The RISKS Digest
Volume 31 Issue 91

Friday, 29th May 2020

Forum on Risks to the Public in Computers and Related Systems

ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy, Peter G. Neumann, moderator

Please try the URL privacy information feature enabled by clicking the flashlight icon above. This will reveal two icons after each link the body of the digest. The shield takes you to a breakdown of Terms of Service for the site - however only a small number of sites are covered at the moment. The flashlight take you to an analysis of the various trackers etc. that the linked site delivers. Please let the website maintainer know if you find this useful or not. As a RISKS reader, you will probably not be surprised by what is revealed…


The robots that can pick kiwi-fruit
Google warns against catch-all rules for high-risk AI
Smart home assistants have a staggering environmental cost
New Android Flaw Affecting Over 1 Billion Phones Let Attackers Hijack Apps
The Hacker News
GRU aiming at root access vuln in Unix-based email servers
Programming Languages: Developers Reveal What They Love, Loathe, and What Pays Best
Politico is aggregating reports re contact tracing
China's Virus Apps May Outlast the Outbreak, Stirring Privacy Fears
Your immunity passport future begins to materialize as airlines call for digital ID tracking systems
Temperature Checks and Desk Shields: CDC Suggests Big Changes to Offices
The art of the distraction
via Dave Farber
Executive order on social media
The White House and Rob Slade
Twitter hides two Trump tweets glorifying violence behind warning notice
Trump Is Doing All of This For Zuckerberg
The Atlantic
New ComRAT Malware Uses Gmail to Receive Commands and Exfiltrate Data
The Hacker News
Re: Misinformation
Andy Walker
Re: More on the Tweeter and the Tweetee
Amos Shapir
Re: The Pandemic Is Exposing the Limits of Science
R. G. Newbury
Re: Vitamin C
R. G. Newbury Amos Shapir Andre Carezia
Info on RISKS (comp.risks)

The robots that can pick kiwi-fruit (

Richard Stein <>
Sat, 30 May 2020 09:33:11 +0800

“In fields around the world, ripening fruit and vegetables that should be getting picked, packaged and shipped to supermarkets were instead at risk of being left to rot in their fields. Farmers have been struggling to find the people they needed to harvest them.”

The essay cites numerous risks which the farmbot competes against age-old human harvesters: non-standardized crop growing techniques, farm terrain/geography, vine and fruit/crop structure, packaging produce for sale, etc.

Farmbot deployment requires substantial investment to engineer, prepare, and maintain it. No mention of the harvest quantity destroyed or unpicked during operation. While substantially immune to insect infestation, software bug suppression remains a challenge.

Industrial-scale farming has a rapacious for-profit appetite, be it animal or plant. Government subsidies may promote farmbot deployment as a means to suppress migrant worker populations.

Google warns against catch-all rules for high-risk AI (Politico)

“Peter G. Neumann” <>
Fri, 29 May 2020 8:32:55 PDT

The European Union should adopt its existing rules for high-risk artificial intelligence technology rather than create a whole new rulebook from scratch, U.S. tech giant Google told Brussels in its feedback to the EU=92s White Paper for AI. =93Creating a standalone assessment scheme for AI systems would risk duplicating review procedures that already govern many higher risk products,—the company said in a 45-page response<> sent to the European Commission yesterday, adding that this would lead to =93needless complexity—and weaken the Continent=92s standing in the global race for AI supremacy.

FACIAL RECOGNITION: The Center for Data Ethics and Innovation has put together a handy on facial recognition, looking at its uses and potential implications for the technology. The main thrust? That facial recognition is here to stay, but that there's still not enough regulatory oversight of how it's currently used. report<>

Smart home assistants have a staggering environmental cost (CBC Docs POV)

the keyboard of geoff goodfellow <>
Fri, 29 May 2020 05:54:00 -1000

There are already 66 million smart assistants in US homes and the number is growing daily. But what are we trading for the convenience of turning the lights on with our voice? #CBCdocsPOV #TheInternetofEverything

Director Brett Gaylor looks for an answer with his daughter Layla as they learn about the processing power involved in the machine learning powering Alexa and the enormous amount of energy it takes.

Between the massive amount of non-renewable energy required to power their web servers and the pollution generated by its delivery service, Amazon's carbon footprint continues to grow. In 2019, staff protests prompted shareholders to confront management, to demand a plan for climate change and a reduction of the company's dependence on fossil fuels.

The Internet of Everything, from CBC Docs POV is a fast, funny and enlightening look at what happens when we opt for the convenience of connected “smart” objects, without fully understanding the consequences for our health, our communities, or the planet. […]

New Android Flaw Affecting Over 1 Billion Phones Let Attackers Hijack Apps (The Hacker News)

the keyboard of geoff goodfellow <>
Fri, 29 May 2020 05:52:00 -1000

Remember Strandhogg?

A security vulnerability affecting Android <> that malicious apps can exploit to masquerade as any other app installed on a targeted device to display fake interfaces to the users, tricking them into giving away sensitive information.

Late last year, at the time of its public disclosure, researchers also confirmed that some attackers were already exploiting the flaw in the wild to steal users' banking and other login credentials, as well as to spy on their activities.

The same team of Norwegian cybersecurity researchers today unveiled <> details of a new critical vulnerability (CVE-2020-0096) affecting the Android operating system that could allow attackers to carry out a much more sophisticated version of Strandhogg attack. […]

GRU aiming at root access vuln in Unix-based email servers (NSA)

“Peter G. Neumann” <>
Fri, 29 May 2020 8:11:04 PDT

NYT article:

The U.S. National Security Agency on Thursday warned government partners and private companies about a Russian hacking operation that uses a special intrusion technique to target operating systems often used by industrial firms to manage computer infrastructure. Sandworm Actors Exploiting Vulnerability in Exim Transfer Agent 20200528.pdf

A security alert published by the NSA on Thursday explains how hackers with GRU, Russia's military intelligence, are leveraging a software vulnerability in Exim, a mail transfer agent common on Unix-based operating systems, such as Linux. The vulnerability was patched last year, but some users have not updated their systems to close the security gap.

Quoting Cress, “Being able to gain root access to a bridge point into a network gives you so much ability and capability to read email, to navigate across and maneuver through the network, so it's more about the danger we're trying to help people understand.”

Programming Languages: Developers Reveal What They Love, Loathe, and What Pays Best (ZDNet)

ACM TechNews <>
Fri, 29 May 2020 12:40:40 -0400 (EDT)

Liam Tung, ZDNet, 28 May 2020 via ACM TechNews, 29 May 2020

A survey of roughly 65,000 developers by coding question and answer website Stack Overflow found that that TypeScript has overtaken Python as the secod most-preferred programming language, behind Rust. Stack Overflow credits TypeScript's growth to Microsoft's adoption of open source software, and to bigger and more complex JavaScript and Node.js codebases. The three least-popular coding languages in the survey were VBA, Objective-C, and Perl. The survey, which also looked at average salaries for developer roles, identified the two highest-paid developer professions in the U.S. as engineering managers ($152,000 annually) and site reliability engineers ($140,000 annually). Data scientists and machine learning specialists earn an average of at least $115,000 in the U.S., according to the survey.

