Friday, October 14, 2022

Seven Australian universities in Times Higher Education top 100

I have impressive pieces of paper from two of the universities listed below, plus I taught at a third. On a per head basis, Australian universities do very well. Consider that there are 300 million Americans and only 25 million Australians. Australia produces roughly twice as many top universities per head as the USA does. It's not a small difference

Australia now has seven universities in the world’s top 100 as ranked by Times Higher Education with the University of Adelaide joining the elite group. The University of Melbourne remains Australia’s most highly ranked institution, slipping to 34th this year from 33rd last year.

Monash University is next at 44th place, after rising from 57th last year.

The University of Queensland (53rd), the University of Sydney (54th), the Australian National University (62nd) and UNSW (71st) also make the top 100, along with the University of Adelaide at 88th, up from 111th last year.

The University of Adelaide said its success in entering the world’s top 100 universities was a significant milestone for higher education in South Australia. “A top 100 university is only possible with top ranked staff. They should be proud of their achievements,” said UA vice-chancellor Peter Hoj.

Times Higher Education chief knowledge officer Phil Baty said Melbourne was the city with bragging rights. “It now boasts Australia’s number one and number two universities, with Monash University leapfrogging ahead of Brisbane’s University of Queensland and pushing it into third place,” he said.

Monash University vice-chancellor Margaret Gardner said the results were a landmark for her university. “This achievement will inspire exciting opportunities to access new research funding, build new partnerships and attract additional students,” she said.

University of Melbourne vice-chancellor Duncan Maskell said the rankings reflected the global standing of Australian universities highlighting their contribution during the pandemic and their value to society.

There are signs that US universities are trending downwards in the Times Higher Education ranking. The number of US universities in the top 100 continues to fall, from a peak of 43 in 2018 to 34 this year.


Dangerous vaccines

More on the great unravelling of the Covid vaccine story

It’s Dreamtime down under as Australian politicians and the media, led by their health authorities, sleepwalk through 2022.

Last Saturday, Florida’s surgeon general, Joseph Ladapo, released analysis showing that Covid-19 mRNA vaccines increased the risk of cardiac-related death by a staggering 84 per cent among men aged 18 to 39 within 28 days of injection. Ladapo had already recommended against Covid vaccination in children aged 5 to 17 in March. Now he has added children aged less than five and men aged 18 to 39, tweeting, ‘Florida will not be silent on the truth’.

Ladapo is not alone. In mid-September Denmark recommended against Covid shots for any healthy person under 50 years. A fortnight later, Norway recommended against the jabs for healthy people aged under 65. In the UK healthy children who turned five on or after 1 September will not be vaccinated until they turn 12 unless they live with someone with a weakened immune system.

Esteemed UK cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, an erstwhile TV talking head in support of Covid vaccines has gone further. His peer-reviewed paper published a fortnight ago calls for their immediate suspension. ‘Until all the raw data on the mRNA Covid-19 vaccines have been independently analysed, any claims purporting that they confer a net benefit to humankind cannot be considered to be evidence based,’ he says.

On 16 September, an international group of scientists and doctors, led by French scientist Alexandra Henrion-Caude and American doctor Sally Priester issued a declaration of an international medical crisis due to diseases and death related to Covid vaccination. They pointed to high excess mortality in countries with high vaccination rates, ‘the large number of sudden deaths in previously healthy young people’, ‘the high incidence of miscarriages and perinatal deaths’, and the ‘large number of adverse side effects, including hospitalisations, permanent disabilitie, and deaths’.

Yet, it is as if none of this happened to the somnambulists running Australia. This week, Karen Andrews, the former minister for Home Affairs who cancelled Novak Djokovic’s visa twice ranted that he must not be allowed to compete in the next Australia Open just because ‘he’s a high-ranking tennis player with many millions of dollars’. ‘It shouldn’t be just one rule for (him) and a different rule for everyone else,’ she pontificated. Yet preventing Djokovic from entering applies a harsher rule to him than anyone else, since nobody has been required to be vaccinated to enter Australia since 6 July. And if Florida and the dissenting doctors are correct, Andrews should be apologising to Djokovic for trying to coerce him to get a vaccine that could have killed him.

