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Influenza and the Sun : seasonal to pandemic

CAUTION : If you are looking for [clear, definitive] statements of [true, false, right, wrong], and the "answers" to explain influenza [seasonal, epidemic, pandemic] periods, then this is the WRONG website for you! Save yourself [headaches, frustration], and go to mainstream [science, media, websites, blogs, social media]. May the herd be with you...

I don't "believe" anything that I've posted to this website, preferring to take a "multiple conflicting hypothesis" approach.
         Just as :  "A picture is worth a thousand words"
         Howell:  "A good question is worth a thousand good answers"

Harry S. Dent, 02Jun2020 : There’s another saying:
         "Man plans, God laughs."

Table of Contents :

Howell - pandemics, health, and the Sun web-page (Updates: 17Jun2020 - This web-page is in need of [corrections, completion, update] as I simply put up what I could do in a time-pinch, 30May2020 Kp added, 05May07, 06Oct06 original, Tapping etal)


As pointed out by my father, who had attended a Tapping presentation, I first saw reference to the theme of pandemics and the Sun in the 2001 note to the editor by Tapping, Mathias, and Surkan, which is discussed in a section below. After reading into the history of other pandemics, it seemed likely that there may be relationships between most pandemics and solar activity.

I start this web-page by presenting my quick plot of influenza data since 1942 alongside [sunspot, geomagnetic] data. There are two key objectives here : Next, I provide an [image, link] regarding US annual flu seasons 2010-2017, as per the US Center for Disease Control (CDC). This was important, especially as early models for the corna virus projected similar [cases, deaths] as the 2017-2018 flu season. By now (27Jun2020) corona virus is well belond that, and is comparable to flu pandemics (possibly even the 1918 Spanish flu if one discounts that for secondary infections?).

The next section poses the question "Is the effectiveness of vaccines over-rated, or sometimes problematic?". Although I am in favour of vaccines, and I have long been aware of limitations of vaccines, it is only through recent reading that I became aware of what smells like yet another "con-science" issue that warrants awareness.

Quite apart from the issue of the benefits of vaccines, other questions come to mind from the corona virus situation, and these are also relevant to the flu to some extent, so they are repeated here.

The next section is quick [summary of, links to] the Tapping, Mathias, and Surkan theory for influenza pandemics, and is basically unchanged from 2006.

A core theme of my 3 [disease, pandemic] web-pages is the possible role of astronomical factors. It is very important to note that this is not accepted by mainstream science, although that seems to be changing slightly now within small communities. It is important to consider rebuttals of the [solar, disease] correlation, albeit I have only provided a very limited review of that in the final section of this web-page. With more digging, one could perhaps find far better rebuttals, as I have not come across AND[serious, convincing] work in my skimpy reading.

Howell - USA influenza [cases, deaths] alongside [sunspots, Kp index, zero Kp bins]

The "Tapping, Mathias, Surkan" notice to the editor was the earliest that I had seen at the time referring to an association between [sunspot, influenza pandemic]s. I've since learned that many others before them had pointed this out, including ?name 1800? as mentioned by Sacha Dobler, but I may be forgetting ancient Egyptian or other references to 11 year cycles in deep antiquity. There is a danger in myopically fixating on sunspots (everybody seems to do this!), as many solar measures do NOT correspond to the sunspot cycle, or only loosely do so, and [, extra]-galactic astronomical measures certainly do not. At times it may be best to search for the key measures, rather than blindly sticking with the "old, familiar" measures, especially as many measures have only been available for a few decades, and could shine more light on the issue. Furthermore [time lag, phasing] can be extremely important to analysis, and all variables tend to have variable "quasi-cycles". The [real, complex] world is NOT a series of sinusoidal curves, and almost everybody seems to fail on that point as well, when you look closely at their thinking.

As per commentary over the last few years by Ben Davidson of Suspicious Observers, I have added the geomagnetic Kp index (see definitions below) to sunspots in the graph below to see if it might add "explanatory power" to the influenza data, beyond using sunspots alone. Ben has posted an awesome series of [papers, books, videos] dealing with human health in a broad sense and a multitude of astronomical phenomena!

Please see the "Definitions and data [problems, limitations]" section below to clarify terms in the graph.

As a "shot in the dark" using only [sunspots, Kp index] as potential "associates" of disease outbreak, the graph does suggest a loose association between these measures and flu outbreaks.