Politico is aggregating reports re contact tracing (Politico)

“Peter G. Neumann” <>
Fri, 29 May 2020 8:17:11 PDT

Coronavirus Apps

French App Update, Stats of the Day: Now that local politicians have given their approval, the contact-tracing tool will go live on June 2. But if recent polls are anything to go by, the French are still torn about whether to use the app. Let's leave aside the fact that almost one out of every four locals does not have a smartphone. But according to a survey by Data Publica in early May, 59 percent of those polled said that they were in favor of the StopCovid app. So far, so good, right? <

But in the same survey, 51 percent of people said they were not prepared to download the app onto their mobile devices, with only 15 percent (that's a very small minority, if Morning Tech is keeping count) of those polled saying they would do so. What should we take from this? If the U.K. app trial is anything to go, uptake on these coronavirus apps may prove less than ideal, potentially hobbling them even before they really get going. by<>

The U.K.'s non-app approach: While London rolled out its ‘track-and-trace’ system today, the digital tracing tool was nowhere to be seen. Morning Tech was told the Brits still hoped to have it available sometime in June (a month after it was supposed to be released), but that ongoing issues about keeping the bluetooth on people's smartphones working when devices were in sleep mode was still an issue. Still, if you had any doubts about if the U.K. was taking the coronavirus seriously, the privacy notice in its ‘track-and-trace’ system will either put your concerns to rest or make you even more nervous. London said it planned to hold on to people's personal information for 20 years—just in case the virus came back sometime in the future.

Dutch go with Google/Apple for app: The design team behind The Netherlands' contact-tracing app posted documents detailing their approach on software development sharing platform GitHub. The group—made up of a mix of external consultants and government employees—plan to build their app within Google and Apple's framework. The Dutch health ministry quietly assembled developers to work on an app after a gameshow-esque app-athon it livestreamed to choose a design team fell flat. <>

‘Old wine in new bottles’: That's how Bè Engels of Dutch digital rights NGO Bits of Freedom—which declined to be part of an expert subgroup overseeing the app—described the government's shifting approach. =93The Ministry of Health has taken the media uproar of the past few weeks around this app as a sign that 1) less transparency during the process means less criticism and 2) they'll need to change the public's perception of the app and now refers to the ‘contact-tracing app’ as a ‘notification app’, due to launch somewhere in July.—Echoing an earlier intervention by the country's data protection watchdog, Engels said he thought that fundamental questions—still had to be answered, such as whether contact-tracing apps really work. <>

China's Virus Apps May Outlast the Outbreak, Stirring Privacy Fears (NYTimes)

Monty Solomon <>
Fri, 29 May 2020 18:03:56 -0400

With the disease there mostly under control, officials are looking for new uses for the government software that's now on many phones.

Your immunity passport future begins to materialize as airlines call for digital ID tracking systems (activistpost)

geoff goodfellow <>
Fri, 29 May 2020 05:51:00 -1000

The world's largest airline trade group has called for immunity passports, thermal screening, masks, and physical distancing to be a part of the industry's strategy for returning to “normal” operations.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents 299 airlines, recently issued their publication, Biosecurity for Air Transport A Roadmap for Restarting Aviation <> <>, which outlines their strategy to open up air travel as governments begin to lift travel restrictions.

Under a section titled, “The passenger experience” and “Temporary biosecurity measures,” the IATA describes their vision of post-COVID-19 flights. The organization calls for contact tracing, a controversial method of tracking the civilian population to track the spread of COVID-19. <>

“We foresee the need to collect more detailed passenger contact information which can be used for tracing purposes,” the report states. “Where possible, the data should be collected in electronic form, and in advance of the passenger arriving at the airport including through eVisa and electronic travel authorization platforms.”

Interestingly, this call for pre-boarding check-in using “electronic travel authorization platforms” coincides with the recent announcement of the Covi-Pass <> and the Health Pass from Clear <>, both of which call for a digital ID system using biometrics and storing travel, health, and identification data.

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's CEO, told Arabian Industry that “a layered approach” combining multiple measures which are “globally implemented and mutually recognized by governments” are “the way forward for biosecurity.” […]


Temperature Checks and Desk Shields: CDC Suggests Big Changes to Offices (NYTimes)

Monty Solomon <>
Thu, 28 May 2020 21:47:51 -0400

If followed, the guidelines would transform the everyday experience of employees across the country, from executives to clerical workers.

The art of the distraction (via Dave Farber)

Bloomberg Technology <>
May 29, 2020 at 20:19:19 GMT+9

Hi all, it's Eric. Donald Trump loves political theater. The president's tendency to chase drama first and foremost is obvious even what he's ostensibly trying to do is overhaul decades-old communications regulations.

For most of the week, Trump has been raging about Twitter Inc.'s decision to attach fact-checking disclaimers to messages of his that make baseless arguments about voter fraud. On Thursday, the president signed an executive order designed to stop social media companies from taking any action against misleading or otherwise offensive posts. Such a move was needed, according to Trump, “to protect and uphold the free speech rights of the American people.”

This was the administration's most substantial attack on Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, a law it has had in its sights for quite some time. Section 230 provides some legal protections for companies from being sued over content their users post to their websites. The law has its critics from across the political spectrum; conservatives have been increasingly interested in stripping the protections as a way to punish companies for allegedly disfavoring political right. Trump's order would potentially narrow the Section 230's protections, and increase scrutiny of perceived political bias. […]

Executive order on social media (The White House)

Rob Slade <>
Fri, 29 May 2020 10:12:08 -0700

Original text:

Text with annotations and translations below:


In view of the whole situation, this is more than somewhat ironic …

> By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws > of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

> Section 1. Policy. Free speech is the bedrock of American democracy. Our > Founding Fathers protected this sacred right with the First Amendment to > the Constitution. The freedom to express and debate ideas is the > foundation for all of our rights as a free people.

No problem.

> In a country that has long cherished the freedom of expression, we cannot > allow a limited number of online platforms to hand pick the speech that > Americans may access and convey on the internet. This practice is > fundamentally un-American and anti-democratic. When large, powerful social > media companies censor opinions with which they disagree, they exercise a > dangerous power. They cease functioning as passive bulletin boards, and > ought to be viewed and treated as content creators.

“In America, freedom of the press is largely reserved for those who own one.”

- A. J. Liebling

> The growth of online platforms in recent years raises important questions > about applying the ideals of the First Amendment to modern communications > technology. Today, many Americans follow the news, stay in touch with > friends and family, and share their views on current events through social > media and other online platforms. As a result, these platforms function in > many ways as a 21st century equivalent of the public square.

Ah, my beloved Internet, filled with pointless drivel …

> Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube wield immense, if not > unprecedented, power to shape the interpretation of public events; to > censor, delete, or disappear information; and to control what people see or > do not see.

“You must use this power only for good, never for evil …”

> As President, I have made clear my commitment to free and open debate on the > internet. Such debate is just as important online as it is in our > universities, our town halls, and our homes. It is essential to sustaining > our democracy.

It's always good to throw in some humour in a tense situation.

