General Science

Did China Commit an Act of War?

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” —Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Biological warfare, while it may kill the enemy, is generally designed to cause many casualties and disruption. Those surviving victims of the biological agents will need the attention of many other people and resources. Biological warfare may also cause panic and disruption of a region’s economy. These are some of the things I learned during my two years as an officer in the Army Chemical Corps where I was specifically trained in CBR: chemical, biological, and radiological warfare.

As the story goes, the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China, was conducting research on corona viruses when by accident (?) some of the virus escaped into the city and infected some of the citizens. China immediately quarantined the city and stopped travel within China. They could possibly have prevented spread of the virus if they had also stopped international travel and warned the world of what happened. But they didn’t. Perhaps the Chinese Communist authorities realized they had an opportunity destroy the economies of western countries. Because international travel was not immediately stopped, infected, asymptomatic people carried the virus around the world. China lied and people died. People and governments panicked.

It seems that the Chinese Communist authorities were paying attention to Sun Tzu.

Much of the panic was caused by computer models which predicted millions of deaths. These models were based on bad assumptions and insufficient data (very similar to climate models). For more on that subject, see: The Danger of Letting Lab Coats Run the World

and: Fauci’s Song and Dance

and: Blinded by Doomsday Predictions Masquerading as Science

and: Imperial College model Britain used to justify lockdown a ‘buggy mess’, ‘total unreliable’, experts claim

See also: Coronavirus- The Truth (and Lies) Dr. David Williams

Repeal the EPA endangerment finding

The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change has send a 139-page petition to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging them to end their 2009 “endangerment finding”  for greenhouse gases due to lack of evidence.

The press release notes:

Over ten years have elapsed since the EPA Administrator made this judgment in its so-called CO2 Endangerment Finding. During that time a considerable amount of scientific research has been conducted on the potential impacts of rising greenhouses gases on humanity and the natural world. The additional knowledge obtained from such research and observations reveal quite clearly that rising greenhouse gases do not represent what EPA identified in 2009 to be a current or future threat to public welfare.

According to the Center’s Chairman, Dr. Craig Idso, who is the lead author of the petition, “multiple observations made over the past decade confirm the projected risks and adverse consequences of rising greenhouse gases are failing to materialize. The truth is, in stark contrast to the Endangerment Finding, CO2 emissions and fossil fuel use during the Modern Era have actually enhanced life and improved humanity’s standard of living. And they will likely continue to do so as more fossil fuels are utilized.”

The 139-page petition by the Center highlights multiple peer-reviewed scientific studies in support of this thesis. In particular, the petition shows (1) there is nothing unusual or unnatural about Earth’s current warmth or rate of warming, (2) historic and modern records of atmospheric CO2 and temperature violate established principles of causation, (3) model-based temperature projections since 1979 artificially inflate warming (compered to observations) by a factor of three, invalidating the models and all their ancillary claims associated with greenhouse gas-induced warming, and that (4) key adverse effects of greenhouse gas-induced warming,
including extreme weather events, temperature-induced mortality and sea level rise, are not occurring despite EPA predictions they should be worsening.

The petition also presents compelling evidence that CO2 emissions and fossil energy use provide critical benefits that act to enhance health and welfare for humanity and the natural world. According to Dr. Idso, “Without adequate supplies of low-cost centralized energy derived from fossil fuels, few, if any, of the major technological and innovative advancements of the past two centuries that have enhanced and prolonged human life could have occurred. Additionally, without the increased CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use over the past two centuries, Earth’s terrestrial biosphere would be nowhere near as vigorous or productive as it is today. Rather, it would be devoid of the growth-enhancing, water-saving and stress-alleviating benefits it has reaped in managed and unmanaged ecosystems from rising levels of atmospheric CO2 since the Industrial Revolution began.”

Download the entire petition here:

Click to access EPAPetitionCO2ScienceMarch2020.pdf

Examining the Effect of the Border Wall on Private and Tribal Landowners

The following is testimony submitted by Arizona rancher James K. Chilton, Jr. to the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Border Security, Facilitation, and Operations, on February 27, 2020.

 

My name is Jim Chilton. I am a 5th generation rancher from Arivaca, Arizona. Arivaca is a small rural town approximately 55 miles southwest of Tucson, Arizona. Our ranch is adjacent to the town and extends south to the international border with Mexico. The ranch includes private property, State School Trust lands and three federal grazing permits in the Coronado National Forest. Our entire family, my wife of 56 years, our two sons and their children, my brother and his wonderful family, are blessed to be able to preserve our western ranching customs, culture, and heritage dating back to our pioneering ancestors who drove cattle from Texas to Arizona Territory in the late 1800’s. Our family has been in the cattle business in Arizona for about 130 years. We have a long-term view of the necessity to be excellent stewards of the grasslands we carefully manage. We are honored to have received various valued awards for resource conservation and wildlife stewardship.

Chilton Ranch and the International Border

Our family ranch is located adjacent to the United States/Mexico boundary in a corridor identified as among the most active for drug smuggling and human trafficking in the Nation. My comments generally relate specifically to the portion of the border south of our ranch extending from Nogales, AZ to Sasabe, AZ.

The following is a map of our beef-producing family ranch. Please notice that the southern end of the eastern part of the ranch is the international boundary for about five miles. Mexico is just across the fence. Our ranch boundary goes north and west bordering three other ranches. Crossers on the western side go through our neighbors’ grazing lands and then through our pastures.

The following photo shows what the international boundary looks like on the southern end of our ranch. It is not signed or marked and mainly consists of a four-strand barbed wire cattle fence. Obviously, there is no wall and you would never know it was the international border by viewing it.

 

This is the U.S.-Mexico border. For approximately 25 miles, this is typical until it reaches the east end of the bollard-style modern wall built to protect the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. It is well known that the Mexican cartels use this 25-mile open door of rarely patrolled land with no border-paralleling road for their drug and people smuggling business.

The following photo shows the end of the wall about 2.5 miles west of Nogales Arizona and the point where the wall becomes an old pasture fence.

 

Jim Chilton: half in the U.S. and half in Mexico! Even an 80-year-young rancher can crawl under the current international border. As you can see, building an appropriate international border fence and road would be no challenge for American civil engineers. We laugh when we hear former officials say it’s such difficult terrain that, “no one in his right mind” would try it.

