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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Vaping's Antithesis: The Opioid Crisis

ObamaCare (or the Affordable Care Act or ACA) has put a significant number of Americans on the Medicaid rolls (perhaps as many as 15 million according to this Nation Review article).

While there are many who argue that any change to the ACA will kill thousands there is an interesting footnote provided by the US Center for Disease Control.

Specifically, while on Medicaid (the ACA), you are twice as like to die from an opioid overdose and 5.7 times more likely to die an opioid-related death than someone not on Medicaid (see National Review link and this link to the CDC).

Oh, you might say, grandma is on that and she's old so who cares...?

Well, you might because there are actually about 76 million people on Medicaid (or a little less than a quarter of the country).  This includes CHIP which treats children (who also now have access to opioids).

Chart below from this link:

According to this link about 5% of the people on Medicaid die each year, or about 3.5 million.

So what the ACA has create a huge pool of new addicts including small children.

Remember, National Review says (from the CDC): “opioid prescribing rates among Medicaid enrollees are at least twofold higher than rates for persons with private insurance.”

Obviously this is all driven by big pharma's profit margin.

About a 18 months ago I had a chance to talk with a prison reverend about this topic.  His thought: opioids are the fuel that fills our prisons and, here in PA, killing people on a daily basis.  The reverend also said, and based on what I know he is right, that the vast majority of people in prison are there because of opioids.

The size of this market (the legal part) in the US during 2015, about $12 billion according to this.

But think about not just this direct market, but all the reverends, police, judges, youth homes, welfare systems, social security systems, food stamps, social workers, prison guards, and so forth that benefit from these drugs: without them they wouldn't have jobs.

So what does this have to do with vaping?

Well the "tobacco marketplace" - that is everything tied to not only the sale and treatment of tobacco related disease but all the ancillary stuff (nursing homes, hospitals, etc.) is a market about ten (10x) times the size of the legal opioid market (about 1% of the GDP based on my previous research).

So while opioids kill our loved ones and children nothing is done.

So it's really quite unreasonable to expect, for a market ten times larger, that anything related to tobacco will change either...

The reason is simple: There is no place for healthy people in these systems.


If you vape to stop smoking, you are literally taking jobs away from others.  Ruining their lives.  Stealing their livelihood.

Much better to suffer like a heroin addict because at least he keeps all the ancillary industries busy and fully employed.

You see, as a smoker you are what drives the well being of others.

Your COPD, cancer, and doctor visits fuel their joy and their children's trips to Disney.

People actually fall over (or lie down) and die with opiates.  Like in real time.  Here and now.

How can cigarettes hope to keep up with a problem that literally takes decades to manifest itself?

Sunday, July 2, 2017

PA Vaping Taxes: A Short Story...

As you may or may not know Pennsylvania requires a balanced budget (revenue in must equal revenue out).

At its peek a vape shop I know was paying many tens of thousands of dollars in sales tax, use tax, wage tax, and local taxes every year and employed many people who, living in Pennsylvania, paid even more state and local taxes.

After the 40% vape tax enacted last year to cover last years PA "budget shortfall" the vape shop tax bill is now down to perhaps a thousand or two.  Thousands in inventory were donated for tax credits to save on the 40%, staff was cut, doors closed.

The net effect was that the vape shop owners have vast federal tax credits and PA has literally nothing to show revenue-wise for their stupidity and greed.

There will be more smokers and hence more health care expenses from the state's general fund.

I was sitting in a bar the other day.  The guy next to me used to own a bar.  He told me he never had any employees, a fact that state of Pennsylvania did not like.

They threatened him.

His response: "I'll put my wife on the payroll for half the year and lay her off for the rest.  The net effect will be Pennsylvania will lose money."

They left him alone after that...  (or so he said).

The moral of the story: You get less of what you tax.

The behavior of the legislators is reminiscent of opiate drug users.  As the addiction to the drug grows (cash in this case) the behavior becomes more and more irrational and dangerous in order to fill the addiction.

Sadly most shop owners don't get it.  They are not dealing with rational people (their legislators).

As a shop owner you should expect irrational behavior like you'd see from an opiate addict.

(More on this here:

The Ice Age Cometh...

