368 patients evaluated (all of them male, all over age 65, all veterans because that's where the data came from):
In this study, we found no evidence that use of hydroxychloroquine, either with or without azithromycin, reduced the risk of mechanical ventilation in patients hospitalized with Covid-19. An association of increased overall mortality was identified in patients treated with hydroxychloroquine alone.
One interesting point this study does clarify; the original interest in chloroquine was because it is demonstrably effective in a petri dish; stops SARS-CoV-2 dead in its tracks. The difference is in a petri dish, they were getting concentrations of 4.5-17 µM, but the safe range in a human is around 1 µM. Trying to replicate the petri dish concentrations in living humans resulted in patients dying faster than COVID-19 would have killed them.
Late last year I deleted, or thought I deleted, my Facebook page. With that act, I cut myself off from over 90% of my daily social interaction. I had not realised at the time how significant this was.
I kept my Eric TDuck page, and my blogs, but they do not involve any conversations with others. That’s just me talking. I really don’t think many are listening. There is very little feedback, or indeed much indication that anyone reads my blog. Most of the ‘likes’ I get are from self interested bloggers pushing a product and farming followers.
It was not until a visit from my best and oldest friend, followed pretty quickly by the Coronavirus issue, that I realised how much my sanity depended on social interaction. Chatting, joking and exchanging views. And it was appalling to realise how much of the social interaction in my life was now virtual, with friends scattered across several countries, and very few physically nearby. That is, less than a week’s drive away.
Social distancing as a result of COVID19 did not change my life one iota.
If I plotted the location of all the friends with whom I stay in touch on a map of the world using blue dots for all those I have at some time actually met and interacted with, and green for those I’ve met through Facebook and never seen in person, by far the greatest number would be green, and the greatest concentration of blue would be around the great southern area of Western Australia. How did that happen?
Even so, it was through Facebook and Messenger that I had stayed in contact with most of these friends. I speak on the phone to only a few. I don’t write letters, and only a few emails. So. By deleting my Facebook page I had cut myself off from almost all of my friends, as well as the sexist, racist, fascist, ignorant twats who had driven me to despair.
The old nose and face conundrum.
I was surprised when, after following a news link which led to a Facebook post, I was offered the chance to log in as Eric TDuck (expected) or as myself (not expected).
So I got my page back. It seems I hadn’t deleted it. And with the return to sharing my thoughts, jokes, photos and political opinions came immediate conviviality and good wishes plus a little bit of the sanity I hadn’t realised I was losing.
I’ve been driving the cruiser to the pool the last few days. I did not think I could pedal the bike. Today I thought I could and set off with a light heart and a cheerful smile.
I think I can, I think I can… i did. I thought I could.
By the time I arrived at the pool I was twinging a bit. 95 minutes of swimming followed, accompanied by Vivaldi, Gershwin, Altan, Paul Brady, Steeleye Span and Pink. Music makes it easy. That little MP3 player is worth its weight in niobium. Even if I have to stop periodically to blow into the earplugs and reseat them in my ear canal after water infiltrates and muffles the music.
When I emerged from the pool, however, I could barely walk. A reviving cappuccino and a hot shower did not help at all, then off to Aldi for fresh vegetables. Once on the bike I found I could not pedal at all. My calves and thighs were the problem, not my knees. Movement was excruciating. So I dangled my legs, switched to medium assist, and flicked on the accelerator. The bike did all the work. At Aldi I limped around leaning on a trolley and bought a cauli, some baby carrots and half a butternut. And a key lime pie. I deserve it.
By the time I got home the battery was down to 25%. And I found I could not get off the bike. I felt like a helpless old cripple. In the end I dismounted by undertaking a controlled fall while hanging on to the support strut of the awning. I’ll pick the bike up later. I only just got inside with the groceries. Coffee and painkillers. Maybe a nap next until they kick in. Brunch can wait. The key lime pie is thawing on the bench. I couldn’t bend over to put it in the fridge. It’s times like this I get nervous. I’m only 68 for fuck’s sake.
Spare a thought for my friends in Katanning, who are on a watch and wait, as fires burn all around. The water bombers are flying constantly. Everyone is packed and ready, but in which direction can they flee?