Equally, if the dissenting doctors and scientists are right, it is also the ongoing mass Covid vaccination campaigns that underlie Australia’s shocking excess mortality which started rising in March 2021, just when the Covid vaccines started to be rolled out and is now running at 17 per cent. This year, there had been 13,524 excess deaths by 30 June of which less than 40 per cent (5,387) were due to Covid. What caused the deaths of the other 8,137 Australians? And why is it that Australian health officers who lamented every Covid death when there were only 905 in 2020 and 1,342 in 2021, have said nothing about excess mortality in 2022 which is ten times worse than Covid mortality in 2021?

Australian Medical Association president Professor Steve Robson described Australia’s excess mortality as a ‘worrying’ trend that mirrored countries such as the UK but said he couldn’t explain it adding, ‘there needs to be some research into why this is happening’. There has been none. Why not? Instead, Australia’s health authorities still recommend repeatedly jabbing everyone from the age of six months up intoning the mantra that the vaccines are ‘safe and effective’.

Yet that’s not what the NSW data, the most complete in Australia, shows. Vaccinated people in NSW are six times more likely to get Covid than the unvaccinated, 77 times more likely to be hospitalised, ten times more likely to end up in ICU, and 1.1 times more likely to die even though the people most likely to die of Covid – people in palliative care, severe illness, the frailest elderly – are often unvaccinated because they are so close to death.

NSW does not release the data it collects on the comorbidities of those who are hospitalised or die with or of Covid. If it did we could compare like with like and establish the risk of the virus to healthy or sick people in each age group, and the risks or benefits of vaccination to those same groups. Why don’t health authorities do this? Are they just woefully obtuse or do they fear that the results would reveal that the vaccine is neither safe nor effective?

Despite the incompleteness, the NSW statistics strongly suggest that the vaccine is increasing the risk of illness and death. This was a known danger. Are Australia’s health authorities actively monitoring for it? It seems not. Yet Dr. Fauci warned in May 2020 that there was a ‘possibility of negative consequences’ because ‘certain vaccines can actually enhance the negative effect of the infection’. This was true for a vaccine developed for respiratory syncytial virus which was never approved and a measles vaccine developed in the 1960s which was withdrawn.

Why are the Covid vaccines not being withdrawn, asks Dr Malhotra. He notes the swine flu vaccine developed in 1976 was withdrawn because of a 1 in 100,000 risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome and the rotavirus vaccine was withdrawn because of a 1 in 10,000 risk of bowel obstruction. He estimates the true prevalence of serious adverse events from Covid-19 mRNA vaccines is between 1 in 800 and 1 in 1,000.

What about excess mortality? The easiest way to establish whether vaccination is contributing would be to identify the vaccine status of all those who died since Covid immunisation commenced, together with their age and comorbidities. It’s not hard.

That’s what Florida, and presumably Denmark and Norway have done. But not Australia. Its leaders slumber on at the wheel as the nation careens towards a calamitous awakening.


The green investments that threaten Australia's future with their failures

Investments with essentially no return. A system of windmills and solar panrels has added nothing to the good electricity availablity that we already had: A vast investment that has done nothing to improve our lives

Productivity growth is the key to income growth – we can’t have the latter without the former. A matter that has troubled many economists in the Western world during recent decades is a slowdown in productivity growth.

Australia is typical. Multi-factor productivity – the overall return on labour and capital inputs combined – has been growing at only 0.3 per cent per year in recent years, while the more commonly understood, labour productivity, has also seen growth at only 0.9 per cent a year. These are half the levels seen in the 1990s.

That slowdown is less evident in many countries that are nowadays referred to as ‘developing’. Some such countries that had been lagging behind Western world living standards for centuries started to catch up once their governments stood back from directly controlling their economies and created the conditions for individuals to accumulate savings and to invest these with much reduced fears of expropriation.

First, beginning in the 1960s, we saw the so-called Asian Tigers – Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Korea – start to emerge as industrial powerhouses; these countries now have income levels that surpass those of most developed western economies. This was followed by phenomenal growth rates achieved by China; in more recent years we’ve seen India, Vietnam, Indonesia, and even some African countries starting to show high levels of economic growth.

In contrast to the liberalisation and lessening of investment constraints and regulations that powered those nations’ growths, most western economies have imposed increasing layers of regulation on investment opportunities. These measures have forced down investment returns through requiring additional spending on environmental, heritage, and social matters – including the preparation of lengthy reports – and lengthening the approval time required to operationalise an initial idea.

For Australia, the slowdown in per capita growth has taken place notwithstanding increases in investment. Per capita annual real capital expenditure is currently 50 per cent higher than in the late 1980s.

