January 26th, 2021 3-5PM ET
Tuesday on The Robert Scott Bell Show:
The witch-hunting of lockdown sceptics We have entered a new era of demonology. The hunt is on for heretics and witches who might be held responsible for our current predicament, for the plague of Covid. As in pre-modern times, sinful speakers and thinkers, those who dare to bristle against the political or scientific consensus, are being demonised and publicly shamed as assistants of the plague, as Covid’s willing helpers. They have ‘blood on their hands’, the lockdown fanatics cry, blissfully unaware of how similar they sound to those who in earlier times of disease would drag eccentrics to the stocks in the warped belief that those eccentrics either brought the plague or at least aided its spread. It is hard to think of any other political constituency in recent times who have been as thoroughly demonised as lockdown sceptics. Climate-change sceptics are up there, of course. Deniers of the cult of genderfluidity have had a severe hammering, too. But that all pales, if not into insignificance then at least into the background, in comparison with the war of barbs and defamation against anyone who questions whether lockdown is the right response to Covid-19.
COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy can be overcome with the right messaging, researchers find The battle against COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy—an issue for nearly a quarter of Americans recently polled—can be won if messages promoting vaccination suggest most people will take it and political motivations did not rush its development, research at Georgia State University has found. Those who were introduced to messages suggesting most people would not take the vaccine, that it is unsafe, that it is being promoted to gain greater control over individual freedom and that its development is being rushed for political motivations were more likely to say they would not take it. In an online survey of more than 1,100 individuals, Risa Palm, Toby Bolsen and Justin Kingsland found Americans more likely to get COVID-19 vaccinations when its safety and efficiency are emphasized, confirming findings in other recent studies. “It’s urgent this messaging be carefully and thoughtfully crafted, taking into account what social scientists have learned about the factors that influence message acceptance,” Palm said. “Public health agencies and others promoting vaccination will see success with messaging that touts the vaccine‘s safety, efficacy and social acceptance and the fact that science—not politics—leads its development.”
SHOT IN THE BARK Cats and dogs may need to get Covid vaccine to stop spread of virus, scientists say CATS and dogs may need to get the Covid vaccine to curb the spread of the virus, a group of scientists has said. Coronavirus can infect a wide range of domesticated animals – and experts have said that giving pets the jab is a “precaution” to reduce the risks of the virus spreading further. Experts from the University of East Anglia, Earlham Institute, and the University of Minnesota wrote in the journal Virulence that continued evolution of the virus in animals followed by transmission to humans “poses a significant long-term risk to public health”. They said: “It is not unthinkable that vaccination of some domesticated animal species might… be necessary to curb the spread of the infection.” Last year, Denmark’s government culled millions of mink after it emerged that hundreds of Covid cases in the country were linked with variants associated with farmed mink. Cock van Oosterhout, professor of evolutionary genetics at UEA, said dogs and cats can contract coronavirus – but that there are no known cases of them carrying it on to humans.
Los Angeles Students Will Be Required to Get COVID-19 Vaccine After FDA Approval for Use in Children Austin Beutner, the superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in California said the district would require its students to get a COVID-19 vaccine once it is available for school-aged children. Two experimental mRNA COVID-19 vaccines,, Pfizer/BioNTech’s BNT162b2 and Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccines, have been granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, both vaccines have only been tested in subjects over the age of 16. Beutner noted that in the event that a COVID-19 vaccine is approved for school aged children, a COVID-19 vaccine requirement to attend school would be no different than the current mandatory routine vaccinations for students. He said: A COVID-19 vaccine requirement would be no different than students who are vaccinated for measles or mumps or tested for tuberculosis before they come on campus. That’s the best way we know to keep all on the campus safe. This is first acknowledgement from the superintendent of a major school system that the COVID-19 vaccine is likely to be added to the list of vaccines required for school enrollment. Beutner said that children and young adults will likely be the last group to be vaccinated because they have a lower risk of contracting a severe case of COVID-19, but he said he hopes all students will be vaccinated by the beginning of 2022.
