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Stephanie Seneff: Blaming glyphosate in biofuels and e-cigs for COVID-19

Stephanie Seneff, who is antivaccine and anti-GMO, is a computer scientist who fancies herself an epidemiologist. Yesterday, she wrote a post blaming glyphosate in biofuels and e-cigs for COVID-19. Hilarity ensued.

Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a field day for cranks, quacks, and conspiracy theorists. For instance, the most recent favorite conspiracy theory is that the worldwide rollout of 5G cellular technology was somehow responsible for the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that’s responsible for the pandemic and/or causing people living near 5G towers to do more poorly. It’s utter nonsense, of course, but celebrities like Woody Harrelson say it’s true; so people believe it. Of course, it’s natural that conspiracy cranks would glom onto COVID-19 and somehow try to find a rationale, however tortured, evidence-free, or even utterly ridiculous, to combine their favorite conspiracy theory with COVID-19. That’s how we get 5G cranks blaming 5G for COVID-19 and antivaxxers blaming the influenza vaccine for the pandemic. I must admit a failure here, though. I did not foresee the sort of thing that I’m about to discuss. I should have, given that I’m an expert on and connoisseur of pseudoscientific conspiracy theories, but I didn’t. What am I talking about? Well, here’s Jennifer Margulis (an antivaxxer whom we’ve met before) invoking Stephanie Seneff (an antivaccine and anti-GMO crank whom we’ve also met before) to blame bad outcomes in COVID-19 patients on—surprise! surprise!—glyphosate. She calls it “connecting the dots.” I call it batshit nutty.

Before I dive in, I’m not sure if I should thank those who sent me the link yesterday or curse them. I definitely feel as though I’ve lost neurons reading Seneff’s post to Margulis’ website. It’s that bad. Also, before I dive in, I note that Seneff has no relevant qualifications in infectious disease, epidemiology, or any other scientific discipline relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic. She’s a computer scientist at MIT, and her sole qualification (if you can call it that) is an undergraduate biophysics degree from the late 1960s. She has, however, made some mind numbingly stupid proclamations over the last several years, including her prediction in 2014 that by 2025 half of all children born that year will be autistic, risibly also stating that “side effects of autism closely mimic those of glyphosate toxicity.” She’s also been known to “dumpster dive” in the VAERS database to blame vaccines for autism.

I love this particular paragraph early on in Seneff’s masterpiece of pseudoscience:

I am a senior research scientist at MIT. I have devoted over 12 years to trying to understand the role of toxic chemicals in the deterioration of human health. I have been particularly focused on figuring out what has been driving the skyrocketing rates of autism in America and around the world. My research strongly suggests that glyphosate (the active ingredient in the weed killer Roundup) is a primary cause of the autism epidemic in the United States. When the COVID-19 pandemic began its march across the world, I started to consider whether glyphosate might play a role.

If there is indeed a connection between glyphosate and COVID-19, understanding why and how they’re connected could play a critical role in combating this pandemic.

I’ll take Logical Fallacies for 400, Alex. This one’s an appeal to authority, which is most fallacious when it’s an appeal to false authority.

Seneff starts out by noting how most coronaviruses produce mild disease, in essence the common cold, and are not life-threatening, but how COVID-19 is different. In most patients, it does produce mild disease (or can even be asymptomatic), but for a minority it produces a viral pneumonia that is devastating and, when it happens, frequently leads to respiratory failure and, in many cases, death. Her first mistake is here:

It seems to ferociously attack the lungs, causing the immune system to launch a so-called “cytokine storm,” an exaggerated response by the immune system to an infection that can lead to collateral damage to the lung tissues.

The molecules that are released cause extensive oxidative damage, overwhelming antioxidant defenses. The lungs get destroyed by the body’s own immune system, and the process can terminate either in asphyxiation due to insufficient oxygen, or a complete blood meltdown with massive clot formations throughout the vasculature, often associated with sepsis and/or multiple organ failure.

While an exaggerated and overblown immune response leading to a “cytokine storm” is one hypothesis for how the virus causes death, it’s not at all clear yet that that is the mechanism by which the virus kills, or at least not the sole mechanism. For instance, that might be the mechanism in young people who succumb to coronavirus, but what about the elderly, who succumb at a much higher rate and whose immune systems are, if anything, less responsive than those of young people, due to “immunosenescence“? There’s just so much that we don’t know yet about how this coronavirus kills, but Seneff is, as cranks usually are, absolutely certain, based on her 50 year old undergraduate biophysics degree and her last couple of decades of pseudoscientific investigation trying to link autism to vaccines and/or GMOs and glyphosate.

In any event, Seneff does note that it’s a small percentage of people who succumb to the virus (although the law of large numbers means that when many millions are infected thousands—or even millions—will die), and asks:

What’s the difference between the people who rapidly succumb to the virus and tragically die, like this father and teacher in New York , and people, like my colleague’s daughter, who barely notice they are sick?

That is, of course, the million dollar question, arguably the single most important question to answer in determining how to treat COVID-19. Of course, this being Stephanie Seneff, you know that she’s about to go off the rails in trying to answer the question, particularly given her second question:

And what’s the difference between the geographical locations where the virus is causing a serious crisis and those that hardly notice a departure from normalcy?

Let me just interject here what the probable answer to that second question is: Time. The virus just hasn’t made its way to those locations yet. It will. Give it time.

Seneff goes on to postulate that the difference between those who suffer only mild illness (or no illness at all) after being infected with SARS-CoV-2 must have something to do with the immune system. (Well, duh!) She then drops an anecdote to support what she calls a “surprising hypothesis about glyphosate and COVID-19.” “Surprising” is a rather kind word. I would have chosen a different one, but let’s see where this goes:

Robert and Elizabeth Mar were a couple who lived in Seattle. They ran a popular restaurant in the section of the city called Maple Leaf [1]. Tragically, they both succumbed to COVID-19 and died within two days of each other.

The Mars were both in their 70s, so they match the profile of increased susceptibility due to older age. But perhaps a more significant factor was the fact that their restaurant was located just a few blocks from Interstate 5, an 8-lane highway where trucks, buses, and cars passed by all day long, spewing out toxic exhaust fumes.

