Wednesday, September 30, 2020

musical interlude of the day

 because politics is passing but great music is forever

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Will Tesla's battery be a game changer?

 Pop Sci article discusses.

lots of stuff that sounds good (uh, it's a presentation to stock holders,  not a scientific meeting).

But this video discusses it.

most of it is about a better battery for their electric cars.

One interesting part he notices at 5 minutes: It will eliminate cobalt.

As in "blood cobalt".


this video mentions the factory working on this is in Shanghai.

related item:

Space tourism? headsup via Instapundit:

some are just going up to space and down again, but others involve longer trips. They also mention how private companies are being used to send astronauts to the space station.
related item: 

Okinawa plans to build facility on island for space launch tourism

a Japanese company is behind this. Again, a "up to space and back" experience.

Not quite 2001, where PanAm has regular service to space, but getting close.

uh oh: maybe things won't be so cheery and optimistic:
 Don't call me Shirley.

Musical interlude of the day



Perhaps love is like a resting place, 
a shelter from the storm
It exists to give you comfort, 
it is there to keep you warm
And in those times of trouble 
when you are most alone
The memory of love will bring you home

Perhaps love is like a window, 
perhaps an open door
It invites you to come closer, 
it wants to show you more
And even if you lose yourself 
and don't know what to do
The memory of love will see you through

Love to some is like a cloud, 
to some as strong as steel
For some a way of living, 
for some a way to feel
And some say love is holding on 
and some say letting go
And some say love is everything 
and some say they don't know

Perhaps love is like the ocean, 
full of conflict, full of change
Like the fire when it's cold outside 
or thunder when it rains
If I should live forever 
and all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you

(John Denver)

Monday, September 28, 2020

Philippine news

 there is hope here that full vaccinations will be available by April 2021... maybe earlier if trials are allowed: they are hoping to be used for phase 3 trials of the Russian or maybe the Chinese vaccine, which will lower the risk for high risk folks.

right now the discussion is with Pfizer and Russia, and the (fake) Russian news article assures us that don't trust the USA companies because all big pharma wants is money. They quote Duterte in this, but hey, no matter what you read, Duterte is not a dictator: he will listen to the public health authorities before deciding..., and his Filipino fans know he tends to use jokes and hyperbole in his speeches that aren't meant for literal interpretation (sounds like Trumpieboy, no?)

this article points out the problem: Poverty and hunger.
MANILA, Philippines — MalacaƱang on Monday underscored the importance of reopening the economy and let Filipinos return to work after the Social Weather Stations (SWS) recorded the highest hunger incidence in the country since 2014. The latest SWS survey showed that some 7.6 million families experienced hunger in the past three months.

this article at Weibo, a Chinese social network (censored by the gov't but whatever) discusses the Chinese vaccine. 


and in a related matter: The NYTimes illegally published Trumpieboy's tax return and found he had a good accountant so didn't pay any taxes... not making it clear if this is his personal or his company's taxes or how he did this (financial losses can be written off in American taxes for example, and this probably explains the reason).

Hmm... maybe he needs a better accountant here: because Rapper reports:

Referring to taxes paid for overseas ventures, the Times said, "In 2017, the president's $750 contribution to the operations of the US government was dwarfed by the $15,598 he or his companies paid in Panama, the $145,400 in India, and the $156,824 in the Philippines."


update: I only vaguely understand US Tax law, but Dilbert, who has a business background has a podcast about this:

Dilbert podcast explains taxes (mp3) Thus:



AmericanThinker analyzes the claim and notes it ignores a couple million paid to the Treasury during those years. WTF? 
I believe it was because, like many of us when we are self employed, we pay estimates and apply overpayment of taxes from previous years to our tax bill: and so the $750 paid was what he underpaid.

Replying to @alexthechick
Also, I'm going to post this one more time for those in the back. Trump paid $1 million in taxes in 2016 and $4.2 million in taxes in 2017 and, per the NYT story, most of that money was rolled forward. Stop LYING. Start READING. Just. Stop. Lying.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

read a book

 the Library of Congress is having their annual book festival.

Check out their website for your favorite author. or for suggestions on what you might enjoy reading....if they aren't there this year, then check out previous years. older archive in pocast form lINK.

One of this year's lectures:

So Colin, do you love your parents?

 I've been sick with a cold, and the secretary has been using my computer, so no blogposts recently.

But the news is same old same old...

and now, 1960 anti Catholicism redux over a Supreme court nominee. 

That should play well with us Catholics.