Covid-19: Lancet retracts paper that halted hydroxychloroquine trials The Lancet paper that halted global trials of hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19 because of fears of increased deaths has been retracted after a Guardian investigation found inconsistencies in the data. The lead author, Prof Mandeep Mehra, from the Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston, Massachusetts decided to ask the Lancet for the retraction because he could no longer vouch for the data’s accuracy. The journal’s editor, Richard Horton, said he was appalled by developments. “This is a shocking example of research misconduct in the middle of a global health emergency,” he told the Guardian. A Guardian investigation had revealed errors in the data that was provided for the research by US company Surgisphere. These were later explained by the company as some patients being wrongly allocated to Australia instead of Asia. But more anomalies were then picked up. A further Guardian investigation found that there were serious questions to be asked about the company itself. An independent audit company was asked to examine a database provided by Surgisphere to ensure it had the data from more than 96,000 Covid-19 patients in 671 hospitals worldwide, that it was obtained properly and was accurate.
Israeli behind ‘game-changing’ Covid nasal spray says it’s 99.9% effective The Israeli co-founder of a nasal spray that kills 99.9% of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, has told Jewish News that she believes the spray will be a game changer in the fight against Covid-19. Dr Gilly Regev, who co-founded SaNOtize Research and Development Corp. based in Vancouver, Canada explained via telephone that “If you use it daily, I really believe you won’t be affected by Covid-19. We have shown in the clinical trials that the people who used it did not get infected.” The first UK clinical trials for The SaNOtize Nitric Oxide Nasal Spray (NONS) begins this week. The treatment, developed by SaNOtize Research and Development Corp. based in Vancouver, Canada, co-founded by Israeli Gilly Regev, proved 99.9% effective in killing the coronavirus in independent lab tests at Utah State University’s Antiviral Research Institute. NONS is designed to kill the virus in the upper airways, preventing it from incubating and spreading to the lungs. Additional studies in rodents with COVID-19 infection showed over 95% reduction within the first day after infection. It is currently undergoing Phase II clinical trials throughout Canada approved by Health Canada, and in other countries.
Hour 2 – Special Guest – Ula Tinsley
Ula Tinsley aka Autism Mama Bear is a passionate autism advocate, featured writer at and a talk show host on Autism Mama Bear Talk. She’s been raising autism awareness on a local and national level since 2010, when her son was diagnosed with a regressive form of autism. After gaining more experience and knowledge about different ways of treating ASD, she’s been supporting and consulting other families living with autism. Her latest project, Autism Mama Bear Talk, is a fast-paced interview show bringing informative and everyday inspiring stories from leading autism advocates, self-advocates, parents and medical experts.
No stopping AI? Scientists conclude there would be no way to control super-intelligent machines From self-driving cars to computers that can win game shows, humans have a natural curiosity and interest in artificial intelligence (AI). As scientists continue making machines smarter and smarter however, some are asking “what happens when computers get too smart for their own good?” From “The Matrix” to “The Terminator,” the entertainment industry has already started pondering if future robots will one day threaten the human race. Now, a new study concludes there may be no way to stop the rise of machines. An international team says humans would not be able to prevent super artificial intelligence from doing whatever it wanted to. Scientists from the Center for Humans and Machines at the Max Planck Institute have started to picture what such a machine would look like. Imagine an AI program with an intelligence far superior to humans. So much so that it could learn on its own without new programming. If it was connected to the internet, researchers say the AI would have access to all of humanity’s data and could even take control of other machines around the globe.
This Collar Translates Your Dog’s Barking Using Artificial Intelligence If you saw the Pixar movie ‘Up: a tall adventure’ , you might remember Dug , the dog who ‘spoke’ through a collar . Well, it seems that this imaginary technology, which converted the thoughts of the dog into a voice, could come true. A team of South Korean scientists presented a necklace that, using artificial intelligence (AI) , translates the barking of your tenderloin and interprets its emotions. The startup Petpuls presented the ingenious necklace at the Consumer Electronics show (CES) 2021 . The creators explained that, in addition to tracking the physical activity and rest of the dogs, the accessory can detect five canine emotions. This is achieved by including microphones and a voice recognition technology , to monitor barking . After the analysis, Petpuls informs the owner through a mobile app , if his furry is happy, relaxed, anxious, angry or sad. “This device gives the dog a voice for humans to understand ,” Andrew Gil , global marketing director for Petpuls Lab , told Reuters.
