Before a Big Week

The first week of November promises to be a political bellwether. The gubernatorial election in Virginia and maybe the one in New Jersey will give us some idea of the public’s reaction to the continued failures of the Biden Administration. Either Congress will vote this week on the President’s program or postpone forever. Vaccine mandates in significant areas will go into effect. Will it make our labor shortage even worse? How about safety?

While waiting for results, a couple of interesting things came up worth mentioning. The current narrow partisan focus of our media lets some critical news or ideas go largely unnoticed.

 The Wall Street Journal featured an article by an associate professor of chemical bioprocess engineering, Jacob R. Borden. The article reminded me of a piece I read probably in National Geographic many years ago. It revealed picturesque and strange Yellowstone is a massive volcanic area. One, if it erupted, could pretty much do in the U.S. and Canada. It was in my thoughts when we visited the Park. 

Prof. Borden points to a 1917 NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab(JPL) evaluation. It isn’t if, but when Yellowstone erupts, and it may be due. JPL has a potential solution, siphoning off excess energy. With the development of horizontal drilling, we can do it without disturbing the Park.

The byproduct of this plan is enough energy to provide electricity to 20 million homes. That’s means a competitive and reliable source equivalent to our installed output of wind power and much more than our present solar. The proposal sounds like a win-win. We need to update some laws and regulations but doing nothing risks worse than anything reasonably predicted from Global warming.

Cutting back on unreliable sources such as wind and solar and basing our grid on stable geothermal, natural gas, and nuclear plants are reasonable ways to cut emissions. Europe is currently showing us what happens when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t t shine. It isn’t pretty.

Using lower-emitting reliable natural gas as a bridge to better sources, as I have suggested, gives us the time to consider other existing or developing choices. The solution may have several answers, including Yellowstone. 

When I started my series on Covid 19 in the spring of 2020, I suggested we look in the cupboard and see if any of our existing medicines could help. This sensible idea met much resistance with Hydrochloride and Ivermectin as examples. Remdesivir faired somewhat better. 

However, some continued the search. Now, we hear fluvoxamine, an inexpensive long used antipsychotic drug, has proved effective in reducing Covid hospitalizations and deaths. This pill could save lives worldwide because it’s cheap and easy to use. 

With fluvoxamine and the new Merck medication Molnupiravir coming online., we are in a much better position versus Covid. It seems like a strange time for these divisive job-killing mandates with cases and hospitalizations already falling across the country. If we want to help people, getting these medications in use is a better way to go.

We need to be open to creative and innovative solutions to our multitude of pressing problems. Instead, there seems to be a movement in government and media to reduce our choices. How does this work in our favor?

No matter how the week works out, I’ll have some thoughts.

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