But much of the investment in recent years is simply in dead-weight assets like the many idle desalinisation plants that have been constructed around Australia, plants that owe nothing to commercial decisions.

For the rest, increasing red tape reduces the efficiency – the payoff – of nearly all investment. And using subsidies to force funds into particular venues can lead the investment to have a negative effect by destroying the productive capabilities of other investment. This can be seen with new investment in electricity, which dominate the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)category: ‘electricity gas, water, and waste services’. The category comprises about six per cent of Australia’s total new investment the bulk of which is for weather-dependent wind and solar and for the increased transmission, batteries, and pumped hydro necessary to support these generation sources.

This expenditure would not take place without subsidies either from government directly, or from regulatory measures that pass the costs of transmission and wind/solar onto consumers. In favouring these intrinsically high-cost forms of electricity, the subsidies force out of the market lower cost and more reliable forms, especially coal generators that comprise 60-70 per cent of supply. This has resulted in overall generation costs trebling and in measures to facilitate wind/solar that include replacing the present transmission system, valued at some $21 billion, with one at a cost that the government says will be $80 billion.

Regulations and direct subsidies to wind/solar have already forced the closure of coal generation capacity and the number of coal generating units in Australia is expected to be half their level of 10 years ago by 2025. On top of this is the Queensland Government’s radical plan to replace all its coal stations by wind/solar and two mythical pumped hydro schemes.

In measuring new capacity from investments, the ABS assumes its returns are constant and invariant to time, and ‘a change in the quantity of capital services delivered from any given capital asset is tantamount to a change in its productive capital stock’.

The sad fact is that certain investments, especially those taken for political purposes, yield no return at all and others are akin to investing in computer viruses that actually destroy value and cause considerable extra expenditures in attempts to offset the detrimental effects of the malware.

Subsidised expenditures in weather-dependent renewable facilities, rather than constituting investments, are parasitic outlays that destroy genuine income-producing assets.


Quarantine madness

Another part of the generally disastrous response by governments to the pandemic

The Premiers might want to consider balancing their budgets by setting up a petting zoo for their endangered White Covid Elephants. Members of the public could come and visit the hundreds of millions of dollars they cost to purchase and upkeep and ask questions of the zoo keepers like, ‘Why the hell did we build quarantine camps for a seasonal flu that was almost over?’ and ‘Was it necessary to fit convict electronic ankle bracelets to people in quarantine?’

There’s a time and a place for quarantine camps. Australia used to have several historic facilities back when we were a young, fragile country unable to deal with the introduction of the world’s serious illnesses.

The flow of migration was tiny and tightly controlled through a series of ports. Many died in those facilities to protect the nation in conditions close to a living hell and, unlike Covid’s ‘re-imagined’ notion of quarantine, you could not buy your way out of historic quarantine or use your position and privilege to get around the rules.

Quarantine was a practice started in earnest (as far as we can tell) in Venice in the 14th Century where ships were forced to anchor in the harbour to see if anything terrible happened to the passengers and crew. Quaranta giorni or ‘forty days’ is where we get ‘quarantine’ from.

It was a good solution for the time, but that world is gone.

Globalisation, mass migration, and the continuous flow of human beings into Australia via air and sea makes it impossible to sustain human-based quarantine – for anything – unless a full shutdown of the nation is enforced. It is an unsustainable proposition that would only work for a handful of diseases. Certainly, it was never credible to believe that a highly transmissible respiratory illness like Covid could be contained via quarantine.

Once Covid entered the general population, quarantine went from an absurd hope to a nonsense. Quarantine facilities are designed to keep a disease out of a nation. If that nation already has a domestic outbreak – quarantine is no longer viable. To enforce isolation orders on travellers after Covid escaped into the community was always ridiculous – one may even argue that every cent taken from civilians by government departments for their forced quarantine was theft.

To be clear, hotel quarantine and police-enforced self-isolation offered no long-term value.

Think about it this way, with tens of thousands of cases spreading out of control through the community, what difference does it make if you spend nearly $10,000 getting one traveller into the country ‘clean’? The answer is none. It is the same medical absurdity as America’s current vaccination orders for travellers. Vaccination for Covid has no discernible impact on transmission or prevention from infection. America has millions of active cases. Their medical red tape at the airport is nothing but petty politics from an embarrassed regime that cannot and will not admit it lied for two years.

Australia’s National Cabinet (which has wrapped itself in protective layers of secrecy) claims to be advised by leading experts in the medical field, and yet laymen worked out all the way back in late 2020 that Covid would become an endemic virus that could not be stopped by tyranny.

