Category Archives: Science

There isn’t any: The science behind Covid-19 curfews

Several states have now enacted curfews, because the virus is most effective at spreading at night, or something.

Numerous public health officials, in the past few days, said they don’t know the source of the current rapidly spreading new cases.

As this article notes, the Based on Sciencetm meme is in full swing but there is no science to support this. Their crude theory is that this will stop spread in late night bars and restaurants – but a curfew is a very blunt instrument with an extraordinarily large foot print versus just closing late night bars and restaurants.

This is “Tell, don’t sell” governance that will be flaunted because few people believe it. Two county sheriff’s have announced it will not be enforced in their counties, and one has said that all curfew related calls to 9-1-1 will be transferred to County Health.

Top Science on Covid-19: Horror fans and morbidly curious individuals are more psychologically resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic

Just to let you know, we have TOP SCIENTISTS WORKING ON CRITICAL COVID-19 ISSUES:

Pandemic practice: Horror fans and morbidly curious individuals are more psychologically resilient during the COVID-19 pandemicexternal icon. Scrivner et al. Personality and Individual Differences (September 15, 2020).

Key findings:

  • Horror fandom was significantly associated with lower psychological distress during the current COVID-19 pandemic (p = 0.006) but not with positive resilience or pandemic preparedness.
  • Fandom of prepper genres (zombie, apocalyptic, alien-invasion) was associated with lower psychological distress (p = 0.030) and greater COVID-19 pandemic preparedness (p = 0.014).
  • Morbid curiosity (a trait that motivates a person to learn about dangerous or threatening phenomena) was significantly associated with positive resilience during the pandemic (p <0.001).
  • Watching pandemic films in the past was significantly related to pandemic preparedness (p = 0.003) (Figure).

Methods: 322 US adults recruited and surveyed online in April 2020 with questions on movie genre fandom, COVID-19 pandemic preparedness, pandemic psychological resilience and personality traits. Limitations: Not representative or generalizable; no causality can be inferred; limited confounding covariates.

Implications: Fans of horror or prepper fiction and films and those with morbid curiosity may be more psychologically resilient and prepared during the COVID-19 pandemic. More research would need to be done before recommending engagement with horror or prepper media to increase resilience.

Source: Pandemic practice: Horror fans and morbidly curious individuals are more psychologically resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic

Nature Conservancy: “California: Let’s Stop Making Wildfire History”

Some of the factors that shape the frequency and severity of wildfire in California, like drought, record high temperatures and strong winds are beyond our control and in many cases, exacerbated by a changing climate. Other factors, such as how we manage our fire-adapted conifer forests, where we build homes and how we prepare and protect our communities are within our control.

Source: The Nature Conservancy – California: Let’s Stop Making Wildfire History

Media and social media have been quick to blame California’s fires (including recent years and the present) on climate change. Social media instapundits proclaim that “only if we had done X on climate change” this would not have happened. Or if “Politician X was not in office” we would have solved climate change and this would have prevented the fires.

But that makes no sense – what could have been done on climate change, last year, or five years ago or ten years ago or even 20 years ago that would have effected forest fires this year? If we magically ended all fossil fuel usage 20 years ago, the forest fire risk this year would have been exactly the same.

While dealing with climate is an issue, it would have done nothing vis a vis current fires. Nor will spending trillions on climate change in the next 10 or 20 years resolve California’s fire problems – since spending trillions diverts enormous sums to climate change, it  diverts money away from measures that would reduce California fire risk now.

We need to  control what we can control – now. And that is what this Nature Conservancy report says.

Update: More here on how building codes evolved to create safer structures in earthquake prone areas, whereas we have not evolved building codes to make safer fire proof structures in fire prone areas. Fire is a natural part of the California ecosystem – and now, millions of people are living within areas that are dependent on fire.

Continue reading Nature Conservancy: “California: Let’s Stop Making Wildfire History”

Plate tectonics vs. erosion—what sets the height of a mountain range? | Ars Technica

Cool stuff: Plate tectonics vs. erosion—what sets the height of a mountain range? | Ars Technica

And the answer is: mostly plate tectonics, speed of movement, nature of the materials involved.  Erosion (and hence climate) play a tiny role but not much

This is why I read ArsTechnica.com and why you should too. Their news reports are written by people actually trained in their field, in this case, by a hydrogeologist. Their reports on public health are written by actual microbiologists and molecular biologists.

Continue reading Plate tectonics vs. erosion—what sets the height of a mountain range? | Ars Technica