Daily Archives: December 12, 2021

What omicron’s fast spread could mean for the U.S. — and the world : Goats and Soda : NPR

Notes Waves begin when the positivity rate began rising for seven consecutive days.

Source: Our World in Data (as of Dec. 4) Credit: Rina Torchinsky/NPR

December 10, 20216:46 PM ET

Will Stone

Omicron spurs a rapid rise in positive coronavirus tests in South Africa


with three previous coronavirus variants, the newly identified omicron variant is sparking a faster surge in the percentage of positive tests in South Africa. Classified as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization on Nov. 26, omicron has now been reported in more than 30 countries — and at least 19 states in the U.S.

The first country to really get hit by omicron is South Africa.

Before the new variant took off last month, coronavirus cases there were low – only several hundred per day in mid November.

But by early December, the tally of daily infections had shot up to more than 4,500 — and genomic sequencing shows that omicron is to blame.

What’s more, the variant quickly swept through all regions of South Africa – and has now shown up in about 60 additional countries.

Omicron hasn’t yet triggered a global wave, but many scientists who are tracking its rapid spread believe it’s only a matter of time.

The reason for their concern?

Omicron is starting to gain traction in countries where the pandemic looks very different from South Africa – places where the highly transmissible delta variant is currently dominant and where vaccination levels are relatively high.

Worrisome signs from Europe

The clearest signs of trouble come from how quickly omicron is growing in Europe and the U.K., says Matt Ferrari, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics and a professor of biology at Penn State University.

“Everybody in my industry is hopeful that we’re being alarmist, but more than at any other point in the course of the whole pandemic, we know how bad it could be,” he says.

…(read more)

Black Axe: Nigeria’s Deadliest Cult – BBC Africa Eye documentary

BBC News Africa 12 Dec 2021Premiered 3 hours ago
The Black Axe are one of the most feared and powerful organised crime groups in the world. The highly secretive mafia – referred to as a “cult” in Nigeria – have been accused of countless murders and are estimated to earn millions of dollars through internet fraud. But who is behind them? Are politicians involved?

BBC Africa Eye has been investigating. Reporter Peter Macjob is on a journey to meet the Axemen face to face.

Paths to Extinction: Presentation by Professor Guy McPherson

Nature Bats Last– Dec 11, 2021

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J.S. Bach: The Church Cantatas, Vol. 37: Ärgre dich, o Seele, nicht, BWV 186

Brilliant Classics – Dec 11, 2021

When Bach commenced employment as cantor of the Thomaskirche in 1723 he was expected to make far reaching changes to the musical life of the church. Having set himself the target of an enormous production of weekly cantatas, he was quickly forced to make use of existing work, as in the case of Cantata 186 ‘Ärgre dich, o Seele, nicht’. This cantata for the 7th Sunday after Trinity, 11 July 1723, goes back to the lost Cantata 186a written in Weimar in 1717. In borrowing this composition, however, Bach hardly made things easy for himself: for many Sundays he planned cantatas in two parts, or two complementary cantatas, to be performed before and after the sermon as in the present case. The eleven movements of the work are arranged in two parts, both ending with the same chorale sung to two different texts.

Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
Artists: Netherlands Bach Collegium, Pieter Jan Leusink (conductor), Holland Boys Choir, Bas Ramselaar (Basso), Knut Schoch (Tenore), Ruth Holton (Soprano) & Sytse Buwalda (Alto)