But I will NOT proceed with further analysis at this time (30May2020). It's far more important to get back to my priority projects, which this side-issue has delayed for too long (<2 weeks?). If I did have time, I would put it into assembling the other half of this particular story : cosmic ray (neuton and other) data, as the incoming [cosmic, galactic] rays (CGRs) are themselves variable, and are not simply a constant input modulated by the solar magnetic field. Some papers also refer to a "storage" of CGRs within the heliosphere, with [deficits, surpluses] resulting as the heliosphere changes. This is COMPLETELY missing from the graph above, and it's at least half of the story!!

Question - influenza rates : extremely low ?1978?-2013, surging 2013-2020

Are the "data gap" and low influenza period, collectively covering 1979-2008, saying something [strong, extraordinary] about influenza rates, or is this an artifact of incomplete data, and data inconsistencies? This is a very key question that begs better collection of data for that period. It likely CAN be found in [NHS mortality, CDC] reports (many I've only glanced at, many more I haven't seen), or perhaps data from another country.

The section "Is the effectiveness of vaccines over-rated?" below goes in to more detail about one possible implication. Another implication is that warnings over the last few years of rising flu (especially 2017-22018 flu season), may dramatically UNDER-ESTIMATE what we are about to face!! If a Grand Solar Minima does develop over the next 10-30 years, and if astronomical effects on diseases are real, then possibly things could get much, much worse?

Other questions pertaining to the graph :

Definitions and data [problem, limitation]s :

Notes concerning [graphs, analysis, background material] :

Haunting implications of a possible relation between flu and the Kp index

Let's be naive and assume that : Then, given these naive assumptions :
        Dr. Suess "... Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened. ..."

References: USA influenza [cases, deaths] alongside [sunspots, Kp index, zero Kp bins]

US Center for Disease Control (CDC) - annual flu seasons 2010-2017 :

Be careful with this chart - there may be confounding of pneumoonia deaths with influenza? Typically, ppneumonia deaths exeed influenza deaths by a factor of ~10 or so?

Is the effectiveness of vaccines over-rated, or sometimes problematic?

Mark Twain :   "It isn't what you don't know that gets you into the most trouble.
         ...It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."

One easy anecdotal answer is NO - vaccines aren't over-rated, they are important!. This applies if you [die, are maimed] by influenza and DIDN'T get vaccinated, or if you are terrified of that happening. I can't argue with those points.

Another easy anecdotal answer is YES - vaccines are not only over-rated, they are dangerous and have [killed, maimed] millions historically, and continue to affect many. This applies if your personal experiences have convinced you that vaccines [damaged, destroyed] the health of your or your children, or if you give credence to reports by many [pass, non]-experts who, while very much a tiny minority, are often impressive. I can't argue with those points, either.

Personally, I'm a big fan of vaccinations, even though some years I just don't get around to getting them, and I have to admit I am relatively un-informed about studies of their drawbacks. But after starting to look at some of the past [comments, studies] in a VERY SUPERFICIAL manner, my curiosity is piqued, as perhaps I can smell elements of a "con-science" (rat) once again? I remain pro-vaccine, but perhaps now I am more [aware of, sensitive to] "the other side of the story".

Old [doubts, questions]