Border Patrol Strategy

The long-out-dated Border Patrol strategy is to focus on attempts at interdiction of rural area crossers ten, twenty, and over 100 miles inside the United States rather than at the international boundary. As a consequence, the federal government has de facto ceded hundreds of square miles of Arizona to the cartels. My neighbors and I strongly believe the Border Patrol must SECURE THE BORDER AT THE INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY. The fact that drug packers, MS 13 gang members and deported criminals desiring to re-enter the nation walk through our neighbors’ ranches and our ranch is dangerous for us and for our neighbors. We believe every nation has the sovereign right to secure and control its border and our nation is not succeeding in exercising that right.

We want to emphasize that we support and deeply appreciate the Border Patrol. The agents are polite, well trained and there is a sincere effort by the Sector Commander, his top officials and Tucson Station Patrol Agent in Charge to listen to and try to address ranchers’ border issues. We also appreciate many of the current Border Patrol efforts, including checkpoints, drug-sniffing dogs, and other strategies which certainly interdict highway traffic. We believe, however, these tactics are woefully insufficient to actually stem the tide of cartel operations flooding cross-country routes through border ranchlands of Arizona like ours.

Why is the entire Tucson Station of the Border Patrol with approximately 650 officers operating from a location 80 miles and about three hours from the international boundary at the southern end of our ranch? The Tucson Station has about 24 miles of the international boundary to secure, or 27 agents per mile. Currently, the Tucson Sector personnel report to work in downtown Tucson, check out weapons and vehicles and then drive approximately three hours to reach the border on our ranch. The waste of time and the high cost of each officer traveling to and from the border in his or her individual Border Patrol vehicle are outrageous.

National security demands that drug traffickers, terrorists, and previously deported people be prevented from entering the United States at the border. Asylum seekers and work seekers need to cross at the legal Ports of Entry. Currently, on our ranch all of the above often travel cross-country 10 to 20 miles before the Border Patrol even attempts to apprehend them. Why? Because the Border Patrol is not based at the border; old, slow, dirt roads have not been improved to the ranchland borders, and communications fail in the borderlands. We can work all day on the ranch and not encounter Border Patrol anywhere near the border.

Why is there a huge Border Patrol station located in Casa Grande when the city is located approximately 130 miles from the international boundary? Certainly we are pleased that thousands of cartel drug packers and cartel-led border crossers are arrested in Pinal County every year. However, we question the current strategy that lets these undocumented persons walk through our ranch or through the Tohono O’odham Reservation to the west of us to disperse so far into Arizona. This strategy allows, we believe, more than half of the crossers to escape detection. This capture percent is even deemed too generous by Border Patrol officers with whom we speak “off the record.” Would a football team ever win a game if, on defense, the team lined up ten yards behind the line of scrimmage?

Need to Secure the Border at the Border

Wouldn’t it make sense to have a Wall TO SECURE THE BORDER AT THE BORDER where linear miles can be effectively patrolled rather than leaving hundreds of square miles of southern Arizona crossed by a web of cartel trails and routes? Of course, square miles are more difficult and costly to patrol than linear miles!! Wouldn’t it be enormously more effective to have patrolled roads along a bollard-style wall (deemed most appropriate by the Border Patrol) together with 21st century communications, cameras and sensors plus 24/7 actual presence of the Border Patrol? Isn’t it called the “Border Patrol” and not the “Interior Patrol? Wouldn’t their presence at the border be a much greater deterrent to cartel offensives than the current backfield game plan?

There are tremendous advantages to closing the gap in the wall between Nogales and Sasabe and then continuing construction to the east end of the wall at Yuma. To achieve reasonable border control, and ensure that rural Arizona is not the “sacrificed route,” effective structures and strategies must also be implemented all the way across Arizona’s borderlands. Most importantly, the bollard-style fence must be conscientiously patrolled and must include forward operation bases, roads paralleling the boundary and surveillance technology. Congress needs to appropriate necessary funds to allow for the completion of the wall, roads and forward operation bases.

A retiring high-level Border Patrol official sat in our living room with all our neighbor ranchers and stated that “electronic surveillance alone only tells me what I missed.” He added, “…we can not respond in actionable time.” Any policy of reliance upon information on which no effective deterrent action can be taken is virtually useless. That perspective allows—even encourages and abets–the current abuse, abandonment, rape, mutilation and murder of would-be workers who are told by cartel operatives that this is the best route. They pay, suffer and are often used as decoys while the drug loads are routed around a different canyon or trail.

Advantages of Securing the Border at the Border

The following are some of the advantages to completing an effective, bollard-style fence with adequate patrolling and appropriate technology and forward operating bases:

First, U. S.Government Accountability Office and Judicial Watch have reported that people crossing the open border sections have been arrested from terrorist-sponsoring countries. How many crossers from terrorist nations actually got through and where are they now? How many successful crossers from the Middle East are connected to ISIS?

Second, it is outrageous that Mexican cartel scouts with satellite phones and other military-grade equipment are free to occupy strategically-selected hilltops for dozens of miles inside Arizona including on our ranch. As a consequence, the cartel scouts know where the Border Patrol is at all times so they can carefully guide drug packers–and people whom know they are not eligible for asylum–through the wooded canyons and along hundreds of smuggler trails on our ranches. Border Patrol officers apprehend fewer than half of the foreign migrants and smugglers according to national Border Patrol Council Vice President, Art del Cueto. Interdiction at the border would stop the occupation of Arizona border ranchlands by these cartel operatives.

Third, environmental costs of the current failure to effectively stop the flood of crossers are well-documented. Much of the unfenced minimally-patrolled Arizona border area includes national forests, conservation areas, monuments and wildernesses. These are exactly the open routes most used by the cartel-led operations. The Border Patrol reported at a meeting we attended that undocumented crossers have left a reported average of 8.5 pounds of trash apiece on these lands. It is estimated that over 25,000 tons of garbage have been dropped by crossers in the Tucson Sector alone since 1992. Just since June 2007 until March 2019 another 463,000 pounds of trash was collected along the Arizona border according to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality’s Border Trash report. Additionally, just as of 2010, the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument documented approximately 2,553 miles of wildcat roads and trails just on their portion of the border with Mexico.

Fourth, there are intolerable human tragedies and abuses faced by work-seeking border crossers, especially women. Work-seekers currently have no feasible option but to cross in the hands of the cartel. It is reported that over 2,500 border crossers have died just in the Tucson Border Patrol Sector since1990. Horrific human tragedies could be avoided by securing the border at the border and implementing a feasible, simplified, e-verifiable worker documentation program to provide a legal and safe alternative for needed workers.

