because politics is passing but great music is forever
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
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".
Space tourism? headsup via Instapundit:
It exists to give you comfort,
And in those times of trouble
The memory of love will bring you home
Perhaps love is like a window,
It invites you to come closer,
And even if you lose yourself
The memory of love will see you through
Love to some is like a cloud,
For some a way of living,
And some say love is holding on
And some say love is everything
Perhaps love is like the ocean,
Like the fire when it's cold outside
If I should live forever
My memories of love will be of you
Monday, September 28, 2020
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.
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang 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:
Sunday, September 27, 2020
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:
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...
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.
Monday, September 21, 2020
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
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
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.
Monday, September 14, 2020
In a previous post, I wondered how much of the anti vax and other disinformation about the covid epidemic might be pushed via other countries.
At the time I had no evidence, but now the WaFreeBeacon has an article about election interference by other countries, including this snippet:
Iran's efforts include amplifying anti-Trump voices in its state-controlled news outlets and creating false online personas to elevate similar material.
Both Facebook and Twitter have moved in recent months to remove a litany of false accounts that they say were controlled mainly by Iran, Russia, and China. These countries have promoted disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic and critiques of Trump's response.
the UKGuardian (left wing) article back in July noted the same thing.
Though US officials have warned before about the spread of disinformation tied to the pandemic, they went further on Tuesday by singling out a particular information agency that is registered in Russia, InfoRos and that operates a series of websites – InfoRos.ru, Infobrics.org and OneWorld.press – that have leveraged the pandemic to promote anti-western objectives and to spread disinformation.
this Russian disinformation is not new: CBS story in May 2019 (!) also notes the Russian information war promoting anti vax propaganda. This article notes how it is causing people to hate measles vaccine, and adds this:
According to Axios, however, misinformation about vaccines is not the only threat, as Russia is focusing on spreading misinformation around health care issues ahead of the 2020 election.
CornellAllianceForScience notes the sites behind the anti vax conspiracy theories (the article is about the linking of the anti vax types and the anti GMO types with with 5G paranoia).
a similar article about the anti everything type conspiracy groups can be found on this Australia news site.
We’ve heard a litany of conspiracy theories since the pandemic began, but where exactly are they coming from and to what extent are they organised?
From anti-5g articles to fabricated stories about vaccination trials, Russia is using bots, state media and troll farms to cultivate a disinformation narrative during the pandemic.
But Russia is far from the only country that’s using social media to spin the truth, according to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. The Chinese Communist Party is also using social media to paint a positive image of its government and to heap blame on the United States for the COVID-19 crisis, researchers at ASPI have found...
he gives an example of a US Vaccination program that they claimed killed five people in the Ukraine, something that did not happen but originated in a pro Russian site in the Ukraine.
“You see a lot of people repeating it on Twitter, or whatever and they have no idea that it originated from a pro-Russian Ukrainian separatist group,” Thomas said. “They just remember they saw somewhere that Ukrainian soldiers died in a vaccine trial and they just repeated it,” she added. But what are these countries hoping to achieve? COVID-19 is the latest issue that has been weaponised by Russia to sow discord in the West, according to Dr Graham.
I see the Russian propaganda being believed on the right, including right wing Catholic sites who should know better: but the anti vax propaganda has always been believed by the extreme left: so what you have here is a convergence of anti science between the naive paranoid on both sides of the political spectrum.
and given the Russian (and Chinese) moves to give vaccine to poor countries, one wonders if a lot of their disinformation is being pushed to make money and geopolitical points.
More here about China's push and how they will use it for political influence
Seven vaccines being tested in western countries, three are completing phase 3 tests. Includes links
Sunday, September 13, 2020
We had to evacuate the patients, many of whom were bed ridden, from the building closest to the mall, and close the windows to protect them.
Saturday, September 12, 2020
British drug manufacturer AstraZeneca, which has the licence for the Oxford University vaccine, is ramping up its global manufacturing capacity and has agreed to supply 100 million doses to the UK alone and possibly two billion globally - should it prove successful. Clinical trials were paused this week after a participant had a suspected adverse reaction in the UK.
Pfizer and BioNTech, who say they have invested more than $1bn in their Covid-19 programme developing an mRNA vaccine, expect to be ready to seek some form of regulatory approval as early as October this year. If approved, that would mean manufacturing up to 100 million doses by the end of 2020 and potentially more than 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021. There are around 20 other pharmaceutical companies with clinical trials under way.