Why would the location of their restaurant matter? My hypothesis is that the biofuel industry is inadvertently introducing glyphosate into fuels that power our cars, trucks, buses, airplanes, and ships. While it has long been known that exhaust fumes are toxic to the lungs, there has been a transformation in the fuel industry over the past decade that may have led to a critical increase in the toxicity of the fumes. Specifically, aerosolized glyphosate may be causing damage to the lungs that makes catching what should be a mild cold into a serious health crisis.

Why couldn’t it have equally likely to have been the paint in their restaurant?

Obviously, the much more likely explanation for the deaths of Robert and Elizabeth Mar is that they were both over 70 and lived in the same house. If one person catches COVID-19, it’s highly likely that anyone else living in the same house will catch it as well given that the virus can be spread to others while the infected person is still asymptomatic. When two people living in the same house and working in the same restaurant are over 70, the odds that both will die of the disease increase considerably.

The next part of Seneff’s unhinged speculation is truly amazing. I have seldom seen such careful cherry picking and “connecting” of carefully chosen dots. She starts by noting that Seattle is a coastal city, with 41% of its area comprised of water, while the Yangtze River cuts through Wuhan, the Chinese city where first COVID-19 cases were identified, further noting that the Yangtze River is highly polluted with wastewater discharge and runoff of fertilizer and pesticides from nearby agricultural lands.


She next looks at US hotspots as of March 26, specifically New York City and New Orleans, claiming that the “connection between glyphosate and COVID-19 could be seen in locations where dangerous runoff is more prevalent.” Ri-ight. She basically notes that a series of hot spots in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa trace the Missouri River, a tributary of the Mississippi and a “huge area” tracks the Mississippi River down to New Orleans. Ri-ight. Or it could just be that there are large cities along these massive rivers. Then she gets to the Great Lakes, noting that there is a cluster of COVID-19 outbreaks between Minneapolis, Minnesota and Chicago, Illinois along the west bank of Lake Michigan.

Checkmate, skeptics!

Of course, it’s hard not to note that there are several…oh, you know…cities on the banks of Lake Michigan and that high population density facilitates the spread of a contagious viral illness. Then Seneff points out hotspots along the Hudson River. It clearly doesn’t seem to register with her that large population centers are often built near water, be that water a river, a lake, or an ocean.

Now, be amused at how she starts to try to work in the exceptions to her observations:

Queens, New York is perhaps the most affected area in all of the United States. A case can certainly be made for New York being vulnerable due to the large number of international visitors as well as excess crowding in a metropolitan area.

However, as the map below shows, Queens is also nearly surrounded by water, and it has La Guardia International Airport just to the north and JFK to the south. It is cut through by three major interstate highways, I-278, I-495, and I-678.

The airline industry has been exploring the use of aviation biofuels since at least 2009. United Airlines was the first airline to introduce aviation biofuel in its airplanes, and the first city in the world to offer aviation biofuel was Los Angeles, California.

Within California, Los Angeles is a COVID-19 hot spot. United offers many flights to the United hub just to the south of New York City, Newark Liberty International.

The Netherlands has been harder hit than many other countries of Europe. In 2011, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines became the first airline in the world to operate a commercial flight on aviation biofuels [2]. The fuels were biokerosene derived from used cooking oil.

United Airlines, American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and Air France, now all power airplanes with a blend of conventional fuel and aviation biofuel. All offer services into and out of New York City. Other cities with major airports in the United States, besides New York City and Los Angeles, stand out as hot spots, such as Denver and Salt Lake City in the Midwest.

You know, I’m kind of annoyed that nowhere does Seneff mention my home city of Detroit. Detroit is currently a huge COVID-19 hotspot, and the number of cases and deaths is. alas, still climbing. I mean, come on! Detroit is built on a river too! Don’t we get some crank love as well? She also conveniently omits hotspots that don’t fit her “hypothesis” that are visible on her own map included with her post, such as Colorado, central Indiana, the Texas panhandle, and Idaho. I’m particularly amused, though, at the attempt to blame aviation biofuels for COVID-19. This is totally out of left field. Even if I had predicted that an anti-GMO crank would blame glyphosate or GMOs for COVID-19, I doubt I would ever have predicted that an anti-GMO crank would have blamed aviation biofuels for the pandemic!

Of course, Seneff uses her batshit “hypothesis” to explain away differences in how hard various nations have been hit by the pandemic, deftly shifting from aviation biofuel to biodiesel fuels. She notes that the three leading cities in the US in the use of biodiesel are New York, New Orleans, and Washington, DC, all COVID-19 hotspots. (But what about Detroit, Seattle, Los Angeles, and all the other cities in the US that are COVID-19 hotspots or are currently emerging as COVID-19 hotspots?) She claims that the reason Russia has reported so few cases of COVID-19 thus far is because its powerful oil and gas lobby has prevented the widespread adoption of biodiesel fuels. Of course, it could also be that Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian regime isn’t reporting the scope of the problem in Russia or because Russia is at the low end of the exponential curve and growth in its caseload is only now accelerating, with Moscow as the epicenter.

After confusing causation with tortured correlation (no, really, it took some contortions even to develop a correlation) to biodiesel and biofuel use, Seneff pivots to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which she blames on…you guessed it!…glyphosate. COPD, is, of course, a major risk factor for death in COVID-19 patients, which makes sense given that COPD patients have much lower pulmonary reserve in the face of the viral attack on the lungs. She cites a mouse study in which airborne glyphosate exposure supposedly stimulated airway inflammation and asthma-related cytokine production in the lungs. Never mind that smoking is the single biggest risk factor for COPD, which in turn is the single biggest risk factor for severe COVID-19 disease and ICU admission.

Or maybe it’s the e-cigarettes—with glyphosate, of course! Yes, the Gish Gallop is strong in Seneff:

This newly emergent disease has been given the name, E-cigarette, or Vaping, Product Use-Associated Lung Injury (EVALI).

A 2020 paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine describes the typical symptoms of this new disease:

“The most common respiratory symptoms were shortness of breath (85%), cough (85%), and chest pain (52%). Reported gastrointestinal symptoms included nausea (66%), vomiting (61%), diarrhea (44%), and abdominal pain (34%). All patients had one or more constitutional symptoms, with the most common being subjective fever (84%). Upper respiratory symptoms such as rhinorrhea, sneezing, or congestion were not commonly reported.” [18, my emphasis].

