Saturday, October 2, 2021

China sees gaming as diverting young men from communist values


There’s more about China’s channeling young men to real life as comrades, away from obsessive gaming, wanting to discourage false celebrity and effeminacy (although non-binary is part of Asian culture).   Fortune  (Grady McGregor) weighs in. This sounds like fascism as well as communism.

CBS talks about the rehab camps (They have them in South Korea too).

See also Aug 30. 

Picture: Tincent, Shenzhen, Wikipedoa embed 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Chinese dissident back up GOP claims about lab leak and gain of function


casselman bridge md 2019-9

The New York Post reports the accusations of a Chinese dissident reinforcing earlier stories about the military games in Oct 2019 as a possible super spreader event. However there should have been more cases aroumd the world and other areas of China late in 2019, or were there (mostly mild and unnoticed)?

There is even a theory that the Chinese wanted to develop a contagious harmless virus that would variolate everyone against all possible coronaviruses.

Tim Pool elaborates and connects dots.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Chris Martenson offers new evidence about gain-of-function research and COVID19 (and COVID21)


Cathedral of Hope, Dallas, 2018

Chris Martenson has a new 40-minute video giving more credibility to the likelihood that SARS_CoV2 came from gain of function research that the US NIH had at one time supported, although the support was supposed to have been withdrawn.

This gets into the PRRA insert which Martenson had explained on May 4, 2020.

It also get into the subject of chimeric viruses.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Buzzfeed reports Biden is reverting to Trump-like policies on asylum seekers from Mexico (Haiti)


Harlingen, TX, 2018-5

Adolfo Flores has a story in BuzzFeed News about Biden’s border policy, trapping especially LGBTQ (and other) asylum seekers in Mexico (mostly ultimately Haiti).   

Biden has, for the time being, continued Trump’s policy of returning them to Mexico, largely out of concerns of Covid.

Assisting them personally could add to danger and risk now because of Covid, and Biden is rather caught in the middle.  Expect this story to develop.

This appears to be an about-face, however, because videos from six months ago on YouTube show Biden allowing more asylum seekers from Mexico in.  That seems to have reversed.

Update: Priscilla Alvarez reports on CNN that a federal judge has reversed Biden's policy, saying that newer mitigation measures for COVID should be adequate. 

Monday, September 13, 2021

Small outbreak of Nipah virus in India; this virus is very deadly

Henipavirus structure


NPR reports (KAMALA THIAGARAJAN ) on the re-emergence of Nipah virus in India, with at least one death of a 12 year old boy.

The virus usually is not transmissible until there are symptoms, but it has a very high fatality rate (a kind of encephalitis).  There is fear that future mutation could make it more transmissible.  But fears like that got expressed in the 1980s by the “right” about HIV and they never materialized.

The movie “Contagion” was about a fictitious hybrid of nipah (henipavirus) and measles (a morbllavirus in the same family paramyxpviridae).

The video above is a Bollywood song related to conquering the virus (see link in NPR article).

Picture: Wikipedia embed of Nipah virus, click for attribution 

Sunday, September 12, 2021

How Australia had to reverse its zero-Covid policy because of Delta

Reliefmap of Australia


ABC News shows in excruciating detail how Australia went from almost zero Covid to crisis with the Delta variant.

Australia didn’t believe in depending on vaccines at first and wouldn’t even talk to Pfizer in June 2020. Now the tune has changes as they desperately try to vaccinate everyone while keeping them locked down. Even Dictator Dan will have to do penance.

Topographical map:  Wikipedia embed, click for attribution 

Friday, September 10, 2021

The Texas Taliban v. the real one


red River, north Texas 

It’s speculation as to what is going on in Afghanistan and Taliban rule, but one can imagine and become blunt about what the treatment of women means.

Men want to keep women other than wives out of sight so they can perform in marriage (and stay "passionate") when the time comes.

