Pulse Oximeters Detect Oxygen Deprivation Earlier from COVID-19

For the last 30 years in medicine, we have used a fifth vital sign. So, the standard vital signs of heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, respiratory rate, we’ve added a fifth vital sign. That fifth vital sign is pulse oximetry. And what it does is it measures the saturation of oxygen in the blood. And what I noticed while working in New York is these patients came in with alarmingly low oxygen saturations, but they did not, subjectively, actually feel short of breath.

if you’ve interacted with the healthcare system at all in the last 30 years, you’ve had a small probe placed on your finger. In the hospital, those probes connect up to our monitors. But there also now fingertip versions of this. And these devices are very inexpensive, and they are widely available. They are present or ready on every ambulance, in every hospital, in every doctor’s office, actually in every nursing home. They exist widely. And this device gives you two numbers. It gives you a heart rate, and it gives you an oxygen saturation.

— source democracynow.org | May 04, 2020

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The definitive CO2/CH4 comparison post

There is a new push to reduce CH4 emissions as a possible quick ‘win-win’ for climate and air quality. To be clear this is an eminently sensible idea – as it has been for decades (remember the ‘Methane-to-markets’ initiative from the early 2000s?), but it inevitably brings forth a mish-mash of half-remembered, inappropriate or out-of-date comparisons between the impacts of carbon dioxide and methane. So this is an attempt to put all of that in context and provide a hopefully comprehensive guide to how, when, and why to properly compare the two greenhouse gases.

Historical comparisons

First of all, let’s be clear about the relative magnitude of the gas concentrations. In 2020, CO2 was at ~410 parts per million, while CH4 was around 1870 parts per billion (or 1.87 ppm, a factor of more than 200 smaller). However the relative rise since the pre-industrial is three times larger for CH4, around 150%, compared to the 50% increase in CO2.

The radiative forcing from these changes in concentrations can be easily calculated using standard formulas (from Etminan et al, 2016 which supersede the slightly simpler ones from IPCC TAR), as about 2 W/m2 for the CO2 change and 0.65 W/m2 for CH4.

— source realclimate.org | Gavin | 19 Sep 2021

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Stop Exporting Indian-Made Vaccines to Rich Nations

In India, a coalition of groups are calling on Johnson & Johnson to stop exporting Indian-made vaccines to wealthy nations like the United States at a time when hundreds of millions of people remain unvaccinated in India, as well as in Africa. The groups are also urging President Biden to force Johnson & Johnson to license its vaccine to drug manufacturers in India and other nations to help produce more vaccines.

A group of us from civil society, over a dozen organizations in India, drafted a letter very recently to Johnson & Johnson and the Biden administration with a very simple demand, which is that the 600 million doses that Johnson & Johnson is manufacturing currently at a company called Biological E in India should go where the vaccines are most needed, which is the Indian subcontinent, the African continent and the COVAX Facility, rather than where Johnson & Johnson most wants to send them to, which, on the basis of recent history and the company’s experience in South Africa, is Europe and the United States, where it has large, unfulfilled orders, which are quite lucrative, which it seems, in an unseemly manner, eager to supply.

there is a curious difference in the way that Johnson & Johnson is licensing its vaccine around the world. What they’re doing is to provide what’s called

— source democracynow.org | Sep 20, 2021

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S.Korea fines Google $177 mln for blocking Android customisation

South Korea’s antitrust regulator has fined Alphabet Inc’s Google $176.64 million for blocking customised versions of its Android operating system (OS), in the U.S. technology giant’s second setback in the country in less than a month. The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) said on Tuesday Google’s contract terms with device makers amounted to an abuse of its dominant market position that restricted competition in the mobile OS market. The bill was passed in late August and it bans app store operators such as Google from requiring software developers to use their payment systems. The requirement had effectively stopped developers from charging commission on in-app purchases.

— source reuters.com | Sep 15, 2021

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British Soldier Arrested for Protesting Against Yemen War

Ahmed Al-Babati was a lance corporal in the British Army until last August, where he staged a public protest in London, demonstrating against British complicity in the violence. Born in Yemen but growing up in the industrial city of Sheffield in the north of England, Al-Babati told Lowkey that he naively believed that the army would pay him to travel the globe and that the organization he was joining was a pro-Muslim one. However, he soon found that it was actually filled with fascists who support far-right provocateurs like Tommy Robinson or Nigel Farage. Britain plays an outsized role in the conflict in Yemen. A 2018 paper found that an estimated 7,000 employees of U.K. contractor companies, civil servants, and temporarily deployed military personnel were currently aiding Saudi forces in their attack on the country. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the Saudi Arabia is by far Britain’s most important arms customer, responsible for 49% of all international weapons purchases.