> Online platforms are engaging in selective censorship that is harming our > national discourse. Tens of thousands of Americans have reported, among > other troubling behaviors, online platforms "flagging" content as > inappropriate, even though it does not violate any stated terms of service; > making unannounced and unexplained changes to company policies that have the > effect of disfavoring certain viewpoints; and deleting content and entire > accounts with no warning, no rationale, and no recourse.

a) There is, of course, no evidence for this assertion, but I feel in my gut that it's right.
b) Those who write their names on bathroom stalls also want laws against wall cleansers.

> Twitter now selectively decides to place a warning label on certain tweets > in a manner that clearly reflects political bias. As has been reported, > Twitter seems never to have placed such a label on another politician's > tweet. As recently as last week, Representative Adam Schiff was continuing > to mislead his followers by peddling the long-disproved Russian Collusion > Hoax, and Twitter did not flag those tweets. Unsurprisingly, its officer > in charge of so-called "Site Integrity" has flaunted his political bias in > his own tweets.

“I want to be able to spread outright lies like these without retrictions.”

> At the same time online platforms are invoking inconsistent, irrational, > and groundless justifications to censor or otherwise restrict Americans' > speech here at home, several online platforms are profiting from and > promoting the aggression and disinformation spread by foreign governments > like China. One United States company, for example, created a search > engine for the Chinese Communist Party that would have blacklisted > searches for "human rights," hid data unfavorable to the Chinese Communist > Party, and tracked users determined appropriate for surveillance. It also > established research partnerships in China that provide direct benefits to > the Chinese military. Other companies have accepted advertisements paid > for by the Chinese government that spread false information about China's > mass imprisonment of religious minorities, thereby enabling these abuses > of human rights. They have also amplified China's propaganda abroad, > including by allowing Chinese government officials to use their platforms > to spread misinformation regarding the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, > and to undermine pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.


> As a Nation, we must foster and protect diverse viewpoints in today's > digital communications environment where all Americans can and should have > a voice. We must seek transparency and accountability from online > platforms, and encourage standards and tools to protect and preserve the > integrity and openness of American discourse and freedom of expression.

But only for our side.

> Sec. 2. Protections Against Online Censorship. (a) It is the policy of the > United States to foster clear ground rules promoting free and open debate > on the internet. Prominent among the ground rules governing that debate is > the immunity from liability created by section 230(c) of the > Communications Decency Act (section 230(c)). 47 U.S.C. 230(c). It is the > policy of the United States that the scope of that immunity should be > clarified: the immunity should not extend beyond its text and purpose to > provide protection for those who purport to provide users a forum for free > and open speech, but in reality use their power over a vital means of > communication to engage in deceptive or pretextual actions stifling free > and open debate by censoring certain viewpoints.

“We already have a law.”

> Section 230(c) was designed to address early court decisions holding that, > if an online platform restricted access to some content posted by others, > it would thereby become a "publisher" of all the content posted on its > site for purposes of torts such as defamation. As the title of section > 230(c) makes clear, the provision provides limited liability "protection" > to a provider of an interactive computer service (such as an online > platform) that engages in "'Good Samaritan' blocking" of harmful > content. In particular, the Congress sought to provide protections for > online platforms that attempted to protect minors from harmful content and > intended to ensure that such providers would not be discouraged from > taking down harmful material. The provision was also intended to further > the express vision of the Congress that the internet is a "forum for a > true diversity of political discourse." 47 U.S.C. 230(a)(3). The limited > protections provided by the statute should be construed with these > purposes in mind.

“We already have a law.”

> In particular, subparagraph (c)(2) expressly addresses protections from > "civil liability" and specifies that an interactive computer service > provider may not be made liable "on account of" its decision in "good > faith" to restrict access to content that it considers to be "obscene, > lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing or otherwise > objectionable." It is the policy of the United States to ensure that, to > the maximum extent permissible under the law, this provision is not > distorted to provide liability protection for online platforms that—far > from acting in "good faith" to remove objectionable content—instead > engage in deceptive or pretextual actions (often contrary to their stated > terms of service) to stifle viewpoints with which they disagree. Section > 230 was not intended to allow a handful of companies to grow into titans > controlling vital avenues for our national discourse under the guise of > promoting open forums for debate, and then to provide those behemoths > blanket immunity when they use their power to censor content and silence > viewpoints that they dislike. When an interactive computer service > provider removes or restricts access to content and its actions do not > meet the criteria of subparagraph (c)(2)(A), it is engaged in editorial > conduct. It is the policy of the United States that such a provider should > properly lose the limited liability shield of subparagraph (c)(2)(A) and > be exposed to liability like any traditional editor and publisher that is > not an online provider.

“We'd like to modify that law, without actually getting Congress to change it.”

> (b) To advance the policy described in subsection (a) of this section, all > executive departments and agencies should ensure that their application of > section 230(c) properly reflects the narrow purpose of the section and > take all appropriate actions in this regard. In addition, within 60 days > of the date of this order, the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary), in > consultation with the Attorney General, and acting through the National > Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), shall file a > petition for rulemaking with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) > requesting that the FCC expeditiously propose regulations to clarify:

“We'd like to modify that law, without actually getting Congress to change it.”

> (i) the interaction between subparagraphs (c)(1) and (c)(2) of section 230, > in particular to clarify and determine the circumstances under which a > provider of an interactive computer service that restricts access to content > in a manner not specifically protected by subparagraph (c)(2)(A) may also > not be able to claim protection under subparagraph (c)(1), which merely > states that a provider shall not be treated as a publisher or speaker for > making third-party content available and does not address the provider's > responsibility for its own editorial decisions;

“We'd like to modify that law, without actually getting Congress to change it.”

> (ii) the conditions under which an action restricting access to or > availability of material is not “taken in good faith” within the meaning > of subparagraph (c)(2)(A) of section 230, particularly whether actions can > be “taken in good faith” if they are:

> (A) deceptive, pretextual, or inconsistent with a provider's terms of > service; or

> (B) taken after failing to provide adequate notice, reasoned explanation, > or a meaningful opportunity to be heard; and

> (iii) any other proposed regulations that the NTIA concludes may be > appropriate to advance the policy described in subsection (a) of this > section.

“We'd like to modify that law, without actually getting Congress to change it.”

> Sec. 3. Protecting Federal Taxpayer Dollars from Financing Online > Platforms That Restrict Free Speech. (a) The head of each executive > department and agency (agency) shall review its agency's Federal spending > on advertising and marketing paid to online platforms. Such review shall > include the amount of money spent, the online platforms that receive > Federal dollars, and the statutory authorities available to restrict their > receipt of advertising dollars.

> (b) Within 30 days of the date of this order, the head of each agency shall > report its findings to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

> (c) The Department of Justice shall review the viewpoint-based speech > restrictions imposed by each online platform identified in the report > described in subsection (b) of this section and assess whether any online > platforms are problematic vehicles for government speech due to viewpoint > discrimination, deception to consumers, or other bad practices.

