“My body is a temple”: Vaccine hesitancy, religious exemptions, and the integrity of Christian witness
This is a fairly competent bit of theology below but it seeks to apply a broad context to 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. That may be convenient but it ignores the specific context of the passage. The passage is primarily about fornication (illicit sex). Paul regards fornication as unnatural and hence defiling the body.
But it is precisely unnatural things that some Christians object to: Vaccinations, blood transfusions, smoking, consumption of coffee and alcohol etc. A "pure" body would not have those things within it is the conclusion
One can argue about what is unnatural but if illicit sex is unnatural, a fairly broad definition is obviously intended by Paul.
So I think the avoidant stances of some Christians are well justified by the "temple" reference
As governments and businesses implement COVID-19 vaccine mandates, increasing numbers of people are seeking exemption on religious grounds. As such, mainstream social and political discourse has begun to stray into theological territory, with uninspiring results. One common refrain among those seeking exemption from vaccination is the assertion, “My body is a temple”. Given the near ubiquity of this phrase in the sphere of health and wellness, most people are likely to have forgotten that it comes from the apostle Paul.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul writes, “do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians6:19-20) Here, Paul is repeating a refrain from earlier in this same letter: “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (3:16)
It has become common for Christians to claim that being forced to take the COVID-19 vaccine is a violation of their religious convictions because their body is a temple, and they are commanded to keep it pure. They make this argument for a variety of reasons. For example, some believe the vaccine has dangerous side-effects; others think it contains microchips; and some have suggested that it can alter your DNA or cause infertility. Each of these, it seems, would violate the purity of their bodily temple, making it unsuitable as a vessel for the Holy Spirit.
It is worth stating unambiguously that there is no evidence that any of these things are true of the available COVID vaccines, beyond some extremely rare and typically mild side-effects. Nonetheless, the question I would like to consider is whether a vaccine could, in theory, go against Paul’s exhortation in this passage.
“A temple of the Holy Spirit”
Let’s begin with Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians itself. Most commentators agree that the purpose of the letter is to urge unity among the Christians in Corinth. In the third chapter, Paul addresses the elephant in the room. The Corinthians have been drawing lines of separation based on who brought them to the faith. Some have been saying “I belong to Apollos” (which is to say, “I’m a member of Apollos’s faction”), while others say “I belong to Paul”. And yet, Paul sees no reason for this to cause strife: “We are God’s servants, working together; you are … God’s building.” Paul and Apollos cooperate in building on the foundation that Christ himself laid. And this leads him to ask: “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person” (3:16-17).
Paul says that the Corinthian church as a whole is God’s temple, and those who cause division among them are threatening to destroy it. Paul’s warning is not about the pollution of their individual physical bodies, nor any threat from outside. He is warning them about the effect of their own divisive actions on the community. Paul follows this with fitting words for our time: “So let no one boast about human leaders” (3:21).
Three chapters later, Paul returns to the image of the temple, this time with individual Christians in view. Now he is discussing specific sinful habits that are causing division among the Corinthians. In particular, he commands them not to engage the services of prostitutes, and in general to “shun fornication” (6:18). And why should they do this? Because their body is a temple of the Holy Spirit (6:19). Far from suggesting that the Holy Spirit cannot dwell in a body that is physically contaminated by illness, microchips, medicines, or other substances, Paul is urging them to keep themselves free from sin.
Paul is repeating a central theme of the New Testament, which is that the purity laws found in the Torah no longer hold for those who are in Christ, because he has fulfilled them (Matthew 5:17). Christian notions of purity are not about food laws and physical cleanliness, but about the heart. As Jesus explains, “it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth.” He goes on to explain that “out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person.” (Matthew 15:11, 19-20)
Paul has something similar in view in his second letter to the Corinthians: “let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and of spirit, making holiness perfect in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1). He explains that the sins of sexual immorality and idolatry defile the body and the spirit, and he urges them to free themselves of it (see also 1 Thessalonians 5:19-24).
Grounds for exemption?
