Archiv der Kategorie: One World

A 498 references paper on climate change and allergy

This is certainly the most comprehensive paper that examines the association of air pollution, climate change and allergen exposure: “Air Pollution and Climate Change Effects on Allergies in the Anthropocene: Abundance, Interaction, and Modification of Allergens and Adjuvants

Air pollution and climate change are potential drivers for the increasing burden of allergic diseases. The molecular mechanisms by which air pollutants and climate parameters may influence allergic diseases, however, are complex and elusive.

There is no causal effect of allergens on human allergy, as allergens have been always abundant even without allergy. Nevertheless allergens are drivers aggravating symptoms in allergy-prone patients by basically four factors

  1. Stability effects; influencing the accumulation and degradation of allergenic proteins, the duration of exposure times to cellular receptors, and the process of antigen presentation via major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II
  2. Epitope effects, i.e., generation of new epitopes or modification of existing epitopes, changing the binding properties of antibodies and receptors, by direct chemical modification or as a result of conformational changes
  3. Adjuvant effects, i.e., generation of new adjuvant functions or modification of existing adjuvant functions such as lipid-binding capacities due to modified ligand binding sites
  4. Agglomeration effects, i.e., multiplication or shielding of epitopes or adjuvant functions by cross-linking (oligomerization) of allergenic proteins, which may enhance the cross-linking

I would add 5. that the absolute number of pollens increased in some areas as a stress response of dying trees.

Wie mit Wissenschaftsleugnern umgehen?

Hier eine Reihe von Link Tipps (eine Zusammenfassung aus der Scientists for Future Mailing Liste mit eigenen Ergänzungen).

Fakten zählen leider hier wenig, dennoch die Sache ist nicht ganz hoffnungslos, wenn man sich die Quellen ansieht, mehrfach Rollenspiel durchgeht, am besten einen Knopf im Ohr hat mit Supportern im Publikum.

Mobilität der Zukunft gemeinsam gestalten

Hier ist mein Mitschrieb der Tagung in Tutzing vom 3. bis 4.11. 2019.

Die Tagung wurde gemeinsam von acatech, der deutschen Akademie der Technikwissenschaften, und TTN Ethik interdisziplinär veranstaltet. In der Begrüßung durch Stephan Schleissing (TTN) und Benjamin Zilker (acatech) wurden generelle Aspekte der Mobilität thematisiert.

Stephan Schleissing, TTN München

Von Rothe (“feste Überzeugung, daß dem Reiche Christi die Er- findung der Dampfwagen und Schienenbahnen eine weit bedeutendere positive Förderung geleistet hat als die Ausklügelung der Dogmen von Nicäa und Chalcedon”) bis zu Schwarke “Transzendenz und Technik“. Oder vom Porschemuseum mit der Himmelsleiter aka Rolltreppe bis zu dem Mooncascade Blog in dem sich zwei älteren Herren über Mobilität unterhalten.

Credit where credit’s true: Hans Rosling

The code for the plot is on Github while I suggest to prettify it using my previous theme.

for(i in 1962:2015){
  p <- ggplot(mydf_filter[mydf_filter$year==i,], aes(fert, life, size = pop, fill=continent)) +
    labs(x="Fertility Rate", y = "Life expectancy at birth (years)", size = "Population (millions)") + 
    xlim(0,10) +
    ylim(30,100) +
    geom_point(alpha=.8,shape = 21 ) +
    scale_color_brewer(type = 'div', palette = 'Spectral') +
    annotate("text", label=i, x=9, y=95, size=8.5) + 
    scale_size(range = c(1,20), name="Population (M)", breaks=c(1,100, 10000))
  fn <- paste("/Users/xxx/Desktop/X/",str_pad(i-1961, 3, pad = "0"),".png",sep="")
  ggsave(p, file=fn, width = 9, height = 6)
}
# ffmpeg -framerate 5 -i /Users/xxx/Desktop/X/%3d.png -r 5 -pix_fmt yuv420p -y /Users/xxx/Desktop/X/Rosling.mp4

 

A new animation of the famous HadCRUT4 climate dataset

Download

Here is the R sample code (PPT aspect ratio is 6:4, Youtube wants 16:9) .

As ggplot2 animation packages have major difficulties to manipulate the single frames, I am combining here raw PNGs using ffmpeg.

# read_cru_hemi() modified from https://mccartneytaylor.com/plotting-climate-change-on-a-spider-graph-using-r

list.of.packages <- c("ggplot2", "reshape", "stringr","RColorBrewer")
new.packages <- list.of.packages[!(list.of.packages %in% installed.packages()[,"Package"])]
if(length(new.packages)) install.packages(new.packages)
lapply(list.of.packages, require, character.only = TRUE)

read_cru_hemi <- function(filename) {
  tab <- read.table(filename,fill=TRUE)
  nrows <- nrow(tab)
  hemi <- data.frame(
    year=tab[seq(1,nrows,2),1],
    annual=tab[seq(1,nrows,2),14],
    month=array(tab[seq(1,nrows,2),2:13]),
    cover=array(tab[seq(2,nrows,2),2:13])
  )
  hemi[,15:26][ hemi[,15:26]==0 ] <- c(NA)
  return(hemi)
}

url_dat <- "https://crudata.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/HadCRUT4-gl.dat"
tempdat <- read_cru_hemi(url_dat)
tempmelt <- melt(tempdat[,c(1,3:14)],id="year")

colfunc <- colorRampPalette(c("grey","grey","red"))
FadeToGrey <- colfunc(2019-1850)