The most well-known symptoms of COVID-19 infection are dry cough, fever, and shortness of breath, but there can also be digestive issues such as diarrhea and vomiting [19]. Distinct from a normal cold, rhinorrhea (runny nose) is usually absent. The symptoms of COVID-19 are remarkably similar to the symptoms of EVALI.

So are the symptoms of a lot of respiratory illnesses. You know where this is going, of course:

Propylene glycol and glycerol are important additives in e-cigarettes. These are often sourced from waste from the biodiesel manufacturing process [20].

Furthermore, vitamin E acetate is sometimes used as a thickening agent in e-cigarette production, and it has been identified as a candidate source of the lung problems associated with vaping, although no biological mechanism has been offered [21].

What scientists are missing is that vitamin E is commonly sourced from soybean oil, probably from GMO “Roundup-ready” soybeans, since these are the lion’s share of the soybean market. And the biodiesel fuel industry relies on the debris on GMO roundup-ready corn fields or fields of wheat commonly sprayed with glyphosate just before the harvest.

Since vaping involves heat, vapors are released that likely contain vaporized glyphosate, which is then breathed into the lungs and directly impacts the lung tissues.

“That likely contain vaporized glyphosate”? Of course, if there were any actual evidence that e-cigarette vapor actually does contain vaporized glyphosate, you know that Seneff would have cited it—nay, trumpeted it. She didn’t, which tells me that there probably is no evidence and that she’s just pulling this speculation out of her nether regions and releasing the stink as if it were crank perfume.

Next up, she claims that glyphosate disrupts a class of proteins known as collectins, which are involved in modulating immune responses, by substituting for the amino acid glycine. There is no evidence that glyphosate substitutes for glycine in any mammalian protein. Indeed, there is powerful proteomics data showing that glyphosate does not substitute for glycine. Remarkably (actually, completely unsurprisingly) the papers claiming that glyphosate can substitute for glycine and mess up human proteins are all published by Stephanie Seneff and her cronies. She then further claims, without evidence, that glyphosate causes fatty liver disease, which she blames on glyphosate without good evidence, because of course she does.

She then pivots to more correlation that doesn’t indicate causation:

Bhutan is a landlocked country in the East Himalayas, bordered by Tibet and India. The population of Bhutan is a little over 807,000 people.

As of this writing in early April 2020, only four cases of COVID-19 have been reported for Bhutan, two of whom were visiting foreigners.

Bhutan has embraced the ambitious goal of becoming the world’s first 100% organic nation [38]. Is it possible that there is so little COVID-19 because Bhutan’s people aren’t being over-exposed to glyphosate?

Obviously, it’s more likely that Bhutan hasn’t suffered much from COVID-19 yet because it’s an tiny isolated nation in the frikkin’ Himalayas with a population of under a million people.

Hilariously, after all that Gish galloping and confusing correlation with causation, Seneff finishes her magnum opus of COVID-19 crankery by JAQing off:

The United States has stood out as the country hit the hardest by COVID-19. We also consume more glyphosate per capita than any other country in the world. It will be a tragic irony if it turns out that our attempts to reduce carbon emissions through the use of extracts from glyphosate-exposed food crops and trees as a source of fuel in cars, trucks, buses, ships, airplanes—and as heating oil for buildings—turn out to be one of the primary causes of the COVID-19 epidemic.

I cannot claim to have proven that glyphosate is causing the weakened immune system and lung damage that sets up a susceptibility to an acute response to COVID-19. Science is a process of inquiry and we must keep inquiring. However, the circumstantial evidence is compelling and more research is needed. I hope I will inspire scientific researchers who have the necessary skills to further explore this hypothesis.

And maybe we should also “keep inquiring” whether the Easter Bunny can alleviate COVID-19 or homeopathy can cure it. I will give Seneff credit as a crank. I’ve never seen anyone combine anti-GMO nonsense in such an amazing display by linking aviation biofuel, biodiesel, vaping, and glyphosate with such tenuous links and then “just asking” if glyphosate is making the COVID-19 pandemic worse. It is truly a sight to behold if you’re a connoisseur of crankery, as I am. On the other hand, as much as this sort of article amuses me, it also alarms me. People might believe this nonsense. For Jennifer Margulis to have published it does, however, demonstrate that, as an antivaxxer, she has zero credibility when it comes to evaluating science.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

102 replies on “Stephanie Seneff: Blaming glyphosate in biofuels and e-cigs for COVID-19”

Of course! NYC is affected because it’s built on the water plus has several airports and major highways.
It’s NOT because cities grow up beside oceans, lakes and rivers where they become HIGHLY POPULATED needing airports and highway systems.

COVID-19 has brought the loons out:
–Dr Mercola suggests licorice as a way to defeat the virus.
–Null continues “educating” seniors at his estate/ health retreat with veganism and supplements. Leave the CITIES! he says.
–Del Bigtree ( @ High Wire Talk) presents a video of an actual doctor in Brooklyn who doubts standard advice for medical care of patients ( Too much to explain: interested parties can find his ideas on the first 6 minutes of yesterday’s broadcast)
— Antivaxxers think that Dr Fauci and Mr Gates are corrupt and evil incarnate ( see @ Ginger Taylor amongst others)

Doesn’t true licorice (as opposed to anise-flavored candy) have the ability to interfere with heart medication?

I hope someone swaps Mercola’s licorice with real, Scandinavian salted licorice. (It is a flavor unlike any other, nearly impossible to describe, it’s like if “What?!” could be a taste.)

Wow. Why not just honor Seneff’s theory as a possibility? It makes a lot of sense. Roundup has been considered a toxin for years and is killing bees and butterflies. There is more and more of it is accumulating in the environment and most likely starting to affect humans in more serious ways. I hadn’t thought of its increased presence in biofuels so glad she did this research. Some of your rebuttals seem valid while others are questionable. I’m confused about the vicious reactions towards Seneff. She’s a scientist and is presenting a hypothesis. That’s what scientists do. What I get from is that Roundup requires more research around how it is affecting the immune system and lungs. We should also be paying attention to whether asthma and other conditions improve now that there’s less driving and flying airplanes. If so why, is the air quality? Reduced stress ? Worth exploring. Lastly, I would suggest leaving a link to her article so people can read it for themselves.