I think a lot of “conservative” men feel.  Their own long term sexual response depends on everyone else in the world following their rules.

That also explains what we usually call “homophobia”.

Umair Haque calls American conservatives who passed Texas’s abortion law “the Texas Taliban”. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Why are Israel's deaths as well as cases still rising? Not clear

Beersheba stabling yard a 01

 Observers are concerned about the increase in cases and even deaths in Israel, one of the world's most vaccinated countries.  Some of the extra cases are in children. 

DW gives an analysis here

NPR seems to put a lot of faith in boosters, here

1EarthUnited (I think a "right wing" site) notes that Palestine is not having a surge despite much lower vaccination, not explained. 

Update (Sept. 15):  Disturbing video by Kim Iverson

Picture: Beersheba rail yard during earlier lockdown (Wikipedia embed, click for attribution) 

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Some EU countries require COVID tests, even quarantine, or deny entry even to vaccinated travelers from the US, as if they don't trust the vaccines to protect people from spreading infection



Some EU countries have tightened travel restrictions from the US and other “red zone” countries even for the fully vaccinated.  Forbes has the most thorough list (Sept. 2).  

Some require a negative test even if vaccinated, and Norway doesn’t allow non-essential travel at all right now.  (I visited Norway for a week in the summer of 1972.) 

A few require quarantines, and others require quarantines only for unvaccinated.

But right now, many countries don’t see even vaccinated Americans as hygienically safe enough for their own more vulnerable to be around.  It's true, vaccinated people sometimes do carry some infection and may get mild "breakthrough" cases, and may wane with time, leading to the "third shot" debate as started by Israel. 

 Picture:  Narvik, Wikipedia embed, click for attribution, I spent a night there in Aug 1972, bus from Bodo where the train stopped, and another line goes back to Stockholm through Kiruna.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

South Australia's lockdowns the most stringent of all?

CBD in the Distance (22809720932)


Bonchie describes for Red State the most draconian restrictions yet in Australia, in the state of South Australia.

Citizens are required to download an app which where police can call them and demand they show their face and that they are home or where they are required to stay during lockdown.   Everyone is in a kind of detention during a lockdown.

Adelaide skyline, Wikipedia embed, click for attribution 

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

China limits video game use by minors in order to strengthen socialization and family responsibility and stop screen addiction


Railroad tracks -- VA 2021-8

China is strengthening its “social credit” on children under 18,  who will be allowed to play video games for only three hours during weekends (CNN).

Trackers are installed in all video games in China to follow use by minors.  This reminds me of the whole past “adult ID” concept in the COPA debate before 2007 in the US.

China maintains that too many youth are developing video game or screen “addiction” and are not developing social skills or “family responsibility”.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

New variant from South Africa (C.1.2); interpretation of intelligence report on virus origins is tricky indeed

South Africa - Drakensberg (16261357780)


The Jerusalem Post, in an article by Tzvi Joffre, reports on the C.1.2 variant found in South Africa as the “most mutated yet”.  There is not a  lot of detail, but the virus variant has been found in numerous countries, including the UK, but not widespread.  It is true that the JP tends toward alarmism.

Curiously I can’t find it on the CDC Page listing variants.  

But in the video, South Africa says it has recently been reported to WHO is not yet labeled a variant of interest.  The speaker is more comfortable in believing vaccines will still prevent serious illness than the JP story would suggest. However, a New Zealand report of a case it detected is particularly alarming with regards to intensification of mutation rate (Smart News). 

