Geoff Brumfiel Profile picture
I'm an editor/correspondent for @nprscience. Mostly smart on the radio. Mostly stupid on the Twitter. Nukes/Missiles/Space/Blimps/etc.
John Smith(Τζον Σμιθ)⚛ Profile picture 1 added to My Authors
14 Sep
Let's talk about doctors behaving badly. Specifically, licensed physicians who promote misinformation about COVID-19.

And let's start with one in particular: Simone Gold. I've spent much of the past few weeks listening to what she has to say...🧵…
Gold describes herself as an emergency physician or, sometimes "a board-certified emergency physician..." That's half-true...
She is a licensed physician in California, but her American Board of Emergency Medicine certification expired in December of 2020.
Read 15 tweets
20 Jul
Today on @MorningEdition, I walked through the life cycle of a vaccine lie.

It starts with a kernel of truth: After vax, many women anecdotally reported heavy periods. That's plausible, says @aliceluculligan, because immune cells aid in menstruation.…
But the clinical trials never asked women about their experiences with menstruation, so there's no data.

That created an opportunity for misinformation, says @MelanieFSmith (then at @Graphika_NYC).

For misinfo to thrive "there is always that gap of knowledge," she says.
@MelanieFSmith @Graphika_NYC There was plenty of chatter around the question of periods in groups and message boards. But one Facebook group turned out to be particularly influential. It was frequented by anti-vaccine activists who quickly picked up on the idea and ran with it...
Read 10 tweets
19 Jul
NEW: A key scientist who signed the letter calling for investigation into the lab leak theory now says a natural origin "is the most likely scenario by a long shot."

It's based on his own analysis of where the first cases were found. (by @FoodieScience)…
@FoodieScience Evolutionary biologist Michael Worobey, who's studied the origins of the 1918 flu and the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in America. He initially signed the letter because he hadn't seen anything that differentiated whether it came from the markets or the lab.
@FoodieScience But two things have swayed him that the market is (again) the most likely origin.

1. Initial cases clearly radiate out away from the markets, not the lab.

2. A newly published paper shows numerous live animals were being sold in the market...…
Read 6 tweets
1 Jul
🚨🚨SCOOPLET!🚨🚨 China is expanding its mysterious, giant airfield in the middle of the desert. New (28 June) imagery from @Maxar shows a dozen or so buildings under construction at the site.

This may be China's Area 51 under construction.

Full Story:…
This airstrip is huge at 5km (3 mi). It's weird in several ways:

✅Its in the middle of nowhere, on the edge of an abandoned nuclear test site at Lop Nur.

✅It doesn't have normal aistrip stuff, like taxiways, aprons or control towers.

✅Did I mention it's GINORMOUSLY LONG?
Last year its believed that China landed a classified "space plane" at the site. That's in part because the runway JUST HAPPENED to align perfectly with the space plane's orbital path.

Read 13 tweets
14 Jun
Short 🧵: Data from the Chinese National Nuclear Safety Administration does seem to indicate a *slightly* elevated level of gamma radiation around the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant. These are the two monitoring stations closest (one on the left is at the plant).
The full list of monitoring at Chinese NPPs is here:…

As of yesterday, Taishan is at 153 nGy/h (153 nanograys per hour). That's above the level of other plants in the country.
The levels at both sites near Taishan NPP also seem to have been elevated since at least late May. This may be an indication that this has been going on for awhile, and is not an immediate emergency.
Read 19 tweets
26 Mar
And now @MAXAR's worldview satellite has supplied high-resolution imaging from earlier this very day, showing that there is still a ship stuck in the Suez Canal. #OSINTatWork
I would just like to point out that we now have confirmation of a ship stuck in the Suez Canal using multiple space-based sensors.
We also have imagery at different resolutions... And different nadir angles at different times of day... (credit: @Maxar @Airbus @planetlabs and @capellaspace for that previous tweet)
Read 10 tweets
17 Nov 20
OMG, @rebeccalramirez just put me on to the CDC's "coping with COVID" coloring book for kids, and it's an exercise in anxiety.

Not sure I'll sleep tonight.
I'm the grown-up and I feel ALL OF THESE THINGS!
It's not your fault Timmy. It's happening. You're powerless to stop it. It is affecting every aspect of your life, and your loved ones may be in danger.

... says Rover, the friendly dog.