We are the hollow men We are the stuffed men Leaning together Headpiece filled with straw. Alas! Our dried voices, when We whisper together Are quiet and meaningless As wind in dry grass Or rats’ feet over broken glass In our dry cellar
Shape without form, shade without colour, Paralysed force, gesture without motion;
Those who have crossed With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom Remember us-if at all-not as lost Violent souls, but only As the hollow men The stuffed men.
Eyes I dare not meet in dreams In death’s dream kingdom These do not appear: There, the eyes are Sunlight on a broken column There, is a tree swinging And voices are In the wind’s singing More distant and more solemn Than a fading star.
Let me be no nearer In death’s dream kingdom Let me also wear Such deliberate disguises Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves In a field Behaving as the wind behaves No nearer-
Not that final meeting In the twilight kingdom
This is the dead land This is cactus land Here the stone images Are raised, here they receive The supplication of a dead man’s hand Under the twinkle of a fading star.
Is it like this In death’s other kingdom Waking alone At the hour when we are Trembling with tenderness Lips that would kiss Form prayers to broken stone.
The eyes are not here There are no eyes here In this valley of dying stars In this hollow valley This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms
In this last of meeting places We grope together And avoid speech Gathered on this beach of the tumid river
Sightless, unless The eyes reappear As the perpetual star Multifoliate rose Of death’s twilight kingdom The hope only Of empty men.
Here we go round the prickly pear Prickly pear prickly pear Here we go round the prickly pear At five o’clock in the morning.
Between the idea And the reality Between the motion And the act Falls the Shadow For Thine is the Kingdom
Between the conception And the creation Between the emotion And the response Falls the Shadow Life is very long
Between the desire And the spasm Between the potency And the existence Between the essence And the descent Falls the Shadow For Thine is the Kingdom
For Thine is Life is For Thine is the
This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper.
In Australia there is now widespread public acceptance of the reality of climate change; we seem to see its effects almost hourly.
But the electorate still votes for political parties with environment policies that I would call recalcitrant, and with significant groups of climate deniers in their ranks.
The issue of climate change has become a battle of ideologies, values and worldviews, something that has become much more pronounced in the last decade thanks to our political class and to parts of the media.
Knowing what we know about human beings, our psychological and evolutionary makeup, there’s no evidence that these divisions are going to be broken down by more scientific evidence or just the passage of time — not that we have much time to spare.
And we should not assume that as climate change becomes worse, these divisions will start to heal.
For these reasons, I have long been keen to understand the ways people respond to climate change — and the language we need to use to convince people to take action.
Much of what they do is informed by the Six Americas study, a segmentation first conducted in 2009.
It measures the American public’s climate change beliefs, attitudes, risk perceptions, motivations, values, policy preferences, behaviours — including voting patterns and media consumption — and underlying barriers to action.
It groups the public into six different segments, varying in size and well differentiated in terms of their attitudes to climate change and their views about action.
The Alarmed: This group is fully convinced of the reality and seriousness of climate change and already taking individual, consumer, and political action to address it.
The Concerned: This group is also convinced that the globe is warming and that it’s a serious problem, but have not yet engaged with the issue personally, including not always voting for political parties with strong climate policies.
The Cautious, the Disengaged and the Doubtful: These groups represent different stages of understanding and acceptance of the problem. None are actively involved.
The Dismissive: This group is very sure that climate change is not happening, and often actively involved as opponents of a national effort to reduce emissions. Some of them are in significant positions of power in government, industry and the media.
As someone who has spent about 15 years listening to Australians talk about climate change, this approach immediately resonated with me. It made sense.
The qualitative research I’ve done has revealed the extent to which attitudes about climate are informed not by an understanding of science, but by world views, values, political identification, social and cultural conditioning and gender identity.
As I contemplated this Six Americas study, the mammoth task of the climate change movement was taking shape in my mind.
We need to increase the Alarmed cohort, absolutely no doubt.
But we also need to develop and hone their skills of talking to others not of the same mindset.
We need to shift more of the Concerned group into the Alarmed group.
We need to find a way to convince the Cautious that urgent action is necessary.
This, very difficultly, often requires language that isn’t fraught with tones of crisis. More on this in a moment.
We need to engage the Disengaged — probably the hardest task of all, because it requires us to rebuild their faith that our democratic institutions are capable and willing to do something about it.
And finally — in my opinion, and I say this with no trepidation whatsoever — we need to drive the Dismissive group out of positions of power in our government, stop the flow of their donations into our political parties, and find smarter ways to engage with them in the media, including social media.