Fifth, we have been burglarized twice by south-bound drug packers who, after depositing their drug load at GPS sites or safe houses, stole laptops, cameras, firearms, including historic pieces, and other valuable items they steal to carry on their return to Mexico. This is a typical situation for those of us near the border. Ranchers in the border area cannot leave their houses unguarded even for a few hours since their homes and ranch buildings are often broken into if someone is not on guard duty. It can be hours before law enforcement can respond to rural calls.

Sixth, Arizona borderland residents, ranchers and farmers have suffered hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage and personal loss due to major forest fires set intentionally or accidentally by illegal crossers. The human and property costs of these fires, like the Monument Fire, the Murphy Complex Fire, Chiricahua Fire and the Horseshoe Fires must also be figured into the cost of NOT securing the border at the border. We have estimated that U. S. Forest Service costs in one year to fight fires caused by border crossers just in Arizona borderlands were about $600 million.

Seventh, another cost of inaction never calculated by those who decry the “expense” of effective wall and border protection, is the financial and emotional burden placed on ranchers living in Arizona border counties. In addition to suffering losses from home invasions and burglaries, we shell out thousands of dollars each year in constant fence and water line repair and we and our cowboys all work armed. The additional, unquantifiable emotional cost to our families is summarized by noting we are all very much aware of what happened to Sue Krentz’s husband Rob when he went out to check his ranch waters and was killed (including his dog) by a drug packer who then escaped into Mexico.

Eighth, we have heard just this week that the Border Patrol has picked up Chinese crossers coming through our area. The possibility of increasing numbers of undocumented persons, specifically escaping areas where they may have been exposed to coronavirus, is a new concern.

Finally, what percent of the opioids flooding this country comes through rural trails? We know from our hidden cameras that marijuana packs were the dominant VISIBLE drug in prior years, but we have heard that much higher value, lighter-to-pack fentanyl, heroin, cocaine and other drugs are showing up in rural apprehensions now that high tech surveillance is more effective at the Ports of Entry. What is the cost to America of increases in cartel use of open routes like the ones in our area for hard drug importation?

To effectively secure the border, the Border Patrol needs to build the wall and be able to construct or improve roads, build helicopter pads and place forward operating bases at or very near to the border. Construction needs to be freed of the impediments created by federal environmental laws which chiefly benefit the cartels, not the wildlife, in Arizona borderlands. Every day that the U.S. border remains unsecured is another opportunity to allow all of the negative consequences that are so real to borderland ranchers and to this Nation at the present.

The Wall, Humans and Wildlife

Border Patrol Agents apprehended fewer than half of the foreign migrants and smugglers according to national Border Patrol Council Vice President, Art del Cueto. Opponents of effective border control in rural areas advocate prioritizing cross-border wildlife-roaming over interdiction of cartel operatives. Essentially, their perspective is that the human, environmental and social cost of the illegal drug and people traffic is less of a concern than the creation of any impediment to the free passage of animals and wildlife connectivity with Mexico. This route through our portion of southern Arizona is today’s Ho Chi Minh Trail.
In spite of the environmental, financial and security impacts on our ranch, we have taken action to help prevent deaths of any of the crossers. I have installed safe-water drinking fountains on 29 sites where I have my 22 wells and water lines. We don’t want anyone to die of thirst.

Wildlife genetic diversity on both sides of the border can be achieved along with border security by legally transporting animals as scientifically deemed essential. Large mammals can be transported with safe capture to promote genetic diversity while birds can fly over and small animals and reptiles can easily slip through the bollard-style wall. In addition, American engineers can create wildlife friendly, effectively managed passages at some parts of the wall to facilitate wildlife connectivity with Mexico. Keep in mind the irony that the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge sought and obtained a bollard-style border fence and border-paralleling road because they did not want the danger, the wildcat roads, the trash and the fires nor “Wild Life Connectivity” on their border!! We neighbor them and we get all of the above re-routed onto our ranches! First, tear down the bollard-style wall with its patrol road on our Refuge neighbor—then talk to us about “connectivity.”

The following photograph shows the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service bollard-style wall and adjacent patrol road at the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge along its border with Mexico—it adjoins the old 4-strand wire fence on our neighbor’s ranch. The refuge did not prioritize a concern for wildlife connectivity.

How can it be acceptable that residents of rural southern Arizona are not accorded the same protections provided to residents of the rest of the country? Our homes and ranches and our daily environment is treated as a no-man’s land exposed, by strategic federal choice, to armed foreign trespassers. The current strategy of minimal Border Patrol presence along large segments of the rural Arizona border leaves us unprotected and assures the continued flow of drugs, the abuse of migrants, and the trashing of border lands. None of this, including wildcat roads, trash, wild fires, human trampling, conflicts between drug packers and gang rip crews, could possibly be deemed favorable for wildlife. Persons opposing interdiction of drugs and undocumented crossers loudly cite the costs of securing the border and omit all mention of the human, environmental and security costs of NOT securing it.  END OF TESTIMONY

Related articles:

Rancher Jim Chilton Has To Police The Border Himself

A Petition from Southern Arizona Ranchers on Border Security

 

Why We Depend on China for Most of Our Medicines

The price of drugs has been a concern of everyone. But, the source of our medicines is not mentioned very much. Unfortunately, we depend on China for most of our supply. The following article is from the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness newsletter. See the original article at https://www.ddponline.org/2019/11/01/drug-dependence/

Drug addiction is devastating. Drug dependence may be unavoidable, as with insulin-dependent diabetics. Modern medicine depends on the availability of life-saving drugs. And the U.S. now depends on China for most drugs. The U.S. even lacks the capacity to produce penicillin, as Rosemary Gibson reveals in her book China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Drugs.

In 1988, Oak Ridge National Laboratory published Expedient Antibiotic Production: A Final Report. This includes a how-to guide to build/rebuild antibiotic production facilities if they were damaged or destroyed. It has a map of the location of such production facilities in relation to a possible nuclear attack on industrial or military facilities.

Today, most of this capacity is gone, as manufacturing has been outsourced to the cheapest supplier. In 2004, the last U.S. penicillin production facility, in Syracuse, N.Y., closed. It was also making the starting material for cephalosporins. Launched in 1943, the facility had made 70% of the world’s penicillin until the mid-2000s.