— source mintpressnews.com | Sep 13, 2021

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Banning Abortion doesn’t Stop the Need for People to Access Abortion

Last week, the Department of Justice sued Texas over a new law which bars abortions around six weeks into a pregnancy, without an exception for rape or incest, and allows anyone in Texas to sue patients, medical workers or even a patient’s family or friends who so-called aid and abetted an abortion, like took someone to a women’s health clinic.

Over the weekend, a longtime physician in Texas revealed he has defied the law and provided an abortion in order to care for one of his patients. Dr. Alan Braid made the admission in an article for The Washington Post. He writes, quote, “I acted because I had a duty of care to this patient, as I do for all patients, and because she has a fundamental right to receive this care. I fully understood that there could be legal consequences — but I wanted to make sure that Texas didn’t get away with its bid to prevent this blatantly unconstitutional law from being tested.”

Dr. Braid went on to recall how he was in medical school in 1972, a year before the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling guaranteeing the right to a safe and legal abortion. Dr.

— source democracynow.org | Sep 20, 2021

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Facebook Is a Doomsday Machine

The Doomsday Machine was never supposed to exist. It was meant to be a thought experiment that went like this: Imagine a device built with the sole purpose of destroying all human life. Now suppose that machine is buried deep underground, but connected to a computer, which is in turn hooked up to sensors in cities and towns across the United States.

The sensors are designed to sniff out signs of the impending apocalypse—not to prevent the end of the world, but to complete it. If radiation levels suggest nuclear explosions in, say, three American cities simultaneously, the sensors notify the Doomsday Machine, which is programmed to detonate several nuclear warheads in response. At that point, there is no going back. The fission chain reaction that produces an atomic explosion is initiated enough times over to extinguish all life on Earth. There is a terrible flash of light, a great booming sound, then a sustained roar. We have a word for the scale of destruction that the Doomsday Machine would unleash: megadeath.

Nobody is pining for megadeath. But megadeath is not the only thing that makes the Doomsday Machine petrifying. The real terror is in its autonomy, this idea that it would be programmed to detect a series of environmental inputs, then to act, without human interference. “There is no chance of human intervention, control, and final decision,” wrote the military strategist Herman Kahn in his 1960 book, On Thermonuclear War, which laid out the hypothetical for a Doomsday Machine. The concept was to render nuclear war unwinnable, and therefore unthinkable.

Kahn concluded that automating the extinction of all life on Earth would be immoral. Even an infinitesimal risk of error is too great to justify the Doomsday Machine’s existence.

— source theatlantic.com | Adrienne LaFrance | Dec 15, 2020

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Radical Media

For anyone critical of the media and politics at the turn of the century, Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent was essential reading. The book’s “propaganda model” provided a useful framework for understanding how typical news coverage filters out some types of evidence while emphasizing others, ultimately privileging dominant narratives. One key lesson from this analysis was clear: To change the world, we must first change our media.

In the early 2000s, such thinking led me to the media reform movement and to the academic field of communication, where I hoped to learn about the limitations of, and alternatives to, the hyper-commercialized US media system. But I was disheartened to find in graduate school a mix of hostility and indifference toward critical media analysis. Over the years, I found pockets of radical scholarship, especially in the subfield of political economy, that focused on critical and historical analyses of media, but such work remained marginalized. Today, with the rise of new digital monopolies, fear of fascism, and the collapse of journalism, there’s renewed interest in structural analyses of our news and information systems, but too often it’s stripped of radical critique.

Chomsky has long provided a steady radical voice on these matters. I recently spoke to him about the contemporary relevance of his and Herman’s media critique, and why he first turned to media as an important site of struggle. I wondered if his analysis had changed; if anything had surprised him over the decades; and, most importantly, whether he

— source chomsky.info | Aug 13, 2021

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We Can’t Rely on Private Sector for Necessary Climate Action

The new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) climate assessment report, released on August 9, has finally stated in the most absolute terms that anthropogenic emissions are the cause behind global warming, and that we have no time left in the effort to keep temperature from crossing the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold. If we fail to take immediate action, we can easily exceed 2 degrees Celsius by the middle of the century.

Nonetheless, it is interesting to note that while the IPCC report underscores the point that the planet is warming faster than expected, it does not directly mention fossil fuels and puts emphasis on carbon removal as a necessary means to tame global warming even though such technologies are still in their infancy.

In this exclusive interview for Truthout, Noam Chomsky, one of the world’s greatest scholars and leading activists, and Robert Pollin, a world-leading progressive economist,

— source chomsky.info | Aug 16, 2021

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