“If we can't change the law, we'll try and hit them in the pocketbook.”

class="pre"> > Sec. 4. Federal Review of Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices. (a) It is > the policy of the United States that large online platforms, such as > Twitter and Facebook, as the critical means of promoting the free flow of > speech and ideas today, should not restrict protected speech. The Supreme > Court has noted that social media sites, as the modern public square, "can > provide perhaps the most powerful mechanisms available to a private > citizen to make his or her voice heard." Packingham v. North Carolina, 137 > S. Ct. 1730, 1737 (2017). Communication through these channels has become > important for meaningful participation in American democracy, including to > petition elected leaders. These sites are providing an important forum to > the public for others to engage in free expression and > debate. Cf. PruneYard Shopping Center v. Robins, 447 U.S. 74, 85-89 > (1980).

“We've got lots more high-sounding verbiage.”

> (b) In May of 2019, the White House launched a Tech Bias Reporting tool to > allow Americans to report incidents of online censorship. In just weeks, > the White House received over 16,000 complaints of online platforms > censoring or otherwise taking action against users based on their > political viewpoints. The White House will submit such complaints > received to the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission > (FTC).

“I'm going to tell my base on you!”

> (c) The FTC shall consider taking action, as appropriate and consistent > with applicable law, to prohibit unfair or deceptive acts or practices in > or affecting commerce, pursuant to section 45 of title 15, United States > Code. Such unfair or deceptive acts or practice may include practices by > entities covered by section 230 that restrict speech in ways that do not > align with those entities' public representations about those practices.

“I've got lots of random complaints that we can use to tie up your lawyers!”

> (d) For large online platforms that are vast arenas for public debate, > including the social media platform Twitter, the FTC shall also, > consistent with its legal authority, consider whether complaints allege > violations of law that implicate the policies set forth in section 4(a) of > this order. The FTC shall consider developing a report describing such > complaints and making the report publicly available, consistent with > applicable law.

“We'd like to modify that law, without actually getting Congress to change it.”

> Sec. 5. State Review of Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices and > Anti-Discrimination Laws. (a) The Attorney General shall establish a > working group regarding the potential enforcement of State statutes that > prohibit online platforms from engaging in unfair or deceptive acts or > practices. The working group shall also develop model legislation for > consideration by legislatures in States where existing statutes do not > protect Americans from such unfair and deceptive acts and practices. The > working group shall invite State Attorneys General for discussion and > consultation, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law.

“We'd like to modify that law, without actually getting Congress to change it.”

> (b) Complaints described in section 4(b) of this order will be shared with > the working group, consistent with applicable law. The working group shall > also collect publicly available information regarding the following:

> (i) increased scrutiny of users based on the other users they choose to > follow, or their interactions with other users;

> (ii) algorithms to suppress content or users based on indications of > political alignment or viewpoint;

> (iii) differential policies allowing for otherwise impermissible > behavior, when committed by accounts associated with the Chinese > Communist Party or other anti-democratic associations or governments;

“I've got lots of random complaints that we can use to tie up your lawyers!”

> (iv) reliance on third-party entities, including contractors, media > organizations, and individuals, with indicia of bias to review content; > and

See “pocketbook,” above.

> (v) acts that limit the ability of users with particular viewpoints to > earn money on the platform compared with other users similarly situated.

“We'll get you in the pocketbook, my pretty, and your little users, too!”

> Sec. 6. Legislation. The Attorney General shall develop a proposal for > Federal legislation that would be useful to promote the policy objectives > of this order.

“We'd like to modify that law, without actually getting Congress to change it.”

> Sec. 7. Definition. For purposes of this order, the term "online platform" > means any website or application that allows users to create and share > content or engage in social networking, or any general search engine.

No problem.

> Sec. 8. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to > impair or otherwise affect:

> (i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, > or the head thereof; or

> (ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and > Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

> (b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and > subject to the availability of appropriations.

> (c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or > benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any > party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, > its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

"They told me I had to put this in, but I don't have to like it …"

> DONALD J. TRUMP > THE WHITE HOUSE, > May 28, 2020.

Twitter hides two Trump tweets glorifying violence behind warning notice (CNN)

Lauren Weinstein <>
Fri, 29 May 2020 08:23:15 -0700

[I fully support Twitter in these actions.]

Trump Is Doing All of This For Zuckerberg (The Atlantic)

Lauren Weinstein <>
Fri, 29 May 2020 15:24:48 -0700

New ComRAT Malware Uses Gmail to Receive Commands and Exfiltrate Data (The Hacker News)

the keyboard of geoff goodfellow <>
Fri, 29 May 2020 05:53:00 -1000

Cybersecurity researchers today uncovered a new advanced version of ComRAT backdoor, one of the earliest known backdoors used by the Turla APT group, that leverages Gmail's web interface to covertly receive commands and exfiltrate sensitive data.

“ComRAT v4 was first seen in 2017 and known still to be in use as recently as January 2020,” cybersecurity firm ESET said in a report <> shared with The Hacker News. “We identified at least three targets: two Ministries of Foreign Affairs in Eastern Europe and a national parliament in the Caucasus region.”

Turla <>, also known as Snake, has been active for over a decade with a long history of the watering hole and spear-phishing campaigns against embassies and military organizations at least since 2004.

The group's espionage platform started off as Agent.BTZ <>, in 2007, before it evolved to ComRAT <>, in addition to gaining additional capabilities to achieve persistence and to steal data from a local network. […]

Re: Misinformation (Baker, RISKS-31.90)

Andy Walker <>
Fri, 29 May 2020 13:34:21 +0100

Yes, but the response to this has been known for at least 60 years, and consists of biasing the samples so that the rare event occurs much more frequently but is given less weight. I expect that HB's code that requires “at least 15000 samples” includes something rather like

if random() > 0.99 then sum += 98 else sum += 2 fi

so that counting 98 occurs roughly 1% of the time. If he replaces that by something like

if random() > x then sum += a else sum += b fi

where a = 98*0.01/(1-x), b = 2*0.99/x, then for suitable values of x [eg x = 2/3] it converges much more quickly. Indeed, for x = 198/296 it converges immediately. The value x = 0.99 recovers the original.

" A general Monte Carlo tenet is: never sample from a distribution " merely because it arises in the physical context of a problem, for " we may be able to use a better distribution in the computations " and still get the right answer. " [Monte Carlo Methods, Hammersley and Handscomb, Methuen, 1956]

I'm sure that those making professional use of MC methods know all about “importance sampling”, “antithetic variables” and the other tools of the trade.

I don't expect anyone to be able to predict [e.g.,] the total number of deaths to any great accuracy in advance, but …

> This is the reason why “R0” models make no sense in the presence of > superspreaders—there is no single ‘R0’ that captures any useful aspect of > the behavior of the epidemic.

… I don't believe that this follows. R0 captures, in a way that can be explained to the general population, whether the pandemic is showing exponential growth or exponential decay. If there were only one or two superspreaders in the world, there might be a problem depending on whether or not those very rare people caught the virus and each infected millions. In reality, even if they are only one in a thousand, their effects can be spread out over the model and estimated to sufficient accuracy. But not in naive ways that assume uniformity.

Re: More on the Tweeter and the Tweetee (RISKS-31.90)

Amos Shapir <>
Fri, 29 May 2020 13:36:20 +0300

The NYT article notes about the proposed Trump order “lawyers quickly said … that he was claiming power to do something he does not have the power to do”.