Joe Biden's coronavirus adviser Dr. Vivek Murthy says the candidate has "already started" work on his plan for expanding testing, building contact tracing capacity and distributing a vaccine.
Friday, September 11, 2020
There was a heroic rescue of over 200 campers caught in the midst of one of the California fires.
More than 200 campers were trapped near a boat dock on Shaver Lake in California's Fresno County over the Labor Day weekend, encircled by flames and a blinding wall of wildfire smoke....Chief Warrant Officer 5 Joseph Rosamond, piloting a California Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook, had already made the decision to try to put his helicopter down close by the desperate campers on Sept. 5. So had CWO 5 Kipp Goding, pilot of a California Guard UH-60 Black Hawk, who had linked up with Rosamond's aircraft and was trailing him to the scene, weaving through peaks rising to 7,000 feet and then dropping down to a valley leading to the dock...
Emergency crews on the ground from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, radioed to Rosamond that it was too risky. The Creek Fire in the Sierra National Forest was out of control and they should put down at a nearby ranch miles away and wait for the smoke to clear, they were told...
and not just one time: They returned twice to get everyone out: 214 people were rescued, some badly burned.
this was done at night.
the pilots used night vision goggles to let them see despite the smoke.
if you read my previous post about helicopters, you know that it is dangerous trying to pilot in an area with poor visibility: but add to this wind currents due to the irregular terrain and the fire updrafts.
And once they landed, to get everyone out, they essentially overloaded the helicopters so they could get everyone out...
The article mentions the names of not just the pilots but the names of the crews who risked their lives in the rescue.
on the Chinook:
Chief Warrant Officer 5 Joseph Rosamond, the pilot.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Brady Hlebain, the Chinook's co-pilot,
Sgts. George Esquivel, flight engineer.
Cameron Powell, flight engineers on the Chinook,
Black Hawk crew:
CWO 5 Kipp Goding, pilot
Warrant Officer 1 One Xiong
\Chief Warrant Officer 2 Irvin Hernandez.
Thank you for your service.
update (9 17)
ThatAin'tHellBlog reports the 7 Nat Guardsmen received the Distinguished Flying Cross
Thursday, September 10, 2020
Wednesday, September 09, 2020
the Covid hysteria is overblown (it is a bad disease, worse than influenza but not as bad as the Spanish flu, and not nearly as bad as other epidemics that spread in the past and could spread and kill again).
But modern westerners who think they control all aspects of their lives are aghast: it's almost like people are saying: How dare a disease hurt/kill me. It must be someone's fault. Let's blame Trumpieboy/Fauci/BillGates/the WHO/China/etc. (although that last one, China, is indeed partly to blame).
Which is alas why we are now seeing people developing paranoia against things that actually are saving lives: isolation, masks, and even rejecting without a logical reason a possible vaccine. (Kamela Harris insists she won't take the vaccine, implying it is being released early before all the tests are done, implying that Trump will release the vaccine early to get votes).
silly me. A quick google (or a phone call to the CDC) would have let her know that the phase three testing for the Pfizer vaccine will be over by mid October, meaning it can then be released by the end of October or early November...not because of the election but because that's how things are done.
Indeed, the results are so good that the vaccine is being manufactured already and the CDC and local health departments are already doing the logistics of giving the vaccine to millions of Americans, and only await the phase three study being finished.
But for us here in the Philippines, waiting for perfection in the phase three trials means we won't get the well tested vaccine from US companies for awhile, so we will be more likely to buy the Russian or Chinese vaccines, that haven't even started phase three testing:
why risk a partially tested vaccine? Because the Covid epidemic has shut down our economy and overwhelmed our hospitals, and hey, if a few people die of the vaccine, it's better than thousands dying of Covid, or shutdown related malnutrition because people are out of work and can't afford good food. And don't forget all the diseases that are not treated because no one will go to the hospital, either because they are afraid of catching covid, or they lack money to go to the doctor.
The use of the Russian or Chinese vaccines have geopolitical implications which are obvious but outside my area of expertise.
In the meanwhile, it is not good news when Harris hints about vaccine problems at a time the anti vax hysteria has spread from the liberal greenies to the Qanon crazies and the back-to-nature Christian right.
as Lolo would say: Crazy.
But this is not the first epidemic that America faced, nor the first time that NYCity tried in vain to stop an epidemic.
Cholera? think severe diarrhea, so severe that you could die in 24 hours of dehydration.
what brought this to mind is a post on AtlasObscura about the woman who, a century before Rosa Parks, desegregated the NYCity transit system.