Fake News Is Rampant, Here Is How Artificial Intelligence Can Help One of the latest collaborations between artificial intelligence and humans is further evidence of how machines and humans can create better results when working together. Artificial intelligence (AI) is now on the job to combat the spread of misinformation on the internet and social platforms thanks to the efforts of start-ups such as Logically. While AI is able to analyze the enormous amounts of info generated daily on a scale that’s impossible for humans, ultimately, humans need to be part of the process of fact-checking to ensure credibility. As Lyric Jain, founder and CEO of Logically, said, toxic news travels faster than the truth. Our world desperately needs a way to discern truth from fiction in our news and public, political and economic discussions, and artificial intelligence will help us do that. People are inundated with info every single day. Each minute, there are 98,000 tweets, 160 million emails sent, and 600 videos uploaded to YouTube. Politicians. Marketers. News outlets. Plus, there are countless individuals spewing their opinions since self-publishing is so easy. People crave a way to sort through all the information to find valuable nuggets they can use in their own life. They want facts, and companies are starting to respond often by using machine learning and AI tools.
Love in the time of algorithms: would you let your artificial intelligence choose your partner? It could be argued artificial intelligence (AI) is already the indispensable tool of the 21st century. From helping doctors diagnose and treat patients to rapidly advancing new drug discoveries, it’s our trusted partner in so many ways. Now it has found its way into the once exclusively-human domain of love and relationships. With AI-systems as matchmakers, in the coming decades it may become common to date a personalised avatar. This was explored in the 2014 movie “Her”, in which a writer living in near-future Los Angeles develops affection for an AI system. The sci-fi film won an Academy Award for depicting what seemed like a highly unconventional love story. In reality, we’ve already started down this road. The online dating industrty is worth more than US$4 billion and there are a growing number of players in this market. Dominating it is the Match Group, which owns OkCupid, Match, Tinder and 45 other dating-related businesses. Match and its competitors have accumulated a rich trove of personal data, which AI can analyse to predict how we choose partners. The industry is majorly embracing AI. For instance, Match has an AI-enabled chatbot named “Lara” who guides people through the process of romance, offering suggestions based on up to 50 personal factors.
Creepy Microsoft Patent Lets Chatbot AI Imitate Dead People As future technological developments continue to get better, the capabilities for these inventions keep evolving, as well. And when it comes to artificial intelligence development, there have already been major improvements to make this a common reality. When it comes to gaming, companies such as Electronic Arts and its AI patent have strived to bring AI to the world of video games to make gameplay NPCs more realistic. Now, Microsoft has acquired a patent to develop AI technology in a different direction. Microsoft’s development patent plan for artificial intelligence, “Creating a Conversational Chatbot of a Specific Person,” involves creating chatbot programs based on dead people’s personal information. In doing so, the company would be able to preserve the memory of loved ones in the digital realm forever. The artificial program works by analyzing various data sources from dead people such as: images, voice data, social media posts, electronic messages, and other personal information. The program would be able to look at pictures of people and create 2D or 3D images to embody the AI program. Not only loved ones, but the program would also be able to copy fictional characters, celebrities, and historical figures. And if people really wanted to, Microsoft says they will be able to train AI’s to copy their own essence in the event of their death.
Amid calls for unity, President Biden and Republicans don’t agree what that looks like President Joe Biden entered the White House calling for unity to meet a convergence of crises, telling Americans that “politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire” as he called on both parties to “start afresh” in his inauguration speech. It was a repudiation of the flame-throwing politics of President Donald Trump two weeks after a mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol to try to stop the counting of Biden’s election victory. As he leans into messages that won him the election – decency, respect and working together – Republicans are pushing back, arguing Biden’s aggressive early agenda doesn’t match the talk. More:Joe Biden rejoins Paris Agreement, requires masks on federal property in swift Day 1 directives How Biden balances a bold policy agenda with a commitment to unify will in part shape his first 100 days in office. Republicans want concessions from the president. The White House and the president’s allies have countered, saying unity isn’t measured by finding complete agreement in Congress but instead in civility and working for all Americans, not just speaking to a political base.
Biden’s executive order unlevels the playing field for girls Mere hours after stressing the need for “unity,” President Biden sparked a new civil war with an executive order letting transgender women compete in women’s sports. On social media, #BidenErasedWomen and #TERFs (an acronym for “trans-exclusionary radical feminist”) trended following the action. That’s understandable: It’s one thing, after all, to ban discrimination; it’s another to tell schools and colleges that trans women athletes — biologically born boys who now identify as female — must be allowed to compete with biological women and girls, despite their physical advantages. The notion is patently ridiculous and may result in girls losing out on prestigious sports victories (and maybe scholarships that go with them). It also risks greater injuries to women. A better solution, perhaps, might be to give trans athletes a league of their own. Meanwhile, the US Education Department will now switch sides in two court battles, one in Connecticut and another in Idaho, over whether transgender athletes are treated by their biological sex or by how they identify.