It is worth considering the implications of Paul’s words if they did mean what those seeking exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccine take them to mean. If the Holy Spirit cannot dwell in a body that has been contaminated by chemicals or debilitated by injury (let alone in a body injected with a safe and effective vaccine), then countless people who have fallen victim to natural or manmade disasters would be bereft of the presence of God. Similarly, if physical cleanliness was in view, then surely the COVID-19 virus itself would do at least as much to contaminate one’s body. After all, natural illness is one of the main causes of impurity in Leviticus.
Furthermore, it is central to the Christian faith that we may well be called to sacrifice our bodies for the sake of others (see John 15:13; Philippians 2:3-4; 1 John 3:16). We witness this most acutely on the cross. Jesus’s body was made impure by his crucifixion — in fact, that’s a considerable part of the point. It is worth repeating that there is no reason to think that receiving a COVID-19 vaccine involves bodily sacrifice. Regardless, the theological principles here do not support those seeking exemptions. There is no Christian belief that the body must be kept free from physical contamination in order to be a fitting vessel of the Holy Spirit.
In reality, what those seeking exemptions are arguing is that they believe the vaccine will harm them, and therefore they shouldn’t be forced to take it. There is nothing distinctly religious about the fear of bodily harm involved in vaccine hesitancy. In general, non-religious people fear bodily harm just as much. This should lead us to question why religious exemption is being sought here. The answer, it would seem, is that there is a long-standing precedent for exempting religious communities from government mandates, so people have reached for religious exemption as a ready-made solution for their fears.
This should give Christians pause. Freedom of religion plays an important role in our society, but it is always in danger of being abused and misused. As Christians, we have a vested interest in ensuring that it is not. If our non-Christian neighbours come to see us as people who think the rules don’t apply to us, or as people for whom the well-being of the wider community is irrelevant, their tolerance for our beliefs is likely to wane. At the same time, if our theological beliefs are sacred, then we should be unwilling to let people twist them for political or legal purposes. The truth of what Paul wrote should matter more to us than the use to which it can be put in court. A vaccine cannot go against Paul’s exhortation, because it is not what goes into us that defiles us, but the sin that emerges from our hearts.
Paul warns the Corinthians not to deceive themselves, but to have true wisdom (1 Corinthians3:18). James describes such wisdom as “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy” (James 3:17). Especially in the United States, the belligerent response on the part of many Christians to the public health efforts of the past two years looks rather different from this vision of wisdom. If we take Paul’s words seriously, our main concern shouldn’t be the physical purity of our own bodies, but the purity of our witness to the world around us. After all, the Christian witness has always been grounded, first and foremost, not in individual political liberty, but in self-sacrifice for the well-being of others.
Taking neurodiversity seriously
By Maria from Murrumbeena
Being neurologically diverse myself -- I am a high-functioning autistic -- I have some sympathy with the girl below. I too realized from an early age that I was different and found normal classrooms stifling.
But schools are tasked with all sorts of requirements so asking for special attention to non-neurotypicals may be piling too much onto them. Certainly, school health personnel should be trained to diagnose and communicate such abnormalities but after that I think the main burden of coping has to fall on the pupil and his/her family
When I was younger, I often thought something was wrong with me. Why was I so different from my classmates? I was made to feel broken.
I wasn't struggling with schoolwork; I love to learn. I just hated the environment. Noisy open plan classrooms, the expectation to concentrate for long periods and being confined to a desk.
But in year 8, I received a diagnosis of ADHD, Anxiety and Sensory Processing Disorder. A huge wave of relief came over me.
Imagine your brain as roads and each thought is a car. "Neurotypical" brains have traffic lights and road signs to keep thoughts organised and to stop the distracting thoughts from going on the main roads. ADHD brains don't have that.
So, there's a lot more cars on the main roads and the unnecessary information doesn't get filtered out.
But it turns out, I was not alone. After being unable to focus in class and turned away from the wellbeing office as they were full, I saw a year seven girl also waiting around.
She told me she had ADHD and anxiety and was being sent home. Although she wanted to stay and learn. She was a younger reflection of me.
