Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson are leading candidates for the completion of a Covid-19 vaccine likely to be released in the coming months. These companies have published their vaccine trial protocols. This unusually transparent action during a major drug trial deserves praise, close inspection of the protocols raises surprising concerns. These trials seem designed to prove their vaccines work, even if the measured effects are minimal.
The turning point for people with COVID-19 typically comes in the second week of symptoms. As most people begin to recover, a few others find it increasingly difficult to breathe and wind up in the hospital. It has been theorized that those whose lungs begin to fail are victims of their own overactive immune systems.
A new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., however, suggests that an out-of-control immune response is not the main problem for the vast majority of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Only 4% of patients in the study had the sky-high levels of immune molecules that signify a so-called “cytokine storm.”
“A study released Wednesday by an environmental watchdog group found heightened levels of potentially toxic chemicals in tap water supplies serving dozens of major American cities.
The report, published by the Environmental Working Group, found that 20 cities and regions nationwide — including Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Miami and Louisville, Kentucky — contained PFAS levels of at least 10 parts per trillion. Forty-three areas, including New York City, Nashville, Las Vegas and Sacramento, had detectable PFAS at least 1 part per trillion.
Clean transportation activists are praising Massachusetts’ efforts to expand its electric vehicle incentives while also arguing for changes that would put vehicles within reach for more households.
“We’ve been really glad to see the interest the state has taken,” said Anna Vanderspek, electric vehicle program director for the Green Energy Consumers Alliance. “I’m hopeful that [changes] will really widen the impacts of vehicle electrification, that it will bring the benefits to more people.”
For months, Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa saw little need to intervene in the choices of Iowans, who she insisted could make their own decisions about whether to wear a mask to protect against a dangerous pandemic.
“No, I’m not going to mandate masks,” she said this summer, dismissing the order as an unenforceable “feel-good” measure. “I believe in Iowans,” she said again in September. Weeks later, as coronavirus cases climbed precipitously, she stood barefaced onstage at a rally for President Trump and threw “Make America Great Again” hats into a crowd.
Don’t look now, but Bitcoin is back.
After a couple of big crashes that destroyed billions in value, the digital currency has rebounded to its highest value since January 2018, crossing $18,000 this week. The cause: a flurry of developments that suggest Bitcoin has taken some big steps toward going mainstream. In October, global payments giant PayPal Holdings Inc. started permitting its customers to buy and sell Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies from their accounts. A number of tech companies, including payments player Square Inc., have begun holding portions of their cash reserves in Bitcoin. And in August, Fidelity Investments, the asset management firm with $3.3 trillion in assets, announced the launch of its first Bitcoin mutual fund.
It wasn’t long ago that the 20,000 acres of southern West Virginia now home to the Devil’s Backbone Adventure Resort was once home to a lucrative coal mine. Not anymore. Now instead of piles of coal and earth moving machines, the site features log cabins, all-terrain vehicles and mountain biking paths along the famed Hatfield and McCoy Trail.
It is all part of the grand makeover to convert lands once mined by coal operators into something that can make money. Back in the day, the Devils Backbone netted $1 million in coal-mining leases.
We should thank Ford, GMC and Tesla for capturing the world’s attention with flashy promotions of their upcoming all-electric F-150 pickup, Hummer and Cybertruck. If there’s one thing that will make you think differently about electric vehicles, it’s the image of a Hummer owner plugging in instead of filling up.
But when it comes to electric trucks, the consumer market is just the tip of the iceberg.
Gold & Silver
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