And they are also criticizing her for adopting children. 

That should also play well with those of us who have adopted children, including children from other racial/ethnicities.

And yes, cross racial and cross ethnic adoption has it's own problems.

but you know, modern adoption requires a home study to weed out people who merely want a trophy child. But never mind.

The ignoramouses who are criticizing Judge Amy for doing so are essentially calling thousands of adoptive parents egotistical bigots without proof. So where does their hatred come from? Is it projection?

The dirty little secret is that adopted children are an enemy of the radical feminists because if a child is adopted, it means that maybe their "rational" to abort rather than to give up their child for adoption, is a lie... and yes this applies to men who pressure their partners to abort for convenience, and to other anti family loudmouths who eschew "breeders" 

so what is wrong with trying to find a family that enables children to be loved and nurtured? 

The rules against cross racial adoption was started years ago by black social workers to stop "white" social workers from preferring an affluent family over a local family of the same ethnic group (including friends and relatives willing to adopt the child... informal adoption without legal papers by relatives or family friends is common in the black community. Also in the Hispanic, white, and AmerIndian community... but rarely noticed by outsiders. I know of many many cases among my relatives and patients) 

in formal adoption, in the past, strict rules stopped adoption for children by parents who might be single, be gay, be too "old" or who might merely  lack enough bedrooms or might need subsidies to pay for the counseling  or specialized medical care for their child who is recovering from abuse or who has special needs.

With the huge increase in children needing to be placed, I believe the rules are now not so strict, but my point is that adoption is about finding a child a home, not about the parent's ego. And an imperfect home with love is better than no home.

Cross ethnic adoption makes one aware of racism in the USA, and we have to help our children who face it. We also have to help them find mentors in their own community so they understand their own culture and have role models so they can be proud of their culture.

LINK is to a story about Colin Kapernick's adoption, and points out the problems of a non white child confronting racism in the local school and neighborhood.

Kapernick single handedly opened a discussion of racism in America, and did it the old fashioned way: non violent protest, and has quietly donated a lot of his money to help the black community.

Monday, September 21, 2020

It's only a couple billion dollars

 from the BBC:

note: HSBC is a Hong Kong bank.

HSBC allowed fraudsters to transfer millions of dollars around the world even after it had learned of their scam, leaked secret files show.
Britain's biggest bank moved the money through its US business to HSBC accounts in Hong Kong in 2013 and 2014.
Its role in the $80m (£62m) fraud is detailed in a leak of documents - banks' "suspicious activity reports" - that have been called the FinCEN Files. HSBC says it has always met its legal duties on reporting such activity.

well, maybe. The report says that lots of information about this was given to regulators in the past. So who was doing the regulation? 

The files show the investment scam, known as a Ponzi scheme, started soon after the bank was fined $1.9bn (£1.4bn) in the US over money laundering. It had promised to clamp down on these sorts of practices. ...
The documents leak includes a series of other revelations - such as the suggestion one of the biggest banks in the US may have helped a notorious mobster to move more than $1bn. 

way down in the article, it notes what brought the information about the Ponzi scheme to the attention of whoever: A lady in California was bilked out of $3000 and the guy who told her to invest the money was killed in April 2014. by local thugs, presumably hired by a woman who was scammed. The Ponzi scheme targeted those not very rich and who were naive, mainly Asian and Hispanics who trusted him because he pretended to have Christian ties. 

Unfotuntately, he scammed the wrong lady. 

(Personal hit jobs are the way things are alas done in countries where law is weak and cops can be bribed. Indeed, a lot of the "drug war" deaths blamed on Duterte were pay back murders by families denied justice, who figured Duterte's cops would now look the other way when they took rough justice on the one who harmed them).

The MSM has a bad reputation for their biased political reporting, but it is the press who is trying to dig out the facts here....the story broke via Buzzfeed of all people. If you remember, Buzzfeed also revealed the sleezy deals of Paul Manafort, who ended up in jail. 

and the Muller investigation into the Russia links with the Trump campaign found a lot of this corruption was going on.

And yes, there is a Russian/US election link, but the links also include the Ukraine (not mentioned: if these schemes are related to Kolansky/Burisma/Biden links) Nigeria, Malaysia, etc etc. Yes, Epstein is mentioned but no details.

The records show that five global banks — JPMorgan, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, Deutsche Bank and Bank of New York Mellon — kept profiting from powerful and dangerous players even after U.S. authorities fined these financial institutions for earlier failures to stem flows of dirty money.
U.S. agencies responsible for enforcing money laundering laws rarely prosecute megabanks that break the law, and the actions authorities do take barely ripple the flood of plundered money that washes through the international financial system. In some cases the banks kept moving illicit funds even after U.S. officials warned them they’d face criminal prosecutions...