Isn't that the very definition of Trump's presidency?

Re: The Pandemic Is Exposing the Limits of Science (Wilson, R 31 90)

“R. G. Newbury” <>
Fri, 29 May 2020 00:29:19 -0400

It is also sad to see people who should know better, using models, calculated from spurious data using who knows what functions, as definitive proof of anything. As someone said: “all models are wrong. Some models are useful”

The definitive explanation of models and calculations continues to be xjcd. I will be nit-picky in pointing out that I think the 7th item should be labelled ‘Average garbage’ and not ‘Better Garbage’.

Re: Vitamin C (RISKS-31.90)

“R. G. Newbury” <>
Fri, 29 May 2020 00:43:06 -0400

Re: Having a healthy immune system: A retrospective study in Indonesia strongly implies that having a healthy immune system w lots of free Vitamin D, is a good indicator of the prognosis and outcome of suffering from Whuhan Flu. April 26, 2020.

Money quote: When controlling for age, sex, and comorbidity, Vitamin D status is strongly associated with COVID-19 mortality outcome of cases.

Patterns of COVID-19 Mortality and Vitamin D: An Indonesian Study


98.9% of Vitamin D deficient cases died while only 1.1% of them were active cases. 87.8% of Vitamin D insufficient cases died while only 12.2% of them were active cases. Only 4.1% of cases with normal Vitamin D levels died while 95.9% of them were active cases.

[This makes sense. Having a strong immune system allows the infected to fight off the virus while viral load is low. Vitamin D is not a “cure” for anything, but it can be a good defence. Probably true for Vitamin C too. RGN]

Re: Vitamin C (RISKS-31.90)

Amos Shapir <>
Fri, 29 May 2020 13:13:59 +0300

The main reason doctors are not keen on prescribing vitamin C in large quantities, is not just the lack of benefits by drug companies. IMHO, it has more to do with the risk of malpractice suits. Can you imagine what a lawyer can do about a prescription, whose main promoter himself describes as “an overdose”?

Re: Vitamin C (RISKS-31.90)

=?UTF-8?B?QW5kcsOp?= Carezia <>
Fri, 29 May 2020 19:49:23 -0300


The Treatment of Poliomyelitis and Other Virus Diseases with Vitamin C

Fred R. Klenner, M.D., Reidsville, North Carolina

IN A PREVIOUS REPORT dealing with the antagonistic properties of ascorbic acid to the virus of atypical pneumonia, mention was made of the fact that other types of virus infections had responded favorably to vitamin C. This paper is to present these findings as well as the results of subsequent studies on the virus of poliomyelitis, the viruses causing measles, mumps, chickenpox, herpes zoster, herpes simplex and influenza. Further studies with the virus of atypical pneumonia will also be discussed.

These observations of the action of ascorbic acid on virus diseases were made independently of any knowledge of previous studies using vitamin C on virus pathology, except for the negative report of Sabin after treating Rhesus monkeys experimentally infected with the poliomyelitis virus. A review of the literature in preparation of this paper, however, presented an almost unbelievable record of such studies. The years of labor in animal experimentation, the cost in human effort and in "grants," and the volumes written, make it difficult to understand how so many investigators could have failed in comprehending the one thing that would have given positive results a decade ago. This one thing was the size of the dose of vitamin C employed and the frequency of its administration. In all fairness it must be said that Jungeblut noted on several occasions that he attributed his failure of results to the possibility that the strength of his injectable "C" was inadequate. It was he who unequivocally said that ”vitamin C can truthfully be designated as the antitoxic and antiviral vitamin."

In developing this paper it was felt that, since all virus infections were more or less akin, only one of this family would be considered in detail. Poliomyelitis, because of its prevalence and the seriousness of the problem it presents, was chosen as the disease to be so treated.

Poliomyelitis is in most instances an acute febrile disease of sudden onset, with symptoms of a systemic infection which either abruptly abort or develop to hyperesthesia, asymmetry of reflexes and flaccid paralysis or palsies of muscle groups. It affects individuals of all ages, but mainly children, as do more common childhood diseases to which class it most likely belongs. Only slight contact between the carrier of the virus and the susceptible person suffices in some cases for the transfer of the causative organism. In this respect and also in that the virus can be demonstrated in the nasal washings as early as six days before onset of symptoms, poliomyelitis resembles measles. We never have an epidemic of poliomyelitis preceding an epidemic of measles; the opposite is frequently true. This grouping of the virus organisms is too often repeated not .to carry some significance. For example, atypical pneumonia and influenza are caused by closely allied viruses; so are chickenpox, herpes zoster and herpes simplex; so are measles, mumps and poliomyelitis. The incubation period depends on the mode of entry. In experimental animals. Fraser and others showed that the average was 6.6 days with intracerebral inoculation and ten days when the intravenous route was used. Howitt mentions that the virus reaches the nervous system sooner after intranasal than after intravenous installations. Transmission (Brodie, 1934) is by means of droplets from the mucous membrane of the upper respiratory tract. Infection by means of raw milk, human feces and house flies is highly improbable.

The research of Flexner, Dark and Amoss in 1914 proved that poliomyelitis is a disease of the entire nervous system, that the sensory ganglia are the seats of early and profound histological changes. The disease is significant mainly for the paralysis produced through injury to the motor neurons of the spinal cord and brain. This is caused by a special affinity of the virus for a certain type of nerve tissue. Experiments show the cerebral cortex to be the most unsatisfactory site for growth, that large amounts of the virus placed in this area are apt to disappear in a short time. Observations in monkeys and in man show that the anterior horn cells, particularly those of the lumbar cord, are the most favorable sites for proliferation of the virus.

In all clinically ill patients the virus eventually travels in the course of its invasion by several channels. The virus can make a direct assault through the olfactory bulb, to the brain, medulla and spinal cord. The virus can enter the blood stream directly or through the lymph channels. Following damage to the natural protective barrier, the choroid plexus, it can make its way to the central nervous system, or it can be excreted back onto the nasal mucous membrane where it will pick up the direct route of the olfactory bulb.

Clark, Turner and Reynolds (1926, 1927, 1929) concluded that the virus chiefly travels by the direct route to the brain. Lennette and Hudson ( 1935) confirmed this theory and reported their studies indicating that human infection is chiefly through the nasopharynx. Brodi and others showed that by section of the olfactory tracts in monkeys infection by the direct route was prevented. It is of more than mere academic interest that while the nasal mucosa of the monkey contains branches of the 5th and 7th cranial nerves and that in addition, since the virus can readily gravitate from the nasopharynx to the tonsil bed with its nerve supply, if the olfactory tracts are cut no infection will occur. The most likely explanation is that the olfactory is non-medullated, the neurons lie in the nasal mucosa and are thus exposed to the virus. The sciatic nerve (Brodi) will transport the virus only when it has been injured, suggesting that lack of myelin may render the healthy olfactory nerve vulnerable to the virus.

