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First the link to this week's complete list as HTML and as PDF.
Aartsen et al. claim nothing more than
“associated” and socioeconomic status is, as we're all aware, correlated to quite a number of things. As such their result is unsurprising and conforms to the older hypothesis that more intelligent, higher functioning individuals can compensate for cognitive decline to a high degree, so its onset seems to occur later and the decline, when it does become obvious, to develop faster and steeper.
It is often stressed how unprecedented the current man-made climate change is supposed to be. I've long suspected that unprecedented here means unseen in most (younger) living people's memories. Nature's archive look this week reports on downpours of 200 and 325 mm respectively each within 24 hours. And of course the share of the world from which reports like these can reach us has risen dramatically since then and even more so for times longer ago. I'd rather not imagine what precipitation volumes like these would do in today's sealed landscapes and regulated rivers.
From the way Kaspari describes it, insects do not really create a microclimate to suit their temperature tolerance but this climate is a side effect occurring as a result of their feeding habits. If so their tolerance is simply adapted to the conditions they are regularly exposed to. Nothing at all especially remarkable here.
I don't see what's so novel about Koskela et al.'s approach. Cost avoidance and trying to grab as large a slice of subsidies as possible are nothing new by any means.
Williams et al. very strongly reminds us of Lelieveld et al. of last week. Yes, they do find some correlations in isolated, selected subgroups, if they search hard enough for them. Whether these slight presumed effects are at all noticeable within the natural spread and noise we're not told, but the summary statistics cited suggest otherwise.
For the lowest and highest income groups there is no recognizable effect at all, it's very slight for the second and only really present for the third quartile of income. As always we're not given any data whatsoever, but the fitted curves are drawn out over the full range of pollution exposures for all four subgroups. There is a very strong dependency on the season and if asthma is affected by PM2.5 at all, the effect seems to lag by several months. Yet they only look at synchronous –
“short-term impact” – correlations. Thirdly air quality is a mainly local phenomenon as far as I'm aware. Yet the median distance between subjects and air monitors is 16 km and they even included one person with his pollution level measured more than a thousand kilometres away.
And even accepting all that as valid and assuming their result to be reasonable, the claimed effect an intervention is expected to have on health spending on asthma medication amounts to less than 1 %. But this study is important enough to find space in the (imho) most prestigious science journal of all.
Abandoned mine shafts tend to be, well, abandoned. Morstyn et al. don't spend a single thought on maintenance and pumping cost.
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