This encounter flipped a switch inside my head.
I want high schools to start taking mental health and neurodiversity seriously. I'm going to continue raising awareness, educating, and advocating for fellow neurodiverse brains.
I will finish high school and get my education, even if it is the hard way.
To anyone like me, you are not alone. You do not need to be fixed because you are not broken. The system that is educating us is broken.
Electric cars are not a magic bullet for air pollution
Brake and tire wear from road transport vehicles is responsible for more fine particle emissions than exhaust fumes
The benefits of switching to electric vehicles to clean up our toxic air has been given much airtime, both at Cop26 and by the UK government in recent weeks (‘What if we just gave up cars?’: Cop26 leaders urged to dream big, 10 November). However, evidence shows that electric cars still emit PM2.5 particles, the most worrying form of air pollution for humans.
Photograph: Amer Ghazzal/Rex/Shutterstock© Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Amer Ghazzal/Rex/Shutterstock
The threat posed by air pollution cannot be overstated – the air we breathe can have a catastrophic effect on our health, right from the moment we are born. More than a third of maternity units in England are in air pollution hotspots that fail to meet the World Health Organization’s 2005 air quality guidelines. This means that every two minutes, a baby is born into areas surrounded by toxic levels of air pollution. Children are then likely to grow up, learn and play in these areas of lethal pollution. If we’re going to stop babies being born into toxic air, more electric cars won’t cut it. We need fewer vehicles on our roads altogether, not just cleaner ones.
Now palm oil is in the gun
It started out that ordinary animal fats -- saturated fats -- were widely used in processed food -- cakes, cookies etc. But then we were all told that saturated fats were bad for you. So manufacturers were told to switch to trans fats, which they did.
But some evidence soon emerged that trans fats were also bad for you. So everybody was told to switch to palm oil in food preparation, which many did.
But now palm oil also appears to be bad for you! You can't win against the food freaks, it appears.
What next? It can't be butter because that was condemned long ago. The obvious move is to switch back to animal fats -- tallow, dripping etc -- and damn the food freaks. When everything is bad for you, nothing is
New studies have discovered how a fatty acid found in palm oil affects the cancer genome, increasing the likelihood the disease will spread in human beings.
The spread of cancer, known as metastasis, is the main cause of death in patients with the disease. Researchers in the field say the vast majority of people with metastatic cancer can only be treated, but not cured.
The Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) in Barcelona conducted a study on mice, finding that palmitic acid promoted metastasis in mouth and skin cancers.
Scientists suggest this process could be targeted with drugs or carefully designed eating plans in the future, but the team behind the work has put out a warning for patients putting themselves on diets in the absence of clinical trials.
According to the research, other fatty acids called oleic acid and linoleic acid found in foods such as olive oil and flaxseeds did not show the same effect.
“There is something very special about palmitic acid that makes it an extremely potent promoter of metastasis,” Professor Salvador Aznar-Benitah said via The Guardian.
The research found that when palmitic acid was supplemented into the diet of mice, it not only contributed to metastasis but also exerted long-term effects on the genome.
However, the professor also claimed it was too early to tell what diet should be taken for patients with metastatic cancers.
“I think it is too early to determine which type of diet could be consumed by patients with metastatic cancer that would slow down the metastatic process,” he said.
“That is a much more realistic approach in terms of a real therapy, that doesn’t depend on whether a patient likes Nutella or pizza. Playing with diets is so complicated.”
Prof Greg Hannon, director of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, praised the “rigorous and comprehensive” study into one of the most commonly used oils around the world.
“This is a rigorous and comprehensive study that suggests that exposure to a major constituent of palm oil durably changes the behaviour of cancer cells, making them more prone to progress from local to potentially lethal metastatic disease,” he said.
“Given the prevalence of palm oil as an ingredient in processed foods, this study provides strong motivation for further study on how dietary choices influence the risk of tumour progression.”
Made from the fruit pulp of the oil palm tree, palm oil plantations are grown in tropical regions in Indonesia, Malaysia, Colombia, New Guinea and Ghana.
According to Ethical Consumer, it is the most consumed vegetable oil on the planet, with 72 per cent of worldwide production being used in the food industry. A 2015 report by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil estimated worldwide use would more than double by 2030 and triple by 2050.
Palm oil is a cheap substitute for butter, meaning it is especially common in dough and baked foods. It is commonly found in everyday pantry items, such as margarine, Nutella and biscuits.
Helen Rippon, chief executive at Worldwide Cancer Research, said the discovery is “a huge breakthrough in our understanding of how diet and cancer are linked”.
“Perhaps more importantly,” she said. “Is how we can use this knowledge to start new cures for cancer. Metastasis is estimated to be responsible for 90 per cent of all cancer deaths – that’s around 9 million deaths a year globally.
“Learning more about what makes cancer spread and – importantly – how to stop it is the way forward to reduce these numbers.”
The environmentally unsustainable nature of palm oil production, which has led to mass pollution and loss of native species, has long been a topic of pursuit for activists worldwide.
According to The Orangutan Project, palm oil plantations have been a major factor in deforestation in Malaysia and Indonesia, where 85 per cent of the world’s palm oil is produced.
Palm oil plantations are the biggest cause of rainforest destruction in these countries, where the United Nations reports an area of forest the size of 300 soccer fields is lost every hour.
This loss of rainforest displaces animals such as the orangutan and causes air pollution.
Palm oil is a common ingredient in food and cosmetic products, with alternate names such as palm oil kernel, palmitate, palmate, palmitic acid, elaeis guineensis and hydrated palm glycerides hexadecanoic.
Arizona State University professor says traditional grading system is 'racist' and demands an end to 'white supremacy' by grading papers based on EFFORT
Results don't matter? Teaching that is a strange preparation for later life. Is any employer going to tell the kids that results don't matter?
A professor at Arizona State University is arguing that the traditional grading system is 'racist' and is calling for an end to 'white language' by encouraging teachers to grade students based on the labor they put into their work instead of factors like spelling, grammar or quality.
Asao Inoue, a professor of rhetoric and composition, has given a series of lectures on the topic and most recently delivered one during a virtual event Friday, during which he argued that labor-based grading 'redistributes power in ways that allow for more diverse habits of language to circulate,' the College Fix first reported.
During his lecture, titled The Possibilities of Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies, Inoue said: 'White language supremacy in writing classrooms is due to the uneven and diverse linguistic legacies that everyone inherits, and the racialized white discourses that are used as standards, which give privilege to those students who embody those habits of white language already.'
In other words, Inoue urged teachers to focus on how much effort students put into their assignments and understanding the lesson rather than traditional spelling, grammar and punctuation grading norms.
Inoue refers to the common way most teachers and professors grade papers as a phrase he coined called 'Habits of White Language,' or 'HOWL.' Inoue said that HOWL and white supremacy culture '[make] up the culture and normal practices of our classrooms and disciplines.'
'Labor-based grading structurally changes everyone's relationship to dominant standards of English that come from elite, masculine, heteronormative, ableist, white racial groups of speakers,' Inoue said.
Inoue wrote a blog post on the matter that he shared in a tweet on October 25 with the excerpt: 'The antiracist use of any model of English languaging should open up our eyes, ears, and hearts to our own and others' languaging behaviors... to open up the conventionality and unconventionality of both our models and our own languaging…'
In his blog, he addresses white teachers specifically and writes: 'You grade your students on the English you learned and grew up with, the kind of English in your models and training, but like those Filipino or Native American students, your students aren't you, nor are they like the authors of your models. They do not come from where you or those authors came from, not exactly. And they are not embodied in their language practices in the same ways as you are.'
He continued: 'Further, your students will likely use their Englishes for different things in their lives than you do. It's not that they don't stand to learn something good from your English or your models, but we too often grade them on how closely they are like our models. This means you punish students for not being like you or like your models.'
In his lecture, Inoue also asked teachers to consider one characteristic of white supremacy culture that they engage in during their courses, the College Fix reported. At another point in the presentation, he had participating teachers and students pause to exercise 'an important antiracist practice' of examining how they participate in racism or antiracism.
'Pausing in our work helps us intervene and disrupt by first noticing ourselves participating in racism, engaging in white fragility, in white rage, or white language supremacy,' he said.
Inoue's talk came during a 70-minute event hosted by the Rhetoric, Writing and Linguistics Speaker Series sponsored by the Department of English at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The discussion was geared toward professors but was also open to students, alumni and others.
According to an online description of the talk: 'Inoue poses problems about dominant standards of the English language in schools and universities and the Habits of White Language (HOWL) that are paradoxically meaningful and harmful to locally diverse students when used to evaluate their language performances and produce grades.'
Inoue told Fox News on Tuesday that 'labor-based grading ecologies are fundamentally about creating compassionate, democratic conditions, ones that are critical and rigorous, if by rigorous we mean deep, thoughtful, engagement with each other for each other's sake and not for grades or false external motivators that ultimately erode students' abilities to learn and take risks.'
Inoue said that he is not calling for an end to teaching spelling, grammar or punctuation, but what he's arguing 'for are safe classrooms that offer better, clearer ways to understand what it means to learn dominant forms of English in our world today'
'These new conditions can provide a wider group of students who come from a more diverse set of language backgrounds, to thrive and learn. This is important to do if we are to inquire about the politics of English language in our world that end up creating situations of misunderstanding and harm.'
Inoue said that he is not calling for an end to teaching spelling, grammar or punctuation, but rather: 'What I'm arguing for are safe classrooms that offer better, clearer ways to understand what it means to learn dominant forms of English in our world today.'
Inoue and his wife recently launched an antiracist teaching endowment that aims to fund 'an antiracist teaching conference for secondary and postsecondary teachers,' 'support a summer workshop or institute for a smaller group of teachers to learn about and research antiracist teaching approaches,' and create 'several scholarships for students who wish to focus on antiracist approaches to teaching in a variety of disciplines,' according to a blog post explaining the program.
In a tweet pinned on his profile, Inoue wrote: 'The new antiracist teaching endowment that my wife and I just started is now accepting donations! If you've benefited from my work at all over the years, consider donating something. Thanks!'
NSW Just Had A Major Change in Sexual Consent Law — Here's What That Means And What Comes Next
;A lot will depend on what the courts make of this. A sexual encounter is often initiated by touch (kisses etc) rather than by words. So are such encounters now illegal?
Maybe if the law applied only to people who had not previously had sex, it might makes some sense
Maybe if the law applied only to people who had not previously had sex, it might makes some sense
Last night in the Legislative Assembly of NSW, a model of affirmative consent was approved. This means that NSW is one step closer to changing sexual consent laws for the better.
Under the new Bill, proposed by NSW Attorney-General and Minister for Prevention and Sexual Violence Mark Speakman, a person only gives consent if "at the time of the sexual activity, they freely and voluntarily agree to the sexual activity", and if it is communicated clearly.
Jenny Leong, the Greens spokesperson for Women's Rights in the NSW Parliament, excitedly announced that the State Parliament voted an "enthusiastic yes" to the Bill.
Jenny Leong and Lucinda Hoffman stand outside NSW Parliament representing sexual assault victims© Provided by Are Media Pty Ltd Jenny Leong and Lucinda Hoffman stand outside NSW Parliament representing sexual assault victims
What does the affirmative consent bill mean?
This Bill recognises that:
(i) every person has a right to choose whether to participate in a sexual activity,
(ii) consent to a sexual activity must not be presumed,
(iii) consensual sexual activity involves ongoing and mutual communication, decision-making and free and voluntary agreement between the persons participating in the sexual activity.
Jenny has been particularly instrumental in driving this change. This morning, in light of the news, she reflected on how revolutionary the Bill would be if it were to become law.
"The Bill puts victim-survivors at the heart of the law, and removes rape myths and assumptions from the Crimes Act. It removes the patriarchal assumption that anyone is entitled to sex without the active, enthusiastic consent of the other person," she said.
"This is a significant moment. This is a very significant reform," Ms Leong said. "It means that it can no longer be assumed that someone consents to having sex. The person who wants sex must be able to demonstrate that they took steps to ensure that the other person also enthusiastically consents to this," she continued.
What needs to happen now?
While this is a huge step forward, it's not the final step. Now, the Bill will be passed to the Legislative Council to be debated, either later this week or early next week. Once it passes through (assuming there are no amendments), the Bill will become state law.
If, however, the Legislative Council decides to make amendments, it will be passed back down to the Legislative Assembly to be debated again.
While the Bill is an incredibly important piece of the puzzle, Jenny reminds us that there are other crucial factors to consider.
"The law change in and of itself is not enough. Around that law reform there needs to be really strong education and training to ensure that the police, judiciary and agencies around the justice system are all aware of the reforms and are implementing them in line with those laws," she told ELLE this morning.
"We need to ensure that there is sufficient resourcing, policy changes and education in place, so that when this law comes into effect, we see a change in society," she continued.
how does affirmative consent differ to our current laws?
As the law currently stands, a person has committed sexual assault if they know the other person is not consenting, if they are "reckless as to whether" they consent, or there are no reasonable grounds for believing there was consent.
In 2017, NSW consent laws fell under intense scrutiny following the acquittal of a man accused of raping Saxon Mullins outside a Sydney nightclub. While the Judge agreed that Saxon had not consented to sexual intercourse, she ruled that her 'freeze response' had provided 'reasonable grounds' for the man to believe he had gained consent.
Following his acquittal, Saxon bravely came forward to tell her story and was the subject of a major Four Corners investigation. Here, after staying anonymous for the entirety of the trial, she told the entire world, "I am that girl." In doing so, she hoped to spark a wider conversation about the current consent laws in NSW, and how they were failing sexual assault victims.
Over the past few years, we have seen a major societal shift in our approach to sexual consent and the way in which we understand it, which means our laws need to be updated to reflect those attitudes. The affirmative consent Bill is a pivotal change, which if passed, will be instrumental in ensuring that cases like Saxon's do not happen again.
It is hoped that it will also encourage victims of sexual assault to come forward and report their experiences with the knowledge that they will receive a just outcome. Our low reporting rates are a reflection of the mistrust people have in the current system, and it's something we desperately need to change.
If one thing is clear after last night's decision, it's that change is coming. It may have been a long time coming, but it's finally here. And, though they may not be inside parliament, we can never forget that it is the incredibly brave work of sexual assault survivors and advocates that continues to drive this change forward.
"While it's important to acknowledge the Attorney General in bringing the Bill, and the multi-partisan support for this Bill — it is critical that we acknowledge that credit for this reform sits with some incredibly strong survivor-advocates, feminists, experts and activists who have been through so much and who have never given up — and in particular survivor-advocate Saxon Mullins," Jenny said, in a statement this morning.
For now, we will patiently await the decision of the Legislative Council as the Bill moves into their hands, and soon, the interest of victims and survivors will be at the centre of our consent laws.
Last homes in asbestos-riddled Wittenoom to be demolished, but some want to stay
Nobody seems to be taking into account what it means that there are elderly people still living there. So if asbestos is so bad for you how come? Shouldn't they all be dead?
What it shows is that the toxicity of asbestos is very low. You only get ill if you have been breathing in a lot of it for many years. So the hysteria about it is greatly exaggerated. Asbestos products in peoples homes ("fibro") are no threat to health at all
The former asbestos mining town of Wittenoom has claimed many lives, but it is not enough to deter some who proudly call it home.
After years of compensation offers, the WA government will turn to forcibly removing the remaining properties, under a bill expected to pass Parliament.
It is hoped the clearing of the former town site will reduce the attraction for visitors, who ignore significant health warnings of asbestos fibres on the ground and in the air at Wittenoom. Just 12km away lies three million tonnes of asbestos tailings.
Peter Heyward moved to the area in the 90s and said he knew of the dangers but enjoyed the lifestyle. "This is just beautiful living here," he said.
"Looking at the mountains, you get the view of the savanna and you're right beside a gorge that's got water all year round."
Long-term resident Lorraine Thomas said she had options if she was forced to leave, but she hoped to live out her life in Wittenoom. "This is home, and I haven't got anywhere else that I've found in this state or in this country that I'd like to call home," she said.
"They can't move the hills, the whole area… I love the weather. "No person can take that from me."
The WA government's planned eviction and demolition would come with an undisclosed amount of compensation.
Mario Hartmann is one of the residents who recently took up an offer to hand over his property, but it has not kept him away. "It's too cold down south so I come in winter to enjoy the warm weather," he said.
Tourists warned to stay away
With more West Australians exploring their own state during the pandemic's travel restrictions, Mr Hartmann noticed a surge in visitors.
"This year I've never seen that many people come here, some days you would have 50, 60 cars going out [to the gorge and the asbestos tailings]," he said.
It is an alarming figure for Curtin University Associate Professor Alison Reid, who has examined the health impact of the mine.
"People [who visit Wittenoom] are putting themselves unnecessarily at risk," she said. "We know that the risk of mesothelioma [a rare cancer] can occur with low exposure, so I think in that case it should be closed."
At least 1,200 former Wittenoom residents and workers have died from lung cancer and mesothelioma, according to a database maintained by UWA's Occupational Respiratory Epidemiology Group.
"The Flying Doctors used to hone in on the town of Wittenoom from the blue haze on the horizon and that was the dust…that's how the workers and the people in the town got exposed, through that dust. "It has made Western Australia have the highest rates of mesothelioma in the world."
The area is no longer on official maps, it was declared a contaminated site and the state government have repeatedly warned the public against visiting.
Lands Minister Tony Buti said visitors posed a risk to the wider public because cars could spread particles beyond the area.
"There is no question that this area is one of the saddest chapters in WA history," he said. "However, we must be realistic, and the fact is it's unlikely Wittenoom will ever again be a safe place to live or visit."
Elon Musk sells off another 600,000 Tesla shares worth $687million for a total of $5.8billion this week
He knows he is benefiting from a huge bubble and is getting out before it pops. The bubble will pop when enough people realize that electric cars are virtually useless in a Northern winter. Heating is a huge drain on batteries but comes as a free byproduct in a conventional car
Tesla CEO Elon Musk pawned off another $687 million worth of Tesla shares Thursday after offloading $5 billion of his stake in the company in two separate transactions earlier this week, following the CEO's promise to sell $25 billion worth of the stock.
The string of sales comes less than a week after Musk's much-publicized Twitter poll where he asked followers if he should sell his $250 billion stake in the electric-car maker to pay President Joe Biden's proposed 'billionaire's tax.'
In the Saturday post, the world's richest person and Tesla's top shareholder criticized the controversial new tax plan proposed by the president's administration, saying that he does not earn a salary from the company and his only source of income is stocks, and that the only way for him to pay taxes would be to sell some of his stake.
Musk, 50, who founded the car company in 2003, then declared to his 63.1 million followers that he would sell 10 percent of his shares - which would equate to roughly $25 billion - if they approved the move.
'Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock,' Musk, 50, wrote in the November 6 post.
The exec then implored his 63.1 million followers: 'Do you support this?'
They did - with more than 2 million of the 3.5 million social media users surveyed voting that he should, spurring the CEO's massive sell-off.
The shares were sold at prices ranging from around $1,056.03 to $1,104.15 in multiple transactions, the filings reveal.
Six major carmakers agree to phase out fossil-fuel vehicles by 2040
A great opportunity for China. China supplies whatever the market wants. And they already make lots of good conventional cars. It looks like they will be getting a lot more orders for them
Six major automakers on Wednesday will commit to phasing out the production of fossil-fuel vehicles around the world by 2040, as part of global efforts to cut carbon emissions, the British government said in a statement.
But sources familiar with the pledge's contents said some big carmakers including the world's top two, Toyota Motor Corp and Volkswagen AG, and crucial car markets China, the United States and Germany have not signed up. That highlighted the challenges that remain in shifting to a zero-emission future.