To say that I am confused by recent reading on this issue isn't saying anything - I am always confused! To say that I am a slow learner is equally useless : I have long said that my friends have to hit me over the head with a 2 by 4 for ten years before ideas sink in. The issue of vaccines is a great example of that. I had already known and forgot :
  1. vaccines are far from being a complete protection
  2. health departments have to guess which flu virus will be a problem for the oncoming season long enough in advance to produce it. If they guess wrong - it won't help much.
  3. vaccines may not help with novel viruses, even if vaccines for know variants of the same disease have long been used. Rapid mutations of [viruses, bacteteria, microbes, parasites] have often been problematic in the past, leading to successive waves of epidemics. Apparently, the 1917-1918 Spaish flu was preceded by an earlier epidemic in 1916. Perhaps that is an example?
  4. There seems to be some sort of [association, correlation] of pandemics with solar activity for [influenza, malaria, cholera, ??, perhaps ebola], but not smallpox? My reading in 2005-2006 pointed this out - see the links to my presentations of that period. Many others noted this a long time ago! (perhaps hundreds or thousands of years ago?). Futhermore, if that [association, correlation] is correct, then it is perhaps the over-whelmingly dominant factor, a factor that essentially all modern experts are blind to?
  5. general vaccination programs may not have much benefit - I organised a small morning workshop at Natural Resources Canada back in ?date?, with several people attending from other departments. As it touched on the rubbish climate science, I was half-expecting to get fired, but blindly proceeded. One of the researchers from Health Canada presented her results for the the recent results of expanding the flu vaccination program in Ontario to ALL age groups (previously, it applied to the young and old only, while others could get a vaccine if they paid for it). As I write this 31May2020, my memory is rusty, but from what I remember the benefits of the expanded program at that time were either [very low, scarcely significant, zero]. Are these generalised vaccination programs a horrible mis-prioritisation of resources?
  6. Many people are afraid of vaccines, and some of those have learned from experience. It's very hard to nail down causes, but with enough people having the same stories, perhaps we should listen and look into it beyond [modern, politically-correct] health [research, policy]?
  7. Some studies have linked aspects of vaccinations with serious side effects for fractions of the population. Here I forget the details and won't follow-up any time soon : peerhaps egg albumin, etc?
  8. Most of the world's population doesn't seem to have the same problems as European-descended nations. Perhaps they just take the consequences as being part of a huge number of deadly diseases that they live with constantly, perhaps their immune systems are vastly better, perhaps "vulnerable" individuals died very young?
  9. Native populations have often been decimated by "invasive societies", sometimes intentionally. North America is a great example.
  10. Catapulting infected corpses over walls during a siege seems to have been popular for several thousand years (or infecting the water supply).

Gems from my recent reading, ~2015-2020

I certainly don't remember all of the references that I have gone through, but here are a few gems :

Peter Doshi, May2008 - The overall decline in influenza-attributed mortality over the 20th century cannot be the result of influenza vaccination?
DISCUSSION, page 4 : Implications for Influenza Vaccines, page :
Sacha Dobler 2018 - 1917-18 "Spanish flu deaths" may have been largely due to secondary infections?
Sacha Dobler's EXCELLENT book "Solar History" is a spell-binding dance through the last 1,000 year of global history. She has an uncanny ability to pick out rare gems of information and put them into context, going vastly beyond the capabilities of essentially all [government, academic] researchers. She provides this haunting information :

"...    ..."

Amazon Customer - Concerned about vaccines? Make an informed decision with this book. Classic on the debate which has raged for a century.
5.0 out of 5 stars, Reviewed in the United States on January 29, 2015

This is the first book I ever read on the subject of vaccination back in the 80s when I was just a teen. It sent me on a now three decades long continuing investigation of this fascinating subject. The history of vaccines was fascinating. It was eye opening to learn that vaccines can kill and permanently disable. I was shocked to discover that the claim that vaccines reduced or eliminated disease is a false correlation. As we all know, correlation is not causation. For example, you'll discover that most diseases that we currently vaccinate for declined to record lows BEFORE each of the vaccines were introduced. Then, with the sales of vaccines, vaccine creators claimed victory for the reduction in diseases that actually occurred before the actual introduction of vaccines.

This book influenced me greatly. After reading it, I went on to read dozens of books and hundreds of peer reviewed papers (I loved being a University student, as we always had access to all the journals through our free student accounts. If you are reading this, you might consider a single class at your local U just to get access for free as a student). The amount of information is overwhelming at times, especially if you are a parent trying to decide whether or not to vaccinate your child. However, once I ferreted out the conflicts of interests in various studies, tallied the alarming number of subjects in a study that are excluded for the reason that their continual inclusion would not yield the results the researchers were looking for and looked at the real risks of vaccines, the choice is obvious. Avoid vaccines, as historically they have not eradicated any diseases, but do pose a clear danger to the person who has vaccine ingredients injected directly into their body.