So, what is it about Queens, which is surrounded on three sides by water? Could it be the presence of a large international airport, one of the busiest in the country? What’s the second thing many infected people arriving there do (or third, after contaminating a restaurant)? They get into a taxi or a bus or a train, contaminating surfaces and others.

Holy spurious correlation, Batman!

Huh. Is there any actual data on environmental glyphosate by geography? I would think the obvious correlation would be agriculture, not roads or rivers. And agricultural workers are the people who get the most glyphosate exposure so that should be measurable. All those big farmers in Queens, right?

There’s one thing that hasn’t been mentioned. Air pollution is known to contribute to the development of respiratory diseases, which are in turn risk factors in COVID. You don’t really need to add glyphosate to that.

Indeed, it has long been known that proximity to urban motorways such as I-5 in Seattle is correlated with respiratory diseases, and that correlation was established long before anybody started using biofuels. Even regular diesel exhaust contributes high levels of particulates.

It should also be no surprise that novel diseases would spread along transportation networks. That includes airplanes (New York City is better connected than any other city in North America to the rest of the world), rivers, and of course highways (I-94 is a direct route from Minneapolis to Chicago, and onward to Detroit).

One thing I noticed on one of the graphics showing coronavirus infections in the USA with little red dots, is that I saw a distinct line between Austen, TX and Minneapolis, MN. It was I-35.

Because in the last few years for Seneff, every disease on the planet has been caused by glyphosate. When all you own is a hammer…

She should partner up with the antivax guy who thinks that shrimps in algae collected to make agar make their way into vaccines.

She has partnered up with plenty of other cranks, so I can’t see one more would make any difference.

When she first started writing about chemicals and diseases in 2012, she managed 7 papers in a special issue of the pay to play journal Entropy on different causes for autism. It was almost like she couldn’t make up her mind which crank theory was the bestest, so went for all of them.

It was almost like she couldn’t make up her mind which crank theory was the bestest, so went for all of them.

And every new “cause of autism” she finds simply strengthens her conviction that all the other phenomena correlated with autism are also causes as well.

Sounds like the idea for a new song: ‘Autism’, with the line ‘everything gives you autism’. Some variation of a song by Joe Jackson.

Seneff’s tour de farce has given me neuroseneffence. I have proofs because my bike helmet feels larger on my head this morning and it couldn’t possibly be that I got a home haircut yesterday.

Or could it be that places visited by antivaxxers have the highest % of infection. I’m jus asking questions, of course.

Thanks for the fun, Orac.

I’ll just light up a cigar to Seneff’s health.

Couldn’t understand a word of it, so got it on iTunes–lovely! Thanks.

@ brainmatterz

She speaks like a fairy and sings like a hurricane. You can check out the full concert if you want. It’s well worth it.

She’s not my favorite vocalist for quite a few reasons, but artistically and on the grounds of what I’d call “grace”, she’s definitely on the top of my list. The concert setup also magnifies her talent and is IMO way better than her regular musical clips.

I don’t think that i’ve ever heard Florence’s speaking voice before this. Such a huge contrast from the power of her signing voice.

Let me just interject here what the probable answer to that second question is: Time. The virus just hasn’t made its way to those locations yet. It will. Give it time.

That certainly is one factor. Another one, which does not require any role from glyphosate or any other bete noir of the crackpots, is whether the local health care system gets overwhelmed. Places that locked down early enough to prevent that have seen death rates from COVID-19 below 1%, still several times worse than ordinary flu but not catastrophic. This group includes China outside Hubei province (of which Wuhan is the capital), South Korea, and the Bay Area in California. Places that have seen the local health care system get overwhelmed have seen case fatality rates of several percent. This group includes Hubei, Iran, Italy, and currently New York City.

I suspect denial is also a factor. For several weeks Putin denied there was a problem in Russia. Yesterday the BBC reported about a Chinese border town, about 100 km from Vladivostok, that has had to go into lockdown due to an influx of returning Chinese nationals who fled an outbreak in Moscow. They flew to Vladivostok and then traveled overland to the Chinese border, where it was determined that about a quarter of the returnees were infected. I suspect that several US states that have been slow to lock down, or have not locked down at all, are in a similar state to Russia. At least one ex-Soviet republic, Turkmenistan, has even made it illegal to discuss coronavirus in public, and of course they claim not to have any cases.

…well now you will force.her to to say “It’s in the chemtrailz.”.

That was the first thing that went through my head with regard to glyphosate in any fuel. Maybe there are cold combustion engines we don’t know about.

That’s what they want you to think! You see, you failed to take into account the heat of fusion and a few really big words, with a few hand waves, plus inventing new terms, on order to prove carbon chains are evil and should be confiscated from Stephanie and in order to assure no additional contraband carbon chains are made by her, all hydrogen should be confiscated as well.
She’s welcome to the carbon, as long as it’s in a high oxygen environment. 😉

In short, it ain’t gotta make sense or be within the laws of physics and chemistry, it just needs Gish galloping, moving goalposts and loads of hand waves.
She should be a deity! The deity of atheism.

I’m curious about whether propylene glycol or even glycerine in the concentration and time of exposure typical for vaping can damage the envelope of SARS-CoV-2. I have seen reports (not papers, just popular media) that alcohol concentration as low as 30% can inactive it.

I can’t get the Wiley site to work for me… cookies, script blocker, ad blocker, who knows what but all I get is a list of news letter from them; no word nicotine or any pdf link.

So, what is the skinny on the nicotine? I do not smoke but I use copious amounts of wet snuff — is it because it is a vasoconstrictor, orr…

I can’t get the Wiley site to work for me… cookies, script blocker, ad blocker, who knows what but all I get is a list of news letter from them; no word nicotine or any pdf link.


So, what is the skinny on the nicotine?

Try Pubmed.

^ And please take note that it’s nobody else’s problem that you seem to have fucked up your machine six ways to Sunday.