The article brings up the reason that Elizabeth Jennings didn't want to walk to church: The manure, the garbage, the mud, the dead animals, the flies etc. that confronted people in the streets.
True, there were "colored" trolleys, but it was full, and she was late for church, and the ordinary trolley was only half full...
Read the whole thing.
But the backstory is the lack of sanitation of NYCity, and the deaths in the city, from heatstroke but mostly from cholera:
By midyear, the first Cholera Hospital opened at 105 Franklin Street, followed by another on Mott Street, only to have the commissioners of health accused of suppressing data about cholera deaths as fear of an epidemic gripped Manhattan...
Spread via contaminated water, where fecal material enters into the water system, into local wells, or when people are forced to use river water.
Yup. we had an epidemic when I was in Africa, but luckily it missed our area. the docs in that area converted schoolrooms so they could isolate patients away from regular hospital patients (schools had running water and toilet facilities).
but in the past, cholera was a world wide problem:
Cholera hit Ireland in 1849 and killed many of the Irish Famine survivors, already weakened by starvation and fever. In 1849, cholera claimed 5,308 lives in the major port city of Liverpool, England, an embarkation point for immigrants to North America, and 1,834 in Hull, England. ... Cholera, believed spread from Irish immigrant ship(s) from England to the United States, spread throughout the Mississippi river system, killing over 4,500 in St. Louis and over 3,000 in New Orleans. Thousands died in New York, a major destination for Irish immigrants.
Because back then, the people in the slums were the Irish: many illiterate and sick, who fled the potato famine and probably brought cholera with them on the "coffin ships"...
and yes, the association of disease with the Irish, along with the fear of losing "American culture" by outsiders with a different value system , religious bigotry (fueled by traditional British anti Catholic bigotry, and also by Catholic opposition to protestant Bible reading in schools), crime and gangs, and the worry about illegal voting. All of these issues fueled the nativist movement of those days, which led to the "anti Irish Riots" in several cities, link2 albeit not in NYCity.
all of this sounds familiar doesn't it?
Cities with deteriorating sanitation, gangs roaming the streets, distrust of "dirty" immigrants: The same issues are being discussed
exaggerated by politicians in this year's US elections.
But there is another side to the story that few notice:
the real heroes: Medical personnel, truckers, grocery store workers, the police, the farmers, and the lowly folk who keep the streets clean.
Have you hugged a sanitation worker lately?
Tuesday, September 08, 2020
K dramas are the thing: Many are even showing on NetFlix, which Ruby has a subscription, but usually I screen them via a local streaming service. There are several, some with aps for a small fee or free but with ads.
I discovered the show while checking out the Kpop discussion boards... most of the discussion is about the melodramas and romances, but they also have the ratings of which are more popular, and one of the highest rated shows was one called "Once again", which hasn't yet hit Netflix,
(the NetFlix show "Once Again" is a completely different show).
But this one, made in 2020, is a G rated family drama, so you should, so keep an eye out for it because it is a very nice show, not in a bland cliche ridden Hallmark channel way, but similar to the nicer classic tv shows we used to see in the past, where family members had different personalities but loved and supported each other.
And we are now approaching the 100th episode (in two more weeks) and I can say: It's a very very good show.
IMDB has a description of the early plot:
Song Young Dal and Jang Ok Boon have been married for many years and they have 4 children: Joon Sun, Ga Hee, Na Hee and Da Hee. Third child Na Hee is a doctor and she works with her husband Doctor Kyu Jin at the same hospital. They fell in love during their medical school days and got married, but their marriage life is not doing very well. Meanwhile, the first child Joon Sun and the second child Ga Hee are both divorcees and live with their parents. The youngest child Da Hee struggles as an intern at a company.
and then things change: The doctors date others, but figure out they still love each other, the mother in law from hell befriends the youngest sister, who works at her cafe and later falls in love with her other son. And then there are lots of subplots of finding a lost sister, the stunt team moving upstairs and are joined by a young man who was essentially homeless because he is fleeing his family after a terrible accident, etc.
and yes the PC police came after them because a minor subplot is when the Kimbap shop is opened by a lady who got tired of running a kareoke bar and fighting off drunks, and brought two of the bar girls with her...and I guess the PC thought these ladies were "sexualized" but they seem to have missed the point: It is about rescuing these girls from the tawdry environment of working in bars... they quit and came to help the older lady at her restaurant because she had protected them and they did not want to be mere sex objects (hint: They tone down their costumes after being corrected by the other shopkeepers).
here is a scene from one of the recent episodes:
TVHappysister has a video here that describes the show:.............