A great place to start if you are on the fence about vaccination is to talk to parents of children who have been harmed by vaccines. Although vaccine proponents will tell you it was coincidence, or that whatever they tell you is mere anecdote, I recommend you talk to them in spite of those who would try to prevent you from hearing their experience. Any good investigation will start with the history: what happened first, next and last. When I talked to parents of children who experienced vaccine injuries, I discovered that their case studies followed a clear pattern. First: my child was developing age appropriate skills. My child could talk, walk, smile, have a conversation, look me in the eye, had normal bowel movements and acceptable age appropriate behavior. Next: I took my child to the doctor and they had one/two/three/four/five vaccines at once. Some of those vaccines had multiple antigens, so many parents report as many as 8 vaccines/combo given in the same office visit. The child then had symptoms and behaviors they had never had before, such as lethargy and inability to wake up. Others relate that their children suffer from high pitched screaming, or encephalitic cry with their backs arched and arms thrown outward (encephalitis is brain swelling and can be very painful), they had a high fever, febrile seizures, became catatonic, diarrhea and vomiting within just a few days of the shots. Some of the parents report that after the shots, their children lost words and were no longer able to speak, lost the ability to walk and would not look them in the eye any longer, seemed agitated at what should be normal noise levels and many described children now walking on the balls of their feet and flapping their hands, sometimes spinning in circles or banging their heads against walls repeatedly. Then, they would call or bring their children to the doctor or hospital and relate the case history of the child: healthy, got shots, became sick and lost milestones and developed behaviors. Most of the parents I speak to then share how the doctors completely dismissed their concerns, told them it was merely coincidence and that the child's symptoms were definitely not related to the injections.

Some parents continued the shots and for many of them their children got worse. Other parents stopped allowing their children to be vaccinated and instead focused on recovering their children from the damage done to them and building their immune systems naturally to handle anything that might come their way. Most people are shocked to find out that in every State in the US it is possible and allowed to exempt yourselves and your children from taking any of the vaccines and still attend public and private schools. That is the decision my husband and I made for our children, who are absolutely vaccine free. As a result, our children have strong immune systems, no ADD, ADHD or learning disabilities and have never had a febrile seizure or any other type of seizure. Most of them have had chicken pox, whooping cough (even the baby and it was much less scary than what I was told) and the occasional cold or flu. Each time, their immune systems have been able to easily handle the problem and I am glad that they have developed lifelong immunity instead of being exposed to toxic vaccine ingredients, then going on to get the disease anyway like so many of the people who are "fully vaccinated" yet get the disease anyway.

In conclusion, this is an excellent book to start the investigation that you must undertake: what is best for you and your family. Vaccination is just one of many choices you have. For us, we chose to avoid all vaccines and their known toxic ingredients and have been satisfied with the results: happy, healthy children whose strong immune systems protect them from disease.

Anne Rooney - Dangerous and inaccurate nonsense
1.0 out of 5 stars, Reviewed in the United States on May 2, 2014

eg - According to the author, the 1918 flu pandemic was caused - not by the H1N1 flu virus - but by mass dumping of vaccines on the populace because World War I didn't last long enough for them all to be given to soldiers.

The only widely available prophylactic (=preventive, rather than post-exposure) vaccine at the start of WWI was for smallpox. There was a new vaccine for diphtheria but that was only given during an epidemic and once someone had been exposed to it. So there could be no dumping of vaccines. The few there were were also hard to produce, so there was no surplus. It's unreasoned rant against vaccination, that propogates factual errors.

Stephen Puetz 2011 "Universal Wave Series"
Howell : "... Oh how small are the worlds of the experts, but still too large for their minds. ..."

Are pandemics a very tiny theme that fits into an enormously [simple, powerful] framework tying together sub-atomic-to-universe-scale time series for [physics, astronomy, geology, climate, biology, evolution, health, psychology, sociology, organisational, market, history]?

It's hard to have huge confidence in scientific thinking that so often ignores the 800 pound gorillas in the room, or crocodiles in the swamp. Perhaps that will go down in history as a peculiar problem of [20th, 21st] century science. While I cannot be sure, epidemiology potentially has such a problem, if long-standing conclusions across a huge number of studies over time are confirmed for a wide variety of health issues.

The issue is that of possible astronomical [associations, correlations] of [health, disease, pandemics], which, unlike mainstream analysis in many cases : For beautiful wavelet analysis of spatio-temporal relationships, see the results of Paul Vaughn elsewhere on my web-site. Puetz co-author Prokoph also did impressive wavelet transform analysis in his collaboration with Tim Patterson at the University of Ottawa. Here I am referring only to people that I've had the pleasure of meeting, but of course there are many more.

But if we simplify our focus to time series only, without concern for spatial changes, then Stephen Puetz's work stands out alone. The only other comparison that I can think of is the system of 20+ Mayan calendars, but this is so tiny in comparison to Puetz's work!! Now for the strange part - my initial awareness of Puetz's work happened in 2015, when I read a paper that included Prokoph, Puetz, Glenn Borchardt (who I knew from either the Natural Philosophy Alliance or the Electric Universe communities, and I had a book of his)!! Weird. I then purchase 2 of Puetz's books. I also subscribe to his stock market newslettter, even though I am not an investor.