London's St. James Park frozen in 1963 (from link)
I am fascinated by the illogic of journalism as it relates to "climate science."

Recently I happened upon an article from July of 2015 about the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) related to the energy output of the sun, sun spots, and their effect on the energy output of the sun.  Valentina Zharkova, who wrote the article says about convecting fluids (at 4,500 degrees C) inside the sun that prior models describing their behavior were incomplete.

We found magnetic wave components appearing in pairs, originating in two different layers in the Sun’s interior. They both have a frequency of approximately 11 years, although this frequency is slightly different, and they are offset in time.  Over the cycle, the waves fluctuate between the northern and southern hemispheres of the Sun. Combining both waves together and comparing to real data for the current solar cycle, we found that our predictions showed an accuracy of 97%,” said Zharkova.

Basically what is being described are two oscillators inside the sun, each with an 11 year cycle.  The oscillators are "out of phase" which means that as time goes by the oscillations alter between being "in sync" and "out of sync."

As you can see above the two waves are in sync at each end of the chart but out of sync in the middle.

So Zharkova is saying that her model of the sun shows that sun spots are related to the interaction of these two waves.

In cycle 26, the two waves exactly mirror each other – peaking at the same time but in opposite hemispheres of the Sun. Their interaction will be disruptive, or they will nearly cancel each other. We predict that this will lead to the properties of a ‘Maunder minimum’,” said Zharkova. “Effectively, when the waves are approximately in phase, they can show strong interaction, or resonance, and we have strong solar activity. When they are out of phase, we have solar minimums. When there is full phase separation, we have the conditions last seen during the Maunder minimum, 370 years ago.”

This, however, is just a theory based on satellite observation of magnetic waves in the sun.  From a scientific perspective we merely have to wait and see if her predictions are correct.  Certainly, at least according to the RAS article there is good reason to believe they are close (97%).

Typical of the "climate science as religion" we have articles like this by Matthew Francis: "No, Sun Spots Will Not Cause A New Ice Age."

Mr. Francis writes about why the predictions of Zharkova are irrelevant to "climate science:"

Whether or not the sunspot model is correct, it's totally unreasonable to extrapolate it to Earth's climate in the face of other models that take into account...well, everything. Real climate models include solar output (and yes, sunspots), but also carbon emissions, the El Niño and El Niña phenomena in the ocean, burning vegetation, and many other things.

So, on careful reading we see that climate models apparently have already taken into account the predictions of Zharkova's as yet unpublished research.

How could they know?

It seems unreasonable to assume that those unfamiliar with astrophysics, magnetic flow and so forth would be able to know this.  Particularly since Zharkova merely espouses a theory.

Yet the absolute certainty of climate science apparently supersedes any need for Zharkova's theory.  Based on this Zharkova would mere have to have inspect modern climate models to learn how the internals of the sun works.

Mr. Francis refers to John Timmer who writes for Ars Technica.  Timmer says it his article that "The Maunder Minimum is a fascinating area of study given that we still don't know why it happened—or enough about the internal dynamics of the Sun that drove it. But it would be nice if people would stop reading far more into these studies than is justified. If nothing else, it would save us from having to rewrite this story a third time somewhere down the line."

Wait, I thought climate science knew everything?

How can it not know about the Maunder Minimum or its effect on climate?

Isn't climate science absolutely decided (like the boiling point of water)?

Anyone who has owned or used a "green house" knows that A) you need to vent off any excess heat during the day and B) you need a heater at night so things don't freeze.

This is because no matter how wonderful your greenhouse insulating material is when you put less heat in the inside of the greenhouse gets colder.

And let's not forget that water vapor and clouds impact "global warming" far more than CO2.

The answer would really seem to be that actual science and measurable "prediction" (as opposed to hockey stick charts) will eventually win.

Of course, fifty years ago we "knew" this...

And let's not forget about the gravity of Mars and its effect on climate.  Again, I guess a quick inspection of climate models would have saved a lot of research.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

A Short Iodine Story...

(Reprinted from a personal blog post 8/9/2011):

Mrs. Wolf told me an interesting iodine story the other day.