(Also CDC guidance indicates pets can carry COVID. BACK OFF ROVER…)
Read 5 tweets
9 Nov 20
A lot of people are tweeting about how this new Pfizer vaccine finding has not been peer-reviewed. That's true, but it's also important to understand that academic peer-review is not the only way to be scientifically rigorous... 🧵
In the case of clinical trials, there are a number of methods to keep bias out of data. One is to "blind" the trial, so that both patients and those administering the vaccine don't know who gets the drug and who gets the placebo. This trial was fully blinded.
In other words, patients, scientists, clinicians, and even Pfizer executives had no idea who got the vaccine and who didn't. Only a small team of statisticians and medical monitors remained unblinded to keep the trial on track. They had no direct contact with the trial team.
Read 11 tweets
9 Sep 20
HI EVERYBODY! Over the past few days, I've been thinking a lot about this mysterious airstrip in China.

This is the place where @planet4589 @Marco_Langbroek @DutchSpace and others think China's new space plane landed on 6 Sept... (photo 8 Sep via @planetlabs).

Let's talk!
First off, if you're in need of big picture view, check out this story featuring @brianweeden and @planet4589, which gives a nice summary of where things stand (an audio version also be on @npratc tonight!).

Now that you're caught up, let's GET TO IT!…
The airstrip literally appeared out of nowhere in 2016. It's on the edge of an old Chinese nuclear test site called Lop Nur (sometimes Lop Nor). And it's unusual for a couple of reasons....…
Read 18 tweets
24 Jul 20
President Trump keeps saying that sooner or later SARS-CoV-2 will "disappear."

But this idea that somehow the pandemic will burn itself out doesn't hold up. Here's why. (DEPRESSING-ISH FRI THREAD)…
First, the theory: It's known as "herd immunity". If enough people catch COVID-19 and recover, and if they are immune, then the entire population will be protected. Estimates vary widely, but somewhere between 50%-80% of a given pop would need to catch COVID for this to work.
Herd immunity is real, but historically only discussed in terms of vaccination campaigns.

For example, if 95% of a population is vaccinated against measles (very contagious) then a single case cannot spread into the community.
Read 16 tweets
28 Jan 20
Wow. Wow. Wow. Reading through the criminal complaint against nanotechnology researcher Charles Lieber at Harvard (courtsey of @relucasz). This is nuts.

Lieber was offered $50,000 a month and $150K+ for collaborating with Wuhan University of Technology.
@relucasz The FBI alleges that this was part of China's Thousand Talents Program, to recruit Western researchers and steal intellectual property.

Lieber was offered cash (and apparently accepted).
@relucasz Wuhan University established the WUT-Harvard Joint Nano Key Laboratory based on the agreement with Lieber... But HARVARD never knew anything about it. When they found out about it in 2015, Lieber denied everything.
Read 5 tweets
30 Aug 19
NEW: President Trump Tweets Sensitive Surveillance Image of Iran…

(with comments from @nktpnd and @mhanham )
@nktpnd @mhanham To recap, earlier today, President Trump tweeted a REALLY clear picture of an accident at Iran's space launch facility. The picture is far better quality than what the best commercial satellites (like those operated by @Maxar) can produce. See for yourself.
@nktpnd @mhanham @Maxar Experts like @nktpnd and @mhanham have never seen anything like it. They firmly believe it came from a classified source. Both the White House and the @ODNIgov declined to comment.
Read 8 tweets
19 Aug 19
. @ctbto_alerts confirms that 4 IMS stations are offline in Russia.

RUP61; Dubna: the last message received in the International Data Centre (IDC) was 2019/08/10 03:16:59 (IDC received time UTC)

RUP54; Kirov: the last message received in IDC was 2019/08/10 06:19:31 UTC
@ctbto_alerts The other two stations went offline on August 13th.
@ctbto_alerts All four outages came just days after an accident that may have involved the nuclear-powered SSC-X-9 Skyfall missile. Five ROSATOM employees were confirmed dead in that incident. It happened on August 8. The stations are CTBTO funded, but operated by local Russian institutions.
Read 6 tweets
24 Jan 19
GUYS! I'm going to watch the entire W76-1 LEP celebration from Pantex yesterday and tweet about it in this thread...

First thing I learned: "Pantexan" is a word.
First up, NNSA director Lisa Gordon-Hagerty: W76-1 LEP started in October 1998, with first production unit in Sep of '08. Last unit produced in Dec 2018. So ~20 years end-to-end...
LGH: W76-1 required "significant modifications" to the warhead. The 76-1 extends warhead life by 20+ years. It incorporates nuclear surety enhancements and minimizes certification risks in the absence of testing.
Read 25 tweets