So how does Puetz's "Universal Wave Series" (UWS) relate to [health, disease, pandemics]? To my knowledge, Stephen Puetz has not looked at that particular theme. If we ASSUME that : Then it is possible for some of the pandemics to fit into a UWS-like framework, and it is quite possible that the benefits of vaccines, and the public's faith in them, are considerably exagerated. However, a supporting analysis is NOT provided here, only the question is raised.

My guess is that Puetz's work is simply to [big, powerful, incredible] for essentially all scientists, in spite of its extreme simplicity, in spite of the considerable supporting work, statistical method development, and statistical analysis supporting it. This is just too big for their minds, but hopefully I will be proved wrong soon. In science, one must usually wait for the old dogs to die, but within two generations a new breed of scientists, probably in foreign countries from I what I see in neural networks, may pick up the torche. Or perhaps in a few hundred years.

Howell :      "... No matter, it's just time, and not a matter of or for time. ..."

Stephen Puetz 2011 - References
I also include a couple of Robert Prechter references, and should add Harry S. Dent Jr. references.

Vaccines: so what should we conclude?
If you are interested in this topic, then by all means put some [time, work, thinking] into it, and you could perhaps beat the best. Maybe even someone with a dartboard could, I don't know.

Spengler's comments above bring back comments I've read in the past that decades later, it took some time to find the Spanish Flu in victims (Inuit women buried in permafrost?). There is apparently some problem understanding what made that strain so virulent?

Was the vaccine a big part of the problem, in contrast with contemporary huge successes with a smallpox vaccination program in the Phillipines (~1909?)?? Perhaps vaccine preparation was more problematic at the time, or they cut corners to vaccinate everyone that they could?

References: Is the effectiveness of vaccines over-rated, or sometimes problematic?

Please note that I have ONLY presented doubts about vaccines. I have not selected studies that show huge benefits, of which I am sure there are many. My point ISN'T to say that vaccines aren't effective, it is just to look "at the other sides" of the issue, and raise questions. I remain positive about their benefits, but unsure of how that quantifies, or if my opinion has any solid basis at all.

Doubtless there at tens of thousands (millions?) of scientific papers reporting the benefits of vaccination programs. That's nice, but no-where close to convincing to me. I never have confidence until I've gone through the mud myself, "listenting" to those that object to the overwhelmingly dominant mainstream scientific opinion. After that, I am not confident of conclusions, not even of questions.

Perhaps some day I will look more into this topic. After all, the catastrophic failure of [rational., logical, scientific] reasoning by essentially ALL [government, academic ] scientists is one of my dormant projects of [high, but inactive] priority.

I had never heard of the books reference by Dobler and listed below. (I am blind for lack of looking?). Nor have I yet purchased the books. There are [many, many] blog postings that these references are lies, but I saw no specific statements to the details of the authors. In other words, a critic must do his homework to a level commensurate with the information provided. Without this the critics are just more [waving arms, yapping].

Quite apart from the issue of the benefits of vaccines

Quite apart from the issue of the benefits of vaccines, the following questions do come to mind : I raised similar questions on my "corona virus" web-page, as it seems that policy-driven deaths (self-isolation, social distancing, business shut-downs) would cause far more deaths than the virus itself, using standard assumptions in economics (these I don't consider to be reliable, but they do drive policy). Moreover, the COVID-19 problem seems to be much worse for European-descended nations, and most of the world's population have miniscule rates (so far). Data collection etc can be problems, but many of those countries are advanced as we are (or more!).

Influenza pandemics - Tapping, Mathias, and Surkan (TMS) theory

  • K.F. Tapping, R.G. Mathias, D.L. Surkan, " Pandemics and solar activity" . This is an unpublished, expanded paper of the 2001 paper by the same authors, which is listed in the references below.