Six months ago her friend, Miss C, had confided that she had recently had a mammogram that revealed a small lump in her breast.  The doctor, while concerned, suggested she come back in six months to have a follow up.

They had been previously discussing iodine and its affects so Miss C decided that she would purchase some over-the-counter skin-use-only iodine from the local drug store and apply it to her skin.

After doing applying this to herself regularly for six months it came time to visit the doctor again.

The doctor was shocked to discover that the lump in Miss C. breast could not be found.  So shocked, in fact, that she sent Miss C for additional tests - none of which could locate the lump.

Miss C received a clean bill of health with an admonishment to periodically checking in with the doctor.

Did this simple at-home iodine treatments alter Miss C's outcome?

You'll have to decide that for yourself.

However, there are many sites around the internet (such as this, this and this) claiming links between breast cancer and iodine deficiency.

A few months ago Mrs. Wolf was talking to a woman who was in graduate school (I forget the exact discipline - microbiology or something like that) studying the genetic aspects of cancer.  Mrs. Wolf asked if the woman thought that cancer was in any way related to diet.

"Oh no," said the woman, "its a genetic disease."

So Mrs. Wolf asked "don't some cancer's come from the environment?"

"Well, yes," replied the woman, "certain forms..."

"Isn't your diet part of your environment?" asked Mrs. Wolf.

A lengthy discussion ensued.

The woman conceded that indeed it would be possible that cancer and malnutrition could be related.

More interesting, though, was that until her discussion with Mrs. Wolf it would have never occurred to the woman to think that diet and/or environmental changes could improve a cancer outcome.  Her education was such that looking at cancer beyond the standard dogma was simply out of the question.

(Kind of like "Of course the world is flat.")

While its nice the FDA is so very worried about all the evils of things like cigarettes and child safety you have to wonder why there is so much less interest in something as simple as proper nutrition.

Then there is lung cancer and smoking.

I have always been fascinated by the fact that 1/3 of all smokers don't get lung cancer.  Why one third - what's so special about them.  The relationship of smoking to cancer is a statistical one.  Not every one who smokes gets cancer and not everyone with lung cancer smokes.

I am starting to wonder if its in fact the case that things like diet play a significant roll in lung cancer.  Could it be that those with certain dietary elements, for example, high iodine, could react to smoking differently.  The Japanese, for example, smoke quite a bit and yet their lung cancer rates are much lower (though rates for other cancer are equivalent to the US and some types are higher.)

Could it be their high-iodine diet?

See this for some interesting results:  "The risk of lung cancer in the United States study population was at least 10 times higher than in Japanese despite the higher percentage of smokers among the Japanese."

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Geology "Trumps" Climate Change

While the left weeps about the "end of civilization" and "flooding in the streets" after Trump's recent rejection of the Paris climate accord the rest of humanity has been busy studying geology.

And, as it turns out, geology is providing evidence that "climate change" is driven in part by forces external to the planet.  

It would also appear that Meyers is a "denier" as he links to "Analysis of “Scientists: Here’s What Really Causes Climate Change (And It Has Nothing To Do With Human Beings)" from his University of Wisconsin web page. (Poor guy living in Putin's "Kremlin East" - probably has his effigy burned at least once a week by his colleagues and students...)

There is also plenty of diverse commentary on the above link here.

But what is really interesting to me is that, like "global dimming" which I wrote about a decade ago (recent link here), chaotic planetary orbits is yet another significant element missing entirely from the "climate change" models.

More interesting still is that Meyers puts his research out in the open with AstroChron: "... [a] computational platform for conducting, and learning about: (1) paleoclimate time series analysis, (2) astronomical time scale construction, and (3) the statistical integration of astrochronologies with other geochronologic/chronostratigraphic data (e.g., radioisotopic geochronology)."

This means, of course, that hackers can simply download is code rather than steal it as they did from the East Anglia climate research center.

So as science uncovers more and more factors that make climate science an "undecided" science, er, rather, just a "science" (remember boys and girls that climate science is "decided science" because all the details are fully and completely understood) it would seem that "decided" is growing less and less "decided" by the day

"Climate scientists" are, after all, not geologists, nor are they astrophysicists.

So why would these so called "climate scientists" even bother to look into other fields?

