Skip to content


Links for 2020-08-14

  • Air pollution is much worse than we thought. Climate change is far from the only problem with fossil fuels. – Vox

    “Over the next 50 years, keeping to the 2°C pathway would prevent roughly 4.5 million premature deaths, about 3.5 million hospitalizations and emergency room visits, and approximately 300 million lost workdays in the US.” All that prevented death, illness, and lost productivity adds up to a lot of savings: The avoided deaths are valued at more than $37 trillion. The avoided health care spending due to reduced hospitalizations and emergency room visits exceeds $37 billion, and the increased labor productivity is valued at more than $75 billion. On average, this amounts to over $700 billion per year in benefits to the US from improved health and labor alone, far more than the cost of the energy transition. Importantly, many of the benefits can be accessed in the near term. Right now, air pollution leads to almost 250,000 premature deaths a year in the US. Within a decade, aggressive decarbonization could reduce that toll by 40 percent; over 20 years, it could save around 1.4 million American lives that would otherwise be lost to air quality. Of the potential yearly deaths prevented, Rep. Robin Kelly of Illinois remarked at the hearing, “That’s a huge number. That’s nearly three times the number of lives we lose in car accidents every year. It’s twice the number of deaths caused by opioids in the past few years. And it’s even more than the number of Americans we lose to diabetes each year.”

    (tags: pollution air energy environment climate-change air-quality health decarbonization)

  • ESB PVC Ducting Pipe Red 50mm x 6M

    decent weatherproof ducting for running cables to garden sheds etc.

    (tags: ducting sheds garden home wiring cabling cables)

  • Excellent thread on the Ofqual justification for the UK’s current approach to estimating A-level results

    Some prime quotes: ‘You can’t infer the correct grades at an individual level from the prior year’s distribution of grades, no matter how hard you clonk away at the abacus.’ ‘The data *doesn’t* allow that. ThIs puts idea that grade inflation, school level results and maintaining the distribution shape is more important than the fairness of individual results.’ ‘I don’t blame Ofqual, but they’re being asked to correctly estimate the size of each egg that went into an omelette, based on a different omelette.’

    (tags: ofqual uk education covid-19 estimation a-levels grades schools)

  • Robust T cell immunity in convalescent individuals with asymptomatic or mild COVID-19: Cell

    Good news for ongoing immunity:

    SARS-CoV-2-specific memory T cells will likely prove critical for long-term immune protection against COVID-19. We here systematically mapped the functional and phenotypic landscape of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell responses in unexposed individuals, exposed family members, and individuals with acute or convalescent COVID-19. Acute phase SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells displayed a highly activated cytotoxic phenotype that correlated with various clinical markers of disease severity, whereas convalescent phase SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells were polyfunctional and displayed a stem-like memory phenotype. Importantly, SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells were detectable in antibody-seronegative exposed family members and convalescent individuals with a history of asymptomatic and mild COVID-19. Our collective dataset shows that SARS-CoV-2 elicits robust, broad and highly functional memory T cell responses, suggesting that natural exposure or infection may prevent recurrent episodes of severe COVID-19.

    (tags: immunity covid-19 sars-cov-2 diseases immune-system t-cells)