    My whole series of [health, disease, pandemics]-related web-pages started with the Tapping, Mathias, and Surkan (TMS) theory of solar influence over global influenza pandemics since 1700 (ref). That theory shows an association between the incidence of pandemics and a certain phase of the solar cycle, as illustrated in Figures 10 through 12. Figure 10 shows that, as one would expect, pandemics occur irrespective of the phase of solar activity. However, the solar signature is surprisingly high. Why would the risks of a world wide pandemic be over twice as high in one phase of solar activity compared to lower-risk periods? Other datasets (unpublished, but with not quite as high a confidence level) may indicate an even higher risk. Moreover, dynamic and solar-pandemic phase analysis has not even been tried, and this appears to be a key question posed by Figure 11. Why are some solar cycles skipped? Is this just a random thing, is it dependent on the solar-climate phasing, or is it dependent on other dynamics?

    Obviously, a great deal of research is going into the influence of climate change on health and disease (not to be confused with the junk [science, scientist]s of [CO2, climate]), so that will provide fertile information that can be tied in with models that incorporate the influence of astronomy and geology on climate The Tapping-Mathias-Surkan hypothesis of a pandemics correlation to solar activity (not as a primary variable) has been discussed in terms of the obvious climate link, but also in terms of direct solar radiation effects (eg UV and non-melanoma skin cancer as shown by others) or high rates of mutation driven by either solar or extremely high galactic radiation/ particles. There has also been discussion of possible immune system effects.

    A plot of start years of pandemics (shown as spikes) and sunspot number. Pandemics listed by Garrett (1994) are shown as spikes to 200, topped with diamonds, and those listed by Potter (1998) as spikes to 150, topped with squares. The square at the 50 level, in 1999, represents the flu epidemic of 1999-.

    The 1946, 1957, 1968 and 1977 pandemics (shown as spikes) on a plot of the 10.7cm Solar Flux index. The flux values prior to 1947 (shown dotted) are estimated from sunspot data, and those beyond 2000 (also dotted) are estimated from a previous activity cycle. The small spike in 1999 represents the influenza epidemic in progress at that time.

    Distribution of the Pandemics in both lists as a function of phase offset from solar activity maximum. Data are normalized for a maximum of 100. The solar activity minimum lies at a phase offset of ±0.5. The activity maximum is at a phase offset of 0. The data in arrett (1994) are shown in blue; those in Potter (1998) in brown. Sunspot Number is shown in red.

    The "skipped cycles" issue is especially interesting right now, as Figure 12 shows that the last two solar cycles were "skipped by influenza as a pandemic", so:
    We'll find out soon enough, but my assumption is that the strong reactions that we've seen in recent years to stamp out potential sources of pandemics, together with the high temperatures of the solar www. BillHowell.ca Mega Life, Mega Death, and the invisible hand of the Sun Page 14 of 73 driven Modern Warm Period, do not favor a pandemic anyways.

    Whether the sun-pandemic correlation is causative isn't really known yet, and it is still possible that the apparent relationship is a chance occurrence, although it is significant in a statistical sense. So the discussions above should not be taken as meaning that a causal link has been established. If one does assume that the relationship is causative, then why? The most obvious potential link could be the indirect role of the sun as a primary driver of climate changes, and the disease-climate linkage is a very intensive area of research and a key activity of climate science. That may provide much of the basic information needed, albeit for a theme in direct contradiction to the CO2 based thinking upon which the research is justified. However, another sun-pandemic link could be the solar magnetic field modulated variations in high energy (galactic) and lower energy (solar) radiation/particles. ?Aussie physicist? seems to have established a link between UV and non-melanoma skin cancers. Another TMS concept is the possible effect on the immune system, and "evolutionary epidemiology". In other words, perhaps there is a strong evolutionary advantage to having occasional epidemics of higher virulence, followed by relatively quiescent periods of more peaceful co-existence between disease and host.

    Of course, it is inappropriate to jump to too many hard conclusions on mere associations, but it is even worse to totally ignore data, especially when alternative theories are less well based. Other diseases have been looked at in a very preliminary fashion, without statistical analysis (see Howell "Ring around the rosies"). There are strong "visual indications" on the basis of extremely limited data that malaria, the bubonic plague, and cholera have a "solar signature", but not so much smallpox (although perhaps due to a lack of data). Measles and a couple of other diseases were recommended subjects of study, but nothing has been done for them.

    As far as cancers are concerned, preliminary searches didn't find anything beyond the Australian solar UV - non-melanoma link, but others may have already worked in this area. One interesting parallel is the concern over air crew exposure to circum-polar flights, especially during periods of peak solar activity (coronal mass ejections etc). Apparently, Lufthansa may have even implemented precautionary grounding of pregnant stewardesses even though there may not be convincing data of significant effects on the crews.