Thx, Narad. It was the cookies.

The publication only mentions ‘smoking’ but I’ll take it to mean that nicotine in and of itself moderates ACE2 the same as some blood pressure medicine so maybe not so great.

My machine is fucked but this is not really my machine. My 2006 intel board trusty daily driver has been laying on its’ side so that the aging fans shut the fuck up rattling. The keyboard had fallen off the back of the pull out shelf and fell into it. Shit. After breakfast, I came back to find the wireless down (old linksys card from 2005 that was seeming to be failing anyways judging from continuous ping -t logs that must be run so the VPN doesn’t drop you after ten minutes of disuse) so, naturally, I reach in and wiggle the thing around then bzzzzzzz. And no longer will even POST. I do not know what shorted whether it was the pre 2000 soundblaster (did 24 bit even then), the r5770 video card. So now, i’m on this 2015 Dell board with a faster processor (3.2 vs 2.14 Ghz) but, hoo boy, what a flamming piece of shit.

I can’t type because I gave the proprietary Dell keyboard away to a friend years ago and the ps/2 to usb on my old gateway one just gives ‘keyboard error’.

I couldn’t get into BIOS (needed to because the battery had died and needed to set boot order for a new install (fuck no, I never used sysprep on my partition backup images) because it took me forever to realize that one must use the shift key for the f1-f12 keys. It is a wireless logitec tiny keyboard made for set-top boxes which takes up a usb slot and most keys are for navigating video streams. And, it has a surprizing dearth of usb ports compared to the old intel board. Too bad that I must use a usb wireless adapter because lightning took out the on-board lan in 2014 and I don’t want to use any components from the old build because I don’t know what blew so gotta use the onboard sound — no fucking slots in this machine anyways. No ide, and three fucking SATA?? And the Intel Management engine is a leaky, noisy, tempest-interceptable nightmare that pauses VLC streams to lock up 3 seconds every 34 minutes while it leaks audio into the amp in all kinds of obnoxious ways makes me pine for the good old days of 54k modem handshaking.

On top of all that, you have to fucking torrent micro code and mother board flashes because intel removed them all that are before 20 fucking 16!

So, yea. Six ways from Sunday; then there is just going with whatever latest version of Pale Moon or Firefox there is because I don’t have a fucking sata port to put the old drives in with all the installers (Firefox, you almost may be just chrome now with all the telemetry and loss of even about:config preferences disablements (Normandy? WTF?) or even user.js tweaks). You want another twelve from Monday, orr…

The publication only mentions ‘smoking’ but I’ll take it to mean that nicotine in and of itself moderates ACE2 the same as some blood pressure medicine so maybe not so great.

Jesus Fucking Christ, Ms. Dupree, read the fucking paper. This reply is some combination of attention-whoring, intoxication, and 200 proof stupidity.

We predict that these individuals are ‘primed’ to be at higher risk because nicotine can directly impact the putative receptor for the virus (ACE2) and lead to deleterious signaling in lung epithelial cells

It is right there in the fucking abstract. What am I missing other than ‘nicotine bad’? (besides whether it has to be smoked, or not? Which was my original question because the body of the paper only references ‘smoking’ so, like a contact high/death for just those cells that are initially contacted or if it is the same if it works its’ way to them in your blood?) For now, I’ll just assume it is bad, just like ace2 inhibitors.

O.K. Nicotine bad. And probably for this other reason also; Inhibiting nitric oxide.

Smoking will reduce BH4 and that will lower NOS2 activity leading to lower NO.
Nicotine on its own will inhibit GCH1 and lower levels of BH4 directly.

Climbers in Himalayas use sildenafil all the time to cope with altitude sickness/High Altitude Pulmonary Edema. That could also align with the theory from some NYC doctor that COVID-19 requires the same approach as altitude sickness and not ventilators (too much lung damage). Also, Chinese doctors reported that people in “prone positioning” recovered faster.

What surfactant was present with the alcohol? One barrier to a fair number of desired reactions is surface tension denying access to one’s target.
That said, that’d be for surface treatment, one most certainly does not want to go 30% or higher en vivo! That’s a wee bit above and beyond the call of toxic.

As I said, what I saw barely rose above rumor. It is of interest because there seem to be a severe shortage of both prepared alcohol-based hand santizer and alcohol for DIY versions. Normally 60% alcohol content is considered to be the minimum for a broad-spectrum hand rub, meaning things like vodka are ineffective. But if indeed the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be inactivated with 30% alcohol, vodka could be useful.

If in fact there was genuine testing, it is highly unlikely that any surfactant was employed. I’ve read a number of papers describing similar sorts of tests and when alcohols were being evaluated there were no additives other than water. Alcohol-water mixes are capable of “wetting” lots of things without the aid of surfactants.

It is my understanding that alcohol is essentially just a solvent for the viral envelope so there is no need for deep penetration to denature the innards of the virus (unlike bacteria, where that penetration is essential). Enveloped viruses are said to be some of the easiest pathogens to “kill.”

The vast majority of surface wipes that do not employ chlorine bleach use quaternary ammonium surfactants (“qac” or “quat”). Quats and alcohol are both next to useless in practical terms against non-enveliped viruses like the notorious norovirus.

Gee, I wonder if traces of glyphosate can be found in hydroxychloroquine tabs.

Definitely among the most interesting facets of Seneff’s crackpottery is that even other crackpots disown her. You linked to some of the Seralini team’s attempted debunking (the proteomics data). They have also attempted to do it on other issues about her claims:

But I think you have to be careful relying on them. They are doing it so that their own crankery and bullshit claims aren’t lumped into hers. She makes it so easy to discredit the entire bucket of nutty.

Speaking of nutty, she blamed the Boston Bombings on glyphosate too. She’s very flexible.

There’s something similar at the Kennedy website, where the 5G doomsters are complaining about the 5G + coronavirus ones.

IIRC there was an attempted alliance between the anti-vaxers and the climane denialists a few years ago. Thing got a bit sticky.

I must add the observation that Staten Island is completely surrounded by water, including two heavily polluted waterways (the Arthur Kill and the Kill van Kull) which probably make the Yangtze River look like a clear mountain stream by comparison.