As it turns out, based on a growing body of evidence, they don't, nor do they care to.

Nor should they - they know everything there is to know about "climate change..."

(Except what they don't know apparently...)

Meaning, of course, that nothing is decided as of yet about how our climate actually works.

In any case the damage is done.

Climate science is a religion, not a science.  You must believe or you're a "denier."

Don't believe me?

Speaking in California, former Obama EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy admits, “climate change has become a religion — a politically induced religion”.

GINA MCCARTHY: “I don’t know why climate change got to be a religion instead of a simple fact based science exercise but I do know that the actions that California is taking and others will make the difference between whether we stand still or fall back or move forward. […] I do see that states are actually making these investments. The challenge I think we have is for some reason climate change has become a religion — a politically induced religion instead of science fact that now we have to embrace and move forward on.”

Conversation with former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy
California Senate Democrats
February 8, 2017

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Making of "Fake" News and Science...

The world is awash with "fake" science and "fake" news.

Here's good documentation of how fake science is created and marketed:

The scribd version of the original is here.

The original journal, after accepting and publishing the "fake" study then did this (retracted it and claimed it was never published via some controversy):  Here's the cached "published" version...

In any case if you actually took the time to read through what was done you can see how easy it is to "fake" numbers.  This is not new and I have written about it often over the years.

Of course, "fake" news is even easier to create as there isn't any kind of "peer review" available to screen out nonsense.  At least the "fake" science world pretends to do this.

Here's a news example from Facebook.  "Trump" news about leaking classified information to the president of the Philippines:  (as of 5/29/17 you can find the content here - but it will probably change again.)

If you look I quote a specific line from the article.  But today, some several days later, the article now says only this:

"U.S. President Donald Trump told his Philippine counterpart that Washington has sent two nuclear submarines to waters off the Korean peninsula, the New York Times said, comments likely to raise questions about his handling of sensitive information.

Trump has said "a major, major conflict" with North Korea is possible because of its nuclear and missile programs and that all options are on the table but that he wants to resolve the crisis diplomatically.

North Korea has vowed to develop a missile mounted with a nuclear warhead that can strike the mainland United States, saying the program is necessary to counter U.S. aggression."

(There was a section trashing Trump and another section describing how someone had gotten "an accurate representation of the call" as I quote above - now it's, surprise, surprise, "anonymous").


Gone.  Just like that! The silly fake news parts have magically changed; though no "sources" are even identified to explain what is said...

The original date "Wed May 24, 2017 | 3:25 PM EDT" has not changed but the content has!  The original Facebook post is actually dated before the current time stamp so it's probably not the first change:

This is not news...  It's a game.

A game to fool the ignorant and stupid.

What more proof do you need?

Demonstrable "fake" science.

"Fake" news that edits itself (I am sure more than me pointed this out).

Good thing this was "corroborated by someone who has actually led SSBN ops" - except all the content is now gone.  No one says anything about this I can find.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Facebook: Tracking Your Physical Location

Is this who's talking to you on Facebook?
So a while back I went to a funeral.

I knew a few people well, the rest only casually or not at all.

A few days later I went to a burial - same people.

The next day people I didn't know related to the funeral showed up on my list possible Facebook friends.

I never emailed them, I never called them, I never even talked to them!  The only relationship I had with them is I was physically near them.

Now they are on my Facebook ("Are you my friend?")

The only way Facebook can know this is because our phones are on sending information where we are physically and Facebook is matching others near by with our "friend" lists.

So we are being tracked.

Think about it...  Where are these "friend" suggestions coming from?

We are being monitored.

I wonder if they (Facebook) can turn on your microphone?

Surely they would never do that!

"Oh look! So-and-so is standing next to your friend Joe..."  Facebook: "Is so-and-so your friend?"

Where do you go?

Are you in the bathroom?

Which stall?

What do you look at?  We (Mark Zuckerberg) doesn't like that?  So look at this "sock puppet" nonsense instead...

Oh, my friend wrote that?

Did they?

Indeed...   Who's the real puppet master?  Do you like is liberal agenda?

Sock puppets...

It's how Facebook controls you.

He controls millions, no billions of them.