What underpins our response to climate change?
There is an Australian version of the Six Americas study, led by Donald W Hine from the University of New England.
It took a similar approach and came up with five groups — which echo the Yale segments but without the Disengaged.
It was conducted in 2013 — a relatively long time ago given all that’s happened since — but remains highly valuable because it takes into account a broader range of cognitive and emotional factors that underpin human responses to climate change.
How close do people feel to climate change effects?
Do they see local manifestations or not, and do they identify them as being connected to climate change?
Do they feel an emotional connection to nature?
How much do they trust climate change authorities or authorities in general?
How much do their self-reported feelings of shame, guilt, anger and fear condition them to respond in certain ways to the climate change issue and remain open or closed to solutions?
These people can have a strong belief that the issue is overplayed by the media and “politicised”.
They dislike the gloom and doom tone of the debate, its remote and inaccessible language, and the fact they feel guilty and depressed when listening to climate change messages.
They rightfully question whether our political and business leaders have the capacity or the desire to ensure that any transition to an economy built on renewables doesn’t penalise already struggling groups in our society.
My research has taught me important lessons about climate change communication: be solution-focused and positive, understand the values of the people you are trying to convince, do not fuel division and conflict, and relate solutions to our sources of happiness and common concern.
The challenge is how to activate cooperative values rather than competitive values.
In my view, we must stress what we have in common: the desire for secure work, safe neighbourhoods, a good standard of living, security and happiness — whatever that might look like for different groups of people.
A transformative moment
We also need to find ways to shift those in the large Concerned segment into the Alarmed cohort.
A moment from my own recent past shows it is possible.
In December 2018 I woke up, made myself a cup of coffee and turned on the TV.
I saw hundreds of teenagers skipping school and protesting in the streets about climate change, with handmade signs that spanned from the serious and angry to the humorous and profane.
“There are no jobs on a dead planet.” “You’re burning our future.” And my favourite: “Why should we go to the school if you won’t listen to the educated?”
This transformative moment, the moment I tipped from concerned to genuinely alarmed, didn’t happen because I read an ICCP report or sat through a presentation from a climate scientist about CO2 levels.
I reacted to a crowd of children holding up signs in the streets, girls who were only a few years older than my eldest daughter. Suddenly it became very personal.
That I can make a contribution to this movement, probably the most important in our history, is such a relief to me and helps me manage the angst that overwhelms me from time to time in the night.
My first task is to understand how we maintain our optimism as we move deeper into a climate change-affected future.
I, we, can protest, change the terms of our super fund, install solar panels, and vote for parties with strong climate policies — or any climate policies, really.
But one of the most important things we can do is understand why other people feel the way they do about climate change, and learn to talk to them effectively.
What we need are thousands, millions, of everyday conversations about climate change.
That will help enlarge the ranks of the Concerned, engage the Disengaged and make the Cautious more convinced of the need for action.
This will then expose those who dismiss both the science and the solutions, the denialists — who are today a minority, albeit a powerful one — as what they are: out of step with the rest of us, determined to put our collective wellbeing and our way of life at risk.
We must not let their voices be the loudest in the public arena.
We must create a chorus of different communities united in asking, indeed demanding, that we act now to preserve a liveable world and a viable future.
This article is an edited extract of the MSSI Oration given by Rebecca Huntley at the University of Melbourne. It was recorded and broadcast by ABC RN’s Big Ideas program.
Dr Huntley is one of Australia’s foremost researchers on social trends. She is an adjunct senior lecturer at the School of Social Sciences at the University of New South Wales. She also presents The History Listen on RN each week.
Thanks to Mrs Murphy, my high school music teacher, I appreciated the poetry of Bob Dylan from a relatively early age. As much as I did as that of Dylan Thomas, and the works we were fed of the classic writers of sonnets epics and odes.
Not being steeped in American culture a great deal of Dylan’s chaotic and surreal imagery went over my head in the sixties. But I knew the opening lines of Desolation Row referred to something dark.
They’re selling postcards of the hanging…
It was not until the advent of internet and Wikipedia that I learned about the shameful lynching of three alleged rapists in Duluth, Minnesota, not far from the Zimmerman home where Dylan’s father lived as a child at the time. Postcard photographs of the hanging victims were sold.
Dylan’s reference to the Titanic, on which the passengers ask “which side are you on.” seems almost prescient, given the current Situation of the world, and America.
