced sea level rise could force thousands of people to migrate from some of the world’s 52 small island developing states (Sids).