In the 1980s, the Chinese government began to invest in the production of penicillin ingredients, and by 2001 had built vast industrial capacity. China had the great advantage of rules that tolerate massive air and water pollution, and antibiotic production is dirty industrial work. From 2004-2006, Chinese companies dumped penicillin ingredients on the global market at very low prices. After competitors were driven out of business, prices increased spectacularly in 2007.

Something similar happened to U.S. steel production, but the steel industry advocated for protection. No one advocated for protecting the antibiotic production base. “Antibiotic stewardship” is now urged to reduce usage in order to minimize development of resistance; why not stewardship of production capacity, Gibson asks.

After the 2001 anthrax attacks, the U.S. government bought 20 million doses of doxycycline. The European company that supplied the U.S. military obtained the starting material from a plant in China. The other antibiotic useful in anthrax, ciprofloxacin, requires a chemical for which China is the largest exporter. The active ingredient for vancomycin, needed for C. difficile and resistant staphylococcal infections, is also made in China.

The U.S.-China Trade Relations Act of 2000 removed tariffs on goods from China. Within 4 years, the last penicillin fermentation plant closed; the vitamin C cartel formed in China and drove U.S. prices up 600%; the last U.S. aspirin manufacturer closed when cheap Chinese product flooded the market; lethal heparin imports began.

After 80 patient deaths were tied to tainted heparin in 2008, Chinese authorities promised to crack down on suppliers, but illegal ingredients are still an open secret.

It is far more expensive to inspect a facility located abroad. The average cost is $52,000 compared with $23,000 in the U.S. China may refuse access to inspectors, and producers in China may submit false documents and refuse audits.

Instead of using soybean oil to make the initial building block for cephalosporins, some producers used “gutter oil” from restaurant frying pans, grease traps, and sewage drains. A criminal racket sold 100 tons of it to unnamed pharmaceutical companies.

Censorship of unfavorable news is routine in China. In 2015, a massive explosion at a Tianjin chemical warehouse created fireballs so huge they were detected by satellite, raining down a toxic chemical brew. The FDA warned companies purchasing drug products from the area to check for contamination, but declined to reveal the contaminants to check for or the names of potentially contaminated drugs. An online search revealed that Tianjin Tianyao Pharmaceuticals makes prednisone and other anti-inflammatory products used to treat asthma, allergies, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. Four months after the explosion, shipments of drugs contaminated with hydrogen cyanide were stopped.

Dangers of contamination and counterfeits notwithstanding, drugmakers cannot at present do without active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) from China.

“If China stopped exporting [APIs] to the U.S., within three months all the pharmacies would be empty,” stated Guy Villax, CEO of Hovione.

In some cases, known defective medications have been left on the market because of a lack of alternatives to life-saving drugs.

Even if the drugs are safe, a highly centralized global supply chain may result in shortages. A diversified manufacturing base and a shortened supply chain are imperative as a matter of national security, Gibson writes.

Gibson recommends the online pharmacy Valisure, which tests all the products it sells for certain impurities and for correct dosage.

HIGH PRICES, ESSENTIAL DRUG SHORTAGES

The prices of essential medications, such as insulin and even of generics that have been on the market for decades, have been sky-high. Patients can pay more than $400/month for insulin that costs $18 to manufacture, three times as much as in 2002! Hospitals have also been experiencing shortages of critical drugs and supplies such as anesthetics and intravenous solutions.

“Doctors and hospitals are rationing drugs, and patients are being forced to use substitutes that are less effective or more expensive, or both,” write Robert A. Campbell, M.D., and Philip L. Zweig, M.B.A., of Physicians Against Drug Shortages. “Lately, this crisis has reached a new level of absurdity: the U.S. is now importing sterile saline solution (a.k.a salt water) from Germany, Norway, Spain, Brazil and Mexico, and sodium bicarbonate solution from Australia! Drug shortages and astronomical prices are nothing less than a public health emergency” (https://tinyurl.com/y32tqasj).

Reasons for this include coverage of pharmaceuticals by third parties, especially Medicaid and Medicare Part D, bringing in middlemen such as Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs). In return for getting a drug placed on the formulary, PBMs receive a “rebate” (kickback) that is shielded from anti-kickback laws by “safe-harbor” rules. PBMs could add $100 billion per year to spending for prescription drugs. The higher the list price, the bigger the “rebate.” Single-source contracts negotiated by PBMs also help to drive potential competitors out of the marketplace (https://tinyurl.com/y6a962vl).

Three PBMs account for more than 80% of the market, according to the Council of Economic Advisors (https://tinyurl.com/ya62ukd6). More than 20% of spending on prescription drugs was taken in as profit by the pharmaceutical distribution system. The size of manufacturer rebates and the percentage of the rebate passed on to health plans and patients are kept secret. Insulins and drugs to treat hepatitis C have “rebates” of 66% and 62%, respectively (JAMA 4/23-30/19).

Another factor in high prices, CEA recognizes, is government regulations that prevent, rather than foster, healthy price competition. Additionally, the fixed cost of bringing a new, patented drug to market has increased rapidly, to about $2.6 billion. ☼

The Lyre Snake – just mildly venomous

The Lyre snake is named for a V-shaped marking on the back of the head. This marking is often more prominent on females. Dark brown saddles occur on a light brown to light gray back. The underside is creamy-white or yellow with scattered brown spots. At first glance the Lyre snake may look like the common king snake. But, the Lyre snake’s neck is narrow, making the head appear more triangular, similar to other venomous snakes. Also, the eyes have pupils that are vertical slits rather than round as are on non-venomous snakes. Lyre snakes can get up to four feet long.

The Lyre snake (Trimorphodon lambda) is usually a nocturnal hunter, but can be found basking in the sun in the spring and fall. The main prey are lizards and mice, but the snake also goes after other prey including birds (It does climb trees).

The range of this snake includes most of Southern Arizona, and extends to southern Nevada and Utah, as well as northern Mexico. It favors the lower rocky canyons and arroyos of hills and mountains from sea level to 7400 feet (2300 m). A rock dweller, it wedges itself in the many crevices and fissures that are abundant in rocky areas. This snake is an occasional resident of flat lands, according to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

According to the Tucson Herpetological Society:

Lyre snakes are not usually dangerous to humans. “When threatened, the Sonoran Lyresnake will often rattle its tail. It will sometimes raise the anterior portion of the body, and strike and bite if further provoked.” The Lyre snake does not have fangs. Rather, “Toxins produced in a Duvernoy’s gland are delivered to prey and attackers via elongated, grooved teeth in the rear of the upper jaw. A large individual is capable of delivering a venomous bite to a person. Symptoms range from none to local redness, itching, swelling, and numbness, particularly if the snake is allowed to chew.”

 

For more photos and a very detailed description, see an article from the Tucson Herpetological Society: https://tucsonherpsociety.org/amphibians-reptiles/snakes/sonoran-lyresnake/ .

More snake articles:

Arizona Coral Snakes – pretty and very venomous

The Coachwhip a colorful snake

Gopher snakes

Kingsnakes versus Rattlesnakes

Mexican vine snakes

Rattlesnakes

Speckled Rattlesnakes

 

50 years of failed environmental and climate predictions

The following is a review of failed doomsday, environmental predictions over the past 50 years that received much press coverage and inspired bad policy.  The information was compiled by Myron Ebell, and Steven J. Milloy,  of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The article shows original newspaper headlines and articles as well as graphs showing the folly of the predictions. Read the original: https://cei.org/blog/wrong-again-50-years-failed-eco-pocalyptic-predictions

Wrong Again_ 50 Years of Failed Eco-pocalyptic Predictions _ Competitive Enterprise Institute

SUMMARY

Modern doomsayers have been predicting climate and environmental disaster since the 1960s. They continue to do so today.

None of the apocalyptic predictions with due dates as of today have come true.

What follows is a collection of notably wild predictions from notable people in government and science.

More than merely spotlighting the failed predictions, this collection shows that the makers of failed apocalyptic predictions often are individuals holding respected positions in government and science.

While such predictions have been and continue to be enthusiastically reported by a media eager for sensational headlines, the failures are typically not revisited.

1967: ‘Dire famine by 1975.’

Source: Salt Lake Tribune, November 17, 1967

1969: ‘Everyone will disappear in a cloud of blue steam by 1989.’

Source: New York Times, August 10 1969

1970: Ice age by 2000

Source: Boston Globe, April 16, 1970

1970: ‘America subject to water rationing by 1974 and food rationing by 1980.’

Source: Redlands Daily Facts, October 6, 1970

1971: ‘New Ice Age Coming’

Source: Washington Post, July 9, 1971

1972: New ice age by 2070

Source: NOAA, October 2015

1974: ‘New Ice Age Coming Fast’

Source: The Guardian, January 29, 1974

1974: ‘Another Ice Age?’

Source: TIME, June 24, 1974

1974: Ozone Depletion a ‘Great Peril to Life’

But no such ‘great peril to life’ has been observed as the so-called ‘ozone hole’ remains:

 

Sources: Headline

NASA Data | Graph

1976: ‘The Cooling’

Source: New York Times Book Review, July 18, 1976

1980: ‘Acid Rain Kills Life in Lakes’

Noblesville Ledger (Noblesville, IN) April 9, 1980

But 10 years later, the US government program formed to study acid rain concluded:

Associated Press, September 6, 1990

1978: ‘No End in Sight’ to 30-Year Cooling Trend

Source: New York Times, January 5, 1978

But according to NASA satellite data there is a slight warming trend since 1979.

Source: DrRoySpencer.com

1988: James Hansen forecasts increase regional drought in 1990s

But the last really dry year in the Midwest was 1988, and recent years have been record wet.

Source: RealClimateScience.com

1988: Washington DC days over 90F to from 35 to 85

But the number of hot days in the DC area peaked in 1911, and have been declining ever since.

Source: RealClimateScience.com

1988: Maldives completely under water in 30 years

Source: Agence France Press, September 26, 1988

1989: Rising seas to ‘obliterate’ nations by 2000

Source: Associated Press, June 30, 1989

1989: New York City’s West Side Highway underwater by 2019

Source: Salon.com, October 23, 2001

1995 to Present: Climate Model Failure

Source: CEI.org

2000: ‘Children won’t know what snow is.’

Source: The Independent, March 20, 2000

2002: Famine in 10 years

Source: The Guardian, December 23, 2002

2004: Britain to have Siberian climate by 2020

Source: The Guardian, February 21, 2004

2008: Arctic will be ice-free by 2018

Source: Associated Press, June 24, 2008

2008: Al Gore warns of ice-free Arctic by 2013

But… it’s still there:

Source: WattsUpWithThat.com, December 16, 2018

2009: Prince Charles says only 8 years to save the planet

Source: The Independent, July 9, 2009

2009: UK prime minister says 50 days to ‘save the planet from catastrophe’

Source: The Independent: October 20, 2009

2009: Arctic ice-free by 2014

Source: USA Today, December 14, 2009

2013: Arctic ice-free by 2015

Source: The Guardian, July 24, 2013

The paper: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-02550-9 (open access)

Gas hydrate dissociation off Svalbard induced by isostatic rebound rather than global warming

Abstract

Methane seepage from the upper continental slopes of Western Svalbard has previously been attributed to gas hydrate dissociation induced by anthropogenic warming of ambient bottom waters. Here we show that sediment cores drilled off Prins Karls Foreland contain freshwater from dissociating hydrates. However, our modeling indicates that the observed pore water freshening began around 8 ka BP when the rate of isostatic uplift outpaced eustatic sea-level rise. The resultant local shallowing and lowering of hydrostatic pressure forced gas hydrate dissociation and dissolved chloride depletions consistent with our geochemical analysis. Hence, we propose that hydrate dissociation was triggered by postglacial isostatic rebound rather than anthropogenic warming. Furthermore, we show that methane fluxes from dissociating hydrates were considerably smaller than present methane seepage rates implying that gas hydrates were not a major source of methane to the oceans, but rather acted as a dynamic seal, regulating methane release from deep geological reservoirs.

 

2013: Arctic ice-free by 2016

Source: The Guardian, December 9, 2013

2014: Only 500 days before ‘climate chaos’

But…

Sources: Washington Examiner

See also: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/07/29/a-brief-history-of-climate-panic-and-crisis-both-warming-and-cooling/ 

 

 

How Greenpeace Games the System

This is a summary of a talk by Dr. Willie Soon presented at the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness conference on July 20, 2019.

This analysis can be applied to many radical environmental organizations.

You can download the PDF – 75 pages- of the full paper upon which the talk is based. One of the authors of the paper is Dr. Patrick Moore, a founder of Greenpeace. Moore has dis-owned Greenpeace because of their policies.

Some excerpts from The Greenpeace Business Model:

Although Greenpeace relies heavily on marketing, advertising, and free market principles, they promote socialist and anti-capitalist ideals in their messaging.