Friday, September 18, 2020

The next virus: Monkeypox?

 while checking StrategyPage for updates on Central Africa/DRC, to see how their Ebola epidemic is going on (112  cases, 25000 vaccinations to stop the spread), and a Covid outbreak in a refugee camp (not much detail given), I noted this observation.

September 9, 2020: In Congo medical authorities reported a monkeypox outbreak in the has so far infected 141 people and killed ten. All 141 cases are confirmed cases. Monkeypox has symptoms similar to the small pox virus, though far less severe.

I never saw this disease in Africa, but I remember reading about it when there was an outbreak in the USA back in 2003, due to imported animals from Ghana... actually these imported animals gave the MP to prairie dogs, and the people who bought prairie dogs for pets got infected, usually via cleaning the cages when you had a small wound for the virus to enter, or by being bitten by the Prairiedog.

in other words, you can get it not just from monkeys but from small rodents.

However that epidemic was not spread person to person.

there was also an outbreak in the UK from patients who caught it in Nigeria back in 2018, that spread to a health care worker who got it because of inferior quality protective gloves.

and last year there was one case in Singapore, brought in from Nigeria. The article includes this nice illustration about the disease:

CDC discusses the ongoing epidemic.

. Usually only spread via close contact with infected animals, although a few cases of human to human transmission have been reported in those in close contact with someone with lesions or maybe from close contact from respiratory spread. There is treatment, but usually prevention by small pox vaccination is the way to stop transmission... 

ironically, since smallpox has been eradicated, people no longer receive small pox vaccine, so now are vulnerable to smallpox's weaker cousins in the pox family. This might explain why the public health authorities are seeing periodic outbreaks of money pox in various African countries.

so how many cases are we talking about?

OutbreakNews says over 2500 cases since July.

presumably this is not going to cause a major outbreak, but it does show how diseases can move from animals to humans and spread quickly if not stopped.

Personally, I'm more worried about bird flu, (H5N1 avian influenza virus) which has killed a couple hundred people in Asia who were in close contact with chickens etc., but luckily has not taken the last step that makes it possible for human to human transmission.

and all the conspiracy types who think that because a "war game" simulation was done for a covid type virus last year, that this was related to the covid outbreak: 

well, all I can say is that a similar "war game" was done about bird flu a couple years ago. And bird flu is a lot more dangerous and has a higher mortality. 

And for all the hysteria and conspiracy theories on covid, the dirty little secret is that it is too weak to be a deliberate bioweapon release, since the morality is low, not to mention it killed quite a few Chinese (how many? who knows. They are keeping it secret). 

However, the good news about covid is that it has given the world expertise on how to handle the next outbreak, so if a lethal disease should again jump from animals to human, people will be prepared.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

reopening mail service and schools

Mail delivery here was very slow, and so was the various courier services. Part of the problem? Quarantine checkpoints, and decreased hours when offices were open.

This affected import and export trade, but since our rice deliveries are done by our own truck, it only stopped deliveries for a month then slowed it down because the usual three hour drive was increased by a three hour wait at the checkpoint. (food deliveries are a priority here).

Manila is still partly shut, but things are improving.

For overseas mail, the USPS shut down in April according to this article at the VOA. and yes, our mail was also affected by the virus shutdowns.

for over seas mail: the problem? No airplanes.

and even the courier services (Fed Ex, etc) had limited service.

well finally last week the postal service reopened, so I can send back a check sent to me from the USA in February that deteriorated so much in transit (3 months) that the bank couldn't read it.

This should, of course, make me prefer direct deposit

and indeed, most of our OFW use Wells Fargo or similar services to send money home.

but then I remember when an earthquake near Taiwan cut a major internet cable, and we were offline for weeks. And not just earthquakes, but terrorism, sabotague or acts of war.

hmm...  Bezos' satellite internet system prevent such a thing in case China decides to isolate the Philippines?

then all we'd have to worry about is a Carrington event strength solar flare.

In other news: Schools are reopened, part time, with distancing and some classes on line. 

I even heard the music of the daily exercize class this morning that is held in the plaza nearby. So things are opening slowly.

But until there is a vaccine, the economy won't reopen completely.

this article has a summary of all the jobs lost: Tranportation, service induestries, shops, etc. were affected.