Regarding the Intelligence Report (discussed on the Books blog Aug 26) NPR (Will Stone) is interpreting the report as a shift toward natural origin (without mention of some unusual biochemistry with this particularly furin cleavage event for the Wuhan version). The idea is that Chinese officials were not really aware of the seriousness of the problem until probably December 2019, which would mean that the Wuhan Lab was not.  However, there are various counter stories (as raised in the GOP document), like the database deletion Sept 12, the military veterans games in October, the communications blackout in October, and unusual hospital use in China late in 2019, which an intelligence brief should have addressed. Furthermore, the Chinese have tried to suggest that an American could have brought the virus to their games in Wuhan from Fort Detrick, which would suggest Chinese official awareness.  But it does seem that the virus started spreading more rapidly in Hubei perhaps in early December 2019.  Later Sunday, I learned of a detailed story in Nature by Amy Maxmenm Aug. 27m referring to an interesting Buzzfeed article from June and a Medium piece in June by Christopher Ashley Ford;  it would take a lot of time to track the logical consistencies in these different accounts (for me, at least). 

The nature of the SARS_CoV2 virus family seems to be that, although its mutation rate is moderate compared to other viruses, it is so transmissible that it tends to evade societal defenses, and reappear with more transmissible variants (as influenza does).  It will be necessary for vaccines to change periodically to keep up, unless there is some strategy that works also with a more fixed protein on the spike.  The increase in transmissibility with successive variants is part of the existential challenge the virus presents to society, even as it may be mild or without symptoms for many people with lighter exposures.  It’s more than the original “flatten the curve” of early 2020.

South African scenery, Wikipedia embed 

Friday, August 27, 2021

Johnny Harris: "The Taliban Is Lying, Don't Believe Them"

Aerial view of a section of Kandahar in 2013


Johnny Harris warns everyone, “The Taliban Is Lying, Don’t Believe Them.”

He speaks with an Afghan family already resettled in Washington DC.

The video speaks for itself.

Picture:  Kandahar, Wikipedia embed, click for attribution 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Australia treats its citizens as conscripts right now in trying to get back to Zero Covid (??)

Uluru, helicopter view, cropped


It’s getting crazy in Australia, as Tim Pool tells the story of the public shaming of one man arrested by men in biohazard suits for being on the loose with COVID.

Australia was slow to deploy vaccines, trying to catch up, and had bought the idea that some pathogens, because they can produce such rapid exponential growth in cases and maybe compounded by mutation, must be eliminated, and the people must be subjugated to military discipline to save themselves.

Actually, you can imagine trying to control a transmissible pathogen with rapid tests (wartime production) and automated contact tracing, closer to what South Korea, Taiwan and some other countries practiced.

Government, including our own, have no policy for who personally must bare the personal sacrifice and cost of these sudden intrusions, which could arguably be necessary in some biowar circumstances.

In our situation in the states, you have a perverse disincentive to be tested if you have no symptoms and are vaccinated but know you could spread it to others, because of the personal cost of isolation to you.

Picture: Uluru, outback, embed from Wikipedia, click for attribution 

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Australian authorities now suggest new worldwide indoor ventilation standards as important as vaccines, masks and lockdowns, specifically because or aerosol transmission

Newtown NSW, Cnr King Street & Enmore Road, 2019 (cropped)


Paul Sakkaw and Aisha Dow write, in the Sydney Morning Herlad (Aug 22, 2021), about a “ventilation revolution” coming in Australia which the writers claim could obviate the need for lockdowns, even with low vaccination or breakthrough cases.

The change in thinking has migrated from emphasis on droplet spread to aerosols.  People may be infected by going into a room that has been occupied before by an infected person unless the air circulates through filters all the time.

There are newer construction standards in new buildings that will end this problem.  But older spaces and businesses and offices could be retrofitted with certain filters to eliminate most of the problem.

Building owners or landlords who failed to meet the standards could be held civilly or criminally liable. This is justified by the realization that we live in a world where novel viruses have become more likely to appear rather suddenly. 

Making buildings up to new code could be a major advance in stopping rapidly infectious new diseases like COVID and its variants.

A possible issue is the way heat pump HVAC’s are installed in condominium high-rise buildings.  Possibly a new standard should require them to be on an outside wall and exchange outside air, not inside. That could present a resale or leasing problem for owners of units with older designs.