Why did the world slit its economic throat in pursuit of Covid eradication? Was it just so that Big Pharma CEOs could raise billions from a mandated vaccine? Was Covid being used as an excuse to expand political power and collapse Western systems of government into something that looks more like authoritarianism? Was it simple fear and incompetence from political leaders prepared to break every rule of civilisation to hang on to power, making promises about safety they had no right to make? Whatever it was, it had very little to do with healthcare. Maybe idiocy, but not health.

While Premiers probably wish they could ‘move on’ from Covid and pretend that they didn’t act like tin-pot dictators – there is still a question about what to do with their white elephant quarantine stations and health apps…

Queensland’s ‘Wellcamp’ (which sounds like an Orwell theme park) outside of Toowoomba was proudly opened in mid-February 2021 by Annastacia Palaszczuk. It was built to house those pesky unvaccinated international travellers, holding them in small prison cells. Why only unvaccinated travellers? Quarantine is predicated on the notion of locking diseases in with excessive force. It’s not a quarantine facility if half the infected travellers take an Uber straight into the centre of town. Nobody in the press challenged Palaszczuk on the distinction.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles made it quite clear that this was a holding cell for the unvaccinated, not a genuine quarantine station.

‘We anticipate an ongoing number of arrivals, particularly from countries where their vaccines aren’t recognised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and therefore will be required to quarantine. As well as farmers, refugees from other countries who haven’t been able to access vaccinations.’

At some point, every person held at Wellcamp should sue the Queensland government for being held under false pretences. It cost a shocking $3,220 for a single adult, $4,130 for two adults, and $5,040 for two adults and two children. How can this be seen as anything other than a mean-spirited, state-issued fine on the unvaccinated?

There was no competitive tender for Wellcamp’s construction by the Wagner Corporation which cost $200 million along with $9 million to Compass Group and $7.67 million to Aspen Medical in service fees. It is owned by the company, not Queensland, and is being leased. Now, it sits empty with everyone admitting the facility has no use whatsoever. It was a political construction – nothing more – and those in government responsible should have the amount docked from their public service budget.

‘I don’t regret anything about it,’ said Miles. He should regret everything, especially his comment that segregating the unvaccinated was about ‘rewards’.

The situation is nearly identical in Victoria, where Daniel Andrews has his own white elephant exhibit. Victoria’s $580 million quarantine facility in Mickleham is the most expensive of all the albino zoo animals. It was built by the federal government (why did you do that, Scott Morrison?) and operated by the Victorian Labor government.

‘There is no doubt in my mind that we will look back on this decision by the Commonwealth and the state government to invest in a special purpose-built quarantine facility as one of the best decisions we’ve made,’ said Police Minister Lisa Neville.

Oh, really?

Matthew (Matt?) Guy chipped in, ‘It’s a shame it wasn’t in place maybe a year or so ago when it was needed most. But it’s an important piece of armoury to ensure there are no more lockdowns.’ ‘You can see it from the moon,’ Neville added.

Wonderful. A failure so large it is visible from space.

The hub is already closed. These are same governments that cry poor and insist they ‘just have to increase taxes’ to salvage the economy. How about they start paying back, with their salaries as forfeit, the hubris of their careers?

It was the Liberals who facilitated this Southern failure and the Liberals that shared the information required to create vaccine passports, so I don’t want to hear any more garbage from the party elite about how ‘Labor is so much worse’. You’re both atrocious. That’s why ‘you betrayed us!’ was screamed at those on stage during CPAC.

The Howard Springs quarantine facility in the Northern Territory copped well-deserved flak for essentially forcing remote communities to relocate into it. While arguably the most successful of the facilities (in that a significant number of people moved through its doors), it was still a failure of concept. At the end of the day, for all its ‘success’ it served no purpose and made no difference to our final destination as a nation.

With the fully-vaccinated flying into Australia riddled with Covid at the same time as the unvaccinated were being carted off to live in prison facilities, Australia and its leaders openly practised discrimination and segregation despite the science (and basic ethics) being against them. At no point have they apologised for this, or sought to amend the legislation that allowed these violations in basic decency.

As a nation, we wasted a fortune and learned nothing except that our Premiers and medical bureaucracy harbour an insatiable lust for cruelty and cretinism in equal measure. If this is the quality of ‘expert’ on offer, we’d be better off with the village idiot – or a stray cat. And yes, your money is still being used to feed the elephants.




No comments: