Ivermectin worthless against COVID

The largest clinical trial to date on the use of the antiparasitic drug ivermectin against COVID-19 concluded that the drug is completely ineffective at treating the pandemic disease, according to results published in The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

The double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial was primarily designed to test if ivermectin could reduce the need for hospitalization among 1,358 COVID-19 patients at high risk of severe disease. Ivermectin did not, according to the international team of researchers behind the trial, dubbed TOGETHER. “We did not find a significantly or clinically meaningful lower risk of medical admission to a hospital or prolonged emergency department observation with ivermectin,” the researchers reported.

The folks with TOGETHER also found that the drug failed to reduce all other secondary outcomes of COVID-19, including the time to recovery, time to viral clearance on PCR test, time spent in the hospital, the need for mechanical ventilation, the duration of mechanical ventilation, death, or the time to death. “We found no important effects of treatment with ivermectin on the secondary outcomes,” the researchers wrote.

‘Nuff said. Read the whole article from Arstechnica reviewing the testing. If you are more detail inclined here is a link to the review article in the New England Journal of Medicine.

So, Texans are scared of birds

A Walmart in Texas that was overrun by thousands of birds has been hailed as a sign of “death,” “disaster” and the “apocalypse.”

Shoppers were seemingly trapped in their cars—and presumably the store—when the flock descended onto the supermarket’s parking lot, off highway 80 in Mesquite…

Houston Audubon, a non-profit focusing on “protecting the natural environment for birds and people,” explained these sights are not uncommon.

While the birds in the clips were unconfirmed, the site said: “Great-tailed Grackles are a permanent sight in Houston and can be found in any area inhabited by humans that has some trees.

“They tend to congregate in large flocks and prefer shopping centers and fast-food store parking lots where there’s trash for food and trees or light posts for perching…In the evening, raucous flocks pack neighborhood trees creating noisy roosting aggregations.”

I think these folks spend too much time watching horror movies. This is common behavior, especially near sunset this time of year, looking for a place to roost…though feeding time is OK for sighting what is termed a “murmuration” of blackbirds. Some parts of Texas are uptight about grackles, the largest black birds this side of their cousin crows. Flocks often include starlings [not related] or red-wing blackbirds [more crow relatives].

In our neck of the prairie, someone outdoors spots a murmuration coming, they holler to folks indoors to come out and watch. They’re beautiful.

Movie monsters and American politics

Zombieland: Double Tap is in theaters. And Donald Trump is president. Coincidence?!

Not according to one theory. In 2009, a “science and pop culture” blogger crunched the numbers and found a correlation between movie monsters and who’s president. When a Republican is president, zombie movies are popular. When a Democrat is in the White House, vampire flicks rule…

Every few years a click-hungry writer resurrects this story. (My turn!) In 2011, Cracked shared “6 Mind-Blowing Ways Zombies and Vampires Explain America.” And in 2017, Huffington Post asked, “Does The Party In Power Determine The Monsters In Our Blockbusters?…”

According to philosophy blogger S. Peter Davis, the dominant movie monster reflects the fears of the party out of power. Zombies symbolize what spooks progressives, and vampires stand for conservative anxieties.

Zombies are the ultimate conformists…Vampires are at the opposite extreme. They’re enemies of “the normal.” As Davis points out, vampires are the ultimate deviants.

RTFA. See if the details make sense to you. Not that very much of American politics makes sense.

People who are antagonistic, exploitative, and generally disagreeable are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories

Researchers found that people who possess personality traits known as the “Dark Tetrad” are more likely to believe Princess Diana’s death was orchestrated by the British royal family, that the moon landing was faked, and that alien spacecraft are being stored at Area 51, among other conspiracy theories.

The traits of the Dark Tetrad are Machiavellianism (manipulativeness and cynicism); narcissism (vanity and self-obsession); psychopathy (impulsivity and callousness); and sadism (cruelty and abusiveness). Most people have elements of some of these traits, says Cameron Kay, a doctoral candidate in the department of psychology at the University of Oregon.

“In plain terms, it seems like disagreeable people, who score high in these traits, are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories,” Kay says. “They are prone to odd beliefs. They don’t feel like they are in control of their lives. They are robbed of their agency and have an innate distrust of other people and organizations like the government.”

We know who you are…

This Racist ‘Theory’ Is Now GOP Dogma


Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

The hoods are off, and Republicans are embracing the white supremacist “replacement theory.”

If you’re dismissing this as fear-mongering or click-bait, you probably missed Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House and renowned adulterer, espousing replacement theory rhetoric on Fox News earlier this week while talking to host Maria Baritromo, who always has time to offer a platform to dangerous conspiracy peddling. Speaking about Mexican immigrants coming to America during the pandemic, Gingrich said the “radical left” wants to “get rid of the rest of us” and would “love to drown traditional, classic Americans with as many people as they can who know nothing of American history, nothing of American tradition, nothing of the rule of law.”

He wasn’t talking about Donald Trump, notorious for being historically ignorant and profoundly incurious, but about those of us with darker skin, who are never seen as “traditional” or “classic” or “real Americans.” Gingrich, a craven political opportunist, parroted the talking points associated with “the great replacement” theory, also known as “white genocide,” which stipulates the white race and “Western civilization” are in dire threat of being weakened and ultimately usurped by immigrants of color, Muslims, feminists, and gays.

Quotes describing the disease infecting what passes for intellect in monsters like Gingrich, Trump, et al, run through the article like shit through a goose. Read it and be prepared – if you care not only for the heritage of “small d” democrats’ fight against racism; but, what’s coming down the pike led by a caravan of hypocrites spouting fear-stricken blather in a panic over the latest reporting from the Census Bureau.