In fact the whole song seems to me an ironic acknowledgement of the surreality and ultimate futility of existence.
I just had to jot these notes to show that I can appreciate poetry even while I take the piss.
They’re selling postcards of the hanging They’re painting the passports brown The beauty parlor is filled with sailors The circus is in town Here comes the blind commissioner They’ve got him in a trance One hand is tied to the tight-rope walker The other is in his pants And the riot squad they’re restless They need somewhere to go As Lady and I look out tonight From Desolation Row
Cinderella, she seems so easy “It takes one to know one,” she smiles And puts her hands in her back pockets Bette Davis style And in comes Romeo, he’s moaning “You Belong to Me I Believe” And someone says, “You’re in the wrong place my friend You better leave” And the only sound that’s left After the ambulances go Is Cinderella sweeping up On Desolation Row
Now the moon is almost hidden The stars are beginning to hide The fortune-telling lady Has even taken all her things inside All except for Cain and Abel And the hunchback of Notre Dame Everybody is making love Or else expecting rain And the Good Samaritan, he’s dressing He’s getting ready for the show He’s going to the carnival tonight On Desolation Row
Now Ophelia, she’s ’neath the window For her I feel so afraid On her twenty-second birthday She already is an old maid To her, death is quite romantic She wears an iron vest Her profession’s her religion Her sin is her lifelessness And though her eyes are fixed upon Noah’s great rainbow She spends her time peeking Into Desolation Row
Einstein, disguised as Robin Hood With his memories in a trunk Passed this way an hour ago With his friend, a jealous monk He looked so immaculately frightful As he bummed a cigarette Then he went off sniffing drainpipes And reciting the alphabet Now you would not think to look at him But he was famous long ago For playing the electric violin On Desolation Row
Dr. Filth, he keeps his world Inside of a leather cup But all his sexless patients They’re trying to blow it up Now his nurse, some local loser She’s in charge of the cyanide hole And she also keeps the cards that read “Have Mercy on His Soul” They all play on pennywhistles You can hear them blow If you lean your head out far enough From Desolation Row
Across the street they’ve nailed the curtains They’re getting ready for the feast The Phantom of the Opera A perfect image of a priest They’re spoonfeeding Casanova To get him to feel more assured Then they’ll kill him with self-confidence After poisoning him with words And the Phantom’s shouting to skinny girls “Get Outa Here If You Don’t Know Casanova is just being punished for going To Desolation Row”
Now at midnight all the agents And the superhuman crew Come out and round up everyone That knows more than they do Then they bring them to the factory Where the heart-attack machine Is strapped across their shoulders And then the kerosene Is brought down from the castles By insurance men who go Check to see that nobody is escaping To Desolation Row
Praise be to Nero’s Neptune The Titanic sails at dawn And everybody’s shouting “Which Side Are You On?” And Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot Fighting in the captain’s tower While calypso singers laugh at them And fishermen hold flowers Between the windows of the sea Where lovely mermaids flow And nobody has to think too much About Desolation Row
Yes, I received your letter yesterday (About the time the doorknob broke) When you asked how I was doing Was that some kind of joke? All these people that you mention Yes, I know them, they’re quite lame I had to rearrange their faces And give them all another name Right now I can’t read too good Don’t send me no more letters no Not unless you mail them From Desolation Row
I can’t stand the pain Spondylosis Pinching back vertebrae I can’t stand the pain Knee arthritis ‘Cause I’m not who I used to be Hey bloody knees Tell me, do you remember How sweet it used to be When I could walk for miles Everything was groovy Now my joints are grating And that’s one sound That I just can’t stand I can’t stand the pain Of spondylosis Aching thighs, aching knees I can’t stand the pain Of gravity on me ‘Cause I’m not who I used to be When I was a young man Everything was so grand Now that I’ve grown old There’s just one thing That I just can’t stand Can’t stand the pain I can’t stand the pain Of my leg muscles Taunting me with memories Of when I could walk free I can’t stand the pain And I can’t walk far Unless my walking stick’s with with me When we are together I can make it round the shops Like Woolworths. Oh sweet memories But it’s just so wrong That I just can’t stand I can’t walk alone Without a trolley to lean on I can’t stand the pain The spondylitic pain That just keeps on haunting me Hey hey pain Get off of my back, please ‘Cause I can’t stand the pain I’ll jump out a window ‘Cause I can’t stand the pain.