According to recent figures, Staten Island had 6% of New York City’s COVID-19 cases! It also has roughly 6% of the city’s population, and so…look, glyphosate!

All this emphasis on glyphosate is just a distraction from the real culprit – EMFs. As Dr. Thomas Cowan’s viral video has explained, we must look to 5G as the cause.

Cowan does have in common with Seneff a deep suspicion of glyphosate and vaccines. He has said “My four horsemen of the apocalypse are EMFs, glyphosate/modern agriculture, vaccines and school.” I may have to agree with him about school.

“she’s just pulling this speculation out of her nether regions and releasing the stink as if it were crank perfume.”

Thanks for this compelling imagery, Orac.

Picking a nit here, but Queens is only on the water on two sides – the north and south.Kings County – Brooklyn is on the west and Nassau County on the east. The two land borders, while not straight lines, are fairly regular compared to some others.
And don’t nobody throw in Jamaica Bay and the Rockaways. If you include them, then you would have water on four sides and land on two, or possibly some worse topographic nightmare.

gee the standards have slipped it seems here ..the in & out word & other spare parts sweet smells are @ the fore…god help us ..sorry the virus has taken over in the states ….cheers…happy bob from oz…..8

robert walton. Bob. Let not your heart be troubled.

Plague parties might be back on the menu, boys!!! (though, only for a select few hosts, at first).

Look north, look north to where they have a volcano that juts out of a glacier that is very hard to pronounce. IDK what ‘gene knockout’ is, but finding an ‘attenuated’ strain sounds alot like a vaccine to me!!!

Tangential to topic, but I have been reading “Neurotribes” by Steve Silverman, on the history of first medical and then also popular understanding of autism, including the birth of the antivax movement and the myth of the autism “epidemic” (to which I am a proud contributor to the statistics.) Large parts of it are like reading my biography, making me sit up in recognition or sadden me because of all the lost possibilities in my life and all of the lost auties who came before who were so misunderstood and so brutally treated. It’s a forgotten part of fairly recent American history that for cruelty and prejudice is a match for anything that Europeans did to the native populations of the Americas. The eugenics movement and its successors still have much to answer for before the bar of history.
One thing to note if you read it is that since it was written it has been shown by Czech researchers that the filthy fucking murdering Nazi slimebag Hans (The filthy fucking murdering Nazi slimebag) Asperger was indeed a filthy fucking murdering Nazi slimebag and not deserving of the author’s attempt to clear him.
Anyway, anyone unfamiliar with how antivax turned from a sincere effort to right an environmental wrong to a takeover of the autism discussion, much to the detriment of actually trying to do something for those of us under the autism rainbow, especially those of us who are way past childhood, should take a look at it,and those who love run-on sentences should swoon over this one.

Steve Silverman, on the history of first medical and then also popular understanding of autism, including the birth of the antivax movement and the myth of the autism “epidemic”

Does Silberman mention his own key role in starting the myth?

For some reason Silberman has always regarded Asperger as the unsung hero of the history of autism. He built up Asperger’s reputation and fabricated a myth about Asperger trying to save autistic children from Aktion-T4… meanwhile trashing Kanner because his narrative needed a villain as well as a hero. He seems to be convinced that because he was late to read about Asperger, therefore no-one else had ever heard of him either, and it was his job to rescue the dude from obscurity.

I am not impressed with the amount of bullshit in Neurotribes (not to forget Silberman’s enthusiasm for retrospective diagnoses). The mis-spelling of Tony Attwood’s surname did not create any confidence about his concern for accuracy.

Smut Clyde, I can tell you he got more right than wrong, having gone through or witnessed much of it.
BTW, Silberman is also too forgiving of Bruno Bettelheim, who was unpardonably awful.
Meanwhile, the “refrigerator mother” trope was very real, and reading about it helped me to make sense of some things that didn’t make sense back when.
The institutionalization of the autistic took place just the way he described, and I know witnesses to it.
Me, I was dragged before various fraudulent Freudians, tested with the usual battery of unreliable tests, and overheard the grim prognoses they delivered from the mountaintop. Even when my age was in single digits I knew they were full of shit (Anal retentives?). Freudians’ diplomas are toilet paper and the Freudians themselves are a massive waste of carbon.
As late as 2003, the psychiatrist who finally diagnosed me, a good man and a genuine expert, bridled when I called myself autistic, as though there was a bright line between (Hans “The Vile Fucking Child Murderer”) Asperger’s syndrome and what I suppose he would have called classical autism.
Much of what’s in there resonates with me, because I lived it. Hit that beach, took the fire, got the campaign ribbon.

“BTW, Silberman is also too forgiving of Bruno Bettelheim, who was unpardonably awful.”

This cannot be repeated enough.

Yes, but who’s been distributing that glyphosate? Why didn’t Seneff name the secret ring of radical-Muslim operatives and child molesters behind it all, hmm? Could it be that the international bankers and Homosexual Agenda are getting too close? WAKE UP, SHEEPLE! /sarc

I tend to doubt that there is a lot of biofuel being used in commercial aviation. I remember that there were a couple of experiments back when the price of fuel was shooting up, but I haven’t heard about any such usage in years. On the other hand, if you want to see where glyphosate is sold and used, just look in the garden section of your local hardware store and then look at people using weed killer along walks and in cracks in concrete.

Thanks to the people who provided links to Skeptical Raptor et al. Interesting.

Vandana Shiva, “rock star” of the anti-GMO movement, went off the rails long ago but has managed to maintain a lucrative scaremongering career that Andrew Wakefield can only envy.

“…she claims that sterile seeds – which of course cannot germinate – can spread sterility. A middle school student expressing such views would fail the biology exam.”

There’s your solution to economic crises – introduce a killer disease, and the wiping out of much of the working class means higher wages and a better standard of living for those who survive. Makes perfect sense.

I’ve seen antivaxers pooh-pooh the plague before, but on the grounds that since the human race survived it was no biggie. Hailing it as a positive benefit marks a new low.

If there will be a vaccine, I suppose the antivaxxers won’t take it. I wonder what they will do if they get the disease and some of them die.
I suppose the survivors will say, they didn’t live well enough, because they will keep telling vaccines are dangerous. But of course unproven remedies aren’t.

