Friday, May 20, 2022

BIG Scoop

Analysis of excess deaths in 2020 reveals surprising deviations

The eruption of SARS-CoV-2, or COVID-19, in 2020 changed the world in many ways. There was an understandable amount of fear in those early days. One of the concerns was the alarming number of people dying of the disease, resulting in the hasty implementation of well-intentioned measures to prevent as many of those deaths as possible. Alberta, Canada, was no different, mandating masks, lockdowns, and restrictions of all kinds. Measures such as these probably saved...

Coffee cup quandary is catalyst for recycling research

At the end of an enlightening conversation over coffee with a friend, I found myself in a quandary, facing four refuse and recycling bins. Where was my coffee cup to go? There is an opening for trash, for refundable containers, for mixed recyclables, and for compostables. Is this cup recyclable? If so, which recycling bin does it go into? Or is it trash? Or is it compostable? If it should go into the recycling bin,...

Potentially polarizing paper anything but model behaviour

A recently published article by Fisman et al., “Impact of population mixing between vaccinated and unvaccinated subpopulations on infectious disease dynamics: implications for SARS-CoV-2 transmission”, has received widespread acceptance and coverage in the mainstream media despite major flaws in its methodology. At BIG Media, we have examined the article of Fisman et al. and find its main conclusion – that risk of infection among vaccinated people is disproportionately attributed to unvaccinated people – is an exaggerated claim and does...

The smallest of lies are destroying our democratic institutions

Barack Obama recently took aim at misinformation on social media, calling it a threat to our society. Once the lies are widespread enough, he said, “ lose trust in their leaders, mainstream media, in political institutions, in each other, the possibility of truth – the game’s won.” Obama was arguing toward the need for more regulation of social media. However, the problem of disinformation arises not just from social media. Falsehoods are all around us, being...

Is it really ‘now or never’ to stave off climate disaster?

Earlier this month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Working Group III contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6_WGIII) entitled “Mitigation of Climate Change”. There is a Final Draft Technical Summary, a Final Draft Full Report, and a Summary for Policymakers document – all with the stated goal of assessing literature on the scientific, technological, environmental, economic, and social aspects of mitigation of climate change. The Final Draft Full Report is an...

Making sense of myocarditis data as it relates to children

A recent CDC discussion document claimed that the, “Risk of myocarditis in individuals post-SARS-CoV-2 infection was 6-34 times higher compared to those who received mRNA vaccine.”The “6-34 times” number refers to the risk ratio (or morbidity ratio) of the disease versus the vaccine, and is of great interest, particularly with the expectation of immediate FDA vaccine submissions for children under 5 years old.At such time these vaccines are approved for young children, it would be incumbent...

COVID-19’s impact on young children and the question of whether to vaccinate

Both Pfizer and Moderna have been working for some time on a protocol for their mRNA COVID vaccines for children under the age of 5 years. The expectation is that Moderna will submit data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) some time in the next few weeks.There are numerous challenges associated with producing an effective vaccine for children under 5 against COVID, including: a) The vaccines are designed for the original COVID strain rather than...

Energy fundamentals – an essential element of the transition discussion

Amid the noisy debates around hydrocarbons and the transition to alternative forms of energy, basic physical facts are often overlooked. Fundamentally, there are the differences between hydrocarbon energy density and that of the alternatives. Perhaps equally important, other attributes including cost, transportability, storability, availability, volatility, and safety differ greatly between types of energy. Spoiler alert – when most factors are considered, hydrocarbons are by far the most attractive all-round forms of energy. It’s not even...

Selfishness, hypocrisy, the golden rule, and hope

There are at least two ways to look at just about every event, each differing significantly. Whether it is the Canadian truckers’ protest against COVID mandates, the current conflict in the Ukraine, feelings around racial issues, or any other social issue, there will never be unanimity in perception and viewpoint. Often, disagreement is conveyed in passionate and dogmatic terms, with those on the other side of the divide being viewed pejoratively. Look no further than...

The Canadian prime minister’s emergency act

The news media are variously reporting that Justin Trudeau has “declared a state of emergency”, “invoked the Emergencies Act”, “enacted autocratic emergency powers”, “declared martial law”, “suspended civil liberties”, along with other colourful descriptions of the Canadian prime minister’s recent announcement of the federal government’s latest response to the so-called Freedom Convoy protests occurring in Ottawa and elsewhere across the country. What he has actually done is to declare a “public order emergency” under Canada’s Emergencies Act. This has...