Cars, trucks, ships, buses and planes account for about a quarter of all global carbon emissions, data from the International Energy Agency showed, of which the bulk comes from road vehicles.
Sweden's Volvo, U.S. automakers Ford Motor Co and General Motors Co , Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz, China's BYD Co Ltd and Jaguar Land Rover, a unit of India's Tata Motors Ltd , were set to sign the pledge at climate talks in Glasgow, the latest initiative to help cap global warming by mid-century.
Volvo has already committed to going fully electric by 2030.
Britain, which is hosting the COP26 summit, said four new countries including New Zealand and Poland were joining other nations already committed to ensuring all new cars and vans are zero emission by 2040 or earlier.
The statement comes on a day dedicated to transport at the conference.
Dying of COVID or with it? Pathologists take on conspiracy theorists
This is all very well but relies on all involved medical personnel as acting with complete propriety. Where an autopsy or a CT scan has been conducted there can be no doubt of the diagnosis.
But how often are autopsy or CT scan results available? In a busy emergency ward such procedures can easily be omitted. The cases of people dying in accidents who are said to be covid victims cast a particularly troublesome light upon the rigor of covid diagnoses. Are such diagnoses invariably accompanied by an autopsy or scan? It seems unlikely.
The authors below are talking about best practic but the issue is how often best practice is followed. There are good reasons to believe that it often is not
Conspiracy theorists claim doctors are inflating the pandemic’s death toll by putting COVID-19 on the death certificate of everyone who died with the virus. But – the theory goes – they didn’t die from COVID, they died with COVID.
But the head of pathology at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine has autopsied dozens of patients with COVID-19.
And on her table, she says, the signs of the virus are clear. “Absolutely, it is very obvious. The post-mortem CT [scan] changes are striking. The appearances of their lungs in the autopsy rooms are striking.”
The claim that COVID-19 death counts are over-inflated has been a regular go-to for conspiracy theorists and lockdown opponents throughout the pandemic.
A diverse group has promoted the idea, including former US president Donald Trump.
The claims are standard boiler-plate for conspiracy theorists, who often rally around the belief that powerful people in society are trying to deceive the public for their own benefit, says Mathew Marques, who lectures in social psychology at La Trobe University.
“Rarely is there a new conspiracy theory that is surprising, when they all follow the same structure or pattern – lay beliefs about a secretive group of often powerful actors engaging in a malevolent plot against a society,” he says.
In hospitals, it is easy to work out if a person has died from COVID-19 – they wouldn’t be in an ICU ward on a ventilator otherwise. The Institute of Forensic Medicine handles harder cases: people who died suddenly in the community while they had COVID-19.
In many cases, like car accidents, the cause of death is obvious. In others, it requires a lot more work. The team runs a computerised tomography (CT) scan, and then if needed conducts an autopsy.
The most obvious signs a person has died from COVID-19 – not with it – are seen in the lungs, says forensic radiologist Dr Chris O’Donnell.
On a CT scan, the lungs are typically a dark black void – the scanner’s representation of space filled with oxygen.
In people who die of COVID-19, “that air is completely replaced by inflammatory tissue that fills up the air sacs and stops the exchange of oxygen,” says Dr O’Donnell.
“They struggle to breathe and even when they do get a breath in, none of the air they breathe can get into their blood because their lungs are blocked full of this inflammatory tissue. They die of lack of oxygen.”
In the disease’s early stages, the CT scan shows the lungs clouding over with inflammatory tissue. Radiologists refer to this as “ground glass”.
In late-stage disease, the virus has completely filled the lungs with inflammatory tissue. “We call that a white-out, when there’s no air in the lung,” Dr O’Donnell says.
These cases are clear-cut and are added to the pandemic’s official death toll. But when it is clear after autopsy that COVID-19 did not contribute to death, they are not added, Dr O’Donnell says.
“That’s our role: to look into these cases more thoroughly. We’re working to find the real truth, whether people have died of COVID or whether it’s something else.”
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