Heh. I managed to find an article at Science 2.0 entitled How the Bubonic Plague Made Europe Great ( I swear, that’s what it’s called. From June 2008 yet; by Hank Campbell)

The achievements of the Renaissance might be attributed to people dying and clearing the way for technological and artistic advancement: having less people to share in the accumulated wealth? I’m sure some compatriots of the Orange Creature might agree with the merit of this viewpoint. So, every time there is a recession, they’ll say. “There’s a way to fix this”

@ Renate: …and right on cue here come anti-vax quack pediatrician Paul Thomas posting on Facebook:

Will you get the COVID-19 vaccine and risk everything?

Autoimmunity is a probable outcome for those of you who choose to get this vaccine. Until we go through a second winter of COVID-19 after the vaccine, and track all health outcomes (not just COVID-19 infections) – you are literally playing roulette with your health if you get a COVID-19 vaccine that has not had safety testing that spans two seasons of COVID-19.

What if we learn that the death rate (from all causes) is 20% in 5 years for those who got the vaccine and 1% for those who don’t get it. If 150,000,000 Americans get the vaccine and 150,000,000 don’t the deaths from the vaccine would be 30 million compared to the baseline death rate of 1.5 million.

If you are young and healthy with an almost zero risk of death or complications from COVID-19, which scares you more: the untested vaccine or COVID-19?

Thomas bases this incompetent, inexcusable fear mongering on–who else?–but the the pseudoscientific BS shoveled by James Lying Wailer, the legend in his own mind for epitrope analysis.

A. I doubt it will be an untested vaccine.
B. I don’t really think summer has much influence on the virus.

I suppose I rather take the vaccine, than risking the illness. Even though I’m rather healthy and not someone who loves being in crowds, I prefer a vaccine, so I can live a normal life, which includes traveling with public transport and occasionally visiting a restaurant and visiting the library. I really miss the latter.

“she also posted on 4/10 to her “Vaccine-Friendly Plan” FB page on how the bubonic plague outbreaks of the Middle Ages were a good thing because they culled the weak and elderly”
There is a name for this sort of approach to societal value. It’s called “fascism”.

@ Denice Walter

Actually there is some truth to the plague having had a positive effect. For instance, it killed off so many clergy so few understood Latin and the Bible and services then became in the vernacular. It ended feudalism, so few workers that workers had some power, etc. An excellent book is: Norman F. Cantor (2001). “In The Wake of The Plague: The Black Death & The World It Made”. I’ll have to read How the Bubonic Plague Made Europe Great to see if it makes as sound an argument as Cantor’s book. Cantor was an authority of the Middle Ages. Check out his bio on Wikipedia.

Of course, we should be able to make changes in today’s society rationally; but we don’t.

Actually, although I may sound snarky ( in order to off-handedly comment on Trumpites’ lack of sympathy for suffering) I’ve heard similarly in art history and European history classes ( the profs were, respectively, a well-regarded writer/ gallery owner and an Italian baron– what’s more, I don’t think that the latter was making that up: he looked as though he walked out of a period painting of the Medici family!! -btw- We didn’t have to call him “Baron” only Dr-
-for some reason in selecting history classes to fulfill requirements, I fortunately chose The Renaissance and 19th Century Europe which wound up having two of the most enlightening profs ever )

I didn’t love In the Wake of the Plague, though I will fully admit I didn’t finish it. The author just made some weirdly absolutely statements he contradicted within pages, which I just felt like was sloppy writing. (Something about all women were dead by 40, and then two pages later a 40 year old princess gave birth. Like, the second one is known, so why be so absolute with the first statement?)

The plague book I recommend is The Great Mortality, by John Kelly, which manages a really human-level discussion of the plague and what it meant to people. Also, Justinian’s Flea (William Rosen) has a really excellent section on the biology of plague and the human immune system.

As for remaking the world, there has good to be a book, or at least some scholarly papers on the intersection of WWI, the 1918 flu, and the end of domestic service (a la Downton Abbey). Same idea though, why should I stay here in the countryside working for some lord for a pittance when I could move to the city and be paid a cash wage and not be beholden to a lord?

meh I found myself getting quite annoyed by “The Great Mortality” – or more to the point, by the author’s habit of personifying it. Couldn’t finish the book in the end.

@ JustaTech

Own and read both books. Totally agree about them; but despite some minor problems, In the Wake of the Plague was quite good. I’ve read several other books on Middle Ages by Cantor.

And the fact that one princess was 40 can be viewed as “the exception proves the rule.” Plague killed lots of people; but if off the beaten routes, living far out in the country, some people escaped it. So what?

There is an historical incident where a man survived a large metal rod in 1840s to brain, though affected his personality, he lived, so I guess we shouldn’t worry about damage to brain, not all that bad??? Check out Wikipedia’s “Phineas Gage.”

You sound a bit like some antivaccinationists, that is, focusing on a few details, ignoring most else. Since I have been reading about various plagues throughout my life, I thought Cantor’s book was quite good. Oh well.

@ JustaTech

I also own and have read:

Daniel Defoe’s “Journal of the Plague Year”

Bocaccios “The Decameron” describing reactions to plaque in Florence

And, I have Camus “The Plague” and “La Peste” I’m not very good at French; but managed to get through the original, cheated a bit by checking English version. Oh well. Tant pis. Too bad.

Read Thucydides on Plague of Athens, not in Greek; but in English. Though I love many aspects of history, reading about plagues main focus. Which, besides understanding immunology, microbiology, epidemiology, is why I so strongly support vaccines. Out of sight, out of mind, ignores reality of risks from infectious diseases.

Best single book is William H McNeil’s “Plagues and People” makes strong case that major contributing factor to human history not technology, not wars, not statemen; but microbes. I also have his prize-winning book “The Rise of the West.”

And I love the internet. I have actually found and downloaded newspaper articles, pamphlets, diaries, etc. on everything from smallpox to cholera, going back to 18th Century.

A great historical novel on Smallpox, incredibly accurate, huge reference list; but based on letters, diaries, etc. she adds in conversations, etc. is Jennifer Lee Carrol’s “The Speckled Monster: Historical Tale of Battling Smallpox”

Hey, Dr Harrison, Ouch! “You sound a bit like some antivaccinationists, that is, focusing on a few details, ignoring most else.” That’s really mean, you know that?