The most important of the secondary routes of infection is by the excretion of the virus from the blood stream onto the nasal mucosa. Lennette and Hudson (1934, 1935) demonstrated in monkeys that by sectioning the olfactory tracts and then inoculating by the intravenous route with the virus of poliomyelitis, they could prevent infection.

This would fit in with the work of Jungeblut and others that the spread of the virus through the central nervous system is along nerve tracts, rather than by means of the cerebrospinal fluid, the infection to become manifest when the first cell group is reached, and by relays of fibers, reaches the mid-brain. Here numerous fiber-paths run in all directions and the virus is carried by both motor and sensory axons, causing disease at many levels of the brain and cord.

Since there is always a period of septicemia in the first few days of poliomyelitis, it might be that this is the all-important route and that the virus is grown on a living tissue, the blood, and then is deposited out on the surface of the olfactory bulb. From this we conclude that the time to destroy the virus is during this incubation period which varies more with virulence and power of multiplication than with size of initial dose.

The second flanking maneuver of importance is through the choroid plexus. It is the function of the choroid plexus and the pial lymphatic vessels to exclude the virus present in the blood from the nervous system. Once these protective structures are injured, however, the exclusion ceases and infection can follow readily. Changes in the structure or function of the meningeal choroid plexus complex, too slight to be detected in the cerebrospinal fluid or as morphological alterations, materially diminish its protective power. Flexner and Amoss injected large doses of the virus intravenously, then tested the cerebrospinal fluid and found no virus after the first 48 hours; virus in small amounts at the end of 72 hours; after 96 hours evidence of free access to this system. The virus was still present 19 days later when paralysis was beginning.

Poliomyelitis in man is always more severe if exercise is taken at time of the infection. Here one must consider the factor of filtration of the virus through the choroid plexus as being increased due to the elevation of the vascular bed pressure. Also, that, by the acceleration of the blood flow caused by greater oxygen demand in physical effort, a marked increase in the percentage of the virus deposited on the nasal mucosa would result.

We must agree with Fairbrother and Hurst that too little consideration has been given to the pathology of the nervous system and in particular to the drainage of the tissue fluids. These men confirmed the earlier work of Schroder, who stressed that the normal flow of these fluids is along the perivascular spaces from the center of the cord outward, and that any inflammatory exudate occupying these spaces must be swept into the pial meshes; further that meningeal infiltration may seem nothing more than a drainage of cells from the interior of the cord. Fairbrother and Hurst found that meningeal infiltration does not occur in monkeys until the perivascular infiltration beginning in the deeper vessels reaches the surface.

The presence of the filterable microorganism or virus of poliomyelitis upon the mucous membrane of the nose and throat does not necessarily lead to infection. It may give rise to a class of healthy carriers who are themselves immune. Amoss and Taylor found a secretion of the mucous membrane capable of neutralizing or inactivating the virus, this property absent altogether from the secretions of some persons, in those of others present at one time and not at another. It is probable that in actively immune animals the passage of the neutralizing substance from the blood into the cerebrospinal fluid would continue as long as the inflammation present in the meninges rendered the structures easily permeable to the protein constituents of the blood. This secretion X could not have the properties of a true antibody. The virus of poliomyelitis is intracellular from the time it invades the terminal cells of the olfactory system until the end of the disease, except when crossing the synaptic junctions between cells. This explains why the virus cannot be neutralized by antibodies in the serum. Further protection is afforded the virus by the functional barrier between the circulating blood and the central nervous system.

Since immunization against poliomyelitis comparable to that against other bacterial diseases is still a matter of the future, it suggested itself that some antibiotic could be found that would destroy this scourge while in the phase of blood-stream invasion. Sabin's negative report on the value of ascorbic acid on the poliomyelitis virus stopped Jungeblut's work, but we were cognizant of its dramatic effect on the virus causing atypical pneumonia, and so kept up hope. These results were so consistently positive that we did not hesitate to try its effectiveness against all type of virus infections. The frequent administration of massive doses of vitamin C was so encouraging in the early days of the 1948 epidemic of poliomyelitis that a review of the literature was begun. Heaslip, in the Australian Journal of Experimental Biology & Medicine reported a mean urinary output of vitamin C under a load test of 19.9 per cent in 60 poliomyelitis cases, as contrasted with a mean figure of 44.3 per cent in 45 healthy contacts. This was suggestive of some relationship between the degree of vitamin C saturation and the infectious and non-infectious state. He was also able to show a correlation between the severity of the attack and the level of urinary excretion of the vitamin. This would indicate that a deficiency of vitamin C in the diet predisposed to infection and to severity of attack. Sabin reported no appreciable difference in infectivity of poliomyelitis in monkeys with much or no vitamin C in the diet. Many others, however, have reported that a "deficient vitamin C nutrition increases susceptibility to infection," and many others that animals dying from the effects of the poliomyelitis virus show a reduction of vitamin C in the tissues. Heaslip found a definite relationship between the severity of the infection and the level of vitamin C nutrition. It is consistent with accepted physiological action of vitamin C to expect and anti-edema effect in any given affected area. It is worthy of note that bacterial toxins can cause losses of from 50 to 85 per cent of the vitamin C normally contained in the adrenals. Jungeblut's investigations seemed to justify the conclusion that vitamin C was the “antibiotic” that would destroy the virus organism. He stated that the prophylactic and therapeutic administration of synthetic or natural vitamin C had given evidence of having distinct therapeutic properties in experimental poliomyelitis, and that the proper injection dose was directly proportional to the speed of the infection and the stage at which the process had arrived. Jungeblut stated in 1937 that the parental administration of natural vitamin C during its incubation period of poliomyelitis in monkeys is always followed by a distinct change in the severity of the disease; that after the fifth day of the disease distinctly larger doses are required. He realized, at that early date, that for a fast progressing infection such as results from the R. M. V. strain, very large doses -” 400 mg. crystalline C maximum in a 24-hour period—of vitamin C would be required; for the Aycock virus with its slower infection potential small amounts of the vitamin would suffice. Even with almost infinitesimal amounts -” 100 mg. ascorbic acid for each 24-hour period”he was able to demonstrate that the non-paralytic survivors in one series was six times as great as in the controls. In our work we shall speak of six, ten and 20 thousand mg. in a similar time period.

Harde et al. reported that diphtheria toxin is inactivated by vitamin C in vitro and to a lesser extent in vivo. I have confirmed this finding, indeed extended it. Diphtheria can be cured in man by the administration of massive frequent doses of hexuronic acid (vitamin C) given intravenously and/or intramuscularly. To the synthetic drug, by mouth, there is little response, even when 1000 to 2000 mg. is used every two hours. This cure in diphtheria is brought about in half the time required to remove the membrane and give negative smears by antitoxin. This membrane is removed by lysis when “C” is given, rather than by sloughing as results with the use of the antitoxin. An advantage of this form of therapy is that the danger of serum reaction is eliminated. The only disadvantage of the ascorbic acid therapy is the inconvenience of the multiple injections. This concept of the action of vitamin C against certain toxins has led to treating other diseases producing exotoxins. For years it has been our knowledge that vitamin C in 500 to 1000 mg. doses injected I. M. would cure bacillary dysentery of the Shiga type. Children having 10 to 15 bloody stools per day have cleared in 48 hours under this schedule while at the same time reverting to normal feedings. This dual action of vitamin C against certain toxins and the virus organism becomes more intelligible with the work of Kligler, Warburg and others who believed that the detoxification effected by hexuronic acid is brought about by a direct combination of the vitamin with the toxin or virus, this followed by oxidation of the new compound which destroys both the virus or toxin and the vitamin. Borsook et al. decided that the main chemical action of ascorbic acid is as a powerful reducing agent, and the virus causing poliomyelitis is known to be susceptible to the oxidizing action of various agents. It is in point here to remark that vitamin C is an integral part of the oxidation-reduction system of the body, thus playing a definite part in natural resistance.