new_theme <- theme_classic() + theme(
  text = element_text(size=18, colour="grey"),
  axis.line = element_blank(), 
  axis.text = element_text(colour="grey"),
  axis.ticks = element_line(colour="grey"),
  axis.title.x = element_blank(),
  panel.border = element_blank(),
  panel.grid.major = element_blank(),
  panel.grid.minor = element_blank(),
  panel.background = element_blank(),
  legend.position = "none"
)
theme_set(new_theme)

for(i in 1850:2019){
p <- ggplot(tempmelt[tempmelt$year %in% 1850:i,], aes(x=variable,y=value,color=as.factor(year),group=year)) + 
  geom_line() +
  scale_x_discrete( labels=month.abb) +
  scale_y_continuous( name="difference from baseline  [ oC ]", limits=c(-1,1) ) +
  annotate("text", x=11, y=1, label=i, size=7) +
  scale_color_manual( values=FadeToGrey[ 1:c(i-1849) ]  )
  fn <- paste("/Users/xxx/Desktop/X/",str_pad(i-1849, 3, pad = "0"),".png",sep="")
  ggsave(p, file=fn, width = 16, height = 9)
}

# not run
# ffmpeg -framerate 10 -i /Users/xxx/Desktop/X/%3d.png -r 5 -pix_fmt yuv420p -y /Users/xxx/Desktop/X/out.mp4

 

In comparison here is the original circular plot. Would require blue, green, yellow, red in the Color Ramp Palette…

 

Now it is only a minor step to the warming strips.

ggplot(tempdat, aes(x = year, y = 1, fill = annual))+
  geom_tile()+
  scale_y_continuous(expand = c(0, 0))+
  scale_x_continuous(expand = c(0, 0))+
  scale_fill_gradientn(colors = rev(col_strip)) +
  guides(fill = guide_colorbar(barwidth = 1)) +
  theme( axis.ticks= element_blank(),
         axis.text = element_blank(),
         axis.title = element_blank()
  )

tempmelt$variable <- as.numeric(str_replace(as.character(tempmelt$variable),"month.",""))
ggplot(tempmelt, aes(x = year, y = variable, z = value)) +
  geom_raster(aes(fill = value)) +
  scale_fill_gradientn(colors = rev(col_strip)) +
  scale_x_continuous(expand = c(0,0)) +
  scale_y_continuous(expand = c(0,0)) +
  theme( axis.ticks= element_blank(),
         axis.text = element_blank(),
         axis.title = element_blank()
  )

 

Climate crisis and cognitive dissonance

There is an interesting twitter thread by @Psychologists4F about news concerning the climate crisis and how we respond to the cognitive dissonance – the mental discomfort or psychological stress experienced by a person who holds contradictory beliefs or values. There are at least four possibilities how to respond to it

  • Change the behavior (“reduce, refine, replace”)
  • Changing the conflicting situation by just ignoring it
  • Justify own behavior by pseudoexplanations, pointing to others
  • Deny information by devalueing the source

During the discussion the question was asked why the political right wing tends to ignore the dissonance. One commentator points towards a study in Current Biology that may have answer to that. Climate crisis and cognitive dissonance weiterlesen

Eine unwissenschaftliche Wissenschaftsgläubigkeit

Sascha Lobo hat ein gutes Beispiel heute gebracht

Eine der häufigsten Formen der Greta-Skepsis aber findet sich bei … Angela Merkel. Sie sprach auf der Uno-Klimakonferenz in New York ein leicht vergiftetes Lob aus, weil in Gretas Rede “aus meiner Sicht nicht ausreichend zum Ausdruck kam, in welcher Weise Technologie, Innovation gerade im Energiebereich, aber auch im Energieeinsparbereich uns Möglichkeiten eröffnet, die Ziele zu erreichen.” … Es ist die Hoffnung, dass eine Technologie der Zukunft die Probleme von heute auf beinahe magisch-mystische Weise lösen werde. Es grenzt an die “Dunkle Technikhörigkeit der Ahnungslosen”, nur dass hier die Akteure sogar Ahnung haben. … Damit steht sie für eine ganze Denkschule.

The biggest problem

The biggest (scientific) problem currently for survival on earth?

The are many more interactive maps at the United Nations website.  And there is a new document out

Ten Key Findings
Citation: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2019). World Population Prospects 2019: Ten Key Findings.

Nine countries will make up more than half the projected population growth between now and 2050: The largest increases in population between 2019 and 2050 will take place in: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, the United Republic of Tanzania, Indonesia, Egypt and the United States of America (in descending order of the expected increase).

Conference on Tropical Medicine and Global Health, Munich 2019

I have been attending the “Conference on Tropical Medicine and Global Health” here in Munich where I am was particular impressed by the policy talks in the plenary session.

17 Goals to Transform Our World

This includes the talk by Achim Hoerauf who talked about the UN declaration of sustainable goals but also the 5th progress report of the London Declaration about the neglected tropical diseases (that has not been signed by Germany for whatever reasons). The latter has some numbers to celebrate.

Human African trypanosomiasis
In 2016, only 2,184 cases of sleeping sickness were reported worldwide, down from 6,747 in 2011.
Trachoma
Five countries have been validated by WHO as having eliminated trachoma as a public health problem: Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mexico (2017), Morocco (2016) and Oman (2012).
Lymphatic filariasis
In 2017, four countries – the Marshall Islands, Thailand, Togo and Tonga – eliminated LF as a public health problem, bringing the total to ten countries (with Cambodia, the Cook Islands, Maldives, Niue, Sri Lanka and Vanuatu).
Guinea worm disease
Guinea worm disease, which 30 years ago afflicted more than 3 million people in 20 countries, is on the brink of eradication, with just 26 cases in two countries.
Onchocerciasis
Onchocerciasis has been eliminated in nearly all of the Americas. Colombia (2013), Ecuador (2014), Guatemala (2016) and Mexico (2015) have been validated as ‘onchocerciasis-free’.