Greenpeace has successfully created a public perception that they are fighting to protect humanity, nature and the environment from the evils of corrupt industries and vested interests. This perception is so popular and wide-spread that whenever Greenpeace speaks out on an issue it is automatically assumed to be true, and anybody who questions Greenpeace’s claims is assumed to be corrupt. However, as we will discuss in this report, the reality is almost exactly the opposite…

Greenpeace is a very successful business. Their business model can be summarized as follows:

1) Invent an “environmental problem” which sounds somewhat plausible. Provide anecdotal evidence to support your claims, with emotionally powerful imagery.

2) Invent a “simple solution” for the problem which sounds somewhat plausible and emotionally appealing, but is physically unlikely to ever be implemented.

3) Pick an “enemy” and blame them for obstructing the implementation of the “solution”. Imply that anybody who disagrees with you is probably working for this enemy.

4) Dismiss any alternative “solutions” to your problem as “completely inadequate”.

At each of the four stages, they campaign to raise awareness of the efforts that they are allegedly making to “fight” this problem. Concerned citizens then either sign up as “members” (with annual fees) or make individual donations (e.g., $25 or more) to help them in “the fight”. This model has been very successful for them, with an annual turnover of about $400 million. Although technically a “not for profit” organization, this has not stopped them from increasing their asset value over the years, and they currently have an asset value of $270 million– with 65% of that in cash, making them a cash-rich business. Several other groups have also adopted this approach, e.g., Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, WWF and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Although their business relies heavily on marketing, advertising, and free market principles, they promote socialist and anti-capitalist ideals in their messaging. As a result, their campaigning efforts appear to resonate strongly with left-leaning parties and liberal media. By draping themselves in “moral clothing”, Greenpeace has been very effective at convincing these progressive organizations that anything Greenpeace says is “good” and “true”, and whatever they criticize is “bad” and “corrupt”. However, as we discuss in this report, Greenpeace is not actually helping to protect the environment, or exposing real problems. Instead, they are:

1) Creating unnecessary feelings of guilt, panic and frustration among the general public. Greenpeace then make money off this moral outrage, guilt and helplessness.

2)Vilifying the innocent as “enemies”. Once you have been tarred by Greenpeace’s brush, any attempts to defend yourself are usually treated with suspicion or even derision.

3) Deliberately fighting honest attempts by other groups to tackle the “environmental problems” that Greenpeace claim need to be tackled.

4) Distorting the science to generate simplistic “environmental crises” that have almost nothing to do with the genuine environmental issues which should be addressed.

Conclusions about Greenpeace from the full paper:

1. They are intentionally fooling the public about the “vested interests” associated with each of their campaigns.

2. In order to create the impression that “the science is settled” on their campaign issues, they oversimplify the often quite-nuanced views of the scientific community, and simultaneously try to shut down any further scientific enquiry into the topic.

3. They are intentionally shutting down genuine discussion on implementing solutions on the environmental “crises” they claim to have identified.

4. They are distracting public attention away from genuine environmental concerns.

Related:

Book Review: The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert, an IPCC Exposé (link) In this book, Canadian journalist Donna LaFramboise exposes the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as a fraud. LaFramboise spent two years investigating the IPCC. She says it acts like a spoiled teenager, hence the title of the book.

Observations on the new Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area

In March, 2019, President Trump signed legislation creating the 3,600 square mile Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area in parts of Pima and Santa Cruz Counties, Arizona. This has long been a pet project of Congressman Raul Grijalva. The proposed boundaries of the heritage area encompass major copper mines, sources of construction aggregate, and many ranches.

According to the Arizona Geological Survey, the mines in the area have produced 65 percent of the nation’s copper. (Maps in this article are from AZGS.) It remains to be seen whether establishment of an NHA will impact mining and mineral exploration.

The heritage area will be managed through the National Park Service which will contract management to a “local coordinating entity” which in this case is the Santa Cruz Valley Heritage Alliance. The Alliance will receive $1 million per year up to a maximum of $15 million for its services.

According to the House version of the legislation (link 3 below):

The purposes of this Act include:

(1) to establish the Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area in the State of Arizona;

(2) to implement the recommendations of the Alternative Concepts for Commemorating Spanish Colonization study completed by the National Park Service in 1991, and the Feasibility Study for the Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area prepared by the Center for Desert Archaeology in July 2005;

(3) to provide a management framework to foster a close working relationship with all levels of government, the private sector, and the local communities in the region and to conserve the region’s heritage while continuing to pursue compatible economic opportunities;

(4) to assist communities, organizations, and citizens in the State of Arizona in identifying, preserving, interpreting, and developing the historical, cultural, scenic, and natural resources of the region for the educational and inspirational benefit of current and future generations; and

(5) to provide appropriate linkages between units of the National Park System and communities, governments, and organizations within the National Heritage Area.

The Act also gives these reassurances:

Nothing in this Act:

(1) abridges the rights of any property owner (whether public or private), including the right to refrain from participating in any plan, project, program, or activity conducted within the National Heritage Area;

(2) requires any property owner to permit public access (including access by Federal, State, Tribal, or local agencies) to the property of the property owner, or to modify public access or use of property of the property owner under any other Federal, State, Tribal, or local law;

(3) alters any duly adopted land use regulation, approved land use plan, or other regulatory authority of any Federal, State, Tribal, or local agency, or conveys any land use or other regulatory authority to any local coordinating entity, including but not necessarily limited to development and management of energy, water, or water-related infrastructure;

(4) authorizes or implies the reservation or appropriation of water or water rights;

(5) diminishes the authority of the State to manage fish and wildlife, including the regulation of fishing and hunting within the National Heritage Area; or

(6) creates any liability, or affects any liability under any other law, of any private property owner with respect to any person injured on the private property.

That sounds good in theory, but experience with other National Heritage Areas is not so good.

The Heritage Foundation (link 5 below) opines:

There are three key reasons why Congress should not create any new NHAs and why existing NHAs should become financially independent of the federal government, as their enabling legislation requires.

1) NHAs divert NPS resources from core responsibilities. NPS advocates and staff have long complained about the limited resources that Congress provides in comparison to its extensive responsibilities. Both the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Congressional Research Service estimate that the cost of NPS’s maintenance back-log exceeds several billion dollars and is rising despite increased annual appropriations.

2) Federal costs for NHAs are increasing at a rapid rate.