In the poliomyelitis epidemic in North Carolina in 1948, 60 cases of this disease came under our care. These patients presented all or almost all of these signs and symptoms: Fever of 101 to 104.6°, headache, pain at the back of the eyes, conjunctivitis, scarlet throat; pain between the shoulders, the back of the neck, one or more extremity, the lumbar back; nausea, vomiting and constipation. In I5 of these cases the diagnosis was confirmed by lumbar puncture; the cell count ranging from 33 to 125. Eight had been in contact with a proven case; two of this group received spinal taps. Examination of the spinal fluid was not carried out in others for the reasons: (1) Flexner and Amoss had warned that “simple lumbar puncture attended with even very slight hemorrhage opens the way for the passage of the virus from the blood into the central nervous system and thus promotes infection.” (2) A patient presenting all or almost all of the above signs and symptoms during an epidemic of poliomyelitis must be considered infected with this virus. (3) Routine lumbar puncture would have made it obligatory to report each case as diagnosed to the health authorities. This would have deprived myself of valuable clinical material and the patients of most valuable therapy, since they would have been removed to a receiving center in a nearby town.

The treatment employed was vitamin C in massive doses. It was given like any other antibiotic every two to four hours. The initial dose was 1000 to 2000 mg., depending on age. Children up to four years received the injections intramuscularly. Since laboratory facilitates for whole blood and urine determinations of the concentration of vitamin C were not available, the temperature curve was adopted as the guide for additional medication. The rectal temperature was recorded every two hours. No temperature response after the second hour was taken to indicate the second 1000 or 2000 mg. If there was a drop in fever after two hours, two more hours was allowed before the second dose. This schedule was followed for 24 hours. After this time the fever was consistently down, so the drug was given 1000 to 2000 mg. every six hours for the next 48 hours. All patients were clinically well after 72 hours. After three patients had a relapse the drug was continued for at least 48 hours longer -” 1000 to 2000 mg. every eight to 12 hours. Where spinal taps were performed, it was the rule to find a reversion of the fluid to normal after the second day of treatment.

For patients treated in the home the dose schedule was 2000 mg. by needle every six hours, supplemented by 1000 to 2000 mg. every two hours by mouth. The tablet was crushed and dissolved in fruit juice. All of the natural “C” in fruit juice is taken up by the body; this made us expect catalytic action from this medium. Ruin, 20 mg., was used with vitamin C by mouth in a few cases, instead of the fruit juice. Hawley and others have shown that vitamin C taken by mouth will show its peak of excretion in the urine in from four to six hours. Intravenous administration produces this peak in from one to three hours. By this route however, the concentration in the blood is raised so suddenly that a transitory overflow into the urine results before the tissues are saturated. Some authorities suggest that the subcutaneous method is the most conservative in terms of vitamin C loss but this factor is overwhelmingly neutralized by the factor of pain inflicted.

Two patients in this series of 60 regurgitated fluid through the nose. This was interpreted as representing the dangerous bulbar type. For a patient in this category postural drainage, oxygen administration, in some cases tracheotomy, needs to be instituted, until the vitamin C has had sufficient time to work”in our experience 36 hours. Failure to recognize this factor might sacrifice the chance of recovery. With these precautions taken, every patient of this series recovered uneventfully within three to five days.

In the treatment of other types of virus infections the same ”fluid” dose schedule was adopted. In herpes zoster 2000 to 3000 mg. of vitamin C was given every 12 hours, this supplemented by 3 000 mg. in fruit juice by mouth every two hours. Eight cases were treated in this series, all of adults. Seven experienced cessation of pain within two hours of the first injection and remained so without the use of any other analgesic medication. Seven of these cases showed drying of the vesicles within 24 hours and were clear of lesions within 72 hours. They received from five to seven injections. One patient; a diabetic, stated that she was always conscious of an uncomfortable feeling, but that it was not an actual pain. Although nine-tenths of the vesicles cleared in the usual 72-hour period, she was given 14 injections, the last seven of only 1000 mg. This extra therapy was given because of a small ulceration, an inch in diameter, secondarily infected by rupture of the vesicles by a corset stave prior to the first visit. Vitamin C apparently had no effect on this lesion, which was healed in two weeks under compound tincture of benzoin locally and penicillin and sulfadiazine by mouth. (The patient objected to taking penicillin by needle.) One of the patients, a man of 65, came to the office doubled up with abdominal pain and with a history of having taken opiates for the preceding 36 hours. He gave the impression of having an acute surgical condition. A massive array of vesicles extended from the dorsal nerve roots to the umbilicus, a hand's breadth wide. He was given 3000 mg. of vitamin C intravenously and directed to return to the office in four to five hours. It was difficult to convince him that his abdominal pain was the result of his having “shingles.” He returned in four hours completely free of pain. He was given an additional 2000 mg. of vitamin C, and following the schedule given above he recovered completely in three days.

In herpes simplex it is important to continue the treatment for at least 72 hours. We have seen “fever blisters” that appeared healed after two injections recur when therapy was discontinued after 24 hours. Vitamin C in a strength of 1000 mg. per 10 c.c. of buffered solution gave no response when applied locally. This was true no matter how often the applications were made. In several cases 10 mg. of riboflavin by mouth t.i.d. in conjunction with the vitamin C injections appeared to cause faster healing.

Chickenpox gave equally good response, the vesicles responding in the same manner as did those of herpes. These vesicles were crusted after the first 24 hours, and the patient well in three to four cays. We interpreted this similarity of response in these three diseases to suggest that the viruses responsible were closely related to one another.

Many cases of influenza were treated with vitamin C. The size of the dose and the number of Injections required were in direct proportion to the fever curve and to the duration of the illness. Forcing of fruit juice was always recommended, because of the frequency and ease of reinfection during certain periods of the year.

