Lessons from Superstorm Sandy

DDP Newsletter, November 2012, Volume XXX, No. 6

For more than a decade, scientists and engineers at Stony Brook University in New York had argued for building storm-surge barriers in New York. When a 4.2-meter-high wall of salt water hit the city on Oct 29, all their predictions came true (Nature 11/8/12).

Researchers at New York University, who lost their transgenic mice, decided it had not been wise to put valuable animals in a basement near a tidal river. Likewise, this was not the place for electrical control equipment or back-up generators.

It could have been worse. Winds at the level of the “Long Island Express” hurricane in 1938 would have ripped windows from skyscrapers, causing a deadly blizzard of flying glass, masonry, and furniture from high-rise buildings. People seeking shelter in the subway would have drowned as tunnels flooded (Paul Driessen, Townhall 12/29/12).

Mayor Bloomberg, Gov. Cuomo, and other politicians tried to blame global warming for devastation actually worsened by past political decisions by planners and politicos. For example, Bloomberg’s Arverne by the Sea initiative transformed a “swath of vacant land” (swept vacant by a storm in 1950) into a “vibrant community” of “affordable” (>$559,000) homes on land raised 5 ft above the surrounding Far Rockaway area. These homes mostly survived, but the high ground caused surges to rise higher and faster elsewhere than they would have on the Rockaway lowlands. The Hudson River was narrowed by 700 ft, owing to the construction of Battery Park City using 1.2 million cubic yards of earth from the World Trade Center site. The East River has been hemmed in and other channels closed completely by construction projects, progressively narrowing runoff areas for storm surges.

Politicians gain money and power by obscuring or misrepresenting the dangers of construction in high-risk areas—including the increased difficulty in evacuating the residents. Driessen calls for greater transparency, accountability, and liability.

Roger Pielke of the Univ. of Colorado warns that public discussion of disaster risks is being “taken over by the climate lobby and its allies, who exploit every extreme event to argue for action on energy policy.” In fact, even under the assumptions of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), changes to energy policy would have no discernible effect on future disasters in our lifetime. The effective strategies are those that have succeeded in the past: strategic land use, structural protection, and effective forecasts, warnings, and evacuation (WSJ 11/1/12).

Notably, in Sandy’s wake, all critical pieces of equipment were burning gasoline or diesel fuel. There was no call for wind turbines. The Dept. of Energy supplied 250,000 gallons of gasoline and 500,000 gallons of diesel. A single kilogram of diesel contains 13,000 watt-hours of energy: twice the energy density of coal, six times that of wood, and 300 times that of lead-acid batteries, which of course require an energy source for charging. A single trailer-mounted diesel generator could supply one megawatt of emergency electricity to a hospital. That much wind generation would require an area the size of 100 football fields—and wind that was blowing, but not too fast (WSJ 11/7/12).


 One might expect that after the U.S. has spent more than $35 billion on climate science, and $150 billion on global warming/ climate change, that our weather forecasting should be superb (TWTW 10/20/12). Actually, we do have some great instruments aboard satellites, but most of the money has been misappropriated to serve a political agenda. A critical U.S. polar satellite system crucial for weather forecasting has, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which oversees it, become “a national embarrassment due to chronic management problems.” The result could be a gap in coverage and a degradation in forecasts (CCNet 2/11/12).

Global warmists are more interested in aftcasting, trying to get their models to predict the past, and predicting disaster so far into the future that they can’t be held accountable for accuracy. In the present, the Met Office, the UK’s national weather service, no longer publishes a seasonal forecast, after its warming predictions became a national joke, with “barbecue summers and warmer than average winters.” Predictions of “drier than average conditions” were followed by the wettest months in 100 years. The Met’s computer models have been described as “complete rubbish.” “Their predictions are as changeable as the weather, and the only constant is the putative cause” (CCNet 1/5/13).


Shortages of influenza vaccine are being reported in some areas at the time of this writing (Jan 7, 2013). DDP director Howard Long, M.D., M.P.H., wrote: “There is plenty of flu vaccine to go around if it is administered [off-label] intradermally, just like purified protein derivative [PPD for TB testing]. Just 0.1 cc of flu vaccine given intradermally can yield more antibody formation than 0.5 cc given subcutaneously” (Cortlandt Forum, January 2005). Dr. Long reports that he has given intradermal flu vaccine to hundreds of patients. “They often react with redness and swelling, …confirming subclinical infection.”

Two articles on this technique were published in the Nov 25, 2004, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine (Belsche RB et al. N Engl J Med 2004;351;2286-2294, and Kenney RT. N Engl J Med 2004;351:2295-2301). Similar antibody responses were observed by Belsche et al. using 40% of the usual dose ID (6 μg hemagglutinin compared with 15 μg given intramuscularly). Kenney et al. found similar results using 3 μg ID v. 15 μg IM. Kinney discussed theoretical advantages of injection into the skin, which has been shown effective for BCG (anti-TB) vaccine via the ID route and smallpox via scarification.

“The barrier function of the skin’s immune system can be exploited for vaccination, since over 25% of the body-surface area is covered by dendritic cells, a form of antigen-presenting cell whose function is to recognize foreign microbes and initiate an effective immune response.” An IM injection bypasses the skin’s immune system and depends on pickup of antigens by transient cells or on transportation to lymph nodes.

There were no differences in systemic side effects.

Dose-sparing ID injection was also found to overcome reduced immunogenicity of the 2009 H1N1 vaccine (Hung IF et al. Vaccine 2012;30:6427-6435).

A recent meta-analysis of ID versus IM influenza vaccine showed no significant difference in immunologic response in the overall population, though higher doses of the ID injection produced better response in older adults. At 3 days, there was no difference in adverse reactions, but at 7 days there were more local, but not systemic, events with the ID method (Marra F et al. Influenza Other Respi Viruses 2012 Sep 13. doi 10: 10.1111/inv.12000 [Epub ahead of print]).

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “ObamaCare”), hospitals will be required to submit summary data on influenza vaccination of healthcare personnel, starting in January 2013. Starting in 2015, payments may be cut for failure to meet performance standards in the “value-based incentives” program. This is probably the reason many hospitals are beginning to require annual flu vaccines, and are firing staff who refuse to comply. This controversy is discussed in the winter 2012 issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (http://www.jpands.org/vol17no4/orient.pdf).

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