3) NHAs threaten private property rights. On the surface, most of the legislation designating an NHA, and the subsequent management plans that guide them, include explicit provisions prohibiting the NPS or the management entity from using eminent domain to acquire property. They also prohibit the use of federal funds to acquire private property by way of a voluntary transaction with a willing seller.

Nonetheless, NHAs pose a threat to private property rights through the exercise of restrictive zoning that may severely limit the extent to which property owners can develop or use their property. Termed “regulatory takings,” such zoning abuses are the most common form of property rights abuse today. They are also the most pernicious because they do not require any compensation to owners whose property values are reduced by the new zoning. (Read full article for details.)

The American Policy Center (link 4 below) opines:

Specifically, what is a National Heritage Area? To put it bluntly, it is a pork barrel earmark that harms property rights and local governance. Let me explain why that is. Heritage Areas have boundaries. These are very definite boundaries, and they have very definite consequences for folks who reside within them. National historic significance, obviously, is a very arbitrary term; so anyone’s property can end up falling under those guidelines.

The managing entity sets up non-elected boards, councils and regional governments to oversee policy inside the Heritage Area.

In the mix of special interest groups you’re going to find all of the usual suspects: Environmental groups; planning groups; historic preservation groups; all with their own private agendas – all working behind the scenes, creating policy, hovering over the members of the non-elected boards (perhaps even assuring their own people make up the boards), and all collecting the Park Service funds to pressure local governments to install their agenda. In many cases, these groups actually form a compact with the Interior Department to determine the guidelines that make up the land use management plan and the boundaries of the Heritage Area itself.

Now, after the boundaries are drawn and after the management plan has been approved by the Park Service, the management entity and its special interest groups, are given the federal funds, typically a million dollars a year, or more, and told to spend that money getting the management plan enacted at the local level.

Here’s how they operate with those funds. They go to local boards and local legislators and they say, Congress just passed this Heritage Area. “You are within the boundaries. We have identified these properties as those we deem significant. We have identified these businesses that we deem insignificant and a harm to these properties and a harm to the Heritage Area. We don’t have the power to make laws but you do. And here is some federal money. Now use whatever tools, whatever laws, whatever regulatory procedures you already have to make this management plan come into fruition.”

This sweeping mandate ensures that virtually every square inch of land within the boundaries is subject to the scrutiny of Park Service bureaucrats and their managing partners. That is the way it works. It’s done behind the scenes – out of the way of public input.

True private property ownership lies in one’s ability to do with his property as he wishes. Zoning and land-use policies are local decisions that have traditionally been the purview of locally elected officials who are directly accountable to the citizens that they represent.

But National Heritage Areas corrupt this inherently local process by adding federal dollars, federal mandates, and federal oversight to the mix. Along with an army of special interest carpet baggers who call themselves Stake Holders. (See the article for much more.)

References:

1) P.A. Pearthree and F.M. Conway, 2019, Preliminary evaluation of mineral resources

of the Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area, Arizona, Arizona Geological Survey, Open-file Report OFR-19-03 (link)

2) Southwestern Minerals Exploration Association (SMEA), 2001, Mineral Potential of Eastern Pima County, Arizona, Arizona Geological Survey Contributed Report 01-B (link) (Note: I am one of the co-authors of this report.)

3) Text of House version of establishing legislation: H.R. 6522 (115th): Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area Act (link)

4) Tom DeWeese, American Policy Center, 2012, National Heritage Areas: the Land Grabs Continue (link)

5) Cheryl Chumley and Ronald Utt, 2007, National Heritage Areas: Costly Economic Development Schemes that Threaten Property Rights, The Heritage Foundation (link)

Don’t recycle plastic – burn it or bury it

Plastic in the oceans has been deemed an environmental problem and a danger to wildlife. Where does this plastic come from? According to a new report from the Global Warming Policy Foundation, much of the plastic comes from “leakage” from recycling operations. Some of that “leakage” is deliberate dumping in oceans and rivers by shippers in order to avoid fees.

The report: Save the Oceans – stop recycling plastic may be read in full here:

https://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2018/06/Save-the-oceans.pdf

The report is just ten pages, but it cites 50 scientific studies and articles.

Here is the executive summary:

A marine plastic litter crisis has been declared and the mass media around the world has given their front pages over to the story for a while now. The European Union – among other actors – has declared a war against marine litter. Annually over 10 million metric tons (Mt) of plastic litter end up in oceans, harming wildlife. The International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) – the most competent specialist organization in the field – has summarized the origins of the marine litter crisis:

75% of land based marine litter in low to upper-middle income economies comes from litter and uncollected waste, while the remaining 25% of the land-based sources is plastic which leaks from within the waste management system.

In other words, the ISWA report shows that 25% of the leakage is attributable to the waste management option preferred by green ideologues; meanwhile, waste incineration can prevent any leakage of plastic if municipal solid waste (MSW) is incinerated along with sewage sludge. Despite this, incineration is vehemently opposed by green ideologues and also by the EU, which chooses to believe in the mirage of a circular economy.

The vast majority of the marine litter problem is attributable to poor waste collection and other sanitary practices in Asian, and to a lesser extent African, towns and cities in coastal areas and along rivers. The problem is particularly acute in China. The neglect of urban sanitary policy – the backbone of development agendas until that time – started when the ‘mother of sustainability’, Norway’s Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, personally refused to have it be part of her World Commission’s work program and ultimately its 1987 report, which famously led to the adoption of ‘sustainable development’ goals by the UN General Assembly.

This report describes the absurdities, inefficiencies, double or even triple waste management structures and horrible consequences of the EU’s erratic green waste policy, its fact-free claim that its waste policy helps to implement the Paris climate agreement, and its dumping of 3 Mt of plastic in China each year, with horrific consequences for the marine environment and health.

The EU has now started to sideline – in the name of circular economy – the highly successful waste incineration policy implemented in seven EU member states – Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden – which all have major waste incineration capacity and now landfill less than 3% of their MSW.

The study notes the best thing to do is bury plastic in landfills or burn it. However, these methods don’t fit into the environmentalist’s scheme of sustainable development. Burning plastic along with other material has very few undesirable emissions. The resulting ash can be sent to landfills or used for applications such as road-building materials.

The study’s author, Mikko Paunio, opines: “that ideologically motivated environmentalists in the 1980s and their dreams of recycling and a ‘circular economy’ are the ultimate cause of the marine waste problem, because they have discouraged development of municipal waste schemes in Asia and Africa, and because they have encouraged developed nations to use management schemes that make it hard or expensive to deal with waste and therefore tend to ‘leak’ to the environment, sometimes catastrophically so.”