I was giving a specific example of why I didn’t finish a book. I made no factual claims about Cantor’s scholarship or credentials. I just said I didn’t like that book.

I have both the Journal of the Plague Year and the Decameron, but I’m not reading them right now (sensibly, in my mind). I did enjoy the Speckled Monster.

@Alison: I had a hard time with the end of The Great Mortality, too, but that was mostly because the pogroms were so upsetting. Like, everyone is dying so their solution is to kill more people? What is wrong with people?
But no one has to like all the same books!

The Lisbon earthquake came at a moment that led to a rejection of the idea that “all’s for the best in this best of all possible worlds.” Voltaire in particular took issue with the idea. Ada Palmer in her blog exurbe explores the history of skepticism and develops the thought.

An update to the situation in South Dakota, which as I have mentioned on previous threads has yet to issue a general stay-at-home order (and where I have relatives). Smithfield Ham has been forced to close their Sioux Falls plant because 293 workers (so far) there have tested positive for the coronavirus. Which means that on a per capita basis Sioux Falls is not that much lower than New York City for coronavirus infections. And it turns out that plant workers, most of whom are Latino or Nepalese immigrants, live in conditions that are not that much less dense than Manhattan.

I suppose it is possible that the pigs being processed at the plant were fed with slop that contains some trace amount of glyphosate, given that the pigs are part of the agricultural-industrial complex. But I haven’t seen any evidence that pigs can catch coronavirus, so the index case among the plant workers was most likely infected by some other route.

I will grant that a stay-at-home order would not have prevented the workers from coming into the plant, because food production is obviously an essential business. But it might have prevented that first infection.

Is SD doing better than Idaho on the “but my rights!!11!!” loons who insist on gathering in groups to “show the man”, as lead by that failed rancher from the bird sanctuary takeover?
I sure hope so, and at least Smithfield had the sense to close their plant, if not nearly soon enough.

I have eaten at the Mar’s restaurant (Kona Kitchen, good Hawaiian diner food, never had the cocktails but they look killer), so here’s what I have to say to Sneff’s frankly stupid argument about “it’s close to I-5” – it’s not really. It’s significantly uphill from I-5 (you can’t even see the freeway from there), and I-5 is in a kind of artificial valley for much of the length of Seattle (except the bits that are bridges). So I don’t know how the air pollution from the freeway would float up, out of the valley, through the trees (did you know Seattle has a ton of trees?) and to this restaurant and not the pizza place across the street.

As does Seneff have an explanation for how the owner of a grocery store down on Lake Washington died of COVID? Oh, it must have been that polluted lake. Or that his store was equidistant between a highway and a freeway. But if that’s true, why haven’t I gotten it? I live right here too. Or every single person who lives near the airport? Or one of the two Boeing plants? Lots of jet fuel there!

But really, how dare Seneff use the deaths of beloved members of the community to do a bad job pushing her pet crank idea?

Gad, I need a mai tai. And some mac salad.

Then just north of Kona’s are several restaurants right off of the freeway, near the transit center and movie theaters. And to make it worse there are clinics for both Kaiser-Permanente and the Polyclinic. Plus there are several apartments and a retirement complex right there! Why have we not heard of scores of folks affected in Northgate?

Though she might have a novel reason for Northgate Mall being mostly closed that has nothing to do with hockey. I think the Barnes and Noble bookstore there is still open, or was before all non-essential businesses were shut down.

Seneff just looked at a map, and saw there was a freeway nearby. She had no clue on the topography of this area. Newsflash: Seattle is a very hilly city. Downtown there there is often a three story (or more difference) between entrances on 4th versus 5th Ave. I remember entering the first floor of the old city hall on 4th Ave, and then leaving on the fifth floor on 5th Ave (thankfully that eyesore is gone… the new city hall has lots of steps on the outside plaza and inside, so the those bits are muted). The third highest part of Seattle is only a few blocks from the Kona Kitchen:

here is a picture of the side of the house; but you can still see the front of the house…

I borked the first link:

Key quote: “Ground level elevation on the Fifth Avenue side of the building is higher than on the Fourth Avenue side; the part of Cherry Street it faces was identified as one of the steepest streets in the Central Business District with a slope of 17.1%.”

By the way, reference “11” on the steep streets in Seattle no longer exists. But that is just a poser. Our shared driveway with the neighbor behind us is a bit over 10% (ten feet of elevation on 90 feet of length, it was great for sledding when we had snow). Here are some:

Newsflash: Seattle is a very hilly city.

Heh. Try it in a 1990 Mercury Lynx with a manual transmission. (Crossing the Rockies was worse.) Just tryin’ to make it to the Bainbridge ferry to close the trip from Chicago in 40 hours.

Narad: Did you see there’s a new record for the Cannonball Run? 26 hours, 38 minutes.
But apparently the Cannonball Run community says it shouldn’t count, because it was only possible due to lack of traffic due to COVID-19.

Did you see there’s a new record for the Cannonball Run? 26 hours, 38 minutes.

Holy shit. I do like the ambulance story from 1979 — I once narrowly missed out on picking up an International Harvester ambulance in excellent condition for $3000. That would have been one sweet ride.

“I don’t really think summer has much influence on the virus.”
It doesn’t. It’s killing people in tropical countries right now. In Guayaquil, Ecuador, at one point there were so many deaths that bodies were being left out on the streets. In Australia it took hold while it was still summer. Ask Tom Hanks.

There was a YouTube video featuring Kerri Rivera and Stephanie Seneff, on the subject of how MMS destroys glyphosate. Two attracting poles of the same crank magnet. Unfortunately, the Fascists at YouTube may have taken down the video as it is no longer available.*

*you can however access a Genesis Church broadcast which explains how MMS (chlorine dioxide bleach) breaks down glyphosate in the body.**
**I couldn’t stand more than a few seconds of the reggae song praising MMS which occurs at the start of the broadcast.

Give everyone a bottle of sodium chlorite and one of 4% HCL or citric acid. Teach them how to use it. Then you can forget about all of this .

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