    But while we're on the subject of pandemics, Figure 13 is a very interesting illustration of the use of "virtual plagues" for evolutionary computation approaches to the solution of complex scientific and engineering problems that are "too difficult" for classical methods. The virtual plagues wipe out most of the population (we'll call these "solution agents" for simplicity, even though they're not "agents in the normal computational sense). The improve effectiveness of populations for finding solutions can be significant, and it makes one think if human disasters naturally accomplish the same thing! (At least there is some good that comes from the depths of despair?)

    There is much more to "Mega Life" and "Mega Death" than just pandemics as discussed in this section, but preliminary work has not been pulled together for locust swarms, crop diseases, floods, droughts, and natural factors that drive huge increases in agricultural productivity. And major campaigns of conquest are also of interest. These are for ongoing research.

    References: Tapping, Mathias, and Surkan (TMS) theory

    1. K.F. Tapping, R.G. Mathias, D.L. Surkan, "Pandemics and solar activity". Canadian J. Infectious Diseases, vol 12, no 1, pp 61-62, Jan-Feb 2001 (will have to remove from website unless I get permission).
    2. William F. Ruddiman "The anthropogenic greenhouse era began thousands of years ago" Climatic Change 61: 261-293, 2003 Peter McCandless "History 710/740: Research Seminar in Medical History" Spring 2003 mccandlessp@cofc.edu http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/collections/digital/syllabi/pdf/mccandless4.pdf
    3. K.F. Tapping, R.G. Mathias, D.L. Surkan "Pandemics and Solar Activity - Extended paper" Unpublished as of 09Mar06
    4. K.F. Tapping, R.G. Mathias, D.L. Surkan, "Influenza pandemics and solar activity". Canadian J. Infectious Diseases, vol 12, no 1, pp 61-62, Jan-Feb 2001
    5. Dianne L. Groll, David J. Thomson "Incidence of influenza in Ontario following the Universal Influenza Immunization Campaign" Vaccine xxx (2006) xxx-xxx (Elsevier journal in press as of Sep06)
    6. Norman F. Cantor "In the wake of the plague: The Black Death and the world it made", The Free Press, New York, 2001, pp245
    7. John M. Dunn "Life during the black death" Lucent Books, San Diego 2000 96pp
    8. Stephen Porter "The great plague" Sutton Publishing, Gloucester 1999 213pp
    9. S. Davis, M. Begon, L. De Bruyn, V.S. Ageyev, N.L. Klassovskly, S.B. Pole, H. Viljugrein, N. Chr. Stenseth, H. Leirs "Predictive Thresholds for Plague in Kazakhstan" Science, Volume 304, Issue 5671, 30 April 2004, Pages 736-738
    10. Germán Poveda, William Rojas, Martha L. Quiñones, Iván D. Vélez, Ricardo I. Mantilla, Daniel Ruiz, Juan S. Zuluaga, and Guillermo L. Rua "Coupling between Annual and ENSO Timescales in the Malaria Climate Association in Colombia" Environmental Health Perspectives, vol 109, no5, May 2001
    11. Lena Huldén, Larry Huldén, Kari Heliövaara "Endemic malaria: an 'indoor' disease in northern Europe. Historical data analysed" Malaria Journal 2005, 4:19 doi:10.1186/1475-2875-4-19
    12. Norman Longate "King cholera" 1966 Hamish Hamilton, London 271pp
    13. Sheldon Watts, 'Cholera and Civilization: Great Britain and India, 1817-1920', and 'Afterword: To the Epidemiologic Transition?', in S. Watts, Epidemics and History: Disease, Power and Imperialism (London, Yale University Press, 1997), 167-212; 269-79.
    14. Kenneth Todar "Vibrio cholerae and Asiatic Cholera" © 2005 University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Bacteriology http://textbookofbacteriology.net/cholera.html

    [Rebuttals, support] of the [astronomical, disease] correlation

    There have long been criticisms of [solar, disease] correlations (not so much for other astronomical factors), of which I list only a few here (perhaps many more at some future point of time) :
    Key issues for me :

    Break on through to the Dark Side

    This topic fits well into my theme "Lies, Damned Lies, and Scientists". Even though scientists are not the only group involved, the theme is universally applied to all home sapiens.
    See also : "Pandemics, health, and the sun" (menu above).

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