The response of virus encephalitis to ascorbic acid therapy was dramatic. Six cases of virus encephalitis were treated and cured with vitamin C injections. Two cases were associated with virus pneumonia; one followed chickenpox, one mumps, one measles and one a combination of measles and mumps. In the case that followed the measles-mumps complex, definite evidence was found to confirm the belief that massive, frequent injections are necessary in treating virus infections with vitamin C. This lad of eight years was first seen with a temperature of 104°. He was lethargic, very irritable when molested. His mother said he had gradually developed his present clinical picture over the preceding four or five days. His first symptom was anorexia which became complete 36 hours before his first examination. He next complained of a generalized headache, later be became stuporous. Although very athletic and active, he voluntarily took to his bed. He was given 2000 mg. of vitamin C intravenously and allowed to return home because there were no available hospital accommodations. His mother was asked to make an hourly memorandum of his conduct until his visit set for the following day. Seen 18 hours after the initial injection of vitamin C, the memorandum revealed a quick response to the antibiotic—after two hours he asked for food and ate a hearty supper, then played about the house as usual and then, for .several hours, he appeared to have completely recovered. Six hours following the initial injection, he began to revert to the condition of his first visit. When seen the second time temperature was 101.6°, he was sleepy but he would respond to questions. The rude irritability shown prior to the first injection was strikingly absent. A second injection of 2000 mg. vitamin C was given intravenously and 1000 mg. of “C” prescribed every two hours by mouth. The next day he was fever and symptom-free. As a precautionary measure a third 2000 mg. was given with direction to continue the drug by mouth for at least 48 hours. He has remained well since. A lad of 12 years had generalized headache a week after having mumps, this followed by malaise, and in 12 hours a lethargic state and a fever of 105°. Admitted to hospital he was given 2000 mg. of vitamin C then, and 1000 mg. every two hours. Following the third injection he was sitting up in bed, laughing, talking, begging for food and completely without pain. He was discharged 24 hours following admission clinically well. Since relapses do occur if the drug is discontinued too soon, he was given 2000 mg. of vitamin C every 12 hours for two additional days.

The use of vitamin C in measles proved to be a medical curiosity. During an epidemic vitamin C was used prophylactically and all those who received as much as 1000 mg. every six hours, by vein or muscle, were protected from the virus. Given by mouth, 1000 mg. in fruit juice every two hours was not protective unless it was given around the clock. It was further found that 1000 mg. by mouth, four to six times each day, would modify the attack; with the appearance of Koplik's spots and fever, if the administration was increased to 12 doses each 24 hours, all signs and symptoms would disappear in 48 hours. If the drug was discontinued or reduced to three or four doses each 24 hours following the disappearance of Koplik's spots, within another 48-hour period the fever, the conjunctivitis and Koplik's spots would be back.

It was our privilege to observe this picture over and over in two little volunteer girls for 30 days. These “research helpers” were my own little daughters. The measles virus was eventually destroyed in this instance by continuing 12,000 mg. by mouth each 24 hours for four days. We interpreted this result to indicate that on withdrawing the drug with the cessation of signs and symptoms, a small quantity of the virus remained, which after another incubation period produced anew the first stage of measles; when the drug was continued beyond the clearing stage the virus was destroyed in toto. No case of post-measles bronchopneumonia was seen. The “measles-cough” of measles bronchitis was over with after three or four 1000 mg. injections of “C” at 6-hour intervals. This was true even when other medications well above the calculated dose range for cough had had no effect. Whenever a patient presented a mixed-virus infection, such as receding mumps and developing measles, it was found that double the calculated dose of vitamin C was necessary to obtain the usual results.

Of mumps, 33 cases were treated with ascorbic acid. When vitamin C was given at the peak of the infection the fever was gone within 24 hours, the pain within 36 hours, the swelling in 48 to 72 hours. Two cases were complicated with orchitis. A young man of 23 years developed bilateral orchitis one Friday morning, by seven o'clock that night he was in severe pain, had a fever of 105" and was nursing testicles the size of tennis balls. Vitamin C was started at this time”1000 mg. every two hours, intravenously. The pain began to subside following the first injection and ceased in 12 hours. There was no fever after 36 hours. The patient was out of bed feeling his old self after 60 hours. He had received 25,000 mg. of “C” in this 60-hour period. An experiment involving three cousins: One, a boy of seven, had the old routine of bed rest, aspirin, and warm camphor oil applications and iodex to the swollen glands. This child had a rough time for a week. A second boy, aged 11, was allowed to develop mumps to the point of maximum swelling without any therapy, then given vitamin C, 1000 mg. intramuscularly, every two to four hours. This lad was entirely well in 48 hours. To the third patient, a girl of 9, vitamin C was given on the up curve when the swellings were 60 per cent of the expected, and the temperature recorded at 102.3°. The dose was 1000 mg. of vitamin C given intravenously every four hours. This child was well and remained so from the third day of treatment.

Further studies on virus pneumonia showed that the clinical response was better when vitamin C was given to these patients according to the dose schedule outlined for poliomyelitis. Where pneumonitis was demonstrated, the clearing of the chest film was parallel with the clinical recovery. In cases of consolidation of entire lobes the x-ray clearing lagged days behind the clinical response. In these cases 1000 mg. of “C” should be given every 12 hours for at least a week after the patient is apparently well. There was no change in the results as given in a previous paper; the patients were well in the third day of treatment.

In using vitamin C as an antibiotic no factor of toxicity need be considered. To confirm this observation 200 consecutive hospital patients were given ascorbic acid, 500 to 1000 mg. every four to six hours, for five to ten days. One volunteer received 100,000 mg. in a 12-day period. It must be remembered that 90 per cent of these patients did not have a virus infection to assist in destroying the vitamin. In no instance did examination of the blood or urine indicate any toxic reaction, and at no time were there any clinical manifestations of a reaction to the drug. When vitamin C was given by mouth one per cent of these patients vomited shortly after taking the drug. In half of these cases the vomiting was controlled by increasing the carbohydrate content of the mixture. This reaction was not interpreted as representing a toxic manifestation; rather it was thought to be due to a hypersensitive gastric mucosa. The dose was reduced from 1000 to 100 mg. in young children showing this complex; vomiting occurred as before. However, in these same patients administration of massive, frequent doses of vitamin C by needle affected a cure of the infection without causing vomiting.

>From a review of the literature one can safely state that in all instances of experimental work with ascorbic acid on the virus organism the amount of virus used was beyond the range of the administered dose of this vitamin. No one would expect to relieve kidney colic with a five-grain aspirin tablet; by the same logic we cannot hope to destroy the virus organism with doses of vitamin C of 10 to 400 mg. The results which we have reported in virus diseases using vitamin C as the antibiotic may seem fantastic. These results, however, are no different from the results we see when administering the sulfa, or the mold-derived drugs against many other kinds of infections. In these latter instances we expect and usually get 48- to 72-hour cures; it is laying no claim to miracle-working then, when we say that many virus infections can be cleared within a similar time limit.

Comment by R Cathcart: This paper repeatedly refers to intramuscular vitamin C. My personal experience, my talking with Klenner, and with his wife, Annie Klenner, who served as his nurse, would indicate that he used sodium ascorbate. Vitamin C as ascorbic acid is too acid for intramuscular injections or intravenous injections. Commercially prepared vitamin C solutions for injection may be labeled ascorbic acid but are buffered. Unfortunately, these may still be somewhat acid. They should never contain preservatives. See my article on how to make intravenous C solutions. These are also appropriate for intramuscular injections. The vitamin C when used orally is best in the ascorbic acid form if tolerated by the patient. I am especially indebted to Annie Klenner for her descriptions of how Fred made the sodium ascorbate solutions for intravenous and intramuscular use.

André Carezia, Eng. de Telecomunicações, Carezia Consultoria -

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