Recycling plastic poses some problems. First much plastic has to be washed which uses large amounts of water. Plastic also has to be sorted from other waste and by type of plastic because recycling processes are different for different types of plastic.

Save time, water, energy, and expense by burning or burying plastic. Don’t recycle it.

The plastics in the ocean problem has spawned some dumb regulations. For instance, silly in Seattle:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/07/02/seattle-bans-plastic-straws-utensils-becoming-first-major-us-city-to-do-so.html

The solution is to have more-careful waste collection and management.

Related:

Plastic bags and global warming

Some Basic Science about “Toxic Molds”

This article is written by Blair King  a Professional chemist and biologist. He resides in the Township of Langley, British Columbia, Canada. He writes a  blog: A Chemist in Langley. I am reblogging the article here because it is very interesting and informative. It busts some myths about mold.

See the complete article in the original here: https://achemistinlangley.net/2018/05/14/some-basic-science-about-toxic-molds/

 

Let’s start with some mold basics. Mold is a non-scientific term for a varied group of fungi. Molds are literally everywhere. Molds existed on the planet long before humans and will likely exist long after the last humans are gone. Humans evolved in a world heavily populated by molds. What does this mean? Well that that we, as a species, have mostly evolved to live side-by-side with molds and to filter out their spores. That is lucky because virtually every breath we take, indoors or out, brings us in contact with mold spores.

In order to grow, mold only needs warmth, moisture and food (often called “the mold triangle“…the mold version of “the fire triangle“). Molds will thrive at temperatures over 5 degrees C (and under about 45 degrees C) and humidity over about 50 per cent. Molds have evolved to live on pretty much anything organic in nature so can grow almost anywhere. To make it worse some molds, like Penicillium or Cladosporium, can tolerate colder temperatures. This is why you tend to find these two molds growing on rotting veggies in your fridge or on the cold grout in your windows in winter time.

Molds absolutely love places that are wet and dusty. Most mold spores travel with the wind and deposit (stick) to places that are wet. That means that a well-designed air-conditioning system will filter out mold spores but that means the drop trays in your air conditioning system should be regularly cleaned because that is where the spores went. This will also mean that indoor air concentrations of mold spores should be lower than outdoor concentrations. If the opposite is true that means you likely have mold growing in your house that needs to be cleaned up. A big warning for people with flooded homes is that molds also grow pretty quickly. Within 24-48 hours of water intrusion mold will start growing, but on the bright side if you eliminate the water the molds will stop growing and dry up.

Given its ubiquity, you might wonder why one would spend so much time testing for mold? Well in the last 20 years an industry has built up around the idea of “toxic molds.” This industry preys on our fears and ignorance with mold being described as “black gold” in some circles. The reality is there is no such thing as “toxic mold.” There are some mold species that are “toxigenic,” that is they produce “mycotoxins.” Mycotoxins are metabolites produced by molds that are capable of harming other living organisms. Molds evolved these metabolites as part of their strategy to battle bacteria (and each other). Molds have spent the last billion years in an ongoing arms race against bacteria; their primary competition for living space and food. One of the most famous of these mycotoxins is a compound we call penicillin. Penicillin is produced by the mold Penicillium (one of the supposedly “toxic molds”) and is essentially harmless to non-allergic humans in the concentrations encountered in our day-to-day lives.

Certainly, there are people who can be deathly allergic to penicillin but even these people are exposed to the mold Penicillium on a daily basis with no ill-effect. As for allergies, approximately five per cent of individuals have some allergic airway response to elevated mold spore concentrations. That is, these people will get runny noses, itchy eyes and some wheezing when encountering high concentrations of mold spores. But let’s put that number into perspective, about 10 per cent of people are allergic to household pets.

Now I am not saying that mold is good for you as that is clearly not the case. Molds can and do produce spores that can act as human allergens. I can personally attest that at high enough concentrations mold spores can even induce headaches in people who are not directly allergic to mold. In addition I have to include this important proviso, individuals with illnesses that decrease their immune response (immunosuppressed individuals) should be especially careful to reduce their exposure to molds as molds can cause them serious harm. From a physical perspective, molds can also damage and weaken structures. But on a day-to-day basis, molds and mold spores are not a significant risk to a healthy individual.

As for ingesting mold. Issues with mold have been known since biblical times and everyone knows that you should not eat moldy food as it can make you sick. Moreover, it is not unheard of for horses to actually die from eating moldy hay. But for people to die from eating mold is incredibly rare.

The question you are probably asking is: if mold is so harmless why has this industry grown so big? It has been argued that our current generation of mold panic can be directly linked to U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) studies in 1994 and 1997. At that time, the CDC incorrectly linked lung damage in children to the presence of Stachybotrys chartarum mold. In 2000, this linkage was retracted by the CDC. Unfortunately, by then the damage was done and a few very lucrative lawsuits later, the “toxic mold” industry was born.

So what is the truth about “toxic mold”? The fact that is understood now, that was not fully recognized in the 1990s, is that it is not the mold in your house that is making you sick. Rather it is living in conditions where mold can thrive that actually causes illnesses. As explained by the World Health Organization in 2009

Sufficient epidemiological evidence is available…to show that the occupants of damp or mouldy buildings, both houses and public buildings, are at increased risk of respiratory symptoms, respiratory infections and exacerbation of asthma. Some evidence suggests increased risks of allergic rhinitis and asthma. Although few intervention studies were available, their results show that remediation of dampness can reduce adverse health outcomes.

As for the mycotoxins, the research is also clear:

Current scientific evidence does not support the proposition that human health has been adversely affected by inhaled mycotoxins in home, school, or office environments (Hardin Kelman and Saxon, 2003)

and

Currently, there is no supportive evidence to imply that inhaling mold or mycotoxins in indoor environments is responsible for any serious health effects other than transient irritation and allergies in immunocompetent individuals (Fung and Clark, 2004).

So what are the take-home messages about “toxic molds”? It is not “toxic mold” that is making people sick, it is living in conditions conducive to mold growth that is bad for human health. If you are living in a house with high humidity and low temperatures then you are going to get sick irrespective of the presence or absence of “toxic molds”. As such mold can serve as a useful indicator. If you see mold growing in your house it is time to deal with the conditions that are likely to make you sick sometime in the future.